Censor Watch

 2017: September

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 Obituary: Hugh Hefner...

Playboy founder dies aged 91


Link Here 30th September 2017
playboy first issueHugh Hefner died on Wednesday, at the age of 91 at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

His son Cooper Hefner, chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises, said his father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and a leading voice behind some of the most significant social and cultural movements of our time in advocating free speech, civil rights, and sexual freedom. He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history.

Perhaps the impacfulness of Hefner can be gauged from comments from his opponents, the Catholic News Agency which writes:

Christian leaders in the fight against pornography have called the death of Hugh Hefner tragic, while reminding Catholics to take seriously the impact of Hefner's legacy on American culture.

Alan Sears, founder of the misleadingly named Alliance Defending Freedom said:

Nobody should ever take joy in anybody's passing [...BUT...] There have been thousands of people praying for Hugh Hefner's conversion for years, and the saddest part to me of his passing, is that we see no evidence of conversion on his part. Apparently up to the end, he took joy in this exploitation of women, of sexuality and all the other things that the secular media is lauding him for.

Spiked logoOffsite Article: Let's hear it for the Hef

30th September 2017. See  article from spiked-online.com by Tim Black

Hugh Hefner's commitment to liberty should be his lasting legacy.

 

  Hateful censorship law...

European backs off from EU wide laws forcing social media websites to remove content as specified by state authorities


Link Here 30th September 2017
european commission logoVera Jourova, the EU's commissioner for justice, is resisting calls to follow Theresa May's censorship lead and legislate to fine internet companies who fail to take down anything deemed hate speech.

Vera Jourova condemned Facebook as a highway for hatred, but the former Czech minister said she was not yet ready to promote EU-wide legislation similar to that being pursued in the UK, France and Germany. I would never say they [the UK, France and Germany] are wrong, but we all have the responsibility to react to this challenge with necessary and proportionate reaction, she told the Guardian.

In Britain, May is demanding that internet companies remove hateful content , in particular that aligned to terror organisations, within two hours of being discovered, or face financial sanctions. Under a law due to come into effect next month in Germany, social media companies face fines of up to £43m if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.

The commission is instead offering further guidance to internet companies about how they improve their record by complying with a voluntary code of conduct drawn up last year and so far adopted by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

 

 Update: Trying it on...

Saudi Arabia asks Ofcom to ban Al Jazeera from broadcasting in the UK


Link Here 30th September 2017  full story: Al Jazeera censored in the Middle East...The Middle East doesn't like the balanced reportng of Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera logoThe ambassadors to the Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, hardly countries that have any notion of free speech, have said that UK TV censor, Ofcom, should establish if the services breached British or European directives.

Al Jazeera is based in Doha and the four countries boycotting Qatar accuse the TV station of promoting an extremist agenda. Closing down the station and its affiliates was one of the conditions imposed by the Arab quartet leadership for lifting the boycott on Qatar.

The five point request from the ambassadors to Ofcom asked for an assessment that Al Jazeera was fit to hold a broadcasting licence when it was a platform for allegedly positive or sympathetic coverage of ISIL. This includes references to it as an organisation, rather than a terrorist group.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said it had passed this letter of complaint to the media regulator in Italy, where the [Arabic] channel holds its licence, for urgent consideration.

 

  10 years of easy offence...

Chris Smith stands down as chairman of advert censor ASA


Link Here 30th September 2017
chris smithChris Smith, originally a Labour politician, has stepped down after 10 years as chairman of the advert censors at ASA.

No doubt he has done sterling work on sorting out fraudulent and misleading claims. But when it comes to censoring politically incorrect adverts, he has suffered 'widespread offence' so many times, that he must be a jibbering wreck.

 

 Update: Stay away culture...

UN report reveals that, as Malaysia moves to more religious extremism, it has become an unattractive place for visiting artists and performers


Link Here 30th September 2017  full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars
Malaysia flagOrganizers of pop concerts and some other big events are increasingly wary of including Malaysia on their itineraries due to growing intolerance toward activities regarded as insulting to Islam by some Muslim groups.

The promoters say that international music stars, especially those known for risque lyrics or revealing clothing, are unlikely to be brought to Malaysia as part of regional or global tours. The same goes for any gatherings that could in any way be deemed un-Islamic.

A United Nations cultural rights expert warned in a report last week that there is growing pressure to adopt a more narrow interpretation of the Islamic religion and identity in Malaysia, which excludes the country's cross-cultural history, marginalizes religious minorities, and fails to take account of the diversity of Malay Muslims.

 

 Update: EU vs. the European people...

EU continues to expand its repressive new copyright regime that will give media companies and the like total control over even snippets and short quotes


Link Here 29th September 2017  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
European Parliament logoUnder disgraceful plans set out last year by the European Commission, news publishers would get extra rights over their content, giving them the right to charge and licence publishers seeking to use snippets or short quotes from articles. The policy has been dubbed 'the link tax'.

Now a key committee of the European Parliament, the Industry, Research and Energy Committee, wants to extend the proposals so that these rights would also cover publishers of academic research. Surely a nightmare for open access and open science. Researchers might have to pay, or might at least have to ask for permission, every time they want to quote another academic's work in their piece.

If the proposed ancillary right is extended to academic publications, researchers, students and other users of scientific and scholarly journal articles could be forced to ask permission or pay fees to the publisher for including short quotations from a research paper in other scientific publications, according to an open letter from Science Europe.

But even if this latest amendment is not adopted, the wider plan could still make it much harder for everyone, including researchers, to include quotations from news articles in their work, the organisation fears. For example, students might have to buy a licence for every newspaper quote they use in a thesis. Links to news and the use of titles, headlines and fragments of information could now become subject to licensing. Terms could make the last two decades of news less accessible to researchers and the public, leading to a distortion of the public's knowledge and memory of past events.

openmedia.org is campaigning against the link tax and notes:

open media logo Next week, MEPs on the European Parliament's powerful Civil Liberties committee will vote on whether to approve the Link Tax and mass content filtering. With your help we've been relentlessly fighting to put a stop to this disastrous duo of copyright policy, and this is what all that pressure and hard work comes down to.

Let's be clear: these proposals are abusing copyright to censor the Internet. Backed by powerful publishing lobbyists and unelected European Commissioners, they include sweeping powers for media giants to charge fees for links, and requirements that websites build censorship machines to monitor and block your content. But with the help of tens of thousands of EU citizens, we've made clear to the European Parliament just how dangerous and unpopular these censorship proposals really are.

See  article from boingboing.net . Boing Boing are also somewhat unimpressed by the crap law being generated by the EU.:

boing boing logo The European Commission has a well-deserved reputation for bizarre, destructive, ill-informed copyright plans for the internet , and the latest one is no exception: mandatory copyright filters for any site that allows the public to post material, which will algorithmically determine which words, pictures and videos are lawful to post, untouched by human hands.

These filters already exist, for example in the form of Youtube's notoriously hamfisted Content ID system, which demonstrates just how bad robots are at figuring out copyright law. But even if we could make filters that were 99% accurate, this would still be a catastrophe on a scale never seen in censorship's long and dishonorable history: when you're talking about hundreds of billions of tweets, Facebook updates, videos, pictures, posts and uploads, a 1% false-positive rate would amount to the daily suppression of the entire Library of Alexandria, or all the TV ever broadcast up until, say, 1980.

 

  Women are more easily offended than men...

ASA publishes complaints figures for first half of 2017


Link Here 29th September 2017

ASA logo Complaints to the ASA in the first half of 2017 show that TV continues to be the most complained about advertising medium with 5,127 complaints about 2,272 ads. Online ads are a close second (4,062 complaints), with more individual ads (3,852) complained about than any other medium.

In total, we received 13,131 complaints (19.8% fewer than last year) about 9,486 ads (January - June). As a result of our work, we have secured the amendment or withdrawal of 3,034 ads over the six month period (up 88% compared to the first half of 2016, itself a record year).

Misleading ads continue to prompt the most complaints 8,195 (62%) and represent the bulk of the ASA's workload (accounting for 76% of cases).

There is a clear difference between TV and online ads in terms of the issues that prompt public concern: The majority of complaints about TV ads are on the grounds of offence (3,439) rather than misleadingness (1,677); while the majority of complaints about online ads concern misleadingness (3,673) rather than harm and offence (360).

The reasons for these trends are explained by the differences in audience size and viewing habits for the two media, as well as the pre-clearance checks in place for TV. A large proportion of potentially misleading claims in TV ads are stopped before they're broadcast.

The new figures show that men continue to complain more about ads than women (59% to 38%). In total, men lodged 7,729 complaints compared to 5,031 by women. There are also marked differences in the kind of ads complained about, with women complaining more about harm and offence (F: 56% v M: 44%) while men complain more about misleadingness (M: 70% v F: 30%).

And presumably as a bit of a carrot for newspapers to print an article about the importance of ASA, the advert censor provided the top 3 most complained about adverts for the period:

  • The Moneysupermarket dance-off ads featuring a man called Dave wearing denim cutoffs and heels received the most complaints, 455, with viewers objecting that it was offensive and overtly sexual, possibly homophobic and having the potential to encourage hate crimes.
  • Match.com's ad showing a woman removing her partner's top and passionately kissing her drew the second-highest number of complaints at 293.
  • McDonald's swiftly pulled its poorly received campaign featuring a mother helping her son grieve for his father while sitting in one of the chain's restaurants, but not before viewers lodged 255 complaints that it exploited child bereavement to sell fast food.

None of the complaints were upheld by ASA>

 

 Update: Ruined morality of the older generation...

Indonesian lawmakers agree to ban anything gay from TV


Link Here 29th September 2017  full story: Gay Intolerance in Indonesia...Gay life winds up the intolerants
trans-tv logo
 
Indonesia's Trans TV will surely become a cropper
 

Indonesian lawmakers have agreed a proposed law that would ban anything gay on TV. Among the list of criteria for outlawed content in broadcasts includes programs containing LGBT behaviour.

The law would require the screening of all TV shows, films and adverts by an external censorship body prior to broadcast in order to ensure compliance with the new rules.

The ban has broad support from across the parties in the country. Supiadin Aries Saputra of the NasDem Party said:

We can't allow LGBT behaviour on TV. It is against our culture. We have to ban it early before it becomes a lifestyle. It's dangerous and can ruin the morality of the younger generation.

It is legal to be gay in Indonesia apart from  Aceh province, which implements its own nasty punishments under Islamic law.

 

 Updated: Sunless Offices...

Flintshire councillors propose motion calling for a ban of the Sun and its journalists from council offices


Link Here 28th September 2017  full story: Councils Censor The Sun...UK councils call for local newsagents to ban The Sun
flintshire council logoCouncillors are set to vote on a proposal to ban the The Sun newspaper and its journalists from Flintshire County Council offices.

The motion has been put forward by Deputy Leader Cllr Bernie Attridge and Cllr Kevin Hughes. It also seeks to ban Sun journalists from reporting on council meetings. The motion is said to reflect continued strong feelings about the Sun's reporting of the Hillsborough tragedy.

However the council  move has been met with criticism from the Welsh Conservatives. Shadow Local Government Secretary, Janet Finch-Saunders said it was was an attempt at censorship of the media. She said:

This is a childish and typically spiteful move from a Labour Party which no longer cares for the fundamental principle of free speech, and which no longer backs a free press.

Whilst we might not like certain newspapers -- and might question the impartiality of other platforms -- we have a right not to consume their output. But we shouldn't have a right to ban them. This is how dictatorships start, and Jeremy Corbyn should know a thing or two about them.

The legality of the motion is being considered ahead of a scheduled council discussion on September 27.

Update: Support shops banning the Sun

28th September 2017 See  article from bbc.com

Flintshire council has voted to support newspaper sellers who refuse to sell The Sun. The motion was carried by 36 councillors to six, with 18 abstentions, at a meeting on Wednesday.

The motion, put forward by councillors Bernie Attridge and Kevin Hughes, asked the council to support the Total Eclipse of the Sun boycott campaign in solidarity with councils in England.

The initial motion had tried to ban The Sun from council buildings and stop any of the newspaper's journalists attending council meetings, but these aspects have since been removed.

 

 Updated: Censorship max...

China's internet censor hands out maximum fine to companies not censoring enough


Link Here 28th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

emblemofchina logoChinese internet censors have handed down maximum fines to the operators of three major social-media platforms in the country for failing to deal with pornography, violence and other banned content on their sites. The affected platforms are Baidu's online forum Tieba, microblogging site Weibo and Tencent's massively popular social app WeChat.

The Cyberspace Administration of China issued a notice saying the companies were fined for failing to fulfill their management duties in dealing with pornographic and violent content, as well as information that promotes ethnic hatred.

Separately, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp seemed to be functioning properly after it earlier appeared to have been blocked again on the mainland.  However WhatsApp was totally blocked again a few days later.

In recent months, China has raised the pressure on the country's internet space in what some say is an attempt to exert control in the lead up to the Communist Party Congress next month.

Update: Weibo recruits an army of snitches

28th September 2017 See  article from sixthtone.com

Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo has said that it wants to hire a team of social media vigilantes to help identify and stamp out supposedly 'inappropriate' online content. The company said the scheme was designed to strengthen supervision of netizens and to more effectively rid the platform of what it referred to as pornographic, illegal, and harmful information.

Those selected for what appear to be part-time roles will be compensated for their efforts if they achieve certain monthly targets, such as reporting at least 200 valid cases of inappropriate content. These supervisors will be given VIP membership, paid 200 yuan ($30) in online credits, and may qualify to receive a special orange electronic badge displayed on their Weibo accounts.

For social media sleuths whose prowess at sniffing out undesirable content ranks them among the company's top 10 supervisors, the rewards will be even greater, potentially including Apple smartphones and laptops.

Weibo said it was introducing the program in response to guidelines issued by the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China. On Monday, the same office announced that it had fined Weibo and other online platforms for neglecting to prevent users from spreading pornographic content and ethnic hate speech.

 

 Offsite Article: How should the mainstream media tell the news?...


Link Here 28th September 2017
Today programme By Nick Robinson of the BBC's Today programme. An interesting article but note how the BBC thinks its news is 'unbiased' when it so actively suppresses aspects which are inconveniently politically incorrect

See article from bbc.com

 

 Update: Facebook in the middle...

Censorship is becoming a little political in the struggle between Russia and the US


Link Here 27th September 2017  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logoRussia will block access to Facebook next year if the websites refuses to comply with a law requiring websites to store personal data of Russian citizens on Russian servers so as to facilitate state snooping. Russia's internet censor, Roskomnadzor, told reporters that either Facebook abides by the law or the social network will cease to work on Russian territory.

Roskomnadzor blocked Russian access to LinkedIn last November as a result of the social media company being found guilty of violating the same data storage law. Since then, foreign internet companies have been under pressure to comply or risk losing their service in the country. Twitter has told Roskomnadzor that it aims to localise the personal data of its users by mid-2018. Companies including Google and Alibaba have already complied .

Meanwhile on the other side of the iron curtain, Facebook said it will turn over to the United States Congress Russian-linked ads that may have been intended to sway the 2016 US election. The social network revealed that it identified around 500 fake accounts with ties to Russia that purchased $100,000 worth of ads during the campaign, as well as $50,000 ad purchases from Russian accounts.

We support Congress in deciding how to best use this information to inform the public, and we expect the government to publish its findings when their investigation is complete, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

 

  Whopper claims...

Russia's Burger King chain calls for Stephen King's IT to be banned


Link Here 27th September 2017
IT DVD The latest adaptation of Stephen King's It has set box-office records around the world, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated horror of all time.

But Burger King's Russian division has filled an official government complaint to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) demanding the film be banned from cinemas. The reason?. The villainous clown Pennywise apparently looks like Ronald McDonald from rival chain McDonald's.

 

  Top talent...

Amanda Holden wins prize for the best dressed presenter on TV as judged by Ofcom complaints


Link Here 27th September 2017
amanda holdenAmanda Holden and her dress choice were the most controversial thing on UK television in 2017 according to complaints to Ofcom.

Holden left a few viewers 'outraged' with her dress choice during a live show of Britain's Got Talent back in June of this year. A total of 663 complaints were registered about it.

However, Ofcom reviewed the episode and chose not to investigate the matter further. They said that Ms Holden's choice of attire would not have exceeded most viewers expectations.

 

  Better out of sight and out of mind...

New York art gallery pulls exhibit revealing animal cruelty in China over fears of violent protest


Link Here 26th September 2017

dogs who cant touch The Guggenheim Museum in New York has pulled three exhibits featuring animals after receiving explicit and repeated threats of violence. The museum said they will not now be shown out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists.'Cruel manipulation of animals'

Campaigners had complained that the works showed cruelty against animals in the name of art. A petition to pull the exhibits had gained more than 500,000 signatures.

One of the works, titled Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other , shows a film of pitbull dogs on treadmills facing each other but aren't able to reach each other. The dogs are being observed in a presumably Chinese gallery setting with onlookers rather passively observing and photographing proceedings.

The other exhibits are Theatre of the World , in which insects and reptiles live in a see-through dome and eat each other; and A Case Study of Transference , a video of a previous live performance of two mating pigs stamped with Roman and Greek letters.

The museum has explained that the exhibit is an intentionally challenging and provocative artwork saying:

We recognise that the work may be upsetting. The curators of the exhibition hope that viewers will consider why the artists produced it and what they may be saying about the social conditions of globalisation and the complex nature of the world we share.

The museum said it was dismayed that we must withhold works of art, adding: Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim.

The American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals issued a statement objecting to the cruel manipulation of animals. It said:

Such treadmills are typical of brutal dog fighting training regimens, and the mere positioning of animals to face each other and encourage aggression often meets the definition of illegal dog fighting in most states.

It is interesting to observe that campaigners against the exhibition pointed out the offending video on YouTube, thinking that people would take offence and join the protest, in very much the same way that the Guggenheim exhibition is pointing out the cruelty going on in China, perhaps with the aim of provoking protest.

The works were due to be in an exhibition titled Art and China after 1989: Theatre of the World, which opens on 6 October.

 

 Update: Korean government blasts Tumblr...

Tumblr rejects 22,000 censorship requests from South Korea's internet censor


Link Here 25th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in South Korea...Repressive new internet censorship law
tumblr 2012 logoSouth Korea's internet censor made a large amount of censorship requests to the social network Tumblr but these were turned down on the grounds that the 'offending' posts did not actually violate Tumblr's policies.

Tumblr received 22,468 requests from the Korean government from January to June to delete posts related to prostitution and porn.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), the country's internet censor, sent 30,200 requests to several internet companies to delete posts related to prostitution and porn. Requests to Tumblr accounted for over two-thirds, totalling 22,468. By comparison, Twitter received 1,771, Instagram 12, and Facebook 5.

Tumblr rejected the requests to censor adult content saying that it had no physical presence in South Korea and was not subject to local laws. It also said it allows wide-range freedom of expression on its service. The company also said posts reported by KCSC didn't violate its policy.

 

 Offsite Article: How thin lines of good intention become cliff-edges of intrusion...


Link Here 25th September 2017
Ofcom logo Ofcom push for very aggressive positive discrimination for the broadcasting industry. By Peter Preston

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Don't stand for it...


Link Here 25th September 2017
doncaster council logo Doncaster is consulting on a vague, meaningless and potentially very repressive PSPO. It would target buskers, homeless people, chuggers, as well as anyone who chooses to stand around in the town centre.

See article from manifestoclub.info

 

 Offsite Article: 68 Things You Cannot Say on China's Internet...


Link Here 25th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flag An article outlining many of the new censorship rules restricting internet content creators

See article from nytimes.com

 

 Update: Obscene delay...

After a long battle with film censors, the gay film Ka Bodyscapes is unbanned, but only after cuts


Link Here 24th September 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Poster Ka Bodyscapes 2016 Jayan Cherian Ka Bodyscapes is a 2016 India / USA gay drama by Jayan Cherian.
Starring Adhithi, Tinto Arayani and Arundhathi. IMDb

Three young people, Haris, a gay painter; Vishnu, a rural kabaddi player and their friend Sia, an activist who refuse to conform to dominant norms of femininity, struggle to find space and happiness in a conservative Indian City.

After a long battle with India's film censors of the CBFC, and with the help of a little pressure from the Kerala high court, the CBFC have finally granted Ka Bodyscapes an adults only 'A' rating, after demanding the following cuts:
  • Removal of all references to the right wing nationalist political party, RSS, and the saffron flag wherever they appear in the movie.
  • Additionally, the makers of the film have also been directed to delete all the visuals containing photos of the RSS founder KB Hedgewar and ideologue MS Golwalkar from the movie,
  • removal of a scene with a female character that is shown masturbating.
  • The supposedly objectionable and disrespectful visual of a painting depicting Lord Hanuman carrying books in his hand.

 

 Update: Non consensual non event...

A few whinges to Ofcom about a vengeful gay set up


Link Here 24th September 2017  full story: Emmerdale...Viewer whinges about ITV soap
emerdale non consensualA few more trivial complaints about the TV soaps.

A nasty character named Rob plied his ex father in-law Lawrence with booze and when he was completely blotto, helped him into bed. And then he dropped an empty condom wrapper on the side table, stripped off and climbed in too! When Lawrence woke up Robert announced they'd slept together and even accused confused Lawrence of taking advantage of him in his heartbroken, drunken state.

The TV censor Ofcom has received nine complaints about the sexual nature of the scenes, and the non-consensual aspect of the storyline, despite nothing actually happening between Lawrence and Robert.

Ofcom responded that it will assess these complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate, code for a rapid consignment to the waste paper bin.

 

  Nowhere to hide...

Facebook to snoop on users' location whilst out shopping


Link Here 24th September 2017
Facebook logoFacebook is tracking what shops you visit offline to target you with ads online. Facebook has brought in new tools for advertisers that will tell businesses whether you've been to one of their real-life shops or at least for those stupidly sharing their location with the Facebook app.

Select businesses that are eligible for store visits reporting can now also create custom audiences made up of people who have recently visited their store, Facebook said in a blog post. Some of the companies already involved in this are US department store, Macy's and fast food shop KFC.

Facebook is not the first tech company to track the whereabouts of its customers offline in this way. Google's Store Sales Measurement scheme allows the tech giant to track customer credit-card transactions -- both online and within brick-and-mortar shops.

 

  A new chief pirate fighter...

Charles Rivkin takes over as CEO of the MPAA


Link Here 23rd September 2017
MPAA logoCharles Rivkin took over from Chris Dodd as CEO of the MPAA on 5th of September 2017.

Charles Rivkin was the former assistant Secretary of State for economic and business affairs under President Barack Obama. Before his stint at the State Department Rivkin served as U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco. Before that, he spent nearly 20 years in Hollywood as president and CEO of the Jim Henson Co. and then as CEO of Wildbrain.

Rivkin said in a blog post:

The MPAA's member companies are investing in a variety of new platforms and channels for content. There are now more than 130 lawful online platforms for film and television content in the United States, and more than 480 around the world, allowing global audiences to access creative entertainment where, when, and on any device they want.

Our members are building partnerships with creators around the world, including investing in a growing number of co-productions with studios in international markets, while supporting diverse storytelling through programs with multicultural organizations.

This work is vital to our future. Together, our industry must advance creativity and protect content from new forms of piracy. We must continue to drive innovation both in how we tell stories and reach audiences. And we must expand the global market for films and television programming in our effort to create high quality American jobs.

 

 Update: Stormy times...

Florida bill introduced claiming porn as a public health crisis


Link Here 22nd September 2017  full story: US politicans and porn harms...US states claim porn to be a public health hazard
Florida state sealFlorida could be the next state to claim pornography as a public health crisis if a Republican lawmaker has his say. State Representative Ross Spano has filed the claim in bill, H.R. 157. Strangely he doesn't seem to have spotted more pressing and obvious dangers such as those resulting from unchecked climate change.

Similar to measures passed recently in other moralist tates, the proposal calls on Florida to acknowledge the alleged dangers of pornography and address the need for education, prevention, research and policy change to protect the citizens of this state.

Other language included in the Republican's two-page resolution accuses pornography of contributing to the hypersexualization of adolescents and claims that kids who view adult content are at a higher risk of developing low self-esteem, eating disorders and a desire to engage in dangerous sexual behavior. The bill also calls pornography potentially biologically addictive and orders the state to create recovery programs from porn addicts.

Lawrence Walters, a porn industry attorney who practices in Florida commented:

This is an embarrassment to the State of Florida. We are more evolved, and have too much respect for individual freedom, to be having this debate. Hopefully it will be short-lived.

 

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 73...


Link Here 22nd September 2017
Mrs. Doubtfire DVD Mrs. Doubtfire rated 12 for cunning linguistics

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

  'Black' blacklisted...

Advert censor claims that a non derogatory reference to race is somehow likely to cause widespread offence


Link Here 21st September 2017

paddy power bet on blackA press ad by Paddy Power bookmakers, seen in the 23 August 2017 edition of the Evening Standard and the 24 August 2017 edition of the Metro, featured the headline claim ALWAYS BET ON BLACK alongside an image of Floyd Mayweather. Further text stated WE'VE PAID OUT EARLY ON A MAYWEATHER VICTORY BECAUSE WE CHECKED, AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS A BOXER.

Nine complainants, who considered that the headline contained an obvious reference to Floyd Mayweather's race, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Power Leisure Bookmakers Ltd t/a Paddy Power said the ad was not intended to cause offence on the grounds of race. They said the headline was a gambling related pun as the fight was taking place in Las Vegas and betting on black was a roulette reference. They acknowledged that the headline referred to Floyd Mayweather's race, but said it was not used in a derogatory, distasteful or offensive manner and the overall tone of the ad was light-hearted and humorous. They said the early pay out was not based on Floyd Mayweather's race but on his experience as a professional boxer compared with Conor McGregor who had never boxed professionally.

Paddy Power said the campaign was approved by Floyd Mayweather who found the line funny, rather than offensive or derogatory. The phrase always bet on black was embroidered on the underwear Floyd Mayweather's wore at the official weigh-in for the match in Las Vegas. Floyd Mayweather also posted an image of himself wearing the underwear on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #alwaysbetonblack, which was not part of the sponsorship deal.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The CAP Code required marketers to ensure that ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and for particular care to be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race. The ad appeared in the sports section of two free untargeted newspapers, and was therefore likely to have been seen by a wide-range of people. It featured the prominent headline Always Bet on Black, alongside an image of the boxer Floyd Mayweather, who was a black male. We considered that readers would interpret the headline to be a pun on Floyd Mayweather's race and betting on roulette. We understood that the headline was also intended to be a reference to a 1992 film quote. There was, however, nothing further in the ad which indicated that the headline was a film quote, and we considered that many readers would be unfamiliar with the quote.

We acknowledged that the headline claim did not make a negative statement about Floyd Mayweather's race and had endorsed him to win the match. We also acknowledged that Floyd Mayweather had authorised the claim. However, we considered that readers would nevertheless be offended by the invitation to always bet on the outcome of a boxing match based on a boxer's race, and the message that the boxing match was a fight between two different races. For those reasons, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence on the grounds of race.

We told Paddy Power to ensure they avoided causing serious offence on the grounds of race.

 

  'White' blacklisted...

Ludicrous supposed offence at Tranmere Rovers 'Super White Army'


Link Here 21st September 2017
tranmere super white armyA Super White Army banner was covered up during an England football match.

The sign at Tranmere Rovers' ground was obscured by the FA for the Lionesses' World Cup qualifier, after a player shared the photo online. People responding to the post suggested the banner could be seen as racist.

Tranmere Rovers Supporters' Club said it was not remotely racist and referred to their team's shirts. Supporters' club chairman Mark Bartley said:

The banner had been on display at the ground since the summer, but the words had been our motto for years and the decision to cover it was a one-off [which] will have no impact on us.

We are proud of our club colours, as are all fans up and down the country... and will continue to use the chant at our games going forward, he said. It is not remotely racist - it is simply a reference to the white shirts that our team wear.

 

 Update: So what are the chances that this will have any measurable effect on terrorism?...

May calls on website services to remove terrorist content within 2 hours


Link Here 21st September 2017  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

2 hour timerTheresa May is to urge internet companies to take down extremist content being shared by terrorist groups within two hours, during a summit with the French president and the Italian prime minister.

Home Office analysis shows that Isis shared 27,000 links to extremist content in the first five months of the 2017 and, once shared, the material remained available online for an average of 36 hours. The government would like that reduced to two hours, and ultimately they are urging companies to develop technology to spot material early and prevent it being shared in the first place.

The issue is of particular concern after last week's attack on a London Underground train at Parsons Green, and follows a British thinktank report, which found that online jihadist propaganda attracts more clicks in Britain than anywhere else in Europe.

Extremist material is shared very rapidly when it is first published in what experts call a starburst effect: more than two-thirds of shares take place within the first two hours, so reducing the amount of time the material is visible can drastically squeeze the number of users who see it.

A government source noted that once an internet user has shown interest in extremist content, the web giants' algorithms keep pushing similar material towards them online. We want them to break the echo chambers, he said.

 

 Update: Peaceful religion banned in China...

Euphemisms for criticism of islam are banned by Chinese social media


Link Here 21st September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Weibo logoAllegedly Islamophobic terms used by Chinese Internet users to stigmatize Muslims have been censored by authorities on Chinese social media amid a backlash against national policies considered overly favorable to Muslim minorities.

Searches for green religion and peaceful religion , often used by Internet users to refer to Islam and to circumvent censorship of online speech, showed no results on China's Weibo microblog. Posts containing the phrases cannot be posted for violations of Weibo's complaints related rules. Worse insults against Islam are also blocked in Weibo's search engine.

Discontent and fears of Muslims have been on the rise on China's Internet in recent years. There is unease at Chinese authorities' discrimination policies in favour of ethnic minorities, especially Muslim groups.

To achieve national unity and social stability , ethnic minorities including Hui and Uyghur people enjoy favorable policies including receiving extra points in China's college entrance examinations, more lenient family planning policies and securing a certain ratio of positions in government. The favorable policies are aimed at helping ethnic minorities who lag behind in economic and educational development. They are intended to accelerate development toward greater ethnic unity, Xiong said.

 

 Offsite Article: Where have all the 18 certificate films gone?...


Link Here 21st September 2017
american assassin 2017 American Assassin and mother! are both 18-certificate films that landed in UK cinemas the same week. This is not common at all...

See article from denofgeek.com

 

  Silencing Middle Eastern news...

Saudi bans Al Jazzera from appearing on Snapchat app


Link Here 19th September 2017  full story: Al Jazeera censored in the Middle East...The Middle East doesn't like the balanced reportng of Al Jazeera
aljazeera on snapchatAl Jazeera is Middle Eastern news service based in Qatar that competes with the likes BBC World News. It seems to provide a balanced view of world news, perhaps modelled on the BBC, as opposed to the more propaganda based services along the lines of RT from Russia.

Balanced reporting on Middle Eastern affairs doesn't seem to go down well in Middle Eastern countries, who clearly would prefer something a little more under their control. So these other countries are putting a lot of pressure on Qatar to silence Al Jazeera.

The latest example of such censorship pressure is that the social network service, Snap has been censored in Saudi Arabia over its inclusion of Al Jazeera in its Discover App.

Snap has now complied with Saudi censorship demands to remove news outlet Al Jazeera's curated content from its Discover Publisher Channels in Saudi Arabia. Discover is Snap's digital media selection of content tailored to a young audience.

Al Jazeera is less than thrilled. Acting Director-General Mostefa Souag said in a statement:

We find Snapchat's action to be alarming and worrying. This sends a message that regimes and countries can silence any voice or platform they don't agree with by exerting pressure on the owners of social media platforms and content distribution companies,  This step is a clear attack on the rights of journalists and media professionals to report and cover stories freely from around the world.

 

 Updated: Offensive to Eurocrats...

EU bans greek cartoonists from exhibition celebrating 60 years of the European Union


Link Here 19th September 2017
greek mep on brexitjpg  
  Banned cartoon by Stelios Kouloglou

SYRIZA MEP Stelios Kouloglou has filed a complaint with the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani claiming that several sketches by Greek cartoonists will not be allowed to go on display in an exhibition that is being organized by the Greek politician and French MEP Patrick Le Hyaric, celebrating 60 years of the European Union.

According to Kouloglou, Greek cartoonists were censored, as 12 out of 28 their sketches were rejected because they allegedly violated European Union rules that prohibit offensive material appearing in EU exhibitions.

Offsite article: See the censored cartoons

16th September 2017 See  censored cartoons from rt.com

Update: And it turns out that the cartoon censor is a British MEP

19th September 2017 See  article from express.co.uk

It has emerged that an MEP involved in the organisation of the event, the British MEP Catherine Bearder, has rejected 12 of the drawings which are critical of the project. The not so Liberal Democrat member representing the south east of England is the Quaestor - Members of Parliament who deal with administrative matters directly affecting MEPs - in charge of the exhibition.

 

  Catholic News Service recommends Mother!...

Rated O, morally offensive


Link Here 17th September 2017
Poster Mother 2017 Darren Aronofsky Mother! is a 2017 USA horror mystery thriller by Darren Aronofsky.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem and Ed Harris. IMDb

A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

'A film review on the Catholic News Service writes:

What's all too apparent, however, is that the film's treatment of religion -- one of the major themes it seeks to address -- is relentlessly negative and briefly sacrilegious.

The author's celebrated work is clearly meant as a stand-in for the Bible. But those on the receiving end of his revelation misunderstand and misuse it.

After a pregnancy troubled by the disorder surrounding her, moreover, Lawrence's title character gives birth to a son whose fate recalls the death of Jesus. In depicting his version of the Passion and the Eucharist, though, Aronofsky grotesquely caricatures both.

Viewers who shun Mother! on that basis will also be sparing themselves a two-hour ordeal and quite a bit of head-scratching.

The film contains blasphemous images, a negative portrayal of religion, much strong and sometimes gory violence, semi-graphic marital lovemaking, a glimpse of full nudity and occasional profanity and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive.

 

 Offsite Article: Searching for our true selves...


Link Here 17th September 2017
Google logo A study of Google searches suggests that we are not quite so politically correct on Google as we are in more public spaces

See article from newstatesman.com

 

 Offsite Article: Ministering social development...


Link Here 17th September 2017  full story: Games censorship in New Zealand...Gal*Gun video game banned
david shanks oflc Interview with a new chief censor: how to ban a video game in New Zealand

See article from thespinoff.co.nz

 

 Obituary Harry Dean Stanton...

Cult character actor and honorary melon farmer dies aged 91


Link Here 16th September 2017  full story: Melon Farmers Censored...Blocking by ISPs
censored repo man Harry Dean Stanton, the veteran American actor who ballasted generations of independent and cult films, has died aged 91. The subject of the late critic Roger Ebert's Stanton Walsh Rule -- No movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad -- Stanton was famed for his ability to project his hangdog, laconic charm into minor roles, which ensured he worked continuously for over six decades. Directors who cast him include David Lynch, Sam Peckinpah, Ridley Scott, Alex Cox and Wim Wenders, but he was never nominated for an Oscar or any of the other principal acting awards.

Alex Cox's Repo Man was inspirational to this website, by cining the term 'melonfarmer' as an overdub for 'motherfucker' in a TV edit of the movie. The video clip shows Harry Dean Stanton being 'flipped' over by his boss.

 

 Update: Upload blocking...

EU set to release censorship demands for internet companies to proactively block uploads of copyrighted material


Link Here 16th September 2017  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

european commission logoCompanies including Google and Facebook could face repressive legislation if they don't proactively remove illegal content from their platforms that is deemed illegal. That's according to draft EU censorship rules due to be published at the end of the month, which will require internet service providers to significantly step up their actions to address the EU's demands.

In the current climate, creators and distributors are forced to play a giant game of whac-a-mole to limit the unlicensed spread of their content on the Internet.

The way the law stands today in the United States, EU, and most other developed countries, copyright holders must wait for content to appear online before sending targeted takedown notices to hosts, service providers, and online platforms.

After sending several billion of these notices, patience is wearing thin, so a new plan is beginning to emerge. Rather than taking down content after it appears, major entertainment industry groups would prefer companies to take proactive action. The upload filters currently under discussion in Europe are a prime example but are already causing controversy .

The guidelines are reportedly non-binding but further legislation in this area isn't being ruled out for Spring 2018, if companies fail to address the EU's demands.

Interestingly, however, a Commission source told Reuters that any new legislation would not change the liability exemption for online platforms. Maintaining these so-called safe harbors is a priority for online giants such as Google and Facebook 203 anything less would almost certainly be a deal-breaker.

The guidelines, due to be published at the end of September, will also encourage online platforms to publish transparency reports. These should detail the volume of notices received and actions subsequently taken. The guidelines contain some safeguards against excessive removal of content, such as giving its owners a right to contest such a decision.

 

  Outrageously Illiberal...

Puerile whinges about Strictly Come Dancing and The Great British Bake Off


Link Here 16th September 2017
susan calman on strictly come dancingSusan Calman has sparked outrage by daring to do what all female competitors have done on all 14 previous series of Strictly Come Dancing -- dance with a man. The problem, or outrage, such as it is, is that Calman is openly gay.

When she was paired with Kevin Clifton, one of the show's most popular professionals who has come second in the competition four times in a row.

That was enough for Calman to be branded a traitor to the gay cause. Never mind that she gave a shout-out to her wife in her first interview, never mind that she has spent her whole career campaigning for LGBT rights.

Calman was forced to defend her decision to have a male partner. I've worked tirelessly for LGBT equality my whole life and right now I would like to dance and bring entertainment to people by dancing on a Saturday night. Dancing's not necessarily about sex, it's acting.

Meanwhile 28 people have campaigned to Ofcom about a gag on The Great British Bake Off  where a time check was called by a presenter from inside a fridge and then having the door closed on him.

Viewers took to social media to blast the show's producers for being irresponsible and setting a bad example to children. Shocking. So dangerous. How could this get onto a family programme. Wouldn't happen on the beeb, said one.

 

 Offsite Article: Easily offended hecklers are ruining comedy...


Link Here 16th September 2017
andrew doyle Even comedians are now being shouted at for being offensive. By Andrew Doyle

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  More IT...

Film makers announcer that there will be a Director's Cut of IT to be released on home video


Link Here 15th September 2017
it 2017 indiaThe film makers have announced that a Director's cut for the box office success, IT, is on the way It will feature on home video and it's expected to include at least 15 minutes of extra footage.

Director Andrés Muschietti describes two scenes where the extra material will slot in:

[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]
  • One of the main additions to the IT director's cut will be a longer version of the quarry scene. After the spitting contest it escalates into something that is completely weird and irrelevant to the scene but is so funny. Jack Grazer, who plays Eddie, does something that is completely bonkers.
  • There's a great scene, it's a bit of a payoff of the Stanley Uris plot which is the bar mitzvah, where he delivers a speech against all expectations... it's basically blaming all the adults of Derry [for the town's history of deadly accidents and child disappearances], and it has a great resolution...Maybe it will be in the director's cut!

 

  Pleading expediency...

Ofcom introduces discounted fines for censorship rule breakers who admit their guilt


Link Here 15th September 2017
Ofcom logoTV and internet censors Ofcom have introduced the concept of reduced fines for those censorship rule breakers who admit their guilt. Ofcom explains:

On 28 June 2017, following consultation, we published new Enforcement guidelines for regulatory investigations. Among other things, these documents set out a new process for settlement of an investigation falling within the scope of the Guidelines and the Procedures. Settlement is a voluntary process in which the regulated body admits it has breached relevant regulatory requirements and accepts that the remainder of the investigation will follow a streamlined administrative procedure. In successful settlement cases, Ofcom will apply a discount to the level of the penalty in light of the resource savings involved in following a streamlined administrative procedure.

 

 Updated: Lamb of gods...

Australian lamb marketing advert offends the easily offended


Link Here 15th September 2017
lamb advert video Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) will investigate complaints made about an lamb marketing campaign that has angered the easily offended.

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) launched an amusing advert featuring actors portraying Jesus, Lord Ganesh, L. Ron Hubbard and Buddha.

So far the ASB has received about 30 complaints about the ad. An ASB spokesperson told SBS World News most people who complained about the ad cited discrimination and vilification on the grounds of religion.

MLA Group marketing manager Andrew Howie explained the advert:

Lamb is the meat that brings people together. Our 'You Never Lamb Alone' campaigns have promoted the value of unity and inclusivity. This latest campaign instalment is no different, 

Our intent is never to offend, but rather acknowledge that lamb is a meat consumed by a wide variety of cultures and capture how the world could look if people left their differing views at the door and came to the table with open arms, and minds.

Howie also pointed out Ganesh was sitting across the table from Buddha, another vegetarian. Neither of them are eating meat or drinking wine but they were willing participants at the party which we would hope everyone can come together and celebrate their difference.

Not all deities were represented at the dinner table. To save offending muslims with a depiction of Mohammed, he was conveniently unable to make the dinner party.

Hindu Council of Ausralia spokesperson Balesh Dhankhar said they were very hurt and angry about this ad campaign. The reason being the Hindu community cannot imagine their deity, Lord Ganesh in this case, as eating meat. Dhankhar said most people who follow Hinduism were vegetarians and seeing Lord Ganesh in this manner was very insulting. He said the Hindu community was one of the fastest growing in Australia and seeing the deity depicted in this manner went against the country's values.

Update: India is offended

10th September 2017 See article from bbc.com

high commission of india logoThe High Commission of India in Canberra said it had made a demarche to three Australian government departments. It also urged Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) to withdraw the advertisement because many people considered it offensive and hurting their religious sentiments.

A number of community associations have also registered their protest with government of Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia, the high commission said in a statement.

Update: And of course Rajan Zed

12th September 2017 See article from rajanzed.org

rajan zed website logoEternal whinger Rajan Zed has called for a ban of the Meat & Livestock Australia lamb advert.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that it was highly irresponsible of MLA to continue with this ad despite the clear expression by Hindus that it was very inappropriate and hurt their feelings.

Rajan Zed also urged Australia Advertising Standards Bureau to act urgently on the various complaints received by it regarding this ad.

Besides withdrawing the ad immediately, MLA Board Chair Dr. Michele Allan and Managing Director Richard Norton should resign for apparently working against the interests of the organization by upsetting consumers instead of charming them, and using cheap tactics to attract attention instead of seriously attempting to prevent consumers from reducing their lamb consumption, Rajan Zed indicated.

Zed had sought ban on You Never Lamb Alone video ad, which seemed to make fun of Lord Ganesha. Zed pointed out that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling lamb meat for mercantile greed. Moreover, linking Lord Ganesha with meat was very disrespectful and highly inappropriate, Zed added.

YouTube logoUpdate: Censored by YouTube

14th September 2017 See  article from thedrum.com

YouTube has removed the You Never Lamb Alone advert by Meat & Livestock Australia in India after requests from the Indian government.

A message on the video now reads for Indian viewers: this content is not on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government.

Update: Banned in Thailand

15th September 2017 See  article from khaosodenglish.com

Thailand flagFight of Gods is no longer available for purchase from within Thailand on Steam. This item is currently unavailable in your region, notes the entry in Steam's online store.

After the game was released, Buddhist officials in Thailand expressed outrage. Booncherd Kittitharangkoon, the director of a state agency that governs monks and temples, told reporters that the game could damage Buddhism.

Booncherd said he had asked the Culture of Censorship Ministry to send a complaint to Taiwanese game developer Digital Crafter. He warned that Thai authorities could take legal action if some characters were not removed.

A spokesman for British developer, PQube acknowledged that Thailand has formally demanded that the game be removed from sale in their territory.

 

  Stop SESTA...

Another US Congress attempt to censor the internet in the name of restricting sex trafficking


Link Here 15th September 2017

Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF opposes the Senate's Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act ( S. 1693 ) ("SESTA"), and its House counterpart the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act ( H.R. 1865 ), because they would open up liability for Internet intermediaries--the ISPs, web hosting companies, websites, and social media platforms that enable users to share and access content online--by amending Section 230's immunity for user-generated content ( 47 U.S.C. § 230 ). While both bills have the laudable goal of curbing sex trafficking, including of minor children, they would greatly weaken Section 230's protections for online free speech and innovation .

Proponents of SESTA and its House counterpart view Section 230 as a broken law that prevents victims of sex trafficking from seeking justice. But Section 230 is not broken. First, existing federal criminal law allows federal prosecutors to go after bad online platforms, like Backpage.com, that knowingly play a role in sex trafficking. Second, courts have allowed civil claims against online platforms--despite Section 230's immunity--when a platform had a direct hand in creating the illegal user-generated content.

Thus, before Congress fundamentally changes Section 230, lawmakers should ask whether these bills are necessary to begin with.

Why Section 230 Matters

Section 230 is the part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that provides broad immunity to Internet intermediaries from liability for the content that their users create or post (i.e., user-generated content or third-party content).

Section 230 can be credited with creating today's Internet--with its abundance of unique platforms and services that enable a vast array of user-generated content. Section 230 has provided the legal buffer online entrepreneurs need to experiment with news ways for users to connect online--and this is just as important for today's popular platforms with billions of users as it is for startups.

Congress' rationale for crafting Section 230 is just as applicable today as when the law was passed in 1996: if Internet intermediaries are not largely shielded from liability for content their users create or post--particularly given their huge numbers of users--existing companies risk being prosecuted or sued out of existence, and potential new companies may not even enter the marketplace for fear of being prosecuted or sued out of existence (or because venture capitalists fear this).

This massive legal exposure would dramatically change the Internet as we know it: it would not only thwart innovation in online platforms and services, but free speech as well. As companies fall or fail to be launched in the first place, the ability of all Internet users to speak online would be disrupted. For those companies that remain, they may act in ways that undermine the open Internet. They may act as gatekeepers by preventing whole accounts from being created in the first place and pre-screening content before it is even posted. Or they may over-censor already posted content, pursuant to very strict terms of service in order to avoid the possibility of any user-generated content on their platforms and services that could get them into criminal or civil hot water. Again, this would be a disaster for online free speech. The current proposals to gut Section 230 raise the exact same problems that Congress dealt with in 1996.

By guarding online platforms from being held legally responsible for what thousands or millions or even billions of users might say online, Section 230 has protected online free speech and innovation for more than 20 years.

But Congress did not create blanket immunity. Section 230 reflects a purposeful balance that permits Internet intermediaries to be on the hook for their users' content in certain carefully considered circumstances, and the courts have expanded upon these rules.

Section 230 Does Not Bar Federal Prosecutors From Targeting Criminal Online Platforms

Section 230 has never provided immunity to Internet intermediaries for violations of federal criminal law --like the federal criminal sex trafficking statute ( 18 U.S.C. § 1591 ). In 2015, Congress passed the SAVE Act, which amended Section 1591 to expressly include "advertising" as a criminal action. Congress intended to go after websites that host ads knowing that such ads involve sex trafficking. If these companies violate federal criminal law, they can be criminally prosecuted in federal court alongside their users who are directly engaged in sex trafficking.

In a parallel context, a federal judge in the Silk Road case correctly ruled that Section 230 did not provide immunity against federal prosecution to the operator of a website that hosted other people's ads for illegal drugs.

By contrast, Section 230 does provide immunity to Internet intermediaries from liability for user-generated content under state criminal law . Congress deliberately chose not to expose these companies to criminal prosecutions in 50 different states for content their users create or post. Congress fashioned this balance so that federal prosecutors could bring to justice culpable companies while still ensuring that free speech and innovation could thrive online.

However, SESTA and its House counterpart would expose Internet intermediaries to liability under state criminal sex trafficking statutes. Although EFF understands the desire of state attorneys general to have more tools at their disposal to combat sex trafficking, such an amendment to Section 230 would upend the carefully crafted policy balance Congress embodied in Section 230.

More fundamentally, it cannot be said that Section 230's current approach to criminal law has failed. A Senate investigation earlier this year and a recent Washington Post article both uncovered information suggesting that Backpage.com not only knew that their users were posting sex trafficking ads to their website, but that the company also took affirmative steps to help those ads get posted. Additionally, it has been reported that a federal grand jury has been empaneled in Arizona to investigate Backpage.com. Congress should wait and see what comes of these developments before it exposes Internet intermediaries to additional criminal liability.

Civil Litigants Are Not Always Without a Remedy Against Internet Intermediaries

Section 230 provides immunity to Internet intermediaries from liability for user-generated content under civil law--whether federal or state civil law. Again, Congress made this deliberate policy choice to protect online free speech and innovation.

Congress recognized that exposing companies to civil liability would put the Internet at risk even more than criminal liability because: 1) the standard of proof in criminal cases is "beyond a reasonable doubt," whereas in civil cases it is merely "preponderance of the evidence," making the likelihood higher that a company will lose a civil case; and 2) criminal prosecutors as agents of the government tend to exercise more restraint in filing charges, whereas civil litigants often exercise less restraint in suing other private parties, making the likelihood higher that a company will be sued in the first place for third-party content.

However, Section 230's immunity against civil claims is not absolute. The courts have interpreted this civil immunity as creating a presumption of civil immunity that plaintiffs can rebut if they have evidence that an Internet intermediary did not simply host illegal user-generated content, but also had a direct hand in creating the illegal content. In a seminal 2008 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com held that a website that helped people find roommates violated fair housing laws by "inducing third parties to express illegal preferences." The website had required users to answer profile questions related to personal characteristics that may not be used to discriminate in housing (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, and the presence of children in the home). Thus, the court held that the website lost Section 230 civil immunity because it was "directly involved with developing and enforcing a system that subjects subscribers to allegedly discriminatory housing practices." Although EFF is concerned with some of the implications of the Roommates.com decision and its potential to chill online free speech and innovation, it is the law.

Thus, even without new legislation, victims of sex trafficking may bring civil cases against websites or other Internet intermediaries under the federal civil cause of action ( 18 U.S.C. § 1595 ), and overcome Section 230 civil immunity if they can show that the websites had a direct hand in creating ads for illegal sex. As mentioned above, a Senate investigation and a Washington Post article both strongly indicate that Backpage.com would not enjoy Section 230 civil immunity today.

SESTA and its House counterpart would expose Internet intermediaries to liability under federal and state civil sex trafficking laws. Removing Section 230's rebuttable presumption of civil immunity would, as with the criminal amendments, disrupt the carefully crafted policy balance found in Section 230. Moreover, victims of sex trafficking can already bring civil suits against the pimps and "johns" who harmed them, as these cases against the direct perpetrators do not implicate Section 230.

Therefore, the bills' amendments to Section 230 are not necessary--because Section 230 is not broken. Rather, Section 230 reflects a delicate policy balance that allows the most egregious online platforms to bear responsibility along with their users for illegal content, while generally preserving immunity so that free speech and innovation can thrive online.

By dramatically increasing the legal exposure of Internet intermediaries for user-generated content, the risk that these bills pose to the Internet as we know it is real. Visit our STOP SESTA campaign page and tell Congress to reject S. 1693 and H.R. 1865 !

Offsite Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

15th September 2017  See  article from theverge.com

Google logoSESTA opens websites up to civil suits over user posts that promote sex trafficking. "What you're going to end up seeing is mass lawsuits," said Julie Samuels of Engine Advocacy, a nonprofit organization perhaps best known for its work around patent reform. She expressed concern that the lawsuits would sweep up legitimate good actors and end up crushing small startups.

It's obvious why companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter would fear SESTA. But most tech companies have been circumspect about their opposition to the bill, choosing to voice their concerns by proxy through trade groups like the Internet Association , which includes Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter among its members.

The problem, of course, is that they're taking a stand against a bill that purports to fight sex trafficking. "Obviously no one supports human trafficking," said Samuels. "But you're going to start to play with fire when you play with how the internet works."

...Read the full article from theverge.com

 

 Update: Culture of religious violence...

Russian minister steps in to try and deter christians from threatening violence against cinemas showing the movie Matilda


Link Here 14th September 2017  full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols
matilda 2017 aleksey uchitelMatilda is a 2017 Russia historical biography by Aleksey Uchitel.
Starring Michalina Olszanska, Lars Eidinger and Luise Wolfram. IMDb

In the twilight of Imperial Russia, prima ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya becomes the mistress of three Grand Dukes.

Any attempts to exert pressure on cinemas over the screenings of Matilda , a movie describing the love story of last Russian emperor Nicholas II and a ballet dancer, are censorship and lawlessness, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said on Wednesday. He told TASS:

Any intentions of 'initiators' on the ground to ban the screenings, any attempts of pressure against private or municipal cinemas are pure lawlessness and censorship, which is directly against the Russian Constitution.

The Culture Ministry allows the screenings at cinemas in line with legal procedures, Medinsky explained. The law strictly describes the grounds for any refusal. There are none of them in case with Matilda. We are guided by the law, not private tastes.

The minister called on Russian law enforcement agencies to ensure the rule of law in the situation with Matilda and curb any pressure on the state and cinema business from activists with their socially dangerous methods of imposing their views.

Violence by orthodox christians has started in anticipation of the film's release on 26th October. A number of activists including MP Natalia Poklonskaya, Crimea's former prosecutor, have launched a campaign against the film calling for its release to be cancelled and claiming that it will insult the feelings of Orthodox believers. On Monday night, two cars were set ablaze outside the office of Uchitel's lawyer, Konstantin Dobrynin, in downtown Moscow. The attorney posted photos of the charred automobiles and notes left at the scene saying Burn for Matilda on his Facebook page.

A group calling itself Christian State, Holy Russia sent nearly a thousand letters with threats to movie theater owners across Russia, urging them to drop the screening of Matilda.

 

  Sydney Film Festival recommends...

Playground, depicting a murder along the lines of James Bulger, and Kuso, with something to offend everyone


Link Here 13th September 2017
playgroundPlac zabaw is a 2016 Poland thriller by Bartosz M Kowalski.
Starring Michalina Swistun, Nicolas Przygoda and Przemyslaw Balinski. IMDb

Final day of school in a small Polish town. It's the very last chance for a 12 year old Gabrysia to tell her classmate that she had fallen in love with him. She sets up a secret meeting and blackmails the boy to show up. But what was supposed to be an intimate talk spins out of control and leads to an unexpected ending.

A film has been okayed for screening at the Sydney Film Festival that depicts the murder of a toddler by 2 boys along the lines of the 1993 James Bulger murder in Liverpool.

The scene in a Polish movie called Playground has been approved for a festival showing by the Australian Classification Board. Festival director Stefan Popescu said the Board had granted an exemption to the festival to screen unclassified films - including several depicting graphic sex and violence - without asking to view any of them.

Popescu noted that Playground has no extreme close-up gore, blood spurts or manic chainsaw scenes but noted that the murder scene prompted viewers to walk out of a screening of the movie at a Spanish film festival last year.

Poster Kuso 2017 Flying Lotus Kuso is a 2017 USA horror drama by Flying Lotus.
Starring Hannibal Buress, George Clinton and David Firth. IMDb

Events unfold after a devastating earthquake in Los Angeles.

The Sydney Underground Film Festival will also screen Kuso , a film depicting an abortion, bodily functions, and graphic scenes of mutilation and sexual violence. Popescu noted:

It's got near every possible offensive thing in the film, so I guess there is a real chance that the censors would get up in arms about it.

Think of every potential trigger-warning and this film has it covered.

Described as the grossest movie ever made, Kuso prompted viewers to walk out when it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.

A cockroach emerging from a body orifice, actors fornicating with puppets and animated characters, and scenes awash with bodily fluids - presented with deadpan humour - are among the tamer episodes in Kuso .

 

  Flagged up...

Video game Destiny 2 to delete pattern resembling a far right flag


Link Here 13th September 2017
Destiny 2 - PlayStation 4 Standard Edition Destiny is a 2017 shared world shooter video game developed by a company called Bungie.

The game has caused a little outrage for a rather complex allusion to an alt-right fictional flag itself alluding to Nazi symbology whilst not actually containing well known Nazi symbols.

destiny 2 gauntlet
kekistan flag

The reference comes on a pattern on an optional gantlet available for characters. The pattern on the sleeve resembles part of a fictional Kekistan flag.

Kekistan is a fictional nation invented in 4chan's political board. It rose to prominence after being promoted by a handful of anti-feminism YouTubers.

The Kekistan flag is based on a Nazi battle flag, and was created to allow far rights groups to identify and acknowledge one another using a symbol of Nazism that isn't identified as such by ordinary people. The flag was reported sighted at recent troubles in Charlottesville.

 Bungie CEO Pete Parsons apologised:

Our deepest apologies. This does NOT represent our values, and we are working quickly to correct this. We renounce hate in all forms.

 

 

 Offsite Article: But not quite sure if anyone is listening...


Link Here 13th September 2017
david shanks oflc After 90 days in the role of Chief Censor, I have been pausing for a moment to reflect on what the role means, and where it might be headed. By David Shanks, chief censor at New Zealand's OFLC

See article from classificationoffice.govt.nz

 

 Update: At a time when political correctness overrides truth...

Is it surprising that Facebook 'fact checking' doesn't seem to convince people much as to what is fake news?


Link Here 12th September 2017  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
yale logoFacebook touts its partnership with outside fact-checkers as a key prong in its fight against fake news, but a major new Yale University study finds that fact-checking and then tagging inaccurate news stories on social media doesn't work.

The study , reported for the first time by POLITICO, found that tagging false news stories as disputed by third party fact-checkers has only a small impact on whether readers perceive their headlines as true. Overall, the existence of disputed tags made participants just 3.7 percentage points more likely to correctly judge headlines as false, the study said.

The researchers also found that, for some groups--particularly, Trump supporters and adults under 26--flagging bogus stories could actually end up increasing the likelihood that users will believe fake news. This because not all fake stories are fact checked, and the absence of a warning tends to add to the credibility of an unchecked, but fake, story.

Researchers Gordon Pennycook & David G. Rand of Yale University write in their abstract:

Assessing the effect of disputed warnings and source salience on perceptions of fake news accuracy

What are effective techniques for combatting belief in fake news? Tagging fake articles with Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers warnings and making articles' sources more salient by adding publisher logos are two approaches that have received large-scale rollouts on social media in recent months.

Here we assess the effect of these interventions on perceptions of accuracy across seven experiments [involving 7,534 people].

With respect to disputed warnings, we find that tagging articles as disputed did significantly reduce their perceived accuracy relative to a control without tags, but only modestly (d=.20, 3.7 percentage point decrease in headlines judged as accurate).

Furthermore, we find a backfire effect -- particularly among Trump supporters and those under 26 years of age -- whereby untagged fake news stories are seen as more accurate than in the control.

We also find a similar spillover effect for real news, whose perceived accuracy is increased by the presence of disputed tags on other headlines.

With respect to source salience, we find no evidence that adding a banner with the logo of the headline's publisher had any impact on accuracy judgments whatsoever.

Together, these results suggest that the currently deployed approaches are not nearly enough to effectively undermine belief in fake news, and new (empirically supported) strategies are needed.

Presented with the study, a Facebook spokesperson questioned the researchers' methodology--pointing out that the study was performed via Internet survey, not on Facebook's platform--and added that fact-checking is just one part of the company's efforts to combat fake news. Those include disrupting financial incentives for spammers, building new products and helping people make more informed choices about the news they read, trust and share, the spokesperson said.

The Facebook spokesman added that the articles created by the third party fact-checkers have uses beyond creating the disputed tags. For instance, links to the fact checks appear in related article stacks beside other similar stories that Facebook's software identifies as potentially false. They are powering other systems that limit the spread of news hoaxes and information, the spokesperson said.

 

 Update: Censor first, ask questions later... much later when it is all to late...

YouTube censorship by demonetisation proves punishing to those unfairly censored, especially to small players


Link Here 12th September 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
yutube limitedYouTube's algorithms, which are used to censor and demonetize videos on the platform, are killing its creators, according to a report.

Most of the initial censorship is left to algorithms, [which probably flag that a video should be censored as soon as it detects something politically incorrect], which presumably leads to the overcensorship underpinning the complaints].

Creators complain that YouTube has set up a slow and inefficient appeals system to counter cases of unfair censorship. Ad-disabled videos on YouTube must get 1,000 views in the span of seven days just to qualify for a review.

This approach hurts smaller YouTube channels, because it removes the ability for creators to make money on the most important stage of a YouTube video's life cycle: the first seven days, the report explains. Typically, videos receive 70% or more of their views in the first seven days, according to multiple creators.

Some of the platform's most popular creators, are saying that the majority of their videos are being affected, dramatically reducing their revenue. Last week, liberal interviewer Dave Rubin, who has interviewed dozens of prominent political figures, announced that a large percentage of his videos had been demonetized, cutting him off from being able to make money on the millions of views he typically gets, perhaps due to the politically incorrect leanings of his guests, eg Ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, feminist activist and scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, and Larry King.

YouTube issued a response saying little, except that they hope the algorithms get better over time.

 

 Update: CBFC assassins...

Another Hollywood film suffers cuts at the hands of the new film censor


Link Here 12th September 2017  full story: Film Classifications in India...Film censors and their cuts
Poster American Assassin 2017 Michael Cuesta American Assassin is a 2017 USA action thriller by Michael Cuesta.
Starring Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch. IMDb

Twenty three-year-old Mitch lost his parents to a tragic car accident at the age of fourteen, and his girlfriend to a terrorist attack just as they were engaged. Seeking revenge, he is enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy as a black ops recruit. Kennedy then assigns Cold War veteran Stan Hurley to train Mitch. Together they will later on investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on military and civilian targets. The discovery of a pattern in the violence leads them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a world war in the Middle East.

The Hollywood thriller American Assassin has been given an adults only 'A' certificate in India. and that only after cuts.

'Motherfucker' is still a taboo term. It will always be the same, says a CBFC source referring to the word that was ordered out of IT and now American Assassin . The word 'bastard' has also been cut So has a shot of a woman's frontal nudity.

So another censorship example that dashes any hopes that India's new film censor may be more willing to treat Indian adults as adults.

For comparison

  • US MPAA: Rated R uncut for strong violence throughout, some torture, language and brief nudity.
  • UK BBFC: Rated 18 uncut for strong sadistic and bloody violence

 

 Updated: Holy ass kicking...

Malaysian censors get offended by video game featuring fighting religious deities


Link Here 12th September 2017
fight of godsThe video game distribution website, Steam, has been blocked in Malaysia.

Censors at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) took offence at a game called, Fight of Gods, and took immediate action by denying citizens access to the Steam store.

Apparently Valve, the company behind the Steam website were given the chance to block the offending game from Malaysia gamers but did not respond quickly enough for the authorities. Malaysians who try to access the store get the message in English and Malay:

This website is not available in Malaysia as it violate(s) the National law(s).

Fight of Gods pits mythological deities, Jesus included, against one another. Promotional material for Fight of Gods reads:

Your prayers have been answered! For the first time ever, gods, holy spirits and mythological characters from around the globe and throughout history will clash in an explosive 2D fighter where the entire world is at stake!

Who will prevail in the ultimate battle of gods? Will Jesus, fresh from ripping himself off the sacrificial cross, smite all his foes with the power of his Punishment Fist?

Can Buddha slap his opponents into submission?

Harness the power of fire, lightning, water, plagues and more as you pit gods and prophets such as Odin, Zeus, Amaterasu, Anubis, Moses and Athena against one another in one of the most unique and outlandish fighters ever created.

The games company debuted a trailer featuring Jesus this week . That caused quite a stir, with mainstream media outlets gleefully reporting Jesus' addition to the game, with his deadpan fight introduction voice-over of I'm back, for the people. Jesus then rips himself off his cross and uses the remaining wood to beat a variety of opponents. Mohamed is notably missing from the line-up of foes.

Fight of Gods publisher PQube has provided a statement:

Fight of Gods is a video game that takes a humorous approach to religion in the same way that other entertainment formats have -- across television, film, books and theatre.

The game is not promoting any religious agenda and is not designed to offend. The description of the game on the digital platforms through which it is distributed provide clear guidance on the nature of the game and its content so that people can freely choose whether or not to play it. We fully respect the choice of those who would not wish to play it.

We are disappointed that such freedom of choice is not given to everyone and in particular that the game has been forcibly removed from sale in Malaysia, although no direct communication has been received by us as to the reasons for this.

Update: Thai Buddhists too

12th September 2017 See  article from nationmultimedia.com

knowing buddha logoManat Chareekote, of the Knowing Buddha Organisation, described his group as a Thai non-profit agency seeking to protect Buddhist symbols from being subjected to disrespect. In a letter to the gaming company, Manat said:

The Buddha image had been wrongfully appropriated in the game. It desperately saddens us to see the image of our respected father used in such a role in the game like this. It really breaks Buddhists' hearts all around the world. How could you and your team hurt and offend others' beliefs?

Religious and historical images were meant to be respected. It was inappropriate to use them for entertainment or commercial purposes.

His organisation caused for the games company to cease selling the game in every country where it was distributed.

Update: And of course Rajan Zed

12th September 2017 See article from rajanzed.org

rajan zed website logoEternal whinger Rajan Zed has censured Fight of Gods video game saying that it trivializes some highly revered religious figures.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that unnecessarily dragging religious figures into battle, who were greatly revered by the adherents of their respective faiths, to sell video game for mercantile greed was very disrespectful, highly inappropriate, insensitive and could be disturbing for some faithful.

Rajan Zed further said that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. ..BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people.

 

 Offsite Article: TV censorship alive and kicking in Hong Kong...


Link Here 11th September 2017
mistresses Now TV and Star World on censorship overdrive as, in one case, the word orgasm is given the silent treatment while in another a modest cleavage gets pixelated

See article from scmp.com

 

 Updated: BUT...the idea proved a bit too much for Indians to bear...

India's new film censor had hoped to pass IT uncut with the word 'motherfucker' being allowed for the first time


Link Here 10th September 2017  full story: Film Classifications in India...Film censors and their cuts
it 2017 indiaIt is a 2017 USA horror drama by Andrés Muschietti.
Starring Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher and Finn Wolfhard. BBFC link IMDb

In the Town of Derry, the local kids are disappearing one by one, leaving behind bloody remains. In a place known as 'The Barrens', a group of seven kids are united by their horrifying and strange encounters with an evil clown and their determination to kill It.

India's new film censor has proven a breath of fresh air to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). On Tuesday, the CBFC's new chairperson, Prasoon Joshi, shocked many and surprised some when he upturned the Examining Committee's (EC) decision to come down heavily on Andres Muschietti's adaptation of Stephen King's IT .

In a historic decision, all the recommended 12 cuts -- including some profanities -- were restored, and IT has been given an all clear, with an uncut A certificate. A source said the committee had cut out visuals of horror and many profanities, including words like 'fuck', 'pussy', 'cocks', and most shockingly, 'motherfucker, which was previously strictly forbidden. Apparently the latter has never been allowed in any Hollywood movie before.

The source says that the board now has clear instructions.  If a film gets an adults only 'A' certificate, there will be no visual or verbal cuts.

Update: On second thoughts

3rd September 2017 See  article from dnaindia.com

In a series of rapid developments, over the last week, the CBFC had restored all the cuts ordered by the Examining Committee. Then they got cold feet and revised their decision within 24 hours, asking for three muted words, 'pussy', 'motherfucker' and 'cunt'. But now the CBFC has revised its stance on the matter once again.

The film has been ordered to censor only one word 'motherfucker'. Says a source, The CBFC agreed to restore all the cuts, except the profanity.

For comparison, in the the UK, the BBFC passed the film 15 uncut for strong horror, violence, language for:

Update: Film makers censored from airing cuts negotiations in public

6th September 2017 See  article from hindustantimes.com

In a series of rapid developments, over the last week, the CBFC had restored all the cuts ordered by the Examining Committee. Then they got cold feet and revised their decision within 24 hours, asking for three muted words, 'pussy', 'motherfucker' and 'cunt'. But now the CBFC has revised its stance on the matter once again.

A DNA report claimed on Tuesday that Joshi has introduced new rules for the board, according to which, no information about suggested cuts will be shared with the filmmakers and that the certificate will be the only communication with them.

Earlier, informal communication used to help filmmakers negotiate before they received the certificate, but the new censor was clearly not impressed by the public negotiations about the censorship to Andrés Muschietti's IT so has moved to ban such discussions in the public sphere.

Update: Censors see red over tampons

10th September 2017 See review from indianexpress.com . Thanks to Artistic Monkey

It seems tha the Indian film censors are not being fully honest about there being just 1 cut to the film for strong language. The censors have also taken offence at the sight of a packet of tampons at a pharmacy. The packet was duly blurred lest it cause the downfall of civilised society in India.

 

 Update: Welcome to the X Zone...

India's film censors still quick to ban films, dashing recent hopes of the new film censor bringing with him a more grownup approach


Link Here 10th September 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
x zoneIndia's Central Board Of Film Certification on Thursday banned a film, the first to get the treatment after Prasoon Joshi took over as the chief censor.

The offending film is titled X Zone , produced and directed by Faisal Kapadi. According to CBFC sources, scenes of sex and nudity including, apparently, a frontal nudity shot of actress Hrishita Bhatt were the cause of the ban.

This dashes recent hopes that all films, regardless of content, can be passed with an adults only 'A' rating.

Not so, says a source close to the CBFC, sleaze won't get passed. That won't change.

 

 Updated: A bloody battle with the MPAA...

Blood Feast remake gets an MPAA R rating on the 4th attempt


Link Here 8th September 2017
Poster Blood Feast 2016 Marcel Walz Blood Feast is a 2016 Germany / USA horror by Marcel Walz.
Starring Robert Rusler, Caroline Williams and Sophie Monk. IMDb

Fuad Ramses and his family have moved from the United States to France, where they run an American diner. Since business is not going too well, Fuad also works night shifts in a museum of ancient Egyptian culture. During these long, lonely nights he is repeatedly drawn to a statue representing the seductive ancient goddess ISHTAR. He becomes more and more allured by the goddess as she speaks to him in visions.

The Blood Feast remake is struggling to get an R rating from the MPAA. The producers have now submitted the film 3 times presumably with ever increasing cuts but the MPAA is still refusing an R rating. 

Director Marcel Walz told DreadCentral:

Big, big mess at the MPAA... for the third time Blood Feast didn't pass the MPAA screening. It's horrible. I think the horror fans need to know what's going on. We need an MPAA rating to make Blood Feast available to all main markets in North America. A friend made a petition , and any support will be appreciated.

Update: MPAA R rated

8th September 2017 See  article from bloody-disgusting.com

Presumably on the 4th submission, Blood Feast is now officially Rated R for strong sadistic violence and gore, language including sexual references, nudity and some drug content.

 

 Update: Lipstick Under my Burkha...

Indian film ban helps make a film a 'super hit' in India and then helps get a theatrical release in the US


Link Here 8th September 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Poster Lipstick Under My Burkha 2016 Alankrita Shrivastava Lipstick Under My Burkha is a 2016 India drama by Alankrita Shrivastava.
Starring Shashank Arora, Plabita Borthakur and Sonal Jha. IMDb

Set in the crowded by-lanes of small town India, Lipstick Under My Burkha chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of a little freedom. Though stifled and trapped in their worlds, these four women claim their desires through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion.

The award-winning film Lipstick Under My Burkha , which was originally banned in India by film censors opens in U.S. theaters this Friday. It will open in six theaters in California.

Writer and director Alankrita Shrivastava's movie, a dramatic comedy, focuses on four Bhopal women rebelling against long held taboos, many of them sexual, in their tiny conservative town. The independent film came under scrutiny from India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which kept it from being released in January of this year, citing issues with its sexual nature. In its decision, the CBFC faulted the film for being lady oriented. Shrivastava explained during a panel discussion:

They did what they could in their power to stop the film from being exhibited. But what I think is interesting is that when this decision became public, the women of India really stood up. For the first time, I felt that Indian mainstream media was discussing things like the male gaze and how the portrayal of women has been controlled by men.

After appealing the ban, Shrivastava compromised with the CBFC, volunteering more than 16 cuts to the film. After then being approved for release, the controversy helped the movie and it became a super hit, recovering its production costs four days after its initial release.

 

 Update: Perhaps Netflix and Amazon will have to age verify viewers of 18 rated films...

Parliamentary group considers widening the UK's internet porn censorship to other age restricted products sold on the internet


Link Here 8th September 2017
digital policy alliance logoThe UK is just about to introduce internet censorship for porn via onerous and economically unviable age verification requirements. In what may be a godsend for porn companies, a parliamentary group is considering widening the age verification requirements to a wider range of age restricted products sold on the internet. If a wider group of companies become involved in the requirements it may encourage a more technically feasible and cost effective solution to be found.

XBIZ writes that online companies that sell e-cigarettes, knives, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, which typically would require identification at brick-and-mortar stores, could be regulated under the law, which focused originally on mandatory age verification for the consumption of commercial adult content.

London attorney Myles Jackman, who also is the legal director of the Open Rights Group told XBIZ that the likely expansion of the Digital Economy Act to include other products and services sold online beyond pornography is predictably inevitable.

In fact, later this month the London-based Digital Policy Alliance, a cross party group of parliamentarians, plans on addressing the wider application of age-gating to other sectors at a formal meeting on September 19.

XBIZ also notes that the U.K. has yet to appoint an official regulator, although fingers have pointed to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to assume the role. A decision over the appointment will be announced in coming weeks.

 

 Update: Stop YouTube from banning the Bible...

US catholic church becomes an early victim of YouTube's censorship of anything politically incorrect


Link Here 7th September 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
stop youtube banning bible US catholics have become an early victim of newly introduced censorship measure from YouTube presumably because their teaching is considered offensive due to politically incorrect attitudes towards gays and abortion. Catholic Online writes:

More media organizations are criticizing YouTube's increasingly oppressive soft censorship policies which are now eliminating mainstream news reports from the video sharing network. Many content creators on YouTube are losing millions in revenue as the Google-owned firm reduces and cuts off payments in pursuit of profits and control.

YouTube is censoring content though various indirect means even if that content does not violate any terms of service. The Google-owned firm is removing content that it deems inappropriate or offensive, and is taking cues from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The result seems to be a broad labeling of content, and the suppression of even mainstream news. Many of Catholic Online's bible readings have been caught up in YouTube's web of suppression, despite containing no commentary or message other than the reading of the scriptures.

YouTube is not a government agency but a private platform, so it is free to ban or restrict content as it pleases them. Therefore, their policies, no matter how arbitrary, are not true censorship. However, the firm is practicing what some call soft censorship.

Soft censorship is any kind of activity that suppresses speech, particularly that which is true and accurate. It takes many forms. For example, broadcasting celebrity gossip in place of news is a form of soft censorship. Placing real news lower in search results, preventing content from being shared on social media, or depriving media outlets of ad revenue for reporting on certain topics, are all common forms of soft censorship.

For some unknown reason, Catholic Online has also been targeted by these policies. Saints videos and daily readings are the most common targets. None of this content can be considered objectionable by any means, and none of it infringes on YouTube's terms and conditions. It is suspected that anti-Christian bigotry, such as that promoted by liberal extremist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center, are to blame.

The problem for content creators and media organizations is that there are few places for them to go. Most video viewing takes place on YouTube, and there are no video hosting sites as well known and widely used as YouTube. Other sites also restrict content and some don't share revenues with content creators. This makes YouTube a monopoly; they are literally the only show in town.

The time has come for governments around the world to recognize that Facebook, Google, and YouTube control the public forum. If freedom of speech is to be protected, then these firms must be compelled to abide by free speech rules.

 

 Update: Nobody expects the Ugandan Inquisition...

Uganda's crazed 'ethics' minister and witchfinder general sets up a porn control committee to go and seek out porn users and sellers


Link Here 7th September 2017  full story: Ugandan Ethics Minister...Nutter minister rants about gays and miniskirts
simon lokodoThe Ugandan government's obsession with enforcing morality and protecting the country's cultural values has added a new twist: a nine-member anti-pornographic control committee.

The committee, which was sworn in Kampala in late August, is expected to stamp out pornography by collecting and destroying pornographic materials, and to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators. The committee will have a staff of between 30 and 40 people who will use a high-end 'machine' to detect the sharing of nude materials on mobile phones, computers, and television. This week the porn committee reportedly says messages of a sexual nature, or sexting, will also be defined as porn and attract punishment.

Simon Lokodo, Uganda's ethics minister, the minister, who has repeatedly denounced homosexuality and pornography, said the 'machine' will help stop one of the deadliest moral diseases in this country. Lokodo also claimed pornography was to blame for the increasing levels of drug abuse among the youth, teenage pregnancies, and abortion, according to the Daily Monitor newspaper. Pornography is now eroding Uganda's human resource, which, he said, will hinder the achievement of our vision.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship is good for us...


Link Here 7th September 2017
ASA logo Guy Parker of the advert censor ASA tries to justify why pandering to political correctness and the easily offended is somehow good for business

See article from thedrum.com

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship is good for us...


Link Here 7th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag Somehow the Russian government has persuaded many of its citizens to avoid websites and social media platforms that are critical of the government, a new study has found.

See article from phys.org

 

 Offsite Article: Sony puts an end to its 'clean version' initiative for home video...


Link Here 7th September 2017
sony clean version Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon! The down and dirty history of clean movies. By Alissa Wilkinson

See article from vox.com

 

  I'd like to complain about the lack of complaints...

A minimalist Annual Report from Ireland's film censorship office revealed that it received just 14 complaints about classifications


Link Here 6th September 2017
ifco annual report 2016) Irish film censors at IFCO have just released their Annual Report covering 2016. It says very little but mentions that it only received 14 complaints about its classification decisions:

During the year, IFCO received 14 complaints from the public relating specifically to classifications awarded. The largest number was in relation to JASON BOURNE, which was classified 12A with the accompanying consumer advice Strong weapons and hand to hand combat action consistent with previous films in this franchise.

The correspondence related to the level of violence portrayed and while we felt it was consistent with decisions in other cases, it does highlight a trend which we are aware of and continue to monitor. This trend was the subject of a research project carried out by Assistant Classifier David Power entitled Ratings Creep & Violence in Films for Young Teens which was presented by him at the International Classifiers Conference held in Dublin Castle in October.

See more about the trivial complaints in article from irishmirror.ie

 

  Cleansed words...

BBC pulls out of Burmese TV as it is banned from using the word 'Rohingya'


Link Here 6th September 2017
bbc burma logoThe BBC's Burmese language service has said it was pulling a broadcasting deal with a popular Myanmar television channel citing censorship as the two partners clashed over coverage of the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Since April 2014, BBC Burmese broadcast a daily news programme on MNTV with 3.7 million daily viewers. On Monday the BBC said it was ending the deal after MNTV pulled multiple programmes since March this year.

The BBC cannot accept interference or censorship of BBC programs by joint-venture TV broadcasters as that violates the trust between the BBC and its audience, a report on the BBC's Burmese website said.

In a statement MNTV said it began pulling reports to comply with government orders over restricted words. The BBC Burmese program sent news that included wordings that are restricted by the state government, the statement said. A station official said the problematic word was Rohingya.

 

  Transcending rage...

Australian mums 'outraged' by trans children's book being sold in Australian Aldi


Link Here 6th September 2017
The Boy in the Dress A few angry parents have launched an attack against Aldi supermarkets in Australia for stocking a book about transgender children.

Led by mother Kathryn Woolley, the parents have commented on social media accounts of the retailer to chastise its decision to sell the short novel, The Boy in a Dress . Woolley wrote on Aldi's Facebook page:

Aldi 203 we are so very disappointed in your decision to stock a book within your store 203 relating to transgenderism in children!

We would ask that you reconsider your choice to sell it!

Family & children must be protected in times where there are those whose agenda is to groom & sexualise them!

We ask you to have a conscience in this matter!

The book is the debut novel of British comedian David Walliams and aims to promote diversity and challenge gender roles by telling the story of a twelve-year-old who likes to wear dresses and the reaction of his family and friends.

 

 Update: Virtually banned...

China jails seller of VPNs


Link Here 5th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flagA man who sold VPN software via a website has been sentenced to nine months in prison by China's Supreme People's Court. The decision otes that the software supplied by the man allowed the public to circumvent China's Great Firewall while granting access to foreign websites.

Back in January, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that it would take measures to strengthen network information security management and would embark on a nationwide Internet network access services clean-up.

One of the initial targets was reported as censorship-busting VPNs, which allow citizens to evade the so-called Great Firewall of China. Operating such a service without a corresponding telecommunications business license would constitute an offense, the government said.

Then early July, a further report suggested that the government would go a step further by ordering ISPs to block VPNs altogether.  Apple then banned VPN software and services from its app store.

With an effort clearly underway to target VPNs, news today from China suggests that the government is indeed determined to tackle the anti-censorship threat presented by such tools. According to local media, Chinese man Deng Mouwei who ran a small website through which he sold VPN software, has been sentenced to prison. He set up a website to sell VPNs. Just two products were on offer but this was enough to spring authorities into action.

 

 Extract: Scarlett with embarrassment...

Gone with the Wind dropped from traditional annual screening as America's past becomes a PC unmentionable


Link Here 3rd September 2017

Gone with the Wind DVD The Orpheum Theater in Memphis has cancelled its traditional annual screening of Gone With the Wind , apparently in response to the anti-all-things-Confederate sentiment that's seizing the US.

It's the story of Southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, and her evolution from sheltered plantation owner's daughter to impoverished war casualty to scrappy Reconstruction-era survivor and hard-headed businesswoman. It's also a love triangle between Scarlett, Rhett Butler and Ashley Wilkes. It's set against the backdrop of the Civil War but it's not supposed to be about the war, or slavery.

No, it is not a realistic depiction of the institution of slavery. Yes, the black characters in it are mostly stereotypes. It was published in 1936 and filmed in 1939. Gone With the Wind is dismissed by its critics as romanticizing the Confederacy and the Old South, when on the contrary, if you look past all the melodrama and hoop skirts and fiddle-dee-dees you can find a strong anti-Confederacy statement.

Gone With the Wind contains strong black characters and staunchly anti-slavery white characters, most notably the character of Ashley Wilkes. My takeaway has always been that it's a scathing indictment of the Confederacy and the hubris of Confederates who believed they could prevail against the economic and military might of the United States government. Admittedly all this comes across more in the book, but it's there in the film too.

Artistic works of decades past should be viewed in the context of the time in which they were created, not censored. It's unfair to hold them to present-day standards.

Instead of being banned, it could be presented in an educational forum discussing the issues surrounding it and how society has changed since the 1930s in its perception of them.

Read the full  article from chicagonow.com

 

 Update: Objectionable censorship...

YouTube introduce a new tier of censorship to restrict the reach of 'objectionable' videos


Link Here 2nd September 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
yutube limitedYoutube has been introduced a new tier of censorship designed to restrict the audience for videos deemed to be inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.

The site is now putting videos into a limited state if they are deemed controversial enough to be considered objectionable, but not hateful, pornographic or violent enough to be banned altogether.

This policy was announced several months ago but has come into force in the past week, prompting anger among members of the YouTube community.

YouTube defines Limited Videos as follows:

Our Community Guidelines prohibit hate speech that either promotes violence or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes. YouTube also prohibits content intended to recruit for terrorist organizations, incite violence, celebrate terrorist attacks, or otherwise promote acts of terrorism. Some borderline videos, such as those containing inflammatory religious or supremacist content without a direct call to violence or a primary purpose of inciting hatred, may not cross these lines for removal. Following user reports, if our review teams determine that a video is borderline under our policies, it may have some features disabled.

These videos will remain available on YouTube, but will be placed behind a warning message, and some features will be disabled, including comments, suggested videos, and likes. These videos are also not eligible for ads.

Having features disabled on a video will not create a strike on your account.

Videos which are put into a limited state cannot be embedded on other websites. They also cannot be easily published on social media using the usual share buttons and other users cannot comment on them. Crucially, the person who made the video will no longer receive any payment.

Earlier this week, Julian Assange wrote: 

'Controversial' but contract-legal videos [which break YouTube's terms and conditions] cannot be liked, embedded or earn [money from advertising revenue].

What's interesting about the new method deployed is that it is a clear attempt at social engineering. It isn't just turning off the ads. It's turning off the comments, embeds, etc too. Everything possible to strangle the reach without deleting it.

 

 Update: No comment...

China's real name verification system for comments coupled with its economically unviable fees will spell an end to online comments


Link Here 1st September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

global voices logo As of October 1, 2017, Chinese netizens who have not registered their user accounts with online platforms under a new real name system will not be able to post comments on online content, while bans await trouble-makers.

The Regulation on the Management of Internet Comments was announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China on August 25. The regulation specifies that platforms that provide services for netizens to comment on original content, including films, posts, online games or news, should force users to provide their authentic identity via an individual user account system before posting. Platform operators should not offer such services to those who have not verified their identity.

The regulation will dramatically reduce space for online comments as large number of unauthenticated users will not be able to write original posts and leave comments. Moreover, many platforms will be unable to bear the burden of the identity verification system.

According to Article 2 of the regulation, commenting services refer to websites, mobile applications, interactive platforms, news sites, and other social platforms that allow or facilitate users to create original content, reply to posts, leave comments on news threads or other items in the form of written text, symbols, emojis, images, voice messages or video.

The responsibilities of comment service operators, according to Article 5, include the verification of user identities, the setting up of a comment management system to pre-screen comments on news, preventing the spread of illegal information and reporting comments to the authorities.

Controversially, the regulation also specifies in Article 9 that comment service operators should manage their users by rating their social credit, an algorithm to measure a person's overall 'goodness' as a citizen.

Those with low credit should be blacklisted from posting and prevented from registering new accounts to use the service. At the same time, state, province and city-level cyberspace affairs offices will set up a management system to evaluate the overall social credit of comment service operators on a regular basis.

The Orwellian social credit system for regulating internet users' activities was revealed in 2014 and the Chinese government authorized a number of credit service agencies to collect, evaluate and manage peoples's credit information the following year.

According to the Chinese government's Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System , the system aims to measure and enhance 'trust' between and among government, commercial sectors and citizens and to strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility. However, the allocation of individual credit is not transparent and the current regulation on comment services indicates that individual online speech is a key factor in its calculation.

Thus far only national and large-scale social media and content service operators have implemented real name registration and they have not introduced measures to penalize unauthenticated users beyond limiting the circulation of their posts.

The majority of small-to-medium-size local websites and forums have not implemented real name registration because they simply don't have the capital and infrastructure to do so. The new regulation compels such websites to shut down their interactive features.

Tech-blogger William Long who has discussed the issue with regulators in the past wrote in his blog:

I have discussed with the relevant authorities how small forums and websites can implement real name registration. Their view is, they can either shut the comment section down or ask their users to verify their identity by providing mobile phone verification codes.

Owners of small websites can only afford a few hundred yuan to hire a server. The cost of mobile verification is RMB 6 cents per message. They would have to spend RMB 6 yuan per 100 comments. If their competitors deliberately overload them by posting a few thousand comments a day, they will not be able to afford the cost [of verification]. In the end they will be forced to ban comments.

 

  Morality in Media recommends...

The Deuce...Rife with Graphic Sexual Exploitation


Link Here 1st September 2017  full story: Morality in Media...Misreable campaigners for censorship
the deuceMorality campaigners from Morality in Media (or the National Center on Sexual Exploitation as they like to be called now) are gushing with praise for a new cable TV programme from HBO. The campaign group writes:

HBO's television series The Deuce continues the premium cable television network's onslaught of programs that glorify and normalize harmful sexual behaviors, particularly acts of sexual exploitation that degrade women. The show's main themes -- the pornography industry and prostitution -- tee up its producers for gratuitous pornographic scenes and disturbing, graphic sexual content.

Notable incidents:
  • Scene where pimps are hanging out on the street getting shoe shines; two little boys are hanging out with them looking at Playboy;
  • Franco's character is walking down the street, sees a man in a phone booth getting a blow job from a prostitute, you see the man's penis in the scene;
  • Graphic sex scene between a student and her professor, she's topless throughout;
  • Franco's character makes the women at the restaurant he manages start wearing black leotards as their "uniform" in order to attract customers;
  • A group of male teenagers come to Times Square by car to treat their friend (it's his birthday -- presumably his 18 th ) to sex. They are all pooling their funds so that he can have sex.
  • In another scene, another prostitute appears to be viciously attacked. As she is unlocking the door to her room, a man follows, passes by, but then comes back as she enters the room. He grabs her head and shoves her in the room, throws her on the bed, slaps her across the face and starts undoing his pants. She's trying to kick him off. It's clear he's going to rape her. The scene ends. Later the show returns to the scene after the attack. He is sitting naked in a chair, she's on the sitting on the bed, breasts exposed. It becomes clear that the "rape" was a fetishized act that he paid for. Because he was really rough with her, he pays more. He gets up from the chair to get dressed, and his penis is clearly seen. Also full rear nudity;
  • Near the end, we see Franco having sex with a woman who works with him from the restaurant. Full rear nudity of Franco. It's a very pornographic scene. When they finish you see the woman's breasts;

 

  Banned Books Week...

24-30th September 2017. And the banned books list for 2016 is...


Link Here 1st September 2017

stand for the bannedBanned Books Week 2017: Sept. 24 - Sept. 30

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community, librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers, in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Top Ten Most Challenged Books for 2016

Based on 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  • This One Summer: Written by Mariko Tamaki, 2014 Edition, Publisher: First Second This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
  • Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
  • George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the "sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels"
  • I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
  • Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
  • Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to "sexual experimentation"
  • Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
  • Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being "disgusting and all around offensive"
  • Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
  • Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: challenged for offensive language

 

  Dicking around...

Netflix takes down an episode of children's cartoon over penis shaped etched into the background


Link Here 1st January 1970
maya the bee logStreaming service Netflix has pulled an episode of the cartoon series Maya the Bee after a viewer complained it contained an explicit drawing.

A screen grab of the offending scene appears to show an outline of a penis etched on a log in the background.

The 35th episode of the show's first season was pulled after US mother Chey Robinson posted a clip on Facebook,

The TV show is not available to UK Netflix subscribers

Cheeky animators have a history of sneaking in suggestive imagery into cartoons, apparently in the expectation their private jokes would remain so.

Update: Cartoon makers apologise for being dicks

25th September 2017. See article from bbc.com . Thanks to Nick.

An outline of a penis that appeared in a Maya the Bee episode was the result of a very bad joke, the makers of the children's animated series have said. Belgian company Studio 100 said the image was absolutely inappropriate and offered apologies to everybody who has been offended by it.

Studio 100 told the BBC the penis, etched on a log in the background of a scene, obviously results from a very bad joke from one of the 150 artists working on the production. This is indeed unacceptable to Studio 100 as owner of the brand and all its affiliates and doesn't reflect the quality of our work and our values, it continued. The Paris-based company said it was very sorry and that it was taking all suitable technical measures to remedy the situation.

 

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