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 2010: October
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31st October   

Update: Copyright Claimed on Turkish Insult...

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YouTube returns to Turkey
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

YouTube logo Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube, two years after it blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the country's founder.

Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, who is in charge of internet issues, said the government had been in contact with Google, which owns YouTube.

Yildirim said there was no longer any reason to ban the website, because the offending videos had been removed.  I hope that [Google] have also learned from this experience and the same thing will not happen again. YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey within the limits of law in the future, he added.

The video clip prompting the ban was reportedly posted by Greek users of the website and dubbed Ataturk and Turks homosexuals.

In a statement, YouTube said that it had received reports that some users in Turkey were once again able to access its content. We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process, it explained. We are investigating whether this action is valid in accordance with our copyright policy, the company added.

 

31st October   

Don't Judge People by the Appearance of their Deities...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

South African comedian rapped for radio spoof about hindus
Link Here

vinayagar A South African radio station has been officially rapped for propagating hate speech after a comedian made fun of Hindus.

Comedian John Vlismas was suspended by South Africa's East Coast Radio, which said the sketch should never have been broadcast. The station twice issued an on-air apology for the skit, in which Vlisma pretended to be a Christian cleric.

However, six Hindus complained to the country's Broadcasting Complaints Commission – including two who did not realise the sketch was a spoof and thought a genuine pastor was insulting their religion. They complained that he mocked the number of gods Hindus pray to and their appearances.

One complainant said: This "pastor", with an obviously miniscule intellect, went on to launch a bitter tirade against South African Hindus by attacking us for worshipping "cows, elephants, and stones" and implied that we were a "stupid" race. I find the ignorant and arrogant remarks, against the ancient religion of Hinduism, which preaches love, tolerance and a universal respect for all living creatures, to be utter distasteful.

The broadcast watchdog noted that the comic intent of the sermon was clearly not understood nor appreciated by the complainants but ruled that his derogatory reference to manifestations of the Hindu deity exceeded the bounds of humour and constitute the advocacy of hatred .

The commission also found there was incitement to cause harm when Vlismas joked that it was not use killing Hindus because they ‘keep coming back’. The comment was made as a quip about the Hindu belief in reincarnation

 

31st October   

Policing Belief...

Freedom House report on the human rights impact of international blasphemy laws
Link Here

policing belief Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights examines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice.

Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamental freedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence.

At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship. In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits.

At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.

 

31st October   

Offsite: Offending the Middle East...

Top 10 Movies Banned In The Middle East
Link Here

Stoning Soraya DVD Region NTSC What follows is a mostly chronological list of ten movies that for various reasons particularly offended Islamic values or regimes in the Middle East, especially Iran, which takes any opportunity to spew blustery propaganda about our warmongering, cultural aggression.

10) Not Without My Daughter
9) The Matrix Reloaded
8) Alexander
7) 300
6) Persepolis
5) The Kingdom
4) Body of Lies
3) The Wrestler
2) Sex and the City 2
1) The Stoning of Soraya M.

...Read the full article

 

30th October   

Internet Censor...

Ed Vaizey proposes mediation service to censor websites on grounds of privacy or 'accuracy'
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

ed vaizey Ed Vaizey, the minister responsible for internet regulation is planning a new mediation service to encourage ISPs and websites to censor material in response to public complaints.

Vaizey said internet users could use the service to ask for material that is inaccurate or infringes their privacy to be removed. It would offer a low cost alternative to court action, he suggested, and be modelled on Nominet's mediation service for domain disputes.

The communications minister said he will soon write to ISPs and major websites including Facebook and Google to discuss the initiative. He conceded that industry is likely to resist any attempt at greater regulation, but he is keen to set up a system of redress for the public: I'm sure that a lot of internet companies would say that is almost impossible, but... one does at least want to make an attempt to give consumers some opportunity to have a dialogue with internet companies on this issue.

 

30th October   

Justified Contempt of a Public Servant...

Frenchman locked up for making joke at French politician's gaff
Link Here

rachida dati A Frenchman was locked up for two days and is facing criminal charges for sending a joke email to Rachida Dati, the former Injustice Minister, asking for an inflation .

The unnamed 40-year-old contacted the MEP at the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week following her appearance on a national radio station when she confused the words fellatio and inflation – which sound similar in French.

At the time Dati managed to laugh off the mix-up, saying she had spoken too quickly.

After Dati complained about the joke email, the home of sender from Bourg de Péage region of south east France, was raided by Lyon's Judicial Police.

Ivan Flaud, the man's lawyer, said: My client's computer was seized and he was remanded in custody for 48 hours.

After being kept in a cell and then placed on bail he was ordered to appear in court on December 3 charged with displaying contempt towards a public servant, an offence which is punishable with a prison sentence of up to a month and a €10,000 (£8,700) fine.

My client solely addressed the email to Miss Dati, and did not distribute it to anyone else, said Flaud, saying there was nothing offensive about it as it solely contained an innocent euphemism.

The email was addressed to Miss Dati as a person and not as a public servant, he said. He said that politicians and others in public life frequently receive humorous emails, and even obscene ones are considered part and parcel of life in the public eye.

Dati was an authoritarian Injustice Minister with close links with President Sarkozy, although he eventually sacked her inability to do the job, accusing her of being too interested in becoming a glamorous celebrity.

 

30th October   

Repent or Suffer...

Malaysian film censor demands comeuppance for gays
Link Here  full story: Dalam Botol...Malaysia's first gay movie

dal botol The Malaysian Film Censorship Board has approved one of the country's first explicitly gay films — but has insisted on an unusual catch in order for it to get to theaters.

Dalam Botol (In A Bottle) is one of the first Malay-language films to overtly tackle the issue of homosexuality. As the extremely conservative Muslim-majority country very rarely lets films dealing with sexuality, religion, or politics past the censors, some were surprised to hear that the film would hit theater screens. However, in order to get to the public, the film — which contains absolutely no nudity, sex, or even kissing — had one hoop that other Malaysian films do not have to jump through: censors insisted that the gay characters must either repent or come to a bad end during the course of the film.

The movie has been described by producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman as a tragic love story between two men, one of whom undergoes a sex change operation in order to allow them to have a public relationship. The story is based off the real-life experience of a man the producer knew.

When asked about the requirement that gay characters must repent or be shown in a negative light, Raja Azmi would only say that the characters indirectly express remorse.

Mohammad Hussain, chairman of the Film Censorship Board, said in an interview that, under new guidelines released in March, films dealing with homosexuality would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, although the theme was not encouraged. Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia.

Mohammad said there must be some good intention on the part of the filmmaker to show people that homosexuality is something that's not normal — at least in our culture.

Dalam Botol will be released in Malay-language markets next February.

 

30th October   

Kidnapped...

Printers censor Galician satirical magazine
Link Here

retranca A Galician satirical magazine has been kidnapped by its printers because they disagree with it making fun of the Pope and the Church.

The special issue of Retranca was meant to coincide with the Pope's visit to Santiago de Compostela, but the printers took offence and refused to release it for distribution, citing their moral disagreement with its contents.

Roughly translated from Galician, the headline reads The Pope's visit will cost 3 million Euros . The Pope is saying, No miracles of loaves, or fishes, or hosts. I make it rain cash on me.

The magazine's director, Kiko da Silva, said: The decision is absurd and has no rhyme or reason. The owner of the press told us not they wouldn't hand over the copies because they morally disagree with the contents and they will do everything possible to prevent it seeing the light of day. Literally, they said they would not give publicity to such blasphemy.

 

30th October   

Updated: Political Wrestling...

Bringing the WWE school of showmanship to the political arena
Link Here

wwe brock pain World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon says his company's fans are being discriminated against in Connecticut and their right to vote is being threatened.

He's responding to the secretary of the state's advice to local voting officials that they can ask people wearing WWE garb to cover it up while voting.

A spokesman for the secretary of the state's office says that's because Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon is so closely associated with WWE, which she left last year to run for office.

State law prevents political advertising within 75 feet of the polls.

Update: Lawsuit

30th October 2010. Based on article from  prowrestling.net

WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon has announced that he has filed a lawsuit against Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, who previously announced that poll registrars have the right to ask voters to cover up WWE logos.

McMahon issued the following statement on the WWE corporate website: On behalf of myself, my company, WWE fans and any Connecticut citizen who wants to exercise their constitutional right to vote, I have filed a lawsuit today asserting that Susan Bysiewicz's directive that allows poll workers to refuse registered voters wearing WWE merchandise the right to vote is a flagrant act of censorship and discrimination.

 

29th October   

Update: A Tendency to Eroticise or Endorse...

A Serbian Film appears in the BBFC database
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film poster A Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

Passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s for:

  • 2010 Revolver video

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

Cuts required to remove portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context and images of sexual and sexualised violence which have a tendency to eroticise or endorse the behaviour. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

 

29th October   

Updated: Call of Censor Duty...

Germany cuts upcoming game, Call of Duty: Black Ops
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD Games developer Treyarch has revealed censorship details about the upcoming first-person shooter Call of Duty: Black Ops .

The German edition has been cut as follows:

Call of Duty Black Ops screenshot

  • A scene where an enemy is shot in slow motion with copious amounts of gore has been toned down for the German release.
  • A torture scene involving a prisoner has been completely eliminated from the German version.
  • The song Sympathy for the Devil by Mick Jagger has been removed.
  • No explosions that lead to limb loss.
  • Removal of what Germany deems anti-constitutional symbols .

Update: Steam Control Freakery

29th October 2010. Based on article from  computerandvideogames.com

German punters hoping to get hold of the PC version of the shooter won't be able to play PAL versions imported from other EU territories, meaning they'll have to make do with a cut, localised version, according to PC Games (via MCV).

According to the reports, the Steam network will only authorise fully localised German versions of Black Ops , meaning copies imported from other EU territories won't be playable.

 

29th October   

Updated: Internet for Kids...

Imminent hearing for opposition to Massachusetts internet censorship law
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Massachusetts state seal A coalition of booksellers and Internet content providers will ask a judge to stop Massachusetts from enforcing an expansion of state obscenity law to include electronic communications that may be harmful to minors.

The content providers say recent changes to state law amount to broad censorship that effectively bans from the Internet anything that may be considered harmful to minors, including material adults have the right to view.

Supporters claim the new law closes a loophole . The state's highest court had overturned the conviction of a man accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages to someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl.

Update: Unconstitutional

29th October 2010. Based on article from  xbiz.com

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction this week against a new Massachusetts law aimed at protecting children from online sexual predators by banning anything that may be considered harmful to minors, including adult material.

Internet content providers, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and others sought to block enforcement of the law as it applies to broad-based Internet communications. They did not seek to bar enforcement against sexual predators or others who use the Internet to send harmful material to minors.

U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel ruled that the law, as it is now written, violates the 1st Amendment.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said that her office will draft an injunction that addresses the concerns raised in the ruling and will examine if the law needs to be changed to be sure law enforcement has the necessary tools to protect children online.

The content providers argue that the new amendments amount to a broad censorship law that would ban from the Internet a variety of information that could be seen as harmful to minors, including material about contraception, pregnancy, literature and art that adults have a 1st Amendment right to view.

They also argue that people who disseminate information through a generally accessible website cannot discern the ages of those who view the information and that, as a result, the law inhibits the free speech of adults.

 

29th October   

Moral Identity...

Turkish news channel under fire for criticising the president and prime minister
Link Here

cnn turk logo The Turkish news channel CNN Trk received a warning from the Radio Television Supreme Council (RTK) on the grounds of broadcasting criticism voiced by Hasan Basri Özbey, Secretary General of the Labour Party.

The International Press Institute (IPI) National Committee strongly disagreed with the fine and described CNN Trk as an unbiased news channel that did nothing else but conveying criticism within the framework of a pluralistic publishing policy. RTK chose one of these opinions to penalize by equating the critic with the broadcaster , IPI said. CNN warned because of Özbey's criticism on Gl

Özbey had criticized the past policies of President Abdullah Gl and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the course of the program Ne oluyor (What's happening). RTK evaluated the program and concluded that the criticism was a personal attack beyond the limits of moral identity and decided to sanction the channel.

IPI also stated that severe criticism of politicians should be tolerated. The association announced that in all democratic countries it was the common view that politicians accept criticism in advance: The aim of this penalty is to deter people from using freedom of expression to express their views. We assess this penalty as a coup on press freedom in Turkey . (EÖ/VK)

 

28th October   

Flagging Sensitivities...

Burma censors news about its new flag
Link Here

Burma flag 2010 Burma ruling military junta's censorship board, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) has restricted reporting about Burma's new flag in the country's private journals, Rangoon sources said.

Journalists in Rangoon said the PSRD only allowed private journals to make similar reports as those in the state-run newspapers, preventing them from providing any further information.

The Weekly Eleven, The Voice, Flower News and True News were among journals that the PSRD prevented from publishing photos of the new flag being raised and the old flag being lowered.

The new flag has already been raised around the country, taking over from the previous flag that was introduced by the former ruling Burmese Socialist Programme Party in 1974, itself replacing the original independence-era flag of 1947.

Rangoon sources say many people do not like the colors of the new flag, which represents the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) under the junta-written 2008 Constitution.

The PSRD does not usually allow private journals to publish news about sensitive issues such as the new national flag, which many people see as representing the unpopular military government.

 

28th October   

A Downturn in Whingeing...

Parents Television Council scale down staff by 40%
Link Here

PTC logo The New York Times reports that the Parents Television Council's salad days are over. The recession has caught up with the PTC.

The economic downturn has had a serious impact on the PTC, as parents realize that not having a job is much worse for your kids than letting them watch Family Guy . The cost of all those decency watchdog reports the group puts out ran into a huge drop in donations. In 2009 PTC revenue declined by over 25%. In response the nonprofit has scaled down its staff by almost 40%.

According to The Times, the Council has still been faithfully sending out those standard letters urging the easily offended to complain about a TV program, and to donate to the PTC. Sign this complaint, a typical mailing promises, and we'll send it to the Federal Communications Commission or broadcaster

Only one problem—for a while the cash was being collected, but the follow-through letters weren't going out. Almost 195,000 pieces of donor/member mail was never sent to the intended recipient, disgruntled ex-PTC staffer Patrick Salazar told the newspaper. Most of these were time-sensitive docs whose value is now shot.

While PTC top brass put the organization's membership at more than 1.3 million, that's based on petition signers. Salazar told The Times that 12,000 people answer the Council's yearly fundraising pitches, at most.

 

28th October   

Updated: The Speciale Needs of the Easily Offended...

More whinges at Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Crying Out Loud According Clarkson Top Gear
BBC2, 1 August 2010, 21:30

Top Gear is a long-running light entertainment series presented by Jeremy Clarkson based on a motoring magazine format.

Programmes are generally broadcast later in the evening schedule and typically include quirky and humorous banter between the presenters.

In this particular programme, Jeremy Clarkson was presenting his views about a new Ferrari car and he compared it to older versions, one of which was owned by co-presenter James May.

His commentary included the following opinion about the appearance of Ferraris in general: Striking - yes, but pretty - no. This one for example is just vulgar, and even James' Ferrari (the 430) was a bit wrong - that smiling front end - it looked like a simpleton - should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs .

Ofcom received two complaints. In summary, the complainants were offended by Clarkson's use of speciale needs .

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code (material which may cause offence must be justified by the context).

In response, the BBC said it regretted that the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in the programme caused offence to some viewers. The BBC said that it was the car itself that was the subject of the fun being poked at and its owner, co-presenter James May.

The BBC recognised, however, following complaints received, that the comment had the potential to cause offence so it was removed from the repeat version of the programme and the version available on BBC iPlayer. It assured Ofcom that the original version of the programme would not be repeated again. The BBC offered its apologies for any offence caused by the comments.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom recognises that discriminatory language of this nature has the potential to be very offensive to some viewers, as it could be seen to single out certain sections of society in a derogatory way because of their disability.

In Ofcom's view, the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in this instance were capable of causing offence. In particular, on this occasion he was clearly criticising the car's physical appearance by directly comparing it to a simpleton and saying it should have been called 430 Speciale Needs .

In Ofcom's opinion, while obviously intended as a joke and not aimed directly at an individual with learning difficulties, the comment could easily be understood as ridiculing people in society with a particular physical disability or learning difficulty.

Ofcom acknowledged that the BBC took immediate steps in response to complaints it received about the programme. In particular the BBC had voluntarily removed the comments from the iPlayer version of the programme and the repeat version broadcast several days later, and made the decision not to repeat the programme in its original format. It had also apologised for any offence caused by the comments, underlining that there was no intent to make fun of those with special needs.

Ofcom therefore considered this case resolved.

Comment: The BBC needs Jeremy Clarkson to be offensive

28th October 2010. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by David Quantick

Telegraph logo I like Jeremy Clarkson because beneath all the bluster and provocation, he seems to be more bluster and provocation. In the weird Top Gear family – where James May is the posh mum and Richard Hammond the cheeky kid – Clarkson is the dad who says silly things and of whom nobody takes any notice.

This, surely, is the point about the latest controversy – in which Clarkson said a Ferrari looked like a simpleton and should have been called special needs , for which the BBC apologised. On Top Gear, Clarkson is expected to make outrageous remarks, and we are expected to ignore them.

...Read the full article

 

28th October   

Complaints Dispatched...

Ofcom finds Dispatches investigation of the Islamic Forum of Europe to be well within the rules
Link Here

dispatches logo Dispatches: Britains Islamic Republic
Channel 4, 1 March 2010, 20:00

This edition of Dispatches was presented by investigative journalist Andrew Gilligan and reported on the Islamic Forum of Europe ( the IFE ). The programme sought to investigate how the IFE - described as a fundamentalist Muslim group in the programme - had allegedly infiltrated a number of British political parties and was exerting influence over Tower Hamlets Council in London. The programme included secretly filmed footage taken in the East London Mosque, the London Muslim Centre and the studios of the IFE's weekly radio show, Easy Talk.

The presenter introduced the programme by saying:

Tonight on Dispatches, how a fundamentalist Muslim group has secretly infiltrated the Labour party and the broader political system... How it wants an Islamic State, or caliphate. And how it wants to live by Sharia Law in the UK... And how it is already exerting influence over a London borough council with a billion pound budget.

The programme reported that the East London Mosque in Whitechapel is linked to the IFE and that, through government grants paid to support the Mosque or associated organisations, British tax payers are unwittingly helping to finance its [the IFE's] planned and co-ordinated bid to infiltrate British politics . The programme alsoexamined the IFE's allegedly wider channels of influence, such as, for example, its radio programmes on Muslim Community Radio ( MCR ) and by representing Muslim community organisations.

Ofcom received 205 complaints about the programme. The complaints expressed a number of concerns about the broadcast. In summary, the complainants said that the programme:

  • was biased against Islam, the IFE, the East London Mosque and the Muslim community
  • contained inaccurate and defamatory accusations about the IFE and wrongly referred to the IFE as a fundamentalist and extremist organisation
  • was politically motivated and broadcast too close to general and local elections
  • was a misleading and dishonest portrayal of the Muslim community
  • was offensive to Muslims
  • contributed to Islamophobia by portraying Muslims as terrorists and will add to racial tension by promoting hatred.

Ofcom viewed the programme in light of these complaints. We examined the material under the following rules of the Broadcasting Code:

  • Rule 2.2: Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matter must not materially mislead the audience.
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards, broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context. Such material may include, but is not limited to…discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…religion).
  • Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
  • Rule 5.5: Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

Some complainants believed the programme was broadcast too close to the general and local elections. In this case, the programme was broadcast on 1 March 2010, outside the election period (i.e. before the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament). Therefore the stricter rules in Section Six of the Code relating to elections did not apply to this programme.

Rule 5.5 (Due impartiality) A number of complainants said that this programme was politically motivated and, as noted above, was broadcast too close to the general and local elections.

Section Five of the Code states that due impartiality must be preserved by the broadcaster on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy. The Code explains in summary that these are political or industrial issues on which politicians, industry and/or the media are in debate… .

Did the programme include matters of political controversy?

In Ofcom's view parts of the programme did discuss issues of political controversy. We considered in this case that the issue of political controversy was the extent to which a certain Islamic group had allegedly influenced certain local political parties, institutions and policies. Therefore in this case, taking into account all the circumstances, and bearing in mind the context of the programme described in the Introduction above, Ofcom concluded that the elements of this investigative programme dealing with these issues were subject to the due impartiality rules.

Was due impartiality preserved in the programme?

Ofcom noted that during the programme, where allegations were made against the IFE, alternative viewpoints were expressed. In particular, certain contributors in the programme were able to put their viewpoint across (as well as deny allegations). Therefore the programme transmited other opinions, and in particualr, those who believed that the IFE was not an extremist Muslim organisation and that it was not targetting political parties to infiltrate. For example, the programme carried views of the IFE and stated:

The IFE said: There is no IFE policy … or strategy which directs its members to join [Tower Hamlets Labour Party] … or that is has influenced or sought to influence key funding decisions. Given the above, we considered that the programme included views to both support and reject the allegations made about the IFE in the programme, and any response or opposing views to the evidence gathered was appropriately presented during the course of the programme. Given this, Ofcom considered that the programme was a legitimate investigation into the activities of the IFE and due impartiality was preserved as required by Rule 5.5.

Rule 2.2 (Factual programmes must not materially mislead the audience)

A number of complainants also suggested that the programme: contained inaccurate and misleading accusations about Islam, the East London Mosque, the Muslim community and the IFE e.g. wrongly referring to the IFE as a fundamentalist and extremist organisation.

This programme was an investigative documentary into the activities, views and policies of particular organisations and individuals. As a piece of considered television journalism it was legitimately entitled to adopt a position on those activities, views and policies – provided the audience was not materially misled. This programme did make some controversial allegations. These were supported by recorded clips, or actual quotes, as appropriate; and the programme also included on screen statements from many of the people and organisations who featured in the investigation in response to allegations made in the programme. There is no evidence that viewers were materially misled therefore in terms of Rule 2.2 as to the allegations against particular individuals or organisations. Nor did the programme suggest at any point that all or many Muslims or Muslim organisations or their members were in general extremist or fundamentalist. The audience was therefore not materially misled in this respect either. As a consequence, Ofcom did not consider the programme to be in breach of Rule 2.2.

Rule 2.3 (generally accepted standards) Some complainants considered that the allegations made in the programme were offensive to Muslims.

Ofcom considered that the broadcast of this programme was clearly justified by context and in accordance with the Code. This was an in-depth investigative documentary exploring the extent to which the IFE had allegedly infiltrated certain British political parties and social organisations. The nature of the programme was a serious documentary focusing on an important issue of public interest. The editorial purpose and the issues it sought to expose were clearly positioned to viewers at the start of the programme. The programme was clearly part of Channel 4's distinct public service remit. Also in Ofcom's opinion most of the channel's likely audience would have expected such a provocative documentary from the Dispatches strand. Within the programme, it was made clear that the allegations made related to the IFE only and were not representative of all Muslims.

In addition, as noted above, the programme also represented the views of the IFE in response to the allegations. Therefore in accordance with generally accepted standards, the allegations made about the IFE were put within the context of views from the wider Muslim community. Given the above reasons, Ofcom believed that the programme was not in breach of Rule 2.3.

Rule 3.1 (Incitement of crime): Some of the complainants believed that the programme contributed to Islamophobia by portraying Muslims as terrorists and would add to racial tension by promoting hatred. While the programme certainly contained strong allegations about the IFE and their beliefs, in Ofcom's opinion these views would not, on a reasonable view, encourage or incite the commission of a crime (such as racial hatred), contextualised with commentary as they were within a serious documentary. The allegations were justified by the narrative of the programme and put fully in context. Accordingly, Ofcom did not consider that the programme was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder. Therefore Ofcom did not consider the programme to be in breach of Rule 3.1.

Not in breach of Rules 2.2, 2.3, 3.1 and 5.5

 

28th October   

Update: Immoral Websites...

17 internet cafes closed in Kabul for allowing access to supposedly immoral websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Afghanistan...A new toy to block the news

Afghanistan flag A total of 17 internet cafes in the capital city of Kabul have been forcibly closed by Afghan authorities for allowing surfers to access immoral websites, according to Pakhwok Afghan News.

The Afghan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) had reportedly warned operators last week that they cannot allow customers to look at porn or other un-Islamic websites. A member of ATRA, Muhammad Ibrahim Abbasi, told reporters that the Authority was under order from the council of ministers to ban all immoral activities of net cafes, which had been violating Islamic teachings and the constitution of the country.

A subsequent investigation turned up the 17 cafes, which were ordered to close immediately. Owners can appeal the decisions if they can prove the alleged activity was not taking place. If a reversal of the decision to close a café takes place, the owner can also request compensation.

 

28th October   

Queer Kissing Flashmob...

Gay kissing in front of the pope doesn't impress Facebook
Link Here

Queer Kissing Same sex couples from all over the world have deliberate to snog each other in the Cathedral square in Barcelona in front of the Pope next month.

A group on Facebook, Queer Kissing Flashmob, which managed to receive 12,000 users to agree to go along on November 7 and display their love in public, has been closed down by Facebook, claim the organisers.

This has added greater fuel to the fire, and one of the organisers, Marylène Carole, expressed her disbelief that a couple kissing in public could be considered outrageous in this day and age.

It's difficult to understand how the noble and loving behave of kissing your partner can still be defined as revolutionary in the 21st century, she commented.

It appears to be a form of censorship, and yet it was only started by a group of friends who have no connections to any political group or any kind of gay association.

Those who intend to go to Barcelona on November 7 say they will make a point of kissing their other halves in the Cathedral square just as Pope Benedict XVI walks out of the door.

 

28th October   

A Passion for Repression...

Massive fine in Uzbekistan for the possession of religious DVDs
Link Here

Passion Christ DVD Jim Caviezel Uzbekistan has imposed a massive fine on a Protestant for owning a Christian film, Forum 18 News Service has learned.

Murat Jalalov was fined - apparently on the instructions of the NSS secret police – after police raided his home. The film and other confiscated materials for analysis by the state Religious Affairs Committee, which said that the film could be used among local ethnicities for missionary purposes and was therefore banned.

Police confiscated 75 DVDs and CDs. The discs included an American film about the life of Jesus produced by Campus Crusade for Christ (often known as the Jesus film') in Uzbek, Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ, and an American Christian film Fireproof , as well as other Christian films he had bought at a bazaar. Also confiscated were films featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis, and family photographs.

 

28th October   

Updated: Standing by his Words...

Geert Wilders and Dutch free speech on trial
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

Geert Wilders The flamboyant Dutch MP, Geert Wilders, who holds the balance of power in the Netherlands, told judges that he had no regrets over the comments.

Wilders is being prosecuted for describing the Koran as fascist and for comparing it to Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf, a text that is banned in the Netherlands.

In March 2008, he released a film called Fitna , Arabic for Strife, which linked the verses in the Koran to anti-Semitism, terrorist attacks in New York and London and urged that, like Nazism, Islamic ideology has to be defeated .

Wilders faces five charges of inciting racial hatred between Oct 2006 and Mar 2008. If found guilty, Wilders faces over a year in prison or a £6,600 fine.

Speaking at his trial yesterday, Wilders said: I am sitting here as a suspect because I have spoken nothing but the truth. I have said what I have said and I will not take one word back.

However, proceedings were suspended for 24 hours, after Wilders demanded that the court's presiding judge be replaced. If the court rules in favour of the objections, new judges will need to be appointed, delaying proceedings.

After an opening statement by Wilders, Bram Moszkowicz, his lawyer told the court that the defendant would exercise his right to silence and would not answer questions during the trial.

Wilders also accused the Dutch authorities of putting on trial the 1.5 million voters who backed his anti-immigration Freedom Party (PVV) during June elections. I am on trial, but on trial with me is the freedom of expression of many Dutch citizens, he said.

Offsite Comment: Wilders must be supported

5th October 2010. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org by Oliver Kamm

Index on Censorship logo It does not matter if you agree with Geert Wilders's film, Fitna , or his politics. He must not be prosecuted for expressing his views.

Wilders's populist and nativist politics are exactly opposed to my own views, and entirely beside the point. In a constitutional state, with liberal political rights and the rule of law, a man is being prosecuted for causing offence by expressing his views. Wilders's protest that the judgement is an attack of freedom of expression is scarcely adequate to the infringement on liberty. These proceedings are a monstrous abuse of power. Wilders must be supported.

...Read the full article

Update: Prosecution recommends acquittal

16th October 2010. Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

Dutch prosecutors have recommended acquitting leading anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders on all five charges of hate speech.

They said his comments had targeted Islam, not Muslims, and he had the right to comment on social issues.

The trial will continue next week and judges may still disagree with the prosecution and convict Wilders.

The trial of Wilders, who compared the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, has gripped the Netherlands. His Freedom Party's support is crucial to the country's new coalition government.

Prosecutors had initially declined to press charges against Wilders in June 2008. But they were ordered to do so in January 2009 by the appeals court, which ruled that there was significant evidence that the politician had sought to sow hatred .

Prosecutors Birgit van Roessel and Paul Velleman reached their conclusions after studying interviews with, and articles by, Wilders as well as his anti-Koran film Fitna . Criticism [of religion] is allowed, Ms van Roessel told the Amsterdam district court. Velleman told the court that most of the politician's remarks seemed to have targeted Islam as an ideology rather than singling out Muslims for abuse.

Update: Re-Trial

23rd October 2010. Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

Judges in the hate speech trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders have been ordered to step down by an independent appeals panel.

The move follows a request by Wilders' lawyers who said they feared the judges were biased against him.

The legal process that began in January must now begin again with new judges. The trial itself started in October.

Wilders' lawyer Bram Moszkowicz had argued that the bench at Amsterdam District Court had created an impression of partiality by putting off a decision on the defence's request to recall a witness. Being denied the opportunity to recall the witness would make it impossible for the defence to substantiate a crucial part of its case , he added.

A hastily convened panel said on Friday that it found the trial judges' decision to be incomprehensible in the absence of any motivation . They said that Wilders' fear of bias as a result was understandable .

Under the circumstances, the request [for the judges' removal] is granted, said a statement from the panel. Another chamber will handle the rest of the case.

Offsite Comment: The Lost Cause Against Wilders

28th October 2010. See  article from  online.wsj.com

wall street journal logo The case against the Dutch politician has backfired in every way imaginable.

When even the prosecution calls for a defendant's acquittal and the trial judges have been disqualified for the appearance of bias, maybe it's time to drop the charges. Rather than a retrial, a dismissal would be the best outcome in the case of Geert Wilders, the Dutch lawmaker accused of insulting and inciting hatred against Muslims.

...Read the full article

 

27th October   

Update: Salivating Advert Censors...

ASA take easy offence at another ice cream advert
Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

federico salivation advert A magazine ad, for Antonio Federici ice cream, appeared in Look magazine. It showed two priests in full robes who looked as though they were about to kiss. One of the men also wore rosary beads and held a spoon in his hand; the other held a tub of ice cream. The ad included text that stated We Believe in Salivation .

Six complainants objected that the ad was offensive, because they believed it mocked Catholicism.

Antonio Federici said their advertising did not mock Catholicism but reflected the grave troubles they considered affected the Catholic Church. They gave examples of issues that had been reported in the press, which they believed many people would find more offensive than an ad that celebrated homosexuality.

They said the issue of gay and lesbian bishops and priests was one that currently divided the Church of England and was likely to continue to do so. Antonio Federici said the ad contrasted the actions of the Catholic Church with their belief that if ice cream were a religion, it would be one of universal love, regardless of race, colour, creed or gender.  They said they were Catholics but would continue to produce advertising that challenged the Catholic Church while they believed it remained troubled.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted the CAP Code stated that ads should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability .

We noted the ad used the text We Believe in Salivation as a theme to refer to the taste of the product and to the image of the priests, who were portrayed in a seductive pose as if they were about to kiss passionately. We considered the portrayal of the two priests in a sexualised manner was likely to be interpreted as mocking the beliefs of Roman Catholics and was therefore likely to cause serious offence to some readers. We concluded that the ad breached the Code.

 

27th October   

Updated: British Horror Film Festival 2010...

A Serbian Film makes an impression on Bournemouth councillors
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

british horror film festival 2010 logo British Horror Film Festival
30th October 2010
The Pier Theatre, Bournemouth

Also showing:

  • Needle
  • Devils Playground
  • Voodoo Lagoon

Bournemouth's licensing committee agreed they would not ban A Serbian Film from the forthcoming British Horror Film Festival at the Pier Theatre if it was classified by the BBFC.

But the BBFC will not issue the film with a certificate unless almost four minutes of footage is cut from it first – something the distributor has not yet done.

Cllr David Kelsey, vice-chair of the licensing board, said he would still be uncomfortable with the film being shown, even after the cuts.

I downloaded it last night and I would not recommend it to a member of my family, he told the meeting: It's the most disgusting, vile thing I've ever sat down and watched. It was absolutely unbelievable. I think cutting five minutes from it would not be enough. Even that would leave a lot of scenes that I would not want to see in a public cinema. I just find it amazing what people can actually get away with in the cause of art nowadays – to me that's just not art.

Chairman of the board Cllr Andrew Morgan suggested they write to Pier Theatre manager Ian Goode to inform him councillors would not be happy with the unclassified version of the film being shown. He also recommended the council take Goode up on his offer to vary the Pier Theatre's licence to specifically prevent unclassified films from being shown there.

We're not stepping into the shoes of the BBFC, if they want to show a classified film it's not our role to stop it, he said.

Stuart Brennan, director of the British Horror Film Festival, said it was up to the film company and distribution company to decide whether they wanted to make the cuts required to gain an 18 certificate: If there is a copy of the film that we can show by the time the festival goes ahead then we will show the cut version, he said.

Update: A Serbian Film Cancelled

25th October 2010. Based on article from  horror-movies.ca

a serbian film poster A few days ago Bournemouth council announced that A Serbian Film will only be approved to be shown once it is certified by the BBFC.

The festival director Stuart Brennan has issued this statement: This is an unfortunate situation for us to be in. We believe strongly the film should be shown, however this new demand has left us in a position where we are left with little choice but to remove the film from our line up, as we cannot guarantee the film will be certified in time.

A statement issued on behalf of Revolver Entertainment Ltd, the UK distributor for the film reads: Revolver Entertainment Ltd. have decided with regret to withdraw A Serbian Film from exhibition at the forthcoming British Horror Film Festival in Bournemouth. The film has been submitted to the British Board of Film Classification but does not, as yet, have a confirmed 18 certificate. While the film and any potential cuts are still under review the film cannot be screened as per the council's decision

Update: More on the cancellation

27th October 2010. Based on article from  bournemouthecho.co.uk

BBFC logo Although the BBFC has issued the film with an 18 certificate for video after almost four minutes of cuts were made, it has yet to issue a certificate for theatrical exhibition.

Sue Clark, BBFC spokesperson told the Daily Echo yesterday that they expected to issue the film version with an 18 certificate.

She said: We have seen the DVD version and they have made the cuts that we requested. If they send the same version in for cinema release there is no reason why we couldn't have that ready for the end of the week.

Alan Jones

A leading film critic has backed A Serbian Film and called for the public to be allowed to judge it for themselves. Alan Jones, who contributes to Radio Times and Film Review, organised the Film4 FrightFest event in August, from which the film had to be pulled after Westminster council refused permission to show it uncut.

He said dropping the film had been a tragedy . I have seen the film numerous times now and have discussed it at length with director Srdjan Spasojevic. Sure, the subject matter is as shocking as they come, but what you actually see on screen in the uncut version, is brilliantly handled so you think you saw what you didn't, he said.

He said the film was a compelling and provocative work of utter hatred and anger against the treatment the Serbian government meted out to its people.

Jones added: That this film has become such a controversial cause celebre – only in the UK and Turkey, I may add – is yet again another example of how the BBFC can tell responsible adults over the age of 18 what they can and can't see. I find that more outrageous than anything seen in the movie.

 

27th October   

Comment: Fif.Fif.Fif.Fif.Fif...Twelve...

BBFC stutters over rating for The King's Speech
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

kings speech The King's Speech is 2010 Uk/Australia drama by Tom Hooper.

This work was originally classified 15 without cuts on 15/10/2010.

The BBFC has, after an appeal by the distributor of The King's Speech against the original 15 rating, applied its formal reconsideration process to the cinema release and classified it 12A with the Consumer Advice Contains strong language in a speech therapy context .

The BBFC's language Guidelines for 12A state: The use of strong language (for example fuck) must be infrequent . In the case of The King's Speech there are two isolated instances where the character of King George VI uses strong language several times at the instigation of his therapist during the speech therapy sessions he is undergoing to alleviate his stammer. The strong language is not aggressive and not directed at any person.

The Guidelines state that because works from time to time present issues in ways which cannot be anticipated, these criteria will not be applied in an over literal way if such an interpretation would lead to an outcome which would confound audience expectations . After careful consideration by the President and Director of the BBFC, the Board took the view that the way the strong language is presented in The King's Speech did not contravene the language Guidelines at 12A and that the public would understand why the Board has reached this decision.

Offsite: Kings can swear, factoryhands can't

27th October 2010. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Tim Black

Spiked logo Some films that use the f-word get a 15 rating [Made in Dagenham] and others get a 12A [The King's Speech]. What's going on at the BBFC?

...

In short, the BBFC is saying that it's okay to swear in the depiction of a speech-therapy session but not in the depiction of political struggle. It is an interpretive effort that puts the BBFC on shaky ground. The BBFC is not simply saying you can't say or show that anymore – it lacks the confidence, the moral certainty, to do that kind of thing. So instead, it is qualifying its judgement, offering interpretation, assessing artistic intent. Shrinking back from its role as a guardian of the nation's morals, whether those of wives, servants or under-15s, the BBFC is now acting like a super-critic, deciding whether this or that is suitable not on the basis of a objective rules, but on the basis of subjective evaluation.

...Read the full article

 

27th October   

Dildos at Ofcom...

Ofcom whinge at pre-watershed scene in sex shop on Danish TV reality show
Link Here

baronessen Baronessen flytter ind
Kanal 4 Denmark, 1 August 2010, 19:00 (UK) 20:00 (Denmark)

Baronessen flytter ind is a series broadcast on Kanal 4 Denmark, a television channel that operates under an Ofcom licence and transmits to audiences in Denmark.

This is a lifestyle swap programme which features a celebrity Baroness going to live with an ordinary. Danish family.

The wife of the family then spends time in the Baroness. castle. The Baroness for her part aims to change the attitudes of the male members of the family, rethink their approach towards helping out around the family home and improve their overall family life. The husband of the family, Jonny, works in a sex shop. In this episode the Baroness visits him at his place of work and discusses the nature of the business in a bid to understand him and what motivates him.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who objected to the sexual content of the broadcast. Ofcom noted that, during the broadcast, footage from within the sex shop showed adult DVDs, the covers of which showed images of naked and scantily clad women. There was also some discussion about the sex toys on sale and the camera focussed on several dildos. At one point the Duchess removed a large fist shaped dildo from the shelf and asked Jonny: Can you explain this? Jonny answered: Yes it's for both vaginal and anal use, you use it as your hand. Jonny then briefly made a fist and demonstrated a thrusting motion.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3 ( Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them )
  • Rule 1.20 ( …Any discussion on, or portrayal of, sexual behaviour must be editorially justified if included before the watershed…and must be appropriately limited ).

SBS The Licensee explained that the channel appeals to a female adult audience and the programme attracts only a small percentage of children. It said that the channel is seen only by a Danish audience, who generally have a more liberal attitude towards sexual matters than UK viewers.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.3 and 1.20

Ofcom's concern in this instance was the time at which this programme was broadcast. We do not believe that the footage from a sex shop featured in this particular programme was suitable for pre-watershed broadcast.

While many of the camera shots within the sex shop did not focus on nudity and the shots of the DVD covers were not especially graphic, we were concerned by the discussion on, and shots of, sex aids set out above.

We accept that this programme was broadcast at 20:00 local time in Denmark. However this is still well before the 21:00 watershed. It was broadcast at a time when we would expect broadcasters to be mindful of the sexual content of programming in order to protect children who may be in the audience.

Ofcom considers that the series is a light-hearted entertainment programme which viewers would not normally expect to feature material of an overtly sexual nature. Ofcom.s view was that the sex aids part of the interview was unnecessarily detailed and not sufficiently editorially justified.

We do not consider that this content was appropriate for a pre-watershed programme of this kind which is available to a general audience including some children. The programme therefore breached Rules 1.3 and 1.20.

 

27th October   

Update: Licensed to Censor...

Government responds to petition for an end to the censorship of live music via licensing
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

A petition to the government closed a few months ago. It read:

pub band We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop criminalising live music with the Licensing Act, and to support amendments backed by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, and the music industry, which would exempt most small-scale performances in schools, hospitals, restaurants and licensed premises.

Submitted by Phil Little of Live Music Forum.

Under the Licensing Act, a performance by one musician in a bar, restaurant, school or hospital not licensed for live music could lead to a criminal prosecution of those organising the event. Even a piano may count as a licensable entertainment facility . By contrast, amplified big screen broadcast entertainment is exempt.

The government says the Act is necessary to control noise nuisance, crime, disorder and public safety, even though other laws already deal with those risks. Musicians warned the Act would harm small events. About 50% of bars and 75% of restaurants have no live music permission. Obtaining permission for the mildest live music remains costly and time-consuming.

In May, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee recommended exemptions for venues up to 200 capacity and for unamplified performance by one or two musicians. The government said no. But those exemptions would restore some fairness in the regulation of live music and encourage grassroots venues.

Update: Government Response

27th October 2010. See  article from  hmg.gov.uk

The Petition closed with 16,949 signatures.

UK Government arms The Government responded:

Currently the Coalition Government is reviewing the situation concerning live music performance at smaller venues, and the Minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose MP, is considering the result of the Consultation on Live Music which closed in March.  

The Coalition is committed to cutting Red Tape, to encourage live music and is keen to find the best way forward.  A number of options are being considered and the Minister will make an announcement in due course.

 

26th October   

Update: Careful Where You Click...

Monitoring website and advert browsing may out gay Facebook users
Link Here  full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

Facebook logo Facebook might be inadvertently outing its gay users to advertisers, according to a new study.

Researchers have discovered that different targeted advertising is being sent to users' accounts if they have described themselves as gay or straight.

The discovery could mean that people who wish to keep their sexuality private may be sharing it with advertisers without their knowledge.

A team from Microsoft and Germany's Max Planck Institute created six fake profiles: two straight men, two straight women, a gay man and a lesbian. They wanted to see if Facebook targeted ads based on sexuality, and so the profiles were left otherwise completely the same.

The team then monitored what ads each virtual user was sent over a period of a week. They found that the ads displayed on the gay man's profile differed substantially from those on the straight one. Many of these adverts were not obviously adverts for services that only gay men would require, and half of them did not mention the word gay in the text.

The researchers write in the paper: The danger with such ads, unlike the gay bar ad where the target demographic is blatantly obvious, is that the user reading the ad text would have no idea that by clicking it he would reveal to the advertiser both his sexual-preference and a unique identifier (cookie, IP address, or email address if he signs up on the advertiser's site).

The loophole means that any advertisers who collect data such as Facebook IDs could match a person's sexual preference with their unique ID and their name.

Last week it emerged that vast amounts of data – including the names of individual members and their online friends – were passed to internet advertising firms, with tens of millions of people thought to have been affected. The leaks were possible even when members had deliberately set their privacy options to the maximum secrecy levels.

Security experts warned that the details could be used – when combined with other publicly available information – to build up a detailed picture of an individual's interests, friendship circle and lifestyle.

Around 25 different advertising and data firms were receiving the information, an investigation by the Wall Street Journal found. It was passed to them by firms whose apps – games and other features – operate on Facebook and not by the social networking site itself.

 

26th October   

Updated: Meat the Censor...

Not what a US ferry company wants their customers to view
Link Here

patty murray seattle weekly The current issue of Seattle Weekly has been pulled from the shelves on all Washington State Ferries.

WSF spokesperson Marta Coursey said that although WSF did not receive any complaints, the issue was pulled because: I don't want to have to receive a complaint about it.

We removed it because of the photo of Patty Murray. We thought it was distasteful. We pulled one I think three years ago when it was a caricature of Sweeney Todd slashing Santa's throat during the holidays. We decided to pull it because we thought it was denigrating to women. It was not in keeping with what we want our customers to have to view. I thought it forwarded a disrespectful attitude toward a public figure.

Update: Apologies

26th October 2010. Based on article from  straight.com

The operator of Washington state ferries has expressed regrets after banning an issue of a weekly paper that depicted Sen. Patty Murray dressed in raw pork, according to a report in the Seattle Times.

We probably shouldn't have pulled it, Steve Pierce, communications director for the Washington State Department of Transportation, told the newspaper.

Washington State Ferries reportedly refunded Seattle Weekly's fee for operating a kiosk on the boats.

 

26th October   

Updated: No Kisses for the Censor...

India's first gay film receives a substantial cuts list
Link Here  full story: Dunno Y...India's first gay movie winds up the film censors

dunno-y-na-jaane-kyun Dunno Y.... Na Jaane Kyun has been refused a certificate from the Censor Board untill the cuts directed by the revising committee are incorporated into the final print. The film has been stuck for the last two months after the committee suggested that the kissing and love-making related stories

Scenes between actors Kapil Sharma and Yuvraj Parashar have to be snipped out. They also had strong objections to the nudity in the film.

Kapil Sharma confirms the news and says that giving in to the CBFC's demands would have been a major compromise. The scenes in question were essential to depict the romance between the two men. If the censors can allows kisses between hetrosexual lovers why should they be averse to those between homosexual partners? he argues.

Dunno YHe points out that homosexuality is legal now following the Supreme Court's ruling on article 377 last year. And says that they may move court if the revising committee doesn't change its decision.

We don't mind reducing the length of these scenes that are already blurred but editing them out is not an option. We've already made some cuts suggested by one of the previous committees.

The LGBT community has promised to support them should they move court. But we'd like to settle the matter amicably, says Sharma.

Update: 40% Cuts on Appeal

26th October 2010. Based on article from  hindustantimes.com

The Indian censor board has cut a lovemaking scene from Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyon by about 40%. Another scene taken of a nude Yuvraj Parasher from behind has been deleted.

The first censor committee refused to pass. The revising committee (appeal board) also had problems with a kissing and lovemaking scenes, along with some dialogue.

Parashar points out that a lot of it had to do with the fact that the scenes features two men instead of a girl and a boy: We convinced them that the film is about love and not sex. And got away with 60% of the scenes intact.

The actors have also been been getting pressure from a homophobic organisation in Delhi over the last week warning them with dire consequences if the film was released. A complaint was lodged with the Khar Police Station last week. Says a petrified Parashar: Kapil and I are new to the film industry and don't want these people to harm us before our career even takes off.

 

26th October   

Update: Unerotic Repression...

Turkish publisher on trial for sexual content gets freedom award from the International Publishing Association
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Turkey...Freedom of speech under duress

Exploits of a Young Don Juan The Geneva-based International Publishing Association (IPA) will award its freedom prize to Irfan Sanci on Nov. 2.

Before he receives the award, however, Sanci must appear in an Istanbul court on allegations that one of the books he has published has inappropriate sexual content.

Irfan Sanci, the owner of Sel Publishing House, is on trial for publishing a book with sexual content by French writer Guilliame Apollinare.

There is nothing to say about what's going on. I am being punished in my own country but am also getting an international award. This is tragic, Sanci, the owner of Sel Publishing House, told the Hrriyet Daily News.

Everything aside, Apollinare's book, which is a part of the world's cultural heritage, is being tried for hurting the public's sense of shame, he said.

In May 2010, despite expert reports from the Galatasaray and Bahçesehir Universities concluding that the books were works of literature, an Istanbul court decided to send the three books to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications for review to determine whether they constitute literature or obscenity, IPA Freedom to Publish Committee Chair Bjorn Simonsen told the Daily News. The news hearing is due on Nov. 2. This is potential political censorship. We therefore call for Sel's acquittal.

Sanci published Perinin Sarkaci (The Fairy's Pendulum) by a young female academic writing under the pen name Ben Mila, as well as Apollinaire's A dventures of the Young Don Juan , P.V.'s Letters of a Learned and Well-mannered French Bourgeois Lady and Spanish writer Juan Manuel de Prada's The Pussy.

The books, however, were sued in accordance with the law for protecting minors from harmful publications.

 

25th October   

Update: Nasty Possession...

New DVD release for the video nasty Possession
Link Here

Possession DVD Isabelle Adjani Possession is a 1981 French/W German horror by Andrzej Zulawski

Passed 18 uncut for:

Previously VTC released the film on VHS in September 1982. It was banned as a video nasty in September 1983.

In September 1984 it was cleared of obscenity in a jury trial and was removed from the list. VTC re-released the film with a toned down cover in December 1984.

Review from UK Amazon : Art Horror

Possession is totally extraordinary. Packed with symbolism it can be read on so many possible levels of interpretation it's bewildering.

Set in a European city (obviously Berlin during it's partition) in an alienating mixture of ultra modern buildings and decaying grandeur, visually it evokes a sense of dislocation.

Thematically, it seems to be a study of a marriage in the last phase of destruction, with Sam Neill returning from doing a msterious job (spying?) and meeting his wife played by Isabelle Adjani, whose agitated reaction to his arrival only hints at the deep levels of disturbance she enacts as the film progresses.

What follows is a nightmarish and surreal two hours of startling images, bizarre acting and frequent bloodletting.

If you liked Antichrist you will be interested to see a lot of similar themes in Possession - misogyny, madness, faith, evil and lust permeate a fractured dreamscape.

Possession is as challenging an art-horror as I've ever seen.

 

25th October   

Albuquerque Censors Pornotopia...

Porn film festival banned in the name of zoning
Link Here

pornotopia logo Pornotopia, which is scheduled for Nov. 5-7, is no longer welcome at its previous home, the Guild Theater in Nob Hill, Albuquerque.

The council claim it is not zoned for adult entertainment, just like 90% of the town and doubt the remaining 10% has no suitable venues.

A notice on the Pornotopia website that reads, We regret to announce that this year's celebration of erotic film is being postponed indefinitely. The City of Albuquerque's highly restrictive zoning regulations have effectively banned the festival from all potential venues, despite all efforts by the planning committee to find a suitable location within city limits.

Pornotopia Co-Director Molly Adler has intimated that a censored version of the show may take place next month at the Sunshine Theater, featuring comedy sketches, burlesque and more.

In the meantime, the organizers will be looking for a venue outside city limits at which to hold the real Pornotopia.

 

25th October   

Update: Will Libel Lawyers be Allowed on Judgement Day?...

'Holy man' granted right to appeal to resume libel action against journalist
Link Here

Old Bailey At the High Court in London, Lady Justice Smith granted Indian national [who's never visited Britain] 'His Holiness [self proclaimed]' Sant Baba Jeet Singh ji Maharaj the right to appeal in his libel case against British journalist Hardeep Singh. The case will now go before three judges at the Court of Appeal to decide whether it should proceed to a full trial.

Hardeep Singh said: I've been fighting this case for three years already; this adds a minimum of another six months of torment. If I lose, it will cost me over £1 million, let alone my costs so far and a tenth of my life. This feels like the biggest game of poker you can possibly play: all for exercising my right to free expression.

He added: I'm hoping the government take reform of our libel laws seriously and we get a robust bill in the New Year.

Mike Harris from Index on Censorship said: When individuals like Hardeep Singh risk £1m and bankruptcy all for a single newspaper article, it really hits home how important libel reform is. I hope the government backs the Libel Reform campaign's call for wholesale reform of our libel laws so free speech is protected.

Síle Lane from Sense About Science said: Change in the libel laws cannot come soon enough. Singh's case highlights that the laws as they stand are unfair, unduly costly, out of date and against the public interest. Until we have a clear, strong public interest defence against libel actions writers, bloggers, NGOs and journalists will be forced to back down in the face of threats.

The case centres on an article that Hardeep Singh wrote in August 2007 for the Sikh Times, a British newspaper, in which he claimed that Jeet Singh was an accused Cult leader whose teachings were not in line with mainstream Sikh doctrine.

In May 2010 Mr Justice Eady threw the case out with no right to appeal. Eady's judgment held that secular courts should not make a judgment on a religious dispute.

The application for appeal was granted on the limited basis that there are arguable issues in Singh's article that do not tread on the forbidden area of doctrinal dispute.

 

25th October   

Update: More Means Less Avatar...

Extended version of Avatar withdrawn from Malta after dispute over PG vs 12 rating
Link Here  full story: James Cameron's Avatar...Avatar makes the worl'd headlines

Avatar Extended Collectors DVD Worthington A special extended 3D edition of James Cameron's science fiction film Avatar has been withdrawn by its Maltese distributors after the censor  board gave it a 12-rating rather than PG.

The original version of Avatar , screened in 2D and 3D, was classified PG and ran for 20 weeks in cinemas.

However, KRS Film Distributors said they did not agree with the new classification awarded to the extended version, which had an additional eight minutes of scenes scattered throughout the entire film.

The additional scenes in the special edition do not justify the film being given a higher classification than that of the original film, KRS said.

KRS Film Distributors and 20th Century Fox were left no option but to withdraw Avatar Special Edition 3D from playing in cinemas in Malta.

In the UK, the original version of Avatar in 2D and 3D and its extended 3D version were classified 12A.

 

25th October   

Critical Permission...

Swaziland PM announces law to require journalists to seek state approval for articles criticising government
Link Here

Swaziland flag The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a recent statement from Swaziland's Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, announcing his intention to create a law requiring newspaper columnists to seek permission before they write critically about the government.

Dlamini's statement appeared in the Tuesday edition of state daily Swazi Observer, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa and local journalists. Dlamini accused news columnists of tarnishing their country's image and taking payments from unnamed foreign interests, according to the same sources.

No further details were disclosed. The prime minister's statement did not include any specific details about what the law would require, how it would be enforced or when it might be enacted.

The prime minister's vague threat to create a censorship law is a step backwards for Swaziland, said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. Requiring columnists to receive prior approval for their work would be a direct violation of Swaziland's Constitution, which guarantees press freedom.

 

24th October   

No Censorship at the Sharjah Book Fair...

So long as...but...except...unless
Link Here

sharjah world book fair logo There will be no censorship or confiscation of books at this year's event, says a top official.

Titles being displayed at this week's Sharjah International Book Fair will not be censored or confiscated so long as their content is in keeping with the values of the UAE , a senior official said.

The Sharjah Book Fair over its 29 sessions has never confiscated any book as long as it enjoys intellectual property rights and as long as does not conflict with our religion ... and the policy of the UAE , said fair director Ahmed Bin Rakadh Al Amiri.

The fair begins on Tuesday and runs until November 6.

The space of freedom offered by the Sharjah International Book Fair is big enough to avoid confiscation of any book, referring to the awareness of participating publishers by the cultural event, which is considered the most important in the region, Al Amiri claimed in an interview with Emirates247.com.

Al Amiri also said that Octavia Nasr, who served as CNN's Senior Editor of Mideast affairs until her dismissal in July 2010 over her public statement of respect on Twitter for the Lebanese cleric Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah , will give a lecture about her experience in media field.

 

24th October   

Bad in Blu...

US Blu-ray release for Abel Ferrara's Bad Lieutenant
Link Here

Bad Lieutenant Blu ray Harvey Keitel Bad Lieutenant is a 1992 US police drama by Abel Ferrara. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

The US release is uncut and MPAA NC-17 rated for:

Previously passed 18 after 1:47s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1995 Guild VHS

The video version suffered the bad timing of being released soon after the James Bulger media panic.

  1. Rape of the nun: cut: scene where nun's pants are removed revealing pubic hair.
  2. Injecting heroin: cut: close-up of Zoe Lund's arm as she injects herself.
  3. Injecting heroin: cut: Keitel drinking as he watches Zoe.
  4. Injecting heroin: cut: another shot of Zoe's arm with the needle in it.
  5. Injecting heroin: cut: close up of Zoe's face.
  6. Injecting heroin: cut: Zoe drawing liquid from spoon. (still present in the trailer!)
  7. Injecting heroin: 31s replaced by crude dissolve: Zoe injects Keitel.

Review from UK Amazon : It doesn't come much better

Sometimes your need to explore the bad. Not sugar coat it, not make it all-right-in-the-end feelgood hollywood crowd-pleasing, but take a character and a situation and follow them both through to their rightful conclusion.

And make no mistake, this is totally about badness - Keitel's character is as corrupted to the core as a human being can be. And we witness it all close up.

But can someone like him be ultimately redeemed? I'll leave you to find out. Be prepared to be shocked, to witness total corruption and despair, and to witness one of the best performances an actor can give.

This film will take you way beyond your comfort zone - but is a tour de force of vital, raw cinema. I still shudder now when recalling it and how I felt at the ending. It doesn't come much better than this.

 

24th October   

Gleeful Whingeing...

US nutters of Parents Television Council take a ludicrous pot shot at Glee glamour
Link Here

gq glee GQ magazine's sexy photoshoot spread featuring hotties Lea Michele, Cory Monteith and Dianna Agron from the high school musical drama Glee .

But the ever-offended Parents Television Council had quite a different reaction: the conservative watchdog think it's tantamount to pedophilia.

The fact that the people involved are well past their years as minors—Michele and Agron are 24, Monteith's 28—seems to make no mind to the PTC.

It is disturbing that GQ, which is explicitly written for adult men, is sexualizing the actresses who play high school-aged characters on Glee in this way, PTC President Tim Winter said: It borders on pedophilia. Sadly, this is just the latest example of the overt sexualization of young girls in entertainment.

Many children who flocked to High School Musical have grown into Glee fans. They are now being treated to seductive, in-your-face poses of the underwear-clad female characters posing in front of the school lockers, one of them opting for a full-frontal crotch shot. By authorizing this kind of near-pornographic display, the creators of the program have established their intentions of the show's direction. And it isn't good for families.

GQ has released the following statement via editor-in-chief Jim Nelson:

The Parents Television Council must not be watching much TV these days and should learn to divide reality from fantasy. As often happens in Hollywood, these 'kids' are in their twenties. Cory Montieth's almost 30! I think they're old enough to do what they want.

 

24th October   

Enzai, Falsely Accused...

Australian censors reveal another banned computer game
Link Here

enzai falsely accused In addition to censoring games submitted by distributors, the Australian Censor Board also examine games submitted by law enforcement agencies.

Such titles are usually kept secret, lest everyone wants one, but the censors revealed one of these banned games in their recent Annual Report.

The title is Enzai, Falsely Accused , a 2002 Japanese game that was released in the U.S. in 2006.

In their report, the Classification Board describe the reasons for their ban:

The ACMA referred content to the Classification Board which consists of a computer game titled Enzai supplied on a laptop computer. The Anime style game follows the story of a character who is placed in jail and convicted of a murder which he did not commit. Whilst in jail he suffers physical and sexual abuse from guards and other prisoners. The game is primarily an interactive story, however, there are several options to choose between to change the path of the storyline.

In the Board's view this computer game warrants an RC classification as it contains depictions of sexual violence that depict matters of sex and violence in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that it should not be classified. It also contains descriptions and depictions of child sexual abuse involving a person who is, or who appears to be, a child under 18 years.

 

24th October   

Analyse That...

US radio news analyst fired for stating that he was nervous of muslims on plane
Link Here

Enough Dead End Movements Undermining America  US National Public Radio has fired news analyst Juan Williams for saying on Fox News that he gets nervous if he sees Muslims on a plane.

Williams, who has written several books on the US civil rights movement, made the remarks last week on chat show The O'Reilly Factor.

NPR said in a statement that Williams's contract had been ended.

Fox News later signed Williams up as a contributor on a multi-year contract.

In a discussion on Muslims and 9/11 on the O'Reilly Factor , outspoken conservative presenter Bill O'Reilly said: The cold truth is that in the world today jihad, aided and abetted by some Muslim nations, is the biggest threat on the planet.

Williams said he concurred with O'Reilly: I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot. You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country . But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.

In its statement, NPR said Williams's comments were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR .

 

24th October   

Offsite: Senate Censors...

Australian Senate debates its favourite topic, censorship
Link Here
Australian Senate

  Australian Senate

The Australian Senate have been debating censorship with the Censor Board.

First up was a return to the perennial debate about unclassified adult films and magazines.

Other issues that were touched on included, airbrushed vaginas, Classification Board vacancies, the decline of the X18+ rating, the games R18+ rating, the internet filter, teenage magazines, and sexual imagery in music videos.

The Green's Scott Ludlam attempted to get to the bottom of the Classification Board's rating of submissions by State law enforcement.

Finally, it would not be Senate Estimates without Julian McGauran raging against Salo . The DVD was finally released in September, the same month as it was confirmed that McGauran had lost his Senate seat.

...Read the full article

 

23rd October   

Screams of Censorial Pleasure...

Ann Summers halloween outfits advert blocked
Link Here

de sexy advert A halloween radio advert for the lingerie retailer Ann Summers has been banned for being likely to offend listeners according to the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC)

The broadcaster's adviser said that it contained fairly overt sexual references in terms of sound effects .

The commercial begins with the sound of screams, which are replaced by screams of pleasure. A voice can then be heard to say: Tight, short, low-cut. Ann Summers dead sexy Hallowe'en outfits with £5 off. In stores, online and at parties.

A spokesman for the RACC said the ad breached advertising regulations governing taste and offence.

Ann Summers has appealed appealed the decision. We believe that Britons are broad-minded and would understand the topical and cheeky nature of our advert, said a spokesman for the company.

 

23rd October   

Political Insult...

Party told to drop Kadhafi from political posters supporting expulsion of foreign criminals
Link Here

mcg logo Swiss authorities have ordered a far-right party to remove a picture of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi from a campaign poster that calls for foreign criminals to be expelled.

Geneva canton authorities said that, with the federal authorities, they had ordered the modification of a poster of the Geneva Citizens' Movement (MCG) that was an outrage to foreign states. The poster, dedicated to the initiative for the expulsion of foreign criminals, hits out directly at the Libyan head of state, it added in a statement.

The far-right party's poster is part of a campaign ahead of a nationwide referendum on whether foreign criminals who have committed certain crimes should be stripped of their right to remain in Switzerland and deported to their home countries.

In its poster in support of the initiative, the MCG juxtaposed a photo of Kaddafi against the text: He wants to destroy Switzerland . The MCG described the authorities' move as censorship.

 

23rd October   

Offsite: Still Fettered...

Lady Chatterley trial - 50 years on.
Link Here

Lady Chatterleys Lover Anniversary Classics Fifty years ago this week, amid extraordinary international publicity, the Old Bailey was the venue for a trial that did more to shape 21st-century Britain than hundreds of politicians put together. The case of the Crown versus Penguin Books opened on Friday, October 21, 1960, when courtroom officials handed copies of perhaps the most notorious novel of the century, D H Lawrence's book Lady Chatterley's Lover, to nine men and three women, and asked them to read it. They were not, however, allowed to take the book out of the jury room. Only if Penguin were acquitted of breaking the Obscene Publications Act would it be legal to distribute it.

What followed, said one eyewitness, was a circus so hilarious, fascinating, tense and satisfying that none who sat through all its six days will ever forget them . But it was a circus that changed Britain forever.

On November 2, after just three hours' deliberation, the jury acquitted Penguin Books of all charges. Almost immediately, the book became a best-seller. In 15 minutes, Foyles sold 300 copies and took orders for 3,000 more. Hatchards sold out in 40 minutes; Selfridges sold 250 copies in half an hour. In one Yorkshire town, a canny butcher sold copies of the book beside his lamb chops.

And yet there was another side to the story, often ignored by the history books. Outside intellectual high society, most ordinary people in 1960 remained deeply conservative, and the Home Office was flooded with letters of protest. In Edinburgh, copies were burned on the streets; in South Wales, women librarians asked permission not to handle it; from Surrey, one anguished woman wrote to the home secretary, explaining that her teenage daughter was at boarding school and she was terrified that day girls there may introduce this filthy book .

...Read the full article

Comment: What an exaggerated article

From readers comments by IanBB

What an exaggerated article. The fetters were off . Were they indeed? How then did Britain remain the most censored country in Europe, how then did Britain enact the infamous Video Recordings Act in 1984 that brought in Draconian censorship to stop people watching a few erotic videos and bad foreign horror movies? How then did it take until the year 2000 to partially legalise real pornography- that is, showing the act itself- still under the rigorous control of that arch-quango, the BBFC?

How then did the (Labour) government just last year bring in new censorship laws controlling mere cartoons, the breaking of which laws doesn't just mean a fine or a short prison sentence, but the total ruin of the convicted person via the Sex Offenders Register?

Offsite: The trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover

23rd October 2010. See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Geoffrey Robertson QC

Old Bailey The Old Bailey has, for centuries, provided the ultimate arena for challenging the state. But of all its trials – for murder and mayhem, for treason and sedition – none has had such profound social and political consequences as the trial in 1960 of Penguin Books for publishing Lady Chatterley's Lover . The verdict was a crucial step towards the freedom of the written word, at least for works of literary merit (works of no literary merit were not safe until the trial of Oz in 1971, and works of demerit had to await the acquittal of Inside Linda Lovelace in 1977). But the Chatterley trial marked the first symbolic moral battle between the humanitarian force of English liberalism and the dead hand of those described by George Orwell as the striped-trousered ones who rule , a battle joined in the 1960s on issues crucial to human rights, including the legalisation of homosexuality and abortion, abolition of the death penalty and of theatre censorship, and reform of the divorce laws. The acquittal of Lady Chatterley was the first sign that victory was achievable, and with the guidance of the book's great defender, Gerald Gardiner QC (Labour lord chancellor 1964–70), victory was, in due course, achieved.

 

23rd October   

Censor's Plaything...

Calvin Klein offends the Australian advert censor
Link Here

calvin klein in sydney advert A Calvin Klein jeans ad campaign is being pulled down from billboards after Australia's advert censor found it was suggestive of rape and violence.

The Advertising Standards Bureau revealed that it has upheld complaints about the campaign, which includes a part-naked woman being straddled by a man while another pulls her hair.

The latest campaign has appeared on billboards in Sydney and Melbourne and generated up to 50 complaints.

The case report said the depiction of the woman with three men was highly sexualised and clearly suggestive of sexual behaviour . The Board considered that whilst the act depicted could be consensual, the overall impact and most likely takeout is that the scene is suggestive of violence and rape. The Board considered that the image was demeaning to women by suggesting that she is a plaything of these men. It also demeans men by implying sexualised violence against women.

Clinical psychologist Alison Grundy, who works with sex abuse victims, said advertisers were reaching a dangerous new low by using sexual violence as a marketing tool: If we continue to subject future generations of young men to great barrages of aggressive, misogynist, over-sexualised and violent imagery in pornography, movies, computer games and advertising, we will continue to see the rates of sexual violence against women and children that continue unabated today. Or worse .

 

23rd October   

Update: Playing Waiting for Godot...

Australian politicians still trying to find the mythical silent majority that support their ban on adult games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

R18+ banned Before an R18+ adult rating for videogames can be introduced in Australia, Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor believes that more feedback from the community is needed.

O'Connor's view, as detailed by GameSpot, comes after a pair of wildly successful petitions backed the introduction of an R18+ rating tier.

O'Connnor, who had previously attributed the R18+ petition support to interest groups, echoed that sentiment again, saying that the government still needed to hear from the silent majority on the subject.

This time around, the Minister stated:

Ministers are aware of the support for the proposal shown by the number of submissions received. However, they are also aware of the wide range of views on this issue in the community. Ministers have made a commitment to discuss the issue at a future meeting and have requested further analysis of community and expert views to better understand the arguments on each side.

Some good news for R18+ supporters anyway, the issue is still on the agenda of November's Standing Committee of Attorneys-Generals (SCAG) meeting.

 

22nd October   

Redundancies at Ofcom...

A few pre-watershed expletives heard at Ofcom
Link Here

dole queue Ofcom is to cut 170 jobs, almost one in five of its workforce, and reduce its £143m budget by 28.2% in real terms over the next four years to meet the government's comprehensive spending review costing savings targets.

The media and telecoms regulator will see its budget fall by £30m in nominal terms to £112.7m in 2014/15. Ofcom's staff will be cut by 170, or about 19%, from the current level of about 873 employees.

Ofcom's cuts, announced to staff earlier today, follow a wide-ranging review of the regulator's structure kicked off by chief executive Ed Richards back in July.

These are difficult times for everyone in the public sector and it is right that Ofcom plays its part meeting the challenge facing the public finances, Richards told staff. We also need to re-focus Ofcom in the light of changing markets and technological developments, and of course in respect of the budgetary constraints. This is why we have taken the initiative and today set out detailed proposals for both reducing expenditure and achieving greater strategic focus and organisational effectiveness.

 

22nd October   

Updated: In the Realm of History...

The history of Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses
Link Here

Oshima Boxset Senses Empire Passion In the Realm of the Senses is a 1976 French/Japanese erotic film by Nagisa Oshima. See IMDb

First release at cinema clubs

The film was first shown in Britain at the 1976 London Film Festival, where it won the critic's prize, before being acquired by the Gate Cinema in Notting Hill. At the time, the BBFC's Secretary, James Ferman, expressed the informal view that the film would require very heavy cuts to its more explicit sexual details before it could be awarded an X certificate. Any such cuts were likely to be very damaging to what was already a critically acclaimed film, from an established director.

Ferman therefore suggested that it would be preferable to show the film, without cuts, to members of private cinema clubs rather than approach the BBFC for a formal classification decision. Nonetheless, Ferman suggested that the film should not be opened, even under club conditions, until after the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) had been extended to include films (by the Criminal Law Act in 1977).

This, he believed, would allow the film to benefit from the requirement in the OPA that publications must be judged as a whole and that a defense of artistic merit was permitted.

Even then, one scene was edited before the film opened at the Gate Cinema Club in 1978, as a result of further legal advice. The cut was to remove a scene in which an adult woman tugs a young boy's penis, which seemed likely to constitute an indecent image of a child under the terms of the newly introduced Protection of Children Act.

In this slightly censored version the film continued to be shown for a number of years, without a BBFC certificate, in cinema clubs.

Pre-VRA video release

The cinema club version, with just the child indecency cut, was released for the pre-VRA release:

  • UK 1982 Virgin VHS

However the source used was missing 8s through print damage at reel changes

First BBFC approved cinema release

Passed 18 after 10s cut for:

  • UK 1991 cinema release

The cuts are the same as for previous releases

  • an image of an underage boy's penis being yanked has been deleted by reframing. 10s of footage has been so altered. All of the hardcore imagery is intact.

The first attempt at reframing was considered unacceptably crude and damaging to the film. Therefore the scene was reworked in a specialist lab, using a more gradual zoom into the characters' faces.

At the time, the BBFC was also asked whether it would consider granting an 18 certificate for video release. However, given the greater likelihood of the film falling into the hands of children, or being viewed in parts rather than as a whole, the BBFC was unconvinced that the film's immunity to prosecution would be as strong on video. At the time, explicit sex was not permitted even at the R18 category and The Realm of the Senses was therefore regarded as better suited to cinema screenings where the circumstances of viewing were more able to be controlled

First BBFC approved video/DVD release

The Abridged Version/Producer's Cut was passed 18 after a 10s cut for:

  • UK 2000 Nouveaux R2 DVD

In 2000, the BBFC was again asked to look at the film for DVD release. By this time sexual portrayals at the 18 level had become gradually more explicit and recent public surveys had shown that the public felt the BBFC could afford to be more relaxed about sex for adults. Therefore, following on from recent decisions on films like The Idiots and Romance, The Realm of the Senses was passed 18 uncut for video and DVD release, subject once again to the optical reframing of one scene.

This Abridged Version/Producer's Cut is missing about 6:22s of dialogue and narrative scenes compared with the cinema version. It seems that the video distributors submitted an edited version probably prepared for the US market:

  • At 18:38s, scene cut short by 1:13s
  • At 28:32s, 14 second shot of couple's faces during sex missing
  • At 1:03:22s, entire 1 minute 56 second scene (dialogue) missing
  • At 1:10:12s, scene cut short by 38 seconds
  • At 1:32:30s, scene cut short by 1 minute 4 seconds
  • At 1:38:10s, beginning of scene (1 minute 2 seconds) missing
  • At 34:38s, there is an additional shot lasting 12s not present in the cinema version

Latest Releases

The Abridged Version/Producers Cut was passed 18 after a 10s cut for:

  • UK 2009 BFI cinema release
  • UK 2007 Nouveaux Oshima Boxset R2 DVD at UK Amazon

The US release is the Abridged Version/Producers Cut without further cuts for:

  • US 2009 Criterion RA Blu-ray
  • US 2009 Criterion R2 DVD

Update: US Versions

22nd October 2010.

Thanks to Gary who pointed out that in fact the Criterion Blu-ray is uncut, complete with the boys penis being pulled, without any optical masking.

US NC-17 releases have deleted this scene but the Fox Lorber full screen DVD is uncut even though the cover proclaims an NC-17 rating.

 

22nd October   

Update: Police Censors...

Australian Labor MP suspended from party for opposing mean minded anti-porn bill
Link Here

new south wales parliament logo The Labor Party has suspended the president of the New South Wales upper house, Amanda Fazio, after she voted against a bill empowering easier police prosecution of adult consensual hardcore.

During a debate in Parliament last night, Ms Fazio defied her party by crossing the floor to vote with the Greens. Liberals and Nationals MPs, as well as the Shooters, Family First and Christian Democrats all voted in favour of the bill. The Greens opposed it.

Under party dictates, MPs must vote along party lines, except if they are allowed a conscience vote.

The bill is designed to boost the powers of police to prosecute those selling X-rated material. Under the Classifications (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment Bill, retailers charged with selling banned adult films face being asked to choose between admitting the offence or paying hundreds of dollars to have it classified by the Classification Board. The government says the proposal is designed to save money by removing the need for police to send films and other material for classification before prosecution.

Material rated X18+ or Refused Classification is banned from sale in NSW.

The bill has been criticised by the Greens and Australia's peak adult industry group, the Eros Foundation. They claim it effectively hands censorship powers to the police and may result in unfair pressure on retailers.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said: Under the bill, members of the NSW Police Force effectively are empowered to act as national classifiers. Clearly, members of the police force simply do not have the relevant training to undertake the role of classifier.

Police who charge a person with selling films or other material rated X18+ or Refused Classification will be able to ask the seller to sign a notice agreeing that the material would likely be classified that way by the Classification Board. If the seller refuses and is found guilty, prosecutors can apply for an order that the defendant pay the cost of having the material rated by the Classification Board. The cost to classify a 120-minute DVD is about $700. No classification costs will be payable if the seller signs and is subsequently found not guilty.

Under the current legislation, police must pay to have a seized film, publication or computer game classified. Once classified, they must apply for an evidentiary certificate before proceeding with a prosecution. The proposed legislation removes the need to obtain an evidentiary certificate, which can cost up to $1400, of which the police must pay half. Police are entitled to 100 fee-free applications for classification and evidentiary certificates, but the government says they regularly exceed this quota.

 

22nd October   

Localisers, Arabisers and Customisers...

Middle Eastern partners spew euphemisms for their computer game censorship
Link Here

mec logo Two Middle Eastern companies have announced a partnership that would introduce localised content to Arabic-speaking regions.

Through the partnership, the Modern Electronics Company (MEC) and Rubicon would not only localize games, but also develop new games that are both educational and entertaining, based on Arabic culture Storyboards, for different gaming platforms.

The localization in this case extends to censorship of extra-violent games and games that contain anything otherwise objectionable to the region. Rubicon refers to this type of localization as Arabize and adapt.

Speaking to Gamerzines, Ghassan Ayoubi, executive director of Rubicon, said the process is not censoring. ..[BUT]... It's tailoring or customising it for the market, Ayoubi said: It's not deviating from the game itself.

MEC is a Saudi Arabian company that's the sole distributor of Sony consumer products (including games) in the country and Rubicon is a regional digital content production company.

 

22nd October   

End of Term...

A new film and TV censor takes over in the Philippines
Link Here

MTRCB logo A melancholic Consoliza Laguardia has said her goodbyes to her 8-year stint as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

It's hard to say goodbye but then again I leave with a happy heart... because I know I've done my job and what I was tasked to do here. And I also felt the love and concern of the entertainment industry, Laguardia said at the MTRCB office in Timog, Quezon City.

Laguardia had already packed her things as Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of the late movie king Fernando Poe Jr. and movie queen Susan Roces, is set to take over.

It was a reign fraught with controversies, sparked by disputes with sectors like independent filmmakers, television producers and other groups that opposed the board's alleged moralistic code and political bias.

Her term was one of the longest in the history of the agency. She had consistently argued that young impressionable viewers should be protected from indecent exposure and language.

Offsite: Mention of balance usually means stacked in favour of the state

26th October 2010. See article from  minivannews.com

Grace Poe-Llamanzares doesn't want to be limited by labels like liberal or conservative.

It's all a matter of semantics, she said.

Instead, she vowed to strive to be more progressive and proactive in balancing the right to self-expression of artists, while keeping in mind the rights of the viewers, especially the parents, to be guided by a fair rating system.

 

21st October   

Update: Censorship by Violence...

Man pleads guilty of encouraging attacks on South Park writers
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

south park jail A US man has pleaded guilty to supporting a Somali Islamist militant group and encouraging attacks on the writers of cartoon show South Park.

Prosecutors said Zachary Adam Chesser was 'outraged' by the cartoon's perceived mockery of Muhammad.

US investigators said Chesser was a follower of radical US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Chesser sought twice to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab, which the US designates as a terrorist group.

Prosecutors said Chesser also posted to an Islamist militant website the personal contact information of people who had joined an Everybody Draw Muhammad Day Facebook group.

Zachary Chesser seriously endangered the lives of innocent people who will remain at risk for many years to come, US Attorney Neil MacBride said in a statement: His solicitation of extremists to murder US citizens also caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out - even in jest - lest they also be labelled as enemies who deserved to be killed.

In addition, Chesser pleaded guilty to urging people to plant suspicious packages in public places in order to densensitise police so a real bomb would escape notice.

Chesser pleaded guilty to two counts of communicating threats and soliciting crimes of violence, as well as to supporting an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group. The American Muslim convert faces up to 30 years in prison.

 

21st October   

Scary Mary...

Whingers wound up by naughty schoolgirl in Hovis advert
Link Here

hovis naughty mary video Two versions of a TV ad promoted Hovis Hearty Oats bread.

Ad (a) was 30 seconds long, set in the 1970s and featured a series of short scenes showing the same teenage girl riding a bicycle along a school corridor, kicking a football, hitting a school boy who called her scary Mary over the head with a notebook, making a prank phone call, throwing flour in a cookery class, pushing a teacher into a swimming pool and holding a piece of bread above a dog as it jumped up and down to try and reach it. The slices of bread were placed in a toaster. The voice-over stated There comes a time when it's good to be good and the shot cut to a woman taking the toast out of the toaster in a contemporary kitchen.

Ad (b) was 60 seconds long and featured additional scenes where a space hopper was dropped from a high-rise block of flats, Mary was pushed down the street in a shopping trolley, Mary pushed a friend in a ballet class, swung on a washing line and chased a pig along a school corridor.

Four people complained.

1. All four viewers challenged whether the ads were irresponsible and condoned anti-social behaviour and bullying.

2. One of the viewers challenged whether the scene with the dog was cruel and could encourage harmful emulation.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ads were designed to contrast the girls boisterous and mischievous behaviour with the sensible choice she made as an adult to eat Hearty Oats bread. Although we noted some of the girls actions were mischievous and naughty, they were not without consequence, and she was reprimanded in several scenes. We agreed with Clearcast that most viewers would see those actions as the playful and boisterous behaviour of a spirited young girl, particularly because the style and treatment of the ads portrayed a nostalgic reminiscence for a time when children were given greater freedom. Because of that, and because the timing restrictions meant ad (a) would not be seen by very young children, and the scenes in ad (b) featuring the girl spinning on the washing line and riding in the shopping trolley would be shown only after 9pm, we concluded the ads were not irresponsible and did not breach of the Code.

2. Not upheld

We noted the scene with the dog featured in both ads, and had been given an ex-kids timing restriction so that it was not broadcast in and around childrens programming and therefore would not be seen by young children. Although we noted the dog was briefly teased by the young girl, the animal was not in distress, a vet was on set when the ad was shot and the ex-kids timing restriction meant the ad would not be seen by very young children. We therefore concluded the brief scene with the dog was not cruel and did not encourage harmful emulation.

 

21st October   

Obituary: Bob Guccione...

Penthouse magazine publisher dies aged 79
Link Here

Caligula Bob Guccione, who founded Penthouse magazine and created an erotic corporate empire around it, died on Wednesday. He was 79.

A statement issued by the Guccione family says he died at Plano Specialty Hospital in Plano. His wife, April Dawn Warren Guccione, had said he had battled lung cancer for several years.

A frustrated artist who once attended a Catholic seminary, Guccione started Penthouse in 1965 in England to subsidize his art career and was the magazine's first photographer. He introduced the magazine to the American public in 1969 at the height of the feminist movement and the sexual revolution.

Penthouse quickly posed a challenge to Hugh Hefner's Playboy by offering a mix of tabloid journalism with provocative photos of nude women, dubbed Penthouse Pets.

Guccione estimated that Penthouse earned $4 billion during his reign as publisher. He was listed in the Forbes 400 ranking of wealthiest people with a net worth of about $400 million in 1982.

Guccione lost much of his personal fortune on bad investments and risky ventures.

Probably his best-known business failure was a $17.5 million investment in the 1979 production of the X-rated film Caligula . Malcolm McDowell was cast as the decadent emperor of the title, and the supporting cast included Helen Mirren, John Gielgud and Peter O'Toole.

It was Guccione who produced the sexed up version of Caligula with hardcore inserts that made such an impact on censors.

Distributors shunned the film, with its graphic scenes of lesbianism and incest. However, it eventually became General Media's most popular DVD.

Update: Penthouse vs Playboy

24th October 2010. Based on article from  telegraph.co.uk

Penthouse Magazine Bob Guccione had operated a mail-order business selling back issues of American girlie magazines to British customers. He sent copies of a pilot edition of Penthouse (featuring eight full-colour nudes, all photographed by himself) to addresses on the list and waited for the orders to roll in. But the list was obsolete and as a result his erotica reached several unintended recipients, including clergymen, schoolgirls, old-age pensioners and an MP who raised the issue in the House of Commons.

For the next three days Guccione found himself holed up inside his house with the police waiting outside to arrest him for sending unsolicited indecent material through the post. He barricaded himself in, having been advised by his lawyer to sit tight in order to generate maximum publicity. By the time he emerged, his reputation as the man who brought pornography to Britain was secure. He paid a £200 fine but when first issue of Penthouse hit the news stands the following year, its 160,000 print run sold out within five days.

By 1968 Penthouse was selling twice as many copies as Playboy in Europe and Guccione was ready to colonise his rival's home market. He launched his first American issue the following year on the back of a highly successful advertising campaign featuring a Playboy bunny in the sights of a rifle with the caption: We're going rabbit hunting . Within three years Penthouse was selling more copies than Esquire, Time, Life, Newsweek, The New Yorker and US News and World Report combined, and though Playboy continued to sell more copies, the majority were in the less lucrative subscription market.

The competition between the two magazines became something of a race to the bottom as Hefner, who had dismissed Guccione as a minor pain in the ass over in England , felt compelled to follow his rival's move into more and more explicit photo-shoots. In April 1970 Penthouse introduced its first full frontal nude and achieved its highest ever sales figures. Playboy followed suit in December. In August 1971 Guccione introduced the centrefold. Playboy did so the following year. Everything was started by us, Guccione claimed. We were the first to show full-frontal nudity. The first to expose the clitoris completely. I think we made a very serious contribution to the liberalisation of laws and attitudes.

 

21st October   

Wishing for an All Ena Sharples Cast...

Whinges about Coronation Street sexy top
Link Here

helen flanagan Rosie Webster proved too hot to handle for some Coronation Street viewers on Monday.

They complained to TV watchdog Ofcom that the top worn by Helen Flanagan was too saucy to be shown before the 9pm watershed.

One parent complained: She was dressed like a tart. It was totally inappropriate for that time of night.

Ofcom have had complaints about the 8.30pm episode, but sources claim it is unlikely they will take the matter further.

 

21st October   

Rationalisation?...

South African Woolworths decide to stop selling religious magazines
Link Here

woolworths south africa logo South African Christians are threatening to boycott Woolworths stores after a decision to stop selling Christian magazines.

This means readers of magazines such as Lig , Juig , Joy and Lééf will have to buy them elsewhere.

Adri-Louise van Renen, editor of Lig , confirmed that she was informed about the Woolworths decision after receiving an email from their distributor.

Van Renen wrote in a letter to her readers: All similar magazines have immediately been taken down from their shop shelves. She quoted a letter from Woolworths, saying: Woolworths has taken a business decision to no longer stock any religious magazines, with immediate effect. We have already given all our shops directives to remove religious titles from shelves.

Answering a customer's question on the Woolworths Facebook page, a spokesperson of the chain simply said that Woolworths had reviewed their whole magazine catalogue and rationalised it.

Woolworths CEO Simon Susman told Beeld that it was against the store's policy to sell religious and political magazines: We are currently reviewing all magazines sold by Woolworths. We will continue to remove magazines from our shelves that aren't popular with clients. We aim not to offend any community by this policy.

 

21st October   

Censor and Sensitivity...

Portuguese court unbans police detective's Maddie McCann book
Link Here

maddie truth of the lie Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine, have suffered a setback in their legal case against a Portuguese police officer when a Lisbon appeal court overturned a ban on his book about the case.

The book by former police detective Gonçalo Amaral, who led the Madeleine investigation in the first five months after the three-year-old's disappearance, can now go back on sale.

In September last year the McCanns obtained the ban on Amaral's book Maddie – The Truth about the Lie , in which he claims they were involved in the toddler's disappearance.

The court said the decision to block sales of the book had broken a constitutional and universal right: that of opinion and freedom of expression. The contents of the book do not breach the basic rights of the plaintiffs, the court said.

The book is an exercise in freedom of speech, Amaral told Portugal's Lusa news agency. Portuguese democracy has won, as banning the book was unconstitutional.

A spokesman for the McCann family said the decision did not stop the defamation case. The defamation action against Mr Amaral is very much continuing, he said. Kate and Gerry's lawyers are now examining the detail of this latest ruling and are considering an appeal.

 

21st October   

In Love with Censorship...

Egyptian censor objects to Romeo and Juliet romance set amongst political opponents
Link Here

Egypt flag For the second time, Egyptian government censors have rejected a proposed screenplay for a movie entitled Homma Hebo Baad (They're in Love with Each Other).

The first time the screenplay was presented to the censorship board for approval, the film--originally entitled The President's Son --told the story of the son of the president who falls in love with the daughter of a prominent opposition leader.

Scriptwriter Youssef Maaty subsequently modified to the script, changing the leading role from the president's son to the son of the prime minister. Censors, nevertheless, again rejected the script.

The film contains inappropriate political propaganda, said censorship director Sayed Khattab. Art should not be mixed with politics. Khattab denied that the security services had pressured him to reject the screenplay. If it is further amended, I would be willing to approve it, he stressed.

 

20th October   

Cold But Free...

Reporters Without Borders publish world league table of press freedom
Link Here

Reporters without Borders logo More than half of the EU's 27 countries score badly in the annual press freedom index carried out by the Paris-based NGO Reporters without Borders - a negative trend compared to previous years, even though three EU members are the freest places in the world in which to be a journalist.

It is disturbing to see several European Union member countries continuing to fall in the index. If it does not pull itself together, the EU risks losing its position as world leader in respect for human rights, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard said in a statement accompanying the study.

Thirteen of the EU's 27 members are in the world top 20. But some of the other 14 stand very low while the gap between good and bad performers continues to widen, the report says.

The poor performers include France and Italy, where events in the past year – violation of the protection of journalists' sources, concentration of media ownership, displays of contempt by government officials and judicial summonses - continue to follow a negative line.

Italy, where some 10 journalists still live under police protection, stayed in 49th place out of 178, scoring worse than Bosnia and sharing the same position as Burkina Faso.

Greece got the worst marks in the EU, plummeting a huge 35 places to 70, where it now sits alongside the bloc's other meida villain, Bulgaria.

The Greek plunge is due to political unrest and related physical attacks on journalists. Athens was also criticised for political meddling, going so far as to ask the German government to apologise for nasty headlines about the Greek economic crisis in the Stern magazine.

Romania went down two places to 52. Reporters Without Borders noted that the government now considers the media a threat to national security and plans to censor activities.

At the top end, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands share the pole position with non-EU members Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. The group-of-six has held the top score since the index was created in 2002.

Iceland won special praise for its bill, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), to provide a unique level of legal protection for reporters.

In Denmark, which holds 11th place, murder attempts against Mohammed cartoonists Kurt Westergaard and Lars Vilks, could create a climate of self-censorship, Reporters Without Borders warned.

The survey also pointed to serious violations on the EU's doorstep.

EU candidate Turkey was placed in 138th place, next to Ethiopia (139) and Russia (140). The NGO spoke of a frenzied proliferation of lawsuits [and] incarcerations of reporters.

EU aspirant Ukraine placed at 131. Censorship has signalled its return, particularly in the audiovisual sector, the study said on the return to power of Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukoych.

Elsewhere the Philippines, Ukraine, Greece and Kyrgyzstan all fell sharply in this year's index. In the Philippines this was due to the massacre of around 30 journalists by a local baron, in Ukraine to the slow and steady deterioration in press freedom since Viktor Yanukovych's election as president in February, in Greece to political unrest and physical attacks on several journalists, and in Kyrgyzstan to the ethnic hatred campaign that accompanied the political turmoil.

India's and Thailand's rankings drop due to a breakout of serious violence Political violence has produced some very troubling tumbles in the rankings. Thailand (153rd) – where two journalists were killed and some fifteen wounded while covering the army crackdown on the red shirts movement in Bangkok – lost 23 places, while India slipped to 122nd place (-17) mainly due to extreme violence in Kashmir.

1 Finland  
- Iceland
- Netherlands  
- Norway
- Sweden  
- Switzerland
7 Austria
8 New Zealand
9 Estonia
- Ireland
11 Denmark drop
- Japan
- Lithuania
14 Belgium
- Luxembourg
- Malta
17 Germany
18 Australia
19 United Kingdom
20 United States of America  
21 Canada
- Namibia rise
23 Hungary
- Czech Republic
25 Jamaica
26 Cape Verde rise
- Ghana
- Mali
29 Costa Rica
30 Latvia drop
- Trinidad and Tobago
32 Poland
33 Chile
34 Hong-Kong rise
35 Slovakia
- Surinam
37 Uruguay
38 South Africa
39 Spain
40 Portugal drop
41 Tanzania rise
42 South Korea rise
- Papua New Guinea rise
44 France
45 Cyprus drop
46 Slovenia
47 Bosnia and Herzegovina
48 Taiwan rise
49 Burkina Faso
- Italy  
51 El Salvador rise
52 Maldives
- Romania
54 Paraguay  
55 Argentina
56 Haiti
57 Eastern Caribbean States  
58 Brazil rise
59 Guyana drop
60 Togo
61 Cyprus (North) drop
62 Botswana  
- Croatia rise
64 Bhutan
65 Mauritius drop
- Seychelles
67 Guinea-Bissau rise
68 Macedonia drop
69 Central African Republic rise
70 Benin
- Bulgaria
- Comoros rise
- Greece drop
- Kenya rise
75 Moldova rise
76 Mongolia rise
77 Guatemala rise
78 Lebanon drop
79 Malawi drop
80 Albania
81 Panama drop
82 Zambia rise
83 Nicaragua
84 Liberia drop
85 Serbia drop
86 Israel (Israeli territory)
87 United Arab Emirates
- Kuwait drop
- Tonga  
90 Lesotho
91 Sierra Leone rise
92 Kosovo drop
93 Senegal
- Timor-Leste drop
95 Mauritania
96 Uganda drop
97 Dominican Republic
98 Mozambique drop
99 USA (extra-territorial)
- Georgia drop
101 Armenia rise
- Ecuador drop
103 Bolivia
104 Angola rise
- Montenegro drop
- Niger rise
107 Gabon rise
108 Burundi
109 Peru drop
110 Djibouti  
111 Samoa  
112 Chad rise
113 Guinea drop
114 Congo
115 Tajikistan
116 Madagascar rise
117 Indonesia drop
118 Côte d’Ivoire drop
119 Nepal
120 Jordan
121 Qatar drop
122 India drop
123 Zimbabwe rise
124 Oman drop
125 Gambia rise
126 Bangladesh
127 Egypt rise
128 Cambodia drop
129 Cameroon drop
130 Iraq rise
131 Ukraine drop
132 Israel (extra-territorial) rise
133 Algeria
- Venezuela
135 Morocco
136 Mexico
- Singapore
138 Turkey drop
139 Ethiopia
140 Russia rise
141 Malaysia drop
142 Brunei rise
143 Honduras drop
144 Bahrein drop
145 Colombia drop
- Nigeria drop
147 Afghanistan
148 Democratic Republic of Congo
149 Fiji
150 Palestinian Territories rise
151 Pakistan
152 Azerbaijan
153 Thailand drop
154 Belarus
155 Swaziland drop
156 Philippines drop
157 Saudi Arabia
158 Sri Lanka
159 Kyrgyzstan drop
160 Libya
161 Somalia
162 Kazakhstan drop
163 Uzbekistan
164 Tunisia drop
165 Vietnam
166 Cuba
167 Equatorial Guinea
168 Laos
169 Rwanda drop
170 Yemen
171 China
172 Sudan drop
173 Syria
174 Burma
175 Iran
176 Turkmenistan
177 North Korea
178 Eritrea

 

20th October   

Update: The Taking of Prince Harry...

Hype for Channel 4 TV drama
Link Here

taking of prince harry A TV drama based on what would happen if Prince Harry were to be taken prisoner while serving in Afghanistan has been described as deeply distasteful .

The 90-minute film includes scenes showing the prince, played by actor Sebastian Reid, being held behind enemy lines while negotiations are carried out to free him.

The Taking Of Prince Harry shows the prince at one point with an unloaded gun pointed at his face before one of his captors pulls the trigger.

A defence source said: The depiction, fictional or otherwise, of a member of the Armed Forces being taken hostage and mistreated is deeply distasteful.

A Clarence House spokesman said: We are not prepared to comment on this work of fiction. Speculation about the security of Prince Harry both as a serving member of the Armed Forces and as a senior member of the Royal Family is unhelpful.

The show, which will be broadcast on Thursday October 21 at 9pm, includes scenes where the Prince is confronted by a British-born radical Islamist and details how the British Government's approach to hostage negotiations differs from other nations.

Update: Whoa! Sir Jock Stirrup tries to rein in Channel 4

20th October 2010.  Based on article from  dailymail.co.uk

jock stirrup The head of Britain's armed forces, Sir Jock Stirrup is understood to have told broadcaster Channel 4 in a letter that the programme The Taking of Harry would distress the families of those serving in the country and undermine security and morale.

But the channel ignored the plea by the Chief of the Defence Staff and wrote back saying the programme will be aired as planned on Thursday at 9pm.

Palace officials were reported as reacting with anger and dismay to Channel 4's decision to air The Taking of Prince Harry , which asks experts to predict the course of a royal kidnapping and dramatises what might happen.

The Royal Family is understood to be distressed by the prospect of Harry's mock execution being acted out in front of millions of viewers.

Critics have also claimed the programme risks giving terrorists vital intelligence about the potential response to a high-profile kidnapping.

A defence source said: If Channel 4 goes ahead it will fail in its duty to respect the sacrifices that our armed forces and their families make on behalf of the whole country. It will no doubt say that this is a serious journalistic exercise but no responsible broadcaster would treat such a serious subject as the morale of our brave service personnel with such casual disregard.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: We can confirm that the Chief of the Defence Staff has written to the chairman of Channel 4. It was a private letter and it would be inappropriate to comment on its contents.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: The film is a serious journalistic examination of a current issue. It treats the subject matter sensitively. It is a legitimate subject to explore the risks that Prince Harry faces as a high value target, and to seek to understand the full nature of the dangers to a royal in the modern theatre of war.'

 

20th October   

Lick Your Viva...

ASA lick the VIVA advert more than a few whingers do
Link Here

lick your viva advert Two TV ads, for the VIVA TV channel, included characters who spoke with South African accents; the characters pronounced like as lick . One character stated We lick Viva eh. I lick it a lot, I can't get enough. I'm licking it twenty four seven . Both ads showed the names of TV shows on the characters clothes and body parts. The ads ended with four people spelling out VIVA with their bodies; two lay on their backs with their legs raised and apart to form Vs. A voice-over, with an English accent, stated lick your Viva .

(a) the first ad showed the names of TV shows, and the word VIVA on the front of a t-shirt, shaved into one of the character's hair and on a male's torso;

(b) the second ad also showed the names of TV shows on a female's breast, which she pulled her top down to partly expose, and on another female's lower back.

Ad (a) was cleared by Clearcast with no timing restriction; ad (b) was cleared with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. Issue

1. Two viewers challenged whether the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence, because they believed the end scene was sexually suggestive.

2. Of those two viewers, one also challenged whether ad (a) was suitable to be shown when children might be watching.

3. Another viewer challenged whether ad (b) was suitable to be shown when children might be watching, because the female characters partly exposed their bodies.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged the ads might be distasteful to some. We noted the images of the two women in ad (b) could be interpreted as being mildly suggestive but the end scene in both ads was clearly intended to show the characters spelling out the word Viva in a light hearted way; it was not explicit or overtly sexual. We concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. & 3. Not upheld

We noted ad (b) was cleared with an ex-kids timing restriction by Clearcast; ad (a) did not have a timing restriction. We noted the images of the two women in ad (b) could be interpreted as being mildly suggestive. Although one of the women moved her top slightly however, neither of the characters exposed herself and the scenes were not explicit or overtly sexual. We noted the ad was clearly light hearted and considered the restriction was sufficient to ensure ad (b) was unlikely to be seen by children watching television alone. We also noted ad (a) did not include the mildly suggestive scenes; we therefore considered it was unlikely to be unsuitable for children. We therefore concluded that the ads did not breach the TV scheduling rules.

 

20th October   

Update: Big Brother Dave...

Cameron to resurrect extensive government internet snooping plan
Link Here  full story: Communications Snooping...Big Brother Extremism

Big Brother Hugely controversial Big Brother plans to store details of every internet click, email and telephone call that we make are being revived by the Coalition, it has emerged.

Police, security services and other public bodies would be able to find out which websites a person had visited, and when, where and to whom a text or call was made.

The plan – which was kicked into the long grass by Labour amid a public outcry – will put the Government on a collision course with civil liberties groups.

They argue it is a snooper's charter which will allow the state to spy on millions of innocent citizens.

So far ministers have insisted they want to provide a correction in favour of liberty when it comes to the powers required to protect the public. But this is sounding pretty weak now ministers have been persuaded of the case to give the police and security officials enhanced rights to access the public's communications.

Firm plans will be published later this year on how the personal information should be stored.

 

20th October   

YouView, WeControl...

YouView get the go-ahead from Ofcom
Link Here

youview 1 logo Ofcom has effectively given the green light to a controversial video-on-demand service backed by the BBC after declining to launch a competition investigation.

The YouView service – previously codenamed Project Canvas – is now due to launch by March next year.

The platform will allow users to stream on demand content from a number of providers from a single set-top box. It is backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk, Orange and Arqiva and will allow providers to stream pay-as-you-go as well as free to air content.

However, competitors including Virgin Media and BSkyB have raised concerns it could distort competition in the increasingly important content on demand market.

Ofcom acknowledged there could be competition concerns in the future but said it was unable to launch an investigation until it had time to assess the impact YouView has on the emerging sector. Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards, said: An investigation would be premature at the current stage of YouView's development given the absence of a clear risk of consumer harm. But if evidence does emerge in the future that YouView causes harm to the interests of viewers and consumers we may reconsider whether to investigate.

Virgin Media branded the decision perplexing and may appeal.

YouView is a joint venture between media giants including BT, TalkTalk and ITV. It will offer video streamed over users' broadband connections through a set-top box. Broadcasters will be able to offer pay per view.

Update: Delayed

13th February 2011. See  article from  pocket-lint.com

New video-on-demand platform YouView has been delayed until next year, according to one of Pocket-lint's trusted sources. It was previously reported that the service, formerly called Project Canvas, had been pushed back to summertime, but we now understand that it is unlikely to surface until at least February 2012.

 

20th October   

Not Following the Bosnian Script...

Bosnian script censors relinquish their ban on Angelina Jolie's directorial debut
Link Here

Bosnia flag Angelina Jolie has been granted permission to shoot her directing debut in Bosnia after government censors withdrew an earlier ban.

The Bosnian government imposed the injunction following complaints from the Association of Women Victims of War, which claimed the submitted screenplay centred on a Bosnian rape victim who falls in love with her Serbian attacker.

Producer Edin Sarkic said the screenplay had been handed to the Bosnian culture minister, Gavrilo Grahovac, in an effort to dispel the controversy. Authorities later agreed to let the shoot take place, having stated that incomplete paperwork was the reason for the delay.

Sarkic described the episode as unnecessary , and said he would now begin preparations for the shoot in November: It's a big thing for Bosnia that such a mega-mega-star is coming to Sarajevo.

Previously, Jolie argued in a written statement that it would be a shame if unfair pressure based on wrong information prevented her from shooting her movie.

 

20th October   

Voltaire in Tunisia...

Tunisians defend religious channel closed by Egypt on grounds of extremism
Link Here

annas tv logo Satellite TV station Ennas has been closed due to alleged violations of the broadcasting agreement, sparking mixed reactions across the countries of Maghreb (Northwest Africa).

Egypt suspended the license of Al-Baraheen International and its four satellite TV stations, including Ennas, on October 12th citing extremist or sectarian content.

Tunisians were divided over the decision to shut down the channels, with most viewers opposing the ban.

I don't think that this was the best solution, said journalist Sofiene Chourabi. I'm against the silencing of voices. It would have been better to encourage liberal and enlightening channels to broadcast via satellites in order to open the field for honest and balanced competition. After that, the final judgment would be left to viewers.

The suspended business owns the Khaleejia, al-Hafiz, al-Seha wal Jamal and Ennas channels. According to media critic Khemais Khayati, who authored a book on religious TV channels, Ennas has a large audience in Tunisia, with nearly 500,000 viewers.

In principle, channels of expression may not be closed, even if they were encouraging extremism, backwardness and taming, which are the easiest things to convince the general populace with. Therefore, it would have been better to create channels that expose them rather than close them, said Faouzi Naoui.

Human rights activist Bochra Bel Haj Hmida condemned the ban. This is not a solution. It would be better to respond to the backward and racist ideology channels by encouraging all media outlets that call for freedom, human rights and respect of individuals, she said.

Many Tunisians believe in defending the channels whatever their value. Azouz Lotfi told Magharebia the networks don't offer any positive things to humanity... they don't respect the right to different opinion and are hostile to modernity in principle .

Nevertheless, he said: We must defend that channel and its right to broadcasting out of respect for freedom of opinion and expression and values of equality and humanity. We should not fall into the trap of ban, restriction and methods of oppression. We won't defend freedom and dignity using the methods employed by executioners and decapitators.

Offsite: Islamic Fundamentalist Mass Media Targets Egyptian Coptic Church

1st November 2010. Based on article from aina.org By Mary Abdelmassih

On October 19, Egypt's main satellite operator Nilesat temporarily suspended 12 Islamic channels, and warned 20 others, on grounds of violating their licenses. The reasons given were mainly for promoting religious hatred, inciting sectarianism, violence, quack medicine and sorcery. This decision was taken after extensive study that indicated a near doubling of these channels over the past year and a recent spike of extremist religious discourse, information minister Anas Al-Feki said in a statement. Before these measures were taken, there were 94 Islamic private television channels airing from Arab countries.

Nine of the twelve suspended channels were funded by Saudi Arabia. There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is playing a destructive and ruinous role in Egypt, commented Magdi Khalil.

Analysts said that the suspension decision seemed to be mainly aimed at stopping the spread of strict Islamic Salafi/Wahabbi teaching that might boost support for the Muslim Brotherhood, prompted by the forthcoming crucial parliamentary elections in November.

...read the full article

 

19th October   

No Surrend...

Danish art exhibition cancelled over royal orgy cartoon
Link Here

surrend org logo Surrend describe themselves as:

Surrend is the name of a street-art group. The members are: Jan Egesborg, Pia Bertelsen. The group started during the funeral of Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic in the winter of 2006.

The idea behind Surrend is to make fun of the world's powerful men. Surrend travels to places that are dangerous for artists – where usually only journalists dare to tread.

Surrend consists of independent artists – and is not connected to any NGO or political party.

Surrend uses the street as its exhibition space. And Surrend uses stickers with ironic texts as its only expression medium.

The Surrend project will consist of 20 different travels – and culminates in a gallery exhibition in Copenhagen.

A cartoon depicting the Danish royal family taking part in an orgy has led to the cancellation of a retrospective of works by satirical Danish artist duo Surrend (consisting of Jan Egesborg and Pia Bertelsen). These people just want to attract attention, nothing else, said Thomas Bloch Ravn, the director of Den Gamle By in Aarhus, Denmark's second city. It turned out that I cannot trust them and therefore I decided it's better not to collaborate with them.

The show was due to open in the Danish Poster Museum, part of Den Gamle By, on 13 October. We agreed on a retrospective exhibition, but when Surrend announced it was including a totally new poster depicting the Danish royals in a pornographic scene, that was against our agreement, Ravn said. This is a clear case of censorship , said Egesborg. Denmark pretends to encourage freedom of speech and argues for publishing a cartoon hurting millions of Muslims, but when it comes to its own royalty it's a different story.

Ravn denied censorship and said: In the same way that the editor-in-chief decides what is published in a newspaper, the head of a museum has the last saying regarding works in an exhibition. They are free to publish their work elsewhere. Peder Stougaard, the head of the Danish Poster Museum, said he disagreed with the show's cancellation, although he would not have displayed the royal family image.

Lars Hedegaard, the president of the Free Press Society, told The Art Newspaper that he sees the cancellation is an overreaction, but not censorship . The Danish Association of Visual Artists is backing Surrend, while the Association of Danish Museums said it supports Den Gamle By's decision.

The cartoon does seem a little disrespectful but can be viewed in article from theartnewspaper.com .

 

19th October   

Purple Spirit...

Facebook speak soothing words about gay hate and bullying
Link Here

Facebook logo Facebook is working with a gay-advocacy group to reduce the amount of hate speech and bullying on the online social hub.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said it reached out to Facebook last week after Internet bullies flooded a page set up to honor teens who recently killed themselves in response to anti-gay hate.

The page, set up by a Facebook user, asks supporters to wear purple next Wednesday in memory of the teenagers. Purple represents spirit in the rainbow flag that's the symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Facebook said that its policies prohibit hateful content and that it has systems in place to take down such posts as soon as possible. But the company also said it wants its users to be able to express unpopular opinions and as such must strike a careful balance between removing harmful content and letting people speak freely.

 

19th October   

Dabbawallah Sweat...

Up 'n' coming Indian nationalist politician protests 20 year old book
Link Here

Such Long Journey Rohinton Mistry A novel published almost two decades ago by a Canadian author is fuelling a censorship battle that may serve as a proving ground for the next generation of India's extreme nationalists.

A mob of students at the University of Mumbai recently burned copies of Such a Long Journey , the award-winning novel by Rohinton Mistry, complaining about profanity and unfair portrayals of right-wing politicians.

The university's leadership accepted their demands to pull the novel from the syllabus midterm, prompting a counterprotest this week by faculty and students in support of the book.

The state government has promised to investigate the ban, but it's already regarded as the first political success for Aditya Thackeray, the 20-year-old grandson of the man who founded Shiv Sena, a hard-line nationalist party. Like his father and his grandfather before him, Thackeray will be expected to fill a space in India's public discourse roughly equivalent to that occupied by Fox News in the United States.

Building on the notoriety he gained from his attack on the Canadian author, the budding politician plans to announce the formation of his party's new youth wing.

The university added the title to its syllabus for undergraduate English studies four years ago, apparently without objection until Thackeray discussed the book with fellow students over the summer.

He said some students brought the book to his attention because of some slang and abusive language, said C.R. Sadasivan, president of the Bombay University and College Teachers' Union. They also claimed they want to defend the dabbawallas, Prof. Sadasivan added, referring to the unique class of delivery men who carry lunch boxes to office workers in India's largest city.

The offending reference to dabbawallas appears to be passage of dialogue in which a character complains that one of the delivery men stood so close on the train that the man's sweat dripped on him.

What to do with such low-class people? the character says, in the book. No manners, no sense, nothing. And you know who is responsible for this attitude – that bastard Shiv Sena leader who worships Hitler and Mussolini.

That kind of talk about Shiv Sena remains dangerous, even in fiction.

A selection of pages highlighted by Shiv Sena suggests the party also has a problem with descriptions of male erections; the dietary advantages of eating India's sacred cows; the failings of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister; and tame scenes at brothels.

 

19th October   

Update: Vo Van Ai Visa Veto...

Thailand again blocks Vietnam dissident from attending human rights event in Bangkok
Link Here  full story: Human Rights Events in Thailand...Human Rights Critics Banned from Thailand

seahrn logo Thailand has drawn fire by again preventing a prominent Vietnamese dissident from speaking at a conference in Bangkok.

The president of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Vo Van Ai, was refused a visa by the Thai Embassy in Paris, the second time that he has been prevented from travelling to Bangkok in recent weeks.

His previous visa was cancelled in the run-up to a stillborn September launch of a critical report on human rights in Vietnam, a move which brought international criticism upon Thailand.

An empty chair marked the place where Vo Van Ai was to have delivered a lecture titled Universality and Particularity in Human Rights: A Vietnamese Buddhist Viewpoint at the First International Conference on Human Rights in Asia. The event drew scholars and activists from across southeast Asia and beyond and was held by the Southeast Asia Human Rights Network (SEAHRN) and Bangkok's Mahidon University.

Dr. Srirapha Petcharamasree read letter from Vo Van Ai to SEAHRN, in which he said that the attitude of the Thai government is particularly shocking given that Thailand holds the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council. Dr. Srirapha called on the Thai Government to be faithful to the commitment made to the UN when it made its candidacy to the presidency.

 

19th October   

Repression by Proxy...

Iranian blogger gets 15 years in jail for work with internet proxies
Link Here

Iran flag Reporters Without Borders condemns the increasing severity of the Iranian regime's persecution of bloggers. One, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, was given a 15-year jail sentence 10 days ago while another, Mehdi Khazali, the editor of the website Baran http://www.drkhazali.com, was arrested two days ago.

Like journalists, bloggers have been treated for months as if they are enemies of the regime, Reporters Without Borders said: But the authorities have now started to impose much harsher sentences on them. Bloggers involved in censorship circumvention are being particularly targeted as they help their fellow citizens to gain access to banned information.

Mehdi Khazali was arrested on 13 October. He has been posting a lot of criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his government on his website Baran (http://www.drkhazali.com/) for more than a year.

Maleki received his 15-year jail sentence from the Tehran revolutionary court's 26th chamber on 5 October, after more than 300 days in solitary confinement. It consisted of 11 years for collaborating with the Iran proxy group (which helps Iranians to sidestep online censorship), two years for insulting the Supreme Leader and two years for insulting the president.

Revolutionary Guards arrested Maleki on 13 December during an operation to dismantle a counterrevolutionary network. He was alleged to have written and used software to combat filtering and to host and support websites and blogs that defend human rights. He was held incommunicado for several weeks before the authorities confirmed they were holding him.

 

18th October   

Update: Spitting at the Censors...

Steven Monroe's I Spit on Your Grave opens unrated
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

Spit Your Grave Sarah Butler Sarah Butler, the star of I Spit On Your Grave, which released last weekend in theaters, is happy with the decision to release it unrated.

She says that the MPAA required more than 100 cuts to give it an R rating, and that would be like cutting the legs off this film.

It's an extremely gory movie, and the rape scene is extraordinarily hard to watch, as they don't just rape her, they torture her too. By the time she starts getting revenge, you're ready to take a hacksaw to the guys yourself.

She also told USA Weekend: Why go through the whole thing of shooting a film and really committing yourself to the violence and everything, and then just go and cut it all up to pieces? It's pointless.

 

18th October   

Update: Unprovocative Show Provokes A Protest...

Malaysians protest against a toned down Adam Lambert gig
Link Here  full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars

Your Entertainment Tour CD DVD The openly gay, flamboyant rocker Adam Lambert kept his promise to Malaysia’s government and steered clear of sexually provocative moves at a concert that was protested by dozens of Islamic activists.

Last week, Lambert wrote on Twitter that while he did not believe his shows were in any way offensive I have agreed to make a few minor adjustments out of respect for the Malaysian government. Looking forward to a fun show.

Lambert, an American Idol runner-up, is well-known for racy performances. At the American Music Awards last year, he kissed a male keyboard player.

 

18th October   

Censors Take their Revenge...

The line, 'Revenge is the purest emotion', offends Indian film censors
Link Here

rakta charitra Indian filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma's new movie Rakhta Charitra is facing tarditional censor 'controversy'.

This time, the filmmaker has quoted a line from Mahabharat in his movie Rakhta Charitra 's posters. This has not gone well with the censor board in Hyderabad, which has put objection on the line, which says, Revenge is the purest emotion . The producers of the movie have been asked by the censor board to remove the reference.

A source was quoted saying that the censor board in Hyderabad said that it can't be proved that the line in question has indeed any reference in Mahabharat . Hence the line has been asked to remove.

The producers have already distributed all the posters with that line. So, they are left with no other option but to remove the line from each of the posters at huge cost.

 

18th October   

Ferhat Tunc...

Turkish singer on trial
Link Here  full story: Music Censorship in Turkey...Musician under duress from Turkish authorities

Baba Munzur More than 1,000 people sign petition calling on Turkish authorities to drop trial against a Kurdish singer

Singer Ferhat Tunc is facing a prison sentence of up to 15 years on the grounds of a speech made at a cultural festival in the south-eastern province of Siirt. The international writers association, International PEN, addressed the prime minister with regard to this case.

Tunc is charged with spreading propaganda for the PKK organization , the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, and committing a crime on behalf of an illegal organization without being a member of the organization .

The case against the defendant is being heard at the Diyarbakir 4th High Criminal Court. During a 1 October hearing, his joint attorneys claimed that his speech should be evaluated within the boundaries of freedom of expression and requested their client's acquittal.

 

17th October   

Terrorist, Gangster and Thief...

US anti-Obama billboard causes a stir in Grand Junction
Link Here

anti obama billboard advert The owner of a Grand Junction company located beneath a controversial billboard of President Barack Obama is glad the sign is now gone.

Doris Downey, owner of J&S Fence Company said the owners of the billboard company, Bud's Signs, removed it after receiving threats from people who didn't care for it.

Its artist, Paul Snover, said that the controversial billboard that depicted Obama in several caricatures would remain for at least a month. Snover, who received numerous hate e-mails of his own about the sign, said he hoped to see it travel to other cities after the Nov. 2 elections.

The billboard depicted Obama as a terrorist, a gangster, a Mexican bandit and a gay man.  Snover said the message was to highlight some of Obama's programs that his client, whom he declined to identify, doesn't care for.

 

17th October   

Government Book Banners Banned...

Indonesian court says book bans should be administered by the courts, not the government
Link Here

Indonesia flag In a landmark verdict, Indonesia's  Constitutional Court struck out a law that gave the Attorney General's Office the power to ban books, saying such power should rest with a judicial court.

The 1963 Law on Securing Printed Materials whose content could disrupt public order is against the Constitution, court chief Mahfud MD said: The law is no longer legally binding.

Muhammad Alim, another justice, said that in a state governed by law, confiscating or banning publications and books should be done through the process of law: If an action is categorized as being against the law, the process should be through the courts. Therefore, [authority to] ban goods such as printed materials considered liable to disrupt public order cannot be given to an institution without a court ruling, Alim said. The authority of the AG to ban printed material or books without a court process is the approach of an authoritarian state, not one based on law like Indonesia.

Speaking after the court verdict, Mahfud said that in an emergency, when printed material was deemed dangerous, the AGO could still seek court permission to temporarily ban or confiscate the material pending the court process: If it is urgent, before a verdict the AGO can ask permission of the court, but there should be certainty that it [the book] is dangerous .

Government representative Mualimin Abdi welcomed the ruling as it still provided an avenue to deal with printed material considered dangerous.

In the past six years, the repealed law has been used by the governement to ban 22 books, most of them dealing with the murky coup attempt in 1965.

Theodora Erlijna, a historian from the Institute of Indonesian Social History, one of the parties who filed for the review, warned that there is still a long way to go.

Theodora pointed out that there were other laws that could be used to ban books, such as the Criminal Code, the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law and the 1965 Blasphemy Law.

 

16th October   

Sex Objects Prefer Lads on Top...

Objecting to lads' mags on Feminist Fridays
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

objecting to lads mags video Outside a branch of Tesco in central London, 30 people in pyjamas, nightgowns and fluffy slippers have gathered to campaign against lads' mags. All are members of the activist group Object and they are here to take part in the monthly Porn Versus Pyjamas campaign. They dart down the dairy aisle to the display of lads' magazines, which they mark with their own slogans. FHM is put in a paper bag emblazoned with: For Horrible Misogynists , while Maxim is hidden behind the phrase MAXIMum Sexism .

The women start a conga-line through the supermarket, chanting Hey, ho, sexist mags have got to go , alerting security guards to their presence. Eventually they're ushered out, but not before depositing pamphlets, entitled Porn v Pyjamas: Why Lads' Mags Are Harmful, in customers' baskets.

Their campaign began earlier this year, after Tesco ruled that customers wouldn't be allowed to shop in pyjamas because this could make other people feel uncomfortable. Object bit back by accusing some Tesco stores of ignoring the voluntary codes of conduct that suggest lads' mags should be covered up and repositioned on the top shelf, alongside pornographic content.

The Tesco demonstration is part of its Feminist Fridays campaign – monthly events where activists protest against lads' mags and other forms of sexism. After being ejected from Tesco, the demonstrators spend three hours outside the store, distributing 1,500 leaflets.

Lads' mags are an example of the mainstreaming of pornography, says Anna van Heeswijk of Object. The whole tone is of complete contempt [for women]. They are made up of photographs that come straight from pornography and would have been thought of as hardcore 50 years ago. But now the boundaries have been pushed to such an extent that they are considered an appropriate part of lads' mags and soft porn.

 

16th October   

Update: Minority Campaign...

Christian groups campaign against UN resolution criminalising defamation of religion
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logo A U.N. resolution that seeks to criminalize words and actions perceived as attacks against religion – particularly Islam – will be up for vote again this year. Related

This time, however, the U.N. Defamation of Religions resolution is picking up more opposition than in previous years and might not pass as it has in the past.

The resolution lost support in the U.N. General Assembly vote during the last couple of years and we think this year may be the tipping point, reported Christian persecution watchdog group Open Doors, which has launched a campaign to rally concerned individuals against the resolution.

Annually sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) since 1999, the anti-defamation resolution – which has been presented in various forms and under various titles – seeks to make the defamation of religions a human rights violation. According to the resolution, the defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred in general could lead to social disharmony and violations of human rights. It also claims there is a need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular.

The resolution seeks to protect ideas instead of individuals undermining the true purpose of international human rights law, remarked Open Doors. It also legitimizes national blasphemy laws used by countries such as Pakistan to silence Christians and other religious minorities, as well as Muslims who do not conform to the government's ideas.

Open Doors, through its Free to Believe campaign, is rallying concerned Americans to press their representatives to reach out to countries that abstained from last year's GA vote on the resolution. Countries that abstained included Belize, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, and Zambia. Open Doors is also targeting countries that voted yes last year but are not member states of the OIC, which boasts itself as the second largest inter-governmental organization in the world after the United Nations and claims to represent the collective voice of the Muslim world.

Presently, OIC's member states and allies have a majority in the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council, but if nations such as the Dominican Republic and Thailand change their yes votes to no this year and are joined by some of those who abstained in 2009, a defeat of the resolution is possible.

 

16th October   

Paying Lip Service to Nutters...

The Christian Institute dig up the dirt about BBC lesbian drama, Lip Service
Link Here

lip service A controversial new BBC lesbian drama which showed two women having sex next to a corpse has left TV viewers appalled.

BBC 3's Lip Service , which is aimed at viewers as young as 16 and began airing this week, has attracted complaints from scores of viewers.

And one of the show's actresses has revealed that filming the controversial drama was like working on a porn set. Laura Fraser, who plays a character called Cat, said: I started to feel like I was making a porno film. It started to freak me out a bit. We were all freaked out. At the end of a day I was thinking 'what am I doing for a living?'And then I was going home to my six-year-old daughter Lila which felt very weird.

The BBC describes Lip Service as being a bold drama about the sex lives and love affairs of twenty-something lesbians living in contemporary Glasgow .

However, the show has attracted a number of complaints. Alice Seddon, who contacted a national newspaper, said: I was shocked and horrified. It was so off-putting I switched off. Churning

Another viewer, commenting on an internet forum, described the funeral parlour sex scene as stomach churning .

Harriet Braun, the show's creator, spoke to BBC's Newsbeat and claimed that the show is as realistic as possible. She said: It was important to me that the lesbian characters came across as authentic to a lesbian audience. I wanted it to reflect real life.

 

16th October   

Red Letter...

Influential Chinese elders call for an end to state censorship
Link Here

China flag A former secretary to Mao Tse-tung as well as an ex-publisher of the People's Daily are among retired Communist Party heavyweights who have published a toughly worded open letter calling on the Chinese government to abolish censorship.

The letter began circulating Oct. 1, but the campaign has gained traction since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned for his role in drafting a similar pro-democracy letter called Charter 08 two years ago.

This latest call for freedom will not be so easily suppressed because of the Communist Party bona fides of the people who signed.

These are important people who signed the letter with their names, titles and locations, requesting freedom of expression, Li Datong, a former editor at the China Youth Daily who is friends with the organizers, said this week. Clearly, they are not afraid. The trend cannot be stopped.

Sort of a cross between a chain letter and a petition, this latest missive has been popping up — and then disappearing as it is removed by censors — on various Chinese bulletin boards and blogs over the last few days.

It calls for the uncensored circulation of books, newspapers and magazines and the lifting of restrictions on the Internet. It demands the dismantling of the Central Propaganda Department, the powerful body that reports directly to the Politburo and which the letter's drafters refer to as an invisible black hand.

When our country was founded in 1949, our people cried out that they had been liberated, that they were now their own masters, the letter states. But even today, 61 years after the founding of our nation, after 30 years of opening and reform, we have not yet attained the freedom of speech and press to the degree enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong under colonial rule.

 

16th October   

Flagrant Press Censorship...

Bolivia anti-discrimination law enables press censorship
Link Here

Bolvia flag Evo Morales, Bolivia's leftist president, signed an anti-racism law that his opponents say could be used to stifle media criticism of his government.

Senators passed the law after 13 hours of debate and did not make any changes to the original text approved by the lower house. The president's allies have control of both houses.

Morales, Bolivia's first president of native Indian descent, said the measure ensured greater equality in the Andean nation.

The law allows authorities to close down news outlets deemed to have published racist content, sparking protests by opposition senators.

Journalists have protested against the law for weeks, with some resorting to hunger strikes.

Bolivia's National Press Association, which represents newspaper owners, branded the controversial clause as flagrant press censorship.

 

15th October   

Censor On...

Ofcom gets an easy ride in government quango review
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom is to have a number of its powers curtailed including its responsibility for running regular reviews of public service broadcasting and media ownership rules.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made the announcements today as part of changes that will see 19 of the 55 public bodies for which the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible either abolished or significantly reformed.

The DCMS also confirmed rumours that Postcomm, the postal services regulator, will be merged into Ofcom.

Hunt also announced eight key changes to how Ofcom's duties will be changed. The DCMS said that the restructure was designed to return the policy-setting role to the secretary of state, reduce unnecessary expense and to avoid duplication .

Hunt will decide when to conduct the time-consuming PSB reviews, currently run once every five years, and determine the scope. The same will apply to the statutory media ownership rules review, which currently takes place every three years.

 

15th October   

Update: MoneyLeaks...

Pressure being applied to WikiLeaks
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

moneybookers logo The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks claims that it has had its funding blocked and that it is the victim of financial warfare by the US government.

Moneybookers, a British-registered internet payment company that collects WikiLeaks donations, emailed the organisation to say it had closed down its account because it had been put on an official US watchlist and on an Australian government blacklist.

The apparent blacklisting came a few days after the Pentagon publicly expressed its anger at WikiLeaks and its founder, Australian citizen Julian Assange, for obtaining thousands of classified military documents about the war in Afghanistan, in one of the US army's biggest leaks of information. The documents caused a sensation when they were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and German magazine Der Spiegel, revealing hitherto unreported civilian casualties.

WikiLeaks defied Pentagon calls to return the war logs and destroy all copies. Instead, it has been reported that it intends to release an even larger cache of military documents, disclosing other abuses in Iraq.

Moneybookers moved against WikiLeaks on 13 August, according to the correspondence, less than a week after the Pentagon made public threats of reprisals against the organisation. Moneybookers wrote to Assange: Following an audit of your account by our security department, we must advise that your account has been closed … to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities.

 

15th October   

Update: Opposing Censors...

Medal of Honor goes on sale with Taliban masquerading as 'Opposing Forces'
Link Here  full story: Medal of Honor...Video game that lets players play the baddies

Medal Honor Limited PC DVD The video game Medal of Honor (MoH) has gone on sale despite calls by the UK defence secretary to ban it.

The game follows the exploits of Special Forces troops battling insurgents in Afghanistan in 2002.

In August, Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox called for the game to be banned after it emerged that users could fight as The Taliban.

Its developer EA said the game was meant to be realistic, but eventually renamed The Taliban The Opposition .

Fox described the game as un-British and said it was shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban against British soldiers .

The Canadian and Danish Defence Ministers also criticised the game.

EA weathered the storm for a few weeks, but in early October the firm bowed to pressure and took the term Taliban out of the multiplayer option. Despite the change, the game is still banned from sale on military bases, although troops can purchase it elsewhere and play it on station.

The game itself has received mostly positive reviews, scoring an average of 75% according to the review aggregator site Metacritic. Computer and Video Games Magazine described it as an accomplished, confident online shooter .

 

15th October   

Expendables Expandable...

Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables set for an uncut release
Link Here

Expendables Blu ray Sylvester Stallone The Expendables is a 2010 US action film by Sylvester Stallone. See IMDb

It has now been assed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2010 Lions Gate Online
  • UK 2010 Lions Gate video versions

Previously the BBFC cut 2s for a 15 rating for

  • UK 2010 cinema release.

The BBFC noted:

  • The company chose to remove one shot, showing a hero sadistically twisting a knife into a guard's neck, in order to obtain a 15 classification. An uncut 18 classification was available.

 

15th October   

Pants Whingeing...

US Parents TV Council wound up by Miley Cyrus
Link Here

Who Owns My Heart Maxi Miley Cyrus the former Hannah Montana star and celebrity teen Pop/Country singer has wound up the nutters with her latest music video Who Owns My Heart.

The Parents Television Council (PTC) has found her to be too revealing and sexually suggestive in the music video. The PTC feels that the 17 year-old singer is sending out the 'wrong message' to her fans.

The president Tim Winter of PTC stated in a statement obtained by TMZ that it was unfortunate that Miley Cyrus had participated in a sexualised video like that one.

Miley built her fame and fortune entirely on the backs of young girls, stated Tim Winter. Winter's went on to say how it saddened them that Cyrus seems to be really anxious to distance herself from her fan base so quickly.

In the video, Miley Cyrus can be seen laying whirligig on the bed seemingly without any pants on. She can also be seen in the video caressing on her chest and groping men who also touch on her while on the dance floor.

So come on baby/keep on provoking me/keep on ropin' me/like a rodeo/baby pull me close/come on here we go, Miley Cyrus sings in the song.

 

14th October   

Moralisers and Censors...

Teaming up in Australia
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Australian Film Classification Board The Australian film censors have been turning their hand to internet censorship.

The misleadingly named Classification Board handled more than three times as many referrals to rate online content in the past year.

The board rated 78 URLs out of 258 online content items referred for a ruling as refused classification (banned) .

This is a large increase over 2008-09, when 14 online content items were banned, out of a total 77 referrals.

In the last financial year, a further 10 online items were rated X18+, and 48 were rated R18+; the bulk of the remainder were rated MA15+ or PG.

Four computer games out of 1055 referred for a decision were banned because they are considered adults only,  the highest Australian games rating is MA15+, suitable for children aged 15+

The banned games were Aliens vs Predator, Left4Dead2, Crimecraft and Risen, the board's annual report reveals. This is down from five games banned during 2008-09.

Moraliser

Based on article from  techeye.net

julia gillard Despite nearly losing an election over the matter, Aussie Prime Minister Julia Gillard still thinks it is a jolly good idea to censor the Internet, Chinese style.

The matter has gone quiet down under after the Government said it did not want to press the case for an Internet filter.

Now Gilliard is bringing the plan back claiming it was necessary because it was driven by a moral question .

Speaking during a press club meeting, Gillard said that it is unlawful for an adult to go to a cinema and watch certain sorts of content [or play an adults only computer game considered perfectly ok in the rest of the civilised world].

It's unlawful and we believe it to be wrong. If we accept that then it seems to me that the moral question is not changed by the medium that the images come through, she said.

Gillard has admitted that the problem of how to set up the internet filter is more complicated, but the underpinning moral question is, I think, exactly the same .

 

14th October   

Update: Drowning in Propaganda...

Ofcom finds that climate change advert wasn't political
Link Here  full story: Climate Change Advert...Drowning in a sea of complaints

Act on C02 advert Bedtime stories advertisement for Act on CO2 Various broadcasters
October 2009, various dates and times

Ofcom received 537 complaints about a television advertisement for Act on CO2 . The complainants raised objections that the advertising was of a 'political' nature.

The majority of the complaints were referred to Ofcom by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Political advertising is prohibited on television and radio under the terms of section 321 of the Communications Act 2003 and, for television, by Rule 4 of the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Television Advertising Standards Code.

Act on CO2 is a joint initiative of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The scheme co-ordinates government efforts to reduce businesses' and individuals' carbon footprints, in other words to reduce the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) produced through work and daily life.

The advertisement showed a father reading his young daughter a bedtime story from an illustrated children's book. The audio was as follows: Father:

There was once a land where the weather was very, very strange. There were awful heatwaves in some parts, and in others terrible storms and floods. Scientists said it was being caused by too much CO2 which went up into the sky when the grown-ups used energy. They said the CO2 was getting dangerous; its effects were happening faster than they had thought. Some places could even disappear under the sea and it was the children of the land who'd have to live with the horrible consequences. The grown-ups realised they had to do something. They discovered that over 40% of the CO2 was coming from ordinary everyday things like keeping houses warm and driving cars, which meant if they made less CO2 maybe they could save the land for the children.

Child: Is there a happy ending?.

Voiceover: It's up to us how the story ends. See what you can do. Search online for Act on CO2..

During the advertisement pictures from the storybook were shown, with simple animation, to illustrate the effects described: a rabbit weeping during a drought, a 'sky monster' representing accumulated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a flooded town with a dog disappearing beneath rising waters, a small girl turning off a light.

These images were intercut with close-ups of the daughter's face as she listened to her father.

Complainants used various descriptions of the advertisement that related, to one degree or another, to its having a 'political' purpose. Typical phrases included: government propaganda, Orwellian, brain-washing, cynical political manipulation, alarmist propaganda, theocratic propaganda, political message targeted at minors, softening the public up for tax increases, one-sided political propaganda, social engineering, and indoctrination.

Ofcom Decison: Not in Breach

Ofcom considered that the advertisement differed from previous Act on CO2 campaigns which suggested specifically, for example, that viewers drive less, improve loft insulation, turn off lights and not leave electrical appliances on stand-by. In this case, the focus of the advertisement's contents appeared to fall more on the wider context of why the audience should consider energy conservation to be important and relevant to them (It's up to us how the story ends), as opposed to the provision of specific information about what actions viewers could take, or changes they could make to their behaviour in this regard.

Ofcom considered that the nature and extent of the information imparted by the advertisement itself was relatively limited - for example about actions viewers themselves could take or consider. It was Ofcom's view that, for this reason, the advertisement came close to the limits of acceptability as an advertisement of a public service nature.

On balance, Ofcom decided that the inclusion of the image of the young girl turning off a light switch, and the message at the end of the advertisement providing viewers with a further source of information about specific actions they could take was adequate to merit the advertisement being classed as of a public service nature.

Ofcom concluded that the purpose of the advertisement was to raise viewers' awareness of the issues of climate change, in the context of energy conservation and its relevance to viewers.

This was achieved by means of some information provided within the advertisement, in combination with specific information provided by the Act on CO2 website, to which the advertisement referred. The advertisement was therefore of a public service nature and, as such, it fell within the exception at section 321(7)(a) of the Act. Therefore, the advertisement was not in breach of the prohibition on political advertising.

Not in breach

 

14th October   

Little Reason...

Internet censor justifies 'I Hate Ryanair' domain removal over a tiny income
Link Here

i hate ryanair logo A website set up to criticise Ryanair has been shut down by an internet censor on a technicality about earning the owner a small sum of money.

The founder of IHateRyanair.co.uk – whose strapline was The World's Most Hated Airline – was forced to surrender the web address after the budget carrier complained to the domain name dispute resolution service.

The UK internet domain controller Nominet, ruled that the stinging criticism and passenger horror stories published on the site were not sufficient grounds for it to be scrapped. I Hate Ryanair website ...HOWEVER... it ruled that a small profit made by Robert Tyler from sponsored links on the site meant he abused domain name rules.

Disgruntled passengers' comments have filled the pages of the website since it was set up three years ago by Tyler.

Ryanair complained that the site took unfair advantage of the brand's name and claimed it hosted damaging and defamatory articles including false comments about its safety, maintenance and operating standards.

It featured free links to rivals British Airways and Virgin Atlantic under the heading Sites we like . From January to May 2010 it also displayed commercial links to third party sites offering travel insurance and foreign currency, which earned Tyler a £322 profit.

Tyler argued that while Ryanair has some goodwill and reputation in legal terms, it has also built up substantial dissatisfaction over its services. It has become synonymous with trying to obtain maximum money from customers using unappealing revenue generating techniques, he added.

Nominet Adjudicator Jane Seager claimed the links to third party websites that earned Tyler money were problematic . [He] only earned money because of the traffic to the website, and such traffic must have been influenced by the domain name.

Tyler had effectively taken unfair advantage of Ryanair's rights in order to gain a financial advantage and therefore should forfeit the domain name, she said.

The website has now found a new home at www.IHateRyanair.org

 

14th October   

Censors on Dope...

Ban stands on TV documentary showing Rastafarians enjoying cannabis
Link Here

MTRCB logo The Philippines Court of Appeals has affirmed a 2006 decision of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) suspending the showing of The Correspondents for 3 consecutive episodes for airing scenes that project smoking marijuana is an enjoyable activity.

In its decision, the appellate court said the Office of the President did not commit any error of fact or law when it upheld an MTRCB decision in 2006 against the Pinoy Rasta episode of The Correspondents.

In that episode, a man was shown preparing and smoking marijuana in the presence of his father, which the MTRCB ruled as violation of Presidential Decree 1986 against the airing of scenes that tend to abet the use of prohibited drugs.

ABS-CBN had argued that the scenes should be taken in the proper context, saying the core issue of the episode is whether Filipinos who practice raftafarianism truly practice it as a religion, or they embrace it as an excuse to smoke marijuana.

 

13th October   

BBC Just a Politically Correct Joke...

Fear of religion built into new BBC editorial guidelines
Link Here

BBC Trust The BBC has changed its editorial guidelines to ensure that subjects such as religion and science are treated with due impartiality.

The change has come about as a result of a review of the BBC's editorial guidelines by governing body, the BBC Trust.

The 2005 guidelines stated that controversial subjects which must be treated with due impartiality were solely matters of public policy or political/industrial controversy. The new guidelines extend the definition of controversial subjects to include religion, science, culture and ethics.

The trust said: In practice, this means that when BBC content deals with controversy within these subjects, it must be treated with a level of impartiality adequate and appropriate to the content, taking account of the nature of the content and the likely audience expectation.

The BBC has further beefed up its guidelines on religion by stating that any content dealing with matters of religion and likely to cause offence to those with religious views must be editorially justified and must be referred to a senior editorial figure .

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said the new religion rules go to far: Although we are not suggesting that contributors should go out of their way to be needlessly offensive, this is an entirely retrograde step that will put severe restrictions on comedians, documentary makers, satirists and commentators who want to be critical of religion. Almost anything that isn't wholly reverential towards religious beliefs can be perceived as offensive by some believers. The idea that any comment that could be offensive to a religious person must be editorially approved shows that the BBC has become ridiculously timid and fearful of religious controversy.

Other changes include a new guideline on protecting international contributors to the BBC from repercussions in their own countries.

BBC stars will not be allowed to make unduly humiliating or derogatory remarks to entertain audiences under new guidelines published yesterday.

The changes are aimed at protecting people from intrusive, aggressive or derogatory remarks for the purposes of entertainment . The guidelines state: This does not mean preventing comedy or jokes about people in the public eye, but simply that such comments and their tone are proportionate to their target.

Following upheld complaints about BBC coverage of the launch of a U2 album in 2009, and a Radio One Harry Potter Day the same year, the new guidelines now require BBC staff to take account the cumulative effect that repeated mentions of a particular brand or product over a short period may have in providing undue prominence.

The new rules take effect from midnight on Monday, 18 October.

 

13th October   

Obituary: Claire Rayner...

Agony aunt, writer, broadcaster and BBFC Video Appeals Committee member has died at the age of 79
Link Here

claire rayner The patients' rights campaigner knew her death was imminent over the weekend and told her relatives she wanted her last words to be: Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I'll come back and bloody haunt him.

She never recovered from emergency intestinal surgery she had in May this year and died in hospital near her home in Harrow, north-west London.

Rayner, also survived by children Amanda, Adam and Jay, and her four grandchildren, had started her career in the National Health Service working as a nurse.

Her husband, who was also her agent and manager, paid tribute to her, saying: Through her work she helped hundreds of thousands of people and doubtless, by talking frankly about the importance of safe sex in the 80s when almost nobody else would discuss it, helped to save thousands of lives.

Rayner was also a successful author, writing more than 90 books, both fiction and non-fiction. In 1996 she was awarded the OBE for services to women's issues and health issues .

Claire played a part in the legalisation of hardcore porn in Britain. She was a member of the BBFC Video Appeals Committee (VAC) that overruled the BBFC and passed several medium core titles with hardcore snippets with an R18 rating.

At that time in May 1999, Claire said: I have never objected to normal, healthy sex being portrayed if it is non-violent, consensual and non-exploitative. Just a couple of people having sexual fun and allowing people to watch them: what harm is there in that? On the panel, she spoke up for another video on appeal for a more lenient certificate Pregnant and Milking : They were fetish films for people who have a thing about lactating. It was desperately boring but harmless enough.

The BBFC objected to the VAC appeal decision and asked for it to be examined by High Court Judicial Review. The Judge agreed with Claire Rayner and her committee and so hardcore porn was legalised on UK video.

As Claire said: Just a couple of people having sexual fun and allowing people to watch them: what harm is there in that?

 

13th October   

Updated: Immoral Excesses...

Sarkozy hands over French liberty to the pope
Link Here

Pope Benedict The internet should be regulated to curb its immoral excesses, according to Nicolas Sarkozy, who made the statement on a visit to the Pope.

There's no liberty without rules. The law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, the most cynical, it's contrary to the values of liberté, egalité, fraternité, it's counter to civilisation, said the president while at the Vatican.

Sarkozy has already talked of regulating the internet. In January, he called for a global strategy to clean up the network , including the use of filtering tools.

Socialist MP Patrick Bloche said the statement showed the president was willing to limit the incredible freedom that [he] is unable to accept . These words are the perfect illustration that Nicolas Sarkozy does not understand what the internet is about, he said, adding that the president was just presenting himself in front of the Pope as a good Catholic who fights against immorality .

The head of the LDH, Aurélien Boch, said: The internet is one of the rare media that Sarkozy can't control and that scares him. We are already heading towards a regulated internet, with the tools being set up by the laws Hadopi and Loppsi, he added

 

13th October   

Moans of an Extremist...

Indonesian film makers somehow neglect to tell extremists that a porn star is in town
Link Here

tera patrick The radical Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is set to protest the upcoming release of an Indonesian horror movie starring adult superstar Tera Patrick.

The movie Rintihan Kuntilanak Perawan   (The Moans of a Virgin Ghost) is scheduled to be released Oct. 14.

Reports said that the hardline group will rally thousands of paramilitary units to protest against the Film Censorship Board and the producers, K2K productions.

Habib Salim Alatas, head of the Jakarta chapter of the FPI, said he was unaware that Patrick was in Indonesia to shoot the movie. He said, The next time a porn film star lands at Soekarno Hatta airport, we will block them. Nobody told us that the actress had already come and shot the movie in Indonesia.

It isn't clear whether Patrick performs hardcore sex in the film, but the film's producer KK Dheraj said the movie had passed all censorship requirements.

To have Tera Patrick in the movie was risky. I did the shooting secretly outside of Jakarta, 10 days before the fasting month started. Twenty bodyguards were deployed to guard her from the airport to the hotel room, Dheraj said, adding that Patrick was no longer in Jakarta.

Alatas and the FPI's message to porn stars is to stay out of Indonesia. We will not stand still, he said.

 

13th October   

Updated: More Avatar...

James Cameron restores the much talked about Na'vi lovemaking scene
Link Here  full story: James Cameron's Avatar...Avatar makes the worl'd headlines

Avatar Extended Collectors DVD Worthington Avatar is a 2009 CGI laden action adventure by James Cameron. See IMDb

James Cameron has re-inserted the Na'vi lovemaking scene. Cameron explained that he removed the scene for the initial theatrical run after getting a negative reaction from test audiences: I always felt that it was a good moment, so I wanted to put it back in,

Cameron described the lovemaking scene between Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana noting that it lasts all of about 20 seconds . It's been restored, every last frame of it. Seriously. I would say, just so that we correctly manage people's expectations, it does not change our rating at all. I would call it more of an alien foreplay scene. It's not like they're ripping their clothes off and going at it.

This Extended Version/Special Edition was passed 12/12A uncut for the 2010 cinema release/DVD/Blu-ray. It runs 8 or 9 minutes longer than the original.

The BBFC explained their 12/12A certificate (See article from bbfc.co.uk ):

Avatar is an extended version of a science fiction action adventure film. The film tells the story of a human who attempts to persuade the indigenous population of an alien planet to relocate by controlling a genetically cloned avatar with the outward appearance of one of the natives. The original version was classified 12A for moderate violence and intense battle scenes. This extended version has also been classified 12A , for the same reasons.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 12A'/'12 state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context . AVATAR contains a number of battle scenes in which characters are killed or injured. We see some moderate violence, including sight of arrows piercing bodies, fight scenes where characters are heavily kicked or punched, and a fight scene between a man wearing a large metal body armour suit and a fantastical creature. However, these scenes do not generally feature gory images or strong detail and do not emphasise injuries or blood. Blows and sight of impacts are generally impressionistic or occur offscreen.

With regard to the intense battle scenes, the PG guidelines note that Frightening sequences should not be prolonged or intense. Fantasy settings may be a mitigating factor . The intense battle scenes towards the end of the film are both prolonged and intense and include scenes where the heroic characters are attacked or threatened. Although the context is clearly fantastical, the level of intensity may disturb a child aged around eight or older, meaning that the scenes are more appropriately placed at 12A .

Avatar also contains some moderate and mild language; occasional scenes showing an older character smoking, although the portrayal does not promote or glamorise smoking; a mild and oblique verbal drug reference and a very mild sex reference when a female character states that she and a male character are mated .

 

13th October   

Dangerous Slippers...

Thai red shirt slipper seller arrested
Link Here

dangerous slippers Thai newspaper Prachatai has reported that, a woman was arrested on October 3 at a freedom bike ride by Red Shirts in Ayutthaya for selling slippers with Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's face on them.

The slippers were printed with the message, People died at Ratchaprasong — referring to the May 19 military massacre against the Red Shirts' mass protest camp in Bangkok.

Amornwan Charoenkij was arrested under the regime's ongoing state of emergency. It prohibits any means of communication … which may instigate fear amongst the people or is intended to distort information which leads to a misunderstanding of the emergency situation to the extent of affecting the security of the state or public order …

Police confiscated about 40 of the offending slippers from Amornwan.

But it is only some political merchandise that is considered subversive. Regime supporters are allowed to sell sandals, socks, doormats and even underwear printed with the face of military-deposed former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

A parliamentarian from the opposition Phue Thai Party posted bail Amornwan at her court hearing.

 

13th October   

Unbalanced...

Unacceptably biased reporting of troubled Kashmir
Link Here

dm digital logo Assan Na Kashmir
DM Digital, 20 July 2010, 15:30 to 16:30

Assan na Kashmir was a one hour programme which discussed the actions and policy of the State of India in the disputed region of Kashmir.

It was broadcast on DM Digital, a free-to-air general entertainment channel which broadcasts mainly in Urdu to the UK Asian Muslim community.

The programme opened with a single presenter speaking in Urdu about the current international political situation with regard to the disputed territory of Kashmir (which is administered by three states: India, Pakistan and the People's Republic of China).

For example, the presenter commented (in translation from the original Urdu):

India is not prepared to talk on the issue of Kashmir. The Americans want Pakistan to enter into dialogue with India but India is adamant not to talk having killed 500,000 Kashmiris.... .

...India has 800,000 troops in occupied Kashmir committing atrocities. Kashmiri nation's women, children, windows who lost husbands, mothers who lost their son, and you saw in the last two months young men – 12 year olds and 15 year old – Indian forces shot them in broad daylight….

During the course of the programme, two guest contributors joined the presenter to express their opinions on events, policies and issues relating to Kashmir. The first guest, from the Kashmir National Arts Council, presented his views direct to camera in the style of a dramatic performance (in translation from the original Urdu:

O people of the world! Listen to me…Come and see the atrocities being committed upon Kashmiri mothers, children and sisters..

The second presenter was described as belonging to the organisation Reformation of Muslims and also presented a pro-Pakistan viewpoint. For example (in translation from the original Urdu):

India is implicated in the terrorism that is happening in Pakistan; Mossad [Israeli secret service] and Ra [Indian secret service] agents are involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who said the programme included .very strong anti-Indian. content with no alternative view presented.

Ofcom noted that the subject matter focused on the ongoing dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan and the policies and actions of the State of India in the region. Therefore  it was Ofcom's view that these issues were matters of political controversy on which politicians and the media are in debate and subject to Section 5 1 which requires broadcasters to ensure due impartiality on matters of political controversy.

Ofcom considered Rule: Rule 5.5:

  • Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved….

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 5.5

Ofcom considered that the programme included only one viewpoint. This viewpoint was overtly and consistently critical of the policies of the State of India in the disputed region of Kashmir. Throughout the whole programme, no alternative opinion (which could be adequately considered to be supportive of, or which sought to explain, the actions and policies of the State of India in relation to Kashmir) was included.

Indeed, Ofcom noted with some concern that, in its response DM Digital argued that the programme as it was broadcast was legitimate because the discussion was about bringing attention to the world about a series of real happenings. The broadcasters appeared to have little understanding of the requirement to apply Rule 5.5: firstly, in terms of identifying the material as concerning a matter of political or industrial controversy or matter relating to current public policy; and secondly, ensuring that the programme adequately represented the State of India's position regarding Kashmir.

Nor did the broadcaster provide any evidence of alternative views across a series of programmes taken as a whole (i.e more than one programme on the same service, dealing with the same issue which are editorially linked and aimed at a like audience).

Ofcom therefore considered that the programme was in breach of Rule 5.5.

We consider that the breach in this case is not so serious or repeated to merit being considered for imposition of a statutory sanction. However, Ofcom remains concerned about DM Digital Television Limited's understanding and compliance processes in relation to Secton Five of the Code. Therefore, DM Digital Television Limited will be required to attend a meeting with the regulator to explain and discuss its compliance processes further in this area.

 

13th October   

Red Light for Green Days...

Lebanon bans documentary for the duration of the Iranian president's visit
Link Here

green days Lebanese state censors have asked the Beirut International Film Festival to refrain from screening a documentary film on Iranian opposition protests, which had been scheduled to coincide with a visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the festival director said.

The film Green Days has not been banned, BIFF founder Colette Naufal told AFP, but the censorship authorities have asked us to postpone the two screenings because of the Iranian president's visit.

Ahmadinejad begins a two-day visit to Lebanon on Wednesday, the day director Hana Makhamalbaf's documentary was scheduled to receive its second BIFF screening.

Her film is about protests that followed Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in June 2009, and features raw footage of the violence that erupted when Iranian forces cracked down hard on the demonstrators. Supporters of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi wore green as a sign of protest against what they said was a rigged election.

In a separate development, a BIFF spokesman remarked that one of the movies in the festival's Middle East film competition may also not be screened. Shou Sar (What Happened?) , a feature-length documentary by Lebanese filmmaker De Gaulle Eid, documents his investigation into the circumstances surrounding the massacre of several members of his family in the northern Lebanese village of Edbel during the Lebanese Civil War. The film was banned in August when state censors refused to grant it clearance.

 

12th October   

Male Members Only...

MPAA to inform parents whether exposed bits are dangly or not
Link Here

Eat Pray Love Julia Roberts What do Jackass 3D, Eat Pray Love , and Grown-Ups have in common?

They're the first three films to receive the gender-specific warning of male nudity from the MPAA in conjunction with their ratings, an odd distinction that isn't made when actresses disrobe.

Parents requested specifically after the movie Brno that we provide such information, said ratings-board spokesman Craig Hoffman of the Sacha Baron Cohen film, which received a ratings notice last year that warned of pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language, yet mentioned nothing specifically about twirling penises shot in close-up.

 

12th October   

Koran in Breach of Ofcom Rule 4.2...

Or at least its interpretation on Ummah Channel
Link Here

ummah channel logo Khatm-e-Nubuwwat (The Seal of Prophethood) Ummah Channel, 21 May 2010, 22:00
Seal of the Prophets Ummah Channel, 30 May 2010, 14:00
Bahaar-e-Shariat (an encyclopaedia of Islamic jurisprudence) Ummah Channel, 8 June 2010, 22:00

The Ummah Channel is a satellite television service which aims .to promote knowledge of Islam through educating viewers to fulfil their spiritual and religious development..

The three programmes complained of followed a similar format: presenters moderating a phone-in where viewers put questions seeking guidance and instruction in the Islamic religion to a small group of scholars.

Ofcom received 1,026 complaints from members of the Ahmadiyya religious community. This is a comparatively small Islamic movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadyani that grew out of mainstream Islam in the nineteenth century, whose followers believe themselves to be true Muslims. Followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are known as Ahmadis or Qaadyanis or Ahmadiyya.

The complainants expressed serious concerns about the programmes Khatm-e-Nubuwwat (571 complaints received); Seal of the Prophets (173 complaints received); and Bahaar-e-Shariat (282 complaints received) broadcast on the Ummah Channel. There was evidence that the complaints were part of an orchestrated campaign.

The theme of the three programmes was the Islamic theological belief that Prophet Muhammad was the last of the prophets and, thereafter, all others claiming to be prophets are false (including, according to a number of mainstream Muslims, the founder of the Ahmadiyya, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadyani).

All of the complainants from the Ahmadiyya community expressed significant concern that, in effect, the content of the programmes amounted to a hate campaign against them and that it would lead to the incitement of violence, given that it was, according to some complainants, .declared on-air that killing Ahmadi Muslims is legal in Islamic jurisprudence and also a duty for any Muslim..

We cite a selection of the translated comments made during the broadcasts to illustrate the tone and content of the programmes complained of

[Guest Scholar:] We are the guardians of the faith of the companions of Prophet Muhammad who beheaded false prophets. Allah willing as long as there are Muslims, and the spark of faith is inside them, they will continue to conduct jihad against false prophets.

[Guest Scholar]: .…it is the unanimous decision of the confirmed Paradise dwellers that the one who claims to be a prophet after Prophet Muhammad is a kafir [unbeliever], apostate and must be killed.

[Guest Scholar]: After he (Muhammad) disappeared from this world, many liars falsely claimed prophethood; one of these men was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadyani…If one belongs to this group…then we advise him to seek repentance from the core of his heart.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 3.1 (material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television and radio services)
  • Rule 4.2 (the religious beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment in religious programmes).

Ofcom Decision:

On reviewing the content it was Ofcom's overall view that whilst the particular selection of the texts, and language, used by the scholars could be perceived at times as abusive and aggressive, it did not amount to incitement to commission crime or an attempt to lead viewers to disorder. The statements stopped short of encouraging violence against any existing specified or named group and did not clearly advocate any potentially criminal action. Therefore, Ofcom did not consider that the broadcaster breached Rule 3.1.

However, whilst Ofcom did not consider that the material was likely to result in the incitement of a crime, given that there was no direct or indirect call to action, we were extremely concerned about the potential for viewers to interpret the comments, particularly given the context of the ongoing tensions between the Ahmadiyya community and mainstream Islam. Ofcom would therefore urge broadcasters to apply extreme caution when complying such material, especially where there is an context of tension, to ensure that the potential for interpretation does not increase the likelihood of the commission of a crime.

Taking the three programmes together, Ofcom noted references such as: filth or filthy to describe the Ahmadiyya, comments by the scholars that Muslims should shun contact with this group and that Ahamdis were hellbound ; and derogatory insults about the Ahmadi founder referring to him as a liar and a cheat .

Ofcom also noted the various other comments set out in the Introduction to this finding. It was Ofcom's view that the use of such terms and references when taken together amounted to abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of members of the Ahmadiyya community.

Further, it is Ofcom's opinion that it was a serious compliance failing that the broadcaster was not aware of its responsibilities in terms of Rule 4.2 of the Code. Consequently the broadcaster did not identify nor take action during the live broadcasts to curtail the abusive nature of the comments about Ahmadis being made by a number of the contributors.

In addition, it is Ofcom's view that neither of the two presenters featured on the three programmes exercised a proper degree of moderation or fairness, when handling the telephone calls from individuals and the responses from the scholars contributing. Ofcom noted that viewers could have perceived the conduct of the presenters as condoning towards the abusive references about the Ahmadi and dismissive towards the Ahmadi callers who contacted the programmes.

Given the points set out above Ofcom considers that the broadcaster was in breach of Rule 4.2. We advise all broadcasters producing religious programmes to ensure that, when discussing the views and beliefs of either followers of the same religion or followers of other religions, they ensure those views and beliefs are not subject to abusive treatment.

Breach of Rule 4.2

 

12th October   

Updated: Censorship Under Pressure...

China critic journalist refused entry to EU press conference
Link Here

EU flag EU appear to have bowed to Chinese pressure to ban Epoch Times journalist from press conference.

Lixin Yang, the Brussels correspondent for an independent Chinese media organisation, said security services at the council of ministers refused him entry to the building.

Yang has worked in the city for several years and has accreditation to cover the EU, including admission to the main EU institutions.

He wanted to attend a post-EU China summit news conference.

His media outlet, Epoch Times, is a known critic of the Chinese regime and he believes China put pressure on the council of ministers in order to avoid overly sensitive questions being asked at the press conference.

In the event, the conference was cancelled on the pretence that the summit had been delayed.

Yang, who has now lodged a formal complaint with the council, told theparliament.com : It was a very frustrating, embarrassing and humiliating experience. I normally have no problem getting into the council building and always attend the EU summits there without the slightest problem. On this occasion, however, I was told by the security guards that they would not allow me in.

They did not give a reason for this. The guard looked closely at my badge and, when he spotted my name and who I work for, he said he was under strict instructions not to let me in.

It is totally unacceptable whether or not the news conference went ahead. People might expect this in China but not at what is supposed to be the heart of Europe.

Update: EU admits barring journalist as requested by China

12th October 2010. Based on article from  euobserver.com

One of the reporters temporarily excluded from the China-EU summit last week has talked to EUobserver about his surprise at facing Chinese-style censorship in the bosom of the European Union.

Lixin Yang, who has full press accreditation in the EU institutions in Brussels, was first denied entry when he and three colleagues arrived at the metal detectors at the summit venue, the EU Council's Justus Lipsius building, at 2pm.

He returned at 4pm and was blocked again. Fellow reporters from Associated Press and Reuters interjected on his behalf. A senior Council security officer arrived and Yang was allowed to proceed. The officer refused to say who had ordered him to be kept out. An hour and a half later the Council announced that the post-summit press conference was cancelled.

Lixin said:The Chinese impose media censorship everywhere they go. But what surprised me was that it was in the Council, an EU building, and that the Council staff wouldn't admit it. It's censorship imposed from authoritarian regimes on the EU. What does this mean for the EU-China 'strategic' relationship?

The Brussels-based International Press Association (API) later reported that Council officials had initially excluded the reporters because China said they posed a security threat. It added that China cancelled the press conference when it learned that they had been let through.

A spokesman initially read out a statement that the China-EU press event was cancelled due to scheduling problems. Following a series of questions by API, commission officials then asked the cameras to be switched off and, in an off-the-record session, corroborated API's account and admitted that the whole incident was embarrassing for the EU.

API criticised EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso for also canceling their press appearance in deference to the Chinese side.

 

12th October   

Update: A Sense of Proportion...

Turkey opposition leader wants to ban Facebook over one insulting group
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Facebook logo The 22.5 million Turkish members of Facebook may lose access to the popular social-networking site, Facebook, as a result of a court case filed by an opposition leader.

A government minister who has defended Turkey's bans on YouTube and other popular websites hinted that Facebook could share the same fate.

The latest Internet controversy was sparked when lawyers for Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) filed a criminal complaint over a Facebook group claiming that the opposition leader was a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Addressing rumors that Facebook might be banned as a result, Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said that 30 judicial decisions had been issued to ban the site in Turkey.

The minister said Turkey is a state of law and that the government cannot intervene in the decisions made by the judiciary.

Yıldırım has previously made similar comments about the banning of video- sharing portal YouTube, arguing that its parent company, Google, should open an office in Turkey, pay taxes and answer the legal demands regarding its content. YouTube has been banned in the country by several court orders acting on complaints about content insulting the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of modern Turkey.

 

12th October   

Not So Universal TV...

Somaliland bans UK based satellite channel
Link Here

universal tv logo Authorities in Somaliland should immediately lift a suspension order imposed against the UK-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said.

The order bars the station's correspondents from reporting in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia, Khadar Mahamed, Universal TV senior newscaster and producer, told CPJ.

This abrupt order tarnishes Somaliland's press freedom record, said CPJ's East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. We call on Somaliland authorities to lift the suspension immediately.

Information Minister Abdullahi Osman told CPJ that he imposed the indefinite suspension in a letter to the station. Although the minister's official statement accused the station of bias, Osman told CPJ there was no specific issue that led to the suspension. Still, local journalists noted the suspension came shortly after Universal TV aired interviews and a debate program concerning the separatist Sool, Sanag and Cayn militia based along the borders of Somaliland.

Mahamed said Universal TV management is in talks with Somaliland authorities over the suspension.

 

11th October   

Update: Strawberry Nutters...

New Zealand nutters horrified by banana flashing advert
Link Here

habitual fix banana advert The NZ Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that a Habitual Fix restaurant advertisement (for their fruit drinks), which features a female cartoon pear and strawberry running away in fear from a male cartoon banana who is indecently exposing himself to them, does not breach any advertising standards.

The advertisement featured on a prominent billboard in central Auckland.

According to the ASA this isn't a sexualized image (even though the word fetish is used in the actual advert), in fact they say that the image is actually just hyperbolic .

Morally Bankrupt

Based on article from  voxy.co.nz

Nutter group Family First NZ is labeling the Advertising Standards Authority as nave and morally bankrupt after it rejected complaints against a sexual advertisement using cartoon-imaged fruit. Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ said:

Advertisers now have a green light to use sexualized and offensive messages in the form of cartoons using fruit and vegetables. Families don't need much imagination to realize how far that can be taken and how dangerous it is.

The ASA naively argued that children would not see the image as sexualized, and that the image was 'hyperbolic' - all this despite the acknowledgement by the Board of a 'phallic banana in a flashing pose', and the use of the word 'fetish'.

Yet again, the ASA has shown hostility towards the wellbeing and protection of families, and seems to act as a 'mates club' to advertisers who are committed to pushing the boundaries without any consequences of note.

Family First is calling for the Board of the ASA to be changed, for the pre-vetting of advertisements, and for there to be more representatives of family, children, and community groups.

 

11th October   

Updated: Ignoble Censors...

China tries to censor news that jailed human rights activist has won the Nobel Peace Prize
Link Here

liu xiaobo The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Chinese government to end its pointless attempts to block the news by blacking out domestic and foreign media coverage of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's announcement awarding jailed human rights activist Liu Xiaobo the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

According to foreign news agencies' reports from China, news of the award is almost non-existent in China's media and has been blacked out from international news broadcasts on the BBC and CNN. Researchers at Hong Kong University's China Media Project say the official Xinhua News Agency story on the Foreign Ministry response was not put on the front page of Xinhuanet, the news agency's official website, and the news appeared at none of China's major commercial Internet news portals.

Despite such efforts to suppress the news, social media websites and telephone texting have spread the story widely.

China has not learned from past experience that blacking out news coverage of international events is a denial of reality that just does not work, said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. Today's blackout has accomplished one thing only: reminding the world how far China will go to suppress the news. Chinese officials should not try to conceal from its own citizens what the entire world knows.

In announcing the award, the Nobel Committee said, The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Liu, 54, was sentenced to an 11-year term on subversion charges on December 25, 2009.

Update: Liu's wife under house arrest

11th October 2010. Based on article from  nytimes.com

The wife of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, was allowed to meet with her husband on Sunday at the prison in northeastern China where he is serving an 11-year sentence, but she was then escorted back to Beijing and placed under house arrest, a human rights group said.

Prison officials had informed Liu that he won the award — a decision vehemently condemned by the Chinese government — the day before. In their hourlong visit, Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said her husband had told her, This is for the lost souls of June 4th, and then was moved to tears.

Hundreds died June 4, 1989, when Chinese troops and tanks crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Mr. Liu told his wife the award commemorates the nonviolent spirit in which those who died fought for peace, freedom and democracy, the group, Human Rights in China, said in a statement.

In Beijing, Ms. Liu's telephone and Internet communication has been cut off and state security officers are not allowing her to contact friends or the media, the statement said. Nor can she leave her house except in a police car, according to the group. Her brother's phone has also been interfered with, the statement said.

 

11th October   

Updated: Primarily Nutters...

Kentucky nutters claim ban on faith promoting number plates doesn't apply as their primary message is anti-porn
Link Here

in god we trust number plate A Kentucky nutter group has filed a lawsuit after being denied a request to create a specialty license plate bearing the motto, In God We Trust.

Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK) says it first applied for a Kentucky In God We Trust speciality license plate in 2007.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet creates specialty plates to spotlight various non-profit organizations. Motorists can purchase the plates in the process and may choose to make an additional donation to the non-profit in question.

ROCK said it planned to use those donations for education regarding the dangers of pornography and to provide help for women and children victimized by pornography and the sex industry.

But even though ROCK claimed the application met all statutory requirements, the Transportation Cabinet denied it in 2008, saying the plate was designed to promote Christianity, Fox41.com reported.

They stated that our primary purpose was the advancement of a particular religion because there is one bible verse that appears on the ROCK website, MaryAnn Gramig, director of policy and operations for ROCK, told FoxNews.com.

Kentucky law says in order to be eligible to create specialty license plates, a group must, among other things, be a non-profit based in Kentucky, contain no discrimination against any race, color, religion, sex or national origin, not be affiliated with any political party, and not be created by a group that, has as its primary purpose the promotion of any specific faith, religion or antireligion.

It was the judgment of the special plate committee in this cabinet that it just did not meet the statutory criteria that this panel laid out, Chuck Wolfe, a spokesman for the Transportation Cabinet told Fox41.com, saying the group violated the last tenet.

Gramig says ROCK does meet the religion clause. Even though ROCK is a faith-based organization, that's not our primary purpose…we focus on areas of decency, she said.

ROCK has now filed a motion for summary judgment in Franklin Circuit Court last week requesting the court overturn the Transportation Cabinet's decision.

Oral arguments in the case have been set for December 13.

Update: Meanwhile in Vermont

11th October 2010. Based on article from  christianpost.com

Vermont state seal A federal appeals court has ruled that faith-based lettering on vehicle license plates is allowed under the First Amendment, but emphasized that its ruling is limited to Vermont's ban on religious messages.

In ruling in favor of Shawn Byrne, the three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in New York reversed the decision of a federal judge who rejected Byrne's 2005 claim that the state discriminated against him when it rejected his application for a license plate that would read JN36TN – a reference to the popular Bible verse John 3:16.

The appeals court noted how Vermont allows its residents to request vanity plates that convey messages on a variety of topics, including statements of personal philosophy and taste, inspirational messages, and statements of affiliation with or affirmation of entities, causes, and people. The state does not, however, permit any combination of letters or numbers that refer, in any language, to a ... religion or deity.

The state (Vermont) rejected Byrne's message only because it addressed ... areas of otherwise permissible expression from a religious perspective, wrote the appeals court. This the state cannot do.

Update: Nutters Foiled

20th April 2011 See  article from  business.avn.com

Kentucky state seal The Louisville nutter group called Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana (ROCK) had the idea that it could promote the 'glory of God', make some money and fight the 'devil's work', porn, all at the same time, by sponsoring a specialty Kentucky license plate adorned with the words, In God We Trust.

Great idea, except for the fact that a judge just nixed the plan, siding with the state's Transportation Cabinet, which rejected ROCK's 2008 application on the grounds that the group promotes religion.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd found the group's claim that the plate was intended only to oppose porn and not to promote religion farfetched, writing, in his ruling, The phrase 'In God We Trust' does not indicate to anyone who views the plate that the holder of the specialty plate supports the goal of abolishing pornography and the sex industry in the commonwealth.

 

11th October   

Offsite: Gagging for Publicity...

Stars Boost Use of UK Gag Rules
Link Here  full story: Privacy Injunctions...Celebrity privacy court injuctions increase

Old Bailey Recent months have brought a flurry of activity that show restrictive privacy injunctions are alive and kicking. At least seven soccer players, television personalities and other high-profile figures have obtained privacy injunctions since July, according to court records and people familiar with the situation.

Some tabloid newspapers now are being served with an injunctions per month on average, say people familiar with the situation. The broadsheet Guardian newspaper has received notice of at least eight injunctions so far this year, including at least two super injunctions, according to one of its lawyers, Gill Phillips. That comes on the heels of 10 injunctions last year, she said.

On Thursday, a judge extended an injunction obtained by an unnamed television star against his ex-wife, who alleges they had a sexual relationship after he remarried. According to a public court order, the TV personality denied the allegation and claimed that his former spouse had threatened to reveal details of their relationship unless he paid her money.

Thursday's order didn't prohibit the media from reporting its existence, but it barred the press from divulging the celebrity's identity.

...Read the full article

 

10th October   

Updated: Centrefold Extremists...

Indonesian Playboy editor on the run
Link Here  full story: Playboy in Indonesia...Non-nudity playboy offends the extremists

playboy indonesia Indonesia has launched a manhunt for a former editor of the local edition of Playboy magazine, who has been sentenced to jail for indecency even though the publication did not contain nudity.

An arrest warrant was issued after Erwin Arnada ignored three orders to surrender to prosecutors and serve a two-year jail sentence ordered in August by the Supreme Court, prosecutors said.

The case has highlighted the growing power of Islamist extremists who launched violent protests against the magazine when it appeared in 2006, and pushed the Supreme Court to overturn the editor's earlier acquittal.

South Jakarta chief prosecutor Mohammed Yusuf said: We are being forced to act by the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) as the plaintiff in this case, referring to a violent Islamist vigilante group that enjoys the support of top police officers.

Update: Authorities apprehend their victim

10th October 2010. Based on article from  thejakartapost.com

The former editor of the now-defunct Indonesian version of Playboy magazine, Erwin Arnada, turned himself in on Saturday. He faces a two-year prison term, which was appealed but upheld by the Supreme Court.

As a law-abiding citizen, I am going to turn myself in to the prosecutors' office to undergo processing, Erwin said as he arrived at the South Jakarta prosecutors' office.

Erwin was apprehended by prosecutors and police upon his arrival from Bali at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Saturday afternoon. Police demonstrated their prowess at the airport with a large entourage of officers brandishing assault rifles.

Erwin's attorney, Todung Mulya Lubis, said he was disappointed with the way prosecutors and police had treated his client: Why they should treat my client like a terrorist? he said, stressing that Erwin had met the authorities' requests to surrender voluntarily.

A request for a case review would be filed with the Supreme Court while his client serves his sentence, Todung said: We expect that the Supreme Court will re-examine the ruling soon, so that my client will not have to serve the entire term, he said.

We want to question the panel's reasons for ruling in favor of the prosecutors' opinion that the magazine constituted an act of public indecency, Todung said, adding that even the Press Council stated that the Indonesian version of Playboy did not contain pornography, was in line with the press code of ethics and therefore had not violated the press law.

 

10th October   

League Against Blasphemy and Swearing...

Netherlands nutters launch poster campaign against strong language
Link Here

go league againast blasphemy and swearing logo A Dutch nutter group, Bond Tegen Het Vloeken or The League Against Blasphemy and Swearing has launched a new poster campaign at bus stops and in railway stations across the country to to combat profanity in general, and blasphemy in particular.

One poster depicts two beautiful swans showing fondness for each other, accompanied by the caption: Talk to each other. Cursing is not necessary!

Earlier posters have become collectors' items thanks to their originality. For the last soccer World Cup, the organisation chose an image of a striker with an angry face who had just missed a goal. The motto was: A curse always shoots wide of the mark.

Last autumn the poster showed a colourful parrot and the words: Cursing must be learned. Don't repeat them in parrot-fashion!

Every year the organisation publishes its Cursing Monitor , which shows that the use of profanity has risen considerably in radio and television.

The organisation has not only tasked itself with highlighting profanity, it also makes suggestions on how to lessen it. It has strung together a list of piss poor alternative words to use in moments of stress. Many of them are botanical in origin: instead of Shit! why not try Moss! suggests the organisation.

 

10th October   

Update: Creative Thinking Lacking in Nepal...

Nepal ISPs doubt the practicality of an internet porn ban
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Nepal...Nepal gets wound up by porn

Nepal flag A notice is likely to be issued regarding the government's decision to ban pornography in a week's time. ISPs doubt if such a move would be practical.

As per the government decision, cyber cafes will now need to take permission from the District Administrative Offices (DEO) before starting their operations.

They will also be asked to maintain record of users´ login and logout time. The cafes will be monitored by representatives from DAO, District Tax Office, Nepal Police and local IT professional recommended by DAO.

Following an appeal from the Home Ministry, Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has been working with ISPs and telecom operators to ban sites that have pornographic content.

Internet Service Providers Association of Nepal (ISPAN) has said they needed to install firewall and filtering software to block pornographic sites. The filtering software costs anything between US $100,000 to a million dollar, said ISPAN President Binay Bohora. Hence effective implementation of the government decision would be a tall order for the ISPs, he added.

NTA Spokesperson Kailash Prasad Neupane believes that after porn sites are banned, then internet users will spend time doing research and creative works on the web.

 

10th October   

Monte Carlo Banned...

Sudan bans another European radio channel
Link Here

monte car doualiya logo A few weeks after banning BBC, the Sudanese government has banned Monte Carlo Radio

The Sudanese government decided a few days ago to bar Monte Carlo Arabic channel airing from Paris. There were no declared reasons for such a decision.

Administration of Monte Carlo Radio submitted a request for license renewal to air on Fm 93 to the ministry of information in Sudan. The Sudanese government declined on license renewal alleging that laws and regulation will not permit it. The same trivial reasoning was declared upon barring the BBC.

The Arabic Network said, Despite the declaration of the Sudanese government that barring both channels neither has political backgrounds nor has to do with the line of the channels, yet this decision being taken at this moment against two of the most popular channels operating in the Arabic region for such a long time leaves us with only one interpretation that is the Sudanese government intends to silence all media outlets that do not comply with their policy before the forthcoming referendum on separation .

 

9th October   

Mediawatch-UK Recommends...

Coronation Street's 'raunchiest ever' sex scene
Link Here

CORONATION STREET OFFICIAL CALENDAR SEALED According to reports, Coronation Street , will be screening its raunchiest ever sex scene on Friday 22nd October.

The episode will be screened before the 9pm watershed when plenty of children are likely to be watching.

A member of the production team has been quoted as saying these episodes will be, without a doubt, the hottest ever shown by any soap . Apparently the producers are bracing themselves for a backlash of complaints .

 

9th October   

Police Dick Heads...

Police quick to act on a nutter complaint that a dick shaped hedge somehow threatens public order
Link Here
topiary dick

  A topiary impression of
police intelligence

A Fenland man's topiary skills landed him with the threat of an £80 on the spot fine by police after a complaint was made about his phallic-shaped hedge.

Ian Ashmeade has been forced to reshape his garden hedge after a an easily offended member of the public complained that it was offensive.

Ashmeade admits the phallic-shaped hedge was a bit naughty, but says it has always been a source of much amusement in the village.

But officers from Cambridgeshire police took a miserable view this week after a member of the public complained and ordered Ashmeade to prune the offending foliage or face an £80 fine for public order.

The hedge has stood proudly for eight years before the complaint this week which prompted police to act.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: Officers received a complaint from a member of the public regarding the shape of a shrub. Officers went round at the weekend and asked the man to change its shape or he would be fined for a public order offence.

 

9th October   

2010 International Press Freedom Awards...

Honoured by the Committee to Protect Journalists
Link Here

CPJ logo The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor four courageous journalists with its 2010 International Press Freedom Awards at a ceremony in November.

The winners of the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards have endured violence, threats, imprisonment, and even torture because of their work as journalists, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. Each has made a vital contribution to civic life in his or her country. They have exposed wrongdoing, denounced corruption, and cast a skeptical eye on official actions. We honor and support their independence and courage.

Here are the recipients of CPJ's 2010 International Press Freedom Awards:

Dawit Kebede, Ethiopia

Kebede, 30, was one of the first journalists to be jailed for independent reporting on Ethiopia's 2005 election violence. And he was among the last to be released under a presidential pardon nearly two years later. Unlike many of his colleagues who went into exile, Kebede chose to stay in Ethiopia after he walked free from Addis Ababa's Kality Prison, where he had been crammed into a communal cell with 350 political prisoners. The government rebuffed Kebede's attempts to get a publishing license after his release but relented in the face of public pressure. Kebede launched the Awramba Times in 2008, and today it is the country's only Amharic-language newspaper that dares question authorities. Here are three things people should know about me, Kebede says. First, it is impossible for me to live without the life I have as a journalist. Second, unless it becomes a question of life and death, I will never be leaving Ethiopia. Third, I am not an opposition. As a journalist, whatsoever would be a governing regime in Ethiopia, I will never hesitate from writing issues criticizing it for the betterment of the

Nadira Isayeva, Russia

Isayeva, 31, has incurred the wrath of security services in Russia's volatile North Caucasus for her relentless reporting on their handling of violence and militant Islam in the region. As editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Chernovik (Rough Draft) in the southern republic of Dagestan, she has criticized as counter-productive the heavy-handed tactics of state agencies charged with fighting terrorism. In 2008, authorities brought a criminal case against her under anti-extremist legislation after she published an interview with a former guerrilla leader, who accused local authorities of corruption and of being in thrall to the Kremlin. Isayeva sees the case as retaliation for Chernovik's work. If convicted, she faces up to eight years in prison. She and the newspaper are regularly harassed with official summonses, financial audits, and state-commissioned linguistic analyses that label content as extremist. Investigators have searched Isayeva's home, seizing a computer, books, and files. A local prosecutor has sent her notice that she must undergo a psychological examination. Since June 2009, the main state media regulator has been trying to close the paper for hostile attitudes toward law enforcement officers and other extremist statements.

Laureano Márquez, Venezuela

If there were an Algonquin Round Table in Caracas, Laureano Márquez would have a seat. Journalist, author, actor, and humorist, Márquez has found rich fodder in Venezuela's idiosyncratic political landscape. He is the scourge of left-wing President Hugo Chávez and other politicians for his biting columns in the Caracas-based daily Tal Cual and other national publications. He is also the author of three books of humor, including the national 2004 bestseller, Código Bochinche. In February 2007, he and Tal Cual were fined after a court ruled that a satirical letter to Chavez's daughter violated the honor, reputation, and private life of the then 9-year-old girl. In the piece, Dear Rosinés, Márquez urged the girl to influence her father to be nicer to his political opponents. In January, Marquez, 47, wrote a piece in Tal Cual that imagines a Venezuela freed from the political oppression of a ruler named Esteban, a veiled reference to Chávez. Information Minister Blanca Eekhout demanded the journalist be criminally prosecuted, describing the column as an assault on the country's democracy and a coup plot disguised as humor.

Mohammad Davari, Iran

Davari, 36, editor-in-chief of the news website Saham News, exposed horrific abuse at the Kahrizak Detention Center, videotaping statements from detainees who said they had been raped, abused, and tortured. The center was closed in July 2009 amid public uproar, but by September of that year the coverage had landed Davari in Evin Prison. He is serving a five-year prison-term for mutiny against the regime. His mother has written to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to say that her son has himself been tortured in custody. Now in solitary confinement, Davari has not been allowed contact with his family for more than eight months. The journalist had served his country and paid a high price. As a young student, Davari volunteered to fight in the Iran-Iraq War, during which he suffered eye and leg injuries.

Here is this year's recipient of the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award:

Aryeh Neier, United States

CPJ will honor Aryeh Neier with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award given for a lifetime of distinguished achievement in the cause of press freedom. Neier is a pillar of the U.S. and international human rights community. He spent 15 years with the American Civil Liberties Union, including eight as national director. He was a founder in 1978 of Human Rights Watch and ran the organization as executive director for a dozen years before joining the Open Society Institute as president. In 1981 when a small group of U.S. journalists wanted to help colleagues overseas who were in trouble, Neier provided invaluable advice about starting a nonprofit group. That organization became CPJ, and Neier served on its board for many years. He writes frequently for the New York Review of Books, and has been published in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and Foreign Policy. For 12 years he wrote a column on human rights for The Nation.

Aryeh Neier is a true pioneer in the field of press freedom and human rights, CPJ Chairman Paul Steiger said. Through his ground-breaking work at Human Rights Watch, his leadership of the Open Society Institute, and his journalism, Aryeh has advanced press freedom and helped countless individual journalists and writers around the world. The Burton Benjamin Memorial Award is named in honor of the CBS News senior producer and former CPJ chairman who died in 1988.

 

9th October   

Update: NoLastRight...

Another pro-euthanasia TV advert banned in Australia
Link Here  full story: Euthanasia...Euthenasia campaigns wind up the censors

your last right video Commercials Advice (CAD), the watchdog set up by Free TV Australia to classify and approve television commercials, has banned another pro-euthanasia commercial for promoting suicide.

According to YourLastRight.com, the group behind the ad, CAD banned the spot for failing to comply with regulation 2.17 of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. Section 2.17.5 of the code stipulates that realistic depiction of methods of suicide, or promotion or encouragement of suicide is unsuitable for broadcast .

Neil Francis, chairman and CEO of the YourLastRight.com campaign, told Crikey the ad was rejected despite receiving preliminary commercial approval from CAD.

The only thing that they [CAD] advised us of the airing time — that it should not be on during children's programs and of course we would have no interest in airing during those periods, Francis told Crikey.

The 30-second commercial, which was due to air this Sunday on the major commercial networks, has instead been uploaded to YouTube in the hope it goes viral.

From yourlastright.com

YourLastRight.com brings together all Australian dying-with-dignity and voluntary euthanasia societies to deliver choice and dignity to Australians.

We won't force our opinion on anyone but nor do we want to have our rights limited by others' beliefs any longer. For decades most Australians have believed that medically assisted dying should be a fundamental right. Today, 85% of Australians* agree but the timidity of politicians means that legislation still lags behind the will of the people. No longer.

Millions of Americans, Belgians, Dutch and Swiss now have this right to choose to end their lives in a controlled, peaceful, dignified way – why not us?

 

9th October   

Update: Temptation...

Afghanistan starts blocking news websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Afghanistan...A new toy to block the news

Afghanistan flag Until recently, Afghanistan's Internet has been notably free of government censorship. That stems largely from the limited impact and visibility of the Net domestically. But the Afghan government finally got around to imposing national filters in June, when the Ministry of Communications instructed local ISPs to blacklist websites that promote alcohol, gambling, and pornography, or ones that provide dating and social networking services.

Afghanistan's Internet regulators are still struggling to enforce their rules. Despite the order, the vast majority of sites violating the regulator's code are still available. Even ostensibly blocked sites are easily viewable using straightforward proxies or circumvention software.

Yet the government has already been tempted to use the new Internet regulations for more than just defending public morals. The government has told ISPs to include news reporting websites on their blacklists. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Pashto-language website Benawa had been blocked in the country after it incorrectly reported that the first vice president, Mohammed Qasim Fahim, had died. (The site corrected the error within a half hour.)

There are also reports that a ban is being sought for another Pashto news site, Tolafghan.

 

9th October   

Offsite: ACTA Revealed...

Secretive international copyright trade agreement revealed
Link Here

ars technica logo After 2 years of secrecy the countries behind ACTA finally released a consolidated draft of the agreement. Though billed as a trade agreement about counterfeiting, ACTA is much more than that: it's an intellectual property treaty in disguise.

ISP immunity/three strikes

Under ACTA, ISPs are protected from copyright lawsuits as long as they have no direct responsibility for infringement. If infringement merely happens over their networks, the infringers are responsible but the ISPs are not.

New to this draft is an option, clearly targeting European law, that would explicitly allow Internet disconnections. Countries will be allowed to force ISPs to terminate or prevent an infringement and they can pass laws governing the removal or disabling of access to information. So, basically, Internet disconnection and website blocking.

ISP immunity is conditioned on the existence of takedown process. In the US, this is the (in)famous DMCA takedown dance that starts with a letter from a rightsholder. Once received, an ISP or Web storage site (think YouTube) must take down the content listed in order to maintain its immunity, but may repost it if the uploader responds with a counter-notification asserting that no infringement has taken place.

Anti-circumvention/DRM

ACTA would ban the unauthorized circumvention of an effective technological measure. It also bans circumvention devices, even those with a limited commercially significant purpose. Countries can set limits to the ban, but only insofar as they do not impair the adequacy of legal protection of those measures. This is ambiguous, but allowing circumvention in cases where the final use is fair would appear to be outlawed.

iPod-scanning border guards?

Early ACTA commentators often complained that the agreement might give customs officials the right to rifle through your bags and search your iPod, confiscating it if they determined that it contained any infringing songs. Border guards might become copyright cops, turning out the bags of anyone who has visited China, say, to see if they might be bringing home any illicit copies of movies or software. The draft text contains a de minimis provision that allows countries to exclude from ACTA enforcement Small quantities of goods of a noncommercial nature contained in travelers' personal luggage.

The real copyright cops

ACTA contains ex officio language that allows customs officials and border agents to hold infringing shipments of goods without needing a rightsholder to complain first. Several options are still being considered in the draft, but all give the authorities the right to act upon their own initiative in releasing suspected goods at customs checkpoints.

Proportionate penalties

At least one enterprising ACTA country has managed to insert this interesting line into the section on enforcement procedures in the digital environment: Those measures, procedures, and remedies shall also be fair and proportionate.

...Read the full article

 

9th October   

He Didn't Crack...

Man jailed for refusing to divulge password for encrypted disk drive
Link Here
police threaten guy

  Uncrackable encryption my arse!
Give us your password or
we'll break your legs

A young man has been jailed for 16 weeks after he refused to give police the password to his computer.

Oliver Drage, 19, was arrested in May 2009 by police tackling child sexual exploitation.

Police seized his computer but could not access material on it as it had a 50-character encryption password.

He was formally asked to disclose his password but failed to do so, which is an offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, police said.

Officers are still trying to crack the code on the computer to examine its contents.

Det Sgt Neil Fowler, of Lancashire police, said: Drage was previously of good character so the immediate custodial sentence handed down by the judge in this case shows just how seriously the courts take this kind of offence.

 

8th October   

Comment: Right to Hate...

US Supreme Court to consider the free speech rights of the Westboro Baptists
Link Here

US Supreme Court On October 6, the US Supreme Court takes up a case examining whether members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, went too far when they staged a protest at a fallen marine's funeral in Maryland. The demonstrators hoisted signs proclaiming: You Are Going to Hell and Thank God for Dead Soldiers.

Fred Phelps, pastor of the Westboro church, has made a career out of using blunt and offensive statements to try to shock Americans into joining his crusade against gay rights. His followers show up at military funerals and announce that God is killing American soldiers for the sins of the country. Funeralgoers are urged to repent... or else.

In Maryland, it was too much for the grieving father, Albert Snyder, to endure. He sued. The case pits Snyder's First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in a church to mourn his son's passing against the Westboro protesters' right to chant harsh slogans and display shocking signs in their campaign for moral salvation of the nation.

I suspect neither Phelps nor Snyder will change their point of view no matter what happens in the case, says Christina Wells, a law professor and First Amendment scholar at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law: Somebody is going to be unhappy . But the debate [surrounding the case] hopefully will foster understanding of why we have the First Amendment we do.

...Read the full article

Comment: Supreme Court appears inclined to rule against funeral protesters

8th October 2010. See  article from  religionnewsblog.com

Despite free-speech concerns, Supreme Court justices sounded sympathetic to a lawsuit filed by the father of a Marine killed in Iraq whose funeral was picketed by protesters .

The justices appeared inclined to set a limit to freedom of speech when ordinary citizens are targeted with especially personal and hurtful attacks. The 1st Amendment says the government may not restrict free speech, but it is less clear when it shields speakers from private lawsuits.

Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Stephen G. Breyer, usual defenders of the 1st Amendment, said they thought people could be sued for outrageous personal attacks. Kennedy said certain harassing conduct was not always protected as free speech. Torts and crimes are committed with words all the time, he said, referring to legal wrongs that result in lawsuits. The 1st Amendment doesn't stop state tort law in appropriate circumstances, Breyer added.

It will be several months before the court makes a ruling in the case.

 

8th October   

Update: Website Blocking Blocked...

South Africa backs down on its plan for a total internet porn ban
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans

South Africa flag South Africa's department of Home affairs has backed down on a total ban of internet porn websites.

The department met with the Film and Publications Board, the Internet Service Providers' Association (Ispa), the department of communications, the Independent Communications Authority of SA and the Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (Waspa), in an attempt to find middle ground with regards to protecting children from Internet-based pornography.

In July deputy minister Malusi Gigaba said he would fast-track legislation to ban porn on SA computer screens.

Many in industry were concerned that the document drafted by the Justice Alliance would be used as a basis for the proposed legislation. The document proposed harsh penalties for Internet service providers that carried porn on their networks.

However, Dominic Cull, Ispa regulatory advisor and owner of Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions, says Gigaba agreed at the meeting that legislative action to prevent online pornography should be a last resort for the department.

Cull says Ispa, Waspa and government authorities will begin looking at other ways to protect children from porn on the Internet. Cull says education and marketing was suggested as one possible approach. Providers could also implement voluntary filtering on certain websites if they wanted to.

All the representatives at the meeting decided to put together task teams to investigate alternatives to a blanket ban on Internet porn, Cull says.

 

8th October   

Updated: Sky Express Migration Propaganda...

TV political commentator accused of libel after labelling Migration Watch figures as propaganda
Link Here

migration watch uk logo Sally Bercow, the political commentator has reportedly been threatened with libel action by the chair of rightwing think tank Migration Watch over a Sky News newspaper review.

Bercow received a letter from Sir Andrew Green's solicitors last month demanding an apology and legal costs for comments she made while reviewing the day's papers for Sky News on 18 August, according to Index on Censorship.

Green has threatened legal action over Bercow's comments about a Daily Express story on migration and youth unemployment, in which the paper quoted figures from a Migration Watch study.

Among other things, Bercow said the article grossly oversimplified the migration debate, and that such oversimplification was dangerous propaganda .

Bercow is understood to be willing to go to court to defend herself and sees the case as proof of the need to reform English defamation law, Index on Censorship reported.

Update: Libel Threat Dropped

8th October 2010. Based on article from  indexoncensorship.org

MigrationWatch has released a statement saying that it no longer intends to sue political commentator Sally Bercow for libel.

It was revealed by Index on Censorship last week that Bercow had been threatened with legal action over comments she made about a Daily Express story on migration and unemployment. Bercow said that the story, which quoted figures from a MigrationWatch study, grossly oversimplified the migration debate, and that such oversimplification was dangerous propaganda .

MigrationWatch wrote in a statement:

In a discussion programme on Sky News on 18 August, Mrs Bercow associated Migrationwatch with Mosley and Hitler. When we heard about this, we asked for a copy of the program and obtained a transcript of precisely what she had said. After taking advice from counsel we asked our solicitors to write to her seeking an apology and an undertaking not to repeat such an allegation. In their response, solicitors for Mrs Bercow said that she did not intend to (and did not) allege that Migrationwatch is a fascist or racist organisation , that she was expressing an honest opinion about the handling of a Migrationwatch report by the Daily Express and that she had a right to do so in a democratic society.

Migrationwatch are strongly in favour of free speech. We accept her assurances about her intentions, and consider that important and sensitive issues such as immigration should be debated without descending into derogatory language and associations.

In view of the assurance contained in her solicitor's letter, we do not intend to take the matter further.

 

8th October   

A Labyrinth of Nutters...

Stephen Green whinges at scary children's book
Link Here

Vampyre Labyrinth RedEye G P Taylor The North Yorkshire vicar who has authored the most frightening children's book every written says he is having to keep the details of a nationwide school tour secret, for fear of lobbying from Christians nutters.

Graham Taylor has come under fire from Christians and parents over his new children's book – featuring 11 murders, stabbings and teenage girls having their throats ripped out.

GP Taylor – who found fame after self-publishing world wide hit Shadowmancer – has been blasted by Christian Voice for extolling death and destruction' in The Vampyre Labyrinth , a bloodsucker set in Second World War Whitby

The author now fears that owing to the snowball of opposition to the book some people may take direct action. I am about to embark on a school tour and talk to 20,000 children, he added.

I am concerned that there is a real threat that some people may start lobbying bookshops and schools to stop children buying the book. We are living in the age of direct action. I saw what happened to Jerry Springer the Opera and now I fear for my career.

The book has recently earned the title 'the most terrifying children's book ever written'. Many people are saying that it is far too frightening and that children should be warned before opening the pages. The book has already sold out its 50,000 first print and publishers Faber are rushing out a reprint.

Christian Voice chairman Stephen Green said Shame on any head teacher who invites GP Taylor into their school with this book. It is up to head teachers to behave more responsibly and if I was a parent at a school that allowed him in I'd be straight up to the school and demanding answers from the head teacher.

Green said messages on the Christian Voice website showed the strength of feeling including one which said: To promote gore, bloodlust and thoughts of death as being healthy topics for the minds of innocent children is bizarre.

 

7th October   

Death is Not Justice...

Anti-capital punishment exhibition shunted out of sight in Belfast
Link Here

poster for tomorrow org logo Poster for tomorrow will be in Belfast for 10/10/10, but not in the City Council premises. The exhibition will take place in form of a protest against the City Council decision of taking out 30 posters from the exhibition.

We were open to removing a couple of posters from the exhibition, but instead the council proposed to put 30 posters in a room with controlled access (in their own words) on the 1st floor of the City Hall building. We don't consider this decision to be a fair one: although this isn't strictly censoring the posters, it feels like a politically correct decision to effectively cut the exhibition by a third and remove the said posters to a place where no one can see them (or at least see them with an added degree of difficulty). We haven't accepted this offer nor do we plan to do so.

We'd like to point out that Belfast is the only city in the world in which our exhibition encountered this sort of resistance, out of a list that includes much more problematic cities such as Tbilisi, Marrakech, Beirut and 5 cities in Iran including Tehran.

Reacting to people getting hanged

Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

The organiser of an anti-death penalty exhibition in Belfast said he is cancelling the event because he feels it has been censored. Herve Matine said councillors wanted to split up the exhibition of 100 posters at the city hall - some of which show people who have been hanged.

He said they wanted the more graphic images to be displayed inside with what he called controlled access .  Matine said he was contacted on Tuesday by the city hall and told that councillors wanted 30 of the posters to be displayed inside in a room on the first floor.

The posters were due to go on display for four days on Thursday.

Councillors approved the exhibition in September on the understanding that they had the option of vetoing specific posters if deemed controversial or offensive .

Matine said the exhibition was about highlighting the brutality of a death sentence: I want everyone to react when people in some countries get hanged, that's why we want to have public awareness about this horror.

DUP councillor Brian Kingston said he welcomed the exhibition's withdrawal: The whole purpose of the exhibition is to be as disturbing and provocative as possible and that was never going to be appropriate to take place in a public park in the centre of our city. People use Belfast City Hall grounds every day as a place to rest, relax and meet people.

It is a public park. Even people passing by might have seen these posters and I think it would be very inappropriate and disturbing to have posters like that erected.

The Death Is Not Justice campaign is due to show the exhibition in 100 cities worldwide.

 

7th October   

Censorial.ly...

Libya revokes domain of vb.ly link shortening service
Link Here

violet blue vbly The Libyan government has removed an adult-friendly link-shortening service from the web, saying that it fell foul of local laws.

It could have an impact on similar services registered in Libya.

The website vb.ly was revoked and the site taken offline by NIC.ly, the body that controls Libyan web addresses.

Co-founder of vb.ly Ben Metcalfe warned that other ly domains are being deregistered and removed without warning . We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

URL shortening is a technique that allows users to significantly condense often long web addresses to more manageable and memorable links. The Libyan crackdown could come as a blow to other url shortening services such as bit.ly, which is particularly popular on Twitter where all messages have to be limited to 140 characters.

Alaeddin ElSharif from NIC.ly told vb.ly co-founder Violet Blue that a picture of her on the website had sparked the removal: I think you'll agree that a picture of a scantily clad lady with some bottle in her hand isn't what most would consider decent or family friendly.

 

7th October   

Body Paintshop...

Mariah Carey album covers in Saudi
Link Here

mariah caray in saudi Via Boing Boing comes this insight into what Mariah Carey and all her album covers look like once they've (allegedly) gone through Saudi Arabian censors.

styleite.com clearly enjoyed the rather the giggle-worthy and rudimentary photo editing skills employed in the process.

Who needs real pants when you can just spray paint them on?

 

7th October   

Update: Royally Stuffed...

Morocco's Nichane magazine censored via advertiser boycott.
Link Here  full story: Royal Censorship in Morocco...Law puts the Moroccan king above comment

nichane Morocco's top Arabic-language weekly Nichane has closed after a board meeting of its shareholders.

The magazine's large circulation should have made it a prime advertising outlet. Yet Nichane has suffered a persistent advertising boycott campaign initiated by the royally-owned ONA/SNI group, the largest corporation in Morocco, and eventually followed by major companies linked to the regime.

The closure of Nichane raises troubling questions about Morocco's commitment to press freedom. The thousands upon thousands of Moroccan readers who made Nichane a best-seller have now been deprived of a unique source of independent reporting.

The magazine, founded in 2006 as a modernist and secular media outlet published in local Moroccan Arabic, has been praised in Morocco and abroad for its daring taboo-tackling cover stories. These include: The King's cult of personality , Sex and homosexuality in Islamic culture , Morocco, #1 marijuana producer in the world , Inside Moroccan secret services , How Moroccans joke about Islam, sex and the monarchy. , and more.

Yet because of its often critical positions towards the regime, Nichane – along with TelQuel , its French-language sister publication – was from its inception targeted by a large advertising boycott campaign. That campaign intensified after September 2009 when the government censored publication of an opinion poll on King Mohammed VI (another first, in Morocco and the entire Arab World) published by Nichane , TelQuel and the French daily Le Monde .

Many of Morocco's major companies are owned by the royal family, by the government, or by moguls closely connected to the regime. Because of political pressure and a boycott campaign launched by royal ONA/SNI group, many of these companies in various economic sectors (e.g., banking, telecommunications, real estate, air transportation) over time began to remove TelQuel Group publications from their advertising purchases.

 

7th October   

Update: Marching Orders...

Malaysia bans political book
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books

march to putrajaya Malaysia's Home Ministry has banned author Kim Quek's book The March To Putrajaya- Malaysia's New Era Is At Hand under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 as it may incite public hatred and anger .

The Malaysian Insider reported that the Home Ministry Secretary General Mahmood Adam said that the book was banned because of its baseless accusations against national leaders, among others. He also went on to add that the printing, importing, publishing, reprint, sell, distribute or offer to sell or in possession of such books is an offence punishable under the law .

Kim Quek has subsequently released a press statement denying that the book is not suitable for the public.

Throughout my book, one consistent theme is my appeal to everyone to be faithful and to defend the Constitution. Even on the much politicized Article 153, which has been deliberately and dishonestly misinterpreted to carry out all sorts of racist agenda and therefore has attracted much misgivings, I have only words of praise for it.

I welcome any criticism and open dialogue over any part of my book, as it is through honest discourse that we will bring benefit to the nation.

As for the Ministry's ban over my book, I reserve my right to take the necessary legal recourse to protect my constitutional rights.

 

7th October   

Offsite: World Association of Newspapers...

Press Freedom World Review: January-September 2010
Link Here

WAN logo Media employees world-wide face physical violence and persecution of all kinds, whether from public officials, criminals or terrorists. Assaults are daily - and often deadly - for those who challenge governments, report on conflicts or investigate corruption and crime.

Media employees world-wide face physical violence and persecution of all kinds, whether from public officials, criminals or terrorists. Assaults are daily - and often deadly - for those who challenge governments, report on conflicts or investigate corruption and crime.

99 journalists have been killed in 2009 and at least 56 have been killed since the beginning of the year. Hundreds of media employees have been arrested in 2009 and at least 120 remain in jail today, most often following sham trials or without charges having been brought against them. Hundreds more have been forced into exile.

...Read the full article

 

6th October   

Update: Axed...

Unrated Hatchet II release suffers an early end
Link Here  full story: Hatchet II...Unusual unrated theatrical release

hatchet 2 For a brief moment this past weekend, the impossible happened - the unrated Hatchet 2 opened in over 60 theaters and became a cause for celebration among horror film fans, who viewed the release as a possible way to break the seemingly arbitrary MPAA chokehold that they see as part of the decline of the horror genre.

Hatchet 2 is one of the few times in the last twenty-five years that an unrated film has gotten any sort of theatrical release and the horror launched a Twitter and Facebook campaign to support it.

Leading horror website DreadCentral.com had even asked fans to buy tickets for Hatchet 2 online even if they aren't near a theater showing it as a way to send a message to Hollywood that there's a market for unrated horror.

That dream barely made it through the weekend; the theater chains that were carrying Hatchet 2 pulled it without explanation by Monday morning. It's tough to really know the specific box office numbers since several theaters - in Canada, specifically -- wound up pulling the film right away due to fear of being fined for showing an unrated film, says Green. We're hearing that others decided to only show Hatchet 2 at specific times due to the hassle of having to have someone guard the cinema door to check IDs. When I saw the film in Los Angeles there was a guard at the door for the entire movie checking ticket stubs and IDs where necessary. It was kind of crazy.

Update: Poor Box Office

8th October 2010. See  article from  ifc.com

Adam Green and his marketers pinned their hopes for that miracle on AMC, and an ad campaign that specifically tied Hatchet II 's lack of a rating (I saw posters for the film at Fantastic Fest that even used the tagline Support Unrated Horror ). If nothing else, Hatchet II 's $52,000 weekend gross proves that turning a gory, tongue-in-cheek slasher movie into a referendum on free speech isn't a shortcut to box office gold. Those uncut and unrated slogans are on DVDs because people want to see extreme blood and guts, not because they're looking to strike a blow against organized censorship. They're horror fans, not freedom fighters.

Offsite: Adam Green Speaks

9th October 2010. See  article from  reelzchannel.com by Adam Green

The sad truth of the matter is that no one at [distributor] Dark Sky has been able to tell me the exact reasons behind why the film was pulled (they have not gotten a clear explanation whatsoever) and I only know what I am hearing from the public on Twitter and AMC's response to the press of we base our decisions on performance which does not add up given that we know of at least two theaters that had pulled the film after just 24 hours and given the grand scheme of things, other genre titles performed worse per screen, even though they had bigger budgets and traditional spends on marketing campaigns as opposed to ours.

All signs would point to AMC being unhappy with how vocal I was about the MPAA and not wanting to deal with the controversy — which if the case, is their given right. Had the film grossed millions, maybe it would be a different story with them, but given the size of our release and the nature of what this is, all we ever could have hoped for was a few grand per screen in a realistic scenario.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Adam Green Speaks About Hatchet III

3rd October 2011. See  article from  fearnet.com

When Hatchet II came out, they [the MPAA] were under fire because of the torture-porn that was getting through. But the reason that torture-porn was getting through was because it was being distributed by a studio that pays their salaries, so they couldn't stop it. So there is all this backlash from parents, and I come along with a swamp monster with a gas-powered belt sander, killing comedians like Monty Python, and they came down on me!

But they fucked with the wrong guy because I beat them. I got my film into theatres unrated - which hasn't happened in 30 years - for 48 hours. Then I became the first movie to ever get pulled from theatres. There was all this bullshit that it wasn't performing but in fact it did so great that, within 72 hours of the DVD release, a third one got greenlit. So the MPAA can eat a fucking dick. Hatchet III is coming, so I win, they lose.

...Read the full article

 

6th October   

Nutter Spat...

Sony TV advert cleared of offense and encouraging spitting
Link Here

child football spitting video A Sony TV ad featured two teams of children playing football in a large stadium packed with spectators. One child tackled another, the referee held up a yellow card. A shot on goal was saved and a boy turned away and spat. A goal was scored and the children celebrated. The shot cut to the same children playing in a park. On-screen text stated Imagine reliving the greatest games ... Sony Internet TV .

Fifty-six viewers complained:

  1. Most viewers believed the shot of the child spitting was offensive.
  2. Some viewers challenged whether the ad risked causing harmful emulation of antisocial behaviour because it glamorised the act of spitting.

Clearcast said they were surprised by the number of complaints received. However, they said context was everything and the story was about dreams; young boys dreaming of being footballers. To tell the story they sought to behave like their heroes. They said that the tiny sequence of spitting was what many footballers on telly did and had done for a very long time and the ad merely sought to reflect reality.

Clearcast said they did not agree for one moment that the brief portrayal of a well-worn habit could be proven to cause harmful emulation, particularly because the ad was shown between world cup matches where players were likely to be shown spitting.

ASA Assessment:

1. Not upheld

Although distasteful to some, because the scene featuring the child spitting was very brief, and because it appeared in the context of an ad that showed children emulating professional footballers who spit to clear their throats after intense physical exertion, we considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. We therefore concluded the ad was not in breach of the Code.

2. Not upheld

Because the shot of the boy spitting was very brief and was shown in the context of a scenario that was clearly fantastical, as emphasised by the final scene of the boys playing in a yard, we considered it did not glamorise the act of spitting and did not encourage harmful emulation. We therefore concluded the ad was not in breach of the Code.

 

6th October   

Update: Mickey Mouse Censors...

Appeal by Russian art curators fails
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

Sakharov Museum The Moscow City Court has upheld a lower court's ruling that declared two prominent art curators guilty of inciting religious hatred by organizing an exhibition, Interfax reported.

Andrei Yerofeyev and Yury Samodurov were convicted of extremism and fined 150,000 rubles ($6,500) and 150,000 rubles ($4,900), respectively, for the 2007 exhibit called Forbidden Art, which included a painting depicting Jesus as Mickey Mouse.

Yerofeyev and Samodurov's lawyer confirmed that they would now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Representatives of the radical Orthodox Christian group Narodny Sobor, which initiated the case against the curators, said they would now seek the destruction of artwork ruled as offensive in the case.

 

6th October   

Updated: Equality of Easy Offence...

British Government to enact Harman's equality legislation
Link Here
harriet harman and david cameron

  Equally PC?

Ministers have announced that the vast bulk of Labour's controversial Equality Act would be implemented immediately, despite concerns about its impact on business and office life.

The legislation, championed by Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman, introduces a bewildering range of rights which allow staff to sue for almost any perceived offence they receive in the workplace.

The act creates the controversial legal concept of third party harassment , under which workers will be able to sue over jokes and banter they find offensive – even if the comments are aimed at someone else and they weren't there at the time the comments were made.

They can sue if they feel the comments violate their dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment . They could even have a case against their employer if a customer or contractor says something they find offensive.

Business leaders warned that the equality laws could derail Britain's economic recovery, with fears that employers will face frequent trivial discrimination claims.

Tory MP Philip Davies said the decision to press ahead with Labour's Equality Act showed the politically correct consensus is still alive and well in Government . This is Harriet Harman's politically correct legacy, full of stuff that is completely barmy to most people. It will be the end of the office joke. It is a charter for lawyers and people who want to make vexatious complaints that will tie employers up in knots.

Home Secretary Theresa May, who is also minister for women and equality, has defended the decision to press ahead with the laws, saying: In these challenging economic times it's more important than ever for employers to make the most of all the talent available. When a company reflects the society it serves, it's better for the employer, the employees and the customers.

Offsite Comment: There's nothing Enlightened about the new equality law

6th October 2010. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill

Spiked logo There could be no better illustration of the extent to which modern-day liberals and humanists have lost their way than their current clamouring for more state intervention into religious affairs. Their only criticism of the government's new equality legislation – dreamt up by New Labour and enacted by the Liberal-Conservatives on Friday – is that it doesn't go far enough in forcing religious groups to modify their employment practices to bring them into line with the rest of society. They seem blissfully unaware of the fact that the Enlightenment creed of liberalism, which they claim to represent, sprang precisely from a principled opposition to the invasion of the civil authorities into matters of faith.

...Read the full article

 

6th October   

No Pressure...

Climate change campaign film blown out of all proportion
Link Here

no pressure video A short film scripted by leading British comedy screenwriter Richard Curtis on behalf of the 10:10 environmental campaign achieved the dubious distinction of becoming one of the more short-lived propaganda tools designed to help save humanity after it was withdrawn following complaints about its graphic scenes of exploding climate change refuseniks.

The four-minute video was taken down from the 10:10 website and plans to distribute it to cinemas were ripped up after members of the public and key backers of the campaign, including the charity ActionAid, said they were appalled by its portrayal of zealous greenhouse gas activists using a red button to blow up reluctant supporters, such as the actress Gillian Anderson and former footballer David Ginola.

Fox News Psychologist Sees Red

Based on article from foxnews.com

A British television advertisement to promote the 10:10 climate change campaign to reduce carbon emissions has created a psychologically traumatizing series of commercials, which show how violent the environmental movement could become.

This series of advertisements is a window on the souls of Mr. Curtis, his partners and the 10:10 initiative. It defines them as a group that must believe, somewhere deep inside them, for real, that those who do not agree with their ideas should be annihilated. It discloses that they are so committed to their environmental/political beliefs that they might actually condone the murder of children and adults if it were to further their cause.

If this were a series of videos showing people being blown up for not believing in God, there would be a campaign to shut down the organization promulgating the videos. It would be a very healthy thing for a campaign to be launched to shut down the 10:10 initiative. We have names for mass murderers (at heart), posing as change agents: terrorists, Nazis and psychopaths. They're good names because they tell us what we might have to lose if we lose our right of free speech to the likes of the folks who made and distributed these videos.

Mr. Curtis and the 10:10 campaign have done psychological injury to anyone young who sees these ads, because it will be hard for that child to dismiss the association between speaking his or her mind and being butchered. If this man makes a film, I will not see it. If there is a campaign to shut down the organization with which he works, I will donate my money and time. If there's one thing we should have learned in our long history of defending liberty, it is to not doubt the presence of its enemies among us.

 

6th October   

Updated: Credibility Massacred...

Daily Star cough up over false claims about Grand Theft Rothbury
Link Here  full story: GTA Rothbury...Daily Star make up it up about Roul Moat game

daily star logo The creators of the video game Grand Theft Auto accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages yesterday over an entirely false story that it was planning a version based on the gunman Raoul Moat.

Take 2 Inc (Rockstar Games) brought High Court proceedings over an article and leader in the Daily Star in July.

Its solicitor, Melanie Hart, told Mr Justice Tugendhat in London that the story claimed the new game – supposedly entitled Grand Theft Auto Rothbury – would be based on the events in Northumberland.

She said: The defendant now accepts that Rockstar Games never had any intention to create such a video game at any time. The story was entirely false.

 

5th October   

Update: Crucified by Censors...

Another Russian artist under duress
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

oleg mavromatti Russian prison means death for people like me, said Oleg Mavromatti, a filmmaker and performance artist.

Mavromatti fled to Bulgaria in 2000 after the Russian Orthodox Church complained about a movie he was shooting in which he is crucified. He was accused of violating a criminal code that includes inciting religious hatred and denigrating the church, an offense punishable by as much as five years in prison.

Last month, the Russian consulate in Sofia refused to renew Mavromatti's passport.

They gave me two options, he said in a telephone interview from his apartment in Sofia. Either I voluntarily fly to Moscow and stand trial or Interpol comes after me.

Mavromatti's case highlights what human-rights activists see as a return to Soviet-style censorship, with a resurgent Russian Orthodox Church playing a central role and the Kremlin supporting it.

Last month, four artworks by Avdei Ter-Oganian were temporarily withheld by Russian authorities from an exhibition at the Louvre Museum in Paris because, a Culture Ministry official said, they incited religious hatred.

But even after the Russian authorities released Ter-Oganian's work, the Prague-based artist announced he wouldn't participate in the Louvre show unless Mavromatti's passport is renewed.

In New York, Mavromatti's backers include U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Exit Art director Jeanette Ingberman, art dealer Ronald Feldman and Mark Rothko's son Christopher Rothko. All of them have written letters to immigration officials in Bulgaria and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in support of Mavromatti's application for the humanitarian-refugee status he would need to enter another country.

 

5th October   

No Turner Prizes for Photography Censors...

But not to worry, the photos will soon leak out onto WikiLeaks
Link Here

turner prize 2010 logo Tate Britain had attempted to ban adverse publicity for Turner Prize art.

But now Tate has backed down in a row with photographers who had boycotted the launch of this year's Turner Prize. Photographers had refused to attend the art exhibition after being asked to sign a form banning any images or words being published which could result in any adverse publicity .

However, a Tate spokeswoman said that the photographers would now be allowed into the London launch without signing the contract. The contract also gives the gallery permission to copy, reproduce, record, store and disseminate the photographer's work without paying royalties.

Among the photographers who boycotted the event included staff working for the Evening Standard, Reuters and the Press Association.

A painting of the scene where scientist David Kelly died, a recording of a Scottish folk lament and a collection of broken canvasses laid on top of each other are among the 'artwork' featured in this year's Turner Prize exhibition.

Julian Assange's rare interview and a lack of press freedom

Based on article from  guardian.co.uk

Wikileaks Last Thursday, Julian Assange appeared in a debate pitting him against the Times columnist David Aaronovitch at London's City University that was sold out within hours, with TV crews and photographers flying in from around the world.

Assange found himself having to defend WikiLeaks, in particular the leaking of documents detailing Nato's actions in Afghanistan. How would he feel if any Afghan citizens were killed as a result?

The circumstances surrounding the debate were bizarre. Assange agreed to debate with one of his sternest critics. But he had his own stipulations: no press photographers at the event; it could only be filmed by a camerawoman sanctioned by Index and the university; there would be no press calls, or live stream.

How could Index, the UK's leading free expression organisation, keep out broadcast media? In the end we decided it was worth going ahead. People in the lecture theatre would be free to tweet and liveblog.

As the debate ended, the photographers and film crews were allowed in. A sensible compromise had been reached. But the situation demonstrated the tightrope that free-speech campaigners walk every day.

 

5th October   

Christmas Chopping...

A new UK release for Bob Clark's Black Christmas
Link Here

Black Christmas DVD Olivia Hussey Black Christmas is a 1974 Canada slasher by Bob Clark. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2010 Metrodome R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 18th October 2010.
  • UK 2006 Tartan Palisades R2 DVD
  • UK 2003 Tartan R2 DVD
Passed X with cuts for:
  • UK 1975 cinema release

From cuts details on IMDb

  • Removed all instances of the word 'cunt' from the obscene phone calls
  • Also cut some of the other crude sexual references during the same scene.

Promotional Material: This year, dreams of a white Christmas will turn red with blood.

As a group of sorority girls start to make plans for the Christmas holidays a sadistic, obscene phone call shatters the yuletide peace. Their fear is calmed by the local police who assure them there’s nothing to worry about, but when the first body turns up the depraved caller’s threats become a reality. As the girls start to be picked off one by one a frantic search begins to find the killer before the blood starts to flow.

As brutal in its violence as it is terrifying in its effect, Black Christmas is a true horror classic that left its mark on the genre for years to come, influencing spine-chilling greats such as Halloween and Scream . Now it is re-released for a new generation to once again experience the sheer terror of this original stalk-and-slash masterpiece.

Review from UK Amazon : Suspense filled

Made in 1974, Black Christmas was one of the first "slasher" movies.

Set at Christmas time, the story has a group of university female students living together in a house on campus where they are subjected to obscene telephone calls. Mouthy, drink loving Babs (Margot Kidder) likes to answer the caller back, but sensible Jess (Olivia Hussey) feels he should not be encouraged.

Before long the girls and their house mother are being murdered one by one. The suspense which builds to the killings is truly chilling and, unlike modern films of the type, there is no reliance of blood and gore to create horror. As the police battle to trace the source of the calls the girls must stand together and face the terror which has come to their door.

I suspect the 18 rating is caused by the frequent use of the C word in the obscene phone calls. There is little gore or blood and without the language this could easily have been rated 15.

Well worth purchasing for fans of a well made, well paced horror drama which keeps the viewer engaged with lively characters and a suspense filled plot.....

 

4th October   

Updated: Persona Non Grata...

Newspaper editors fearful of cartoon with the word Mohammed in it
Link Here

gsrv.gocomics.com Several papers (upwards of 20) asked for a replacement for Sunday's Non Sequitur cartoon strip because it mentioned the word Muhammad.

The cartoon by Wiley Miller depicts a lazy, sunny park scene with the caption, Picture book title voted least likely to ever find a publisher… 'Where's Muhammad?' Characters in the park are buying ice cream, fishing, roller skating, etc. No character is depicted as even Middle Eastern.

Responding to the news that his strip may not appear in some papers, Wiley tells me, the irony of editors being afraid to run even such a tame cartoon as this that satirizes the blinding fear in media regarding anything surrounding Islam sadly speaks for itself. Indeed, the terrorists have won.

 

4th October   

Shameless Exploitation 2...

A new UK release for Escape from the Bronx
Link Here

Bronx Warriors Trilogy DVD Morrow Escape from the Bronx (Bronx Warriors 2) is a 1983 Italian Sci-Fi by Enzo G. Castellari. See IMDb

Passed 15 uncut for:

Previously the BBFC waived their cuts for the 2003 Vipco DVD.

And before that the BBFC cut the 1985 cinema release by 11s

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • Cut to the "hostages rigged with bombs" sequence (originally a hostage deliberately ran at a Disinfestor so the bomb goes off in his face)
  • Strike hitting a Disinfestor in the helmet visor with his shotgun butt causing his face to turn to red mush.

Review from IMDB: That delinquent Trash person

The semi-tough, actually rather effeminate Mark Gregory is back as that delinquent Trash person in Bronx Warriors 2, which in my opinion bests the original. It's faster-paced, with more action and more dead bodies, and Mark Gregory's acting has even improved.

The story gleefully ups the bleakness quotient, with most of the Bronx gangs having retreated into subterranean hideouts as Disinfestation Annihilation Squads raze the blighted neighborhoods to make way for fascistic urban renewal. Anybody who's seen the first Bronx Warriors knows Trash isn't going to put up with that.

If you're in the mood for a cheap 80s action flick that delivers the goods, Bronx Warriors 2 has more than enough gun battles, flamethrowers, exploding miniatures, people dying and flying through the air in slow motion, and scatological dialogue to satisfy.

 

4th October   

Update: Getting the Military Cross...

Medal of Honor renames Taliban to 'Opposing Forces'
Link Here  full story: Medal of Honor...Video game that lets players play the baddies

Medal Honor Limited PC DVD Games producer EA has decided to drop the Taliban name from Medal of Honor in the face of political pressure and requests from the friends and families of fallen soldiers.

The in-game enemy previously known as Taliban will now be called the Opposing Force.

Executive producer Greg Goodrich said:

In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor

The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. However, we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game. This is a very important voice to the Medal of Honor team. This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.

While this change should not directly affect gamers, as it does not fundamentally alter the gameplay, we are making this change for the men and women serving in the military and for the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice - this franchise will never willfully disrespect, intentionally or otherwise, your memory and service.

 

4th October   

Better in Tune with the Politically Correct...

Motor show models wind up Brighton fringe photographers
Link Here

better in tu A photographer has accused Brighton Photo Fringe (BPF) of censoring his exhibition after the organisers asked for three images to be taken down.

Belgium photographer Herman Van den Boom was selected to appear at Brighton Photo Fringe, curated this year by Martin Parr.

Van den Boom's work, Better in Tune , is a photography project about Car-tuning and Car-babes, the photographer says. The underlying idea of the project is that of the world as a desire representation in a mediated society. While the photographer first submitted the work to Parr, it arrived too late to form part of the Biennial. However, claims the photographer, Parr suggested he submits it to the Fringe festival, which accepted the work.

On 30 September, Van den Boom hanged a selection of 10 images. However, according to the photographer, when the Fringe's two directors - Helen Cammock and Woodrow Kernohan – visited the exhibition, they asked the photographer to take down four images, which, they argued, were offending to women, claims Van den Boom. There's no nudity at all. It might be an unflattering photograph, but doesn't that mean that it shouldn't be shown? he tells BJP. These are car-babes. The music is loud. It's not a beautiful world, but the world it's like it. I'm just documenting it. They say it's degrading. They say that these images could offend the public, and contact the landlord of the building and make problems.

Van den Boom's exhibition is expected to open on 02 October and run for two weeks. Currently, only seven images are shown in a different layout as originally intended.

 

4th October   

Reputation for Oppression...

Chinese novelist arrested over book set in the adult industry of Dongguan
Link Here

dongguan sauna girls The arrest of a high school teacher and blogger who wrote a popular internet novel documenting the hidden pornographic world in Dongguan, an industrial city, has galvanized the country's literary class, according to an article from  EpochTimes.com.

Yuan Lei, who wrote In Dongguan , was released by police after protests by fellow writers and others, but the fallout left some feeling insecure, especially since Yuan had committed no crime other than to write about an aspect of the city that the authorities would prefer were not publicized.

A reported quoted a local police official as saying: Dongguan police concluded the novel is pornographic. The judgment was recognised by the provincial public security department. But we faced great pressure from the media, especially the internet.

The novel, said the site, described Dongguan City's hidden world, around the life of the younger generation and the local sauna and porn industry. China's popular Tianya.cn forum saw 2.6 million web clicks since the novel was first serially published in June 2009. More than a dozen publishers have approached Yuan, though the novel has not yet passed official scrutiny.

On Sept. 28, the police caught up with Yuan at his school and arrested him, charging him with the damaging the city's reputation.

Following Yuan's arrest, many web users commented that this novel merely reflects reality and should not be called disseminating pornography, reported The EpochTimes.com. Some were shocked to discover that writing a novel could even be cause for arrest.

 

3rd October   

An Easy Ride to Easy Offence...

Radio advert for secondhand bikes cleared of offensive innuendo
Link Here

mcs scotland logo A radio ad promoted used motor bikes. The female voice-over stated you may not be the first guy to ride me, you may not be the last, but you'll still love me. What can I say, I'm a bike. But I'll be your bike. And I'll take you places you've never been before. Come on, let's go for a ride. A male voice-over stated MCS Scotland will set you up with the perfect used bike for you, like a Suzuki SU 650 S ... The female voice-over continued MCS Scotland ... the place to go, for an easy ride .

One listener challenged whether the ad was sexist and demeaning to women.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted the RACC's comments that the ad was intended to be light-hearted and humorous. Whilst we acknowledged that some viewers might find the innuendo in poor taste, we considered most listeners would understand that the female voice-over referred to the Suzuki motorbike named in the ad, rather than being a general comment that demeaned women. Notwithstanding the fact that some listeners might find the innuendo in poor taste, we did not consider the ad sexist or demeaning to women and concluded it was not in breach of the Code.

 

3rd October   

Comment: Hatchet II and Unrated Horror...

An appeal for US horror fans to change the rules
Link Here  full story: Hatchet II...Unusual unrated theatrical release

unrated horror I'm sick of PG-13 horror. Ugh! Another remake? Screw going to the theatre, I'll just wait to see the unrated edition on DVD or Blu-ray.

How many of you have said such things? The sad part is we've gotten used to it. The MPAA has beaten back the genre countless times with their double standards and self given right to deem for us what is acceptable and what is not. No one dared to challenge them, no matter how much we bitched, cried, and moaned. We were never afforded the chance to do anything about their rule over the horror genre, something they clearly do not even understand.

Until now.

This weekend for the first time in over a quarter of a century a movie is coming out in a pretty damned wide release (all things considered) at AMC theatres across the country unrated and untampered with by the film group for whom cool began and ended with the Fonz on Happy Days . Adam Green's Hatchet II isn't looking to reinvent the wheel. That was never the intention. Adam and company just made the film that they wanted to make. He was content with it going straight to DVD unrated. Better that than seeing his flick get butchered again. But then Dark Sky and MPI Films got behind it full force. AMC loved the movie enough to grant it a wide theatrical release. This wasn't an act of defiance of the MPAA on anyone's part who are directly connected to the film, but you know what? It can be for us. We can take the reins here. We have an opportunity to make our voices heard and possibly change the rules in the process.

If we as horror fans make it a point to make sure that Hatchet II is successful at the box office this weekend, we can take back some of the power that the MPAA has been unmercifully wielding for so many years and do so in a way that Hollywood understands ... with cash! Theatre chains would always shy away from unrated horror releases because they didn't think it would be profitable for them to bother showing a film without the ratings board's blessing. We have a unique chance right now to prove that's bullshit!

If this movie is successful this weekend, other theatre chains will be more receptive to the idea of giving indie filmmakers their shot to reach their audience. No one wants to miss out on something profitable. And for the filmmakers the hassle of having to go on trial in front of the MPAA to get their movie rated so it can get out there just may not seem so necessary anymore, and we can FINALLY start getting what we crave the most: Our movies. Our way. Does it get any more punk rock than that?

 

3rd October   

Updated: Milk for the Old Aged...

Singapore government partially implement recommendations from recent censorship review
Link Here

singapore ministry of censorship logo The Singapore government has partially relaxed television broadcast guidelines allowing cable operators to screen movies containing nude scenes or explicit violence.

By the end of next year, cable operators will be able to offer Restricted 21 (R21) movies to pay-to-view subscribers, the ministry for information, communications and the arts (MICA) said in its 2010 censorship review.

Under the new guidelines, cinemas located in downtown Singapore can continue to screen R21-rated movies such as Hollywood's gay biopic Milk [rated 15 in the UK] .

But a ban on showing R21 movies remains in suburban cinemas, the ministry said.

Lui Tuck Yew, MICA's acting minister, said the new guidelines will offer more choices to adults while allowing parents more control to protect their children from explicit violence and sex: We decided that we ought to be governed by the principle that you make it available in a way where the adult, and especially the parent, will be in a position to exercise greatest control. And so the home environment was the one that we picked. And for those who want to watch it in cinema... it is only a 30-minute bus ride away or less.

There will be the necessary parental locks and other safeguards in place to restrict access to children and television viewers aged 20 or younger, Lui said.

Update: PG-13 accepted but not an end to internet blocking

3rd October 2010. Based on article from  online.wsj.com

Singapore flag Singapore has resisted calls from a government-appointed panel to liberalize the symbolic 100-website ban, a government minister said.

The government wants to increase content choices for adults ... BUT ... prevailing societal values need to be upheld, said Lui Tuck Yew, acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.

That means the government will still block access to 100 pornographic and extremist websites, Lui said at a news conference.

We should move with, rather than ahead of, society, he said, adding that the panel's public survey found that 67% of respondents wanted to keep or expand the website ban.

The website ban will be kept as a symbolic statement of our society's values, Lui said, adding that internet service providers will be asked to actively market content filters to users.

Asked if the retention of certain bans reflected the continuation of government paternalism, Lui said it didn't: I don't believe that retaining (a ban on) 100 websites shows that we are nannified . He noted that Australia is proposing a wider ban on undesirable websites: Nobody calls them a nanny state. [The Melon Farmers Do!].

The government accepted the new PG13 movie rating though.

 

2nd October   

Nutter Pressure...

Russia to ban strong language from all films
Link Here

narodny sobor logo The Russian Public Prosecutor has decided that strong language should be censored from Russian films.

The State Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation has obliged the Ministry of Culture to change the issuing of censor certificates so as to ban films with substandard lexicon,

Henceforth all obscene words will be eradicated from Russian films.

The Office of Public Prosecutor inspected the issuance of films certificates on request of the Nardony Sobor (People's Assembly). This is a shadowy alliance of 200 nationalist and religious groups.

Earlier it was the initiative of this movement that instigated proceedings against organizers of the exhibition Forbidden Art – 2006.

 

2nd October   

Diary: Dead by Dawn: UnHalllowe'en Special...

One day film festival in Edinburgh
Link Here

Dead by Dawn logo Dead by Dawn
Film House, Edinburgh
Saturday 9th October 2010.

Screening:

  • THE DIRECTOR'S CUT (Australia) / Dir, Paul Komadina 'Pain is Temporary, Film is Forever' says Mike as his crew start dying in mysterious circumstances. A blacker than black comedy about the very shallowest of artistic nobodies.
     
  • CROPSEY (USA) / Dirs, Barbara Brancaccio & Joshua Zeman A creepy documentary with all the elements of a horror film (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times) which explores the manipulation of an urban myth to bring about the incarceration of a man who looks guilty enough to have done it .
     
  • 5150, RUE DES ORMES (Canada) / Dir, Eric Tessier This psychological thriller is an accomplished, vicious look at the influence of Jacques over his family, as he strives for a righteous world and the perfect game of chess
     
  • RED VELVET (USA) / Dir, Bruce Dickson Henry Thomas stars as a man with an odd family history and an even odder taste in story-telling. Encouraged to let his imagination flourish, what it brings forth will leave a body count and stains you just can't shift from the sofa

+ SHORT FILM PROGRAMME

All-inclusive Passes are currently on sale from Filmhouse priced £30
Tickets for individual films and programmes are also now on sale Filmhouse Box Office: 0131 228 2688
Filmhouse site: www.filmhousecinema.com

 

2nd October   

Shock Horror...

UK based magazine covering all aspects of horror entertainment and culture
Link Here

shock horror Shock Horror Magazine is an independent UK based Horror Magazine, made by fans for fans!

We aim to cover all aspects of Horror entertainment and culture, from DVD and comics to music and games.

Shock Horror will also be bringing you the best Horror tatts from the UK's scariest tattoo studio as well as the best scream queens and models in the industry.

We aim to put Horror back on the map in the UK with this bi-monthly publication, sure it's underground and trashy but that's just the way we like it!

 

2nd October   

Pornoholic...

Anti-alcohol nutters have fun with Skyy vodka advert
Link Here

skyy vodka advert Sex in advertising is one thing. But sex with a vodka bottle may be quite another.

Edgy vodka maker Skyy Spirits has unleashed a print and billboard ad campaign that's winding up the nutters.

It shows a woman's legs, clad in red tights and heels, wrapped around a Skyy vodka bottle.

One anti-alcohol nutter group claims it violates the distilled spirits industry's own code of advertising ethics — and needs to be yanked.

This is just ridiculous, it's porn-a-hol, says Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director at the Marin Institute. Underage kids will look at this and associate sexual prowess with drinking Skyy.

Livingston says the sexual lewdness in the ad shows the industry can't regulate itself. The FTC ( Federal Trade Commission ) should be all over this.

Another whinger added: It's just jamming a bottle in a woman's crotch, says branding 'expert' Steven Addis. A great ad uses heart or mind. This one's starting below the waist.

Shot by fashion photographer Raymond Meier, who's done ads for Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton and Armani, the ad is in October issues of Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, InStyle and Maxim. It will appear on billboards in New York, Chicago, Dallas and Miami.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. self regulatory ad code says: Beverage alcohol advertising and marketing materials should not rely upon sexual prowess or sexual success as a selling point for the brand.

Mary Engle, the FTC's associate director for advertising practices, says, We don't have specific guidelines on alcohol marketing. We encourage companies to comply with self regulatory codes of conduct.

 

2nd October   

Update: The Everything Cut...

Director Steven Monroe interviewed about Unrated cinema release for I Spit on Your Grave
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remake Director Steven Monroe was interviewed about the remake, I Spit on Your Grave.

Fearnet: Is this truly unrated? Did you submit it to the MPAA at all?

Monroe: Yes, it is truly unrated. The cut we submitted to the MPAA was what we called the Everything Cut. It had everything in there that we wanted in there, and that we thought the fans would want to see. We didn't want the fans to be able to say that we backed off on anything. That is the cut we sent to the MPAA, and that is the cut that is going out to theatres unrated. The MPAA said that cut would be NC-17, but they also said that they don't recommend we cut it down. In a way we were shocked, but it was easy for them. They don't care if the film is released with an NC-17 or an R. It's the distributors who care. Why go NC-17? You can't get into any theatres with that. At least with unrated, you can show it to theatre chains to see if they will take it. And a lot did take it. The R-rated cut that the MPAA signed off on is sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Fearnet: Will that end up getting a wider release?

Monroe: No. They are not doing any release with that R-rated cut. At all.

...Read the full interview

 

2nd October   

Glorifying the De-glorified...

Miserable council whinges at Swedish hotel offering complimentary sex toys
Link Here

bern hotel A trendy hotel offering guests a range of complimentary sex toys in their rooms has been criticised, but staff say customers love the move.

The Berns Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden recently expanded the range of items it offers guests from tea and coffee, minibar drinks and a Bible, to include sex toys such as vibrators, handcuffs and stockings.

Miserable local authorities, who have been working with the city's hotels to stamp out prostitution, are furious over the move. The hotel is trying to glorify something that we are working to de-glorify, local police officer Tom Eckerling told the Sweden's The Local news.

However the hotel remains defiant, insisting that it has received a positive response from guests. It has no plans to remove the items from guest rooms. However staff usually remove them from rooms used by families, the hotel said.

There is nothing ugly with sex, that is something that we want to show, the hotel's reception manager Andreas L'Estrade said.

 

2nd October   

Blocked Deal...

Jordan jammed Al-Jazeera World Cup broadcasts
Link Here

Jordan flag Mysterious jamming of TV broadcasts of the summer's World Cup by the Arabic satellite channel al-Jazeera has been traced to Jordan, which appears to have retaliated angrily after the collapse of a deal that would have allowed football fans there free access to the matches.

Millions of al-Jazeera Sports subscribers across the Middle East and North Africa cried foul on 12 June when the opening game between South Africa and Mexico was hit by interference which produced blank screens, pixelated images and commentary in the wrong languages. It occurred seven more times during the tournament's biggest games.

Al-Jazeera protested that the jamming of the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites was an act of sabotage .

Scret documents seen exclusively by the Guardian trace five episodes of jamming definitively to a location near as-Salt in Jordan, north-east of the capital, Amman, confirmed by technical teams using geolocation technology.

Experts say the jamming was unlikely to have been done without the knowledge of the Jordanian authorities. It was a very sophisticated case, said one. Jamming involves the transmission of radio or TV signals that disrupt the original signal to prevent reception on the ground. It is illegal under international treaties.

Al-Jazeera had exclusive pay-TV rights to broadcast World Cup matches to all Arab and North African countries, and to Iran, and charged up to £100 for one-month subscription packages or cards to see the feed.

 

2nd October   

Eye Catching...

Sex sells rickshaw advert cleared by the ASA
Link Here

plug and play logo A poster displayed on the side of a rickshaw featured a photograph of a woman wearing a vest-style T-shirt pulled down to reveal her cleavage. Lipstick printed kisses were stamped across the image. Text stated SEX SELLS … almost as much as our websites ... Eye Catching Web Design by PLUG + PLAY .

The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, demeaning to women and unsuitable for general display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

Although distasteful to some, we considered most people who saw the ad would understand it primarily as an ironic take on the idea that sex sells, particularly because the text stated SEX SELLS ... almost as much as our website . Moreover, we did not consider the pose of the model explicit. We therefore concluded the ad was suitable for public display and not in breach of the Code.

 

1st October   

Update: Dangerously Extendable Powers...

US bill to allow authorities wide powers to close down websites has been delayed
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

US Senate The worrying IP infringement bill thankfully failed to sneak in ahead of the Senate adjournment for recess.

The change in plans should delight some of the bill's critics, at least, who expressed concern that the legislation was moving forward quickly.

The Senate Judiciary Committee now won't be considering the dangerously flawed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) bill until after the midterm elections, at least.

This is a real victory! The entertainment industry and their allies in Congress had hoped this bill would be quickly approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with no debate before the Senators went home for the October recess.

The bill will be back soon enough though.

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

 

1st October   

Italy Threatens to Send the Boys Round...

Italy easily offended by jokey 'What Country' app
Link Here

what country app Italy's tourism minister has demanded that Apple remove the supposedly offensive What Country app from its online store after the travel guide described the Italy as the home of pizza, the Mafia and scooters .

The application, which can be downloaded to iPhones, iPads and iPods, characterises each nation with words and images; Italy is summed up with a road sign which reads Mafia parking only .

Britain is characterised by tea, weird sense of humour, football hooligans and rain , while Germany is summed up with beer, discipline and autobahns . China is reduced to overpopulation, kung fu, Great Wall, Tibet and tea ceremony , while the most defining characteristics of the US are melting pot, hamburger and the American dream .

The tourism minister, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, condemned the app as an affront to Italians' dignity, describing it as offensive and unacceptable .

She instructed government lawyers to take legal action against Apple and demanded that the application be removed from its iTunes online store.

Italy is a beacon in the world for its history, culture and style. I cannot allow our country to be discredited by having it represented by a criminal organisation, the minister said: For this reason I have asked Apple to withdraw the application from sale on its online site and asked the state attorney's office to take legal action against those responsible for it.

The application is described on the iTunes website as a light- hearted and funny view of the world. This is not a travel guide and should not be taken too seriously. Enjoy and have fun!

 

1st October   

Update: Tyranny of Silence...

Flemming Rose's book about the Mohammed cartoons goes on sale
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

tavshedens tyranni A new book containing the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed went on sale on Thursday in Denmark, on the fifth anniversary of their original publication.

The 12 cartoons were initially published by the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in September 2005, sparking violent protests a few months later in several Muslim countries.

Jyllands-Posten culture editor Flemming Rose, who had commissioned the cartoons for an article on self-censorship, said he wrote the book as part of a process of closure , but also in a bid to discuss freedom of speech in broader terms. For me, the book ends the Mohammed cartoon phase, he said.

On the eve of the book's publication, the Danish government said it feared fresh protests. The foreign minister met with envoys from 17 Muslim countries as part of efforts to avert this, while underlining the government's wish to protect freedom of speech.

At a news conference on the eve of the publication of Tavshedens Tyranni (The Tyranny of Silence) , Rose quoted a sentence from the book stating that the cartoons do not legitimate violence, and the issue is not worth a single human life .

Rose noted that the cartoons were commissioned after he read about a Danish author's difficulties in finding an illustrator for a children's book on the prophet. After three rejections, the author found an artist, who however refused to be named in the book.

Following the paper's publication of the cartoons, Rose has been repeatedly threatened - a fate he shares with former Jyllands-Posten cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew a cartoon of the prophet with a bomb in his turban.

 

1st October   

Offsite: British Board of F Counting...

Film maker questions dogmatic BBFC strong language rules
Link Here

Made Dagenham Original Soundtrack A 15 certificate for Made in Dagenham tells Stephen Woolley that, despite the growing violence of recent 12A films, bad language is still the final frontier at the BBFC

I am acquainted with the current BBFC stance owing to a summer of constant correspondence with the director, David Cooke who – unbelievably – granted a 15 to Made in Dagenham. My producing partner Elizabeth Karlsen and I, as well as the director Nigel Cole, were horrified to receive such a restrictive certificate, which bans younger teenagers from a movie that is essentially about equality and empowerment. There is no violence, nudity or moments of suspense, horror, mutilation, or torture of women – a constant theme in other 15-certificate movies such as The Expendables, The Last Exorcism, Kick-Ass and Resident Evil: Afterlife.

Our crime was this: instead of Crikey or Cor blimey – words that definitely would not be used on the factory floor in Dagenham in 1968 – the characters in our movie liberally, as my family did growing up in the ungentrified part of Islington in the 60s, punctuate their sentences with the word fuck – used in a non-sexual manner such as: For fuck's sake, hurry up. Made in Dagenham's dialogue has the authenticity of the period and the milieu. My nan, who spent her life working in a brewery, could turn the air blue at the drop of a hat.

Despite protests from school heads, politicians from both sides of the house (including Lynne Featherstone, the current minister for equalities), the BBFC surmises that the F-word, if used more than a handful of times, will deprave or corrupt 13-year-olds.

Who are these delicate young flowers who have never been in a school playground, attended a football match, or heard a rap record or a Lily Allen song? We can only conclude Cooke's ruling is simply an F count , and the film has fallen foul of a box-ticking process.

...Read the full article

 

1st October   

Update: Snitch Line...

Indonesia minister to reward reports of websites to block
Link Here

tifatul sembiring The Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring's new internet censorship strategy calls for rewarding citizens who report porn sites.

We will keep on blocking pornographic contents with various innovations, such as giving special rewards to members of the public who report porn sites to us, Sembiring said.

The anti-porn official did not say what rewards would be offered and didn't comment as to whether the campaign could backfire by having more people surf for porn in an effort to weed out what the country describes as offensive material.

The latest salvo launched against online porn asks the public to report the sites via a telephone hot-line.

Sembiring claimed that his ministry's efforts have successfully blocked 90% of porn sites. But reports say that most of the Ministry's previously targeted sites are still operating.