Censor Watch

 2015: October



  Bishop to lead a parliamentary debate on the harms of porn...

Perhaps he should debate whether porn causes as many harms in the world as religion


Link Here 31st October 2015
peter forsterThe Bishop of Chester will lead a debate on the impact of pornography on society in the House of Lords on 5th November. Peter Forster, who has whinged about modern attitudes towards sexuality, will open the debate after his subject was drawn out in a ballot.

Back in July, the bishop spoke during the second reading debate of Baroness Howe's Online Safety Bill when he welcomed the Bill and called for further measures to help adults addicted to online pornography. He spouted:

There is an illuminating parallel between addiction to pornography and addiction to gambling. However, whereas the economic and social costs of gambling are relatively well understood, the equivalent damage caused by adult addiction to pornography is much less appreciated in our society.

There are many more examples of expert testimony that could indicate that adult addiction to porn has pernicious effects, not only on individuals and their close relationships but on wider society.

This has to be set in the context of the huge cost to the Exchequer, which means to all of us, of relationship breakdown. The latest estimate from the Relationships Foundation is no less than £47 billion a year. Even if that figure can be disputed and it is, say, only half that, it is still a huge amount of money and more than 50 times the amount that will be saved this year by the so-called bedroom tax or spare room subsidy, which has attracted so much attention but is only a fraction of the cost of the effect of pornography in our society.

Perhaps the bishop should take a moment or two to compare pornography with religion...how much trouble in the world is caused by pornography compared with the amount of trouble in the world caused by religion.

 

 Update: Snooper's Treasure Trove...

Police call for the ability to snoop on the browsing history of all British internet users


Link Here 31st October 2015  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping
national police chiefs council logoPolice have lobbied the government for the power to view the internet browsing history of every computer user in Britain ahead of the publication of legislation on regulating surveillance powers.

Senior officers want to revive the measures similar to those contained in the snooper's charter , which would force telecommunications companies to retain for 12 months data that would disclose websites visited by customers, reported the Times.

Richard Berry, the National Police Chiefs' Council spokesman for data communications refused to comment on any specifics of the forthcoming legislation, but claimedr the police were not looking for anything beyond what they could already access through telephone records. Detailing the powers police want, he said:

We essentially need the 'who, where, when and what' of any communication, who initiated it, where were they and when did it happened. And a little bit of the 'what', were they on Facebook, or a banking site, or an illegal child-abuse image-sharing website?

Update: ISPs warn about police snooping

31st October 2015. See  article from theguardian.com

ispa.jog logoISPs have warned that any new powers introduced by the government to allow broader snooping of web browsing behaviour must come with adequate oversight to protect civil liberties.

The Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA) has sent a checklist of five key principles to MPs that it believes any new legislation must adhere to.

The ISPA said it had not yet been consulted over any extension of powers to cover internet browsing history. Andrew Kernahan, ISPA spokesman, said:

Once the bill is published we will be going through it with a fine-toothed comb. What we do know is that internet connection records that the government wanted was included in the draft communications data bill that was rejected by parliament. The independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson, said there needed to be a rigorous assessment conducted of the lawfulness, likely effectiveness, intrusiveness and cost of requiring such data to be retained.

Kernahan said despite the bill's rejection, the government had not consulted with ISPs . We are still yet to have a proper conversation about this, he said.

 

  Heard the one about the Supreme Court judge who fell of his bench laughing...

Indian Supreme Court to hear petition to ban online jokes about sikhs


Link Here 31st October 2015
india supreme courtIndia's Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which seeks a ban on jokes about Sikhs. The petition claims that such jokes are a violation of sikh's right to equality with fellow citizens and an attack on the dignity of the community. The petitioner said the court should order the government to ensure such online jokes are banned or blocked.

Filed by Sikh lawyer Harvinder Chowdhury, the petition also says offenders should be told to deposit a compensation in the National Legal Aid Fund. It adds that the Ministries of Telecom and Information and Broadcasting should either ban the websites or direct them to remove such jokes since they tend to portray the sikh community as people of low intellect .

Chowdhury complained that she had to suffer humiliation because of such jokes even when she was abroad, and that her children insist on not having Singh or Kaur as surnames to avoid embarrassment.

But judges told her that there are many Sikhs who do not mind such jokes:

Many people we know take these jokes sportingly. It may not be an insult but only some casual comic statements for amusement. You want all such jokes to stop but Sikhs may themselves oppose this.

The case will be heard in a month.

 

  Voices of Nations Censored...

Toronto bans long running christian festival for singing about Jesus in a public square


Link Here 31st October 2015
voices of the nations logoThe City of Toronto is refusing to grant a Christian group a permit to use a prominent downtown square for its annual musical festival next year, because the city has decided that singing the name of Jesus in the public venue contravenes city policy against proselytizing.

Voices of the Nations (VON) has been using city property since 2006 for an annual multi denominational christian event featuring live music and dance. It has been using the Yonge-Dundas Square without issue for the past five years. This year's August 1 event attracted 19 different performance acts, including children's choirs and popular Christian bands, where well-known praise-and-worship songs such as Days Of Elijah are performed.

When VON's Events Coordinator Leye Oyelani contacted the Square's Manager of Events Natalie Belman last week by phone to apply for next year's permit, he was told that a permit would not be issued and to look for a venue elsewhere. Belman said:

I've already advised Peter [Paresh, Director of VON] that we're not going to be permitting you guys this year for next year because of the proselytizing on the square, and that's a big issue for us.

When Oyelani asked the city official exactly who proselytized at the event, Belman responded that the performers did:

If you're praising Jesus, 'praise the Lord,' and 'there's no God like Jehovah,' that type of thing, that's proselytizing.

 

  Tor Messenger...

Beta release of messaging app that will later provide secure comms


Link Here 31st October 2015
tor messenger logo A new chat tool has been launched in an effort to improve the security of online messaging.

Tor Messenger allows users to chat over the Tor (The Onion Router) network in a way which hides the location of participants. It means that the contents of messages will only be visible to the participants. The service will also work with platforms like Facebook even in countries where they are banned.

The tool is currently in beta and will undergo security tests.  It is not yet recommended for users with current security requirements.

Users wishing to remain anonymous or access chat clients blocked in their own country could use Tor Messenger to chat via services like Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Twitter, Yahoo and Internet Relay Chat.

 

 Offsite Article: Lost in Thailand...


Link Here 31st October 2015
cemetery of splendour Acclaimed director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, takes a break from junta rule

See article from asiancorrespondent.com

 

  Video sections on newspaper websites are liable to ATVOD style censorship...

More crap EU legislation that only the European Court can figure out what it means


Link Here 30th October 2015
European Court of JusticeOn 21 October 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the video section of an online newspaper could be considered an audiovisual service and therefore may be censored under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The newspaper in question had a subdomain containing more than 300 videos, ranging from 30 seconds to several minutes long. The videos covered a wide range of content, such as local news, sports, film trailers, craft activities for children and readers' videos selected by the editors.

The Austrian Supreme Court asked the ECJ to consider whether video services such as these fell within the meaning of audiovisual services in the Directive.

The court considered whether the videos served to complement the written articles or whether they were separate from the news content. And in this case consider that the videos were not sufficiently related to news content to avoid qualifying for internet censorship. If the videos had been more related to news content then they would not have been subject to state censorship.

Ofcom and ATVOD have also wrestled with the vagueries of the EU directive and ended up with a nearly impossible to understand set of 'guidelines'.

 

 Updated: 200 people take their rage potion...

Complaints about ITV's Jekyll and Hyde


Link Here 30th October 2015
jekyll hyde itv advertAbout 200 people have complained to the TV censor Ofcom about ITV's new series Jekyll And Hyde, claiming that it is too scary to be shown before the watershed.

The show, featuring scenes involving murder and violence, aired on Sunday at 6.30pm. Based on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel, it follows the story of Jekyll's grandson, Dr Robert Jekyll, who lives with a monster, Hyde, suppressed within him. But in 1930s London, he is not the only monster around.

An Ofcom spokesman said:

Ofcom has received 212 [complaints] about Jekyll and Hyde, which aired on ITV on Sunday. We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not.

The first episode featured a half-human half-dog creature called a Harbinger, the physical transformation of saintly Jekyll into evil Hyde, and the brutal murder of Robert's foster parents in Ceylon. It also showed a violent bar-fight and a punch-up in an alleyway.

An ITV spokesman said:

ITV issued a warning before the transmission of Jekyll and Hyde advising parents that it included some violence and scenes that younger children may find scary.

Update: 500 complaints

27th October 2015. See  article from telegraph.co.uk and article from dailymail.co.uk

itv player logoThe whinge count is now reported as 500. 263 complaints to Ofcom and a further 280  complaints to ITV.

The Telegraph also reports that ITV have ludicrously added an over 18s warning to those watching the show on ITV Player. An ITV spokesprat tried to downplay this nonsense decision with some technical bullshit.

Meanwhile the Daily Mail warns that the next episode will be even scarier but will be shown at the slightly later time of 7pm.

The Daily Mail seems to have given up on sound bites from MediaWatch-UK and instead extracted some 'outrage' from MPs. Conservative MP Nigel Huddleston whinged:

ITV really needs to listen to its viewers. As a national broadcaster, it has to take its responsibility seriously. None of us want to turn on the TV in the early evening and end up with our children having nightmares. I've got a six-year-old and a nine-year-old, and even from the trailer I could see that [Jekyll and Hyde] was too much [for them].

Huddleston, a member of the culture, media and sport select committee, added that it would almost certainly investigate watershed rules following the controversy He said:

Our film classifications are incredibly strict, yet on television, it seems to be a bit lax and unfortunately [is] getting even more so. It does look like gore and offensive language has become acceptable and that shouldn't be the case.

Labour MP Christian Matheson said the watershed still matters , adding:

Viewers want guidance and parents want assurance. The warnings [at the start of a show] are only good for the people who joined the programme from the start.

ITV did issue a warning before Jekyll and Hyde about its content. But Labour MP Helen Goodman said it was not enough, accusing the broadcaster of being grossly insensitive :

The public reaction shows that this really ought to be on after 9pm.

Update: Ofcom to investigate

30th October 2015. See  article from theguardian.com

Ofcom logoTV censor Ofcom said it had received a total of 459 complaints about the show, the majority of which said it was too scary for broadcast at 6.30pm on Sunday, two and a half hours before the 9pm watershed. Including complaints made to ITV, the total is now more than 800. An Ofcom spokesperson said:

Ofcom has carefully assessed a number of complaints about Jekyll and Hyde on ITV. We are opening an investigation into whether the programme complied with our rules on appropriate scheduling and violent content before the watershed.

A source close to the productions said the team behind the show had carefully considered the kind of programming aimed at children that is regularly broadcast before the watershed, such as the Harry Potter films, and had been surprised by the reaction.

The sad thing is, it got really, really good reviews, said the source. When you are making a show you just want people to love it. Lots of people have said they loved it including those with children. You don't make shows to upset people.

ITV, which received around 380 complaints following the broadcast, has said it has no plans to move Jekyll and Hyde's transmission time. The remaining episodes of the 10-part series, which are scheduled for a 7pm time slot, are expected to feature more monsters and to get sillier . A spokesperson said:

ITV always considers carefully the content of its programming, and of course suitability for younger audiences is something we care about and give a great deal of thought to, hence our very specific announcement highlighting the fact that younger viewers may find Jekyll and Hyde scary.

 

 Update: Human Rights Defender...

European Parliament passes resolution to support Edward Snowden


Link Here 30th October 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
European Parliament logoThe European Parliament voted Thursday in support of a resolution that calls on member states to protect Edward Snowden from extradition.

The vote, which has no legal force, was 285-281. The resolution urges nations to drop criminal charges and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender.

On Twitter, Snowden repsonded

This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward.

In response to Thursday's vote, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. policy on Snowden has not changed:

He needs to come back to the United States and face the due process and the judicial process here in the United States. That's been our position from the beginning. It's our belief that the man put U.S. national security in great danger and he needs to be held account to that.

 

 Update: Argentina gets nasty...

Still smarting from Top Gear joke


Link Here 30th October 2015  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Top Gear Patagonia Special DVD Last April an Argentinain judge had put a stop tp attempts to have the former BBC presenter< Jeremy Clarkson charged with falsification over a Falklands referencing number-plate on the Porsche he drove for a tour of the country.

But state prosecutors appealed the judges decision not to press ahead with a full-scale criminal investigation against Clarkson and his ex- Top Gear team. And now  three appeal judges sided with prosecutors and ordered the reactivation of the case.

Prosecutors are avenging the joke by claiming the Top Gear team committed a crime under article 289 of the Argentinian Penal Code which carries a prison sentence of between six months and three years for those who falsify, alter or suppress the number of an object registered in accordance with the law.

However it is relevant to note that although the UK has an extradition treaty with Argentina, British courts have blocked recent requests over human rights concerns.

 

 Offsite Article: New EU Privacy Rules Will Be A Tool For Massive Censorship...


Link Here 30th October 2015
EU flag More nasty censorship legislation on its way from the crap EU lawmakers that brought you the 'right to be forgotten'

See article from techdirt.com

 

 Offsite Article: Caught Flatfooted...


Link Here 30th October 2015  full story: Catholic League...Always ready for a good whinge
Metropiltan Police badge Police snooper finds the term Snooper's Charter to be offensive

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Update: Opting Out of Net Neutrality...

Cameron claims an EU opt out from European net neutrality rules banning opt out website blocking


Link Here 29th October 2015  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
David CameronFor a short while there was hope that new European legislation on the subject of net neutrality may disallow opt out ISP website blocking. However David Cameron was quick to claim that he had some sort of opt out from this area of EU legislation and further more he would dream up some UK legislation that would allow such censorship schemes to continue operating.

During Prime Minister's Questions this week , the PM was asked whether the EU's new network neutrality regulations, just approved by the European Parliament, would prevent access providers from implementing adult content filters. The regulations forbid blocking or throttling of online content, applications and services .

The Prime Minister promised to legislate to make sure that filtering continued and told MPs:

Like my hon. Friend, I think that it is vital that we enable parents to have that protection for their children from this material on the internet. Probably like her, I spluttered over my cornflakes when I read the Daily Mail this morning, because we have worked so hard to put in place those filters. I can reassure her on this matter, because we secured an opt-out yesterday so that we can keep our family-friendly filters to protect children. I can tell the House that we will legislate to put our agreement with internet companies on this issue into the law of the land so that our children will be protected.

publicaffairs.linx.net  noted that it is not yet clear whether this would mean legislating to ensure that access providers are permitted to provide parental filters, or legislating to require them.

Comment: Open Rights Group

29th October 2015. See  press release from openrightsgroup.org

Open Rights Group logo Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group (ORG) said:

We welcome the opportunity to have a debate about filters, which are flawed, censor websites and do not necessarily keep children safe online.

Customers should be given the choice to opt-in to filters, they should not be switched on by default. Parents also need to be made aware that filters may overblock sites that are suitable for children and also fail to block sites that are inappropriate.

However, we welcome Cameron's call for legislation so that at least we can challenge this dreadful idea.

ORG has developed a tool at www.blocked.org.uk which monitors blocking by filters. At its launch, we found that 1 in 5 websites were blocked by parental controls. Sites that have been blocked include small businesses as well as charities and education sites that are specifically aimed at young people.

ORG has also created a satirical film about filters called the Department of Dirty .

 

 Update: Hackers will surely exploit back doors...

In the wake of seeing the TalkTalk consequences of not keeping people's data safe and encrypted, the government seems to partially backtrack on new legislation to restrict encryption


Link Here 29th October 2015

house of lords red logoThe recent TalkTalk hacking seems to have taught David Cameron a lesson on how important it is to keep data safe and encrypted.

The topic came yup this week in the House of Lords when Joanna Shields, minister for internet safety and security, confirmed that the government will not pass laws to ban encryption. and that the government has no intention of introducing legislation to weaken encryption or to require back doors.

The debate was brought by Liberal Democrat Paul Strasburger, who claimed Cameron does not seem to get the need for strong encryption standards online, with no back door access. Strasburger said:

[Cameron] three times said that he intends to ban any communication 'we cannot read', which can only mean weakening encryption. Will the Minister [Shields] bring the Prime Minister up to speed with the realities of the digital world?

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Clement-Jones asked if she could absolutely confirm that there is no intention in forthcoming legislation either to weaken encryption or provide back doors.

Shields denied Cameron intended to introduce laws to weaken encryption and said:

The Prime Minister did not advocate banning encryption; he expressed concern that many companies are building end-to-end encrypted applications and services and not retaining the keys.

She then seemingly contradicted herself by adding that companies that provide end-to-end encrypted applications, such as Whatsapp, which is apparently used by the terror group calling itself Islamic State, must be subject to decryption and that information handed over to law enforcement in extremis .

 

 Updated: Shop Sign Censors...

Miserable landlord whinges at Fuckoffee cafe sign


Link Here 29th October 2015
fuckoffee A coffee shop in south-east London called Fuckoffee has been ordered by its landlord to remove the supposedly offensive sign bearing its name.

The cafe owners posted a tweet showing a redacted version of the letter outlining the censorship. The letter read:

We are instructed that you have either erected or allowed your sub-tenant to erect an offensive sign on the exterior of the buliding... without the permission or authority from our client to do so and this constitutes a trespass.

According to the letter, the Bermondsey Street coffeeshop could face legal proceedings or the forfeiture of its lease if it does not remove the sign. It will also have to cover the costs of the legal steps taken so far.

Fans of the coffee shop took to Twitter to express their support of the sign, with several accusing the landlord of being joyless and criticising the property owner for adding further hurdles for small businesses.

Update: You Star

29th October 2015. See  article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

censored fuckoffee After a warning from their landlord, Fuckoffee have 'censored' their sign by replacing the 'u' with an asterisk.

The new design was unveiled on Twitter on Tuesday.

Customers had rallied behind the store to hold strong against the threat, and London Mayor Boris Johnson had also voiced his support.

A petition was later started to rally support for the cafe. It read:

There is a small, indie coffee shop in Bermondsey called Fuckoffee. They have had a few anally retentive and gormless people complain about their name and now they have their money grabbing corporate landlord demand they take the sign down as it is deemed to be offensive.

We, the undersigned, confirm we have a sense of humour and find the continued attack on our beloved Fuckoffee an insult to freedom of expression, freedom of speech and humour.

 

  Blown away...

New Zealand advert censor shows a sense of humour


Link Here 29th October 2015
New Zealand billboardThe company responsible for a giant billboard showing construction workers and their shadows has blown off whinges about the humorous advertising campaign.

The billboard, erected by Christchurch-based property developers Gillman Wheelans, advertises constructions in West Melton, under the headline, Getting the job done .

However a local whinger thought the billboard was in bad taste and complained to the Advertising Standards Authority. A complaint read:

On the wall behind them, the advertiser has chosen to depict shadows cast by the workers. They have chosen to do this to look as though the woman worker is performing fellatio on the man. That was deeply offensive and was an objectifying, demeaning sexualisation of women.

In a majority decision, the advert censor shot down the complaint. The double entendre with the shadow was acknowledged, but the risque image was described as subtle and was covered by a provision in the industry code allowing for humour. The humour within the shadow did not meet the threshold of causing serious or widespread offence, the authority ruled.

 

 Offsite Article: Controversial Cybersecurity Bill Passed By Senate...


Link Here 29th October 2015
US Senate Explaining the latest CISA bill facilitating US mass snooping

See article from techtimes.com

 

  Social Credit...

China dreams up social network to record and monitor behaviour that the state considers errant and then make it available to employers and service providers


Link Here 28th October 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flagChina has been thinking up a nasty twist to their surveillance society predicted to result in a significant increase in internet censorship. It is called Internet Plus and combines repressive censorship and content monitoring with social media style aggregation of people's internet life.

At the core of China's Internet agenda lies the so-called social credit system . This system, which is currently in the planning phase, seeks to leverage the explosion in personal data generated through smartphones, apps and online transactions in order to improve citizens' behaviour.

According to a planning document published by the State Council last year , its objective is to improve sincerity in government affairs, commerce and social interactions.

Individuals and businesses will be scored on various aspects of their conduct -- where you go, what you buy and who you know -- and these scores will be integrated within a comprehensive database that not only links into government information, but also to data collected by private businesses. An individual's credit score might then be used in granting or withholding particular social services, or being made available to employers.

The State Council plan, for instance, mentions rumor-mongering as an example of behavior to be sanctioned and recorded. It is this part of the plan that has led many commentators to describe it as an Orwellian tool of individual control.

 

 Offsite Article: Freedom to offend...


Link Here 28th October 2015
yik-yakjpg logo Yik Yak app winds up American colleges

See article from foxnews.com

 

  Truth Will Out...

Indonesian campaigners speak about the stifling of debate about violent events in 1965


Link Here 27th October 2015

Truth Will Out Indonesian Translation More than 170 filmmakers, bloggers, youth advocates and others signed a statement denouncing a series of violent attacks on freedom.

Dozens of Indonesia's most prominent intellectuals and activists have called on their government to end its repressive stance on freedom of expression.

In an open statement signed by 172 filmmakers, bloggers, youth advocates, artists and journalists, the signatories denounced a series of violent attacks on personal freedoms that they said harkens back to the 1965 purge of communists that saw hundreds of thousands of people killed and imprisoned by the army.

In particular, the letter cited the recent arbitrary arrest and deportation of Tom Iljas for visiting his father's grave, who was a victim of the 1965 anti-communist campaign.

The letter also cited the forced withdrawal of an edition of The Lentera student magazine for publishing stories about the 1965 killings in Salatiga, Central Java. The copies were confiscated and burned by police.

The signatories made four demands, including that police respect people's constitutional and basic rights for freedom of expression ; cancel the deportation of Iljas; protect those who wish to discuss and investigate the 1965 massacres from censorship; and open a dialogue with those who were affected by the violence. The letter said:

We believe that after 50 years the nation urgently needs an open, transparent and honest investigation and discussions on the 1965 Communist mass murder and its aftermath, events that have claimed millions of lives and brought misery to millions of others

The family of the victims must receive justice they deserve to get, while we believe that it's best for the institutions allegedly involved in the crimes to clean their name once and for all to allow them embrace the better future. It's the best interest of the nation and its people if the massacre is cleared from surrounding dust and that justice is given to both the perpetrators and victims.

In September, Indonesia marked the 50th anniversary of an alleged attempted coup that the military used to justify a campaign that killed as many as 3 million people, one of the worst acts of genocide in recorded history.

With U.S. support, the military-backed regime of Suharto massacred any Indonesians perceived as hostile to his far-right agenda, communist or not. Most of the Indonesian Communist Party was wiped out, accused alongside the government of Sukarno of launching the coup.

In the midst of the bloodbath, the army, religious organizations and paramilitary groups worked to hound suspected communists, while ethnic Chinese were also targeted. Some were spared death and flung into prisons.

Suharto was only toppled in 1998. However, while his exit has brought back democracy in Indonesia, it has not ended the impunity for those who destroyed it.

 

  Planet of the Whingers...

Doctor Who's most controversial and complained about episodes


Link Here 27th October 2015
Cutting Edge Dr Who Special Edition

 

 Offsite Article: Surveillance, privacy, and the British press...


Link Here 27th October 2015
open democracy logo In the surveillance versus privacy debate that followed Snowden's revelations, the UK government and the British press have been rather strange bedfellows. By Jonathan Heawood

See article from opendemocracy.net

 

  Hardly accession material...

Turkey bans satellite TV stations that are critical of the government


Link Here 26th October 2015
turksat logoAn official from the US State Department has expressed concern over the decision by the state-owned Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) to stop broadcasting TV channels that are critical of the government, calling on Turkey to respect media freedoms. The official said:

We have seen reports of the ban on certain TV channels. As we've said before, we are concerned by the increasing number of investigations into media outlets for criticism of the government and for accusations of allegedly disseminating terrorist propaganda. We are also concerned by the aggressive use of judicial inquiries to curb free speech.

We call on Turkey to respect media freedoms and due process protections that are enshrined in the Turkish Constitution. They are key elements in every healthy democracy. It is particularly important to allow different voices and viewpoints to be expressed during the [election] campaign period," the US official added.

TV stations Irmak TV, Bugün TV and Kanaltürk, which are known for their critical stance toward the government, were recently notified by Türksat that their contracts will not be renewed as of November. The stations were told to remove their platforms from Türksat's infrastructure by the end of October.

Türksat's move to drop these channels is the latest instance of TV streaming platforms removing stations critical of the government and means viewers will not be able to tune in to the stations on any platform, with the exception of the stations' own online streaming applications.

 

 Offsite Article: Is this Rape? Sex on Trial...


Link Here 26th October 2015
sex on trial Feminist group try to shut down the debate initiated by BBC programme on consent

See article from mirror.co.uk

 

 Updated: More Student Censorship...

Cardiff University students try to ban author Germaine Greer from giving lecture - because she's not feminist enough


Link Here 25th October 2015  full story: Student Union Censorship...Students Vs Free Speech
  cardiff university students union logoStudents at Cardiff University have begun an online petition trying to bar Germaine Greer, the Australian feminist author, from speaking there next month because of her views on transgender women.

The petition was initiated on Friday by Rachael Melhuish, women's officer at the Cardiff University Students' Union. The petition states that Ms. Greer has:

Demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually 'misgendering' trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.

The petition had received about 880 signatures by noon on Saturday. However Cardiff University said it had no plans to cancel Ms. Greer's lecture. In a statement, the university's vice chancellor, Colin Riordan, said:

Our events include speakers with a range of views, all of which are rigorously challenged and debated.

Greer called the petition a bit of a put-up job because she was not even going to talk about the issue in her lecture on Nov. 18, titled Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century. She said:

The issue is broader. I do not know why universities cannot hear unpopular views and think about what they mean.

 

 Updated: Offence Taken...

More student PC silliness as Oxford Student Union bans satirical magazine, No Offence


Link Here 24th October 2015
no offence cover  No Offence, founded by student Jacob Williams and Oxford local Lulie Tanett, is a magazine recently set up to promote debate and publicise ideas people are afraid to express .

The intention was to hand out copies at Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) fresher events. However OUSU took offence at the political incorrectness of the satirical content and banned distribution of the magazine.

The censors sited the OUSU rules about being able to ban anything offensive but in an age where everything is offensive to someone somewhere, this rather gives organisers carte blanche to censors anything that they personally do not like, in this case a little mockery of feminism.

The parts of the publication that OUSU found to be offensive included a satirical feature Letters to the Editor . In one of the fake letters, an author under the name Les B Anne criticized men by saying that all of the assaults are done by them [the men], all of the rapes, all of the murders , and in another A Wyatt Man referred to the liberal media from stopping us from asking all the hard questions about the muzzies .

A separate submission entitled Dickly Living , a satire of the Facebook discussion group Cuntry Living, was also deemed to be offensive for use of 'ableist' language and reference to organizing a mass rape swagger .

Williams commented that:

There is nothing offensive about healthy debate. To ban us from promoting it on the grounds that people might be offended proves everything the free speech movement has been saying. No offence OUSU, but you just shot yourself in the foot.

Tanett added:

We're not inciting violence, as many people do with impunity. We're not revealing national security secrets, as many people would applaud. We're not even campaigning for any particular view to be listened to. All we're doing is campaigning for events and magazines like ours to not be shut down. For the free exchange of ideas.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: Oxford: where free speech goes to die

1st October 2015. See  article from spiked-online.com by Eleanor Sharman

 A student magazine called No Offence has been banned for being offensive.

Update: Why are police always quick to act as bully boys for the complainants, regardless of the merits of the case?

24th October 2015.See  article from dailymail.co.uk

police thames valley logoThe Daily Mail has published further details about police censorship of the No Offence magazine.

Thames Valley police confiscated 150 copies of thel student magazine at the behest of student union leaders who claimed the  magazine might upset rape victims and people from ethnic minorities.

Editor Jacob Williams said he was prevented from distributing the magazines. He feared being arrested as Thames Valley Police decided whether he had committed a crime, but they have now decided that no further action will be taken.  Williams said officers at the time told him that handing out the magazine may constitute a public order offence. He said:

I have been sitting for nearly two weeks not knowing if I was going to be arrested over this. I have been very worried.

He accused officers of acting in a heavy-handed way and added:

It is incredibly important people are given the opportunity to engage with different ideas.

The magazine featured humorous articles including a defence of colonialism and an article entitled Islam is not the religion of peace . It also includes a satirical article about organising a rape swagger in the style of a slut walk.

A policeman spokesman said they were warned that a magazine containing offensive and distressing material was being distributed. An officer deemed it was not obscene and arranged for the issue to be left at a university college. The student union and university declined to comment.

 

 Update: Snoopers bang on the back door...

Iran blocks Telegram encrypted comms app when the company won't provide snooping tools


Link Here 24th October 2015  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
telegram logoIran has  been facing off with the Telegram encrypted comms app over a dispute about granting the repressive state rights to snoop on users' communications.

Iran has demanded snooping rights but has been generating a public outcry when applying temporary blocks to the app.

Pavel Durov, founder and chief executive officer for the app Telegram, took to Twitter to defend the app after Iran decided to block it because he wouldn't allow the government to spy on its users. Durov tweeted:

Iranian officials want to use @telegram to spy on their citizens. We can not and will not help them with that.

Iranian ministry of ICT demanded that @telegram provided them with spying and censorship tools. We ignored the demand, they blocked us.

According to Durov, ICT completely blocked the app in Iran for two hours Tuesday and partially blocked it for more than a week.

 

  Pirate Ice Breaker...

Pirate Party ahead in the polls in Iceland


Link Here 24th October 2015
pirate party iceland logoThe Pirate Party in Iceland continues to gain support, causing a revolution in the local political arena. According to the latest poll the party now has over a third of all votes in the country, ahead of the current Government coalition.

The Pirates have a great track record in Iceland already, with three members in the national Parliament. However, many more may join in the future as the Pirates have become the largest political party in the polls.

The Pirate Party's poll share is 34.2% in the last MMR survey ahead of the local coalition Government, which consists of the Independence Party (21.7%) and Progressive Party (10.4%).

Unlike some outsiders believe, the Pirates are not a one issue party. The party is known to fight against increased censorship and protect freedom of speech, but also encourages transparency and involvement of citizens in political issues.

 

 Commented: Spectre of Censorship...

Category cuts made for the cinema release of the new Bond film


Link Here 23rd October 2015
Poster Spectre 2015 Sam Mendes Spectre is a 2015 USA / UK action adventure thriller by Sam Mendes.
Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz and Ralph Fiennes. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12A for moderate violence, threat after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2015 cinema release

US: For comparison the film was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, sensuality and language. It is not immediately clear whether the UK cuts apply to the US and other worldwide versions.

The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice in an unfinished version. The company was advised it was likely to be classified 15 but that their preferred 12A could be obtained by making reductions in a scene of violence and in another scene showing the aftermath of a violent act. When the film was submitted for formal classification, acceptable reductions had been made in both scenes and the film was classified 12A.
Summary Notes

A cryptic message from Bond's past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

Update: The Daily Mail recommends Spectre

23rd October 2015. See  film review from dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoThe Daily Mail leads:

Licence to be sadistic: Yes, he loved it. But our critic admits he's a bit queasy about the way new Bond film Spectre glories in cruelty. Is the money-spinning 007 juggernaut so powerful the censors turn a blind eye?

Not too much on the BBFC in the article though, mostly a positive film review

 

  Cybercensors...

UKraine sets up a registry of censored websites


Link Here 23rd October 2015

ukraine cyberpolice When Ukraine's Interior Minister announced the initiative to form a new cyberpolice unit on October 11, the focus of the media coverage--and of Minister Avakov's statement--was very much on fighting online crime and beefing up the information security practices of the Ukrainian government. The launch was touted as successful, with over three thousand Ukrainians applying to join the cyberpolice force in the first 24 hours after the announcement. But amid the robust response to plans for the cybercrime unit, an arguably less popular element of the initiative flew under many Ukrainians' radars.

Along with other measures to improve information security, the Ministry plans to establish a registry of websites and webpages blocked for distributing forbidden content.

The presentation slide which was published on the Interior Ministry's website, indicates that websites featuring pirated content violating copyright, child pornography, malware and viruses, and phishing content will be listed on the banned website registry. It's unclear whether social media websites, where any user can potentially upload these and other kinds of content, will bear the brunt of responsibility for these materials -- they could be blacklisted and blocked in their entirety, or authorities could take a more nuanced approach, blocking only the pages with prohibited content. It is also unclear whether the cyberpolice forces will be required to seek court approval in order to add a site to the blacklist and subsequently block it, or if the blockings will occur extrajudicially.

In January 2014, in the midst of the Euromaidan protests, Ukrainian lawmakers passed laws restricting online public space and introducing web blocking, along with a string of other measures limiting free expression and civic activity. The set of laws, ostensibly aimed at cracking down on the protesters, in many ways resembled similar Russian legal norms. Then-president Victor Yanukovych even signed the laws into effect, but the new norms angered the Euromaidan protesters and caused an uptick in protest activity, ultimately resulting in Yanukovich's exit and the repeal of the restrictive anti-protest legislation. Given Ukrainians' reaction to the 2014 laws, the newly proposed banned websites registry is unlikely to get an enthusiastic response from Internet users.

 

 Offsite Article: The Daily Mail has fun with Halloween...


Link Here 23rd October 2015
hungry zombie head Parents' outrage as Tesco displays terrifying masks featuring zombies eating rats next to checkouts

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

  High Speed Pursuit...

Is the Daily Mail hinting that Ofcom sacked ATVOD so that it could could continue to censor Jeremy Clarkson who otherwise would have escaped its clutches by going to Video On Demand?


Link Here 22nd October 2015
Jeremy Clarkson Figure Sticker Macbook The Daily Mail seems to have quite cleverly pieced together news about Ofcom's sacking of ATVOD and related statements, (but not directly on the subject of censoring Clarkson) to give the impression that it is all about retaining the ability to censor Jeremy Clarkson after his move from TV to the Video on Demand service, Amazon Prime. The Daily Mail writes:

Ofcom has taken it upon itself to extend its watchdog remit to internet TV shows in a move that will come as a blow to Jeremy Clarkson's hopes for freedom for his new Amazon series.

The broadcasting regulator announced it is taking over internet-watch duties of online video content from the little-known quango Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) following an internal review.

It comes just weeks after former Top Gear presenter Clarkson said he was looking forward to freedom from finger wagging .

Following filming of the new Amazon Prime motoring show, Clarkson wrote in his Sunday Times car review section that he was in the free world, where you can say what you want.

But it has now emerged that the programme will be overseen by the TV regulator.

The Daily Mail doesn't mention that the legal constraints on VoD censorship are set at a higher bar and are more about hate speech than mere taste and decency, but why spoil the case.

The newspaper also notes the news that the EU is eyeing further censorship powers over the wider internet, not just VoD.

european commission logoThe European Union has launched a public consultation on current rules surrounding broadcast and on demand media services.

Next year there will be a full review of the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive, originally adopted in 2010, where the European Commission will examine whether the current system should be adapted.

It will also look at whether the directive's current scope should be broadened so as to apply to new services and players that are outside the existing definition of audio-visual media services.

 

 Update: Shooting the Messenger...

Germany considers prosecuting Facebook over hateful comments about migrants


Link Here 22nd October 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

Facebook logoWith enormous numbers of refugees prompting significant numbers of hateful posts on social media, German prosecutors are considering going after Facebook itself for acting as a home for posts that advocate racial hatred and violate laws against neo-Nazi speech.

German prosecutors are investigating possible charges against three Facebook managers, prompted by a complaint that they failed to act against racist comments about Europe's refugee crisis.

The complaint came from German attorney Chan-jo Jun, of Wuerzburg. In it, he claimed to have flagged more than 60 Facebook entries that would violate German hate-speech laws. In an interview in Die Welt newspaper, he noted that the posts he flagged -- some featuring Nazi insignia and people posing while giving a Nazi salute -- are strictly forbidden by German law.

But, he said, Facebook responded to his complaints by saying the content didn't violate Facebook's community standards, and the posts were not removed. He made copies of the posts and sent them to Facebook's German managers by registered mail. In the complaint he filed, he noted:

We need to put an end to the arrogance with which some companies try to translate their system of values to Europe.

Facebook Germany encourages the dissemination of offensive, punishable content through its actions in Germany.

This week, the German tabloid Bild ran a two-page spread of nothing but hateful Facebook comments, complete with user names and profile photos. The comments were directed at the large number of refugees seeking asylum in Germany, and those who support them.

 

 Extract: The Great Firewall of Britain...

An extract from the government's Counter-Extremism Strategy reveals a propaganda 'network of credible commentators' to challenge internet extremism


Link Here 21st October 2015  full story: Extremism in the UK...UK government introduces wide ranging ban on extremism

David CameronContesting the online space

63. We are already working in partnership with industry and the police to remove terrorist and extremist material. Cooperation with industry has significantly improved in recent years. Removals at the request of the police have increased from around 60 items a month in 2010, when the unit responsible was first established, to over 4,000 a month in 2015, taking the total to 110,000 pieces of propaganda removed.

64. However, a fundamental shift in the scale and nature of our response is required to match the huge increase in extremists' use of the internet. This will involve close partnership with the public and industry to do two things: first we need to empower people to use the internet to challenge extremists online; and second we will work with social media and communications providers to ensure extremists do not have open access to their platforms.

65. To empower those who wish to challenge extremists online, we will continue to:

  • support a network of credible commentators who want to challenge the extremists and put forward mainstream views online;

  • train a wide range of civil society groups to help them build and maintain a compelling online presence, uploading mainstream content so that the extremist voice is not the only one heard;

  • run a national programme to make young people more resilient to the risks of radicalisation online and provide schools and teachers with more support to address the risk posed by online radicalisation; and

  • build awareness in civil society groups and the public to empower internet users to report extremist content.

66. And we will go further to limit access to extremist content online. In particular we will:

  • create a group that brings industry, government and the public together to agree ways to limit access to terrorist and extremist content online without compromising the principle of an open internet. We will learn from the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which has been successful in tackling child sexual exploitation content online; and

  • continue to support greater use of filtering, working with industry to develop more effective approaches.

67. Communications service providers have a critical role in tackling extremist content online. We have seen the considerable progress they have made in tackling online Child Sexual Exploitation. We now look to them to step up their response to protect their users from online extremism. As the Prime Minister made clear in his July 2015 speech,... is now time for radicalisation . We need industry to strengthen their terms and conditions, to ensure fewer pieces of extremist material appear online, and that any such material is taken down quickly.

68. Using the internet -- both to confront extremist views and limit access to extremist content -- is crucial if we are to challenge extremist ideologies in our modern society. Alongside this is a need to promote the positive message that it is possible to reconcile your faith identity and national identity. By contesting the online space and presenting compelling alternatives to the extremist worldview, we will work in partnership with others to keep pace with the extremists' use of the internet.

 

 Update: The Great Firewall of Thailand...

Thailand's military dictators resume plans to censor the internet


Link Here 21st October 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

prayut chan-o-chaThailand's junta has said it planned to create a new military unit to censor online dissent, as Internet freedom campaigners said they were training hundreds of volunteers for a cyber war against censorship.

The proposed unit follows controversial plans for a single access point to the Internet, dubbed by online protesters as the Great Firewall of Thailand - in reference to China's draconian web surveillance - because it would make it easier to monitor the web.

While Thai premier Prayut Chan-o-cha claimed no conclusions have been reached on the single gateway but defence minister Prawit Wongsuwon has now told reporters the military is continuing with the plan.

In response, the group Citizens Against Single Gateway: Thailand Internet Firewall, vowed to launch unspecified attacks against the junta if the gateway plans were not cancelled. The group said the group in a Facebook post:

In order to win the cyber war this time, we must use brains, skills and patience.

 

  For the High Jump...

Advert censor bans Hostelworld advert citing the encouragement of tombstoning


Link Here 21st October 2015

hotelworld tombstoning video Two TV ads and a cinema ad promoted a hostel company, Hostelworld:

  • a. The first ad featured young adults walking through a forest before jumping naked into an open water pool. One man jumped from the top of a high cliff into the pool.

  • b. A shorter version of the same ad included the same scene of the man jumping into the pool.

  • c. The cinema ad was identical to ad (b).

Twenty complainants, who believed the ads depicted a practice known as tombstoning - jumping from cliffs into water - which they understood was very dangerous and could result in serious injury and death, challenged whether the ads condoned or encouraged a dangerous practice.

Hostelworld.com Ltd said the ads did not depict or encourage the act of tombstoning , which they said was the dangerous practice of people jumping into water from cliffs or other high points without prior knowledge of the potential dangers, such as the depth of the water, rocks below or strong currents in the water. They said the ad was filmed at the Ik Kil cenote in Mexico, a popular site of natural beauty which was open to the public for swimming, and was part of a bigger complex for tourists. They said the cenote had signs which stated that the depth of the water was over 50 metres. They said many visitors jumped into the water from an elevated platform that had been carved into the rock especially for that purpose, which was clearly depicted in the ad, along with the staircase used to climb up to it. They said that was intentional, and they felt it was a clear indication that the activity was safe and appropriate to do in that area, unlike tombstoning which involved jumping into the unknown.

Responding in relation to ad (c), the Cinema Advertising Association said they were aware of the dangers of tombstoning and had frequently removed such visuals from other advertising where they were shown as casual, spontaneous acts. They had taken the view that this was not the case in the Hostelworld ad. There were a number of elements that led them to believe that the tombstoning shown in the ad would comply with the CAP Code. First, the participants shown were young adults, not children. Second, the group was shown jumping into the water from a ledge only three to four metres above the water level. Third, the individual who jumped from the potentially dangerous height only did so after being visibly assured by the group already in the water that he could do so, as they would be aware of the adequate depth of the water in which they were swimming.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood that a number of people had been killed or seriously injured in the UK as a result of tombstoning , which involved jumping from cliffs or rocks into the sea, or other body of water, without the use of safety equipment or precautions, and considered it was important that ads did not condone or encourage such an unsafe practice.

We understood that the cenote, or water sinkhole, depicted in the ads was over 50 metres deep and was a tourist attraction at which jumpers were likely to be supervised. However, we considered that most viewers would not be familiar with the location, and noted that there was nothing in the ads themselves which demonstrated the depth of the water, or that the group shown were being supervised. We noted that there did not appear to be anyone present other than those in the group, and considered that viewers would infer that the group were taking part in a spontaneous activity with no supervision.

We considered that, in the shots of the group jumping together, it was clear that they were jumping from a reasonably low height. Further, there were steps carved into the rock leading to a ledge, which suggested that it was a suitable place from which to jump. We noted that one of the jumpers was concerned about diving, but none of them seemed uncomfortable about jumping in. However, in the scene which showed the main male character jumping from a much higher position, no steps or ledge were apparent. We considered that the length of the fall could have been dangerous, and that there was a risk of injury if the jump was emulated, particularly if it was done in a location which was not specifically designed for such activities.

We noted that the man seemed apprehensive about jumping, but was encouraged to do so by the rest of the group, who shouted Jump, jump, jump! and beckoned with their hands. He subsequently decided to jump, shouting as he fell. Once the man had jumped, the group was heard cheering, before he was hugged by one of them. In addition, he was shown speaking to a woman in the group, with whom he had shared a brief and awkward smile prior to the jump. We considered that the encouragement from the group in response to his apprehension, and their subsequent reaction, suggested that the man's behaviour was brave and admirable, and that the group's respect for him had increased as a result. Therefore, we considered that the man was being presented in a more positive light for having done something which might be considered dangerous.

For those reasons, we concluded that the ads were likely to condone or encourage a dangerous practice.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Hostelworld.com Ltd to ensure that future ads did not condone or encourage dangerous practices.

 

  The Most Vile Show Ever!...

Parents TV Council recommends American Horror Story


Link Here 21st October 2015
American Horror Story Freak Blu ray The Parents Television Council is hyaving a good whinge about gruesome scenes in American Horror Story: Hotel.

The moralist campaign group has ranted at the show for the season premiere, which featured a bloody orgy between Matthew Bomer, Lady Gaga, two ill-fated lovers, and a rape scene involving Max Greenfield in which his character is violated with a spiked sex toy.

The PTC president, Tim Winter, wrote that the premiere featured an unbelievably explicit combination of sex and violence and attempted to rouse support from other Americans to boycott the series, along with banding together to discourage advertisers from being associated with the show. He colourfully claimed:

This is the most vile and shocking content I've ever seen on TV. Ever. Most Americans have no idea this is primetime fare on advertiser-supported basic cable. And everyone is paying for it as part of their program bundle.

American Horror Story: Hotel airs well after the watershed at 10pm, and with the word horror in the title, it's unlikely that there will be many accidental viewers.

 

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 34 Part 2...


Link Here 21st October 2015
podcast 34 2 Classification issues in Sci-Fi films Jurassic Park, Independence Day, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Oblivion

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

  Nintendo doesn't skimp on the censorship...

Skimpy costumes replaced by cover-all garb for western releases of Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water


Link Here 20th October 2015
project zero maiden of black waterThe Wii game, Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water , has been censored for western release

Princess Zelda and Samus Aran's skimpy attire from the Japanese release has been replaced by cover-all garb.

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water launches in North America later this week on Wii U and then in Europe on October 30.

 

  Slip Up...

Daily Mail drags up a couple of angry tweets about a Harry Hill bad taste joke about Cilla Black


Link Here 20th October 2015
youve been framed cilla video The Daily Mail has gone to town on a trivial bad taste joke about Cilla Black on You've Been Framed

An old episode contained a clip of red-haired woman falling and hitting her head on the side of a swimming pool. Harry Hill quipped: It is Cilla Black appearing in her last show for ITV. Cilla died in August after collapsing and banging her head in Marbella.

The episode was made last year and was repeated again on Saturday. The Daily Mail reports:

Furious fans were left distraught and complained to ITV calling them crass , sick and insensitive for allowing a joke about Cilla falling over to be broadcast last weekend.

The Daily Mail dragged up a few angry tweets, eg:

Simon Gittins: The you've been framed CIlla joke was just sick. All you have done is hurt her memory. You should be ashamed.

ITV later apologised for the mistake and said the clip should have been cut

 

  Sniggaz and Pranksterz...

Daily Star reports on 'outrage' about a TV show called Sniggaz. A short while later the show is called Pranksterz


Link Here 20th October 2015
itv 2015 logoThe Daily Star reported:

A hidden camera and prank show featuring a cast of black and Asian comedians has been commissioned by the channel for autumn -- called Sniggaz . In an ITV press release, the channel said:

C4 backed indie Renowned Films has also been commissioned by ITV2 to produce a 1 x 30 comedy special, completing the set of singles. The show, entitled Sniggaz (w/t) will feature a brand new cast of up and coming Black and Asian comics, as they hit the streets in a mix of fast paced provocative hidden camera and character based pranks poking fun at prejudices and stereotypes around race and diversity in the UK.

Renowned's Duane Jones added:

We're thrilled to be working with ITV2 to unleash our brand new comedy show, Sniggaz, bringing some of the freshest Black and Asian comics and writers to the channel for the first time. 'Sniggaz' will poke fun at the stereotypes and prejudices that most of us are too afraid to discuss. Watch out UK, the sniggaz are coming.

By the time I checked out the story the ITV press release reads:

C4 backed indie Renowned Films has also been commissioned by ITV2 to produce a 1 x 30 comedy special, completing the set of singles. The show, entitled Pranksterz will feature a brand new cast of up and coming Black and Asian comics, as they hit the streets in a mix of fast paced provocative hidden camera and character based pranks poking fun at prejudices and stereotypes around race and diversity in the UK.

 

 Offsite Article: Proposed measures on extremism will criminalise legitimate speech...


Link Here 20th October 2015  full story: Extremism in the UK...UK government introduces wide ranging ban on extremism
index logo In its new extremism strategy, the British government is proposing measures that will criminalise legitimate speech and shrink the space for open debate throughout society.

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Update: The Parents TV Council Recommends...

New US TV series Scream Queens on Fox


Link Here 19th October 2015  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
scream queens on foxThe US morality campaign group, The Parents Television Council, writes:

The Parents Television Council (PTC) is urging McDonald's to reconsider sponsoring Fox Broadcasting's new series, Scream Queens , which has featured graphic gore and sexual content that would typically be seen in R-rated movies, and that airs as early as 7 pm in half of the country. McDonald's ads have appeared on the first four episodes of the new TV show.

The PTC's review of Scream Queens said, Parents are warned: mean-spirited, sexualized, gory horror show is unsafe for children of any age. Content in the show has included a character's face being fried in hot cooking fat; another character is sprayed with hydrochloric acid, with close-ups showing her bloody skin burning and melting off; several young sorority pledges are buried in the ground up to their necks while the Devil drives over their heads on a riding mower. The episode that aired on October 6 th featured a discussion about necrophilia.

PTC President Tim Winter said:

The Golden Arches brand now stands for sexual fantasies with dead people and with decapitating college coeds. No wonder McDonald's is having problems attracting families, when millions of the company's media dollars underwrite such content on Scream Queens early in the evening on primetime broadcast TV.

Not only is McDonald's financing a toxic media culture, they are hurting their own pocketbooks. We urge McDonald's to do well and to do good at the same time, by changing course and recognizing what scientific research has already proven to be true -- that advertising on TV shows with explicit content can truly be bad for business.

One such study is from the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University and suggests that programs with high levels of violent or sexual content can actually repress the viewers' ability to recall advertised brands. By contrast, subjects who watched 'neutral' programming were better able to recall the ads the following day.

Nevertheless, and amid falling sales, McDonald's corporate marketing team has continued to compromise its image and reputation as a family-friendly fast-food destination with poor sponsorship decisions; and those sponsorship decisions are hurting the McDonald's brand, hurting McDonald's reputation with families, and hurting their franchisees.

It's time for McDonald's to stop sponsoring offensive and harmful TV content, especially early in primetime when the content is so easily accessible to kids.

 

  When your government or police take a liking to your account...

Facebook will notify users when they are targeted by nation-states


Link Here 19th October 2015
Facebook logoAlex Stamos, Chief Security Officer at Facebook, explains its new Notification for targeted attacks:

The security of people's accounts is paramount at Facebook, which is why we constantly monitor for potentially malicious activity and offer many options to proactively secure your account. Starting today, we will notify you if we believe your account has been targeted or compromised by an attacker suspected of working on behalf of a nation-state.

While we have always taken steps to secure accounts that we believe to have been compromised, we decided to show this additional warning if we have a strong suspicion that an attack could be government-sponsored. We do this because these types of attacks tend to be more advanced and dangerous than others, and we strongly encourage affected people to take the actions necessary to secure all of their online accounts.

It's important to understand that this warning is not related to any compromise of Facebook's platform or systems, and that having an account compromised in this manner may indicate that your computer or mobile device has been infected with malware. Ideally, people who see this message should take care to rebuild or replace these systems if possible.

To protect the integrity of our methods and processes, we often won't be able to explain how we attribute certain attacks to suspected attackers. That said, we plan to use this warning only in situations where the evidence strongly supports our conclusion. We hope that these warnings will assist those people in need of protection, and we will continue to improve our ability to prevent and detect attacks of all kinds against people on Facebook.

 

 Offsite Article: Fuck Yeah!...


Link Here 19th October 2015
fuck clothing Daily Mail has an amusing rant about strong language on clothing and greeting cards

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

  Arsey Whingers...

London mayoral candidate amongst those ridiculously 'outraged' by slippery platform poster


Link Here 18th October 2015
mind your bum tfl warningAn advert featuring an image of a women's bottom in jeans has been taken down from railway stations across London after causing supposed 'outrage' over sexism. It describes the woman's backside being good for squeezing and shaking . The advert warns about slippery floors and reads:

Good for sitting, squeezing and shaking. Don't bruise it. Please take extra care in wet weather conditions.

There have been a few whinges from politically correct politicians claiming that the poster somehow trivialises sexual assaults and encourages groping.

Labour MP and London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan said the advert had no place on London's transport network. Meanwhile, Teresa Pearce, the Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, tweeted at Southeastern trains to complain. She whinged:

Nothing sexist about this at all is there @Se_Railway? Thats a really bad advert!

A Southeastern spokesman said:

Following a complaint last night from Teresa Pearce, MP for Erith and Thamesmead, this poster has been removed from the 70 stations it was placed in.

The poster was used as it was intended to be a harmless but impactful way of drawing attention to safety issues at stations, particularly trips and falls during wet weather. This poster was put to an independent panel, which included both women and men, who approved it before it was used.

We since recognise that to some it may cause offence and have taken appropriate action by removing it.

 

 Update: Dragon Soop...

Drinks censor dismisses Middlesbrough Council whinges about drinks cans


Link Here 18th October 2015  full story: UK Drinks Censor...Portman Group play PC censor for drinks
dragon soopA complaint about the packaging of Dragon Soop (500ml can) for encouraging immoderate consumption and appealing to under-18s has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP).

The complainant, Middlesbrough Council Public Health Team, were concerned that the product encouraged irresponsible consumption as it contained the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) daily unit guidelines for men (3-4 units) and exceeded that for women (2-3 units). The complainant also considered that the brightly coloured packaging, the cartoon dragon image and product flavour would appeal to younger people.

In considering the product, the Panel referred to previous rulings on 500ml cans and the wider societal context including the Public Health Responsibility Deal pledge which stated that signatories will not produce or sell any carbonated product with more than (4) units of alcohol in a single-serve can . It was noted that whilst four units of alcohol was on the threshold of the CMOs' lower risk daily guidelines for men (3-4 units) and above for women (2-3 units), taking into consideration all factors within the context of the case, they concluded that on balance the product did not encourage immoderate consumption. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code paragraph 3.2(f).

The Panel considered whether the product had a particular appeal to under-18s. The Panel noted that whilst some of the colours were bright, the imagery (including the dragon) was neither overly childish nor likely to particularly appeal to under-18s. The Panel therefore concluded that the product did not breach the Code.

 

 Update: Claims of shorter retention times...

Germany passes new internet mass snooping law, after all they now have an awful lot of Syrians to keep an eye on


Link Here 17th October 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Germany flagGermany's Bundestag has voted for a new version of the data retention law that caused so much controversy in the past.

The new law will force telcos to store call and email records for 10 weeks, as well as metadata including information about who called or emailed whom and when, and call duration. IP addresses will also be logged. Mobile phone location data will only be stored for four weeks.

The data is only to be used in the investigation of terrorism and other serious crimes (but all crimes are defined as 'serious' crimes these days) and police must get a judge's consent before rifling through personal metadata, and the individual in question must be notified.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas defended the new law, saying that it was proportionate, in contrast to earlier legislation, as less data would be stored and retained for a shorter time.

 

 Offsite Article: Are you a traitor?...


Link Here 17th October 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
bbc panorama 2013 logo The BBC Panorama interview with Edward Snowden

See article from opendemocracy.net

 

 Update: New Zealand's bedraggled reputation fished out of the river...

Book censors rescind their ludicrous book ban initiated at the behest of moralist campaigners


Link Here 16th October 2015  full story: Book Censorship in New Zealand...Embarassing book bans
Into River Ted Dawe Into the River is a young adult novel that was temporarily banned in New Zealand for subject matter that offended religious moralist campaigner.

An interim banning order was applied to Ted Dawe's novel in September after a campaign by Family First to get age restrictions applied.

The ban has now been lifted by New Zealand's Film and Literature Board who ludicrously imposed the unnecessary ban that generated worldwide infamy for New Zealand.

In a majority decision released on Wednesday, the board lifted the ban saying although aspects of the book may offend, it did not believe an age restriction was justified. The ruling noted:

Whilst many parents may choose not to allow their children to read such material, there are no grounds to restrict the book from teenage readers.

The interim ban was widely criticised by authors and organisations including the New Zealand Book Council and the Publishers Association of New Zealand, while readers worldwide organised silent readings in protest and solidarity with Dawe.

Family First's national director Bob McCoskrie accused the board of succumbing to book industry pressure despite the book's highly offensive and gratuitous language, adult themes and graphic sexual content . But news the ban had been lifted was generally welcomed in New Zealand.

Update: Censorship is alive in New Zealand. I should know my book was banned

27th October 2015. See  article from theguardian.com . By Ted Dawe

 

 Update: Last words...

Australia's Zoo magazine aims its final message at feminists and prudes


Link Here 16th October 2015  full story: Collective Shout...Nutter campaigners against sexualisation and the like
zoo fingerAustralia's extreme feminist group, Collective Shout!, claim that Zoo magazine's final gesture is aimed at them, claiming:

Now defunct Lad's Mag Zoo Weekly devoted its final issue to us with this cover.

Activist Laura Pintur crowed:

We were pleased to report that after our successful campaign to get sexploitation mag Zoo Weekly out of Coles supermarkets Bauer Media announced the sexist lads mag was closing.

This week Zoo Weekly released their last edition ever. We're glad that pornographers will have one less outlet now to push porn to underage boys.

 

  Cameron looks into Obama's backdoor...

The Obama administration will not pursue requirements for government backdoor into encrypted communications


Link Here 16th October 2015

Barack ObamaThe Obama administration has announced that it will not be pursuing legislation to force tech companies to introduce encryption backdoors. National Security Council spokesman Mark Stroh said:

As the president has said, the United States will work to ensure that malicious actors can be held to account -- without weakening our commitment to strong encryption. As part of those efforts, we are actively engaged with private companies to ensure they understand the public safety and national security risks that result from malicious actors' use of their encrypted products and services.

The announcement came in the same week that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales called the British Prime Minister's anti-encryption rhetoric moronic . He said:

It's too late, David. ...The genie is out of the bottle. ...It is not feasible in any sense of the word for the UK to ban end-to-end encryption. It's a completely moronic and stupid thing to do. We all have a very strong interest in a safe and secure internet.

 

  Declining Viewers...

BBC tries to shut down foreign access of iPlayer via VPNs


Link Here 16th October 2015
iplayer logoThe BBC is taking measures against the unauthorized use of its iPlayer service by actively blocking UK VPN services. The measures aim to prevent foreigners from accessing iPlayer without permission, but they're also blocking many legitimate UK citizens from surfing the Internet securely.

While the service is intended for UK viewers, who have to pay a mandatory TV license, it's also commonly used overseas. Recent research suggests that 60 million people outside the UK access iPlayer through VPNs and other circumvention tools.

Traditionally the BBC hasn't taken any measures to prevent unauthorized use, but this changed very recently. Over the past several days TF has received several reports from VPN users who can no longer access iPlayer from UK-based VPN servers. Blocked viewers see the message:

BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.

This effectively stops foreigners and expats from accessing the service, but it also affects license paying UK citizens who use a VPN to browse the Internet securely. They will now have to disconnect their VPN if they want to access iPlayer.

Several VPN users are not happy with the change and have voiced their complaints. The issue is also causing concern among VPN providers, which are looking for options to circumvent the blockade.

 

  Going after 3rd parties...

Entertainment Distributors' Push For Site-Blocking Power Get More Extreme


Link Here 16th October 2015
Electronic Frontier Foundation

 

 Extract: More Destructive Weaponry...

The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies. The Extended Cut Again Displays The Uselessness Of The MPAA. By Eric Eisenberg


Link Here 15th October 2015

Hobbit Battle Armies Extended Blu ray I had the opportunity to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Extended Edition during the special Fathom Events screening that was held nationwide last night, and while I can honestly say that I enjoyed the experience, it also left me scratching my head.

With a running time of 164 minutes, the movie is 20 minutes longer than its theatrical predecessor, and as you might have guessed considering the original cut is 75% war scene, much of the additional footage is battle-related. This includes dwarves charging into battles against orcs, wargs, and various other kinds of monsters with all kinds of weapons, including a ram-driven sled featuring scythe-covered wheels and a crank-operated arrow launcher.

As enemies are taken down, small splashes of black blood occasionally appear, and I'll admit that some of the deaths do rank on the gnarly scale, but the idea that it actually crosses any kind of line from PG-13 to R is entirely ridiculous. The change truly suggests that the line between ratings is so thin that it might as well not even bother existing, and paints a perfect picture of the entire methodology's arbitrary nature.

...Read the full article from cinemablend.com

 

  Mock Graffiti...

Artists claim that Arabic graffiti on the sets of Homeland mocks the TV show


Link Here 15th October 2015
Homeland Season DVD Claire Danes Set artists have been having fun with the latest episode of the TV drama, Homeland . The Arabic graffiti covering some of the walls is claimed to include slogans mocking the show for its simplistic depiction of Muslims and the Islamic faith.

The Arabian Street Artists, including painters Heba Amin and Caram Kapp, were invited to cover the Berlin set in authentic graffiti for the most recent episode, set in a refugee camp on the Lebanese/Syrian border. However, the artists claimed to have used the platform to write slogans such as Homeland is racist, This show does not represent the views of the artists, and Homeland is a joke and it didn't make us laugh.

The artists said they were provoked by the show's inaccurate, undifferentiated and highly biased depiction of Arabs, Pakistanis, and Afghans.

The claims have yet to be verified.

 

 Update: Bring Your Own Porn...

Hotel room porn no longer makes money so Hyatt hotel pulls the plug to salvage a few morality points


Link Here 15th October 2015  full story: Nutter Friendly Hotels...Nutters campaign against hotel room adult movies
hyatt logoThe Hyatt Hotel Corp. has announced that it will pull all adult entertainment from its guest rooms worldwide. Hyatt said adult entertainment will be phased out as terms of contracts expire with each of the companies that provide Hyatt's in-room TV shows, movies and other entertainment.

Hyatt is following the lead of Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide that have already begun to ban porn from in-room entertainment systems. Hyatt did not explain why it made the decision, saying only:

Hyatt has made the decision to stop offering adult entertainment video on-demand at any Hyatt hotel.

Industry commentators say that the decision to remove pornography has been partly motivated by a steady drop in revenue from in-room entertainment throughout the industry as more guests turn to the Internet to download movies, games and video clips on their laptops and portable digital devices.

A recent study by PKF Hospitality Research found that annual hotel revenue in the United States from in-room movie rentals -- including adult films -- dropped from $339 per room in 2000 to $107 in 2014.

 

 Offsite Article: Tears of anger...


Link Here 15th October 2015  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games
DmC Devil May Cry Xbox Germans fobbed off with a Japanese cut version of the computer game, DMC

See article from reddit.com

 

 Offsite Article: Crouching Censor...


Link Here 15th October 2015
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon DVD Chinese film censors clamour to get their claws into Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel

See article from theepochtimes.com

 

  Robbing Peter to fund the suffocation of Paul...

Ofcom puts an end to ATVOD's ruinous censorship of the UK Video on Demand industry


Link Here 14th October 2015
Ofcom have sacked ATVOD as explained in the following statement:

Ofcom logoThe regulation of video-on-demand programme services is being brought fully within Ofcom to sit alongside its regulation of broadcast content.

The move follows an Ofcom review to ensure regulation of broadcast and on-demand content remains as effective and efficient as possible for the benefit of consumers, audiences and industry.

The review included the current co-regulatory arrangements for video-on-demand services. These can include catch-up TV and on-demand services on the TV and the internet. Ofcom designated the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) in 2010 as a co-regulator to take the lead in regulating editorial content for video-on-demand services.

Following the review, Ofcom has decided that acting as sole regulator for video-on-demand programmes is a more effective model for the future than having two separate bodies carrying out this work. This will create operational efficiencies and allow editorial content on video-on-demand to sit alongside Ofcom's existing regulation of broadcasting.

Video-on-demand services have become increasingly popular among viewers. The proportion of adults aged 15 and over that watch video-on-demand services has increased from 27% in 2010 to 57% in 2014, according to Ofcom research.

ATVOD has played an important, effective role in regulating on-demand TV over the past five years. Like Ofcom, it is committed to protecting audiences from harmful content.

ATVOD and Ofcom are therefore working closely together to ensure a smooth transfer of responsibilities so that audiences, especially children, remain protected at all times.

As co-regulator for on-demand services, Ofcom already has concurrent responsibility to act in addition to, or in place of, ATVOD. From 1 January 2016, Ofcom will take sole responsibility for regulating video-on-demand programme services. The Advertising Standards Authority will continue to act as a co-regulator for advertising content on video-on-demand services.

ATVOD responded:

The UK's video on demand regulator today responded to Ofcom's decision to end ATVOD's role as the co-regulator for the editorial content of on demand programme services on 31 December 2015, after nearly six years.

Commenting on the decision, ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

ATVOD with award for service to foreign industryWe are immensely proud of the work ATVOD has done since it was given the job of overseeing a brand new set of regulatory rules for video on demand services in 2010. We have done this as a co-regulator dedicated to engaging fully with the industry we regulate in order to ensure that consumers enjoy the protections to which they are entitled without the imposition of unnecessary burdens on providers of video on demand services. Under our regulation, the UK video on demand industry has grown strongly and consumer complaints have been dealt with effectively and efficiently.

Our task now is to make sure that our service to consumers and service providers remains of the highest standard during the remaining months of 2015 and to work closely with Ofcom to manage a smooth and seamless transition. We will do this with the professionalism stakeholders have come to expect of ATVOD over the past few years.

ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

We would like to thank all those who have helped us discharge our duties since 2010, including past and present Industry Forum Chairs Kerry Kent and Martin Stott, past and present Industry Forum Deputy Chairs Helena Brewer and Michael Gooding and all the service providers who have helped put the 'co' in co-regulation by serving on our Board and participating via our joint working parties. Our regulation benefited greatly from their input and we've been pleased to develop together a robust and efficient model of co-regulation taking a fledgling industry sector through its first five years.

Finally, we'd like to thank the ATVOD staff and Board for all their hard work and dedication. They have done a challenging job fantastically well.

And maybe connected, Mistress R'eal has spoken of a successful appeal against an ATVOD censorship decision :

mistress real logo For those of you who know about the trouble I had with ATVOD the regulators trying to put strict restrictions on what I could and couldn't film Well persistence prevailed and I have won

With the help of BacklashUK and the support from Mistress Tytania , I appealed their ruling to Ofcom and 2 weeks ago I got a letter from Ofcom overuling their judgement !!!

This means I am now free to continue with My clips for sale store without the constraints of the ridiculous porn laws

Update: Ofcom uphold Mistress R'eal's appeal

21st December 2015. See  Ofcom decision [pdf] from stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom logoOfcom have indeed upheld the appeal against ATVOD decision that the site hosted by Clips4Sale qualifies for censorship by ATVOD.

Ofcom's arguments are way too intricate to precis here but the video content was found to be too short and unprofessional to count as TV-like. It also becomes clear how incompetent EU lawmakers are issuing legislation that is so vague and meaningless that the only way to handle it is through officials and barristers to argue what the lawmakers were trying to say. And that is for the most basic issue as to whether a website qualifies as something that needs state censorship. Shame on the EU.

 

  Charitable concerns...

ASA dimisses complaints about Honour Killing campaign advert


Link Here 14th October 2015
remember shafilea advertA press ad promoted the charity Karma Nirvana . The ad featured an image of a woman with a transparent plastic bag over her head. Her eyes were closed and her mouth open. Text stated RememberShafilea SHAFILEA AHMED WAS BRUTALLY SUFFOCATED BY HER OWN PARENTS IN AN 'HONOUR' KILLING ... To preserve her memory we have a 3D printer set to create a sculpture of Shafilea in response to your tweets of support using #RememberShafilea .

The ASA received six complaints:

  1. all of the complainants challenged whether the image of a woman being suffocated was distressing; and
  2. one of the complainants challenged whether the ad condoned or encouraged an unsafe practice.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that most viewers would believe the image was intended to represent a young woman in the midst of being suffocated. While her mouth was open, as though she were gasping for breath, we noted that her eyes were closed, and considered that the image, in and of itself, was not overly graphic or violent. We considered, however, that a number of readers would find the idea of referring to, or portraying, the murder of a young woman to be shocking and upsetting. We noted that the text in the ad made clear the intention behind the ad and explained that the charity wished to raise awareness of honour based violence and ensure that the victims of such abuse were remembered. In particular, we understood that the campaign was focused on promoting the memory of Shafilea Ahmed, a 17-year-old woman who had been murdered by her parents in an honour based killing, in 2003. We considered that the explanatory text regarding the purpose of the campaign put the image into context and concluded that, when considered as a whole, the ad was unlikely to cause unjustifiable distress.

2. Not upheld

We understood that the complainant was concerned that children who viewed the ad could be encouraged to emulate the image. We acknowledged that the ad depicted dangerous behaviour and that if a child did try to replicate the image they were at risk of causing themselves significant harm.

We understood that the Metro was targeted at adults, but that it was freely available to pick up at stations and on public transport. Therefore, we understood that children old enough to travel on their own, or those escorted by an adult, could easily pick up and peruse a free copy. We considered that, for those children old enough to read and understand it, the text explaining the campaign emphasised the serious and dangerous implications of such behaviour, and clearly portrayed it in a negative light. While we acknowledged that younger children might be less aware of the dangers of playing with plastic bags and were unlikely to understand the text or purpose of the campaign, we noted that the ad was very sombre and was unlikely to appeal to younger children or attract their attention. Similarly, we did not consider that the ad presented the activity in a positive light or as a fun thing to do. We also considered that any younger children who did see the ad were unlikely to do so without the supervision of an adult, who could, if necessary, explain the risks of such behaviour.

Because we understood that the Metro had a predominantly adult readership and we did not consider that the ad had particular appeal to children or presented the activity in a positive light, we concluded that the ad did not condone or encourage an unsafe practice.

 

 Offsite Article: There's No DRM in JPEG...


Link Here 14th October 2015
Electronic Frontier Foundation Let's Keep It That Way

See article from eff.org

 

  Bitching about Comedy Central...

Ofcom whinges at daytime trailers for late night comedy


Link Here 13th October 2015
comedy central logoIn a tediously long report, Ofcom have had a whinge at trailers on Comedy Central that were considered too adult for daytime viewers.

Ofcom received more than 200 complaints about the tone, humour and language used in more than a dozen trailers that aired repeatedly on Comedy Central and Comedy Central Extra before the 9pm watershed.

The trailers included comedian Howard performing a standup routine which included the line you filthy bitch which aired at 9.30am on Christmas Eve during cartoon series Penguins of Madagascar.

Delaney's pre-watershed trailer included the comedian talking about fingering because I've just learned how to do it .

Other clips included a trailer promoting a South Park Erection Night Special and trailers for a post-watershed scheduled animation series Brickleberry, which featured cartoon characters being graphically killed.

Paramount UK-owned Comedy Central's initial response to Ofcom was that none of the trailers was in breach of the broadcasting code because the channel was not intended to appeal to, nor aimed, at children . The broadcaster said that it had worked hard to make sure that the references and comments in its trailers would go over the heads of younger viewers watching .

Ofcom ruled that all of the trailers broke broadcasting rules including that children must be protected from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling of content. The TV censor said that the trailers were clearly unsuitable to be broadcast before the 9pm watershed.

 

 Updated: Ongoing censorship...

Saudi Arabia and Iran still seeking to ban Sir Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses


Link Here 13th October 2015  full story: Satanic Verses...Salman Rushdie irritation of the muslim world
Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie Saudi Arabia has summoned the Czech ambassador over a new translation of Sir Salman Rushdie's book Satanic Verses .

Saudi expressed its condemnation and disapproval of translating the book , which it claims is offensive to Islam, and hopes the Prague government will ban the publication of the work. It was reported that Saudi demanded that religion and cultures not be insulted in any way or form.

But Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told his country's CTK news agency:

We have no reason to interfere in any way because we have freedom of the press and expression.

Meanwhile Iran has announced that it is boycotting a Frankfurt book fair after organisers invited Rushdie as a guest speaker. The foreign ministry said the fair had:

Under the pretext of freedom of expression, invited a person who is hated in the Islamic world and create the opportunity for Salman Rushdie ... to make a speech.

The ministry also called on other Muslim nations to join its boycott. Deputy culture minister Abbas Salehi said:

Fair officials chose the theme of freedom of expression, but they invited someone who has insulted our beliefs.

Update: Censors Rebuffed

13th October 2015. See  article from thebookseller.com

The Frankfurt Book Fair has said that freedom of expression is non-negotiable , in response to the Iranian Ministry of Culture's confirmed boycott of this week's fair over the presence of keynote speaker Salman Rushdie. Juergen Boos, director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, said:

We very much regret the Iranian Ministry of Culture's cancellation. Frankfurt Book Fair is a place of dialogue. At the same time, we hope that this year's cancellation is just a brief interruption in the existing conversations and that we can continue to expand on the established relationships. Nevertheless, for us, freedom of expression is non-negotiable. We must not forget that Rushdie is still being threatened with death for his work.

The Frankfurt Book Fair has said it hopes for further dialogue with the Iranian Ministry of Censorship.

 

  Playboy for Teenagers...

Playboy set to drop the nudes


Link Here 13th October 2015
play boy aneta zajacPlayboy magazine will stop publishing pictures of fully nude women because the ubiquity of internet pornography has made such images passé, the company's chief executive has revealed.

CEO Scott Flanders said founder Hugh Hefner had agreed with a proposal to stop publishing images of naked women from March 2016.

The redesigned Playboy, 62 years after it was launched by Hefner, will still feature a Playmate of the Month and glamour pictures but they will be rated PG-13 (an advisory rating that cautions that material may be inappropriate for children under 13).

The Playboy website has already been given a makeover and made safe to read at work, resulting in younger readers and an increase in web traffic.

The chief content officer of the magazine, Cory Jones, said the magazine would be more accessible and more intimate, admitting: Twelve-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it's the right thing to do.

The magazine's circulation has dropped from 5.6m in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

So now we will see if anybody actually does read the magazine for the articles. I doubt it.

 

  Killing and Fighting...

Utah moralists commission anti-porn billboards in California


Link Here 13th October 2015
porn kills love A group of young moralists from Salt Lake City, Utah have started a billboard campaign in California's Bay Area using the slogan Porn Kills Love. Fight For Love. They say they want to arouse people's interests as to how porn could be changing and affecting their relationships. Clay Olson, CEO of Fight the New Drug, told the San Francisco Chronicle:

Our goal is not to pass legislation or even attack the industry directly. Our goal is to spark a conversation around the subject using science , facts, and personal accounts.

The group has reportedly started the hashtag #pornkillslove on social media, which has gained momentum with tweets from people on opposing sides of the porn spectrum. They are not religiously-affiliated, although the founders are Mormons .

 

 Offsite Article: Safely Censored...


Link Here 13th October 2015  full story: Student Union Censorship...Students Vs Free Speech
the spectator logo British universities have a duty to defend the unsafe space. By Dan Hitchens

See article from blogs.new.spectator.co.uk

 

 Update: Censorship Buzz...

Gay film WASP banned from the Beirut International Film Festival


Link Here 12th October 2015  full story: Banned Films in Lebanon...Beirut Hotel
Wasp DVD Hugo Bolton Wasp is a 2015 UK / France / Switzerland / Lebanon drama by Philippe Audi-Dor.
Starring Hugo Bolton, Elly Condron and Simon Haycock. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

British film WASP was about to play at the Beirut International Film Festival, when it was banned by the Lebanese Censorship Bureau. Director Philippe Audi-Dor commented:

I am very disappointed that Wasp won't be screening at the renowned Beirut International Film Festival because of its LGBT content. That said, I do understand that the film touches upon a delicate subject, and do respect the censorship bureau's decision. I do think however that the cancelling of the movie emphasizes just how relevant a film like Wasp is in today's world.

LGBT films have been shown at the Beirut International Film Festival before without issue.

BBFC Insight about the sex content

Passed 15 uncut for strong language, sex, sex references

A couple are seen having rear entry sex, with close up shots of flesh and facial expressions. There are also strong sex references, with dialogue relating to role-play sex and several frank conversations about sexuality and infidelity.

There is brief natural breast nudity as a woman changes her clothes in the company of another character.

Promotional Material

Having left England for a romantic escapade in the south of France, Olivier and James invite Caroline along at the very last minute. She was just left by her long-time boyfriend and is in need of a change of scenery. The trio arrives in a little Provencal village, somewhat cut off from the world. Though everything seems calm between the pool, sunshine and a village visit, Olivier finds himself more and more intrigued by Caroline. A tension of sexual jealousy and possessiveness will escalade between the three.

 

  Peace sells...but China doesn't buy it...

Chinese censors end Megadeath gig an hour into the performance


Link Here 12th October 2015  full story: Performers Censored in China...Quick to ban and censor star performers from the west

Peace Sells But Whos Buying During their show in Beijing on October 6th, Megadeth was abruptly canceled only an hour into their performance by Chinese Censors.

After finishing Peace Sells... But Who's Buying? Dave Mustane politely waved and thanked the audience for attending the show, Thank you for leaving so that we can come back and play again. Mustaine commented later in the tour about the Beijing gig:

Show before last was a little interesting because of the lyric content. We had to play some songs instrumentally and some songs we just had to plain avoid. But in the end love of music always conquers love of power.

 

 Update: The Great Firewall of Thailand...

Thailand's military dictator continues to defend his attempt to censor the Thai internet


Link Here 11th October 2015
prayut-chan-o-chaThailand's military dictator has been defending his latest policy to censor dissent with plans to launch a single Internet gateway that will help the government to muzzle the web.

According to news reports, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology was ordered at a September 1 Cabinet meeting to establish a firewall to filter all Internet traffic entering and leaving Thailand. The written order, signed by Prayuth, said the gateway would serve as a tool to control access to inappropriate sites and the influx of information from abroad, the reports said. Prayuth's order called on authorities to expedite the gateway's establishment.

Shawn Crispin, the Committee to Protect Journalists' senior Southeast Asia representative responded:

Thailand needs fewer, not more, controls on the Internet. Prayuth should scrap the one gateway plan and any other designs to block, censor, or surveil the Internet and Internet-based social media applications. Any new laws or plans to govern Thailand's Internet should be left for a new, elected administration, not his self-appointed military junta.

Thai citizens have been opposing the censorship plan via a petition signed by nearly 150,000 people. The issue has become one of the biggest public rallying points since the military seized power from an elected government last year.

Activists brought down several government websites last week in protest at plans dubbed the Great Firewall of Thailand .

Last Wednesday, calls went out on social media in Thailand encouraging people to visit the websites and repeatedly refresh them. Image caption One of the posts that appeared on social media: Next target, www.thaigov.go.th to show our opposition to the single gateway. Among the targets were the site of the ministry of information, communications and technology (ICT) and the main government website thaigov.go.th .

ICT Deputy Permanent Secretary Somsak Khaosuwan tried to spin the website crash, claiming that the site did not crash because of an attack but because it was overloaded by visitors checking to see whether and attack was happening.

 

  Indecent Proposal...

Oh dear, Egyptian TV star suggests that men without the money to marry should cool down by watching porn


Link Here 11th October 2015
entissarEgyptian actress Entissar, who plays comic roles in TV serials, has sparked a bit of a controversy in Egyot, after she encouraged young people, who cannot afford high marriage costs, to watch sex films. She said on a TV show Nafsana (Giving Vent to Feelings):

He who fears falling into a [sexual] sin prohibited by religion can cool down by watching porn films. These films are useful for men, especially those who have no pre-marriage sex experience.

Everyone should be free in watching porn films if they want.

A pro-government group, calling itself Who Loves Egypt has lodged a legal complaint with the country's chief prosecutor, requesting Entissar be questioned for allegedly inciting debauchery, an offence punishable by up to one year in prison. But no legal action has been taken against the actress so far.

Update: Acquitted

25th January 2016. See  article from lawyerherald.com

An Egyptian court has now junked the lawsuit filed against the actress. The Nasr City Misdemeanour Court in Cairo ruled that the lawyer who filed the lawsuit against Entissar did not suffer any personal and criminal damage from the actress.

 

 Update: De-adultisation...

Indian film censor allows producers to cut their adult rated films for TV


Link Here 11th October 2015  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults
CBFC logoIndia's crazed film censor has decided to allow producers to voluntarily cut adult rated films for TV. Chief censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, said:

As we all know, all Adult films have to be re-certified before telecast. However producers complained about a delay in the re-certification process as the CBFC often found the material unpalatable for family viewing on the home medium. Now we'll allow producers to make the cuts that would make their 'A' films eligible for a 'UA' certificate and bring their films to us.

This is not to say that the films would become automatically eligible when submitted.

We will examine the modified version and see if it's fit for family audiences on television and then grant the 'UA' certificate with changes if necessary. Also, this new rule is only for films with individual scenes for mature audience which can be cut and detached from the film. For films with an adult theme the 'UA' certificate required for telecast remains out of bounds.

 

 Offsite Article: Students vs Free Speech...


Link Here 11th October 2015  full story: Student Union Censorship...Students Vs Free Speech
Spiked logo Banning Bindel is an insult to Manchester students. By Edgar Haner

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Lots More Ed Sheeran...

Uncut for 15 rated DVD after being cut for a 12A rated cinema release


Link Here 9th October 2015
jumpers for goalpostsJumpers For Goalposts - Ed Sheeran Live at Wembley Stadium is a 2015 music documentary video by Paul Dugdale. BBFC link

The BBFC have passed a long version 15 uncut for strong language for 2015 Warner Music UK DVD. The uncut DVD version is about 30 minutes longer than the cut cinema version.

The cinema release was previously cut by 8:13s for a 12A rated 2015 cinema release. Uncut and 15 rated on DVD.

The BBFC commented at the time:
  • Distributor chose to reduce the number of uses of strong language ('fuck') to achieve a 12A rating. An uncut 15 rating was available.

 

  The Last Witch Hunter...

The latest film suffering category cuts for a 12A rated cinema release


Link Here 4th October 2015
Poster Last Witch Hunter 2015 Breck Eisner The Last Witch Hunter is a 2015 USA action fantasy adventure by Breck Eisner.
Starring Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie and Elijah Wood. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12A for moderate violence, threat, moderate bad language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice, at which stage the company was informed it was likely to be passed 15 but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by making a number of reductions to moments of violence and horror. When the film was submitted for formal classification, acceptable reductions had been made in these sequences and the film was classified 12A.
Summary Notes

The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.

 

 Offsite Article: A glimpse into the inhumanity of political correctness...


Link Here 3rd October 2015
the spectator logo Why are students now cheering about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo? By Brendan O'Neill

See article from blogs.new.spectator.co.uk

 

  Censorship by funding and fear of provocation...

Theatre director who fled Belarus notes that there is also theatre censorship in the UK


Link Here 2nd October 2015

no boundaries logoNatalia Kaliada, director of the Belarus Free Theatre, moved to the UK in 2011 after fleeing a state where freedom of expression is severely restricted, activists can be arbitrarily detained and opposition journalists are routinely harassed.

But now she notes that Britain is not entirely free of state censorship either. Speaking at an arts symposium called No Boundaries she said her company was:

Highly sensitive to any form of control because of its experience in Belarus. I paid the price, and my family paid the price, for speaking our minds freely while living under a dictatorship.

Now, living in a democracy, I start to develop a fear of speaking freely in our shows in case we will lose our funding. Creative conformism is blooming in democratic countries, and so you have to ask whether the only way to secure funding today is to create safe art.

She questioned why there was so much fear in the UK about standing up for provocative artistic work :

We understand that censorship under a dictatorship is imposed by the external ruling regime. Censorship from within a democracy is often self-imposed by the individual.

Nadia Latif, director of the play, called Homegrown , told the Symposium:

We jump to support artists struggling to make work in the regimes of the East, but here in our haven of Western liberal democracy we hesitate to stand behind those pushing against a more insidious authoritarianism.

 

  Campaign for Free Expression...

A new campaign focussing on blasphemy law as used to restrict free speech


Link Here 2nd October 2015
A new Campaign for Free Expression has been launched focussing on the issue of free expression being restricted by international blasphemy laws. The campaign is an offshoot from the secular campaign group Center for Inquiry , and introduces itself as follows:

campaign for free expression logo Since we at the Center for Inquiry first launched the Campaign for Free Expression website in 2012, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same.

Let me start with what has not changed: There remains a global crackdown on freedom of expression, blasphemy laws exist in more than 50 countries, and often times, in countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, these laws are still viciously enforced. Governments are still too often in thrall to political pressure from extremist religious movements, rather than responding to the rights and needs of all people. Countries with dreadful human rights records still hold too much sway at the United Nations, and organize to resist, and reverse, progress on freedom of thought.

And, unfortunately, many of the dissidents and victims of persecution we highlighted when this site was first launched remain either imprisoned or in legal or even mortal danger.

But things have also changed, some for better, some for worse. Alexander Aan of Indonesia, jailed for posting to Facebook about his atheism, was released from prison after 19 months, and now pursues his love of science, and works toward a degree in physics. Raif Badawi, jailed in 2012 for insulting Islam in Saudi Arabia, was eventually sentenced to 10 years and an unthinkable 1000 lashes. But his story has elevated the cause of free expression, and the United States' problematic relationship with Saudi Arabia, to international attention. The protest band Pussy Riot became globally known symbols of free speech, particularly the right to criticize one's government, and now, out of prison, continue to rally support to the cause. And at the diplomatic level, the once-relentless efforts by certain countries to codify a kind of global blasphemy law at the United Nations have largely dissipated. For now.

Some things have gotten much worse. One need look no further than the crisis in Bangladesh, where four secularist bloggers have been murdered by Islamic radicals in 2015 alone, with many more on a hit list of names singled out for death by extremist groups, some reportedly affiliated with Al Qaeda. One of the victims, Avijit Roy, was a naturalized U.S. citizen who assisted us with our worldwide protests against the jailing of atheist bloggers in 2013.

Violence in response to perceived blasphemy reached Paris at the end of 2014 with the massacre of journalists and cartoonists at the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo. Sony Pictures, for a time, capitulated to the demands of what may or may not have been the North Korean government, when violence was threatened over the screening of the film The Interview. And right here in the United States, the peaceful citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, protesting the killing of Michael Brown, had their free expression rights curbed by a militarized police force.

The silver lining to these ongoing concerns is that free expression and the right to criticize and satirize religion, cultural traditions, and governments is now a topic of mainstream debate and discussion. Now, more than ever, the world community is taking seriously the need to defend free speech, and wrestling with how to navigate the fundamental right to free religious belief (including the right not to believe) and the equally fundamental right of individuals to criticize religious beliefs.

We are proud to have led so much of this conversation, to have been at the forefront of this great challenge, a challenge that tests our notions of a global civilization, and calls us to be our best, most humanistic selves.

With so much change, and with so much that still needs to change, we thought it was also time to rethink our campaign website, to refocus our online presence, and better respond to the rapid developments on this broad and explosive topic.

So take a look around the new site. See the updated case files of those persecuted for their dissent. Educate yourself on the issue with our various materials and media, including statements to the UN Human Rights Council. And most importantly, check out the ways you can get involved.

The right to free expression is as big as the world, and as we've seen so often, responses and suppressions of free expression have reverberations far beyond any one country's borders. But you can help us get this important concept across those borders, into the hearts and minds of government officials, diplomats, and the general public:

Ideas don't need rights. People do. Protect dissent.

...See more at Campaign for Free Expression

 

 Update: Identifying Repression...

China looks to identify internet users by demanding that they use an ID card to log on


Link Here 2nd October 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flagChina's public security ministry is pressing ahead with repressive moves to force more of the country's 668 million netizens to use their real names and a digital ID card online.

The move is part of a raft of Internet controls enshrined in the draft Cybersecurity Law being debated in China's parliament.

While officials claim the new system will improve the security of users' personal data and help fight cybercrime, online activists say it is yet another way for the ruling Chinese Communist Party to keep tabs on who is saying what online.

An online activist nicknameed Xiaofei Riyetan told RFA:

The overall aim of the Chinese Communist Party is to further tighten control on dissidents, including democracy activists. This will add greater weight to their attempts to accuse these people of crimes, and enable them to lock them up in the name of the rule of law.

He said recent surveys showing that netizens feel less safe online than they did previously have more to do with a sense that everything they do or say is being watched, than with cybercrime.  The activist said:

The crackdown on dissents has got worse and worse since [President] Xi Jinping came to power. The space for free expression is getting smaller and smaller, and ever more tightly managed; that's why we feel more and more unsafe, he said.

 

 Commented: Aggressive abuse of the English language...

United Nations women's group calls for the international censorship of internet porn


Link Here 2nd October 2015
un cyber violence against women A UN report titled, Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls has been published by members of the Working Group on Broadband and Gender with editorial inputs by teams from UN Women, UNDP and ITU.

It is very manipulative report, starting by discussing internationally reprehensible online behaviour such as making death threats. It then defines these as 'cyber violence' and establishes that such behaviour should not be allowed on the internet, presumably assuming concurrence by readers.

Then it pulls a fast one by defining a long list of other things as a 'a form of cyber violence', many of which are nothing to do with violence, but are just a wish list of things that feminists do not like. This list includes the adult consensual sex trade and inevitably, your bog standard porn. The authors claim:

Research reveals that 88.2% of top rated porn scenes contain aggressive acts and 94% of the time the act is directed towards a woman

Hence porn should be banned as 'cyber violence against women'.

Update: Cybersexism? Yet another feminist panic

2nd October 2015. See article from spiked-online.com by Ella Whelan

Spiked logoThe UN's report on cybersexism is shrill and illiberal.

 

 Offsite Article: How to defend the arts using liberal values...


Link Here 2nd October 2015
the spectator logo A speech made to the No Boundaries conference at the Bristol Watershed Theatre on how censorship affects the arts, museums and libraries. By Nick Cohen

See article from blogs.new.spectator.co.uk

 

 Update: Into the River Streisand...

Book targeted by a New Zealand morality campaign gets US distribution as a result of the publicity


Link Here 1st October 2015  full story: Book Censorship in New Zealand...Embarassing book bans
Into River Ted Dawe ebook The book recently banned (pending appeal) by New Zealand book censors has secured distribution in the United States and Canada as a result of the censorship fracas.

American publishing house Polis Books plan to publish Into the River , by Ted Dawe, in hardcover and as an e-book after founder Jason Pinter heard about the New Zealand ban. He told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report :

Any time a book is banned, all it serves to do is get the book more readers. This is how I heard about the book, to begin with - I was actually on holiday with my family, and it made me want to read the book.

I don't think the book deserves to be banned. It's a fantastic book - I wouldn't be publishing it if [I didn't think that].

There are no plans to restrict the age of American readers, although Pinter said Polis would recommend that readers be over 13, as parents tended to buy for their children and might want to be aware of its more sensitive themes.

Into the River won Book of the Year at the 2013 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, but was not been picked up for publication outside of New Zealand before its ban.

After a challenge from Christian morality campaign, Family First, the Film and Literature Board of Review placed an interim restriction order on the book last month, meaning no-one in New Zealand could distribute or exhibit the novel. It was pulled off library and bookshop shelves.

A potential age restriction is being considered and the Film and Literature Board of Review meets this week to discuss the matter.

 

  Authoritarian...

Ontario creates new body to administer film censorship


Link Here 1st October 2015
ontario film review board logoStarting October 1, 2015, the Ontario Film Authority (OFA) will administer the Film Classification Act in Ontario and will be responsible for licensing theatres and for overseeing the operations of the Ontario Film Review Board. 

There will be no changes to the province's existing film classification system or ratings.

The new self funding group will be located at 4950 Yonge Street in Toronto and notes the following details about Ontario film censorship:

  • Films (e.g., movies, videos, DVDs) distributed or screened in Ontario must be classified by the Ontario Film Review Board.
  • The province's film classification system has five categories: G, PG, 14A, 18A and R.

 

 Offsite Article: Feminist backlash against the censors shows tide turning...


Link Here 1st October 2015
politics co uk logo Jane Fae, who has done so much to keep people informed of censorship law, has been caught up in an incident of 'no platforming' censorship at a feminist conference. By Ian Dunt

See article from politics.co.uk