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30th November   

Update: Sex Beats Christians...

Sex Party pleased with its vote in the Victorian elections
Link Here

Australian Sex Party The Australian Sex Party vote in the Victorian Upper House has almost doubled following the state election. From an average vote of 2.2% in the last Senate election in Victoria, the party's vote in the regions it contested, rose to nearly 4%.

The party recorded the highest vote of minor parties and independents in three out of the four upper house regions it contested.

Party President and candidate in the Upper House region of Northern Metro, Fiona Patten, said that for a party that had been registered for only one month in Victoria to double its federal vote, was a tremendous outcome. The implications for the Sex Party's vote at the next Senate election are very encouraging , she said.

The Sex Party waged a strong campaign against Labor Minister for Gaming, Tony Robinson, over his curbs on adult entertainment and also ran a strong campaign against the Greens candidate in Richmond, Kathleen Maltzhan, who personally supported prosecuting clients of sex workers.

Ms Patten said that the most gratifying result was outpolling all three Christian parties (Christian Party, Family First and DLP) in all Upper House seats that the Sex Party ran in. We also recorded a much better vote than the religious parties in 15 out of 17 lower house seats that we contested , she said. The Sex Party's pledge to get religion out of politics is one small step closer to becoming a reality after this election although religious affiliations and networks run deep in both major parties these days .

Ms Patten said that the Sex Party would look at running candidates in local government elections and that the first Victorian by election would be keenly contested with Sex Party preferences going to the party that had the best civil liberty and personal freedom track record.

 

30th November   

ESRA...

Iranian games ratings proposed for international games producers to gauge their suitability for the islamic world
Link Here

ESRA 25 rating At the Dubai World Game Expo the Index Holding corporation and the Iran National Foundation Of Computer Games announced the formation and launch of the Entertainment Software Rating Association (ESRA).

The ESRA is designed to evaluate games in respect to Islamic values and rate them accordingly.

Anas Al Madani, VP of Index Holding said: We as organisers endorse this initiative which aims at evolving the Islamic values and maintain the conservative aspect within the children and the society in general. We are keen on encouraging game developers and publishers to use the ESRA system, as it enables publishers to understand the nature of the Islamic society and the different aspects that it emphasizes.

ESRA will work as an indicator for game companies in order to know whether the games approve with the Islamic values, and do not violate any of the Islamic traditions in Islamic countries.

Details of ESRA Ratings

See also ESRA webpage in English from ircg.ir
See also sample ratings from ircg.ir

The Entertainment Software Rating Association (ESRA) was established in 2007 by Iran National Foundation of Computer Games which is a self-regulatory organization. The research project of ESRA is run by a research team of 17 psychologists and 8 sociologists.

In rating, ESRA considers 4 characteristics in rating computer games

  1. Physical - motional characteristics
  2. Intellectual – mental characteristics
  3. Emotional characteristics
  4. Social characteristics

The age classifications are:

  • Kids 3+
  • Childhood 7+
  • beginning of adolescence 12+
  • second half of adolescent 15+
  • adult, single 18+
  • adult, married 25+

Content description categories:

  • Violence : The display of violence is when a behavior displayed to harm someone or something, ranged from destroying the belongings and making the unanimated things out of order…
  • Tobacco and drug : Watching the use of drug and tobacco in games can lose the internal-social taboo of not using it for the addressees.
  • Sexual stimuli : Sexual diversity, sexuality out of social norms, etc can end to the social and physical harms related to the sexual needs of the addressees and his /her social situations.
  • Fear : Fear is an internal feeling based on insecurity and not the lack of trust to the atmosphere, which leads to chronic stress, conservative behaviors, etc in social atmosphere.
  • Religious values violation : The violation of religious values is in accord with the Islamic principles. Two of the important elements of it are as follow: 1. The violation of the basic principles or religious belief, 2. Sacrilege the holy places
  • The social norms violation : Using the vulgar words and the uprightness behaviors which lead to breaking the social norms are among the social harms that the kids and the adolescents become familiar with.
  • Hopelessness : This content in games is related to a kind of feeling where the gamer have to do or not to do something which makes him/her feel sinful..

 

30th November   

Update: Claiming Dominion...

US customs seize domain names of 86 websites accused of copyright infringement
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

homeland security logo The Homeland Security Department's customs enforcement division has gone on a Web site shutdown spree.

To date, 82 domains have been seized after being accused of selling counterfeit goods, with products sold ranging from music, DVD box sets and software to clothing and sporting goods.

Others linked to copyright-infringing file-sharing materials, at least one site was a Google-like search engine, causing alarm among web freedom advocates who worry the move steps over the line into censorship.

All the shut sites are now displaying a Homeland Security warning that copyright infringers can face up to five years in prison.

According to a report at TorrentFreak, the search engine that was shut down -- Torrent-Finder.com -- neither hosted copyrighted material nor directly linked to places where it could be found. Instead, the site opened new windows to sites that did link to file-sharing materials.

Homeland Security's ability to shut down sites without a court order evidently comes from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a Clinton-era law that allows Web sites to be closed on the basis of a copyright complaint. Critics have long assailed the DMCA for being too broad, as complainants don't need to prove copyright infringement before a site can be taken down.

Earlier this week, Homeland Security shut down a popular hip-hop music site, RapGodfathers.com, which had nearly 150,000 members. The site claims it is compliant with copyright laws, as it doesn't host copyrighted materials. However, its users posted links to file-hosting services such as Rapidshare and Megaupload, where copyrighted material may have been shared.

These domains are now the property of Homeland Security, writes Gareth Halfacree at Thinq.co.uk, And there's no indication that their original owners will ever be able to get them back.

 

 

29th November   

More Pleasure...

Very old cuts restored to Blu-ray of The Pleasure Girls
Link Here

Pleasure Girls Blu ray DVD The Pleasure Girls is a 1965 UK drama by Gerry O'Hara. See IMDb

The Export Version was passed 15 uncut for:

Previously passed X after BBFC cuts for the UK 1965 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • cut to shorten some bedroom scenes
  • brief shots of nudity
  • and the beating up of Nicolai.

Review from UK Amazon : Top Notch

Pleasure Girls is a real period gem. Great cast. Great locations. Beautifully shot. A rather classy production and a real time tripper. The film, shot in black and white, really captures London circa 1964.

Very simple story about a girl who comes to London to be a model and the various characters she comes across in her Kensington flat share.

The story is a bit silly and trite at times, but enjoyably so. As an eye over London at that time it's surprisingly illuminating in terms of fashion, cars, clothes, pretty girls and the early days the of the Swinging London era.

I'm so pleased it's finally available on this top notch DVD.

 

29th November   

Bad Santa...

Spanish nutters easily offended by performance by Italian Satirist
Link Here

Spanish flag The Italian satirist Leo Bassi has been the subject of a complaint filed in the courts of the Spanish city of Valladolid by the State Association of Christian Lawyers accusing him blasphemy.

Bassi allegedly mocked the pope, the Catholic religion and Christian symbols during his act. Bassi was performing in the Auditorium of the University of Valladolid at a conference organised by the Republican Atheist group. The conference was entitled Judeo-Christian roots of the West: an historical fraud to fight.

We think Leo Bassi may have committed a crime punishable under the Penal Code as the offense and derision toward the beliefs of a religious denomination, said William Garabito Efe, who made the complaint on behalf of the Association of Youth for Factual Information (Ajio).

As well as Bassi, the complaint names Republican Ateneo, and the rector of the University of Valladolid, Mark Sexton.

The complainants say that Bassi was dressed as Father Christmas as he mocked the most prominent symbols and beliefs of the Christian faith which they considered slander and libel that amounted discrimination on religious grounds that could incite hatred and violence.

 

29th November   

Customary Censorship...

Zimbabwe film banned for depicting kissing in front of parents
Link Here

lobola The Zimbabwe Censorship Board has banned newly released comedy feature film, Lobola from showing on the local cinema circuit.

The film premiered in Harare last week in a high profile event attended by Big Brother Africa All Stars 2010, cabinet ministers as well as local artists.

However, the producers said the country's Censorship Board had refused to sanction the movie for general distribution in the country: Zimbabwe Censorship Board granted permission to screen the movie for the premiere after intervention of Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity. This permission has not been extended to the cinema circuit, DVD or any other public access of the movie .

The Board objected to the film's general release on the grounds that it does not really portray African custom when it comes to marriage adding one does not go to get married while drunk .

The Board also objected to a scene in the film where young people kiss in front of parents as well as its abrupt ending .

The producers said they were appealing the Board's decision with the Ministry of Home Affairs: It is the view of the producers that the reasons given for the denial do not constitute harmful threats to Zimbabwean society.

 

29th November   

Bombay Blue...

Bombay high court finds that viewing porn at a private party is not illegal
Link Here

Bombay High Court Can adults who view pornographic content be charged with obscenity if they are doing so in private? No, says the Bombay high court.

A Justice of the Bombay high court has quashed obscenity charges against top customs officers who were arrested following a police raid at a bungalow in Lonavla in 2008.

The customs officers were raided while allegedly watching a pornographic film on a laptop and dancing with bar girls, the police had claimed.

Simply viewing an obscene object is not an offence, Justice Tahilramani said. It becomes an offence only when someone has in possession such objects for the purpose of sale, hire, distribution, public exhibition or putting it into circulation. If the obscene object is kept in a house for private viewing, the accused cannot be charged (for obscenity).

The court held that the private viewing of an obscene film on a laptop in a bungalow was not tantamount to public exhibition.

The prosecution's argument that the accused were dancing with the bar girls in an obscene manner did not cut ice with the court. The HC said the people were dancing among themselves and not for public exhibition. Proceedings against the accused (on obscenity charges) will be an abuse of the process of the court, said the judge. The officers, however, are still charged under provisions of the Bombay Prohibition Act for consuming liquor without a permit.

 

28th November   

Update: The Monolithic Power of Hype...

A Serbian Film molested by the media
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

A Serbian Film DVD The BBC wrote a piece about A Serbian Film

Controversial movie A Serbian Film has become the most cut film in 16 years, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has said.

The dark thriller, which features disturbing scenes of violence and sex, has had four minutes and 11 seconds of its original content removed.

The BBFC said that it rarely cuts cinema releases with an 18 certificate.

[Previously the most cut cinema film was in 1994 when] the Indian movie Nammavar was cut by five minutes and eight seconds for violent content.

The movie was written by Serbian horror film critic Aleksandar Radivojevic and directed by Srdjan Spasojevic. Radivojevic has defended the movie, calling it an a diary of our molestation by the Serbian government . He said it was designed to show the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotise you to do things you don't want to do .

The subtlety of the use of the word 'film' to denote a 'cinema film release' must have delighted the BBFC. News sources picking up the story paraphrased it, and rather suggested that this is the most censored BBFC film in general.

In reality the BBFC have made much bigger cuts to plenty of videos and DVDs in recent years. Just in the last few days, the BBFC cut 8 minutes from a dated 35 year old sex comedy called Fantasm .

And considering what the BBFC get up to with porn films, then the Serbian cuts are a mere trifle. The BBFC recently cut a whopping 94:57s from a US adult movie called Virgin Territory by Hailey Page.

The BBFC must also be very pleased that the press so far have somehow accepted that the extensive cuts to A Serbian Film have somehow cleansed the film of bannability. Not many articles have really called for bans or boycotts against the movie, in its cut form at least.

Snuff

The hype was nicely exaggerated by the Toronto Sun who picked up on the UK press stories and repackaged them under the headline:

Controversial snuff film edited

Release Details

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

The general release at UK cinemas is on Friday 10th January 2010.

Video versions are set for 3rd January 2011:

  • UK 2011 Revolver Blu-ray for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon
  • UK 2011 Revolver R2 DVD for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon

The film/DVD/Blu-ray were all  passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

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

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

See trailer from youtube.com

 

28th November   

Update: Media On Notice...

Government prepares for Wikileaks revealing of diplomatic communications
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikileaks Governments, organisations and media across the world have been put on alert as whistleblowing site Wikileaks looks set to release millions of diplomatic communications.

As Wikileaks prepares to expose a huge cache of classified diplomatic communications, the US has warned allies that new revelations may lead to public embarrassment. The cables are expected to expose sensitive foreign policy issues including corruption allegations against foreign governments and leaders, and clandestine US support for terrorism.

In what appears to be a harm minimisation strategy the US government has embarked on an impressive briefing campaign, reaching out to allies across the world.

In its efforts to manage the release and ensure its views are represented in the ensuing debate, the US has been vocal. In an email the Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs to the Senate and House Armed Services Committee Elizabeth King said: State Department cables by their nature contain everyday analysis and candid assessments that any government engages in as part of effective foreign relations…. The publication of this classified information by WikiLeaks is an irresponsible attempt to wreak havoc … It potentially jeopardizes lives.

As news breaks that the UK government has issued a DA notice, effectively asking to be briefed by newspaper editors before any new revelations are published it worth noting that there is no obligation on media to comply. DA-notices point to a set of guidelines, agreed by the government departments and the media. In this case newspaper editors would speak to Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee prior to publication.

Guido Fawkes

The Guido Fawkes' Blog has now published the DA Notice letter . He also wonders if he is the first blogger to have received such a letter.

Hopefully the DA Notice issues will be restricted to genuine security concerns and won't be extended to hide mere embarrassment of officials etc.

Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee

See  article from  blogs.news.sky.com by Simon Bucks, Vice-Chair of the committee

Sky News have published an interesting article on the work of the DA Notice committee.

 

28th November   

Happy Sexmas...

Bah humbug! says the church over safe sex campaign
Link Here

Sexmas Church leaders have urged the Scottish Government to show more respect for Christmas as ministers are poised to launch a festive safe sex message titled the Sexmas Survival Guide .

The government is set to approve an official sexual health website that substitutes the word Christ with sex when issuing advice to young people on how to avoid risky behaviour.

But the £100,000 promotion's fun with the word Christmas has angered church figures, who also disapprove of the website's innuendo-laden approach to discussing sex.

The advice should be more respectful, said John Deighan, the parliamentary officer for the Catholic Church: Using the word Christmas like that is symptomatic of a whole philosophy that undermines their safe sex strategy. They don't show enough delicacy of language and they don't show enough respect.

Rev Alan Falconer of the Church of Scotland's St Machar's Cathedral in Aberdeen said: This would not be appropriate at all. This detracts from the festival for it to be classified in this way.

The Sexmas Survival Guide will advise young people on how to deal with festive social occasions such as the After Work Do when inhibitions are relaxed and office workers have to negotiate the unexpected rise , and encounters with the employee of the year , who is ready for anything . For such situations, the guide advises: Slip a few condoms into your bag or pocket.

According to the guide, another hazard is the end of night ride . Getting home safely, it says, is best achieved by keeping a spare £20 note and some taxi numbers handy so that a cab can be taken at the end of the night.

Deighan claimed: This sort of approach trivialises sex and turns it into just another pastime when we should have a humanised vision of sex - that it is part of love and an intimate part of human relationships. The result of this sort of approach seems to be that things just get worse. The more you trivialise sex the more reckless people become.

 

28th November   

Nazi Censors have had their Day...

Salon Kitty now released uncut on US Blu-ray
Link Here

Salon Kitty Blu ray Helmut Berger Salon Kitty is a 1976 Italian/German/French erotic Nazi drama by Tinto Brass. See IMDb

Full Length version passed 18 uncut with all cuts waived for:

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Previously an Abridged Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1993 Redemption VHS

And before that, the film was passed X with BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1977 cinema release

Press information re the uncut UK DVD from The Associates :

Depraved, decadent, damned and uncut for the first time ever!

The most shocking and controversial of Italian director Tinto Brass' films presents a serious, unflinching depiction of moral decay within the Nazi Party at the time of World War II, and of how power ultimately leads to corruption.

The fully restored Director's Cut of this notorious film is now available on DVD, presented in its original widescreen format, completely uncensored and featuring 21 minutes of never-seen-before footage. Finally, the extremely disturbing, bordering-on-the-hardcore content can be seen as originally intended by the film's director, Tinto Brass.

SS Officer Helmut Wallenburg (Helmut Berger) is instructed by his superiors to set up an elite brothel, the eponymous Salon Kitty, especially designed to serve high-ranking Nazi officials and foreign diplomats. In order to cater to the clients' darkest perversions and desires sufficiently, Wallenburg is also charged with finding and rigorously training twenty beautiful and intelligent women, who are not only dedicated to the ideals of National Socialism but are also prepared to perform the most extreme acts of debauchery imaginable. What these prostitutes and their customers don't know is that the brothel is bugged and is being used to collect intelligence and to monitor the clients' loyalty to the Nazi Party.

As well as boasting superb performances by Helmut Berger  and Ingrid Thulin, Salon Kitty also features beautiful cinematography and sumptuous sets that provide a stunning showcase for the work of twice Oscar winning production designer Ken Adam.

 

28th November   

Threat of What Exactly?...

Indian film censor held responsible for the fearful consequences of films referring to Mumbai as Bombay
Link Here  full story: Bombay vs Mumbai...India film censor urged to ban Bombay

Bombay DVD Arvind Swamy After targeting director Karan Johar for calling the city Bombay in one of his films, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray issued a veiled threat to Censor Board chairperson Sharmila Tagore, for passing films which call the city by its former name.

Raj wrote to Tagore, saying that she, and not the director of the movie, will be held responsible if a movie calling the city Bombay is given a nod by the board.

The letter said, The city's name was officially changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1996. Every organisation, like the civic body and the development body ensured that they made changes in their names. Despite all this, many films continue to call the city Bombay.

Raj said the onus of any reactions to hearing the city being called by its former name, lay on Tagore. I am writing this letter to you to tell you that hence forth you shall be held responsible for the consequences of a film not calling the city Mumbai.

[So what consequences are these, that are so fearful?]

 

28th November   

Update: Scarred by Facebook Censorship...

British woman allowed to post images of scars to raise breast cancer awareness
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

Facebook logo Social networking site Facebook is to allow photographs of a woman who had surgery for breast cancer after it removed them from her profile.

The pictures of Anna Antell from Oxfordshire, were initially deemed to be nudity and taken down.

Facebook now says it supports her right to share her experience and the images of her post-op scars can be published.

Ms Antell, who said it was brilliant news , will again upload the images which she hopes will raise awareness. One of the pictures which was removed depicts Ms Antell covering one breast while showing the scar tissue of the removed breast.

She said: I think it is really good they have realised that it is a valid thing; me showing a bare shoulder and a scar is not offensive.

Update: Acquitted

14th March 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A breast cancer survivor's Facebook page has been blocked after she published a photo of her reconstructed breasts following her operation.

Melissa Tullett put the picture on the website after she had a double mastectomy. The social networking site blocked her page and removed the image because it said it broke its rules on nudity. Ms Tullett said she had only intended to offer encouragement to fellow breast cancer sufferers.

It was to show other women that after such an ordeal you can come out of it with your dignity and your womanhood again, and that it's not all frightening. They [Facebook] just told me that I'd uploaded a photo that violated their terms of use and that they were deleting the photo. But they didn't actually tell me they were disabling my account .

Ms Tullett's page has since been reactivated, but she has been told not to repost the picture.

 

28th November   

Update: Miserable China...

60,000 websites closed for porn content
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Great Firewall of China China has shut down over 60,000 websites for their pornographic content since the government launched its repressive campaign in December 2009, an official statement has said.

The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said some 1.7 million websites have also been checked since the launch of the campaign, according to the China Daily.

Around 2,200 cases of dissemination of online pornography were registered during this period, said the statement that added the office received over 160,000 porn-related tip-offs from the public.

Update: 350 million pages

7th January 2011. See  article from  eweek.com

China's Great Firewall deleted 350 million pieces of harmful information as part of what government's 2010 campaign to clean up the internet by shutting what it judged to be harmful sites.

Chinese government officials touted the success of its extensive system of filtering and blocking Internet content in 2010, saying the Internet is cleaner than before.

Over 350 million pages, or pieces of harmful information, which includes text, pictures and videos, have been deleted, and 60,000 adult content Web sites shut down, said Wang Chen, head of the State Council Information Office, during a press conference on Dec. 30, according to Reuters.

 

27th November   

Update: Enough Teasing...

TV censor Ofcom bans Tease Me babe channels
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

tease me tv logo Ofcom has banned four TV channels owned by Bang Channels and Bang Media following serious and repeated breaches of Ofcom's censorship rules in its Broadcasting Code.

The licensees have been revoked for the following services:

  • Tease Me on Sky satellite
  • Tease Me TV on Freeview digital TV
  • Tease Me 2 on Sky satellite
  • Tease Me 3 on Sky satellite

The channels which promote adult chat are broadcast free to air. Viewers are encouraged to contact the onscreen female presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). During the daytime, the channels are not permitted to promote adult chat services and the material must be suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

Both companies, under common ownership, have repeatedly breached rules which protect children from any sexual material and easily offended viewers from supposedly harmful and offensive material.

Over a sustained period of time the licensees have transmitted content that was too sexual for the time of day or being broadcast unencrypted. A minute amount of the material broadcast was so strong that it would be considered equivalent to BBFC R18 rated material. This is not permitted on British TV – either free-to-air or under encryption. Ofcom has decided that the companies are no longer fit and proper to hold broadcast licences.

In July 2010 Ofcom fined the two companies a total of £157,250 for serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code and other licence conditions. At the time Ofcom warned of a wholly inadequate compliance system that amounted to manifest recklessness and warned that such repeated compliance failures would not be tolerated.

The licencees have repeatedly failed to comply with Ofcom's rules in the last 18 months and over 60 breaches have been recorded.

On 19 November 2010, Ofcom directed the broadcaster to suspend transmission and today the licenses have been revoked.

Ofcom plans to meet all our licensees in this part of the broadcasting sector to ensure that they are quite clear how seriously Ofcom takes its duties in relation to the protection of easily offended television audiences and in particular children.

Ofcom's Director of Standards, Chris Banatvala, said: We want to be very clear that Ofcom are required by Parliament to protect audiences through the Broadcasting Code. We simply will not tolerate serious and repeated breaches of the Code and have therefore decided to revoke these licences. Audiences should be assured that we will continue to take action to stop broadcasters breaching the rules in this area .

 

27th November   

Update: Be Proud of Your Body Scan...

Airports ban Peta adverts having fun with invasive security checks
Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media
peta be proud advert

   Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan

PETA, the animal rights organization that never shies away from controversy, has produced sone new ads that make light of invasive body scanners and pat downs.

The Boston Herald writes that one of these ads, a video featuring Pamela Anderson as a sexy TSA agent removing leather and fur from travelers, has been banned at Logan Airport. It doesn't sound like an appropriate ad for the airport environment, says Massport spokesman Matt Brelis.

PETA's also trying to launch a body scan-mocking ad campaign featuring still photographs. One shows a scan of a woman wearing only a bra that's emblazoned with the words Be Proud. Elsewhere, the true message of the ad is visible: Be Proud of Your Body Scan: Go Vegan. The Associated Press writes that airports in Las Vegas, Charlotte, N.C. and New York City have all refused to display these ads.

Update: Hong Kong

31st December 2010. See  article from  cnngo.com

Pamela Anderson has made a new video promoting PETA causes with an airport security checkpoint theme. But Hong Kong Airport won't be playing the video, because it has been deemed too racy.

In the video, Anderson is a half-dressed airport security checkpoint officer who gives the yea or nay to passengers according to whether or not they're wearing fur, leather or other animal skins.

One couple does manage to pass through the security check without a glitch -- they're completely nude. Their naked tushies are shown on screen and were probably what crossed the line for JCDecaux, the ad agency responsible for what airs in Hong Kong Airport.

 

27th November   

Updated: Slipper Censors...

Thai police to censor red shirt souvenirs
Link Here

red shirts The Thai authorities of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation has banned souvenirs and other materials considered as opposing the monarchy or government which were available at the red shirt rally in Bangkok on Friday.

Thousands of red shirt supporters converged at the rally marking six months since the military's May 19 crackdown on their protracted rally in Bangkok.

The CRES on Friday issued a number of orders to prohibit the sale or free distribution of rally materials including shirts, photographs, illustrations and printed texts.

People found guilty of breaching the ban could face up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

However, CRES spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd conceded it may be difficult to determine what items should be banned, so it would be up to the police to judge what rally items would 'cause disunity'. Sansern said feet-shaped plastic clappers should be fine, but not a pair of sandals with the faces of government politicians printed on them.

To enforce the ban, police would first give a violator a verbal warning. If he or she did not stop, legal action would then be taken, Sansern said.

An army source said General Prayuth was upset when he came across T-shirts and sandals carrying photos mocking important figures.

Update: Slippers Unbanned

27th November 2010. Based on article from  nationmultimedia.com

The Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) has agreed to lift ban of political sarcastic items created by protesters to insult elite as the spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the centre found nobody violated the regulation.

The authority earlier prohibited distribution of any political material such as the flipflops with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's image as the times might create division in the society.

Civic groups had criticised that the order saying that it violated basic rights of the people and that such satire would never cause social divide.

 

27th November   

Offsite: Whatever happened to freedom of speech?...

Very Daily Mailish but worth a read
Link Here

max hastings We live in a democracy in which it is widely supposed that anything can be said and anything done - at least by celebrity television performers.

Yet within politics, freedom of speech is more drastically constrained than ever before. Seldom have those who govern us been so much inhibited in what they feel able to say or write, not by legislatively-imposed censorship, but by a smothering blanket of supposed propriety and oppressive liberal values.

...read the full  article

 

26th November   

Update: In the Domain of Censors...

Nominet to block UK internet domains on police request
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

  nominet logo Police will effectively get more powers to censor websites under proposals being developed by Nominet, the company that controls the .uk domain registry.

Following lobbying by the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Nominet wants to change the terms and conditions under which domain names are owned so that it can revoke them more easily in response to requests from law enforcement agencies.

The changes will mean that if Nominet is given reasonable grounds to believe [domains] are being used to commit a crime it will remove them from the .uk registry.

Nominet said: There are increasing expectations from Law Enforcement Agencies that Nominet and its members will respond quickly to reasonable requests to suspend domain names being used in association with criminal activity and Nominet has been working with them in response to formal requests.

At present, there is no specific obligation under Nominet's terms and conditions for owners to ensure their domain names are not used for crime.

Despite this, last December, at the request of the Met's Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU), Nominet revoked the domain names of 1,200 websites it said were being used to sell counterfeit designer goods. For legal cover, it claimed the owners breached their contracts by supplying registars with incorrect details.

Plans for more such action, which was taken without any court oversight, are likely to raise concerns over the potential for increased censorship online.

Last week, for example, the PCeU contacted the ISP hosting Fitwatch, a website the Met alleged was offering supposedly illegal advice to student protestors, and had it taken down. Mirror sites and copies of the information it carried quickly sprang up across dozens of hosts, making the attempted censorship ineffective. By working through Nominet, however, it would be much easier for police to centrally block such efforts by revoking the domain name of any website republishing the allegedly illegal information.

Apparently aware of such concerns, Nominet said it will consider creating an appeals process, and that it will only act if the incident was urgent or the registrar failed to comply [with a police request to revoke a domain name] .

 

26th November   

Ban Splattered All Over German Gamers...

Germany bans video game Splatterhouse
Link Here

Namco SplatterHouse PS3 Game Captain is reporting that the gore-soaked Splatterhouse has been banned by the German classification board and, thus, will not be published in Germany.

Distributors Namco Bandai aren't stupid or anything. I am certain that nobody was under any illusions as to whether or not this particular game would see release in Germany. Which means that there is a benefit to them submitting a game like this. Such as creating yet one more example for the public to cite when making an argument for the replacement of the USK board with PEGI. And, when the games get denied, people like me write stories about them providing further free publicity on a worldwide scale.

BBFC 18 Splattered all over the cover

See article from bbfc.co.uk

For comparison the UK's BBFC passed the game 18 uncut commenting:

BBFC logo Splatterhouse is a 3rd person beat 'em up for both the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Microsoft Xbox 360 platforms. The player assumes the role of Rick Taylor, a parapsychology student who, together with his girlfriend Jen, takes refuge from a storm in West Mansion. Whilst in the building Rick and Jen are confronted by the evil Dr Henry West himself. The latter is accompanied by two demonic creatures that drag Jen away and attack and fatally injure Rick. Rick is left for dead but is resurrected when he puts on a strange mask that transforms him into a Hulk-like creature. Thereafter, Rick searches the labyrinthine passageways and tunnels beneath West Mansion in search of Dr West and Jen. The game, which includes three earlier incarnations (arcade platform games dating from 1988, 1992 and 1993), was classified 18 for strong bloody violence and strong language.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable . This game includes strong bloody violence throughout as Rick, the player-controlled character, encounters and slaughters hordes of demonic opponents and larger boss monsters using either empty hand techniques or weapons, some of which are bladed. Striking opponents with fists or weapons produces copious blood spurts, large pools of blood and big splashes of blood on the screen. Rick comes across a variety of weapons (clubs, baseball bats, axes, chainsaws etc.) as he progresses through the levels, although sometimes he merely rips off an opponent's arm and uses the limb as a blunt weapon. The game therefore includes frequent decapitations, dismemberments and other forms of mutilation. Different button combinations produce different attack techniques and from time to time the player is able to execute more spectacular splatter kills - the player is prompted to press a particular sequence of buttons, which if done correctly and in a timely fashion, enables him or her to, for example, manually crush an opponent's head, rip jaws apart, gouge out eyes, place a knee in the small of the opponent's back and either tear the arms off or rip the torso in two. Other moves include reaching into an opponent's mouth and pulling out the lungs and, in one case, ripping away the anus. All such manoeuvres are accompanied by plentiful amounts of blood and take place against a thumping heavy metal soundtrack. Although the violence clearly takes place in a fantasy setting and, with one exception, all the enemies are non-human, the very clear focus on the infliction of bloody injury was considered best placed at 18 in this case. The strongest and most realistic violence is to be found in the cut scenes. In the initial attack on Rick a reptilian creature impales him on its claw. Blood flows from Rick's chest as he is hurled through the air and when he hits the ground more blood oozes from his mouth. Thereafter, a very large pool of blood then begins to form. In another scene, which occurs towards the end of the work, Dr West is about to sacrifice Jen with a ceremonial dagger. Before he can do so, however, the arm holding the dagger is ripped off at the shoulder and arterial blood then begins to spurt from the stump.

SPLATTERHOUSE contains strong language throughout and occasional animation images of female breast nudity, in each case accompanied by some mild verbal sexual innuendo, all of which would have been acceptable at 15 .

Australia mature about splatter

26th November 2010. Based on article from  smh.com.au

rt australia ma15 With Australia's still missing R18+ rating for games in the news again this week, Namco's remake of Splatterhouse has been released at an interesting time.

Viewing the preview footage for the revamped game, I can remember thinking that such a shamelessly gruesome game would be lucky to dodge the Classification Board's banhammer. I think everybody who had been following the game's development was surprised when it was awarded an MA15+ rating (for strong horror violence, blood and gore).

 

26th November   

Update: New Blasphemy...

British police arrest 15 year old girl for Koran burning
Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

Facebook logo A 15-year-old girl has been arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after allegedly burning an English-language version of the Qur'an – and then posting video footage of the act on Facebook.

The teenager, from the Sandwell district of Birmingham, was filmed on her school premises burning the book. Police have confirmed the incident was reported to the school and the video has since been removed.

It is believed the girl was allegedly filmed setting the book alight while other pupils looked on. Two Facebook profiles have also been removed from the site.

It is understood that the group who published the version of the Qur'an that was set alight has visited the school to 'talk' to pupils.

Speaking about the latest incident in Birmingham, a spokesperson for West Midlands police said: A 15-year-old girl was arrested on Friday 19 November on suspicion of inciting religious hatred. She has been bailed pending further enquiries.

 

26th November   

Just Extreme Dislike...

Extreme anti-gay nutter group whinge at being labelled a gay hate group
Link Here

Family Research Council logo The Family Research Council (FRC) is calling for an apology after the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) decided to classify the Christian conservative organization as a hate group because of their anti-gay rhetoric.

This week the SPLC listed 18 hate groups -- the FRC among the most prominent of them -- which the law center says have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.

FRC president Tony Perkins responded with a published statement, blasting the SPLC for being a massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing. He called on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.

Following a wave of prominent anti-gay violence across the country, SPLC said it timed its focus on anti-gay sentiment to the scheduled unveiling of FBI crime statistics. The latest issue of SPLC's quarterly magazine Intelligence Report , which publishes their list of hate groups, analyzes crime data to conclude gays are the minority most targeted in hate crimes.

Mark Potok, editor of Intelligence Report , noted in the Winter 2010 issue that FRC's Tony Perkins is a key critic of anti-bullying programs and criticized Perkins' position that gay activists are exploiting recent suicides to push their agenda.

The leaders of this movement may deny it, but it seems clear that their demonization of homosexuals plays a role in fomenting the violence, hatred and bullying we're seeing, said Potok in the magazine's press release.

In profiling the 18 groups of concern, the SPLC magazine noted that viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate group. The magazine's description of FRC focuses attention on research fellows Tim Dailey and Peter Sprigg, who are charged with circulating false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia.

 

26th November   

Offsite: A Call for Government Website Blocking...

Safermedia uncharitably campaign for a change to UK law
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

Safer Media With just a few clicks of the mouse, your children can find themselves on the fringes of a dark and perverted world. And while they may not have the credit card needed to proceed, they will have already seen the [free] introductory material.

So what is to be done? At our conference I was astonished and disappointed to hear the Department for Education plans to commission yet another report into these problems. The Government has already funded two investigations in recent years, one by parenting expert Tanya Byron, the other by clinical psychologist Linda Papadopoulos.

Both suggested the solution lay in more information for parents and teachers, and in helping them stop children from visiting such sites.

...

The only answer is restricting access to such material. Some 95 per cent of pornographic content viewed in this country comes from servers operated by British-based companies, including BT Internet and Virgin. They and the big search engines must be persuaded that pornography should only be available to those adult users who request it.

They will argue this is technically impossible. But I would remind them of the scandal in 2006 when Google agreed to censor certain search results in China for political reasons.

If the big internet companies can apply blocks to protect their commercial interests, then why can't our Government act in a similar way to protect our children?

...Read the full article

 

26th November   

Update: Playing the Game...

Australian Senator argues in Parliament for an R18+ for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

kate lundy Kate Lundy, the Labor Senator from the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra) has argues in Parliament for the introduction of an R18+ videogame rating.

Senator Lundy tabled, or proposed for consideration, a pro-R18+ petition sponsored by retailer GAME and the organization Everyone Plays which featured 89,210 signatures backing the adult videogame rating.

Stating that R18+ is not a decision to be made by the Government, but that it is a decision that requires agreement among the Federal and State Attorneys General around the nation, Lundy cited three key factors for the introduction of R18+.

The Senator stated that the lack of an R18+ rating creates a grey area for parents and that the new rating tier would allow Australia to catch up with the rest of the world, which she called a significant issue for game developers and publishers:

With many games originally developed for an adult audience, this represents an additional burden for our Australian games sector. As a result, many of these games are simply banned for sale or distribution in Australia as a result giving rise to the temptation of overseas purchase, or worse, illicit distribution in Australia.

Lastly, Lundy argued that the government should listen to the people, citing the petition, a research paper indicating that 91% of the entire Australian population supports R18+ and the backing of ACT Attorney General Simon Corbell, who believes that the R18+ classification would ensure that games with adult content are sold only to adults and that the purchasers are fully aware of the content of the games.

 

26th November   

Thai Web Blocking...

Minister in charge of web blocking says that it doesn't work
Link Here

thongchai sangsiri Thongchai Sangsiri, director of computer forensics within Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), and charged with overseeing the Web blocking regime, told a an audience at a recent gathering at the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity cybersecurity forum that blacklists are too lengthy and have proved quite difficult for ISPs to properly handle.

He said that Web filtering was a job best left up to parents: We would like [to] leave parents and teachers to decide what to filter … because [the current system] is too much to handle . The blacklists grow with many, many websites to become a burden on ISPs. Blacklisting doesn't work.

Sangrisi added that he thought the whole Web blocking plan was simply a way to make the majority of the public think the government was actually doing something about perceived 'problems' on the Internet: The majority of the public will think the government is doing something; for public image it is good .

 

26th November   

Update: I'm Not a Prude...BUT...

Australian prude calls for ban on 'offensive' billboards
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

The Twelfth Fish Australian Labor MP Graham Perrett has called for a ban on offensive billboard advertising, saying it's time to reclaim public spaces and protect common decency.

The man once cheekily dubbed the Member for Porn after penning racy scenes in his debut novel, The Twelfth Fish, said he planned to lobby Attorney-General Robert McClelland about whether advertising laws can be tightened and would support a Parliamentary inquiry into the issue.

The Member for Moreton said the billboard, for an erectile dysfunction treatment, was on a busy road and likely to be seen by children: I've been called the 'Member for Porn', so I'm not a prude ...BUT... I find it troublesome and I think we do need to take a closer look at it .

We have lots of weeks here, we have Liver Week, Mental Health Week, I think we need to have a 'Back to Middle-Class Values Week' where we reclaim public spaces, he said. He also noted the offending billboard was close to a nondescript brothel that was less offensive to the eye than the advertisement and unlikely to upset any parents on school runs.

Perrett also suggested an advertising watershed for billboards. He said electronic advertising meant it was possible to promote adult content after 8.30pm and ensure more family friendly themes were present during school hours.

 

26th November   

Updated: Lets Start a Petition Against This...

10 Downing Street petition website shelved
Link Here  full story: UK Petitions...Petitioning the UK Government

10 Downing Street logo David Cameron often speaks about openness in government, but a Downing Street innovation to encourage greater public participation has been quietly shelved. Officially, the No 10 e-petitions website, launched by the previous government, is under review.

Senior Whitehall sources insist it will not return, however, partly because of the negative publicity it generated. Online petitions were used to embarrass Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Shortly after the site's debut, 1.6 million people signed a petition demanding an end to road pricing, and nearly 100,000 used it to demand Brown's resignation in April last year. [Cameron's communications chief] Andy Coulson does not want to see a repeat of that, said a Whitehall insider.

A line on the No 10 website says e-petitions were suspended when the general election was called and hints they may return.

Martha Lane Fox, the government's digital tsar, is understood to have considered their future as part of a wider review of DirectGov, the website for all public services, commissioned by the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. But her report, presented to Maude last month, made no recommendations on e-petitions, and civil servants are convinced the experiment is at an end after four years. [It's] been kicked into the long grass, the Whitehall source said.

Update: Government Petition Plans

26th November 2010. Based on article from  theregister.co.uk

A Cabinet Office spokesman has said that the government had already committed to pushing for a formal debate in Parliament for any petition that draws more than 100,000 signatures from the British public. The petition with the most signatures would then be tabled as a Bill. Indeed, the proposal is laid out in the Coalition's recently published business plan for the next four years.

The government said it will present its petitions proposal to the House of Commons next month and, if Parliament approves, it will have a petitioning mechanism introduced in November 2011.

What's less clear is whether the 10 Downing Street e-petition website, which was largely ignored by the previous government, will be ditched in favour of bringing such a service under the roof of Directgov.

Update: Next Year

31st December 2010. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Under the new proposals, which will be introduced next year, the most popular petition on a special Government website will be drafted as legislation and given Parliamentary time for debate.

Offsite Comment : Let's all join in not signing up to this idea of e-petitions

2nd January 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Catherine Bennett

David Cameron's pledge to put popular demands to the Commons is neither new nor good for democracy

 

25th November   

Update: Vilification of Religions...

Nutter nations win the annual vote for an international blasphemy law but the margin decreases a little
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logo A resolution combating the vilification of religions was adopted on November 23 by a United Nations committee, but religious freedom advocates who oppose the measure say support for it continues to diminish.

The resolution by Islamic countries is scheduled to be considered by the U.N. General Assembly in December.

The vote -- 76 yes, 64 no, and 42 abstentions -- received fewer affirmative votes than last year, said Freedom House, a human rights group that has worked against the resolution. In 2009, 80 countries voted in favor to 61 against (42 abstained).

We are disappointed that this pernicious resolution has passed yet again, despite strong evidence that legal measures to restrict speech are both ineffective and a direct violation of freedom of expression, said Paula Schriefer, director of advocacy at Freedom House.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent bipartisan panel, said the measure's diminished support shows some countries think the resolution can do more harm than good.

Days before its passage, the Organization of the Islamic Conference relabeled the resolution as condemning vilification of religions instead of defamation of religions, but U.S. officials and advocates continued to oppose it.

 

25th November   

Offsite: Political Lobbying at Parliament...

China-inspired 'charity' aims to sex-down society
Link Here

Safer Media A new charity, SaferMedia, has been launched to combat the menace of the sexualisation of society.

Its demands for cleaning up the internet are likely to be fed into an official government review of sexualisation in childhood later this year.

Around 70 delegates from a range of concerned organisations met in the Grand Committee Room at Westminster for the launch on Monday. Speakers included Pamela Paul, author of Pornified, John Woods, a consultant psychotherapist at the Portman Clinic and Nola Leach, chief executive of Christian charity CARE.

The message put forward was broadly unaminous. Pornography, speakers claimed, is harmful in and of itself. It harms relationships by leading men to objectify women, and by acting as a massive drain on time available for commitment. It was the enemy of intimacy, creating unsustainable expectations of female sexuality. This was even before one took account of the effects of porn addiction.

... Read the full article

Comment: Supporting Real Charities

A charitable Melon Farmers reader wrote with an impish suggestion:

I have in my hot sweaty hand one of their new leaflets and they are making the same mistake that many unpopular charities and organisations make in that they are offering to send out leaflets for their supporters to distribute ( as its vital to reach as many people as possible ) and are only asking for a donation (which of course you are not obliged to give).... they also offer other ways for their supporters to help them such as writing to my MP, Hosting a talk in my area and to pray for Safermedia (aaaaw bless them)

Perhaps the Safermedia leaflets could be put to better use by donating them to a real charity that collects wastepaper for a good cause.

Anyway.... the address to ask for leaflets is: Safermedia, PO Box 1046, Bromley BR1 9PF

 

25th November   

Update: An Open Letter to David Cameron...

Calling for urgent reforms to UK libel law
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Facebook logo Dear Prime Minister

We are writing to ask that you introduce urgent reforms in the Government's proposed draft Defamation Bill to protect open discussion on the internet.

The English law of defamation is having a disproportionate, chilling effect on online writers, e-communities and web hosts:

  • The libel laws have not been updated to address the rise of online publication. The current multiple publication rule, dating back to 1849, defines every download as a publication and a potential new cause of action.
     
  • Internet service providers can be held liable for comments they host and therefore are inclined to take down material or websites even before the writer or publisher has been made aware of a complaint. Such intermediaries usually have no access to the background or relevant facts and should not be expected to play judge and jury in determining whether a writer's material is defamatory or not. This is a decision that can and should only be made by the direct parties involved.
     
  • Online blogs and forums are available around the world and there appear, in practice, to be few restrictions on material published substantially on matters and concerning parties and reputations elsewhere being the subject of legal action in English courts.
     
  • The Internet is used for publication by millions of ordinary citizens for whom the current defences to an action for defamation have not been developed.

We ask that the Government's draft Bill provide the following protection for discussion on the Internet:

  1. ISPs and forum hosts – intermediaries - should not be forced to take down material without a determination by a court or competent authority that the content is defamatory. The claimant should in the first instance approach the author rather than an uninvolved intermediary.
     
  2. There should be a single publication rule and a limitation period of one year from original publication.
     
  3. Claimants in libel law should demonstrate that there has been a substantial tort in the jurisdiction in which they bring proceedings.
     
  4. There should be a public interest defence in cases where the material is on a matter of public interest and the author has acted in accordance with expectations of the medium or forum.

Signed

Richard Allan, Director of Policy EU, Facebook

Emma Ascroft, Director, Public & Social Policy, Yahoo! UK & Ireland

Lisa Fitzgerald, Senior Counsel, AOL (UK) Limited

Nicholas Lansman, Secretary-General, Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), which represents providers of Internet services in the UK and has over 200 members representing 95 per cent of the access market.

Justine Roberts, CEO, Mumsnet

 

25th November   

Update: Don't Over Celebrate...

Burma bans newspapers for featuring Suu Kyi news too prominently
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

aung san suu kyi The Burmese censorship board, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division under the Ministry of Information, suspended nine private journals on Sunday for publishing news of Aung San Suu Kyi too prominently.

The censorship board also banned news about Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in Burma's press.

The censorship suspended publication of the top sports journal, First Eleven and the Hot News journal for two weeks while other journals such as 7 Days News, The Voice, Venus News, Pyithu Khit, Myanmar Post, The Snap Shot and Myanmar Newsweek were suspended for only one week.

The censorship board, headed by Major Tint Swe, said the suspensions were given for use of photos and reporting that exceeded the prescribed limits of one picture and one report that must not be on the front page.

The two-week suspensions were for putting in information that it had not approved, while one week suspensions were given to journals covering the Suu Kyi news with an extra full-page report, some using more than one photo in their most recent editions.

Distributors across the country put the extra page at the front to attract readers, leading to editions being rapidly sold out, according to a journal distributor in Mandalay, who added that Suu Kyi's popularity was undiminished.

Other journals were also given serious warnings but not suspensions.

 

25th November   

Blogged Off...

China bans blogger conference
Link Here  full story: Blogging in China...Bloggers under duress

China flag A meeting of Chinese bloggers due to take place in Shanghai last weekend has been cancelled, after authorities put pressure on the venue for the event.

The annual Chinese Blogger Conference, which has played host to a number of leading online commentators since it began in Shanghai in 2005, had become a forum for criticism of China's government.

Fearing attempts by the authorities to sabotage proceedings, conference organisers this year waited until just four days before the two-day event was due to start before announcing its venue.

But late last week, the venue's owners caved in to government pressure and withdrew their invitation to the conference.

Isaac Mao, co-founder of the conference, said that although Chinese authorities had upset the original scheme of this year's conference, local bloggers would still find ways to gather in smaller groups .

 

24th November   

Obituary: Countess Dracula...

Ingrid Pitt dies aged 73
Link Here

Countess Dracula Special Ingrid Pitt Hammer horror actress Ingrid Pitt, best known for starring in cult classics such as Countess Dracula, has died at the age of 73.

The Polish-born star passed away at a hospital in south London after collapsing a few days ago.

She was regarded by many fans as the queen of Hammer Horror films.

The star's death comes weeks after film-maker Roy Ward Baker, who directed Pitt in The Vampire Lovers , died at the age of 93.

Pitt's daughter Stephanie Blake told the BBC News website that her mother's death had come as a huge surprise . After the actress collapsed recently, doctors had told her was she suffering from heart failure. She could be incredibly generous, loving, and she'll be sorely missed, Mrs Blake said.

She added that she wanted her mother to be remembered as the Countess Dracula with the wonderful teeth and the wonderful bosom .

She began her career with fairly minor roles in several Spanish films in the mid-1960s. But in 1968 she landed a supporting role in war movie Where Eagles Dare , appearing alongside Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton. The actress got her breakthrough role two years later in the horror thriller The Vampire Lovers , which was a box office success.

Several Hammer movies followed, firmly establishing her as one of the key women of British horror of the 1970s. Her other film credits included The Wicker Man (1973), Who Dares Wins (1982), Smiley's People (1982) and Wild Geese II (1985).

 

24th November   

I am no Mary Whitehouse Figure...BUT...

Parliamentary prudes make themselves known in first Internet Pornography debate
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

claire rry H ouse of Commons Adjournment Debate
23rd November 2010

Culture minister Ed Vaizey, said the Government was in favour of a lightly-regulated internet. Those who posted illegal material would be prosecuted but ministers wanted to work with ISPs on any changes.

He said: The internet is by and large a force for good, it is central to our lives and to our economy and Government has to be wary before it regulates and passes legislation.

But leading the debate, Claire Perry had a long speech including a nod to yesterdays Safermedia conference and a classic I'm no prude...BUT...

Claire Perry (Devizes, Conservative)

I am grateful for the opportunity to debate this matter tonight. I thank Members on both sides of the House who have either made time to attend the debate or expressed support for my proposal since it was announced yesterday. I am asking for a change in regulation that would require all UK-based internet service providers to restrict universal access to pornographic material by implementing a simple opt-in system based on age verification.

...

Statistics are simply red-lining a problem that every parent recognises-namely, that our children are viewing material that we would never want them to see, especially at such a young age. So what can we do about it? The current way of controlling access to pornographic material on the internet is via safety settings and filtering software, installed and maintained by users-parents, teachers and carers across the country. Unfortunately, however, through technological ignorance, time pressure or inertia or for myriad other reasons, this filtering solution is not working. Even among parents who are regular internet users, only 15% say that they know how to install a filter. It is unfortunately also the case that our children know better than we do how to circumvent the filters, while the constant changes in internet technology and content mean that they can quickly become outdated.

I would like to raise two key issues about the current, unsatisfactory situation. The first, as Fiona Mactaggart has just pointed out, is that access to pornography has a profound and negative effect on our children. Against the backdrop of a drip-feed of sexualisation that promotes pole dancing as healthy exercise for young girls and high-heeled shoes as appropriate footwear for six-month-old babies, the availability of soft-core and hard-core pornography in our homes is damaging our children.

Yesterday I attended a Safer Media conference sponsored by my hon. Friend Mr Burrowes, and heard compelling evidence of this damage, including the explosion in the number of children in this country being referred to addiction clinics with a pornography problem , and that fact that many studies demonstrate that watching internet pornography contributes to people seeing women as sex objects, increases sexual risk-taking such as having unprotected or anal sex, and relaxes the boundaries of sexual violence in a completely unacceptable way.

...

The second problem in the current system of internet provision is the presumption that it is entirely the consumer's responsibility to safeguard their family from harmful imagery. I am a fervent supporter of personal responsibility and have an innate dislike of Big Brother regulation, but there is a form of content delivery in this country that, in contrast to the internet, is either regulated by the Government or has a successful self-regulation model that does not appear draconian or heavy-handed. Our television viewing is restricted by sensible Ofcom guidelines, including section 1, which says that material equivalent to the British Board of Film Classification's R18 rating must not be broadcast at any time, and that adult sex material cannot be broadcast at any time other than between 22.00 and 05.30 hours on premium subscription services or on pay-per-view or night services, which have to have mandatory restricted access, including PIN verification systems. We all accept such regulation of our television viewing quite happily.

What we see on our cinema screens is subject to regulation by the British Board of Film Classification, and we have accepted that for years. Our high street hoardings and general advertising are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, which displayed its teeth recently by removing posters from the Westfield shopping centre. Government guidelines inform newsagents' displays of lad magazines and porn magazines. Even the mobile phone industry, which has arguably seen even more change than the internet in the past 10 years and whose products are increasingly used to access the internet, has introduced a reasonably successful self-regulation model that requires an adult verification check before users can access inappropriate material on the internet.

Why should internet service providers be any different from other content providers? Why is the onus on parents, teachers and carers to act as web guides and policemen? Where is the industry responsibility?

Three objections are usually raised when such changes as I am proposing tonight are discussed. The first is that any restriction on access to pornography on the internet is an infringement of free speech. I hope I am no Mary Whitehouse figure, although she was right about many things ,...BUT... the nature of the internet has led to a proliferation of imagery and a discussion of sexual practices which is quite mind-boggling in its awfulness. I will not read out some of the information that was provided at the Safer Media conference yesterday, but I, at the age of 46, was introduced to sexual practices-one or two clicks away-that I have never heard of and simply cannot conceive of having my daughters view. It was simply sickening.

...

Britain has taken steps towards internet safety before. The industry acted independently and responsibly on child abuse imagery by setting up the Internet Watch Foundation, which finds sites displaying abuse that the industry then works to block. We have led the world in introducing that technology, and the people and organisations involved are to be strongly commended. It has been a huge success: the amount of child sex abuse content reported or found to be hosted in the UK has dropped from 18% to less than 1%; and 95% of our broadband services use that blocking technology. It can be done.

Mr Straw is also to be commended for introducing the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, which brought in a ban on the possession of extreme pornographic material. That is highly commendable, but of course the content is there on the internet and available for viewing by us and our children with one or two clicks of a mouse.

All that progress has been made, but regulating internet access to inappropriate content continues to stump successive Governments and, in my view, the industry. I believe the time has come to stop ducking an issue of enormous concern to parents, teachers and carers throughout the country. We are often ridiculed for raising it, barraged with information on why the internet should be treated differently, bamboozled with the problem of international co-operation and told that it is our responsibility and no one else's to keep our children safe,

I beg to differ. It is time for Britain to take a lead on the matter and for the Government, with their commitment to family friendly policies, to act. Without action, and with technological convergence, we will increasingly be able to access internet pornography and all internet content via television, raising the prospect of this damaging and degrading material, which is shocking enough when viewed as thumbnails or on an A4-sized computer screen, being piped into our homes and displayed in high-definition glory on 4-foot-wide television screens.

The arguments for passive acceptance and self-regulation are past their sell-by date, and it is time to regulate the provision of internet services in this country. We already successfully regulate British television channels, cinema screens, high street hoardings and newspaper shelves to stop our children seeing inappropriate images, and mobile phone companies have come together to restrict access to adult material, so why should the internet be any different?

British internet service providers should share the responsibility for keeping our children safe, and there should be an opt-in system that uses age verification for access to such material. I urge the Minister to engage with the internet service providers to set a timeline for those changes and, if they will not act, to move to regulate an industry that is doing so much damage to our children.

 

24th November   

A Provocative Whinge...

ASA dismiss clearly ludicrous complaint
Link Here

american apparel lingerie advert An ad in Time Out magazine for clothing brand American Apparel showed a girl wearing white underwear and over-the-knee grey socks. She was standing on her tiptoes with her feet crossed, arching her back, with her arms resting against a wall. Her head was turned to face the camera and her hair partly covered her face. The text stated Lingerie .

A complainant, who believed that the model looked like a child, objected that the ad was offensive and irresponsible because it showed a young-looking girl wearing only underwear and standing in a provocative pose.

American Apparel said that the model was over 18 years of age and it was clear that she was a woman. They made reference to her adult length legs and considered that her adult bust, although not emphasised by her shoulders-back stance, was clearly present. They did not believe the model was styled in a manner that suggested she was underage and strongly refuted that her pose was provocative. They believed that the stance adopted was a confident and professional modelling pose intended to emphasise the three products advertised. They acknowledged that the ad prominently featured underwear but disputed the complaint that the model was wearing only underwear because the socks were primarily worn as an outer garment.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the model was over the age of 18 at the time the photograph was taken. We considered that her pose was representative of the stylised postures familiar within the fashion industry and was not unduly provocative. We also considered that readers were unlikely to infer from the clothing worn that the model was a child. We concluded that the image was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to readers of Time Out magazine or be seen as socially irresponsible.

 

24th November   

Comment: Deplorable...

Law repeal, moral panics, etcetera
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

Theresa May I can't pretend to be surprised by the retreat from the promised repeal of crackpot laws.

With Theresa May - definitely not to be confused with Teresa May without an aitch! - at the Home Office, this retreat is sadly to be expected. One of the more disgraceful exchanges in the last parliament was between her and the possibly even more egregious Harriet Harman. May asked the right honourable lady to join her in deploring research which debunked the great trafficking myth. Harman, unsurprisingly, immediately did so.

Read that again - very slowly and very carefully. May asked Harman to join her in deploring.... RESEARCH. You know, the stuff carried out by academics, with a string of degrees as long as your arm, in universities, published in refereed academic journals, read by other equally brainy academics who will jump down the authors' throats if there's the slightest fault in the argument and/or data. So watch out, Julian Petley, Julia O'Connell Davidson, and any other scholar who stands out against this tide of bullshit. Don't expect much government funding for your work. That ministers or shadow ministers should spout off in parliament deploring research is a crass attack on academic freedom. How dare people who know what they're talking about dare to challenge the bovine prejudices of May and Harman!

 

24th November   

So Much Censorship, So Few Complaints...

New Zealand TV censor reports record complaints of 210
Link Here

bsa nz logo Nutter complaints about New Zealand broadcasters reached record levels in the year to June 2010.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) said it received 210 complaints in the year to June 30 this year.

This is nearly 30% higher than the 162 complaints received for the previous year, and just ahead of the record of 206 in 1996-97 and 1999-2000.

BSA chief executive Dominic Sheehan said it was a colourful year, with decisions issued on everything from immigration policy to someone groping David Beckham's genitals .

The most complained about programmes were One News (25 complaints with six upheld), 3 News (18 with four upheld), Close Up (16 with six upheld), Breakfast (13 with one upheld) and Sunday (10 with four upheld).

BSA chairman Peter Radich said it was becoming more challenging for broadcasters to observe standards of good taste and decency while similar standards did not apply to internet broadcasting. He said it was time the Broadcasting Act, which governs the BSA, was reviewed: Our time has not passed but rather the time has come for our purpose and functions and the way in which we operate to be comprehensively reassessed .

 

24th November   

Update: Catching Them Whilst They're Young...

Iran detains young blogger for supporting feminist causes
Link Here

Iran flag The Iranian government is not only world-class when it comes to persecuting bloggers, they have also set numerous records: from the first jailed blogger in history, to the first blogger to die in prison. Unfortunately, a new record can now be added to the list of Iran's repressive achievements: the youngest blogger to be detained and put on trial.

18-year-old Navid Mohebbi, is currently being tried behind closed doors before a revolutionary court in the northern city of Amol. His lawyer is not being allowed to attend the trial, which began on 14 November.

Arrested at his home in Amol on 18 September by eight intelligence ministry officials, Mohebbi is facing the possibility of a long prison sentence.

A women's rights activist, who keeps a blog called The writings of Navid Mohebbi at navidmohebbi3.blogfa.com , had been summoned and questioned several times by various intelligence services in the past year. He was beaten at the moment of his arrest and has been held in cell with ordinary offenders ever since.

Mohebbi has been accused of activities contrary to national security and insulting the Islamic Republic's founder and current leader (...) by means of foreign media. He has also been accused of being member of the One Million Signatures movement, a campaign to collect signatures to a petition for changes to laws that discriminate against women.

One the movement's leaders, Sussan Tahmassebi, who edits the English-language version of the Change for Equality website, received the Alison Des Forges award from Human Rights Watch on 16 November for her activities of behalf of human rights. She told Reporters Without Borders: I dedicate this prize to all the human rights activists and women's rights activists in Iran, especially those who are currently in prison, hoping to be freed soon. This prize will given them encouragement.

 

24th November   

Locating Responsibility...

Court jurisdiction over internet content is governed by server location (and location of control)
Link Here

Old Bailey A company is responsible for making available internet-hosted material in the country where its host server is based, not in the country where the material is read or used, the High Court has said.

The Court ruled that the law should be applied to material hosted on the internet in the same way that it applies to satellite television, meaning that the jurisdiction covering infringing material is that of the country from where the material was broadcast.

The Scottish and English football leagues and Football Dataco claimed that Sportradar of Switzerland and its German subsidiary infringed their copyrights and database rights when it published live football data on the internet for use by betting companies.

Sportradar said that the English courts did not have jurisdiction to hear a case based on the database rights question because it had not made available any content in the UK.

The Court agreed, saying that the making available takes place where the server is, even if the use of material takes place somewhere else.

The judgment, a preliminary ruling in a case which will continue to a full trial, clarifies the liabilities of online publishers and restricts those liabilities in some key respects the country from which they publish.

 

23rd November   

Update: Blowing the Legal System Sky High...

Twitter Joker, Paul Chambers, appeals to the high court
Link Here

Old Bailey Paul Chambers is to appeal to the high court over conviction for his joke Twitter message about Robin Hood airport

Ben Emmerson QC, a senior human rights lawyer, will lead a three-strong legal team for Paul Chambers whose conviction in the so-called Twitter joke trial has become an international cause celebre.

Dismissed as a foolish prank by almost everyone involved, including police officers and airport security staff, the 140-character threat has landed Chambers, 27, with a criminal conviction and fines and costs totalling over £3,000.

He was originally convicted of menace by Doncaster magistrates this summer. The tweet read: Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!! . It was found in a routine web search by the airport and, although rated non credible , passed to South Yorkshire police.

Chambers appealed to Doncaster crown court last month. But Judge Jacqueline Davies, sitting with two magistrates, described the message as clearly menacing and ruled that Chambers, whom she described as an unimpressive witness , must have known that it might be taken seriously.  Davies said in her judgment: Anyone in this country in the present climate of terrorist threats, especially at airports, could not be unaware of the possible consequences. The message is menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.

 

23rd November   

Update: A War Against German Gamers...

Uncensored imports set to be banned
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD Uncensored Austrian versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops are selling well in Germany, but are set to be pulled from shelves.

Imported copies are expected to be banned in Germany later this week.

According to a report by the German website Schnittberichte, the Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Persons received an urgent action to ban all international versions of the game last week.

Indie retailers are apparently enjoying strong sales of imported copies of the shooter, while the uncut European version is proving more popular on Amazon Germany than the domestic edition.

The heavily-censored German version of the game removes rag-doll effects, blood spatter, a torture scene and Swastika images.

 

23rd November   

Fair Comment...

Ofcom finds a lack of due impartiality in George Galloway's Comment programme
Link Here  full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

press tv comment logo Ofcom has ruled that George Galloway repeatedly breached broadcasting standards on impartiality during a series of Press TV programmes on which he described Israel as a terrorist gangster state and a miscreant, law breaking rogue, war launching, occupying state.

The media watchdog also found that Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn did not show due impartiality when he appeared on the Iranian-backed channel as a guest on Galloway's weekly Comment show.

An initial complaint against the former Respect MP and pro-Palestinian campaigner was made last February following a segment on the death of a Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel.

An Ofcom investigation found that the piece was in breach of standards for inequitably representing alternative viewpoints .

The regulator also found examples of breaches of impartiality in other episodes of Comment in May and June 2010, involving comments which could be interpreted as being pro-Palestinian and highly critical of the actions of the Israeli government and its military forces.

Under Section 5 of the Ofcom code, broadcasters must ensure that on such programmes neither side of the debate is unduly favoured.

However the report said Galloway's show did not adequately provide the Israeli viewpoint on a programme about the flotilla incident. Investigators found that when opposing views were included the material was used only to give the opportunity for the programme to further criticise the Israeli government.

In addition, it was demonstrated that Galloway treated pro-Israel viewer contributions, in a very different way to how he treated the pro-Palestinian perspective: [He] used the alternative opinions made by the viewers, which were contrary to his own, only as vehicles to punctuate what could be classed as a form of ongoing political polemic, delivered by the presenter directly to camera and unchallenged.

Ofcom said it would arrange a meeting for Press TV to discuss its impartiality procedure.

 

23rd November   

Update: Bloggers and Libel Law...

So you've had a threatening letter. What can you do?
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

libel letter what can you do A new guide to the libel laws for bloggers has just been published.

The guide, entitled So you've had a threatening letter. What can you do? , is published by Sense About Science in association with Index on Censorship, English PEN, the Media Legal Defence Initiative, the Association of British Science Writers and the World Federation of Science Journalists.

To coincide with the guide's publication, Sense About Science is making available a summary of the effects of the English libel laws on bloggers, drawn from cases that have come to attention since the start of the Libel Reform Campaign and from the recent survey of bloggers. The summary identifies the particular ways in which online forums are affected by the current laws, notably:

  • the individual and non-professional character of much online writing, and therefore the more pronounced inequality of arms, particularly where people are writing about companies, institutions and products;
  • related to the above, the relative lack of familiarity with libel law and access to advice about handling complaints;
  • the liability of ISPs, leading to material being removed without consultation with authors;
  • and the vulnerability to legal action arising from the international availability of Internet material, and it being possible to republish old material by downloading it.

Reform of English libel law has been promised, and if campaigners are successful, then changes that will give better defences to online publishers and writers may come into force in 2012.

This leaflet is certainly not a substitute for legal advice, but it does provide information which other bloggers and writers who have experienced libel threats say they wished they had known at the outset.

 

23rd November   

Update: Film Posters Doctored...

Doctors protest smoking on Indian film poster
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

aishwarya rai hrithik roshan Posters of the film Guzaarish showing actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan smoking have got doctors riled.

About 1,500 doctors from Mumbai, attached to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), gathered at KEM Hospital and pinned black ribbons to their white robes to protest against the poster.

The protest received support from Indian Medical Association, Mumbai, and Doctors for You, a non-government organistaion.

MARD has written to the film makers, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the state health minister. The doctors want Aishwarya to personally explain to the youth, especially women, the evils of smoking. We want the poster removed immediately from BEST buses and other places and a boycott of the film by all concerned citizens. We also want the censor board to act sensibly, said Dr Madhav Swami, president, MARD.

 

23rd November   

Humour Derailed...

Austrian state TV under fire for holocaust joke
Link Here

stermann grissemann logo Bosses of Austria's national broadcaster ORF have come under pressure over a bad taste Holocaust joke in a popular late night show.

ORF officials censored the latest episode of Willkommen Österreich . The weekly show is co-hosted by Dirk Stermann and Christoph Grissemann.

In the uncut version of the episode, Stermann said: American lawyers are suing ÖBB (Austrian Railways). They accuse the company of having been involved in the deportation of Jews.

Dear lawyers in the USA, I doubt that. Had Jews taken ÖBB trains, they wouldn't have arrived in Auschwitz by today, the German added.

The joke was met with roaring laughter by the studio audience before Stermann's Austrian co-host said: You have to add: this isn't an issue to make fun of.

Ariel Muzicant, head of the Jewish Community in Vienna, said today: I think this joke really is distasteful. I wonder how these gentlemen would feel had their parents and grandparents been on those trains.

Michael Wimmer, a spokesman for ÖBB, said he was speechless . Wimmer said it should be common sense not to make fun about the issue. He added that the claim American advocates were pressing charges against ÖBB were wrong.

Stermann's disputed joke refers to group action by Holocaust survivors against the Republic of Hungary which could also hit Rail Cargo Hungaria. The company previously named MAV Cargo was acquired by ÖBB two years ago. The claimants accuse the Republic of Hungary and the country's Federal Railways of having been involved in confiscating Jewish possessions and transporting members of the Jewish community living in the country into the Nazi's concentration camps. Around six million people were killed in the regime's death and forced labour camps.

 

23rd November   

Kindergarten...

Argentine film unbanned after 21 years
Link Here

kindergarten Kindergarten , an Argentine film banned in 1989 for its gory depiction of sex and violence, has finally seen the light of the day 21 years after its production.

Kindergarten by Jorge Polaco is considered one of the most controversial movies in the history of Argentine cinema. It tells an intrigue of love, sex and murder in a family in Buenos Aires. The movie premiered this week at the 25th edition of the Mar del Plata International in Argentina.

Argentine authorities had questioned the depiction of nude children and sexual scenes in the movie said to be corrupting the minds of minors at that time. Two days before the first screening in 1989, a judge ordered the seizure of the film rolls. The director and the actors appeared in court in a case which denounced the film for immorality.

Although the Supreme Court of Argentina ruled in favour of the film in 1996, the premiere was postponed for another hearing to analyse the case.

When lifting the ban, all copies of the film mysteriously disappeared, until the Cinematheque of Granada, Spain, announced the discovery of one in its vaults.

 

22nd November   

Update: The Great Law Repeal Bonfire...

Looks like only electoral promises will be fuelling the flames
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal
nick clegg

  Nick Clegg's Freedom Bill
...a bit of a damp squib

The Deputy Prime Minister announced with great fanfare in July that he would pilot a Freedom Bill through Parliament, sweeping away meddlesome legislation and freeing up individuals and business from overbearing rules.

A massive consultation was launched with people invited to submit their ideas for laws which should be scrapped on a website run by Clegg's department, the Cabinet Office.

Some 46,000 people logged on and left their ideas, with each entry generating a stream of comments and debate.

Now Clegg has told friends there is simply too much detail . And he has handed the project to the Home Office, where officials have been charged with truncating the scheme and turning it into a much smaller civil liberties bill.

Deregulation measures aimed at freeing up business have been stripped from the Bill to make it simpler, to the dismay of Tory MPs.

In a sweeping statement at the launch of the Freedom Bill initiative, Mr Clegg had vowed to free our society of unnecessary laws and regulations – both for individuals and businesses. He promised to strip away the excessive regulation that stops businesses from innovating. He urged citizens to get involved and said it was a totally new way of putting you in charge . Launching the Your Freedom consultation site, he said: Every suggestion and comment will be read. So please use this site to make yourself heard. Be demanding about your liberties, be insistent about your rights.

One Lib Dem insider said: Nick felt he was being tied up in knots so he washed his hands of it.

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office last night confirmed that the Freedom Bill was now being handled by the Home Office. However a spokesman for the Home Office said: I don't think any one department has ownership of this bill.

Comment: Shameful

From Phantom on the Melon Farmers Forum

This was one of the LibDem flagship policies. A concession wrestled from the Tories in the coalition agreement. And now Clegg has handed it to the Home Office.

Check out the Home Office ministers.

  • Theresa May, Con
  • Pauline Neville-Jones, Con
  • Damian Green, Con
  • Nick Herbert, Con
  • Lynne Featherstone, LibDem
  • James Brokenshire, Con

Somewhat of a Tory weighting in that department. And the Tories in question are not of the Ken Clarke variety. Would a Tory group of this nature really be keen on repealing laws? Pauline `MI6` Neville-Jones and Damian `Immigration` Green? I think not.

So it seems Clegg has not so much handed it over, but abandoned it altogether. In short, once the LibDem leader washed his hands of it, the repeal act died. There is not a chance of a Tory Home Office investing any political capital in what they would see as wet, wishy washy policies which would, in their eyes, subvert authority and control.

Seems to me Clegg simply sold out on this one. Even though he'd won coalition support - simply because it proved tricky to do.

Shameful.

 

22nd November   

Army Bullies the BBC...

Army unimpressed by BBC drama featuring bullying corporal
Link Here

accused bbc dra The head of the British army has complained to the BBC about a drama showing bullying among troops in Afghanistan, calling it deeply offensive to all those serving .

General Sir Peter Wall has written to BBC director general Mark Thompson about the programme, Accused .

The episode features a corporal who bullies two friends who join the Army, one of whom goes on to commit suicide.

The writer of the series, Bafta-winning TV dramatist Jimmy McGovern, has said that Accused is a work of fiction and that he had the greatest respect for British soldiers. McGovern, who also created Cracker and The Street , said: As a dramatist, I was interested in exploring how soldiers have to be at a certain mindset to kill. It is not my intention to slur British soldiers, for whom I have the greatest respect. At the heart of the drama is my belief in the sanctity of life.

The Ministry of Defence said Sir Peter, the Chief of the General Staff, believed the episode was offensive to both troops and their families. A spokesman said: There are fears that those watching it will believe this is what is really happening to their loved ones. We have asked the BBC to make it clear that this is a fictitious programme, is not accurate and that the Army has nothing to do with making it.

 

22nd November   

Update: Freedom in Re-tweet...

China follows Britain's lead in persecuting Twitter jokers
Link Here

Twitter logo A woman in China has been sentenced to a year of hard labour after posting a message on the social networking website Twitter.

The fiancee of human rights activist Cheng Jianping told the BBC she had been accused of disrupting social order, but her message had been a joke.

She had repeated a Twitter comment urging nationalist protesters to smash Japan's pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, adding the words Charge, angry youth .

At the time, China and Japan were embroiled in their worst diplomatic row in recent years over a group of uninhabited, but disputed, islands in the East China Sea. Groups of young Chinese had been demonstrating against Japan, publicly smashing Japanese products.

Cheng Jianping's fiance, Hua Chunhui, told the BBC he first posted the short message on Twitter, ridiculing the demonstrators, saying their actions were nothing new and if they really wanted to make an impact they should smash the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. Ms Cheng then retweeted the mocking message, he said, forwarding it and adding the words charge, angry youth .

Ten days later she was detained by police for disrupting social order and has now been sent to the Shibali River women's labour camp.

 

22nd November   

Fun Loving Pastor...

Pastor who ranted at Facebook over fidelity issues enjoys the odd threesome with his wife
Link Here
uniting people to people logo

   Living Word Christian Fellowship Church
Uniting People to People...
Threesomes a speciality

A New Jersey pastor who slammed Facebook as a portal to infidelity – and told married church leaders to delete their accounts or resign – has admitted to having a three-way sexual relationship with his wife and a male church assistant.

The Rev Cedric Miller, the leader of Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune Township, confirmed that he given evidence in 2003 in a criminal case against the assistant involved in the Miller's threesome. The relationship had ended by that time, and the case was eventually dismissed.

Miller hit the headlines this week when he issued his Facebook edict. He said it came about because much of the marital counselling he has performed over the past year and a half has concerned infidelity that stemmed from the social network site.

He claimed that Facebook ignites old passions and ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions. He had previously asked married congregants to share their login information with their spouses and now plans to suggest that they give up Facebook altogether.

 

21st November   

Update: Dangerously Extendable Powers...

US bill to allow authorities wide powers to close down websites looks delayed for the moment
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

US Senate 19 members of the Senate Judiciary unanimously voted to move forward with the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) this week, despite a letter sent to them by a large number of law professors explaining the unconstitutionality of COICA, and earlier protests by 96 Internet engineers, and Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the Web.

However t doesn't appear it will pass through the full Senate, at least for now.

COICA targets piracy, but it is very broad in its definition of what that means. Copyright infringement could include not just hosting torrents, downloads or streams of copyrighted materials, but also providing a link or aggregated links to other sites or Internet resources for obtaining access to such copies.

In other words, as defined, it could be interpreted that a news site that linked to The Pirate Bay or other BitTorrent site would be in violation. COICA would empower the attorney general to be able to get court orders to blacklist sites out of the DNS (Domain Name Service) system, meaning you wouldn't be able to type in their name and reach them, on the Web. Naturally, organizations such as the MPAA and RIAA love the idea.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has announced that he was going to take the necessary steps to stop [COICA] from passing the United States Senate. He added: It seems to me that online copyright infringement is a legitimate problem, but it seems to me that COICA as written is the wrong medicine. Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb when what you really need is a precision-guided missile. The collateral damage of this statute could be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said: Blacklisting entire sites out of the domain name system is a reckless scheme that will undermine global Internet infrastructure and censor legitimate online speech.

As noted, the bill passed out of the committee unanamously, which translates to having full bipartisan support. That's pretty unusual in these contentious political times, and points to the support of major industry organizations such as the previously mentioned RIAA and MPAA. While probably dead for this session due to Ron Wyden's opposition, it might show up again in the next.

 

21st November   

Lust for Cuts...

Old BBFC cuts to Lust for Freedom
Link Here

Lust Freedom DVD Region NTSC Lust for Freedom is a 1987 US prison drama by Eric Louzil. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for the US 2004 Troma R1 DVD available via UK Amazon and at US Amazon

But the UK release was only passed 18 after 24s of BBFC cuts with some previous cuts waived for the UK 2004 Hollwood DVD/Consolidated R2 DVD

The BBFC commented: Cuts required to remove eroticised images of nudity within a rape scene (close-ups of female victim's naked crotch and breasts)

Previously the VHS release was passed 18 after 5:34s of BBFC cuts for the UK 1987 Braveworld VHS

Thanks to Bleach for BBFC cuts details:

  • A t 37½ mins - After first lesbian scene, remove intercut scenes of man in T-shirt menacing, hurting and having sex with woman in cell, and also of her being whipped, the remaining lesbian scenes, and the flashback of woman kneeling over man's body, resuming on her sitting in cell.
     
  • At 51½ mins - In snuff movie scene in chalet, remove all actual threat with gun to nude woman by cutting away as man hands gun to younger man kneeling on bed, resuming on van outside when shot is heard.
     
  • At 55 mins - In fight between two women, remove double ear-clap.
     
  • At 67½ mins - In wrestling match between women, remove sight of woman's head on floor being pulled back and later sight of her neck being broken while she is held against ropes.
     
  • At 73 mins - When woman is menaced with knife, remove sight of her trousers being pulled down to reveal pubic area and all subsequent menacing, resuming on shot of police.

Review from US Amazon : A Turn Off

If you are looking for something racy, race away from this. Poorly shot, poorly edited, poorly acted and just plain hard to watch.

Sure this type of film is for turning your brain off, but the film itself is such a turn off the only thing to do is turn it off.

 

21st November   

Offsite: Enlarged Threats...

Now the libel law sharks are going for the little guy
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

boob job It is a sad truth about the British media that a story's chances of making the newspapers increase in proportion to an editor's ability to attach breasts to it. The tale of how the makers of Boob Job tried to undermine freedom of speech by threatening Dr Dalia Nield was no exception to the rule.

I don't mean to mock. The press does not argue strongly enough for the freedom on which its business and our liberties depend and it was good to see journalists defend the doctor.

The Mail had asked her opinion of Rodial's claim that its £125 jars of Boob Job would expand breasts by half a cup size if a woman rubbed the cream into her chest for 56 days on the trot. Dr Nield is one of Britain's foremost cosmetic surgeons. She gave every impression of not believing a word of Rodial's hype. She told the Mail that women needed a lot more data from Rodial and wondered whether the cream would do more harm than good. For this, Rodial sent her a letter threatening defamation proceedings. Quite rightly, reporters protested about yet another attempt by our wretched legal profession to silence informed debate on matters of public interest.

...Read the full article

 

21st November   

Back to Censor School...

ASA whinge at leaflets for pub event with a school theme
Link Here

yates logo A leaflet and poster which appeared in a Yates's pub.

The leaflet and poster showed a cartoon picture of a woman. She was wearing a short plaid skirt and a shirt unbuttoned to the chest, a loosened school tie and a school badge. She held a piece of chalk in one hand and was standing next to a blackboard with BACK TO SCHOOL WEEKENDER 27th/28th/29th August written on it. A heart with an arrow through it was next to the text. Further text included I must be there! I must be there . A school-badge shaped outline next to pictures of a Smirnoff Vodka bottle and a Jagermeister bottle contained the text JAGER BOMB AND VOD BOMB £2.95 ONLY . Text at the bottom advertised the drinkaware website and stated WE ARE YATESs .

A complainant challenged whether:

  1. the leaflet was irresponsible, because it was likely to encourage underage drinking; and
  2. the poster was irresponsible, because it was likely to encourage underage drinking.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted Yatess had said that staff were instructed to distribute leaflets only to those over 18 years of age. However, as the leaflets had been distributed in the immediate vicinity of their bars, which we understood to mean outside the actual premises, we considered it would be likely that under-18s would be able to gain access to discarded leaflets even if staff had taken care to ensure that they were only passed directly to over-18s.

We noted that the style of the leaflet was in keeping with similar illustrations of women used by Yatess for other Big Weekender promotions. However, we considered that the style of illustration would appeal to under-18s generally, and particularly in relation to the promotion as it was associated with a Back to School theme and depicted a woman wearing school uniform. We noted Yatess assertion that there was no direct physical association between the image of the woman and the drink products but considered that as the woman appeared to have written the details of the drink promotion on the blackboard that directly linked her with the drink products.

Whilst we recognised the popularity of School Disco themed nights amongst adults, we were concerned that because the Back to School Weekender was scheduled for the final weekend of August - the time at which children would be preparing to return to school after the summer holiday - the promotion would have particular relevance and appeal to under-18s and could encourage them to drink.

2. Not upheld

Because we understood that the posters had only been displayed in and around the bar areas inside Yatess premises, where service was only offered to over-18s, we considered that it was unlikely that under-18s would have seen them and they were therefore unlikely to encourage underage drinking.

 

21st November   

Update: Victorian Zombies...

Sex Party hits out at against Victoria's Victorian censorship laws
Link Here

Australian Sex Party Australian Sex Party convenor and Victorian Upper House candidate Fiona Patten has hit out at Victoria's classification laws following a police raid on a festival director's home, for showing a banned film earlier this year.

Police searched the home of Melbourne Underground Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft last week in an attempt to uncover a copy of banned Bruce LaBruce gay zombie porn film, L.A. Zombie .

Wolstencroft screened L.A. Zombi e in protest in August after the Censor Board refused to okay the film for the festival.

At the time, Wolstencroft told the Star Observer the film's gay themes played a part in the reason the film had been banned.

Patten said Victoria's classification laws need to change: It just goes to show how archaic Victoria's laws are that Richard could face jail or a $240,000 fine for showing a film that's been seen widely around the world, to adults who've paid to see it. Despite years of campaigning, the government has refused to to act and now someone could be facing jail for showing a mainstream film to adults. It shows the classification laws desperately need a change.

It just shows how Victorian, Victoria's laws are. I think people in this state are far more progressive than this and it's not in-line with how the public feels.

 

21st November   

Update: Showing Who's the Boss...

India's Big Brother winds up government TV censor
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults

bigg boss 4 logo Faced with a few complaints from viewers and women's outfits about indecent content, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has asked channels airing TV shows Bigg Boss and Rakhi ka Insaaf to air them only between 11 pm and 5 am, virtually bracketing them as only for adult viewing.

Both shows are not for universal viewing and can be aired only in the scheduled time slot, Information and Broadcasting Ministry officials said.

The shows cannot also be repeated in any other time slot or shown on news programmes, they said.

Currently both are prime time shows. Officials claimed this is the first time that the ministry has compulsorily changed time slots of popular TV shows.

The authorities concerns came to a head ten days ago in an episode of Rakhi's Justice. This resulted in presenter Rakhi Sawant, a dancer, model and actor, facing possible prosecution for abetting suicide and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace. Viewers watched as Sawant, who judges marital disputes on the programme, systematically abused 24-year-old Laxman Prasad Ahirwal, calling him impotent.

Prasad's mother, Savitri Ahirwal, told reporters that her son was so upset with the indecent remarks that he stopped meeting any outsiders or neighbours … [he] went into acute depression and even stopped eating food ... He gradually became weak and frail and ultimately died.

 

21st November   

Update: Script Cleansing...

Bosnian victims group seek to censor Angelina Jolie movie
Link Here

Bosnia flag Angelina Jolie has been chased out of Bosnia after a rumour spread that the film she was making there contained an inter-ethnic rape scene.

The Hollywood actress had planned to spend 10 days in the country filming her directorial debut, which is about a Serb man and a Bosnian Muslim woman in love during the 1992-95 war.

But she has moved most of the production of the as-yet-untitled picture to Hungary following protests from women who were sexually assaulted during the conflict. Only three days of filming will now be done in Bosnia and Jolie will only visit the set briefly.

Jolie was accused by two victims' associations of attempting to falsify the historic truth about the crimes of mass gang rapes of Bosniak women by Serbian forces during the war.

She and her producers vehemently denied this and insisted the film featured no depiction of rape. According to their synopsis, it features a young couple who are separated as the war starts and meet again when the woman is held in a detention camp where her former boyfriend now works as a guard.

The pressure groups said Jolie was seeking to depict a loving surrender by women to crimes of sexual abuse by Serbs who used rape as a means of denationalising and dehumanising the victims . In an open letter published by local media, the victims' associations told her: We can and will do everything in our power to publicly proclaim your movie as compromising the truth.

 

21st November   

Update: Donkey Blogger...

Azerbaijan court orders blogger to be freed
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Azerbaijan...Bloggers make a donkey of the state

Azerbaijan flag Baku's Appeal Court has ordered the release of blogger Adnan Hajizade, he had served half of his two-year sentence on controversial charges of hooliganism. His co-defendent, blogger, Emin Abdullayev remains in prison serving a two and a half year term.

The case of the two young Azeri bloggers sparked an international outcry. The men had been actively using social media to mobilise opposition against the government, speaking out on a variety of issues, including government corruption, misuse of oil revenues, censorship and education.

Several weeks prior to their arrest, the pair posted a video on YouTube mocking the government's decision to spend a vast amount of money on importing two donkeys from Germany. Locals believe the tongue-in-cheek video angered the regime and was the real reason for their arrest.

Update: What about the others?

24th November 2010. See  article from  cpj.org

After the Baku Appeals Court released blogger Adnan Hajizade, the Committee to Protect Journalists urged Azerbaijani authorities to release two other imprisoned journalists, Emin Milli and Eynulla Fatullayev. Both Milli and Fatullayev have their appeals pending at the same court.

The Baku court overturned a lower court's decision to deny Hajizade early release, and ordered him to be freed on parole, local and international press reported. According to Reuters, the court did not acquit Hajizade.

Authorities arrested Milli and Hajizade, bloggers and youth activists, in July 2009 after they tried to report an attack on them at a local restaurant to authorities. A district court in Baku convicted them in November 2009 on charges of hooliganism and inflicting of minor bodily harm. Hajizade was given a two-year prison sentence; Milli was given two and a half years. CPJ has concluded that Hajizade and Milli were jailed in retaliation for a satirical video they produced and posted on YouTube in June 2009.

 

20th November   

Shameless Hype...

Suit Supply advertising campaign is working wonders
Link Here

shameless suits advert A window display at a London shopping center is drawing a few complaints ludicrously comparing it to pornography and accusing it of objectifying women.

The 8-foot window display at Suit Supply in the Westfield shopping center features images of a man sitting next to a woman while she touches her naked breast, a driving man groping a female passenger and a man lifting a reclining woman's dress to look at her underwear.

The pictures, part of the store's Shameless advertising campaign, have been the subject of complaints to Westfield managers and the Advertising Standards Authority. Complaints have also been posted on the Mumsnet Web site and Twitter.

The Advertising Standards Authority said it has received about 10 complaints, but callers were referred to watchdog group Consumer Direct as the authority only deals with paid advertising space.

Suit Supply released a statement saying the pictures are a well-balanced mix of style, humor and sex, the essence of fashion. We fully disagree that our campaign would be obscene and denigrating towards women. On the contrary, the women depicted in the photographs are obviously in the lead.

 

20th November   

Update: Extracting the Piss...

'Offensive' bacon smell story proves to be nonsense but this is OKed by PCC rules
Link Here

bacon sandwich A month ago the Daily Mail ran a story that began:

A hard-working cafe owner has been ordered to tear down an extractor fan - because the smell of her frying bacon 'offends' Muslims.

The same tale appeared in the Daily Telegraph: Cafe fan banned in case smell of bacon offends Muslims and in the Metro: Beverley's Snack Shack offending Muslims with bacon smell .

There had been a complaint about the smells emerging from Beverley Akciecek's Stockport cafe from a non-Muslim neighbour, Graham Webb-Lee, who claimed that his Muslim friends were refusing to visit him because, according to him, they couldn't stand the smell of bacon.

There was not a shred of proof that Webb-Lee's allegation had any basis in fact (because, as we shall see, no reporter checked with him). It also became clear that Mrs A had been required to remove the fan by the council because she had never obtained planning permission for it.

Three people were moved to complain about the piece to the Press Complaints Commission, but Tabloid watch reports today that the complaints were rejected.

The PCC's response to the 3 complaints was:

The Commission made clear that, given the brief and limited nature of headlines, it considers them in the context of the article as a whole rather than as stand alone statements. In this instance, the Commission noted that the headlines reflected Mr Webb-Lee's testimony that his Muslim friends would not visit because of the smell of bacon that came from the fan.

While it acknowledged the complainants' argument that this was not the specific reason given by the council for the refusal of the application, it noted that this was indeed an aspect of Mr Webb-Lee's complaint which had led to the refusal of retrospective planning permission.

The Commission was satisfied that the body of the articles in the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail made clear the situation and that, when the headline was read in conjunction with the article, readers would not be misled as to the circumstances surrounding the refusal for planning permission. In regard to the Metro's article, the Commission acknowledged that it had not included specific details of Mr Webb-Lee's complaint.

However, given that his complaint had referred to his Muslim friends' refusal to visit his house on account of the smell given off by the extractor fan, the Commission was satisfied that the sub-headline A café boss has been ordered to change her extractor fan because the smell of frying bacon offends Muslims next door was reflective of this complaint. The body of the article also made clear that the council's decision was based on the smell being unacceptable on the grounds of residential amenity .

While it considered that the newspaper could have included further details about the complaint, it did not, on balance, consider that the absence of such details were misleading in such a way as to warrant correction under the terms of the Code. It could not, therefore, establish a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code.

Under the terms of Clause 12 (Discrimination) newspapers must avoid making prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's religion. However, the clause does not cover generalised remarks about groups of people. Given that the complainants considered the article to discriminate against Muslim people in general, the Commission could not establish a breach of Clause 12 of the Editors' Code of Practice

The PCC decided that readers would not be misled as to the circumstances surrounding the refusal for planning permission. Really? How wrong can the commission be? Did it not read the 544 comments appended to the Mail's online version of the story? Plenty of them appear to have taken the Daily Mail bait.

To build a story based on one man's unsupported statement when it involves the delicate matter of religious intolerance shows a reckless disregard for the pubic interest and social cohesion.

Let me finish with a comment on the Mail website from someone who knows all about the matter:

I am the neighbour who complained! Well done DM for asking for my comments on the matter, but if you had there would be No Story To Print! This vent is affecting my children's health and that is why the council denied planning!

Yes, I have some Muslim friends who it offended, but nothing was said about my English friends who avoid my house within opening hours of the shop!

Shame on you Daily Mail. You have stirred up lots of racial tension in my area now, so for you its 'mission accomplished.'

Update: Planning Permission Granted

31st March 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

planning inspectorate The planning inspectorate has announced that they can keep the extractor fan at the Snack Shack cafe in Stockport.

The council has been ordered to pay the entire legal bill, which could be as high as 5,000.

 

20th November   

Updated: Anti-Crushing Bill Crushed...

Animal cruelty bill looks stalled due to unnecessary over broadening
Link Here  full story: Animal Cruelty in US Media...Legal challenge to censorship of animal cruelty

US Senate Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal statute outlawing the creation and sale of videos depicting animal cruelty, and the ruling didn't sit well with various members of Congress. But the bill designed to narrow the law to simply ban crush videos —videos where, typically, a woman in high-heeled shoes crushes a rodent—may have to be re-presented next year since Congress appears to be running out of time this term to vote on revisions to the bill.

Authored by California Rep. Elton Gallegly, H.R. 5566, the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, would ban the creation, sale, trading or distribution of videos depicting actual conduct in which 1 or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury, or the advertising of same.

The delay was caused when senators added language that would make it a federal crime, punishable by up to seven years in jail, to attempt or conspire to create or distribute a crush video—an amendment Gallegly considers unnecessary, since it's already a crime to conspire to violate any federal criminal law.

So Gallegly had that language stripped out of the bill, the House passed it in that amended form, but now the bill must go back to the Senate for approval of the final version—but with just eight days left in this Congress's lame duck session, the Senate is unlikely to take the bill up again before adjourning for the year.

Update: Anti-Crushing Bill Un-Crushed

20th November 2010. Based on article from  business.avn.com

Congress found time to pass H.R. 5566, the Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010.

The bill cleared when the Senate concurred with a new House version which stripped out a previous Senate amendment, and the bill is now cleared to be signed by President Obama.

 

20th November   

Update: Clumsy...

Differing sensitivities to a Transformers toy named Spastic
Link Here  full story: The R Word...Campaign against the word 'retard'

transformers spastic The launch of a new Transformers character called Spastic has been scrapped after fans vented fury over the name.

The new robot toy was ditched after US maker Hasbro was left stunned by the outcry in Britain over the insulting term.

Bosses of the US toy firm - unaware of how offensive the word is regarded here - were shocked at the anger the name sparked when they proudly revealed the toy on its website.

But the company insisted the toy will go on sale with its original name in the US as planned in January.

Last night Hasbro said: We intended no offence by the use of the name Spastic. It will not be available via traditional retail channels in Europe, including the UK.

The word spastic , regarded as derogatory in Britain, is used to describe people suffering severe forms of cerebral palsy with reduced control of their muscle movements. It is used widely in the US as a casual term for clumsiness or an overexcited person.

In US slang the word spastic is often shortened to spaz - and has been used in TV show Friends and by golfer Tiger Woods, although they were only criticised for using it in Britain.

 

20th November   

Holiday Memories...

ASA dismisses whinges about Estrella beer advert
Link Here

estrella advert video A cinema ad for Estrella beer showed a man getting off a boat at an island, meeting two women and the three travelling around the island together. The three people appeared very close and the man seemed to have a romantic relationship with one of the women. In several scenes the three people drank Estrella beer together. At the end of the ad the man got back on the boat with a bottle of beer in his hand. Text on the screen next to a close up of a bottle of Estrella said, Good times never end if there's something to remind you of them . Issue

Two complainants objected that the ad appeared to link the consumption of alcohol with sexual success.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad was lengthy with many scenes, some of which depicted alcohol and others which did not. We noted that several of the scenes showed Estrella beer being shared and consumed and these tended to be the group scenes such as the dinner and beach parties. We considered that when alcohol was shown it did not seem to be essential to the success of any event. We noted that in several scenes, particularly the more romantic scenes, there was little or no alcohol shown.

We considered that by not featuring alcohol or its consumption in the scenes where we saw the relationship between the male character and the female character develop, the ad avoided directly linking alcohol to sexual success. We noted that there were several scenes that featured nudity but we considered these in keeping with acceptable standards and not so strong as to directly link alcohol consumption with sexual success.

We considered that viewers would interpret the message of the ad in terms of an association of the Estrella brand with a pleasant and memorable holiday atmosphere and tone. We therefore concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.

 

20th November   

Ofcom Should be Abolished...

President of the Society of Editors finds Ofcom a waste of £143 million
Link Here

society of editors logo The TV censor Ofcom should be abolished and replaced with a system of self-regulation paid for by the TV industry, the new president of the Society of Editors has said.

Daily Mail executive managing editor Robin Esser also told the society's annual conference that democracy itself is in danger on a local, regional and national level in Britain because new legislation, as well as increasingly draconian and expensive laws of libel and privacy (were] eroding freedom of the press to an alarming extent.

On Ofcom, he said: The case for official regulation of TV in this country has long since gone with the multiplicity of channels now available. The UK government could save a lot of taxpayers' money by abolishing the broadcast regulator Ofcom altogether and encouraging a system of self-regulation which the industry itself should pay for.

He said: Matters of cross ownership, plurality and media domination - such as the Murdoch bid to take total control of Sky - can and should be dealt with by the Competition Commission, which was created to investigate just this sort of problem. There is even a European competition commission. How many more bodies do we need at our expense to sort this important matter out?

Statutory regulation of TV was based on the limited availability of bandwidth which created the need for licences. Today licences for journalism should have no place in a modern democratic society.

Esser compared Ofcom's annual budget, which he said was £143 million, much of it coming from taxpayers, with the Press Complaints Commission's annual budget, which is under £2m, with no taxpayers' contribution.

 

20th November   

Family Friendly Censors Banned...

Movie industry takes aim at nutters cutting and spoiling their movies
Link Here

family edited dvds logo A nutter DVD censoring technology has unsurprisingly wound up the movie industry.

Family Friendly Edited DVDs are being sued by Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony, Disney, Universal, and Fox.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the outfit is in the business of distributing bowdlerised versions of movies so that the good Christian families are not shocked by the odd use of the word golly, or the steady march of female breasts which their god apparently hates.

However the problem with Family Friendly Edited DVDs is that they do not appear to have asked the movie studios if they can hack about their movies. And of course it sullies the reputation of the movie companies when viewers find they can't make sense of the plot (because a key event has been skipped by the censor)

Also to do the editing the outfit bypassed DVD DRMs

The studios have called for a temporary, preliminary and permanent injunction against Family Friendly's activities, plus an order requiring the company to deliver up for impound and disposal its inventory.

Family Friendly appear to have seen that the writing is on the wall and has started offering a liquidation sale of all their DVDs.

 

20th November   

Update: Wracked with Remorse...

Malaysia's first gay film is a depressing affair
Link Here  full story: Dalam Botol...Malaysia's first gay movie

dal botol Malaysia's first gay romance movie opens with playful scenes of a bare-chested male couple massaging each other on a beach at night — but their euphoria soon evaporates in a story that seeks to placate both conservative government censors and contemporary audiences hungry for edgy material.

Dalam Botol , or In A Bottle , is a Malay-language film about a man who gets a sex change operation because he thought it would satisfy his male lover, but ends up regretting it.

The film earned applause from movie bloggers invited to its first public screening, three months before its scheduled nationwide release.

Even five years ago, we wouldn't have been able to make it, Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, the film's producer and writer, said after the screening: I'm glad that at this time, at this moment, we can show it.

Censors now say depictions of homosexuality like those in Dalam Botol are no longer barred — as long as being gay isn't condoned.

If the movie had tried to glamorize the lifestyle of a gay person, it would be against our current standard guidelines, censorship board chief Mohamad Hussain Shafie told The Associated Press this week: But the character repents in the end. We can say it is in line with our social values.

But the film takes few risks — its heterosexual male leads never kiss. The most explicit acknowledgment that the characters have sex is when one gets out of bed in his underwear while the other sleeps, presumably naked, beneath a blanket.

Nevertheless, there are raw, poignant scenes that capture the realities of being gay in a country where homosexuality is effectively outlawed.

In Dalam Botol, the main character is wracked with remorse after his operation prompts his partner to abandon him.

It's not an anti-gay movie. I believe it's not wrong to be gay, but it's wrong to have a sex change, Raja Azmi said.

Some gay men have mixed feelings about the film. I want to see gay characters in local movies, but it's wrong to make it seem like we're all so tragic and depressed, said a 30-year-old financial analyst who asked to be identified only as Mark. Of course, I hope that someday, our society will be open enough to have a Malaysian movie about two gay men who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after.

The film — which has been approved for a February 2011 release to audiences older than 18 — was carefully vetted by censors from the start. Raja Azmi submitted her script to the board before filming it. She was told to change the original title — Anu Dalam Botol, or Penis in a Bottle — and remove an intimate bedroom conversation between the male characters.

 

20th November   

Update: Take That!...

Howard Donald superinjunction lifted
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Howard Donald Celebrity Party Mask A superinjunction banning new organisations from naming Take That singer Howard Donald has been lifted by the Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger, Lord Justice Kay and Lord Justice Sedley, but an order banning a former girlfriend, singer Adakini Ntuli, from selling her story is still in place.

The initial injunction was granted earlier this year by Mr Justice Eady.

Superinjunctions have a disastrous effect on free expression, said John Kampfner, Index on Censorship's Chief Executive. Celebrities are increasingly pursuing privacy actions in order to dictate what is published about them.

 

19th November   

More Lethal...

BBFC cuts waived for the Lethal Weapon Collection Blu-ray
Link Here

Lethal Weapon 1 4 Blu ray Gibson Warner has just released the Lethal Weapon Collection Blu-ray.

Lethal Weapon is the shorter Theatrical Version. There have never been any BBFC cuts to the film but the certificate has been reduced from 18 to 15 for this release.

Lethal Weapon 2 is the shorter Theatrical Version but the previous BBFC cuts have been waived for the first time for a UK release. The certificate has also been reduced from 18 to 15 for this release.

Lethal Weapon 2 is the shorter Theatrical Version. The previous 15 rating without BBFC cuts has been maintained.

Lethal Weapon 4 is only available in one version. This has previously been released 15 after 1.33s of BBFC cuts. It hasn't appeared on the BBFC website yet, but it is reported that the BBFC cuts have been waived for this release.

 

19th November   

Updated: A Serbian Opening Date...

A Serbian Film at the cinema and on DVD/Blu-ray
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

A Serbian Film DVD A Serbian film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

The film will have a London premiere next Thursday, November 25 at 6:30pm at the Prince Charles Cinema, with Spasojevic in attendance.

The general release at UK cinemas is on Friday 10th January 2010.

Video versions are set for 3rd January 2011:

  • UK 2011 Revolver Blu-ray for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon
  • UK 2011 Revolver R2 DVD for release on 3rd January 2100 at UK Amazon

The film/DVD/Blu-ray were all  passed 18 after 49 BBFC cuts totalling 4:12s

The BBFC commented about the cuts:

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

The consumer advice is

Contains very strong sexual violence, sex and violence

Offsite Review: A Serbian Film: Is this the nastiest film ever made?

19th November 2010. See  review from  independent.co.uk

The Independent Publicists whispered to journalists that the film was truly vile . Prior to its AFM screenings, the movie had already been yanked out of Frightfest in London when Westminster Council ruled it couldn't be shown in its uncut form and had started frenzied debates about censorship and freedom of speech. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) had asked for a staggering number of cuts in the film and for a full four minutes of footage to be excised in order for it to qualify for an 18 certificate.

Not since the heyday of the so-called video nasties in the early Eighties had a movie exercised the censors in quite such an extreme way.

Much of the imagery in A Serbian Film is indeed quite repellent. That, though, is not the same as saying that it is a repellent film. The film-making is stylised and self-conscious. The most notorious scenes (the rape of the new-born baby, the scene in which the star decapitates a woman and continues to have sex with her headless torso) are grotesque but very obviously contrived. In the film-within-a-film, Vukmir, the psychiatrist-turned-porn director, may be striving for the ultimate realism but Spasojevic heightens the absurdity. Forty years after A Clockwork Orange, audiences are surely too used to these kind of shock tactics to be affected by them – or so we might think. There is a knowing irony. As in Michael Haneke's films, the director seems to be challenging the audience to question their own voyeuristic instincts. As in Peter Greenaway's The Baby of Macôn, he is using extreme imagery for polemical purposes.

... Read the full review

 

19th November   

The Heat is On...

ASA dismisses whinges at sexy Beyoncé advert but confirms time restrictions
Link Here

beyonce heat video A TV ad for Heat perfume showed the singer Beyoncé lying naked in the middle of a room. In the next scene she was shown wearing a revealing red satin dress and walking towards the camera, touching her neck and moving her hand across her chest. She ran her left hand along a wall, leaving a trail of fire as she touched it. She was then shown leaning against a window, moving her hand down her neck and caressing her breast. She began dancing seductively, and the ad showed images of her chest, back and thighs. The ad closed with Beyoncé walking away from the camera, her footprints melting the floor. She turned and said Catch the fever . A male voice-over stated Beyoncé Heat. The first fragrance, by Beyoncé . Issue

1. Some viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive.

2. Some viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable to be broadcast when children might be watching.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that there was no explicit sexual content and that the singer Beyonce was not fully naked in the ad. Although we noted the ad was sexually suggestive and might therefore be distasteful to some, we considered that, in the context of marketing for perfume, the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most viewers.

2. Upheld

We noted several complainants had told us their children had seen the ad broadcast during the middle of the day around family programmes. We also noted that Clearcast had given the ad an ex-kids scheduling restriction, meaning it could not be broadcast in or around childrens programming. Although we considered that the ad was unlikely to be harmful to adults or older children, we considered that Beyonce's body movements and the camera's prolonged focus on shots of her dress slipping away to partially expose her breasts created a sexually provocative ad that was unsuitable to be seen by young children. We considered that the ad should not have been shown before 19.30 due to the sexually provocative nature of the imagery.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form before 19.30.

 

19th November   

Update: Sexualisation and Militaryisation...

US nutters call for boycott of Black Ops
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD In light of the Cuban government's dissatisfaction with a mission in Call of Duty: Black Ops that has players attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro, the US-based Alliance for Global Justice (AFGJ) has called for a boycott of the game.

Noting that Wal-Mart, Best Buy and dozens of other retailers in your community are today dealing this pornography to the children in your community, AFGJ called Black Ops part of the whole culture of US militarism with the entertainment industry's role being to desensitize us to violence.

AFGJ has a goal of achieving social change and economic justice by helping to build a stronger more unified grassroots movement. The organization recognizes that the concentration of wealth and power is the root cause of oppression.

The organization urges people to send a letter to local retailers, pass out a provided flier (PDF) in front of stores selling the game and approach the local city council in order to declare the game a violation under local pornography laws.

 

19th November   

Dark Days in Saudi...

Saudi journalist to be flogged for reporting protest against frequent power cuts
Link Here

Saudi flag Human Rights Watch has urged Saudi Arabia to overturn a sentence of 50 lashes against a journalist who had reported on a protest against electricity cuts.

The sentence -- including 25 of the lashes to be administered in public, as well as two months in prison -- was handed down on October 26 to Fahd al-Jukhaidib, a correspondent for national daily Al-Jazira.

His article, describing the problems faced by Qubba residents as a result of frequent power cuts.

King Abdullah has encouraged citizens to voice their legitimate concerns... but apparently those who do can expect a public lashing and a prison term, HRW senior Middle East researcher Christoph Wilcke said in a statement: Free assembly and expression are both hallmarks of open, accountable societies, but they are in short supply in a country as repressive as Saudi Arabia .

 

19th November   

Offsite: Nutter Friendly...

Mediasnoops comment on Mediawatch-UK recruitment drive via a more friendly website
Link Here

Mediasnoops They gotta make the crusade to impose their beliefs and views on everyone else as user friendly as possible eh?

Welcome to the Mediawatch-UK website.

We are in the process of redesigning our website to bring it up to date and make it more user friendly. In the meantime, you can still navigate around the site using the buttons on the left. We hope you find it of value.

...Read the full article

 

18th November   

ASA Over Rated...

ASA dismisses car advert complaints of allusion to Nazi anthem
Link Here

nissan 370z advert a. A poster for a car showed an image of the Nissan 370Z alongside the headline text DEUTSCHLAND DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER RATED . Further text stated 0-62 MPH AUDI TTS - 5.4s BMW Z4 3.0 - 5.8s PORSCHE CAYMAN - 5.8s NISSAN 370Z - 5.3s .

b. An internet ad that appeared on the youtube.com and the Guardian website showed a car speeding across the screen from right to left. Text stated 0-62 mph. Audi TTS 5.4s Porsche Cayman 5.8sm . The car then sped from left to right and text stated 0-62 mph Nissan 370Z 5.3s . Further text stated Deutschland Deutschland über rated .

1. 26 complainants objected that poster (a) was offensive because the text DEUTSCHLAND DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER RATED was a play on words on a verse of the German National Anthem which was associated with the Nazis.

2. 2 complainants objected that internet ad (b) was offensive on the same grounds.

3. 8 complainants objected that the poster was offensive because it was racist towards Germans.

The ASA challenged whether:

4. the ads breached the Code by using acceleration claims as the predominant message of the ad, and

5. the moving image in internet ad (b) gave the impression of excessive speed.

ASA Assessment

1. & 2. Not upheld

The ASA noted the intention of the ads was to challenge the assumption that German sports cars outclassed other manufacturers brands and to suggest that those German cars were therefore over rated . We considered that the specific phrase Deutschland Deutschland über rated would be interpreted by most consumers as a play on words of Deutschland Deutschland über alles , a line from the German national anthem. Although we understood this phrase and the stanza from which it was taken had been adopted by the Nazis as part of their regime, we considered that in the context of a car ad, the majority of consumers would not make this association and instead would see it as a play on words and as a challenge to the generally held belief that Germany produced the best sports cars. We considered that most consumers would understand the message of the ad to be a light-hearted assertion that German cars were over rated compared to that of the advertised Nissan 370Z. Although we understood that some people would find the use of this specific phrase distasteful because of its historical subtext, we considered that the ad in its entirety would not be interpreted by most consumers as a direct or implied reference to Nazi Germany. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

3. Not upheld

We noted the ad included references to the German manufactured Audi TT, Porsche Cayman and BMW Z4 and considered that, in the context of a comparison with the Nissan 370Z, most consumers would interpret the phrase Deutschland, Deutschland über rated as a challenge to the belief that Germany produced the best sports cars. Although we understood that some consumers, especially Germans living in the UK, were concerned that the phrase could encourage xenophobic attitudes towards Germans, we considered that most consumers would not interpret the phrase Deutschland, Deutschland über rated as a claim that Germany, as a nation, was over rated. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to be interpreted by most consumers as racist.

4. Upheld

We noted both ads contained the headline DEUTSCHLAND DEUTSCHLAND ÜBER RATED and considered most consumers would understand this as a claim that German cars were over rated and that the Nissan 370Z could out-perform the cars specifically detailed in the ad for comparison. We noted this performance claim was illustrated by comparing the acceleration times (from 0-62mph) of the German AUDI TTS , BMW Z4 and PORSCHE CAYMAN against the Nissan 370Z. Because we considered that the main message of the ad was that the Nissan had faster acceleration, and that the German cars were therefore over rated, we concluded that that the acceleration claim was the predominant message and that the ad was in breach of the Code.

5. Upheld

We noted the ad showed a car moving from one side of the screen to the other and that it appeared to be slightly blurred, leaving a trail of red light lingering behind it and considered that the lingering trail of red light implied that the car had been moving quickly. We also noted each time the car moved from one side of the screen to the other, it was immediately followed by on-screen text which stated the acceleration times of the Audi TTS, Porsche Cayman and finally the Nissan 370Z. Although we acknowledged that the background of the ad was stylized and was not set on a public road, we considered that the image of cars moving from one side of the screen to the other, in conjunction with the acceleration speeds, would be interpreted by most consumers as a depiction of those cars reaching 62mph within a very short space of time. We therefore considered that the moving images in the ad gave an impression of excessive speed and concluded that the ad breached the Code.

 

18th November   

Catholics Cast Evil Facebook Spell of Banning...

Nutters get black metal festival cancelled in Sydney
Link Here

Black Metal Documentary Region NTSC A black metal festival that was to be held in Sydney, Australia on Nov. 27 has been cancelled because a Catholic group successfully used Facebook to protest what they saw as a disgraceful event promoting Satanism.

This coming Sat 27 November a satanic 'Black Mass' celebration is to occur at Newtown RSL - it is simply disgraceful, the description on the group's Facebook group protest page reads. The advertising which features the insignia of the Church of Satan and an inverted crucifix is encouraging people to come and partake in an 'unholy spell to be cast upon the city of Sydney' featuring the 'ultimate of soul possessing occult revelations...unbridled blasphemy...[and] a union of all things unholy.'

Apparently this group did not understand that advertising was not meant to be taken literally.

The promoter, Seance Records, says the group have been responsible for the event getting cancelled: Less than two weeks out from the show The RSL board has pulled the plug on Black Mass Festival, they wrote on Australian metal forum Brismetal.com. They have blatantly cancelled with no prior notice and with no option of negotiation or compromise. They have sadly bowed under pressure from Christians who have lobbied them to cancel the show.

Their actions will cause large scale hurt not to a secret den of Satanists as they may imagine but to normal hard working, tax paying, law abiding Australians. Young people who have taken time off work, rearranged their schedules and family life, then spent money that they probably can't afford on flights and tickets to the event in the pursuit of a shared love for heavy metal & live independent Australian music.

 

18th November   

Dead Space 2...

Video game passed 18 uncut by the BBFC
Link Here  full story: Dead Space 2...Dead Space 2 questioned in Germany

Electronic Arts Dead Space PS3 Gamers are taking a keen interest in the up 'n' coming title Dead Space 2.

It has now been passed 18 uncut by the BBFC with the comment: Contains strong bloody violence and gory images

 

18th November   

Shot Down in Bad Taste...

Catalan political party offend with flash game
Link Here

rescate alicia A game appearing on the website of a Spanish political party, in which players shot down illegal immigrants, was quickly yanked from the Internet after objections to its content.

The game, entitled Rescate (Rescue) appeared on the website of the Catalan branch of the conservative Partido Popular (or People's Party). Further describing the game, the Telegraph indicated that the goal was to shoot down targets including 'illegal immigrants' parachuting from a plane and donkeys intended to represent Catalan separatists.

Once completed, the game urged players to vote for the PP in the November 28 elections.

Rival political party ICV-EUiA called the game an apology for violence and trivialisation of human life, and an example of xenophobia.

 

18th November   

Offsite: Crumbling Credibility...

Film classification by f-word counting discredited
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

kings speech Hollywood's controversial ratings system has been under fire for years, but this autumn, it appears to have done the biggest damage yet to its crumbling credibility.

That's because of the continuing furor over the decision by the Motion Picture Association of America to slap a Restricted, or R, rating on one of the year's most acclaimed movies — The King's Speech.

To call the decision crazy and unhinged would be to let the MPAA off too lightly, said Patrick Goldstein, the influential film industry columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Like other fans of the British film, which tells the real-life story of King George VI's heroic efforts to conquer a disabling stutter, Goldstein believes it deserves to be seen by all ages.

...Read read the full article

 

18th November   

Lab Assistance...

Citizen Lab honoured for contribution to freedom of expression
Link Here

Citizen Lab logo The Citizen Lab, the Toronto-based centre that investigates digital spying and has developed software to circumvent censorship, is to be honoured by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression at its annual gala.

The lab has been named winner of the 2010 Vox Libera Award granted annually to a Canadian individual or organization for an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression.

The Citizen Lab's fight for open communication and free expression is making a significant difference for those living in repressed regions of the world, CBC said broadcaster Carol Off, who chairs the CJFE gala steering committee: Their work enables people to share crucial information and exposes those who would try to do them harm.

Citizen Lab, which runs out of the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, gained prominence in 2008 after it uncovered an alleged internet spy network based mostly in China. The lab exposed a huge filtering system in China that tracks and keeps records of text messages containing politically charged words sent through the internet phone application Skype.

In 2010, Citizen Lab and partner the SecDev Group uncovered computers at embassies and government departments in 103 countries that had been compromised by a virus originating from servers in China.

It also created the software psiphon, which helps internet users in repressive countries get around censorship.

During protests against the results of the 2009 Iranian election, Citizen Lab helped activists exchange ideas via Twitter and blogs by helping them bypass government restrictions.

The lab, founded by Ron Deibert, is a group of security researchers and human rights activists who focus on the intersection of civic politics and digital media.

 

18th November   

A Movie She'd Like to Forget...

Brazilian TV presenter sues Google over links to old film
Link Here

orestranhoor Xuxa Meneghel, a well-known host of a Brazilian children's TV show has got the courts to issue an injunction against Google because she was upset at the results that came up when people did a search for her.

Back in 1982, Xuxa Meneghel started in a film, Amor, Estranho Amor (Love, Strange Love) in which she played a prostitute who seduces an 11-year-old boy. Of course, that's factual information -- but she's upset that when people search on those terms, it returns articles about the movie, and pictures from the movie.

This seems somewhat similar to the various attempts to create right to forget laws in Europe. Apparently, Meneghel has even been successful in getting the actual movie banned from distribution, even though the company who owns the film rights would like to continue distributing it.

Google will try to fight the injunction. The company points out that it's merely indexing the content that's out there, and is not responsible for it.

However, Xuxa's lawyer mocks them for this claim, saying that Google can and should block such content, and that the court system in Brazil is tired of deciding whether or not search engines are responsible for the content to which they link.

 

17th November   

FITWatch: We're Back...

Police get website taken down re suggestions for student protestors to avoid prosecution
Link Here

fitwatch back fitwatch.org.uk describes itself as a website: Resisting and monitoring Forward Intelligence Policing.

These are the police who video and photograph people at demonstrations and the like with view to databasing and identifying protest leaders etc.

The police hit the headlines by getting fitwatch.org.uk ejected by their web hosts. This was over an article advising student protestors to get rid of evidence such as clothing, lest the police come knocking on their door looking for protestors to arrest.

The ban was short lived as FITwatch.org.uk rearranged web hosting somewhere else. FITwatch.org.uk explains:

We're Back

And with a secure server, massive coverage and a clear message that we're here to stay.

On Monday night we received notification that our site had been suspended due to attempting to pervert the course of justice due to our posting offering advice to the Millbank students. Whilst the email requesting the site be closed on the basis it was being used for criminal activity came from DI Paul Hoare, from the Police Central e-crime Unit, the authorisation to close was given much closer to home, by acting Detective Inspector Will Hodgeson. Hodgeson, who was involved in the first Fitwatch case, and has sat through many of our trials and appeals, evidently finally had enough and decided to shut us down.

However, through totally underestimating the power of social media, this pathetic attempt has failed miserably. Within minutes of networking what had happened, people were re-publishing the post anywhere and everywhere. There are now over 100 sites carrying the original post – we haven't managed to count them all. We have been overwhelmed by the support and solidarity and send massive thanks to everyone who's offered to help and reposted the information. If we haven't replied personally, it's only because we've been inundated, and haven't had time.

This was a real attempt to squash dissent and criticism of the police, as well as attempting to stifle common sense advice to protesters subject to a witch hunt by the right wing press. The solidarity given by so many people has ensured this hasn't happened, and has shown we can fight back. Even if we were to be arrested and prosecuted now, we would still be grateful to CO11 for the amount of publicity they've generated for us.

We're back, and we're stronger than ever.

 

17th November   

Updated: Twitter Twits...

Newspaper columnist threatens to call police after being easily offended by stoning jibe on twitter
Link Here  full story: Twitter Twits...Police overreact to trivial insults via Twitter and Facebook

yasmin alibhai brown The newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has said she will report a Conservative councillor to the police after he posted a message on Twitter saying it would be a blessing if she was stoned to death.

Birmingham councillor Gareth Compton  called it a glib comment in reaction to the writer's appearance on Nicky Campbell's Radio 5 Live breakfast show.

Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really, he tweeted from his iPhone.

Alibhai-Brown ludicrously claimed that she regarded his comments as incitement to murder. The journalist, who writes columns for the Evening Standard and the Independent, told the Guardian: It's really upsetting. My teenage daughter is really upset too. It's really scared us. You just don't do this. I have a lot of threats on my life. It's incitement. I'm going to the police – I want them to know that a law's been broken.

She added that she regarded Compton's remarks as racially motivated because he mentioned stoning.

The councillor claimed she had said, with reference to David Cameron's trip to China, that no politician was morally qualified to speak out about human rights abuses, including the stoning of women, bar the likes of Nelson Mandela.

Compton, who later apologised on Twitter, added: Twitter is a forum for glib comment of the moment. It was a glib comment. Who could possibly think it was serious? Obviously I apologise. No offence was intended.

Update: Throwing Stones at Gareth Compton

12th November 2010. Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

West Midlands police logo A Conservative Birmingham City councillor has been arrested over ludicrous allegations that he called on Twitter for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to be stoned to death.

Erdington councillor Gareth Compton made the remark about the newspaper columnist on his Twitter page. He called it a glib comment in reaction to the writer's appearance on Nicky Campbell's Radio 5 Live breakfast show. Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really, he flippantly tweeted from his iPhone.

Police said he had been arrested under the Communications Act 2003 and bailed.

He has since apologised.

Alibhai-Brown said she found his attitude loathsome and that a flippant apology was not enough.

The Conservative Party has said his membership has been suspended indefinitely pending further investigation.

Roger McKenzie, Unison's West Midlands regional secretary, said he had been inundated with complaints from city council workers outraged at Compton's comments and he called on Compton to resign from the council. He said: Birmingham is a multicultural city and the council's workforce reflect this. It is clear that Councillor Compton is out-of-touch with both his city and the council staff. It is wholly unacceptable for a public official to make such racist comments. Councillor Compton must resign his seat immediately.

Update: Radio 5 Live

15th November 2010. Based on article from  guardian.co.uk by Evan Harris

Radio 5 Live logo As the Telegraph reports the controversial tweet included the hashtag #R5L at the end. This would alert those who see the tweet to the fact he is responding to something he had just heard on Radio 5 Live. In other words, it provides important context.

Alibhai-Brown had, on the 5 Live programme, been arguing, in the context of David Cameron's China visit, that no western politician who supported the war in Iraq had neither the moral authority to lecture China about human rights nor lecture Iran about stoning.

Compton clearly thought this was a ridiculous point and expressed that view aggressively via his tweet:

Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.

Update: Moralising about easy offence

16th November 2010. Based on article from birminghampost.net

yasmin alibhai brown The easily offended newspaper columnist who threatened to call the police after a Birmingham councillor joked that she should be stoned to death has announced that she does not want him to face charges.

Newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said: My objections have been made and there is no need for more . She said she had decided not to press charges against Birmingham Councillor Gareth Compton (Lab Erdington), who made the comment using internet messaging service Twitter last week.

Writing in The Independent, she said: Some crazed demons on Twitter believe anything goes. Written words matter and hold meanings beyond that narcissistic urge to send off instant thoughts. The Tory councillor who sent out a vile and scary message about me says it was a joke. After some thought I decided I will not press charges. My objections have been made and there is no need for more.

But she said she was disturbed by some of the comments made about the incident, and her response, in blogs and on Twitter: Yet having read many blogs and tweets that followed the incident, I do wonder whether our manners and morals will survive and if English itself, the best thing about us, is now seriously endangered.

Of course the Crown Prosecution Service may yet decide to press charges themselves.

Update: Prosecution Continues

17th November 2010. Based on article from  birminghampost.net

West Midlands police logo Police are continuing an investigation into allegations that a Birmingham councillor called for a newspaper columnist to be stoned to death, despite the journalist announcing she did not want him to face charges.

West Midlands Police said it would be up to officers and the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to charge Coun Gareth Compton (Con Erdington) who made the comment using internet messaging service Twitter last week.

 

17th November   

Offsite: Day of the Imprisoned Writer...

Fighting the global assault on freedom of expression
Link Here

international pen logo We must stop the practice of viewing words as crimes. Those measured words are from Charter 08, the call for democracy by Chinese writers, dissidents and citizens that has earned the poet and scholar Liu Xiaobo an 11-year prison sentence and the 2010 Nobel peace prize.

It doesn't take very many words to set off a reaction that ends badly for writers. Liu Xiaobo's imprisonment is for seven published phrases deemed subversive ; these sentences consist of just 224 Chinese characters. Writers have been sentenced in the past year for hooliganism (Azerbaijan) and defacing a street sign (Georgia). They have been jailed for writing about the environment in Panama and Morocco; handed a three-year sentence for songwriting (Cameroon); a five-year sentence for blogging (Tibet); a 19-year sentence for blogging (Iran). Abducted in Yemen, beaten in Sudan, detained in Mauritania and killed by the dozen in Mexico.

For 50 years the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International has monitored the practice of viewing words as crimes and treating writers as criminals. PEN International, founded in 1921, is arguably the oldest freedom of expression organisation in the world. Until 1960, PEN's advocacy took the form of impassioned pleas on behalf of individual writers such as Arthur Koestler and Frederico García Lorca in the 1930s, and Boris Pasternak in the 1950s.

...Read the full article

 

17th November   

Sexually Transfixed Dickheads...

Nutters whinge at NHS pro-condom educational videos
Link Here

nhs condom advert video The NHS has been slammed by nutters after a video designed to encourage youngsters to use contraception was branded pornographic by 'outraged' parents.

Several short videos uploaded to the YouTube website are modelled on the Channel Four programme Skins and are targeted at teenagers.

The interactive video, Condon, No Condom , is promoted on the NHS website and is expected to be circulated virally online and used by teachers.

Teenage boys are given the choice of how they behave in the bedroom with a girl they meet at a party. In the first clip, a group of teenagers are preparing for a party from the point of view of an unseen male character. They are given the choice of whether to buy condoms or not buy condoms when they visit their local newsagents.

The next clip allows viewers to choose the video whip out a condom . The clip shows a scene where the male character has sex with the young woman against a door in a hallway.

Another video, called Go Back to Jen's shows the girl splayed across a bed while the filmer of the clip has sex with her.

In some scenarios the couple have unprotected sex. If the male tries to ignore the question of using a condom he is rejected by Jen.

A final video portrays the outcome of not using a condom as an unfullfilling event followed by the news that the teenage boy has contracted an STD.

Nutters have complained that at no point in the video are teenagers advised that abstinence is the 'right option' . Norman Wells, the director of the Family and Education Trust, said the NHS should not be sending out the message that casual sex leaves no regrets . He said: It is grossly irresponsible of the NHS to present a graphic portrayal of unbridled lust in which a young woman is depicted as no more that a sex object and then to tell young men that they have "made the right choices" simply because they have used a condom."

Vivienne Pattisson, the director of Mediawatch, said she was concerned that there were no effective controls to prevent children from watching the clips.

 

17th November   

Offsite: Winter Wonderland Bollox...

Speakers' Corner tradition is under threat
Link Here

speakers corner The news that Royal Parks have told the Stop the War Coalition, CND and the British Muslim Initiative that they cannot assemble for an anti-war demonstration at Speakers' Corner is cause for concern. Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park is a symbol of free speech in Britain and the fact the organisers say that the Royal Parks authority originally denied permission because it feared that visitors to the [6 week] Winter Wonderland event would be obstructed makes the decision slightly more troubling.

...Read the full article

 

16th November   

Updated: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy...

Banned album covers
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

my beautiful dark twisted fantasy Kanye West's new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is due out shortly. He claims the cover has already been banned. So Nirvana can have a naked human being on their cover, but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings, he ranted.

...read the full article

Update: More

6th November 2010. See  article from  blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com

Amorica Black Crowes Black Crowes - Amorica

Lifted straight from a 1976 cover of Hustler magazine the image of the cover models pubic hair poking out of her American flag bikini bottoms caused quite the controversy back in 1994. The record label eventually blacked out the offending images and the album went on to reach number 11 on the Billboard 200.

 

 

 

Update: Apple get in on the censorship

16th November 2010. Based on article from  bnet.com

itunes logo Rapper Kanye West is being muzzled again, this time by Apple over the vaguely nude cover to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . The censored album art shows Apple is sliding into yet another dangerous arena of judgment.

Designed by critically-acclaimed artist George Condo, the cover features a cartoon West being ridden by a wingless, semi-nude phoenix.

Apple decided to blur out the image, so customers only get a heavily pixellated version of the cover when they download it Nov. 22.

More perplexing to the blurred cover decision is that Apple had a choice: There are actually five covers to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . West's label Def Jam encouraged him to present alternatives to family friend;y nutter venues like Walmart and Target, and nearly all the other options, including a depiction of a blushing ballerina, are as tame as a Jonas Brothers CD.

Why did Apple bother to blur out the one potentially offensive cover? Either it was too lazy to update the picture or it wanted to send a message for other artists interested in pushing controversial art.

 

16th November   

Updated: Not So Jolly...

British author convicted of offending Singapore judges over a lack of impartiality when using the death penalty
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Singapore...Singapore takes offence and puts author on trial

once a jolly hangman A Singapore court has found the UK author Alan Shadrake guilty of insulting the Singapore judiciary in a book he wrote about the death penalty.

The 75-year-old will be sentenced for contempt next week; he also faces trial on defamation charges.

In his book, Once a Jolly Hangman - Singapore Justice in the Dock, he criticised how the death penalty is used, alleging a lack of impartiality.

The Malaysia-based Shadrake was arrested in July when he visited Singapore to launch his book.

This is a case about someone who says among other things the judges in Singapore are not impartial... (and are) influenced by political and economic situations and biased against the weak and the poor, Justice Quentin Loh said.

The book contains interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, as well as a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison. It claims he executed around 1,000 men and women from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

Separately, Shadrake is being investigated by the police for criminal defamation; his passport is being held by the police.

The BBC's Vaudine England says few critics of Singapore manage to avoid censure in the city-state's courts.

Update: Sentenced

16th November 2010. Based on article from  google.com

Singapore flag A Singapore court jailed the 75-year-old British author for six weeks on Tuesday for publishing a book critical of executions in the city-state.

Alan Shadrake was handed the prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars (15,000 US) for contempt of court over the book, which features an interview with a former chief executioner.

High Court Judge Quentin Loh dismissed a last-minute apology by Shadrake as nothing more than a tactical ploy in court to obtain a reduced sentence and ruled that the freelance journalist will have to serve two extra weeks in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

A fine should be imposed to prevent Mr Shadrake from profiting from his contempt (of court), the judge said.

The ruling said the sentence was the stiffest ever imposed for contempt of court in Singapore. The previous longest jail term was 15 days.

Update: Offered a Way Out

23rd November 2010. Based on article from  indexoncensorship.org

Singapore flag The Attorney General's Office made an unprecedented application for the court to remind Alan Shadrake of his right to seek leave of the court if he wants to leave Singapore.

This implies that if his defence team applies for Shadrake to leave the jurisdiction, the prosecution would not contest it.

Shadrake, who appealed the sentence last week, has said that he will consider the offer.

 

16th November   

Update: Islam Channel Appeal...

Islam channel to defend its wife beating advice against censure from Ofcom
Link Here

The Islam Channel logo The Islam Channel is planning to appeal against Ofcom's ruling that the satellite TV network breached the regulator's broadcasting code for advocating marital rape and violence against women.

Five programmes were judged in breach of Ofcom's broadcasting code.

Islam Channel was censured for breaching impartiality rules in programmes on the Middle East conflict and for programmes appearing to advocate marital rape, violence against women and describing women who wore perfume outside of the home as prostitutes .

Ofcom launched its investigation into Islam Channel programmes in March, following a report by the Quilliam Foundation thinktank accusing the broadcaster of regularly promoting extremist views and regressive attitudes towards women.

The Islam Channel today said it will request a review of all five Ofcom rulings, claiming it must have been particularly difficult for the TV censor to make an objective judgment about the broadcaster's output given the media frenzy and sensationalist headlines that surrounded the Quilliam report earlier this year.

Ofcom has called in Islam Channel management for a top-level meeting to explain its compliance processes in relation to the broadcasting code.

 

16th November   

Update: Disproportionate in Scope and Duration...

Turkey is reviewing its excessive internet censorship law
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Turkey flag The possible renewal of the ban on the popular website YouTube after just three days brought the Internet law and the struggle against it to the spotlight once more.

YouTube was one of approximately 5,000 sites with denied access. It was banned in 2008 due to four videos denigrating Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

While the top officials of Turkey, including President Abdullah Gul, criticize the restrictions on the Internet, civil society's struggle for Internet freedom is increasing. Meanwhile, it is expected that there will be some legal amendments regarding Internet freedom and some new regulations for the Internet media, especially news sites, but there are already some concerns about their scope.

The Internet restrictions in Turkey are a subject criticized by the EU. There are frequent website bans which are disproportionate in scope and duration, according to the latest EU progress report, which was issued at the beginning of this week, Law No. 5651 … limits freedom of expression and restricts citizens' right to access information.

Actually, YouTube is not the only popular site that has been banned. Wordpress.org, from which more than 3.5 million people are blocked, geocities.com, myspace.com and dailyMotion.com are among the sites banned in Turkey.

But as restrictions on Internet pages are increasing, so is the resistance against them. There are many civil society organizations fighting the bans and new regulations. They are also organized in the Joint Platform against Censorship.

The platform and some other civil society organizations planned a public rally against restrictions on the Internet in Istanbul's Taksim Square this summer and demanded the abolishment of Law 5651 and a new law, prepared in accordance with the principles of democracy and participation of the civil society, to replace it.

A new Internet law is on the agenda, but it is not clear if it will be ready before the general elections. It is also expected that there will be a new law, which will regulate the Internet media, especially news sites, Murat Karakaya, the general director of the Prime Ministry Press and Information Office, pointed out.

The declaration of the Joint Platform against Censorship points out that Law No. 5651 was rushed through Parliament just before it was dissolved for the 2007 general elections and that it did not receive broad public support before or after its enactment. This time it should be different and the opinion of the civil society universities and experts, including bar associations, should be consulted regarding the possible new bill.

 

15th November   

Update: Give the Man a Cigar!...

Cuba unimpressed by Black Ops mission to assassinate Fidel Castro
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Cuba flag Call of Duty: Black Ops is already breaking records, with 5.6 millions of copies sold in the first 24 hours.

But the Cuban government is somewhat unimpressed. It has released a statement, through Cubadebate (a state-controlled website), in which it expresses its indignation at the storyline.

 An English translation reads:

The government of the United States hasn't managed to do it in over 50 years, so now it's trying to achieve their goal through the video-game called Call of Duty: Black Ops . The game, launched worldwide this Tuesday, takes the players back to the Cold War period, and gives them the chance to participate in special ops, the first of which is to assassinate the leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro.

Activision states that the multiplayer mode of the new Call of Duty can host up to 18 players, which guarantees violent virtual clashes with spectacular kills and lots of fun for psychopaths.

The game is doubly perverted: not only does it hold in high regard the murder attempts which the US government has planned for the Cuban leader (Castro has lived out through more than six hundred), but also encourages American children and teenagers to adopt a sociopathic attitude.

The article ends with a quote from Uruguayan journalist Eduardo Galeano: Violence breeds violence, but also produces money for the violence industry, which sells it as a show and as an object of consumption.

 

15th November   

Nostalgia for Permissive Film Banning...

New US Blu-ray release of Quiet Days in Clichy
Link Here

Quiet Days Clichy Blu ray Valjean Quiet Days in Clichy is a 1970 Denmark comedy drama by Jens Jørgen Thorsen. See IMDb

The new US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2011 Blue Underground R0 Blu-ray at US Amazon for release on 25th January 2011

In the UK the film was passed 18 uncut for:

But before that it was banned by the BBFC for:

  • UK 1970 cinema release

Review from UK Amazon : A portrait of human depravity

Quiet Days in Clichy is an enjoyable and entertaining expose of the irreverent antics of two friends living a Bohemian existence in the Paris suburb of Clichy during the sexual revolution of the sixties.

The film is based upon the novel of the same title by American author Henry Miller whose publications were the frequent cause of controversy in the US throughout the author's life.

The film has been the subject of discussion and controversy since it was first released in 1970 and the FBI seized the only English-language copies as they came into the US through customs in San Francisco - consequently the film didn't make it to US theatres. The film has even been described by the Catholic Bishops Board of Review as a portrait of human depravity.

Nonetheless, it is unlikely to shock an audience of today - the film is neither vulgar nor depraved - it couldn't really be described as pornographic; instead it could be better summarised as intellectual erotica.

It is gentle and humorous. Like life, it lacks a traditional storyline and is, instead, a collection of experiences - some good, some bad, some funny, some not.

If you are not easily offended, and if you have imagination enough to be able to dream, then this film will transport you into a wonderful era and remind you of the simple pleasure of indulging in an irreverent existence.

 

15th November   

Updated: UK Justice is a Joke...

Tweeters unimpressed by the persecution of an obvious joke
Link Here

Old Bailey Twitter users angry at the conviction of a man who threatened to blow up an airport in a Twitter joke showed their support for him in their thousands, and thumbed their nose at the law by republishing the words that landed him in trouble.

Paul Chambers, a 27-year-old accountant yesterday lost his appeal against his conviction and £1,000 fine for a comment he made in jest when he was concerned he might miss a flight to Belfast.

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!! he wrote in January.

Chambers was controversially prosecuted under a law aimed at nuisance calls – originally to protect female telephonists at the Post Office in the 1930s – rather than specific bomb hoax legislation, which requires stronger evidence of intent.

Civil liberties lawyers criticised his conviction as did the Twitter community, which reacted with a vengeance today to his failed appeal. Under the hashtag #IAmSpartacus – a reference to the film in which Spartacus's fellow gladiators show their solidarity with him by each proclaiming I am Spartacus – thousands of people have retweeted Chambers' original message. As a result of the show of support for Chambers the #IAmSpartacus was the second most popular worldwide subject being referred to on Twitter at the time of writing.

The 'judge' who rejected Chambers' appeal is unlikely to see the funny side of it, having dismissed his lawyers' arguments that he should not be punished for a foolish prank . 'Judge' Jacqueline Davies called the tweet menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed . She also ordered him to pay a further £2,000 legal bill for the latest proceedings.

Communications Act 2003

A disgraceful law that Burma, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and China would be proud of.

Thanks to eMark
See article from legislation.gov.uk

Royal Arms Section 127 Improper use of public electronic communications network

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he-

(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or
(b) causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he-

(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false,
(b) causes such a message to be sent; or
(c) persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.

(4) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply to anything done in the course of providing a programme service (within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (c. 42)).

Offsite Comment: The Menace of Section 127

15th November 2010. Based on article from  guardian.co.uk by Evan Harris

evan harris This law is rarely used, and indeed the Chambers case may be the first example of the menacing aspect being raised. As far as I can see, the term menacing is undefined in law while in contrast there is a reasonably high threshold for obscene or grossly offensive established in case law.

Whether a tweet referring to blowing up an airport or asking that someone be stoned to death is menacing or not critically depends on the context, including whether or not it was meant in jest or merely as a rhetorical flourish and whether it actually constituted a real menace rather than a potential one. It is to be expected that the judge in the Chambers case will explain in her written judgment why she considered the words to be a menace despite the context and explanation set out by the defence. It will be interesting to see whether she discusses context in her judgment at all.

I believe that to protect free expression of humour (however bad) on the internet there needs to be an amendment made to the law to ensure that menace convictions do not take place where messages are, in their context, not menacing and where in addition they have not been reasonably treated as such by those to whom they may be said to target. This will require primary legislation.

Perhaps Paul Chambers will take his case to the high court and win, which will set a precedent, and perhaps Gareth Compton will not be charged. But that is no longer satisfactory because it is likely that there will be more complaints to the police and that the police will continue to over-react. Either way, a change in the law is needed because the chill on irreverent expression on the internet will remain.

...read the full article

 

15th November   

Film Censors or Bean Counters...

US censors over react to strong language in How Do You Know
Link Here

how do you know poster After losing an MPAA against an R-rating, Columbia Pictures will be recutting James L. Brooks' upcoming romantic comedy How Do You Know .

The film was slapped with a R-Rating a few weeks ago, evidently because of three 'fucks' utilized in the pic, and having lost the appeal to overturn the ruling, Columbia will now be trimming two 'fucks' so they can secure a PG-13 rating.

Update: Cut

18th November 2010. See  article from  blogs.indiewire.com

After three f-bombs in the upcoming dramedy How Do You Know earned the film an R-rating from the MPAA, James L. Brooks was forced to go back into the edit bay and deliver a cleaner cut of the film. Well, the MPAA is now pleased not to have their ears soiled with those egregious words and have blessed Brooks' film with a PG-13 rating.

 

15th November   

Updated: Venezuela Solves its Drug Problems...

Venezuela bans TV dramas with drug dealing characters
Link Here

telenovela Claiming that narco-novelas hurt the social and psychological well-being of children and adolescents, Venezuela's Nacional Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has forbidden television stations from airing two telenovelas, or soap operas, whose main protagonists are drug dealers, reported El Universal and BBC Mundo.

The censored shows, El Capo , which is about a drug dealer who becomes president, and Rosario Tijeras , about a young woman drug dealer and killer, both of which are produced in Colombia, have prompted anew debate about freedom of expression.

The decision to cancel the shows was based on the Radio and Television Social Responsibility Law. Venezuela's official National Radio published an analysis alleging the shows glorified drug dealers and promoted the legalization of drugs, BBC Mundo explained.

Telenovela writer Leonardo Padrón told El Universal that the censorship was an act of absurd puritanism. If it's a measure to reduce violence, it should be applied on the streets.

Update: Bolivia solves its problems by banning TV dramas

15th November 2010. Based on article from  en.terra.com

Bolvia flag Bolivia's government plans to limit the exposure of the female body in ads and telenovelas.

President Evo Morales, promoted a bill to restrict telenovelas that display erotic content because they are considered offensive to minors.

Morales clarified that the prohibition would forbid billboards advertisement and telenovelas from having semi-naked women with erotic scenes.

 

14th November   

Update: Judges on Trial...

Wilders trial set to resume
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

Geert Wilders The trial of Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders for inciting hatred will resume shortly in Amsterdam with new judges, judicial authorities have said.

Wilders is on trial charged with inciting hatred and discriminating against Muslims. The trial was suspended when the defendant's lawyer raised objections against the judges. The impartiality of one of the judges was questioned when it turned out he had had a private conversation about the case with a defence witness prior to the trial.

 

14th November   

Complaints Thriller...

Michael Jackson relative unimpressed by Kelvin MacKenzie's comments on ITV's This Morning
Link Here

this morning logo Michael Jackson's nephew has threatened UK television company ITV with legal action.

Taj Jackson, son of the Thriller singer's older brother Tito, made the threat on his Twitter page after former Sun newspaper editor Kelvin MacKenzie made disparaging comments about Michael Jackson and his children.

Appearing on Tuesday's episode of UK breakfast show This Morning , MacKenzie said that he had a substantial question as to how and why some of [Jackson's] children were born and added, the death of Michael Jackson may well have saved some children… from a lifetime of being mentally corrupted.

He further commented, He's faced a number of charges, a number of allegations, and I in some ways feel that the children will have a better life for their father not being around.

The comments sparked anger amongst Jackson's fans and prompted many to send complaints to ITV and the TV censor Ofcom.

ITV removed the clip from its website on Thursday but has thus far refused to give an on-air apology.

Ofcom announced that it would not take action over complaints made about MacKenzie's comments.

Taking to his twitter page after Ofcom's announcement, Taj Jackson joined fans in demanding an on-air apology. After urging his 20,000 followers to complain to ITV he issued the television station with an ultimatum. He wrote: If we don't get an on air apology from ITV soon, my next step is legal. The time for bad mouthing & spreading lies about my uncle are OVER.

 

14th November   

Update: Culturally Banned...

Satyajit Ray's Sikkim unbanned but not allowed to be shown
Link Here  full story: Sikkim Banned...Historical ban on Satyajit Ray's Sikkim

Satyajit Ray Collection Vol 1 DVD Satyajit Ray's historic documentary Sikkim had its screening cancelled on Thursday at the Kolkata Film Festival (KFF) after being banned by a court order citing violation of copyright laws.

A District Judge ordered the stay on a petition by Atul Kaura, secretary of Art & Culture Trust of Sikkim, an NGO supposedly working for the preservation of ethnic Sikkimese art and culture.

The film cannot be screened without our permission when the copyright is with us. Even the censor certificates are with us, where we have been credited as the producers of the film, Ugyen Chopel, managing trustee of the body, said.

Claiming exclusive possession of a sole 35 mm print and two DVD versions of the film, he alleged that the film festival authorities were showing a pirated version of the documentary.

We have cancelled all the screenings as of now. But we will challenge the decision in the court, KFF director Nilanjan Chatterjee said.

The 52-minute documentary, commissioned by the last Chogyal (king) of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal, has remained shrouded in controversy ever since it was made by the Oscar winning director in 1971. The Chogyals first banned the film after a few scenes went against their liking. When the Himalayan kingdom merged with India in 1975, the Indian government also banned it.

In 2000, the copyright of the film was transferred to the Art and Culture Trust of Sikkim. A damaged print of the film was restored by the Ganktok-based trust in 2002 with the support of The Academy of Motion Pictures, Art and Science in California.

 

14th November   

Brave Indeed...

Palestinian atheist blogger arrested and detained
Link Here

Palestine flag A blogger, who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and aiming insults at Muhammad, has been arrested and is being held in police custody.

The case of the shy barber from a backwater West Bank town, is highlighting the  intolerance in the Western-backed Palestinian Authority - and illustrating a new trend by authorities in the Arab world to mine social media for evidence.

Residents of Qalqiliya say they had no idea that Walid Husayin - the 26-year-old son of a Muslim scholar - was leading a double life. Known as a quiet man who prayed with his family each Friday and spent his evenings working in his father's barbershop, Husayin was posting on atheist blogs during his free time.

Now, he faces a potential life prison sentence on heresy charges for insulting the divine essence. With typical blood lust, many towns people say he should be killed for renouncing Islam, and even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.

He should be burned to death, said Abdul-Latif Dahoud, a 35-year-old Qalqiliya resident. The execution should take place in public to be an example to others, he added.

Over several years, Husayin is suspected of posting arguments in favor of atheism on English and Arabic blogs, where he described the God of Islam as having the attributes of a primitive Bedouin. He called Islam a blind faith that grows and takes over people's minds where there is irrationality and ignorance.

He is also suspected of creating three Facebook groups in which he sarcastically declared himself God and ordered his followers, among other things, to smoke marijuana in verses that spoof the Quran. At its peak, Husayin's Arabic-language blog had more than 70,000 visitors, overwhelmingly from Arab countries.

His Facebook groups elicited hundreds of angry comments, detailed death threats and the formation of more than a dozen Facebook groups against him, including once called Fight the blasphemer who said 'I am God.'

Husayin is the first to be arrested in the West Bank for his religious views, said Tayseer Tamimi, the former chief Islamic judge in the area.

Husayin used a fake name on his English and Arabic-language blogs and Facebook pages. After his mother discovered articles on atheism on his computer, she canceled his Internet connection in hopes that he would change his mind.

Instead, he began going to an Internet cafe - a move that turned out to be a costly mistake. The owner, Ahmed Abu-Asal, said the blogger aroused suspicion by spending up to seven hours a day in a corner booth. After several months, a cafe worker snitched to Palestinian intelligence officials and supplied captured snapshots of his Facebook pages.

Husayin has not been charged but remains in detention, said Palestinian security spokesman Adnan Damiri.

Update: Apologies

9th December 2010. Based on article from  thescotsman.scotsman.com

A Palestinian atheist jailed for more than a month for sharing his anti-Islamic views on the internet has apologised for offending Muslims.

A friend said Husayin posted the apology on his blog on 29 November with the hope that it would lead to his release. He posted the apology from a Palestinian military prison in the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya, his hometown.

He has yet to be charged, Palestinian military spokesman Ahmed Mubayad said yesterday. He hinted Husayin could be released in the coming days by saying: There'll be something positive.

Update: Support from France

20th December 2010. Based on article from  google.com

Based on article from google.com

France flag France has said it was concerned about the arrest of a young Palestinian blogger jailed for posting blasphemous remarks online.

France is concerned by the risks of damage to fundamental freedoms and in particular the freedom of expression, contained in the 'crime of blasphemy', a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.

Freedom of religion and of conscience and freedom of expression... guarantee the right to have no religion and the right to express one's opinions without being harassed, she told reporter

 

13th November   

Petition: Twitter Joke Trial...

I do not consider @pauljchambers tweet to be 'obviously menacing
Link Here

Old Bailey As reported in The Guardian's article Twitter joke trial: Paul Chambers loses appeal against conviction of November 11th 2010, Judge Jacqueline Davies stated that Paul Chambers tweet:

Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!

was menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.

We the undersigned, as ordinary people, do not see it in that way and are not alarmed. Because the Judge's statement is factually incorrect, we believe the conviction should be overturned.

Sign the  petition

2708 signatures so far as of 13th November 2010

 

13th November   

Update: Dangerous Books...

Kurt Westergaard publishes his autobiography
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

manden-bag-stregen The autobiography of the Danish cartoonist who sparked Muslim outrage by depicting Mohammed with a bomb for a turban was quickly whisked off shelves by book buyers when it went on sale Friday.

In Denmark's western town of Aarhus, the autobiography of Kurt Westergaard had already sold out and book stores there were desperate for more copies, John Lykkegaard, the author and publisher of the book, said Friday evening.

Six thousand copies had been printed for the Friday release. Lykkegaard said 10,000 more copies would probably need to be printed early next week.

The book entitled Manden Bag Stregen (The Man Behind the Line) details the life of 75-year-old Westergaard, and also features a republished version of his controversial drawing that has earned him numerous death threats and assassination attempts.

The cover is adorned with the last caricature Westergaard published in Jyllands-Posten before retiring in June. That drawing features Westergaard riding a scraggy horse and carrying an oversized fountain pen and notebook, being pursued by a donkey carrying a weight with the words freedom of expression scrolled across it, topped with a live bomb and menacing clouds with the crescent moon of Islam lurking above.

 

13th November   

Cat O'Nine Tails...

Arrow announces new release of Dario Argento's classic giallo
Link Here

Cat O Nine Tails DVD Cat o'Nine Tails is a 1971 Italy/France/West Germany giallo by Dario Argento.

Arrow have announced a 2011 release on DVD and Blu-ray:

It's another top notch horror thriller finally getting a decent UK DVD release plus if all goes to plan... a Blu-ray version as well - probably in the second quarter of 2011.

More news will follow as the title starts to take shape but we can at this stage show you the startling new artwork from the twisted brush of Mr Rick Melton...

The film has never actually been cut by the BBFC but it has had its ups and downs in terms of rating. It has also been previously issued with bits and pieces missing. So hopefully Arrow will do a better job.

The film was passed AA (14) for its 1971 cinema release.

In the aftermath of the video nasties panic, the certificate was raised to 18 for the 1987 Warner VHS.

By 2005 the BBFC had got over the moral panic and reduced the certificate to 15 for the 2005 Blackhorse DVD.

 

13th November   

Offsite: Free Speech Forgotten...

Hasty legislation will make a mess of Europe's right to be forgotten
Link Here

EU flag The European Commission proposal to include a right to be forgotten in data protection laws risks causing legal, technical and ethical mayhem if it is not thought through more thoroughly.

A Commission FAQ about the process said that individuals should have more control over their own data. They need to know what their rights are if they want to access, rectify or delete their data, it said.

For example, there should be a 'right to be forgotten,' which means that individuals should have the right to have their data fully removed when it is no longer needed for the purposes for which it was collected, said the FAQ. People who want to delete profiles on social networking sites should be able to rely on the service provider to remove personal data, such as photos, completely.

There are two kinds of rights at stake here. One is the right of other individuals to have material continue to exist. If you want something deleted – a picture, an account of an event – that includes other people in any way, you are dealing with conflicting rights. Whose should win out?

The other kind of right is that of society to know what has happened. There was a protest march this week and thousands of students participated. This is important, it is part of the fabric of the nation's life. If all of those people were able to delete themselves from records of that event then how can we know in the future that it happened?

Society must have a right to record history, and history is made up of material depicting or describing individuals. Its distortion is nothing new: as Winston Churchill observed, history is written by the victors. But the information age should make it harder to lose objective records. Politicians should be careful if they pass laws that might undermine that.

...Read the full article

 

13th November   

Hard Decision...

ASA dismisses whinges about advert with cold water and erect nipples
Link Here

isklar pure glacier advert A television ad, for Isklar Pure Glacier bottled mineral water, showed a woman from the waist up to her neck, dressed in a white T-shirt, holding a bottle of water. She then opened the bottle and her nipples became erect and visible through her T-shirt. She looked down at her nipples and on-screen text stated pure glacier .

A viewer objected that the ad was offensive because they believed it objectified women.

Clearcast had cleared the ad for TV arguing that the ad was a humorous and brief depiction of how the body reacts to cold temperatures. They argued that a physiological response, not a sexual one, had been shown. They said there was no nudity in the ad and the woman appeared to be in on the joke as she looked at her nipples and smiled. They added that nobody was seen leering at the woman or behaving inappropriately towards her. They explained that they had given the ad a post-9pm restriction because it showed erect nipples.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad showed a natural response to being cold and that no nudity was shown. We considered that the context was clear and the connection between drinking the water and the erect nipples was likely to be understood by viewers. Whilst we acknowledged that some viewers might find the depiction of erect nipples distasteful, given the context of the ad, we considered that it was unlikely to be seen as degrading or objectifying women.

We noted Clearcast had applied a post-9pm scheduling restriction and that the ad had been carefully scheduled around a specific television programme. We considered that the post-9pm scheduling restriction was sufficient for the content of the ad, and concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rule 6.1 (Offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

13th November   

Update: Rappers Rap Whilst Politicians Kill...

Iran doesn't like what rappers are saying about it
Link Here

Az Khaneh Ta Goor Erfan Tehran's chief of police, Hossein Sajedi-Nia, has revealed the fate of young Iranians who are attracted to what he calls morally deviant music.

According to Tehran-Emrouz, an Iranian daily newspaper, he said that young Iranian men and women were arrested last week in a score of raids targeting the capital's underground rap scene. The rappers – both male and female – had apparently taken over vacant buildings in order to create what Iran's regime has depicted as degenerative, anti-Islamic music.

Across Iran, illicit house parties with smuggled alcohol, large amounts of cannabis, and booming Western music are the norm. Young Iranians believe it is a risk worth taking: As long as we are careful, one partygoer told me, as long as we know who our neighbours are, we can dance to whatever music we want. She is right. More often than not, the Iranian police have turned a blind eye to what Iranians do in the comfort of their own homes.

The regime can tolerate its youth intoxicated. But what it cannot abide is young Iranians actively subverting its authority. Iranian rap is not a direct emulation of what the regime deems messianic American rap; its lyrics often derive from the pain of living under the corruption and abuse of the Islamic Republic.

The establishment of the Islamic regime marked the exodus of talented Iranian musicians from the country. One famous Iranian rapper, Erfan, now lives in California. His lyrics are not about fast cars and money. And they are certainly not, as the Iranian government has suggested, sexually explicit.

In an explicit attack against the Regime, Erfan also wrote Tasmim (Resolution), after the June 2009 Green Movement protests in Iran. One line in particular echoes recent events: Every day you say our Iran is at fault, you say this but you beat and you kill. It is for lyrics like these that the young musicians have been arrested in Tehran.

 

12th November   

Update: UK Justice is a Joke...

Appeal against airport tweet prosecution fails
Link Here

Old Bailey A man who posted a Twitter message threatening to blow up an airport is facing a £3,000 bill after losing an appeal against his conviction.

Paul Chambers said he acted in frustration after Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire was closed by snow.

The trainee accountant from Doncaster, who now lives in Northern Ireland, was found guilty in May of sending a menacing electronic communication.

A judge at Doncaster Crown Court refused to quash his conviction. He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,600

After the hearing, actor and Twitter fan Stephen Fry tweeted that he would pay Chambers' fine: He tweeted: My offer still stands. Whatever they fine you, I'll pay.

Chambers's barrister had argued the conviction should be quashed because his tweet was not menacing .

The message Chambers sent to his 600 followers in the early hours of 6 January said: Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week... otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

His counsel Stephen Ferguson told the appeal hearing that even the police officer investigating the case branded it a foolish comment posted on Twitter as a joke for only his close friends to see .

He said the prosecution had failed to prove his client had any intention to threaten anyone or that he thought there was any risk someone would interpret the tweet in this way.

 

12th November   

Hounded by the PC Gestapo...

Cardiff councillor hauled over the coals for nazi jibes
Link Here

cardiff council logo The former Labour group leader on the Cardiff Council admitted he was shaken to the core when an ombudsman's provisional report indicated he might ludicrously be branded anti-semitic for repeatedly referring to Jewish council leader Rodney Berman's coalition administration using nazi allusions.

After a three-day hearing by an Adjudication Panel concluded, he was handed the minimum sentence of a two-month suspension from council duties, with chairman Hywel James ruling Cook had breached his code of conduct by repeatedly showing a lack of respect for a colleague and bringing the office of councillor and City Hall into disrepute.

James said it was only his swift and unreserved apology, refraining from further disrespect and his co-operation with the ombudsman that spared him a longer ban from his £20,000-a-year council duties after his previously cordial relationship with Berman broke down over the supposedly profoundly offensive slurs.

The trouble started in summer 2008 when the councillor's leaflet called intense electioneering by the Liberal Democrats blitzkrieg tactics and described activists as stormtroopers .

Seven months later, in a budget meeting in February last year, infuriated about the curtailing of the debate, the councillor taunted Berman and his colleagues that his next leaflet would carry the headline Nazi stormtroopers censor council .

Just 30 minutes later, after a visibly upset Coun Berman urged him to withdraw such highly offensive remarks, the then Labour leader again suggested coalition tactics were reminiscent of the tactics Nazi Germany used in 1933 to silence political opposition, and failed to withdraw the accusation.

The furore resulted in thecouncillor being released from his post as Labour leader to fight to restore his reputation. That fight concluded with the panel clearing him of anti-semitism and bullying but telling him his goading of Berman, while aware of the grave insults his words implied, went far beyond fair and robust debate the public was entitled to expect of its representatives.

 

12th November   

Updated: Hardly Charitable...

The nutter campaign group, Safermedia, is granted charitable status
Link Here

Safer Media Safermedia. previously Mediamarch have been given charity status. They proclaim:

We are pleased to announce that safermedia has now officially received a registered charitable status, a number(1138360) and a page on the Charity Commission website.

Dan comments:

Since when did trying to get people locked up in prison for looking at sex become something charitable?

Letters: What's so charitable about inflicting censorship on those that don't want it?

2nd November 2010, thanks to Shaun

Shaun asked the Charity Commission: Why have these people being given charitable status? and suggesting that the decision should be urgently reviewed.

The Charity Commission replied:

charity commission beach logo Safermedia has been registered with us on the basis of the trusts stated within a Trust Deed dated 23 September 2010. when objects of organisations are stated in exclusively charitable format and it has charitable activities, we can put it in our register.

This organisation met the criteria for registration. Our website includes details of the criteria used to determine registration as a charity. We could only review our decision if a full case was made as to how this particular registration was actually contrary to the criteria.

Shaun was hardly impressed, and replied:

Thank you for your reply.

After reading it I am completely at a loss! I've got no idea what is truly charitable about wanting to demand the imposition of censorship on other freeborn (?) British people, especially when such demands (in my opinion) seem to stem from forms of ignorance and religious hysteria regarding the effect of modern media in the UK rather than any proper unbiased rational research. I refer back to the activities of these people under their former name of these people which is MediaMarch .

Perhaps you would be good enough to explain what exactly it is they do, which can at all be considered charitable? How do people at large benefit from their activities other than losing their legal right to decide what they are free to view in the media ?

I must say, I strongly RESENT the fact that SaferMedia, can demand extra media restrictions be legally imposed ON ME and do that under the auspices of charitable status. This is NOT charity.

In their manifesto [under their former name MediaMarch] they cite public outcry! What public outcry I ask? The actual truth really is that many many people in fact DON'T want their so called standards to be imposed on everyone else, and I REFUSE to accept that to demand such a thing is in anyway charitable.

Is it that the Charities Commission gives every group with an axe to grind with other areas of society, charitable status, so that they can have a cheaper platform upon which they can air their grievances and public demands for legal change ?

Can I please have such a status, because I am sick to death of overly strict censorship compared with other countries in the EU, who have not found it necessary to impose present levels of censorship let alone those demanded by SaferMedia?

Would that also be charitable? I would assert it would at least be MORE charitable as people would benefit though greater freedom.

It is also very questionable why you allowed such a status to these people, when you totally refused MediaWatch UK (formerly the National Viewers and Listeners Association ) a similar status only a few of years ago, apparently after they tried to gain charitable status more than once. That organisation demands similar censorious action but is considerably more benign than is MediaMarch to my knowledge.

I would not have agreed with such a decision in the case of MediaWatch UK either, but at least I would be more assured that decisions made by the Charities Commission were consistent. They seem anything but this. Why one and not the other ?

Update: Safermedia is a public benefit!

7th November 2010, thanks to Shaun

T he Charity Commission replied to further queries from Shaun:

charity commission beach logo The decision made to register Safermedia was analogous to the decision made regarding the Internet Content Rating Association as was made by the Charity Commissioners in 2002. Details of this Decision are available upon our website, which sets out the reasoning for accepting this and similar organisations as being charitable.

Here is a link to the relevant page [pdf] :

We cannot comment on the decision made regarding Mediawatch UK as we only have a brief mention on our records of such an organisation which was created in 2001 but no actual registration case records remain, (if they were ever submitted to us). We cannot therefore comment on any previous application for registration, if this was indeed ever made.

To be charitable an organisation must have aims which fall within the charitable purposes as set out in the Charities Act 2006 and be for the public benefit, which it demonstrates through its activities. Further information is available upon our website registration pages .

If you are not now satisfied with our response, you may be interested in the information contained on the following page in relation to our complaints procedure .

Shaun asks the Charity Commission how exactly does the public benefit from the activities of SaferMedia?:

Thank you for your reply. However I remain far from satisfied with the situation or the replies, and I hope you will forgive me for that. Perhaps this further email will make my reasons for complaining so strongly much clearer to you.

I fail to see how any comparison between the Internet Content Rating Association, (ICRA) and SaferMedia can begin to be made. Unlike SaferMedia, the ICRA does NOT seek to persuade lawmakers to legally restrict the media choices which can be made by adults, only to empower them with greater control mechanisms over what material adults and/or their children might see online. It does not seek to influence what is, and is not legal for anyone to see. They do not seek have anything restrictive imposed on anyone.

SaferMedia, on the other hand might initially seem to have similar aims but it has a very strong policy of demanding that lawmakers in this country impose increasing and draconian restrictions on the media choices of adults, using the co-ercive mechanisms of CENSORSHIP and PROHIBITION, with the threat of imprisonment for transgression. I simply do not see how the two are at all similar, or how SaferMedia can be regarded as any kind of charity. They are of course perfectly entitled to their opinions on what should be allowed and the expression of those, which I would strongly regard as *political* rather than at all charitable. As a freeborn British individual I object most strongly to the threat of their interference with our freedoms in this way. The viewing of contentious material, by adults, in any free country should and indeed MUST be regarded as a decision they can make for themselves not one to be imposed on everyone by legal coercion and prohibition.

Had SaferMedia expressed aims similar to IRCA then I would have no problem with their charitable status. For example if SaferMedia sought the availability of improved parental control mechanisms on modern media such as DVD and BluRay, and on modern broadcasting systems such as Sky, Freeview, FreeSat and cable, I would have no objection. But that *isn't* their remit. Indeed, were they to support such technical advances, it would detract from their aim of censorship by giving lawmakers a good reason NOT to impose the restrictions they seek! Their remit is to persuade lawmakers to legally restrict visual material available to ADULTS via CENSORSHIP and PROHIBITION. Could you at least answer why that alone is regarded as at all charitable ? Especially given that this seems to be the sole extent of their activities! Some quite recent research shows that such restriction causes MORE harm rather than less. If that is true, (and the evidence is quite strong that it is) then how does the public benefit from the activities of SaferMedia ? Why should such campaigning as this be able to benefit from charitable status, and tax free donations, at the expense of the tax payer, which I am one ?

That other similar charity, the Internet Watch Foundation, which provides lists of illegal websites to ISPs also does not seek to influence what is to be classed as illegal, and restricts access to child abuse images already illegal and clearly proven to be harmful. It too makes no statement about what else should be restricted. In any case such a thing really is a matter for politicians not for charities. An opinion of course can be expressed, but is the expression of such opinion and the demand they be legally imposed on others, at all charitable in the absence of other beneficial activities carried out ? Somehow I do not think so and I do not find that answer from the web links you have provided me.

Update: The Safermedia campaign for stronger obscenity laws is political not charitable

9th November 2010, thanks to Shaun

From the www.charitycommission.gov.uk/Publications/cc9.aspx#11

charity commission beach logo Organisations with a political purpose: In order to be a charity, an organisation must have purposes which are charitable and for the public benefit.

>>> An organisation with a political purpose, such as promoting a change in the law, legally cannot be a charity. This applies even if the organisation has other purposes which are charitable. This would involve looking at 'political' questions, which neither we nor the courts are in a position to answer. Constitutionally, it is not possible for the Charity Commission or the Courts to make decisions about whether a change in the law or Government policy would be for the public benefit. However, organisations which are established to ensure that the law is observed, for example respecting certain fundamental human rights, will not automatically fall within this definition. This is a complex area and we will explore with charities established for the advancement of human rights, the boundaries of this particular charitable purpose in relation to campaigning and political activity.

Isn't demanding a change in the law, *exactly* what SaferMedia are ALL about? If so, the guidance clearly states they are not a charity.

From SaferMedia's Manifesto page on their web site:

Safer Media We therefore call on concerned members of the public, of all faiths or of no faith, young or old, of all cultures, to join together and to provoke the political will of Parliament to strengthen Britain's obscenity laws.

Perhaps other readers might wish to make the same complaint as I have, citing the above Charity Commission criteria and SaferMedia's manifesto which appear to be in clear conflict with that criteria.

Have the Charity Commission been conned I wonder?

Update: Charity status to be reviewed

12th November 2010, thanks to Shaun

Shaun received the short note from the Charity Commission

charity commission beach logo In light of the further information which you have provided, I have referred this matter to our final Decision Coordinator to consider whether we should consider a Decision Review.

You can find further details of this on our website at: Dissatisfied with a decision of the Charity Commission

Shaun also noted:

It seems that "SaferMedia" have got wind of my complaint to the Charities Commission, as their "manifesto" page has been re-written. At the same time as the Charities Commission have just informed me they are taking a look whether they need to review their decision. The page now seems more benign, but does a leopard change their spots ?

Safermedia updated the Mediamarch Our Objects and Aims on 9th November 2010:

Previously the Our Manifesto page read:

Safer Media ...

There is an ever increasing range of films, videos, TV and radio programmes, plays, computer games, books, magazines, music, adverts and internet web sites which masquerade as realistic , harmless or entertaining . Yet they feature brutal violence, explicit sexual activity - including perversion - nudity and all kinds of bad language. Incredibly, nearly all of this is condoned by the regulatory bodies; films and videos are merely classified, broadcasting licences are readily granted to TV channels despite programme content, and the other material is published or shown with impunity.

...

Time for Grass Roots Action

Whilst there is still time, ordinary citizens of this democratic nation must demand that the media be reclaimed for our children and our society. Despite the numerous public bodies that have spoken out over past years, the situation continues to deteriorate. We therefore call on concerned members of the public, of all faiths or of no faith, young or old, of all cultures, to join together and to provoke the political will of Parliament to strengthen Britain's obscenity laws. Let the government and all political parties be absolutely clear that we will not sit idly by while our children, our families, our society and our cultures are corrupted and stolen from us. Verbal and written representations at all levels will continue to be made by mediamarch. However, this situation is now so grave that we all have no alternative but to heighten the level of public protest at every possible opportunity.

...

Now the Our Objects and Aims page reads:

The protection of good mental and physical health, in particular of children and young people, by working in accordance with Christian values to minimise the availability of potentially harmful media content displaying violence, pornography and explicit sex, bad language and anti-social behaviour and the portrayal of drugs, and with a view to the reduction of crime by;

...

C) monitoring media content for compliance with established national guidelines and standards required by the law and seeking strengthening of these guidelines and standards as necessary in the light of academic research.

...

Update: Charity status being reviewed

27th November 2010, thanks to Shaun

Shaun had an email back to say that the Charities Commission apparently ARE looking into the activities of SaferMedia and considering their status. IE it's moved up another level.

 

12th November   

A Lesson in Easy Offence...

Advert censor gets all offended by spearmint Rhino Back 2 School Party
Link Here

spearmint rhino sexy summer school party advert A digital outdoor poster for a lapdancing club, stated SPEARMINT RHINO GENTLEMEN'S CLUB LONDON. Back 2 School Party. Come see our Sexy Schoolgirl Staff & Entertainers . The ad showed a woman dressed in a grey V-neck jumper, school tie and a white shirt.

Three complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive because it sexualised teenage girls and linked them with sexually provocative behaviour.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted Spearmint Rhino believed the ad was acceptable. However, we considered that the image of a woman dressed in school uniform together with the claims come see our sexy schoolgirl staff and entertainers and back to school party appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative behaviour. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad breached rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Offence).

 

12th November   

Updated: Bad Attitudes in Sri Lanka...

Magistrate tells police to post porn actor pictures for identification and arrest
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking

Sri Lanka A Sri Lankan magistrate has ordered police to publish photographs of 83 local pornography actors in a bid to identify and arrest them for violating obscenity laws, officials said.

Police told Colombo Fort magistrate Lanka Jayaratne that the men and women featured on 180 Sri Lankan pornographic websites that have been blocked by telecommunications regulators.

We now have a court order to publish the photographs in the national press and seek public assistance to identify and arrest them, a police officer said, declining to be named.

He said the actors faced up to six months jail or a fine of 10,000 rupees (90 dollars), or both, if convicted.

Update: Request Refused

12th November 2010.  Based on article from  google.com

Newspaper editors in Sri Lanka refused to publish pictures of men and women who are wanted by police for appearing on porn websites in the country.

Under a crackdown on pornography on the Indian Ocean island, police are trying to trace local men and women pictured in compromising poses and had asked newspapers to reproduce mugshots of 83 of them.

We were given the photos with a request to publish them, but we decided not to, said Siri Ranasinghe, chief editor of the mass circulating Sinhalese daily, the Lankadeepa: It is a question of privacy. We don't know who these people are and under what circumstances the police got these pictures. Technology can be used to manipulate pictures, so we decided to leave them out.

All national dailies refused to print the photographs except for the Lakbima Sinhalese newspaper, which published the mugshots at the bottom of page two, without any reference to the allegations against them.

Update: Poor Response

24th November 2010.  Based on article from  sundaytimes.lk

The Police will now release to the police stations the pictures of the locals who acted in these films to trace them. This is in contrast to the previous plan to give maximum publicity, through the media, to the pictures of the locals and get help to identify them.

However, only one newspaper had published the pictures. Police said they had obtained a court order to publish the pictures, but were unable to confirm whether the pictures were doctored or not.

Police had been able to track down only three persons from some 83 pictures which had been released to the media. The three persons were released on bail after being produced in court.

Update: 7 Police Victims Arrested

3rd December 2010.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Sri Lankan police have arrested and bailed seven people accused of appearing in pornographic films. Police said the seven had to make statements and pay a surety before being released.

The suspects face up to six months in jail or a fine of 10,000 rupees ($89.75), or both, if convicted. The suspects were allegedly identified by photos obtained by the police from the now banned local porn web sites.

The Sri Lankan media has reported that some of the pictures released by police were in fact from private videos released by estranged lovers, while some appeared to have been secretly shot with hidden cameras.

 

11th November   

Update: Police Zombies...

Film Festival director victim of a police raid in search of LA Zombie
Link Here

melbourne underground film festival 2010 advert In the latest instalment of the zombie film saga, Victoria Police raided the home of Richard Wolstencroft, the director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF), seeking a copy of the banned film LA Zombie .

The gay-porn-horror movie, by American underground filmmaker Bruce LaBruce, was screened by Wolstencroft before about 200 people on August 29 despite effectively being forbidden from public exhibition in censorial Australia.

The Censor Board banned the film, which was originally slated to appear in the Melbourne International Film Festival in July 2010.

However, on August 11, Wolstencroft announced his intention to stage a public disobedience freedom of speech event — an illegal screening of the film — on August 29. The screening went ahead as planned.

The police didn't attend at the time but now turned up on Wolstencroft's doorstep with a warrant to enter his premises and search for any copies of the film.

It is believed the police considered removing every DVD in Wolstencroft's house, as well as computers containing two movies on which he is working. They were eventually dissuaded by his insistence that he had destroyed his only copy of the film, on DVD, after the August screening. Wolstencroft also admitted to police that the August 29 screening had gone ahead and that he was solely responsible for it.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said Wolstencroft would face court at a later date.

Wolstencroft appeared to be quite shaken by this morning's events saying: I've never been charged with so much as jay-walking, he told Fairfax. I find the situation that a little festival is being pursued in this way quite distressing and depressing.

 

11th November   

More Salt...

Multiple versions of Philip Noyce's Salt
Link Here

Salt DVD Angelina Jolie Salt is a 2010 US spy thriller by Phillip Noyce. See IMDb

An Extended Version/Director's Cut was passed 15 uncut for:

The BBFC explained their rating:

SALT is an action espionage thriller starring Angelina Jolie as CIA agent Evelyn Salt. She is forced to go on the run after being accused by a defector of being a Russian deep-cover sleeper agent.

This is an extended version of a film that was classified 12A in the cinema and 12 on DVD for moderate violence and one use of strong language . Additional material present here meant this version of the film was classified 15 for strong violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 12A'/'12 state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context . SALT includes several fast-paced fight scenes featuring moderate violence, with crunchy kicks and blows. In most scenes little is seen in terms of blood or injury detail but there are a few sequences of strong violence, including a woman being repeatedly beaten and smashed into a desk as she fights a dirty agent and a woman pulling a chain around a man's neck to throttle him. The film also opens with a torture scene in which a plastic tube is forced into Salt's mouth and filled with water, with some brief emphasis on her struggle. These stronger scenes exceed the terms of the 12A'/'12 Guidelines and are more appropriately placed at 15 where Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable .

SALT also contains a single use of strong language that is neither aggressively delivered nor directed. This would have been permissible at 12A'/'12 where the Guidelines state that The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent .

Alternative Ending

There is also an Extended Version with an alternative ending which was also passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 2010 Sony Blu-ray
  • UK 2010 Sony R2 DVD

Theatrical Version

At the cinemas and also on DVD/Blu-ray. the film was passed 12/12A after BBFC suggested cuts for 12A which were implemented for:

  • UK 2010 Sony Blu-ray
  • UK 2010 Sony R2 DVD
  • UK 2010 cinema release.

The BBFC commented:

This film was originally shown to the BBFC in an unfinished version. The BBFC advised the company that the film was likely to receive a 15 classification but that the requested 12A certificate could be achieved by making cuts in six sequences in order to reduce a scene of torture, four violent scenes and a scene of strangulation. When the finished version of the film was submitted, all six scenes had been reduced acceptably and the film was classified 12A .

 

11th November   

Update: Immersed in Books...

Iran's 20 book censors swamped by the workload
Link Here  full story: Book Censors in Iran...Iranian literary censors

Iran flag The Iranian censor's office is alive and well, if somewhat slow to get through the mounds of books awaiting approval.

Spare a thought for Iran's literary censors - unloved by writers and publishers alike, they have thousands of works to read through, so much so that the piles of books have spilled out from their rooms at the culture ministry into the corridors.

Figures from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance show that the country has some 7,000 publishing firms. Take just two of these companies - one of them says it has about 70 novels and short story collections currently pending approval from the censors. The other says it has had between 50 and 70 books awaiting review at any one time for the past two years.

Supposing that just 1,000 publishers each deliver five books a year to the ministry's book department, that comes to 5,000 a year, plus the many inevitably left over from previous years. Writers and translators routinely wait for one, two or even three years for a decision on the suitability of their books.

The censors' work has always been shrouded in secrecy, but the word in the publishing industry is that there are never more than 20 of them.

To make matters worse, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was first elected president in 2005, the first thing his then culture minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi did was to revoke all the licenses issued under the previous president, Mohammad Khatami.

That created a massive backlog of applications. Censors had to go through already published works as well as the never-ending flow of new ones, checking line by line to see whether they were compatible with the core Islamic values the new administration wanted to assert. This is while, under Ahmadinejad, hard-liners in government have frequently questioned whether literature has any use or point at all.

 

10th November   

Update: Vaz Strikes Out...

Keith Vaz raises another anti-games EDM after a trivial newspaper comment about the Malmo gunman
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

Counter  Strike Source PC DVD Keith Vaz has widened his blame game in Swedish territory. He has posted the following Early Day Motion before the British parliament

VIDEO GAMES AND SHOOTING 27.10.2010

That this House notes with concern that the recent race shootings in Malmo, Sweden have been associated with the violent video game Counter-Strike; further notes that the internet-based, first-person shooting game that pits a counter-terrorist team against terrorists was previously banned in Brazil and in 2007 was associated with US College Campus massacres; recognises the potential impact of violent video games on those under 18 years; and calls on the Government to ensure the purchase of video games by those under 18 years is controlled and that parents are provided with clear information on the violent content of certain games.

The background is that police in the Swedish city of Malmo have confirmed that an as yet unnamed 38 year old man has been arrested in connection with a series of gun attacks on people with ethnic minority backgrounds.

Prior to the arrest, local police had suspected that more than a dozen unsolved shootings over the last year, in which one person died and eight more were wounded, may have been the work of lone gunman. The man arrested at the weekend has now been charged with one count of murder and seven attempted murders.

So how do we get from racist nutjob shooting at the local migrant population to a three-year old video game?

It appears to have been The Times that decided to have a bit of dabble in stirring up a faux moral panic by quoting the opinions of a Mr Ahmad al-Mughrabi in its coverage of the story…

I am sure that this is down to some crazy kid who plays that sniping game Counterstrike all day. I don't believe in the lone Nazi theory

So who is our mysterious Mr al-Mughrabi? Is he a police officer? A city official? A representative of the Swedish Justice Ministry?

No, as far as anyone has managed to ascertain, to date, he's just some bloke that The Times picked off the street at random and that's all the evidence that Keith Vaz needs to put down an EDM and start banging on about violent video games, yet again.

 

10th November   

Update: Teasing ASA...

ASA get in on the Bang Babes rant
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

tease me tv logo A TV ad, for a premium rate telephone service, featured mock documentary footage titled The Bare Tits Project , in a parody of the film, the Blair Witch Project . On-screen text stated In 2009 4 students went out to make a naughty documentary in Epping Forest ... They never returned but the footage was found a year later ... .

The ad showed three women, who were frequently topless, in a woodland setting. Text on-screen throughout the ad stated TXT HOT TO 69912 £1.50 per text and CALL NOW! 0982 923 XXXX . The women invited viewers to get in touch ... if you want to talk to some really naughty girls, call the number on the screen now .

1. A viewer, who saw the ad at 6.40am on Tease Me 2, challenged whether the nudity in the ad was offensive, particularly given the time of day at which it was broadcast.

2. The ASA challenged whether the premium rate service was of a sexually explicit nature and therefore whether it should have been broadcast only on an encrypted element of an adult entertainment channel.

Response

1. Tease Me 2 said the ad was broadcast unintentionally due to an operator error and was not scheduled to air outside of the watershed. They accepted that nudity outside of the watershed could sometimes cause offence to some viewers but nevertheless pointed out that the ad was broadcast on a clearly signposted adult entertainment channel in the Adult Section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Tease Me 2 therefore disagreed that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or that the depiction of nudity contravened any generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

2. Tease Me 2 said the ad was a 15-minute teleshopping broadcast which was clearly distinguishable from editorial content and bore a banner stating that it was a commercial presentation. Their in-house compliance team passed the promotion for broadcast on the understanding that the rules for the promotion of premium rate services (PRS) had changed after the Third Consultation on Participation Television. They said the ad was discontinued after it became clear that the changes to the rules, although announced by Ofcom, did not come into effect until September 2010 and had not been broadcast since.

Assessment: 1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted the ad had been broadcast, in May 2010, before the watershed in error and that it appeared in the Adult Section of the EPG. We considered that the imagery and premium rate contact number suggested that the service promoted was of a sexual nature. We considered that some viewers were likely to be offended by it but that the offence was unlikely to be serious or widespread if appropriately scheduled. We nevertheless noted the viewer had seen the ad in the morning and furthermore, the channel was unencrypted. For those reasons, we considered that the content of the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and, because it was a premium rate text service of a sexual nature, should have been restricted to encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form, unless it is shown on encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels.

 

10th November   

Offsite: Parental Duty...

Parents of teenagers need not fear the latest war videogame
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD The annual pop-culture juggernaut which is Call of Duty has again rolled into town: this year's iteration, Black Ops , is in the shops today. Given that it's a much better game than was perhaps anticipated, that is good news for gamers. But its arrival will induce a certain amount of consternation among parents, especially of teenage boys, worried that that's the last they will see of their offspring until they emerge, all but zombified, at some unspecified point in the future. Such fears are understandable but, I would contend, fallacious.

The first debate is whether to allow your 15-year-old to play it, given that it is 18-rated. In fact, I'm always surprised that publisher Activision doesn't push harder to achieve a lower-age certificate for it. The 18 rating derives from violence, which is a tad inexplicable: if your teenager is particularly impressionable and has an unhealthy obsession with the military, then, fair enough, letting him have the game might not be advisable. But you could say that about any game that involves shooting. Black Ops is set in the 1960s cold war, and provides a considerably sanitised version of conflicts such as Vietnam – there isn't a drop of napalm to be seen it, for example. Your son should surely be able to cope with that.

...Read the full article

 

10th November   

Offsite: Glaad to be Easily Offended...

Gay advocacy group now seen as nutters
Link Here

GLAAD logo In a few short weeks, the organization designed to protect the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community -- GLAAD -- has turned into one of the biggest bullies in Hollywood.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has loudly taken three big media companies to task in the past few weeks over words used in films and TV shows.

The group scolded Ron Howard and Universal Pictures for calling electric cars gay in the upcoming comedy feature The Dilemma . Howard didn't budge, but Universal took the joke out of the trailer.

Last week GLAAD demanded an apology from MTV -- and got one -- after the reality show Jersey Shore used the word tranny mockingly.

Last month, in a blog post on its website, GLAAD criticized the Fox hit musical series Glee for using the word tranny in a recent Rocky Horror Picture Show-themed episode.

GLAAD is much better served when they work with us instead of coming out and hitting us in the jaw in front of everybody, said one fearful Hollywood publicist.

...Read the full article

 

10th November   

Possessed by Censor Demons...

The Exorcist released on Blu-ray
Link Here

Exorcist Blu ray Linda Blair The Exorcist is a 1973 US horror by William Friedkin. See IMDb

The Version You've Never Seen/ Director's Cut passed 18 uncut for:

However see version details from dvdcompare.net

  • Two of the demon/gargoyle face effects which were available on the DVD release have been deleted.

The Version You've Never Seen/ Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for:

Previously the Theatrical Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2010 Warner R0 Blu-ray
  • UK 1999 Warner R2 DVD
  • UK 1999 Harbottle & Lewis VHS
  • UK 1990 cinema release

Before that James Ferman was in charge of the BBFC and he banned any thoughts of a VHS release from about 1985 - 1999.

The Theatrical Version was passed X without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1974 cinema release

 

10th November   

Offsite: Travel Censors...

US censors websites promoting travel to Cuba
Link Here

us treasury seal logo Stephen Marshall, a British entrepreneur known as a pioneer of e-commerce ventures in Cuba, has been battling the U.S. Treasury Department for years.

A member of Havana's expatriate investor community since the mid-1990s, is best known for his online Cuba travel booking site GoCubaPlus.com.

Along with that, Marshall — whose British Virgin Islands-based firms included Digital Panorama SA and Tour & Marketing International Ltd. — had over 100 other Cuba themed sites providing tourism-related information on Cuba. They also were aimed at driving Internet traffic to GoCubaPlus.com. In time, Marshall became a target of Washington's efforts to unplug any Internet ventures involving Cuba. As far back as Fall 2004, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control added GoCubaPlus.com and related websites onto its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). This meant individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction were barred from doing business with any entity or person on that list.

... Read the full article

 

9th November   

The Islam Channel takes a Caning...

Ofcom unimpressed by wife beating advice
Link Here

The Islam Channel logo IslamiQa
The Islam Channel, 18 May 2008
Muslimah Dilemma
The Islam Channel, 12 April 2009
IslamiQa
The Islam Channel, 30 October 2009

The Islam Channel is a specialist religious channel that broadcasts on the Sky digital satellite platform and is directed at a largely Muslim audience in the UK. Its output ranges from religious instruction programmes to current affairs and documentary programmes.

In March 2010, the Quilliam Foundation, which describes itself as a “counter-extremism” think-tank, published a report De-programming British Muslims – (the Quilliam Report).

The Quilliam Report was an analysis of the output of a range of the Islam Channel's output over a number of months, looking in particular at various religious and political programmes broadcast in 2008 and 2009.

The Quilliam Report made a number of allegations about compliance of the Islam Channel with the Code. In Ofcom's view, some of these allegations raised potential issues under the Code as regards harm and offence. Ofcom therefore requested recordings of the relevant material relating to a small number of programmes. Having watched the output, Ofcom decided to investigate the three programmes in relation to harm and offence issues .

In these programmes the presenters and their guests all spoke in English.

IslamiQa is a phone-in programme where viewers pose the presenter questions, by telephone, asking for religious-based advice on a range of issues. In this particular programme, we noted a telephone call from a female caller asking:

If your husband is hitting you, do you have the right to hit him back?

As part of his response back to this caller, the presenter, Sheikh Abdul Majid Ali, gave the following advice:

And as far as the hitting is concerned, in Islam we have no right to hit the woman in a way that damages her eye or damages her tooth or damages her face or makes her ugly. Maximum what you can do, you can see the pen over here, in my hand, this kind of a stick can be used just to make her feel that you are not happy with her. That's the only maximum that you can do, just to make her understand. Otherwise your husband has no right to hit you that way and at the same time even if he has done that, may Allah forgive him.

Muslimah Dilemma is a discussion programme considering issues from an Islamic perspective. We noted that in this programme, the issue of sexual relations within marriage was discussed. We noted that during the programme, a guest, Nazreen Nawaz, who was being interviewed, made the following statements:

And really the idea that a woman cannot refuse her husband's [sexual] relations – this is not strange to a Muslim because it is part of maintaining that strong marriage. In fact it is a bit strange, the converse is strange. To refuse relations would harm a marriage.

But it shouldn't be such a big problem where the man feels he has to force himself upon the woman because the understanding should be created within the system through the implementation of all the laws of Islam, that…marriage is about seeking tranquillity, it's about harmony that should be in the mind of the man and the woman alike.

In another edition of IslamiQa the issue of women wearing perfume was discussed. We noted that during this programme, the presenter, Sheikh Abdul Majid Ali, received a telephone call from a female caller asking:

You know when you buy perfume, some have alcohol in it. Is it OK…when you pray while you have the cream on?

As part of his response back to this caller, the presenter gave the following advice:

But, when it comes to the woman using the perfume, then we have to be very, very careful. A woman is allowed to use perfume only for her husband. Woman – if she goes out, from her house – applying – wearing perfume. And even if she goes to the Masjid [mosque] to pray, and her smell of the perfume is smelt by the strangers. Non-Mahram. Opposite sex people. Then she is declared as a prostitute by Rasool Allah [the Prophet Mohammed].

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code, which states: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Ofcom Decision: In breach of the code

IslamiQa re wife beating

Ofcom notes that at no point did the presenter clearly state on air that he did not condone or encourage violence towards women under any circumstances – which Islam Channel has informed Ofcom is its formal stance on this issue. Ofcom considered that the presenter did therefore give advice to viewers that it was permissible for a husband to physically punish his wife, even though according to the broadcaster it was to be only in certain circumstances, and undertaken with restraint, Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 169 8 November 2010 14 and even if the language used by the presenter could be perceived by some as relatively mild. In Ofcom.s opinion, the advocacy of any form of violence (however limited), as happened in this particular case, is not acceptable and would be offensive to many in the audience.

Ofcom considered that it was highly likely that any advocacy and support of any form of domestic violence would be offensive. This was particularly the case given that domestic violence is potentially criminal under UK law.9

The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3.

Muslimah Dilemma re marital rape

We considered that the views expressed in the programme concerning marital relations might have suggested to many in the audience that it would be permissible for a husband to oblige his wife to have sexual relations against her will, whether or not he used some form of threat of violence. This would have had the potential to cause offence.

Further Ofcom considered that this offensive material could not be justified by the context. This was due the lack of any mediating or counteracting views within the programme to Nazreen Nawaz.s opinions on marital relations, and in particular the lack of any unequivocal condemnation of the view that a husband has the right to force a wife to have sexual relations against her will.

Ofcom was of the view that the broadcaster failed to apply generally accepted standards and that the offensive content referred to above could not be justified by the context. Ofcom considered that it was highly likely that any advocacy and support at all of forced sexual relations would be offensive. This was particularly the case given that forced sexual relations within marriage is potentially criminal under UK law.

The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3.

IslamiQa re perfume

Ofcom remained of the view that the broadcaster failed to apply generally accepted standards and the offensive content referred to above could not be justified by the context. Ofcom considered that it would be likely that the labelling of a woman as a prostitute for the act of the wearing of perfume in various public places would be highly offensive.

Further Ofcom considered that this offensive material could not be justified by the context, because for example: of the lack of any mediating or counteracting views or comments to the presenter's remarks; and the fact that there was the potential for the term prostitute to be considered pejorative abuse rather than a comment grounded in religious teaching, given the lack of what appears to be clear theological backing for the remark from Islamic sacred texts.

We therefore considered that the programme was in breach of Rule 2.3.

 

9th November   

Lynch Bait...

Uganda's Rolling Stone banned from outing gays
Link Here  full story: Rolling Stone Lynch List...Ugandan magazine publishes list of gays

rolling sto gay pics The latest twist in Uganda's hang the homos saga was played out last week when the High Court in Kampala ordering Rolling Stone newspaper to stop publishing the names, photographs and addresses of people it says are gay. Alongside the photos, the paper urged the government: Hang them.

The court order came too late for the 26 already featured in two issues of the newspaper.

Frank Mugisha, director of gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, told me last week that almost everyone outed by the paper, including himself, had since been attacked or harassed and that some were in danger of losing their jobs.

Giles Muhame, the defiant 22-year-old editor of Rolling Stone, now says he will find a way to dodge the law and work through a list he says he has of 100 gay men and women.

Muhame's views will be abhorrent to many Western people but his views are not uncommon among many young Africans. In Uganda's bars and cafes, I found a lot of support for Muhame and his paper.

 

9th November   

Maniac Released...

New US 30th Anniversary release for William Lustig's Maniac
Link Here

Maniac 30th Anniversary Region NTSC Maniac is a 1980 US serial killer horror by William Lustig. See IMDb

The US release is the uncut Theatrical Version and is MPAA Unrated for:

Previously the Theatrical Version was passed 18 after 58s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2006 Anchor Bay R0 DVD
  • UK 2002 Anchor Bay R0 DVD

The BBFC commented:

  • Cuts required to reduce length of sexualised strangulation sequence by half
  • and to remove shots of a knife played over and stabbing into female flesh with sexual connotations.

The BBFC banned the 1998 Exploited video.

The BBFC banned the 1981 cinema release.

Review from US Amazon : Shocking

I'm not easily shocked or impressed with most horror films. This is definitely a film that will leave you thinking. The main reason being the main character Frank Zito aka Joe Spinell plays the most realistic psycho/deranged person I've ever seen on film. The whole time I was thinking is this guy really insane? Either this guy is a genius actor or he's really nuts. That's how real he is in this role. His presence will creep you out. He's the biggest weirdo I've ever seen on film.

The story focuses on frank the serial killer and his killings and insanity. He calmly stalks his pray through the streets of NYC. I don't know how he manages to fool some of the people in this film but he does. They treat him like a normal guy until he tries to kill them when they least expect it.

Some of the scenes are gruesome, but they will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will be able to put yourself in both franks shoes and feel the victims terror as she is stalked and hides from Frank... Especially the subway bathroom scene. That's an intense scene. Frank keeps on killing till the end when his own demons finally come back to haunt him.

Any horror fan should have this in their collection. I can see why it was banned in Germany and England. They were probably scared of it, considering how realistic it was.

 

9th November   

Update: Burning Issues...

ACLU to sue company denying free speech to Koran burning employee
Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

aclu logo The American Civil Liberties Union is suing NJ Transit for firing an 11-year employee after he burned a Koran in a Ground Zero mosque protest in September, according to NJ.com.

On the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, then-NJ Transit employee Derek Fenton was photographed burning three pages of a Koran in front of the space where the proposed Ground Zero mosque will be built. Soon after, he was fired from NJ Transit for violating their 'ethics' codes.

The ACLU is saying that Fenton deserves his job back, as NJ Transit has infringed on his right to free speech, the website reports.

If you allow governments to censor one kind of speech, you open the door to censorship of all kinds of speech, Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the ACLU in New Jersey, told the site. Our individual right to free speech depends on everybody having it.

When the train line fired Fenton, it released a statement saying that, NJ Transit concluded that Mr. Fenton violated his trust as a state employee.

 

9th November   

Slaughter Porn...

Peta offended by Czech slaughter calendar
Link Here

diana kobzanova slaughter calendar Animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) has blasted a bizarre Czech calendar featuring a topless model decapitating a pig.

A Peta spokesperson branded the controversial calendar slaughter porn , according to www.metro.co.uk.

Only a sociopath could find sexual excitement from the depiction of horrific and violent acts against frightened living beings, the spokesperson said: Such imagery is likely to get the public to consider that real pigs used for meat are sensitive beings who suffer violent, bloody deaths and who do not want to die.

Another image features a model standing over what appears to be a dead pig in a trough, while chickens drink from pools of blood on the ground.

The model featured in one of the photos is a former Miss Czech Republic by the name of Diana Kobzanova.

Following Peta's condemnation, Kobzanova has defended the calendar, revealing that the animals pictured in the photographs were in fact models built for the occasion.

All the proceeds from the calendar will go to the Helpers Association, which trains guide dogs for the blind and the physically handicapped, she said.

 

9th November   

A Miserable Portfolio...

Christian Brothers have a whinge at US cable and satellite companies
Link Here

christian brothers logo Christian Brothers Investment Services led a group of 220 other institutional investors to ask the United States' largest cable television and satellite TV providers to stop distributing on-demand pay-per-view pornography and to stop carrying adult channels that specialize in pornographic material.

Letters were sent Nov. 3 to Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, which are, respectively, the first-, second- and fifth-largest cable companies in the United States and the three biggest publicly traded companies. Similar letters also went to DirecTV and Dish Network, the two principal U.S. satellite TV firms.

If a company cannot completely wean itself from porn, the letter said, then it should alert stockholders to the potentially significant legal and business risks that exist from carrying porn by including that information in the company's public disclosures.

Dan Nielsen, director of socially responsible investing for Christian Brothers Investment Services, outlined some of the risks to companies.

There's certainly the reputational risk, which is obviously very controversial in nature, Nielsen claimed: There are legal risks if the companies are caught distributing materials that are defined as obscene and therefore illegal, therefore risking alienation of the company's customer base. If a company has developed a reputation as a family-friendly company yet distributes porn, it is a test of the good will of the company, he added.

Calling pornography a $13 billion industry in the United States, the Christian Brothers letter said, We feel that as more people become concerned about pornography and the effects, both direct and indirect, it has on our society, greater scrutiny will be placed on those companies involved in its production and distribution. The costs for remaining involved in pornography will increase.

Among the 220 signatories are leading members of a host of dozens of men's and women's religious orders in the United States and elsewhere, but also representatives from other investment agents and the travel industry.

 

8th November   

Update: Concapa Crap...

Nutters get A Serbian Film banned in Spain
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film poster A Serbian film has been banned from public screenings in Spain following a provisional injunction by a court in San Sebastian.

The injunction was served to San Sebastian's Fantasy and Terror Film Week, four hours before A Serbian film was due to screen at the festival, forcing Film Week director Jose Luis Rebordinos to pull the film from the program.

Two more festivals in Spain -- in Molins de Rei and Malaga -- have followed suit.

The film played at October's Sitges Fantasy Fest, stirring a wide range of reactions. One was a request by Spain's Catholic Confederation of Family and Student Parents (Concapa) for the film to be yanked from San Sebastian's Terror Week -- a petition that appears to have prompted the temporary injunction. Concapa argued the film offended human dignity and the underage.

Currently the ban is temporary, the San Sebastian court still has to rule on a definitive prohibition.

 

8th November   

Update: Bournemouth Film Censors...

A Serbian Film leaves Bournemouth with censorial legacy
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Bournemouth Council logo Licensing officers will double up as film censors following the row about plans to show A Serbian Film in Bournemouth.

The town's Pier Theatre is volunteering to have its licence amended so it cannot show films that have not been rated by the BBFC unless they have been shown to the local council.

The decision means licensing officers will have to vet any such films, including the low-budget and student movies that have been the backbone of other festivals at the venue. If officers have concerns about a film, they will refer to councillors on the borough's licensing board.

The row was sparked after organisers of the British Horror Film Festival planned to screen the movie A Serbian Film in an uncut version which had not been passed by the BBFC. The film was pulled from the event, but officers did vet several unrated short films and succeeded in getting another 17-minute movie dropped.

 

8th November   

Update: Failed, Must do Better...

EU annual report criticises Turkey over lack of media freedom
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress

EU flag The European Union on Tuesday will criticize Turkey sharply over the rising number of prosecutions against journalists in an annual progress report on the country's bid to join the bloc, said a person familiar with the draft.

The attack on Turkey's press-freedom record is likely to further embarrass the country's Islamic-leaning government, which this week takes over the six-month rotating chair of the Council of Europe, the Continent's top human-rights body. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has hailed that development as testament to the level of democracy in Turkey.

But according to Turkish and international press watchdogs, media freedoms—a key right underpinning democratic systems—are getting significantly worse in Turkey. Reporters without Borders this year ranked Turkey 138th in terms of media freedom, out of 178 countries—down from 98th out of 167 in 2005.

The Justice Ministry, in written answers to questions, said, Turkey is a democratic state, governed by the rule of law, in which press freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution. But the ministry acknowledged that the rise in cases was a problem. At this moment, our ministry is preparing a draft that foresees the amending of some articles concerning the press in the Turkish Penal Code, the Justice Ministry wrote, singling out the articles on secrecy of investigations, personal privacy and the attempt to affect a fair trial.

The ministry also noted that in 2008 it amended the penal code's Article 301, which penalized anyone who publicly denigrated Turkishness, the military, courts or government. Ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was prosecuted under Article 301 in 2006, and was assassinated soon afterward. Since 2008, prosecutors need permission from the Justice Ministry to open a case under Article 301, and new prosecutions have come to a near halt as a result.

 

8th November   

Blue Valentine...

Supporting the hype for the NC-17 rated movie
Link Here  full story: Blue Valentine...Movie initially given publicity friendly NC-17

blue valentine Actress Michelle Williams is urging producers not to edit her harrowing new film Blue Valentine in order to get the movie a lower rating - because she'd prefer cinemagoers saw it as it was intended.

Officials at the Motion Picture Association of America's Classification and Rating Administration have awarded the movie a restrictive NC-17 rating because of a drunken sex scene featuring Williams and her co-star Ryan Gosling.

Producer Harvey Weinstein is challenging the movie censors' over the ban for under-17s, and an appeal hearing will take place on November 10th.

Williams said of the MPAA rating: It seems like such a condemnation. It feels like such a slap on the hand, like you've been a bad kid or something.

 

8th November   

Updated: A Nasty Phenomenon...

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide, new on DVD
Link Here

Video Nasties Definitive Guide DVD The first 5,000 copies are strictly limited edition, individually numbered with a set of art postcards. When they're gone, these will be replaced with a non numbered limited edition without the card set.

From promotional material:

Prepare to be corrupted and depraved once more as Nucleus Films releases the definitive guide to the Video Nasties phenomenon - one of the most extraordinary and scandalous eras in the history of British film.

For the first time ever on DVD, TRAILERS to all 72 films that fell foul of the Director of Public Prosecutions are featured with specially filmed intros for each title in a lavish three-disc collector s edition box-set, alongside a brand new documentary - VIDEO NASTIES: MORAL PANIC, CENSORSHIP AND VIDEOTAPE.

Disc One presents the 39 titles which were successfully prosecuted in UK courts and deemed liable to deprave and corrupt.

Disc Two presents the 33 titles that were initially banned, but then subsequently acquitted and removed from the DPP's list.

Disc Three This era-defining documentary features interviews with filmmakers Ruggero Deodato ( Cannibal Holocaust ) Neil Marshall ( The Descent , Doomsday ), Christopher Smith ( Severance , Black Death ) and MP Graham Bright as well as rare archive footage featuring James Ferman (director of the BBFC 1975-1999) & Mary Whitehouse. Taking in the explosion of home video, the erosion of civil liberties, the introduction of draconian censorship measures, hysterical press campaigns and the birth of many careers born in blood and videotape, West s documentary also reflects on the influence this peculiar era still exerts on us today.

Extras include a gallery of original video company idents and extensive gallery of lurid cover art for every video nasty.

Offsite Review: To Avoid Moral Panic

See article from cultmovieforums.com
See also trailer from youtube.com

video nasties definitive guide video Even the best part of three decade's on talk of the Video Nasties scare still evokes nostalgia amongst those old enough to remember it all and fascinated disbelief amongst those who weren't. Therefore there was much excitement within the realm of the horror and exploitation fan community when UK based independent label Nucleus Films announced the release of a bumper 3-Disc DVD set entitled Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide which it is hoped will be the final word on both the early eighties Nasty panic and indeed the films themselves which started it all. With expectations high will Nucleus's release turn out to be nothing more than a glorified three disc trailer reel.? Or as promised will it be the definitive chronicle of the Video Nasty era? Read on my friends and find out...

...Read the full article

 

8th November   

Roasted by Censors...

Canadian TV censor whinges at Joan Rivers promo
Link Here

roasting joan rivers logo There'll be no punching, kicking and tackling elderly women, even to promote a Comedy Central roast of Joan Rivers, the Canadian TV censor has ruled.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) said the local Comedy Network wrongly aired a promotional spot for The Roast of Joan Rivers from Comedy Central in September 2009 that portrayed young men beating up elderly women.

The 30-second promo featured a series of short scenes in which young men punch, kick and tackle elderly woman as they innocently perform everyday tasks. The tag line in the promo was No one wants to see an old lady get taken down. Until now.

The promo then advertised a roast for 76-year-old Joan Rivers, a veteran comic who has abused her share of A-list actors in her day.

Maybe so, but the Comedy Network should have found another way to promote the Joan Rivers roast, the CBSC said after responding to a viewer complaint over the promo: It was bad enough that the elderly women were beaten up, but having it done in each of the seven instances on a gender basis, that is to say, by men made the matter worse .

 

8th November   

Update: Ferhat Tunc...

Turkish singer acquitted and then re-arrested
Link Here  full story: Music Censorship in Turkey...Musician under duress from Turkish authorities

Baba Munzur Freemuse Award winner, Ferhat Tunç was acquitted from the Diyarbarkir Criminal Court in Turkey.

Facing a 15 year prison sentence because of a speech he made during the First Eruh-Çirav Nature Culture and Arts Festival on 15 August 2009, Tunç was tried under article 7/2 of the Anti-Terrorism Law. The judges - after a one hour break at the Diyarbarkir High Criminal Court - decided there was no evidence of Tunç having committed any crime.

In a letter to the Turkish Prime Minister, Freemuse and the artists protested against the continuous harassments against Tunç and appealed for the dismissal of the case. The campaign was joined by the President's of the Nordic Pen centres.

Ferhat Tunç in a phone call from Diyarbarkir to Freemuse forwarded his gratitude to everyone who has supported him.

But one day after the acquittal of Ferhat Tunç the Istanbul police turned up at his home to inform the singer that he will be charged in two new cases

Ferhat Tunç in a mail to Freemuse writes: Such is my life! Tomorrow I will have to present myself once again to the police .

Freemuse regrets that the Turkish authorities continue the harassment of the singer.

 

7th November   

Update: Adult Duty...

Call of Duty: Black Ops passed 18 uncut in the UK
Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Call Duty Black Ops DVD Call of Duty: Black Ops hit the news after censors announced cuts for German players.

In the UK the game has been passed 18 uncut with the consumer advice: Contains strong bloody violence and strong language.

The BBFC's Extended Classification Information provides more details:

Call of Duty: Black Ops is a military first-person shooter in which the player takes the role of a member of an elite C.I.A. covert action team operating during the Cold War and attempting to stop the threat of a Soviet chemical weapons project. The game was classified 18 for strong bloody violence and strong language.

The violence takes the form of the player's involvement in gun battles with various enemies in which an array of contemporary weapons such as automatic rifles, pistols, grenades and other types of explosive ammunition are available, along with larger weapons such as missile launchers which are carried on ships, helicopters and road vehicles. The player can also access bladed weapons for stealth attacks and hand-to-hand combat. The battles are intense and conducted from a first-person perspective with impacts registering as blood spurts which vary in strength depending on the weapon and the range at which it is used. More powerful weapons can also cause dismemberment with resultant gory detail and enemies can be set on fire. Although dead bodies can sometimes be used as shields against enemy attacks there is no opportunity to inflict post-mortem damage on downed victims. Whilst most of the intense fighting action, in which the player encounters hordes of enemies, does not linger on injuries or carry a personalised edge, some stealth attacks in which a knife is used to slit an enemy's throat contain more of a focus on the damage inflicted and some of the non-interactive cutscenes contain stronger bloodshed, for example, in the assassination of a political leader where the action plays out in slow-motion. It was these stronger, more focussed moments of bloody violence accumulating through the course of the gameplay that went beyond what may be permitted by the BBFC's Guidelines at 15 , which state that Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury , and which determined the 18 category.

The game also contains uses of strong language which would not have been an issue at 15 where the Guidelines state that There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') .

Milder language in the game includes uses of bastard , shit and bitch .

 

7th November   

Update: Loose Tackle...

Family First complaints about naked rugby thrown out
Link Here

naked rugby Nutters of Family First has criticised the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority for not upholding its complaint about a Nightline story featuring full frontal nudity.

In June, 3 News reporter Dave Goosselink reported on the closing down of Dunedin student pub The Gardies. To celebrate, a group of students held a game of nude rugby.

Footage from the match was included in the story, which drew a complaint from Family First director Bob McCoskrie.

The morally dysfunctional BSA has given the green light to full frontal nudity in our current events and news programmes and has no problem with sexual innuendo and offensive comments, says McCoskrie.

The BSA said the item was broadcast well after the 8:30pm watershed, preceded by a clear warning and that Nightline viewers were unlikely to have been offended.

The incoming tide of sexual content disguised as news is a disturbing trend, says MrCoskrie. The TV channels are trying to mask sexual innuendo and pornographic material as news and current events.

McCoskrie also filed a complaint against another item broadcast in June, where humorous potential porn film titles starring MP Shane Jones, collected from Twitter, were read out, on air. This complaint was also not upheld.

 

7th November   

Venezuela Solves its Drug Problems...

Venezuela bans TV dramas with drug dealing characters
Link Here

telenovela Claiming that narco-novelas hurt the social and psychological well-being of children and adolescents, Venezuela's Nacional Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has forbidden television stations from airing two telenovelas, or soap operas, whose main protagonists are drug dealers, reported El Universal and BBC Mundo.

The censored shows, El Capo , which is about a drug dealer who becomes president, and Rosario Tijeras , about a young woman drug dealer and killer, both of which are produced in Colombia, have prompted anew debate about freedom of expression.

The decision to cancel the shows was based on the Radio and Television Social Responsibility Law. Venezuela's official National Radio published an analysis alleging the shows glorified drug dealers and promoted the legalization of drugs, BBC Mundo explained.

Telenovela writer Leonardo Padrón told El Universal that the censorship was an act of absurd puritanism. If it's a measure to reduce violence, it should be applied on the streets.

 

7th November   

Comment: Dangerous Trolling...

Man faces jail over offensive comments posted on celebrity tribute websites
Link Here
dont feed the troll

  Just ignore him!

A man who trawled the internet leaving reportedly obscene messages on tribute sites for dead people is facing jail after being brought to court under a rarely-used law.

Colm Coss found Facebook memorials to victims of high-profile tragedies around the world - and added comments said to be sexual slurs. His targets included a site dedicated to Jade Goody.

He was prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003, which governs all communications networks including internet, e-mail, mobile phone calls and text messages.

Coss  also posted comments about a car crash victim in Australia, and a dead baby in the U.S. Coss targeted the sites purely for his own amusement and to get a reaction, Manchester magistrates were told.

He was only caught when he sent residents on his street photos of himself saying he was an internet troll . The neighbours rang police. When Coss was arrested, he admitted the offence.

Matthew Siddall, prosecuting, said: The defendant told police that he finds the comments amusing. He said it causes reaction.

District Judge Khalid Qureshi told Coss: This crosses the custody threshold.

Coss was granted bail and will be sentenced later this month.

Update: Troll Jailed

30th October 2010. Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

An internet troll who posted obscene messages on Facebook sites set up in memory of dead people has been jailed. Colm Coss posted on a memorial page for Big Brother star Jade Goody and a tribute site to John Paul Massey, a Liverpool boy mauled to death by a dog.

He was jailed for 18 weeks for sending malicious communications .

He was charged under the Communications Act 2003, for sending malicious communications that were grossly offensive.

Chairwoman of the bench Pauline Salisbury said: You preyed on bereaved families who were suffering trauma and anxiety. We know you gained pleasure and you aren't sorry for what you did.

Offsite Comment: Do not jail the troll

Thanks to pbr
7th November 2010.  Based on article from  guardian.co.uk by Ally Fogg

The Guardian However vile Colm Coss's online behaviour may have been, sending him to prison sets a dangerous precedent.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the prime objectives of the justice system were to protect physical wellbeing, integrity and property rights. With very little debate or awareness, we have slipped into a society where the justice system is equally concerned with protecting the intangible sensibilities of the individual. In that sense, this issue overlaps significantly with those around blasphemy and protection from religious insult. I can see no rational reason why causing severe, grievous offence to Jade Goody's admirers should be an imprisonable offence while causing severe, grievous offence to Christians or Muslims should be considered freedom of speech. It cannot be the role of the law to dictate which flavours of offence are reasonable and which are not. I cannot see any reason why an Islamic organisation, to take just one example, could not use this precedent to press charges against anyone who participated in the recent, juvenile Everybody Draw Mohammed Day that circulated online and grew in support on Facebook. And talking of pressing charges, is there anything to now stop Facebook UK or any other site host from dealing with persistent and egregious trolls by calling in the police and handing over IP addresses?

... Read the full article

 

6th November   

Consumed into the Fiery Pits of Redundancy...

Ofcom costs cuts its Consumer Panel
Link Here

dole queue Ofcom is planning to close its consumer panel as part of the TV censor's cost-cutting measures.

The Communications Consumer Panel (formerly the Ofcom Consumer Panel) could be closed as soon as January, with its five remaining panel members and four members of staff set to lose their jobs.

The panel was set up in 2003 as an independent body to represent the interests of the public. However, the panel's independence was at best questionable, given that it was funded by Ofcom and all its staff were Ofcom employees. It was recently labelled the Industry Backside Protection Unit by Des Hughes, a researcher for Lord Corbett.

The closure will certainly save a significant sum. The Communications Consumer Panel had a budget of £712,300 for the 2008/9 financial year, while the chair Anna Bradley received a salary of £30,900 a year for a commitment of only six days a month - a pro-rata salary that was only marginally shy of the the Prime Minister's.

 

6th November   

Saw 3D...

Several dimensions of opinion
Link Here

Saw 3D DVD Tobin Bell Saw 3D is a 2010 US horror by Kevin Greutert.

The BBFC passed the film 18 uncut with the consumer advice: Contains strong gory horror.

The BBFC explained their 18 rating:

Saw 3D is the seventh film in the horror franchise and features a vengeful killer torturing selected victims with elaborate purpose-built devices. It was classified 18 for strong gory horror.

There are several scenes of strong gory horror. The killer often constructs elaborate devices or rigs up machinery to kill his victims. For example, circular saw blades slice into the victims causing blood and intestines to spray from the wounds. In another scene, a man has to remove a fish-hook, attached to a piece of string, that is lodged inside a woman's stomach. As he attempts to retrieve it, the woman coughs up blood until the fish-hook, covered in viscera, is finally removed. The horror and violence throughout the film is often prolonged and sadistic, dwells on the infliction of pain or injury, and also features the strongest gory images. The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state that Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic [...] violence is also unlikely to be acceptable . Therefore, like its predecessors, the film was only permissible at 18 .

SAW 3D also contains some strong language.

Comment: Saw 3D ups the ante on R-rated gore

See  article from  newstimes.com

There are seemingly no restraints on the graphic violence that can be shown in a movie within the framework of an R rating.

Last weekend, I had the misfortune of seeing the No. 1 movie in the United States, Saw 3D , and was appalled by the nonstop torture-related violence in this sixth sequel to a popular series about a madman and his cronies who force their captives to mutilate themselves if they are to have any hope of living.

What really shocked me, however, was how graphic the violence can get now without pushing a movie into NC-17 territory. The MPAA appears to believe that there are still sexual elements in movies that are simply too much for anyone under the age of 16 to witness -- with or without parental consent -- but those same teenagers can handle moments of excruciating mutilation and death that leave nothing to the imagination.

Did the MPAA ratings panel watch all of Saw 3D or did they ask that it be turned off after the teaser opening in which a young woman is sliced in two on camera (perhaps the least graphically violent killing in the film)?

I'm not proposing censorship of horror movies. ..[BUT]... just hoping to make parents aware that their teens might be seeing a lot more than they should when they are dropped off at something like Saw 3D.

Comment: Violence on screen - is it worth the risk?

Based on article from mediawatch-uk.blogspot.com

Mediawatch-UK banner The final instalment of the horror franchise Saw has topped the box office in its opening weekend. Saw 3D is the seventh film in the ultra-violent series which has been described as torture porn .

Saw 3D has been classified by the BBFC as suitable viewing for people over the age of 18. Once a film has been passed by the BBFC with an 18 certificate it is then able to be shown on television in due course. We are concerned that once this film is shown on television (as previous films in the franchise have been) it will be very easy for children to access - particularly on video-on-demand services such as iplayer, itvplayer and 4OD. Ofcom research shows that fewer than a third of parents use the password protected services available to screen what their children have access to.

We can no longer ignore the fact that what viewers see on screen has an effect. Even the Government recognises this and is reported to be asking the producers of soap operas to include safe sex messages in their programmes. There are numerous studies linking exposure to violence in the media with violent behaviour.

If drug companies now have to pass the most stringent test to show their products don't harm even the smallest proportion of takers, should violence on the screen be any different?

Bearing in mind the cost to society, and the misery of the victims of violent behaviour, if there is the slightest possibility that media violence can cause harm is this worth the risk in the interests of entertainment?

Comment: Mediawatch UK Cannot Quite Say That Saw 3D Should Be Banned

Based on article from mediasnoops.wordpress.com

Mediasnoops Why can't they just say what they think! That Saw 3D and other films like it, in their view should be banned. Maybe they are afraid of appearing as the self appointed moral guardians who think they know what is and is not good for the public to be allowed to see that they are.

...Read the full article

 

6th November   

Update: Guiding Nutters...

Girlguiding UK petitions for labelling of photoshopped adverts
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

girlguiding uk logo 25,000 people have signed a petition calling for David Cameron to act against computer-enhanced pictures in adverts and magazines which supposedly lead to distorted ideas about beauty.

Girlguiding UK has delivered the petition to Downing Street calling for the Government to introduce compulsory labelling for all airbrushed images.

Gemma Hallatt, an 18-year-old guide, said: We are pleased that so many people have supported our petition calling for a kitemark to distinguish between airbrushed and natural images. We each know from our own experience that the airbrushed images that you see in magazines and on advertising boards can really affect the self confidence of girls and young women.

Most of us have no idea how significantly these pictures are altered and are shocked when they realise that the images they have of celebrities and models are not a reality.

Hallatt also said that the guides will continue their campaign to ensure that all airbrushed images are clearly marked.

 

6th November   

Update: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...

Sri Lanka set to implement ISP level website blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka's Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) has announced plans to install ISP-level software that will block pornographic websites, according to local news reports. The software will reportedly be ready within six weeks.

Currently, we are having discussions with the Information and Communication Technology Department of the University of Colombo for technical assistance to launch the software, TRC Chairman Anusha Palpita said.

Palpita added that discussions are currently being held with all internet service providers in the country regarding the implementation of the software.

 

6th November   

Update: TV Government Criticism Besieged...

Iraq closes Al-Baghdadia TV station
Link Here

albaghdadia tv logo The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the Iraqi authorities' decision to close down Al-Baghdadia TV offices in Iraq. The closure of the Cairo-based satellite channel was announced after it broadcast the demands of gunmen who attacked a church in Baghdad on Sunday. Fifty-eight people were killed during the siege, according to news reports.

On Monday, security forces sealed the station's Baghdad and Basra offices. No one was allowed to enter the buildings, according to Al-Baghdadia bureau chief in Cairo, Abdelhamid al-Saih. The Communications and Media Commission (CMC), a media regulatory body, issued a statement on its website announcing the decision to shut Al-Baghdadia's offices.

Al-Saih told CPJ that he believed the authorities were using the siege broadcast as a smokescreen for the real reason why they wanted to shut down Al-Baghdadia. We have received complaints before from the CMC regarding a TV program called Al-Baghdadia wa al-nas (Al-Bagdadia and the People) in which we interview Iraqi citizens on-air and give them the opportunity to voice their criticism of the government and officials, he said. Ziad al-Ajili, director of the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, a local press freedom organization, told CPJ that he also thought there were other reasons behind the closure, including the same critical program.

We are concerned by the closure of Al-Baghdadia TV and demand that the CMC explain under what authority it has stormed the station's offices and censored it, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. We call on the authorities to allow the station to resume its operations immediately.

 

6th November   

No Mamba Bado...

Uganda's Central Broadcasting Service returns after a 14 month ban
Link Here

Uganda flag Full, normal broadcasting of the Ugandan Central Broadcasting Service (CBS)--owned by Uganda's powerful traditional Buganda kingdom--resumed this week after nearly 14 months of silence.

The government-influenced Broadcasting Council summarily shuttered CBS and three other stations in September 2009, as Council Chairman Godfrey Mutabazi accused the broadcasters of inciting violence sparked by the government's blocking of the Bagandan monarch from attending a youth celebration north of the capital, Kampala. (The other stations were returned to air quickly.)

Although Minister of Information, Communication, and Technology Aggrey Awori lifted the ban on the stations, ostensibly with no conditions, Kafumbe said, the CBS staff are not convinced the station will be the same. For one thing, the station's popular program Mambo Bado , remains off the air; the program that had local people calling in to voice their concerns about anything--from politics to a pop singer's poor choice of attire. Further, while the station has re-opened, it still does not have an operating license and must re-apply to the Broadcasting Council.

 

5th November   

Update: Private Publications...

Obscenity prosecution re-opened over private online chat
Link Here  full story: Obscene Private Chat...Extending OPA to private internet chat

Crown Prosecution Service The prospect of a dramatic extension of the Obscene Publications Act is once more back on the agenda, as the Crown Prosecution Service last week re-opened a case in which an individual is accused of obscene publishing in respect of a private online chat.

A prosecution was originally brought in May of this year against Gavin Smith whose log of a private online chat he had with another individual was deemed by Kent Police to be obscene.

When the case first came before magistrates, it was discharged on arguments of no case to answer.

The CPS have since received new evidence in this matter and, following a review, have decided to re-charge Smith. There will now be a hearing on 30 November.

 

5th November   

Update: Kind Kindle...

3G Kindle offers unblocked web browsing to Chinese users
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Kindle Wireless Reading Display Generation People in China have found that Amazon's Kindle e-reader allows them to bypass the country's Great Firewall , according to a report.

An article in the South China Morning Post suggested that the 3G-capable device's browser was able to access sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are banned in China and blocked at a national level. The access is made possible by Amazon's own Whispernet virtual mobile network, the article stated.

According to the piece, engineering professor Lawrence Yeung Kwan speculates that Amazon and its Chinese Whispernet partner — the virtual network is based on the real networks of operators around the world — might have agreed to transfer the connection to Amazon's station, presumably in the US, once the mainland gatekeeper sees the signal comes from a Kindle... The signal, which may be encrypted, then returns to the partner network in China so the internet patrols cannot see what is accessed .

Amazon does not sell the Kindle in China, so the devices referred to in the South China Morning Post article are grey-market imports.

 

5th November   

Update: Queer Censors...

Australian TV censor rants at TV rating for Dante's Cove
Link Here  full story: Dante's Cove...Gay drama winds up Australia's TV censor

Dantes Cove 1 3 Complete DVD The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) has hit the Nine Network with an enforceable undertaking , its most severe punishment, over a gay sex scene in the television series Dante's Cove.

ACMA was responding to a complaint alleging that a December 9 episode of the show screened at 10.30 at night should have been given an R rating and hence banned from TV.

It had detailed and explicit scenes of oral sex etc and in one scene you got a full frontal view of the man's genitals, wrote the complainant.

ACMA found the offending scene contained significant quantities of, unambiguous visual detail including, thrusting during simulated fellatio , thrusting during simulated intercourse and genital nudity in a sexual context .

The length of the scene and the unambiguous visual detail, including genital nudity, are such that the intimate sexual behaviour is not discreetly implied or discreetly simulated. It therefore cannot be accommodated within the AV classification.

Nine argued in its defence that a flaccid penis should be as acceptable as naked breasts and that the scene did not contain depictions of genital penetration, oral stimulation … genital contact or other forms of explicit sex.

Nine's classifiers will now have to attend training approved by the Director of the Classification Board. However it is hard to determine what impact this will have as the Classifications Board itself assessed the first season of Dante's Cove as MA15+ for DVD for its violence and horror themes — not its sexual content, which the Board deemed would have been acceptable for an M rating by itself.

Episodes of Dante's Cove broadcast over the next two years will now have to be edited and Nine must provide weekly reports to ACMA on any complaints it receives about the show.

Nine already planned to edit season two of Dante's Cove which is R rated on DVD, but the ruling means that it will have to edit season three as well — also deemed MA15+ by the Classifications Board.

Notes: Australian TV Censorship & Ratings

  • Mature Adult (MA)

Suitable for viewing only by persons 15 years or over because of the intensity and/ or frequency of sexual depictions, or coarse language, adult themes or drug use.

Allowed 9:00pm - 5:00am.

  • Adult Violence (AV)

Suitable for viewing only by persons aged 15 years or over. It is unsuitable for MA classification because of the intensity and/or frequency of violence, or because violence is central to the theme.

Allowed 9.30pm and 5.00 am.

  • 18 rated material (R)

Banned at all times on free to air TV. (Allowed on subscription TV)

 

5th November   

Update: Blocking Creep...

New Zealand's internet filter widens reach to more ISPs
Link Here

NZ Internal Affairs Vodafone says it is working closely with New Zealand's Internal Affairs on implementing the internet filter and is behind the concept.

A spokesman said the company was testing the filter to ensure it actually worked correctly and it doesn't negatively impact other services. Once those boxes are ticked, Vodafone expects to turn it on.

Tech Liberty spokesman Thomas Beagle said Telecom's involvement in the kiddy porn filter is a slippery slope: This is just a government censorship scheme for the internet. Once a system is in place, what can be added to it?

He pointed out that already there were calls for sites that infringed copyright to be censored and just today Commerce Minister Simon Power welcomed the next step in developing new illegal file sharing rules that requires internet service provider co-operation.

Department of Internal Affairs spokesman Trevor Henry advised that other ISPs are being brought on progressively and discussions with Vodafone/iHug, Woosh, Orcon and 2degrees are underway. In addition, design changes are being investigated to adapt the system for performance on mobile devices.

So far about 500 websites are on the filter list and several thousands more are to be examined.

 

4th November   

Update: Naughty Politicians...

YouTube only made a brief return to Turkey
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

YouTube logo Turkey has reinstated its block on YouTube – this time because it is showing a naughty clip of an opposition politician in a hotel bedroom with a female party member.

Access to YouTube from Turkey was reinstated at the weekend after clips insulting the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were removed on copyright grounds. According to Turkish law, it is illegal to insult Ataturk. Google then decided the vids were not infringing anyone's copyright after all, and put them back on the site.

But a court in Ankara ruled that Turkey's telecoms ministry should again block access, Bloomberg reported.

 

3rd November   

Update: Shock Therapy...

US Censors give an R rating to The King's Speech
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

kings speech The King's Speech is the true story of how England's King George VI overcame a devastating speech impediment, it's a wonderfully acted (by Colin Firth as the king, Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist, and Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, the future Queen Mum) slice of history.

But the ever-clueless members of the MPAA ratings board are concerned about teenagers seeing this film --- because of one scene in which the king, in the course of his treatment, lets fly a string of swear words. Because, of course, no teenager has ever heard the F-word.

So The King's Speech gets an R -- the same rating, as Saw 3D .

Tom Hooper, director of The King's Speech, spoke about his disappointment:

What I take away from that decision, is that violence and torture is OK, but bad language isn't. I can't think of a single film I've ever seen where the swear words had haunted me forever, the way a scene of violence or torture has, yet the ratings board only worries about the bad language.

An MPAA spokesperson told the L.A. Times that the board is merely being consistent: We've made clear what our language guidelines are, and it's not fair, in fact it would look arbitrary, if we threw it out for just one film.

But LAT Times' Patrick Goldstein points out that the guidelines are, indeed, arbitrary: More than one use of the F-word, for example, earns an automatic R, but there's no rule about how many, say, gunshots or gallons of blood quality for a PG-13 or an R.

 

3rd November   

The Last Censorism...

ASA whinge at posters for the Last Exorcism
Link Here

Last Exorcism DVD Ashley Bell Two posters and one magazine advert for the horror film The Last Exorcism:

a. One poster that appeared on a bus stop and telephone box showed a young girl bending backwards, doubled over, her dress covered in blood. Above the girl was a crucifix and the text stated BELIEVE IN HIM . Below the image the text stated THE LAST EXORCISM IN CINEMAS SEPTEMBER 3 .

b. A poster on the side of a bus showed the same girl up in the top corner of a room. The text stated THE LAST EXORCISM IN CINEMAS SEPTEMBER 3 .

c. An ad, in Cineworld's Unlimited cinema magazine, was the same as poster ad (a).

1. Most complainants, who found the images graphic and disturbing, challenged whether the ads were offensive, distressing and unsuitable for public display.

2. Some complainants challenged whether the ads were likely to cause fear and distress to children, especially because some posters were placed near schools and ad (c) appeared in a free magazine that could be picked up by children.

3. Two complainants found ad (a) offensive and upsetting because they believed it showed the girl as having suffered a sexual assault.

ASA Assessment

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted the ads were designed to promote a mainstream horror film, but considered that the image in ad (a), which showed a young girl with her dress covered in blood, was likely to cause offence and distress when displayed in an untargeted medium such as a poster. We also considered that the image of a young girl with her dress covered in blood was unsuitable to be seen by children. We considered, however, that the same image in Unlimited magazine, which was a specialist magazine available in Cineworld cinemas, was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress in that context. We also considered that because young children visiting the cinema were likely to be accompanied by an adult, they were unlikely to see and be distressed by the ad in that context. We noted a small proportion of the complainants found ad (b) disturbing, but considered that the image in that ad was likely to be experienced as strange rather than frightening or horrific, and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to adults or children.

3. Not upheld

We considered that the contortions of the girl in ad (a) were explained by the title of the film and the image of a crucifix, and were therefore unlikely to be widely interpreted as a result of a sexual assault.

 

3rd November   

Update: Taking Ages...

US Supreme Court reviews Californian law imposing age restrictions on computer games sales
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

US Supreme Court Retailers who sell the latest Halo or Call of Duty video games to children would face big fines under a law being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Despite receiving sympathy from some justices, the California law that aims to keep kids from buying ultraviolent video games faces a steep constitutional hurdle.

The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban earlier this year on so-called crush videos that showed actual deaths of animals.

California officials argue they should be allowed to limit minors' ability to buy violent video games because of the potential damage. The games are especially harmful to minors, said Zackery Morazzini, a California deputy attorney general.

The law would bar anyone under 18 from buying or renting games that give players the option of killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.

Parents would be able to buy the games for their children, but retailers who sell directly to minors would face fines of up to $1,000 for each game sold.

Some justices wondered where the regulation would stop. What about films? asked Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What about comic books? added Justice Antonin Scalia, wondering if movies showing drinking and smoking might be next.

Lower courts have said the law violates minors' constitutional rights, and courts in six other states struck down similar bans.

The Supreme Court's decision is expected next year.

 

3rd November   

Update: More Blocked Sites...

Thailand website blocking hits a quarter million
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

Thailand flag Thailand's Technology ministry, MICT, is to close 46,000 more websites for being critical of Thailand's political setup.

This is the first government announcement of further Internet censorship since July.

The new Army commander has signed a memorandum of understanding specifying 43,000 websites to be blocked immediately and 3,000 pending.

Relying solely upon previous government media releases totaling 210,110 websites, Thailand is now blocking 256,110 websites.

 

3rd November   

Registered Press Censors...

Malawi closes down weekly newspaper
Link Here

weekend times malawi logo The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a government ban on the publication of Malawian weekly tabloid The Weekend Times .

In a letter dated October 28, the National Archives of Malawi issued an immediate suspension of The Weekend Times on charges of failing to register the paper, according to news reports.

The letter cited the 1958 Printed Publications Act, which requires all newspapers to be registered and to deposit a copy of each of their publications with the National Archives. Under the colonial-era law, the National Archives can shutter publications for an indeterminate period without appeal, local journalists told CPJ.

Blantyre Publishers, the owners of The Weekend Times and four other publications, applied to register all of their publications with the National Archive last month but did not receive a response, Managing Director Leonard Chikadya told CPJ. Once an application is submitted for registration it is assumed that the publication has commenced the registration process and cannot face punitive measures according to the publishing law, Chikadaya said. Blantyre Publishers' legal counsel has filed motions for an injunction in an effort to continue publishing.

The The Weekend Times appears to have been shut down without basis, said CPJ's East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. We urge the National Archives to rescind their order immediately and allow the weekly to continue publishing.

 

2nd November   

Update: Copyright Claims on Turkish Insult Rejected...

YouTube may have only made a brief return to Turkey
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

YouTube logo Despite the earlier news that Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube after almost 2.5 years, YouTube reinstated the four videos that were removed by a licensing agency in Germany.

YouTube, in a statement circulated in Turkish  stated that the four videos did not violate its copyright violation policy and therefore they were put back into the system.

I did verify the statement and the four videos are available where they were used to be available. YouTube also announced that it continues to use a local blocking system and therefore Turkish users will not be able to see these videos from Turkey if YouTube remains accessible from Turkey. However, those videos will be available and accessible from outside Turkey.

I remains to be seen how the Turkish authorities will react to this action by YouTube but I strongly suspect that they will issue a new injunction to block access to YouTube.

 

2nd November   

Starting in 2XXX...

XXX Domain idea put to ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee
Link Here

ICANN logo The porn-only .xxx internet domain is set to come under review by international governments, after ICANN deferred voting on the proposal until December.

This week, the organisation decided to refer the controversial domain to its Governmental Advisory Committee, which may prove to be the last hurdle it has to jump before being approved.

The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) has historically been less than keen on the idea of a domain just for porn, so ICANN's move could be seen as a setback for ICM Registry, the company behind the proposal. If the committee arrived as a consensus against .xxx, it could hurt the domain's chances of being approved.

But Stuart Lawley, ICM's president, said he believes the GAC consultation, is just a formality: We understand that ICANN wants to cross all of its t's and dot its i's by reaching out to the GAC . We welcome the board's resolve to move forward expeditiously, and continue to look forward to a first quarter launch.

The .xxx proposal is opposed by many in the porn business, and notably, the Free Speech Coalition, a US-based trade association for the adult entertainment industry. Stuart Lawley can stand on the rooftops and shout that this is a done deal all he wants but this is an insurmountable obstacle for ICM to overcome, FSC director Diane Duke said in a statement.

 

2nd November   

Battle of Words...

Novelist besieged by 150 hindu women demanding she quit India
Link Here

War Talk Arundhati Roy The Delhi home of the prize-winning Indian novelist and human rights campaigner Arundhati Roy was besieged by Hindu women demanding that she quit the country because of her outspoken views on Kashmir.

Around 150 members of the Bharatiya Janata Party's women's organisation surrounded the house chanting slogans such as: Take back your statement, else leave India . The BJP is fiercely opposed to Kashmiri independence.

Addressing a conference in last month (OCT), Roy had declared: Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. The author, whose story The God of Small Things won the 1997 Booker Prize, has supported Kashmiri secession in the past as well as diverse environmental and social causes.

The Indian government was reported at one stage to be considering launching a prosecution for sedition against Roy and the Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani over their remarks.

Roy said: The government has indicated that it does not intend to go ahead with the charges of sedition against me ... So the task of punishing me for my views seems to have been taken on by right-wing storm troopers ... But why are sections of the mainstream media doing the same? Is a writer with unpopular views more dangerous than a suspect in a bomb blast?

 

1st November   

A Bad Influence for Denmark...

Danish party leader looks to get al-Jazeera banned
Link Here

Al Jazeera logo The leader of Denmark's Danish People's Party, on which the government relies for support, said in a newspaper interview published that pan-Arab television channels Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya should be stopped from broadcasting to the country.

Pia Kjaersgaard, leader of parliament's third-biggest party, accused the channels of sowing hatred against Western society in immigrant communities. The centre-right governing coalition said it did not support her views about the stations.

Kjaersgaard said she would look into reporting the TV stations to Danish regulatory authorities with the aim of getting their broadcasts blocked.

My aim is merely to promote integration here which in certain residential areas has gone completely wrong, and that is to a large extent due to the inhabitants getting their news from these two TV stations only, she said in an interview with the daily Berlingske Tidende. Their broadcasts are very full of hatred... They contribute to inculcating hatred against Western society.

 

1st November   

A Bad Influence for Morocco...

Morocco bans al-Jazeera over claims of damaging reporting
Link Here

Al Jazeera logo Morocco has suspended the activities of al-Jazeera on its territory for what it claimed was unfair reporting that had damaged the country's reputation.

The Moroccan communications ministry said it had noted several incidents in which the Qatar-based television station had violated journalistic standards for accuracy and objectivity.

It said al-Jazeera's broadcasts had seriously distorted Morocco's image and manifestly damaged its interests, most notably its territorial integrity .

The station had shown a determination to only broadcast from our country negative facts and phenomena in a deliberate effort to minimise Morocco's efforts in all aspects of development and to knowing belittle its achievements and progress on democracy, the ministry said.

 

1st November   

Offsite: A Bad Influence for Egypt...

Coptic Christians see al-Jazeera as divisive of Egypt
Link Here

Al Jazeera logo The majority of Coptic Christians and liberal Muslims in Egypt believe that Fundamentalist sheikhs and their mass media have played a vital role in the latest wave of incitement against the Coptic Church, orchestrated by Egyptian State Security.

The Salafi television channels, airing their programs from Egypt, supported by their affiliated fundamentalist journalists and mosque imams, have engaged in a coordinated smear campaign against the Coptic Church and its Pope, designed to terrorize the Copts.

Newspapers and TV channels in Arab countries gave a wide platform for Islamists to join in the campaign. It was on Al-Jezeerah TV Channel on September 15 that the Islamist and ex-secretary general of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, Dr. Selim Al-Awah, accused the Pope of running a State within the Egyptian State and the church of having its own militia and of hiding weapons and ammunition obtained from Israel in monasteries and churches, preparing for a war against the Muslims, to divide Egypt and establish a so-called Coptic State.

Al-Awah also accused the church of abducting and torturing Christian converts to Islam in monasteries, to brainwash them back to Christianity. He warned that if the status of the Church remains as such, the country will burn and called on Muslims to go out in demonstrations as the only answer left to counteract the strength of the Church.

...Read the full article

 

1st November   

White Ribbon Whingers...

Whingeing that porn is popular and something should be done about it
Link Here

Morality in Media logo As the start of this year's White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week nears, Robert Peters, president of Morality in the Media, is hoping to draw attention to his view that American has a problem – pornography – and he wants more action taken.

According to the American Family Association Journal, every year the porn industry creates 11,000 new movies, compared to the 400 mainstream videos created by Hollywood. Many of those videos are published online for the public to access.

Pat Trueman, an attorney and anti-porn campaigner, noted, Hardcore porn is now more easily available than ever before. It's not only produced by porn syndicates, but by individuals.

Trueman believes pornography is constantly being ignored. The problem is that Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush hardly prosecuted obscenity, at least no Internet companies. They just downplayed it, he said. And the Obama administration is also doing nothing.

Peters noted that the U.S. Justice Department has the legal authority to take on the mass producers creating sexual explicit content through obscenity laws, but it is not taking action.

Peters lamented that even websites that claim to be child protected have free teasers showing hard core content. You name it, it's free of charge. They say you have to be 18 years old to look at it, but all you have to do is click the button, Peters said.

Trueman claimed that pornography is impacting family break-up in high numbers. Plus there are many other effects such as an increased sex trafficking, he added. [eg an increase to just 5 convictions in New York in 2.75 years].

Nutters are being encouraged to take a stand against pornography during WRAP Week, which kicks off Sunday. A flier put out by the Morality in Media encourages the public to wear a white ribbon and contact state prosecutors with pornography complaints.

 

1st November   

Strong Language in Court...

Film bigwigs ignore nutter's court action to harangue them for supposedly abusive language
Link Here

peepli live The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has directed the Mumbai police commissioner to serve court notices to producers and directors of Peepli Live, Omkara, Gangaajal and Bandit Queen for alleged use of abusive language in these movies.

The order was passed in response to a petition filed by a local lawyer Ashok Pandey. The petitioner had sought an immediate ban on the screening of the movies stating that they are popularising the use of abusive language.

The court on October 12 had issued notices against chairperson of Censor Board Sharmila Tagore, producers of Peepli Live Aamir Khan and director Anusha Rizvi, producer-director of Gangaajal Prakash Jha, producer of Omkara Kumar Mangat and director Vishal Bharadwaj, director of Bandit Queen Sandeep S Bedi and director Shekhar Kapoor.

However, none of the respondents appeared before the court after which it decided to send notices through the Mumbai police commissioner. The court has fixed November 23 as the next date of hearing.