The Bangladesh and UK governments have started a process to block pornographic websites and stop publication of offensive contents in the countries.
The Bangladesh Telecommunications Division and British Board of Film Censors have formed committees to detect and block websites that contain pornography, vulgar picture and video contents, according to a news agency report.
The committees will make a three-level technical proposal by listing such websites ad contents within a week, State Minister for Telecommunications Tarana Halim said. The process to block these will start after getting the list and proposal, she
said after a meeting on controlling offensive internet contents at the Secretariat .
A director general of telecoms regulators BTRC will head the committee, which will comprise representatives from National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC), internet service providers (ISPs), mobile-phone operators and law-enforcing
agencies. David Austin of the BBFC will spearhead UK censorship efforts.
Tarana said the drive against internet pornography will continue even after blocking the listed porn websites. And no doubt speaking for the UK too, she said:
The availability of internet pornography and offensive content is creating a negative social impact on all the citizens, including the adolescents.
New Zealand film censors of the Office of Film and Literature Classification have been commissioning research on the topic of the depiction of sexual violence in entertainment media. The censors have presented their report framed in the
jargon of political correctness as follows:
Teenagers think that inaccurate depictions or misrepresentations of sexual violence in entertainment media are potentially harmful. Harms identified included normalisation, perpetuation of harmful stereotypes, negative impacts on
victim/survivors, and being negatively influenced by behaviour seen on screen.
These are some of the findings detailed in Young New Zealanders Viewing Sexual Violence, the latest research report from the Office of Film and Literature Classification.
Given that there is real concern in New Zealand about sexual violence in wider society, it is perhaps surprising that to-date there had been no New Zealand research asking young people about their views of sexual violence in entertainment media
such as movies, TV shows and games.
The report is based on focus groups conducted with teenagers from Auckland and Wellington, undertaken by Colmar Brunton. It represents the first part of a research and consultation project exploring the effects -- particularly on young people --
of viewing sexual violence in entertainment media. The project also explores the impact on the wider community, and builds on international research showing that repeated exposure to violent entertainment content can have significant negative
effects on young people.
Project leader Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana says that the findings will inform the classification of sexual violence depictions in New Zealand:
We hope the results of our own research translate into meaningful policy and action to improve the lives of New Zealanders, particularly in how they engage with entertainment media. We also hope the results encourage future (much needed)
research on this subject both nationally and internationally.
The results so far suggest that it is not a question of if depictions of sexual violence are shaping young people's understandings of sexual violence, but how they are shaping young people's understandings.
Chief Censor Andrew Jack says some of the findings are hardly surprising:
We know that the development of children and young people is heavily influenced by their environment and the modern reality is that media is a large part of their environment.
The research shows that young people want more and better information rather than less when making viewing choices.
The wider project involves specialists in the field of sexual violence prevention, treatment and education (including front-line victim/survivor counsellors) and academics and officials with expertise in sexual violence. Preliminary findings
reveal a high degree of concern about the nature of entertainment content being made available in New Zealand, and participants agreed that young people's unfettered access to material was a pressing issue in the provision of their services. A
full report on these consultations will be published in due course.
Russia wants to step up its ability to censor the Internet, and it's turning to China for help. China's Great Firewall is the envy of the Putin regime.
The Russian government recently passed a series of measures known as Yarovaya's laws that require local telecom companies to store all users' data for six months, and hang on to metadata for three years. And if the authorities ask, companies must
provide keys to unlock encrypted communications.
There has been some skepticism as to whether such laws would -- or even could -- be enforced but earlier this month Russia's internet censor, Roskomnadzor, blocked all public access to LinkedIn.
What's more, it is now clear that Russia has been working with authorities in charge of censoring the Internet in China to import some aspects of the Great Firewall that have made it so successful. According to the Guardian , the two
countries have been in close talks for some time, and the Chinese digital equipment maker Huawei has been enlisted to help Russian telecom companies build the capacity necessary to comply with Yarovaya's laws.
The Liberal Democrats are to oppose plans to censor internet porn sites in the name of 'protecting the children'. Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, said:
Liberal Democrats will do everything possible to ensure that our privacy is not further eroded by this Tory government.
Clamping down on perfectly legal material is something we would expect from the Russian or Chinese governments, not our own. Of course the internet cannot be an ungoverned space, but banning legal material for consenting adults is not the right
The Internet Service Provider Association has also said moves to force providers to block adult sites that do not age verify has the potential to significantly harm the digital economy . ISPA chair James Blessing said:
The Digital Economy Bill is all about ensuing the UK continues to be a digital world leader, including in relation to internet safety. This is why ISPA supported the government's original age verification policy for addressing the problem of
underage access of adult sites at source.
Instead of rushing through this significant policy change, we are calling on government to pause and have a substantive discussion on how any legal and regulatory change will impact the UK's dynamic digital economy and the expectations and
rights of UK Internet users.
A ludicrous Private Member's Bill making it offence for people to wear military medals to which they are not entitled has been backed by the government.
The Awards for Valour (Protection) Bill tabled by Conservative MP Gareth Johnson passed its Commons second reading on Friday.
It could create a new criminal offence with a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment or a £5,000 fine.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says he fully supports the proposal.
It is so typical of our disgraceful politicians, to propose extreme punishments for trivial reasons so that they can feel good about some pet peeve of theirs.
James Glancy, a former captain in the Royal Marines who received the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for his service in Afghanistan, told the BBC's Daily Politics the bill goes too far . He commented:
I think it's just going too far to suggest someone could go to prison. I think it's very important to look at what's going on with someone that is actually pretending that they served in the armed forces. There may well be a serious mental
health problem and actually that person just has low self-esteem, they're not a threat to the public, and they actually need professional help.
Fox News is a news channel originating in the USA, broadcast on the digital satellite platform and licensed by Ofcom in the UK.
Hannity is a live current affairs programme, presented by Sean Hannity, that discusses and analyses political and news stories.
During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified three one hour programmes which were broadcast in the US at 22:00 Eastern Standard Time and simultaneously in the UK at 03:00. The programmes included a number of statements relating to the 2016 US
Presidential election. Our concern in this case was whether these three programmes were duly impartial in their coverage of the US Presidential election campaign.
Ofcom then cited pages of examples of pro Trump bias eg the following exchange in an interview with Trump:
Khizr Khan, a US citizen of Pakistani origin received widespread media attention for criticising Donald Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Hannity : When you talk about refugees, illegal immigration, you're not talking about people like the Khans. For example, James Clapper, our National Director of Intelligence, our CIA Director, or FBI Director, Assistant FBI Director, our
Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and even General John Allen, Obama's special envoy to defeat ISIS: They have all warned us that the refugees that Obama's taking in -- and Hillary wants a 550% increase -- that refugee
population will be infiltrated. Are you clear you are not talking about the Khans, you're talking about what these people are saying?
Trump : No, I'm not talking about the Khans, I'm not talking about a lot of people. I'm talking about people coming over here from Syria that aren't properly vetted, their immigration, nobody knows if they're ISIS, they don't know who
they are. They're being put all over the country. Hillary wants a 550% increase over what Obama's bringing in. Obama's bringing them in by the thousands, by the thousands, and she wants to bring them in 550% more. I think it's insane. Now I also
think that what we should do is build safe zones over in Syria, have the Gulf states pay for it. They've got plenty of money. They're not doing their job right now‚?¶We have to get back to rebuilding our country, rebuild our infrastructure,
create jobs, take jobs away from Mexico and all these countries that are taking our jobs.
Ofcom considered Rule 6.1:
The rules in Section Five, in particular the rules relating to matters of major political or industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy, apply to the coverage of elections and referendums.
And the section 5 rules considered were:
Rule 5.11: In addition to the rules above, due impartiality must be preserved on matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy by the person providing a service (listed above) in each
programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes.
Rule 5.12: In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in
clearly linked and timely programmes. Views and facts must not be misrepresented.
Ofcom then spent several more pages analysing the bleedin' obvious, that Hannity (and Fox News in general) were heavily biased in favour of Trump. Ofcom concluded:
In these programmes, we considered that there were a large number of positive viewpoints expressed about Mr Trump and his campaign, coupled with the fact that Hillary Clinton and her candidacy were strongly criticised. As already mentioned above,
this meant that there was an overwhelmingly one-sided view on a matter of major political controversy and major matter relating to current public policy, i.e. the policies and actions of the two principal candidates contesting the 2016 US
For the reasons set out above, our Decision was that this material had clearly breached Rule 6.1 (and Rules 5.11 and 5.12).
The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is another reprehensible trade agreement seeking to put big corporations ahead of the people when it comes to the law of the land.
Tisa's latest wheeze is to suggest that censorship procedures adopted by social networks should be granted impunity from criticism, reproach or even legal control via the law of the land.
Under leaked proposals from TiSA, social networks and other online services could be granted legal immunity when censoring any content, as long as it's deemed harmful or objectionable.
The measure is one of several internet-related proposals being advanced by TiSA, according to a leaked section of the agreement published by Greenpeace and the German digital rights blog Netzpolitik .
The draft proposal, which is dated September 16, 2013, effectively guarantees online services' ability to censor such content in Europe without needing to accept any legal liability or public accountability--whether that curation is done by a
human or an algorithm.
At a time when there is so much debate about whether Facebook over censors or under censors, or that it somehow controls the thought of zombie masses, gullible to a few lies, enabling the subversion of western democracy, it seems strange to
consider granting the orgnisation impunity from law.
Of course our politicians rather prove how easy it is to overrule rational thinking with a few bullshit claims about how granting big corporations immense power, will magically right all the wrongs of our failing economies.
In placing the BBFC as official guardians of morality, alternative depictions of sexuality such as that by the growing feminist pornography movement and the BDSM community are threatened. By Vonny Moyes
Digital Economy Bill Age Verification Letters of Understanding
On 06 October 2016, the BBFC exchanged letters of understanding with DCMS confirming DCMS's intention, in principle, to appoint the BBFC to take on a regulatory role in the age verification of pornographic content online, as proposed in the
Digital Economy Bill. These letters are available below.
The Digital Economy Bill contains measures to establish the same standard of protection online as currently exists offline with the aim of reducing the risk of children and young people accessing, or stumbling across, pornographic content
The BBFC's proposed role in the age verification of pornographic content online, as laid out in the Digital Economy Bill, is subject to designation by both Houses of Parliament.
The Letter of Understanding form Baroness Shelds of the DCMS to David Austin reads:
I would like to drank you for the British Board of Film Classification's continuous help and support in developing the Government's manifesto commitment to Introduce Age Verification (AV) checks for online pornography.
As you know, the AV clauses contained in the Digital Economy Bill have been designed to ensure that pornographic material must not normally be accessible online to users in the UK on a commercial basis without appropriate age verification
checks. We appreciate BBFC's ongoing support especially in helping develop effective options for Stages 1-3 of the proposed regulatory framework. I understand you have worked with my officials in thinking through these proposals and had a
productive meeting on 16 September to discuss your role in more detail.
We are committed to this policy and aim to introduce an effective regulatory framework to enable its smooth delivery. BBFC's experience in making effective editorial judgements Is important to the success of the policy. I would like to invite
the BBFC to take on a regulatory role within the proposed framework, subject to the particulars of the proposed designation being laid in both Houses of Parliament. In working together, it is our intention that:
Both DCMS and the BBFC are committed to working openly and transparently to establish an effective regulatory framework for the age verification of pornographic content online;
That the BBFC will create a proportionate, accountable, independent and expert regulatory function, that would seek among its alms to promote voluntary compliance and advise Her Majesty's Government (HMG) mars widely on reducing the risk of
pornography being made readily available to children;
That the BBFC will be responsible for Stages 1-3 of the proposed regulatory framework and that any enforcement function under the current Bill Clauses 20 and 21 will be carried out by another regulator that will have equal status to the BBFC,
DCMS will fund the BBFC's start up, and those already incurred. subject to final agreement once legislative approvals are in place.
Please note, this letter Is nonbinding and constitutes an indication of intent rather than creating a liability or obligation of any nature whatsoever to DCMS or the BBFC.
I look forward to heating from you very soon and would like to thank you once again for your valuable contribution and ongoing co-operation.
Blasphemy cuts waived to John Waters' Multiple Maniacs
27th November 2016
Multiple Maniacs is a 1970 USA crime comedy horror by John Waters.
Starring Divine, David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce.
UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong sex references, sexual violence with previous BBFC cuts waived for:
2016 cinema release
UK Censorship History
Heavily cut by the BBFC on grounds of blasphemy for 1990 18 rated VHS. A restored version was passed 18 uncut with previous cuts waived for 2016 cinema release.
The previous BBFC cuts were:
Cut to remove an entire supposedly blasphemous sequence set in a church in which a male transvestite buggered himself with a rosary. The shots of the transvestite were intercut with footage of Christ moving through the Stations
of the Cross.
The travelling sideshow 'Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions' is actually a front for a group of psychotic kidnappers, with Lady Divine herself the most vicious and depraved of all - but her life changes after she gets raped by a fifteen-foot
Coronation Street is a long-running and well-established soap opera on ITV.
Ofcom received 473 complaints about a comment by the character Eva Price during a scene in the local hair salon. Looking at her dyed hair, she said:
Yeah, look [pointing at her hair] I've got more roots than Kunte Kinte. No idea who that is by the way, it's summat my mum used to say.
Kunte Kinte is the lead character in Alex Haley's 1976 novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family which was later adapted into a popular television series called Roots. The story chronicles the life of an 18th century African man who was
captured and sold into slavery in the United States.
The complainants considered the play on the word roots was unacceptable as the basis for a joke given the subject matter of the Alex Haley story, and therefore felt that the comment was racially offensive.
Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code:
In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context‚?¶ Such material may include, but is not limited to... discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the
grounds of...race...). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.
Ofcom Decision: Not in breach
Ofcom first considered whether the comment in this particular scene had the potential to cause offence. Slavery and ethnicity are subjects that broadcasters should approach with due caution, especially when they are referred to in a light-hearted
context which could result in sensitivities being heightened. In Ofcom's view, viewers who were aware of the Alex Haley story or the Roots series would have been likely to associate Eva's reference to Kunte Kinte with the story, and with slavery.
In the light-hearted context in which the remark was made, we considered that this reference to slavery had the potential to offend viewers.
Ofcom went on to consider if the broadcast of the material was justified by the context.
Eva Price's comment was a play on the word roots , which referred to both the colour of her hair at its roots and, through the reference to Kunte Kinte, the title of the 1970s television series. Although the series is well known for
depicting the African slave trade in 18th century America, we noted that Eva's comment did not mention this at all. She only referred to the title of the television series and name of its lead character. We took into account, in particular, that
at no point was language broadcast which referred directly to ethnicity or slavery, or in Ofcom's view, was derogatory or discriminatory.
Ofcom also took into account Eva's subsequent remark that she did not understand who Kunte Kinte was, and that she was repeating the phrase because it was something her mother used to say. This reflected the foolishness, and lack of sensitivity
and cultural awareness, of her character. For her to speak in this thoughtless fashion without understanding what she was referring to, or that it might cause offence, was likely to have been consistent with the audience's expectations of her
We acknowledged that relatively high number of viewers complained to Ofcom, and that some viewers clearly felt very strongly about the remarks in this case. We noted the measures taken by ITV to mitigate the potential offence to these viewers by:
writing to all complainants who contacted it directly, making a public statement to the press apologising if the remark had caused any unintended offence, and removing the phrase from subsequent broadcasts of the episode.
Having taking into account all the above factors, we were of the view that this potentially offensive material was justified by the context. Therefore, the material was not in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.
When you legislate at break-neck speed, and fail to consult, things will go wrong. This is absolutely the case with Age Verification (AV) in the Digital Economy Bill, which now seems set to include website blocking to bolster use of AV
technologies. This is likely to lead to high risks of credit card fraud and privacy abuse.
Currently the BBFC are pinning their hopes on being able to specify some kind of privacy and safety standard through their ability to regulate arrangements that deliver age verified material. Sites must deliver pornographic material:
in a way that secures that, at any given time, the material is not normally accessible by persons under the age of 18
The regulator can issue then guidance for:
types of arrangements for making pornographic material available that the regulator will treat as complying
The claim is that this mechanism allows the guidance to specify what kind of AV is private and secure.
However, if the BBFC are told to block non-compliant websites, in practice they will have to accept any system that websites use that verifies age. To do otherwise would be highly unfair: why should a site with legal material, that uses
their own AV system, end up blocked by the BBFC?
This will especially apply to systems that require registration / credit card tests. There are plenty of paysites already of course. These are not privacy friendly, as they strongly identify the user to the website - and they have to do this to
minimise fraudulent payment card transactions. That's alright as a matter of choice of course, but dangerous when it is done purely as a means of age verification.
If asking for credit card details becomes common or permissible, and a credible ask in the minds of UK citizens, then the government will have created a gold mine for criminals to operate scam porn sites targeted at the UK, inviting people to
supply their credit cards to scam sites for Age Verification . In fact you could see this being extended to all manner of sites that a criminal could claim were blocked until you prove you're over 18 .
verified by visa fraud
Once credit card details are harvested, in return for some minimal/copyright infringing porn access at a scam porn site, then criminals can of course resell them for fraud. Another easy to understand example of a criminal abusing this system is
that you could see criminals typo-squatting on relevant domain names such as youporm.com and asking for a credit card to gain access. Anything that normalises the entry of credit card details into pages where the user isn't making a payment will
increase the fraudulent use of such cards. And if a website is validating credit cards to prove age, but not verifying them, then the internationally agreed standards to protect credit card data are unlikely to apply to them.
Website blocking makes these scams more likely because the BBFC is likely to have to sacrifice control of the AV systems that are permissible, and a diversity of AV systems makes it hard for users to understand what is safe to do. During the
committee stage of the Digital Economy Bill, we argued that the AV regulator should be highly specific about the privacy and anonymity protections, alongside the cyber security consequences. We argued for a single system with perhaps multiple
providers, that would be verifiable and trusted. The government on the other hand believes that market-led solutions should be allowed to proliferate. This makes it hard for users to know which are safe or genuine.
If website blocking becomes part of the enforcement armoury, then websites that employ unsafe but effective, or novel and unknown, AV systems will be able to argue that they should not be blocked. The BBFC is likely to have to err on the side of
caution - it would be an extreme step to block an age-verifying website just because it hadn't employed an approved system.
The amount of website blocking that takes place will add to the scamming problem and open up new opportunities for innovative criminals. The BBFC seems to be set to have an administrative power to order ISPs to block. If this is the case,
the policy would appear to be designed to block many websites, rather than a small number. The more blocking of sites that users encounter, the more they will get used to the idea that age verification is in use for pornography or anything that
could possibly be perceived as age-restricted, and therefore trust the systems they are presented with. If this system is not always the same, but varies wildly, then there are plenty of opportunities for scams and criminal compromise of
poorly-run Age Verification systems.
Security and privacy problems can be minimised, but are very, very hard to avoid if the government goes down the website blocking route. What MPs need to know right now is that they are moving too fast to predict the scale of the problems they
are opening up.
A Kent school has censored a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos, a former pupil, an outspoken Donald Trump supporter, and member of the so-called alt-right movement. The censorship was apparently ordered by the Department for Education
Simon Langton grammar school for boys, which Yiannopoulos attended, said it had pulled his address to sixth-formers due to take place on Tuesday. Yiannopoulos is a senior editor at the US-based Breitbart website, whose chief executive, Steven
Bannon , is Trump's choice for chief strategist.
The Canterbury school claimed the talk had been cancelled because of safety concerns, with almost all of the opposition to it coming from outside the school.
The alt-right may be a bit controversial but this hasn't really lead to any incidents of unrest so far. Anyway the school said:
The decision was taken following contact from the DfE counter-extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public, and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety
of our community.
Yiannopoulos, who was permanently suspended from Twitter in July , describes himself as the most fabulous supervillain on the internet on his Facebook page, where he added:
My old high school has been bullied into cancelling my talk on Tuesday by the counter-extremism unit at the UK Department of Education.
Who even knew the DoE had a counter-extremism unit? And that it wasn't set up to combat terrorism but rather to punish gays with the wrong opinions?
TV censors of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) have banned at least 11 Christian TV channels being run across the country.
The channels which have been blocked are Isaac TV, Gawahi TV, God Bless TV, Barkat TV, Praise TV, Zindagi TV, Shine TV, Jesus TV (Jessi TV), Healing TV, Khushkhabari TV, and Catholic TV , sources said. All the channels relayed religious
programmes for Christians living in the country.
Pemra claimed the censorship was because the banned channels were broadcasting without licences but that was probably down to christian channels not being allowed to have licenses.
These TV channels are banned in line with ongoing Pemra campaign to ban illegal channels, Sheikh Tahir, the regulator's general manager media, told The Express Tribune . He said the blocked TV channels did not have licences to continue
Pemra seeks ministry's help in enforcing Indian DTH ban
In response to a question that why only Christian TV channels were banned, Sheikh Tahir, the Pemra's general manager medias claimed there was no segregation in the name of religion.
Talking to The Express Tribune , Nadim Anthony, a Christian advocate and rights activist, termed it a blow to the Christian minority of the country. Anthony said the blocked channels had a huge viewership, through which community members took
religious guidance. He added:
There are so many Islamic TV channels functioning in the country but no one can dare ban them, which is discrimination.
Unless someone makes a challenge in Congress, new enhance snooping powers have been decreed for the US authorities.
Extra spying powers are set to be granted by Congressional inaction over an update to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. These changes will kick in on December 1.
The rule tweak, which was cleared by the Supreme Court in April, will allow the FBI to apply for a warrant to a nearby US judge to hack any suspect that's using Tor, a VPN, or some other anonymizing software to hide their whereabouts, in order to
find the target's true location.
Normally, if agents want to hack a PC, they have to ask a judge for a warrant in the jurisdiction where the machine is located. This is tricky if the location is obscured by technology. With the changes to Rule 41 in place, investigators can get
a warrant from any handy judge to deploy malware to find out where the suspect is based -- which could be anywhere in America or the world.
The rule change also allows the authorities to just obtain one warrant in case that cross multiple jurisdictions.
Don't Make Me Laugh
BBC Radio 4, 21 April 2016, 18:30
Don't Make Me Laugh is a comedy show, hosted by David Baddiel. A panel of comedians taking part in the programme are asked to talk about why a subject is not funny, without making the audience laugh. If the audience does laugh, the subject passes
to the next contestant.
Ofcom received 12 complaints about the episode broadcast on 21 April 2016 which featured a discussion about the Queen and sex. Complainants considered that references to the Queen in the programme were offensive and inappropriate. A number of
complaints referred to the fact that the programme was broadcast on the Queen's 90th birthday.
The panel of comedians on this programme were Russell Kane, Sara Pascoe, Omid Djalili, and Adam Hess.
Round two of the show was introduced by David Baddiel:
In an effort to demonstrate just how grown up and sophisticated we've become, I would like you Russell Kane to tell us why there is nothing funny about the fact that Announcer: the Queen must have had sex at least four times [laughter from
the studio audience].
The panel of comedians responded by making a number of personal comments about Prince Philip and the Queen. For example, Russell Kane said the following:
Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty's vulva and for me [audience laughter].
Ofcom considered its Rule 2.3:
In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3
Throughout this segment of the programme, the panel made a number of comments about the Queen in an effort to explain why the subject of that round of the programme was not funny. We considered that comments about the Queen and the Duke of
Edinburgh were made in a mocking way, which would have been perceived by many listeners as humiliating and intrusive. Ofcom took into account that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are public figures with wide exposure in the media.
Nonetheless, we considered that the mocking and demeaning tone of these comments made them capable of causing offence. The potential for offence was increased by the fact that these remarks were broadcast on the Queen's 90th birthday.
Ofcom took into account that audiences expect some comedy programming to be challenging and to push at boundaries. However, the reaction of the audience to comedy material is subjective and can vary widely. In this case, the jokes about the Queen
were made in a way that was mocking and demeaning. The fact that these jokes were made on her 90th birthday, in Ofcom's view, would have considerably increased the level of offence for many listeners. Furthermore, the level of potential offence
was also increased to some extent by the fact this programme was pre-recorded, so that the BBC's editorial decision to broadcast this content on this day was likely to have been perceived by listeners as deliberate and not the result of for
example an inadvertent misjudgement made during a live programme.
In Ofcom's view, it is likely that Radio 4 listeners would not have expected comedic content about the Queen of this strength and directness to be included in a Radio 4 comedy programme broadcast in the early evening on her 90th birthday.
We considered also that, for all these reasons, any listeners who had come across this content unawares may well have been surprised and disconcerted to hear it broadcast on Radio 4 at this time, on the Queen's 90th birthday.
The broadcast of this potentially offensive material was not justified by the context, and there was a breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.
The Digital Economy Bill is primarily reprehensible for introducing mass internet censorship, but don't forget it also enables the rapid sharing of government databases to more or less any official who makes a request
Well, Part 5 of the Bill will fundamentally change the way our personal information is handled, shared and controlled whenever we hand it over to government.
That means that whenever we file a tax return, apply for a driving licence, register a birth, death or marriage, apply for benefits or deal with a council, court or other public authority, all of the data we share, we will have no control of.
Because if Part 5 of the Bill becomes law:
As soon as you share anything with the government, you will be blocked from having any further control over how your personal information and sensitive data is shared around government, with councils, other government bodies and business.
You will not be allowed to change your data if there is a mistake or error.
You will not be asked permission or informed if an official shares, uses or looks at your data.
You will not be allowed to opt out of your data being shared.
Your birth, death, marriage and civil registration documents will be shared in bulk without your consent.
Data sharing is a fact of life and a great deal of good can come from the sharing of data, but as soon as our data is digitised it is insecure and open to exploitation.
We see this every time we read of a big company suffering a data breach or data hack. And government aren't immune, in 2014/15 government experienced 9,000 data breaches possibly down to poor data sharing practice, certainly down to not
understanding data protection laws.
Our data is us -- it is who we are, what we do, how we live and who we know. If we don't know where it is going, who it is shared with, why it is used and what we can do to control access to it, the future of all our personal information is at
If you are worried please write to your MP this week and tell them, because without challenge this Bill will pass and control of our personal information will be lost to Government forever.
Reasons why the government's plan 'to protect children online' is not just dreadful but extremely alarming.
21st November 2016
From a Melon Farmers reader
It's already been announced that the government are to press ahead with their controversial plans to create a huge database of the all the activities of every internet user in the UK . Every time you visit any website,
the time and date and the name of the website will be recorded. There are no exemptions.
Such a system of blanket surveillance has not been used or proposed in any other country.
You might think then, that after such an announcement, they would have been a little muted for a short while in proposing yet more heavy handed legislation aimed at the internet. Not a bit of it. Now they really seem to have the bit between their
teeth and are charging full steam ahead with, if possible, even more draconian powers.
In the 1980's, as a result of the backlash against video nasties , the government handed complete censorship of all video media to the British Board of Film Censors, now renamed the British Board of Film Classification (because they don't
like to be thought of as censors). A bit like the ministry of propaganda preferred to be called the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984. Appropriately enough, this bill was made law in 1984.
Now, the latest proposal is to effectively hand censorship of the entire internet over to the same people!
The argument is that if a website which is unsuitable for children does not have adequate checks in place to verify the users age, the BBFC will be able to block it. This might sound reasonable in theory but in practice it will culminate in a
monstrous invasion of internet freedom and dangers for internet users. Here's why:
Most people know that such controls can be effectively by-passed with use of a proxy servers, or on a phone or tablet a simple app which redirects internet traffic through a secure unfiltered connection. The problem with this is that it
introduces a whole new level of risk and exposure to criminality. Traffic can be routed, without the user knowing, via servers which are known to contain criminal content thus giving the appearance that the user has been accessing child
pornography, terrorist information or other material which could incriminate them.
Amongst the honest firms who run proxy servers there are con-men and criminals waiting to catch the unwary. Ransom demands and other criminal activity is often the actual business which is sitting behind a link for what appears to be a
proxy server. If you don't believe me, please do your own research.
Identification will be a nightmare. Making porn or other websites take credit or debit card details as a check of age is preposterous. Very few people would want to trust giving their credit or debit card details to a website just to even see
what is on it.
It's even been suggested that these websites could cross check the UK electoral roll. How's that supposed to work? Presumably not so anybody can give the name and address of someone they dislike and that goes down on the government's list of
names and addresses of people who've visited dodgy websites?
The BBFC can not just censor but entirely block any web site that contains anything they disagree with! For example if the site contains anything which they would not allow in a BBFC certificated video. They would argue that it was their
duty . Since a website containing any nudity at all, or discussion of sex, or any other thing which is not suitable for children , should be behind an age protected barrier, this will allow them to block any web site they wish. If a
site with discussion about something which is not suitable for a small child, say in the US or Canada, cannot be bothered to deal with the BBFC, it can simply be blocked completely in the UK if the owners do not cravenly submit to the demands
of a government censor in another country! Not that the websites will probably care, having written off internet users in the UK the same way as they would people who are blocked from access by any other dictatorial government around the world.
In addition to websites being blocked, if a server contains a small amount of anything which is unsuitable for children, the domain itself, containing many other web sites, can be blocked. Because most countries in the world are more broad
minded and less adamant about state control of what people see than the UK, nobody else will have noticed that UK users are being blocked from access to perfectly normal information just because their domain has been blacklisted.
Who is going to pay for this work to be done? The BBFC can currently pay for their video censorship work because the Video Recordings Act requires that by law firms in the UK have no option but to pay their fees ranging from several thousand pounds for each video submitted.
How do you think the BBFC is going to get on with the owners of foreign websites?
Ah, hello Mr Dirty Website Owner, this is the BBFC here, we want you to follow our regulations and pay us or fees or I'm afraid I'll have to inform you that her majesty's government will block UK users from access to your website.
Mr Dirty Website Owner's response is something which you can probably imagine yourself. It probably involves some rather colourful language telling the BBFC where they can stick their regulations and fees.
The government has already required ISPs to provide filtered child friendly internet connections for anyone who wants it. However, since the population have generally been less than enthusiastic about uptake of filtered internet connections the government has decided that this is not good enough and so you *will* have a censored internet connection *and like it* even though 70% of households in the UK have no children.
If this truly was a matter of protecting children, then the problem would lie with the 10 to 15 % of homes with children, where the adults have not switched on the filters. It would be far more sensible to amend the law to require homes where
children are present to have the filters switched on. But this just proves that it *isn't* just a matter of protecting children, what they really want is *total* control, and you don't get that with a opt in scheme. The plan is to censor the
internet to the extent that these filtered connections are no longer required.
Going back to proxy servers again, since this is such an easy way to avoid the censorship, and since, unfortunately, proxy servers allow access to anything, even stuff 99.9% of people really don't want to see, this will give the government a
*perfect excuse* to ban proxy servers as well. And there you have it: TOTAL INTERNET CENSORSHIP. You could probably still download and install a proxy server, but if you are detected using it you could be marched down to the local police
station for questioning, and since there is no excuse to be using a proxy server as they will be illegal, they can assume you were planning a terrorist attack or watching child pornography and throw you in jail. Sorry, I mean detain you in a
cell pending trial, for the public good.
WAKE UP BRITAIN! Please don't allow the control freaks to take over your county. Print this article out, send it to your MP - don't let MPs simply be carried along by misguided nanny state meddling in basic democratic freedom under the guise of
protecting the children . The onus should be on parents to switch on the filters that have already been provided, not treat every adult in the UK as a child.
This proposed legislation is a continuation of the very slippery slope towards total state surveillance and control which has already been approved. If you don't stand up to this next level of state control, what will they think they can get
away with next?
Don't take this warning lightly, unless enough people object they will steamroller ahead with it and you will loose your freedom. Unless you want your internet to be suitable for a pre school toddler with a vast number of other
harmless pages and websites blocked as a result, send this article to your MP now and ask for his or her comments.
Internet freedom around the world declined in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year.
Two-thirds of all internet users -- 67 percent -- live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship.
Social media users face unprecedented penalties, as authorities in 38 countries made arrests based on social media posts over the past year. Globally, 27 percent of all internet users live in countries where people have been arrested for
publishing, sharing, or merely "liking" content on Facebook.
Governments are increasingly going after messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, which can spread information quickly and securely.
Internet freedom has declined for the sixth consecutive year, with more governments than ever before targeting social media and communication apps as a means of halting the rapid dissemination of information, particularly during anti-government
The increased controls show the importance of social media and online communication for advancing political freedom and social justice. It is no coincidence that the tools at the center of the current crackdown have been widely used to hold
governments accountable and facilitate uncensored conversations. Authorities in several countries have even resorted to shutting down all internet access at politically contentious times, solely to prevent users from disseminating information
through social media and communication apps, with untold social, commercial, and humanitarian consequences.
Some communication apps face restrictions due to their encryption features, which make it extremely difficult for authorities to obtain user data, even for the legitimate purposes of law enforcement and national security. Online voice and video
calling apps like Skype have also come under pressure for more mundane reasons. They are now restricted in several countries to protect the revenue of national telecommunications firms, as users were turning to the new services instead of making
calls through fixed-line or mobile telephony.
A California judge has tentatively rejected supposed pimping charges against the operators of Backpage.com, a major international website that advertises escort services. However the judge gave both sides more time to submit briefs before issuing
a final ruling next month.
Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman cited a federal law involving freedom of speech while ruling that the state attorney general's office cannot continue prosecuting Backpage.com's CEO Carl Ferrer and former owners Michael Lacey
and James Larkin.
The men were charged by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who ludicrously referred to Backpage.com as an online brothel.
The judge, however, said Harris lacked authority to bring the charges because the federal Communications Decency Act, as a way of promoting free speech, grants immunity to website operators for content posted by users. Bowman wrote:
Congress has spoken on this matter and it is for Congress, not this court, to revisit.
New Zealand's film censor, the Office of Film & literature Classification, has published its 2016 Annual Report.
It spends a fair few pages glorying in what a good and important job it is doing. However it also highlights some of its key decisions during the year:
Perfect Sisters re-rated from Australian M to 16
A member of the public emailed the Classification Office outlining concerns about the classification of the DVD Perfect Sisters. The DVD was cross-rated by the New Zealand Film and Video Labelling Body from its Australian rating of M [PG-15],
with a note for sex scenes and offensive language. The complainant was surprised at the unrestricted M rating as they observed that the film contained strong suicide references; sex scenes including attempted coercion; and violence, including
attempted drowning of a parent in a bath. The complainant also noted that the film (under the title Deadly Sisters) is classified 18 in the United Kingdom, with an advisory about strong violence, suicide references .
The Chief Censor called in the DVD for classification and subsequently gave it a R16 rating. noting that younger teens and children will not be able to place this material in a meaningful context and would likely be greatly shocked and
Unfortunately, Perfect Sisters illustrates a growing divergence between Australia and New Zealand in the tolerance of material that depicts violence and sexual violence.
Maken-Ki! Two banned
OFLC received a set of two Blu-ray discs showing season two of the Japanese anime series Maken-Ki from distributor Madman Entertainment for classification prior to commercial release in New Zealand. The series was classified as objectionable
The series relates to a group of gifted or magical students who attend a specialised high school named Tenbi Academy. A select group of them form the leadership committee which resolves crises, using their powers and weapons (Maken-Ki), which
enhance their powers. The majority of the publication is dubbed in English or is in Japanese with English subtitles. The series tends to promote or support the exploitation of young persons for sexual purposes through the unrelenting
sexualisation and fetishisation of the young female characters. The characters are all in high school. Their youth is evidenced by their being dressed in school uniforms, the high school setting, and the fact that they engage in high school
activities such as classes and homework. The oldest of the high school characters describes herself as a senior (aged 17), while a number of the characters are described as juniors or freshmen.
This sexual focus is relentless. Every episode features extreme close ups of bare breasts and nipples, and every episode features the characters willingly, or having been coerced, fondling each other's breasts and genital areas. The main purpose
of this publication and its hyper-sexualisation of the young female characters is the titillation and arousal of the viewer. It is therefore likely to attract viewers with a prurient interest in young persons. It is likely to reinforce such an
interest in young persons and contribute to the problem of young persons being sexually exploited in real life.
Senran Kagura Estival Versus (Console Game) rated R18
Senran Kagura Estival Versus is a video game developed for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita by Japanese studio Tamsoft. For this Western release it is presented in Japanese with English subtitles. In this continuation of the Senran
Kagura series, girls from rival shinobi academies find themselves magically transported to the sunny beaches of a mysterious island. Tasked with a series of challenges, the girls battle it out for victory.
The constant sexualisation and sexual themes of the publication are of particular concern. With an exclusively female roster, the game uses a damage mechanic based on the character's clothing. As enemies or allies lose health, their clothing is
ripped and torn away with the camera leering at breasts and buttocks as the material disappears.
The characters are shown to be embarrassed and with teary eyes during these sequences. During the fights, the player can also instigate a shinobi transformation , which has several variations. With a swirling background the character is
stripped nude, although lens flare effects obscure any genital or nipple nudity. A ninja scroll is then extracted from between their breasts or thighs and held up in a hero pose. The camera focuses on their breasts and buttocks during this, and
again as their transformation clothing appears. There is little reason for this beyond titillation.
The dominant effect of Senran Kagura Estival Versus is of a 3D combat game with an inordinate focus on the sexualisation of its female characters. This constant objectification is degrading and demeaning to women, and presents them as sexually
available and compliant. This is likely to negatively influence the developing attitudes of younger audiences, including teenagers, by normalising and encouraging such conduct. Moreover, there is extensive sexual innuendo as well as references
to adult sexual practices. Consequently, the game earned itself an R18 classification.
Hitman (Computer Game) rated R18
The game Hitman (2015) was classified R18 in New Zealand. Through the use of firearms and explosives, players are able to kill a multitude of innocent people. Opening fire at a Parisian fashion show causes immediate panic, with civilians
screaming in terror. Some are huddled on the ground with their hands over their heads, while others flee the room. Security guards and police will attempt to kill the player. If caught in the open the player will quickly die, but through the use
of cover combat may be drawn out. With some elusive play and the acquisition of a new suit, the player can escape arrest relatively easily. Although, the blood and gore is not rendered at a high level of resolution, the effect of gunning down a
screaming civilian crowd remains high impact. While the killing of civilians is not overly encouraged by the routine gameplay in Hitman, the Classification Office is aware that players routinely post video game footage of these sorts of
massacres online where they attract a level of appreciation and acknowledgement from likeminded players.
The Classification Office must conclude that the purpose and intended audience of these posts is likely to be supportive of this high level of violence and cruelty. Through an unfortunate coincidence, Hitman was commercially released soon after
the terrorist attacks in Paris where civilians were brutally killed in a real life display of the types of tactics and behaviours demonstrated in the game.
Inside Amy Schumer rated R18
Amy Schumer is an American comedian who is known for her clever deconstruction of what life is like for young, single women whose urban heterosexual lifestyles are a minefield of uncomfortable pressures. Schumer satirises a culture that
degrades and demeans women in numerous skits and jokes that are aimed at women's self-obsessions including body-sculpting, the fitness industry, sexual selfies , quick-fix methods of weight control and plastic surgery aimed at vaginal
rejuvenation . Schumer constantly exposes the difficulties of meeting male expectations.
Some of the material deals quite candidly with the pornification of American culture. For example, a gang-bang skit, relies on the over-used but still relevant feminist trope of women as sex objects. The disc has strong sexual
content, particularly a skit that lampoons scat porn (faeces used in a sexual context) and segments where golden showers (urine used in a sexual context) are mentioned among other sexual proclivities of interviewees.
Schumer does not shy away from presenting material dealing with anal sex, ejaculation on women's faces, or frank discussions of sexual parts, male and female. Extreme sexual practices, such as those commonly portrayed in porn, are discussed
frankly and explicitly.
The sexual content is clearly likely to cause harm if the DVD is available to children or young teenagers. However, injury is also likely if young people in their mid-teenage years access the material. The DVD confronts its viewers with strong
sexual content that includes unusual sexual practices. Adults are presumed to have the ability to critically assess difficult content, but the bulk of 16 or 17 yearolds will not have the sophistication required to fully understand the irony and
satire that is a feature of the comedy. Some young people are likely to be disturbed or intimidated by the material and it could place expectations and pressure, particularly on young women, who might then feel that they should be more
fully engaged in a sexualised world.
Kryptowire, a security firm,
recently identified several models of Android mobile devices that have preinstalled permanent software that serves as backdoor collecting sensitive personal data, including text messages, geolocations, contact lists, call logs, and transmits
them to a server in Shanghai, China.
Without users' consent, the code can bypass Android's permission model. This could allow anyone interested in a mobile user's data -- from government officials to malicious hackers -- to execute remote commands with system privileges and even
reprogram the devices.
The firmware was developed by Chinese company Shanghai ADUPS Technology Company. ADUPS confirmed the report with a bollox
statement claiming that it was somehow to do with identifying junk texts.
Kryptowire's research reveals that the collected information was protected with multiple layers of encryption and then transmitted over secure web protocols to a server located in Shanghai. The data transmission occurred every 72 hours for text
messages and call log information, and every 24 hours for other personally identifiable information.
ADUPS also explained that the "accustomed" firmware was 'accidentally' built into 120,000 mobile products of one American phone manufacturer, BLU Products. After BLU raised the issue, ADUPS explained that the software was not designed
for American phones and deactivated the program on Blu phones.
The news has been widely reported in foreign media as ADUPS is among the largest FOTA (firmware over the air) providers in the world. The company provides a cloud platform for mobile device management to over 700 million active users in 200
countries, which is equivalent to 70% of the global market share as it works closely with the world largest cheap mobile phone manufacturers ZTE and Huawei, both of which are based in China. In 2015 alone, Huawei sold more than 100 million
Chinese netizens have not been surprised by the news. Reports about spyware preinstalled in Chinese mobile brands have circulated for many years among mainland and overseas Chinese speaking-communities. In 2014,
Hong Kong Android Magazine reported that Xiaomi's smartphones designed for overseas markets were automatically connecting to an IP in Beijing and that all documents, SMS and phone logs, and video files downloaded were being transmitted to a
China's newly passed Cybersecurity Law has provided
legal ground for the smartphone's backdoor operation. The law requires "critical information infrastructure operators" to store users' "personal information and other important business data" in China.
In response to the news, many Chinese netizens are pointing out the abusive use of personal data and government surveillance has become the norm.
Britain's minister of censorship culture has said that the government will move block the vast majority of internet porn, both domestic and foreign.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley threatened:
We made a promise to keep children safe from harmful pornographic content online and that is exactly what we are doing. Only adults should be allowed to view such content and we have appointed a regulator, BBFC, to make sure the right age checks
are in place to make that happen. If sites refuse to comply, they should be blocked.
In fulfilling this manifesto commitment and working closely with people like (MPs) Claire Perry and Kit Malthouse who have worked tirelessly on internet safety issues, we are protecting children from the consequences of harmful content.
The powers will be brought forward in amendments to the Digital Economy Bill later this month.
Porn websites will be allowed to stay open if they adopt onerous age validation but as yet no one has come up with a solution that is accurate, cheap, convenient and secure enough to be viable. The only currently acceptable method is to
allow porn only to those willing to pay with credit cards, (debit cards not allowed). Not only do you have to go through the hassle of filling in credit card details, you have to trust potentially dodgy foreign websites with your ID information,
you have to pay before being able to see what is on offer. Needless to say, the UK adult online trade that has been subjected to this suffocating censorship regime have been forced to either go bankrupt or go abroad.
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), will be given powers to make ISPs censor porn sites which do not put age checks in place to make them inaccessible to children.
On a slightly more positive note The BBFC said any verification mechanism must provide assurances around data protection and it would consider those that already exist and ones currently being developed. It is understood the government is
working with the BBFC to determine the best mechanism that confirms eligibility rather than identifying the user.
The Investigatory Powers Bill (IP Bill) has now been passed by both House of Parliament and is expected to become law within the next few weeks.
Executive Director Jim Killock responded:
The passing of the IP Bill will have an impact that goes beyond the UK's shores. It is likely that other countries, including authoritarian regimes with poor human rights records, will use this law to justify their own intrusive surveillance
The IP Bill will put into statute the powers and capabilities revealed by Snowden as well as increasing surveillance by the police and other government departments. There will continue to be a lack of privacy protections for international data
sharing arrangements with the US. Parliament has also failed to address the implications of the technical integration of GCHQ and the NSA.
While parliamentarians have failed to limit these powers, the Courts may succeed. A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, expected next year, may mean that parts of the Bill are shown to be unlawful and need to be amended.
ORG and others will continue to fight this draconian law.
About the IP Bill
In the wake of the Snowden revelations, three separate inquiries called for new surveillance laws in the UK. It was recognised that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) had failed to limit surveillance and allowed the creation of
surveillance programmes without parliamentary debate or assent. In response, the Government published the draft IP Bill in November 2015.
The IP Bill is a vast piece of legislation that will extend not limit surveillance in the UK. It will mean that:
Internet Service Providers could be obliged to store their customers' web browsing history for a year. The police and government departments will have unprecedented powers to access this data through a search engine that could be used for
The security services will continue to have powers to collect communications data in bulk.
The police and security services will have new hacking powers.
The security services can access and analyse public and private databases, even though the majority of data will be held about people who are not suspected of any crimes.
For more information about the Bill and what it means, visit ORG's
campaign hub .
The student's union at City University in London has voted to ban the Daily Mail, Sun and Express newspapers on campus, despite there being no shops which sell them on the institution's grounds.
The decision was met with surprise and outrage from journalism students and former students, who claimed it was censorship and worrying and ignorant . A contest to the motion is now expected.
The Student Union's Annual General Meeting passed the motion Opposing Fascism and Social Divisiveness in the UK Media . The motion said that while the Mail, Sun and Express were the main focus of its policy, other media organisations were
not excluded. The motion also promoted active pressuring of the aforementioned media outlets to cease to fuel fascism, racial tension and hatred in society and advocated using the University's industry contacts to reach out to employees
and shareholders of the media outlets in question.
The union took issue with subjects of both recent and long term controversy. In addition to criticism of high court judges by the Mail and Express, they also rebuked the Sun for its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster. Other criticisms included
approaching Nigel Farage for comment, criticising Islam, and giving Katie Hopkins a column.
An art exhibition featuring cartoons of Theresa May sitting on the toilet and Boris Johnson breaking wind is facing calls to be censored over claims the work is crude and pornographic .
The free exhibition entitled Dyma Gariad (Fel y Moroedd) ( Here is a Love [Deep as Oceans] ) opened recently at Penarth Pier Pavilion.
Anthony Ernest, a Penarth town councillor, whinged:
Constituents have come to me expressing their concerns over the quality of the exhibition and whether it is suitable for the wider audience which includes children, and indeed adults. I have to say, I agree with them. More than £1m of public
funding has gone into the Pavilion, so its artwork should be suitable for the wider community.
I think public art should be interesting, and even provocative... BUT ...art of this nature, which is downright crude and pornographic, just isn't acceptable.
But artist Iwan Bala says his work is a direct response to the recent political madness of the Brexit vote and election of Donald Trump -- and that art is bound to offend some people.
The exhibition will be open to the public until November 30.
Motel Mist (Rong Ram Tang Dao) is a 2016 Thailand Sci-Fi thriller by Prabda Yoon.
Starring Prapamonton Eiamchan, Vasuphon Kriangprapakit and Wissanu Likitsathaporn.
In just a few hours, at an unusual love motel on the outskirts of Bangkok called Motel Mistress, four (human) lives intertwine and change forever. Sopol, a typical Thai father-like figure with kinky and dangerous sexual fetishes, brings his new
young prey, a school girl named Laila, to room number 7, his custom-made erotic chamber. Tul, a former child actor has been reported missing by his mother and causing the media to speculate wildly over his alleged delusional belief that aliens
are coming to take him away.
Prabda Yoon, one of Thailand's best-known writers and winner of the 2002 SEA Write Award for his short-story collection, has made his debut feature film, one of the most anticipated Thai movies of the year and which has toured film festivals
since January. Rong Ram Tang Dao , or Motel Mist , was scheduled to hit Thai cinemas yesterday, but at the 11th hour on Wednesday night the film's investor, the cable network TrueVisions, has decided to pull it off the screen to the dismay of the
filmmaker and his team.
The film's Facebook page cites disagreement between the filmmaking team and the investor regarding the content of the film .
A representative of TrueVisions tried to spin the censorship by weakly claiming that it didn't ban the film... BUT ... [is postponing] the release indefinitely for more appropriate timing .
It is believed that TrueVisions only saw the film recently and decided that it was not to their liking. The postpone indefinitely decision, which is entirely its right, has deprived Prabda's fans -- and there are many -- as well as the
audience from seeing one of the year's most unusual cinematic visions on the big screen. TrueVisions also isn't sure when the film will be screened on its channel.
Motel Mist had already passed the Thai censorship board with an 18-plus rating, a liberal decision given the film's sexual content.
The professional social network LinkedIn is the first casualty of a Russian law that requires control of foreign websites via their Russian data being stored on a server located in Russia. This ensures that there is a local access point should
the authorities wish to view the internet activity of Russian users.
LinkedIn's days in Russia are now said to be numbered, after a Moscow court gave the Russian internet censor Roskomnadzor permission to block the professional social network. The company hasn't moved its servers to Russia, and kept storing
information about third parties who are not registered users of the network, thus failing to comply with another section of the new law.
The website will be blocked as soon as Roskomnadzor receives the reasoning (that accompanies) the court decision, after which LinkedIn will be added to a list of websites refusing to comply with personal data laws,
Russian President Vladimir Putin's Internet advisor German Klimenko told Kommersant that large companies had enough time to migrate their data. This not only concerns Facebook and Twitter, he added, singling out the social media platforms,
which haven't complied with the law so far either, this applies to all foreign companies.
Social network LinkedIn is now set to be blocked today in Russia. The country's internet censor, Roskomnadzor, said LinkedIn would be unavailable in the country within 24 hours.
Some internet providers have already cut access to the site, which has more than six million members in Russia.
In 2014, Russia introduced legislation requiring social networks to store the personal data of Russian citizens on Russian web servers. It is the first time the law has been enforced against a US-based social network.
The U.S. government said on Friday it was deeply concerned over Russia's decision to block public access to networking site LinkedIn, saying it created a precedent that could be used to justify blocking other sites operating in Russia.
Maria Olson, spokeswoman at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, said Washington urged the Russian authorities to restore access immediately to LinkedIn, and said the restrictions harmed competition and the Russian people.
The Red Pill is a 2016 USA documentary by Cassie Jaye.
Starring Marc Angelucci, Jack Barnes and Richard Cassalata.
The Red Pill chronicles filmmaker Cassie Jaye's journey following the mysterious and polarizing Men's Rights Movement. The Red Pill explores today's gender war and asks the question "what is the future of gender equality?"
The Red Pill, a new documentary film about men's rights activists (or MRAs), is out in limited release across the United States. It is also showing is in Melbourne, Australia, where tickets have completely sold out ahead of its November 5th
The film's producer, Cassie Jaye, has inevitably met with backlash from feminist campaigners for taking a balanced approach toward the subject of men's rights activism.
A petition has been started by Australian feminists urging Kino Cinema to censor the screening of the film whilst describing the movie in misleading terms. The petition reads:
Film-maker Cassie Jaye follows members of online hate-group 'The Red Pill,' known to most as the sexist cesspit of the internet, begins the complaint. The general plotline goes something like this: 'feminist' Jaye decides to investigate
rape-culture, opens the first hit on Google (Red Pill) and before she knows it, she has seen the light and converted to 'meninism.'
Please do not associate your cinema with the kind of people who teach men how to violate women physically and emotionally. Please stand with the women everywhere, and do not promote misogynistic hate.
Much of the enmity toward The Red Pill comes from how it features men's activist Paul Elam, who writes incendiary remarks and articles about women online. While there's no defending much of what he has says, the film itself neither promotes his
most offensive opinions, nor does it vilify women the way some feminists do to men. It merely presents MRAs in a (partly) sympathetic light.
The Red Pill was due to have its Australian premiere in Melbourne next month, which has since been cancelled by Palace Cinemas. The move comes after a campaign labelled it misogynistic propaganda.
In a letter to Men's Rights Melbourne, who have the exclusive distribution rights to the film after donating to its Kickstarter campaign, Palace Cinemas explained:
We have come to a decision based on the overwhelmingly negative response we have received from our valued customers. We cannot proceed with the booking.
The cinema chain also referred directly to a Change.org petition protesting the premiere of The Red Pill at Palace Kino in Melbourne, which received 2,370 signatures. The overwhelming number of responses, many from regular Kino customers, has
really resonated with us, Palace Cinemas told Men's Rights Melbourne.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that Westminster Council was overcharging sex shops for licences, infringing on EU rules designed to promote service activities.
The long-running case was brought by Simply Pleasure and others against Westminster city council, which charged nearly £30,000 for a one-year licence. This sum was made up of £2,700 for administration whilst the rest was used to fund the
detection and prosecution of unauthorised sex shops or activities.
The sex shops had earlier won a victory in a UK judicial review, but Westminster decided to fight the decision, principally over the issue of whether it could charge the full fee at the time of application.
British judges then asked the EU court whether this was consistent with the EU services directive.
The EU court said the cost of making an application should not exceed the cost of the administration process, saying the aim of the services directive was to facilitate access to service activities.
The Canadian Parliament has unanimously agreed a motion calling on the Commons Standing Committee on Health to examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on
children, women and men.
Kamal Khera, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health, announced the government's full support for the motion.
Northern Alberta MP Arnold Viersen, the driving force behind the motion told the religious website, LifeSiteNews, loath to raise the issue of internet censorship and that oncentrating on the health implications was a good way to ensure
all-party support and also to stress public education rather than legal restrictions. Ultimately, he wants the same kind of widespread condemnation of pornography that has already occurred with smoking. Rather than offering any evidence of harm,
he is rather hoping for something to crop up in the future. He said:
Gradually the scientific evidence became known about smoking's impact on the heart and the lungs. Now that kind of information about the health impact of pornography on the user is also being discovered.
When pornography's harms become thoroughly exposed, he hopes that Internet providers will restrict porn use voluntarily.
In Canada, sexually explicit websites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined, with PornHub, the largest free site, alone receiving over 21 billion visits in 2015. Thirty-five percent of all Internet downloads are
sexually explicit. Globally, this sexually explicit material is a $97 billion industry.
With all that porn being used and so little evidence of tangible harm, one wonders what the MPs are hoping to discover. Perhaps they should examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent religious
material on children, women and men. The murder and violence caused by religion is far more widespread and apparent than any moralistic hopes that there may be a few moral downsides to porn.
Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has lifted a ban on nude photography which took effect in May and met with opposition from many photographers.
The change of law will come into effect on January 1 next year. Laws prohibiting beauty pageants will also be evised.
Several photographers voiced their opposition to the May decree. Photographer Dung Art said:
The space for artistic expression through nude photographer is already very limited so what's this circular aimed at? They previously said artistic nude photos could be given permits for exhibition but I know the reality is different, so this
circular is meaningless.
Gary Lineker is in talks with Walkers crisps trying to get them to withdraw their advertising from the Sun over the newspaper's politically incorrect anti-refugee stories.
The BBC presenter, who has fronted Walkers' adverts for 21 years, this week gave his backing to a campaign to persuade companies not to advertise in newspapers that are responsible for what he calls divisive hate campaigns .
And, when asked by a Daily Mail journalist whether he would be speaking to Walkers about withdrawing its adverts, he replied: [I] already have.
However, a Walkers spokesperson suggested the company was unlikely to agree to Lineker's request. A spokesman said:
We have a very successful partnership with Gary Lineker and we will continue to do so. Our advertising approach is not determined by the editorial stances of individual newspapers.
Lego builds PC walls to keep Daily Mail readers out
Lego has announced its promotional giveaways with the Daily Mail have ended - amid a campaign to stop firms advertising with some newspapers over what it calls divisive coverage of migrants.
The firm regularly gives away free toys via the paper, but said there would be no more in the foreseeable future .
A campaign gorup Stop Funding Hate has lobbied firms to stop advertising with some newspapers. The group, formed in the summer, has criticised several national newspapers for portraying migrants in overwhelmingly negative terms . It has
urged companies including John Lewis, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer to stop advertising with the Daily Mail, the Sun and Daily Express.
Responding to a tweet from Stop Funding Hate, Lego confirmed its promotional agreement with the Mail had ended. Lego told the BBC it spends:
A lot of time listening to what children have to say. And when parents and grandparents take the time to let us know how they feel, we always listen just as carefully.
The Mail is the UK's second most-read daily newspaper and boasts almost 15m readers a day online.
Comment: A message to the politically correct, Gary Lineker and Lego
Meanwhile Nick Cohen, writing in the Guardian, has a far more constructive idea, rather than censoring, banning, bullying, or sneering at working class people, why not do something a bit more positive, like trying to do something to help
them make a good living. Cohen advises the 'progressive' left to consider compromise:
But before you become self-righteous you must accept that the dominant faction on the western left uses language just as suggestive of collective punishment when they talk about their own white working class. Imagine how it must feel for a
worker in Bruce Springsteen's Youngstown to hear college-educated liberals condemn white privilege when he has a shit job and a miserable life. Or Google the number of times straight white males are denounced by public-school
educated women in the liberal media and think how that sounds to an ex-miner coughing his guts up in a Yorkshire council flat.
Emotionally, as well as rationally, they sense the left, or at least the left they see and hear, is no longer their friend. They are men and women who could be argued with, if the middle classes were willing to treat them decently. You might
change their minds. You might even find that they could change yours.
Offsite Comment: Intolerance wears a progressive mask in the 21st century.
The Undiscovered Peter Cook
16th November 2016. BBC 4 10pm
Following the death of Britain's greatest satirist in 1995, Peter Cook's widow Lin locked the door of his Hampstead house, and refused all access to the media. Until this year, when she invited her friend Victor Lewis-Smith and a BBC crew inside,
to make a documentary about the man she knew and loved, with unprecedented access to Peter's private recordings, diaries, letters, photographs, and much more.
The result is a fascinating and unique hour of television, that includes Peter performing hitherto unknown comedy sketches, rediscovered interviews, and long-lost footage of Peter performing with his comedy partner Dudley Moore, as well as with
Peter Sellers and David Attenborough. There are multiple extracts from Peter's home videos, as well as Lin's first televised interview. A major find is The Dead Sea Tapes , an LP recorded by Peter and Dudley in 1963, but never released
(due to concerns about blasphemy laws), and long thought lost. Also included are rediscovered classic sketches from Not Only But Also , reconstructed in the edit suite after mute film clips were retrieved from Australia, and reunited with
the original audio tracks.
There is also unique footage from Peter's memorial service, with contributions from Dudley, Barry Humphries, and David Frost. Fans of Peter's work will be delighted by the rediscovered comedy gems (most of which have either never been broadcast,
or have remained unseen since their initial transmission some fifty years ago), while Lin reveals the tender and loving private side of a man better known for his acerbic public persona.
The Undiscovered Peter Cook features a 70-second piece of dialogue between Cook and his comedy co-conspirator Dudley Moore that uses the word 'cunt' 12 times and 'fuck' 15 times. It's rapid-fire vulgarity and is, almost certainly, the
most profanity riddled rant ever broadcast on British TV.
Because of its potential to offend it's only being shown after the express approval of the BBC's head of television Charlotte Moore.And the corporation insists it's the right decision:
This goes out well past the watershed in a 10pm slot with a very strong language warning, on a channel whose viewers are very familiar with its content, said a spokesperson. Peter Cook's unique brand of satire is well known to comedy fans who
would be accustomed to the strongest language from his Derek and Clive sketches with Dudley Moore.
The audio clip is carefully extracted from a 23-minute long sketch called The Horn on the pair's 1978 Derek and Clive spoken-word album Ad Nauseam , whose release marked the end of Cook and Moore's already combustible relationship.
And, it's fair to say, despite the 'cunts' it's probably one of the tamest bits (a film of the recording was banned in Britain for more than a decade).
The album track it's taken from, opens with Cook, as Clive, describing being sexually aroused by the sight of a dead Pope lying in state. The line delivered immediately after the 70-second extract used in the documentary also contains the word
The Government has rejected for a second time amendments from peers seeking press cenorship.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland insisted it would be simply not appropriate to include within the Investigatory Powers Bill changes designed to ensure costs are awarded against newspaper and media organisations in press censorship cases.
Pro-censorship peers have repeatedly sought to amend the Bill so it implements a key part of the Leveson Inquiry report forcing newspapers and the media to submit to censorship.
MPs voted to reject the latest Lords amendments by 295 votes to 245, a majority of 50.
Ministers are currently conducting a ten-week consultation which includes examining whether to implement legislation which would force newspapers to pay all of the costs of libel or privacy actions brought against them -- even if they win their
case. This injustice would not apply to publications which sign up to a new state-backed press censor.
Labour is inevitably supporting this censorship attempt with Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott saying:
Labour fully supports this set of amendments to the Investigatory Powers Bill and on this side of the House we have consistently and genuinely called for the Leveson recommendations to be implemented in full.
SNP justice spokeswoman Joanna Cherry also supported the injustice and censorship saying:
Those who have not hacked, do not hack phones and do not intend to hack telephones or indeed emails have nothing to fear from these provisions.
But Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said:
This is an absolutely dreadful amendment. It should be thrown out, rejected, sent back to the House of Lords. It is fundamentally wrong. It seeks to punish those who may be innocent, to fine them for telling the truth, for saying things that
people in power do not like. It goes to the heart of our free press and it should be thrown in the bin.
Yvette Cooper MP is Chair of parliament's Home Affairs Committee. The Committee is today holding a session hearing views about hate crime, including a session specifically on Islamophobia in the coming weeks.
Cooper said in a statement introducing the session:
No one should ever find themselves targeted by violence or hatred because of the colour of their skin, their religion, gender, sexuality or disability.
Yet we are seeing reports of rising hate crime linked to political events like the US Presidential Election or the EU referendum - from the terrible murder of a Polish man in Essex, to assaults on young Muslim women on US university campuses.
The Trump campaign, and the reports of hate crime in the US since the election, should be a warning to all of us about the dangers of whipping up hatred and prejudice.
In a democracy, political disagreement should never provoke violence, hatred or discrimination. Campaigners and political leaders have a responsibility to ensure their rhetoric does not inflame prejudice or become a licence for hate crime.
We are concerned by reports of increasing hate crime in Britain over the last few years, including increasing online threats, harassment and abuse. And we want to examine far right extremism in Britain, and the threat it poses.
We want to look at whether and why hate crimes have increased, at what can be done to prevent and prosecute hate crime. Victims should have the confidence to know that if they report incidents, they will be taken seriously by the criminal
justice system. And because this no longer only happens on the streets, the Committee will be assessing how social media companies can use their technological capabilities and resources to respond to a tide of hate. Online and offline hate crime
can no longer be seen as separate, they are intrinsically linked and must be tackled together.
Political debate -- in this country and around the world -- should be strong and robust ...BUT... should seek to calm tensions, not inflame them. Free speech is a fundamental right in the UK and it should be afforded to everyone
--free from intimidation and abuse.
In the Digital Economy Bill, the Government wants erotica and pornography websites to make sure their users are over 18. This could threaten our privacy by collecting data on everyone in the UK who visits erotica and pornography sites. Making
sure all porn sites go along with it is unworkable. So a group of MPs want Internet Service Providers to block websites that don't comply. Sign our petition to say no to censorship of legal content.
MPs are putting pressure on the Government to add measures to the Bill that would force Internet Service Providers to block erotica and pornography websites that don't verify the age of their users.
This equates to censorship of legal content - potentially affecting tens of thousands of websites and millions of people.
Blocking websites is a disproportionate, technical response to a complex, social issue. The UK's children need education, not censorship, to keep them safe.
The U.S. Government's Copyright Office has launched a new consultation seeking guidance on the future of the DMCA's takedown process and safe harbor. The Office is hoping to find a balance between the interests of copyright holders, Internet
services and the public at large.
Over the past year, the Government already received a lot of input on a possible reform of the DMCA safe harbor provisions. Various rightsholders weighed in, as expected, and so did technology companies, law scholars and civil rights groups.
The problem for the U.S. Copyright Office is that there's little agreement on how to move forward.
The MPAA, RIAA, and other industry groups are calling for extensive revisions and don't want services to hide behind their safe harbor protections. Among other things, they want a notice-and-stay-down policy to ensure that, once
deleted, content doesn't pop up elsewhere.
Many service providers, however, see this an unworkable solution and believe that the current system is capable of dealing with infringing content.
On the other end of the spectrum there are calls to implement penalties for abusive notices, so copyright holders can be punished for submitting takedown requests that are false.
The deadline for the submissions is March 8, after which the Copyright Office will try to reach its conclusions.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAAP and the National Association of Theatre Owners have come out victorious in a lawsuit that ludicrously claimed that tobacco imagery in films rated G, PG or PG-13 causes 200,000 children every year
to become cigarette smokers and 64,000 people to die as a result.
Now U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed an attempt to hold major film studios and theater owners legally responsible.
The legal action by Timothy Forsyth claimed that the industry's film-ratings practices amounted to negligence, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, false advertising, unfair competition and nuisance.
In response, Hollywood argued that ratings merely reflect opinions about what's suitable for children and compelling them to give R ratings to anything found socially unacceptable could apply to films depicting activity like alcohol use,
gambling, contact sports, high-speed driving and so forth.
The judge wrote:
Forsyth insists that a rating less stringent than R is a representation that 'the film is suitable for children under seventeen unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. The ratings plainly make no such representations. Rather, the PG and PG-13
ratings caution parents that material in such movies may be inappropriate for children. More fundamentally, the ratings reflect the consensus opinion of CARA board members. As such, neither intentional nor negligent misrepresentation claims are
tenable as pleaded.
The judge also noted that Forsyth also failed to prove his other claims.
Users around the world have been outraged by the European Commission's proposal to require websites to enter into
Shadow Regulation agreements with copyright holders concerning the
automatic filtering of user-generated content . This proposal, which some are calling
RoboCopyright and others Europe's
#CensorshipMachine , would require many Internet platforms to integrate content scanning software into their websites to alert copyright holders every time it detected their content being uploaded by a user, without any consideration of the
People are right to be mad. This is going to result in the wrongful blocking of non-infringing content, such as the fair use
dancing baby video . But that's only the start of it. The European proposal may also require images and text -- not just video -- to be automatically blocked on copyright grounds. Because automated scanning technologies are unable to
evaluate the applicability of copyright exceptions, such as fair use or quotation, this could mean
no more image macros , and no more reposting of song lyrics or excerpts from news articles to social media.
Once these scanning technologies are in place, it will also become far easier for repressive regimes around the world to demand that Internet platforms scan and filter content for purposes completely unrelated to copyright enforcement -- such as
suppressing political dissent or enforcing anti-LGBT laws. Even when used as originally intended, these automated tools are also notoriously ineffective, often catching things they shouldn't, and failing to catch things they intend to. These are
among the reasons why this new automatic censorship mechanism would be vulnerable to legal challenge under Europe's Charter of Fundamental Rights, as we explained in our
last post on this topic .
A Filtering Mandate Infringes the Manila Principles on Intermediary Liability
According to the Manila Principles (emphasis added):
Intermediaries should be shielded from liability for third-party content
Any rules governing intermediary liability must be provided by laws, which must be precise, clear, and accessible.
Intermediaries should be immune from liability for third-party content in circumstances where they have not been involved in modifying that content.
Intermediaries must not be held liable for failing to restrict lawful content.
Intermediaries must never be made strictly liable for hosting unlawful third-party content, nor should they ever be required to monitor content proactively as part of an intermediary liability regime .
Forcing Internet platforms ( i.e ., intermediaries) into private deals with copyright holders to automatically scan and filter user content is, effectively, a requirement to proactively monitor user content. Since sanctions would apply to
intermediaries who refuse to enter into such deals, this amounts to an abridgment of the safe harbor protections that intermediaries
otherwise enjoy under European law . This not only directly contravenes the Manila Principles, but also Europe's own E-Commerce Directive.
The Manila Principles don't ban proactive monitoring obligations for the sake of the Internet intermediaries; the ban is to protect users. When an Internet platform is required to vet user-generated content, it has incentive to do so in
the cheapest manner possible, to ensure that its service remains viable. This means relying on
error-prone automatic systems that place copyright holders in the position of Chief Censors of the Internet. The proposal also provides no recourse for users in the inevitable cases where automated scanning goes wrong.
That doesn't mean there should be no way to flag copyright-infringing content online. Most popular platforms already have systems in place that allow their users to flag content --for copyright infringement or terms of service or community
standards violations. In Europe, the United States, and many other countries , the law also requires platform operators to address infringement notices from copyright owners; even this is the subject of considerable
abuse by automated systems . We can expect to see far more abuse when automated copyright bots are also put in charge of vetting the content that users upload.
Europe's mandatory filtering plans would give far too much power to copyright holders and create onerous new barriers for Internet platforms that seek to operate in Europe. The automated upload filters would become magnets for abuse -- not only
by copyright holders, but also governments and others seeking to inhibit what users create and share online.
If you're in Europe, you can rise up and take action using the write-in tool below, put together by the activists over at OpenMedia. This tool will allow you to send Members of the European Parliament your views on this repressive proposal, in
order to help ensure that it never becomes law.
Perennial hindu whinger Rajan Zed has taken aim at the Dutch festive character Black Pete. He wrote:
It was time for the negative, offensive, racist and discriminatory caricature of Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) to vanish from the traditional festivities of Netherlands.
Country of Rembrandt and Van Gogh which had a long history of social tolerance and which hosted International Court of Justice should not be in the business of such negative stereotyping.
Rajan Zed noted that it was absolutely baffling that racist stereotypes like Dutch Black Pete , which should have been extinct many decades ago, continued to exist in 21st century world. Was not Netherlands famous for promoting equality?
Zed indicated that Dutch Black Pete might be a popular Dutch tradition but it appeared to be a racist throwback to the slavery era.
Rajan Zed urged His Majesty King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands to urgently intervene to put an end to the character of Dutch Black Pete .
Zed suggested His Holiness Pope Francis and other religious leaders to also come out with a strong statement against Dutch Black Pete tradition as religions were supposed to speak against racism.
Britain's TV censor, Ofcom, has fined Peace TV Urdu £65,000 for discriminatory remarks about the jewish community.
Peace TV Urdu is part of Zakir Naik's Peace TV group based in India. The group is currently under Indian government scrutiny and the process has been initiated to declare them terrorist entities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The channel is also banned in Bangladesh after the Dhaka Terror Attack on advice of the internal security agencies.
Ofcom found the broadcast of the public lectures by an Islamic scholar highly critical and potentially offensive to the Jewish people. This was broadcast on September 12 and 13 on Peace TV Urdu.
Ofcom highlighted a number of discriminatory remarks made about the Jewish people as an ethnic group in the lectures delivered by Islamic scholar Israr Ahmed who died in April 2010. The role and actions of the Jewish people through history from
c.1500 to the present day were examined in the lectures that had comments like this cursed people, this cursed race , found to be offensive under Ofcom's rules.
Ofcom observes that the breach of the code was serious as the content included numerous examples of overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical references to Jewish people which, in its view, were a form of hate speech. The sanctions document
Ofcom was concerned that the highly critical and negative statements made about Jewish people , uninterrupted by an individual likely to be held in high status by the viewers of Peace TV Urdu had the clear potential to cause harm by portraying
Jewish people in highly negative terms.
Peace TV expressed its sincere regret and acknowledged that the programme should not have been broadcast.
Germany's foreign ministry has cancelled a 13 November 2016 Dresden Symphony Orchestra performance of Aghet , commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, scheduled to take place at the German consulate in Istanbul. The
ministry said that:
The whole consulate in Istanbul is not available on November 13 and that the invitations were sent out without State Department approval.
Orchestra director Markus Rindt told Reuters:
It's definitely been cancelled. They said they wanted to reschedule at a better time, but when would that be? This has been planned for years.
The Aghet project began in November 2015 when he conceived of the idea to bring together Armenian, Turkish and German musicians to play a concert together to remember the events that happened 101 years ago and to act a symbol of reconciliation.
In advance of the performance, the orchestra had invited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister MevlŁt Cavusoglu. But last April Turkey had demanded the European Commission pull its
200,000 Euros of funding from the symphony's project as the country takes offence at any mention of the 1915 Armenian genocide.
Spain's ruling Popular Party (PP) has presented a censorship proposal to Congress that could result in the banning of memes, social network users' way of gaining comic revenge on the politicians that rule our lives.
The censorship law will target the spreading of images that infringe the honour of a person , by demanding that the butt of the joke gives permission for their images to be used in that way
The proposal is a disgraceful attack against the sometimes irreverent humour and political expression in memes, many of which have poked fun at the PP's leader and conservative prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.
Sources from the PP haves said that the proposal is merely an idea at this stage, and tries to deflect criticism by noting that it does not censor memes that are non-insulting.
So far the only impact of the reform proposal is to have sparked a fresh wave of memes aimed at Rajoy and the PP government, with dozens of social network users posting new gags accompanied by the hashtag #SinMemesNoHayDemocracia - no democracy
The Labour peer George Foulkes is planning to revive his bill that would ban or restrict election polling.
The bill would introduce strict rules on polling companies and could even ban polls being conducted in the weeks leading up to an election.
Foulkes introduced legislation in the last parliament aimed at setting up an Ofcom style censor for polling companies. The body would draw up rules setting standards for conducting polls and be governed by a board made up of representatives of
the polling companies, political parties and the media.
The bill failed but Foulkes, who has served as both and MP and an MSP, is determined to revive it after the polls apparently failed to predict Donald Trump's election victory in America. He said:
In light of the US polls fiasco and Brexit I intend to pursue this bill again.
Once again we've seen how often polling is wrong, which is why the companies involved should welcome regulation and a strict standards to adhere to which would improve their credibility.
Banning polling in the last couple of weeks before an election would switch the focus to the issues at stake rather than the media just regurgitating the latest poll.
But surely opinion polls are wrong, not because of lax control, but simply because political correctness is oppressive and does not allow people to say what they think. For instance who is going to tell pollsters that they feel behind in the jobs
or welfare queue to immigrants and refugees.
Friday the 13th: The Game appears to be heading for the same censorship troubles as the movies series.
Co-creator of the game, Wes Keltner tweeted today that they met with the games raters of the ESRB and Friday the 13th: The Game is between an M (mature) and an AO (adults only).
When talking with GameRevolution, Keltner said he couldn't comment on the ESRB's exact reasons going into the game's potential ratings, but many are speculating it has to do with the game's reported inclusion of nudity. Of course, what's an entry
in the Friday the 13th series without at least a naked shower scene.
Keltner told GameRevolution that there is no way they would consider releasing the game with an AO rating, as it would prevent them from releasing on consoles. Many stores also don't carry AO-rated games so it would severely impact their sales.
So just like a large number of the movies series, the game makers will just have to put up with censor cuts.
A TV ad for a competition related to the film Nerve , seen on 3 August 2016, featured a voice-over that stated, Welcome to Nerve. Nerve is like truth or dare, minus the truth. To celebrate the release of Nerve, we are giving
you the chance to win a cash prize. We just want you to show some nerve. Head to mtv.co.uk/nerve to choose a dare, then share it at @MTVUK with #MTVGOTNERVE to enter. Are you ready to play? . The voice-over was accompanied by scenes from the
film, including a man on a skateboard holding onto the back of a moving car, a group of men jumping into the sea from a cliff, a man hanging from a crane, a man on a motorbike speeding through a red light, a woman walking across a ladder
horizontally spanning the gap between two buildings, someone falling from a crane, and a man lying between train tracks as a train passed over him.
The ad was given a post-9 pm scheduling restriction by Clearcast, which meant that it should not be shown before 9 pm or in or around programmes made for, or likely to be of particular appeal to, children.
A complainant challenged whether the ad condoned or encouraged dangerous practices.
Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ad featured scenes showing young adults engaged in a succession of highly dangerous activities. Various scenes had the appearance of being filmed on mobile phones, including some which featured overlaid graphics to look like video clips on
social media. A couple of scenes were shot as if the viewer were looking up through the screen of a smartphone, including a shot with overlaid social media-type graphics which showed a woman swiping the word ACCEPT . Those scenes
established the film's theme of young people daring each other, via social media, to video themselves undertaking dangerous behaviour and post the video on social media as proof they had completed the challenge. We noted that the theme tapped
into an ongoing trend in youth culture of young people challenging each other on social media into potentially dangerous behaviour, such as Neknominate and the Cinnamon Challenge .
We acknowledged the competition did not require participants to engage in any of the behaviour featured in the ad, and that some scenes showed the negative consequences of such behaviour. However, we considered that in the context of youth
culture around social media challenges, the ad's challenge to viewers to show some nerve in accompaniment with the scenes of young people engaging in dangerous behaviour condoned, and was likely to encourage, behaviour that prejudiced
health or safety. We acknowledged Clearcast had applied a scheduling restriction to prevent the ad being broadcast before 9 pm, but we considered that because it both condoned dangerous practices and was likely to encourage viewers, particularly
teenagers and young adults, to engage in dangerous practices, it should not have been broadcast at any time. We concluded the ad therefore breached the Code.
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about.
China's news censors ordered digital news media and other news outlets on the mainland to avoid excessive coverage of the US presidential election.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a source said Chinese censors had urged all media houses in the state to not provide any live coverage or broadcast of the poll -- the world's biggest news event of the day.
However, the media were reportedly asked not to miss out on any scandals during the vote and report them in a timely manner . The censors also allowed news media to criticise in depth political abuses in the election, said a source,
who did not want to be named because the instructions were confidential.
Jeremy Paxman says he is baffled by Reading students voting to boycott University Challenge over claims that a ludicrous complaint about supposed misogynistic and sexist comments was not taken seriously enough.
The University of Reading's students' union voted to boycott the show, after hearing claims relating to a previous appearance by the university's team. The students' union at Reading University voted 120 to 105 in favour of adopting a policy of
boycotting the quiz show. However the union wouldn't disclose what the issue was.
Paxman, presenter of the BBC2 quiz show, suggested that it might be about a comment made about a team mascot during a break in the recording:
I think they're referring to a recording of University Challenge which took place in February 2015, though I am baffled at why it has become an issue a year-and-a-half later.
There was a technical fault which meant we had to interrupt the recording, leaving all of us sitting at our desks in the studio while the problem was sorted out in the control gallery. In the conversation to fill the void - in a brightly lit
studio, in front of all eight contestants, a full studio crew and an audience of several hundred spectators - I asked the Reading team about the mascot sitting on their desk.
One of them said it was a hand-knitted Jeremy Paxman doll. Across the several yards separating the chairman's desk from the teams, I asked the whole team whether they took it to bed with them. Though no complaint was made at the time, this,
apparently, is what has upset them.
The University of Reading says the programme is a national institution and will step in to ensure the university is represented in the contest. A spokesman said:
We want our brightest and best students competing against the top universities in the UK in front of millions of viewers - not waving the white flag and refusing to enter
The university now plans to step in and recruit a team, given the students' union has opted out.
India takes its time over changes to film censorship law and similar ideas have been discussed several times before.
Now it is reported that India's film censors of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has accepted the recommendations of a government-appointed panel to introduce new movie categories.
The government appointed the panel led by filmmaker Shyam Benegal following allegations that the CBFC was stifling artistic freedom under the crazed CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihalani .
The panel submitted its report to the Centre recently on restructuring the Cinematography Act and rules, under which films are categorised depending on the nature of its contents including adult themes. The panel has suggested adding more
categories for films with explicit sexual content instead of CBFC's use of the scissors, which often leads to conflict with filmmakers over allowing kissing scenes, sexual content and cuss words in films.
The CBFC board however questioned some of the new categories and how they will be defined, such as adult with caution . At present, films with explicit adult content are given an A certificate, a U/A certificate which
mandates parental accompaniment for children below 12 and the U certificate for universal viewing.
The Benegal committee has recommended dividing the U and UA Categories to UA12+ and UA15+ and the A category to be sub-divided into A and AC (adult with caution) categories. The proposed A/C category will not include pornography, but will be a
certificate for films with explicit sexual content or nudity.
Pornographic films or those that supposedly hurt religious sentiments or harm national security will still be banned.
Changes to India's film classifications will require new legislation.
The Media Reform Coalition and National Union of Journalists are hoping to make Google and Facebook fund journalism in Britain.
They are seeking to persuade politicians to include a new amendment to the digital economy bill, which is currently going through parliament. It will propose a 1% levy on the operations of the digital giants in order to pay for independent and
A statement issued by the Media Reform Coalition (MRC) argues that digital intermediaries such as Google and Facebook are not only amassing eye-watering profits and paying minimal tax in the UK, they are also bleeding the newspaper
industry dry by sucking up advertising revenue . It continues:
As national and local newspapers try to cut their way out of trouble by slashing editorial budgets and shedding staff, journalistic quality is becoming a casualty.
Public interest journalism in particular has been hit the hardest as newspapers are being lured into a clickbait culture which favours the sensational and the trivial.
In the light of this, we propose a 1% levy on the operations of the largest digital intermediaries with the resulting funds redistributed to non-profit ventures with a mandate to produce original local or investigative news reporting.
China has passed a new film censorship law mopping up a few more prohibitions somehow overlooked by previous censorship laws.
the law bans content deemed harmful to the dignity, honour and interests of the People's Republic and encouraging the promotion of socialist core values .
The law claims that its aim is to spread core socialist values , enrich the masses' spiritual and cultural life, and set ground rules for the industry.
The law further forbids content that criticised the law or constitution, harms national unity, sovereignty or territorial integrity, exposes national secrets, harms Chinese security, dignity, honour or interests, or spreads terrorism or
extremism. Also banned are subjects that defame the people's excellent cultural traditions , incite ethnic hatred or discrimination or destroy ethnic unity.
It is also illegal for Chinese firms to hire or partner with overseas productions deemed to have views harmful to China's dignity, honour and interests, harm social stability or hurt the feelings of the Chinese people .
Films must not violate the country's religious policies, spread cults, or superstitions , insult or slander people.
China has passed a new internet censorship law mopping up a few more prohibitions somehow overlooked by previous censorship laws.
The legislation takes away the last vestiges of anonymity for China's 710 million internet users, and ensures that the state has the right to censor certain types of content -- or even shut down large sections of the local internet -- in the name
of national security.
Internet users must not engage in such activities as the overturn of the socialist system, disseminating violent, obscene or sexual information, or disseminating false information to disrupt the economic or social order.
All network operating companies in China will have to store users' logs for six months and pass a security check if they want to take that data outside national borders. They must also give technical support and assistance to public security
organs and state security organs, when preserving national security and investigating crimes.
Politically correct campaigners have started a petition calling for British Airways to stop offering its passengers a copy of the Daily Mail. The censorship campaign is being backed by Alastair Campbell. The petition states:
It is ironic that our national carrier gives out a paper which is so xenophobic and critical of most things that are not home grown.
What must many of the overseas visitors think of some of the anti-european and other headlines that they read when flying into the UK.
All British Airways is doing is keeping up the sales levels of a newspaper that could not be objective if it tried to be and one that then has the hypocrisy to question the integrity of the BBC.
The paper has been attacked by commentators in recent weeks following its coverage of the Calais 'child' refugee story and for criticising the judges who ruled that parliament should override the will of the people.
Alastair Campbell tweeted his support for the ban:
If you are offered a Daily Mail on a plane today, just rip it up. Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret)
Campbell claimed that Virgin boss Richard Branson supports his campaign to rid Virgin Atlantic flights of the Mail , but those who run his airline day to day insist the passengers want it . He also spoke of the frustration of watching
readers enjoying the newspaper:
I want to take them by the neck - indeed, sometimes I do take them by the eyeball, and I ask: 'Why are you reading that shit? It's a national poison. Take some heroin or something.'
Thangam Debbonaire, a Labour MP from Bristol proposed a ludicrous amendment to the Digital Economy Bill suggesting that online distributors of porn should be jailed if they were aware, or should have been aware of anybody being coerced in its
production. She also suggested prison time for distributors of films which depict people being forced to perform painful and dangerous acts.
She told the Bristol Post that evidence showed that some people in the adult film industry were forced to do things that were painful, dangerous and causing long standing damage . Others were being sold into the trade, she claimed.
She acknowledged that there were already laws in place which drew a clear line that having sex with someone trafficked or coerced was unacceptable . I believe this now needs to be applied to pornography, Debbonaire said. She
also asked whether it was time to set-up a censor so that viewers can be sure that they are not watching a sexual assault taking place on screen.
Culture Minister Matthew Hancock replied to the MP, patronisingly 'praising' her powerful and passionate speech . He said that, while he entirely supported the thrust of the argument , but he believed her suggestion fell into technical difficulties
Hancock said many of the restrictions being called for by Debbonaire were covered, or even taken further, by existing legislation , especially the Modern Slavery Act, which was introduced last year. He also said it could be difficult
to prove whether a distributor of online porn knew that someone who featured in one of their films had been trafficked. Hancock added:
I'm concerned that the offence could be difficult to prosecute.
To show that someone 'knew or should have known' that someone had been exploited could be difficult. It could be quite a tenuous link between those people [the distributor] and the people responsible for the trafficking themselves.
Debbonaire withdrew the amendment. She told the Post she wanted to highlight the issue of coercion to those who watch pornography.
What I really want is for the men, and some women, that consume porn to stop and think, what is it that I'm watching? I want people to start thinking and asking questions like, is there a safe way to be involved in the production of porn?
A freshly restored version of horror classic Suspiria is set to return to Italian movie screens 40 years after its initial release.
The 1977 classic by director Dario Argento is being restored in 4K resolution. It is also the first Argento movie to have THX-certified audio to enhance the effect of the score by Italian rock group Goblin, which includes a death waltz.
The new restoration is expected to premiere at next year's Berlinale in February in a special section, along with special theatrical screenings to follow. Argento said in a statement:
I can't wait to see it at the movies again with all the young people who will see it for the first time.
Simultaneously US cult specialists Synapse Films bought the US distribution rights back in 2013, and they have also been working on a 4K restoration for the last couple of years.
The movie attracted a fair amount of attention from the UK and US. It was cut by the BBFC for X rated 1977 cinema release. Less cut for 1990 18 rated VHS and uncut since 1998. It was cut in the US for an MPAA R rating but Unrated
releases are uncut. See further details at
Melon Farmers Video Hits: Suspiria
Meanwhile cameras began rolling last month on a remake of Suspiria by director Luca Guadagnino.
Upset Hindus are urging US online retailer RageOn for immediate removal of shoes, underwear, yoga mats, onesies, duvet covers, bed sheet, blankets; carrying images of Hindu gods Ganesha and Shiva and goddess Kali; calling it highly inappropriate.
Rajan Zed said that Hindu deities--Ganesha, Shiva and Kali--printed on RageOn shoes, underwear, yoga mats, onesies, duvet covers, bed sheet, blankets; were highly revered in Hinduism and were meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and
not to be worn around or touched by one's feet, groin, buttocks, legs or slept upon. Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also urged RageOn CEO & Founder Michael Krilivsky to offer a formal apology.
Zed further said that such trivialization of Hindu deities was disturbing to the Hindus world over. Hindus were for free artistic expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and
attempts at trivializing it hurt the followers, Zed added.
A group of MPs have tabled an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill that would force pornography websites to be blocked by ISPs if they fail to verify the age of their users.
This is the second time such amendments have been suggested. The MPs involved are Claire Perry, David Burrowes, Fiona Bruce, Derek Thomas, Jeremy Lefroy, Caroline Ansell, Heidi Allen, Andrew Selous, Iain Duncan Smith, Maria Miller, Fiona
Open Rights Group Executive Director Jim Killock said:
Perhaps these MPs have realised that plans to make all adult websites apply age verification are unworkable as foreign porn sites may simply not comply. They are now suggesting that websites who don't comply should be blocked -- even though
their content is perfectly legal.
While child protection is important, this proposal is disproportionate. Censorship of this kind should be reserved for illegal and harmful content.
We are talking about potentially thousands of websites with legal material being censored, something that is unprecedented in the developed world.
The Digital Economy Bill has proposed that all pornography websites should be forced to verify the age of their users. This has sparked concerns that the privacy of adults could be violated. It is not yet clear how age verification will be
implemented but it could lead to the collection of data on everyone who visits a porn website. This kind of information could be vulnerable to Ashley Madison style data breaches.
The Open Rights Group further commented:
The amendment has been tabled because MPs understand that age verification cannot be imposed upon the entire mostly US-based pornographic industry by the UK alone. In the USA, age verification has been seen by the courts as an infringement
on the right of individuals to receive and impart information. This is unlikely to change, so use of age verification technologies will be limited at best.
However, the attempt to punish websites by blocking them is also a punishment inflicted on the visitors to these websites. Blocking them is a form of censorship, it is an attempt to restrict access to them for everyone. When material is
restricted in this way, it needs to be done for reasons that are both necessary for the goal, and proportionate to the aim. It has to be effective in order to be proportionate.
The goal is to protect children, although the level of harm has not been established. According to OfCom: More than nine in ten parents in 2015 said they mediated their child's use of the internet in some way, with 96% of parents of 3-4s and
94% of parents of 5-15s using a combination of: regularly talking to their children about managing online risks, using technical tools, supervising their child, and using rules or restrictions. (1)
70% of households have no children. These factors make the necessity and proportionality of both age verification and censorship quite difficult to establish. This issue affects 30% of households who can choose to apply filters and use other
strategies to keep their children safe online.
It is worth remembering also that the NSPCC and others tend to accept that teenagers are likely to continue to access pornography despite these measures. They focus their concerns on 9-12 years olds coming across inappropriate material, despite
a lack of evidence that there is any volume of these incidents, or that harm has resulted. While it is very important to ensure that 9-12 year olds are safe online, it seems more practical to focus attention directly on their online environment,
for instance through filters and parental intervention, than attempting to make the entire UK Internet conform to standards that are acceptable for this age group.
That MPs are resorting to proposals for website blocking tells us that the age verification proposals themselves are flawed. MPs should be asking about the costs and privacy impacts, and why such a lack of thought has gone into this. Finally,
they should be asking what they can do to help children through practical education and discussion of the issues surrounding pornography, which will not go away, with or without attempts to restrict access.
An 18-year-old broke France's anti-terror laws by naming his home Wi-Fi network Daesh 21 . The unnamed man was given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for now, after he was found guilty of essentially publicly condoning a terrorist
act or group.
According to daily newspaper The Public Good, the man had chosen the name for his network as a joke. The 21 has no relevant significance.
A neighbor saw the network name and called the police, who arrested the man. After the police determined he did not pose a terrorism threat himself, they charged him with public support for terror acts.
The man was offered the opportunity to admit to the supposed 'crime' and accept 100 hours of community service punishment, but he declined and opted for a trial.
A discount online retailer everything5.com has 'outraged' campaigners by selling a women's t-shirt with the slogan NO MEANS NO - Well maybe if I'm drunk .
Since the t-shirt appeared on the site it has attracted a flurry of complaints from angry campaigners who are demanding that it is immediately banned from sale.
Among those complaining, Rachel Krys from campaign group End Violence Against Women branded the t-shirt disgusting and supported the calls to have it removed from sale. She told the Daily Mail:
It's just disgusting. I'm all for free speech ...BUT... I can see why lots of women have complained about it.
Women, particularly young women, see things like this and hear things around recent rape cases and think they're in some way to blame or that it's not as serious as it feels to them. It's part of a really unhelpful dialogue around sexual assault
and consent in general. It's really offensive, particularly to people who have experienced sexual assault and rape. We're living in an environment where they are not believed, and it adds to the message that it's a joke or won't be believed.
A spokesman for the website said:
How come many people are buying those t-shirts, specially women? I think it is to do with what you think in your mind.
The New York State Supreme Court has ruled that it was not unconstitutional for the New York Department of Taxation to tax the admission fees to adult entertainment clubs, even if similar non-adult venues are exempt.
The judges bizarrely claimed that dancing wasn't dancing if it was the primary appeal of the performance. Perhaps hadn't read the simple dictionary definition of the word: move rhythmically to music.
The case stretches back to 2009, when the Department of Taxation audited the Manhattan branch of Larry Flynt's Hustler Club and found that the club had not paid excise taxes on the sale of the club's Beaver Bucks, used to pay for stripping
performances in the VIP room, lap dances, and to tip dancers, waitresses and bartenders.
The tax man proceeded to bill the club in 2014 and the club launched an appeal against the decision noting that dancing venues have historically been exempt from excise taxes.
Judge Gardner claimed that dancing only counts as dancing if it is live dramatic, and a choreographed performance ruling that the club:
Provides a service to its patrons that essentially boils down to performers who remove their clothing and create an aura of sexual fantasy. The plain facts of this case have been obfuscated in an attempt to characterize [exotic dancing as] live
dramatic, choreographed performances. However, the services provided by the entertainers at the Hustler Club is sexual fantasy, not dance ... The movements, whether dance moves or other choreography, that compromise an entertainer's routine and
that appeal to the patron, are ancillary to the ultimate service sold, which is sexual fantasy/
In fact the court judgement continued that it didn't matter anyway as the state can arbitrarily choose what forms of entertainment should be exempted from tax and that there is nothing in tax laws to prevent the state from using tax to moralise
and to encourage activities deemed socially desirable.
It's unclear at this time whether the club's attorneys will appeal the state Supreme Court's decision to the federal court system.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is at the centre of a criminal investigation in Germany into whether Facebook adequately censors Nazi-themed content posted on the social network.
Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and its European policy director, Richard Allan, are also under investigation, according to German newspaper Der Spiegel. All three have been accused by Chan-jo Jun, a Bavarian lawyer, of
failing to ensure posts on Facebook containing racist abuse, threats of violence and Holocaust denial are removed.
Jun said he identified more than 430 posts on Facebook which he found offensive which were reported to Facebook but never deleted. Instead, he said Facebook sent him a generic response dismissing the posts as harmless.
According to Der Spiegel, prosecutors in Munich have now opened a preliminary investigation and are looking into whether there is enough evidence of a criminal offence. Under German law, Facebook is legally obliged to remove racist or Nazi-themed
content as soon as it becomes aware of it.
Facebook has dismissed the allegations, saying they lack merit, and insists that none of its employees have broken any laws.
The morality campaigners of Morality in Media (now calling themselves The National Center on Sexual Exploitation) are calling on Walmart to ban Cosmopolitan magazine for being a bit sexy inside. Spokesperson Haley Halverson whinged:
For those who don't know Cosmo magazine, on the front it might just look like another woman's magazine - but inside it has a large number of very explicit sexual images and, more importantly, instructions on different sexual acts. So it's
actually a very explicit magazine
Some stores actually have the magazine at checkout stands. In 2015, the Center received an agreement from Walmart regarding the magazine.
Walmart said that it would shield it in the checkout aisles, but they have not been enforcing this policy standard - and we hear reports from all over the country that Wamart's not doing it, she says. So now we're asking that they just stop
selling the magazine altogether.
Morality in Media is now waiting for a response from Walmart.
One hundred years ago, film censorship was introduced to New Zealand, making it illegal to show any film without it first being passed by the Censor. The 1916 Cinematograph Film Censorship Act was the government's first attempt to restrict
what New Zealanders could watch and hear in audiovisual media.
From 16 to 26 November, Nga Taonga Sound & Vision will mark the centenary with the event CENSORED -- 100 Years of Film Censorship in NZ. A two week programme of films banned in New Zealand including: Mad Max, The Wild One, All Quiet
on the Western Front and Battleship Potemkin .
There will also be public panel discussion with the Chief Censor Andrew Jack on censorship in a digital age. He will outline in plans to keep censoring films for a few more years yet, saying:
Important changes are coming and public debate is essential if we're going to ensure a system that is workable, fair, and helps protect our young people from access to potentially harmful content.
The Economist is reporting that Kenya's film censor is out of control and riding a wave of popularist support for his bollox claims that is seeing an expansion of his remit.
In addition to his day job of censoring films, Ezekiel Mutua, the head of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), has been making bollox claims, for instance that his organisation will need to raid strip clubs to 'prevent a wave of
He has also raged against homosexuality and threatened to regulate Netflix as a possible threat to national security.
In March he claimed that foreigners were organising a mass sex and drugs party called Project X in Nairobi, which they would film and sell as pornography. In July he threatened a nightclub over a speed-dating night he claimed was an orgy of lesbians
. And last month he claimed that women were being paid peanuts to perform sex acts on dogs.
This wave of censoriousness has amused the Kenyan press and made Mutua into a national figure and has gained him a following among the easily outraged. He even seems to have plenty of fans in government, leading to a bill in parliament to widen
the remit of the film board to regulate advertisements and live events, such as stage plays.
National Secular Society protests decision to suspend Louis Smith after he mocked Islam
The National Secular Society has written an open letter to British Gymnastics calling on the body to reverse the two month suspension given to athlete Louis Smith for mocking Islam.
The sporting body suspended Smith for two months and gave fellow athlete Luke Carson a reprimand over a video in which the two mocked Islamic prayer.
President of the National Secular Society Terry Sanderson wrote to British Gymnastics that's its own censorious actions had caused far more harm than Smith and Carson's mockery of Islam.
In an open letter Mr Sanderson said that:
British Gymnastics has contributed to a climate of censorship brought on by the unreasonable and reactionary views of religious extremists.
Rather than defending free expression, one of the most precious pillars of our liberal democratic society, you have chosen instead to side with extremists and patronise British Muslims by assuming they will take offence at the trivial actions of
these two athletes.
British Gymnastics' condemnation and punishment of Louis Smith and Luke Carson will only serve to embolden the religious extremists who reject free speech and religious tolerance by demanding that Islam must not be mocked.
We urge you to consider whether by taking the actions it has, British Gymnastics has further endangered the safety of these two athletes by giving succour to those who seek to silence all criticism and mockery of their religion.
British Gymnastics' Standards of Conduct prohibits athletes from making offensive jokes or remarks. The National Secular Society has now called on British Gymnastics to revise its code of conduct to protect athletes' freedom of expression.
Offsite Comment: Je suis Louis Smith
Why we must be free to mock Islam. By Brendan O'Neill
Yesterday in parliament Tory MP Charles Walker was speaking about the chilling vilification of Louis Smith and accused politicians of having looked the other way over death threats to Smith.
During Prime Minister's Questions, he told MPs:
When people make fun of Christianity in this country, it rightly turns the other cheek.
When a young gymnast, Louis Smith, makes fun of another religion widely practised in this country, he is hounded on Twitter by the media and suspended by his association.
For goodness sake, this man received death threats and we have all looked the other way.
My question to the Prime Minister is this: what is going on in this country because I no longer understand the rules
In response, Theresa May seemed to affirm that freedom of speech has been repealed and that the criticism of islam is now officially considered off limits. She said:
I understand the level of concern that you have raised in relation to this matter. This is a balance that we need to find.
We value freedom of expression and freedom of speech in this country -- that is absolutely essential in underpinning our democracy ... BUT ... we also value tolerance to others. We also value tolerance in relation to religions.
This is one of the issues that we have looked at in the counter-extremism strategy that the Government has produced.
I think we need to ensure that yes it is right that people can have that freedom of expression. ..BUT... in doing so that right has a responsibility too.
And that is a responsibility to recognise the importance of tolerance to others.
Offsite Comment: British Gymnastics needs to get off its high horse
The UAE does not censor any book entering book fairs in the country claimed a senior book censor from the National Media Council (NMC) ...BUT... certain lines are not to be crossed . The official was speaking at the Sharjah
International Book Fair (SIBF).
Juma Al Leem, director of the NMC office in Dubai, said:
In the UAE, we never prohibit books in any book fair. We give our remarks or comments only about the book.
Al Leem added that while there is also no censorship in general terms in the UAE, every country has a red line for content. He said the US, for example, blocks books deemed to be a national security threat.
Certain lines are not to be crossed We don't support [books that promote] terrorism, and so on.
However certain types of books will continue to be referred by the NMC to relevant UAE ministries before a final approval is granted. For example, a medical publication awaiting the green light from the NMC is sent by the NMC to the Ministry of
Health and Prevention so specialists can assess the content.
We concentrate on quality. We don't permit every book. We don't want false facts.
Al Leem said the NMC has its own highly qualified and specialised staff to assess works of literature and various other genres, besides referrals to third-party entities on technical subjects. He pointed out that each licence for a
work to be published in the UAE has its own terms and conditions. He added that in certain cases a minimum of a high-school certificate is required to allow the licence to go ahead.
We are not using our power against writers. The new law on competencies is now effective and we will reveal more details.
A young generation of Vietnamese comic artists is struggling to get its work published as local publishers hesitate over censorship concerns.
For instance, the third volume of popular Vietnamese comic Meo Moc (Musty Mew) by Dang Quang Dung was recently recalled by publishers after a one month run in local bookstores. The artist attributes the recall to a scene featuring the
comic's feline protagonist on the toilet and the word poop appearing later in the volume, both of which were deemed offensive by book censors.
Nguyen Khanh Duong, co-founder of Comicola and a comic scriptwriter himself, last week took to Facebook to reveal the harsh censorship of his comic Long Than Tuong (Holy Dragon Imperator), which in February received the Silver Award at the
Ninth International MANGA Awards held by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Details such as a little girl grabbing her mother's breast as a joke and an onomatopoeic sound of a sword's slash were asked to be changed before the comic could be published, despite being labeled for readers from 16 years of age, Duong said.
Still, Duong has been luckier than many of his Vietnamese colleagues whose work never even made it to the shelves, including artist Dao Quang Huy whose book was rejected by local publishers for distorting fairy tales . Huy explained
Publishing censorship in Vietnam is a grey area that depends entirely on the sentiment of censors who lack specified criteria on which they can base their judgment.
Many attribute such harsh censorship to the long-held view by Vietnamese publishers and authorities that comics are meant for children, though comics have long been evolved to serve a much wider range of readers.
According to Duong Thanh Hoai, deputy director of Nha Nam book company, comic editors at publishing houses in Vietnam are held back by a fear of violating fine traditions and customs , a vague term in Vietnamese publishing laws that has
yet to be defined by the country's lawmakers.
A sex worker's group, SCOT-PEP, has accused Police Scotland of using 'support, health and wellbeing' (SHAW) visits as a cover for raids in an attempt to criminalise those involved in the sex industry. Police have been turning up at the homes of
known sex workers unannounced to deliver 'support' or 'advice' to people who sell sex.
SCOT-PEP co-chair Nadine Stott said:
In a legal context where the police prosecute sex workers, it's completely inappropriate to use police surveillance and unannounced police visits to deliver 'support' or 'advice' to people who sell sex.
We have now seen that part of Police Scotland's own remit with regards to Operation SHAW is to 'identify other criminality'. For sex workers in our network, this raises the frightening possibility that Police Scotland are conducting surveillance
and surprise home visits on sex workers under the veneer of offering 'help and support', while in fact looking for opportunities to criminalise sex workers for drug use, immigration offences or anything else they can find.
In an attempt to assist sex workers, SCOT-PEP has published know your rights cards for sex workers in Romanian, Thai, Portuguese, Polish and Mandarin
Police have informed another sex worker group called Encompass who are working with the SHAW scheme that no women have been prosecuted as a result of any SHAW visit. Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston, head of Police Scotland's Human
Trafficking Unit, said:
Police Scotland is committed to improving the safety and wellbeing of people, localities and communities. It is recognised that many males and females involved in prostitution are there as a result of force or a perception of limited
alternatives. It is also acknowledged that other persons may have freely chosen to be involved in prostitution.
SHAW (Support, Health and Wellbeing) visits were introduced by Police Scotland and our partners to improve our multi-agency response to 'off-street' prostitution. Visits are victim-centred as opposed to enforcement being a priority. The
methodology has been developed through collaboration between Police Scotland and key partner agencies.
A Youtube ad for Kronenbourg, seen on 18 June 2016, featured Eric Cantona playing a fictional character who, with two dogs who wore barrels containing Kronenbourg around their necks, said delivered Kronenbourg to the deserving . In
other words, to people who had experienced unfortunate mishaps or who had enjoyed improbable success. The character stated Here in Alsace, live the most intelligent dogs in the world, the Alsace-tians. They deliver Kronenbourg to the deserving
. In one scenario, a monk who had been ringing church bells had become entangled in the ropes and the dogs set him free. Afterwards he was given a pint of Kronenbourg. In another scenario, a local postman had fallen off his bike into a snowdrift
and was trapped in the snow. The dogs dug him out of the snow and he was then seen sitting on a rock shivering holding a pint of Kronenbourg. In a third scenario, an actor was on stage playing a dramatic suicide scene and Eric Cantona's character
in the audience was seen rolling his eyes and sighing, as though he disliked the actor's performance. Once the performance was over, the actor received a standing ovation from the rest of the audience and the Alsace-tian dogs delivered his pint
of Kronenbourg in recognition of his success. In the final scene, Eric Cantona's character stated Man's best friend delivering one of man's greatest achievements. A taste supreme .
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) challenged whether the ad implied that alcohol:
could enhance confidence; and
had therapeutic qualities, and was capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour.
Heineken pointed out that the scenarios had been resolved by the time the beer was consumed and the scenes ended after the characters had taken a sip of Kronenbourg. They believed that no continued physical or emotional uplift was shown which
could be attributed to the effect of the beer, and that it was not implied through the visuals or narrative that Kronenbourg had any therapeutic or restorative properties. They believed the ad implied that the characters were grateful for the
unexpected offer of a refreshing and locally popular beer.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that the actor did not receive or consume alcohol before or during his performance, and it was only after he had finished his final scene, and had taken a bow, that the Alsace-tian dogs ran onto the stage and delivered a glass of
Kronenbourg. We also noted that the audience reacted positively to his performance before the dogs appeared on stage with the beer. We therefore considered that the ad did not imply that it was the Kronenbourg that had given him confidence in the
later part of his performance, or that it had enhanced his popularity with the audience, and we concluded that it did not breach the Code.
2. Not upheld
We noted that in both scenarios, the dogs rescued the trapped villagers as soon as they appeared on the scene and that after they had been released, they were given a Kronenbourg. We noted that the monk was seen smiling as he brought the glass to
his mouth and closed his eyes as he took a sip of the beer. We noted that the postman was shivering as he brought the glass to his mouth and, after taking a sip, he waved to Eric Cantona as a gesture of gratitude.
We considered that, although the men appeared pleased, the situations portrayed implied that any improvement in their mood was due to their relief at having been rescued from unpleasant situations, coupled with their gratitude at having received
an unexpected gift of a free beer. We considered that because the beer was consumed at the very end of the scenes after the rescues had taken place, there was no suggestion that it was the consumption of the beer, rather than the act of being
rescued, that had improved their mood. We also considered, for the same reason, that there was no suggestion that the beer had therapeutic properties that had helped the villagers either get out of or recover from their ordeals.
In the case of the postman, we noted he was still shivering after having taken a sip of the beer, although slightly less markedly, but we attributed that to him warming up naturally as a result of no longer being in the mound of snow, rather than
having taken a small sip of beer. We considered therefore the ad did not suggest it was the consumption of beer that had improved his physical condition.
For those reasons, we concluded that the ad did not imply that alcohol had therapeutic properties, or was capable of changing mood, physical condition or behaviour.
The defunct US news website Gawker has settled a lawsuit won by retired US professional wrestler Hulk Hogan for $31m (£25m).
The privacy case forced Gawker to declare bankruptcy earlier this year, after a jury awarded Hogan $140m over a leaked sex tape. Gawker shut down in August following the judgement.
The website, launched in the early 2000s, was known for its acerbic tone and aggressive coverage of celebrities.
Hogan's legal bill was paid by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who had earlier fallen victim to a Gawker gay expose, said he wanted to curb Gawker's bullying .
Campaign group Reporters without Borders, however, criticised Thiel's secret involvement in the case, calling it a serious threat to press freedom.
Gawker founder Nick Denton said in a blog that the company and staff were confident the appeals process would reduce the judgement against Gawker, but that all-out legal war would have cost too much, and hurt too many people, and there was no
end in sight. Denton also said that as part of the settlement, three true stories would be removed from the web .
Facebook has thwarted a dastardly plot by Admiral insurance company to try and get its hands on people's social media postings to assess their insurance risk.
Admiral were planning to offer the possibility of discounts on car insurance for those silly enough to sign over their social media data.
Arch personal data guzzlers Facebook have refused to play ball, and has announced it would not allow the app to access people's posts, citing privacy concerns. A Facebook spokesman said:
Protecting the privacy of the people on Facebook is of utmost importance to us. We have clear guidelines that prevent information being obtained from Facebook from being used to make decisions about eligibility.
We have made sure anyone using this app is protected by our guidelines and that no Facebook user data is used to assess their eligibility. Facebook accounts will only be used for login and verification purposes. Our understanding is that Admiral
will then ask users who sign up to answer questions which will be used to assess their eligibility.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the BBFC wants to get rid of five of its current examiners by the end of the year and replace them with younger, less experienced, cheaper compliance officers.
The trade union Unite has responded with the unlikely claim that the staff economies would risk material slipping through the censorship process. Unite's general secretary Len McCluskey has written to the BBFC's president Patrick Swaffer about
the planned staff changes. He wrote:
It has always been my impression that the BBFC has maintained the trust of the public, particularly in relation to its child protection responsibilities, through the recruitment of mature and experienced individuals who have come from a variety
of backgrounds, both personal and professional.
It seems to me that to replace those individuals with young, inexperienced graduates is both unfortunate in terms of the BBFC's public persona, and, quite possibly, a case of age discrimination.
Furthermore, I do not believe the public's trust, and especially that of many parents, will be enhanced by the knowledge that the BBFC is willing to lose the few examiners who view material on a day-to-day basis who are themselves parents, a
status that brings an unimpeachable knowledge and understanding of child development.
The examiners are being given a choice of leaving on voluntary severance terms or being redeployed as compliance officers with a reduction in status and ¬£20,000-a-year drop in salary.
Unite is arguing that the cost savings are not necessary because the BBFC's most recent accounts revealed an operating surplus of more than £1.2 million and that turnover is up by 2%, and operating costs down by the same amount. The union's
regional officer Rose Keeping said:
You can't put a price on protecting children and young people from the tidal wave of sexually explicit and very violent films and videos that are available in 2016.
With less experienced examiners, there is an increased possibility that an unacceptable sex scene and/or one of extreme violence sneaking past the censors' net - this would be detrimental to the promotion of child protection that the Government
is actively supporting.
We are also investigating whether what the BBFC is proposing for our members contravenes the age discrimination provisions in the 2010 Equality Act.
The BBFC responded in a press release saying:
The BBFC's classification standards protect children and empower families.
In making classification decisions, the BBFC has in place a structure that ensures consistency of approach and is based on published Classification Guidelines that are founded on large-scale public consultation.
The BBFC is currently in consultation with Unite in relation to this phase of the reorganisation of its examining and compliance functions, which began in 2013. The BBFC must respect the privacy of the ongoing formal consultation process.
The Investigatory Powers Bill is one step closer to becoming law after it was passed by the House of Lords yesterday.
Open Rights Group's Executive Director, Jim Killock, responded:
The UK is one step closer to having one of the most extreme surveillance laws ever passed in a democracy.
Despite attempts by the Lib Dems and Greens to restrain these draconian powers, the Bill is still a threat to the British public's right to privacy.
The IP Bill is a comprehensive surveillance law that was drafted after three inquiries highlighted flaws in existing legislation. However, the new Bill fails to restrain mass surveillance by the police and security services and even extends their
powers. Once passed, Internet Service Providers could be obliged to store their customers' web browsing history for a year. The police and government departments will have unprecedented powers to access this data through a search engine that
could be used for profiling. The Bill will also allow the security services to continue to collect communications data in bulk and could see Internet security weakened by allowing mass hacking.
A post on the @WKDOfficial Twitter feed in May 2016 stated Our WKD tech team are trying to make your emoji dreams a reality. Below was an image of a phone screen showing an exchange of messages. The first said Gonna be a gr8 nite and included an image of three small blue bottles. The response included an image of two small red bottles and a
face with tears of joy emoji.
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because the use of emojis was likely to appeal particularly to people under 18 years of age.
WKD said they believed emojis were an ageless, common form of communication that did not have particular appeal to under 18s. They said they were used by a variety of brands (including other alcohol brands), institutions and non-governmental
organisations to communicate with adults and that they saw them as being interchangeable with exclamation marks and words, with the benefit of reducing the use of characters, which was a consideration given the limits on social media. They
supplied examples of emojis being used in communications by various companies and brands, and cited a magazine article which said that 92% of the UK population, including four out of five of those aged between 18 and 65, used emojis on a regular
WKD cited a report which had said Twitter was a media platform where 84% of users were over 18. They said the WKD Twitter page was protected by an age gate, where users were asked to submit their date of birth.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
The CAP Code stated that alcohol ads must not be likely to appeal particularly to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture. The ASA acknowledged WKD's comment that the content of their Twitter page was
targeted at those who declared themselves to be 18 years and over. However, we considered that the content nevertheless should not have particular appeal to under-18s. We considered emojis were likely to have appeal across many age groups
including, because of their cartoon-like appearance, those under 18. However, we considered they were not likely to have particular appeal to under-18s by reflecting or being associated with youth culture and concluded that the ad therefore did
not breach the Code.
The blasphemy law in force in the region of Alsace-Moselle, France, has been repealed by the national Senate! It means that France is now free of blasphemy laws as such!, although there are plenty of modern day equivalents claiming insults and
mockery to be incitement to hatred.
The law was a bit of an anomaly in France as it had been inherited from a historic period of German rule in the region.
Podcast 59 gives a chance for BBFC boss David Austin to outline classifications guidelines for films that depict drug use, eg Now is Good, Project X and 13 .
Austin also took the opportunity to speak about a slight change in BBFC terminology in the various forms of consumer advice. Previously the BBFC used the term ''drug use' but will replace this with the term 'drug misuse'. Austin
cited that example that taking paracetamol for a head ache is 'drug use' and so does not always imply a classification issue.
Of course the term ' drug misuse' is also a bit confusing if the drug is intended for use as a recreational drug. Eg does a beer drinker 'misuse' alcohol, or how do you 'misuse' a spliff? Stick it up your bum or something?