Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2009: December

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31st December   

Refined Ages...

India to introduce 12 and 15 film classifications
Link Here

The number of adult Bollywood films will fall in the next six months if the information and broadcasting ministry introduces two new categories

I&B minister Ambika Soni has assured filmmakers that the law would be amended to introduce the categories.

Director Vishal Bharadwaj and a member of the expert committee of the national film awards, said, We met the minister recently and she promised the rating system would be introduced in the next six months. That will help bring down the number of adult films. We don't have a rating system now to decide which film is suitable for a 12 or a 15-year-old. Even CBFC chief Sharmila Tagore has promised to introduce the rating system.

The Censor Board of Film Certification has sent a proposal to the ministry for amendment in the law asking it to introduce more categories for film certification. There are only three categories now: U, U/A and A. U stands for unrestricted public exhibition and this rating is given to films suitable for family viewing ; it shouldn't disturb even the youngest of children and contains no violence and sensuality.

CBFC regional officer Vinayak Azad said, The proposal is for introduction of two more categories to be introduced as a law after amendment of the Cinematograph Act 1952 These two categories are more like an advisory for the consumer which informs the audiences more specifically about the content of the film. These categories are there in most countries.


31st December   

Silence Voice...

Iran jams BBC and US satellite broadcasts
Link Here
Full story: Iran Jams Western Media...BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle

Broadcasters in the United States and Britain say the Iranian government has been jamming international satellite transmissions into the country.

Television programs by VOA's Persian News Network and a number of radio broadcasts by U.S.-supported news organizations have been affected by the Iranian jamming. The interference has been aimed at a communications satellite system used by many countries.

Iranian authorities have not responded to inquiries by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the agency that oversees all U.S. government-supported civilian international broadcasting, including VOA.

However, engineers who regularly monitor satellite communications say Iran apparently is the source of the signal interference, which has blanketed a satellite system known as Hot Bird.

A BBG statement said its experts have determined that Iranian government jamming has been in effect at least since December 27. In addition to VOA's Persian network, the jamming has affected programs by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty's Radio Farda and Radio Sawa, a U.S.-supported Arabic-language radio.

The BBG condemned the jamming and called it censorship aimed at interrupting the free flow of objective news and information to the Iranian people.

The BBC first reported last week that it had encountered jamming aimed at its Persian-language radio and television programs.


31st December   

Taking the Self Censorship Rap...

Eminem to tone down his tour act to avoid picket protests
Link Here

Reports indicate that Eminem has promised Wireless Festival promoters he will drop lyrics from his act considered to be homophobic. In return, gay rights groups have promised not to picket the summer event.

Citing a festival insider, the Daily Mail says Wireless Festival organizers were worried that gay rights groups protesting Eminem's first major U.K. tour in nine years might disrupt the yearly multi-day festival.

When Em toured the United Kingdom in 2001, gay rights group OutRage! accused the rapper of using homophobic lyrics and protested outside venues while he was performing.

The organisers were afraid campaigners could potentially ruin the event, the inside source told the Daily Mail. So there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and Eminem only agreed to sign up when assurances had been made that there would not be any protests, adding that any demonstration would have been disastrous.


30th December   

Cop Out...

Supporting the hype for A Couple of Dicks
Link Here

Director Kevin Smith has been forced to change the name of his new Bruce Willis cop comedy because studio bosses felt A Couple of Dicks would lead to marketing issues.

The filmmaker wanted to use the controversial title for the forthcoming film, but changed his mind after learning commercials promoting the project would be banned from three of the top TV networks.

Smith admits it was a tough decision to make, and he likens the name change - to Cop Out - to being castrated.

He tells, Losing A Couple of Dicks was almost akin to losing my own dick. It was a perfect buddy-cop movie comedy title. You couldn't say that title to somebody without a fucking smile crossing their face.


30th December   

Climate of Censorship...

Canada gets climate hoax websites closed
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Canada...Proposal for opt in intenet blocking

The Canadian government has decided to censor those who take the piss out of its environmental policy.

It a move worthy of a humourless autocratic regime. The country shut down two comedy sites and took down 4500 other websites in the process.

Mike Landreville from Environment Canada in an email to the German Internet Service Provider (ISP) Serverloft claimed that the two websites, and , are directly connected to a hoax which misleads people into believing that the Government of Canada will take certain actions in relation to environmental matters. Landreville demanded that ISPs purge any further attempts concerning other environment-related domains from their servers.

Apparently Serverloft was so spooked it turned off a whole block of IP addresses, knocking out more than 4500 websites that had nothing to do with the parody sites or the activists who created them.

The hoax was clearly a joke to get attention to the issue of Climate Change. It was run by the Climate Debt Agents of Action Aid, and The Yes Men. They used press releases and fake websites to announce that Canada would adopt science-based emission targets - reducing emissions by 40% over 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050.


29th December   


Radio DJ sacked for cracks during the Queen's speech
Link Here

The comedian behind inept DJ Ivan Brackenbury has been fired from a radio station – after interrupting the Queen's speech with a gag.

Tom Binns was sacked by the Midlands-based Orion Media after pulling the plug on the royal Christmas broadcast and saying on air: Two words: Bor-ing.

A couple of listeners complained – including one who made a death threat – which was enough for bosses to give Binns the boot.

However, the group of stations, which includes BRMB in Birmingham and Mercia in Coventry, was never meant to broadcast the Queen's message in the first place.

Binns told Chortle: I was working on my own on Christmas Day; I'd even had to let myself into the studio. After the guy before me finished, we should have taken the news from Sky, and then my show would start. But instead of the news, we got the Queen's speech. I knew it shouldn't be there, but having never heard it before, I didn't know how long it was going to go on for. I'm not trained to make editorial decisions, but I decided to get rid of it and make a joke. I said, "Two words: bor-ring"

I then went into an old riff about how people say the royal family are good for tourism, but the French beheaded theirs and people still visit France. The next record was George Michael's Last Christmas, so I made some sort of comment about "going from one Queen to another" as a parody of a cheesy DJ.

One man got really angry, he sent me a message saying I should be sent to Basra and hoped I'd get killed by a roadside bomb. That was so nasty it really got to me, given that it was Christmas and I've seen in graphic detail the effects those bombs can do as I've worked with [forces radio] BFBS.

I rang him up – off-air – to give him a piece of my mind; but other than that almost all the texts we received were in support of what I'd done.

Nobody would have tuned in to hear the Queen's speech; and I tried to deal with it in a funny way. After all, they employ comedians to make jokes.

But it seems a knee-jerk reaction to fire me. Broadcasters are scared to death of regulators since the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand affair, and even though only a very few listeners objected to what I'd said, that was enough.

It's got to the point where comedians aren't allowed to say anything that could possibly offend anyone any more.

David Lloyd, Orion Media Group's programme and marketing director, said: On Christmas Day, one of our presenters, Tom Binns, made some inappropriate comments surrounding the Queen's speech. We do not condone what he said in any way; whether said in jest or not. We are making contact with the small number of listeners who were offended by Tom's comments and have complained to us to convey our apologies, and have also apologised on air.


29th December   


Malaysia start review of media censorship
Link Here

The Malaysian government will endorse a new film censorship guideline which will take into account the inputs of industry players, academicians, youths and experienced administrators beginning next year.

Home Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam told reporters after the appointment of the Film Censorship Board's members that he hoped this guideline would pave the way for self-censorship and a self-regulatory practice within the industry.

Artistes, script writers, directors and everyone involved in the film industry will be invited to assist in the censorship of our films besides the academicians and experienced groups who had been selected previously. We want to ensure that before the film is made, its script would be read first by members of the Film Censorship Board and if necessary, we will invite the script writer or film owner to discuss the script, he said.

Currently, the Film Censorship Board watched a completed film before censoring it which could lead to losses on the film makers' part as some of the messages might not go through, he said. He added that the Board would consist of 65 members and the appointment was merely the first of many.


27th December   

Privacy or Censorship?...

Newspapers don't name football manager who visited Thai working girls
Link Here

The football manager caught visiting a brothel was named on the internet site Wikipedia yesterday. A posting in his biography on the online encylopedia said he was rumoured to have been caught visiting Thai prostitutes .

Another, in a pointed reference to his tastes, said: He is a big fan of Thai curry.

Both contributions were swiftly removed by Wikipedia editors.

Football websites have been awash with speculation since the Sun newspaper revealed the manager had been spotted entering a building on a shabby industrial estate where Thai prostitutes offer sex for £130 an hour. Many went as far as to name him and his club.

On some discussion sites, contributors have put forward football chants with references to sex and Thai prostitutes. The songs are likely to be heard at future premier league matches.

Yet despite the manager's identity becoming more and more widely known, newspapers are effectively barred from publishing it because of privacy rules set down by senior judges over the past five years.

The Sun reported that earlier this month the manager spent more than an hour in the brothel, which advertises itself as a massage parlour. He arrived dressed in training clothes featuring his club logo and is said to have freely admitted that he knew it was a brothel. It was said to be his second trip, following an hour-long visit in October.

If the Sun or any other newspaper published his name, it could face the threat of a hugely expensive privacy action in the courts.


27th December   

Update: Libel Strawman...

Panel to report on libel law reform before election
Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Foreigners could be barred from bringing libel actions with tenuous links to the UK under reforms being considered by ministers.

Jack Straw, the justice secretary, is to appoint an expert panel to examine how to prevent overseas litigants from using British courts for defamation cases with little connection to this country.

The new working group of lawyers, academics and newspaper editors will report by mid-March, with the aim of implementing some recommendations before the general election. They will be asked to consider nine areas of concern about Britain's libel laws, with so-called libel tourism the priority. Related Links

In an interview, Straw said: Libel law is not in the right place — there cannot be any disagreement with that. This group will work fairly swiftly to get a report out before parliament is dissolved.

Straw said he was disturbed by the use of UK courts to silence doctors and scientists. It is very worrying, he said. There ought to be open and robust debate in the scientific and medical world. If someone who has expertise in a field believes a piece of medical equipment is not doing what it is supposed to do, and is claimed to do, they ought to be free to say so.

Straw is also holding discussions with officials in Brussels about libel jurisdiction in Europe. He said the European commission had acknowledged that the system was operating unsatisfactorily .

The new panel will be asked to consider the case for capping the level of damages that courts can award, and whether a libel tribunal should be established to resolve defamation claims out of court. The experts will examine how to make it easier for scientists, authors and commentators to defend their words on the basis of fair comment, or in the public interest; and whether the burden of proof should be shifted from the defendant to the litigant.

Large and medium-sized corporations may have to prove malicious falsehood to succeed in a defamation action, while smaller firms and individuals could have to provide more proof that their reputation has suffered. The panel will also consider whether there should be special rules for internet blogs.

Straw hopes that most reforms can be implemented through secondary legislation , avoiding the need for a time-consuming new parliamentary bill. Libel lawyers, however, insist that the system works well and accuse the government of trying to curry favour with the media ahead of the general election.


27th December   

A Date with Censorship...

Iranian dating websites threatened by government
Link Here

The judiciary commission of the Iranian parliament has threatened providers of dating websites in the Islamic state with of harsh penalties, Fars news agency reported.

The commission's spokesman, Farhad Tajari, said that those running such websites should know that they were committing a crime and could face legal action and harsh penalties. Tajari called on all relevant organizations and ministries to harshly confront what he called illegal and immoral websites. He added that especially the Telecommunications Ministry should cooperate to identify such websites.

Due to religious repression, there are no opportunities for young single women and men to meet in public or at parties. Offenders might get temporarily arrested by vice police and have to pay at least a cash fine. The internet has therefore become a suitable alternative for young Iranians to either flirt or even plan a serious relationship.

Social networking websites such as Facebook have become quite popular in Iran although they are filtered and the Iranian users have to use proxy servers to get access to such sites.


27th December   

Update: Clerical Silence...

Iranian press prevented from reporting protests
Link Here
Full story: Press Freedom in Iran...As if there were any

Reporters Without Borders have criticized moves by the Iranian authorities to censor national and international media ahead of the burial of leading dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri.

While Iran mourns, the authorities are again censoring the media, including the print media, the BBC and the Internet, said the Paris-based press freedom watchdog.

Montazeri was regarded as the spiritual patron of the pro-reform opposition movement, which blossomed after June's disputed presidential election.

According to opposition websites, hundreds of thousands of mourners were said to have poured onto the streets of Qom yesterday, many chanting slogans against the government. Clashes reportedly broke out between mourners and police after the funeral, but due to a ban on foreign media, the scale of the confrontation is not clear.

Immediately after the announcement of Montazeri's death, Internet connections slowed down in many cities, while telephone communication was disrupted, said Reporters Without Borders.

Journalists were arrested during demonstrations in homage to Montazeri, the press group said, adding that the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance issued a directive banning newspaper editors from publishing articles about Montazeri.

The BBC said fresh attempts had been made to jam its Persian television service to Iran. A program about Montazeri that the BBC was airing included an exclusive interview he gave to the British broadcaster, shortly before his death.


27th December   

Autocratic Tendencies...

Ecuador government closes television station for 3 days
Link Here

Ecuador's government has ordered a private television station shut down for three days, saying it had broadcast false information.

Teleamazonas, which has nationwide reach, has been highly critical of what its news anchor has suggested are President Rafael Correa's autocratic tendencies.

The station's vice-president of news told a local radio station that the shutdown was a mournful signal for democracy. The government doesn't tolerate liberty or disagreement, Carlos Jijon said.

The broadcast for which Teleamazonas was sanctioned was about a June report that natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Guayaquil being done jointly with Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA could force the suspension of fishing for six months.

Authorities also have criticized the station for showing bullfights during hours when such broadcasts are prohibited, and Correa has accused it of not paying taxes. No legal action has been taken involving those matters.

Dozens of people gathered outside the channel's offices in Quito and Guayaquil on Tuesday evening, chanting against government censorship.

The suspension comes as parliament, which is dominated by Correa's allies, begins debating a new telecommunications law that critics say would allow the president to restrict press freedom.

The Inter American Press Association has expressed concerns that Correa is seeking to muzzle critical media in much the same way as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.


27th December   

Stocking Censors...

Indian film censored for removing stockings
Link Here

Stretching close to two minutes, the lovemaking scene between Celina Jaitley and co-star Abhimanyu Singh in the upcoming movie Accident On Hill Road has hit a hurdle at the Indian Censor Board.

The movie, slated to release on December 31, has been given an A (Adults Only) certificate and director Mahesh Nair has been asked to chop the 1-minute-50-secs long lovemaking scene which the filmmaker says is crucial to the film's plot.

In the scene, Abhimanyu takes Celina to bed, removes her stockings and caresses her for a good one minute before making love to her. Nair says the scene is important to establish the smouldering chemistry between the two characters.

The Censor Board, however, has raised three objections:

  1. Abhimanyu removing Celina's stockings.
  2. Too much fondling and canoodling between the two.
  3. The length of the love scene.

But Mahesh Nair is crying fowl and accusing the Board of bias. He says that many other films featuring kisses, smooches and gory violence have been cleared by the Censor but the board is coming too hard on his film even though it doesn't have a lip lock between Celina and Abhimanyu.


27th December   

Quota of Censorship...

World Trade Organisation tell China to open up Chinese cinema market
Link Here

The World Trade Organization has rejected a Chinese appeal of an August decision striking down China's policy of restricting the number of foreign films and DVDs that can be distributed in that country and forcing film companies to use state-owned distributors.

In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said, We expect China to respond promptly to these findings and bring its measures into compliance.

If it does not, the U.S. could take retaliatory measures against Chinese goods. However, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Greg Frazier, an executive with the Motion Pictgure Association of America (MPAA), said, We've never been under the illusion of overnight, instantaneous effect [of the WTO ruling,] ... The whole point is to get leverage to open that market.


26th December   

Nazis at ASA...

ASA rejects complaints about TV advert for Dead Snow
Link Here

A TV ad, for the DVD release of the 18 certified film Dead Snow , featured scenes from the film showing a burning torch in front of a Nazi flag, a zombie hand smashing through a window and grabbing a woman's neck, and women screaming. A voice-over stated It's time for the dead to rise . The ad then showed a crowd of zombies, with bloody faces and in Nazi uniforms, roaring aggressively as they charged through snow towards two people who were wielding a chainsaw and sledgehammer; one of the zombies seemed to resemble Hitler. Blood splatters appeared on the screen and text stated EIN! ZWEI! DIE! .

The ASA received four complaints:

  1. Three viewers objected that the violence in the ad was too offensive to be shown on TV.
  2. Two viewers thought the Nazi imagery in the ad was offensive; one of them mentioned the broadcast's proximity to the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.
  3. Two viewers, who both saw the ad after 9 pm, objected that it was inappropriately scheduled because it had frightened their children (aged 10, 11 and 12).

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that the scene showing two men approaching zombies at speed with a chainsaw, and ensuing splashes of blood, was likely to be seen as a depiction of violence. However, we considered that the ad, which was recognisably for a fictitious horror film, did not display levels of violence explicit enough to render it too offensive to be shown on TV, and that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers after 9 pm.

2. Not upheld

We considered that, particularly because the ad was shown around the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, some viewers might find the Nazi imagery tasteless. However, we were of the view that the portrayal of the Nazis as zombies made the ad seem unrealistic. We also noted the ad was kept away from particular programmes where Nazi imagery in advertising could be seen as especially offensive. We considered that the action taken by Clearcast minimised the possibility of the Nazi imagery causing serious or widespread offence to viewers, and was sufficient.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged that young children might find the ad upsetting or frightening, but considered that a post 9 pm restriction was sufficient to keep it away from those children, because most viewers would be aware that more adult material was more likely to be shown after 9 pm.


26th December   

Farty Censors...

South Korea generates more views for censored TV shows
Link Here

A cartoon was published showing Korea Communications Commission head Choi Si-jung holds a club in a threatening manner against the MBC situation comedy, High Kick!

Beside him stands officials from the Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service (NIS) saying, You have only made the situation comedy program even more popular.

The officials are speaking from experience as books on the Defense Ministry's banned book list in 2008 have become increasingly more popular, and the NIS's recent request to the Gwangju local government office to remove a sculpture critical of President Lee Myung-bak's environmental policies from an exhibition only resulted in making the work more famous.

Recently the KCC cited the staff of High Kick! for violating the Broadcasting Law when it broadcast an obscenity by an elementary student who called a person that was making her feel uncomfortable Bbangku Ddongu (smelly fart/dung fart). The KCC's fine has resulted in drawing more viewers to the show.


26th December   

Snail House...

Chinese soap banned after mirroring official corruption
Link Here

The latest runaway success on Chinese television has had to pay the ultimate price, however, for depicting grubby reality too closely.

Snail House , a show featuring shady communist officials, their mistresses and dodgy financial dealings, has fallen foul of the censors.

For months tens of millions of viewers have been following the twists and turns in the lives of two sisters who take different paths to escape their plight as mortgage slaves . Snail House — also called Dwelling Narrowness — is set in a fictional city that closely resembles Shanghai. The drama tells the tale of two sisters struggling to buy a home in a country where 85% of the population are currently priced out of the housing market. Related Links

One sister takes the quick route to riches, becoming the mistress of a corrupt Communist Party official to get his help to buy a flat.

Unfortunately for the producers, the plot line cuts too close to the bone. Viewers believed that the corrupt official and fictional city bore a remarkably close resemblance to a district boss in Shanghai who fell victim to a purge of corrupt cadres in the metropolis in 2006.

After the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) issued a notice to all media banning further broadcasts of the series, it promptly disappeared from China's hundreds of local channels. Sarft objected to the erroneous guidance contained in the show, one source told The Times.

For all the censors' best efforts, however, Snail House has not vanished entirely. Hundreds of websites have since sprung up, allowing audiences to download copies of the soap in provinces where it had yet to air before the ban.


26th December   

Censor Apps...

South Korea look to censor iPhone apps
Link Here

The growing popularity of the iPhone in Korea may necessitate the rating of App Store game offerings by government censors.

The Korean Herald notes that currently all games in Korea must be approved by the country's Game Rating Board. In deference to this, the Korean version of the App Store currently does not offer a game category at all, but concern remains over games that could be downloaded from the App Store's entertainment category or from the App Store of other countries.

Korea's Game Rating Board ratings consist of four categories: All (for everyone) 12-year +, 15-year+ and 18+


26th December   

Updated: Repressive Domain...

China bans personal web sites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China has banned the registering of personal Internet domain names and people who have their own websites could lose t hem, the South China Morning Post said, citing a government regulation that came into effect recently.

Under the regulation, Internet service providers can no longer host individually owned websites and only businesses or government-authorised organizations can have them, the English-language report said.

The step was taken because of supposed concern over pornographic content on personal websites, the Morning Post said, citing the China Internet Network Information Center.

Website owners in Jiangsu, Shanghai, Henan, Zhejiang and Jiangxi can no longer access their sites, the report said.

Update: Domain Controls

26th December 2009. Based on article from

The Beijing News quoted a recent meeting of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), summarized and explained the policies into 5 measures

  • Set up a blacklist to prevent the owners of domain names found to be in violation from applying for additional domain names.
  • Tighten registration procedures to ensure that all application documents are accurate. Transfer of a domain name
  • 3Unregistered domain names will not be resolved: Domestic websites are usually registered with MIIT, but because some of them were in existence before the establishment of the registration system, some websites have not registered. Many foreign domain names have not registered with MIIT.
  • Suspension of DNS service to violating websites and to any other domain names in the possession of the same domain name holder.
  • Overhaul of registrars:

In the past, the website registration system targets at websites hosted in local servers, as for overseas websites, the politically sensitive ones were blocked by the Great Fire Wall (GFW - internet filter) under the blacklist system or keywords filtering. However, netizens can still get around by using proxy or TOR. If the MIIT is to white-listing the whole Internet, it will turn the Chinese Internet into intranet and cripple most of the circumventing devices.

However, it is net yet clear if the registration system will be extended to foreign websites. According to the MIIT official document on the campaign against the proliferation of pornography on mobile devices, the first stage (Nov-Dec 2009) of the white washing campaign has started with a ban on individual registration for CN domain name. The second stage, which involves what has been described in the Beijing News (strengthening of the registration without specific reference to overseas websites), will take place between Jan-Sep 2010. The final stage is between Oct - Dec 2010. Measures will involve a complete monitoring and analysis of online data flow and resources for identifying illegal and unsolicited activities.


23rd December   

Updated: Italian Internet Censorship...

Knee jerk response to Berlusconi assault
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Italy...Censorship affecting bloogers and the press in Italy

The Italian government has proposed introducing new restrictions on the Internet after a Facebook fan page for the man who allegedly attacked Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Sunday drew almost 100,000 users in under 48 hours.

But the planned clampdown on Internet hate speech sparked a heated debate over censorship and freedom of expression, leading Interior Minister Roberto Maroni to execute a partial U-turn Wednesday.

Maroni and Justice Minister Angelino Alfano promised swift action to punish those who instigate violence on the Web, suggesting the government might pass an emergency decree Thursday to create new sanctions for the offense. But Wednesday, Maroni was at pains to reassure the public that any new legislation would be fully debated in parliament and would not curtail freedom of expression.

The controversy followed the creation of several Facebook pages praising Massimo Tartaglia, the mentally disturbed man accused of hitting Berlusconi in the face with a statuette of Milan's gothic cathedral, sending the prime minister to the hospital with broken teeth and a broken nose.

Lawmakers from Berlusconi's People of Freedom party argued in parliament that the attack on the prime minister was the result of a climate of hate generated by virulent opposition criticism and expressed outrage that so many Italians could justify such a serious physical assault.

Maroni originally indicated the government was considering measures that would speed up the removal of offensive material -- by allowing police to appeal directly to a judge without passing through a prosecutor -- impose fines on hate crime offenders, and introduce filters to prevent access to sites that instigate violence.

Members of his own party, however, were quick to warn against any curtailment of Internet freedom, suggesting that current laws already provide sufficient protection against the criminal use of the Web.

Update: Government Back Off

23rd December 2009.  Based on article from

Italy has dropped plans to black out Internet hate sites despite a pledge for radical measures after fan pages emerged on the Internet last week praising an attack on Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, who had proposed blocking such sites following the assault on the prime minister, said after meeting with executives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other Internet service providers he would seek a solution through a shared code of conduct rather than new legislation.

The road to follow is to find an agreement with all those involved and avoid forcing through new measures, Maroni told reporters: If this agreement is found, it would be the first of this kind in the world, he said, adding that more talks will be held in January.


23rd December   

Update: Ruddy Repressive...

Reporters Without Borders slates Australia's Internet filter
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Reporters without Borders has written an open letter to Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, condemning communications minister Stephen Conroy's plan to introduce mandatory Internet filtering by ISPs.

In the letter the organisation says: If Australia were to introduce systematic online content filtering, with a relatively broad definition of the content targeted, it would be joining an Internet censors club that includes such countries as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia.,

It claims that the plan, as proposed would violate the rule of law. The decision to block access to an inappropriate website would be taken not by a judge but by a government agency, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Such a procedure, without a court decision, does not satisfy the requirements of the rule of law. The ACMA classifies content secretly, compiling a website blacklist by means of unilateral and arbitrary administrative decision-making. Other procedures are being considered but none of them would involve a judge.

Reporters without Borders also says that the criteria the proposed law would use are too vague. Filtering would be applied to all content considered inappropriate, a very slippery term that could be interpreted very differently by different people. In all probability, filtering would target refused classification (RC) sites, a category that is extremely controversial as it is being applied to content that is completely unrelated to efforts to combat child sex abuse and sexual violence, representing a dangerous censorship option. Subjects such as abortion, anorexia, aborigines and legislation on the sale of marijuana would all risk being filtered, as would media reports on these subjects.


23rd December   

Soft in the Head...

Microsoft introduce even more inane app censorship than Apple
Link Here

You can drink a virtual beer on Apple's iPhone through the company's wildly popular App Store, but the same app has been rejected for distribution on Microsoft's answer - Marketplace - because of a self-imposed morals-based content policy.

Microsoft mobile developer marketing director for the Asia Pacific region, Chris Chin, says his company's policy whilst not necessarily family friendly, it is at least acceptable to the public .

These policies have evolved, they're not quite 'family friendly', more just acceptable to the general public, he says, citing the example of two games. Video Poker, which is on Marketplace but not necessarily family friendly although considered acceptable to the general public. As opposed to the mobile version of the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto - which is not found in Marketplace. I don't know if that would be accepted but I think probably not, Chin says.

And what about the innocuous virtual iBeer app? Well. that fell foul of Microsoft's rules on any content deemed to encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol! As for anything remotely sexually titillating, you won't find it anywhere on Microsoft Marketplace. According to the content guidelines, material considered borderline pornography is banned outright.

Chris Chin says, On iTunes, soft porn ranks highly, Victoria's Secret for example and others. There are some, which are very direct, such as Beautiful Boobs. You will never find them on Microsoft Marketplace, under the current content policies.

The trouble with this sort of moralising is of course that users, who after alll pay for services they wish to avail themselves of, are denied access to perfectly legal content because some faceless and unaccountable corporate puritan on a mission to impose censorship decides unilaterally to bar it.


23rd December   

10 Things I hate about Censorship...

BBFC cuts waived to 10 Things I hate about You
Link Here

10 Things I Hate about You is a 1999 US comedy by Gil Junger

The BBFC cuts were waived for the 2010 Buena Vista DVD/Blu-ray.

Previously the cinema release of 1999 and Buena Vista video releases from 1999 to 2007 all suffered the same cut:

  • The BBFC removed a scene where a balisong (butterfly knife) is opened up.


23rd December   

CEOPS Goes Quango...

Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre reorganises
Link Here

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is to be made into a quango (an non-departmental public body), a junior Home Office Minister announced this week.

The significance of the announcement is that it will give greater independence to CEOP to set its own strategic goals and priorities. CEOP is currently accountable to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA); while CEOP enjoys operational independence, SOCA oversees its annual plan, budget etc. quangos generally have full independence: their purpose and powers is set out in the statute that creates them and within that framework they have almost complete strategic freedom.

Jim Gamble, the senior police officer who is the Chief Executive of CEOP, has a record of being outspoken in his criticisms of the Internet industry, particularly social networking sites, and arguing that CEOP should not have to pay costs to ISPs, unlike the regular police. Heading an independent quango, rather than answering to a policing agency, he will have even greater freedom to campaign to set limits on industry self-regulation.


23rd December   

Petition: Unrated Films...

Petition to introduce a Voluntary 'Unrated 18' Certificate in the UK
Link Here

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to introduce a Voluntary 'Unrated 18' Certificate in the UK

In the USA, Norway and Germany? unrated films can be sold to 18+ adults. In Denmark? unrated films may be sold to people aged fifteen and over, whilst in Sweden the government is looking to introduce a similar measure.

In the UK, in order to sell a film to a member of the public it must first be submitted to the BBFC, who charge a fee, a fee which can run to thousands of pounds.

The North West New Wave, a blanket term which has recently been used by both filmmakers and local press to describe independent filmmakers in the Northwest of England, is campaigning for the introduction of a Voluntary Unrated 18 Certificate.

This would allow independent film makers, who often have little to no budget at all, but who today have the technological means to make films themselves, to voluntary offer their film into the public market under a blanket 18 certificate, regardless of content.

Such a relatively simple reform would be the largest and most significant step that could be taken in support of British film culture. The BBFC would still be able to do its job, and the UK would come in line with other countries which successfully value and use a Voluntary Unrated 18 Certificate.


23rd December   

Update: Tragedy in the Making...

US nutters predict Modern Warfare 2 will lead to school killings
Link Here
Full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

Maine's Christian Civic League is calling for a ban on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 .

The League writes that we live in a time where the public has been dangerously desensitized to violence, and that many find a thrill in participating in violent video games. It claims that Modern Warfare 2 goes too far, even in our own desensitized age, and specifically calls out the No Russian scene (which it calls the Massacre Level ) as most offending.

All decent people should denounce the game, continues the League, which goes on to suggest that the state of Maine should open debate into banning these games completely.

The League then attempts to play up the link between violent videogames and school shootings, and while Maine has yet to have a school shooting of its own, the danger is growing each passing day adds the League. The ready availability of drugs, violent video games, and outrageous rock music is a witch's brew which will eventually lead to tragedy here in Maine.


21st December   

Minister For Fascism...

Stephen Conroy website taken down in a hurry
Link Here

Minister for Fascism

The Australian domain registry company, auDA, has been accused of political censorship as it took down a website satirising the minister for internet censorship.

The closed website has relocated to where they explain the story:

On Fri 18-12-2009 auDA issued a notice giving us 3 hours to provide evidence of our eligibility to hold and related domain names. We asked for reasonable time to prepare and make representations on our eligibility but auDA refused to grant this, insisting we reply within the 3 hour window.

After several attempts at convincing them to give us reasonable time to reply we made a last-ditch attempt at 16:10AEDT stating that we provide a consultancy product with Stephen Conroy in it's name. We hoped that this would at least enable us to stay up over the weekend, but they didn't want to know. We believe that auDA had decided to pull our registration regardless of what we did.

After we were ultimately unable to obtain appropriate advice and representation in the manifestly inadequate time they pulled the domain, sending the site off-line. We've temporarily moved to while we assess and respond to auDA's actions. Please update your bookmarks.

During the course of the weekend we have obtained advice from several sources and had discussions with the extremely helpful guys at EFA, who have agreed to provide their support. They also confirmed having received numerous other complaints from members of the public regarding auDA's actions.

We've received widespread support and messages of condemnation aimed at auDA for their actions, which seem to have been rightly interpreted as a manifestly political move.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and state that we WILL BE fighting what we consider to be a heavy-handed attempt to silence us. If you think this is as ridiculous as we do feel free to contact auDA directly and register your disapproval:

Update: Restored

13th January 2009. See article from

Stephen Conroy is Australia's Communications Minister and, in that role, has been instrumental in pushing for ISP-level traffic filters that will block access to illegal content by his nation's citizens.

A site that was combination parody and protest,, saw its domain registration deleted late last month since they had no business relationship with anyone or thing by that name.

Its creators, however, registered stephenconroy as a business in Victoria, simply waited for it to reappear in the pool of available domains, and grabbed it again.


20th December   

Update: Video Recordings Bill...

Replacement video recordings law starts in parliament
Link Here

The Video Recordings Bill 2010 had a first reading in parliament on 15th December. No debate was scheduled.

The bill doesn't seem to include any changes from the previous Video Recordings Act 1984.

The Bill will be fast tracked through parliament and the Adult Industry Trade Association suggest that it will be in place by the end of January 2010.


20th December   

Children's Hour...

Australian TV censors publish new guidelines
Link Here

A new code of practice for commercial free-to-air television services registered today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority provides 'important' viewer safeguards and should provide for greater program choice on the emerging digital multi-channels.

The past five years have seen significant changes to commercial free-to-air television broadcasting in this country including, this year, the launch of digital multi-channels that give Australians more program choice, said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. While the new code allows some greater flexibility for broadcasters in programming for these multi-channels, the ACMA has ensured that industry also correspondingly introduces related community safeguards.

Under the new code, PG-classified programs may be shown at any time on a commercial television broadcaster's multi-channels. However, G classification time zones will continue to apply to the main digital and analog services before and after school on weekdays and between 6.00 am and 10.00 am on weekends.

It is important that parents and carers know about the new arrangements so they can help mediate children's television viewing accordingly. Therefore, commercial free-to-air broadcasters are required under the code to undertake a 12-month community education campaign to comprehensively inform viewers, said Chapman.

Licensees must also, for the life of the code, provide consumer advice with any PG-classified program on the multi-channels where material may be stronger than expected by parents and guardians of young viewers and the program corresponds with the main channel's G programming time zones.

For the first time, viewers will be able to lodge complaints electronically using a live online form. For administration establishment reasons, this initiative will take effect on 1 March 2010 under provisions in the new code.

The code sets out detailed rules for a range of other matters including the classification of programs and program promotions, reporting of news and current affairs and time occupied by non-program matter. New features of the code include:

  • amended sex and nudity restrictions in MA programs—all depictions of sexual activity or nudity and all verbal sexual references must now be relevant to the story line or program context and must not be high in impact
  • new provisions intended to encourage broadcasters to correct significant factual errors in news and current affairs programs in a timely manner
  • scope for broadcasters to schedule additional amounts of non-program matter on digital multi-channels, facilitating flexibility in program scheduling in the channels' establishment period
  • new protections in reality television programs, as recommended in the ACMA's Reality Television Review, where broadcasters will be expressly prohibited from presenting participants in reality television programs in a highly demeaning or highly exploitative manner.

The code will come into operation on 1 January 2010. It was developed by Free TV Australia, the industry group representing commercial free-to-air television broadcasters. It replaces the previous code, which has been operating since 2004.

The new Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2009 is available at the Free TV Australia website,


20th December   

Updated: Unredeemed...

Redemption Films goes into administration
Link Here

The cult movie empire of Redemption Films has collapsed into administration.

The company, based in Wigmore Street, Soho, was set up by Nigel Wingrove.

Administrators were called in to the distributor of gothic horror movies, whose past titles range from Sinful Nuns Of St Valentine to Koo Stark's cult 1977 hit The Marquis De Sade's Justine.

Wingrove set up Redemption in 1992 after directing Visions Of Ecstasy , the only film to have been refused a licence by censors on grounds of blasphemy. He also manages the Satanic Sluts, the burlesque dance group of Georgina Baillie, the granddaughter of Andrew Sachs who was at the centre of the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand telephone scandal.

Vantis administrators said it hoped to complete a sale of the business in the next few days .

Update: Salvation of Redemption

20th December 2009. Based on article from

On the 14th of December The Salvation Group Limited acquired all of the assets of Redemption Films Limited in Administration. Redemption Films will resume as a trading name of The Salvation Group Limited and to the extent possible it is the intention to again deal in the films and products previously managed by Redemption Films Limited in Administration.


20th December   

Update: Freedom Defamed...

Defamation of Religion Motion passes again in the UN with the smallest margin yet
Link Here
Full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Friday deploring the defamation of religions and expressing concern that Islam is frequently and 'wrongly' associated with terrorism and human rights violations. 

The nonbinding resolution, sponsored by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, was adopted by a vote of 80-61 with 42 abstentions.

The United States and many European and developed nations voted against it. Many see it as an interference in freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the resolution fails to solve the very real problems of religious discrimination and hatred and further promotes intolerance and human rights violations by curtailing individuals' rights to express their religious beliefs.

He noted that the General Assembly has adopted defamation of religion resolutions annually since 2005 — and this year it was approved by the smallest margin yet.

Among other things, the resolution expresses deep concern at the negative stereotyping of religions and manifestations of intolerance and discrimination in matters of religion or belief.


20th December   

Diary: Internet Censorship in Australia...

Public demonstration to oppose state internet censorship
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Protest Against Internet Censorship
January 30, 2010

Protests against mandatory Internet censorship will be held Australia wide on Saturday January 30, 2010.

A Facebook page page for the event has been set up, with over 1700 people already confirmed as attending. Specific protest locations are still to be announced, but one is planned for each capital city.

  • Sydney: A public meeting discussing what the Government has planned will be held from 6:00pm – 10:00pm Sunday evening at the Lansdowne Hotel. Full details here.
  • Brisbane: Meeting Monday 21st December at 7:30pm to discuss what can be done to stop the filter. QUT Gardens Point campus, Room Z-205. Full details here.


20th December   

Tits at ASA...

ASA upholds complaint about advert for Adventureland
Link Here

An internet ad for the cinema release of the film Adventureland showed the torso of a woman wearing a white T-shirt with the word Adventureland written on it. On-screen text at the top of the screen stated From the director of SUPERBAD. In Cinemas 11th September while text at the bottom of the ad stated Lift my shirt to see more. Click and drag up with your mouse . If users followed the on-screen instructions, the woman removed her T-shirt revealing that she was naked underneath. A large black rectangle appeared on the screen to cover her breasts and then grew to fill the entire screen. The film trailer was then shown.

Issue: A complainant challenged whether:

1. the ad was offensive because it encouraged users to lift the woman's shirt in a voyeuristic manner; and

2. the ad was inappropriately located on the Yahoo! news page where it could easily be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

Issue 1

The ASA considered that, before any action was taken, the ad implied users would be able to expose the woman's breasts by using the computer mouse to lift up her top, as encouraged by the on-screen instructions. We noted, although the woman's breasts were obscured by a black rectangle, this was not apparent until the user had already taken action. We acknowledged that the film was about the experiences of a teenage boy before he went to college, but noted removing the woman's top had no direct link to the content of the film trailer that followed and was therefore gratuitous. We concluded that, because users were encouraged to take action to remove the woman's top in order to see her breasts, the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some users.

Issue 2.

Upheld The ASA noted Yahoo!'s assertion that the audience for the Yahoo! News page was overwhelmingly over 18 years of age. However, we considered that the site was of general interest and likely to appeal to a broad range of internet users and that the ad was not protected through age verification or targeting. We considered that because users were actively encouraged to remove the woman's top, the ad was unsuitable for children and that Walt Disney had not taken adequate steps to ensure it was appropriately targeted. We concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.


20th December   

Chewing the Fat...

ASA rejects complaint about man breasts
Link Here

A poster, for the campaign group PETA, featured a picture of a man's naked torso; the man appeared to have breasts. Text stated Dude Looks Like a Lady? Lose the Breasts. Go Vegetarian.

Issue 1. Two complainants objected that the ad was misleading, because it implied that the appearance of breasts in men was solely down to a poor diet and obesity. They believed that the man featured had gynaecomastia (a condition in which breast tissue is formed in men), which was caused by a hormonal imbalance that could not be resolved by dieting or becoming vegetarian.

Issue 2. Two complainants objected that the ad was offensive and insensitive to sufferers of gynaecomastia.

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

Issue 1.

The ASA noted the ad featured a pronounced instance of male breast tissue and noted PETAs comment that the individual was obese, not someone suffering from gynaecomastia. We understood that obesity was one of several different conditions that resulted in such development, including also gynaecomastia caused by a hormone imbalance. We noted the ads emphasis on improving diet and considered that readers were likely to understand the ad in the context of the negative impact that obesity could have on the male body, not as a reference to people with gynaecomastia. There was nothing in the ad that implied poor diet and obesity were the sole reason for the appearance of male breasts and we considered that readers were likely to understand that other reasons, including medical conditions, could lead to their appearance. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.

Issue 2.

Not upheld We noted the image and the complainants concern over the links to gynaecomastia. However, we considered that readers were likely to understand the ad in the context of the negative impact that poor diet and obesity could have on the male body, not as a reference to people with gynaecomastia. Although we acknowledged that the image might be seen as distasteful to those suffering from gynaecomastia, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.


20th December   

Bingeing on Censorship...

YouTube bans public information film
Link Here

A video filmed by Derbyshire health chiefs aimed at shocking young people into drinking less has been banned by YouTube.

The Bloody Mary video, which shows a teenage girl urinating in the street as she is jeered at, was removed from the internet site following complaints.

NHS officials said they realised some people may find the film controversial. They said it aimed to use dark humour to get across the dangers of excessive drinking at Christmas.

A YouTube spokesperson said: YouTube's rules prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence. If the content breaks our terms then we remove it and if a user repeatedly breaks the rules we disable their account.

The two-minute clip, which featured professional actors, was one of two filmed by Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust in Chesterfield Market Place.

The second film, entitled Tequila Slammer , shows a drunken man in fancy dress being run over by a car.

Bloody Mary received 15,000 hits in the eight days in was on YouTube and was also distributed to local media as part of a £25,000 Cocktales campaign to highlight the dangers of drink to 18 to 24-year-olds.


19th December   

Nutters Hit Hard Times...

Video games nutters closed down
Link Here

David Walsh said when he was assembling his first report card on video game violence 13 years ago, children were attacking on-screen monsters or aliens with imaginary chain saws and guns.

That first report card, which singled out bloody first-person shooter games Doom and Duke Nukem , made an instant splash on Capitol Hill in 1996 and made the annual reports issued each holiday season by Walsh's National Institute on Media and the Family a news fixture.

But there was no video game report card this year, and there won't be any more. The institute is closing its doors, a victim of the poor economy. Walsh, the group's founder and president, is packing his books as his staff of eight full-time employees prepares to shut down Dec. 23.

Fundraising has been more and more difficult, Walsh said: It really wasn't that we put ourselves out of business, because the technology is changing so quickly, the issues just won't quit.

While some people have posted on gaming Web sites celebrating the institute's demise, others have praised its role in helping get retailers to post game ratings and ask for an identification when selling mature-rated games.

It was Walsh's group that announced in 2005 that the best-selling video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas contained graphic sexual images that could be unlocked using an Internet download. The ESRB conducted its own investigation and revoked the game's M (mature) rating and tagged it AO (adults only). That led to major retailers pulling the game from their shelves.

Last summer, the institute learned that founding sponsor Fairview Health Services was pulling out. After looking at going independent, the institute's board decided to shut down at the end of the year. Walsh said the organization is talking to three nonprofits about taking on its work.


19th December   

Pop My Cherry...

Vivienne Pattison hypes Coronation Street
Link Here

Despite being one of Britain's most controversial celebrities, Katie Price – aka Jordan – is deemed so socially important a new Coronation Street plotline features one of the characters wanting to emulate her.

Rosie Webster, played by actress Helen Flanagan, stuns her family when she decides she wants to be the new Jordan.

The character, who is 18 in the show, has a test photo shoot, dressed in 'provocative' outfits. In one photograph, she wears a white and red cheerleader's top, with the words: Pop My Cherry emblazoned on the back. While in another, she wears a corset and thigh high stocking as she hitches up her skirt.

Vivienne Pattison, from Mediawatch-UK, said: This is a pre-watershed programme – but I don't think this is suitable viewing before the watershed.


19th December   

Salt in the Wounds...

Old cuts to Peking Opera Blues
Link Here

Peking Opera Blues is a 1986 Hong Kong comedy action film by Hark Tsui

The BBFC waived the cinema cut for the 2005 Medusa DVD.

Previously the BBFC cut the 1986 cinema release by 10s

Thanks to Bleach

  • Reel 5 - In torture sequence, remove all sight of interrogator's hand rubbing sand and salt water over and into woman's lacerated back.


19th December   

Update: ASA Hit the Roof...

Advert censor whinges as Aliens in the Attic ad
Link Here

A TV ad for a PG certified film called Aliens in the Attic , broadcast during early morning programming for young children, showed the shadow of an alien on the roof of a house followed by an animated alien saying Hello humans . It also showed aliens bursting through a window, clambering over a roof, caught in a blue force-field, on a skateboard in a house, swinging around a pole and screaming at the sight of a young child (also screaming). Some of the film's teenage characters said Did you hear that? , Please tell me you see that too , There's an alien invasion of knee-high beings, very violent and An entire fleet of those guys are about to invade. We're taking them down . A voice-over stated This summer be afraid, be sort of afraid. Now, there are Aliens in the Attic. Invading cinemas now .

Clearcast did not apply a scheduling restriction to the ad.

Two viewers said the ad contained images of aliens which had frightened their young children, one of whom was three years old, and should not have been shown during programmes targeted at children aged three or below.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA considered that the aliens were portrayed mostly as playful and chaotic, not menacing. However we noted the ad began with the shadow of an alien on a roof, a voice-over stating Be afraid and a person saying Did you hear that? in an anxious voice. We considered the ominous tone at the beginning of the ad was likely to frighten very young children. We also noted the ad featured a scene of a child screaming at the sight of an alien, which we again considered was likely to distress very young children. Although it would be clear to older children and adults that the alien was itself scared when confronted with a screaming child, we were of the view that very young children might not realise that the alien was itself frightened and did not present a threat. We concluded that a scheduling restriction, in order to direct the ad away from young children, was warranted on this occasion.


19th December   

Update: Ginger Nuts...

ASA snaps at advert for Dating in the Dark
Link Here

A press ad, for a TV dating show, appeared in The Metro as part of a series. Text stated How do you spot a ginger in the dark? ... LOOKS OR PERSONALITY WHO WINS? .

Issue Three complainants objected that the ad was offensive to people with ginger hair, because they believed it implied those people were unattractive.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA acknowledged Virgin were prepared not to use the ad in future. We noted it referred to a ginger and stated ... LOOKS OR PERSONALITY WHO WINS?. We noted the ad included quotation marks but considered it was unclear that the text How do you spot a ginger in the dark? ... was the view of a participant in the programme, in particular because the ad did not make clear the nature of the show. We considered the text was likely to be interpreted, particularly in the context of the other ads that appeared in the series, as a statement that reflected a choice between looks and personality, with How do you spot a ginger in the dark? ... being a suggestion that people with ginger hair were unattractive. We considered the ad was unlikely to be interpreted to be light hearted in tone and was instead likely to be seen as prejudicial against people with ginger hair. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence.


19th December   

Update: Subverted Vietnam...

Vietnam blogger on trial for blog postings
Link Here
Full story: Blogging in Vietnam...Bloggers under duress in Vietnam

A democracy activist could face the death penalty if convicted at a trial expected in Vietnam late this month, his father said.

Nguyen Tien Trung was arrested in July along with several others, including human rights lawyer Le Cong Dinh, and accused of anti-state activities.

Trung was arrested for propaganda against the state , which carries a prison term on conviction. But he is now facing the more serious charge of subverting the people's administration , his father said. The charge carries a maximum penalty of death.

French European Parliament member Nicole Kiil-Nielsen said in a letter to Vietnam's French embassy: He is a democrat and pacifist.


18th December   

Updated: Predatory Censors...

Australian censors ban the video game Aliens vs Predator
Link Here

The Australian Classification Board has banned yet another video game. This time around it is Aliens Vs Predator .

Slated for a February 2010 release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms, Aliens vs Predator picks up on a rich cinematic and video game history to once again launch us into the horror tinged sci-fi world that has captivated many around the globe.

SEGA Australia's response so far? Well it is suitably annoyed yet determined in the face of the initial submissions rejection. A SEGA Australia spokesperson told iTWire; SEGA Australia can today confirm that the initial submission of Aliens vs Predator has been Refused Classification by the Classification Operations Board of Australia. We will continue to investigate all options available to us, including the possibility of appeal . has been sent a document from Australian Classification Board with the actual reason for the games classification refusal in this country.

In short The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The game contains first-person perspective, close-up depictions of human characters being subjected to various types of violence, including explicit decapitation and dismemberment as well as locational damage such as stabbing through the chest, throat, mouth or eyes. Characters can be stabbed with a Predator's wrist blade or an Alien's tail in depictions reminiscent of impalement.

The Predator collects trophies by explicitly ripping off human heads, their spinal columns dangling from severed necks. Heads can be twisted completely around in order to break a character's neck. Eyes can be stabbed through or gouged, leaving empty, bloodied eye sockets. It increases impact; for example, a Predator can stab a character through both eyes with its wrist blade and then rip off their head, the spinal column still attached. Extensive post mortem damage, including decapitation and dismemberment, is also possible.

Depictions of violence such as the above are accompanied by copious amounts of blood and gore, including ample wound detail and visible skeleton.

In the opinion of the Board, the violence in the game causes a high playing impact due to its first-person, close-up perspective, conceptual nature and the level of explicit detail involved in the depictions. The game is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be refused classification.

Update: Developers won't release a kids version for Australia

5th December 2009. Based on article from

Many developers, including Valve and Bethesda, opt to censor their products by toning down the violence to adhere to the Classification Board's standards. However, Rebellion, the developers of Aliens vs Predator has decided to simply not release the game in the region.

In a statement, the UK-based studio noted that it was upset that the game was refused classification but said that it will not be altering the game to make it acceptable by the Classification Board's standards: Rebellion is disappointed that its upcoming title Aliens vs. Predator has been banned in Australia, Rebellion said. However, as we understand the law in that country, the authorities had no choice as we agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults.

The content of AVP is based on some of the most innovative and iconic horror movies, and as such we wanted to create a title that was true to the source material. It is for adults, and it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent. We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.

Update: Sega appeals ban

12th December 2009. Based on article from

Sega have applied to have the ban on Aliens vs Predator examined by the Review Board.

The Board are asking for input from individuals or organisations that wish to make submissions as an interested party.

If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is Monday 14 December 2009

We are unsure what constitutes an individual interested party. However we can tell you that in recent times the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, the Australian Family Association, and Young Media Australia have all been accepted as organisations that are an interested party.

The review is due to take place next Friday. See more about submissions to the review board at

Update: Sega wins appeal

18th December 2009. Based on article from

Sega has won its appeal with Australia's Classification Board against the banning of Aliens Vs Predator meaning the game will be released in the country after all.

The uncut original game will now be released with a MA15+ rating.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the success of our appeal, Sega Australia's general manager Darren MacBeth told Kotaku. We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians .


18th December   

What Does TV Like Mean?...

Ofcom vaguely regulate Television on Demand
Link Here

TV-like video-on-demand services get regulated by Ofcom and the self-regulatory Association for Television On-Demand (ATVOD) starting 16th December.

This is the UK implementation of the European Commission's 2007 Audio-Visual Media Services (AVMS) directive, which extended regulation to television-like online services.

The new regs mean VOD shows must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality ; must provide appropriate protection for minors against harmful material and sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements .

But AVMS left TV-like wide open (certainly ITV (LSE: ITV) Player, for example, but what about YouTube and Bebo shows?) And Ofcom, too, is vague on which services must fall in line…

It commissioned Essential Research to ask viewers what they think TV-like means. In an 80-page report, they suggest it means professionally-produced shows with which they are familiar. But, buried in a separate 88-page report, Ofcom says it won't know which providers the new scope will cover until new government regulations are brought in March 2010.

Even at the point, the new framework looks half-cocked….Ofcom is leaving it to the services themselves to notify it on whether they should be regulated. —The services will have to pay a fee for the privilege. —Services that do so must keep VOD material for 42 days after it was last made available.


18th December   

Rage Against the Cowell Machine...

Strong language hype for Killing in the Name
Link Here

The BBC has apologised after Radio 5 live broadcast strong language from Rage Against the Machine in a live performance of their song Killing In The Name .

Zack de la Rocha, the US band's singer, was heard swearing four times on the station's breakfast show.

A BBC spokesman said: We had spoken to the band repeatedly beforehand and they had agreed not to swear. He added: When they did, we faded the band out and said sorry immediately. We apologise again to anyone who was offended.

The band were interviewed in a live link-up with the US on Thursday morning, before performing the song. As the song was abruptly faded out during the controversial closing bars of the song, listeners heard presenter Shelagh Fogarty say, get rid of it . She added: Sorry. We needed to get rid of that because that suddenly turned in to something we were not expecting. We are honoured they've chosen our song to be the rebel anthem to try to topple the X Factor monopoly Tom Morello Rage Against The Machine. Well, we were expecting it and asked them not to do it and they did it anyway - so buy Joe's record.

Rage Against The Machine's 90s hit is in the running for the Christmas number one after a group was set up on website Facebook urging people to buy it. The group was set up in protest at the dominance of the X Factor winners singles in the Christmas charts in recent years.

Guitarist Tom Morello said the internet campaign tapped into the silent majority of the people in the UK who are tired of being spoon-fed one schmaltzy ballad after another .


18th December   


Flickr censors Indian users from mature images
Link Here

Flickr has restricted Indian IPs for default safesearch, and that means surfing for porn (restricted content) may result in Flickr blocking certain content (i.e. content rated moderate or restricted).

If your Yahoo! ID is based in Singapore, Hong Kong, India or Korea you will only be able to view safe content based on your local Terms of Service (this means you won't be able to turn SafeSearch off).

Heated debate going on at this Flickr forum and expect some backlash from Indian users, especially in a site where the definition of porn vs. art crosses a thin line


18th December   

Fruits of Passion...

Old cuts to Fruits of Passion
Link Here

Fruits of Passion is a 1981 French/ Japanese film by Shuji Terayama

Cuts waived when DVD resubmitted in 2005 by Nouveaux Pictures.

Previously the Nouveaux Pictures video/DVD was cut when submitted in 1998:

Thanks to Bleach:

  • At 5.5 mins - After slavemaster stretches whip with cracking sound, cut away to remove sight of woman bound to wheel being whipped with flowers, resuming on woman eating from bowl on floor.
  • At 8 mins - After O has her body painted, reduce rough sex scene with Sir Stephen by removing her pained protests in CU and cries of I can't, I can't! as she shakes her head vigorously, suggesting that this is non-consenting sex, resuming on shot looking down their bodies.
  • At 38 mins - When Sir Stephen watches her have sex with a butcher who approaches her and takes out his limp penis, remove side view of her taking his penis into her mouth by mixing from dark shot of it about to enter mouth to later point when it is wholly concealed inside her mouth as his hooked hand comes down to wipe across dissolve, finishing with tight 2-shot of oral sex with penis concealed and Sir Stephen appearing between them as voyeur.


18th December   

BBFC Crucified Evil Dead Trap...

Old cuts to Evil Dead Trap
Link Here

Evil Dead Trap is a 1988 Japanese horror by Toshiharu Ikeda

Cut when submitted by Artsmagic in 2002 with the following BBFC comment: Compulsory cuts required to two close shots of a knife cutting flesh in a sexualised context.

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • Removed close up shots of a crucified woman's breasts being cut with a knife.

Review from US Amazon : Intelligent Horror and Graphic Gore

Warning their are scenes of intense violence contained within in this movie. However if you can stomach the gore this movie has a lot more to offer than you're standard hack and slash effort. There is a wonderfully intense atmosphere pervading the whole movie. The deaths are imaginative and are handled extremely well.

The influences although obvious (Argento, Ramai and a brilliant tribute to Fulci), Japanese director Toshiharu Ikeda adds his own twist to the proceedings. If you are fed up of limp offerings that fail to deliver the goods then check this excellent film out.


18th December   


Hollyoaks storyline changed after complaint from James Bulger's mother
Link Here

The makers of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks have agreed to change upcoming scenes following a complaint that they bore similarities to the James Bulger case.

A future plot was to have revealed two characters had been living under false names after bullying a child to death.

But when the mother of murdered toddler James Bulger complained, production company Lime Pictures agreed to amend certain aspects of the storyline.

Denise Fergus said she was grateful that they are respecting my wishes .   made it clear that I did not want those scenes broadcast and I'm pleased to say they clearly understood my feelings, she told independent news website Click Liverpool.


18th December   

Update: Censorship Wrinkles...

ASA upholds complaint about touched up Twiggy
Link Here
Full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

We received identical complaints about a magazine ad for the Olay Definity eye illuminator from over 700 members of the public who complained via a website campaign. Their complaints were forwarded to the ASA by Jo Swinson MP. We also received a complaint from a member of the public who contacted us directly. All the complainants challenged whether the ad was misleading because they believed the image of Twiggy had been digitally re-touched; the people who complained as part of Jo Swinson's campaign also complained that the ad was socially irresponsible.

A magazine ad for the Olay Definity eye illuminator featured an image of the model Twiggy. A testimonial adjacent to her stated Olay is my secret to brighter-looking eyes!. Further text stated Because younger-looking eyes never go out of fashion. Olay Definity eye illuminator. Reduces the look of wrinkles and dark circles for brighter, younger-looking eyes. Issue

1. Many complainants, who had forwarded their complaints to Jo Swinson MP as part of a website campaign, objected that the ad was misleading and socially irresponsible. They believed the image of Twiggy had been digitally retouched and the use of post-production techniques could have a negative impact on peoples perceptions of their own body image.

2. One complainant, who contacted the ASA directly, objected that the ad was misleading, because it implied that Twiggys appearance in the ad was achieved solely through the use of Olay Definity rather than with the assistance of photographic post-production.

ASA Decision: 1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA noted the original ad seen by the complainants had been withdrawn and replaced with one that did not have re-touching around Twiggys eyes. We acknowledged that advertisers were keen to present their products in their most positive light using techniques such as post-production enhancement and the re-touching of images. However, we considered that the post-production re-touching of this ad, specifically in the eye area, could give consumers a misleading impression of the effect the product could achieve. We considered that the combination of references to younger-looking eyes, including the claim Reduces the look of wrinkles and dark circles for brighter, young-looking eyes, and post-production re-touching of Twiggys image around the eye area was likely to mislead.

Notwithstanding that, we considered that consumers were likely to expect a degree of glamour in images for beauty products and would therefore expect Twiggy to have been professionally styled and made-up for the photo shoot, and to have been photographed professionally. We also noted the ad appeared in a magazine that targeted mature women and considered that readers of Good Housekeeping magazine and the Sunday Times Style Supplement would understand that the ad set out to associate the well-known mature female model with a brand, and would not infer that Twiggys appearance in the ad was achieved solely through the use of Olay Definity. We concluded that, in the context of an ad that featured a mature model likely to appeal to women of an older age group, the image was unlikely to have a negative impact on perceptions of body image among the target audience and was not socially irresponsible.


17th December   

Compliance Failures...

Ofcom rewrite their TV censorship rules
Link Here

Ofcom has published its revised 2009 Broadcasting Code (the 2009 Code) which sets censorship rules for TV and radio broadcasts.

The 2009 Code refreshes aspects of rules that have been in force since July 2005. It continues to set out what is acceptable to broadcast and covers such areas as the protection of under-eighteens, harm and offence, fairness and privacy and commercial references in programmes.

The main revisions involve a clarification of parts of the Code to help broadcasters avoid compliance failures particularly in relation to audience competitions and voting, and the broadcast of sexual material.

The changes to the Code also incorporate the requirements of the European Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive which must be implemented by 19 December 2009.

The new rules do not change current regulatory practice, but offer a clarification of the rules to benefit broadcasters and audiences and help minimise future compliance failures. Sexual Material

There have been a number of compliance failures concerning the broadcast of sexual material on TV. The 2005 Code contained rules to ensure that material of a sexual nature was appropriately scheduled and, where appropriate, access to it was restricted in order to protect under-eighteens.

We consider it helpful to revise the rules about sexual material and to clarify Ofcoms guidance in this area. Again, there is no change to the current regulatory practice, only a clarification of the rules and guidance to benefit broadcasters and audiences, in order to minimise the risk of material being broadcast which is in breach of the Code.

The section of the code concerning sexual material now reads:

Sexual material

1.17 Material equivalent to the British Board of Film Classification ( BBFC ) R18-rating must not be broadcast at any time.

1.18 Adult sex material - material that contains images and/or language of a strong sexual nature which is broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation - must not be broadcast at any time other than between 2200 and 0530 on premium subscription services and pay per view/night services which operate with mandatory restricted access.

In addition, measures must be in place to ensure that the subscriber is an adult.

Meaning of mandatory restricted access : Mandatory restricted access means there is a PIN protected system (or other equivalent protection) which cannot be removed by the user, that restricts access solely to those authorised to view.

1.19 Broadcasters must ensure that material broadcast after the watershed which contains images and/or language of a strong or explicit sexual nature, but is not adult sex material as defined in Rule 1.18 above, is justified by the context. (See Rules 1.6 and 1.18 and Rule 2.3 in Section Two: Harm and Offence which includes meaning of context .)

1.20 Representations of sexual intercourse must not occur before the watershed (in the case of television) or when children are particularly likely to be listening (in the case of radio), unless there is a serious educational purpose. Any discussion on, or portrayal of, sexual behaviour must be editorially justified if included before the watershed, or when children are particularly likely to be listening, and must be appropriately limited.


17th December   

UK Internet Censorship...

Clause 11 of the Digital Economy Bill
Link Here
Full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

There is a new bill in the UK called the Digital Economy Bill that would allow the Secretary of State to basically force ISPs to do the censorial dirty work. Clause 11 in the new proposal will block sites that speaks out against governments, against the new world order and those that expose the deceit of things like Climategate, fistgate etc

According to a British legal blogger Francis Davey they can censor sites like Wikileaks or any sites they dont like or agree with. The most shocking part of is clause 11 which says the following:

11 Obligations to limit internet access

After section 124G of the Communications Act 2003 insert—

124H Obligations to limit internet access

(1) The Secretary of State may at any time by order impose a technical

obligation on internet service providers if the Secretary of State

considers it appropriate in view of—

(a) an assessment carried out or steps taken by OFCOM under section 124G; or

(b) any other consideration.

(2) An order under this section must specify the date from which the technical obligation is to have effect, or provide for it to be specified.

(3) The order may also specify—

(a) the criteria for taking the technical measure concerned against a subscriber;

(b) the steps to be taken as part of the measure and when they are to be taken.

This bill is the same thing being implemented in Australia. Any government that censors the internet is not for the people and is against free speech and should be considered the enemy of the people. Internet censorship is the only way to stop people against governments will draconian laws and tyrants in the making.

Without free and open internet governments can make any country look like a fairy tale while total chaos reigns on the inside, just like we saw recently with Iran.

The internet should be open, free and fair to all people.


17th December   

Update: New Zealand Internet Censorship...

Family First inspired by Australian internet censorship
Link Here

The nutters of Family First NZ are calling on their government to join the Australian government's just-announced plan to introduce legislation to block websites that feature child pornography, bestiality, sexual violence against women, and detailed instruction of crime and drug use.

Government-commissioned trials in Australia have found that blocking banned material can be accurate and have no effect on internet speed, says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ: Laws around the filtering of the internet are a great investment to protect families as internet usage becomes more and more common in NZ homes. The internet should not be left unregulated when it comes to the protection of children.

Because of the availability, affordability, and anonymity of the internet, we must put as many safeguards in place as possible – and sooner rather than later.

While parents can take as many precautions as possible, including purchasing computer security products and supervising their children's internet use, the Australian government is not leaving anything to chance and is being proactive in the protection of children and families, says McCoskrie.


17th December   

Short Shrift...

Complaint that advert for children' film, shorts, was too scary
Link Here

A TV ad for a PG certified film called Shorts , broadcast during early morning programming for young children, showed some children deciding to go on an adventure and finding a wishing rock. It showed a crowd of people reeling from the impact of a flash of lightning and large black cloud, and a boy turning into a giant dung beetle. It also showed a frog-like creature with one eye, a giant robot, children being lifted up by a pterodactyl, a man with large flapping ears, flying spacecraft and a giant crocodile falling to the ground.

One viewer said the ad contained images of monsters and other unusual phenomena which had frightened his three-year-old daughter, and should not have been shown during programmes targeted at children aged three or below.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA considered that the ad had an overall tone of adventure and excitement, not fear or menace. We noted the voice-over stated ... more adventure than you could ever wish for ... , and considered the music was upbeat and the creatures in the ad were more fantastical and curious than frightening.

Although we regretted that the viewer's child was upset by the ad, we considered that most young viewers were unlikely to be frightened or distressed by it. We concluded that a scheduling restriction in order to direct the ad away from young children was not warranted on this occasion, and the ad had been scheduled appropriately.


17th December   

Update: Stubbed Out...

Liverpool 18 rated smoking films proposal rejected
Link Here
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

Proposals to rate films showing smoking as 18 certificates were rejected by Liverpool councillors.

The proposals put forward by Liverpool Primary Care Trust were rejected by an overwhelming majority despite impassioned pleas from health executive Cllr Ron Gould.

But full council heard members on both political sides attack what they claimed amounted to censorship on the grounds of public health .

The PCT has spent months preparing and consulting on its case for the ban, which it insisted would only cover new productions which show smoking in a positive light.


17th December   

Golden Compass Goes West...

It seems that catholic protest has terminated the film series
Link Here

Actor Sam Elliott has accused the Catholic Church of pressurising Hollywood producers to scrap a classic fantasy trilogy.

Studio bosses have shelved plans to film the final two instalments of His Dark Materials , despite the success of the first movie, The Golden Compass , two years ago.

The film, based on the books by Philip Pullman angered Catholics who accused it of promoting atheism. In the book trilogy, set in a series of parallel worlds, heroine Lyra fights the Magisterium, an evil organisation some have interpreted as being based on the Catholic Church. The Magisterium wields huge power and experiments on children. In a climactic battle angels fight each other and God is presented as a frail, ancient and powerless figure.

Catholic campaigners in America organised a boycott of The Golden Compass. Right-wing US broadcaster Bill O'Reilly, of Fox News, attacked its release in 2007, calling it a war on Christmas .

Elliot, who plays Lyra's ally, Lee Scoresby, has challenged O'Reilly to a TV debate and claimed money could not be the reason for the series being shelved.

The production company, New Line, had said the making of the second and third films was dependent on the financial success of The Golden Compass . The movie had a budget of $180million (£110million) and made $380million (£234million).

Asked what happened to the series, Elliot said: The Catholic Church happened to The Golden Compass, as far as I'm concerned. It did 'incredible' at the box office, taking $380million. Incredible. It took $85million in the States. The Catholic Church ... lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off.


17th December   

Nutter Lust...

Nutters picket Playboy Mansion
Link Here

Two dozen members of a Southern California Christian organization picketed outside the Playboy Mansion for more than three hours Saturday night.

The group, called Strike LA, said the picket was a major prayer initiative and was intended to disrupt Playboy's 56th anniversary of its publication, according to its website.

The magazine, according to Strike LA, has promoted a culture of lust, sensuality, pornography and all sorts of sexual perversion.

Strike LA said it chose Saturday, Dec. 12, as an ideal to protest because 12 is the number of perfection (governmental perfection).

The group also asked its members to fast for 10 days before the Playboy Mansion picket.


15th December   

Update: Australchina...

Australian government to implement state internet filtering across a broad range of prohibited content
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

The Australian Government has confirmed that it would proceed with broad scale internet censorship in Australia following a trial into ISP based internet filtering.

Stephen Conroy spun the decision by selectively quoting parts of the trial report. Conroy claimed among other things that banned material can be done with 100% accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed and that the filter would apply to all RC (Refused Classification) content.

It's an interesting line, because the reports findings don't actually say that the filtering of RC content is either 100% accurate nor would it necessarily have a negligible affect on internet speeds.

The study asked the nine ISP's to trial several forms of internet filtering. The first test was based on the flawed ACMA blacklist of approximately 2,000 sites, which as we know from earlier in the year blocks dentists, poker sites, and other legal sites along with illegal sites. The second was based on a broader child safe filter which attempted to filter more sites (although the exact figure was not disclosed.)

The tests found that 100% accuracy was obtained with the ACMA blacklist only, a list of 2,000 odd sites that would only be a small sample of sites blocked under the scheme. The tests found that when the list was expanded to the bigger child safe list, that accuracy dropped to between 78.8% and 84.6%.

On those results, the study claimed Enex considers it unlikely that any filter vendor would achieve 100 percent blocking of the URLs inappropriate for children without significant over-blocking of the innocuous URLs.

The report also details the circumvention of blocked sites. It notes in its summary that A technically competent user could, if they wished, circumvent the filtering technology.

The report seems to accept that proxies aren't that hard to use to some degree, and this is where it gets into scary territory: the report suggests that proxies should be banned: Filtering of additional categories of content enabled ISPs to implement measures which made some common circumvention techniques difficult. For example, a third party website which hides the origin of the requested content (proxy site) can be included in a wider list of URLs to be blocked.

Conroy claims that adult computer games will not be initially included in the filter as the Australian Government has started a public consultation process into whether there should be an R18+ classification category for computer games.

It's a sad day for freedom of speech in Australia when the Government delivers a slanted report that when you actually read it doesn't back everything it is claiming. It's not dissimilar to Iran: you don't get the result you want so you ignore the results you don't want, you stuff the boxes in other places, and you deliver a result that was always predetermined to begin with.

Conroy claims again that the filter is all about kiddie porn (which is already illegal to view and host anyway) but at the same time will ban euthanasia and abortion sites, along with adult computer games as well. The dark clouds of totalitarianism are descending on Australia; remember, history shows that Governments who start on the road to censorship usually expand the regime with time. The can is open now, and who knows when the madness might end.


15th December   

Council propaganda Magazines Remain Unregulated...

But trade association decides that online magazines should be regulated by the Press Complaints Commission
Link Here

As part of its industry consultation, the Press Standards Board of Finance Ltd (PressBoF) has decided that local authority publications should not be brought within the remit of the Press the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

It has decided against doing so on the basis that such publications tend to be marketing material, the board announced today.

PressBoF, independent of the PCC, is responsible for raising a levy on the newspaper and magazine industry to finance the Commission.

Extended PCC Remit to Online Magazines

Based on article from

The industry consultation also decided that online-only publications – mainly magazine sites – should come under the PCC's remit.

PressBoF chairman Guy Black said: The internet is an increasingly important platform for publishers to reach consumers.

While online versions of newspapers and magazines available in printed form come within the remit of the PCC, there is a gap to the extent that online-only publications do not.

This decision is a logical development in self-regulation, recognising the moves in the magazine sector towards online-only titles, and underlines the effectiveness of our system .

PCC chairman Baroness Buscombe said: We welcome the decision by the industry. The PCC needs this freedom to develop rapidly to meet the challenges and the opportunities presented by media convergence.


15th December   

Censored Out of Contention...

Trade association called for lighter touch media regulation to help fend off foreign competition
Link Here

A report has called on the Government to overturn media regulation to ensure the UK is not left behind in the TV, internet and social media industries.

The British Screen Advisory Council has published a paper outlining the changes taking places across the audiovisual sector (film, TV, internet videos, games, social media) and how the Government and regulators need to react to the changes.

The paper concludes: The global democratisation in content creation and dissemination has only just begun and the UK must be part of it. In approaching the issues, our overriding focus has been the development of this audiovisual industry's capability as an enterprise sector and important contributor to wealth creation.

BSAC is an independent body, funded by the media industry, which represents executives in TV, film, satellite, cable and digital media.

The council believes that, while the UK audiovisual industry appears healthy, its competitiveness is being hit by cheaper, foreign, educated workforces. The council is now calling for lighter touch media regulation in the UK. It concludes: A light and focused set of government policies and regulations must be designed to help industry meet the challenges head on.


15th December   

Update: Talking Pants...

ASA not to investigate Marks and Spencers Christmas advert
Link Here

The advertising censor, ASA,  has dismissed claims of sexism over the Life on Mars actor Philip Glenister's turn in Marks & Spencer's Christmas TV campaign of sexism, following about 100 complaints.

In the campaign, Glenister is seen propping up the bar towards the end of the ad giving his take on what is great about Christmas: Oh come on, it's Christmas, he says in Gene Hunt-esque mode. That girl prancing around in her underwear.

The ad then ends with Noemie Lenoir, the regular lingerie model in M&S's commercials, scantily clad and doing twirls in a forest.

With regards to M&S, I can confirm we received 100 complaints but we did not consider there were grounds for an investigation and have closed the case, said an ASA spokesman.

We did not believe the comment, made by the character of Gene Hunt, about a well-known M&S underwear model was derogatory and considered it was unlikely to be interpreted as a negative comment on women in general or be seen as objectifying her.


15th December   

Skating on Thin Ice...

Merchant seamen easily offended by Titanic ice cube
Link Here

A new ice cube tray that makes replica frozen moulds of the Titanic for people to sink into a drink has been criticised as sick and distasteful .

The product, called the Gin and Titonic ice tray, also makes little icebergs so the drinker can re-create history by making the two objects collide in the glass.

They then watch as the four inch long Titanic ice cube sinks to the bottom of the cup before the drink is ready to go down with the ship.

The rubber tray consists of four replica moulds of the luxury liner that struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, killing 1,522 people. The item, that also has four round icebergs to pair with the ice ships, has gone on sale over the internet in time for Christmas.

Brian Ticehurst, a Titanic historian, said: They are distasteful, hundreds of people died in the tragedy. Surely this is the wrong way to remember them? How long will it be before this firm makes ice cubes of the Twin Towers to commemorate 9/11?

Tim Brant, secretary of the Merchant Navy Association, said: It is a bit of a sick idea and it is distasteful to the people who suffered and their families. The sinking of the Titanic is an event that should be commemorated not celebrated.

Joe Edmundson, spokesman for Fred and Friends, based in Maryland, US, defended the product. He said: We design housewares that are functional and fun. The Gin and Titonic is quite a good seller around the world. Somebody is always going to be offended by something, especially when it involves humour with a little edge.


15th December   

Seeing red...

Tesco panders to the easily offended over minor christmas card joke
Link Here

A Christmas card has been withdrawn from Tesco stores after complaints that it makes fun of children with ginger hair.

The card shows a child with ginger hair sitting on the lap of Santa Claus, and the words: Santa loves all kids. Even ginger ones.

Davinia Phillips of York, whose three daughters are redheads, said she found the card offensive.

Ms Phillips spotted the card while visiting a Tesco store in York. She said: I picked it up and I couldn't believe it. I just thought 'What is so funny about that?' I didn't really get the joke. I thought I would buy it, because I wanted proof that I had seen it.

A Tesco spokesman said: We sell a large range of Christmas cards, including some which are intended to be humorous. It is never our intention to offend any customer and we are sorry if this card caused any upset.


15th December   

Update: Censor's Advertising Campaign...

Balibo ban results in increased sales of pirate DVD
Link Here
Full story: Balibo...Indonesia bans movie about jounalist deaths

The Indonesia Film Censorship Agency's decision to ban the Australian movie Balibo early this month appears to have backfired, with stores all over the capital selling the pirated version of the film over the weekend.

Firman, a movie lover, said that until recently he had never even heard of the movie, which tells of the deaths of five journalists, allegedly at the hands of Indonesian soldiers during the 1975 invasion of East Timor. I only found out about the movie after the National Film Censorship Board [LSF] banned it. I don't even know what the movie is about. I must admit that I bought the pirated version because of the ban, he told the Jakarta Globe.

Ayu, a shopkeeper who sells pirated DVDs, said demand for the movie was high. We just received the movie on [Sunday] morning and we've sold more than 40 copies, she said. We are already short on stock, so we quickly ordered a hundred more copies.

Prior to the ban, Balibo had a very small market, primarily attracting curious expatriates, journalists and hard core movie buffs.

The pirated version of the movie is reportedly decent in quality with accurate subtitles.

Journalists and Police

15th December 2009. Based on article from

A journalists group has threatened to fight a ban on the war movie Balibo with a constitutional court challenge if the Indonesian government enforces its countrywide prohibition.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists has been showing the banned movie in venues around the country, and sales of pirated DVDs are flourishing without police interference in markets in the capital, Jakarta.

Police spokesman Col. Untung Ketut Yoga said the government ban cannot be enforced until police receive written confirmation of its terms from the government.

Andreas Harsono, founder of the alliance, said the journalists will lodge a constitutional court challenge if the government takes the next step of enforcing the ban, which was instituted Dec. 1.

The constitutional court has previously lifted bans on five politically sensitive films about East Timor and Indonesia's restive Aceh province that prevented their screenings at the 2006 Jakarta film festival. A lawyer who helped win those challenges, Christiana Chelsia Chan, said she believed the Balibo ban was similarly unconstitutional.

Film festival director Lalu Roisamri, who submitted Balibo to the censors, welcomed the prospect of the court appeal. He said freedom of speech was going backward in Indonesia: I'm afraid so, because I think the government is paranoid, Roisamri said.

Connolly said he had given copyright permission to the alliance to screen his movie, but that the DVDs being sold in markets were illegal. He said he had been naively optimistic that the government censors would allow the movie to be screened at commercial cinemas.

The movie will be released worldwide next year.


14th December   

Update: Consultation Games...

Australian government launches consultation on adult rated games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

The long-heralded public consultation process on whether Australia should introduce an adult rating for games commences; Federal Government releases discussion paper discussing pros and cons of the debate.

Aussie gamers will finally be able to voice their opinion directly to government, with a long-awaited public consultation launched by the Federal Attorney-General's Department.

The public consultation is asking for Australian's opinions on whether the country should introduce an adult R18+ rating for games. Currently, any game deemed by the Classification Board to contain content which is unsuitable for anyone aged over 15-years-old is refused classification, effectively banning it for sale down under. Australians are being asked to download a form from the Federal Attorney-General's website, and fill out a questionnaire outlining their views on the R18+ issue.

The Federal Attorney-General's Department has also released a discussion paper outlining the key arguments for and against an adult game rating for Australia.

Submissions will close on 28 February 2010. From there, all of Australia's State and Federal Attorney Generals must agree to introduce an R18+ rating before it can be introduced, which may continue to be a major stumbling block given the vocal opposition of South Australian Attorney General Michael Atkinson in the past.


14th December   

Toyota Take a Good Pounding...

Toyota take down innuendo laden car advert
Link Here

Toyota held an online competition for a short film promoting Yaris, a car sold mainly to young women, then launch the winning film onto social network sites.

But Toyota Australia decided to pull the winning film from its website after complaints that the video was sexist and even incestuous.

The advertisement for Toyota Yaris, called Clean Getaways , shows a father and his daughter's boyfriend enjoying a conversation laden with double entendres abut the young couple's forthcoming date.

As the girl hovers in the background, the men's conversation includes phrases such as I'm here to take Jennifer's virginity out tonight, She can take a good pounding, and I'll have her on her back by 11. The young girl joins in, saying; I'm ready to blow.

The video, which won the online Clever Film Comp organised by Toyota in conjunction with advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, immediately drew attacks from readers of the competition's Facebook page.

One entry reads: I have written and lodged a formal complaint with Toyota's Australian head office regarding this specific competition entry/winner, and asks others to do the same while another describes the film as offensive and degrading.

Another strangely complains: The ad ...has incestous overtones. Others describe the advertisement as sick and ridiculous

Toyota spokesman Mike Breen said he could not say how many complaints the car maker had received about the video, but the company was sorry if it had caused offence.

Breen said the ad was shown to Toyota's social media unit before being posted online, and they generally judged (it) to be OK before it went onto the internet.


14th December   

Politically Reformed...

Sun TV banned from mainland China
Link Here

China has revoked permission for cable operators to distribute commercial network Sun TV due to its outspoken talk shows, sources said, as part of a government crackdown on content deemed sensitive and too bold.

The country's censors have become increasingly intolerant of content that pushes the envelope on politically incorrect or sensitive topics.

Police have detained about 3,500 people in a crackdown on online pornography so far this year and closed thousands of websites. The official Xinhua news agency, citing the Ministry of Public Security, said more than 1,25 million items of online lewd content and nearly 7,000 pornographic websites and columns had been removed from the internet this year.

From Dec 5, audiences in mainland China cannot receive our signals, but the programing is still broadcast in Hong Kong and overseas, said an employee at Sun TV's parent company in Hong Kong.

The ministry responsible for this did not notify Sun TV beforehand. So far their reasons are unclear, but we are trying to get an explanation.

A media industry source with knowledge of the move told Reuters: Sun's broadcast rights were revoked because guests called for political reform.


14th December   

BBFC Took a Bite...

Old cuts to Vampyres
Link Here

Vampyres is a UK 1974 horror film by Joseph Larraz

The 2003 'Uncut Re-edited' Version from Anchor Bay was passed without BBFC cuts

Note: avoid the US Anchor Bay DVD which is noted as cut even though it proclaims otherwise

The 1975 cinema release was cut by about 3 minutes by the BBFC.

The Rank video version was cut when submitted  in 1989.

From cuts details on IMDb :

It was pre-cut as per the cinema release but lost a further 26s with BBFC edits to:

  • a lesbian shower scene
  • sexual thrusting during the sex scene between Fran & John
  • the stabbing of Rupert
  • blood being licked from John's arm wound
  • close ups of Fran & Miriam's naked bloody bodies in the pre-credit scene
  • the stripping and stabbing of Harriet in the cellar

Amazon Review: Quality-looking film

A pair of bisexual women living in a dark, decaying mansion have a craving for blood and sex. Hitchhiking in long black cloaks, they lure men home and then take them to bed, slash them with knives, and dump the bodies, making it look like a car wreck. They like one guy so much they keep him around for days and he knows something bad is happening, but he's not sure what. Some people camping nearby also suspect that the women are up to strange things....

The violence is strong even though there's more blood than gore, plenty of sex and nudity, and some very lyrical, beautiful scenes. The ending throws a whole new, darker twist on the proceedings and ties it all together nicely. It has kind of a "Hammer Films" look to it, but the storyline is more along the lines of Jean Rollin. Even though the budget was small, this is a quality-looking film.


14th December   

Censors on Drugs...

Christiane F re-released by Arrow
Link Here

Christiane F is a 1981 West German drama by Ulrich Edel

All cuts waived when video/DVD re-submitted in 2000 by Second Sight. The uncut version was also passed 18 for Arrow in 2009.

Previously cut when video submitted by Polygram in 1986

  • Cuts were for supposedly instructional shots of heroin preparation and injection.

The cinema release of 1981 was cut by 12s

See review from IMDb : Disturbing

I really wasn't prepared for this film, or was I? I had been recommended it, and told it was disturbing, but it certainly had a massive effect on me.

Christiane F is the true story of a girl who gets seduced by the German nightlife and David Bowie, and slowly drifts onto heroin.

There are several disturbing parts of this movie. The heroin/prostitution scenes are disturbing, but I didn't get disturbed by these as much as I did the story. The media would have us believe that heroin users and dealers are monsters and don't have a right to live. The people in this movie are real, and easy to identify with.

I definitely recommend this movie


13th December   

Impaired Moral Judgement...

Vivienne Pattison whinges at the limited age verification on iPlayer
Link Here

Nutters of Mediawatch-UK are demanding stricter controls on broadcasters' websites which supposedly allow children to watch adult programmes containing sex, violence and bad language.

The group points to programmes available to watch via the internet which it claims are unsuitable for children, including the violent and sexually-explicit vampire drama True Blood and another drama series, Misfits, both on Channel 4; the BBC's Spooks and The Graham Norton Show ; and ITV's American drama Gossip Girl.

Although the shows are only broadcast on television after the 9pm watershed, they can be watched online at any time of day.

The main broadcasters' websites allow parents to set up a password which is need to watch adult content. However, Mediawatch says this opt-out system should be replaced with one where people have to actively opt in to see adult content, as the majority of parents never view the websites.

Vivienne Pattison, the new director of Mediawatch UK said this would be a simple change which would ensure children are properly protected.

Pattison accused broadcasters of paying lip-service to the need to protect children. She said: The technology has moved ahead of the regulation and that's the problem. Ofcom's most recent research found that fewer than a third of parents use parental controls or are confident about how to use them. And often it's children of parents who cannot or will not do something about it who are the ones you are most concerned about.

Standard practice on television websites is to include warnings about content, ask viewers to click a box saying they are over 16 or 18, and allow parents to set up a password which must be used to see adult programmes. The process takes seconds.

Pattison said programmes containing sex and violence should be restricted automatically, with all viewers having to set up a password to access them: This is a really obvious one, it would be simple to do and we hope to campaign on it big next year, she said.

Mediawatch UK has also questioned the legality of online television services in the light of a new law which comes into force this week. The Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Regulations 2009, which take effect on December 19, require that under-18s should not be able to normally see or hear material which might seriously impair [their] physical, mental or moral development . Pattison said: It very clearly says children should be protected from undesirable material, which currently I do not think they are.

Ofcom is preparing to announce what practical changes broadcasters will need to make to comply with the new rules, but a source at the regulator said the legislation was unlikely to make much difference to the main players .

Broadcasters are resistant to the idea of imposing an initial block on adult programmes, saying it would represent a commercial barrier and would be a nanny-state measure.


13th December   

Update: Libel Reform...

Simon Singh asks for people to sign petition
Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

It has been 18 months since I was sued for libel after publishing my article on chiropractic. I am continuing to fight my case and am prepared to defend my article for another 18 months or more if necessary. The ongoing libel case has been distracting, draining and frustrating, but it has always been heartening to receive so much support, particularly from people who realise that English libel laws need to be reformed in order to allow robust discussion of matters of public interest. Over twenty thousand people signed the statement to Keep Libel Laws out of Science, but now we need you to sign up again and add your name to the new statement.

The new statement is necessary because the campaign for libel reform is stepping up a gear and will be working on much broader base. Sense About Science has joined forces with Index on Censorship and English PEN and their goal is to reach 100,000 or more signatories in order to help politicians appreciate the level of public support for libel reform. We have already met several leading figures from all three main parties and they have all showed signs of interest. Now, however, we need a final push in order to persuade them to commit to libel reform.

Finally, I would like to make three points. First, I will stress again - please take the time to reinforce your support for libel reform by signing up at Second, please spread the word by blogging, twittering, Facebooking and emailing in order to encourage friends, family and colleagues to sign up. Third, for those supporters who live overseas, please also add your name to the petition and encourage others to do the same; unfortunately and embarrassingly, English libel laws impact writers in the rest of the world, but now you can help change those laws by showing your support for libel reform. While I fight in my own libel battle, I hope that you will fight the bigger battle of libel reform.


13th December   

A Bad Apple...

Taiwan set to ban images of sex and violence in the media
Link Here

Taiwan's parliament has changed the law to ban supposedly gratuitous images of sex and violence in the island's racy media following a surge in parental complaints.

Passage of a bill that outlaws explicit photos, television scenes and online graphics comes after officials issued two fines, totaling T$1 million ($30,900), against the publisher of mainstream newspaper Apple Daily over its online imagery.

Entire families see this. Children see it. Only in Taiwan do we have these images. You go to Hong Kong and it's not there, said Ke Ming-hsiu, aide to legislator Hung Hsiu-chu who sponsored the bill with broad bi-partisan support.

Parental complaints to the Taiwan government had 'soared' before the city of Taipei fined Apple Daily's publisher, a government official said. The paper had built a name on its real-life animation of grisly crimes and even a make-believe video of golf star Tiger Woods crashing a vehicle.

The parliament bill, which passed without opposition, revises three acts that govern media broadcasts and the welfare of children and teenagers. Parliament must vote two more times to finalize it, but no opposition is expected.


13th December   

User Content and Libel...

Internet forums not responsible for comments until informed of possible libel
Link Here

The High Court has upheld the publisher's right under the E-Commerce Regulations not to be responsible for user comments until informed of them.

A newspaper report about a struck-off solicitor appeared on the websites of a number of titles belonging to regional newspaper publisher Newsquest, though not in any print editions. The article attracted some comments on a bulletin board attached to it.

Some months after the publication of the article, the struck-off solicitor, Imran Karim, filed a libel suit against Newsquest, which took the article and the comments about it down.

The publisher argued in Court that it could have no libel liability for the user comments because it had taken them down as soon as it received a complaint about them. The E-Commerce Regulations, which implement the EU's E-Commerce Directive, give online publishers immunity from liability for unlawful material that they host but don't produce, so long as they take action when informed about it.

The Regulations say:

Where an information society service is provided which consists of the storage of information provided by a recipient of the service, the service provider (if he otherwise would) shall not be liable for damages or for any other pecuniary remedy or for any criminal sanction as a result of that storage where - (a) the service provider -
(i) does not have actual knowledge of unlawful activity or information and, where a claim for damages is made, is not aware of facts or circumstances from which it would have been apparent to the service provider that the activity or information was unlawful;
(ii) upon obtaining such knowledge or awareness, acts expeditiously to remove or to disable access to the information, and (b) the recipient of the service was not acting under the authority or the control of the service provider.

Mr Justice Eady agreed with Newsquest. It seems to me … that [Newsquest] is entitled to rely upon that defence, he said. He granted Newsquest's request for a summary judgment in its favour rather than a full trial. The High Court ruled that there was no case to answer once Newsquest had established its immunity.


13th December   

Update: The Good News...

Blogger arrested in Morocco after reporting clash between students and police
Link Here
Full story: Blogging in Morocco...Bloggers under duress in Morocco

Moroccan blogger Bashir Hazem was arrested on December 8, 2009 after posting a press release about a clash between students and police on his blog. He has been interrogated about his blogging, specifically his most recent post, which contained the signatures of a committee of arrested students.

Hazem was detained and put in solitary confinement for a period of time, then rejoined the other detainees in the prison.

A Facebook group [ar] has been created to support blogger Bashir Hazem, who has been detained in Goulmim prison in the south of Morocco for publishing a statement about the intervention of the police force against an inhabitant of the Goulmim, on his blog Al Boushara ( the good news ).

According to the President of the Moroccan Bloggers Association, Internet cafes in the city are being monitored in order to prevent Internet users from disseminating information about the event, and to prevent riots. The authorities have also arrested others suspected of spreading news about the protests, including an Internet cafe employee, for possessing protest materials and flyers.

Hazem will face trial on Monday, December 14, 2009.


12th December   

Updated: Predatory Censors...

Australian censors ban the video game Aliens vs Predator
Link Here

The Australian Classification Board has banned yet another video game. This time around it is Aliens Vs Predator .

Slated for a February 2010 release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC platforms, Aliens vs Predator picks up on a rich cinematic and video game history to once again launch us into the horror tinged sci-fi world that has captivated many around the globe.

SEGA Australia's response so far? Well it is suitably annoyed yet determined in the face of the initial submissions rejection. A SEGA Australia spokesperson told iTWire; SEGA Australia can today confirm that the initial submission of Aliens vs Predator has been Refused Classification by the Classification Operations Board of Australia. We will continue to investigate all options available to us, including the possibility of appeal . has been sent a document from Australian Classification Board with the actual reason for the games classification refusal in this country.

In short The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The game contains first-person perspective, close-up depictions of human characters being subjected to various types of violence, including explicit decapitation and dismemberment as well as locational damage such as stabbing through the chest, throat, mouth or eyes. Characters can be stabbed with a Predator's wrist blade or an Alien's tail in depictions reminiscent of impalement.

The Predator collects trophies by explicitly ripping off human heads, their spinal columns dangling from severed necks. Heads can be twisted completely around in order to break a character's neck. Eyes can be stabbed through or gouged, leaving empty, bloodied eye sockets. It increases impact; for example, a Predator can stab a character through both eyes with its wrist blade and then rip off their head, the spinal column still attached. Extensive post mortem damage, including decapitation and dismemberment, is also possible.

Depictions of violence such as the above are accompanied by copious amounts of blood and gore, including ample wound detail and visible skeleton.

In the opinion of the Board, the violence in the game causes a high playing impact due to its first-person, close-up perspective, conceptual nature and the level of explicit detail involved in the depictions. The game is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and should be refused classification.

Update: Developers won't release a kids version for Australia

5th December 2009. Based on article from

Many developers, including Valve and Bethesda, opt to censor their products by toning down the violence to adhere to the Classification Board's standards. However, Rebellion, the developers of Aliens vs Predator has decided to simply not release the game in the region.

In a statement, the UK-based studio noted that it was upset that the game was refused classification but said that it will not be altering the game to make it acceptable by the Classification Board's standards: Rebellion is disappointed that its upcoming title Aliens vs. Predator has been banned in Australia, Rebellion said. However, as we understand the law in that country, the authorities had no choice as we agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults.

The content of AVP is based on some of the most innovative and iconic horror movies, and as such we wanted to create a title that was true to the source material. It is for adults, and it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent. We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.

Update: Sega appeals ban

12th December 2009. Based on article from

Sega have applied to have the ban on Aliens vs Predator examined by the Review Board.

The Board are asking for input from individuals or organisations that wish to make submissions as an interested party.

If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is Monday 14 December 2009

We are unsure what constitutes an individual interested party. However we can tell you that in recent times the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, the Australian Family Association, and Young Media Australia have all been accepted as organisations that are an interested party.

The review is due to take place next Friday. See more about submissions to the review board at


12th December

 Offsite: Presenting the BBFC...

Link Here
Sue Clark of the BBFC interviewed

See article from


12th December   

Update: Glorified Censorship...

Student given 6 months in jail for DVD containing scenes of terrorist atrocities
Link Here
Full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

A Pakistani student was sentenced to six months in prison for sending a DVD containing scenes of terrorist atrocities to his neighbours.

Illegal immigrant Bilal Malik a student at Dundee University, admitted a breach of the peace.

He faces deportation after serving his sentence.


12th December   

Legal Debate...

Dutch media association want to ban Usenet discussions about copyrighted material
Link Here

The Dutch Usenet community (FTD) allows its nearly half a million members to discuss and report the location of material they find on Usenet, without explicitly linking to copyrighted content. The operators of the site see no harm in what they do, but according to Dutch anti-piracy organization BREIN, online communities should not be entitled to allow these kinds of discussions on their websites.

Talking about copyrighted content on Usenet is illegal they argue, and BREIN wants FTD to be shut down for allowing this. The newsgroup community, however, is not prepared to tolerate BREIN's accusations and has decided to take action. Earlier this year FTD took BREIN to court, demanding that it should retract its numerous statements that FTD operates illegally.

In a letter to the court in this ongoing case, FTD's lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet stated yesterday that BREIN is going too far with its statements. Downloading copyrighted files and music for personal use is perfectly legal in The Netherlands, so he sees no reason why merely talking about it should be illegal.

Undeterred, BREIN maintained their stance and declared FTD a criminal operation. In a counter-claim against FTD, the anti-piracy outfit has demanded $70,000 a day in penalties if the Usenet chatter continues.

The verdict in this case is expected to be announced sometime next year.


11th December   

Stop to Censorship...

Croatian journalists protests against repressive media law
Link Here

Around 300 journalists have staged a protest against censorship in media, weakening of professionalism and increased political influence.

The protest under the name Stop to censorship had been organized by the Croatian Journalist Association.

The protests have been organized on occasion of the Human Rights Day, in order to send a message for the bad treatment of journalists in the country.

President of CJA, Zdenko Duka said that before amending the law on media, employers and journalists have to make a deal regarding their status. During the protest, the journalists had taped their mouths to express their dissatisfaction.


11th December   

Thoughts Darken...

The pope has a whinge about the media
Link Here

Pope Ratzinger has been whingeing about the media. He complained that the mass media: Tend to make us feel like spectators, as if evil regards only others and certain things could never happen to us.

He also lamented about what he described as a steady diet of news about evil in the world: Every day, through the newspapers, television, radio, evil is reported, repeated, amplified, making us used to horrible things, making us become insensitive, and, in some way, poisoning us. Hearts harden and thoughts darken.

Perhaps he was referring to news coverage of abusive catholic priests.


11th December   

Mummified Censorship...

Secrets of Sex to be released uncut
Link Here

Secrets of Sex is a 1970 UK fantasy by by Antony Balch

The BBFC passed the 2009 Odeon DVD 18 uncut

Previously the 2 similar cinema versions of 1970 were passed X after cuts.

Promotional material from UK Amazon

The first DVD release of this bizarre journey through the battle of the sexes. Released UNCUT for the first time. Digitally remastered from the original negatives in original widescreen ratio.

Directed by acclaimed exploitation filmmaker Antony Balch. Celebrated filmmaker Antony Balch directs one of the most idiosyncratic and unforgettable British movies of all time the film the censor tried to stop!

From beyond the grave, a 1,000-year-old mummy (voiced by Valentine Dyall) narrates a series of kinky stories to illustrate the age-old battle of the sexes. From cosmic thrills, supernatural kinks and swinging permissiveness, this is boy versus girl in a hip, psychedelic mix of vintage glamour and grotesque horror.


11th December   

Update: Game Over...

Japan censors the civilian killing in Modern Warfare 2
Link Here
Full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

The Japanese localization of Infinity Ward's controversial yet popular Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 has been censored rather crudely.

The famous airport civilian massacre received a rather inaccurate translation. The original line spoke by Makarov was, Remember, no Russian. The idea is that, in order to disguise the terrorist attack, it's paramount that the terrorists hide their own Russian nationality. But the Japanese audio dub for this line is, Korose, Roshia-jin da, which means, Kill them, they are Russians. Needless to say, this ichanges the entire context of the game.

The mission itself is censored, but still playable. It's not a parental lock that removes blood, gore or foul language, but it does something even more devious. If, at any point during the mission, you actually pull the trigger and kill any of the civilians spawned on the map, you will instantly get that terrible game-over screen and it's back to the last checkpoint.

Combined with wronged translation, this makes the airport scene a logical nightmare. If we look at the Japanese version of the game alone, without any other one to compare it with, the game first tells us to kill the Russians and, when we obey and actually do it, it kills us for it. To call it confusing would be quite the understatement.


11th December   

Updated: That Sinking Feeling...

UAE ban Sunday Times cartoon depicting Dubai sinking into the sea
Link Here

The Sunday Times was barred from news stands in Dubai this week because of a graphic showing the emirate's ruler sinking in a sea of debt, which a media body judged to be an insult.

The Sunday Times was not distributed today, an official from the United Arab Emirates national media council told AFP. We cannot accept a personal insult. It is against our traditions, he said.

There is no ban on the newspaper despite the holding back of the latest edition, he said, adding that all other international publications which have criticised Dubai since news broke of its debt crisis were on sale as usual.

The Sunday Times' business section included a report headlined The sinking of Dubai's dream.

The two-page spread featured a photo montage of the emir, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum, floundering in what it described as a sea of debt off the coastline of the city state. The montage also featured Dubai's iconic Burj al-Arab hotel sinking into the sea.

Update: Confidence will never return in Dubai

11th December 2009. Based on article from

It began with a caricature of Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, floundering in a sea of debt. The Sunday Times was duly banned from sale in the once-gilded emirate.

A few days later, Jim McLean wrote an article in its sister publication, the Times, headed: Confidence will never return in Dubai. As the headline suggests, it was highly critical. The article said Dubai World's failure to honour its obligations had shaken the international investment community's faith in Sheikh Mohammed. The international financial community, and I know this to be the case in London, won't do business with Dubai again, one expert on Gulf economics was quoted as saying.

Experienced analysts no longer trust the government's statistics, claiming they do not fully reflect the amount Dubai owes its foreign creditors, McLean continued, adding: Sheikh Mohammed cast himself as Dubai's chief executive, and if this were a company he would be on his way.

This article was blanked out on the orders of the censors in copies of the Times available in Dubai. Local papers have also had problems covering the emirate's financial crisis.


11th December   

Update: Coalition for Libel Reform...

Campaigners regroup to reform Britain's libel laws
Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

England’s libel laws are unjust, against the public interest and internationally criticised — there is urgent need for reform this is the message performers, writers, poets, patient groups, legal experts, broadcasters, journalists and others represented by the Coalition for Libel Reform (English PEN, Index on Censorship and Sense About Science) are sending to politicians urging them to support a bill for major reforms of the English libel laws now, in the interests of fairness, the public interest and free speech.

At the launch of the National Campaign for Libel Reform on Thursday, performers and others urged the public to sign a petition demanding reform of the libel laws, highlighting that for the first time in over a century we have an opportunity to change our unfair and repressive libel laws.


11th December   

Update: Public Consultation...

Singapore reviews its censorship policies
Link Here

The Censorship Review Committee (CRC), which was convened in September, will be carrying out a survey to get people's views on Singapore's current censorship rules.

Views will be sought on regulation of the entire media spectrum - from broadcast, film, publication and audio material, to the arts and new media - said a CRC statement yesterday.

The survey, to be carried out by research company Nielsen, will start next month and take place over a four-month period.

Face-to-face interviews will be done with about 1,000 Singaporeans.

The interviews will cover issues such as community perceptions and attitudes towards existing content in various media platforms.

Meanwhile, the public can give their views online at the CRC's website,


10th December   

Lumbering Entity...

Greg Dyke calls for BBC to be regulated by the TV censor Ofcom
Link Here

Greg Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, has called for the BBC Trust to be abolished with regulation handed to either Ofcom or a new public service broadcasting watchdog.

Dyke, giving the annual Royal Television Society Christmas lecture, also argued that Channel Five has no real chance of surviving as an independent broadcaster and should become part of the ITV family .

He said that the BBC Trust, the corporation's governance and regulatory body, is an expensive, lumbering entity that has found itself hamstrung by the impossible dual role of attempting to regulate and champion the corporation.

The [BBC] Trust is unduly slow and bureaucratic, expensive to run and creates inbuilt conflict within the organisation [which] has left the BBC without a supportive board or chairman and the director general without the 'cover' any chief executive needs, added Dyke.

In any organisation the chairman/chief executive relationship is all important and here the structure works against it being effective. Most of all, when the organisation is under attack, as it currently is, the chairman isn't free to defend it as he should because he's really the regulator, he said.

Dyke argued that it was more logical for Ofcom to regulate the BBC and a new board - with a non-executive chairman and executive and non-executive members - should be responsible for running the corporation.


10th December   

Bitching about Bollocks...

Vivienne Pattison whinges at mild language on daytime TV
Link Here

Nutters say too many incidents of bad language and inappropriate material are capable of being seen by children before the 9pm cut-off.

On Tuesday, art critic Brian Sewell, a guest on The Alan Titchmarsh Show , which starts at 3pm, said of Victoria Beckham: I have great respect for David Beckham but his wife is ghastly. She is just a common little bitch. Alan Titchmarsh apologised to viewers shortly afterwards.

Later during The One Show , which starts at 7pm, actress Bette Midler blurted out the word bollocks as she was being interviewed.  She was talking on the BBC show about how happy she was to be visiting the UK. She said: This is a kind of fabulous place and I am always happy to come. She then added: Oh bollocks .

Vivienne Pattison, director of pressure group Mediawatch-UK, said: We know that audiences do not like this kind of language. It should be made clearer to guests that swearing is not allowed.

Pattison added: Obviously in live TV things happen and we know how difficult that is and the presenter has to get out of that very quickly. But I am concerned that it is still happening.

I certainly think that it should be made clearer to guests that swearing is not allowed. It is quite extraordinary that they are not allowed to swear on these shows in the States and yet they come over here and do it. It is down to the editors on live TV show to let their guests know that this is the case.

Conservative MP, Philip Davies, who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee, also expressed concerns about the incidents: I completely understand the anger of viewers, particularly if they are watching something with their children. It is totally unacceptable. Parents will be rightly angry to be subjected to this when we do have watershed. Maybe the broadcasters can do more.


10th December   

A Variety of Innuendo...

Whinging about Patrick McGuinness at the Royal Variety Performance
Link Here

The Daily Mail reports that audience members including the Queen and young children were left 'stunned' after comedian Patrick McGuinness delivered a number of sexual innuendoes during his stand-up routine at the Royal Variety Performance.

McGuinness made references to his genitalia and included a jibe at presenter Paul O'Grady's sexuality. He arrived on stage mid-way through the show. Part of his act included a spoof guide to living in the north of England, which he directed at the Queen and Prince Philip.

Using a pointer as a prop for the sketch he welcomed the Monarch before saying: I know what you're thinking. I've got a small pointer. But my girlfriend always tells me that the smallest acorns make the biggest oaks.

It drew muted reaction from the 3,000 audience members before he addressed the Queen once again and made a remark about the sexuality of Paul O'Grady. In reference to the openly gay Liverpool-born presenter, he told her: You may be the Queen of our country, but we've got our own queen here in the north. Paul O'Grady. Royal audience: The Queen

Now ITV producers say that they are considering whether or not the offending material breaches the company's guidelines and if it is unsuitable for a family audience.

Nutter groups have said ITV must cut the smutty gags from the show ahead of its broadcast at 7.30pm next Wednesday.

McGuinness continued with his set before proclaiming the virtues of a local Indian restaurant telling the gathered crowd: You haven't lived until you've had eight of Ahmed's peshwari balls in your mouth. The gag was again greeted with nervous laughter.

A spokesman for ITV said that the show would be edited to adhere to strict pre-watershed guidelines but said it was too early to say whether McGuinness's comments would be cut: The Royal Variety Performance transmits at 7.30pm and programmes comply with all regulatory guidelines. In addition, the performance is recorded as live, but is edited so that it fits into the allotted running time.

A spokesman for Mediawatch UK, who campaign for responsible broadcasting, said that it hoped ITV would ensure the programme was suitable for a family audience.

Vivienne Pattison said: Broadcasters make a big deal about the watershed in order to protect children and I'd like to see that taken seriously. I'd like to think ITV will take all the necessary steps to make sure that the Royal Variety Show is suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace refused to say whether the Queen had been offended by any of the comments made on stage by McGuinness.


10th December   

Tongue in Who's Cheek?...

Women whinge at Australian gentlemen's club billboard
Link Here

BConfidential co-owner Lisa Boorer has received a series of abusive and threatening phone calls and emails over her Spring Hill gentlemen's club's billboards. A staff member also had beer cans thrown at him while driving a BConfidential-branded car.

BConfidential features a restaurant, poker nights, live music and lap dancing.

In October, the ad, Tell your wife you'll be late , sparked seven official complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

Now the club is having the last laugh after the bureau recently dismissed the complaints over the billboard, allowing it to be displayed throughout Brisbane.

The complainants had claimed the billboard degraded women, undermined marriage and promoted infidelity.

We are really pleased with the ASB decision, Ms Boorer said, we knew we hadn't breached any advertising laws. The most interesting thing is that the complaints are from a small group of women. The billboard doesn't tell anyone to lie or to be deceitful. It is tongue-in-cheek, and a lot of our male and female clientele really like it.

I really think society has lost its sense of humour and political correctness has gone haywire, Ms Boorer said.


10th December   


Ghost in the Shell 2.0
Link Here

Ghost in the Shell is 1995 Japan/US anime by Mamoru Oshii.

The 2.0 Redux Version was passed 15 uncut for the 2009 cinema release and 2009 Manga DVD/Blu-ray.

The 2.0 Version has had mixed review from fans.

See article from

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is a reproduced version of its original 1995 counterpart. For the films Version 2.0 release, all the original animations were re-produced with latest digital film and animation technologies, such as 3D-CGI. The original soundtrack was also re-organized and re-recorded.

Japanese music composer Kenji Kawai, who orchestrated the score for the original 1995 production, remixed the Version 2.0 soundtrack in 6.1 Channel Surround.

To complement the new soundtrack, Japanese voice dialogue was also re-recorded, with some variation from the original script to make use of more recent colloquial phrases in modern speech. Notably, the original male voice actor for the character of the Puppet Master, Iemasa Kayumi, has been replaced by the female voice actor Yoshiko Sakakibara

Previously the Theatrical Version was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for the 1995 cinema release and 1996 Manga video.

Review from US Amazon : Nicely cleaned-up

A 1995 movie based on the manga that was called by some the second coming of Akira . I can't help but agree with that.

So here we are almost 15 years later and we now have Ghost in the Shell 2.0 , which is not a sequel but a redone version of the first movie. The colors have been changed and some CG has been brought in to replace the old animation.

The animation has been nicely cleaned-up. This is one of the best animated Blu-rays out there, up there with Cars , Wall-E , and Akira . While consistency is off thanks to the new computer graphics, new colors and old animation, but this is not the fault of the transfer.


10th December   

Santa Claus is Coming Out...

Focus on the Family easily offended by comedy play
Link Here

With James Dobson retiring it is clear that the nutter group, Focus on the Family, is adrift and searching for a new mission. It may have found one in its blistering attack on the play Santa Claus is Coming Out.

The right wing organization is in a tizzy over this comedy that poses the serious question: What if Santa Claus were actually gay?

Unfortunately, Focus on the Family provides the answer by exploiting this issue for political gain and distorting the essence of the production. The Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Education Network (GLSEN) will also benefit from a charity performance of Santa Claus is Coming Out , giving Focus on the Family further reason to misrepresent the play.

In a story headlined GLSEN Fundraiser Sexualizes Santa , the group claims that the comedy, perverts the innocence of Christmas and sexualizes the longtime, child-revered icon of Santa Claus. The group went on to claim that the goal of Santa Claus is Coming Out is to, desensitize kids and attack parents' God-given rights to protect their innocence.

The charges leveled against Santa Is Coming Out are ludicrous, if not libelous. In an interview with Instinct Magazine, Playwright Jeffrey Solomon rebutted Focus on the Family's bogus charges.

We have not marketed this play with sex, said Solomon. The play is not about sex. The play simply asks a hypothetical question: 'How would the world react, if Mrs. Claus were revealed to be a beard, and that Santa Claus was actually a gay man?' The very mention or the image of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people is not automatically sexual, unless you are viewing them with sex-tinted glasses.

Isn't it time that Focus on the Family take its huge budget of more that $125 million and help real families stay together? Has this group done anything substantive to address the divorce rate in America? Has it stopped child or spousal abuse? Has this wealthy organization increased living wages so families can afford to stay together?

Nope. Instead it wastes precious time and money on petty, media-friendly pet issues that play well to frothing fundamentalists who get worked into a lather and then donate what little money they have left over from their paychecks.

I applaud Jeffrey Solomon and director Joe Brancato for producing a play that will make people think, which is a heck of a lot more than Focus on the Family is asking of its followers.


10th December   

Comment: Nutters See Pink...

Labour minister campaigns against pink toys for girls
Link Here

A war on pink toys and clothes for little girls which calls on parents to boycott shops selling sexist gifts this Christmas is being backed by a nutter Labour minister.

The Pinkstinks pressure group claims that young girls are being led up pink alleys by stores which target them with presents such as pink fairy wings and princess dresses.

It is organising a boycott of shops including the Early Learning Centre, which the group claims are leading the pinkification of girls' toys which end up crushing their ambitions later in life.

Bridget Prentice, the Injustice Minister, said that she was supporting the campaign because she was concerned that shops were creating Christmas gifts which were aimed particularly at either girls or boys.

She went on: It's about not funnelling girls into pretty, pretty jobs, but giving them aspirations and challenging them to fulfil their potential. We want to say to organisations like the Early Learning Centre that we rely on them to be progressive about encouraging girls to think of themselves as equal, and not to reinforce the old stereotypes.

Emma Moore who founded the Pinkstinks group with her twin sister Abi told the News Shopper local newspaper: Ask yourself what we want girls and boys to learn from an early age. Is it that pink, passive and pretty is for girls and that blue, bold and challenging is for boys?

Pinkstinks has 2,000 supporters on the social networking website Facebook.

A spokesman for the Early Learning Centre said: Come down to Early Learning Centre and see for yourself the huge range of toys in an assortment of colours. Customers can choose a red kitchen, a blue kitchen, a blue cash register, a yellow dollhouse or a gorgeous farm.

Comment: Telegraph Leader

10th December 2009. See article from

Little girls like pink; it is part of their innocent charm, not an indication that they plan to waste their lives.

Bridget Prentice, the Justice Minister, is supporting a boycott of selected toy shops by the revoltingly named Pinkstinks campaign as a protest against the sale of sexist pink toys to little girls. As she explains: It's not about funnelling girls into pretty-pretty jobs, but giving them aspirations and challenging them to fulfil their potential.

It really is difficult to think of a sillier or more patronising cause, worthy of the trendy Modern Parents who inflict misery on their children in the pages of Viz magazine. Little girls like pink; it is part of their innocent charm, not an indication that they plan to waste their lives in pretty-pretty jobs , whatever they might be. One has to ask: what toys was Mrs Prentice given as a child to turn her into such a caricature of a humourless feminist?


10th December   

Update: No Censorship...

Iran closes opposition newspaper, Hayate No
Link Here
Full story: Press Freedom in Iran...As if there were any

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Iranian authorities' decision to shut the reformist daily Hayate No . The Press Supervisory Board revoked the license of the Tehran-based daily Hayate No for working outside the regulations, according to local news reports, but the agency provided no details of the alleged violations.

Hayate No is considered supportive of defeated presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Its closing came the same day that thousands of Mousavi supporters demonstrated on university campuses in Tehran and nationwide.

It can be no coincidence that on the day student protesters take to the streets, the government muzzles yet another reformist newspaper, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. Since the disputed presidential election in June, journalists have been censored, harassed and imprisoned. Iran now holds the dubious distinction of being second only to China as a jailer of journalists.


9th December   

Merry XXXmas...

Nutters whinge at light hearted Ann Summers slogan
Link Here

A marketing campaign for Ann Summers sex shops wishing customers a Merry XXXmas provoked a row with the Church of England. Religious nutters branded the shop's Christmas slogan - in the windows of all its 138 stores - as insensitive and crass and called for it to be removed. There was also anger over another Ann Summers slogan calling on customers to Have a horny Christmas .

The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Newcastle, said: Without wanting to be a killjoy, [...BUT...] my feeling is that it is insensitive, at best uncomfortable, and at worst a crass marketing slogan. Many people see Christmas as a sacred and special festival.

That isn't to say ordinary fun and human enjoyment shouldn't be part of it, but people need to be sensitive to the feelings not just of the Church, but of the many people for whom Christmas is an important part of their relationship with God.

One has to accept this is a time of year which is of great importance commercially. But it is about having awareness of the spiritual significance of Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth. Let's not throw the Christ child out with the bath water.

Last night the boss of Ann Summers said she would investigate the complaint - but also pointed out that the company was proud of its marketing campaign.

Jacqueline Gold, chief executive at Ann Summers. said: Our festive campaign was designed to put our customers in the Christmas spirit, with a model accessorising our lingerie with a pair of reindeer horns. The accompanying slogan is a light-hearted play on words, which if questioned by children, can be explained by the fact the horns are being worn - after all, Rudolph plays a large part at Christmas time. We are proud of our tongue-in-cheek window and marketing messages, designed to make our customers smile. We aim to offer women the opportunity to feel sexy and have fun.

One or two questions have been raised about our new Christmas windows and we are listening to feedback from our customers and staff to ensure that we achieve the right balance. We value customers opinions and we will always investigate any complaints, however few and far between.'

Matt King, who passes Ann Summers every day on his way to work at Newcastle University, contacted his local councillor, Nick Forbes, to raise his concerns about the window display and to ask him to take it up with the council: I think it brings a highly sexual language to the high street. Everyone who can read, whether they are four years old or 80, is being wished this message, which they may not want. I would have thought the council would be concerned that this would end up being a seedy end of town as a result.

Councillor Forbes said: I can see how this would be extremely offensive to Christians at this special time of year. I would have thought that sex shops would be aware of the potential offence they could cause and I would urge them to stop using the slogan immediately.

A council spokesman said: We have received a complaint about this window display. It is in poor taste and inappropriate in a main shopping street, but we have no powers to make the shop owners take it down.


9th December   

Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman...

FTC wants further restrictions on advertising PG-13 movies
Link Here

A video advertisement on CBS's Web site that mashes material from the iconic Frosty the Snowman Christmastime cartoon with two of the network's comedy series is supposedly offensive and should be pulled.

The video ad, Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman, takes authentic dialogue from CBS' How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men and dubs it on top of the cartoon classic, changing well-known Frosty scenes to contain suggestions that the snowman and his friends visit a strip club.

The mash-up also discusses Frosty's porn collection and contains repeated mentions of prior sexual conquests. The ad is intended to promote the network's upcoming broadcasts of Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns.

Television blogs characterized the video as hilarious. You'll never look at 'Frosty the Snowman' the same way again, read a post on

BUt Bob Peters, president of Morality in Media, added that officials at the Federal Trade Commission should be concerned about the promotion.

CBS is doing much the same thing that alcohol and tobacco companies have done in the past -- namely, using imagery in advertising that would naturally attract children in order to market an adult product, Peters said in a statement to Legal matters aside, it should go without saying that CBS TV ought to be ashamed of itself -- using an animated Christmas season setting, complete with young children, to chat about strippers, whores, pornography, sadomasochism, sexual promiscuity, and more.

Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council said the advertisement was reprehensible. It's either ignorance or arrogance, but I can't imagine the folks at the once-Tiffany network should think this is OK, he told Someone had to write it and someone had to approve it. It speaks to the decisions that are being made at CBS these days.

Winter also called for the advertisement to be pulled, characterizing it as the outcome of the network attempting to do everything they can to be offensive rather than creative.


9th December   

Gay Criticism within Limits of Free Speech...

Canadian judge overrules misleadingly named Alberta Human Rights Commission
Link Here

A Canadian judge last week exonerated a former pastor who was charged of committing a hate crime for sending a letter to a local newspaper criticizing homosexuality. Related

Judge E.C. Wilson overturned a 2008 ruling by the Alberta Human Rights Commission that ordered former Alberta pastor Stephen Boissoin to stop all public criticisms of homosexuality and to pay the plaintiff $5,000 in damages, according to The Canadian Press.

Wilson ruled on Friday that the 2002 letter, which carried the headline Homosexual agenda wicked, was not a hate crime but is permissible under freedom of speech.

The decision of Justice Earl Wilson of the Court of Queen's Bench in Boissoin v. Lund will have a significant long term positive impact on religious freedom in Canada, wrote Gerald Chipeur , Boissoin's attorney, in a summary analysis of the judgment, according to Chipeur commented that the definition of what qualifies as hate speech was made clearer through the ruling. He also said the judge took away the tools of censorship and protected freedom of expression.

In 2002, Boissoin sent a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate newspaper criticizing the pro-gay rights curriculum in the province's education system. From kindergarten class on our children, your grandchildren are being strategically targeted, psychologically abused and brainwashed by homosexual and pro-homosexual educators, Pastor Stephen Boissoin wrote.

The letter caught the attention of a human rights activist who filed a complaint against the pastor for hate-mongering. The activist supported his case by pointing to a homosexual who was beaten up two weeks after the letter was published as evidence that such speech can incite violence.   While the decision did not strike down Alberta's 'hate speech' laws, it significantly limited the application of such laws, Chipeur said.

But plaintiff Darren Lund responded to the ruling saying, I really think this is a step backwards for our province, in an e-mail to The Canadian Press: In my view, the judge's ruling sets such strict standards for hate speech that this section is rendered all but unenforceable.


9th December   

Comment: Unfair Prices and Censorship...

In defence of Malaysian DVD pirates
Link Here

I refer to the government's latest plan to curb video piracy where Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the government was considering a proposal to take action against the private owners of even one pirated video.

Tell you what minister, if you agree that you will enforce the law across the board, consistently and without exception, then I will support your proposal and stop buying pirated DVDs. May I propose that you start enforcing this new strategy by raiding the homes of all your ministry staff as after all I am sure you would like to set a good example by cleaning your own house and ministry first before going to the homes of private citizens.

Did I hear no ? You don't plan to raid homes? Surely you are not suggesting that you plan to snoop and arrest only those devious individuals caught in the act of purchasing pirated DVDs? But wouldn't it be easier to just shut down the DVD shops instead of targeting the individual buyers? Has it crossed your mind that perhaps the ineffective enforcement drive against the retailers has been largely due to corruption?

In any event, the thrust of this article is not to belittle your latest strategy but to point out that when it comes to video piracy in Malaysia, the situation may not be as simple as say curbing video piracy in the UK or other similarly developed states. There is basically less demand for pirated DVDs in these states, simply because they can afford to buy the originals due to their higher purchasing power based on the prices and earnings. For example, a primary school teacher in London earning US$31,300 (RM106,000) net per annum will be able to afford a newly released DVD at £20 (RM116) while a similar teacher in Kuala Lumpur earning US$8,400 net per annum will unlikely pay RM70 for the same DVD. Therefore, lowering the prices of DVDs to match earnings would be a good first step.

That is not to say that I support wholesale piracy as long as the prices of the DVDs remain beyond the reach of average Malaysians. I would grudgingly agree if cornered, that exceptions may be made for legitimate local business concerns — where the pirated materials affect local movies or movies that are currently being shown in cinemas.

But what about circumstances where there are no legitimate local business concerns i.e. movies that are not being shown or available locally on DVD? I think we should thank our very enterprising video pirates for bringing otherwise unavailable and unaffordable DVDs to our shores as if not, where are we going to watch such wide-ranging movies? And here I am not referring to the sleazy stuff but all sorts of movies — from all film eras, genres and sub-genres, high or low brow, critically acclaimed or panned, from all over the world — that are not shown or available in the country and do not hurt any local business interests.

Why do you care if we watch say, for example, DVDs of Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Jean-Pierre (and Luc) Dardenne, Jean Cocteau, Jean Renoir or even Jean-Claude Van Damme? With the exception of JCVD (which incidentally is also the title of his 2008 film which was surprisingly inventive and funny — who would have thought!), none of the films by these great directors will see the light of day in Malaysia as they are certainly unlikely to pass the twin evils of censorship and the business bottom line.

Speaking of films that never see the light of day, if we can just look at the Cannes Film Festival listing over the last couple of years, how many of them actually made it here whether in the cinema or on video? Hunger , Che , Three Monkeys , Better Things , Il Divo , Lorna's Silence , Thirst , The Class , Gomorra , Synecdoche , New York , Of Time and the City , A Christmas Tale , Looking for Eric , and Waltz with Bashir — all critically acclaimed or award winning but yet none of them made it here. But guess what, I have seen them all and they were great.

Okay, occasionally films like Inglourious Basterds do make it here but when I do watch them at the cinema, I am invariably disappointed as obviously there will be cuts — what's the point of having ratings 18PL, SG, PL, SX, PA then? I will be further annoyed by the subtitling — usually bad and lost in translation that ruins the frame. So I guess in order to appreciate fully the genius of Quentin Tarantino's latest offering, I will then have to wait patiently for a good DVD copy.

And let us not start with the Film Censorship Board. Really, who are these old men (probably repressed) who decide what the rest of the country can or cannot watch? How are they chosen and who are they accountable to? How can the board, which saw fit to censor the kissing scene at the end of Slumdog Millionaire (when the star-crossed lovers were reunited), in this day and age be taken seriously? Do they mean to say that Malaysians do not kiss or do not have access to kissing scenes? Or do they mean to state that Malaysians will start kissing at railway stations and then start dancing Bollywood-style and therefore incompatible with Malaysian culture? Isn't it absurd that that as an adult, one can vote, get married, start a family, purchase a property, drive a car, work and travel anywhere but is still being told what to watch?

I can bet that if you conduct a survey among Malaysian filmmakers, all of them will have a decent collection of pirated DVDs. So, far from harming the local movie industry, I would even venture to state that the recent successes and recognition accorded to several local productions at international film circuits were to an extent due to the wide availability of films that otherwise would not be accessible to them.

So pardon me if I don't feel like going to the cinemas tonight; now showing: The Twilight Saga: New Moon , 2012 , Ninja Assassin , Love Happens , Couples Retreat , Phobia 2 and Scenario the Movie Episode 2: Beach Boys .

Hmm, how tempting; or I could just stay home and put on a DVD.


9th December   

The Importance of a Kiss...

Indian film censors take offence at 'unimportant' kiss
Link Here

The Indian film Ravana was released recently without the much talked about kissing scene between Sanchita Padukone and Santosh.

The censor board chopped off the scene, as they didn't find it important.


8th December   

Update: Zip It, Block It, Flag It...

Lessons in internet safety to be added to the school curriculum
Link Here
Full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

Lessons in using the internet safely are set to become a compulsory part of the curriculum for primary school children in England from 2011. Children will also be encouraged to follow an online Green Cross Code and block and report inappropriate content.

The Zip it, Block it, Flag it campaign is intended for use by schools, retailers and social networks, although it will be up to individual sites to choose how they use it.

The campaign intends to encourage children to not give out personal information on the web, block unwanted messages on social networks and report any inappropriate behaviour to the appropriate bodies, which may include the website, teachers or even police.

False pictures posted on social networking sites will have to be removed by host companies within 24 hours of a complaint under internet safety rules published today.

Companies will also be forced to apply far more effective privacy settings or lockdowns for parents to use on search engines so that young people do not stray on to pornographic or violent sites.

The two new requirements on the industry are part of the Government's long-delayed child internet safety strategy, which will be launched by Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary.

Ministers delayed their final strategy because negotiations between safety campaigners and the internet companies proved so tortuous. Companies fiercely resisted moves to burden adult internet users with cumbersome safety features that would slow down or restrict access to the web. Some were also sceptical that many parents would use features such as privacy settings or filtering software because they do not understand how it all works.

However, after months of discussions the industry has agreed to independent oversight of all the new policies so that progress can be objectively monitored. They had initially wanted to self-regulate. One of the big consultancy companies is likely to be asked to take on the oversight task.

The new strategy is called Click Clever Click Safe and was drawn up by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. The creation of the council, a coalition of government, industry and charities, was one of Dr Tanya Byron's recommendations. She said that it should be the conscience of the industry, encouraging it to take a greater responsibility for removing inappropriate content promptly, promoting and improving parental control software and regulating online advertising.

The strategy is thought to be the first of its kind and ministers hope it will be adopted around the world.


8th December   

Update: Libel Terrorism...

Palestinian sues Sacha Baron Cohen over portrayal as terrorist in Bruno
Link Here
Full story: Sacha Baron Cohen Movies...Supporting the hype for Bruno

A Palestinian has dragged British funnyman Sacha Baron Cohen to court claiming 70 million pounds in a libel suit over his portrayal in the flick Bruno .

A scene in Bruno shows Cohen's character claiming to have travelled to the Ein El-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon to meet a leader of the Al-Aqsa Brigades. A caption labels Abu Aita as Terrorist group leader, Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade .

Ayman Abu Aita, a grocer and activist from Bethlehem says the movie has destroyed his life. He claims that his life has been threatened since the movie's release and adds that he does not support terrorism, reports the Telegraph.

Aita says he met Cohen believing he was a German making a film about the Palestinian cause.


8th December   

Update: Utter Bullshit...

Game developer comments on Australian games censorship
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Recently, God of War Creator David Jaffe commented on the Australian classification board, labeling its methods as utter BS . Jeffe was expressing his views on the possibility of cutting content from his own games.

There's a government board and if they say it's too offensive, in that case there's no fight to fight — it is what it is, he said. There's not much you can do if you're making games aimed at a mature audience. We never like to cut it, but what are you going to do? You're dealing with

Jaffe then further commented on the attitude towards games as a form of entertainment. There's absolutely an inconsistency in the consciousness about video games. The reality is people still see a lot of these things as kids' toys. It's utter BS.

God of War III is set for a March 2010 release date in Australia and is yet to be classified. However, previous entries in the God of War series gained a MA15+ rating for violence and sexual references by the Australian Classifications Board. Hopefully mature content in God of War III doesn't stir any controversy.


8th December   

Baghdad Goes Miserable...

Religious authorities close down Baghdad nightlife
Link Here

The raids came just before midnight a week ago. At the start of Eid al-Adha, the four holiest days on the Islamic calendar, hundreds of Iraqi police and soldiers stormed each of Baghdad's 300 or so nightclubs. Officers from the most elite units stood outside as soldiers slapped owners' faces, scattered their patrons and dancing girls, ripped down posters advertising upcoming acts, and ordered alcohol removed from the shelves.

They left many of the clubs with a warning – any owner who tried to reopen would be thrown into prison, along with his staff.

The official reason for the mass raids is that none of the premises had licences. The reality is that a year-long renaissance in Baghdad's nightlife may be over, as this increasingly conservative city takes on a hardline religious identity. Bohemian Baghdad did not last long.

The clubs are only the most colourful victims of the conservative crackdown. Other potential sources of liberal licentiousness have been targeted. Internet cafes have been told that filters will soon start blocking some websites, especially pornographic ones, and alcohol vendors in the city's international zone were informed they will soon be out of business. To some in Iraq, particularly the young, the government moves are a dismaying throwback to the later years of Saddam, who ruthlessly crushed freedoms he largely saw as subversive.

The government last month demanded that all 58 broadcast media outlets in the country start paying an annual licence fee and signalled similar moves for the press, both homegrown and foreign. Local journalists, who had enjoyed more freedom of movement and access to officials than in most other countries in the Middle East, have recently reported that several colleagues who tried to cover sensitive issues were savagely beaten by police and soldiers. Senior ministers have become increasingly sensitive to coverage of bombings after four massive explosions targeting government ministries since August.

One of Baghdad's leading Islamic figures, Saleh al-Haidri, happily claims credit for leading the crackdown on wayward youth – and for curtailing the city's nightlife.

They were forbidden under Saddam and they are forbidden again now, said Haidri, the head of the Religious Endowment Office. There is social and religious backing for this. Two months ago I personally talked to the Baghdad governor. I saw many youths drinking alcohol in the streets and in cars and I received many complaints from families, especially about nightclubs, which are dens of pornography and corruption. Believe me, they are a breeding ground for crimes and they anaesthetise our youth. They violate Muslim rules, but Iraq will not turn into a religious state by closing these dens down. We need to teach people culture and morals in order to rebuild this country, not allowing them nightclubs.


7th December   

Update: Good Start...

Australian Sex Party secures 3.3% of the vote
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

It's a party that stands for equality and social justice, for civil liberties and for freedom of choice.

In the leafy electorate of Bradfield on Sydney's north shore, where more than 20 candidates vied for what is a very safe Liberal Party seat, it attracted the third-highest primary vote of the field.

We're talking about the Australian Sex Party; a political grouping with a policy platform not nearly as racy as its name might suggest. Think of it as libertarian rather than libertine.

In both Bradfield and Higgins it received just shy of 3.3% of the primary vote.

This may not sound like a lot, but these by-elections were dominated by two big federal issues; that of the federal Liberal Party leadership, and the national angst over what to do (if anything) about the fact that summers seem to be getting hotter.

The ASP, which was born out of adult industry lobby group the Eros Foundation, is headed by Fiona Patten, the charismatic and articulate chief executive of Eros, and a veteran campaigner on issues such as censorship, gender equality and discrimination.

But the last word to Fiona Patten: We don't want to restrict what adults do as long as they don't hurt others.


7th December   

Stick Out...

Cuts to Tony Stone's Severed Ways
Link Here

Severed Ways is a 2007 US adventure by Tony Stone

The BBFC cut the the 2009 Soda DVD by 3s: Company removed a shot showing a dog being hit with a flaming stick and the dog's coat catching fire.


7th December   

Rat Surprise...

I'm a celebrity get me out of court
Link Here
Full story: I'm a Celebrity...TV show done for cruel bush tucker

I TV has apologised after a rat was killed and cooked during this year's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

It also said it would tighten up its procedures. The producers will not face charges over alleged animal cruelty on the show, Australian police have said. However charges are being brought against the winner, chef Gino D'Acampo and contestant Stuart Manning after they cooked a rat to eat. The pair have been ordered to appear in court on 3 February 2010.

The RSPCA in New South Wales said it was not acceptable an animal had been killed as part of a performance.

The production was asked if a rat could be caught and eaten by the celebrities in exile camp to supplement the basic rations they had been provided with for their evening meal, said a spokesman for ITV. Having sought health and safety advice, the go-ahead was given purely on this basis... the production was unaware that killing a rat could be an offence.

He added that ITV accepted that further inquiries should have been made. ITV apologises for this error, and to the celebrities concerned, and will put in place procedures for next year's series to ensure that this cannot happen again.

During the series, the contestants were divided into two groups, one of which was in exile with meagre rations. D'Acampo decided to kill and eat the rat to add meat to the group's meal. He told the show's video diary room, the Bush Telegraph: It's not done by choice but it's done because we need it. We need some kind of protein, we need some kind of flavour. I saw one of these rats running around. I got a knife, I got its throat, I picked it up.

Fellow contestant George Hamilton spoke out in defence of D'Acampo, telling the Daily Mirror that ITV producers had given them permission to eat the rodent.

The actor said: I went into the Bush Telegraph and said, 'May we eat a rat?' They were a bit shocked, thought about it and then said we could. It was a very good dinner.


7th December   

An Abomination...

Ultra-orthodox rabbis get wound up by the internet
Link Here

Ultra-nutter rabbis in Jerusalem have launched a crackdown on the use of the internet, on the grounds it is filled with abomination and is leading believers astray. The rabbis have called on the public to report to them anyone engaging in religiously proscribed use of the web.

Ultra-orthodox rabbis are uncomfortable with the net's growing popularity within their insular community, which strives to preserve an ancient lifestyle guided by strict Jewish law.

In recent weeks, a growing number of rabbis have devoted sermons to the perceived evils of the internet. It is seen foremost as violating modesty laws – according to ultra-orthodox belief, it is forbidden to publish even images of the faces of women. Rabbis say the web is also rife with evil speech . Yisrael Hager, a leading rabbi, told his followers: This epidemic must be stopped.

One ultra-orthodox group has threatened to exclude from its education system any children of people found to be internet-users, while others allow it for work purposes if the content is filtered.

Posters have sprung up in the ultra-orthodox Mea Shearim area, signed by the Committee for the Purity of the Neighbourhood . The posters voice alarm at growing surreptitious use of the net by rabbinical seminary students who live in rented flats. To our dismay, there have been found in the unsupervised apartments computers with all sorts of abomination, say the posters. Possession of a computer has been forbidden by the great sages of Israel and its results cannot be estimated.


7th December   

Update: Treat Us Like Adults...

Brisbane rally for R18+ video games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

The rally planned to show the support of gamers for an R18+ rating in Australia drew about 50 people.

The event, promoted by the website Treat Us Like Adults, took place on Saturday, December 5 in Brisbane. Speeches were given by Ethan Watson from Treat Us Like Adults and Nicolas Suzor, CEO of Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA).

Suzor documented the proceedings on the EFA website, and four YouTube.

The next step in pressuring the government, according to Suzor, is to pressure the Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, to release the long-awaited R18+ discussion paper.


7th December   

Update: Pay Per Ban...

China pays the public to snitch on adult websites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Chinese officials have launched their latest antiporn initiative — this time offering surfers cash payments for reporting adult websites.

According to Chinese state media, the new program offers up to 10,000 yuan (around $1465 U.S.) to Internet users that locate and report pornographic websites. The move, seemingly designed to build a more comprehensive database of adult websites, has the consequence of encouraging more visits to suspected porn sites.

The Xinhua news agency claims that within the first 24 hours of the new program, its hotline at the Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre received more than 500 phone calls and 13,000 online tips.

The rewards for identifying adult web and mobile sites range from 1,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan, will reportedly be paid to the first person to report a specific URL, with a review committee determining the appropriate payout.

According to some adult industry analysts, the reward money may very well exceed the revenues of operating these sites, thus encouraging a spike in Chinese adult website creation, simply for the profit potential of then reporting the new site to authorities.


6th December   

Update: Internet Panic...

Social networking sites to add panic buttons
Link Here
Full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

Facebook and other social networking websites are to install panic buttons so children can alert the sites' operators if obscene or inappropriate material is posted.

The site is among 140 companies, charities and other groups who have signed up to new internet standards recommended by Tanya Byron, the government's adviser on online safety. Ed Balls, the schools secretary, and Alan Johnson, the home secretary, will announce the new voluntary code on Tuesday. Gordon Brown may also take part in the launch.

The panic button system, similar to one already announced by Bebo, requires companies to display prominently on their websites how children can report offensive or inappropriate content and to respond promptly.

Other provisions include giving parents greater control over how their children use the internet, with sites obliged to provide safe search facilities and controls with which parents can restrict access to offensive or bullying pages.

The guidelines will concentrate on websites moderated by staff, such as chatrooms, instant messaging and search websites. Details will be drawn up by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), set up following a review by Byron published in March last year. They will be published in the summer.


6th December   

Update: Balibo Paranoia...

Balibo ban discussed by the Philippines authorities
Link Here
Full story: Balibo...Indonesia bans movie about jounalist deaths

Prolonging the debate over the Film Censor Institute's (LSF) ban on Balibo - the Australian film about the killings of five Western journalists in then East Timor in 1975 - the House of Representatives Commission X on arts and cultural affairs is planning to summon Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik and LSF officials for questioning.

Eko Hendro Purnomo, a member of the commission from the National Mandate Party (PAN), said the government had overreacted with its decision to ban the movie: It's paranoia. There has never been a movie in the history of the world that led to the disintegration of a nation .

Kemal Stamboel, chairman of House Commission I on defense and foreign affairs, praised the LSF's ban, saying it had its own standard to review a movie that bothers our people .


5th December

 Offsite: Climate Debate...

Link Here
Climate change: free speech for the sceptics?

See article from


4th December   

Diary: Adult Gaming in Australia...

Public demonstration in support of an adult rating for games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

King George Square, Brisbane
Saturday 5th December

Show your support for the introduction of an adult games rating this Saturday the 5th Of December at King George Square in Brisbane. It's set to kick off at 11am


4th December   

The Media Age...

FTC wants further restrictions on advertising PG-13 movies
Link Here

The Federal Trade Commission wants advertisers of violent movies, music and video games to do more to restrict advertising and promotion of that content, including on broadcast and cable TV.

That was the conclusion of a new FTC report. Despite considerable improvements, the self-regulatory systems are far from perfect, said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

The report concluded that the music industry still advertises music with explicit content on TV shows with a substantial number of kids, and that movie studios intentionally market PG-13 movies to kids under 13.

The FTC recommended, among other things, that the movie and music industries develop specific criteria for restricting marketing of violent content to kids, and specifically on marketing of PG-13 movies to kids.

It also suggested that the movie, music and video game industries boost enforcement of online trailers without sufficient access restrictions, and that all improve the display or rating information in ads and packaging.

The FTC review labeled the games industry the strongest of the three entertainment sectors (games, music and movies), when it came to self-regulation. The Commission added that the game industry did not specifically target M-rated games to teens or T-rated games to younger children. Additionally, compliance with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) code within the videogame industry was high in all media.

Undercover shopping stings run by the FTC reported that retailers were strongly enforcing age restrictions for M-rated games, with an average denial rate of 80%. GameStop and Target were labeled as top enforcers. Toys R Us however, was specifically labeled as trailing when it came to enforcement, with only a 56% denial rate. The report called the use of gift cards to buy games online a potential gap in enforcement.


4th December   

Playing Easily Offended...

Brazil to ban video games that offend religions
Link Here

Brazilian Senator Valdir Raupp has authored a bill that would make it a crime to make, import or distribute offensive videogames in Brazil.

A story on the website UOL reports that the Education Commission of the Senate has approved the measure, which will now go to vote in the Committee on Constitution and Justice.

Raupp's goal is to, curb the manufacture, distribution, importation, distribution, trading and custody, storage, the video games that affect the customs, traditions of the people, their worship, creeds, religions and symbols.

The bill seeks a penalty of one to three years imprisonment for those committing an offense.


4th December   

This Movie Contains Strong Censor Interference...

Indian film censors to implement viewer advice
Link Here

A draft cinematography bill has been given to Indian Ministry for Information and Broadcasting, Censor Board chairperson and veteran actress Sharmila Tagore said.

However, she said that the bill was not likely to be placed in parliament anytime before next year.

The bill has the provision that there should be explanation if the film contains explicit language, violence or sex, besides mentioning the certification on the posters.

The bill follows recommendations made by a six-member committee formed seven years ago to suggest changes to the Cinematography Act, 1952.


4th December   

Senator Leland Yee Recommends...

Violent video games for Christmas
Link Here

Games nutter and California State Senator Leland Yee is urging parents and holiday shoppers to avoid the purchasing of violent games in the coming month, referring to their potentially harmful effect on minors.

It is vitally important that parents and grandparents consider the content in video games before making holiday purchases, said Yee. There is mounting evidence that ultraviolent video games have negative effects on children, and can cause real behavioral changes.

Yee cited a Common Sense Media list of games to specifically avoid, which includes:

  • Manhunt
  • Resident Evil 4 & 5
  • Dead Rising
  • Grand Theft Auto IV & San Andreas
  • God of War II
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception
  • MadWorld
  • Gears of War
  • Saints Row 2.


3rd December   

Update: Balibo Ban...

Indonesia bans film showing Australian journalists killed by Indonesian forces
Link Here
Full story: Balibo...Indonesia bans movie about jounalist deaths

Indonesia's journalists have vowed to defy a ban on the screening of Australian movie Balibo , saying the film depicting alleged war crimes by Indonesian forces in East Timor is educational.

The film directed by Robert Connolly and starring Anthony LaPaglia was banned without explanation on Tuesday hours before it was due to premier in Indonesia at a private showing for the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club.

It depicts the alleged murder of five Australian-based journalists by invading Indonesian forces in the East Timorese border town of Balibo in 1975.

Indonesia claims the reporters -- two Australians, two Britons and a New Zealander -- were killed in crossfire and has refused to cooperate with an Australian war crimes investigation launched this year.

Alliance of Independent Journalists head Nezar Patria said its members had been invited to a screening Thursday night at Utan Kayu Theatre in Jakarta, regardless of the ban.

The film, which opened in Australia in July, was also scratched at the last minute from the programme for the Jakarta International Film Festival starting next week.

Censors have yet to comment publicly on their decision to ban the film, but Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told parliament on Wednesday it was meant to protect the country's global image.

Military spokesman Sagom Tamboen told AFP: This is very hurtful to us. We believe the journalists died in crossfire. We thank the censorship board for its decision to ban Balibo in Indonesia.


3rd December   

Standard Claims...

ASA allows ads claiming news 'truth' and the 'full story'
Link Here

A poster, for Press TV, a satellite news channel, stated Press TV giving a voice to the voiceless. 24/7 News truth. The world is changing. People are changing. Opinions are changing. The news is changing. Why do you still watch the same tired news channel? Get the full story at Press TV.

Issue Four complainants challenged whether:

  1. the ad was misleading, because it did not make clear that the channel was owned by the Iranian government
  2. the claim 24/7 NEWS TRUTH
  3. the claim the full story

were misleading, because they implied that the channel offered unbiased reporting of news events, which they did not believe was the case.

ASA Decision: Not Upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that it was not common practice for news channels to state who they were owned or funded by in their advertising material and, in not stating who the owner was, we did not consider the ad was misleading on this point.

2. Not upheld

We considered that 24/7 TRUTH would be seen as the station's opinion of the information it provided rather than an objective claim. We concluded that the ad was not misleading on this point.

3. Not upheld

We noted that the website links and news footage provided by Press TV showed that there had been regular coverage of the events in Iran after the presidential election results were announced. Because Press TV had shown us that they had provided coverage of the opposition to the election results, including the post-election unrest and banned rallies, we concluded that the claim the full story was not misleading.


3rd December   

Update: The Book without a Spine...

Yale University Press criticised for spineless approach to free speech
Link Here
Full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

A letter has been delivered to Yale university chastising it for not standing up for free speech in the face of imaginary threats of violence.

The letter was signed by sixteen organisations:

  • American Association of University Professors
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Society of Journalists and Authors
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Center for Inquiry
  • College Art Association
  • First Amendment Lawyers Association
  • First Amendment Project Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
  • International Publishers Association
  • Modern Language Association
  • National Coalition Against Censorship
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • National Education Association
  • People For the American Way Foundation

The statement, written by National Coalition against Censorship Executive Director Joan Bertin, argues that by capitulating to threats of violence, Yale has fed a climate in which people will be afraid to speak and publish freely. Yale's decision drew widespread criticism and debate from professors, students and alumni in the past three months.

The situation is extremely disturbing because Yale is a very prominent university, and their doing something like this might justify other institutions doing so, Bertin said. This action compromised the book, the press and an important principle: not only should academics be able to discuss these things among themselves, but in this country we're entitled to talk about and view the images.


2nd December   

Music to the Nutter Ear...

Conservatives have a whinge at exempt from classification music videos
Link Here

The Conservatives have called on the Government to change the law which says that DVDs or videos primarily concerned with sport, religion or music do not have to carry ratings.

Recordings with content that is designed to inform, educate or instruct are also exempt from carrying warnings under the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The Conservatives warned that depictions of self-mutilation, erotic dancing, sex toys and drug use are now widely available to youngsters in music and sport DVDs.

As the law currently stands, videos in these categories are not classified and may be bought by anyone, regardless of age.

Under the Digital Economy Bill, the Government is reforming the Video Recordings Act to update the classification system for video games. However, Tory culture spokesprat Jeremy Hunt warned that ministers have failed to close the 'loophole'.

One DVD of the band Slipknot, which is freely available in stores and on the internet, glamorises self-mutilation by young people who are seen carving the name of the band on to their bodies. Enlarge violence graphic

Another music documentary American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980 - 1986 contains references to raping a woman. The heavy metal group Black Dahlia Murder's DVD Majesty features the band members taking copious amounts of drugs.

Hunt said: It is good news that the age rating of potentially harmful video games is being put on a statutory basis. However, it is really worrying that the Government hasn't done more to close some serious loopholes for other harmful content. Shockingly, in some cases it is actually legal to sell this sort of thing to children.

A Department of Culture spokesman said: Music, sports or religious videos lose their exemption from classification if they depict sexual activity, mutilation, gross violence or other practices likely to cause offence. If unclassified videos are on sale when they shouldn't be, it is for the appropriate enforcement authorities to take action.


2nd December   

Snob Censors...

Ofcom blame increase in TV complaints on downmarket programming
Link Here

Television viewers have lodged a record number of complaints with the TV censor over the quality of programmes.

Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards blamed the steady rise on downmarket cable and satellite channels pushing the boundaries of good taste.

Figures released by Ofcom show that complaints about radio and TV shows have more than doubled in the past four years from 6,375 in 2005 to 13,521 in 2008.

The figures do not take into account the huge number of complaints for high profile cases such as the premium rate phone scandals and Celebrity Big Brother's 2007 race row involving actress Shilpa Shetty.

These sorts of incidents are termed as exceptional and recorded separately.

Speaking to the culture, media and sport select committee yesterday, Richards said the rise had been unexpected as it had been envisaged that the public would lower their standards as the number of channels increased. He told MPs these shows often have lower budgets and liked to challenge acceptable viewing.

Mr Richards said: One notion that a lot of people had when Ofcom was created was that people would gradually become more comfortable that there was a range of content and people would be comfortable in the diversity that there was in this market and complaints generally speaking would decline.

In fact, the opposite has become the case. There has actually been a steady rise in the underlying number of complaints - an awful lot of them generated by cable and satellite channels.

I think the increase in the volume of complaints has tended to come from the cable and satellite channels, where you are running channels with much lower budgets and probably examining the boundary of what is and what is not acceptable more regularly.

The X Factor is the show that has received the most complaints this year, with 5,975 already. This was followed by 1,154 for Big Brother , 708 for Britain's Got Talent and around 500 for Celebrity Big Brother.


2nd December   

Angels and Nutters...

Nutters whinge at Joanna Krupa's PETA adverts
Link Here

The Catholic League has condemned Joanna Krupa's racy ads for PETA in which she lobbies against pet stores and animal breeding.

In the Be An Angel for Animals campaign, the Playboy model and Dancing with the Stars alum appears as a nude, winged angel: in one, she holds a strategically placed crucifix; in another, she holds her dog and a rosary.

The Catholic League, calling PETA animal killers and a fraud, says that the organization exploits Christian symbols with the new Krupa billboards.

Krupa fired back in a statement:  As a practicing Catholic, I am shocked that the Catholic League is speaking out against my PETA ads, which I am very proud of. I'm doing what the Catholic Church should be doing, working to stop senseless suffering of animals, the most defenseless of god's creation.


2nd December   

Update: PC PC Games Bans...

Germans ban versions of Modern Warfare 2 and Left For Dead 2
Link Here
Full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

By authority of the BPjM ( Bundesprufstelle fur jugendgefahrdende Medien - A German censorship board basically), the PC editions of the US Modern Warfare 2 and the UK Left for Dead 2 were announced as banned titles in Germany. Related

As reported by PC Games Hardware, this decision was made in November and took effect 1 Dec, 2009. It seems likely that the US Modern Warfare 2 was nixed due to the controversial airport level, which apparently does not appear in the German edition.

Interestingly enough, the ban currently only affects the specific PC version of each title. Console and German versions can still be sold along with the UK Modern Warfare 2 and the US Left for Dead 2 .


2nd December   

A Lady Thatcher...

BBC Trust dismisses complaints against Jo Brand
Link Here

A complaint about a gag by comedian Jo Brand in which she claimed Lady Thatcher sounded like a hair removal device has been rejected by the BBC Trust.

The body also decided not to uphold complaints about Brand's comments about incontinence which she made in the same edition of BBC1's QI earlier this year, which one viewer claimed were ageist and sexist.

The jokes were broadcast just days after Baroness Thatcher's daughter Carol had been dismissed from her job as a reporter on The One Show after using the word golliwog off-air The incident had been witnessed by Brand, who was a guest on the early evening show.

During the Stephen Fry-hosted QI show, which was broadcast in February, just two days after Carol Thatcher's dismissal, Brand joked: It was great actually when she became Lady Thatcher. Because then she sounded like a device for removing pubic hair. You couldn't take her seriously after that.

Later in the show she asked: Is there a facility for men to wet themselves when they cough? Does that ever happen to blokes? Do men wet themselves when they cough, when they get old?

Controller Jay Hunt said Brand's comments were not poking fun at the former prime minister but were merely referring to her name.

A complaint to the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit was originally rejected earlier this year and now an appeal to the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee has also been turned down. The committee thought the play on words and the joke about incontinence were editorially justified , did not amount to prejudice and did not breach programme guidelines.


2nd December   

Rating Apps...

ESRB provides iPhone app to give comprehensive video game age ratings and summaries
Link Here

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) – which assigns age and content ratings for computer and video games – has developed a free iPhone app giving parents instant, on-the-spot access to its new rating summaries, right at the store when making decisions about which games to give as gifts.

To educate parents about ratings, rating summaries and the new rating search app, ESRB developed a new series of TV and radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) ads that will begin airing nationwide in the coming days. Major video game retailers will also air the PSAs in their stores throughout the coming year.

Rating summaries, which are provided by ESRB but are not displayed on game boxes as are the ESRB ratings and content descriptors, give parents a detailed, straight-forward explanation of the context and relevant content that factored into a game's rating.

ESRB president Patricia Vance said: This new rating search app puts all this information at parents. fingertips when they need it most, right at the store.

The new rating search app is available for free via the iTunes App Store and offers access to ESRB rating information for over 18,000 titles. Rating summaries are available for all games rated since July 1, 2008, which means that many of the games likely to appear on kids. wish lists this year will have rating summaries.


2nd December   

Update: Electoral Games...

Australian Sex Party campaigns for R18 video games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

The Australian Sex Party have produced a YouTube video to get some of their ideas across to the public

Fiona Patten, Sex Party Convenor, said:

The Australian Sex Party is the newest registered political party in Australia and the only party with a policy to legalise R rated games. We are also the only party actively opposing mandatory internet filtering. We are standing candidates in this weekend's by elections of Higgins in Victoria and Bradfield in Sydney. Unbelievably, the Greens are standing the architect of the government's internet filtering scheme, Clive Hamilton, as their candidate in Higgins.

Our ideological base is predicated on the fact that Australian parliaments are becoming more stacked with overtly religious MPs. Kevin Rudd is a well known committed Christian who goes to church every week and openly admits that his parliamentary life is strongly influenced by his religious one. The new leader of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, is a former Jesuit priest in training and close friend of Archbishop George Pell. His religious zeal is legendary.

R (and X) rated computer games are currently illegal because a religious Attorney General from South Australia, has the power to veto all the other Attorneys General on this issue. This is unlikely to change in the near future.

A vote for the Sex Party in the two by elections this weekend will send a strong message to the major parties about support for R rated games. We need to activate gamer networks in Australia to contact friends and colleagues who live in these electorates to vote for the Sex Party. We also need help on polling day in handing out How To Vote cards at polling booths. It's a fun day and the smartest way to support legalising R rated games and getting rid of internet filtering.


2nd December   

Bad News Censors...

Australian TV censor whinges at Bad News Bears
Link Here

The TV censor, Australian Communications and Media Authority, has found that Network Ten breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice by broadcasting an incorrectly classified film.

The ACMA found that Bad News Bears , broadcast  on 18 January 2009, was incorrectly classified PG (Parental Guidance Recommended) rather than M (Mature).

Films broadcast on commercial television are censored according to the Guidelines for Classification of Films and Computer Games (the guidelines).

When modifying films for broadcast, licensees must ensure that they are modified in accordance with the guidelines so that they are suitable for broadcast at particular times, said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the ACMA. The film contained sexual references and coarse language which exceeded acceptable levels for the PG classification.

For PG-classified films these guidelines state that, sexual activity should be mild and discreetly implied, and be justified by the context, and that coarse language should be mild and infrequent, and be justified by the context.

The ACMA found that the Bad News Bears film contained frequent sexual references that were stronger than mild in impact, and very frequent mild coarse language. The frequent coarse language, particularly in combination with verbal sexual references, and its often aggressive use in the context of insults, resulted in an impact which could not be accommodated within the PG classification.

Originally classified M by the Classification Board for theatrical release, the film was cut by the licensee for broadcast as PG. However, the ACMA concluded that the film was not sufficiently cut from its original M classification and should have been broadcast in the later M time zone with the corresponding M classification.


2nd December   

Update: Child Killers...

Indian film censors unban Renigunta after cuts
Link Here

The controversial Paneerselvam directed Renigunta which was referred to Revising committee in Mumbai has now been cleared with an A certificate with cuts.

The film was refused a censor certificate by the Regional Censor Board in Chennai for showing violent and gruesome scenes enacted by children in graphic detail.

A censor spokesperson said: The members who had recently watched the film congratulated the filmmaker for making an overpoweringly stunning film. The film will now release in grandeur on December 4 .

High Court bans Renigunta

Based on article from

Just after the deadlock with Censor Officials in Chennai was cleared and the the film was cleared for screening by Mumbai censors, Uttam Chand, a financier who has financed the movie filed a petition in Chennai High Court seeking a ban on the movie's release since the producers failed to pay off the debts.

The Court, after hearing the petition, ordered the movie's screening to be withheld until the producers pay their debts Rs. 37 lakhs with 24% interest to financier Uttam Chand.


2nd December   

Gloss Fades...

Penthouse on the decline in Australia
Link Here

The cause of the global rout of what are coyly called men's interest or adult magazines is obvious: printed porn cannot compete with the unlimited moving -- not to mention moaning -- pictures available gratis on the internet.

The Australian version of Playboy folded in 2000 after its sales sank to an average of about 25,000 copies per issue.

That left just three of the so-called P-mags still standing: Australian Penthouse, published by Gemkilt, and ACP Magazines' weeklies People and The Picture.

In the 1980s and 1990s these were among the most profitable magazines in the nation, with Penthouse and Playboy selling about 150,000 copies a month, The Picture up to 190,000 a week and People as many as 250,000 a week, according to people who worked for them.

In the latest audit, for the three months to September, the mags were anorexic shadows of their former full-figured selves, with The Picture averaging sales of about 63,000 copies an issue and People down to about 44,000.

Penthouse, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in Australia this year resigned from the audit in mid-2007 after its sales dived from 61,000 copies to 26,000 in just two years. Boxall, who is also a former Penthouse managing editor, predicts girlie mags may well disappear altogether within a decade.


1st December   

25th Hour Warning...

BBC 1 interrupts film with strong language warning
Link Here

The Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker noticed that the BBC thought the language was so strong in the film 25th Hour that it required a warning - in the middle of the film!

The online reaction is that this seem a tad too far, even considering BBC 1's propensity for censorship (unlike its sister station BBC 2!).


1st December   

Update: Censors on Drugs...

CrimeCraft banned over fictional drugs
Link Here

Australia's Classification Board banned CrimeCraft for rewarding drug use with in-game benefits.

The board ruled that the online shooter could not be sold in the country because of boosts in the game which mimic real world drugs. In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'fictional drugs' available in game and real-world proscribed drugs, the report stated.

Boost parallels the names, chemical elements, administration, treatment and addictive elements of real-world proscribed drugs, and when used provide quantifiable benefits to a player's character. The game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be refused classification. In addition, the names of boosts mimic the chemicals and colloquial names of proscribed drugs. Examples include K-Dust, Birth, Chimera, Majoun, Betadyne ResistX and Zymek Stim-Ex, as well as the anabolics Raze and Frenzy.

There is no indication whether Vogster Entertainment, makers of CrimeCraft, will be releasing a version without the drug-use.


1st December   

Update: Shared Concerns...

Turkish internet users to challenge YouTube ban in the European Court
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Turkey's Internet Technologies Association, or INETD, has applied to the European Court of Human Rights seeking the annulment of a ban imposed on access to a popular video-sharing site.

Access to YouTube has been banned in Turkey since May 5, 2008, after complaints were made about video clips insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of modern Turkey.

INETD President Mustafa Akgl said the group's suit was filed in the name of the public and all those who have suffered as a result of the ban. Turkey is literally waging war on the Internet, said Akgl, adding that the ban on YouTube is in violation of the Constitution and various articles of the European Human Rights Convention.

INETD had exhausted the entire domestic appeal process without any result and was thus forced to apply to the European court last week, the group's president said.

The main aspect of the lawsuit is based on Article 10 of the European convention regarding freedom of expression. The association said that while it is possible to filter and block certain video clips on the Web site, a blanket ban on an international sharing platform is a disproportionate curtailment of freedom of expression.

The ban was issued without any trial and, instead of being a short-term ban, has been in force for more than a year now. There was no attempt to seek an explanation either, Akgl said, calling the ban a legal disaster.

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