A pre-roll ad on YouTube for the film As Above, So Below seen before videos featuring characters iBallisticSquid and Stampylonghead, from the game Minecraft. The ad opened with images of dark tunnels in the Catacombs in Paris that were
lined with skulls and bones. The ad then showed the characters exploring the tunnels and getting lost, followed by a sequence of shots of a distorted face with screams in the background. Other scenes featured a body hanging on a noose, a male
character being thrown into a burning car and another male character attached to a rope being pulled down a vertical shaft.
A complainant, whose eight-year-old child saw the ad and became distressed by it, challenged whether the ad had been responsibly targeted because it appeared before videos which they believed would appeal to children.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA considered that the imagery and effects featured in the ad reflected the theme and premise of the film. We acknowledged that the content of the ad was not excessively shocking for viewers who were 18 years old and above and therefore was
unlikely to cause distress to those viewers the advertiser had intended to target. However, we considered certain scenes in the ad, in particular those of the distorted and menacing faces accompanied by screaming, the man hanging on a noose and
the male character being pulled into the burning car, would be likely to cause distress to young children.
We noted Universal Pictures' explanation of the measures that they had instructed YouTube to put in place, by using demographic targeting with the criteria being viewers aged 18 and above, and also implementing a secondary filter to ensure that
the ad would be served on those who expressed an interest in horror and fantasy themed films.
We understood that a specific YouTube account had not been signed in to and that the safety mode had been activated at the time the complainant's son saw the ad. We also understood that the complainant's son had not been able to skip the ad. We
noted that the ad appeared before YouTube videos featuring Minecraft characters, Stampylonghead and iBallisticsquid. We understood that although the game Minecraft did not have an audience that comprised exclusively children, the game was very
popular among them. On this basis, we considered that these videos were highly likely to be of particular interest to children.
Although we noted the measures that Universal Pictures had taken in order to ensure that the ad would only be shown to an appropriate audience, we considered that given the possibility that viewers who were not signed into a YouTube account with
particular viewing history, they could still be served the ad. Also, in this instance the ad appeared before videos that we considered were likely to appeal to young children, and therefore the ad had not been targeted appropriately. We concluded
that the ad was in breach of the Code.
We told Universal Pictures International UK & Eire Ltd to ensure that future ads that were unsuitable for viewing by children were appropriately targeted.
PK is a 2014 India comedy romance by Rajkumar Hirani.
Starring Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sanjay Dutt.
A stranger in the city asks questions no one has asked before. Known only by his initials, P.K.'s innocent questions and childlike curiosity will take him on a journey of love, laughter and letting-go.
Hindu campaigners have been attacking PK, a recently released Indian film. Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad disrupted the screening of the film at several locations demanding that supposedly objectionable scenes insulting Hindu
deities and rituals be censored from the film.
In Ahmedabad, protests went violent as over 50 Bajrang Dal activists stormed and vandalised two theaters, Shiv and City Gold Multiplex. Though the miscreants fled before the police arrived, sources said the activists have been identified through
Religious campaigners burned posters outside Milan cinema in Surendranagar, where the film was being screened, and forced a shutdown of the movie hall for the day. In Rajkot, saffron activists hit the streets against the film.
In Bhopal, sangh parivar activists raised slogans against Aamir Khan and jostled with cops outside Jyoti Talkies in Bhopal. Bajrang Dal and VHP have given a 24-hour ultimatum to the film's producers for removing anti-Hindu scenes.
VHP-Bajrang Dal spokesman for central India Devendra Rawat said:
It has become a habit with Bollywood to hurt the sentiments of Hindus. They insult our gods and show our spiritual gurus as villains. Why don't they make a film based on Imam Bukhari and his anti-national statements?
In Delhi, police said they had stepped up security around several theatres after violent protests at Rivoli cinema in Connaught Place on Sunday when religious campaigners had smashed the theatre's window panes.
All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) member Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali has demanded that the Censor Board remove objectionable scenes so that communal harmony is not disturbed. He said:
If a film has material that hurts religious sentiments, especially when it has a Muslim actor playing a Hindu, it has the propensity to be misread.
The PK issue has also revealed that chief censor Leela Samson seems to be edged out of her job. She explained:
The ministry has not taken up the issue with me or other officials of CBFC. However, they have often chosen to bypass me and speak to officials appointed by them indicating their 'concern' about a particular film, she adds.
Samson minces no words while criticising the government, alleging that the former I&B minister Prakash Javadekar never kept his promise of allowing the board to appoint for its panels professionals who are well informed about sensitive
issues. Panel members who view the films have a heavy dose of party people amongst them.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, a Hindu group named Hindu Kranti Dal had filed a complaint against PK before police commissioner of Jalandhar Yurinder Singh Hayer. Police watched PK with leaders and activists of Hindu Kranti Dal and ordered removed of
scenes against which the Hindu outfit raised objections.
Hindu Kranti Dal leader Manoj Nanna said that makers of PK have disgraced Hindu god Shiv. He said that HKD want police action against PK director Raj Kumar Hirani and actor Aamir Khan.
An Australian politician wrote a newspaper column criticising a parenting campaign 'No Gender December'. This stirred up a hornets nest of PC extremists and bullies who were determined to shut down all comments against the campaign.
Rita Panahi wrote an entertaining piece about the tactics and effectiveness of these PC censors on this issue and others:
WILL 2014 be remembered as the year of the totalitarian? While the most extreme forms of oppressive rule take hold in other parts of the world, we have our own dictators demanding we adhere to their moral code.
We seem to have drifted into a worrying trend where self-appointed ethical guardians display a puritanical fervour to ban things they deem offensive, no matter how misplaced or overblown their offence may be.
We are in an era where clicktivists use their undiminishing reserves of outrage to orchestrate campaigns to ban T-shirts, video games, songs with offensive lyrics ... they have even attempted to ban former Labor leader Mark Latham's musings.
During these offence orgies, the easily affronted band together to bully individuals or companies which don't conform to their narrow world view.
Criticism, condemnation and boycotts are no longer enough; like spoilt children demanding vegetables disappear from their dinner plate, the hashtag-happy harpies believe that what they don't like should no longer exist.
Thai ISPs have been authorised to monitor and block any web pages that they feel like. Pages supposedly threatening national security or those that may be construed as insulting to the country's establishment may be censored without having
to seek prior approval from courts or official censors..
The new measure was approved at a joint meeting between the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), large internet service providers (ISPs) and the police's Special Branch
After an ISP blocks a page, it is to report to the NBTC and the Information and Communication Technology Ministry without delay. Under previous law and regulations, police had to ask a court for permission to block an internet site or a web page.
It is not clear who or what agency has authorised the ad hoc, freelance censorship.
The measure will apply to all types of content and not just Facebook, and covers both regular web pages and social-media posts or messages.
The move is partially in response to foreign internet companies refusing Thai censorship requests. According to the latest Google Transparency Report from July to December 2013, the US media giant did not remove any content requested by Bangkok.
Among the requests during the six-month period were for 298 YouTube videos by the ICT Ministry which Google turned down because the request was for global removal .
Swearing, once a primary concern for TV censors and campaigners such as Mary Whitehouse, is of little concern to the modern viewer, the retiring head of Ofcom believes.
Ed Richards, who stands down at the end of this month, said one of the changes he has noticed during more than eight years in charge of the communications censor was that 'vulgarities' no longer upset the viewing public, provided they are not
delivered in a threatening manner. He said:
They are more tolerant of light swearing, non-aggressive swearing, particularly in a comedy situation.
But he claims a new taboo had emerged, one that comedian Frankie Boyle had identified. Richards cited Boyle's joke about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey in a routine on Channel 4 as a key example of the some public intolerance of jokes made at
the expense of people with disabilities.
In an interview with The Independent, Richards said:
Probably 20 years ago... making a joke about a child with a disability would have gone uncommented on, or not commented on as much as it has been. I think people were offended by that because it was making fun of a child's disability and people
don't want to hear that any more.
He said the trend was part of a wider backlash against all forms of discriminatory content on television, something that was borne out by audience research conducted by Ofcom. As a result, some programmes from a previous generation of television
could no longer be shown, he said.
[There are] comedies from the Seventies which had certain racial stereotypes in them which are unimaginable today and if they were shown people would find them offensive and that wouldn't just be people from black and ethnic minority
communities, it would be everybody. I think the country has moved on in a very important way there.
Exodus: Gods and Kings is a 2014 UK / USA / Spain drama by Ridley Scott.
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley.
Epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses as he rises
up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
Egypt has banned the Hollywood biblical epic movie Exodus: Gods and Kings for reasons of religious intolerance whilst citing 'historical inaccuracy'
The film relates how the religious character Moses helped Israelite slaves flee persecution in Egypt under the Pharaoh Ramses by parting the Red Sea to let them cross safely.
Culture Minister Gaber Asfour told AFP Ridley Scott's blockbuster was rife with mistakes, including an apparent claim that Moses and the Jews built the pyramids. Asfour claimed:
This totally contradicts proven historical facts. It is a Zionist film. It gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies and that's why we have decided to ban it.
Mohammed Afifi, the head of the censorship committee, said he took issue with the scene showing the parting of the Red Sea in which Moses is seen holding a sword like a warrior, instead of a stick. Furthermore, he claimed, the
parting of the Red Sea is explained in the movie as a tidal phenomenon rather than a divine miracle.
Morocco has also banned the film, despite it already having been approved by the state-run Moroccan Cinema Center. Hassan Belkady, who runs Cinema Rif in Casablanca, told media24 news website that he had been threatened with the closure of his
business if he ignored the ban.
Hackers claiming to be those that have seriously disrupted Sony Pictures' computer systems in the biggest corporate hack in history posted a message to the heads of the company telling them to cancel the release of film The Interview .
The group also leaked a trove of emails from senior Sony Pictures employees which include private employee information, the phone numbers of actors and the aliases they use when travelling, film budgets and unreleased scripts. It includes the
private information of about 40,000 employees, including home addresses, previous salaries and social security numbers.
The Interview is a North Korea-baiting film that is a reason some have speculated that the country could be involved in the attack.
In a message titled Their Privacy , and written in broken English, hackers said that Sony had refused to give in to its demands to cancel the release of the movie of terrorism. The group signed themselves as From God'sApstls.
The message reads:
We have already given our clear demand to the management team of SONY, however, they have refused to accept.
It seems that you think everything will be well, if you find out the attacker, while no reacting to our demand.
We are sending you our warning again.
Do carry out our demand if you want to escape us.
And, Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism which can break the regional peace and cause the War!
You, SONY & FBI, cannot find us.
We are perfect as much.
The destiny of SONY is totally up to the wise reaction & measure of SONY.
Update: Violent threats prove to be very effective at censorship
The New York premiere of The Interview, a comedy about the assassination of North Korea's president, has been cancelled amid threats from hackers. A spokesman for the cinema chain due to host the screening said it had been shelved. Hackers
targeting Sony Pictures had threatened to attack US cinemas showing the studio's film.
Calling themselves Guardians of Peace, the hackers mentioned the 9/11 attacks in a recent warning, claiming the world will be full of fear . Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places
at that time, the hacker group wrote in a message.
A spokesman for Landmark, the cinema chain due to host the New York premiere, confirmed the showing had been cancelled but gave no reason, Reuters news agency reported. Executives from Sony had previously said they would not object if cinemas
chose not to show The Interview.
Sony has bowed to the demands of North Korean-linked hackers and made the unprecedented step of pulling its film The Interview from cinemas. Sony announced the movie would not be released as planned in America on Christmas Day after
threats of violence by the hackers.
The decision was made after the five biggest cinema chains in the US, operating 20,000 screens between them, said they would not show the comedy, which centres on a plot to assassinate the secretive state's leader Kim Jong-un.
Sony said it had no further global release plans for the film - which had a scheduled UK release date of Feb 6, 2015.
US investigators said it had determined North Korea was behind the devastating cyber attack following weeks of speculation. President Barack Obama said his administration is taking the cyber attack against Sony studios seriously, but urged
cinemagoers not be cowed by the threats.
Many were quick to criticise Sony's decision, calling it a major blow for freedom of expression and warned it could set a dangerous precedent of censorship.
Offsite Comment: US weighs response to film threat
The White House is treating the cyberattack on Sony Pictures as a legitimate national security matter as the film studio deals with the fallout from its controversial decision to pull The Interview from theaters.
After Sony yanked North Korean satire The Interview from theaters, several small houses announced plans to show Team America - another film featuring a North Korean leader - in an attempt to spite the hermit regime.
However, Paramount Pictures has now put the kibosh on the screenings - sending out messages barring the cinemas from showing the movie.
One of the theaters, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema said;
Due to to circumstances beyond our control, the TEAM AMERICA 12/27 screening has been cancelled. We apologize & will provide refunds today.
Paramount however has yet to explain their decision to ban cinemas from showing the film.
Team America: World Police features the previous leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il as a singing marionette that gets impaled on a spike and is later revealed to be a space alien North Korea called The Interview and act of war for
portraying the assassination and violent death of its current leader, Kim Jong-un.
Sony made a mistake by axing the comedy The Interview . Speaking after the FBI pinned the blame on North Korea for a massive hack of Sony Pictures, President Barack Obama said:
We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a
documentary that they don't like, or news reports that they don't like.
Or even worse imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don't want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.
That's not who we are. That's not what America is about.
Obama said he was sympathetic to Sony's plight but added: I wish they had spoken to me first.
Update: America makes a token gesture about free speech
In a plot reversal, Sony Pictures will allow The Interview to play in about 200 US cinemas as of Christmas Day, after coming under criticism from President Barack Obama for caving into pressure from North Korea
The Interview was put back into cinemas on Tuesday when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited Christmas Day theatrical release for the comedy that provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its cancelled
Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton that Seth Rogen's North Korea farce will be in a number of theaters beginning Thursday.
North Korea called President Barack Obama a monkey and blamed the US for shutting down its Internet amid the hacking row over the comedy The Interview. The country's powerful National Defense Commission, the country's top governing
body led by Kim Jong Un, said that Obama was behind the release of The Interview . It described the movie as illegal, dishonest and reactionary. A spokesman said:
Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.
A Japanese woman who makes art based on her vagina has been charged with obscenity. She was arrested in early December and has been held in detention since then.
Megumi Igarashi became a victim of police persecution after displaying a supposedly obscene work at a Tokyo sex shop and sent 3D data of her genitals to other people. She famously used the 3D data to design a kayak.
Ms Igarashi was previously arrested in July, but was later released following a legal appeal and public pressure.
The newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that she read out in court a prepared statement which said:
My works are all meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorating sexual organs. The works are not obscene.
Police also arrested the owner of a Tokyo sex shop for allegedly displaying Ms Igarashi's obscene goods in her shop window from October 2013 until July this year. The woman was later freed after a judge refused to allow prosecutors
to question her further.
Authorities however were allowed to continue to detain Ms Igarashi because the judge was concerned that she would destroy evidence or flee , said Asahi Shimbun.
On her website, Ms Igarashi, who has made several items based on her genitals using a silicone mould, said she wanted to make vaginas more casual and pop , much like how penises are regarded as part of pop culture in Japan.
28th December 2014. Thanks to Alan
Megumi Igarashi's supporters have said that she's out on bail again.
A magazine ad for a telecommunications company,
Andrews and Arnold , appeared in Linux Voice and featured text that stated, Home :: 1 BROADBAND F*CK FILTERING .
The complainant challenged whether it was irresponsible to show the ad in a publication whose readership included children. C
Andrews and Arnold Ltd stated the publication was not targeted at children. They said that its cover price was far more than those of magazines aimed at children. Furthermore, they said that the only other way the magazine could be purchased was
via subscription, which required a card payment.
Andrews and Arnold said that the publication had no appeal to children and was a minority interest to adults, with a readership of approximately 8,000. They stated that although the magazine was predominantly technology based in nature, it
included articles regarding topics that were not appropriate for children, such as brewing beer. This they believed demonstrated the magazine's adult only readership.
Linux Voice magazine stated that they had not received any direct complaints regarding the ad. They stated that the magazine was targeted at IT professionals and adult hobbyists and that its newsstand price was out of reach for children, and that
a credit or debit card was required to buy a subscription. They said that there were many outspoken personalities in the Linux community who used such strong language, including its creator, when strong opinions were being expressed.
Linux Voice stated that internet filtering was an issue which many people were very passionate about, hence the use of strong language. They said that the wording was not directed at a person or group, but was a reaction to a policy, reflecting
Linux users' opinions that internet filtering was unwanted.
Assessment: Complaint Not upheld
The ASA noted the expletive in the ad was partly obscured but considered the intended meaning was still clear. However, we noted that Andrews and Arnold and Linux Voice stated that the magazine was not targeted at children and considered that,
given its pricing and subject matter, which included technical matters and topics that would not be of particular interest to children. It was targeted at IT professionals and adults with an interest in computer software. Therefore, we considered
that the magazine in which the ad was published was unlikely to appeal to children and concluded that it's placement was not socially irresponsible.
A young man has been arrested after allegedly tweeting a bad taste joke about the Glasgow bin lorry crash.
The man reportedly handed himself in to police after a number of whinges were made about the joke. He is alleged to have written:
So a bin lorry has crashed into 100 people in Glasgow eh, probably the most trash its ever picked up in one day that.
Northumbria Police made the ludicrous claim that the joke was 'a malicious communication', and the persecution has not stopped at the arrest. The police investigation is continuing and the victim has been bailed pending further inquiries.
A group of 12-year-old girls had the police called on them after they decided to bring their iPhones and iPads to a showing of The Hunger Games at a local cinema. The police officers who rushed to the scene were unable to find any recorded
footage, but by then the children were too distressed to watch the rest of the film.
In a disgraceful code of conduct the movie industry and cinemas have agreed that employees will take immediate action when they spot someone with a recording device, regardless of whether there is any evidence that they are being used to record
At a Cineworld cinema in Brighton Marina, UK, employees dialed the national 999 emergency number after they spotted a group of 12-year-old girls with iPhones and iPads at a showing of The Hunger Games. The girls, accused of recording parts of the
movie, were hauled outside where two police cars rushed towards the scene with flashing lights.
The police obliging acted as the hired bullies, and presumably without checking with the cinema staff that there was any evidence of a crime, the police carefully inspected the devices for bootleg material. After their search turned up
nothing the girls were allowed back in. However, the teens decided to wait outside, reportedly in tears, until their parents came to pick them up. Presumably the police for some reason decided not to take action against the staff for making false
Louise Lawrence, the mother of one of the girls, is outraged by the treatment. Not just the false piracy accusation, but also the fact that they were left out in the cold afterwards.
Our girls were falsely accused, had the police called on them and then just left in tears. It's outrageous. If they have done this to our children they will do it again.
A Cineworld spokesprat said that they apologized to the parents for the mistake, and admitted that it's common procedure to take such actions. No word about compensation for the trauma caused.
Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men? by Michael Malcolm, George S Naufal (November 2014) forthcoming in: Eastern Economic Journal, 2015
Substitutes for marital sexual gratification may impact the decision to marry. Proliferation of the Internet has made pornography an increasingly low-cost substitute. We investigate the effect of Internet usage, and of pornography consumption
specifically, on the marital status of young men. We show that increased Internet usage is negatively associated with marriage formation. Pornography consumption specifically has an even stronger effect. Instrumental variables and a number of
robustness checks suggest that the effect is causal.
Research published in the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Germany claims that the rise of free porn on the internet is both correlated with the decline in the amount of young adult men who are married and might actually play a role in
the decline. Researchers surveyed more than 1500 men between 18 and 35, analyzing how they used the internet between 2000 and 2004. The researchers took a look at how many hours each participant spent and how many looked at porn versus religious
sites, adjusting for variables like age, income, education, religiosity, and employment. Roberto A. Ferman at Washington Post writes :
Broadly, higher Internet usage was associated with lower marriage rates. But pornography use in particular was more closely linked to those participants who were not married than any other form of Internet use, including regular use of financial
websites, news websites, sports websites, and several others. The opposite, for comparison, was true for religious website use, which was positively correlated with marriage.
One of the study's authors, professor at University of West Chester, Pennsylvania Dr. Michael Malcolm explains that the study could point to marriage and sexual gratification. Ferman continues:
If pornography is viewed as a means of alternative sexual gratification, then it could be undercutting the need for marriages to serve this function, at the very least during a younger age. Think of it as a milder form of premarital sex.
US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have proposed to change their rules so as to treat internet TV companies the same as cable and satellite TV providers.
At the moment media companies are not required to offer their programming to Internet TV companies. On the other hand rules requiring traditional cable and satellite TV to carry certain content, like broadcast TV, do not apply to internet
Currently consumers without cable or satellite have been unable to get the same breadth of content from Internet-based TV services that they could get from a paid TV provider or in some cases over-the-air TV broadcasters.
It's this difference in regulatory classification that allowed network TV broadcasters, such as CBS, which owns CNET, to deny Aereo access to their programming, even after it offered to pay retransmission fees. Earlier this year, the US Supreme
Court said that it was illegal for Aereo to retransmit broadcast TV over the Internet without paying broadcasters a retransmission fee.
Even though he didn't name Aereo outright, FFC head Tom Wheeler said that the existing rules are ultimately hurting consumers who are being denied access to content on alternative platforms. Wheele said in a statement:
Big company control over access to programming should not keep programs from being available on the Internet. Today, we propose to break that bottleneck.
Efforts by new entrants to develop new video services have faltered because they could not get access to programming content that was owned by cable networks or broadcasters.
Washington's football team can relax as, TV and radio stations can now say its name without fearing government PC censorship.
US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission have rejected a petition that claimed the name Redskins violates broadcast indecency rules.
The author of the petition, George Washington law professor John Banzhaf III, claimed that the derogatory racial and ethnic slur is deeply offensive to American Indians. The word amounts to obscenity and profanity, which the FCC bans from
the airwaves, Banzhaf said.
But in its ruling, the FCC's Media Bureau noted that it has traditionally banned only words that are sexual or excretory in nature. The agency also warned that banning the name could violate the free-speech rights of TV and radio stations.
Banzhaf's petition had asked the commission to reject the license renewal of WWXX-FM, a radio station owned by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder that had repeatedly said the team's name on the air. Instead, the FCC renewed the license, saying it found
no serious violations.
Banzhaf said he plans to appeal the decision to the full commission and, if necessary, to the federal courts.
The UK's new internet censorship rules banning much mainstream porn content don't always ban face-sitting, ATVOD said in a closed newsletter disseminated yesterday.
ATVOD, which censors video-on-demand in Britain, revealed draconian new rules for the porn industry nearly three weeks ago. Under the new rules, introduced through the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, content that would be cut by the
BBFC is banned from UK VOD services.
Now as the BBFC cuts at least some content from about 15% of all mainstream R18's then at least this percentage of mainstream porn videos are now illegal to include on UK websites. In addition websites will probably have to self censor another
15% just in case the material may cross undefined lines.
Actually the BBFC cut 50% of R18s in the last calendar week for trivial and largely unpredictable reasons. This unpredictability could leave British webmasters with the only practical option to only include videos with an official BBFC R18
rating and all the trivially prohibited bits obligingly cut out. (Which is probably one of the intentions of the new law). Of course the rub is then that there are relatively few official R18s. A British website offering a few hundred censored
videos would be competing with US websites offering a tens of thousands of uncensored videos.
UK media censor Ofcom has issued a revised designation allowing ATVOD the powers it needs to enforce the new rules.
Yesterday, in its newsletter, ATVOD clarified some details of what it will be focusing on while enforcing the new censorship rules:
Contrary to some press reports, the new regulations do not ban outright activities such as 'face-sitting' or 'spanking. ... HOWEVER ... they do mean that pornographic material which focuses on the restriction of blood or oxygen to
the brain (which is potentially fatal) or on the infliction of lasting physical harm is now prohibited on U.K.
VOD services, as are pornographic scenarios featuring simulated incest [currently a very popular genre], rape or role playing as a child.
The new discriminatory rules also forbid U.K.-based online adult operators from distributing content that includes acts of female ejaculation, fisting and other types kinky content.
In the newsletter, ATVOD also hinted what might be next for foreign porn sites that allow access in the U.S.: A licensing regime. ATVOD said that it has worked with the U.K. payments industry --- including Visa Europe, MasterCard, PayPal, UK
Cards Association, British Bankers' Association and Payments Council --- to design a process which would enable payments to be prevented from the U.K. to foreign porn services that allow children to access hardcore pornography.
Preventing payments from U.K. customers would disrupt the existing business model which is based on providing some content free of charge in order to attract visitors who are then encouraged to purchase premium subscription services. It would
provide an incentive for foreign porn websites to introduce age-verification mechanisms in order to restart the flow of funds from the U.K.
The payments industry has made clear that in order to put such a process into place there would need to be greater clarity that foreign websites which allow children in the U.K. to view hardcore porn are acting in breach of U.K. law.
Representatives of the payments industry proposed that a licensing regime for foreign porn websites --- similar to that recently introduced for foreign gambling websites --- would be the best way of achieving such clarity.
Comment: ATVOD Idiocy
22nd December 2014. Thanks to Alan
Does the arrogance of these scumbags know no bounds?
They are quite open about their wish to impose this age verification nonsense worldwide, and to do so specifically by targetting web sites which behave ethically by offering free samples so that potential customers can assess whether or not they
wish to purchase a membership. This is a disgrace. I hope that foreign jurisdictions will move robustly to disrupt ATVOD's idiotic control freakery.
Once again, we have the purported protection of children being used to treat everyone as a child. I can understand why opponents of this nonsense may wish to appear respectable by not directly confronting the notion that young people need
to be protected, but I wish that they would do so. I very much hope that young lads (and indeed lasses) in search of a bit of naughty material will be able to circumvent ATVOD and parental controls. How old were these clowns when they first
encountered smut? I was about fourteen. Are ATVOD staffers so congenitally thick that they only discovered porn at 40?
Over at Ofcom, the new boss is getting a salary for her censorious activities well in excess of the prime minister's headline pay, and maybe even better than Cameron's package including the rent of Number 10 and Chequers. The lunatics really do
seem to be in charge of the asylum.
MSG: The Messenger of God is a 2015 India action comedy drama by Jeetu Arora and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan.
Starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, Daniel Kaleb and Fllora Saini.
Guru Ji is a social reformer who works to help people fight against social evils.
Various Sikh organisations are 'outraged' about Gurmeet Ram Rahim's debut movie MSG: Messenger of God, and are seeking a ban.
The All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) said that it will soon move the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a ban on the film. AISSF president Karnail Singh Peermohammad said even the film's teaser is controversial as it shows the dera
chief challenging people (Sikhs) with his dialogue Jo hamse takrayega (who will try to confront me). He said:
We have demanded a complete ban on the screening of the film and have requested the censor board, Punjab government and the Akal Takht to take immediate steps to get the film banned across the world. We are also moving a case in the court
seeking a ban on the controversial film.
We have even objected to the title of the film. God's envoy cannot be a criminal. He is facing rape and murder allegations.
Turkey's TV censor has handed a record fine to a popular game show for a segment where husbands were filmed dancing with other women as their wives looked on.
The game show, I Don't Know, My Spouse Knows was fined 410,000 Turkish lira ($177,000, 145,000 euros) by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK). The censor claimed in its ruling that the episode was contrary to public morality
and the Turkish family structure .
In the offending show the husbands were shown dancing with other women, said to be foreigners, while the horrified reactions of their wives was also shown in a split screen.
The four wives appeared aghast as they watched their husbands, who danced with little inhibition, with one asking a fellow contestant if the stunt was a joke. When it became clear it was not, their reactions were even more grave. One of the
wives, Seval, said: I am going to kill him! When the husbands rejoined the main studio she wagged her finger and told her spouse: You are finished!
RTUK said the show, broadcast by the popular private channel Kanal D, had encouraged men to cheat on their wives and provided an environment to disturb the family peace. It added that women in the program had been reduced to sexual
Ofcom commissioned Kantar Media to conduct a series of deliberative research workshops with members of the public to understand what people think of current protections for audio-visual (AV) content delivered on different platforms and on a
range of internet connected devices, and what protections they consider they should have both now and in the future.
Within this overall aim, the research sought to explore opinions towards protection and assurance options, namely: standards protections, content information signposts, and access control tools.
Selected key findings
Understanding and perceptions of current regulation
Regulation of AV content was considered to be highly important, yet there was limited understanding of how regulatory arrangements vary by viewing platform Overall (not focusing on a specific device or platform) the vast majority of participants
thought that the regulation of AV content was highly important. The majority of participants had a very limited understanding of the current regulatory landscape, and particularly of how regulation varies by viewing platform. However, there was
broad understanding that the internet generally was not a protected or regulated environment.
Devices: importance and expectations of protections
The research explored participants' expectations and perceived importance of regulation across a range of devices, drawing on uninformed discussion before participants were briefed on existing regulation and protection frameworks.
The regulation of TV sets was perceived as most important The majority of participants agreed that the often passive nature of TV viewing and potential exposure to inappropriate content meant that TV sets should be highly regulated, in
particular, to protect minors and vulnerable individuals.
The regulation of more personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets, was considered less important as they were associated with more active viewing choices By contrast, the majority of participants, and particularly those of a libertarian
viewpoint and the more technology engaged, attributed slightly lower importance ratings to the regulation of more personal devices such as tablets and smartphones, with viewing requiring a more active choice.
Similarly, participants also considered the regulation of laptops and desktop computers to be less important than TV sets due to the more active choice of viewing involved.
Games consoles were also perceived as relatively less important when compared to TV sets, with many participants failing to immediately recognise their role in delivering AV content.
However, the perceived importance of regulating personal devices increased when participants reflected on instances where they could be used by children viewing content unmonitored on private devices or via games consoles away from the
main living room.
Platforms: importance and expectations of protections
The regulation of broadcast TV was considered most important Reflecting the discussion on devices, the majority of participants rated the regulation of broadcast TV as most important in light of the shared nature of viewing and the often passive
choice of scheduled broadcast content. The vast majority of participants perceived broadcast TV as being generally safe, with perceptions founded on previous experience and the presence of well-established channel brands. For the majority of
participants, brand perceptions extended beyond broadcast meaning people expected brands to retain the same quality standards regardless of method of delivery or point of access.
Most participants wrongly assumed that catch-up programming was subject to the same regulatory standards as broadcast TV because the content had previously been broadcast.
However, perceptions of the regulation of on-demand and other internet content varied amongst the participants There was broad understanding that the internet generally was not a protected or regulated environment.
However, participants' views on how this might be addressed varied widely. The more libertarian participants stated that on-demand services should not be as highly regulated as broadcast TV in light of the active choices made by viewers.
Conversely, those of more protectionist viewpoints associated on-demand services with TV-like content and thought that regulation was highly important.
For the vast majority of participants, regardless of their broader social attitudes, the greatest concern with other internet content centred on protecting children and vulnerable individuals from viewing unsuitable content. Protectionists
favoured content standards as the most effective means of protecting people online, while libertarians were more likely to cite access controls as the best means of protecting vulnerable individuals yet still preserving online freedoms.
However, many participants, protectionists and libertarians alike, expressed doubts over the practical feasibility of offering meaningful protection and assurance online due to the vast volume of AV content and the international origin of
Some hindus are upset over a supposedly inappropriate portrayal of the Hindu religious character Kali in a mural at Brooklyn Museum in New York.
This 60-foot Kali wall mural is part of recently opened Eyes of Time exhibition at Brooklyn Museum which is scheduled till July 12. It shows Kali with three legs, three breasts and six arms. Its face is a clock with no actual time.
Hindu soundbite specialist Rajan Zed said in a statement that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects on
museum walls. Such absurd depiction of goddess Kali with no scriptural backing was hurtful to the devotees.
Zed claimed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more ....BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Museums should be more sensitive while handling faith related
Kingsman: the Secret Service is a 2015 UK action crime comedy by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Taron Egerton.
UK: Passed 15 for strong bloody violence, strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2014 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice in an unfinished version. The company was informed the film was likely to be classified 18, but that their requested 15 could be achieved by making some reductions in scenes of violence. When the
finished version was submitted for formal classification, reductions had been made and the film was passed 15.
A veteran secret agent takes a young upstart under his wing.
in 2014 Ofcom has played its part in a massive step up in internet censorship British adult websites. It has enthusiastically enforced the totally unviable age verification rules that have crucified British internet businesses involved in the
adult video trade. It has embraced discriminatory new rules banning depictions of women enjoying sex and it has declared war on kinksters who enjoy the likes of spanking and BDSM.
Now it is consulting on an ominous new extension of internet censorship that the government refer to as developing a common framework for media standards. Presumably this means that they are seeking to apply TV standards to the internet.
In what surely must be a gigantic disconnect with the basics of the English language, Ofcom ludicrously write that their repressive censorial nastiness is somehow beneficial. And Ofcom describe their work plan for the coming year in
classic Orwellian doublespeak:
Protecting and promoting the interests of audiences and citizens in content services
Protecting audiences from potentially harmful content remains a priority for Ofcom. Next year, Ofcom will continue to work with other groups to promote the safety of audiences online. This includes working with the UK Council for Child Internet
Safety to protect children and supporting the Government in developing a common framework for media standards.
Update: More proactive monitoring
29th December 2014.
Another worrying idea to extended censorship is:
Ensure content complies with broadcasting rules by taking a new targeted approach to our enforcement activities for TV broadcasters...Extending monitoring of TV content to detect content which raises issues of potential audience harm,
particularly of channels about which we receive few or no complaints;
Rapper Tiny Doo has been implicated in nine California shootings solely because of his album, No Safety.
He is not accused of providing guns or being present at the shootings. Instead, it is his music that is causing him to stand trial on 4 December. Until then he's being held on $1million bail.
The No Safety album cover features a gun and bullets. Prosecutors claim that Tiny Doo willfully promotes, furthers, or assists in any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang , arguing that he benefited from the shootings as it
allegedly led to increased album sales.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna said:
We're not just talking about a CD of anything, of love songs. We're talking about a CD (cover)... There is a revolver with bullets.
A video shown before an online game on www.agame.com/game/bloppy, for Blu-Ray and DVDs of The Walking Dead Season Four , showed disfigured and decomposing zombies. A scene in the ad showed a zombie being run over by a fast moving
vehicle with spluttering sounds and body parts flying up in the air. The ad then showed scenes of bloody bodies scattered and close up shots of zombies being shot, struck and stabbed. Issue
The complainant challenged whether the ad was:
offensive because it was excessively violent; and
unsuitable for a medium where it might be seen by children.
1. Not Upheld
The ASA noted that a number of scenes in the ad contained graphic details that showed exploding blood splatters with corresponding sounds of gun shots and flesh being cut, and depicted acts of violence such as shooting at close range and zombies
being stabbed and struck.
We noted that the ad was for DVDs and Blu-Ray discs of a TV series, the premise of which was human survival in a post-apocalyptic world infested with zombies. On this basis, we considered that the imagery featured, which eOne stated were taken
from the series, reflected the theme of the products advertised. Although we acknowledged that some might find the content of the ad to be offensive, we did not consider the level of violence and gore depicted to be excessive within the context
of ads for programmes in the horror genre that had an 18 rating.
On this basis, we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers in general.
We noted eOne's comments that they had informed their agency, who had in turn provided instructions to the video advertising platform, to ensure that the ad was targeted at an audience aged between 18 and 35. We also noted their comments that it
was SPIL Games' responsibility to also ensure that the ads served on agame.com were appropriate for their target audience. We informed eOne that, although those involved in preparing or publishing marketing communications were obliged to comply
with the CAP Code, the primary responsibility to observe the Code fell on advertisers.
agame.com without age verification and that the data provided by SPIL Games showed a significant proportion of users were under 18 years of age.
We acknowledged eOne's comments that a number of games on agame.com were based on themes that were more suitable for adult players. However, we considered that many of the games on agame.com were likely to appeal to children.
We considered that the level of violence and graphic detail in the ad was not suitable for viewing by children. On this basis, we concluded that the ad had been inappropriately and irresponsibly shown on a medium where it might be seen by
Taken 3 is a 2015 France action crime thriller by Olivier Megaton.
Starring Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace.
UK: Passed 12A for moderate action violence, infrequent strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2014 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice in an incomplete form. The BBFC advised the company that the film was likely to receive a 15, but that their requested 12A could be achieved by making reductions in scenes of violence. When the finished
version was submitted for formal classification, those changes had been made and the film was classified 12A.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, and for brief strong language.
Hopefully uncut but there have been a couple of recent examples where BBFC advised category cuts have been adopted for worldwide release.
Bryan Mills, an Ex-government operative is accused of a ruthless murder he never committed or witnessed as he is tracked and pursued, Bryan Mills brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name.
Five years after forming as a political party, the Australian Sex Party has won its first seat in parliament.
The party's national President and long time civil liberties lobbyist, Fiona Patten, has just been formally declared the winner of the fifth seat in the Northern Metropolitan region of the Victorian Legislative Council.
Ms Patten won with the fifth highest primary vote in the region and the support of seven other progressive parties who preferenced her highly. She said:
The result is a ringing endorsement of the democratic nature of the preferential voting system. We are becoming more like the many European countries who have a number of parties vying for government on their own or in combination with another
party. New Zealand also follows this trend. The introduction of minor parties into the political landscape in Australia is a sign of a healthy democracy. My vote was made up of a combination of the votes of the progressive minor parties in my
region and ended up being around about a quota in its own right".
She said she would seek to progress the key policies of many of these parties like The Voluntary Euthanasia Party, The Basics Rock 'n Roll Party, The Animal Justice Party, Independent Peter Allen and The Australian Cyclists.
Ms Patten has resigned as CEO of Australia's adult industry association, the Eros Association. She founded the association in 1992 and acknowledged the support and the depth of civil libertarian values present in the industry:
Now is the time for the hard work to begin and from today it does. I will immediately commence work on referring Voluntary Euthanasia to the Victorian Law Reform Commission and then, with the mandate I have, will begin progressing drug law
reform in Victoria, including legalising medical and recreational cannabis.
Luciana Berger, the shadow Minister for Public Health, has called for Twitter to totally ban the use of derogatory terms, regardless of the context. She said the website should ban racist words such as kike , (a derogatory term for Jews)
which she claims can never be used in a non-derogatory way. A clearly bollox claim proven by her very own non-derogatory use of the term!
Online hate needs to be taken as seriously as offline hate -- but it isn't. Twitter's response isn't good enough. It has a responsibility to do more to protect its users. The site is letting me and many others down who have been the subject of
lots of hate... It could start by proactively banning racist words which aren't allowed to printed in newspapers or broadcast on TV that could never be used in a positive way -- such as kike -- a derogative and anti-Semitic term for describing a
One has to have a little sympathy for her, as she was on the receiving end of torrents of insults over her being jewish, but that doesn't really justify people in authority from putting forward rubbish knee jerk policy ideas. Such ideas deserve,
and require, robust criticism and ridicule.
In 1971, the late, great Ken Russell's masterpiece The Devils was released in a highly censored form. The film was shredded to pieces by censors, who removed several scenes, including one that Russell himself referred to as the
heart of the film.
Although versions of the film have been released since then, Russell's full director's cut has never been issued on DVD.
It is ridiculous that after 44 years, Warner Bros still refuse to release the director's cut. Ken Russell was a hugely significant filmmaker, and The Devils was his magnum opus.
Warner Bros, you have no right to deny us of the director's cut of the film. High profile figures like film critic Mark Kermode and filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro have demanded the director's cut, and so do we.
Everybody deserves the right to access this film in its full form. To have it denied its audience is unwarranted censorship of the most extreme and groundless form.
The controversy seeking violent shooter Hatred appeared on Steam Greenlight seeking gamers support for future inclusion on the game distribution service. Not long after, it was yanked by Valve who run the games distribution service. The
Based on what we've seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam. As such we'll be taking it down.
The Destructive Creations Team responded in a statement:
As you know today we've launched our Steam Greenlight campaign for Hatred. Unfortunately after couple of hours Steam shut it down.
Even though games like Manhunt or Postal are still available on Steam we of course fully respect Valve's decision, as they have right to do so. In the same time we want to assure you that this won't in any way impact the game development, game's
vision or gameplay features we're aiming for. The game is still to be released in Q2 2015 as planned.
Moreover we don't treat this as a failure because yet again this showed us a huge community support we're totally overwhelmed with. After only a couple of hours Greenlight campaign being live, Hatred gathered 13,148 up votes and ended up on a #7
on top 100 list. This is the best proof for us that there are diehard Hatred fans out there waiting for this game to be released.
Valve has decided to reinstate Creative Destruction's controversial game Hatred on Steam Greenlight. We don't know why, but it's probably not a bad thing. Greenlight is supposed to be about the community picking and choosing what games get
approved - not Valve.
Valve's founder Gabe Newell said:
Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn't up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn't a good decision, and we'll be putting Hatred back up. My
apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.
David Dinsmore, the editor of the Sun, has been named as 2014's sexist of the year after a poll run by the feminist campaigning coalition, End Violence Against Women (EVAW). He will be sent a No More Page 3 t-shirt as a prize for what EVAW
calls its prestigious annual award.
It calls Dinsmore a worthy winner because he has:
Dug his heels in over the daily circulation of pornography in a freely available bottom shelf newspaper despite a powerful national campaign led by young women against Page 3.
The runner-up in the poll is Rockstar Games for its Grand Theft Auto 5 game, in which players are able to murder a woman in prostitution.
Honourable mentions go to Ukip's leader Nigel Farage for being a breast-feeding supporter.
The Ofcom Board has announced the appointment of Sharon White as Chief Executive.
Sharon will join Ofcom in late March 2015 from HM Treasury, where she is Second Permanent Secretary.
An economics graduate, Sharon has 25 years' experience in the public sector and Government, starting with spells in Washington, the No 10 Policy Unit, and the World Bank. Sharon later worked in the Department for International Development, the
Department of Work and Pensions, the Ministry of Justice and the Treasury.
Sharon White said:
The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the UK. I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom's considerable track record.
Sharon's salary will be £ 275,000 per annum.
The appointment is subject to government approval.
Index on Censorship has condemned the recent raid against Zaman newspaper and Samanyolu TV as a blatant violation of media freedom. Turkey is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights and has the responsibility to uphold the right to
freedom of expression. Index calls for the immediate release of all detained media professionals. This is part of a worrying trend, as shown by the recent violations reported on Index's mapping project
On Sunday, December 14, Turkish police raided offices of the newspaper Zaman and of the television network Samanyolu TV. At least 27 people were detained including journalists, producers and directors of TV shows. Zaman is a major newspaper in
Turkey with good English language coverage that has featured on Melon Farmers many times.
A large group of protesters gathered outside of Zaman's Istanbul offices, holding signs that read Free press cannot be silenced.
Zaman and Samanyolu TV have been singled out by Turkish President Erdogan for being part of what Erdogan calls a parallel structure affiliated with exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan has accused Gulen of being at the centre of plots to topple
It's something any Tom and Jerry viewer must have known for a long time. Children's cartoons are apparently more violent than films aimed at adults, and filled with murder and mayhem according to 'research'.
Animated characters are more than twice as likely to be killed off than actors in movies aimed at a grown up audience, the study claims. The authors of the research concluded:
Rather than being innocuous and gentler alternatives to typical horror or drama films, children's animated films are, in fact, hotbeds of murder and mayhem.
The study, published in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, assessed the amount of violence young children might be exposed to when watching films targeted at their age group:
Parents of main characters were more than five times as likely to die in children's cartoons as they were in films targeted at adults.
Researchers Dr Ian Colman and Dr James Kirkbride, from the University of Ottawa in Canada and University College London, also found no evidence to suggest that the level of violence has changed in children's films since Snow White.
Unbroken is a 2014 USA action war biography by Angelina Jolie.
Starring Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson and Jai Courtney.
A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.
Angelina Jolie's latest war movie, Unbroken , has been facing criticism recently from Japanese conservatives for its portrayals of brutality in World War II prisoner of war camps.
There is a movement among Japanese conservatives to ban the film inside Japan, describing its content as racist, immoral, and fabricated.
Anything to do with the country's wartime legacy still stirs up controversy within Japan and some leading politicians openly deny wartime events such as the Nanjing Massacre and claim that the forced prostitution of Korean women known as comfort women
Many Netizens have commented in support Jolie and her vision, saying that she is simply showing the truth and that Japan can't hide from its past. However, there are some who pointed out that history has always written by the victors and details
easily altered, and drew attention to the fact that Japan was not the only nation to commit atrocities, adding that it is not fair that their country continues to be singled out for its actions in a war that ended over half a century ago.
A British performing artist who has been prevented from publishing his memoir as a result of legal action brought by his ex-wife is to ask the supreme court to overturn the ban, arguing that it poses a dangerous threat to free speech.
The artist referred to only as MLA, as a consequence of the extensive secrecy surrounding the case, is being supported by human rights groups and a leading writers' organisation, which also believe that an injunction imposed by a lower
court presents a serious risk to the right to freedom of expression.
The temporary injunction was imposed by the court of appeal last October after lawyers representing the artist's ex-wife argued that his book's descriptions of the sexual abuse that he suffered as a child were so disturbing that their son would
suffer catastrophic psychological distress if he were to read it.
This claim is disputed by MLA, who also believes that it is particularly important that the voices of survivors of sexual abuse are not stifled. The book recounts the way in which the artist, who is well known in his field, suffered years of
sexual abuse while at school, and found a way though his art of dealing with the trauma of his past.
The writers' association English PEN, Article 19 and Index on Censorship, which defend and promote free speech, will seek to join the supreme court hearing, to argue that the court of appeal's judgment could have a chilling effect on other
writers tackling difficult subjects, should it be allowed to stand.
The supreme court agreed that it would hear the case in the new year.
The MPAA is in discussions with the major US movie studios over ways to introduce site blocking to the United States. TorrentFreak has learned that the studios will try to achieve website blockades using principles available under existing law.
Avoiding another SOPA-style backlash is high on the agenda.
Mechanisms to force ISPs to shut down subscriber access to infringing sites are becoming widespread in Europe but have not yet gained traction in the United States.
TorrentFreak has learned that during 2013 the MPAA and its major studio partners began to seriously consider their options for re-introducing the site blocking agenda to the United States. Throughout 2014 momentum has been building but with no
real option to introduce new legislation, the MPAA has been looking at leveraging existing law to further its aims. We can reveal that the MPAA has been examining four key areas.
Anyone who criticises same-sex marriage or Sharia law could be branded an extremist under proposed new powers, Christians and atheists have jointly warned.
The fresh expression of concern comes from The Christian Institute and the National Secular Society who have raised fears over planned Extremist Disruption Orders (EDOs), recently outlined by Home Secretary Theresa May.
EDOs, which are designed to counter Islamic extremism, have been described as a threat to free speech and reminiscent of Tony Blair's notorious religious hatred Bill. Opinion
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, cautioned that Christians who criticise gay marriage or even argue that all religions are not the same could find themselves accused of extremism. He said:
Anyone who expresses an opinion that isn't regarded as totally compliant with the Equality Act could find themselves ranked alongside Anjem Choudary, Islamic State or Boko Haram.
Speaking to The Telegraph Online Keith Porteous Wood, Director of the National Secular Society, warned that secularists might be branded Islamophobic and racist because of their campaigns against the rise of Sharia law. He said:
A much better case needs to be made for introducing draconian measures such as Extremist Disruption Orders, which are almost unchallengeable and deprive individuals of their liberties.
Apple's iOS version of the border-guard simulator Papers, Please was set to have been released with bits cut out at the behest of Apple.
Games developer Lucas Pope planned to release Papers, Please on iOS but without the feature that shows immigrants completely nude during the security scan. That's because Apple rejected the app when Pope originally submitted it, and the company
explained it was because it is pornographic.
Apple is now stepping back from that classification, according to Pope, with Apple claiming that rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part. Apple suggested that the game should be resubmitted complete with the nudity option.
While this is a win for Pope, Apple's control over its closed system will likely continue to trouble other developers. A freelance games designer, Tadhg Kelly wrote an open letter to Tim Cook of Apple on this subject of censorship:
I'm a huge fan of Apple's products including my new iPhone 6 Plus. It's gorgeous. I'm even more of a fan of what Apple has done for games in the last half decade. Prior to the App Store, selling games to the mass market was an expensive and
difficult mess of approvals by powers-that-be, often at massive disadvantage to the game maker. Apple opened that closed shop, which in turn spawned multiple revolutions. It led to many new kinds of game, new powers, new economics for games and a
whole raft of other innovations.
I bring these examples up to frame my appreciation and disappointment appropriately. I think you're doing an incredible job but there is one area in which you're letting me down badly: Censorship.
Movies might get age certificates and music might get stickers warning of offensive lyrics, but they don't get banned. They used to. From the early days of pulping books like Ulysses through to the Comics Code and video nasties , every
medium has had to face allegations of offense or indecency. Every one has had to make the case that their material is worthy of being treated as free expression. And -- thankfully -- they've all won. Except games.
Game developers are regularly treated as second class media citizens. It was only in 2011, 40 years after their creation, that video games were finally declared to be a protected form of free speech by the Supreme Court. Throughout the history of
the industry we have had self-policing, legal suppression, publisher, platform and retailer demands for creative changes to games based on censorship. Some are ridiculous (bans against showing blood) and some are allegations of prurience (nudity
in games) and some are baseless fears of corruption (video game violence).
Whether it's a console or a big retail chain, we game makers have long had to put up with a level of interference that no other medium faces. We're consistently told what our medium should be like, often by people with a poor understanding of it.
We frequently get accused of leading the world astray in ways that are not supportable. All this at a time when the first generation of game makers is passing the torch ( Ralph Baer RIP ). The second generation often wants to make fun games, but
some of them want to use games for other means. Games like Depression Quest and dys4ia , for example. Games like Papers Please . Games like Sweatshop . Games like Howling Dogs .
But even though Apple has done many amazing things for our industry in liberalizing its economics (with great thanks) the company nevertheless buys into the urge to suppress games. And it's just morally wrong. Tim I don't believe that this is a
position that you're actively taking. I think it's happened as a result of a couple of related issues that have bred an awkward censorship.
First there was the issue of trying to keep iOS relatively consumer friendly by keeping porn away. Apple's position has been that people are welcome to go out onto the Web and do as they wish. If they really want their adult material, Safari is
their gateway. Second was the fact that because games are made in software there is frequently confusion in many minds over whether they are a medium or a product. Approval of software is essentially a checklist of what's permitted or not, much
as a technical requirements, violations, bugs and so on. It's (mostly) entirely binary.
The problem for us game makers is that the Safari answer usually doesn't work for us. Software is not permitted to get to iOS devices via the Web because to do so invites malware, and that would be a major problem for such a high-profile
platform. And secondly evaluating games in the manner of software checklists strips them of context. It is literally this game contains boobs as in Lucas Pope's Papers Please . Ban or change.
It doesn't feature whether those boobs are appropriate or not, as they might in other media. Via Apple today I can purchase Game of Thrones episodes or Lady Chatterley's Lover even though both have invited questions of appropriate content in
their time. Why? Because Apple understands context. Media gets protected even though some would find it offensive because it matters. Except for games. If a game is philosophically seen as like an app then it falls under a certain remit. If a
game is philosophically seen as like a book or album, it goes another way. Shifting from one to the other view is what needs to change.
I imagine that the experience of the team vetting Papers Please was a little like the Fox censor character from the Simpsons . He reads a script and marks no, no, no then sees a joke which makes him laugh out loud before marking it no
. I imagine that in playing Papers Please or many of the other banned or censored games on iOS that the team knew it was good but had no option to approve it. It didn't fit the checklist.
I don't mean to make light of your own situation, but Tim you know what it is to express your true self . You know that being free is important, supremely important. Yet through a series of circumstances the company founded by one of the
designers of Breakout finds itself in this position of saying no, of insisting that games fit in a box and be culturally relegated. Great revenues maybe, but creatively they're not being allowed to be all they can be on your platform.
Would taking the view that games are media and thus not censoring them alter the bottom line of the App Store? I doubt it. Would it need some thought as regards age categories and appropriate handling? I would think so, yes. So it's likely a net
drag to actually do it. But you should do it anyway.
It's been a hard fought battle for some of us within the games industry to get to the point where we're not thought of as drug dealers or child-corrupting monsters. We're trying to overcome that Comics-Code perception, and slowly succeeding even
despite resistance within and without. The big platforms often still stand in our way, still act like games should only exist in certain boxes, but they're slowly shifting.
Tim you control the biggest gaming platform in the world. Mobile games will surpass PC and console soon enough, and when they do they will become the new core gaming . The games won't all be just Candy Crush and Clash of Clans forever though, any
more than TV stayed as its 1960s incarnation forever. Communities and cultures form around games in a way that's important to the overall culture, and will only increasingly do so.
Given your position of power do you really feel it's your place to stand in the way of the development of a medium? To say game developers you get to live in this box only . I don't think you mean to, but that's kind of where you are. Tim
I need Apple to lead on this, as it has so often before.
Former Plaid Cymru president Dafydd Iwan has claimed that the Tom Jones' classic, and Welsh rugby anthem, Delilah is 'inappropriate' for rugby crowds.
He claims it somehow promotes domestic violence and should be banned for its violent lyrics. He spouted:
It is a song about murder and it does tend to trivialise the idea of murdering a woman. It's a pity these words now have been elevated to the status of a secondary national anthem. I think we should rummage around for another song instead of
The Welsh Rugby Union disagrees though, comparing the lyrics to Shakespeare plays such as Romeo and Juliet.
And Tom Jones says he doesn't think rugby crowds really think about the lyrics when singing Delilah. He said he was proud the song was used at rugby matches and said the song's subject matter simply reflected something that happens in life
The lyrics include the lines:
At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting.
I cross the street to her house and she opened the door.
She stood there laughing... I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.
A few miserable gits have whinged at a show by pop star Lily Allen for a supposedly disrespectful recreation of the nativity at one of her concerts.
At a sold-out show at the O2 Academy in Brixton, she performed her song Sheezus , while sitting in a straw-covered manger. Her back-up dancers were dressed as a traditional donkey, a Christmas cracker and a gift. The stage was illuminated
with dozens of giant, lit-up baby bottles and Lily was joined by the Capital Children's Choir.
Conservative MP Martin Vickers whinged:
This could be extremely offensive to many Christians.
It is important that all religions are given the respect they deserve and I can certainly understand why some Christians believe their deeply held views are being squeezed out.
[But religions do get the respect they deserve!...none!]
It's been a long time since we've heard from Stephen Green, of Christian Voice, but it wasn't really worth the wait, he whimpered:
It is tasteless, it is disrespectful and it is crass.
Images captured on a household surveillance camera could breach data-protection rules, the European court of 'justice' (ECJ) has ruled .
By clarifying European legislation, the judgment could have significant consequences for householders in the UK who use CCTV and keep or try to use the images, according to a legal expert.
The case related to a Czech man, Frantisek Rynes, who installed a surveillance camera after he and his family were subjected to attacks by unknown individuals. The camera filmed areas including a public footpath and the entrance to the house
opposite. After someone fired a catapult at his home, breaking a window, Rynes gave the recordings to the police, allowing them to identify two suspects, who were subsequently prosecuted.
However, one of the suspects challenged the legality of Rynes recording and holding the images. The Czech office for the protection of personal data, found that although Rynes had been trying to expose the perpetrators of a crime, he had
infringed data-protection rules and issued him with a fine.
And of course Euro judges agreed:
The operation of a camera system, as a result of which a video recording of people is stored on a continuous recording device such as a hard disk drive, installed by an individual on his family home for the purposes of protecting the property,
health and life of the homeowners, but which also monitors a public space, does not amount to the processing of data in the course of a purely personal or household activity, for the purposes of that provision.
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) will have to reconsider a decision to grant Top TV licences to broadcast three pornography channels.
The Western Cape High Court dismissed On Digital Media's application for leave to appeal a ruling that the communications authority must revisit its decision.
A previous court case had decided that the TV regulator had not considered a restriction on porn distribution found in laws pertaining to DVD distribution and the country's film censors.
Judge Lee Bozalek said he was correct in remitting a decision to license On Digital Media's porn channels back to Icasa rather than apply the discretion himself. He said it's not up to the court to sever the good from the bad with regard
to a decision to license three porn channels.
On Digital Media, operating as Top TV, was granted three licences in April last year to broadcast adult content pay channels. In its appeal application, On Digital Media said remitting the decision back to Icasa would lead to unnecessary delay,
prejudice and cost.
Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-UK was asked Would you say things have got better or worse over those years? Pattison replied:
Well it's very easy to have a knee-jerk reaction and think everything has got so much worse, but that really isn't the case. I'm happy that we see a lot less racism and a lot less sexism on television today and I think that that has been a
positive thing. But on the other hand I think we're seeing an awful lot more portrayals of violence, particularly sexual violence, which I think is incredibly worrying - and we're also seeing it used almost as a titillation, you know: lascivious
camera shots on lots of violent action and violent footage. I don't think that that has been a positive development and I think that television and a lot of the programmes on it have become increasingly sexualised, which we're now beginning to
learn, and we're still in the foothills here, but it's really quite damaging for children growing up with these images around them. So tempting though it is to say, No, everything's worse - some things are a lot better and some things
really are not.
India Sikhs are attempting to unilaterally impose a new Sikh film censor board on Indian films to force them to portray the religion and its followers in a positive light.
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) will constitute a Sikh Censor Board to clear movies and books touching on the Sikh religion, history and culture. The board will ensure that films, books and entertainment provide positive
propaganda for the religion. SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar said,
The proposed board is aimed to ensure that the movies made in the future are in accordance with the Sikh 'rehat maryada' (code of conduct). The board will have 11 members, including Sikh intellectuals, historians and experts from various fields,
film experts and lawyers.
The SGPC was asked to constitute a censor board. Any movie or book related to Sikh history and culture has to be examined to avoid any controversies in the future.
However the unilateral imposition of religious censorship may not have any legal basis whatsoever.
Central Board of Film Classification (CBFC) member Chander Mukhi questioned the legal sanctity behind the proposed censor board by SGPC. He said:
What legal status do they have? Under which law will they enact this board? CBFC is enacted by the Parliament. Any other organisation will come up tomorrow and try to set its own censor board. We have different panels to watch the movies before
they are released. The members are different every time. Any objectionable part in the film is cut down.
Makkar admitted that the board would have no legal sanctity:
Filmmakers who don't seek approval from the board would be responsible if there is any controversy. There have been instances in the past when films had to face strong protests.
Wrapping paper featuring a blue and silver design has been withdrawn from shops after a complaint that the gift wrap featured swastikas.
A shopper noticed the paper in a display for the jewish holiday of Hanukkah at a branch of Walgreens in California, US, and complained.
Hallmark Cards apologised and said that any similarity to a swastika was unintentional, adding that the pattern has been in the company's reference archives for several years:
As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we began taking steps to remove the gift wrap from all store shelves and we will ensure the pattern is not used on any product formats going forward, a company statement said. We sincerely
apologise for this oversight and for any unintended offense.
The adult website HardGlam (at www.hardglam.com and others) has been fined £1500 for transgression of ATVOD's internet censorship rules:
Rule 1: A person must not provide an on-demand programme service unless, before beginning to provide it, that person has given notification to the appropriate regulatory authority of the person's intention to provide that service. A notification
must be sent to the appropriate regulatory authority in such manner as the authority may require and must contain all such information as the authority may require.
Rule 4: The provider of an On-Demand Programme Service must pay to the appropriate regulatory authority such fee as that authority may require under section 368NA of the Act.
Rule 11: If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such
persons will not normally see or hear it.
The usual complaints about not registering for censorship, allowing hardcore material available without the onerous age verification requirements and not being responsive to the censors finger clicking.
Perhaps more interesting is how Ofcom relates to dealing with an adult industry minnow. Ofcom noted:
The Service Provider submitted written representations to Ofcom on 13 November 2014. The Service Provider also attended an oral hearing on 2 December 2014, supported by two family members.
Firstly, the Service Provider apologised for previous lack of engagement with ATVOD and Ofcom. He explained he had not intended to delay or impede the regulatory process and that there were a number of exceptional personal circumstances which had
led to him (in his words) putting his, head in the sand . He noted that he was not well connected in the adult or video on demand industries and had run a business focusing on niche fetishes (principally women smoking) for nine years
without realising compliance with ATVOD rules was required. When ATVOD contacted him, he had not known where to turn for advice and, having previously fallen victim to scams, had erroneously believed registration with ATVOD was either a scam or
at least not a legal requirement. He said that Ofcom's involvement had alerted him to the seriousness of the situation and, following receipt of documents from Ofcom on 26 October 2014, he had taken steps to disable the websites under referral
pending the outcome of Ofcom's sanctions process. Ofcom had noted this on 18 November, and also noted that the services remained unavailable as at the date of the oral hearing.
Secondly, the Service Provider noted that his was a very small business and provided turnover details which were not available to Ofcom at the time of its Preliminary View. The Service Provider said that he had struggled to make a profit with his
original company, J&L Visuals Limited, and had liquidated that company in October 2010. He said that with so much content available free over the internet, subscription based providers were now struggling to cover costs. After seeking
alternative employment, the Service Provider explained he had returned to the internet business, as sole trader under the HardGlam name. The Service Provider said that he did not have full accounts for the relevant period but he provided
information about his very modest sales during the period from 26 April to 13 November 2014 and on his monthly running costs. The Service Provider said the assumptions in Ofcom's Preliminary View massively overstated the size of his
business and expressed concerns about his ability to continue the business were a fine over four figures to be imposed.
Thirdly, the Service Provider noted the impact of the steps taken by Ofcom and of his own failure to engage earlier with the process on himself and his business. He said that since Ofcom had taken action in relation to the Service, his main
payment provider had suspended payment provision in relation to the Service and he had not been able to receive any income or publish new content, leaving him with the costs for the premises he used for filming but no income to cover those costs.
He indicated that he had to borrow money to cover these costs..
The US film censorship system has a notable large gap between the PG-13 rating and the R rating which would called a 17A in UK terms. There is clearly a need for a rating around the 15 level.
A New York cinema has made the news this week by overriding the MPAA rating for a couple of films that would occupy this 15 rated middle ground. Film ratings are voluntary in the US, so they are legally allowed to do this.
IFC Center, a major independent cinema has decided to defy the MPAA's R ratings for the documentary on Ed Snowden by Laura Poitras, Citizenfour , and for Richard Linklater's film Boyhood . The cinema announced the decision on
notices as follows:
While the MPAA has assigned BOYHOOD a rating of R, recommending that no one under 17 be admitted without a parent or guardian, IFC Center feels that the film is appropriate viewing for mature adolescents. Accordingly, the theater will admit high
school age patrons at its discretion.
For comparison the BBFC rated both films 15 as follows:
Boyhood. Passed 15 uncut for strong language, sex references, drug use for:
Citizenfour. Passed 15 uncut for strong language for:
David Cameron announced a new law this week defining a new offence of over 18's sending. sexual messages to under 16s.
The Government also announced that revenge porn will also become a specific crime.
And perhaps most interesting a small follow up snippet of news that Microsoft, Google and Mozilla will announce plans to directly block people from accessing websites hosting child pornography from software include as an integral feature in
internet browsers. So sounds like another censorship tool that others will soon clamour for its extension to their pet censorship requirements.
At the behest of David Cameron and the Daily Mail, everyone who signs up for an Internet account is asked Would you like to keep 'adult content' blocked on this connection?
It's a misleading question. A more accurate version is Would you like an unnamed third party company to use a secret, arbitrary, ever-changing blacklist to spy on all your clicks and decide which ones are and are not allowed to get through?
Like China's Great Firewall, the UK firewall is a patchwork of rules and filters that are opaque to users and regulators. Every ISP uses its own censorship supplier to spy on its customers and decide what they're allowed to see, and they change
what is and is not allowed from moment to moment, with no transparency into how, when or why those decisions are being made.
Case in point: Virgin Media is blocking access to the website of the
All Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition . The site hosts Parliament's own documents on extraordinary rendition (this being the favoured government euphemism for sending people to other countries to be tortured ).
There's no way to know why Virgin blocked this. It's probably because much of the vocabulary used, seems to a dumb algorithm, to sound a bit like a website glorifying terrorism. Virgin in fact makes the unlikely sounding claim that the site is
Freedom on the Net 2014 is the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014. The report finds internet
freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period.
In a departure from the past, when most governments preferred a behind-the-scenes approach to internet control, countries rapidly adopted new laws that legitimize existing repression and effectively criminalize online
The past year also saw increased government pressure on independent news websites, which had previously been among the few uninhibited sources of information in many countries, in addition to more people detained or
prosecuted for their digital activities than ever before.
Between May 2013 and May 2014, 41 countries passed or proposed legislation to penalize legitimate forms of speech online, increase government powers to control content, or expand government surveillance capabilities.
Since May 2013, arrests for online communications pertinent to politics and social issues were documented in 38 of the 65 countries, most notably in the Middle East and North Africa, where detentions occurred in 10 out of
the 11 countries examined in the region.
Pressure on independent news websites, among the few unfettered sources of information in many countries, dramatically increased. Dozens of citizen journalists were attacked while reporting on conflict in Syria and
antigovernment protests in Egypt, Turkey and Ukraine. Other governments stepped up licensing and regulation for web platforms.
Freedom House identified three emerging threats that place the rights of internet users at increasing risk:
Data localization requirements, by which private companies are required to maintain data storage centers within a given country, are multiplying, driven in part by NSA revelations, which spurred more governments to bring
international web companies under domestic jurisdiction. These costly measures could expose user data to local law enforcement.
Women and LGBTI rights are undermined by digital threats and harassment, resulting in self-censorship that inhibits their participation in online culture.
Cybersecurity is eroding as government critics and human rights organizations are subject to increasingly sophisticated and personalized malware attacks, documented in 32 of the 65 countries examined.
Despite overall declines in global internet freedom, pushback by civil society was amplified this year by reactions to the NSA surveillance revelations. Awareness of the threats to fundamental rights expanded beyond civil
society, as ordinary users around the world became more engaged in securing their privacy and freedom of expression online. In select cases, long-running internet freedom campaigns finally garnered the necessary momentum to succeed.
A New Zealand bar manager has been detained in Burma for using a commonplace image of the Buddha wearing headphones in a promotion. Police claimed the promotion was an insult to the Buddhist religion.
General manager Philip Blackwood, owner Tun Thurein and manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin were detained for police questioning and the bar was shuttered after a complaint by an official from Myanmar's Religious Department.
The Facebook posting for the newly opened V Gastro bar , a tapas restaurant and nightclub in a Yangon embassy area, showed a psychedelic mock-up of the Buddha wearing DJ headphones to trail a cheap drinks night this Sunday, AFP reported.
The bar deleted the post and wrote an apology on its Facebook page: Our intention was never to cause offence to anyone or toward any religious group. Our ignorance is embarrassing.
BBFC advised category cuts were made for UK cinema and home video releases of Paul WS Anderson's Pompeii .
The BBFC commented at the time of the cinema release:
This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes.
The company was advised:
to reduce stronger moments of violence where there was a dwelling on particular acts and
to reduce the emphasis on blood on bladed weapons.
When the film was formally submitted, changes had been made which addressed these concerns. Consequently, the film was passed 12A.
Now Movie-Censorship.com reveals that the BBFC advised category cuts were adopted for US PG-13 rated release and also for FSK 12 rated release in Germany. Presumably the BBFC cuts therefore apply worldwide.
BBFC advised category cuts similarly found there way into the worldwide Theatrical Version of Brett Ratner's Hercules . But at least in this case there was an Extended Version released on US Blu-ray which restored the cuts. The Extended
Version is MPAA Unrated in the US but has not been released in the UK.
Dead Poets Society is a 1989 USA drama by Peter Weir.
Starring Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke.
Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His room-mate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with
their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and are changed for life.
The BBFC recalls:
One Examiner report for Dead Poets Society, available here, describes the emotional impact of the film on the Examiners present at its classification. It highlights the suicide in the film, and some very brief nudity, as the key classification
issues taking the film to PG.
Sometimes, the world looks like a bleak place: the Middle East is still rocked by bloody violence, endangering thousands of innocent lives; millions around the world are still dying from poverty and preventable diseases. And yet, No More Page 3
(NMP3) campaigners are still convinced that the real crisis facing humanity today is the influence of boobs on working-class men.
ATVOD recently published minutes from the September board meeting which predated the recent government censorship decree for internet porn.
The law was discussed at the meeting but this seems a little irrelevant after the law was published. Other related issues that cropped up were:
Secret Censors Pact
The Board NOTED the progress being made with development of a MoU with Ofcom and BBFC. Once finalised the MoU would be published and made available to Industry Forum members.
Move to censor the internet to the same level as TV
The Board AGREED that ATVOD should offer to provide Ofcom with the benefit of its expertise with regard to the work Ofcom is undertaking on a common framework for media standards.
You can run but you cannot hide
The Industry Forum meeting had supported working party proposals for a process designed to confirm whether an on demand service fell under UK jurisdiction. The Board DISCUSSED the details of the scheme. It was expected that the final scheme
would be brought to the November Board meeting for approval.
Licence to kill the adult trade
The Board NOTED that there had been no recent communication from DCMS on proposals to consider the feasibility of a licensing scheme for foreign pornographic websites.
More censorship rules to follow
The Board AGREED that finalisation of ATVOD's additional guidance for adult providers should be put on hold until the new AVMS Regulations was introduced.
In league with the devil
BBFC presentation on 18, R18 and unclassifiable material 8.1
Murray Perkins, BBFC, attended the meeting and gave a presentation which included examples of material classified at 18, material classified at R18 and material which had been refused a classification.
Protest against internet porn censorship law
12th December 2014, at noon
Old Palace Yard, Parliament, London
To meet outside parliament and protest against the new sexist laws - This is not supporting sexual equality and something needs to be done! Pornography produced in the UK was quietly censored today through an amendment to the 2003 Communications
Act, and the measures appear to take aim at female pleasure.
The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 requires that video-on-demand (VoD) online porn now adhere to the same guidelines laid out for DVD sex shop-type porn by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).
Seemingly arbitrarily deciding what is nice sex and what is not nice sex, the board's ruling on content that is not acceptable (p.23) effectively bans legal and consensual acts from being depicted by British pornography producers.
The theme of the protest is the Monty Python classic song, Sit On My Face. And couples will be doing as the song suggests, one the ludicrous prohibitions contained in the government censorship decree.
Protest Against The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations
The Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN) fully support the protest organised outside parliament this Friday against the government's latest ludicrous and hypocritical attempts to clamp down on porn that falls outside a narrow cultural
definition of normal sexuality.
According to Jane Fae, co-convenor of CAAN England and Wales:
far from protecting anyone, this is the usual badly thought-out mishmash of irrelevant measures and middle-aged male prejudice. What they mostly dislike are women and individuals from outside the charmed circle of sexuality(*) having any place
to explore what turns them on.
Dennis Queen, also co-convenor, seconded this view. She said:
Yet again, the official censors are reinforcing regulations that prevent people from expressing themselves safely while politicians such as David Cameron reward their friends in big porn by making it ever more difficult for anyone else to be
involved in creating erotic film.
Equally this prevents a very large constituency of people, both straight and otherwise from accessing material that is fundamentally harmless.
If politicians had even a smidgeon of concern for individuals involved in porn, they would be talking to those already working in the industry and identifying what THEY want to make their workplace safer. As it is, Cameron's enforced
introduction of filters has made it far harder for young people -- especially LGBTQ youth -- to obtain vital information and to explore their personal sexuality.
The principal beneficiaries of the government's initiatives in this area have been large US and China based filtering businesses. The government have made no-one safer: they have almost certainly done harm to vulnerable people.
(*) The charmed circle is the idea, proposed by Professor Gayle Rubin, that sexuality can be divided into that which is privileged by society, and is located inside the circle, while all other non-privileged sexually was located outside,
and in opposition to it. Within the circle, broadly, are to be found straight, monogamous, vanilla, sex without the use of any aids.
A judicial review of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) has been granted permission by Mr Justice Lewis in the High Court today. Open Rights Group (ORG) and Privacy International (PI) intervened in the case, which was brought
by Tom Watson MP and David Davis MP, represented by Liberty. ORG and PI have now been given permission to make further submissions in advance of the next hearing.
Legal Director Elizabeth Knight said:
After the Court of Justice of the EU declared the Data Retention Directive invalid, the UK government had the opportunity to design new legislation that would protect human rights. It chose instead to circumvent the decision of the CJEU by
introducing the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), which is almost identical to the Data Retention Directive.
Through our submission, we hope to help demonstrate that DRIPA breaches our fundamental human right to privacy and does not comply with human rights and EU law.
ORG's submission addresses the EU data protection regime in place before the Data Retention Directive (in particular the Data Protection Directive, the E-privacy Directive and the E-Commerce Directive) and why we consider DRIPA does not comply
with the requirements of the regime in light of the clear guidance from the CJEU.
Thailand's internet freedom has slipped from partly free last year to not free this year, placing it among the ranks of China, Vietnam, Iran and Libya in that category, according to the latest annual report by Freedom House. The
After the coup, the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] made dozens of arrests, stepped up digital surveillance, infringed on online privacy and create a climate of fear where Internet users conducted an on and offline witch hunt against
Freedom House noted that charges of lese majeste and computer-related crimes brought by Internet users against fellow citizens increased along with political detention:
In the month after the coup, there were at least five cases of a lese majeste charge added when an individual was already in detention. Three notable ones involved digital content.
Even those who use the Internet anonymously have come under threat since the May 22 coup, the organisation noted:
In late May, the MICT reportedly proposed to establish a single national gateway to the International Internet to expedite monitoring and censorship online content that is deemed illegal. Reports in June 2014 said MICT officials were consulting
with vendors to implement plans, which would require every Thai citizen to authenticate their identity using their smart ID cards before logging onto the Internet.
South African film censors from the Film and Publications Board (FPB) plans to extend its censorship control to the digital space and, in a draft policy document, proposes that all online content distributed in South Africa must be censored by
However there are concerns that the agency has drafted this online regulation policy without consulting stakeholders and the breadth of its ambit could invite abuse.
The draft policy requires that, as of 31 March 2016, no one will be allowed to distribute digital content in South Africa unless it is classified in terms of the board's guidelines, or a system accredited by the board, and aligned to its
classification guidelines, and the Film and Publications Act and its classifications. The FPB logo must also be prominently displayed.
This regulation would clearly apply to major corporates such as Google and Apple, who face sanctions if they don't comply, but it could also affect bloggers or individuals posting video clips online, who in some cases could face legal
The draft policy requires that anyone who wants to distribute a film, game or certain publications online will have to apply for an online distribution agreement. A prescribed fee, determined by the minister, will be imposed and, after payment,
the distributor can classify content on behalf of the board by using its classification guidelines and those of the FPB Act.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) gave its judgment in a major surveillance case brought by Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International. Disappointingly, the IPT ruled against the NGOs and accepted the security services'
position that they may in principle carry out mass surveillance of all fibre optic cables entering or leaving the UK and that vast intelligence sharing with the NSA does not contravene the right to privacy because of the existence of secret
The decision should enable the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to proceed with hearing the Privacy not PRISM case brought by ORG and others. It also means that Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International may join us in
The NGOs challenged the government's surveillance practices on the grounds that it breached our rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Read Privacy International's summary of the judgment here.
It is a disappointing decision, but not a surprising one. ORG and the other human rights groups have long argued that the IPT is unable to provide an adequate remedy. It is able to hold secret hearings (as part of the hearing in this case was)
without telling the claimant what happened at those hearings. There is no right of appeal from a decision of the IPT. In this case the government refused to divert from its neither confirm nor deny policy regarding the existence of its
surveillance programmes, which meant the case had to consider hypotheticals.
ORG, Big Brother Watch, English PEN, Article 19 and Constanze Kurz have a case in the ECtHR that challenges the government's surveillance practices on very similar grounds. Our Privacy not PRISM case questions the human rights compliance
of GCHQ's TEMPORA programme, carried out under s.8(4) Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and the use of information obtained from the NSA's PRISM programme. The case has been given a priority status by the ECtHR but is currently on
hold pending today's decision by the IPT.
The IPT case has forced the government to disclose previously secret polices, reveal its overly broad definition of external communications and admit that it can obtain communications from the NSA without a warrant. These disclosures will
assist all of the rights groups' arguments in the ECtHR.
The decision means that the adjournment of our case is likely to be lifted soon. How soon this happens will depend on whether the claimants in the IPT decide to apply to the ECtHR and whether the court allows them to join our case. Privacy
International has already indicated that it intends to complain to the ECtHR.
We await the decision of the ECtHR as to when it will re-start our case and begin its scrutiny of the government's surveillance practices. All parties will now look to the ECtHR to defend our human rights where the IPT has failed to do so.
France has become the latest country to the block world's number one file-sharing site, The Pirate Bay, in an effort to defend copyright-protected content.
The ruling of the Grand Instance Court of Paris ordered the country's leading internet providers, including Orange, Bouygues Telecom, Free and SFR, to ensure all measures are put into place to prevent access (to the site) from French territory
. In addition to the main site address, the court banned around 20 mirror websites and 50 proxy servers that allow users to download content from the Swedish site.
Now internet service providers have 15 days to prevent access to the file-sharing site, which some 28.7% of people in France visited at least once a month last year, according to anti-piracy group Alpa.
The court ruling follows legal action by the anti-piracy group La Societe Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques (SCPP), which represents some 2,000 music labels that brought the request before the court this year.
The controversial performance installation Exhibit B by Brett Bailey is set to begin a seven-day run on Sunday in Paris's Centquatre contemporary arts centre.
Campaigners wanting the exhibit banned and claim that the show is racist. Galvanised by the example of the UK where protesters succeeded in getting the show cancelled at London's Barbican theatre in September, the French Collective Against
Exhibit B continues to call for a boycott .
But the theatre refuses to back down to the harassment and says the show will go ahead in the name of both free speech and future dialogue over the many difficult issues the show raises.
Unfortunately, there'll be a heavy police presence, says theatre director Jose'-Manuel Goncalves: People, families, won't be able to circulate like they usually do. But the show will go on at Centquatre. He says:
This is not a racist work. If it were, there are laws in France which would ban it. It's an important work. As many people as possible have to see it.
Tickets are sold out, not just for tonight but for the week-long run.
A man in Iran has been sentenced to death for supposedly insulting the religious character, Mohammed on Facebook.
Soheil Arabi, a 30-year-old blogger, was convicted in August after admitting posting supposedly offensive material on eight Facebook pages, under different names.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said that Arabi now faces imminent execution by hanging after the Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of the rights group, siad:
It is simply shocking that anyone should face the gallows simply because of Internet postings that are deemed to be crude, offensive, or insulting. Iran should urgently revise its penal code to eliminate provisions that criminalise peaceful free
expression, especially when they punish its exercise with death.
Facebook page to protest the decision has been set up, and now has more than 2,400 likes, but so far Iran is holding firm with the sentence.
A club on John Bright Street, central Birmingham, has been refused a licence by Birmingham City Council. This venue, which previously offered striptease before becoming a burlesque club ('Rouge') was refused a licence on the basis of being
unsuitable within the locality and with reference to other land use in the vicinity.
What a load of bollox. John Bright Street is in a desolate corner of Birmingham city centre that is penned in by 2 legs of inner ring road dual carriage way, on the other side a busy little road which is one of the few ways in and out of the
shopping area...and on the fourth side is the concrete monstrosity of New Street station. The only businesses that hang in there are a few pubs, a cinema and a theatre. It is the most suitable area in town.
Birmingham Council has banned a new lap dancing club in the city centre following objections from a miserable campaign group based next door. The council's licensing committee chairman Barbara Dring ludicrously claimed:
The use of the venue would be out of keeping with the locality.
Action for Blind People formally objected to the license application for Lace Gentlemens Club on John Bright Street. The venue was previously used as a Spearmint Rhino lap dancing club until 2008, followed by an independent operator which closed
several years ago. Cormac McCarthy of Action for Blind People whinged:
The overall nature of the street has changed remarkably since the development of the station. This use is not in keeping with the street. The street has improved considerably in the last two years with more people accessing our services.
Speaking on behalf of the Lace owner, solicitor Heath Thomas argued that John Bright Street is a suitable area for a lap dancing club. He said:
This is a street which is part of Birmingham's night time economy. No other individuals have raised concerns. There is no suggestion this is going to give rise to crime and anti-social behaviour.
He also pointed out there was, crucially, no objection from police.
Clinton Cards has been bullied into dropping a Christmas card jokily likening Santa to 'a council estate man'.
The card details the 10 reasons Santa Claus must live on a council estate and features a picture of a tower block and Father Christmas, with the cover message: 10 reasons Santa Claus must live on a council estate... Ten not
particularly pithy reasons following including:
He has a serial record for breaking and entering!
He only works once a year
A few humourless people whinged on Twitter. Kerry McCarthy, the Labour MP for Bristol East led the PC lynch mob writing: Wow, this is so wrong.
A Clintons spokesman told The Independent:
A card in our range has been withdrawn immediately. It is in no way reflective of our views and we apologise without reservation.
We are investigating how this offensive card got through our quality control procedures, which we will review and tighten as a result of this incident. This was a mistake and we deeply regret the upset that this has clearly caused.
Close to 13,000 people have signed a petition in Australia calling for Target to ban the Bible from its stores.
The protest comes from gaming enthusiasts after Grand Theft Auto V was banned from Target and Kmart this week due to its violent content.The petition, which is posted in change.org, points out that the sickening religious book encourages
readers to commit sexual violence and kill women .
News.com.au reports the disgruntled gamers are also calling for Target to change its violent name and aggressive logo , a petition to ban all knife sales and a demand for a ban on Fifty Shades of Gray.
Update: However to be fair, Target did themselves no favours with this advert
I mean seriously, what is wrong with this picture? What were they thinking? This is an advertisement and it is essentially informing consumers that Grand Theft Auto V is a toy for children on the same level as Peppa Pig.
An advertising poster in a Peta campaign against consuming dairy produce has been pulled from display following whinges from Notts County football club.
The billboard image shows a startled woman whose face has been drenched in a white liquid substance next to the words Some bodily fluids are bad for you. Don't swallow. Ditch Dairy.
Notts County complained that the nearby advert was not in keeping with [their] community and family-focused values. Damian Irvine, Commercial Director at the club ejaculated:
Families coming along to Meadow Lane for our blockbuster Christmas matches against Swindon Town on December 13 and against MK Dons on Boxing Day will not be subjected to the ads.
The design, which was described by the local paper as like the aftermath of a sex act , was commissioned and set to be displayed throughout December after a Swedish study claimed that an increased risk of bone fractures and mortality are
linked to dairy products .
Mimi Bekhechi, director of Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), said:
The billboard is a cheeky way to alert passers-by to the dangers of drinking cows' milk.
An animal rights group has been branded misogynistic by a women's rights group. Campaign group Resist Porn Culture claimed the Peta poster was sexist and called for tighter regulations.
Lisa Marie-Taylor, from Resist Porn Culture, said adverts of this kind were inspired by the pornography industry, which she claiomed depicts women as subservient and often brutalised beings :
Peta's sexist, misogynist adverts aim to be original and thought-provoking but they are neither. Resist Porn Culture calls on the ASA to implement more stringent guidelines around such adverts and insists that the ASA adheres to its purpose and
strategy statement 'to make every UK ad a responsible ad'.
A Peta spokesman said the billboard was a tongue-in-cheek warning about the dairy industry's treatment of cows:
While some people might disagree with our tactics, there is no one final word on what offends women and what doesn't. Many of the women here - and the women who have written in telling us they love the ad - have a different opinion.
Censors at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they had received 9 complaints and were considering an investigation. '
The anti-dairy poster by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) was placed outside Notts County FC's stadium on Thursday. It was taken down the next day and has now been replaced. Peta said another advert against eating turkey for
Christmas would go up later this week instead.
A department store in western Sweden is banning toys after a few customers complained over a number of miniature soldiers bearing Nazi symbols.
The toy soldiers at the Geka*s store in Ullared are manufactured by Cobi and some bear uniforms resembling those worn by the Gestapo during the Second World War. The symbols on the toy soldiers are reported to include swastikas and eagles.
When I looked closely at the figures I saw that there are German tanks with smiling soldiers from the Nazi era, a father told the Expressen daily.
Geka*s CEO Boris Lennerhov has confirmed that the firm plans to shelve the toys.
Britain's surveillance laws, which have recently been used by the police to seize journalists's phone records in the Plebgate and Huhne cases, are not fit for purpose and need urgent reform, a Commons inquiry has found.
The Commons home affairs select committee says that the level of secrecy surrounding use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) allows the police to engage in acts which would be unacceptable in a democracy .
The committee chairman, Keith Vaz, said the surveillance law was not fit for purpose:
Using Ripa to access telephone records of journalists is wrong and this practice must cease. The inevitable consequence is that this deters whistleblowers from coming forward.
The MPs' inquiry followed claims by Sun and Daily Mail journalists that the Metropolitan and Kent police forces were secretly using the powers to trawl through thousands of phone numbers to detect their confidential sources in high-profile
In response Home Office ministers have claimed they will revise the Ripa rules on communications data requests involving sensitive professions such as journalists and lawyers.
Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said:
When a senior Parliamentary Committee says that the current legislation is not fit for purpose, then this simply cannot be ignored. It is now abundantly clear that the law is out of date, the oversight is weak and the recording of how the powers
are used is patchy at best. The public is right to expect better.
The conclusion of the Committee that the level of secrecy surrounding the use of these powers is permitting investigations that are deemed unacceptable in a democracy, should make the defenders of these powers sit up and take notice. At present,
the inadequacy and inconsistency of the records being kept by public authorities regarding the use of these powers is woefully inadequate. New laws would not be required to correct this.
Whilst this report concentrates on targeting journalists, it is important to remember that thousands of members of the public have also been snooped on, with little opportunity for redress. If the police fail to use the existing powers correctly
then it is completely irresponsible for the Home Office to be planning on increasing those powers.
Failure by the Government to address these serious points means we can already know that there will be many more innocent members of the public who will be wrongly spied on and accused. This is intolerable.
A Japanese artist who made a kayak modelled on her own vagina has been arrested again in a case of police censorship.
Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko -- offensive slang which loosely translates as reprobate child -- was arrested in July for trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired
by her genitals. She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.
But she has now been re-arrested. A Tokyo police spokesprat told AFP that she was arrested on suspicion of sending a link:
that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people. She tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the 3D obscene data.
Sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe was also arrested for displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi from around October last year until July, police said.
A new push to save one of London's most famous nightclubs, Madame Jojo's, from closure was made on Thursday when Westminster's Labour councillors called for new management to be allowed to take over the Soho venue.
The council revoked its licence last month following an incident outside the club in October when its bouncers allegedly attacked a customer with baseball bats. The manager and security staff were replaced with workers approved by Westminster,
but the council still decided to withdraw the licence.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the council's Labour group, described the incident in which the customer was attacked as appalling but said that should not be used to justify the remorseless process of Soho gentrification . He
Madame Jojo's is a Soho icon and these premises should not be turned into yet another chain restaurant. We support the reopening of the premises under the same licensing terms should another responsible owner wish to take over.
Westminster council should not let Madame Jojo's die, but should do all it can to keep this unique Soho venue living on under new management.
The calls to save the club may fall on deaf ears given that almost a year ago the council approved plans submitted by Soho Estates , the company founded by Raymond, to redevelop the buildings around Walker's Court and Brewer Street in the next
The EU has issued formal censorship rules surrounding the so-called Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF).
The formal considerations that the EU data censors want considered in evaluating any RTBF request are:
Does the search result relate to a natural person -- i.e. an individual? And does the search result come up against a search on the data subject's name?
Does the data subject play a role in public life?
Is the data subject a public figure?
Is the data subject a minor?
Is the data accurate?
Is the data relevant and not excessive?
Is the information sensitive within the meaning of Article 8 of the Directive 95/46/EC?
Is the data up to date? Is the data being made available for longer than is necessary for the purpose of the processing?
Is the data processing causing prejudice to the data subject?
Does the data have a disproportionately negative privacy impact on the data subject?
Does the search result link to information that puts the data subject at risk?
In what context was the information published?
Was the original content published in the context of journalistic purposes?
Does the publisher of the data have a legal power, or a legal obligation, to make the personal data publicly available?
Does the data relate to a criminal offence?
In most cases, it appears that more than one criterion will need to be taken into account in order to reach a decision to censor. In other words, no single criterion is, in itself, determinative.
The document asserts that successful RTBF requests should be applied globally and not just to specific country domain search results, as Google has been doing:
[D]e-listing decisions must be implemented in a way that guarantees the effective and complete protection of these rights and that EU law cannot be easily circumvented. In that sense, limiting de-listing to EU domains on
the grounds that users tend to access search engines via their national domains cannot be considered a sufficient means to satisfactorily guarantee the rights of data subjects according to the judgment. In practice, this means that in any case
de-listing should also be effective on all relevant domains, including .com
But any such global de-listing sets up a conflict of laws between nations that recognize RTBF and those that do not. Google had been notifying publishers that their links were being removed, causing some to republish those links for re-indexing.
This has frustrated some European censors who see this practice as undermining the RTBF. Accordingly, the EU says that publishers should not be notified of the removal of links:
Search engine managers should not as a general practice inform the webmasters of the pages affected by de-listing of the fact that some webpages cannot be acceded from the search engine in response to specific queries. Such a communication has
no legal basis under EU data protection law.
The EU also doesn't want Google to publish notices to users that links have been removed for similar reasons:
It appears that some search engines have developed the practice of systematically informing the users of search engines of the fact that some results to their queries have been de-listed in response to requests of an individual. If such
information would only be visible in search results where hyperlinks were actually de-listed, this would strongly undermine the purpose of the ruling. Such a practice can only be acceptable if the information is offered in such a way that users
cannot in any case come to the conclusion that a specific individual has asked for the de-listing of results concerning him or her.
The guidelines state that beyond external search engines (e.g., Google) they may be extended to undefined intermediaries. However they immediately go on to apparently contradict that notion:
The right to de-listing should not apply to search engines with a restricted field of action, particularly in the case of search tools of websites of newspapers.
Finally the guidelines suggest that only EU citizens may be eligible in practice to make RTBF requests.
An ad in the Bucks Free Press for an estate agent, featured an image of six women, from behind, wearing Whirlybird branded bikinis. Text stated Would you like one of the ladies at Whirlybird Property to value your home? if so, call now and
take advantage of our preferential rates for selling your property . Issue
Two complainants, who believed the ads were sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
ASA Assessment: complaints upheld
Whilst the ASA noted the bikinis worn by the six women featured in the ad were Whirlybird Property branded, we considered the use of the image was incongruous to the subject of property lettings. Although the image was not sexually explicit; we
considered that, alongside the text Would you like one of the ladies at Whirlybird to value your home? it was likely to be seen as sexist and demeaning to women because it used their physical features to draw attention to the product. We
therefore concluded that, in this context, the image was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Pippi Longstocking, a rambunctious, joyful girl strong enough to lift horses, has become a touchstone for generations of children who have read her in 65 languages worldwide.
In Sweden, Pippi is something more: a national treasure and embodiment of the country's egalitarian spirit. So when the Swedish national broadcaster announced this fall that it would edit two scenes that it considered offensive in a 1969
television series about Pippi, including one in which she says her father is king of the Negroes, using a Swedish word now viewed as a racial slur, it hit a nerve.
The series was based on the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren, the first of which were published between 1945 and 1948. Defenders of the decision, including the heirs of Ms. Lindgren, who died in 2002, said the change respected the
spirit of the author. Even in 1970, she had called the term outdated and said she had not meant to offend.
But many others, influential opinion columnists and tens of thousands of people who answered a Facebook poll, said they opposed the revision, some accusing the broadcaster, SVT, of politically correct censorship.
Nils Nyman, one of Ms. Lindgren's seven grandchildren and the chief executive of the family company that oversees the lucrative rights to her work, said he was a little bit surprised that the changes had generated so much fuss. He
said the family had readily agreed to allow SVT to edit two brief scenes in the program, which will air on national television on Saturday and in a newly restored DVD. He said that not making the changes risked distracting from the books' broader
message of girl power before it was known as such.
In one scene, the racial slur has been removed so that Pippi now says, My father is the king! In the second, Pippi no longer pulls her eyelids upward, pretending to be Asian, yet still sings a mock Chinese song.
Indian TV presenter and model Gauahar Khan was left audibly traumatised after a member of the audience at a TV competition she was presenting at got up and slapped her for wearing revealing clothes.
Akil Malik took 'offence' at Khan's cutaway outfit as she presented the grand finale of singing competition Raw Star at Film City in Mumbai. He then got up out of his seat to threaten and assault her live on air. He explained: Being a Muslim
woman, she should not have worn such a short dress.
The UK government has just passed worrying new rules about requiring internet porn films to adhere with BBFC guidelines and for websites to impose impractical age verification requirements.
The internet video censor, ATVOD, is now consulting on a new set of censorship rules to reflect the new law. However ATVOD has also dreamt up a few new censorship rules of its own, seemingly way beyond the law changes about hardcore porn videos.
ATVOD has defined a new rule 14 which lets the organisation act as a new BBFC for internet video material not actually seen by the BBFC. This is not backed up by any change to law that I have spotted.
ATVOD has cut and pasted a whole load of BBFC statement about banning things for made up reasons such moral harm. Now when these statements appear on the BBFC websites, then it is rhetoric to keep moralist campaigners and MPs happy. Knowing what
the BBFC actually bans and censors, generally means that we trust the BBFC not to abuse the open censorship enabling rules.
However there is zero trust for ATVOD which seems to glory in its crucifixion of the adult internet industry with unnecessarily onerous age verification requirements.
Anyway ATVOD introduces the consultation as follows:
Consultation on Proposed New Rules and Guidance Proposal to adopt new Rules and Guidance in light of amendments made to the Communications Act 2003 by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 This consultation opened on 1st December 2014
This consultation will close at 5pm on 2nd March 2015
This is a consultation by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ), the body that Ofcom designated on 18 March 2010 as the co-regulator for VOD editorial content. The purpose of this consultation is to consult on a proposal to
adopt an amended Rules and Guidance document.
We expect to publish a statement on the Proposed Rules and Guidance in spring 2015.
And the new Rule 14 reads:
Rule 14: Harmful Material: Prohibited material
An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material. Prohibited material means
(a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act38 not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or
(b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those
purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.
In determining whether any material falls within (b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.
Content whose broadcast complies with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, or that has been classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in any category, including R18 , would not be considered prohibited material .
Video works which have been refused a classification by the BBFC, and material which if included in a video work would be refused a classification by the BBFC, is prohibited material and cannot be included on an on demand programme
service in any circumstances. All material on the service, including still images and other non-video content is subject to this requirement.
There is no requirement for material being provided on an on demand programme service to be classified by the BBFC, but where material has not been classified, ATVOD is required to have regard to the BBFC Classification Guidelines when
determining whether it is reasonable to expect that such material when included in an on demand programme service is material which, if contained in a video work submitted to the BBFC, would be refused a classification.
The guidance below sets out the type of material which may be refused a classification by the BBFC. For further information on the guidelines issued by the video work authority see the BBFC's website at
http://www.bbfc.co.uk/what-classification/guidelines. Having regard to the current BBFC Classification Guidelines, the following is a non-exhaustive list of the types of material which may constitute prohibited material:
Material in breach of the criminal law (including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation39 of the Obscene Publications Act 1959) or that has been created through the commission of a criminal offence
Material which risks harm to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society. For example:
Material which may promote criminal activity
Portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context
Detailed portrayals of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health or morals.
Material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing
Graphic images of real injury, violence or death presented in a salacious or sensationalist manner which risks harm by encouraging callous or sadistic attitudes
Material which reinforces the suggestion that victims enjoy sexual violence
Material which invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities
Material which is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.
Material in pornographic works which:
Is likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
Portrays sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
Involves the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive consensual activity o Involves penetration by any object
associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
Involves sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game. Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable
The BBC has investigated the imaginary character of the lovely Samantha on Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue , it has been disclosed.
The BBC has privately looked into whether to censor the smutty jokes aimed at Samantha , despite publicly signalling the familiar innuendo will remain part of the long-running show. A number of senior figures at the corporation are
said to share the concerns of a complainant, who argued the non-speaking character was referred to only as a sexual object and perpetuated schoolboy, sexist, so-called humour .
As a result, talks have been held to determine how the show can adapt to the modern day, with more female panellists booked to appear on the show and more frequent mentions of Samantha's male equivalent, Sven. It will also endeavour to make sure
the audience understands Samantha, a fictional scorekeeper who is never heard on the panel show, is a willing, even enthusiastic participant in the liaisons joked about on air.
The details of the meetings have been published by the BBC Trust as part a regular bulletin from its Editorial Standards Committee , the final arbiter of appeals if listeners and viewers are unhappy with the way their initial complaints have been
dealt with by BBC management. On this occasion, it found, the complainant's appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration because it did not have a reasonable prospect of success. But the report detailed the many steps already taken
since the first complaint was received by Radio 4's Feedback in July 2013.
However the true extent of behind-the-scenes discussions has now been revealed, with the complainant claiming the public statement contradicted the actual correspondence she had with the BBC. A letter from a member of the Editorial Complaints
Unit had instead told her there had been:
Lengthy and detailed discussion between senior managers with a number of senior figures share, at least in part, your concerns about the manner in which Samantha in portrayed.
The report published by the BBC Trust states:
The complainant explained that she had also had further correspondence with the show's producer who acknowledged that a high-level meeting had taken place and outlined the changes that were planned for the show including booking female
panellists, featuring Sven (the male equivalent of Samantha) more frequently and making sure the audience understood Samantha was a willing even enthusiastic participant in the liaisons and stress that she was often the initiator in these
relationships to avoid the suggestion that she was being taken advantage of.
House on the Edge of the Park is a 1980 Italian horror thriller by Ruggero Deodato
With David Hess and Annie Belle.
The New Zealand film censor has reported the ban of a proposed re-release in its 2014 Annual Report:
This film is deemed objectionable because it tends to promote and support violence and coercion to compel women to submit to sexual conduct.
The film is dominated by numerous scenes of sexual violence. It opens on a graphic scene of rape that is not supported by context. The narrative then follows two men as they terrorise a group of people, particularly the female members of the
group, who they repeatedly subject to sexual violence. Gratuitous lingering shots of nudity and other cinematic effects such as romantic music and lighting during the scenes of assault and rape support this purpose. The sexual violence is not
contextualized or explored beyond the superficial presentation of the conduct. The victims appear aroused by, unaffected by and thus collusive in the violence perpetrated against them; this feeds into the intrinsic rape myth dialogue of the
publication. Viewers are relentlessly exposed to titillating images that eroticise sexual humiliation and violence.
All of these factors invite viewers to become complicit in events and to take vicarious pleasure in the men's misogyny and the victims' humiliation and dehumanisation. Further, due to the publication's proliferation of rape myths and relentless
eroticized presentation of sexual violence, people who have been subjected to any form of sexual abuse will be re-traumatized by the film's depictions of violence and sexual violence. The legitimization of these rape myths also irredeemably
serves to validate viewers' misconceptions of sexual violence and thus their real world response to sexual violence.
The Classification Office is aware that cut versions of the feature have been released in the United Kingdom and has considered whether a different classification might be possible if excisions were made. However the distributor has notified the
Classification Office that any excisions will not be made, so in this instance they have not been recommended.
For comparison in the UK, the film was once banned, but is now cut
Banned by the BBFC for 1981 cinema release. Banned as a video nasty in 1983. Unbanned after 12 minutes of cuts in 2002. Cuts reduced to 43s in 2011.
And of course in the US the film is uncut and MPAA Unrated for
The European Audio Visual Media Services Directive provides a justification for censorship that was implemented in UK law in the Communications Act 2003:
If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures
that such persons will not normally see or hear it.
Unfortunately for the censorial government, there is no particular evidence that hardcore porn seriously impairs children. In fact all the kids are already watching porn and they don't seem to be ending up being seriously harmed, at
least any more than any other generation.
So the legal underpinning for ATVOD's onerous suffocating age verification rules for British adult websites seems somewhat shaky and open to challenge. Therefore the government are changing the law so as to explicitly make age verification a
requirement without having to rely on mythical serious harm. The government has introduced the following statutory instrument which means that it will not be debated in parliament, just nodded through.
The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014
These Regulations may be cited as the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014.
Laid before Parliament on 6th November 2014
Coming into force on 1st December 2014.
Amendment of section 368E of the 2003 Act (harmful material) .
In section 368E(4) of the 2003 Act (harmful material), for subsection (2) substitute:
(2) An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material.
(3) Prohibited material means:
(a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or
(b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority
would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.
(4) An on-demand programme service must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.
(5) Specially restricted material means:
(a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18classification certificate,
(b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority
would issue a R18classification certificate, or
(c) other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18.
(6) In determining whether any material falls within subsection (3)(b) or (5)(b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification
(7) In this section:
the 1984 Act means the Video Recordings Act 1984;
classification certificate has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 7 of that Act);
R18 classification certificate means a classification certificate containing the statement mentioned in section 7(2)(c) of the 1984 Act that no video recording containing the video work is to be supplied other
than in a licensed sex shop;
the video works authority [BBFC] means the person or persons designated under section 4(1)of the 1984 Act as the authority responsible for making arrangements in respect of video works other than video games; video work
has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 1(2) of that Act).
Amendment of section 368B of the 2003 Act (supply of information)
(d) OFCOM may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of OFCOM as the appropriate regulatory authority;
(e) a designated body may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of the designated body as the appropriate
[This looks like a measure to stop the BBFC effectively changing the law by changing its own guidelines. It looks like Ofcom and ATVOD will be able to step in should the BBFC change its rules].
BBFC R18 Guidelines
For reference the current
BBFC Guidelines for R18 takes the form of a list of material prohibited from R18:
The following is a list of prohibited material:
material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game.
Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable
These Guidelines will be applied to the same standard regardless of sexual orientation of the activity portrayed
CPS Obscenity Guidelines
Of course the guidelines don't fully define what is 'judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959', but the CPS does offer some guidance. See
charging practice from
It is impossible to define all types of activity which may be suitable for prosecution. The following is not an exhaustive list but indicates the categories of material most commonly prosecuted:
sexual act with an animal
realistic portrayals of rape
sadomasochistic material which goes beyond trifling and transient infliction of injury
torture with instruments
bondage (especially where gags are used with no apparent means of withdrawing consent)
dismemberment or graphic mutilation
activities involving perversion or degradation (such as drinking urine, urination or vomiting on to the body, or excretion or use of excreta)
The Guidelines are still insufficient for VoD providers to judge the legality of their catalogue
The most immediate issue with the new law is how commonplace 'rough sex' will be treated. There are many films that suffer a few cuts for hair pulling, gagging, retching, spitting etc. Will a film that would be R18 after a few cuts now become
illegal? If so, there are thousands of them. It is not clear how these cuts correlate to the guidelines. The guidelines are clearly produced for interpretation by the BBFC rather than the public and will effectively leave VoD service providers
unable to judge the legality of films without a BBFC certificate. Perhaps that is the idea. But then again it will leave British websites with a tiny fraction of the range of choice to that of foreign competitors.
Comment: Scrapping red tape
18th November 2014. From the Melon Farmers
Coincidently I got a circular emall from David Cameron yesterday claiming:
"we will carry on backing businesses by scrapping red tape, cutting taxes - and continuing to invest in the infrastructure that is vital to create jobs and enable Britain to compete successfully in the global race".
Well if Cameron considers this new law as `backing businesses` and `scrapping red tape` then Britain is doooomed.
The Law Commission writes about a review of Offences against the Person:
Our scoping consultation on this project is now open until 11 February 2015. The Ministry of Justice has asked the Commission to carry out a scoping exercise as a first step towards a potential project to reform the law on offences against the
Jane Fae reports on some of the possibilities of such reforms on the BDSM community:
Of course, what they don't mention is the central role this Act has played in shaping the legal landscape in respect of BDSM. For it was under the OAPA that the landmark Spanner case was prosecuted in the 1990s: and despite contrary rulings, it
is this verdict that continues to dictate the limits to consensual sex.
Incredible as it may seem to those who have grown up post-Spanner, there was a once-upon-a-time golden age when the prevailing assumption was that pain, inflicted consensually and in pursuit of mutually satisfying erotic outcomes was
permissible. That was not an unreasonable point of view. After all, you could -- you may still -- beat an opponent senseless in a boxing ring and, providing all is done in accordance with the rules, and consensually, there is no problem.
Why should a beating of a sexual nature be any different?
High School DxD is a Japan action anime comedy
Starring Jamie Marchi, Terri Doty and Kyle Phillips.
The story follows Issei Hyodo, a dim-witted, lecherous second-year high school student who is killed by a girl on his first date ever. Issei is reincarnated as a devil, and from that day forward, he serves as an underling of Riasu, a high-level
devil who is also the prettiest girl on Issei's campus.
The New Zealand film censor has reported the ban in its 2014 Annual Report:
The DVD is classified objectionable. The publication is the first set of episodes of a Japanese anime series set in high school about a sex-obsessed schoolboy who becomes part of the supernatural world. The DVD tends to promote and support the
sexual exploitation of young persons. All of the young female characters are highly sexualised and fetishised. They are relentlessly depicted as nude or in limited sexualised clothing. Focus is made on their breasts and youthful bodies in such a
way as to titillate and arouse the viewer. Their youthfulness is emphasised by the high school setting, their school uniforms and their engagement in high school activities. Episodes are separated by photo stills of the female characters
sexually posing, reminiscent of adult pornographic material. The credits feature these characters performing strip tease. The scenes are constructed wholly for the sexual benefit of the viewer. The main purpose of this treatment is to reinforce
the notion that young persons are sexually desirable and available. It encourages and legitimises the pursuit of young persons as viable adult sexual partners.
By way of a comparison, the BBFC passed the DVD 15 uncut for strong sex references, nudity, strong language, violence, sexual threat for:
China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) have issued new censorship rules governing the use of language in China's television shows and advertisements. The new rules require all TV shows and ads to
stick to standard Mandarin words and expressions, and forbid them from using internet slang terms.
The new regulations are aimed at stopping the use of internet slang that appropriates or imitates standard colloquial expressions, and particularly the Chinese language's four-character chengyu sayings. The internet has invented or adapted
many new chengyu for its own uses, but SAPPRFT's new regulations ban the use of any of that creative language on television.
The regulations order China's television content producers to do a thorough self-investigation and to strengthen oversight and inspection efforts to assure that non-standard language and internet slang doesn't sneak its way into any future
And before you thinks this is another example of imaginative censorship peculiar to a repressive regimes, I seem to remember a more or less the same edict being issued in France not so long ago, whingeing that English language modern world jargon
had become more popular than the French language equivalents.