Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2021: January

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App Battleground...

India has decided to make temporary bans on PUBG, TikTok and many other Chinese apps over security concerns

Link Here30th January 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
In the last couple of days, a report emerged that the Government of India is permanently banning 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok permanently from June 2021. TikTok, which was originally temporarily banned in June 2020, has decided to wind up its business in India.

The permanent ban also has repercussions for PUBG Mobile India.  PUBG Mobile India is now coming to terms that the relaunch which was planned for March 2021 might never happen.

In June and September, when 59 and 118 Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile India were banned, the Government of India stated in the order that the apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order. The apps gave a written response to the Government of India. However, it has now emerged according to reports that the government is not satisfied with the response and explanation that were given by these companies. Hence the ban for these 59 apps is permanent now.



Circus of Life...

Film banned in Pakistan for blasphemy is nominated for an Oscar

Link Here30th January 2021
Full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Zindagi Tamasha (Circus of Life) is a 2019 Pakistan drama by Sarmad Sultan Khoosat.
Starring Arif Hassan, Ali Kureshi and Samiya Mumtaz. IMDb

A devout Muslim who writes composes, and even records hymns praising the Prophet, Muhammad Rahat Khawaja is a respected elderly man who works in real estate and takes care of his bedridden wife. One day, he attends the wedding of a friend's son, where he inadvertently shows off a dance in front of his friends and family. His dance gets recorded and then uploaded to all social media platforms, which then also gets broadcasted on television. And the chaos begins to ensue in his quiet life.

The film was banned in January 2020 over fears of blasphemy but the ban was overruled in July 2020 by Pakistan's Senate Committee for Human Rights. The film was banned after workers of the hardline Islamist political party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) vowed to hold a countrywide protest against its screening.

The film has now gained further prominence in early 2021 after it was nominated for the Best International Feature Oscar.



Offsite Article: Now the supporters of cancel culture are being cancelled...

Link Here 30th January 2021
Arch cancellers of the Socialist Workers Party are themselves cancelled by Facebook

See article from



Offsite Article: Facebook deletes Robin Hood Stock Traders group with over 150,000 members...

Link Here 30th January 2021
Full story: Facebook Censorship since 2020...Left wing bias, prudery and multiple 'mistakes'
Facebook has shut down the Robin Hood Stock Traders group that has some 157,000 members, in the middle of a trading war between individual gamers and hedge funds trying to devalue the games retailer GameStop

See article from



Harming democratic expression...

The misleadingly titled Canadian Commission on 'Democratic Expression' bizarrely calls for internet censorship

Link Here27th January 2021

Following nine months of study and deliberations, the Canadian Commission on Democratic Expression has settled on a series of principles and recommendations that can lead to a practical course of action. What we set forth is a series of functional steps to enable citizens, governments and platforms to deal with the matter of harmful speech in a free and democratic, rights-based society like Canada. We recognize the complexity of the issues at play and offer these as a path forward and with the knowledge they will be subject to further debate and molding.


  • Free speech is fundamental to a democratic society and that the internet enables more people to participate in public discussions and debates.

  • The rise of hatred, disinformation, conspiracies, bullying and other harmful communications online is undermining these gains and having a corrosive impact on democratic expression in Canada.

  • The status quo of leaving content moderation to the sole discretion of platforms has failed to stem the spread of these harms and that platform companies can find themselves in conflict between their private interests and the public good.

  • We find fault with the notion that platforms are neutral disseminators of information. Platforms curate content to serve their commercial interests and so must assume greater responsibility for the harms they amplify and spread.

  • Government must play a more active role in furthering the cause of democratic expression and protecting Canadians from online harms.

  • Any policy response must put citizens first, reduce online harms and guard against the potential for over-censorship of content in putting forth remedies. This requires a balanced and multi-pronged approach.

These principles have led the Commission to an integrated program of six scaffolding recommendations.


1. A new legislated duty on platforms to act responsibly.

Establishment by Parliament of a statutory Duty to Act Responsibly imposing an affirmative requirement on platforms under legislation and regulation, including social media companies, large messaging groups, search engines and other internet operators involved in the dissemination of user-generated and third-party content. In addressing harms, the details of this duty must take account of principles such as the fundamental nature of free speech.

2. A new regulator to oversee and enforce the Duty to Act Responsibly.

Creation of a new regulatory body, operating within legislated guidelines, that represents the public interest and moves content moderation and platform governance beyond the exclusive preserve of private sector companies. The regulator would oversee a Code of Conduct to guide the actions of parties under its supervision, while recognizing that not all platforms can be treated in precisely the same manner. Regulatory decisions will be judicially made, based in the rule of law and subject to a process of review.

3. A Social Media Council to serve as an accessible forum in reducing harms and improving democratic expression on the internet.

Ensuring an inclusive dialogue on ongoing platform governance policies and practices, including content moderation, through a broadly based social media council that places platforms, civil society, citizens and other interested parties around the same table.

4. A world-leading transparency regime to provide the flow of necessary information to the regulator and Social Media Council.

Embedding significant, world-leading transparency mechanisms at the core of the mandate for the regulator and Social Media Council -- on data, ads, bots and the right to compel information. This will also assist researchers, journalists and members of the public with access to the information required for a publicly accountable system.

5. Avenues to enable individuals and groups to deal with complaints of harmful content in an expeditious manner. An e-tribunal to facilitate and expedite dispute resolution and a process for addressing complaints swiftly and lightly before they become disputes.@

Creating rapid and accessible recourse to content-based dispute settlement by a dedicated e-tribunal charged with addressing online content disputes in a timely manner. And creating a process that enables targets of harms to compel platforms to make creators aware of a complaint.

6. A mechanism to quickly remove content that presents an imminent threat to a person.

Development of a quick-response system under the authority of the regulator to ensure the rapid removal of content -- even temporarily -- that creates a reasonable apprehension of an imminent threat to the health and safety of the targeted party.

The Commission considered imposing takedown requirements on platforms as some nations have done. These generally identify offending categories of content, provide a fixed window, such as 24 hours, for it to be removed and may levy significant penalties. We are concerned that such systems could create incentives for over-censorship by platform companies. Our recommendations do less to circumscribe speech in recognition of the fact that harmful speech and the unjustified denial of freedom of expression are both problematic.

The standards of the Duty to Act Responsibly are purposely left vague at this point to give government, the regulator, and the Social Media Council an opportunity to flesh it out as part of a Code of Conduct. To be sure, we are not recommending the creation of a self-standing new tort as the basis for a cause of action, but rather imposing affirmative requirements on the platforms to be developed under legislation and regulation. We expect the Code will evolve given the recentness of the problem and the rapid evolution of the internet.



Night of the Creeps...

Horror Channels shows a cut TV version

Link Here27th January 2021
Night of the Creeps is a 1986 USA comedy Sci-Fi horror by Fred Dekker.
Starring Jason Lively, Tom Atkins and Steve Marshall. Melon Farmers link BBFC link 2020 IMDb

The Director's Cut has an alternative end and does not add any contentious material. The Theatrical Version was rated 18 for cinema and VHS release in 1987. The Director's Cut was 15 rated for 2018 DVD and Blu-ray. In the US the Theatrical Version was MPAA R rated whilst the Director's Cut is MPAA Unrated. There is also a TV version that is censored but has the same ending as the Director's Cut.

And it is that TV version that seems to be being shown on Horror Channel this month. An example cut is as follows

When the detective is approaching the car where the female has been attacked, the detective is briefly shown holding severed hand. It's badly cut, can't see him pick it up or drop it (magically disappears and without context)

See further version details from



Commented: The BBFC's Latest Orgy of Censorship...

The British board of film censors bans the video nasty re-release of The Gestapo's Last Orgy

Link Here27th January 2021
The Gestapo's Last Orgy is a 1977 Italian prison film by Cesare Canevari.
With Adriano Micantoni, Daniela Poggi and Maristella Greco. Melon Farmers link BBFC link 2020 IMDb

In the tradition of THE NIGHT PORTER, SALON KITTY and SALO only far more depraved comes perhaps the most notorious Nazisploitation epic of them all: Daniela Levy  stars as a beautiful young death camp prisoner forced into a nightmare of brutality, torment and sexual degradation. But will a Commandant's vilest urge trigger her ultimate vengeance? Marc Loud co-stars in this fetid slice of filth-strudel

The BBFC has just banned a Blu-ray re-release of the notable Video Nasty The Gestapo's Last Orgy. The video was banned as a video nasty in 1984 and has never been released in the UK since. The video is available uncut in the US though.

The BBFC seems to be embracing more politically correct language in its rating explanations and consumer advice lately, so it is getting hard to distinguish the reasoned explanation form exaggeration and propaganda. Anyway the BBFC explained the ban as follows:

THE GESTAPO'S LAST ORGY is an Italian exploitation film, from 1977, in which a Jewish woman revisits the site of a concentration camp in which she was formerly imprisoned and subjected to torture, terrorisation, humiliation and sexual violence.

BBFC Guidelines state that: As a last resort, the BBFC may refuse to classify a work --.where a central concept of the work is unacceptable, such as a sustained focus on rape, other non-consensual sexually violent behaviour or sadistic violence.

THE GESTAPO'S LAST ORGY is largely composed of scenes of strong sadistic violence, humiliation, degradation and non-consensual sexual activity, including rape, all of which occurs within a clearly anti-Semitic context. Its central concept is therefore unacceptable, and the sadistic and sexually abusive material it contains is too pervasive to be effectively addressed by cuts.

Accordingly, the BBFC has refused classification to this work.

Offsite Comment: Still Too Outrageous For Britain's Censors

27th January 2021. See article from

The very idea that a work of fiction -- a very clear work of fiction -- can somehow deprave and corrupt an otherwise normal person (and make no mistake, the idea of corruption is one of unbalancing the normal individual, not tipping an already morally disturbed individual over the edge) is one that belongs in a past that we have long left behind. There's no scientific evidence to back it up, and the whole idea belongs more to the enforcement of morality -- the prevention of bad ideas entering the public sphere -- than stopping actual harm to anyone.

Read the full  article from



Offsite Article: Don't let the censors get you down...

Link Here27th January 2021
An introduction to private and encrypted messaging apps

See article from



Ticking down to impossible deadlines...

Italy's data protection censor forces TikTok to immediately block all users who have not age verified

Link Here24th January 2021
Full story: internet Age Verification...Social media and age verification
Italy's data protection censor has ordered video sharing app TikTok to temporarily block the accounts of any users whose ages can't be confirmed. The order comes after the death of a 10-year-old girl in Palermo, whose parents told authorities their daughter was participating in a blackout challenge she saw on the app. The child died of asphyxiation, and authorities are investigating whether anyone invited her to try the challenge.

The Italian Data Protection Authority ordered TikTok to block unverified users in Italy until at least February 15th. The temporary suspension of unverified accounts in Italy bans TikTok from further processing user data for which there is no absolute certainty of age and, consequently, of compliance with the provisions related to the age requirement.

Under its terms of service, users must be at least 13 years old to sign up for an account on TikTok, but Italian authorities said it's easy to get around that rule. TikTok has a version of its app in the US for children under 13-- TikTok for Younger Users wich operates with limited content and interaction.

Earlier this month, TikTok updated the default privacy settings for users between 13 and 15 years old, putting limits on who can see and comment on their videos.




An idea to widely distribute internet servers that are outside the control of state and social media censors

Link Here24th January 2021
The US company Toki is building 'school-in-a-box' devices to connect up to 1 billion people across Africa and Asia, using technologies that it claims could bypass local censorship. The devices will be Wi-Fi-ready servers that can handle dozens of concurrent users.

One of Toki's country managers describes on LinkedIn that the devices would also run a decentralized search engine, designed to be anonymous, private and censorship-resistant. They will be donated to communities in the developing world by U.S.-based eRise, which was founded in 2019 to, according to its website, focus on digital empowerment initiatives that are capital-efficient, and which improve access to content, community and commerce.

Both Toki and eRise were founded by entrepreneur and free speech advocate Rob Monster. Monster owns domain registration company Epik, which allowed controversial social network Parler to come briefly back online last week after the site was booted from Amazon's cloud service. Parler is just one of several platforms enabled by Epik, and Monster's other domain and web hosting companies, that have been home to right leaning forums that western states and social media companies censor and ban.

Presumably technology that was designed to help developing countries with their censorship problems could now be repurposed to helping western countries with their censorship problems.



The last company in the world you'd want to hand over personal details to...

Google starts demanding identity verification to watch adult flagged YouTube videos

Link Here 21st January 2021
Full story: internet Age Verification...Social media and age verification
Back in September 2020, Google announced that it would be demanding identity verification for those wanting to watch videos Google has decided should be restricted to adults, Google explained:

In line with upcoming regulations, like the European Union's Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), we will be introducing a new age verification step over the next few months. As part of this process some European users may be asked to provide additional proof of age when attempting to watch mature content. If our systems are unable to establish that a viewer is above the age of 18, we will request that they provide a valid ID or credit card to verify their age.

Well now it seems that Google is now implementing this policy and several Melon Farmers readers have reported that they have been blocked from viewing adult rated videos on YouTube. Google demands either a credit card transaction or else hand over personal details on government issued ID.



Labelled as repressive...

China outlines an age rating system for video games

Link Here21st January 2021
China first announced consideration of age ratings for games in November 2019. In December 2020, China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association, an industry organization that works closely with the state censor, the National Press and Publication Administration, released its outline standards on age labeling for online games.

Full details have not yet been published but the outline suggests that the games will be pre-censored by state censors but producers will assign the age classifications. Note that China simply does not allow adult content in games, regardless of ratings, so maybe the state can be more relaxed about assigned age categories.

Under China's age labeling standards, online games will be categorized into 3 types: 8+, 12+ and 16+. Each given age label must be used together with the game descriptions or warnings on the game's official website, log-in or start screen, as well as promotional materials.

However having selected an age classification games providers will have to strictly enforce the rules. The game publisher will have to put in place mandatory measures including ID verification system and restrictions on gameplay hours or in-game purchases. In addition, for the games with age labels of 8+ and 12+, the publishers shall make available a specific privacy policy for young users below 14.



Suffocating free speech...

Policeman is charged with making a joke about George Floyd on a WhatsApp group

Link Here21st January 2021
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
A policeman has been charged with a criminal offence after allegedly sending a supposedly grossly offensive image of the arrest of George Floyd to colleagues.

He will appear in court charged with sending the image by means of a public electronic communications network, contrary to the Communications Act 2003, on May 30 last year.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the charge against the Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant came after an altered image of George Floyd's arrest in the US was shared within a WhatsApp group that included a number of other police officers and staff.

An IOPC spokesman added that they had investigated the image after it was brought to their attention by Devon and Cornwall Police. The officer is due to appear before Newton Abbot Magistrates' Court on January 28, the IOPC said.

Of course the public aren't being allowed to judge for themselves, and the joke has been kept secret.



Updated: Prime beef...

Amazon Prime's Tandav offends religious sensibilities in India

Link Here21st January 2021
Full story: Internet TV Censorship in India...Netflix and Amazon Prime censored
A new Amazon Prime series, Tandav ,  has resulted in calls for censorship in India.  Several politicians have complained about scenes that offended religious sensitivities.

Tandav is an Indian political drama along the lines of the Netflix series House of Cards . The main character of the series is a power-hungry politician who will do anything to become India's prime minister.

MP Manoj Kotak, a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), wrote on Twitter that he had contacted the Ministry of Information requesting it to ban the controversial web series. According to Kotak, the show seemed to be deliberately mocking Hindu gods.

Ram Kadam, another BJP member, went to the police in Mumbai to file a complaint, accusing Amazon of trying to outrage religious sentiments and publishing material that can cause harm.

A police investigation has already been launched in the state of Uttar Pradesh against Amazon's chief of Indian Prime Aparna Purohit and the show's director Zafar.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has announced that it would contact Amazon about the show.


Update: Tandav censored

21st January 2021. See article from

One scene from Tandav has particularly caught the attention of a few people, which shows actor Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub playing the role of (a modern day) Lord Shiva in a college play. Netizens claimed that it hurts religious sentiments. Another contentious scene involves characters played by Anuup Sonii and Sandhya Mridul, and the two talk about castes.

Tandav film makers have now agreed to censor out the material that offended the easily offended.



Blasphemy against US free speech...

Pakistan is demanding that a supposedly blasphemous US website be shut down

Link Here19th January 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Pakistan is threatening to prosecute non-Pakistanis in foreign countries for breaking its blasphemy laws online.

The decision seems to be focused on Ahmadis, an Islamic offshoot whose beliefs are considered blasphemous in Pakistan. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) sent a legal notice to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA demanding that it shuts down its website,, or get charged with blasphemy, a crime that carries a ten-year prison sentence.

The website is run by a US-based organization. So the legal notice is the government's way of saying that the Pakistan Blasphemy Laws can apply to non-Pakistanis and beyond the Pakistan territory.

On January 14, the US House Foreign Affairs Committee tweeted that it was very concerning to see Pakistan using attempts to apply its controversial cybercrime laws to repress Americans' freedoms of speech and worship well outside of Pakistan's own borders.

It is unlikely that the US will allow any such interference in US free speech but it Pakistan could arrest offending AMericans  if they travel to Pakistan or any other country friendly with Pakistan. And of course relatives of offending Americans who live in Pakistan could be persecuted.



A new statue statute...

UK Government will require planning permission before taking down historical public monuments

Link Here19th January 2021
The UK government is taking a stand against historical statues being censored or cancelled by woke militants.

The UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has set forth new UK laws that would make it more difficult to remove monuments across the country. He explained:

Latterly there has been an attempt to impose a single, often negative narrative which not so much recalls our national story, as seeks to erase part of it. This has been done at the hand of the flash mob, or by the decree of a 'cultural committee' of town hall militants and woke worthies.

He then announced his plans to bring due process back to UK heritage to ensure that monuments aren't destroyed by woke militants or removed on a whim or at the behest of a baying mob. Now planning permission will be required for the removal or alteration of any public monument. Additionally, local councils will need to consult with their residents and guarantee any changes abide by council rules.

These changes will not only affect public statues, but plaques and other monuments, as well. According to a government press release, the new laws will make clear that historic monuments should be retained and explained.



Offsite Article: The war on words: how cancel culture is taking over the literary world...

Link Here 19th January 2021
Books pulled last minute and staff threatening to strike because they disagree with JK Rowling. By Katie Law

See article from




China takes control of the Hong Kong internet domain

Link Here17th January 2021
The company which approves Internet domains in Hong Kong said it will now reject any sites that could incite illegal acts, a further reduction in Hong Kong freedom after Beijing's imposition of a national security law on the Chinese-ruled city last year.

Holders of .hk domains were advised of the policy change late on Thursday, after Internet service provider Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) said it had blocked access to HKChronicles, a website offering information about anti-government protests.

The Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company (HKDNR) alerted holders of .hk domains to the new acceptable use policy by its parent, Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC), which goes into effect on Jan. 28. It said it could reject applications for new .hk sites that it believes could incite criminal acts, abuse privacy or provide false or misleading information.



Updated: Sharing your data...

Details and comments about the WhatsApp announcement that it will be handing over your personal data to Facebook

Link Here17th January 2021

WhatsApp is forcing users to agree to sharing information with Facebook if they want to keep using the service.

The company warns users in a pop-up notice that they need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp - or delete their accounts.

But Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, said European and UK users would not see the same data-sharing changes, although they will need to accept new terms.

See details in article from

See also comment piece WhatsApp users are really Facebook customers now -- it's getting harder to forget thatfrom

Update: Postpones

17th January 2021. See article from

WhatsApp on Friday announced a three-month delay of a new privacy policy originally slated to go into effect on February 8th following widespread confusion over whether the new policy would mandate data sharing with Facebook. The changes will now apply from 15th May 2021.

The update does not in fact affect data sharing with Facebook with regard to user chats or other profile information; WhatsApp has repeatedly clarified that its update addresses business chats in the event a user converses with a company's customer service platform through WhatsApp.



Updated: Elites Trump Democracy...

Democrat politicians and internet giants join in a massive coordinated action to cancel Donald Trump, his supporters, and anyone else with right leaning views

Link Here17th January 2021
In a mass censorship movement from politicians and internet companies, all sorts of measures have been adopted to silence Donald Trump, his supporters, and anyone else with right leaning views. Here are just a few of the most notable actions.


Right leaning Parler forum taken down by Amazon

11th January 2021. See article from

Parler has dropped offline after Amazon pulled hosting support for the right leaning free speech social network.

The platform had been reliant on the tech giant's Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing service to provide its alternative to Twitter.

It is popular among supporters of Donald Trump, although the president is not a user.

Google and Apple had already removed Parler from their app stores towards the end of last week.

Snapchat and Twitch cancel Trump

See article from

Snapchat and Twitch have joined other Big Tech companies in censoring Trump. Rachel Racusen, a spokeswoman for the company, said:

We can confirm that earlier today we locked President Trump's Snapchat account.

Until Snapchat lifts the restriction, Trump will not be able to share anything with his nearly two million subscribers on the platform.

Meanwhile the games based social network Twitch has similarly cancelled Trump. A spokesperson said:

In light of yesterday's shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump's Twitch channel.

The company claims it will reassess Trump's account after he leaves office.

Shopify cancels Trumps merchandising outlet

See article from

Shopify, the Canada-based tech company that makes popular software tools to help merchants run online stores, shuttered the Trump Organization's on Thursday morning, as well as the e-commerce portion of the president's election website.

So one less place to buy MAGA hats from.

Facebook cancels Trump and also the #WalkAway campaign

See article from

Facebook on Thursday said it will block President Trump on its platforms at least until the end of his term on Jan. 20, as the mainstream online world moved forcefully to limit the president after years of inaction.

Facebook has also  banned the #WalkAway Campaign -- a popular grassroots movement that encourages people to walk away from the divisive tenets endorsed and mandated by the Democratic Party of today.

The far-reaching ban has impacted the campaign's main Facebook group (which had over 500,000 followers), its main Facebook page (which had over 182,000 followers), and every member of the #WalkAway Campaign team, including its founder Brandon Straka.

Twitter cancels the US President, his close associates, and other right leaning voices

See article from

After permanently cancelling the account of the USA President, Twitter moved on to cancelling Trumps associates.

Twitter on Friday removed the accounts of Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and other high-profile supporters of Trump who promoted the conspiracy theory that the elites from the Democratic Party coordinate with the media, big tech and large corporations to override democratic processes.

Twitter also removed the account of Ron Watkins, the administrator of the website 8kun, which was formerly named 8chan and hosts posts from Q, the false digital prophet at the heart of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

In a video leaked by Project Veritas, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey discussed Trump's account and stated:

This is going to be much bigger than just one account, and it's going to go on for much longer than just this day, this week. And the next few weeks and go on beyond the Inauguration.

He also cited the platform's mass censorship of QAnon as one such example of a much broader approach that we should be looking at and going deeper on.

YouTube cancels the US Presidents channels for 7 days

14th January 2021. See article from

YouTube has temporarily blocked Donald Trump from uploading a video from his Texas speech on Tuesday where he said he was at zero risk of 25th amendment removal and warned Democrats be careful what you wish for.

Amazon cancels 'Stop the Steal' merchandising

16th January 2021. See article from

Thousands of pieces of merchandise containing Stop the Steal, a slogan that is used by those who believe Democrats stole the election, have been pulled from Amazon.

T-shirts, stickers, masks, hats, and other products containing this slogan that were recently available to purchase on Amazon are now gone. Many of these products are still visible in searches for stop the steal but attempting to open any of these results now returns a Sorry we couldn't find that page message.

Comment: Angela Merkel denounces censorship by social media companies

11th January 2021. From the FT

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, has sharply criticised Twitter's decision to ban US president Donald Trump, calling it a problematic breach of the fundamental right to free speech.

Merkel said through her spokesman that the US government should follow Germany's lead in adopting laws that restrict online incitement, rather than leaving it up to platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to make up their own rules.

Comment: Australia criticises social media

11th January 2021. See article from

Australia's acting prime minister, Michael McCormack, has accused Twitter of censorship for permanently suspending Trump's account for the risk of further incitement of violence, and he attempted to draw comparisons between the riots and last year's Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice.

Comment: Poland criticises social media

17th January 2021. See article from

Poland has come forward to voice against the social media censor imposed on Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America. The officials of the government of Poland expressed their denouncement concerning the ban of President Trump, imposed by several major companies of social media.

Following the case, the Polish officials made it known that a draft law is being readied by them to cover the matter. The law will aim to protect the people living in Poland against any form of social media censor. Such actions imposed by the technology companies will be considered to be an illegal deed.

Comment: The woke purge

11th January 2021. See article from by Brendan O'Neill

Twitter's suspension of Donald Trump is a chilling sign of tyranny to come.



Offsite Article: Open Rights Group comment on declining freedom of speech in the UK...

Link Here 17th January 2021
Response to the Lords Communications Committee enquiry into freedom of expression online

See article from



Religious nanobots seek to undermine the covid vaccination campaign...

So Ofcom sanctions Loveworld, a religious TV channel

Link Here 16th January 2021
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom has found Loveworld Limited in breach of broadcasting rules on its religious service, Loveworld.

Ofcom found that The Global Day of Prayer , a 29-hour programme broadcast on 1 December 2020, included potentially harmful and inaccurate claims about the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Global Day of Prayer contained news content and sermons with potentially harmful claims about the Coronavirus, including some statements that the pandemic is a planned event created by the deep state for nefarious purposes, and that the vaccine is a sinister means of administering nanochips to control and harm people.

Some statements claimed that fraudulent testing had been carried out to deceive the public about the existence of the virus and the scale of the pandemic. Others linked the cause of Covid-19 to the roll out of 5G technology. The potentially harmful claims made during this programme were unsupported by any factual evidence and were broadcast without context or challenge. Ofcom's investigation concluded that the broadcast failed to adequately protect audiences from harm and that news was not presented with due accuracy.

Ofcom has directed the Licensee not to repeat the programme and to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom. Given the seriousness of this breach and that it is Loveworld Limited's second of this nature, Ofcom is also considering whether to impose a further sanction.



On the hate bandwagon...

Canadian government to introduce new internet censorship laws in the name of 'hate speech'

Link Here16th January 2021
The Canadian government plans to introduce new internet censorship laws in the name of targeting hate speech on social media platforms. The laws will reportedly be tabled in 2021.

A briefing note on the new regulations from Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault's department stated:

We are working to introduce regulations to reduce the spread of illegal content, including hate speech, in order to promote a safer and more inclusive online environment. We want to protect Canadians online.

The briefing added that:

Social media platforms can also be used to threaten, intimidate, bully and harass people, or used to promote racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, misogynist and homophobic views that target communities, put people's safety and risk and undermine Canada's social cohesion or democracy.



Offsite Article: Joe Biden's identity politics...

Link Here16th January 2021
The president-elect wants to allocate Covid recovery funds based on race and gender. By Fraser Myers

See article from



Harmful Online Communications...

Open Rights Group respond to Law Commission proposals to extend hate crime definitions to pander to the easily offended

Link Here14th January 2021
Full story: UK government on hate crime...Which group can command the most advantageous anti-discrimination law?
Open Rights Group writes:

This is a short joint submission to the Law Commission's Harmful Online Offences consultation. This submission is by the Open Rights Group and Preiskel & Co LLP solicitors.

Opposing the new offence

  • We do not support the Law Commission's proposed offence. We are concerned with its breadth. We echo and adopt Article 19's submissions in this regard.

  • The threshold of a "likelihood to harm" appears to be very broad, and it could include many communications which could cause distress to readers, as the result of their strongly-held religious, political or cultural beliefs, but be legitimate discourse.

  • The "Intent to harm or awareness of the risk of harming a likely audience" compounds this. "Risk" as a threshold seems very low. It appears to open up prosecution to anyone whose postings can be related to someone who has experienced mental distress as a result of reading those communications.

  • "Likely audience" again is in our view vague and open to interpretation. Making communications "without reasonable excuse" reverses the normal burden for speech: speech, protected as a fundamental right, is permissible unless it is unlawful. Speech should not be confined to that which courts feel is most socially useful, and therefore defensible under a "reasonable excuse" defence.

  • In short, by attempting to capture a wide range of behaviours within a single online offence, with a highly malleable concept of mental distress and wide potential audiences, the offence opens up the potential for a wide range of legitimate communications to be deemed criminal.

  • Additionally, the problems we identify with the new potential offence may be made worse by the government's proposed Online Harms framework, which will impose a legal duty over Internet Society Services to exercise a "duty of care" over their users. Given that "mental distress" is very personal and driven by context, this ambiguity could exacerbate the legal uncertainties inherent within the "duty of care" expectations. If the legal test for the point where mental distress triggers criminal liability is difficult to understand, or to assess content against, this is likely to create an incentive for companies to remove legal content that is found in the grey areas of "likely audiences" experiencing a "risk" of mental distress in order to successfully carry out their legal duties, and avoid direct risk of regulatory action.

...See full consultation response from



TikTok sets accounts of under 16s to private...

Responding to child privacy concerns

Link Here14th January 2021
Full story: TikTok Censorship...Chinese ownership adds to the usual social media censorship
TikTok users aged under 16 will have their accounts automatically set to private, as the app introduces a series of measures to improve child safety.

Approved followers only can comment on videos from these accounts. Users will also be prevented from downloading any videos created by under-16s.

TikTok said it hoped the changes would encourage young users to actively engage in their online privacy journey.

Those aged between 13 and 15 will be able to approve friends for comments and choose whether to make videos public. But those accounts will also not be suggested to other users on the app. media caption Why is TikTok so popular among teens?

The accounts of 16- and 17-year-olds will prevent others downloading their videos - but the youngsters will have the ability to turn off this restriction.



Online Anonymity...

MPs line up to call for identity checks for all internet users without giving so much as two seconds of thought to consider the consequences for businesses and internet users

Link Here14th January 2021
There was a dreadful debate in Westminster Hall giving the opportunity for a few MPs to call for an end to online anonymity (seeming so that their online social media critics could be pursued). None of these MPs seem to have spent any time whatsoever in considering the downsides to these policies.




The BBFC sees its future with the youngsters...

BBFC launches new Youth Panel

Link Here11th January 2021
The BBFC is launching a Youth Panel, for 16-19 year olds, to build on the organisation's existing youth work, and give the next generation an opportunity to influence classification policy as well as a chance to build vital life skills.

The BBFC Youth Panel will capture the youth voice and ensure that the organisation continues to meet the needs of young people, and classification policy captures their views. The group will also provide feedback on classification issues and decisions, and be consulted on other educational and outreach work.

Sarah Peacock, Compliance and Education Manager at the BBFC, said:

Over the last year we've all spent more time in the digital world than ever before. Choosing content well, and staying safe online, are vital skills to develop as a teen or young person. That's one of the reasons why we're launching our brand new Youth Panel this year - to ensure that we continue to reflect the opinions of the younger generation in our everyday work.

We know that teens and young people have been particularly hit hard by the pandemic. The world has shrunk for so many, and there are now fewer educational and extracurricular opportunities available. We now find ourselves in another lockdown, with homeschooling the norm once again. We want our Youth Panel to give members - who have missed out on so much over the last year - a chance to develop skills, make connections, have their voice heard, and influence policy.

Successful applicants will be given the chance to: shadow a Compliance Officer and see behind the scenes of the BBFC; influence education resources and outreach work; input into research and help shape the future of classification policy; guide and shape social media campaigns, including creating content for the official BBFC channels; develop practical work experience skills, including communication, presentation, teamwork and self-management skills; and network with different teams across the BBFC and gain a deeper understanding of the role of regulation and content classification.

Sarah added:

You don't need to be a film or media studies student to apply. We're looking for young people - of all backgrounds and from anywhere in the UK - with opinions, who want to have their voices heard. If you have a passion for digital culture, and want to gain valuable skills for university or job applications, we want to hear from you.

The BBFC Youth Panel will meet termly, with initial sessions held online. Sessions will be structured, and successful applicants will also be expected to complete short tasks between sessions, which might include filming a short video or filling in a survey. Panelists will be asked to initially commit to a year, but have the option to take part for up to two years.




Irish cleric takes offence at TV joke about God being implicated in a sexual harassment scandal

Link Here9th January 2021
Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin has called on Irish state broadcaster RTE to immediately censor a television clip which he claims is offensive, outrageous, and blasphemous . He was complaining about RTE's New Year's Eve Countdown Show, which included a mock news review by Waterford Whispers News:

In yet another shocking revelation this year, God became the latest figure to be implicated in ongoing sexual harassment scandals. The five-billion-year-old stood accused of forcing himself on a young middle-Eastern migrant and allegedly impregnating her against her will, before being sentenced to two years in prison with the last 24 months suspended.

In response Martin tweeted:

1. I am shocked that producer/editor of NYE Countdown Show didn't realise how deeply offensive was a mocking 'news report' accusing God of rape & reporting his imprisonment. This outrageous clip should be removed immediately & denounced by all people of goodwill.

2. To broadcast such a deeply offensive and blasphemous clip about God & Our Blessed Mother Mary during the Christmas season on 'NYE Countdown Show' is insulting to all Catholics and Christians. commented:

Is Archbishop Martin aware that the people of Ireland recently voted overwhelmingly to remove the offence of blasphemy? Criticism or mockery of religious ideas is just as acceptable as criticism or mockery of secular ideas. But what of the claim that the item was offensive?

In October 2019, David Kaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the freedom of opinion and expression, published a report to the United Nations General Assembly on the human rights law that applies to freedom of expression. In that he stated:

A person who is not advocating hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, for example, a person advocating a minority or even offensive interpretation of a religious tenet or historical event, or a person sharing examples of hatred and incitement to report on or raise awareness of the issue, is not to be silenced under article 20 of the ICCPR (or any other provision of human rights law). Such expression is to be protected by the State, even if the State disagrees with or is offended by the expression. There is no "heckler's veto" in international human rights law.

RTE later apologised and said it would censor the joke from its catch up service. RTE said in a statement that its Editorial Standards Board found that the sketch did not comply with several provisions.

These included Section 39 (1) (d) of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and the BAI Code of Programme Standards in relation to material that causes undue offence.

It also did not comply with provision of Principle 5 in the above Code (Respect for Persons and Groups in Society) regarding due respect for religious beliefs.

The RTE Editorial Standards Board also found the sketch was not in compliance with the provision in the RTE Journalism & Content Guidelines regarding sensitivity to people's religious beliefs.



Dangerous jokes...

Indian stand-up comedian arrested for supposedly hurting religious sentiments

Link Here9th January 2021
A comedian has been charged by the Indian authorities for supposedly hurting religious sentiments after a group of right-wing Hindus crashed his show and confronted him over jokes he allegedly made about Hindu deities.

Munawar Faruqui, a young stand-up comedian from Gujarat, was arrested by the police along with four other people on Friday after several members of a fringe group, associated with a local politician from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP ), ambushed him after the show.

But later, amid a growing outcry over the comedian's treatment, police said in a statement that there was no video evidence to prove Faruqui made remarks either insulting Hindu deities. Nonetheless, police continue to hold Faruqui while they investigate the allegations.



Offsite Article: Melanie Dawes is the new self appointed high priestess of PC...

Link Here 9th January 2021
Full story: Ofcom vs Free Speech...Ofcom's TV censorship extended to criticism of woke poliical ideas
The UK TV censor is trying to deny airtime to critics of politically correct dogma. By Neil Davenport

See article from



Economically censored by the BBFC...

As markets shrink for Blu-ray releases, so BBFC fees make releases unviable

Link Here7th January 2021
Full story: BBFC Fees...High censorship fees censor niche market releases
I was earwigging on a Twitter conversation about the possibility of a film being released by the distributors Third Window Films. It revealed that declining sales for physical disks coupled with pay per minute film censorship fees by the BBFC were leading to longer niche market films being unviable for release in the UK.

Third Window were asked about the possibility of the release of the two and a half hour film Red Post on Escher Street . Third Window responded:

To be honest, the only things putting us off is the fact that the BBFC charge by the minute (making it an expensive release) and are raising their prices again, plus the fact it's been bootlegged big time already

[it's] Not the cuts as much as the costs! It's why we try to release short films as much as possible!

And referring to a previous release of a long film, Third Window said:

BBFC was a little cheaper back then, but the market was much better so you could take chances on longer films. Yes, with dwindling sales, expensive costs of bluray production and BBFC, it's much harder nowadays.



Nabab LLB...

A film is banned in Bangladesh for making the police look bad

Link Here7th January 2021
Nabab LLB is a 2020 Bangladesh thriller by Ananyo Mamun
Starring Shakib Khan,Mahiya Mahi,Orchita Sporshia IMDb

On 25 December 2020, film director Anonno Mamun and actor Shaheen Mridha have been charged with making a film with pornographic content . Dhaka Metropolitan Police arrested the artists the day before due to a case filed against them under the Pornography Control Act for allegedly insulting the police in the film Nabab LLB .

The film Nabab LLB was released on 16 December 2020 and is set in a fictional courtroom, treating about rape and the treatment of victims.

According to Al Jazeera , the report released by Dhaka Metropolitan Police points to making and acting in a film containing such offensive and obscene dialogue as a reason for the artists' arrest. The report also highlights that the police was poorly represented in the film and that the representation of the police officer using offensive gestures and obscene language during the fictional interrogation in the film could cause negative perceptions about policing among public.

There is a petition calling on the Dhaka Metropolitan Police to drop all charges against Anonno Mamun and Shaheen Mridha has been circulated online. Sign the petition here .



Offsite Article: Woke law...

Link Here7th January 2021
Full story: UK government on hate crime...Which group can command the most advantageous anti-discrimination law?
Law Commission proposals will chill free speech, the National Secular Society warns

See article from



Suffer Little Children...

Gav Crimson details the overblown press coverage of the seizure and legal actions against a horror film featuring child actors at the time of the Video Nasties moral panic

Link Here4th January 2021
Suffer Little Children is a 1983 UK video horror by Alan Briggs.
Starring Colin Chamberlain, Ginny Rose and Jon Hollanz. Melon Farmers linkYouTube icon BBFC link 2020 IMDb
The film was cut for an unofficial BBFC 18 rating issued prior to the implementation of the VRA. The film was seized by the police anyway and the film got caught up in the tabloid hysteria around the video nasty era. The film was passed 18 uncut for UK DVD release in 2017.

The DVD version has a significant number of variations from the VHS. version.

See Gav Crimson's detailed history of the censorship of Suffer Little Children and the timeline of newspaper coverage .

Summary Notes

This amateur video production, (not particularly well regarded), is claimed to be a reconstruction of events involving child demonic possession which took place at 45 Kingston Road, New Malden, Surrey, England in August 1984. None of these events were reported to the press though, not the to mention the fact that the film was conceived and shot in 1983, well before the supposed baseline event.

The video was submitted to the BBFC for a pre-VRA unofficial rating in December 1984. The BBFC asked for about 2 minutes of cuts. However the distributors suffered a police raid on the day after the submission and the police seized the film. The police seemed to think that the uncut version was illegal and would not give the distributors the opportunity to implement the cuts that would make it legal. The DPP considered the film for 3 months before deciding that no further action would be taken as long as the film was only distributed in the BBFC approved version. The film was caught up in press frenzy at this time, with the inevitable calls for a ban and worse.



Doddery old fools...

The BBC offends viewers with silly trigger warnings about Dad's Army

Link Here4th January 2021
The BBC has added a trigger warning to the 1971 Dad's Army movie warning about offensive language.

An announcement was made before the comedy classic aired on BBC Two on Saturday night, while viewers watching on iPlayer are told the film contains discriminatory language which some may find offensive.

In the film, Clive Dunn's character L-Cpl Jones's uses the term fuzzy-wuzzies, to describe the enemies he fought in the Sudan under General Kitchener.

Arthur Lowe's Captain Mainwaring also refers to Red Indians not attacking at night.

A BBC spokesman said:

Attitudes have changed significantly and guidance was given due to a specific discriminatory remark.



Offsite Article: The BBC is failing the public...

Link Here4th January 2021
Nearly half of Brits feel it does not represent their values, according to new research.

See article from



A new internet space race with the west...

Putin signs a raft of internet censorship measures into law

Link Here3rd January 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia 2020s...Russia and its repressive state control of media
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed several internet censorship laws into force, including one that introduces crippling fines for failing to remove banned material.

Although sexually explicit content is technically legal in Russia, existing laws banning the illegal production, dissemination and advertisement of pornographic materials and objects and other laws claiming to protect the health of Russian children are deployed by the state at its own discretion against sites hosting adult content.

The end-of-the-year legislative package signed into law by Putin, according to Reuters , also grants the Russian government new powers to restrict U.S. social media giants, label individuals 'foreign agents,' and to crack down on the disclosure of its security officers' personal data.

One of the measures was a response complaints about supposed bias and prejudice shown by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube against Russian media. If social media companies block Russian websites then these social media websites will be blocked in Russia.

Another of the new laws introduces hefty fines of up to 20% of their previous year's Russia-based turnover for sites that repeatedly fail to remove content banned in Russia.



Offsite Article: Insecure wheels...

Link Here3rd January 2021
Police turn to car data to destroy suspects' alibis Looser privacy standards for vehicle data are a treasure chest of data for law enforcement.

See article from

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