Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch


2023: April

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Moralists hit the jackpot...

Australian government is set to impose mandatory censorship ratings for video games including simulated gambling or loot boxes


Link Here30th April 2023
Full story: Games Censorship in Australia...Censorship rules for games
Australia's government is moving to require an R18+ rating to all video games that contain simulated gambling as part of a proposal targeted at restricting children's access to popular casino-style games.

It will also seek to change classification rules to require all games with paid loot boxes --  where players can purchase a box with a randomised in-game item -- to carry at least a mature M-rating. The M rating is an advisory 15 rating like a PG-15 in US terms.

Due to adverse publicity some game developers have already phased out loot boxes, including in the popular game Fortnite.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland says the proposals will require the agreement of states and territories to proceed and are designed to address concerns that these games can encourage players to migrate to gambling.

 

 

Censors in a sour mood...

Portman group whinges about the blurb for Engine gin


Link Here30th April 2023
The Portman Group is a trade body representing the drinks industry. It takes it on itself the job of censoring drinks labels and associated marketing. It has recently investigated the packaging for Engine Gin, an Italian organic gin sold in packaging resembling an oil can.

A complainant with a chip on the shoulder about drink driving objected to the drink's reference to cars and driving:

I have stumbled across Engine gin on my recent Tesco shop and I am shocked and appalled about its design and open link to driving. The oil can design plus using phrases like fuel the dream are highly inappropriate and not something the alcohol industry should be doing.

The packaging is designed to replicate an oil can and not an alcoholic drink. The website and online material only continues this message and is pushing a fuel for car performance rather than an alcoholic brand. The engine logo on the front of the can also reflects a car performance drink rather than a gin.

I alongside thousands others have been directly impacted by drink driving incidents and to see this brand lean into it and openly encourage links to driving throughout the brand is disgusting. I believe this brand to be linking itself to driving and therefore a link to drink driving, the use of an oil can and car imagery is not something that a brand should be able to do as well as being very irresponsible.

The packaging is also very gimmicky and looks to be targeting a younger market and looks more like a toy than an alcoholic brand

In response the Portman Group dismissed parts of the complaint saying that the packaging was clearly an alcoholic drink, did not encourage drink driving and did not appeal to children. However the censors did object to trivial wording in the blurb on the back of the package. The censors wrote:

The Panel discussed whether any part of the packaging of Engine Organic Gin suggested the drink had therapeutic qualities, could enhance mental or physical capabilities, or change mood and behaviour. The Panel considered that the line fuel the dream was fairly ambiguous in its meaning when considered in isolation and could imply that consumption of the drink could help a consumer achieve a dream. The Panel noted that the back label included the sentence sage and lemon is a traditional remedy to cure a sour mood. The Panel discussed the wording and noted that it directly suggested that consumption of the drink could cure a consumer's bad mood by incorporating these ingredients, thus changing an individual's mood. The Panel was particularly concerned that the suggestion of a cure could directly appeal to those with poor mental health who may be more susceptible to substance misuse and concluded it was inappropriate for an alcoholic drink to directly suggest that it could provide a therapeutic quality. The Panel considered this wording alongside the line fuel the dream and considered that the elements combined also suggested the drink had a therapeutic quality. The Panel therefore concluded that the product packaging suggested the drink could change mood and had a therapeutic quality, and upheld the complaint under Code rule 3.2(j).

Action by Company: Made amends to product packaging to bring in line with the Code.

 

 

Insensitive words for sensitive souls...

Tim Minchin has some choice words about the 'sensitivity' edits that are vandalising Roald Dahl's books


Link Here30th April 2023
Full story: UK Central Bank Digital Currency...Big brotherdesigns a new snoopable and controllable payment system
Tim Minchin, the comedian behind the Matilda musical, has described editing Roald Dahl's books to better suit modern audiences as a slippery slope . The British-Australian composer and entertainer, who wrote the music for the musical based on Dahl's book, said removing outdated language in the author's works set a precedent for needing to change all texts that might offend people and warned they could need to be constantly updated to keep up with changing sensibilities. He explained in an interview with the Guardian's Saturday magazine:

It seems there's an incredible slippery slope problem with editing texts,  I mean, my initial reaction, when I heard about it? 'Now we'll have to get all the rapes out of all the history books. Then the world will be a better place.'

It's not actually about morality. It's about keeping the property, owned by the Dahls and Netflix, contemporary --  It's an interesting part of modern progressivism, that a huge amount of change is happening because corporations have identified where their bottom-line is best served.

Problem one, as I see it: If you do this once, you'll have to do it to all texts ever, taking out all the words that might upset people.

Problem two: You'll have to change it all again in five years when the new words you put in are out of vogue. So that's two slippery-slope problems. You're standing at the top of a double slide. And now you're spraying soap on the fucking things, he said.

 

 

Very Large Censorship Opportunities...

New EU internet censorship laws look likely block or restrict Google Search from linking to adult websites


Link Here28th April 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law
The European Commission has officially identified 19 major platforms and search engines to be targeted for compliance under its new internet censorship law, the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Under the new rules, Very Large providers will be required to assess and mitigate the risk of 'misuse' of their services and the measures taken must be proportionate to that risk and subject to robust conditions and safeguards.

The EU Commission officially designated 17 Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and two Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs), each of which, according to the EC, reaches at least 45 million monthly active users.

The VLOPs are: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore, Booking.com, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube and German retailer Zalando.

The two VLOSEs are Bing and Google Search.

Following their designation, an EC statement explained, these companies will now have to comply, within four months, with the full set of new censorship rules under the DSA. Under the subheading Strong protection of minors, the EC listed the following directives:

  • Platforms will have to redesign their systems to ensure a high level of privacy, security, and safety of minors;
  • Targeted advertising based on profiling towards children is no longer permitted;
  • Special risk assessments including for negative effects on mental health will have to be provided to the Commission four months after designation and made public at the latest a year later;
  • Platforms will have to redesign their services, including their interfaces, recommender systems, terms and conditions, to mitigate these risks.
According to industry attorney Corey Silverstein of Silverstein Legal, the impact of the new designations and consequent obligations could be substantial because many of the platforms that have been designated as VLOPs and VLOSEs are frequently utilized by the adult entertainment industry.

Assuming these platforms decide to comply with the DSA, Silverstein told XBIZ, there may be major changes coming to what these platforms allow on their services within the EU.

This could end up leading to major content moderation and outright blocking of adult content in the EU, including the blocking of websites that display adult entertainment from being listed in search results.

It is also noted that as the larger adult platforms continue to grow, some may pass the EC's benchmark of having 45 million monthly active users, and therefore face the potential for future designation under the DSA, which could have even more direct impact on their users and creators.

 

 

Unrecord...

Supporting the hype for an ultra realistic police shooter video game


Link Here28th April 2023
There is a little hype brewing for a new shooter game suggesting that it be heavily censored for younger players on the grounds that it is simply too realistic and also glorifies police brutality.

French game developer Studio Drama has unveiled the first trailer for its latest body-camera shooter game, Unrecord . The game is a single-player first person shooter that tells the story of a tactical police officer from the perspective of his body camera.

In the newly-released footage, we see the officer heading towards an abandoned building covered in graffiti, before checking his weapon and inspecting the scene. As the officer walks around the vacated lot, he hears commotion from the other side, leading them to kill seven armed suspects roaming the building.

The graphics on display in the trailer proved so realistic that it left gamers doing a double-take, but while the visuals are being widely praised, the game is also being met with criticism. Twitch streamer Trainwreck said:

 I'm going to get a lot of hate for this - but this level of realism in video games should be heavily moderated in *shooters* for anyone *under a certain age*, I hope parents do their job. This level of realism for shooting and killing makes *me* feel uncomfortable as if I'm watching a real leak from a military or police operation.

In its press deck, Studio Drama said it understands that people may feel disturbed by the game's footage:

As a French studio addressing a global audience, the game does not engage in any foreign policy and is not inspired by any real-life events. Unrecord is a single-player FPS that tells the story of a tactical police officer from the perspective of his body camera.

The game will obviously avoid any undesirable topics such as discrimination, racism, violence against women and minorities. The game will have no biased or Manichaean take on criminal acts and police violence. We also respect and understand people who may feel disturbed by the game's images. Art cannot fight against interpretation.

The public generally trusts film, series, and novel writers on the intelligence of the point of view when it comes to detective, gangster, or police stories. Why not for a video game? If the game presents political messages, they will be made consciously or in your interpretation. If the game aims to be subversive in certain countries, we will assume the label.

Studio Drama said the game is currently in pre-production and is unlikely to release this year.

 

 

Surveillance in the name of child safety...

The USA takes the lead from the UK Online 'Safety' Bill with its own 1984 snooping bill


Link Here22nd April 2023

The EARN IT Bill Is Seeking To Scan Our Messages and Photos.

In a free society, people should not have their private correspondence constantly examined. U.S. lawmakers, we would hope, understand that individuals have the right to a private conversation without the government looking over their shoulder.

So it's dismaying to see a group of U.S. Senators attempting for a third time to pass the EARN IT Act (S. 1207)--a law that could lead to suspicionless scans of every online message, photo, and hosted file. In the name of fighting crime, the EARN IT Act treats all internet users like we should be in a permanent criminal lineup, under suspicion for child abuse.

What The New "EARN IT" Does

The EARN IT Act creates an unelected government commission, stacks it with law enforcement personnel, and then tasks it with creating "best practices" for running an internet website or app. The act then removes nearly 30-year-old legal protections for users and website owners, allowing state legislatures to encourage civil lawsuits and prosecutions against those who don't follow the government's "best practices."

As long as they somehow tie changes in law to child sexual abuse, state lawmakers will be able to avoid longstanding legal protections, and pass new rules that allow for criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits against websites that don't give police special access to user messages and photos. Websites and apps that use end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy will be pressured to remove or compromise the security of their services, or they'll face prosecutions and lawsuits.

If EARN IT passes, we're likely to see state lawmakers step in and mandate scanning of messages and other files similar to the plan that Apple wisely walked away from last year.

There's no doubt the sponsors intend this bill to scan user messages, photos, and files, and they wrote it with that goal in mind. They even suggested specific scanning software that could be used on users in a document published last year. The bill also makes specific allowances to allow the use of encryption to constitute evidence in court against service providers.

Bill Language Purporting To Protect Encryption Doesn't Do The Job

Under pressure, the bill sponsors did add language that purports to protect encryption. But once you take a closer look, it's a shell game. The bill clearly leaves room to impose forms of "client-side scanning," which is a method of violating user privacy by sending data to law enforcement straight from user devices, before a message is encrypted. EFF has long held that client-side scanning violates the privacy promise of end-to-end encryption , even though it allows the encryption process to proceed in a narrow, limited sense. A 2021 paper by 10 leading technologists held that client-side scanners are a danger to democracy, amounting to " bugs in our pockets ."

The Chat-Scanning Software Being Pushed By This Bill Doesn't Work

But the available evidence shows that scanning software that looks for Child Sexual Abuse Material, or CSAM, is far from perfect. Creators of scanning software say they can't be fully audited, for legal and ethical reasons. But here's the evidence so far:

  • Last year, a New York Times story showed how Google's CSAM scanners falsely accused two fathers of sending child pornography . Even after the dads were explicitly cleared by police, Google kept their accounts shut down.

  • Data being sent to cops by the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)--the government agency that will be tasked with analyzing vastly more user data if EARN IT passes--is far from accurate. In 2020, the Irish police received 4,192 reports from NCMEC. Of those, only 852 (20.3%) were confirmed as actual CSAM . Only 9.7% of the reports were deemed to be "actionable."

  • A Facebook study found that 75% of the messages flagged by its scanning system to detect child abuse material were not "malicious," and included messages like bad jokes and memes.

  • LinkedIn reported 75 cases of suspected CSAM to EU authorities in 2021. After manual review, only 31 of those cases --about 41%--involved confirmed CSAM.

The idea of subjecting millions of people to false accusations of child abuse is horrific. NCMEC will export those false accusations to vulnerable communities around the world, where they can be wielded by police forces that have even less accountability than law enforcement in the United States. False accusations are a price that EARN IT supporters seem willing to pay.

We need your support to stop the EARN IT Act one more time. Digital rights supporters sent more than 200,000 messages to Congress to kill earlier versions of this bill. We've beaten it twice before, and we can do it again.

There are currently dangerous proposals that could mandate client-side scanning schemes in the U.K. and European Union , as well. But we don't need to resign ourselves to a world of constant surveillance. In democratic nations, supporters of a free, secure, and private internet can win--if we speak up now.

 

 

Above the Law...

The police will continue to abuse their power by databasing 'wrong think' opinions as if they were hate crimes


Link Here17th April 2023
The state has set up a databasing system to record criminal transgressions of people in Britain. But the police have taken it upon themselves to unilaterally use this system to record non criminal incidents where people have been accused of transgressing against woke censorship rules eg by criticising transgender dogma. Worse still, these transgressions are recorded merely on claims by the easily offended and are not necessarily investigated by the police to ensure voracity. Hence the claims can easily be used by people to settle scores or further grudges. Such unverified complaints turn up on official records checks when people are vetted for a job such as teaching.

The courts have criticised the police for the recording of these non-crime hate incidents (NCHI) as unlawful, and the government has also chipped in with guidelines for NCHIs to try and prevent abuse. However the police are having non of it, and are continuing on with their use more or less ignoring the court and government criticism.

The College of Policing is a taxpayer-funded quango that provides national advice to forces. In response to the court and government criticism it has been required to update its own manual for officers on how to record NCHIs, in a document called authorised professional practice (APP).

But it has been accused of deploying an "Orwellian" and "woke spin" it has decided to ignore ignore government instructions in its new draft. In the Home Office code, there are 11 scenarios provided where officers should or should not record an NCHI, 63% of which advise explicitly not to record one. However, the college's new guidance has only eight scenarios, all different to the Home Office ones, just 12.5% of which advise explicitly not to record.

Seven out of eight of these were in the college's old guidance. This was found in 2021 to be unlawful in the Court of Appeal and to disproportionately interfere with free expression in its section on how police should record incidents. It followed a High Court victory for Harry Miller, a former constable who successfully sued after Humberside Police officers visited his workplace and recorded an NCHI because of a "transphobic" limerick he shared on Twitter.

Miller, founder of Fair Cop, a group scrutinising police political correctness, told The Telegraph:

The police will not be schooled in the Home Office guidance once the APP comes out, they will be schooled in the guidance given by the College of Policing, which will mean we are exactly where we were before.

The College of Policing has taken an overtly political stance. The Home Office's examples were all very sensible and corrected the previous mistakes, but they will once again be shelved for the approved ideology of the College of Policing.

Sir John Hayes, chairman of the Common Sense Group of 60 Tory MPs, said the College of Policing has long been a cause for public concern and called to clear out some of the bad apples that are there before they affect the whole of policing's reputation:

Policing only works by consent and the nonsense we hear from the College of Policing risks that consent, so this is another example of politically correct nonsense, perpetuating the appalling practice of arresting people for what they believe and think.

To say it is Orwellian is an understatement; I think George Orwell will be spinning in his grave.

 

 

Jeeves and Wooster gobblefucked by Penguin...

The latest series of books to be censored for transgressions against wokeness


Link Here17th April 2023
Full story: UK Central Bank Digital Currency...Big brotherdesigns a new snoopable and controllable payment system
Jeeves and Wooster books have been censored to remove prose by PG Wodehouse deemed unacceptable by the publishers, Penguin.

Original passages in the editions of the comic novels published since 2022 have been purged or reworked. These censored editions can also be identified by a disclaimer reading:

Please be aware that this book was published in the 1930s and contains language, themes and characterisations which you may find outdated.

In the present edition we have sought to edit, minimally, words that we regard as unacceptable to present-day readers.

Wodehouse has become the latest author to have their work altered, after novels by Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie were purged of words deemed at odds with modern sensitivities.

In the 1934 novel Right Ho, Jeeves , a racial term used to describe a minstrel of the old school has been removed.

In Thank You, Jeeves , whose plot hinges on the performance of a minstrel troupe, numerous racial terms have been removed or altered, both in dialogue spoken by the characters in the book, and from first-person narration in the voice of Bertie.

 

Offsite Comment: How dare they rewrite PG Wodehouse?

17th April 2023. See article from spiked-online.com by Simon Evans

No one has the right to meddle with his pristine and perfect prose.

 

 

Government sin bin...

Germany plans to extend internet censorship to ban users it does not like from social media


Link Here17th April 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
According to the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG), tech companies themselves are responsible for deleting hate speech on social media in Germany, and face up to 50 million euro in fines if they don't. But it's left to their own discretion whether or not they block the often-anonymous users behind it.

Now Germany's coalition government wants to extend censorship controls of online content that the government does not like, both by blocking users who spread censorable speech through a court order, and forcing social media companies to reveal the person or group behind a perpetrator's profile.

The length of any account block would have to be proportionate and regard serious violations -- yet it would be left to the respective court to decide what exactly that means. An account holder must first be informed that their account could be blocked -- and have the chance to comment on the incident.

 

 

Limiting Chinese snooping...

US state of Montana set to ban downloads of the TikTok app


Link Here15th April 2023
Full story: TikTok Snooping...Chinese App comes under fire for snooping on users
Montana lawmakers have passed a bill banning the social media app TikTok from operating in the state. The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte for his consideration.

The bill would prohibit downloads of TikTok in Montana and would fine any entity - an app store or TikTok itself $10,000 per day for each time someone is offered the ability to access the social media platform or download the app.

The state House voted 54-43 to pass the bill, which goes further than prohibitions in place in nearly half the states and the US federal government that prohibit TikTok on government devices. Montana already bans the app on state-owned devices.

The bill's supporters have admitted that they have no feasible plan for implementing the bill and that the bill's constitutionality will be decided by the courts.

TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been under intense scrutiny over user data being sent to the Chinese government and its use to distribute pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation.

The US Congress is considering legislation that gives the Commerce Department the ability to restrict foreign threats on tech platforms.

 

 

Something to do whilst waiting for itself to approve an official age verification mechanism...

French internet censor makes next move to block porn websites including Pornhub


Link Here12th April 2023
Full story: Age Verification in France...Macron gives websites 6 months to introduce age verification
Arcom is the French internet censor who is tasked with the censorship of porn websites. It has published a press release explaining its latest steps to block a group of prominent porn websites:

In accordance with article 23 of the law of July 30, 2020, Arcom gave formal notice on April 6, 2023 to Technius Ltd (eg XHamster.com) and Techpump Solutions SL (eg Porn300.com) to prevent access by minors to respectively one and two pornographic sites that they publish.

In addition, due to the failure of MG Freesites (eg pornhub.com) to comply with the formal notices issued on April 7, 2022, the president of the Paris court was petitioned to order the main ISPs to prevent access to two sites published by this company.

Protecting young audiences from inappropriate content in the digital sphere is a priority for Arcom, within the framework set by the legislator.

 

 

Beau is Afraid...

A few worries about possible cuts to the latest Ari Aster movie


Link Here12th April 2023
Beau Is Afraid is a 2023 Canada/Finland/US comedy horror drama by Ari Aster
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey and Amy Ryan BBFC link 2020 IMDb

Following the sudden death of his mother, a mild-mannered but anxiety-ridden man confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey back home.

Refused-classification.com reports that on 17 March 2023, a 179-minute Australian cinema release for Ari Aster's BEAU IS AFRAID was passed with an R18+ (High impact sex) rating.

On 4 April, it was resubmitted for cinema and again was rated R18+, with the same running time and consumer advice.

Refused-classification.com speculated that maybe Roadshow Films made minor cuts to the sex in the hope of securing a more commercial MA15+. Instead, the censorship was insufficient to make a difference for the Classification Board who awarded the same rating. If this is the case, by 20 April, expect either an appeal to the Classification Review Board, more cuts in search of an MA15+ or a cut or uncut R18+ release.

On 5 April, Roadshow Films received an R16 (Violence, sexual violence, offensive language and content that may disturb) rating in New Zealand. Unlike the Australian Classification Board, their OFLC provides an exact running time of 178:50s.

Meanwhile back in the UK the film has been passed 15 without BBFC cuts for strong threat, violence, sex, drug misuse, language, nudity, injury detail. The BBFC noted a rather short sounding running time of 178:02s.

There are no suggestions of BBFC cuts, but as there is a possibly a cut version knocking round then possible this could correlate to the shorter running time. Of course it is more likely that the discrepancy is down to distributor logos or running time rounding algorithms....but if anyone know differently then please let us know.

 

 

Naked Education...

900 viewers complain about Channel 4 body image programme


Link Here12th April 2023
About 900 people have decided to complain about a Channel 4 programme called Naked Education. Eg Ashlea said:

Channel 4 now running a programme where adults get naked infront of kids, this is outrageous. Why on earth are parents allowing this?

The show, fronted by Anna Richardson, Love Island star Dr Alex George and Yinka Bokinni, debuted last Tuesday. Anna had previously said:

Naked Education is sort of one step further than Naked Attraction, as it says: 'Let's normalise bodies, let's have the conversation about what we go through and let's educate the nation.' I like to make shows that are controversial, that break taboos and that make a difference, and with every single show that I've done you can tick one of those boxes.

 

 

Extract: Massive collateral damage...

Study finds internet censorship in Turkmenistan reaches over 122,000 domains


Link Here12th April 2023
The dictatorship in Turkmenistan does not get a lot of media and scholarly attention, although it is more than worthy of it. In the 2023 Freedom in the World Index, the country ranked in the bottom three, behind only war-torn Syria and ahead of North Korea. The issue of internet censorship is particularly acute in Turkmenistan. In 2016, the media freedom organization Reporters without Borders listed the country as one of the enemies of the internet due to its heavy censorship and information control policies. The internet speed in Turkmenistan is the slowest in the world. The authorities arrest citizens who use VPN apps to access censored content.

Between 2021 and 2022, a team of computer scientists conducted the first and only large-scale research on internet censorship in Turkmenistan, in which they tested 15.5 million domains for censorship and found out that over 122,000 domains are blocked.

Full research results are available here .

 

 

Extract: Blaming the tools...

Music industry control freaks defeated in attempt to censor lawful software via pressurising web hosting company


Link Here12th April 2023

Last week, a German court ruled that Uberspace is liable for hosting the website of youtube-dl, an open-source tool that allows people to download content from YouTube. The owner of the hosting company warns that this ridiculous and devastating verdict opens the door to privatized censorship.

In 2020, the RIAA infuriated many players in the open source community by targeting YouTube-ripping tool youtube-dl.

The RIAA sent a takedown notice to GitHub, alleging that the software bypassed technological protection measures, in violation of the DMCA.

GitHub initially complied but later changed course. After consulting legal experts, including those at the EFF, it restored the youtube-dl repository.

GitHub also launched a million-dollar defense fund to assist developers in similar disputes.

...read the full article from torrentfreak.com

 

 

Offsite Article: Inside Google's Plan to Kill Snooping Cookies in Chrome and Android...


Link Here 12th April 2023
Full story: Gooogle Privacy...Google's many run-ins with privacy
Google has an offering for the world called Privacy Sandbox. Here's an exclusive peek into how it will work.

See article from gizmodo.com

 

 

Streams of censorship...

The government outlines plans to extend TV censorship rules to streaming services


Link Here10th April 2023
Full story: UK Internet TV censorship ...UK catch-up and US internet streaming

The draft Media Bill will include measures bringing mainstream video-on-demand (VoD) services consumed in the UK - such as Netflix and Disney+ - under a new Ofcom content code, to protect audiences from a wider range of harmful material - such as misleading health claims. The latest research from Ofcom indicates that traditional 'linear' TV viewing - where viewers watch programmes broadcast at a scheduled time usually via terrestrial or satellite - is down more than 25% since 2011, and 68% among 16-24s.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said:

Technology has revolutionised the way people enjoy TV and radio. The battle to attract and retain audiences has never been more fierce. British content and production is world leading but changes to viewing habits have put traditional broadcasters under unprecedented pressure.

These new laws will level the playing field with global streaming giants, ensuring they meet the same high standards we expect from public service broadcasters and that services like iPlayer, All4 and ITVX are easy to find however you watch TV.

The Media Bill will level the playing field between public service broadcasters and video-on-demand services. For the first time, UK-focused mainstream VoD services will be brought under rules similar to those that already apply to linear TV. It will mean that UK audiences, especially children, are better and more consistently protected from harmful material.

VoD viewers will now be able to formally complain to Ofcom, and the Bill will strengthen Ofcom's duty to assess audience protection measures on VoDs such as age ratings and viewer guidance. Ofcom will have more robust powers to investigate and take action to enforce standards if they consider it appropriate, including issuing fines of up to 250,000 and - in the most serious and repeated cases - restricting a service's availability in the UK.

 

 

Silence is golden, Harry...

ASA advert censors whinge about sex toy poster referencing Prince Harry's inane prattling


Link Here5th April 2023

A digital billboard ad for a Lovehoney ball gag sex toy, seen on 8 February 2023 at Clapham Junction station, featured an image of a ball gag and large text that stated Silence is golden, Harry. Smaller text underneath stated Spare ball gags available at www.lovehoney.co.uk.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive; and

  2. inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium where children could see it. Response

Lovehoney Group Ltd said that they did not believe that the ad was offensive.

The ad was launched in response to the release of Prince Harry's memoir. They pointed to the fact the memoir contained a number of indiscreet revelations, some of which had a sexual reference. At the time the ad was published, Lovehoney issued a press release that explained their motivation for the ad and how it should have been understood, which included that it was meant to be humorous and that not all family stories needed to be shared with the public.

2. They did not believe that the ad was inappropriate for display in an untargeted medium where children could see it. A ball gag had no explicit sexual reference and its way of use was not readily identifiable without further knowledge. Children would not recognise it as a sex toy, and there was nothing in the ad to change that. Neither the picture nor the text spoke to children and therefore made it uninteresting to them. They would, therefore, either ignore it or, at most, wonder what it was about, yet, without seeing any inappropriate hints. Lovehoney therefore believed that this was insufficient to exceed the threshold of inappropriateness.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ad featured a large image of a ball gag and text that stated Silence is golden, Harry. and Spare ball gags available at www.lovehoney.co.uk. We understood that a ball gag was a sex toy that was placed in the mouth of a person to limit them from talking.

The ASA considered that some people would find the image of, and references to, a ball gag and the implication that it should be used to stop someone from speaking distasteful. However, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Upheld

The ad appeared on a digital billboard at a busy train station, which was an untargeted medium, where it had the potential to be seen by a large number of people, including children.

As referenced above, the ad included a large image of a ball gag and a reference to ball gags in the text in the poster, which we considered inappropriate for children to see. We considered that while younger children were likely to be unaware of what the item was, older children might have greater awareness of what the object was intended for. We therefore considered that the ad was inappropriate for outdoor display where it could be seen by children.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Lovehoney Group Ltd to ensure that their ads were appropriately targeted.

 

 

Connecticut speech censor...

Connecticut sets in motion a law to set up a speech censor board made up of politicians


Link Here5th April 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in US...Left leaning media companies cancel the right
The Connecticut state legislature plans to pass Senate Bill 6410, which would see the creation of a censorship board. The board would study online harassment of individuals and government officials and recommend laws to censor speech. The board would have nine members, four of them from the minority Republican Party and presumably five from the Democratic Party.

The bill states:

Such assessment shall include, but need not be limited to,

  1. short term and long term effects of harassing behaviors online on elected officials, public officials and residents of this state,

  2. what state or municipal action is needed to address negative online behaviors that consider a citizen's right to freedom of speech versus an individual's right to be free from harassment including, but not limited to, potential changes in state law concerning additional penalties or enforcement of online harassment, and

  3. establishing guidelines for the reporting of online harassment of elected state and municipal officials that find a balance between making elected officials accessible to the people whom they serve and protecting them from abusive, offensive, or threatening online harassment.

The bill was approved by a committee on March 17 and now awaits a vote in the house.

 

 

Filofax...

Old cinema cuts list for this 1990 US comedy by Arthur Hiller added to Melon Farmers.


Link Here5th April 2023
Filofax (aka Taking Care of Business) is a 1990 US comedy by Arthur Hiller
Starring Jim Belushi, Charles Grodin and Anne De Salvo BBFC link 2020 IMDb

BBFC category cuts were required for a 12 rated cinema release in 1991. UK video releases are uncut with a 15 rating. US releases are uncut and MPAA R rated.

Summary Notes

An uptight advertising exec' has his entire life in a filofax organizer which mistakenly ends up in the hands of a friendly convict who poses as him.

Versions

BBFC uncut
uncut
run: 107:56s
pal: 103:37s
15 1980

MPAA R

UK: Passed 15 uncut:
BBFC cut
category
cuts
cut: 22s
run: 108m
pal: 104m
12 1980UK: Passed 12 after 22s of BBFC category cuts for language::
  • 1990 cinema release titled Filofax

Thanks to Vince. The BBFC cuts list reads:

  • Reel 1 - Remove line "Shut the fuck up!" by black prisoner during baseball game in prison yard.

  • Reel 2 - As Jimmy enters opulent mansion remove "I'm on fucking 'Dynasty'!"

  • Reel 3 - Remove line "I got a great fucking job, don't I?" by Jimmy to men in tennis gear.
    After white-suited Jimmy admires himself in mirror remove "Fucking A, man!"

 

 

Political censorship...

Australian book censors get drawn into gender politics


Link Here5th April 2023
Full story: Book Censorship in Australia...Australian books banned by censors

Australia's book censor has rejected a push by anti-LGBTQIA+ activist to ban memoir titled Gender Queer.

The book was referred to the Classification Board after Queensland Police was tipped off by conservative campaigner Bernard Gaynor.

The Australian Classification Board has now classified non-binary author and cartoonist Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir as unrestricted with the rating M (Mature). Not Recommended for Readers Under 15 Years.

The award-winning book has become one of the most banned books in America over its depictions of LGBTQIA+ sex and sexuality, including explicit illustrations and descriptions.

 

 

A fetish for censorship...

Australian government releases report proposing a couple of modest improvements to very restrictive porn censorship laws


Link Here2nd April 2023
Full story: Australian Censorship Review 2020...Government consults on ts censrship laws in a digital age
The Australian government has recently released a report into Australia's national classification regulation, which is likely to have a significant impact on the laws regarding pornography across the nation.

Currently Australia does allow for the classification of hardcore porn as X18+ for video and Category 2 Restricted for magazines. However its has more restrictions in play than most of the free world. One particular restriction that was discussed in the report is that fetish material is banned outright and that dramatic violence is also banned outright even if it is nothing to do with the sex content. (Eg a pirate film with sword fights above deck and totally separate sexual exploits below deck).

Even if a pornographic publication or film is able to get classified in Australia, there are significant restrictions on where that media can be sold or exhibited.

Category 1 (softcore) and Category 2 (hardcore) restricted publications are able to be sold in all States and Territories except for Queensland, but must only be sold in age-restricted sections of premises, in packaging which conceals their content.

X 18+ classified films can only be sold or exhibited in the ACT or the Northern Territory. It is therefore a criminal offence to sell or exhibit X 18+ films throughout most of Australia.  

The recently released report into national classification regulation suggests a number of key reforms when it comes to pornography. This includes:

  • The removal of prohibitions on "fetishes" in Category 2 (restricted) publications and X 18+ films as long as they are not illegal .
  • The removal of prohibitions on violence in sexually explicit films, if the violence is not related to sexual activity.
  • Limits the need to classify sexually explicit films to films which are professionally produced, directed at an Australian audience and distributed for commercial purposes. This means that many "amateur" forms of pornography no longer need to be classified.

Any such reform to Australia's classification guidelines will require cooperation and agreement from each State and Territory and is likely to be a gradual process.

 

 

Who's to blame?...

A ludicrous bill is near to becoming law that holds businesses liable for insulting comments by customers that offend employees


Link Here2nd April 2023

Ludicrous new rules on the brink of becoming law will enable medics to sue the NHS if a patient insults them, allow bar staff to take legal action against landlords if they are offended by drunk punters, and let baristas take coffee shop owners to a tribunal if they overhear offensive remarks made by customers.

Senior Tories warn the proposed law will lead to an explosion of litigation and force business owners to run their establishments like a police state. Tory backbenchers accused the Government of taking their eye off the ball by supporting a mad Private Member's Bill, sponsored by two Liberal Democrat parliamentarians, on course to become law within weeks.

The Bill was waved through the Commons without a vote during a Friday sitting when most MPs were back in their constituencies. The Worker Protection Bill will make employers liable for staff being harassed by third parties such as customers or members of the public. It introduces a legal requirement for companies and public bodies to take all reasonable steps to prevent this.

Lorely Burt , the Lib Dem peer and co-sponsor of the Bill, claimed it would offer new protections to retail staff who face racist abuse from customers, NHS workers who are subject to homophobic harassment by patients, and pub staff who are harassed by drunken customers in relation to their sex, all of whom currently have to rely on the good will of their employer in taking steps to protect them, rather than the law.


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