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16th January

  The Art of War...

Gavin Salkeld's Cutting Edge reveals the MPAA cuts for an R rating
Link Here
edge art of warThe Art of War is a 2000 USA / Canada action crime adventure by Christian Duguay.
Starring Wesley Snipes, Anne Archer and Maury Chaykin. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

The film was Cut in the US for an MPAA R rating.

See these cuts in Cutting Edge Quick Trims video on YouTube

 

16th January

  Totalitarian censorship and daytime TV...

Researchers find that strong language on TV is not a major wind up to viewers (but I couldn't work out what was)
Link Here

leicester university logoResearchers from Leicester and Birmingham City University have revealed some of the key concerns audiences have with television they find offensive .

Dr Ranjana Das from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology and Dr Anne Graefer from the Birmingham School of Media travelled to towns and villages across Britain and Germany and watched daytime TV with audiences, viewing programmes audiences themselves reported to be offensive or problematic and then conducting interviews with them.

They found that rather than being concerned with swear words, bad language or flashy lighting, audiences' greater concerns were with wider issues -- such as those around the construction of characters, the relative power and positions of the actors/creators behind characters and the absence and erasure of faces and issues. Dr Das said:

We were keen, in our fieldwork, to probe audiences' expectations of the regulatory process in the context of media content they themselves identified as problematic or outright offensive.

In analysing responses which argued for a clearer role of institutions to better serve the needs of audiences, when it came to the production and regulation of content they found problematic, we found a closer alignment with the democratic ideals behind the media's and media institutions' responsibilities.

In investigating people's expectations of actors and institutions in their responses to television content that startles, upsets or just offends them, the researchers suggest it is crucial to treat a conversation on free speech and censorship with caution. Dr Das added:

It is never just about being for one or the other -- as audiences clearly despise totalitarian censorship regimes for right reasons. But equally, they place expectations on producers and regulators to create a media sphere which is engaging, responsible and which contributes to good outcomes for citizens.

 

15th January

  Reality Check...

The BBC thinks it is without sin, and so will cast the first stones at 'fake' news
Link Here
BBC logoThe BBC is to assemble a team to fact check and debunk 'fake' news. News chief James Harding told staff that the BBC would be weighing in on the battle over lies, distortions and exaggerations . But he didn't mention the BBFC news policy of under exaggerating political motivations when these run counter to political correctness.

The plans will see the BBC's  Reality Check series become permanent, backed by a dedicated team targeting false stories or facts being shared widely on social media.  Harding said:

The BBC can't edit the internet, but we won't stand aside either. We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.

We are working with Facebook, in particular, to see how we can be most effective. Where we see deliberately misleading stories masquerading as news, we'll publish a Reality Check that says so.

And we want Reality Check to be more than a public service, we want it to be hugely popular. We will aim to use styles and formats -- online, on TV and on radio -- that ensure the facts are more fascinating and grabby than the falsehoods.

The BBC's Reality Check team will focus on content that is clearly fabricated and attempting to mislead the public into thinking it has been produced by a reputable news organisation.

 

15th January

 Update: Doesn't the BBC know how much fat cat TV censors cost these days?...

Ofcom charges the BBC double the current bill for censorship services, despite the supposed efficiencies of not having two bodies doing nearly the same job
Link Here

Ofcom logoThe BBC is refusing an order to pay £9 million a year to the TV censor Ofcom, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation's new censorship regime.

Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for censoring the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle after warning BBC executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster's current ruling body, currently employs to censor the broadcaster.

The move will add more than £5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series .

The corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force Ofcom to reduce its fees. Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on her to cut the planned fees, but White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are 'reasonable'.

The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded £6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.

Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new political correctness issues such as diversity targets.

 

15th January

 Update: Portsmouth Council Recommends...

K Cider and its 500ml can, council whinges are dismissed by the drinks censor
Link Here  full story: UK Drinks Censor...Portman Group play PC censor for drinks

k cider canK Cider 500ml Can Complaint

A complaint about the packaging of K Cider promoting immoderate drinking and urging the consumer to drink rapidly or down the product in one, has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel of the Portman Group.

The complainant, Portsmouth City Council, believed that the combination of the strength of the product plus the fact the product is served in a 500ml non-resealable can encouraged consumers to drink immoderately. The council commented on the promotional material:

As once opened [the product] must be consumed or rapidly lose quality of taste etc. This encourages people to drink the entire can in one serving... thus breaching the Portman Group Code under paragraphs 3.2(f) and 3.2 (g).

The product was brought to the attention of the Panel prior to the consultation on the Chief Medical Officers' (CMOs') 2016 Low Risk Drinking Guidelines, and was put on hold until the Guidelines Review had concluded. The Panel noted that the current CMOs' guidelines did not contain a daily or single occasion drinking guideline, and the Panel could not infer from the evidence presented to the CMOs by the Guidelines Development Group that 4.2 units on a single occasion was an immoderate (whether because of increased risk to health or safety or otherwise) level of drinking. The Panel therefore concluded that there was insufficient evidence to find a breach of Code paragraph 3.2(f).

The Panel could not see anything on the packaging that would encourage a consumer to drink rapidly or to down a product in one. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code paragraph 3.2(g).

Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, Kay Perry said:

Alcohol producers must be mindful not to encourage immoderate or irresponsible drinking when designing the packaging of their products. If they are in any doubt, the Portman Group Advisory Service is free and confidential, and responds to all enquiries within two working days.

 

15th January

 Offsite Article: It even shouts 'bingo' if it finds any bad taste joke emails featuring animal sex...

Link Here
cellebrite phone snooperBritish police have been buying in mobile phone data analysis devices for a rapid scan at downloading kiosks set up in police stations

See article from thebristolcable.org

 

14th January

  FXXXing censorship...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is cut by the Indian film censor
Link Here
cbfc cuts xxx return of xander cagexXx: Return of Xander Cage is a 2017 USA action adventure thriller by DJ Caruso.
Starring Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen and Deepika Padukone. IMDb

Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) comes out of self-imposed exile, thought to be long dead, and is set on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora's Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments.

India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Has cut xXx: Return of Xander Cage for a U/A rating (PG in UK/US terms).

The cuts list was leaked online and reads:

  • Added anti-smoking disclaimer to the beginning, middle and smoking scroll wherever smoking appears on the screen.
  • Deleted the words Ass hole, Son of a Bitch, balls, baller and fucking wherever it appears.
  • Deleted the visuals of girls lying on the bed.
  • Deleted visuals of girl pouring liquor.

The cuts list clocked in at 12s of cuts (and 2 minutes of anti smoking propaganda were added)

The cuts to strong language don't quite square with the BBFC Insight that notes a few things that the Indian censors missed but didn't note the use of the word 'fucking'.

Indian news papers have been having fun noting that the word 'baller' is sporting term rather than a sexual term.

In the UK the film was passed 12A uncut for moderate action violence, sex references. The BBFC Insight adds:

There are verbal sex references, for example to safe words and to a stop-off at the old rub and tug . There is some focus on women's bodies, often when they are dancing or wearing swim suits or underwear.

The film also contains some mild bad language and a rude middle finger gesture.

But to be fair to the Indian film censor, the BBFC would also require cuts for the equaivalent PG rating.

 

14th January

  Government Opportunities...

Minister calls meeting of newspaper representatives to discuss censorship and 'fake' news
Link Here

matt hancockMinisters have summoned media bosses for censorship talks about 'accuracy' in journalism amid growing concern over the rise of 'fake' news. Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture policy, has asked UK newspaper industry representatives to join round-table discussions about the issue.

The UK government's decision to hold talks on the issue follows Hancock's statement to the House of Commons last November that ministers were considering the implications of the dissemination of fake news on social media sites .

The News Media Association took the opportunity to plug its own brand of 'quality journalism', such as that from the Daily Mail. Lynne Anderson, the News Media Association's deputy chief executive said:

There is now an urgent need to look at the value chain of digital news, and the industry is ready to play a full part in working towards finding a solution which sees the content creators fairly rewarded for their investment in news production. The recent debate around fake news has again highlighted the vital importance of the quality journalism produced by news media publishers which underpins democracy by holding power to account.

 

14th January

  A pale imitation...

Sky pulls Michael Jackson episode from satirical series, Urban Myths
Link Here
urban mythsSky have pulled the broadcast of an episode of their satirical series Urban Myths after Michael Jackson's children said they were 'sickened' and 'offended' by the portrayal of their father, played by Joseph Fiennes.

The episode is a tongue-in-cheek dramatisation of a rumoured road trip taken by Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in 2001, after 9/11.

The casting of a white actor as Jackson had already proved contentious, prompting accusations of whitewashing, though many pointed out that the singer's skin had been considerably lighter by this point and he had undergone cosmetic surgery.

However, Jackson's children were 'enraged'. Paris- Michael said:

It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother, Liz, as well. Where is the respect? They worked through blood, sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.

Speaking to the Guardian this week, Ben Palmer, the series director, said people should not jump to conclusions and described Fiennes's performance of Jackson as a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance .

 

14th January

 Update: Never ending whingeing...

A few viewers are wound up by strong language on EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders logoA few angry EastEnders viewers have lodged complaints with TV censor Ofcom after two characters in the BBC One soap used strong language before the watershed.

Sharon Mitchelll 'shocked' these viewers by calling Phil a stupid bastard  and smashed a cup in fury.

Michelle then had her turn at swearing while complaining about husband Tim no longer finding her attractive. She said:

However hard I worked out, however many times I skipped breakfast and lunch, all I had to do was look at a bagel. I might as well have shoved it down my trousers and sellotaped it to my arse.

She then slammed Walford's residents, accusing them of all shagging their neighbours.

Ofcom received 86 complaints.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate or not. Usually a phrase used to denote a rapid consignment to the waste paper bin.

 

14th January

 Commented: Short sighted...

Oxford physicist abuses hate crime legislation in an attempt to censor government politician speaking about rules for foreign labour
Link Here
joshua silverIn 2016, Professor Joshua Silver complained to West Midlands Police that British Home Secretary Amber Rudd had committed a hate crime while giving a political speech at the Conservative Party conference.

During an interview with Andrew Neil on BBC2's Daily Politics, Prof Silver said:

I didn't actually see the speech but I've read the draft. And I've looked at all the feedback that there was to the speech. I've read the speech carefully and I've looked at all the feedback. It's discriminating against foreigners, you pick on them and say we want to give jobs to British people and not to foreigners. It was interpreted that way..

During the subsequent discussion on the programme, former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard responded by stating:

Of course it wasn't a hate incident... What Amber Rudd said was no different from Gordon Brown when he said there should be British jobs for British workers. I think Mr Silver should be thoroughly ashamed of himself because what he's doing is to bring a well-intentioned piece of legislation into disrepute.

The BBC subsequently reported that West Midlands Police had not formally investigated the speech, but had recorded it as a non-crime hate incident in accordance with national police guidelines

Offsite Comment: Hate crime reporting risks becoming a tool for censorship

14th January 2017 See leader from telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph logoMr Silver's complaint is vexatious. It reveals the tyranny of elite liberal thinking which labels anything that contradicts political correctness as wicked and wrong -- perhaps actionable. Of course actual hate speech is thoroughly iniquitous. But there is a difference between saying something bigoted with the intention of causing distress, and voicing an entirely legitimate opinion.

The police are not investigating Ms Rudd, but this incident will be recorded in the hate crime figures. Hopefully Ms Rudd will now see the error of her department's approach towards hate . If a crime has been reported, it should be investigated. If something is not a crime then why is data on it being gathered? Hate crime rules risk -- as Mr Silver showed us -- becoming a tool for censorship, a way of threatening people with the law simply for their opinions. That cannot be tolerated.

Offsite Comment: We're all haters now

14th January 2017 See article from spiked-online.com by Tom Slater

Spiked logoIf a middle-of-the-road speech now counts as a hate incident , we're all screwed.

Amber Rudd's notorious party conference speech 203 in which she floated the idea of employers reporting on the number of foreign and British-born people they employ 203 has been recorded by the police as a hate incident , a new lesser category of hate crime that Rudd herself helped to introduce in July last year. In her desperation to prove she was taking post-Brexit hate crime seriously, she has effectively criminalised herself.

 

14th January

 Offsite Article: WhatsApp vulnerability allows snooping on encrypted messages...

Link Here
whatsapp 2016 logoPrivacy campaigners criticise WhatsApp vulnerability as a huge threat to freedom of speech and warn it could be exploited by government agencies

See article from theguardian.com

 

13th January

 Update: Low self esteem...

Fearing that the feminist movie Embrace will be unattractive to young people, distributors commission a little BBFC cosmetic surgery to improve its appeal
Link Here  full story: Embrace...Feminist movie subject of a ratings review in Australia
Poster Embrace 2016 Taryn BrumfittEmbrace is a 2016 Australia / Canada / Dominican Republic / Germany / USA / UK feminist documentary by Taryn Brumfitt.
Starring Renee Airya, Jade Beall and Taryn Brumfitt. BBFC link IMDb

When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn's crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.

The BBFC rating for Embrace has been changed. The film has now been passed 12A for infrequent strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail after 9s of BBFC category cuts for 2017 cinema release.
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to reduce the number of uses of strong language (by bleeping spoken uses and blurring written uses) in order to obtain a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available.

The BBFC Insight reveals a few more details about the content after cuts:

Infrequent strong language ('fuck') is seen on a website page. There is also milder bad language, including uses of shit , arse and God , and some bleeped and visually obscured additional uses of stronger language.

There is brief sexualised nudity, including a shot of pole dancing. Several scenes feature non sexual nudity, including female genital nudity.

Images of cosmetic surgery feature brief sight of scalpels cutting into flesh and brief bloody detail during Botox injections.

The BBFC originally passed the film 15 uncut for strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail for cinema release. A few days later the consumer advice was changed to remove the reference to nudity and surgical images. The original advice was restored after the rating was reduced to 12A.

Never cut by Australian and New Zealand censors but the film made the news after the director successfully appealed against an Australian MA 15+ rating and won an M rating instead. In New Zealand the film censor exceptionally overruled the Australian decision.

 

13th January

  Don't mention Fawlty Towers...

Lithuanian TV show taken off air after a nazi salute in a charades based game
Link Here
virginija buneviciute nazi saluteA Lithuanian actress and former politician made a Nazi-like gesture on a TV show, which was subsequently taken off the air.

The actress Asta Baukute was about to win, she jumped off her seat upon recognizing a melody by Lithuanian composer Simonas Donskovas, who is of Jewish heritage. She then made the gestures and yelled Jew, Jew, Jew in Lithuanian.

Neither the show host, the contenders nor anyone in the audience objected to her gesture.

Lithuania's public television, LRT, apologized for a live show called Guess the Melody in which a popular actress made gestures representing Adolf Hitler's moustache while raising her arm in a Nazi-style salute. LRT's deputy manager, Rimvydas Paleckis, expressed shock on the channel's Facebook page, saying:

This is in no way compatible with our values. The show is closed.

The local Jewish community expressed dismay at the incident.

 

11th January

  Tell Me Another...

Ofcom censors the use of the word 'coon' in a chat show anecdote from the 70's
Link Here

tell me anotherTell Me Another
Talking Pictures TV, 24 August 2016, 19:00

Talking Pictures TV is an entertainment channel broadcasting classic films and archive programmes.

Tell Me Another was a talk show originally broadcast between 1976 and 1979 in which stars of the 1960s and 70s recalled personal anecdotes of their experiences in show business.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of the word coon , which they found offensive.

The word featured in an anecdote told by the comedian and singer Joan Turner when describing her first professional appearance on stage at the age of 14 in a theatre in east London in 1937. She described how the dancing girls in the troupe used to tan their legs: in those days the girls didn't wear tights...they used to make their legs up with what they call 'wet white', but it was actually brown . She told how, because her legs were cold and very pale, she borrowed wet white from a dancer and used it to darken her legs and face. Her booking agent however responded by saying, Take that bloody stuff off. You look like a bloody chocolate coloured coon... put that on again, you're not coming on! .

Ofcom considered Rules:

  • Rule 1.14: The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed .

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context... Such material may include, but is not limited to...discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race) .

Talking Pictures TV said that the word complained about occurred in an episode originally broadcast in ITV regions at 18:30 in 1978 and later. It said while we don't wish to defend the use of the term 'coon', we recognise that this was part of the lexicon of the era when the series was first broadcast .

The Licensee pointed out that the word coon was included for the first time only in Ofcom research on offensive language published on 30 September 20161 - a date after the episode of Tell Me Another was broadcast. Previous Ofcom research, including that of 2012 did not assess the word coon .

Talking Pictures said as a result of this case it had stopped broadcasts of this particular episode of Tell Me Another, and also reviewed the whole series against Ofcom's 2016 offensive language research, to ensure it contained no language that raised concerns. It said it had also increased the frequency of warnings before archive movies and TV shows to forewarn viewers of outdated language.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.14 and 2.3

In our view it was not the interviewee's intention to be discriminatory towards an ethnic minority or to cause offence. However, we considered that the use of the phrase bloody chocolate coloured coon clearly conveyed a negative reaction by the booking agent to Ms Turner's skin colour. Even though the phrase was not directed at anyone from an ethnic minority or used in an aggressive manner, it also would have been likely to have been seen by viewers as conveying a discriminatory and racist attitude on the part of the booking agent. These factors, in our view, would have been likely to increase the potential level of offence and on balance made the use of these words inconsistent with viewers' expectations for this programme on this channel at this time, and particularly for any who may have come across this material unawares.

We acknowledged that the language was broadcast in the context of a comedy entertainment programme made in the 1970s which contained what was intended to be a comic anecdote about comments made in 1937. However, this offensive language (as acknowledged by the Licensee) was broadcast to viewers with no warning beforehand alerting them to potentially offensive language, and without any editorial voice, commentary or other context to mitigate sufficiently the potential offence. We did not consider the fact that the programme had been made many years previously or that the anecdote referred to an earlier era, when attitudes were different, provided sufficient context in this case. In particular, we took into account that this programme was broadcast before the watershed with a potential for children to be in the viewing audience, who would not necessarily have been aware of historical differences in attitudes to offensive language.

Given all these factors, in this case we considered the word coon was an example of the most offensive language broadcast before the watershed in breach of Rule 1.14.

 

11th January

  Following Britain's lead...

Kenya's film censors make a power grab for internet censorship
Link Here
kenya film classification board logoProposed changes to censorship law in Kenya have filmmakers, bloggers, actors and many others in the media industry worried that their free speech will be curtailed.

Officials at the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), the government agency that regulates the creation, broadcasting and distribution of films, propose that the board would have extended powers to regulate film and stage productions as well as publications, including online content.

ISPs would be required to ensure that anyone who uses their platforms to publish content is registered with the board, and would be required to prevent use of their services for hosting or distributing pornography, radicalization materials, hate speech and glamorization of use of drugs and alcohol, among other content. Internet service providers who fail to comply with these provisions face a fine of 2 million shillings ($19,655) upon conviction, or a prison term of up to two years, or both.

In addition, compliance officers would be able to seize film that they feel violates the law. However, some fees, including those paid to the board for reviewing films, would be removed.

Opponents of the proposal say it would take the country back to the 1990s, when the media and arts were heavily censored by the government, because the plan would increase the board's power and expand its scope.

According to current law, a film cannot be made in Kenya without a license from the board. Film producers are required to submit a full description of the scenes and the full text of the spoken parts of the entire film for approval, as well as to pay fees, before a license is granted. Changes to the film are subject to further review. Police can intervene, by force if necessary, to stop the making of a film if in an officer's opinion it endangers the safety of any person or property, among other reasons.

Organizations in the arts industry have rejected the board's proposed law and have approached the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts about an alternative bill.

Kimani Njogu, the chairman of the Kenya Creative Economy Working Group, says that if his organization's push for an alternative bill does not succeed, it is prepared to go to court to seek interpretation on the constitutional provisions on freedom of expression.

 

11th January

 Commented: I don't believe in censorship BUT...

Guardian publishes a long 'BUT' calling for the censorship of Milo Yiannopoulos' Dangerous
Link Here
DangerousSam Sedgman, a pro-censorship writer commented n the Guardian:

Self-proclaimed super-villain Yiannopoulos has made a living from saying and doing hateful things, and has successfully embroiled himself in numerous headline-grabbing controversies. Whether it's saying that gay rights have made us dumber , calling transgender people mentally ill , calling rape culture a fantasy , or being banned by Twitter for allegedly encouraging trolls to attack Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones with a tirade of racist and sexist abuse, you can usually find him saying something pathologically awful.

So when a major publishing house pays $250,000 to print the work of an alt-right figurehead like him, it gives credence to these ideas, and makes them part of the mainstream. It endorses them. It empowers everyone who agrees with them to act on their worst impulses, and spread hate speech.

Offsite Comment: English PEN backs Milo Yiannopoulos' 'right to offend'

11th January 2017 See  article from thebookseller.com

However English PEN is a campaign group that believes in free speech without the buts. The group writes:

English PEN has said Milo Yiannopoulos' right to freedom of expression must be respected, amid the furore surrounding the far-right editor's lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster US.

Offensive ideas should be debunked and discredited, not censored, said Robert Sharp, head of campaigns and communications for the free speech organisation. He added that demands for S&S US to cancel the deal were tantamount to censorship .

The right of Mr Yiannopoulos to write and to offend is integral to the principle of freedom of expression, said Sharp. Likewise, Simon & Schuster US has the right to make an editorial judgment over whether to publish his book. Demanding that the publisher cancels the book deal amounts to a call for censorship, and should be resisted.

...Read the full article from thebookseller.com

 

10th January

 Diary: We Are Still Here...

January on the Horror Channel
Link Here

We Are Still Here DVDThere are seven fearful film premieres on Horror Channel in January 2017, including the UK TV premiere of Ted Geoghegan's terrifyingly taut ghost story We Are Still Here , starring horror icon Barbara Crampton.

There are also network premieres for Roman Polanski's supernatural biblical puzzler The Ninth Gate , starring Johnny Depp and Daniel Stamm's possession nightmare The Last Exorcism , produced by Eli Roth.

Horror Channel are also giving a UK TV premiere to Daniel Stamm's intriguing remake of 13 Beloved , 13 Sins , starring Ron Perlman.

Other UK TV firsts include Quilez's Colombia-shot supernatural suspensor Out Of The Dark and Steve Wolsh's monster mayhem thriller Muck . Lluis David Brooks' siege thriller ATM receives its Network premiere.

 

10th January

  Ofcom gives Fox an ear bashing...

But The Walking Dead was censored enough to keep Ofcom happy about a 9pm airing
Link Here
walking dead s7Fox showed a censored opening episode of season 7 of The Walking Dead at 9pm. The episode showed Negan bludgeoning two popular characters to death. Fox carried the episode uncut on its on demand service and the original was indeed quite gruesome by TV standards.

Ofcom published its complain bulletin this week and commented that the episode was investigated and found not in breach of its censorship rules.

Ofcom didn't publish further details but the story was followed up by The Sun. An Ofcom spokesperson said:

Our investigation found that Fox took appropriate steps to edit the programme for the 9pm showing.

This is a well-established series, and we believe the scenes would have been consistent with many viewers' expectations.

However, Ofcom confirmed to The Sun that Fox has been warned about how future broadcasts are presented to fans.

 

10th January

 Update: The People vs the Snoopers' Charter...

Liberty launches crowdfunded legal challenge to indiscriminate state spying powers in Investigatory Powers Act
Link Here  full story: Snooper's Charter Plus...2015 Cameron government expands the Snooper's Charter

Liberty logoLiberty is launching a landmark legal challenge to the extreme mass surveillance powers in the Government's new Investigatory Powers Act -- which lets the state monitor everybody's web history and email, text and phone records, and hack computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale.

Liberty is seeking a High Court judicial review of the core bulk powers in the so-called Snoopers' Charter -- and calling on the public to help it take on the challenge by donating v ia crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice .

Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said:

Last year, this Government exploited fear and distraction to quietly create the most extreme surveillance regime of any democracy in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have since called for this Act's repeal because they see it for what it is -- an unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom.

We hope anybody with an interest in defending our democracy, privacy, press freedom, fair trials, protest rights, free speech and the safety and cybersecurity of everyone in the UK will support this crowdfunded challenge, and make 2017 the year we reclaim our rights.

The Investigatory Powers Act passed in an atmosphere of shambolic political opposition last year, despite the Government failing to provide any evidence that such indiscriminate powers were lawful or necessary to prevent or detect crime.

A petition calling for its repeal has since attracted more than 200,000 signatures.

Liberty's challenge

Liberty will seek to challenge the lawfulness of the following powers, which it believes breach the public's rights:

  •   Bulk hacking -- the Act lets police and agencies access, control and alter electronic devices like computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale, regardless of whether their owners are suspected of involvement in crime -- leaving them vulnerable to further attack by hackers.
  • Bulk interception -- the Act allows the state to read texts, online messages and emails and listen in on calls en masse, without requiring suspicion of criminal activity.
  • Bulk acquisition of everybody's communications data and internet history -- the Act forces communications companies and service providers to hand over records of everybody's emails, phone calls and texts and entire web browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at its will. This provides a goldmine of valuable personal information for criminal hackers and foreign spies.
  • Bulk personal datasets -- the Act lets agencies acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector. These contain details on religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems, potentially on the entire population -- and are ripe for abuse and discrimination.

A major victory

Liberty is launching this challenge just weeks after a landmark ruling from the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) rendered core parts of the Investigatory Powers Act effectively unlawful.

 In a challenge to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) by MP Tom Watson, represented by Liberty, the CJEU ruled the UK Government was breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting and accessing the nation's internet activity and phone records.

DRIPA forced communications companies to store records of everybody's emails, texts, phone calls and internet communications and let hundreds of public bodies grant themselves access with no suspicion of serious crime or independent sign-off.

Judges ruled the regime breached British people's rights because it:

  • Allowed indiscriminate retention of all communications data.
  • Did not restrict access to the purpose of preventing and detecting precisely defined serious crime.
  • Let police and public bodies authorise their own access, instead of requiring prior authorisation by a court or independent body.
  • Did not require that people be notified after their data had been accessed.
  • Did not require that the data be kept within the European Union.

DRIPA expired at the end of 2016 -- but its powers are replicated and vastly expanded in the Investigatory Powers Act, with no effort to counter the lack of safeguards found unlawful in the case.

Support Liberty's challenge by donating at www.crowdjustice.org/case/snoopers-charter .

 

9th January

  Censorshit...

BBFC decides that the Urban Dictionary website should be adults only
Link Here
urban dictionary logoThe mobile phone companies use an algorithmic approach to the blocking of websites for mobile device users who are under 18 or else adults who have not got themselves verified as adults.

The BBFC acts to decide appeals against the phone company decisions. Note that the only options available to the BBFC are for websites to made available to all or else restricted to verified adults.

The BBFC commendably publish these appeal decisions.

From the latest batch of two appeals in the preceding 3 months, the BBFC have considered

Urban Dictionary

The Urban Dictionary provides factual definitions of slang terms which often involves string language and sex references. For Example:

Censorshit

the idea that censorship is bullshit....nothing needs to be censored.....if you don't want to watch swearing, violence, or sexual content, DON'T WATCH IT! simple as that.....nobody is making you watch it.....they have disclaimers for a reason....and if you don't want your kids watching that shit, tell your kids what they can and cannot watch.....and if they don't listen to you then you are a bad parent for not teaching your kids to do what you say.

every time i watch tv there's nothing but censorshit everywhere.

that movie sucked because of the censorshit.

The BBFC advised that the website should be blocked to under 18s, explaining:

We noted that it was an online dictionary of slang words and phrases. While a broad range of terms were explained (with definitions from a broad range of contributors), we found that very strong language and sex references were present in a significant minority of these explanations. Sex references included crude descriptions of activities including masturbation, oral sex, and urination and defecation during sex. In addition, there were references to rape and paedophilia, and definitions of discriminatory terms, which were delivered in an irreverent tone intended to shock or amuse. Given the crude and potentially offensive nature of this content, and the lackof context that accompanied it, we did not consider the website suitable for people under the age of 18.

It seems bizarre that teenagers should be blocked from a dictionary explaining their own terms, but there you go, that's censorshit for you.

 

9th January

 Update: Defence Centre against Misinformation...

German government plans revealed to set up a propaganda and internet censorship office
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
government germany press office logoFor weeks, the German and international public sphere has been bombarded with a campaign against so-called fake news. Now Der Spiegel is reporting that the government now wants to establish a Defence Centre against Misinformation , a type of censorship and propaganda agency.

The Defence Centre will be set up in the Federal Press Office under Steffen Seibert. The new centre is supposed to strengthen the political power of defence of the population and force social networks such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor content posted by users.

The acceptance of a post-factual age would amount to political capitulation, an internal paper quoted by Der Spiegel said. The paper insisted that authentic political communication remains crucial for the 21 century as well. Accordingly, wide-reaching measures would have to be formulated to deal with the disinformation campaign, fake news and the manipulation of public opinion.

The World Socialist Web Site notes:

In reality the plans for an Orwellian Truth Ministry have nothing to do with concerns about false news reports. Instead, the established parties, the state media and private media corporations fear that they are losing their monopoly on public opinion. The Internet has provided millions of people with the possibility, for the first time, of obtaining access to information that has not been selected and filtered by the official media. This has been behind the fear in the media and political parties.

The ruling class is reacting to growing social tensions and political discontent in the same way it has in the past: with police, prosecution and the suppression of free speech.

Maybe German politicians are just panicking about the unpopularity of their free-for-all immigration and refugee policy.

 

9th January

  The Age of PC Censorship...

IMDb challenges Californian ban on websites revealing ages in bios
Link Here
imdb logoLast year the state of California passed a new law that banned sites that offer paid subscriptions, and allow people to post CVs and bios, from publishing individuals' ages. The law came into effect on 1st January 2017, and it is now being challenged by IMDb who have not taken down celebrity birthdays.

The state of California introduced the new law as a politically correct move against age-discrimination. Perhaps they would have done better to frame the birthday ban more in terms of privacy protections, date of birth is quite a key piece of information enabling identity fraud.

MDb believes that the law is a violation of the First Amendment and it says the state has chosen instead to chill free speech and to undermine access to factual information of public interest rather than trying to tackle age-discrimination in a more meaningful way. IMDb has now filed a lawsuit against the Californian law.

 

9th January

 Update: Suicide Watch...

Russia's internet censors casts its nets wide when banning websites referencing suicide
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
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