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25th October

  Ofcom whinges at 'fucks' in a live daytime Lily Allen concert...

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I bet half the kids being 'protected' would have sworn at the radio if the gig had been cancelled
Link Here

radio 1s big weekend   Radio 1's Big Weekend
BBC Radio 1, 24 May 2014, 17:15 to 18:45

BBC Radio 1 hosted an annual live music event in Glasgow called Radio 1's Big Weekend , with segments of the event broadcast across the weekend.

Three complainants alerted Ofcom to the use of offensive language during the event's live broadcasts. Two of the complaints related specifically to Lily Allen's set aired between 17:30 and 18:15 on 24 May 2014 and one complaint was made about offensive language across the whole weekend. Ofcom noted that there were six instances of fuck during Lily Allen's 45 minute performance.

At 17:27, immediately prior to Lily Allen going on stage, the on-air presenter, Scott Mills, broadcast the following warning:

Now don't forget this set may contain some strong language, it is live on Radio 1's Big Weekend. We're about to see Lily Allen. If you're easily offended please go to the website and check out some other performance.

Lily Allen's set contained 11 songs in total, three of which included fuck . Following the first instance of fuck in each song the broadcast was immediately interrupted with an apology from the on-air presenter, with these apologies repeated at the end of the tracks.

Ofcom Rule 1.14:

The most offensive language must not be broadcastâ?¦when children are particularly likely to be listening.

The BBC pointed to the warning for strong language before Lily Allen's set began, and the multiple apologies broadcast during and after songs which included fuck .

The BBC said that at two points during Lily Allen's performance it considered whether to cut away from her set because of the repeated use of the word fuck . However the senior producer decided on balance to continue for various reasons. These included the producer's view that few children would be listening, the very clear signposting and apologies already given. However the BBC stated that in retrospect it believed Radio 1 should have stopped broadcasting live Lily Allen's set after the second song when she used offensive language, and only broadcast the remainder of her performance once it had been edited.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 1.14

In this case the BBC clearly had prior experience with this live event from 2011. It is also important to note that in this case BBC Radio 1 was both the event promoter and broadcaster. It therefore had greater control over this event, and for example the order and content of the performances, than if it was one for which it had negotiated the rights to broadcast. Also as Lily Allen's material was well known, and her use of strong language in performance well established, it was reasonably predictable that her set could contain the most offensive language during a live broadcast of Radio 1's Big Weekend.

In light of Ofcom's decision in 2011, we considered that the BBC should have been more aware of this risk when broadcasting the same event in 2014. We are concerned that it did not take more measures both before and during the broadcast to ensure compliance with Section One of the Code taking into account that the event was to be broadcast at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening. Ofcom noted, for example, that in addition to consideration of the scheduling of the acts, the BBC also had the option of cutting away from Lily Allen's set after the first occasion when she used the most offensive language but failed to do so.

Therefore, in light of all the above factors, Rule 1.14 of the Code was breached.

 

25th October

  Cartoon despot...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

Cartoonists encouraged to draw caricatures of Turkish president who has a nasty habit of locking up cartoonists
Link Here
ben jennings stop this The cartoonist and author Martin Rowson has encouraged people around the world to draw caricatures of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an attempt to raise awareness of a perceived clampdown on Turkish cartoonists wishing to lampoon him .

Over a series of messages on Twitter, Rowson, a regular Guardian contributor, wrote:

President Erdogan of Turkey is seeking 10 year stretch for a Turkish cartoonist. Recently another Turkish cartoonist was heavily fined for drawing Erdogan as a cat.

Maybe, if it's safe, a whole pile of cartoonists round the world should tweet their cartoons of Erdogan to teach him some humility before God and us cartoonists. Otherwise he might give the very strong impression that he's a chippy narcissistic despot. The very idea! I'll file my # ErdoganCaricature tomorrow morning. Start scribbling, comrades!

True to his word, Rowson posted his own caricature of the Turkish president on Thursday morning, and encouraged others to do likewise - if safe to do so.

 

25th October

  Dangerous Criticism...

Afghanistan newspaper sparks street protests for daring to criticise Islamic State terrorists
Link Here
afghanistan express logo A newspaper columnist condemning Islamic State and the Taliban triggered demonstrations in several Afghan cities on Friday, with protesters denouncing the article as blasphemous and calling on the government to punish the publication.

In Kabul, a crowd of approximately 500 people, including clerics and several members of parliament, gathered in front of the Eid Gah Mosque, the city's second largest house of worship. Religious leader Fazl Hadi Wazin said:

The government must stop the people who insulted the prophet, the Qur'an and Islam, and prevent them from leaving the country

In an opinion piece published last week in the English-language daily the Afghanistan Express, a journalist named AJ Ahwar admonished Muslims for remaining silent in the face of Islamic State and the Taliban. He also criticised Islam for not accepting other religions and minorities such as homosexuals and Hazaras, a Shia minority in Afghanistan.

The article ended by concluding that human beings are more important than God, which seemed to particularly incense protesters.

 

25th October

 Update: Set up by the authorities...

Rules designed to repress US adult entertainment may end up endangering strippers
Link Here
Washington state seal Dancers at a Washington strip club are suing to prevent officials from releasing their names and addresses due to a public records request. Because most strippers are required to have an entertainer's license , their identities are on the record.

Two unnamed dancers filed the complaint against Pierce County, on behalf of about 70 dancers and managers at Dreamgirls at Fox's, as well as any former dancers. They are asking county officials not to release copies of their business licenses, and thus real identities, to a man who has filed a public records request for that information.

Gilbert H. Levy, an attorney for the dancers, acknowledged that the information can legally be released under the state's Public Records Act, but that the entertainers have free-speech, privacy and safety interests in keeping the licenses and their true identities confidential.

The request from for copies of all adult entertainment licenses on file for Dreamgirls at Fox's did not list a reason for the filing. Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Reason.com speculated that it's entirely likely the person who wants this information is a crazy stalker or an anti-sex nutjob. Maybe both. Maybe merely a blackmailer or a 4chan-er. At any rate, it's hard to imagine many non-nefarious reasons for requesting personal information on a wide swath of individuals in a sensitive job.

 

24th October

  Movies should be rated by people who haven't watched many movies...

Ludicrous academics claim that the more we experience, the less our opinions are worth. In every other aspect of life, the more we experience, the better we are able to judge.
Link Here

annenberg public policy center logo Parents can become less sensitive to violence and sex in movies after watching only a few scenes with disturbing content, according to a study published in Pediatrics that was conducted by researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Parents viewed three brief pairs of movie scenes featuring either violent or sexual content. After seeing the first movie clip, the parents thought the minimum age on average to see a movie with that content should be 16.9 years old for violence or 17.2 years old for sex. After watching the sixth and final scene, the parents were more willing to let younger teens see the movies, 13.9 years for violence and 14 years for sex -- lowering the minimum age by three years or more.

Dan Romer, associate director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (APPC) and the study's lead author said:

We know these scenes are somewhat disturbing to parents. When they first see them, they say you shouldn't let someone younger than 17 see them -- which is comparable to an R rating. But they get more and more accepting of that content as they're watching it.

The study Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movie s, will be published in the November 2014 issue of Pediatrics. The findings were based on an online survey of 1,000 parents who have children from ages 6 to 17. The movie scenes came from popular films targeted at youth (PG-13), rated R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) or unrated in DVD versions.

The study comes as scenes of sex and violence become more prevalent in movies aimed at youth. A 2013 study in Pediatrics from APPC researchers showed that the amount of violence in PG-13 movies tripled in the most popular movies since 1985. That study also found that the amount of gun violence in popular PG-13 movies in 2012 actually exceeded that in popular R-rated movies. Another APPC study in Pediatrics in 2013 found that movie violence was associated with sex and alcohol use as often in PG-13 as R-rated movies.

The possible effect on movie raters

The authors noted that people who rate movies for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), who are themselves parents, could be subject to the same desensitization and thus more likely to be lenient when it comes to evaluating the appropriateness of such content for children. The study said this effect could help to explain the ratings creep that has allowed more violence into films aimed at youth.

Parents in the study viewed scenes from six of these eight movies: 8 Mile (2002, rated R); Casino Royale (2006, PG-13); Collateral (2004, R); Taken 2 (2012, PG-13); Die Hard (1988, R); Live Free or Die Hard (2007, unrated DVD); The Terminator (1984, R); and Terminator Salvation (2009, PG-13).

 

 

24th October

 Update: Reading a bit too much into 'following' someone on Twitter...

Social media told to counter terrorist propaganda with government propaganda
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

Twitter logo Senior British executives from Twitter, Google and Facebook were summoned to Downing Street on Thursday and told to do more to take action to curb the online activities of extremists. The Home Office and Crown Prosecution Service are in talks about using court orders to ensure that ISPs immediately remove extremist propaganda.

The warning came as it transpired that Britain's most high-profile radical Islamist preacher, Anjem Choudary, had influenced the man involved in the Ottawa attack. Canadian terrorist Martin Ahmad Rouleau's Twitter account showed that he followed several radical preachers, including Choudary, who tweeted that he hoped that the Canadian attacker would be admitted to heaven.

However, Choudary said: The fact that someone follows you on Twitter does not mean you necessarily influenced him to do anything.

As part of the plans, the Government also wants to encourage social media sites to use so-called counter-speech tactics, which involves positive messages about Islam online to prevent extremists monopolising websites.

 

24th October

 Update: Endangering sex workers' lives and livelihoods...

The prostitutes Collective argues that pushing prostitution further underground will not abolish it nor help sex workers,
Link Here  full story: Sex Work in Northern Ireland...Bill to ban paying for sex
prostitutes collective logo Consenting sex is not a crime. Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution; it will push it further underground, making it more dangerous and stigmatising for sex workers.

Most sex workers are mothers, mostly single mothers driven into the sex industry by lack of economic alternatives to prostitution: unemployment, poverty, low and unequal wages. Many are young women trying to pay extortionate rents, university fees, debts . . .

Where is End Demand's outrage at UK benefit cuts and sanctions which are hitting mothers and children hardest, at mothers skipping meals to feed their children or having to resort to food banks?

What they say about the Swedish model is misleading and hides the truth: 25% of Swedish single mothers now live in poverty compared to 10% seven years ago; sex workers who are mothers face losing their children; sex workers facing violence are now too afraid to go to the police for protection as the stigma of prostitution has increased.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on prostitution which last year recommended the criminalisation of clients, refused to look at any of that. They have also refused to disclose how many of those who submitted evidence to them actually agreed with the criminalisation of clients. John McDonnell MP has asked to see the submissions but the APPG has been unforthcoming so far. They also refused to look at how decriminalisation was working in New Zealand, and its positive impact of sex workers' health and safety.

End Demand quotes Alan Caton, Suffolk's former Chief Superintendent. But the murders of five women in Ipswich in 2006 were preceded by a police crackdown. So were the murders of three women in Bradford in 2009-2010. Sex workers were hounded and forced out of their established red light areas into bleak industrialised areas, away from the concerned eye of the community.

We are not the only ones to have noticed that crackdowns endanger women's lives. Mariana Popa, a young immigrant mother, was murdered on the streets of Ilford, London, last October, in the wake of a police crackdown against clients. Following her death, senior police officers raised concerns that operations to tackle prostitution are "counterproductive" and likely to put the lives of women at risk .

Chris Armitt, the national police lead on prostitution in England and Wales, also called for a review of enforcement tactics aimed at prosecuting prostitutes:

We are not going to enforce our way out of this problem. It simply won't work. I feel it would be good to allow a small group of women to work together, otherwise it creates a situation where they are working away from other human support. I think the disadvantages of working alone outweigh the advantages.

While more and more time and resources are being diverted into policing prostitution, rape and child abuse continue on a mass scale despite thousands of victims coming forward. Where were the police when children were being abused in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, and in children homes all over the country? Where were they when women and their children were killed by violent partners and ex-partners? Where are they now when the same perpetrators continue to avoid prosecution? What is their connection to the perpetrators whose crimes they have aided and abetted?

Increasing the powers of police to deal with prostitution has already resulted in more arrests, raids, stealing and seizing the earnings of sex workers, and other abuses of power and corruption. No one who is calling for the criminalisation of clients has shown any interest in this.

The North of Ireland Assembly has just voted to criminalise clients. But Scotland has refused and so has France. It is time to look at decriminalisation and that's what we are campaigning for.

 

24th October

  Torrential Falls...

Google significantly demotes major torrent sites from searches
Link Here
Google logo Google's previously announced anti-piracy measures have now kicked in and as a result popular pirate sites are noticing a massive drop in search traffic.

While Google already began changing the ranking of sites based on DMCA complaints in 2012, it announced more far-reaching demotion measures last week. According to Google the new alghorithm changes would visibly lower the search rankings of the most notorious pirate sites, and they were right.

TorrentFreak has spoken with various torrent site owners who confirm that traffic from Google has been severely impacted by the recent algorithm changes. Earlier this week all search traffic dropped in half, the Isohunt.to team told us.

To get an idea of how the search results have changed we monitored a few search phrases that were likely to be affected. The before and after comparisons, which are only three days apart, show that popular pirate sites have indeed disappeared.

A search for Breaking Bad torrent previously featured Kickass.to, Torrentz.eu and Isohunt.com on top, but these have all disappeared. Interestingly, in some cases their place has been taken by other less popular torrent sites.

The traffic data and search comparisons clearly show that Google's latest downranking changes can have a severe impact on popular pirate sites. Ironically, the changes will also drive a lot of traffic to smaller unauthorized sources for the time being, but these will also be demoted as their takedown notice count increases.

 

23rd October

  Belief in Repression...

Burma to re-introduce video censorship as sexy films are offensive to religious beliefs
Link Here
Burma flag 2010 A censor from Burma's Motion Picture and Video Censor Board, said that video censorship is to be re-introduced in Burma. He claimed that many recent movies have portrayed behaviour that supposedly runs counter to Burmese culture.

The movie censorship board announced earlier this year that, beginning on 1 December, such films will be subject to the old censorship system, whereby they are required to be evaluated and approved by the censor board prior to distribution.

Tin Nyein, a board member, further explained that this was a response to the large number of sexually-explicit films released in recent years that are offensive to certain religious beliefs.

 

23rd October

  Toeing the Censorship Line...

Citizen Lab reveals a little about keyword censorship used in China to block Line app messages
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
line logo Messaging app Line started has increased censorship in China by adding more keywords to its region-based block list.

However researchers have revealed an increased sophistication to the system making it less noticeable to users, as edgecastcdn.net reported. The censorship software now allows users to use these words separately but not in phrases. Similar techniques have also been implemented in social media sites such as Weibo.

Censorship becomes more meticulous and does not block everything completely, said Wu Qianhua, researcher at the university. He said he thinks the new tactic is helping the regime. For example, under the new system, users could send messages that include Xinjiang or independence , but not two at the same time:

If you only hide a small part, instead of everything that is relative to a certain topic, then fewer people would be affected by censorship and more will be interested to talk about topics such as Xinjiang in a 'legal' way, Wu said. But when you hide everything, people will be more curious about how the censorship works and why it exists.

The researchers found out that if users set China as their country, the app's censorship functionality will be triggered and automatically download a bad words list from a website named Naver . However, users could also learn from a post on the lab's website on how to change their location settings and bypass the region-focused system that applies to China.

 

23rd October

  Opera Censorship...

Jewish community protests against the New York staging of The Death of Klinghoffer
Link Here
Death Klinghoffer DVD Sanford Sylvan Composer John Adams' controversial The Death of Klinghoffer opened Monday night at New York's Metropolitan Opera to the sound of protest.

The opera was inspired by the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro ship and the killing of disabled Jewish American Leon Klinghoffer by members of the Palestinian Liberation Front,

The protesters attempted to disrupt the production by calling out slogans during the performance, but loud applause from the audience drowned out the voices, as it did scattered boos at the end of the first act.

The Met released a statement Monday that said the opera:

Deals with a difficult subject: the horrific murder of an innocent man during an act of terrorism committed in 1985. However, the fact that 'Klinghoffer' grapples with the complexities of an unconscionable real-life act of violence does not mean it should not be performed.

Unofficial estimates put the crowd outside at 500 to 1,500 people. Scores of police officers were deployed and barricades ringed the pavilion, but unrest was largely limited to verbal volleys between patrons and a few breakaway protesters closer to the opera house.

Many of the speakers at the protest, organized by Jewish groups such as the Zionist Association. of America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, wore yellow stars, an appropriation of the mark Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany, and called for future boycotts of the Met. Dozens of volunteers also sat in wheelchairs referencing Leon Klinghoffe.

 

23rd October

 Offsite Article: Envious of Miserable Britain...

Link Here  full story: Collective Shout...Nutter campaigners against sexualisation and the like
lee jeans australia Australia's advert regulator allows a little sexy fun in advertising, and the moralists are not happy about it

See article from melindatankardreist.com

 

22nd October

 Updated: Top Gear team yomps out of Argentina...

The BBC responds to dangerously easy offence taken at number plate
Link Here  full story: Top Gear...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Best British DVD Statement regarding Top Gear filming in Argentina, October 2014 BBC Two Logo

Complaint:

We received complaints from viewers concerned by press reports that, while filming in Argentina, Top Gear had apparently used cars with provocative registration plates.

BBC's Response:

We consulted the programme makers who would like to assure viewers that this was an unfortunate coincidence and the cars were neither chosen for their registration plates, nor were new registration plates substituted for the originals.

The crew of BBC's Top Gear have left Argentina after facing protests over a number plate which appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands War.

The team, including host Jeremy Clarkson, have been filming in South America for a Top Gear special.

The show apparently provoked anger among locals by using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.

Update: All guns blazing

22nd October 2014. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Argentina flag Argentina's ambassador to Britain has demanded an apology from the BBC over a joke by car show Top Gear . The Argentine embassy in London said Ambassador Alicia Castro had complained to the BBC about:

Clarkson's provocative behaviour and offensive remarks toward the government and the Argentine peopley. Furthermore, the Argentine ambassador deeply regretted Jeremy Clarkson's entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British citizens in Argentina.

The programme's crew had to leave Argentina hastily last month after they faced violent protests for driving a car with licence plate H982 FK, interpreted by some as a reference to the country's 1982 war with Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Host Jeremy Clarkson has accused Argentine officials of whipping up anger for political capital.

The BBC said it would follow its usual complaint procedures.

 

22nd October

  A word about ASA...

Advert censor confirms ban of product picture of a widely available and very popular joke mug
Link Here

unt mug An ad on the home page of www.firebox.com, featured a product entitled the UNT Mug and showed a picture of the mug, which had a C-shaped handle and the letters UNT printed after it.

A complaint challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious offence.

Firebox.com Ltd said the image referred to a product being sold on their ecommerce website and the C-shaped handle was the same shape as for regular mugs in the UK. They said the mug was a best-selling product and, therefore, regularly featured on their home page and product feeds. They said the product was fun, humorous and cheeky and did not cause offence. If consumers were offended by the product, they could choose not to visit their website in future. They said that they had not marketed the product in e-mail communications or advertised it more widely than the website, but over 325,000 people had viewed the product page directly, 19,000 people had shared the product through social media likes and 8 million people had viewed their home page since it's launch. They explained that the product could only be found via search engines if the specific name was searched for and they did not advertise it in any generic way.

ASA Assessment

THIS ADJUDICATION REPLACES THAT PUBLISHED ON 16 JULY. THE WORDING OF THE ASSESSMENT HAS CHANGED BUT THE DECISION TO UPHOLD THE COMPLAINT REMAINS.

Complaint Upheld

The ASA considered that the product listing was an ad which fell within the remit of the CAP Code. We understood that the product in question could be purchased directly from the website and therefore considered the product listing to be directly connected with the supply or transfer of goods and that the content therefore fell within the remit of the Code.

The full expletive had not been spelt out and, instead, used the handle of the mug to create the impression of the C . However, the handle was painted black and matched the UNT letters on the mug, contrasting the white background. We considered consumers would therefore understand that the intended meaning of the UNT letters placed next to the C shaped handle was to spell CUNT ; especially as the product was entitled the UNT Mug . While, in the context of an online shop, it was likely that the ad would be mostly viewed by adults rather than by children, we considered that a clear allusion to the word cunt was likely to offend and, therefore, marketing communications should only market products that contain expletives or words, or allusions to expletives or words that were likely to cause serious or widespread offence if they had given a clear and prominent warning on their website to potential viewers. We concluded the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Firebox.com Ltd to ensure that future marketing communications that market products containing expletives or words, or allusions to expletives or words, that were likely to cause serious or widespread offence, were given a clear and prominent warning on their website to potential viewers.

 

22nd October

  The right to free expression forgotten...

BBC News to maintain a list of URLs censored by Google under the 'right to be forgotten'
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
BBC logo The BBC is to publish a continually updated list of its articles censored from Google search under the disgraceful right to be forgotten rule.

Editorial policy head David Jordan told a public meeting, hosted by Google, that the BBC felt some of its articles had been wrongly hidden. He said greater care should be given to the public's right to remember .

The BBC will begin - in the next few weeks - publishing the list of removed URLs it has been notified about by Google. Jordan said the BBC had so far been notified of 46 links to articles that had been removed.

The list will not republish the story, or any identifying information. It will instead be a resource for those interested in the debate .

Jordan criticised the lack of a formal appeal process after links have been taken down, noting one case where news of the trial involving members of the Real IRA was removed from search results.

 

22nd October

 Updated: Facebook's real names policy is problematic for free speech...

From trans people to activists, there are some good reasons for some Facebook users to use a pseudonym. And yet, Facebook is unrelenting
Link Here

Facebook again made headlines this month for its refusal to allow users to represent themselves with their chosen identities. A number of users of the site, mainly drag performers, reported that their accounts had been taken down in violation of the company's real names policy that requires individuals to use their legal name for personal accounts.

...Read the full article


Update: Facebook apologises to drag queens for deleting their accounts due to fake names'

3rd October 2014. See article from itv.com . Thanks to Nick

Facebook logo As per standard procedure at the Facebook censor's office, when enough negative publicity is created, the PR department springs into life. Facebook then makes profuse apologies, claims it was all some sort of ghastly mistake, then makes an exception to the rules for the publicised case, makes no real changes, and then carries on as normal in censoring all the vast majority of people who are not quite so adept at generating publicity.

In this case Facebook has now appealed for attempting to out drag queens, Mentioning two drag queens while clarifying their policy Facebook's Chris Cox said:

Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name. The spirit of our policy is that everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life. For Sister Roma, that's Sister Roma. For Lil Miss Hot Mess, that's Lil Miss Hot Mess. Part of what's been so difficult about this conversation is that we support both of these individuals, and so many others affected by this, completely and utterly in how they use Facebook.

Facebook has said that a single user highlighted the accounts as possibly using fake names and the reports were lost in the several hundred thousand fake name reports they process a week.

Offsite Comment: Dear Facebook: Sorry is a Start. Now Let's See Solutions

5th October 2014. See  article from  eff.org

Electronic Frontier Foundation When it comes to Facebook's real names policy, it's really clear---something needs to change. Over the last few weeks, we've joined dozens of advocates in saying so. And in a meeting with LGBTQ and digital rights advocates, Facebook agreed. Of course, admitting there's a problem is always the first step towards a solution. But what's not clear is what that solution will be.

EFF continues to believe that the best solution is simply to get rid of the real names policy entirely. But barring that, Facebook needs to find a solution that takes into account the myriad groups of people affected by Facebook's faulty policy, from undocumented immigrants, to activists in oppressive regimes, to survivors of domestic violence.

...Read the full article

Update: Facebook Bollox

22nd October 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

Weeks after Facebook apologised for the way its real-name policy had led to the suspension of numerous drag queens' accounts, user accounts are still being suspended or deactivated for not using people's legal names.

Sister Roma, a veteran of San Francisco's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence , is one of the leaders of the campaign to get Facebook to restore these accounts and has become a key liaison between the social media giant and people whose accounts continue to be suspended or deactivated. Sister Roma told the Guardian:

Every time one or two get fixed, a handful get suspended So we really feel like we're swimming upstream, and while I'm hopeful that Facebook is doing the right thing, it's discouraging.

Sister Roma said she has fielded 300 to 400 emails from people whose accounts have been suspended or deactivated.

 

22nd October

  PC Zombies...

Tabloid newspapers try to whip up a storm about Asda Halloween costumes
Link Here
asda halloween cheerleader Britain's tabloid press have been trying to whip up a little outrage about Halloween costumes sold at Asda

The costumes are called Halloween Cheerleader and Halloween American Footballer . They are designed to look like they are blood stained, with an obvious bullet-style pattern on the costumes sold in store and online.

One customer, Sheila Pinney started an online petition platform Change.org to have the outfits banned and also wrote to Asda's CEO Andy Clarke asking for the costumes to be withdrawn from stores immediately. She whinged:

Regardless of this detail, bloodstained American Cheerleader and American Footballer costumes are of incredibly bad-taste, even for Halloween.

I was actually left speechless when I saw the costumes, while seeking a suitable fancy dress costume for my 4-year old son, Evan. He asked me what the costumes were, as he is familiar with ghosts, skeletons and the usual Halloween imagery, and I actually couldn't form the words to explain what they were, as how can you tell a 4-year old that he is looking at costumes depicting 'shot teenagers'?

A spokesman for Asda responded to the whinges.

We appreciate that it isn't for everyone but the majority of our customers love dressing up at Halloween, especially in spooky or gory costumes which inevitably can include fake blood.

And just a measure of the failure of the Telegraph and Daily Mail to generate any interest the petition stands at just 174 signatures, 4 days after the publication of the newspaper stories.

 

22nd October

 Commented: Is it all politicians can do, dream up new ways to imprison ordinary people?...

Government proposed to increase the penalty for internet insult to 2 years in jail
Link Here  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Ministry of Justice logo Internet insults could lead to two years in jail under new laws, 'Justice' Secretary Chris Grayling has said. He proposes that magistrates should be able to pass serious cases on to crown courts under the new measures.

He told the Mail on Sunday quadrupling the current maximum six-month term showed his determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob

These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life. No-one would permit such venom in person, so there should be no place for it on social media. That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence.

As the terrible case of Chloe Madeley showed last week, people are being abused online in the most crude and degrading fashion.

This is a law to combat cruelty - and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob. We must send out a clear message: if you troll you risk being behind bars for two years.

Those who subject others to sexually offensive, verbally abusive or threatening material online are currently prosecuted in magistrates' courts under the Malicious Communications Act, with a maximum prison sentence of six months. More serious cases could go to crown court under the proposals, where the maximum sentence would be extended.

The law change is to be made as an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill going through Parliament.

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, responded to the proposed new penalties:

Big Brother Watch logo The Justice Secretary should be focusing his efforts on incidents where real harm may be caused, not casting the net wider for anything that could be deemed offensive.

The Crown Prosecution Service and the police have completely failed to properly use the existing harassment law, which itself would address the actions of anyone who poses a serious threat.

The victims of serious abuse online, or indeed offline, do not need headline grabbing policies. They need definitive action to ensure that the police know what the law is when a compliant is made. It is that action which will keep them safe, not attempts to legally blur the line between illegal behaviour and being generally offensive.

Offsite Comment: Trolling 'is' a free-speech issue, and always has been

22nd October 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Tom Slater

Spiked logo The UK justice secretary's announcement on Sunday that the jail sentence for abusive online trolling is set to be quadrupled, from a maximum of six months to two years, should send a chill down the spine of all freedom-loving individuals. The fact that a panic over the phlegm-spitting, misspelled missives of a few keyboard warriors has laid the path for heavy-handed state intervention into our communications sets a dangerous precedent for the future of free expression online.

...Read the full article .

Note that the increase in sentences for internet insult is not actually a new addition to the bill, the repressive measure has been included from the beginning.

 

22nd October

 Offsite Article: Backpage in spotlight after murder link as sex website face court test...

Link Here
backpage logo Should a public forum about hook ups for sex be banned because a few bad people use it?

See article from theguardian.com

 

21st October

 Update: And politicians don't take criticism well...

Singapore film makers appeal against government ban on To Singapore with Live
Link Here
to singapore with love On 2 October 2014, filmmaker Tan Pin Pin re-submitted her film, To Singapore, With Love , for classification with the film censors at the Media Development Authority (MDA).

The MDA had originally rated her film NAR : Not Allowed for All Rating . This means the film is not allowed to be screened in public or be distributed. The MDA later said the film is allowed to be screened in private and to college students.

Since Ms Tan re-submitted the film for rating, however, several ministers and government departments have castigated the film, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He said the accounts given in the film by the former members of the Communist Party of Malaya were self-serving and were conveniently inaccurate in places, glossing over facts in others.

The Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, also criticised the film. He told Parliament on 7 October that the film's one-sided portrayals are designed to evoke feelings of sympathy and support for individuals who in reality chose to leave Singapore and remain in self-exile.

And the Government's latest response, the press secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister said allowing the film to be screened in public would be like allowing jihadi terrorist groups today to produce and publicly screen films that glorify their jihadist cause.

It certainly doesn't look good for film makers hoping to overturn the ban!

 

21st October

 Extract: Where will it all end?...

Generating a little 'outrage' for a new video game named Hatred
Link Here

hatred logo Video games have received all manner of attention over the last week, much of it negative. Now the release of the first trailer for Hatred , a game where the only objective appears to be the mass murder of as many innocent civilians as possible, is bringing the industry to a new low.

The trailer for the video game, which is designed by Polish developer Destructive Creations, begins with the appearance of an obscure, long-haired figure dressed in black and brandishing a host of weaponry including machine guns, knives and grenades. After a brief monologue about this character's hatred for the world and the human worms that reside within it, the character then proceeds to embark on a genocide crusade which showcases several brutal executions of men, women and police officers with no apparent purpose.

In Hatred , not only violence, but violence against innocent civilians seems to be the whole purpose of the game. Since the trailer's release a fierce debate has sprung up about the morality of such violent and destructive game-play, adding fuel to the massive fire currently surrounding moral game-play, the sexualization of women in video games and the threats directed against outspoken women in the industry.

 

21st October

 Offsite Article: The End...

Link Here
Assassination Margaret Thatcher Hilary Mantel Padraig Reidy: Collective outrage and imagined slights. Controversy about a short story about assassinating Thatcher

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

20th October

  Someone needs to chill out...

PC bully whinges about Breaking Bad figures at Toys R Us
Link Here
Breaking Bad 6 inch Heisenberg Exclusive Breaking Bad may have been one of the most popular cable dramas of the last decade, but one Florida woman isn't thrilled that Toys R Us is selling the show's action figures. Susan Schrivjer was 'shocked':

The figure of main character Walter White, a former high school chemistry teacher who becomes one of the biggest meth dealers in the country, carries a duffle bag filled with cash, and comes with a toy bag of crystal meth. The figure for White's assistant/meth distributor, Jesse Pinkman, comes with a gas mask to protect against dangerous compounds during meth cooking.

Anything to do with drugs is not doing the right thing I just think that they need to look at their visions and values, as they call them.

So Schrivjer started a Change.org petition asking Toys 'R' Us to stop selling the dolls. The petition received about 1,000 signatures.

In a statement, Toys R Us told NBC News that:

The product packaging clearly notes that the items are intended for ages 15 and up and are located in the adult action figure area of our stores.

 

20th October

 Update: Gone Girl: Movies should entertain, not educate...

The reaction to Gone Girl has been anything but unpredictable, with Britain's professional offencerati leaping on the film for its allegedly murky assertions about rape, and, more specifically, rape victims.
Link Here  full story: Gone Girl...David Fincher winds up censors and the politically correct
Poster Gone Girl 2014 David Fincher

 

19th October

  Friday the 13th A New Beginning...

BBFC cuts lists revealed for cinema and VHS
Link Here
Friday 13Th Part 5 DVD Friday the 13th A New Beginning aka i s a 1985 US slasher by Danny Steinmann.
With Melanie Kinnaman, John Shepherd and Shavar Ross.
YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Cut cinema release

The cut R Rated Version was passed 18 after a further 56s of BBFC cuts for:

  • 1985 cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Reel 3 - Considerably reduce shots of bare-breasted girl lying on ground after sex as she is stalked and then killed with a pair of shears.
  • Reel 3 - Remove shot of same girl lying with her eyes stabbed out by shears.
  • Reel 3 - Reduce to establishing shots only tourniquet being tightened around both eyes.
  • Reel 4 - Reduce anticipatory shots of bare-breasted girl lying on bed before turning over to find bloody body of boy next to her.

Further cut VHS release

The cut R Rated Version was passed 18 after a further 1:22s of BBFC cuts for:
  • 1987 CIC VHS

The BBFC cuts were:

  • At 42 mins - Considerably reduce sight of bare-breasted girl [Tina] on ground after sex before she is killed with shears, in particular removing side angle of her lying back with knee raised foreground. Remove shot of same girl with gouged-out eyes, so that scene is played off boy's reactions to corpse as he turns her over. Reduce to establishing shots only tourniquet being tightened around boy's eyes [Eddie], only first and last shot to remain.
  • At 53 mins - Reduce terrorising of boy speared through tin lavatory shack by removing altogether the sight of spear wounding him in knee and some of terror which follows it.
  • At 64 mins - Reduce anticipatory shots of bare-breasted girl Robin lying on back in bed before turning and finding bloody body of boy next to her.
  • At 66 mins - Reduce stabbing of second girl in dormitory while she is dancing to gramophone by removing the delay after she is grabbed round throat and thrown against wall, cutting altogether the sight of her being lifted into the air.
  • At 67 mins - When boy looks into room and lightning flash reveals bodies on bed, remove two tighter shots featuring bare breasts and blood.

BBFC cuts waived for DVD Release

The cut R Rated Version was passed 18 with BBFC cuts waived for:

 

19th October

  Everybody's Offended...

Media-watch commission survey finding that everybody has been offended by something on pre-watershed TV
Link Here

mediawatch banner logo A moralist campaign set up by Catholic campaigner Mary Whitehouse has claims that the public believes TV producers have crossed the line by allowing increasingly inappropriate content to be aired.

Of the 2,009 people questioned in the survey by Atomik Research on behalf of Mediawatch-UK, 100% said they had viewed offensive content before the watershed.

The research received the highest percentage of complaints about sexual activity (47%) followed by bad language (38%), violence (36%) and inappropriate adult issues such as drug use and gambling (34%). However, despite each person confessing they had concerns about unsuitable content, only 26% had complained to the TV censor Ofcom.

Actually 26% of people complaining to Ofcom is a massive proportion of people. Ofcom only get handfuls of complaints, so the 26% of people rather suggests that the Mediawatch-UK survey was hardly a random sample.

Vivienne Pattison, Director of Mediawatch-UK, claimed:

OFCOM's failure to regulate adequately in the past has led to what the regulator itself described as being 'at the very margin of acceptability' to become mainstream.

Is it then any wonder that people are not making their views known about inappropriate broadcasts because they don't think anything will come of complaining.

The survey was commissioned to mark the 50th anniversary of Mediawatch-UK.

 

19th October

  Government Theatre Censor...

Turkish theatre director resigns over government demands for censorship of play
Link Here
gunes bartarken The resignation of the Turkish State Theater's (DT) Director Mustafa Kurt, following an alleged censorship debate concerning a play about Goethe, has sparked controversy over whether the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is forcing directors who are against a controversial bill on the proposed Turkey Arts Council (TUSAK) to quit their jobs.

Kurt resigned  just before the State Theater's premiere of the play Gunes Batarken Bile Buyuk (The Sun is Big Even at Sunset) .

A government committee had requested DT officials to remove certain lines featuring sexual or vulgar language. The ministry then ordered Kurt to postpone the premiere while it determined whether these parts had been removed. The DT's rejection of the administration's order allegedly led to Kurt's resignation.

If the proposed bill on TUSAK becomes law, the final word on all art-related projects in Turkey will lie with this council.

 

19th October

  Unplugged...

Giant inflatable butt plug vandalised in Paris
Link Here

paul mccarthy butt plu A giant inflatable butt plug has been destroyed by vandals in Paris.

The 80 foot art work was installed at  Place Vendome and was claimed to be a 'tree' by the artist Paul McCarthy. Past artwork by McCarthy seems to suggest that he has a somewhat erotic sense of humour and a tree is an an unlikely explanation.

Tragedy struck late on Friday night when the ambiguous structure was attacked and deflated.

A police spokesman said:

Individuals have severed the cables that hold the sculpture in place, taking advantage of a momentary lack of a security guard.

Farnce's Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin, called the vandalism a n attack on creative freedom as well as a physical attack on the artist himself.

 

19th October

 Offsite Article: Speaking volumes about your whereabouts...

Link Here
whisper logo Revealed how Whisper app tracks supposedly anonymous users

See article from theguardian.com

 

18th October

  Mary Whitehouse: Was she right?...

Celebrating 50 years of morality campaigning and sliding down the slippery slope. You'd think we would have hit the bottom by now. But no, life goes on pretty much as normal
Link Here
mary whiteouse was she right An image of the late Mary Whitehouse, scourge of TV's moral turpitude, was projected onto the side of BBC Broadcasting House in London earlier this week to mark the 50th anniversary of Mediawatch-UK (formerly the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association).

The Guardian's Media Monkey is not quite sure what Whitehouse would have made of the anniversary being marked with a PR stunt, but there you go.

 

18th October

  Chucky Reincarnate...

Annabelle pulled from French cinemas after troubles break out amongst the audience
Link Here
Annabelle plus bonus features Wallis Annabelle is a 2014 USA horror by John R Leonetti.
Starring Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis and Alfre Woodard. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia - a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia's delight with Annabelle doesn't last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now... Annabelle.

BBFC: Passed 15 uncut for strong horror, bloody violence

MPAA: Rated R for intense sequences of disturbing violence and terror.

A string of French cinemas have cancelled showings of new American horror form Annabelle after violence has repeatedly broken in the audience. The managers of cinemas in Marseille, Strasbourg and Montpellier have ceased showing the film until further notice for security reasons.

General chaos and fights have broken out among audience members during the screenings of the film, which is a prequel of the film The Conjuring and tells the tale of the murderous puppet Annabelle terrorising an unsuspecting family.

The trouble seems to stem from teenagers getting rowdy during the screenings. BFMTV film critics Alain Grasset said:

It's a very young audience, for whom the screening is a time to let loose, they go to see it as a joke, but it's a pretext to go a little wild.

 

18th October

 Updated: The right for the rich and powerful to censor what they don't want to hear...

Author banned from writing about his experience of child abuse lest this hurts delicate ears
Link Here
english pen logo Stephen Fry, David Hare and Tom Stoppard among leading writers to voice concerns over court ruling that prevents publication of memoir. They write:

The Court of Appeal's injunction last week preventing publication of a memoir poses a significant threat to freedom of expression.

The Court has ruled that the book should not be published on the grounds that it may cause psychological harm to the author's child, who suffers from disabilities, including Asperger's and ADHD.

The book is not targeted at children and will not be published in the country in which the child lives. The memoir deals with the author's past experiences of sexual abuse and explores the redemptive power of artistic expression. It has been praised, even in court, as striking prose and an insightful work.

The author's earlier public discussions of sexual abuse have previously led to the arrest of one of his abusers.  Its publication is therefore clearly in the public interest and may encourage those who have suffered abuse to speak out.

As writers, and members of English PEN, we are gravely concerned about the impact of this judgment on the freedom to read and write in the UK. The public is being denied the opportunity of reading an enlightening memoir, while publishers, authors and journalists may face censorship on similar grounds in the future.

Jeffrey Archer, William Boyd, John Carey, Jim Crace, Jonathan Dimbleby, Cory Doctorow, Michael Frayn, Maureen Freely, President, English PEN, Stephen Fry, Daisy Goodwin, David Hare, Tom Holland, Hari Kunzru, Marina Lewycka, Blake Morrison, Katharine Norbury, Will Self, Tom Stoppard, Colin Thubron, Colm Tóibín

 

18th October

  Trademarked Blocking Systems...

ISP website blocking extended to websites accused of trademark infringement
Link Here
Old Bailey In a landmark ruling, the High Court has ordered several of the UK's leading ISPs to block websites dealing in counterfeit products. The decision follows legal action by Richemont, the owner of several luxury brands including Cartier and Montblanc.

Following successful action by the world's leading entertainment companies to have sites blocked at the ISP level on grounds of copyright infringement, it was perhaps inevitable that other companies with similar issues, such as trademark infringement would tread the same path.

Compagnie Financiere Richemont S.A. owns several well-known luxury brands including Cartier and Mont Blanc and for some time has tried to force sites selling counterfeit products to close down. Faced with poor results, in 2014 the company wrote to the UK's leading ISPs, Sky, TalkTalk, BT, Virgin Media, EE and Telefonica/O2, complaining that third party sites were infringing on Richemont trademarks.

Concerned that Richemont hadn't done enough to close the sites down on its own and that blocking could affect legitimate trade, the ISPs resisted and the matter found itself before the High Court.

The court decision means that the ISPs named in the legal action must now restrict access to websites selling physical counterfeits in the same way they already restrict file-sharing sites.

A Richemont spokesperson told TorrentFreak that the ruling represents a positive step in the fight to protect brands and customers from the sale of counterfeit goods online. T he company said:

We are pleased by this judgment and welcome the Court's recognition that there is a public interest in preventing trade mark infringement, particularly where counterfeit goods are involved. The Courts had already granted orders requiring ISPs to block sites for infringement of copyright in relation to pirated content. This decision is a logical extension of that principle to trade marks.

TorrentFreak reports that the decision is likely to be appealed.

 

18th October

  Forget the Children...

Championing the right for young people to have their childhood forgotten
Link Here
martha lane fox The government's former digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, has said teenagers should be given the right to erase their online past when they reach 18.

The lastminute.com founder said it seems a pretty good idea that people should be able to scratch everything you did online pre-18 :

We should be able to create these safe places for kids to be OK and for it not be okay for that to then come back to haunt you at a later date. That feels quite urgent and important and manageable.

But she said she had mixed feelings about the more general principle of the right to be forgotten. She added:

Someone at Google suggested to me you cold be able to annotate Google, not completely Wikipedia style but that you would be able to put up a note saying, yes this is this, but this is related to me and this is what I think about it. I thought that was quite an interesting idea.

 

18th October

 Update: A Sea of Troubles...

An Indian take on Hamlet set in Kashmir gets banned by Pakistan's film censor
Link Here  full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
haider Haider is a 2014 India crime romance by Vishal Bhardwaj.
Starring Shahid Kapoor, Tabu and Shraddha Kapoor. IMDb

Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', Haider - a young man returns home to Kashmir on receiving news of his father's disappearance. Not only does he learn that security forces have detained his father for harboring militants, but that his mother is in a relationship with his very own uncle. Intense drama follows between mother and son as both struggle to come to terms with news of his father's death. Soon Haider learns that his uncle is responsible for the gruesome murder, what follows is his journey to avenge his father's death.

Citing the film's sensitive content , Pakistan's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decided against the release of the film in Pakistan. A CBFC employee told The Express Tribune that Haider's controversial topic and propagandist nature are the reasons for this.

A senior official at the CBFC maintained that the film's ban:

Has nothing to do with the ongoing tension between Pakistan and India. Any film that is on a controversial topic, such as the Kashmir issue, will most likely not be released in the country.

The film is against the ideology of Pakistan. We have a professional panel of reviewers that assesses films while keeping in mind factors that a layman can't understand. He stated that certain Hindi words used in a film may seem harmless to an average audience member, but can have adverse effects on our culture.

Distributor Amjad Rasheed commented on not pursuing censor clearance via a local censor board:

We realise the [gravity of the] situation at the Line of Control and if one board has refused to certify the film, then the wise thing to do is not to offer the film at all.

The film has also caused controversy in India. A court in the state of Uttar Pradesh is hearing a petition calling for the film to be banned on the grounds that it was against national interest.

 

18th October

 Offsite Article: CAMRA, Corsets and Moral Hysteria...

Link Here
camra leaflet PC bullies lay into a flyer for a real ale campaign. By David Flint

See article from strangethingsarehappening.com