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20th November

  Three Fingered Salute...

Thai cinemas cancel showings of Mockingjay as its symbology chimes with those opposing military dictatorship
Link Here
Hunger Games Mockingjay Part DVD Managers at Bangkok's Lido and Scala cinemas have decided not to show the movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 for fear of a political backlash.

The management of Apex group, which operates the theatres, told the Bangkok Post it had received a phone call asking for 200 tickets for the film's premiere on Thursday noon at Scala theatre, and that they be sent by mail. It found out later the tickets were being given out for free from a Facebook page.

The League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy posted on its Facebook that it would give 160 tickets for the movie premiere at Scala under its Raise Three Fingers, Bring Popcorn and Go to the Theatre campaign. It also asked its friends to comment on How does the Capitol resemble Bangkok? - the winning commentators would get 80 tickets for free. As of 6.46pm on Wednesday there were 241 comments to the post.

Apex said authorities had met with management to talk about the film but claimed its decision to drop the show had nothing to do with what happened to the military ruler Prayut Chan-o-cha in Khon Kaen.

His talk there was interrupted by five students. The five wore anti coup t-shirts and gave the general the three-finger salute from the Hunger Games series of movies before being whiskered away by police and soldiers to a military camp. A security official said they were detained at the camp for attitude adjustment.


20th November

 Updated: Ever more strident demands from the politically correct...

Lynne Featherstone puts her right to not be offended above fundamental human rights
Link Here

Lynne Featherstone The Illiberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone, a Home Office minister, has demanded a ban on controversial US pick-up artist Julien Blanc from entering Britain. She siad she was lobbying Home Secretary Theresa May to refuse the self-styled dating coach a visa.

Blanc has offended over his £ 2,000-a-head seminars in which he is said to teach men sexually abusive and racist methods to attract women. He is said to encourage men to treat women with disrespect and contempt, including video footage of him apparently grabbing women by the throat. Other recommended pick-up methods include threatening to commit suicide, injuring pets and isolating women from friends. It would be interesting to hear a more measured review of his material rather than rely on Daily Mail reporting designed to invoke 'outrage'.

Featherstone said:

I am extremely concerned by the sexist and utterly abhorrent statements Julien Blanc has made about women. If he was allowed to perform in the UK I have no doubt that cases of sexual harassment and intimidation would increase. Mr Blanc disturbingly encourages men to treat women with disrespect and contempt Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone has lobbied Home Secretary Theresa May to refuse the self-styled dating coach a visa

Free speech is obviously hugely important ...BUT... with free speech comes responsibility. It is not appropriate to talk about choking girls under any circumstances.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Blanc should be barred from coming to the UK on the grounds that his promotion of violence against women is not conducive to the public good . She said:

It is important that respect for the laws on sexual assault and violence are upheld and that we send a clear message from Britain about zero tolerance of violence against women and girls.

More than 110,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Blanc to be refused entry to the UK after he was forced to cut short a visit to Australia following widespread protests.

Update: The whole point of freedom of speech is to not let bullies and lynch mobs prevail. So its sad to see our senior politicians head up the baying for blood

20th November 2014.  See  article from  independent.co.uk

Home Offie logo Controversial pick-up artist Julien Blanc has been denied a visa to enter the UK after a sustained campaign to prevent him from touring in Britain, it has been reported.

Blanc, who calls himself the international leader in dating advice , was forced to swiftly exit Australia after his visa was withdrawn amid claims his dating seminars teach abusive techniques.

An online petition calling on the Home Secretary Theresa May to deny the US citizen a visa to enter Britain gained more than 150,000 signatures. And indeed Blanc has now been barred from entering the UK by the Home Office.


20th November

  Oft Offended Opportunists...

US TV censor isn't supporting the call for a ban of the word 'Redskins' referring to the Washington DC football
Link Here
washington redskins logo Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a speech at an awards event that he disagrees with recent efforts to ban broadcasters from using the word Redskins when referring to the Washington, D.C. NFL team. He said:

If the FCC took these steps, we would be squelching public debate about an issue of public concern. We would be standing in the way of media outlets reporting the news. And we would be prohibiting speech simply because we disagree with the viewpoint that is being expressed.

Pai went on to say public officials shouldn't sound an uncertain trumpet when oft-offended opportunists urge us to undermine the First Amendment. He said he thinks the FCC should heed the words of Voltaire:

I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it, adding. Anyone who takes seriously the Constitution--scholar or layman--knows the petition is meritless. The FCC should dismiss it tout suite, as Voltaire might have said.


19th November

  Feminism has become toxic...

The Guardian's Julie Bindel notes that baying PC lynch mob has been attracting some justifiably negative press lately
Link Here
scientist shirt The PC lynch mob vs Matt Taylor's shirt...

Julie Bindel comments:

The scientist of Rosetta mission fame, Matt Taylor, is arguably better known at the moment for a shirt he wore, depicting scantily clad women than his extraordinary scientific breakthrough. After a massive kerfuffle, led by feminists, Taylor broke down in tears at a briefing recently and said: I made a big mistake and I offended many people, and I am very sorry about this.

Many would hail this as a feminist victory: a big-name scientist apologising on TV and being reduced to tears for his apparent sexism. We must have come a long way to wield so much influence. But there's another way of seeing it. As less of a victory, more of a sign of a shift in feminist tactics. Instead of attacking the root cause of women's inequality, we've moved towards the vilification of individuals.


The current climate of McCarthyism within some segments of feminism and the left is so ingrained and toxic that there are active attempts to outlaw some views because they cause offence. Petitions against individuals appear to be a recent substitute for political action towards the root causes of misogyny and other social ills. Petitions have taken over politics.


The ban this sick filth approach is starting to look more like censorship than progressive politics. Political protest and heated debate has been replaced with a witch-hunt mentality.


Moral superiority and call out culture has trumped political activism. Feminists have a proud history of taking state institutions and corporations to task. It would seem this is being lost in a sea of vitriol. We built this movement on a desire and willingness to question and challenge old assumptions and truisms. We are in danger of becoming autocrats who would rather organise a pile-on than try to change systems. The life blood of feminism is in danger of becoming bile.

For once she is spot on. Something also noted by other commentators

Comment: Matt Taylor's sexist shirt and the day political correctness officially went mad

See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by Tim Stanley

Imagine if these PC fetishists had been around on Twitter when we landed on the moon: One small step for man? And one giant leap backwards for women. #sexistpigs.

Comment: ShirtGate Fascism Cloaked as Liberalism

See  article from  sexandcensorship.org

If Taylor had been paying more attention to politics over the past decade, he'd have witnessed the final stages in the collapse of the progressive left, and its replacement with a new set of intolerant, dogmatic, anti-sex, pro-censorship attitudes. But he clearly had more important things to worry about, so he'd missed the rise of a clique of online bullies using feminist language to achieve a very non-feminist goal: the suppression of the idea that women can be sexual beings if they so choose.


18th November

  Paddington Bear and his Mild Sex References...

The Daily Mail, the book's author and SaferMedia all whinge at the BBFC for its consumer advice for the movie, Paddington
Link Here
paddinton Paddington is a 2014 UK / France family comedy by Paul King.
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins and Julie Walters. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

A young Peruvian bear with a passion for all things British travels to London in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone at Paddington Station, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined - until he meets the kindly Brown family, who read the label around his neck ('Please look after this bear. Thank you.') and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

The BBFC Just passed the film PG uncut for cinema release with the consumer advice:

dangerous behaviour, mild threat, innuendo, infrequent mild bad language.

But a little earlier, the consumer advice had read

dangerous behaviour, mild threat, mild sex references, mild bad language.

The BBFC changed the wording of its guidance after the Daily Mail ran a story about the PG rating for the film. It seems that the Paddington author Michael Bond was totally amazed at the term mild sex references used by the BBFC. Bond told the Daily Mail:

I'd be very upset. I might not sleep well tonight. I can't imagine what the sex references are. It doesn't enter into it with the books, certainly.'

After an approach from the film's distributor the BBFC altered the term mild sex references to innuendo . The distributor also asked for clarity to the frequency of mild bad language, and the BBFC duly obliged by adding the descriptor, infrequent.

The film's director Paul King said he had expected the BBFC to issue a PG rating:

I'm not surprised about that but I don't think it's a PG for sexiness. That I would find very odd, he said.

The Daily Mail also a dragged up a trivial sound bite from  Pippa Smith, of the SaferMedia campaign. She said:

There should be absolutely nothing threatening, sexual or dangerous about Paddington. If there is, it should be cut.

For a full description of what the BBFC are alluding to here is the BBFC Insight. (which still uses the heading 'sex')

BBFC logo Imitable Behaviour

There are infrequent scenes of dangerous behaviour, including Paddington hiding from a villain inside a refrigerator and riding on a skateboard while holding on to a bus, as well as a brief scene of a boy strapping fireworks to his shoes.


There are occasional sequences of mild threat when Paddington is chased by the villain who threatens to kill and stuff him, as well as a brief sequence in which Paddington lies unconscious on a table while a taxidermist prepares their tools nearby. There is also a short scene in a jungle when Paddington and his family run for shelter during an earthquake with trees falling around them.


There is some mild innuendo, including a comic sequence in which a man disguised as a woman is flirted with by another man.


There is a single mumbled use of bloody .


18th November

  A Question for Sweden...

Would a gender equality rating for a computer game ironically mean that it was a game for girls?
Link Here
g rating logo Future video games produced in Sweden could be labelled according to whether or not they promote gender equality, as part of a new project by gaming industry trade organisation Dataspelsbranchen.

The association has been given a 272,000 kronor ($36,672) grant by Sweden's government-funded innovation agency, Vinnova.

Inspired by the Bechdel test, which looks at whether fictional films or books feature at least two women talking about a topic other than men, Dataspelsbranchen will work with several game developers to analyse how Swedish video games portray female characters and gender issues.

Speaking to The Local, project manager Anton Albiin said it was unclear at this stage if all games produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if companies developing games that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes. But he said he understood that either strategy would be a world first:

I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area.


18th November

  SAVE Our Liberty...

US civil liberties groups oppose a proposed law against adult adverts that will result in massive censorship of general internet advertising and also user generated content
Link Here

US Senate A coalition of civil liberties, publishing, and online commerce groups are asking Congress to oppose a piece of anti-speech, anti-sex work legislation known as as the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act.

The bill is supposedly aimed at thwarting human trafficking but in reality would create harsh new criminal liabilities for websites and publishers, allow federal agents to censor online ads, make it harder for adult sex workers of all sorts to safely connect with customers, drive traffickers further underground, and potentially expose anyone advertising online to new privacy infringements.

In a November 12 letter to the U.S. Senate, nine organizations--including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Internet Commerce Coalition , the Electronic Frontier Foundation , the Association of Alternative News Media, and the National Coalition Against Censorship--wrote to convey strong opposition to the SAVE Act.

The SAVE Act would do several things:

  1. create extensive record-keeping requirements for any website, online services, and print publication that hosts adult advertisements,
  2. require anyone posting an adult ad to submit photo identification,
  3. enable the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ban certain euphemisms or code words from online advertising entirely, and
  4. make websites that host user-generated ads criminally liable should any of those ads wind up promoting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a minor. Under the law, the operator of a website such as Craigslist that hosts thousands of new user-uploaded ads daily could could face up to 10 years prison if any one of these is eventually linked to child sex trafficking.

The act would mean that websites and services hosting user-generated content could be held criminally liable even if they do not have actual knowledge that an ad for illegal activity appears on their sites.

Consequently, virtually any user-generated content host--like Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Amazon or various online dating sites--will have every incentive to prohibit content that falls under the bill's broad definition of adult advertisements, which includes communications that are wholly or only partially devoted to proposing lawful commercial exchange for lawful services--in other words, speech that is unquestionably protected by the First Amendment. At best, user-generated content sites will default to taking down content that is flagged as an adult advertisement as soon as a complaint is lodged, regardless of whether the content appears to be related to child trafficking or state child exploitation crimes, or even fits the bill's definition of adult advertisement at all.

In addition, any website, online service, or print publication that hosts any content falling under the bill's definition as an adult advertisement would be required to obtain photo identification from anyone posting the content.

Rather than risk inadvertantly hosting an illegal ad without having obtained the proper identification, many sites would simply start requiring a government-issued photo ID in order to post all ads.

And perhaps most egregiously of all, the SAVE Act would empower the DOJ to ban the use of certain words in all online advertising. If the agency determined that something was a potential euphemism or code word for trafficking, web operators, publishers, and digital ad networks would be forced to censor ads containing these words or phrases.


18th November

 Offsite Article: Killing the Vibe of Brick Lane...

Link Here
closed bar The police and local councils are destroying London's nightlife. By Neil Davenport

See article from spiked-online.com


17th November

  So Last Century...

New Zealand chief censor whinges that he is left out of the loop on computer games distributed online
Link Here
andrew jack Andrew Jack, New Zealand's chief censor, has spoken against game publishers digitally distributing games that haven't gone through the country's censorship process.

New Zealand law requires games that have been given a restricted rating in Australia or the UK to go be classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification before they can be sold in New Zealand. Games with a G, PG, or M rating in Australia or the UK do not need to be locally rated.

However, the rise of digital game distribution through services like Steam, the iTunes App Store, and Google Play has seen some publishers selling games in New Zealand without first having them classified.  Jack whinged:

As chief censor I have previously expressed the view that games, in the legislation, should be treated the same as films. This would see all games distributed in New Zealand carry New Zealand classification labels, and allow New Zealanders to make informed choices about what they and their children watch and play.

Jack wondered it is perhaps time to consider whether the game industry can continue to be trusted.

However, Ron Curry, chief executive of the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association, said that Jack's idea of classifying every game is crazy, and that government organisations should work with the industry to find a solution.


17th November

 Update: An Encyclopedia of Propaganda...

Russia plans to replace US Wikipedia with Russian Wikipedia
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
wikipedia logo The Russian government is claiming that Wikipedia is US propaganda so plans to create a home grown variant able to provide proper Russian propaganda.

Newsweek notes that the move is the result of an analysis by Russia's National Library that claimed the U.S. website's content on Russia unreliable. It reported:

An analysis of [Wikipedia] showed it was incapable of providing Russian regions with reliable and comprehensive information about the life of the nation.

The Russian government claims their website will objectively reflect the country, its population and the diversity of the Russian nation, according to the statement.


17th November

 Update: House of Cards Collapses...

China bans everything from internet TV
Link Here  full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
sarft logo Film and television programmes featuring one-night stands, adultery, supernatural occurrences and gambling will be banned from Chinese streaming websites in the latest episode of Beijing's continuing moral crackdown.

US streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are already effectively banned, but local sites such as Sohu, which recently release House of Cards , would be expected to suffer under the effects of the ban.

In a statement to content providers, censors also demanded the removal of content featuring depictions of sexual abuse, rape, polyamorous relationships, necrophilia, prostitution and masturbation. Violent murder, suicides, drug use and gambling were also among the subjects banned via the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) circular, as well as instances of pornography.

Prof Tan Tian of Jinan university told the Times the new regulations would radically reduce the number of movies and television shows that could be legally streamed in China.


17th November

 Commented: On the Pull Pulled...

Politically incorrect comedian, Dapper Laughs, finds himself pursed by a PC lynch mob
Link Here
dapper laughs ITV has dropped a politically incorrect internet star who has been described as the new Jim Davidson . When ITV commissioned the recently finished six-part series Dapper Laughs: On the Pull for its youth-orientated ITV2 channel, it was presented as another example of a successful video-blogger or vlogger crossing into mainstream media. Dapper Laughs features Daniel O'Reilly walking British streets making quips to strange women about his penis and using his catchphrase proper moist .

The Daily Mirror published video footage of the comedian making bad taste jokes about rape in his live stand-up routine. The outburst, at a sell-out show at London's Scala in October, appears to have been a riposte to a piece on The Huffington Post by Lee Kern, who described the TV show as:

A woeful, misogynistic celebration of banter-based cretinism that is sadly having a renaissance among the confused, the intellectually frightened and the simpleton.

In his stand-up act, O'Reilly told the audience:

I filmed six episodes, half an hour each. If it was a guide to rape, I would have done one five-minute episode, come on and go 'Oi Oi, I'm Dapper Laughs, go down the shops, get some rope, bit of duct tape, rape the bitch, well done, see you later'.

O'Reilly tried to capitalise on his TV success by recording a Christmas album titled Proper Moist. The album includes songs called A Walk To The Pub...With A Tramp and Leaving The Pub...With A Tramp , in which he wonders if a woman's top was low cut or just ripped and asks your place or mine? This particular joke seems to have become the focus of the 'outrage'.

He later apologised for the sexist humour aimed at homeless women He offered to donate some of the proceeds to the charity Shelter who support homeless people. But Shelter says it won't take money from a comedian who is deeply offensive about homeless people .

As the fracas continued,  44 comedians signed an open letter condemning him for his entirely sexist and degrading brand of laddish comedy. Meanwhile about 70,000 people signed a petition for his television show to be cancelled for its misogynistic views, all under the guise of harmless comedy .

A result of the 'outrage', ITV unsurprisingly decided to drop Dapper Laughs. An ITV spokesman said that in the light of comments made by Dapper Laughs outside of the TV show the broadcaster would not be commissioning a further series from the comedian:

We have given careful thought to the recent criticism of the character Dapper Laughs, which has focused on his activities outside of the ITV2 programme, [for which the] content was carefully considered and complied. We have taken the decision that we will not be considering this show for a second series.

The fun continued via BBC's Newsnight

See article from telegraph.co.uk

bbc newsnight logo The BBC is now facing questions over why it invited Dapper Laughs onto its flagship current affairs show Newsnight .

O'Reilly was invited on the BBC's flagship current affairs show for an interview which allowed him to declare Dapper Laughs is gone . The bad press and everything that's happened - it's wrecked my life to a certain extent, he said.

Newsnight's editor Ian Katz has been contacted directly by critics on Twitter, but insisted he believed giving the comedian a platform was the most effective way of dealing with the arguments .

Outraged viewers, writing online, have now accused the BBC of chasing ratings, giving the comedian an unnecessary platform, and scraping the barrel of its new editorial standards.

And Finally

Thanks to Dan who comments:

How ironic that liberals are now pushing the same mantra that TV corrupts that Mary Whitehouse did 40 years ago.

Update: Ofcom to have its say

17th November 2014. See article from independent.co.uk

Ofcom has launched an investigation into ITV2 show Dapper Laughs: On The Pull after receiving 99 complaints about its attitude to women.

Ofcom is currently investigating whether the repeated use of sexual references in this comedy series met generally accepted standards, a spokesperson for the TV censor said after 99 complaints were logged.

Offsite Comment: Death to Dapper : behold the new intolerance

Spiked logo The terrifying censoriousness of the campaign against Dapper Laughs.

17th November 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill


16th November

  The Audiovisal Media Sevices Regulations 2014 (sic)...

A new government law to crucify British adult websites is so shoddy that they didn't bother to spell check the title, and it comes into effect on 1st December
Link Here
arms of the british governmentjpg logo The European Audio Visual Media Services Directive provides a justification for censorship that was implemented in UK law in the Communications Act 2003:

If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.

Unfortunately for the censorial government, there is no particular evidence that hardcore porn seriously impairs children. In fact all the kids are already watching porn and they don't seem to be ending up being seriously harmed, at least any more than any other generation.

So the legal underpinning for ATVOD's onerous suffocating age verification rules for British adult websites seems somewhat shaky and open to challenge. Therefore the government are changing the law so as to explicitly make age verification a requirement without having to rely on mythical serious harm. The government has introduced the following statutory instrument which means that it will not be debated in parliament, just nodded through.

The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014

These Regulations may be cited as the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014.

  • Laid before Parliament on 6th November 2014

  • Coming into force on 1st December 2014.

Amendment of section 368E of the 2003 Act (harmful material) .

In section 368E(4) of the 2003 Act (harmful material), for subsection (2) substitute:

(2) An on-demand programme service must not contain any prohibited material.

(3) Prohibited material means:

  • (a) a video work which the video works authority has determined for the purposes of the 1984 Act not to be suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it, or
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would determine for those purposes that the video work was not suitable for a classification certificate to be issued in respect of it.

(4) An on-demand programme service must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.

(5) Specially restricted material means:

  • (a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18classification certificate,
  • (b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue a R18classification certificate, or
  • (c) other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of 18.

(6) In determining whether any material falls within subsection (3)(b) or (5)(b), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.

(7) In this section:

  • the 1984 Act means the Video Recordings Act 1984;
  • classification certificate has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 7 of that Act);
  • R18 classification certificate means a classification certificate containing the statement mentioned in section 7(2)(c) of the 1984 Act that no video recording containing the video work is to be supplied other than in a licensed sex shop;
  • the video works authority [BBFC] means the person or persons designated under section 4(1)of the 1984 Act as the authority responsible for making arrangements in respect of video works other than video games; video work has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act (see section 1(2) of that Act).

Amendment of section 368B of the 2003 Act (supply of information)


(d) OFCOM may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of OFCOM as the appropriate regulatory authority;

(e) a designated body may supply information to the video works authority, within the meaning of section 368E, for use by the video works authority in connection with functions of the designated body as the appropriate regulatory authority.

[This looks like a measure to stop the BBFC effectively changing the law by changing its own guidelines. It looks like Ofcom and ATVOD will be able to step in should the BBFC change its rules].

BBFC R18 Guidelines

For reference the current BBFC Guidelines for R18 takes the form of a list of material prohibited from R18:

The following is a list of prohibited material:

  • material which is in breach of the criminal law, including material judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959
  • material (including dialogue) likely to encourage an interest in sexually abusive activity which may include adults role-playing as non-adults
  • the portrayal of sexual activity which involves real or apparent lack of consent. Any form of physical restraint which prevents participants from indicating a withdrawal of consent
  • the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity
  • penetration by any object associated with violence or likely to cause physical harm
  • sexual threats, humiliation or abuse which do not form part of a clearly consenting role-playing game.
  • Strong physical or verbal abuse, even if consensual, is unlikely to be acceptable

These Guidelines will be applied to the same standard regardless of sexual orientation of the activity portrayed

CPS Obscenity Guidelines

Of course the guidelines don't fully define what is 'judged to be obscene under the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959', but the CPS does offer some guidance. See charging practice from cps.gov.uk :

It is impossible to define all types of activity which may be suitable for prosecution. The following is not an exhaustive list but indicates the categories of material most commonly prosecuted:

  • sexual act with an animal
  • realistic portrayals of rape
  • sadomasochistic material which goes beyond trifling and transient infliction of injury
  • torture with instruments
  • bondage (especially where gags are used with no apparent means of withdrawing consent)
  • dismemberment or graphic mutilation
  • activities involving perversion or degradation (such as drinking urine, urination or vomiting on to the body, or excretion or use of excreta)
  • fisting

The Guidelines are still insufficient for VoD providers to judge the legality of their catalogue

The most immediate issue with the new law is how commonplace 'rough sex' will be treated. There are many films that suffer a few cuts for hair pulling, gagging, retching, spitting etc. Will a film that would be R18 after a few cuts now become illegal? If so, there are thousands of them. It is not clear how these cuts correlate to the guidelines. The guidelines are clearly produced for interpretation by the BBFC rather than the public and will effectively leave VoD service providers unable to judge the legality of films without a BBFC certificate. Perhaps that is the idea. But then again it will leave British websites with a tiny fraction of the range of choice to that of foreign competitors.

Comment: Scrapping red tape

letter writing 18th November 2014. From the Melon Farmers

Coincidently I got a circular emall from David Cameron yesterday claiming:

"we will carry on backing businesses by scrapping red tape, cutting taxes - and continuing to invest in the infrastructure that is vital to create jobs and enable Britain to compete successfully in the global race".

Well if Cameron considers this new law as `backing businesses` and `scrapping red tape` then Britain is doooomed.


16th November

 Update: Courage...

Top musicians, actors and Nobel laureates show support for Edward Snowden, publishers and whistleblowers
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

courage foundation logo An international coalition of more than fifty actors, musicians and intellectuals have announced their support for Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, whistleblowers and publishers. Some are also encouraging donations to the Courage Foundation --which runs the official legal defense fund for Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers, as well as fights for whistleblower protections worldwide -- with tweets and social media posts.

The courage that Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers and truthtellers have shown and continue to show is truly extraordinary and necessary in helping the public have access to their historical record through media, said Sarah Harrison, WikiLeaks Investigations Editor and Director of the Courage Foundation. WikiLeaks and Harrison ensured Edward Snowden's safe exit from Hong Kong and secured his asylum. We cannot thank these cultural icons enough for showing their support.

The announcement coincides with the expanded theatrical release of Laura Poitras' critically acclaimed documentary CitizenFour -- providing a first-hand account of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program.

Signed by Susan Sarandon, Russell Brand, Peter Sarsgaard, M.I.A., Thurston Moore, David Berman, Vivienne Westwood, Alfonso Cuaròn and several other artists and intellectuals, the statement praises the work of whistleblowers such as Snowden, highlighting the need to support these individuals as they face social and legal persecution for their revelations to the public. The statement reads:

We stand in support of those fearless whistleblowers and publishers who risk their lives and careers to stand up for truth and justice. Thanks to the courage of sources like Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, and Edward Snowden, the public can finally see for themselves the war crimes, corruption, mass surveillance, and abuses of power of the U.S. government and other governments around the world. WikiLeaks is essential for its fearless dedication in defending these sources and publishing their truths. These bold and courageous acts spark accountability, can transform governments, and ultimately make the world a better place.

In addition to urging the public to stand in solidarity with Snowden and other whistleblowers, many of the artists are calling on fans to watch CitizenFour, and are raising awareness of the Courage Foundation's whistleblower defense efforts, which fundraises for the legal and public defense of whistleblowers and campaigns for the protection of truthtellers and the public's right to know generally.

The statement was signed by:

Udi Aloni, Pamela Anderson, Anthony Arnove, Etienne Balibar, Alexander Bard, John Perry Barlow, Radovan Baros, David Berman, Russell Brand, Victoria Brittain, Susan Buck-Morss, Eduardo L. Cadava, Calle 13, Alex Callinicos, Robbie Charter, Noam Chomsky, Scott Cleverdon, Ben Cohen, Sadie Coles, Alfonso Cuaròn, John Deathridge, Costas Douzinas, Roddy Doyle, Bella Freud, Leopold Froehlich, Terry Gilliam, Charlie Glass, Boris Groys, Michael Hardt, P J Harvey, Wang Hui, Fredric Jameson, Brewster Kahle, Hanif Kureishi, Engin Kurtay, Alex Taek-Gwang Lee, Nadir Lahiji, Kathy Lette, Ken Loach, Maria Dolores Galán López, Sarah Lucas, Mairead Maguire, Tobias Menzies, M.I.A., W. J. T. Mitchell, Moby, Thurston Moore, Tom Morello, Viggo Mortensen, Jean-Luc Nancy, Bob Nastanovich, Antonio Negri, Brett Netson, Rebecca OBrien, Joshua Oppenheimer, John Pilger, Alexander Roesler, Avital Ronell, Pier Aldo Rovatti, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, Assumpta Serna, Vaughan Smith, Ahdaf Soueif, Oliver Stone, Cenk Uygur, Yanis Varoufakis, Peter Weibel, Vivienne Westwood, Tracy Worcester and Slavoj Zizek


16th November

 Updated: Ban Everything!...

David Cameron calls for more internet censorship of 'extremist' material. And no doubt the authorities will define 'extremist' as meaning more or less everything
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim
David Cameron David Cameron has called for governments around the world to do more to censor 'extremist' material online. He made his comments during a visit to Australia's Parliament. He said:

The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. A new and pressing challenge is getting extremist material taken down from the Internet. There is a role for government in that. We must not allow the Internet to be an ungoverned space. But there is a role for companies too.

Cameron then went on to detail measures already being taken in the UK to combat online extremism, including adding supposedly extremists material to ISP blocking lists, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down supposedly harmful material.

The British government also recently revealed plans to reduce the amount of hate material online. However, a report released in May revealed that the proposal is experiencing a number of hurdles, including opposition from ISPs and social networks, particularly those based outside the UK.

Open Rights Group has responded to the announcement that ISPs will add extremist websites to filters designed to protect children from seeing adult content. Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group said:

We need transparency whenever political content is blocked even when we are talking about websites that espouse extremist views. The government must be clear about what sites they think should be blocked, why they are blocking them and whether there will be redress for site owners who believe that their website has been blocked incorrectly.

Given the low uptake of filters, it is difficult to see how effective the government's approach will be when it comes to preventing young people from seeing material they have deemed inappropriate. Anyone with an interest in extremist views can surely find ways of circumventing child friendly filters

Update: Censorship button

16th November 2014. See article from bbc.co.uk

The UK's major internet service providers (ISPs) are to introduce new measures to tackle online extremism, Downing Street has said. The ISPs had committed to strengthening their filters and adding a public reporting button to flag terrorism-related material. In a briefing note, No 10 said the ISPs had subsequently committed to filtering out extremist and terrorist material, and hosting a button that members of the public could use to report content. It would work in a similar fashion to the reporting button that allows the public to flag instances of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

However, the BBC understands that while the ISPs agreed in principle to do more to prevent extremism, they have not actually committed to the measures outlined by No 10.

We have had productive dialogue with government about addressing the issue of extremist content online and we are working through the technical details, a spokeswoman for BT said. A spokesman for Sky said: We're exploring ways in which we can help our customers report extremist content online, including hosting links on our website. The plan presents logistical problems as extremist groups such as Isis typically use channels like YouTube or Twitter that are popular for entirely legal purposes.


16th November

  An Objectionable Film Censor...

New Zealand film censor threatens and ISPs proxy service claiming it lets people see objectionable uncensored films from the US
Link Here
slingshot logo New Zealand's film censor at the Office of Film and Literature Classification is threatening CallPlus subsidiary Slingshot with prosecution over the access it is providing to blocked overseas internet television services such as Netflix through its free GlobalMode service.

Inevitably, the movie trade group, the Film and Video Labelling Body, an incorporated society whose members include Sony, Universal and Paramount, said it agreed with chief censor Andrew Jack that Slingshot was breaking the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. That was because GlobalMode provided a gateway to overseas services such as Netflix that showed programmes that had not gone through New Zealand's classification system, some of which it claimed were objectionable.

However the ISP trade group, InternetNZ said that it did not believe internet providers were responsible for what its customers did on the internet and to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers .

CallPlus chief executive Mark Callander has said GlobalMode is not illegal and the company does not intend to axe it despite the chief censor's legal threat.

Canterbury University law professor Ursula Cheer has said any prosecution of Slingshot would be a test case . The outcome would hinge on whether Slingshot's decision to actively promote GlobalMode as a means to access overseas television programming meant it had lost the safe harbour protections in the Act that usually shield internet providers from prosecution for the content they carry.


15th November

 Diary: Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence?...

13th November 2014, London, Event exploring the rights of the artist to free expression
Link Here

exhibit b brett bailey Is it ever better to censor than to cause offence?
Thursday 13 November 2014, debate 9.00-10.00pm (following show 7.30-8.30pm)
Bush Theatre, London, W12 8LJ

Join Index on Censorship as part of RADAR Festival at the Bush Theatre in London to explore the rights of the artist to free expression, to examine the role of arts institutions in defending and promoting free expression, and to ask the question: is it ever better to censor than to cause offence? The event features

  • Zita Holbourne (Artist, Activist, co-organiser Boycott the Human Zoo Campaign )
  • Stella Odunlami  (Artist, cast member Exhibit B)
  • Chris Thorpe  (Writer, Performer inc. Confirmation )
  • Mekella Broomberg (Head of Arts and Culture, JW3 )
  • Madani Younis (Artistic Director, Bush Theatre )
  • Jodie Ginsberg (CEO, Index on Censorship)


15th November

  The Maze Runner...

An uncut 15 rated Audio Descriptive Version suggests that the UK will see an uncut home video release
Link Here
Maze Runner Will Poulter The Maze Runner is a 2014 USA action Sci-Fi mystery by Wes Ball.
Starring Dylan O'Brien, Will Poulter and Kaya Scodelario. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: The Audio Descriptive Version was passed 15 uncut for intense scenes, strong threat, violence for:

  • 2014 Twentieth Century Fox video

UK Censorship History

In the US the film was uncut and MPAA PG-13 rated for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images for:

However BBFC 43s of category cuts were required for a 12A rated 2014 cinema release

The appearance of a 15 rated Audio Descriptive Version suggest that there will now be an uncut release on UK video although it is not yet clear exactly what will be released on UK DVD and Blu-ray.

Summary Notes

A group of boys, with no memories of their past lives, must escape a massive maze infested with deadly creatures.


15th November


US drama by John Herzfeld has two versions, passed 15 and 12, available for UK video release
Link Here
Reach Me Sylvester Stallone Collection (aka Reach Me and Out of Sight) is a 2014 USA drama by John Herzfeld.
Starring Danny Aiello, Rick Aiello and Jillian Barberie. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Presumably the cut PG-13 version was passed 12 for strong language, moderate violence, threat, drug use for:

  • 2014 Signature Entertainment video titled Collection

Censorship History

Originally R Rated by the MPAA but the film was later cut for a PG-13 rating. The BBFC passed the two versions 15 and 12 respectively without BBFC cuts.

The film seems to have been cut fro PG-13 by about 3:22s which achieved a lowering of BBFC advice from strong violence to moderate violence.

The US home video release is advertised on Amazon with an R rating as follows:

US: Uncut and MPAA R rated for some violence, language and brief drug use for:

Summary Notes

A drama centered on a group of people who all have a connection to a self-help book authored by a reclusive former football coach.


15th November

  Ban Everything...

A few miserable whinges about Sainsbury's Christmas truce advert being somehow disrespectful
Link Here
sainsburrys trenches advert video 240 people have whinged about the new Sainsbury's Christmas advert for its supposedly cynical use of First World War imagery to promote the supermarket's brand.

The advert is a dramatic three-minute recreation of the famous truce - when British and German soldiers laid down their weapons and met in no man's land.

Complaints have been registered with the advertising censor with the majority of those objecting to the supermarket's distasteful use of the conflict's 1914 Christmas Truce.

Sainsbury's has acknowledged that the advert has received complaints but insist they are delighted with the overall feedback. A spokesman said:

We've been really delighted by the amazing response to our Christmas ad which has been overwhelmingly positive from both customers and colleagues alike.

We're very proud of our work with The Royal British Legion and to be able to raise additional funds for them to mark the 20th anniversary of our relationship with them.


15th November

  Ban Everything!...

Norwich Council set to ban skateboarding
Link Here
norwich city council logo Skaters are facing another battle to keep the scene above board, this time not in London but in Norwich. Members of the city council are seeking to ban skateboarding in parts of the city after damage caused to the War Memorial Gardens. They claim that wear and tear is primarily down to skaters.

So far, almost 4,000 people have signed a petition calling for the proposed ban to be scrapped. Residents polled by a local newspaper also voted hugely in favour of keeping skateboarding in the city centre.

Long Live Southbank , the group behind the campaign to preserve the area underneath the Southbank centre in London, have sent a carefully worded open letter to Norwich City Council. The organisation pointedly and correctly explained:

Skateboarding supports more than just the physical act, it supports other creative practices such as filmmakers, photographers, visual designers and provides opportunities for other transferable skills and values. It promotes physical and social well-being and a much-needed alternative to gadgetry as it encourages young people to get outdoors, get physical, and explore their cities and local areas.

Add to that that skateboarding is one of the fastest-growing physical activities in the world, particularly with girls and young women, and there is enough reason to suggest local authorities encourage these physical expressions as opposed to discourage and, as in this instance, criminalise them.

The skaters are all in agreement that the war memorials should be left alone, but the ban would cover a much larger area of the city centre than that. Campaigners believe the move needless demonises of the local skate scene.


15th November


EFF reports that US and Thai ISPs have been spotted disabling their customers from selecting STARTTLS encryption for email
Link Here

Electronic Frontier Foundation Recently, Verizon was caught tampering with its customer's web requests to inject a tracking super-cookie . Another network-tampering threat to user safety has come to light from other providers: email encryption downgrade attacks. In recent months, researchers have reported ISPs in the US and Thailand intercepting their customers' data to strip a security flag--called STARTTLS--from email traffic. The STARTTLS flag is an essential security and privacy protection used by an email server to request encryption when talking to another server or client. 1

By stripping out this flag, these ISPs prevent the email servers from successfully encrypting their conversation, and by default the servers will proceed to send email unencrypted. Some firewalls, including Cisco's PIX/ASA firewall do this in order to monitor for spam originating from within their network and prevent it from being sent. Unfortunately, this causes collateral damage: the sending server will proceed to transmit plaintext email over the public Internet, where it is subject to eavesdropping and interception.

This type of STARTTLS stripping attack has mostly gone unnoticed because it tends to be applied to residential networks, where it is uncommon to run an email server 2 . STARTTLS was also relatively uncommon until late 2013 , when EFF started rating companies on whether they used it . Since then, many of the biggest email providers implemented STARTTLS to protect their customers. We continue to strongly encourage all providers to implement STARTTLS for both outbound and inbound email. Google's Safer email transparency report and starttls.info are good resources for checking whether a particular provider does.

The SMTP protocol, the underpinning of email, was not originally designed with security in mind. But people quickly started using it for everything from shopping lists and love letters to medical advice and investigative reporting, and soon realized their mail needed to be protected from prying eyes. In 1991, Phil Zimmerman implemented PGP , an end-to-end email encryption protocol that is still in use today. Adoption of PGP has been slow because of its highly technical interface and difficult key management. S/MIME , with similar properties as PGP, was developed in 1995. And in 2002, STARTTLS for email was defined by RFC 3207 .

While PGP and S/MIME are end-to-end encryption, STARTTLS is server-to-server. That means that the body of an email protected with, e.g. PGP, can only be read by its intended recipient, while email protected with STARTTLS can be read by the owners of the sending server and the recipient server, plus anyone else who hacks or subpoenas access to those servers. However, STARTTLS has three big advantages: First, it protects important metadata (subject lines and To:/From/CC: fields) that PGP and S/MIME do not. Second, mail server operators can implement STARTTLS without requiring users to change their behavior at all. And third, a well-configured email server with STARTTLS can provide Forward Secrecy for emails. The two technologies are entirely compatible and reinforce each other. The most secure and private approach is to use PGP or S/MIME with a mail service that uses STARTTLS for server-to-server communication.

There are several weak points in the STARTTLS protocol, however. The first weakness is that the flag indicating that a server supports STARTTLS is not itself encrypted, and is therefore subject to tampering, which can prevent that server from establishing an encrypted connection. That type of tampering is exactly what we see today. EFF is working on a set of improvements to STARTTLS, called STARTTLS Everywhere , that will make server-to-server encryption more robust by requiring encryption for servers that are already known to support it.

It is important that ISPs immediately stop this unauthorized removal of their customers' security measures. ISPs act as trusted gateways to the global Internet and it is a violation of that trust to intercept or modify client traffic, regardless of what protocol their customers are using. It is a double violation when such modification disables security measures their customers use to protect themselves.


15th November

 Offsite Article: Should we spy on our children?...

Link Here
teensafe logo If you don't, you soon might. A range of new technology means you can now keep kids under surveillance 24/7 but is this good parenting, or Orwellian overkill?

See article from telegraph.co.uk


14th November

 Update: Perhaps Euro judges could be prosecuted for aiding and abetting terrorism...

Government minister Sajid Javid notes that the bad guys are getting reports of their criminal deeds censored under the EU's 'right to be forgotten'
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
sajid javid Terrorists and criminals are being airbrushed from history as right-to-be-forgotten laws bring in censorship by the back door , the culture secretary has warned.

Sajid Javid said convictions are being removed from the internet even by those who have gone on to commit further crime, with terrorists ordering Google to remove stories about their trials. He warned that thousands of requests were being received each day by those who prefer to keep their past a secret , thanks to unelected judges in Europe.

He told an audience the European court had introduced censorship through the back door by ordering internet search engines such as Google to offer a right to be forgotten to individuals who want links to information about them to be removed.  Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, he said, was being used as:

Little more than an excuse for well-paid lawyers to hide the shady pasts of wealthy businessmen and the sexual indiscretions of sporting celebrities.

The 'right to be forgotten' is censorship through the back door.


14th November

  Thailand recommends...

The book, A Kingdom in Crisis by Andrew MacGregor Marshall
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Kingdom Crisis Thailands Democracy Twenty First Thailand's National police chief Police General Somyot Poompanmuang has banned the ordering and importation of the book A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand's Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century , claiming that it contains anti-monarchist sentiments.

The police chief issued the ban under the Printing Act of 2007. The book was written by Scottish journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a former journalist with the Thomson Reuters news agency. The book, which had not gone on sale in Thailand, was released last week by the British publishing house, Zed Books.

Somyot based the decision on articles reviewing the book that were printed in two overseas newspapers in the online edition of the South China Morning Post and the online edition of UK newspaper The Independent.

The police claimed the two articles showed that the book insulted and fomented hatred of Their Majesties the King and the Queen, the heir to the throne, and affected national security, peace and public morality.

Somyot said violators of the ban were liable to a prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht (£1200). He also ordered the seizure and destruction of copies of the book.

Formers Reuters correspondent, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, now a freelance journalist and analyst on Thai culture and politics, expressed his delight that his book was banned.  During the last two days, the book has featured in AP , Bangkok Post , Thai PBS (English version), BBC Thai , Prachatai, and other Thai news sites .

The book, which Marshall says was partly based on information from classified US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, as well as contacts from within the royal establishment, was already an Amazon bestseller in the Asian History section. Marshall commented:

I am fundamentally opposed to the banning of books, and I don't see how Thailand can hope to solve its problems peacefully unless Thais are allowed to openly discuss and debate all aspects of their politics and history. Censorship and suppression can only make the crisis worse, and increase the risk that there will be more violence. However, I'm personally delighted that the Thai police have banned my book. I would have been very offended if they hadn't. My book is intended to challenge the myths and fairy tales of the Thai elite, and the ban shows I did my job properly.


14th November

 Offsite Article: Leading the PC lynch mob...

Link Here
change.org logo Is Change.org just a weapon of censorship? Has Change.org crossed a line from being a platform to make the world a better place to a tool for the vocal minority can ban things they don't like, asks Martin Daubney

See article from telegraph.co.uk


13th November

 Update: Political Censorship...

Ofcom censures Russia Today news channel for biased reporting of the Ukraine crisis
Link Here  full story: Russia Today Propaganda TV...Russia Today, English language international propaganda channel
russia today international logo Propaganda channel, Russia Today, has launched a dedicated UK TV channel that broadcasts five hours of programmes a day made out of its new London studios.

But it hasn't taken before the UK TV censor Ofcom has got involved to investigate the channel for biased news.

The channel has already been threatened with statutory sanctions by Ofcom after the Kremlin-backed news channel breached broadcasting regulations on impartiality with its coverage of the Ukraine crisis.

Russia Today, or RT, was summoned to a meeting with Ofcom after it was found guilty of breaching the code governing UK broadcasters in a ruling published  this week.

The censor flagged up four separate reports, all broadcast in March this year, all dealing with the situation in Ukraine. Ofcom said it recognised that RT, which is funded by the Russian government and launched a UK version last month , would want to present the news from a Russian perspective . But it said all news must be presented with due impartiality ... in particular, when reporting on matters of major political controversy .

It follows three previous breaches of impartiality rules, and Ofcom called for a meeting with the broadcaster to discuss compliance with regard to its due impartiality . It said it had put the channel on notice that any future breaches of the due impartiality rules may result in further regulatory action, including consideration of a statutory sanction .


13th November

  A watershed for the internet...Mediawatch-UK will be pleased...

Sky Broadband introduces option for parents to automatically set times of day when internet website blocking is in force
Link Here
Sky TV Sky's Broadband Shield parental controls tool now lets families set timers for content blocking.

The content blocks applying to all devices in the home, gives parents the choice between three pre-defined censorship levels based on ages ratings, PG, 13 and 18.

Parents were always able to switch between the three categories at will but the new Watershed tool means that settings don't have to be manually changed; timers can be applied so that the PG or 13 setting is in place during the day hours with the 18 setting coming on after bedtime. The tool can also enforce blocking levels selected for homework hours.


13th November

  Police training to trash people's lives over trivia...

Trainee policeman has his career trashed over a bad taste extreme porn joke.
Link Here
Metropiltan Police badge A former probationary Metropolitan Police officer has been fined £430 after sending a bad taste joke in the form of an extreme pornographic image to his colleagues.

Jack McGillivray pleaded guilty at London's Westminster Magistrates Court to publishing an obscene article on July 31.

Prosecutor Edmund Hall said McGillivray had promptly accepted that he had sent a single image, which he had received from a friend, to both male and female police trainees while he was on a course.

McGillivray said he had done it humorously and later apologised for causing any offence, has handed in his resignation and is currently suspended.

Deputy chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot heartlessly told McGillivray that she accepted his explanation that it was just a joke but told him it was one which has now had catastrophic consequences . You are about to lose your job and you are about to lose your good character.


13th November

  Where Google doesn't go...

MPAA launches a search engine to find legal movie options
Link Here

wheretowatch logo MPAA officials and studio executives have announced the launch of WhereToWatch.com website touting that it will provide a place to find legal options to buy, rent, stream or watch films.

We connect you directly to content sites that provide every option available to buy, rent or stream the title you're looking for, MPAA Chairman-CEO Chris Dodd said in a blog post . Provide a zip code and we'll provide you with show times and locations for movies in theaters nearby. You can watch trailers and check out behind-the-scenes features produced by our online magazine, The Credits.

The films featured are available through 30 sites. Among them are big sites like iTunes, Amazon and Hulu and smaller sites like SnagFilms and WolfeOnDemand.