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Religious Watch

20th April

 Update: Gagging for Easy Offence...

Posters for the play, Charles III, are censored on London Underground
Link Here  full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
charles iii A poster advertising a satirical play about the Monarchy and, showing Prince Charles gagged, has been censored by London Underground because it fears it could cause offence.

The advert for the critically acclaimed production of King Charles III features a punk-style portrait of the Prince with his mouth covered by white duct tape.

But despite the fact that the poster has been displayed across London since the play opened nearly three weeks ago, a nervous Transport for London has decided to pixelate Charles's face.

There appeared to be confusion over exactly why the poster had been censored. TfL laid the blame on the company that deals with adverts on the Tube:

We work with a company called Exterion Media, which handles our adverts on the Tube network and offers advice. They may say this or that could cause offence. Exterion may have said the poster doesn't fit with part of their policy. The decision was made without reference to us and does look to have been a little over-enthusiastic. We will speak to them about it.


20th April

 Updated: Rouh's Beauty...

Film banned from Egyptian cinemas and under duress in Qatar
Link Here
rouhs beautyRouh's Beauty is a 2014 Egypt drama by Sameh Abdelaziz.
Starring Salah Abdallah, Nagwa Fouad and Mohamed Lotfy. YouTube icon IMDb

Egypt's interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb has banned a recently released Egyptian film, Halawet Rooh (Rouh's Beauty) . It will now be withdrawn from movie theatres and resubmitted to the country's censorship board.

The decision comes after the for-adults-only film, released on 3 April, was hit with a wave of moral indignation accusing it of containing heavy sexual connotations that violate the Egyptian moral code .

The film, which revolves around Rooh, played by Egyptian/Lebanese diva Haifa Wahbe, who becomes the object of desire of all the men in her working class neighbourhood while her husband is away.

A review published last week in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm took aim at Halawet Rooh under the title of How to Make an Egyptian Porno , which accused the film of unsuccessfully posing as drama while it was only concerned with sexually arousing the audience .

Other morality campaigners have joined the crusade against the film. The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) claimed:

The film includes language and scenes that negatively affects the morals of children.

Meanwhile the easily offended in Qatar have also been campaigning against the film.

Supposedly, the indecent nature of the film has caused social media outrage due to the x-rated content, which was deemed inappropriate to the norms of the conservative Arab culture. The hashtag #banbeautyofthesouldmovie was trending on Twitter in support of banning the film from screening in Qatari cinemas.

They claim the film was banned in some of Qatar's neighbouring countries for its brazen display of nudity, and the sexual undertones. 'Concerned' Qatari citizens said:

How could they have approved such a movie, we need new regulations to ensure that such unconventional movies are kept out of our islamic society.

Update: Censor resigns

20th April 2014. See article from timesofisrael.com

The head of Egypt's censorship board has resigned after the country's prime minister overruled his decision to allow the screening of the film Roh's Sweetness .

Ahmed Awad, undersecretary to the culture minister and head of the censorship authority, told The Associated Press that he had submitted his resignation in response to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab's decision to stop the film from being shown. The censorship board is meant to be an independent body that gives the final say on whether a movie can be seen by Egyptian audiences. Awad said:

Of course I'm not happy with what happened  I did this out of respect for myself.


20th April

 Update: Parent's TV Council Recommends...

The Easter Bunny's Coming, a promotional trailer for Animation Domination High-Def
Link Here
easter bunnys coming video The Parents TV Council writes:

The Parents Television Council is calling on Fox Broadcasting to immediately remove the explicit video, Easter Bunny's Coming, from its YouTube Channel for its Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) programming block.

The video short, which is produced and copyrighted by Fox Broadcasting Network, contains graphic cartoon images of fornicating rabbits, multiple unbleeped f-words, harsh references to male sexual anatomy and vulgar slang for ejaculation.

PTC President Tim Winter said:

Nine months ago we issued an urgent warning to parents, as well as a harsh condemnation to Fox Broadcasting and potential sponsors, regarding the network's new 'ADHD' programming block. Fox has now validated our concerns by creating the most explicit material we've ever seen produced by a broadcast television network. Though still being distributed by Fox only via the Internet, the network is using its weekly broadcast to promote the website, and children are clearly in the cross hairs. And the recently tarnished retailer, Target, appears to be underwriting explicit material on the 'ADHD' website.

We thought we had seen the worst of 'ADHD' when Fox aired a segment several months ago with high school characters gleefully taking cell phone pictures of their genitals and texting the photos to other students. That content pales in comparison to the material in this new video.

The animated Easter Bunny clip, which runs 2 minutes and 19 seconds in duration, features over a dozen unbleeped 'f-words;' depictions of dozens of fornicating rabbits; more than a dozen instances of a vulgar slang term for ejaculation; a depiction of a male character eating rabbit feces; and music lyrics that are grotesquely sexualizing and misogynistic. An overt reference to Christians and Jews only adds to the offensive nature of a video being promoted during Holy Week and Passover.

The 'ADHD' Easter Bunny segment isn't some random Internet video, it's easily X-rated material that directly targets, and appeals to, children. The content is produced and copyrighted by one of the major commercial broadcast television networks and they're using the publicly-owned airwaves as a promotional vehicle to drive traffic to the 'ADHD' website. The suits at Fox will need to explain how such a use of their broadcast licenses fulfills their statutory public interest obligation.

Update: A day later, the nutters win

20th April 2014. See article from w2.parentstv.org

The Parents Television Council welcomed the news that Fox Broadcasting has decided to cancel its Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) programming block, and praised the efforts of parents and families across the country for raising their voices.

According to Broadcasting & Cable: Some [Fox affiliates] had tired of fielding calls from upset viewers.

PTC President Tim Winter said:

Parents and families across the country rose up and called on their local Fox affiliates not to air 'ADHD' because of the violent and sexually explicit content, which routinely used familiar and beloved children's characters as tropes. We congratulate our members on their activism which has led Fox Broadcasting to make this wise decision.


19th April

 Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

NBC's About a Boy
Link Here  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
about a boyThe US religious campaign groups ethuses:

NBC's newest program, About A Boy , could be misleading to parents with this title, but with a TV-14 rating you can be assured this will not be for family viewing. The name of the show along with the age of the primary cast member will attract young viewers. The content in this program, and even its commercials, is inappropriate for young viewers.

The show uses foul language and includes sexual encounters and innuendos throughout the entire thirty-minute program.

NBC's newest show is irresponsible and tasteless. It is appalling that NBC intends to air a show that features immoral behavior in a positive light while attempting to draw in young viewers with the title and adolescent plot of the program. The network should be ashamed of themselves for also exposing this young male actor to this filth and crude humor.

New episodes air on Tuesday evenings at 9:00 p.m. EST/8:00 CST.


19th April

  Searching for every last penny...

Google makes it clear that it snoops on the contents of incoming and outgoing emails
Link Here
gmail logoGoogle has clarified its email scanning practices in a terms of service update, informing users that incoming and outgoing emails are analysed by automated software. The revisions explicitly state:

Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.

Google's ads use information gleaned from a user's email combined with data from their Google profile as a whole, including search results, map requests and YouTube views, to display what it considers are relevant ads in the hope that the user is more likely to click on them and generate more advertising revenue for Google.


18th April

  Fed Up...

Documentary producers fend off MPAA poster censorship
Link Here
fed upThe MPAA almost banned the documentary Fed Up poster. The artwork featured red and blue M&Ms branded with the letters F and U.

The documentary claims that fast food and junk food industries exploit Americans at the expense of their health,

Fed Up, produced by Laurie David and Katie Couric, with commentary from Bill Clinton and Michael Pollan, hits theaters -- with the original artwork -- on May 9.


18th April

  No Shit...

UK theatre censor forced changes to Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane in 1964
Link Here
Entertaining Sloane Modern Plays Classics A psychopathic murderer character in a play had his age raised by censors as gay sex was considered too shocking at the time, new research reveals.

Gay British playwright Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane , which first premiered in 1964, was forcibly changed by the Lord Chamberlain's Office.

Emma Parker, a professor from the University of Leicester, came across several letters when she was researching for the 50th edition of the play.

Orton wrote in his letters he wanted the main character Sloane, a psychopath, to be 17 in first edition. He was made into a 20-year-old man in the later editions, making Sloane's sexual encounters with two siblings less provoking.

In Orton's letters, he also stated the Lord Chamberlain's Office had forced him to change words like shit and bugger in the play. Orton was told the actors playing Kath and Sloane were expressly forbidden to simulate copulation.

Dr Parker's new edition of Entertaining Mr Sloane will be launched at the University of Leicester's Bookshop on Tuesday 6 May at 12 pm.


18th April

 Offsite Article: In bed with Bollywood...

Link Here
Jism DVD Regions Bollywood 2012 Sex and censorship in Indian cinema Bollywood may be the blushing ballerina to Hollywood's brazen pole-dancing stripper, but, as the history of film censorship in India reveals, its screen stars are no stranger to the lip lock

See article from theguardian.com


17th April

 Extract: Hammer Girl...

Director of Raid 2 speaks of cuts for an MPAA R rating
Link Here
Poster Raid 2 2014 Gareth Evans The Raid 2 is a 2014 Indonesia action crime thriller by Gareth Evans.
With Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle and Yayan Ruhian. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

In an interview with Hypable, director Gareth Evens has provided a few more details about what was cut for an MPAA R rating:

Hypable : After seeing this finished version of the film and the previous unrated cut at Sundance, I barely noticed any changes. How were you able to get through the MPAA ratings board with so few changes?

Gareth Evans: We were very lucky because the changes were minimal. We did make some changes but they're so subtle like cutting a couple of frames here and there. Also, there were some issues with Hammer Girl where she impacts to the flesh. Impacts to the flesh are okay but impacts to the flesh and dragging the body are not. I trimmed here and there and thankfully you didn't notice, which is great for me.

...Read the full interview


17th April

 Update: Black Days in Burma...

Newspapers blacked out in a protest against the jailing of 5 journalists
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship
Burma flag 2010On April 11, several Myanmar newspapers and journals blacked-out their front pages to protest the jailing of journalists by the national government.

The Myanmar Journalist Network says five journalists are currently detained in Myanmar, despite the government's commitment to further expand media freedom in the country.

The protest was organized right after a multimedia reporter for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an independent online publication, was sentenced by a local court to one year in prison for trespassing on government property and disrupting the work of a government official. The case involved Zaw Pe, a reporter covering a Japanese-funded scholarship program in 2012. He was accused of trespassing after attempting to visit and take footage at an office of the national Department of Education in central Myanmar during office hours.

In an interview with Irawaddy.com, DVB bureau chief Toe Zaw Latt called the sentence outrageous :

He was taking the video recording during office hours. It's outrageous that he is being sentenced for trespassing...We have to question the degree of press freedom in the country.

These are not good signs for press freedom, if journalists have to face a lawsuit for covering news during office hours. We are worried that these actions might be a sign of restrictions in press freedom again, as it was in the past.


17th April

  Oxford Council Plays Herod in Church Passion Play...

Incompetence sees Easter church play banned on a misinformed whim
Link Here
oxford city council logoAn Oxford church has had to cancel its Passion play after a council worker in charge of censorship apparently thought that it was a sex show and could cause grave offence .

The performance, telling the story of the crucifixion of Christ, had been planned for Good Friday by St Stephen's House Theological College and Saints Mary and John Church in Oxford.

The worker in question apparently did not know that a Passion play was a religious affair, and thought it was an obscene production.

The Oxford performance was previously held in 2012, without a licence, when an audience of some 200 watched Jesus, haul a wooden cross from Cowley Road Methodist church to Saints Mary and John. This year, the organisers decided to stage a repeat, but were told they must apply to the council's censors for a licence, and were astonished when they were turned down.

A church source told MailOnline:

A council official didn't read the paperwork properly and didn't realise it was a religious play, so told us we needed an events licence when we didn't. If they'd told us 24 hours earlier, we would have had time to apply for and get one, but we ran out of time. It's frustrating because we didn't need one in any case - they just hadn't read what the play was about.

LMPs and religious groups criticised the unbelievable actions of Oxford City Council. Local government minister Brandon Lewis said:

This is typical health and safety bureaucracy that one can sadly expect from a Labour run-council.

Julian Alison, licensing team leader at Oxford City Council, apologised:

I would like to apologise for a wrong decision that I made late on Friday afternoon in relation to the planned Passion play on Cowley Road.

At the time of processing the application, I did not appreciate that this was a religious event. I made a mistake and by the time I realised my mistake, the organisers had cancelled the event. Such a mistake will not happen again.

This statement surely asks a lot of questions about how one person is given the power to censor productions on a personal whim, and without due consideration, just because she thought there was a sexual connection. She should be forced to pay compensation for her gross negligence to all those participants who have wasted their time and effort.


16th April

 Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

CBS TV comedy, Mom
Link Here  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
momReligious morality campaigners, One Million Moms, praise the CBS TV comedy Mom :

CBS is Still Making Moms Look Awful

If possible, try to imagine the worst possible characteristics a mother could have. Then multiply that by ten, and you have the entire theme of the television program Mom. The characters of the mom and her mother both set terrible examples and are the farthest from positive role models for women today. Children will also see this program - which airs entirely too early considering the content presented - and they will be affected negatively by this broken television family.

CBS's newest program, Mom , could mislead parents with this title, but with a TV-14 DL rating, you can be assured this will not be for family viewing. The name of the show along with the age of the child cast members will attract young viewers. The content in this program and in its commercials is inappropriate and will send the wrong message to America's youth.

Offensive content in the program includes: teen pregnancies, affairs, sexual innuendos, drug use, alcohol abuse, crude language and mocking Christianity.

New episodes air on Monday evenings at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 CT.


15th April 2014

  Cutting Edge Quick Trims: Drop Zone...

A YouTube video of the BBFC cuts for violence
Link Here
Drop Zone

Quick Trims: Drop Zone on YouTube

Drop Zone is a 1994 USA action adventure thriller by John Badham.
Starring Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey and Yancy Butler. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK Censorship History

1995:  Cut by the BBFC for a 15 rated cinema and VHS release

2000 : Same cuts applied to the 2000 DVD


15th April

 Extract: Bloody Kids...

The BBFC archive reveals that the original Carrie was considered about a 16 rating for aggressive teasing
Link Here

Carrie Rage Double Pack DVD Carrie was submitted to the BBFC for classification in November 1976. Language, implied off-screen sexual activity and the cruelty of the early bullying scenes kept the film out of the AA category (over 14s) and placed it in the higher X certificate (over 18s), although the examiner report observes it would be a perfect film for a 16-year-old-category .

...Read the full article


15th April

 Update: Pulitzer Prize Winners...

Congratulations to the Guardain and Washington Post for reporting on NSA and GCHQ snooping
Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

pulitzer prizes For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources, including the use of stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material, a gold medal.

Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.


Awarded to The Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.


15th April

 Offsite Article: Partial Recall: An Interview with Paul Verhoeven...

Link Here
Total Recall Ultimate Rekall DVD Speaking of censor cuts, violence, and not taking stories too seriously

See article from cornellsun.com


14th April

  Zombie Whingers...

ASA dismisses complaints about a TV advert for Dead Rising 3
Link Here

Dead Rising 3 Xbox One A TV ad, for the computer game Dead Rising 3 , presented in the style of a news broadcast featured the newsreader with blood on her clothes and in her hair. Partial text on screen stated ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE . The camera shook and studio lights flickered; a zombie shadow was seen in the background and the shaking legs of another zombie were shown sticking up from the floor. The newsreader described a possible saviour for mankind before she slumped forward, splattering blood. Straightening up, she was revealed as a white faced, bloodied zombie, before she lurched towards the camera. Small monitor screens on the right of the screen showed clips from the game throughout the ad.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm restriction.

Three viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable for broadcast, because of the distressing and graphic images.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the ad was intended for a post-9 pm audience and had been scheduled during a season of horror, science fiction and action programmes where the zombie theme would not appear out of place. Although there were some elements of horror in the ad with the blood splattered newsreader transforming into a white faced zombie lurching towards the camera, we considered that the clearly over-the-top acting and comic tone, such as a pair of shaking legs sticking up from the floor, removed any real element of horror or distress from the ad. We also noted the ad did not include any violence or graphic horror action.

We acknowledged that the ad would not be suitable for a younger audience, who would be unlikely to understand the comic nature of the ad, but concluded that the ad was not unsuitable for broadcast after 9pm.


14th April

 Update: People's Republic Takes On People's Porn...

China initiates another miserable campaign against internet porn
Link Here  full story: Pornography in China...Always under the cosh
China flagChina has announced another miserable campaign against online pornography and has asked websites to remove any such links to avoid repressive punishment. The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications announced:

The campaign, Cleaning the Web 2014, will conduct thorough checkups on websites, search engines and mobile application stores, Internet TV USB sticks, and set-top boxes.

All online texts, pictures, videos and advertisements with pornographic content will be deleted. Websites, web channels and columns will be shut down or have their administrative license revoked if they are found to produce or spread pornographic information.

The campaign will last until November, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.


14th April

 Offsite Article: 2014 Jefferson Muzzles...

Link Here  full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
thomas jefferson center 1 logo The US government wins the dubious honour of a Jefferson Muzzle for snooping on the news media

See article from tjcenter.org


13th April


ASA dismisses whinges about fashion adverts on TV
Link Here

missguided advert video Two TV ads, for a women's clothing company, Missguided, featured a young woman posing in different outfits to the song Jack with the repeated lyrics I want your body, everybody wants your body, so let's Jack.

  1. Two viewers challenged whether the ads were sexually suggestive and inappropriate for broadcast when children might be watching.

  2. One viewer challenged whether the ads were suitable for broadcast before 9pm.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the model was shown posing in different outfits, but considered that her stance consisted of traditional model poses used to accentuate the clothing, rather than being sexually suggestive. Although the model was briefly shown pouting at the camera, we considered that her action was only mildly sexual in nature and the quick shot was unlikely to be understood by children. The outfits featured in the ads were not particularly revealing, other than a leotard that showed more of the model's legs than the other clothing, but nonetheless there was no sexual connotation attached to the garment.

We understood that the song played during the ads referred to a style of dance. Although the lyrics were open to mild sexual interpretation, we considered that very young children would be unlikely to understand that allusion and the song was not unsuitable for older children, many already likely to be familiar with the song and its dance based lyrics.

We considered that the ads were not sexually explicit or suggestive and were unlikely to cause harm to children or to a more general audience. We therefore concluded that the ads were suitable to be broadcast at anytime.


13th April

 Offsite Article: Lawyers' Payday...

Link Here
wonga advert Wonga threatens Twitter joker with legal action after he used their logo in an image poking fun at the company

See article from dailymail.co.uk


13th April 2014

  Cutting Edge Quick Trims: Maximum Risk...

A YouTube video of the BBFC cuts
Link Here
Cutting Edge: Maximum Risk

Quick Trims: Maximum Risk on YouTube

Maximum Risk is a 1996 USA action crime adventure by Ringo Lam.
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Natasha Henstridge and Jean-Hugues Anglade. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK Censorship History

1997 : Uncut for UK cinema release.

1997-98 : Cut by the BBFC for VHS and DVD.

2008: Uncut for Blu-ray.