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26th July

 Commented: UK's press censor considers world domination...

IPSO announces review of the way its regulations should apply to global digital publishers
Link Here

ipso 2016 logo Press regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), has announced a review of the way its regulations should apply to global digital publishers. The review has been triggered by concerns that IPSO's original regulations may no longer be adequate to deal with some of the issues thrown up by new models of global publishing.

IPSO Chief Executive, Matt Tee said:

When the current regulations were drafted nearly four years ago, it was difficult to imagine the developments that would take place in digital publishing, with some publishers having numerous editorial bureaux across the world focused on different audiences in different time zones. This is already an issue for some IPSO members and is bound to affect others in future. It may also be a disincentive to other global digital publishers joining IPSO. We want a solution that enables IPSO to be an effective regulator for relevant consumers and provides a definition that is intuitive and workable for publishers.

The review will be carried out by IPSO's Board as expeditiously as possible. The terms of reference for the review will be to:

Consider how best to define the content, published online by a global publisher, that should fall under IPSO's remit consult with global digital publishers on a proposed definition examine the experience of overseas press regulators as well as regulators in other areas of communication, such as broadcast or video on demand seek advice on how a revised definition would best be implemented.

Until the review is concluded, IPSO may exercise its discretion not to consider new complaints which relate specifically to articles and other content about events in overseas jurisdictions, and which are not primarily targeted at a UK audience.

IPSO will be contacting relevant parties in the next week inviting them to make submissions to the review, however submissions are welcome from any person or group. Submissions should be sent to digitalreview@ipso.co.uk. The closing date for submissions is midday on Friday 19 August 2016.

Offsite Article: Censors from every country claim dominium of the world

26th July 2016. See  article from theguardian.com

The Guardian The Guardian asks:

Can Ipso apply in countries with strict press regulation -- and with none.


26th July

 Offsite Article: Uncensored Lies...

Link Here
uncensored lies Serbian government sets up exhibition of political cartoonery to show that it does not censor the media, but then goes on to label all the criticism as lies

See article from rferl.org


26th July

 Offsite Article: A Picture of Carelessness...

Link Here
Daily Mail logo Porn star sues the Daily Mail for randomly using her picture to illustrate an article about a a totally unconnected porn star with HIV

See article from business.avn.com


25th July

  Premium rates phone censor...

PhonepayPlus decides to change its name
Link Here
phonepayplus logo The UK's premium rate services regulator, PhonepayPlus , is changing its name to the Phone-paid Services Authority , and adopting a new statement of purpose:

The UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.

The name change will be implemented in autumn 2016.

Also PhonepayPlus' new 14th Code of Practice for premium rate services comes into force, providing increased transparency and fairness and streamlining of our investigations, adjudications and appeals procedures.

David Edmonds CBE, Chairman of PhonepayPlus, said:

As we introduce the latest edition of our Code of Practice, I'm pleased to announce PhonepayPlus' new name: the Phone-paid Services Authority.

We've worked closely with industry stakeholders, consumers and our staff on this project, listening to them on how we can explain our role clearly for consumers while reflecting and supporting competition, innovation and investment in the market that we regulate.

As the Phone-paid Services Authority, we will continue to put consumers and the industry at the heart of our work as UK's regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.


24th July

 Updated: Government Pests...

Australian game censors ban The Bug Butcher video game
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
bug butcher Bug Butcher is a fun shoot 'em up computer game from Awfully Nice Studios.

It has just been banned by the Australian Censor Board for reasons which are not yet apparent. The censors have provided just an uninformative stock statement on the website noting the game as 'Refused Classification'.

The description of the game does not really make the game sound very bannable:

You play Harry, an exterminator who gets tasked with slaughtering bugs in a futuristic research facility, in order to buy the surviving scientists time until the total decontamination process is complete. It's a simple game where you face wave after wave of enemies, picking up new weapons and power-ups in order to enhance your slaying skills.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

24th July 2016. See  article from refused-classification.com

Awfully Nice Studios explained a little more about the ban:

We have been in the age rating process for our upcoming console release in Australia. Seem like this triggered the ban from Steam as well. The reasoning behind is, is sad but at the same point also funny. We have a powerup called Speed powerup where Harry injects himself a syringe. Looks like the combination of the injection with the word Speed someone could assume that it's a drug. We are shocked but are trying to get in touch with Australia to see if we can fix this.


24th July

  Another Peace TV banned...

This time in Thailand where the 'red shirt' political channel is banned for criticising the military government
Link Here
peace tv thailand logo Thailand's PEACE TV has been banned for 30 days at midnight on Thursday on the orders of government TV censors of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).

When the fate of the station was uncertain on Thursday, hundreds of red-shirt supporters gathered at the Imperial World department store in Lat Phrao to give moral support.

The red-shirt satellite channel was suspended for criticising the military's ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and supposedly instigating conflicts that caused divisions in society.

The station will remain off the air for a month unless the Supreme Administrative Court grants an injunction against the NBTC order.

In the meantime, Peace TV executives including UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan will televise shows online including via Facebook Live.


24th July

 Offsite Article: Whistling for finance...

Link Here
snowden Oliver Stone's new movie Snowden had a predictably tough time getting finance from corporate America

See article from bangkokpost.com


24th July

 Offsite Article: Porn in Russia...

Link Here
Russia flag XBiz tales a look at porn under Putin

See article from xbiz.com


23rd July

  Tens more TV censors at Ofcom...

Ofcom boss plans on extra staff for the upcoming extension of remit to cover censorship of the BBC
Link Here
sharon white A new BBC charter will come into force next year which hands over much of the censorship and complaints handling to Ofcom.

Commenting on the plans for this new job, Ofcom's chief executive Sharon White says the new unitary board at the BBC must be strong enough to act as the first port of call for any complaints so that the regulator could be the backstop for the most serious issues: It will be for the BBC to deal in the first instance with accuracy and impartiality.

That means that despite the BBC attracting 10 times as many complaints as the total for the public service rivals currently overseen by Ofcom -- 250,000 v 25,000 -- White only expects investigations handled by her organisation to roughly double to about 500 a year. She is planning to appoint tens more people to cover the expanded role.

White also says she is opposed to making the regulation of its online content a statutory duty and that the BBC will simply be integrated into its current responsibilities for regulating all other public service broadcasters. She said:

We recognise that the BBC has special status, but we are not planning to give it special treatment. The advantage of [this] is it has to to be consistent and fair with the decisions we would take on ITV, Sky or C4.

White says she was personally very wary about new legislation to give Ofcom greater power to regulate the BBC's online content. Currently, it is regulated by the trust while there is no formal oversight of written content from other broadcasters. While the government white paper stressed that there would be no diminution in the degree of oversight on website text , White is keen to avoid statutory oversight, which would make Ofcom the first government-appointed regulator in the UK to regulate written content online.


23rd July

 Update: The Hidden Economy...

Another issue of the Economist has been withdrawn from Thailand
Link Here  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
economist july 2016 The Economist magazine won't distribute its next issue in Thailand, according to a note sent Friday to subscribers.

The periodical, which over the years has been censored and withheld in Thailand, said its July 23 edition would not be available, presumably due to an article about Thailand's monarchy and its military government. The magazine wrote:

Due to sensitive content in this week's issue and the resulting potential risk to our distributors, we will not be distributing the July 23rd 2016 print edition of The Economist in Thailand.


23rd July

  No peace for the wicked...

India and Bangladesh ban Peace TV
Link Here
peace tv logo Following recent Islamic terror attacks in Bangladesh, India has banned Zakir Naik's Peace TV . Its neighbour, Bangladesh, then imposed a similar ban.

Peace TV is a 24-hours Islamic International TV Channel that broadcasts Naik's inflammatory and rather extreme viewpoint.

The Islamic proselytizer, rising to fame for his pedantic knowledge of the world's religion, can and has been described as everything ranging from 'an authority on comparative religion to a radical Islamic televangelist, perhaps an equivalent of the US's Ted Haggard.

The Dhaka terror attacks were said to have been inspired by Naik's teachings, leading to an analysis of his programme and and an evaluation of its place in Indian television. The Maharashtra government has ordered a probe to be conducted into his sermons, the contents of which officials have described as a security hazard .

The government has indicated its intention to check the contents of Naik's teachings, from his TV programme to his writings, and and also the sources of the funds for his channels.


22nd July

  Censorship spittle...

Horror Channel in a spot of bother as the BBFC requires cuts for the pre-cut version of I Spit On Your Grave shown by the channel which then attracted complaints to Ofcom
Link Here
Spit Your Grave Region NTSC I Spit on Your Grave is a 2010 USA crime horror thriller by Steven R Monroe.
Starring Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson and Andrew Howard. BBFC link IMDb

A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

UK: A pre-cut version was passed 18 for sexual violence, bloody violence after 53s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2016 AMC Networks International UK [Material also pre-cut by company.] video
The BBFC commented:
  • Cuts were required during scenes of sexual violence in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case shots of nudity that tend to eroticse sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape). The cuts were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

The BBFC confirmed in an email to Glenn that the Horror Channel Version contained additional material to the cut UK version, and so had to be cut to bring it in line with the cut UK version:

This version of I Spit on Your Grave is a re-edited, reduced version compared to the submission classified in 2010. These changes were made by the films distributor prior to the film being submitted to the BBFC. The BBFC required that footage that was previously cut from the 2010 submission, but that had not already been removed by the films distributor, to also be removed.

Background to this version

Earlier this year in May, Ofcom announced that it was investigating a complaint about a broadcast of the remake of I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March. The sequel to the remake I Spit on Your Grave 2 was being shown at the same time and it was noted that maybe this could be involved in the complaint too.

schnittberichte.com also pointed out that a January showing of I Spit on Your Grave wasn't actually a BBFC approved version. The website concludes that the Horror Channel did its own edit, which although cut, was stronger than the BBFC version.

Surely this complaint, and the possibility of interim versions, is behind this week's BBFC new classification of  I Spit on Your Grave and I Spit on Your Grave 2, submitted by AMC Networks International, owners of Horror Channel.

The BBFC passed this latest version of I Spit on Your Grave as 18 after 53s of BBFC cuts for sexual violence, bloody violence.

So perhaps these leaves the Horror Channel in the lurch with Ofcom. Ofcom will no doubt find that the channel should have shown the BBFC cut version. The channel will now be in breach of the rules of the land explicitly requiring  that TV channels show BBFC approved versions (or versions where the BBFC have given the nod that they would no longer require cuts if resubmitted).


Thanks to Glenn who disagrees with the BBFC claims that cuts are required. He wrote to the censors saying:

Being in possession of a full, uncensored version, I have been fortunate to bear witness to the director's intended vision. The board should not be cutting this film. It is incredibly insulting and hypocritical that the board are more than happy to pass "Baise Moi" uncut (and rightly so!) but insist on censoring a film that will have appeal to the masses, rather than just the middle class art brigade. Of further insult is the blatant ignoring of public opinion that you, ever so proudly, claim to shape your guidelines. On this very site, the previous public consultation undertook by the BBFC is there for all to read. However, some of the viewers felt that the film could easily pass uncut given the second half of the film and her retribution to the culprits. This clearly counterbalances the graphic scenes of rape. You seemed to have ignored the advice of the general public and proceeded to do as you wish.

Your claims of "eroticised sexual violence" is worrying to say the least. I've yet to meet, or speak to, anybody who found any of the films erotic or eroticised. This is something that obviously only the board is seeing. No one else is. Sorry? Who are you protecting, again?

It is also worth noting that the OFLC, the Australian censorship body, has passed all the films uncut and their guidelines are stricter than yours! Plus, there is NO recorded evidence that any harm has come to anybody as a result of these films being available uncut anywhere in the world. And the majority of people in Britain have seen the uncut versions of them. Still no reports of harm.


22nd July

  Guilt by association...

Press censor bans Daily Mail headline linking honour killings with islam
Link Here

ipso 2016 logo Miqdaad Versi, assistant general secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain but acting in a personal capacity, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice in an article headlined Mother of four stabbed to death while her family were at a funeral 'may have been murdered in Islamic honour killing' , published on 25 May 2016.

The article reported that a woman had been found dead in her home and the police were investigating the circumstances of her death.

The complainant said that the reference in the headline to an Islamic honour killing was inaccurate: honour killings have no basis in Islam. He noted the difference between the words Islamic , meaning relating to Islam as a faith, and Muslim meaning relating to a Muslim individual. He said that honour killings are rooted in culture, not religion.

The publication did not believe that the headline was inaccurate, and noted that the possibility that the woman had been murdered in an honour killing was not in dispute. It said that the phrase complained of had been used to indicate that the killing may have been related to the religion of those concerned. The publication did not accept that the phrase Islamic honour killing would have suggested to readers that honour killings are approved of by Islam. It said that the article was not an in-depth discussion of honour killings , and the phrase had just been used a shorthand reference to the religion of the individuals involved. It noted that honour killings are particularly prevalent in Muslim countries.

Nonetheless, the publication offered to remove the word Islamic from the headline and from the article, and to publish the following footnote:

An earlier version of this article said that the police were investigating whether Mrs Khan may have been murdered in an Islamic honour killing . We are happy to make clear Islam as a religion does not support so-called honour killings .

Relevant Code provisions:  Clause 1 (Accuracy)

(i) The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.

(ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and, where appropriate, an apology published.

Findings of the Committee

The phrase Islamic honour killing suggested that the killing had been motivated by Islam, when there was no basis for saying that religion had played a role in this killing. The Committee did not accept the publication's explanation that, in this context, Islamic had simply referred to the religion of those involved. There was a failure to take care over the accuracy of the article, in breach of Clause 1 (i).

The publication had offered to remove the word Islamic from the article, and append an explanatory footnote. This footnote stated the original error, and made clear the correct position. It was offered in the publication's first response to IPSO's investigation of the complaint, which was sufficiently prompt. Further, the placement constituted due prominence under the Code. There was no breach of Clause 1 (ii).

The complaint was upheld under Clause 1 (Accuracy).

Remedial action required

The publication had already offered to amend the article and publish a footnote. In light of the Committee's findings on the matter, these actions should now be taken without delay


22nd July

 Offsite Article: A 'referendum' where campaigning is banned...

Link Here  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
global voices logo As Constitutional Referendum Nears, Thailand Intensifies Censorship. By Mong Palatino

See article from advox.globalvoices.org


21st July

 Update: An expensive joke...

Queensland resorts to making up a new law just to deal with supposedly offensive slogans on Wicked Campervans
Link Here  full story: Wicked Campervans...Un polictically correct adverts wind up Australian and New Zealand authorities
queensland government logo The Palaszczuka? government has found an expensive way to get Wicked camper vans' offensive slogans off Queensland roads. Make up a new law.

Yvette D'Ath, Queensland's Attorney-General, will introduce legislation which will see commercial registration holders who fail to comply with determinations by the Advertising Standards Bureau face having the registration of those vehicles cancelled. D'Ath said:

I understand clearly the level of community concern about the vulgar, crass and offensive slogans that have been displayed on some commercial vehicles in Queensland and other parts of Australia.

They have been subject to frequent complaints to the Advertising Standards Board. When the ASB has deemed those slogans to be offensive, the typical response from the holders of those commercial vehicle registrations has been deafening silence.

Now if they refuse to remove the offensive slogans, their vehicles will be off the road.

Working in conjunction with the Department of Transport and the ASB, D'Ath said the solution allowed the advertising watchdog to maintain its power, but gave any adverse finding teeth.

The government hopes to have the legislation in front of the parliament by the end of the year.


21st July

 Update: Woeful disregard for user privacy...

France tells Microsoft to sort out its Windows 10 data grab of users private data
Link Here  full story: Microsoft Snooping...Microsoft’s Windows 10 is a privacy nightmare
cnil logo Nagware makers Microsoft have come under fire from France's National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) over Windows 10 collecting too much data about users.

CNIL has ordered Microsoft to comply with the French Data Protection Act within three months. The company has been ordered to stop collecting excessive data and tracking browsing by users without their consent .

In addition to this, the chair of CNIL has notified Microsoft that it needs to take satisfactory measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of user data . The notice comes after numerous complaints about Windows 10, and a series of investigations by French authorities which revealed a number of failings on Microsoft's part.

The CNIL particularly notes Windows 10's telemetry 'service' which gathers information about the apps users have installed and how long each is used for. The complaint is that these data are not necessary for the operation of the service .

The company is also criticized for its lack of sufficient security -- such as the four-digit PIN used to protect payment information which does not have a limit on the number of guesses that can be made. The CNIL's list of complaints does not end there. It also took exception to the activation of an advertising ID for tailored advertising without user consent, the lack of cookie blocking options, and the fact that data is being transferred out of Europe to the US.


20th July

 Update: The European Court is listening...

A preliminary judgement of the European Court of Justice suggests that mass snooping data should be restricted only to those fighting serious crime
Link Here
European Court of Justice The Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union has published his Opinion on data retention by EU member states. The subsequent judgment will have implications for the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) and the Investigatory Powers Bill (IP BIll).

In his Opinion, the Advocate General said that data retention may be compatible with EU law only if data is being retained to fight serious crime and if there are strict safeguards in place. The Opinion confirmed that he believes that EU law should apply when it comes to data retention and that member states should limit their interference with our fundamental rights to what is strictly necessary.

Executive Director of Open Rights Group, Jim Killock responded:

The Advocate General has stated that data retention should only be used in the fight against serious crime, yet in the UK there are more than half a million requests for communications data each year. These do not only come from police but also local councils and government departments. It is difficult to see how the Government can claim that these organisations are investigating serious crimes.

The Opinion calls for strict safeguards yet in the UK, there is currently no judicial authorisation in the UK - police, local authorities and government departments can get internal sign off to access data. If the IP Bill is passed, data will be able to be analysed without a warrant through an intrusive tool known as the request filter.

It may be too late to end data retention under DRIPA, which expires at the end of the year, but the Government has the opportunity to ensure that the IP Bill complies with EU law. In particular, they should end the extension of mass data retention proposed in the Bill, which would see the UK become one of the only democracies to record its citizens' web browsing history and provide a police search engine to scour it.

Tory Drad Davis and Labour's Tom Watson originally took their case to the British High Court claiming that DRIPA sections 1 and 2 were incompatible with the public's right to respect for private life and communications and for protection of personal data under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter.

The court found for Davis and Watson in July 2015 but the ruling was not upheld on appeal, so Davis and Co. took their case to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Drad Davis has now been promoted into Theresa May's cabinet and has inevitably dropped his criticism of mass snooping. So he has now withdrawn from this legal case.


20th July

 Update: A war on words...

Media companies thwarted in their legal attempt to get the word 'torrent' banned from search engines in France
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
torrent word The High Court of Paris has decided there's a limit to France's unpopular anti-copying regime: Google and Bing can't be required to block the word torrent from their search results just because BitTorrent is sometimes used for piracy.

The case was brought by the Syndicat National de l'édition Phonographique, France's record industry association, nominally on behalf of several artists. SNEP wanted to use Article L336-2 of France's intellectual property law to force Google and Microsoft to delete searches that included both 'torrent' and any of the artists' names.

The High Court in Paris didn't think filtering torrent in all of France, the Wallis and Futuna islands, New Caledonia and the French Southern and Antarctic territories was appropriate.

In a case against Google, the court found that SNEP was acting on behalf of only three artists, rather than for all of its members:

The case would not protect the interests of the entire profession, but ensure the protection of individual interests of members who produce these three artists.

In a case against Microsoft, the court stated the requests made by SNEP were too broad:

They do not concern an identified site, but all sites accessed by the requested terms, regardless of the identification and even determining the content of the site ... The measures sought are similar to general surveillance measure and could cause the blocking of legitimate sites.

The judgements award costs against SNEP in both cases.


20th July

  Taboo words...

Suicide Squad gets a BBFC 15 rating in the UK, a higher rating than most countries
Link Here
Poster Suicide Squad 2016 David Ayer Suicide Squad is a 2016 USA action crime fantasy by David Ayer.
Starring Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne and Will Smith. BBFC link IMDb

A secret government agency run by Amanda Waller, named A.R.G.U.S creates a task force comprising super villains, the "Suicide Squad". They are assigned to execute dangerous tasks in exchange for shorter prison sentences.

Even the word 'suicide' is a bit much for our film censors. Having a belief that viewers are affected by the films they see, then 'suicide' in films appealing to children, conjures up the need to be ultra sensitive and cautious. It's probably not possible to edit it out of the title, so perhaps it was always inevitable that the film would be at least 15 rated in the UK.

And indeed that is the case, the BBFC have passed Suicide Squad as 15 uncut for sustained threat, moderate violence for 2016 cinema release in 2D and 3D versions.

The US MPAA had previously rated the film PG-13 for s equences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language.

And the world censors seem to have mostly sided with the American film censor. Australia (M=PG-15), Netherlands (12), Norway (12) , Singapore (PG-13) and Ireland (15A) all being lower than the UK. Russia opted for a higher 16 rating though.


20th July

  Adapting to Netflix...

Singapore media censors decide to allow the likes of Game of Thrones to be shown uncut on internet TV
Link Here
singapore ratiing symbols The arrival of a worldwide version of Netflix has been challenging the censorship rules for TV and internet in many a nation used to being able to censor its local media.

Singapore has relaxed local rules a little to accommodate internet TV. Singapore has 2 adult ratings that are pitched such that for example, Game of Thrones is uncut at R21 but must be cut for an M18.

Singapore's TV and internet censors at the Media Development Authority (MDA) have decided that R21 content can be shown on internet TV provided that it is protected with an age verification system.

The new rule says that if you are an online content provider (Netflix, iTunes or Google Play, or any number of players offering K-drama or Bollywood movies), you must provide age-check firewalls for R21 content.

Until the rule change Netflix, which started in the country in January 2016, had an advantage over local providers. It offered R21-rated shows such as the comedy, Orange Is The New Black and period drama Marco Polo  available with PIN protection. Local providers had to cut their shows for an M18 rating.


20th July

 Updated: Protruding labias...

Body image campaigners call for a PG-15 rating for close up nudity
Link Here
embrace taryn brumfitt Embrace is a documentary that sets out to raise awareness of the female body. It has been given an MA 15+ rating by the Australian film censors with consumer advice of strong nudity. The censors noted that some of the genital detail included protruding labia in a sequence showing different women's vaginas in close up

However body image campaigner and the film's director, Taryn Brumfitt, is not impressed. She claims that the restricted age rating reinforces the message that women's bodies are shameful. She added:

It puts my film in the same category as Fifty Shades of Grey. t's wrong on so many levels. I am outraged.

The Board of Directors have got their heads in the sand if they think that's offensive. These images are not crude. We don't need to be ashamed of how our bodies look.

An M rating [PG-15] (stipulates) that nudity must be justified by context. The nudity in my film is completely in context. The only way these images can be harmful is if they continue to be censored.

Andrew Mackie added for the film's producers, Transmission Films:

This is a very disappointing decision. The whole point of this entertaining and educative film is the message that all bodies are different ... and that girls and women should be encouraged to love themselves exactly as they are.

This is a message that needs to be heard by girls under the age of 15.

[One can't help wondering if the filmmakers would be so keen on young boys oggling the 'message'].

Transmission Films also confirmed today that Facebook would not allow a post of the film's poster to be boosted to reach an additional audience because the image has excessive skin.

After screening at this year's Sydney Film Festival, Embrace is to be released in cinemas nationally on August 4.

Update: New Zealand ruled by Australian censorship

17th July 2016. See  article from stuff.co.nz

nziff logo The Australian film censor's decision to give Taryn Brumfitt's Embrace a 15 rating has had a knock on effect in New Zealand.

Before the Australian decision, Embrace was exempt from classification in New Zealand on the grounds it was an educational documentary. Now the 15 rating has caused major problems for the New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF), which plans to show the documentary later in July. E

New Zealand's censorship laws mean that if a film is restricted in Australia, it needs to be classified for New Zealand audiences by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). While the film is being classified the festival is not allowed to sell tickets to anyone under the age of 18. A decision on its rating is expected by July 26, but that is just three days before the documentary is scheduled to screen in Auckland.

NZIFF communications manager Rebecca McMillan said the age restriction could prevent mothers taking their daughters to see the film, limiting potentially important conversations about body image. She hoped the New Zealand OFLC would give the film a more lenient rating than its Australian counterpart. McMillan said the NZIFF wanted girls as young as 12 to be able to see Embrace . That's the most vulnerable audience with body messaging, she said.

Update: M rated in New Zealand

20th July 2016. See  article from stuff.co.nz

new zealand m Before the Australian Classification Board's decision to award an MA 15+ rating, Embrace was exempt from classification in New Zealand on the grounds it was an educational documentary.

Nudity depicted in a documentary about positive body image was deemed too much for young Australians, but New Zealand censors have decided the film is for all Kiwis.

New Zealand film censors of the OFLC have decided  to award the film an M rating, with a descriptive note for offensive language and nudity .

The mature M rating is an advisory rating recommending that the film is suitable for over 16s. However there are no restrictions  but a person of any age may see the film.

The OFLC said in its official decision that Embrace was a well-made, thought-provoking and uplifting examination of body positivity, self-worth and diversity of representation. It also said it would likely be an educational resource for younger and older viewers alike, and facilitate discussion.

Embrace director Taryn Brumfitt says New Zealand's censors have made the right decision not to restrict her film. She said:

Embrace is an entertaining, life-affirming film that leaves audiences feeling inspired. The decision of the New Zealand Classification Office can give New Zealand audiences confidence that Embrace is a film for everyone.

Rebecca McMillan, the NZIFF's communications manager, said they were thrilled at the change: she said:

The NZ classification decision means that this educational documentary can reach the people who need to see and hear body positive messages the most. New Zealanders of all ages can decide for themselves whether they are mature enough to see the film and understand the themes that it raises: themes of body positivity and representation of women in the media.

We're encouraged that the Classification Office considers New Zealanders more culturally aware and willing to have these conversations with our children by allowing an unrestricted rating for the film.

Taryn Brumfitt will be in attendance at the Auckland and Wellington screenings of Embrace to participate in a Q&A session.


20th July

  Blocking Leaks...

Turkey blocks Wikileaks after it published 300,000 emails from Erdogan's party HQ
Link Here
Wikileaks In times of trouble t is pretty standard procedure for repressive countries to close down the internet or block people communicating through social networks. And Turkey was no exception when its leaders were challenged in an attempted coup.

But now Turkey is suffering an even more urgent need to censor the internet. Turkey has ordered Wikileaks to be blocked in the country after it released 300,000 emails from Erdogan's AK Party HQ.

The internet censors of the Telecommunications Communications Board called the move an administrative measure, which is a term commonly used by the organization when blocking access to websites.

WikiLeaks managed to publish the 294,548 emails on Tuesday, despite its website being subject to a massive cyberattack. WikiLeaks has moved forward its publication schedule in response to the [Turkish] government's post-coup purges, WikiLeaks said in the release:

We have verified the material and the source, who is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state.

All emails which were released were attributed to akparti.org.tr , the primary domain of the main political force in the country, and cover a period from 2010 up until July 6, 2016, just a week before the failed military coup


20th July

 Update: Store everything, report everything, decrypt Everything...

Russian mass snooping law is impossibly extensive
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

vladimir putin It's been a rough month for Internet freedom in Russia. After it breezed through the Duma, President Putin signed the Yarovaya package into law--a set of radical anti-terrorism provisions drafted by ultra-conservative United Russia politician Irina Yarovaya, together with a set of instructions on how to implement the new rules. Russia's new surveillance law includes mandatory data retention and government backdoors for encrypted communications.

As if that wasn't scary enough, under the revisions to the criminal code, Russians can now be prosecuted for failing to report a crime. Citizens now risk a year in jail for simply not telling the police about suspicions they might have about future terrorist acts.

But some of the greatest confusion has come from ISPs and other telecommunication companies. These organizations now face impossible demands from the Russian state. Now they can be ordered to retain every byte of data that they transmit, including video, telephone calls, text messages, web traffic, and email for six months--a daunting and expensive task that requires the kind of storage capacity that's usually associated with NSA data centers in Utah. Government access to this data no longer requires a warrant. Carriers must keep all metadata for three years; ISPs one year. Finally, any online service (including social networks, email, or messaging services) that uses encrypted data is now required to permit the Federal Security Service (FSB) to access and read their services' encrypted communications, including providing any encryption keys.

Opposition to the Yarovaya package has come from many quarters. Technical experts have been united in opposing the law. Russia's government Internet ombudsman opposed the bill. Putin's own human rights head, Mikhail Fedotov , called upon the Senators of Russia's Federal Council to reject the bill. ISPs have pointed out that compliance would cost them trillions of rubles .

But now the law is here, and in force. Putin has asked for a list of services that must hand over their keys. ISPs have begun to consider how to store an impossibly large amount of data. Service providers are required to consider how to either break unbreakable encryption or include backdoors for the Russian authorities.

It is clear that foreign services will not be spared. Last week, the VPN provider, Private Internet Access (PIA), announced that they believed their Russian servers had been seized by the Russian authorities . PIA says they do not keep logs, so they could not comply with the demand, but they have now discontinued their Russian gateways and will no longer be doing business in the region.

Russia's ISPs, messaging services, and social media platforms have no such choice: because they cannot reasonably comply with all the demands of the Yarovaya package, they become de facto criminals whatever their actions. And that, in turn, gives the Russian state the leverage to extract from them any other concession it desires. The impossibility of full compliance is not a bug--it's an essential feature.

Russia is not the only nation whose lawmakers and politicians are heading in this direction, especially when it comes to requiring backdoors for encrypted communications. Time and time again, technologists and civil liberties groups have warned the United States, France , Holland , and a host of other nations that the anti-encryption laws they propose cannot be obeyed without rewriting the laws of mathematics. Politicians have often responded by effectively telling the Internet's experts don't worry, you'll work out a way. Let us be clear: government backdoors in encrypted communications make us all less safe, no matter which country is holding the keys.

Technologists have sometimes believed that technical impossibility means that the laws are simply unworkable -- that a law that cannot be obeyed is no worse than no law at all. As Russia shows, regulations that no one can comply with aren't dead-letter laws. Instead, they corrode the rule of law, leaving a rusting wreckage of partial compliance that can be exploited by powers who will use their enforcement powers for darker and more partial ends than justice.

Russians concerned with the fall of Internet freedom, including the Society for the Protection of the Internet (IPI), have planned a protest in cities across the country on July 26. EFF will continue to follow the situation closely as it develops.


19th July

  A frightful cock-up...

Virgin media make a mistake and broadcast the 15 rated Stage Fright during the day without PIN protection.
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Stage Fright DVD Minnie Driver Stage Fright
Sky Movies Premiere1 and Virgin Media EPG, 26 March 2016, 13:00

Stage Fright was classified as a 15-rated film by the BBFC in 2014 due to strong bloody violence, strong language, sex references .

15 rated films are allowed to be shown during the day on encrypted subscription channels providing that children are protected by a mandatory PIN entry system.

The film was shown on Sky Movies Premiere via the Virgin Media cable platform but unfortunately a Virgin Media worker got the classification wring for a daytime showing. The rating was incorrectly entered into the system as PG rather than 15. This PG rating was then advertised to viewers via the Virgin EPG and also allowed viewers to watch the film without being bothered by the mandatory PIN entry. Ofcom wrote:

Sky and Virgin Media confirmed that the film Stage Fright had been available on Sky Movies Premiere on the Virgin Media platform between 25 March 2016 and 28 March 2016 with the following description on the Virgin Media EPG: Stage Fright PG Blood begins to spill after the daughter of a Broadway diva wins the lead in the summer showcase at a performing arts camp . The Licensees confirmed that during this period it was possible for a proportion of its viewers to view Stage Fright without mandatory restricted access on the Virgin Media platform.

Virgin Media said that although the Virgin Media EPG is not a broadcast channel, we apologise to any viewers who inadvertently viewed the movie based on the incorrect EPG PG rating . It added that this was caused by human error due toâ?¦exceptional circumstance[s] . Virgin Media said that while it had processes and systems in place which identified the errorâ?¦it was just highly unfortunate that [an] editor mistook the 2014 film with the 1950's film of the same title which was rated PG, To our knowledge this issue has never arisen previously . Virgin Media also commented that, although its third party supplier did have safeguards in place to prevent unverified [films] being played out, this required manual action. Unfortunately, on this occasion despite several prompts requesting verification of the [film] this was not actioned which resulted in the film being broadcast.

Sky commented that this i15 rating nformation for Stage Fright was correct on all of the Sky systems and therefore any metadata that was exported with the content should have automatically ensured that this was a '15' if it used our Information .

Ofcom censured Virgin for the mistake but considered that for Sky the matter was resolved.


19th July

 Updated: Ban it or else we will send a few angry tweets!...

ITV2 show Love Island gets a few complaints
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love-island There have been a handful of whinges about a couple having sex on the TV show, Love Island.

Viewers were supposedly shocked when contestants Emma-Jane Woodham and Terry Walsh openly had sex in a segment broadcast ten minutes after the 9pm watershed.

A spokesman for ITV said the scenes in question are inexplicit and that their focus was on the other islanders reactions. The spokesman added that ITV were not aware of any viewer complaints and that the scenes were fully compiled for broadcast.

However the Telegraph dragged up a few angry tweets and sound bites. Eg Rachael Gifford tweeted:

Can't believe Emma and Terry had above the cover sex in front of the whole villa #wtf #LoveIsland #Disgusting

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for the moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK complained that:

Sex in the context of Love Island is being sensationalised and demonstrates nothing of real loving committed relationships.

She added that both broadcasters and participants should take more responsibility for what is shown and its impact on younger viewers.

A spokesman for Ofcom, the UK TV censor, said the body had received six complaints in relation to the show, four regarding sexual content and two others to do with bullying.

Update: Ofcom to stick its oar in too

19th July 2016. See  article from metro.co.uk

Ofcom logo Ofcom have confirmed that they will investigate ITV's hit reality dating show Love Island after it aired a non-explicit sex scene 1- minutes after the watershed..

Ofcom said they received eight complaints. A spokescensor said:

This programme included sexual material shortly after the watershed. We're investigating whether the transition to more adult content was unduly abrupt.


19th July

 Updated: Four old jokes...

BBC ticks itself off for rude royal jokes on the Queen's 90th birthday
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radio 4 comedy Comic Russell Kane's gag about Her Majesty's private anatomy on the Radio 4 panel show Don't Make Me Laugh wound up a few listeners. There were also jokes about the monarch using the toilet.

Host David Baddiel later apologised for the jokes and blamed the BBC for rescheduling it to go out on the Queen's birthday. He said the pre-recorded comedy had been lined up for next week, but bungling schedulers moved it forward to the day the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday.

One round of the panel game, broadcast at 6.30pm challenged guest comics to speak on the subject: There's nothing funny about the fact the Queen must have had sex at least four times. Kane said:

For me this is just a quadruple representation of why inherited power is so dangerous.

Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty's vulva.

The Queen having had sex at least four times is no laughing matter whatsoever because we're forced to imagine Prince Philip and his work in the creation of those children.

BBC executives soon after the broadcast apologised, cancelled repeat broadcasts and moved the show to a light night slot at 11pm.

The BBC Trust have now investigated the programme and have just published their report saying:

The programme attracted a significant number of complaints from listeners concerned both about the content and the timing of the output and the BBC published an apology on its Corrections and Clarifications page the following day. The Executive was asked whether it considered the output was a serious breach of the Editorial Guidelines. The Executive confirmed that it did and provided the Trust with a written report into the breach. This found there had been a failure of editorial judgement and of compliance.

Trustees considered that this output included personal, intrusive and derogatory comments which had exceeded the expectations of the audience. The offence felt was compounded by the date of the programme's transmission. They agreed with the BBC Executive that the date and timing of the broadcast had heightened the offence caused but, while accepting that they could reach a judgement only on the specific circumstances of this case, they found it hard to imagine circumstances in which this broadcast at any time or on any day would not have given rise to significant unjustified offence.

Trustees considered this was a serious breach of the Editorial Guidelines for Harm and Offence.

Update: Ofcom to stick its oar in too

19th July 2016. See  article from chortle.co.uk

Ofcom logo Ofcom is to investigate Radio 4 panel show Don't Make Me Laugh over jokes about the Queen.

Eleven listeners complained to the broadcasting watchdog over the episode which aired on the Queen's 90th birthday in April and asked the comedian panellists to speak on the topic: The Queen must have had sex at least four times.


19th July

 Offsite Article: Counting 'fucks' and counting sheep...

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Adjuster DVD Elias Koteas What It's Like Watching Porn and Rating Movies For the Ontario's Government

See article from vice.com


19th July

 Offsite Article: Campaigning for ludicrously silly film ratings...

Link Here  full story: Smoking in the Moviews...Ludicrous calls fo an adult rating for films with smoking
doj logo Report from legal case against the MPAA by anti smoking campaigners who claim that showing smoking in PG-13 ratings is somehow responsible for people taking it up

See article from hollywoodreporter.com