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 Updated: Outlast Outlawed...

Australian censors ban Outlast 2 video game but then pass a cut version with an R18+ rating which will be distributed worldwide


Link Here 26th March 2017  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
Outlast Trinity Outlast 2 is a first person survival horror shooter from Warner Brothers. It is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and and M rated in the US.

Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been banned in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.

Australia's Censorship Board provided a detailed explanation of the reasons to Kotaku. The censors identified multiple scenes where sexual violence is implied in hallucinatory scenes involving the main character, Blake.

One particular scene shows a female creature thrusting against the main character while his wife is tied up in chains. The censors explained:

[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]

In one cut-scene in the game ... a female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world. Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face, yelling, Nope! Nope! before he stumbles into a forest clearing.

His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, It hurts! Oh god!, as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures, their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.

One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other pairs of creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.

As Blake yells for the creatures to Get away from her! a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying No! Stop that! the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.

Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake's objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.

In the Board's opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.

The Board's report also notes that the game could be passed R18+ should the offending scene be cut.

Update: Australian worldwide censors

25th March 2017 See  article from pastemagazine.com . See also listing from classification.gov.au

R18+The Australian Censorship Board has now passed a cut of Outlast 2 with the adults only rating R18+ for high impact horror themes, violence, blood, gore and sex.

The board told IGN it is satisfied that that the original version of the game that was refused classification has been modified to allow the game to be classified R18+, implying that the game's previously objectionable sexually violent content has been edited.

Developer Red Barrels then issued a statement saying that they have adopted this cut version for worldwide distribution:

Outlast 2 has been rated R18+ by the Classification Branch in Australia and will be released 26th April 2017. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.

 

  Moralist Preacher...

Lebanese film censor bans the Egyptian film Mawlana


Link Here 26th March 2017
Poster Mawlana 2016 Magdy Ahmed Aly Mawlana is a 2016 Egypt mystery drama by Magdy Ahmed Aly.
Starring Amr Saad, Dorra Zarrouk and Ahmed Magdy. IMDb

A seemingly traditional journey of a young sheikh in a governmental mosque who moves from leading prayers to becoming a TV celebrity issuing "fatwas" that are accepted by millions who have become fans of his as a result of his courage and his attempts to deviate from the usual religious rhetoric in a society heavily influenced by fundamentalism. The TV spotlight only shows his eloquent yet sarcastic answers he gives to the callers in a preset scenario, while in the dark and cloudy space around him, bloody struggles for power are raging, struggles he had always tried to avoid.

The organizers of Beirut Cinema Days are inviting everyone to join them in speaking up against censorship in Lebanon. They have organised a protest and discussion panel saying:

We the organizers of Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya refuse to accept the censorship of creative art in all its forms and invite you to join us in protest.

During the 9th edition of Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya the censor was stricter than in any previous year and did not grant screening permissions for two films Beit El Baher (The Beach House) and Mawlana (The Preacher).

In the statement the organizers also note that the censor asked many other filmmakers participating in the festival to edit out parts of their films.

The Egyptian political thriller Mawlana revolves around a Sheikh who becomes a TV celebrity issuing fatwas to TV audiences across Egypt. The film highlights the issue of close ties between the state and religious institutions. Mawlana is directed by Magdy Ahmed Ali and based on journalist Ibrahim Eissa's novel of the same name.

Upon its release in Egypt, the film sparked controversy but was given a release permit and went on to become a box office hit. In Lebanon, however, the general security censorship board banned the film after it caused a stir among religious authorities in the country. They refused to permit its screening at Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya.

Beit El Baher by Roy Dib revolves around Rayya and a group of her friends who reunite for the first time in years at her beach house in the South of Lebanon. Over a casual dinner the characters feast on the building blocks of their personal and communal identities, and recount stories of their past.

In a statement posted on the film's Facebook page, Dib says there wasn't a specific scene or phrase in the film that the censor board had a problem with, they simply notified us that the entire film annoyed them. Even though the film hasn't received an official ban, it wasn't given a screening permit in time for the festival.

In recent months, films including Mounia Akl's short Submarine and Karl Haddad's My name Is have been banned.

 

  Elephants and Rooms...

Germany's press regulator modifies censorship rules about reporting people's religion or ethnicity


Link Here 26th March 2017

presserat logoGermany's media regulator has revised its code on reporting whether crime suspects belong to an ethnic or religious group.

The German Press Council, a voluntary, industry-run body, says information about a person's ethnicity shouldn't be published unless there is a justified public interest in doing so. Previous guidance said such details should only be published if there was a link between a person's ethnicity or religion and the crime.

Numerous German media outlets complained that the old code was hard to interpret during a breaking news situation and that withholding such information left readers searching for it on questionable social media sites and stirred conspiracy theories of media cover-ups of migrant crimes.

 

 Update: Cat Sick Blues...

New Zealand film censors ban horror film rated 15 in Australia after the distributor refuses to implement cuts


Link Here 24th March 2017  full story: Banned Films in New Zealand...OFLC sees films as somehow 'objectionable'
Cat Sick Blues DVD Cat Sick Blues is a 2015 Australia horror by Dave Jackson.
Starring Matthew C Vaughan, Shian Denovan and Noah Moon. IMDb

When Ted's beloved cat dies, the trauma triggers a terrible mental breakdown. His broken brain prompts him to bring his feline friend back - all he needs is nine human lives. Ted dons vicious deadly cat claw gloves and a creepy cat mask, and goes on a murderous rampage. As the butchery escalates, a twisted romance blossoms between Ted and Claire, a young woman who has also recently lost her cat in a horrifying incident.

This Australian censorship board classified the film MA 15+ for strong horror violence and coarse language.

However the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC banned the film as objectionable , with the explanation:

The publication is a low-budget horror film from Australia about a demented serial killer who chooses a rape victim as his next target.

Two excisions were required to remove part of a scene (and related content in a behind-the-scenes component) that causes the DVD to tend to promote and support the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the infliction of extreme violence and extreme cruelty under s3(2)(b) and s3(2)(f) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

If the excisions had been made, the DVD would have been classified R18 due to the high extent and degree of gruesome horror, the infliction of serious physical harm and cruelty, and sexual violence.

The distributor declined to make the excisions, so the DVD is classified as objectionable.

 

 Updated: Beastly homophobic film censors...

Beauty and the Beast banned in Kuwait, effectively banned in Russia, and recently unbanned in Malaysai


Link Here 24th March 2017
Poster Beauty and the Beast 2017 Bill Condon Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 USA family musical romance by Bill Condon.
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans. IMDb

Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

Malaysian censors ordered cuts to the cinema release of Beauty and the Beast, removing what its creators say is a gay moment. Even after the cuts, the censors imposed a P13 rating (a 13A in UK terms). But according to a media report, Walt Disney decided anyway to shelve the film's Thursday release in the country.

Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Star Online the film has been approved with a P13 parental guidance classification, with a minor cut.

Since 2010 Malaysia's film censorship rules allow the depiction of gay characters, but only if those characters show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light.

Meanwhile the Russian government has opted to give the film a rather unviable 16+ rating, a restrictive rating preventing children below that age from seeing the film.

Vyacheslav Telnov, director of the Culture Ministry's cinema department, told Russian entertainment site KinoPoisk.ru:

We will issue the film distribution license without any problems. The minimum age is 16+.

A 2013 Russian law bans promotion of homosexuality among minors. The law describes homosexuality as non-traditional sexual relations.

Update: Unbanned after Malaysia loses face

22nd March 2017 See  article from rappler.com

Malaysia flagDisney's movie Beauty and the Beast has won an appeal against censorship and will now be released uncut with a PG 13 rating.

Malaysian authorities had initially demanded cuts but Disney refused to oblige the censors, choosing to instead to appeal the decision

Disney have now won that appeal, a decision perhaps linked to some members of parliament questioning the need to censor the film, arguing that the debacle was giving Malaysia bad publicity.

Update: Banned in Kuwait

24th March 2017 See  article from al.com

UAE flagBeauty and the Beast opened in Kuwait last week with a PG-13 rating, but by this week, the nation's government-owned cinema company, which runs 11 out of the 13 theaters in the Persian Gulf country, announced that all screenings had been canceled and offered a full refund to anyone who had purchased a ticket.

One board member of the National Cinema Co. told the Associated Press:

We were requested to stop the screening and further censor the movie for things that were deemed offensive by the Ministry of Information's censorship department.

At issue, apparently, is a scene in which a supporting character, LeFou, is depicted as having a romantic fascination for Gaston and is shown dancing with another man in a ballroom scene said to be three seconds long.

 

 Update: Siding with repression...

Malaysia imprisons organiser of screening of No Fire Zone, a documentary banned at the behest of the sri Lankan authorities


Link Here 24th March 2017  full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship

no fire zone  2017 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of Ms. Lena Hendry, former Programme Coordinator of the human rights NGO Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS).

According to the information received, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court sentenced Ms. Lena Hendry to a fine of MYR 10,000 (about EUR 2,130) or one year in prison for screening the documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war titled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka four years ago.

defend lena logo On February 21, 2017, following a successful appeal by the Prosecutor against her acquittal in 2015, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court had found Ms. Lena Hendry guilty of violating Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for the private screening of the documentary without prior approval from Malaysia's Film Censorship Board.

The Observatory condemns Ms. Lena Hendry's sentencing, which merely aims at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls upon the Malaysian authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry out their legitimate activities in all circumstances without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

 

 Update: A total ban on internet porn in the UK averted...

The government says that it will remove the impractical censorship power requiring the BBFC to ban foreign porn websites that contain material beyond R18 such has as fisting and squirting


Link Here 22nd March 2017  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
DCMS logoBritain has some ludicrous and dated prohibitions on aspects of porn that are commonplace in international porn sites. For example the government requires that the BBFC cut fisting, squirting, gagging on blow jobs, dialogue references to incest or underage sex.

It would be ludicrous to expect all of the worlds websites to remove such commonplace scene from all its films and videos. The originally proposed porn censorship law would require the BBFC to identify sites with this commonplace material, and ISPs would have then been forced to block these sites. Of course this would have meant that more or less all websites would have had to be banned.

Someone has obviously pointed this out to the government, perhaps the Lords had spotted this in their scrutiny.

The Daily Mail is now reporting that this censorship power will be dropped form the Digital Economy Bill. The age verification requirement will stand but foreign websites complying with age verification will not then be blocked for material transgressing some of the stupid UK prohibitions.

A source at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has acknowledged that the proposals were imperfect , but said the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which covers sex shops, was too outdated to be used to regulate the internet.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport actually went further and said extreme material, including violent pornography and cartoons depicting child sex abuse, will be allowed to stay online as long as distributors put in place checks to ensure it cannot be viewed by children. (But note that downloading films including what is defined as extreme pornography and cartoon child porn would still be illegal). There will be no change to the capability of the IWF to block child porn (and occasionally, illegal adult porn).

Of course pro-censorship campaigners are not impressed by the lost opportunity for total porn censorship. Helen Lewington, of the morality campaign group Mediawatch-UK, claimed that the decision to allow extreme sites to operate behind the age verification barrier risked giving them a veneer of respectability .  She called on peers to reject the amendments this evening. She added:

We are deeply concerned by the Government's apparent change of direction. These proposals will permit some forms of violent pornography to be viewed behind age verification checks.

This will unhelpfully allow what is illegal offline to be legally viewed online, and may in the long term lead to some regarding such material as acceptable.'

Pro censorship campaigner John Carr revealed that the government will now be reviewing the rules on what is currently prohibited from UK adult porn. He set out his pro-censorship stall by claiming that reducing censorship for adults would somehow endanger children. He claimed:

In his speech on the Digital Economy Bill, last Monday night in the House of Lords, Lord Ashton referred to the Secretary of State's announcement in the context of there being a need for a wider discussion about the effects of pornography in society as a whole, not solely in respect of children. I would hope there will be an opportunity to contribute to that aspect of the review. I accept it was never envisaged that the Digital Economy Bill was to be a trigger for a wider debate about what sorts of pornography are more or less acceptable, whether being viewed by children or not. However, just because children cannot view certain types of material that have been put behind an age verification wall, it does not mean that its continued availability to adults does not constitute a threat to children. Such material might encourage, promote or appear to legitimize or condone harmful behaviours which either directly or indirectly put children at risk.

Offsite Comment: Lib Dems lay into the governments censorship efforts

19th March 2017 See  article from libdemvoice.org by Brian Paddick

Lib Dems logoTo add to the list of obnoxious new laws such as the new offence of driving while being a suspected illegal immigrant and giving the police unfettered access to innocent people's web histories, the Tories have waded into the swamp of online pornography and they are completely out of their depth.

The Digital Economy Bill, another universal answer to everything they couldn't get through when we had one hand on the reins of power, professes to protect children from online pornography.

Nonetheless, if we are to prohibit access to online adult material unless there is an age-verification solution in place, the privacy of those who are being forced to part with their sensitive personal information in order to verify their age, must be protected. We have already seen user databases for a couple of major porn sites, containing sensitive personal information, being hacked and the details traded on the dark web. When details of users of the Ashley Madison site were leaked, it reportedly led to two suicides.

...read the full  article from libdemvoice.org

 

 Update: Unconstitutional censorship...

Utah tries to defend its law that allowed it to ban a cinema from showing Deadpool


Link Here 22nd March 2017  full story: Deadpool...Superhero film with a little bit more adult appeal
Deadpool DVD The state of Utah has enacted a censorial local law banning cinemas that sell alcohol from screening R rated movies. And indeed state officials tried to ban such a cinema from showing Deadpool.

This resulted in a challenge to the Utah ordinance on the grounds that censorship is unconstitutional. Utah officials are now trying to get that legal challenge quashed. They are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over liquor and Deadpool , claiming it is somehow not suppressing First Amendment-protected ideas or expression.

The Utah Attorney General's Office argues the law should remain in place because it reduces adverse secondary effects. It claims that:

Judicial opinions and alcohol experts confirm what is commonly known: that combining alcohol and sexual content is an 'explosive combination,' that can lead to sexual aggression and sexual violence, increased drinking, and reported and unreported crime.

The Statute's purpose and effect are to reduce these adverse secondary effects that result from combining alcohol and sexually explicit images.

The state argues that Brewvies' First Amendment free expression rights are only slightly inconvenienced by the law saying:

Plaintiff is free to show whatever sexually explicit R-rated films it chooses, so long as it does not serve alcohol at the same time, and individuals can see the same movies at other theaters. Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to serve beer while showing movies.

 

 Update: Ban happy chief censor...

Indian film censor bans 77 films in a year


Link Here 19th March 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
nice guys India's crazed film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, has overseen the banning of 77 films in a 12 month period of 2015-16.

The CBFC banned 77 films in 2015-16, as against 47 films in 2014-15 and 23 films the year before that, clearly indicating a rise when under the governance of Pahlaj Nihalani.

Filmmakers are justifiably unimpressed. Increasing numbers of filmmakers raising their voices against the chief censor, noting that he has been imposing archaic laws on their films.