A number of authors have spoken out following the decision of a Russian publishing house to censor a gay storyline in a fantasy novel. The Russian publisher has admitted censoring a gay storyline in a popular fantasy novel series without
permission from the US-based author.
Victoria Schwab is the author of the Shades of Magic series, which features a number of LGBT characters, including a bisexual prince who has a same-sex romance.
The bestselling books were translated into Russian as part of a deal with Russia-based publisher Rosmen and earlier this week Schwab said she was shocked to find out that a queer plot twist had been removed from the copy.
Schwab, who accused the publishing house of breaking contract, has now said she is seeking to terminate the deal. It would have been better not to publish the book at al
Publisher Rosmen has issued a statement admitting that it removed parts of the storyline from the novel. It said:
We only did this so that we wouldn't violate the ban on gay propaganda for minors. But we kept the romantic plotline as a whole.
People are to have more control over their personal data and be better protected in the digital age under new measures announced by
Digital Censorship Minister Matt Hancock.
Public to have greater control over personal data - including right to be forgotten
New right to require social media platforms to delete information on children and adults when asked
In a statement of intent
the Government has committed to updating and strengthening data protection laws through a new Data Protection Bill. It will provide everyone with the confidence that their data will be managed securely and safely. Research shows that more
than 80% of people feel that they do not have complete control over their data online.
Under the plans individuals will have more control over their data by having the right to be forgotten and ask for their personal data to be erased. This will also mean that people can ask social media channels to delete information they
posted in their childhood. The reliance on default opt-out or pre-selected 'tick boxes', which are largely ignored, to give consent for organisations to collect personal data will also become a thing of the past.
Businesses will be supported to ensure they are able to manage and secure data properly. The data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), will also be given more power to defend consumer interests and issue
higher fines, of up to £17 million or 4% of global turnover, in cases of the most serious data breaches.
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital said:
Our measures are designed to support businesses in their use of data, and give consumers the confidence that their data is protected and those who misuse it will be held to account.
The new Data Protection Bill will give us one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws in the world. The Bill will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use, and prepare Britain for Brexit. We
have some of the best data science in the world and this new law will help it to thrive.
The Data Protection Bill will:
Make it simpler to withdraw consent for the use of personal data
Allow people to ask for their personal data held by companies to be erased
Enable parents and guardians to give consent for their child's data to be used
Require 'explicit' consent to be necessary for processing sensitive personal data
Expand the definition of 'personal data' to include IP addresses, internet cookies and DNA
Update and strengthen data protection law to reflect the changing nature and scope of the digital economy
Make it easier and free for individuals to require an organisation to disclose the personal data it holds on them
Make it easier for customers to move data between service providers
New criminal offences will be created to deter organisations from either intentionally or recklessly creating situations where someone could be identified from anonymised data.
Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner, said:
We are pleased the government recognises the importance of data protection, its central role in increasing trust and confidence in the digital economy and the benefits the enhanced protections will bring to the public.
Data protection rules will also be made clearer for those who handle data but they will be made more accountable for the data they process with the priority on personal privacy rights. Those organisations carrying out high-risk data
processing will be obliged to carry out impact assessments to understand the risks involved.
The Bill will bring the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law, helping Britain prepare for a successful Brexit.
The US internet company DreamHost is fighting government demands for it to hand over details of millions of activists.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) wants all visitors' IP addresses - some 1.3 million - to a website that helped organise a protest on the day of President Trump's inauguration. In addition to the IP addresses, DreamHost said that the DoJ
requested the contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors.
DreamHost is currently refusing to comply with the request and is due in court on 18th August,
In a blog post on the issue, DreamHost said that, like many other online service providers, it was regularly approached by law enforcement about customers who may be the subject of criminal investigations. But, it added, it took issue with
this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand.
Civil liberties group The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is helping DreamHost fight its case, said: No plausible explanation exists for a search warrant of this breadth, other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible.
A muslim campaigner has said he is powerless to complain about a Sun column criticising Muslims because the Editors' Code gives no protection to minority groups on grounds of religion.
In a column on immigration, Sun comment writer Trevor Kavanagh said:
There is one unspoken fear, gagged by political correctness, which links Britain and the rest of Europe. The common denominator, almost unsayable until last week's furore over Pakistani sex gangs, is Islam. Thanks to former
equalities chief Trevor Phillips, and Labour MPs such as Rotherham's Sarah Champion, it is acceptable to say Muslims are a specific rather than a cultural problem.
He concluded his column by saying:
What will we do about The Muslim Problem then?
Miqdaad Versi has made numerous complaints to press regulator IPSO and secured 30 national press corrections over reporting of Islam and Muslims. He said:
In a week where we have seen the serious challenges of neo-Nazi plots against Muslims, we have a national newspaper asking its readers to consider what solution there should be for 'The Muslim Problem'. What would be the reaction if this
was about any other minority faith or racial group?
It is seriously disappointing that the press regulator IPSO is not willing to afford protection for groups against incitement to hatred or violence.
While the code protects individuals from discrimination it does not do the same for religious and ethnic groups. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Tell MAMA and Faith Matters have nonetheless submitted a joint complaint to press
regulator IPSO. In a statement they said:
The printing of the phrase 'The Muslim Problem' -- particularly with the capitalisation and italics for emphasis -- in a national newspaper sets a dangerous precedent, and harks back to the use of the phrase 'The Jewish Problem' in the
More than 100 MPs have also signed a statement accusing the Sun of 'hatred and bigotry'.
Update: Best not talk about problems in the muslim community lest you get sacked
Shadow equalities minister Sarah Champion has resigned from her frontbench position following a row over an article she wrote in the Sun newspaper, noting that British Pakistani men are raping and exploiting white girls. The article
ran with the headline: British Pakistani men ARE raping and exploiting white girls -- and it's time we face up to it.
In a statement the Rotherham MP said she apologised for any offence cause by the extremely poor choice of words which appeared in the newspaper five days' ago.
Champion hit the headlines last week when she warned people were failing to tell the truth about child abuse because they were afraid of being called racist, following the conviction of 18 men involved in a grooming gang. It was
predominately Pakistani men who were involved in such cases time and time again.
Internet-domain provider GoDaddy gave far right website The Daily Stormer the boot after the site published a
derogatory story about a 32-year-old woman killed at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
Earlier on Monday, Google Domains became the registrar for the site. However, Google later said in a statement it's cancelling The Daily Stormer's registration for violating its terms of service.
This raises issues around what domain-hosting companies are responsible for, and where they draw the line on objectionable material. Legally webhosts are only required to close down websites on grounds of a federal crime. However, as a
private business, website-hosting companies have the right to decide with whom they conduct business, and GoDaddy's decision does not violate the First Amendment, according to experts.
GoDaddy told CNN Tech:
While we detest the sentiment of such sites, we support a free and open Internet and, similar to the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content. In this case, The Daily Stormer crossed the
line and encouraged and promoted violence.
Data compiled by the World Socialist Web Site, with the assistance of other Internet-based news outlets and search technology
experts, indicates that a massive loss of readership observed by socialist, anti-war and progressive web sites over the past three months has been caused by a cumulative 45%decrease in traffic from Google searches.
The drop followed the implementation of changes in Google's search evaluation protocols. In a statement issued on April 25, Ben Gomes, the company's vice president for engineering, stated that Google's update of its search engine would
block access to offensive sites, while working to surface more authoritative content.
The World Socialist Web Site has obtained statistical data from SEMrush estimating the decline of traffic generated by Google searches for 13 sites with substantial readerships. The results are as follows:
* wsws.org fell by 67%
* alternet.org fell by 63%
* globalresearch.ca fell by 62%
* consortiumnews.com fell by 47%
* socialistworker.org fell by 47%
* mediamatters.org fell by 42%
* commondreams.org fell by 37%
* internationalviewpoint.org fell by 36%
* democracynow.org fell by 36%
* wikileaks.org fell by 30%
* truth-out.org fell by 25%
* counterpunch.org fell by 21%
* theintercept.com fell by 19%
wsws.org has launched a petition
against Google's downgrading of these news websites.
As queer artists and activists, we're alarmed by a new trend: Many LGBTQ people's posts have been blocked recently for using words like
dyke, fag, or tranny to describe ourselves and our communities.
While these words are still too-often shouted as slurs, they're also frequently reclaimed by queer and transgender people as a means of self-expression. However, Facebook's algorithmic and human reviewers seem unable to accurately parse
the context and intent of their usage.
Whether intentional or not, these moderation fails constitute a form of censorship. And just like Facebook's dangerous and discriminatory real names policy , these examples demonstrate how the company's own practices often amplify
harassment and cause real harm to marginalized groups.
For example, two individuals wrote that they were reported for posting about the return of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel's celebrated Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip. A gay man posted that he was banned for seven days after sharing a
vintage flyer for the 1970s lesbian magazine DYKE , which was recently featured in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. A queer poet of color's status update was removed for expressing excitement in finding poetry that
featured the sex lives of black and brown faggots.
A young trans woman we heard from was banned for a day after referring to herself as a tranny alongside a selfie that proudly showed off her new hair style. After she regained access, she posted about the incident, only to be banned again
for three more days.
Councillors are set to vote on a proposal to ban the The Sun newspaper and its journalists from
Flintshire County Council offices.
The motion has been put forward by Deputy Leader Cllr Bernie Attridge and Cllr Kevin Hughes. It also seeks to ban Sun journalists from reporting on council meetings. The motion is said to reflect continued strong feelings about the Sun's
reporting of the Hillsborough tragedy.
However the council move has been met with criticism from the Welsh Conservatives. Shadow Local Government Secretary, Janet Finch-Saunders said it was was an attempt at censorship of the media. She said:
This is a childish and typically spiteful move from a Labour Party which no longer cares for the fundamental principle of free speech, and which no longer backs a free press.
Whilst we might not like certain newspapers -- and might question the impartiality of other platforms -- we have a right not to consume their output. But we shouldn't have a right to ban them. This is how dictatorships start, and Jeremy
Corbyn should know a thing or two about them.
The legality of the motion is being considered ahead of a scheduled council discussion on September 27.
A new tool wants to make it easy to track internet outages and help people learn how to circumvent them.
The Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), which monitors networks for censorship and surveillance, is launching Ooniprobe, a mobile app to test network connectivity and let you know when a website is censored in your area.
The app tests over 1,200 websites, including Facebook ( FB , Tech30 ) , Twitter ( TWTR , Tech30 ) and WhatsApp.
Created in 2012 under the Tor Project, OONI monitors networks in more than 90 countries through its desktop and hardware trackers, which are available to anyone. It publishes censorship data on its site . The organization has confirmed
censorship cases in a number of countries, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Ethiopia and Sudan.
The website has recently introduced a mobile app so that OONI can reach more people potentially affected by internet outages, especially in emerging markets where smartphones are more common than computers.
The BBC is currently overhauling its complaints system after Ofcom took over censorship duties in April, replacing the BBC Trust. However there is
still a part of the process where viewers have to complain to the BBC first before seeking recourse with Ofcom.
The Countryside Alliance has clashed with BBC bosses over the new framework which the group believes does not improve the process and only allows viewers to go to Ofcom after a three stage process. In a letter to the corporation, Tim
Bonner, the alliance's chief executive, said this process could take several months and urged a rethink. He wrote:
Given the timescales for responding, it is likely that it could take several months before a complaint could be seen by Ofcom if the complainant were unhappy with the responses received from the BBC. We are not satisfied that this
provides the expected level of oversight which Ofcom was intended to have in the new Charter.
The Countryside Alliance, a group lobbying for hunting and shooting, previously came off worse when complaining that Springwatch presenter Chris Packham referred to them as the 'Nasty Brigade' in a BBC magazine article. Presumably
they feel that when they did not get what they wanted from the BBC Trust then they would like to give Ofcom a shot.
Bonner said that the alliance had submitted a number of complaints to the BBC and BBC Trust over the past 18 months which have not been upheld. He added:
We would have welcomed the opportunity to pursue our complaints with Ofcom at the earliest possible opportunity in order for an external regulator to review the complaints independently.
The BBC's royal charter specifically allows the BBC to try to try to resolve complaints in the first instance before they are passed to Ofcom.
Pahlaj Nihalani has been sacked as the chief censor of India's board of film censors, the CBFC. He said that he
had no regret about being asked to step down, is proud of being labelled as Sanskari censor chief and had in fact been preparing for his exit since the last six months.
Nihalani had wound up the Indian film industry with a serious of moralistic and pedantic censorship rules that led to a long trail of excessive cuts and bans.
Nihalani, who was appointed to the post in 2015, a year after Modi became the Prime Minister, has been replaced by writer-lyricist-and advertising exec, Prasoon Joshi. Nihalani commented:
We've speeded up the certification process and made it entirely digital. I just hope my successor doesn't succumb to false notions of liberalism propagated by the pseudo-progressive elements in our film industry and work in a direction
opposed to mine.
Do I have any regrets? None at all. I worked in all sincerity and with utmost honesty. In the process, I offended a lot of the so-called progressive elements. I also got labelled a 'Sanskari' censor chief. I am proud of that label.
I hope I am remembered as the CBFC chairperson who took a firm stand against vulgarity and pseudo-liberalism, no matter how unpopular it made me.
The Emoji Movie is a 2017 USA children's cartoon comedy by Tony Leondis.
Starring TJ Miller, Anna Faris and Sofía Vergara.
UK: 2D and 3D versions were passed U for mild rude humour, comic threat, very mild bad language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2017 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice, at which stage the company was advised it was likely to be classified PG but that their preferred U could be achieved by removing some mild bad language. When the film was submitted for formal
classification, the mild bad language in question had been removed and the film was therefore classified U.
The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone's user. In this
world, each emoji has only one facial expression - except for Gene, an exuberant emoji who was born without a filter and is bursting with multiple expressions. Determined to become "normal" like the other emojis, Gene enlists
the help of his handy best friend Hi-5 and the notorious code breaker emoji Jailbreak. Together, they embark on an epic "app-venture" through the apps on the phone, each its own wild and fun world, to find the Code that will fix
Gene. But when a greater danger threatens the phone, the fate of all emojis depends on these three unlikely friends who must save their world before it's deleted forever.
Notice of Licence Revocation
Iman Media UK Limited
Iman FM is a community radio station broadcasting to the Muslim community in Sheffield and the surrounding areas. The licence for this service is held by Iman Media UK Limited.
This revocation concerns the broadcast of a number of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki throughout the holy month of Ramadan. In breach decisions published on 5 July 2017 and 27 July 20174, Ofcom found that the broadcast of the lectures breached
a number of rules including Rule 3.1 of the Code:
Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
Ofcom considered the breaches of Rule 3.1 to be extremely serious. Ofcom wrote in the Complaints Bulletin:
In Ofcom's view the cumulative effect was to condone, promote and encourage violent behaviour towards non-Muslim people. Further, the lectures appeared to link violent acts of the past with actions that might potentially be taken
today. Ofcom took the view that the content therefore amounted to a call to action which was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder.
It is also our view the material amounted to hate speech, as it was both abusive and derogatory towards non-Muslim people, and in particular, Jewish people. In our view, this content had clear potential to be highly offensive
Under section 111B of the Broadcasting Act 1990, in certain circumstances Ofcom may suspend a licence if the licence holder has broadcast material likely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime or lead to disorder. After
considering the Licensee’s representations, Ofcom may then revoke the licence if it is satisfied it is necessary in the public interest to do so.
Ofcom served a suspension notice on the Licensee on 4 July 2017.
In Ofcom’s view the contraventions of the Code and the Licensee’s compliance failures were so extremely serious, and the Licensee’s conduct was so extremely reckless, that we had no confidence that the Licensee would be capable of
complying with its licence conditions or that similar breaches would be prevented in the future. On this basis, in Ofcom’s view it was necessary in the public interest to revoke the licence and proportionate to decide that these breaches
and failures justified the revocation.
Ofcom also considered that the Licensee’s failures rendered it unfit to hold a broadcast licence.
Our annual reports are, of course, about fulfilling the requirements spelt out in our regulations, so financial information and a full list of our regulated publications are naturally included. However, it is also an opportunity to reflect
on the successes and the practical ways in which we've provided protection for those who feel they've been wronged by the press while at the same time protecting the freedom of speech.
This year, the report looks in much more detail at our complaints statistics. We've provided figures on investigated complaints for each of our 80 plus publishers and also detailed the number of resolved complaints, breaches 203 along with
what sanctions were applied -- and the numbers of complaints that were not upheld.
For the first time, we've included the 25 publications that generated the highest number of complaints during the year along with the results of any resulting investigations.
The Daily Telegraph
The Mail on Sunday
In a year where IPSO received a record number of complaints and enquiries, the stats throw up a number (pun intended) of really interesting details. One that stands out for me is the increase in the amount of complaints that were resolved
between complainant and publication 203 either with or without IPSO mediating. In 2015, there were 269 resolutions and in 2016, that number had risen to 334. Such resolution is means quicker redress and to me shows that our publications
take redress seriously. I hear my colleagues speaking every day with complainants and these resolution statistics are a testament to their work in finding a mutually agreed solution to what might first look like an intractable problem.
In the wake of the latest destabilizing cyber attacks, some Western leaders like Theresa May are joining Russia and China to urge state policing of the internet. This is not wise. By Alexander Klimburg