Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2014: January

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Update: TV Rain...

Major Moscow TV providers drop independent channel that poked old wounds

Link Here31st January 2014
Full story: TV Censorship in Russia...Russian TV censors easily wound up
A Russian television station that made its name covering massive street protests against President Vladimir Putin has been taken off the air by three television providers in a move the channel's chief said was censorship.

Dozhd (TV Rain), an independent-minded television station with a strong online presence, has aired aggressive reporting critical of Russian authorities and even-handed broadcasts on Ukraine's anti-government protests.

General Director Natalia Sindeyeva said three providers had dropped the channel in and around Moscow. The station was still available on two major providers in the Moscow area.

The Dozhd has been under pressure since it ran exposes on expensive property owned by high-ranking Kremlin officials. And more recently Dozhd has faced criticism after poking old wounds by asking if Leningrad, now St Petersburg, should have been given to Nazi Germany to save lives during a 872-day blockade during World War Two.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian agency Interfax that the survey was beyond what was acceptable from the moral and ethical point of view of our people .



Banning Reality...

Photos of village life censored as tarnishing Uzbekistan's image

Link Here31st January 2014
Several photographs were removed from an exhibition at the Tashkent House of Photography on January 25 after authorities deemed them as tarnishing the country's image.

The exhibit presented by the Tashkent-based Neformat (The one on the fringe) had already been successfully shown in the Russian city of Uglich, and in the capital of Belarus, Minsk.

It took almost two months for the exhibit organizers to get the artworks approved for showing, including obtaining the authorization from the Art Council chairman Akmal Nur, who eventually gave the green light for the exhibition and all of its photographs.

However an hour before the show was to open Nur ordered two photo series to be removed as well as several captions to be covered up, in a dramatic act of censorship.

It seems likely that the authorities simply did not like their content -- the lives of poor villagers going about their simple daily tasks among very run-down infrastructure. Umida Akhmedova, a prominent photographer explained that it is no longer advisable to document poverty in Uzbekistan.



Offsite Article: Time to put the brakes on the ASA...

Link Here31st January 2014
Where does the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) get off - or, in this case, dismount? By Rob Lyons

See article from



Offsite Article: Squeaky Dolphin...

Link Here31st January 2014
Snowden documents reveal that British spies snooped on YouTube and Facebook

See article from



Slave to Censorship...

12 Years a Slave gets an uncut A rating on appeal with claims that frontal nudity is the first ever allowed by Indian film censors

Link Here30th January 2014
The Indian censor board has for the first time cleared a film with scenes of female frontal nudity and shots of bare male posteriors. The Indian audience will get to see celebrated filmmaker Steve McQueen's Golden Globe-winner and Oscar-nominated in 12 Years A Slave (without the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) having used its scissors.

Director Steve McQueen is said to be thrilled:

As a filmmaker, I needed to see the lashes on the back. I needed to see the psychological effect afterward. If I hadn't done that, I would have done a disservice because that evidence had to be shown. The lynching had to be depicted in the best possible manner because it happened to hundreds of thousands of people. As someone whose ancestors experienced it, I needed to do it the way I did it.

Actor Michael Fassbender says the frontal nude shots and exposed derrieres are necessary because that's the reality of it . If we really want to do justice to Solomon's story, who are we to censor it?

The film initially faced six cuts, but a revising committee gave it a green signal without cuts. CBFC spokesperson Anjum Rajabali told dna:

12 Years a Slave was given clearance based on merit after it was felt that the scenes were necessary and that cutting them would take away from the film itself. However, this does not mean a blanket approval for nudity in adult-only films.



Update: Blocking her Eyes and Ears...

Claire Perry in denial over crap website blocking algorithms

Link Here30th January 2014
Reports that ISPs' website blocking algorithms are targeting legitimate sites are fanciful , according to David Cameron's personal Mary Whitehouse, MP Claire Perry.

Perry dismissed recent reports that the newly implemented filters were blocking harmless sites - including her own - as anecdotal evidence . She made her claims at a Westminster eForum event:

When these filters came out there was anecdotal evidence, some of it completely, completely fanciful, that sites were being overblocked. Including mine, which is ridiculous, because it wasn't

There's no database, there's no surveillance, there's no mad sense of government interference that people like to talk about. The filters you get [now] are far better, far stronger, much more effective and will not overblock.

Contrary to her comments, ISPs have faced continued criticism for blocking harmless sites.

Jane Fae, who campaigns against unfair blocking, has responded to Perry's claims:

Given that much of the evidence of overblocking takes the form of individual stories, subsequently verified by journalists such as myself, it is probably correct to state that these are anecdotes - but hardly helpful. After all, what other form would evidence of overblocking take?

At a meeting earlier this month, members of parliament heard significant evidence from a range of groups as to the sorts of overblocking that was going on. This ranged from filter systems that allow adults to block access by abuse victims to sites where they can seek help, to a wholly legitimate business site that appears to be being blocked for no better reason than that its owner is a transgender businesswoman.

It is clear that there are issues with filtering - and for the government's adviser on this subject to dismiss all evidence of this fact in such a cavalier fashion is wholly irresponsible.

I hope she will take up my offer to meet, and i will be happy to provide her with the more than ample evidence that has been amassed on this topic already.



Undesirable Politicians...

New EU Home Affairs Commissioner looks to block 'undesirable' websites

Link Here30th January 2014
The new European Union anti-terror chief appeared in front of MPs to discuss various issues, including what people are reading online.

Gilles de Kerchove told MPs he wanted to remove not illegal, undesirable websites. Setting out the action being taken by the EU he said:

The Commissioner for Home Affairs will set up a forum to discuss with the big players -- Google, Facebook, Twitter -- how we can improve the way one removes from the internet the illegal and if not illegal, undesirable websites.

Big Brother Watch commented:

Freedom of speech, and of the press, are essential parts of a free and democratic society. It should not be in the gift of politicians to decide what we read or who can write it and absolutely not on the basis of what some may consider undesirable. If content is to be blocked, it should be a decision taken by a court of law and only when a clear criminal test has been met establishing the content is illegal.

The mind boggles at what a European official might consider undesirable



Offsite Article: The Guardian: Defender of free speech...Unless of course it's related to men enjoying sex...

Link Here30th January 2014
Huge swath of GCHQ mass surveillance is illegal, says top lawyer. Legal advice given to MPs warns that British spy agency is 'using gaps in regulation to commit serious crime with impunity'

See article from



Updated: Internet Wrecking Clause Defeated...

Elspeth Howe attempts to get all adult websites blocked by ISPs unless they implement onerous age verification via an amendment to the Children and Families Bill

Link Here29th January 2014
Full story: Elspeth Howe and Age Verification...Early UK bills to mandate internet age verification
Elspeth Howe has tabled amendments to the Children and Families Bill which forces ISPs to block all hardcore porn sites unless the subscriber opts to receive adult content AND the website being accessed implements onerous age verification procedures.

The required age verification is very onerous, eg requires users to submit credit card details (debit cards wont do). in reality websites cannot function with such restrictions as people aren't going to type in masses of personal details just to take a look at an adult website.

The amendment is somewhat toned down from the ludicrous Online Safety Bill which would impose similar age verification on a wider range of websites with content not suitable for children. That bill defines adult content as containing harmful and offensive materials from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected;

The Children and Families Bill amendment defines adult content as material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen. The authorities would like to think that hardcore porn fits the bill, but if it did, then we would already have millions of seriously impaired young people on our hands.

Elspeth Howe's amendment to the Children and Families Bill reads:

Insert the following new Clause--

Duty to provide an internet service that protects children

(1)   Internet service providers must provide to subscribers an internet access service which excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(2)   Where mobile telephone operators provide a telephone service to subscribers which includes an internet access service, they must ensure this service excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(3)   The conditions are--

(a)   the subscriber "opts-in" to subscribe to a service that includes adult content;

(b)   the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and

(c)   the provider of the service has an age verification policy which meets the standards set out by OFCOM in subsection (4) and which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over before a user is able to access adult content.

(4)   It shall be the duty of OFCOM to set, and from time to time to review and revise, standards for the--

(a)   filtering of adult content in line with the standards set out in section 319 of the Communications Act 2003; and

(b)   age verification policies to be used under subsection (3) before a user is able to access adult content.

(5)   The standards set out by OFCOM under subsection (4) must be contained in one or more codes.

(6)   It shall be the duty of OFCOM to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints in a timely manner about the observance of standards set under subsection (4).

(7)   In this section, internet service providers and mobile telephone operators shall at all times be held harmless of any claims or proceedings, whether civil or criminal, providing that at the relevant time, the internet access provider or the mobile telephone operator--

(a)   was following the standards and code set out by OFCOM in subsection (4); and

(b)   acting in good faith.

(8)   In this section--

"adult content" means material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen;

"opts-in" means a subscriber notifies the service provider of his or her consent to subscribe to a service that includes adult content."

Comment: Elspeth Howe and Max Mosley

26th January 2013. From Alan

No, not together, although that might be fun, since the absurd Lady Howe seems to fancy herself as the national dominatrix.

This protecting children crap really needs to be resisted for two reasons.

First, it seeks to protect children by treating everyone as a child.

Secondly, it is deeply insulting and patronising to kids. A little over half a century ago, I became aware that my girl contemporaries were taking on a different, and interesting, shape. I began to research this phenomenon through two types of literature. There were publications designed to assist the amateur and professional photographer , replete with pictures of unclothed ladies, each marked with information like F5.6 at 1/125 - really useful to someone who had used nothing more complex than a box Brownie. And there was Health and Efficiency, designed for a readership of dedicated naturists. The innocence of naturism was emphasised by ensuring that some of the pics contained those most innocent of creatures, children.

I needed no greater subterfuge to buy these magazines than turning up the collar of my mac to cover the tie of my school uniform. I very much hope that the teenage lad of 2014 is sufficiently resourceful to thwart the ridiculous Elspeth Howe's crackpot efforts to protect him from naughty pictures.

Where Mosley is concerned, I have mixed views. While I generally oppose censorship, I'm aware that in this case someone got outed as a spanko, because he was associated with the women, and was sacked as a result. I think the balance here comes down on the side of protecting the identity of sex workers.

Update: Amendment Rejected

Thanks to Therumbler

Plenty of peers stepped up to support Elspeth's Howe's proposals for onerous internet censorship but the amendment was defeated by 153 votes to 118 after the Government pointed out that it had decided that the way forwards was an agreement with ISPs for voluntary self regulation and that legally imposed censorship was not part of that agreement (but exists as a future threat should the ISPs not achieve enough of what the government want)

This result rather suggests that Howe's similar private member's bill, The Online Safety Bill, has little chance of proceeding.

Baroness Northover (LD and government spokesperson in the Lords):

The debate on the Bill of the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, was passionate, committed and informed. We all agree, as my noble friend Lord Gardiner, made clear, on our huge concern for the issues that we are discussing. The noble Baroness, Lady Howe, and my noble friend Lady Benjamin have made very clear the dangerous implications of exposure to inappropriate online material. We share the common objective to make sure that children and young people are as safe as possible when they are operating online. To answer the noble Baroness, Lady Hughes, we support the principles of the amendment, rather than its measures, as she put it.

I read with great interest the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, to the debate on that Bill on 6 December. Responding for the Labour Front Bench, he showed great sympathy, as one would expect, for what the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, was arguing, but he noted,

"it needs more thinking",

and especially,

"to make it fit for purpose and to guard against unintended consequences".--[Official Report, 6/12/13, col. 532.]

He rightly put his finger on our shared desire to counter the risks of the internet, and the difficulty of ensuring that we do so effectively.

My noble friend Lord Lucas has pointed out some of the technological changes which already pose challenges to the way the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, has drawn up her proposals. This field is moving fast, and new social media emerge all the time. It is for that reason that we believe that the best way forward is to challenge the industry, which knows this field best, to engage and to take responsibility. I emphasise strongly that we do not rule out legislation, but right now we believe that the approach that we are taking is likely to be the most effective. An industry-led, self-regulatory approach will have most impact, allow greatest flexibility for innovation and is likely to be faster than any regulatory measures. Legislation can rarely adapt and change quickly enough to respond to the constantly evolving online environment.

We also need to bear in mind the global nature of this industry. That is why it is vital that the industry engages. Self-regulation allows a broad range of interested parties to participate and, due to the global nature of the internet, is the best way for organisations to secure agreement. We remain committed to this. It is already working well, with good progress being made to develop internet safety measures, as noble Lords have referred to.



Updated: Gagging for Repression...

Government pushes through disgraceful gagging bill that censors a wide range of campaign groups in the run up to a general election

Link Here29th January 2014
The government has secure a victory against freedom of speech campaigners.

The transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill makes it much harder for charities to get their voices heard during election periods, exactly when their contribution is needed most.

The government's aim was to force small-scale charities, community groups and the like on to a complicated regulatory regime. Such would have been the chilling effect of this law that most local-issue campaigning during elections would have been stifled when it came to election time. No surprise the legislation was dubbed the gagging bill .

As it was, bitter opposition to the proposals finally forced ministers to the negotiating table. Instead of lowering the threshold at which charities must begin reporting their activities to the Electoral Commission watchdog, it was increased to £ 20,000. There were other, smaller retreats too, on how long election time actually means, it was reduced from one year to 7.5 months.

...Read the full article

Update: Gagging Bill Passes

29th January 2013.

Bar formalities, the Gagging Bill has been now been passed.

It was approved in the House of Lords in a very close vote of  245 Lords in favour and 245 against. Unfortunately the government has the casting vote.



Update: More Wolf...

A 4 hour version is set for home video

Link Here29th January 2014
The DVD version of The Wolf of Wall Street will feature another hour's worth of sex scenes and strong language.

Producers confirmed to MailOnline that the movie will feature the extra content and viewers will have the option of watching a four-hour version.

However Joey McFarland and Riza Aziz insisted the most extreme scenes are in the theatrical version already.

McFarland and Aziz, speaking at the Directors Guild of America Awards, revealed Scorsese originally shot a four-hour version, which was edited down for its initial release. The extra 60 minutes will be released in the DVD and Blu Ray release later this spring.

When asked bout extra strong language, Aziz said:

I'd figure another 25% more! I've never done an F Bomb count. I am sure there's plenty more!'

And for nude scenes, I think a bit, the sex scenes run a little longer but nothing extreme.'

McFarland said:

I think we are going to have some good surprises to be honest with you the movie is not much different in its longer form, it's just longer versions of scenes.



Whingers get a good kicking...

ASA turns down complaints about a violence in a Sugar Plum Fairy ballet advert for Baileys

Link Here29th January 2014

Two TV ads promoted Baileys and featured an arrangement of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker ballet throughout:

a. The ad opened with three women arriving at a party and each receiving a glass of Baileys. One of the women made eye contact with a man across the room who then approached and commenced dancing with her in a ballet style. Another male character, who had watched the couple from a balcony, jumped down to the floor and, flanked by his friends, joined the dance. At that point, the music increased in pace and the dance became more confrontational in style as the group of men tried to separate the couple and grab the female lead away. The male leads were shown dancing together, spinning and kicking as they leapt towards and away from one another. At one point the female character stepped between the men before being grabbed by one of the group of men and later struggling free. The dance ended as the woman performed a pirouette with her leg extended, which appeared to strike the second man across the face. She then rejoined her friends, at which point text stating Spend time with the girls this Christmas appeared.

b. The ad was a shortened version of ad (a) and showed the same key scenes, including the confrontation between the male characters and the shot of the woman appearing to kick one of the men across the face. The ad also ended with the female lead rejoining her friends and the text Spend time with the girls this Christmas . Issue

The ASA received nine complaints.

  1. One complainant challenged whether ad (a) was in breach of the Code, because it featured violent and aggressive behaviour in the context of an ad promoting alcohol.

  2. Eight complainants challenged whether ad (b) was in breach of the Code for the same reason.

Diageo Great Britain Ltd explained that the idea behind the ads was to show the ultimate girls' night out in a modern, fantastical way and they had chosen to do so through a retelling of the classic story, and Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker.

Diageo did not believe that the ads linked alcohol with violent or aggressive behaviour in any way. They highlighted that the ads were set in a fairy-tale land and showed an interpretation of an instantly recognisable famous scene from the Nutcracker ballet (the dance of the Mouse King) and as such were deliberately and obviously fictional. They said every creative aspect of the ads, from the costumes, set design, music and choice of ballet as a dance medium, were designed to be fantastical and far removed from real life.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA understood that the ads were intended as a retelling of a scene from the famous Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker, in which Clara saved the Nutcracker from the Mouse King and his army of toy soldiers. We noted that throughout both ads a rendition of the score from the ballet was played and included music from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. We considered that most consumers would be familiar with the basic story of the ballet and therefore understand that the ads reflected that story.

We understood that the complainants objected to the fact that the ads linked alcohol and what they believed to be aggressive and anti-social behaviour. We noted that when the male character jumped down from the balcony and tried to separate the dancing couple, the music increased in pace and featured more staccato notes, and the characters' interactions and movements became more accented as they moved spinning, leaping and kicking towards and away from one another. We also noted the grabbing gestures, the fact the female lead was shown struggling and trying to escape from the Mouse King's friends, and the end of the scene when her extended leg appeared to strike the man across the face.

We considered, however, that from the outset the ads were clearly fantastical and highly stylised. We noted the costumes, the opulent setting and the fact the narrative was communicated almost entirely through the medium of dance. We also considered that whilst the characters' movements changed, becoming less fluid and more dramatic as the music sped up and the second male character entered the dance floor, the movement was still obviously identifiable as choreographed dance. Similarly, we considered that the reaction of the other guests around the dance floor when the female lead appeared to strike the male, and the manner in which she returned to her friends, suggested that the male character had not been injured, and emphasised the stylised and light-hearted nature of the ads.

We considered that viewers would understand that the ads were a fictional and stylised retelling of a popular Christmas ballet, and would understand the dancing featured, including the choreographed confrontational movements between the main characters and the final pirouette, to be a visual expression of the story, as opposed to a realistic depiction of violent or aggressive behaviour. We therefore concluded that the ads were not in breach of the Code.

We investigated the ads under BCAP Code rule 19.5 (Alcohol), but did not find them in breach.



Update: Recommending Beyonce...

The Daily Mail awards Beyonce its highest accolade, 'vile'

Link Here29th January 2014
The Daily Mail has lauded Boyonce's performance at the Grammy's in glowing terms:

Is this really what little girls should aspire to, Beyonce? Parents attack vile display at the Grammys

Singer performed provocative routine at Grammy Awards last night Danced and writhed around on stage in a barely-there leotard Grinded up against her husband Jay-Z who joined her for act. At one point, the mother-of-one straddled a chair and was seen running her hands up and down her thighs in a suggestive manner before leaning back to drape herself seductively over her seat.

Margaret Morrissey, of Parents Outloud, said:

It is time Beyonce realised she is offending every decent person in this country who I hope in future once they hear her name will switch off their TV.'

Pippa Smith, of SaferMedia, said:

There is something rotten at the heart of this so-called "music" industry when young women celebrities and now a husband and wife start to behave in such an obscenely sexual manner at events popular with all ages. They are doing enormous harm to children's perception of what is normal behaviour.

Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK, said:

In this footage Beyonce is wearing a really skimpy outfit but Jay-Z is not. If girls and women are seen exclusively as sexual beings rather than as complicated people with many interests, talents and identities, boys and men may have difficulty relating to them on any level other than the sexual.

The show was aired at 9pm after the watershed



Offsite Article: A Little Bird Told Me...

Link Here29th January 2014
NSA and GCHQ target leaky phone apps like Angry Birds to scoop user data. Details can include age, location and sexual orientation

See article from



Mature Advice...

IWF advised to stick to targeting child abuse material on human rights grounds

Link Here28th January 2014
The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a self-regulatory body set up to rid the internet of child sexual abuse images, has opened itself up to judgement by a top human rights lawyer.

A human rights audit has been carried out by former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Ken Macdonald. He concluded the IWF's fundamental work is entirely consistent with human rights law.

Lord Macdonald pointed to ways in which the IWF could further enhance standards and processes. Nine recommendations are made in the report published today 27 January 2014 , seven of which have been immediately agreed by the IWF Board.

Among his findings, Lord Macdonald concludes:

  • The IWF's fundamental work of restricting criminally obscene adult material and all child sexual abuse material is consistent with human rights law;
  • The IWF, although a private, industry-funded body, carries out public acts and therefore its policies and decision-making are susceptible to judicial review, a conclusion welcomed by the IWF Board;
  • That the IWF should appoint a retired judge to act as an appeals commissioner and Chief Inspector to oversee disputes and inspections respectively and the Board should contain at least one acknowledged expert in human rights law, conclusions welcomed by the IWF Board.

The IWF currently targets:

  • child sexual abuse content hosted anywhere in the world;
  • supposedly obscene adult content hosted in the UK;
  • non-photographic child porn images hosted in the UK.
Recommendations in the report with responses by the IWF Board

1.   IWF should in future restrict its remit to child sexual abuse material

IWF Board: A decision on this item has been deferred and will follow conversations with stakeholders [presumably the government] regarding this recommendation.

2.   IWF should appoint an expert in human rights law to its Board

IWF Board: Accepted.

3.   IWF should appoint a senior legal figure as its new Chief Inspector

IWF Board: Accepted.

4.   IWF's appeals process should include, as a final stage, a determination by the Chief Inspector

IWF Board: Accepted.

5.   Inspections of IWF's work should take place at least every two years. The Inspection team, headed by the new Chief Inspector, should include one expert in human rights law

IWF Board: Accepted. Inspections already take place every two years.

6.   If IWF moves into more proactive investigations, its analyst training should be updated to meet the further responsibilities inherent in an investigative role

IWF Board: Accepted.

7.   In any proactive investigations, IWF should liaise closely with police

IWF Board: Accepted.

8.   Proposed increases in IWF's industry funding should be maintained and expanded in order to make a move into more proactive work feasible in the longer term

IWF Board: Accepted.

9.   IWF should not, at present, investigate peer-to-peer file sharing. Instead, in light of the fact that it has subsumed CEOP with the apparent intention that investigations into online child sexual abuse material should be mainstreamed into the fight against serious crime, the National Crime Agency should now give these investigations high priority.

IWF Board: This decision has been deferred. It will follow a peer to peer consultation currently taking place and the pilot project with Google, Microsoft, the Home Office and CEOP. The IWF will be working in partnership to identify pathways to illegal material being shared via torrent feeds and subsequently remove access via the two market leaders in search. This project was announced on 18 November.




The Muslim Association of Great Britain calls for the censorship of Jesus and Mo

Link Here28th January 2014
One of Britain's major organisations has called for the censorship of the Jesus & Mo website. The website features a weekly comic strip in which the two religious characters debate and joke about the central tenets of Islam and Christianity.

The Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) published a statement claiming that the images were extremely offensive to believers of the two faiths and potentially inflammatory, and urged the website's operators to take down the comics at once. The MAB also claimed that the depiction of the two prophets was as insulting as those published in Denmark .

Ludicrously insisting that it respects freedom of speech and artistic expression, the MAB questioned the wisdom of any individual or organization that places at risk the dignity and values of anyone else, even if they might not hold those values.



Defence Against Snowden...

Government are thought to be considering compulsory censorship of the press

Link Here27th January 2014
Full story: D-Notices...UK press censorship of defence issues

Government officials are planning to review the historic D-notice system, which warns the media not to publish intelligence that might damage security, in the wake of the Guardian's stories about mass surveillance by the security services based on leaks from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden .

Sources said Jon Thompson, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, was setting up an inquiry into the future of the committee, raising fears that the voluntary censorship system also known as the DA-notice could be made compulsory.

The committee is supposed to be consulted when news organisations are considering publishing material relating to secret intelligence or the military. It is staffed by senior civil servants and media representatives, who give advice on the publication of sensitive stories.  Minutes of a recent meeting reveal the comment: The events of the last few months had undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness.

In his latest report, its secretary, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance, raised concerns about the parallel publication of Snowden's revelations by newspapers around the world, noting that at the outset the Guardian had avoided engaging with the DA-notice system before publishing the first tranche of information .



Monster Censorship...

Japanese game Monster Monpiece has to be censored for US and European release

Link Here27th January 2014
Monster Monpiece is a PlayStation Vita game set for US and European release in the spring. Developed by Compile Heart, it is a digital card battle game in which the player summons various monster girls onto the game's battlefields. Those girls then fight the player's opponents.

While fairly innocent sounding, the controversy lay in how the girls power-up and become stronger. They do this by stripping through the use of in-game mechanics called First Crush Rub and Extreme Love .

However the artwork will be censored for US and European releases as revealed in a statement emailed from the game publisher:

We kept the same number of cards in the game as the original Japanese version, but replaced some of the higher level Monster Girl images with the less exposed lower level versions of the corresponding Monster Girls due to some intense sexual imagery.

The number of censored cards is about 40 out of the approximately 350 card images available in the game. This means that over 300 cards are left untouched from the original images. That said, each card that has had its image removed will still have the same number of levels for the player to increase, but the higher level card images will be the same as the lower level, even though they have leveled up and have become more powerful.

This was a very difficult decision since we work very hard to satisfy our fans and want to bring the same content being offered in Japan. However, Western society is not as lenient as that of Japan when sexual images are involved-especially images of humanoids that appear to be younger than a socially acceptable age. The borderline of what is acceptable will always be extremely gray and vary from person to person, but as a responsible company working in the U.S., we had to make the difficult decision that we did. We sincerely apologize for those who do not agree with any level of censorship, but we greatly appreciate your understanding with the decision we have made.

The ESRB has rated the cut version of Monster Monpiece as M for Mature in the USA.



Passed R18 for Moderate BDSM...

Taking a detailed look at BBFC guideline changes for 2014

Link Here26th January 2014
The BBFC announced their new guidelines for 2014 with all the usual propaganda press releases that were interpreted as 'cracking down', or 'tightening up' on the whim of the journalist.

So what did actually change? Well not a lot really. Expect that the vast majority of classification decisions will end up being the same under new guidelines as they were under the old guidelines.

The biggest changes are clearly that more strong language will be allowed at 12 and 15.

Also an unreported change at R18 may be well appreciated. Before depictions of BDSM material were restricted to mild non-abusive, consensual activity. The new guidelines allow for moderate non-abusive, consensual activity.

And so the detailed changes. modified or inserted text is shown in red

Discriminatory Language

At PG: An educational or historical exclusion has been added for 2014. Perhaps the kids will still be able to watch TinTin.

  • Discriminatory language or behaviour is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly disapproved of, or in an educational or historical context, or in a particularly dated work with no likely appeal to children.

Antisocial Behaviour

The guidelines have been updated to reflect our era of political correctness and new clauses have appeared about censoring imitable anti-social behaviour

At U:

  • Potentially dangerous or anti-social behaviour which young children may copy must be clearly disapproved of.

At PG:

  • No focus on anti-social behaviour which young children are likely to copy.

At 12:

  • No endorsement of anti-social behaviour.

Thankfully there are no similar restrictions on 15 and 18 rated films

Depiction of Weapons

At 15: 2009 guidelines simply said that "Easily accessible weapons should not be glamourised". From 2014 the depiction of such weapons is left to the discretion of the BBFC
  • Whether the depiction of easily accessible weapons is acceptable will depend on factors such as realism, context and setting.

Strong Language

At PG: The BBFC made a point of saying in press releases that strong language would be tightened up in the lower categories. However the only change is at PG where the repeated use of mild strong language has been restricted:

  • Aggressive or very frequent use of mild bad language may result in a work being passed at a higher category

At 12: Significant changes here. Previously the guidelines suggested that strong language should be allowed if infrequent (interpreted as 4 uses in a typical film). From 2014, this is more flexible and up to the censors.

  • Strong language may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification
At 15: 2009 guidelines disallowed very strong language (ie 'cunt') if repeated or aggressive. From 2014 this is left to discretion of the examiners. Accompanying press releases indicate that the BBFC will now allow repeated, or aggressive, very strong language if contextually justified 
  • Very strong language may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification.

Violence and Threat

At U: Mild violence only in 2009, Very mild violence only in 2014

  • Violence will generally be very mild.

At 12: The BBFC made a point of suggesting that scary, but not necessarily violent, films may be uprated from 12 to 15. The guidelines reflect this with a new clause as follows.

  • Although some scenes may be disturbing, the overall tone should not be.


At 15: 2014 rules now sometimes allow nudity with strong detail. Probably related to allowing a fleeting porn image that was quite key to the 15 rated film, The Hunt.
  • There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context. There may be nudity in a sexual context but usually without strong detail.


At R18: The 2014 guidelines seem to allow a little more BDSM previously only 'mild' activity was now allowed, from 2014 'moderate' activity is allowed. The following is the BBFC  list of prohibited material:

  • the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate , non-abusive, consensual activity



Disgraceful Clause Dropped...

The Government agrees to abandon Nuisance and annoyance as a reason to grant an ASBO and ultimately to get people jailed for being annoying

Link Here25th January 2014
Home Office ministers have dropped their attempt to replace antisocial behaviour orders with new injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance in the face of widespread criticism and one of the biggest anti-government defeats in the House of Lords .

Peers voted by 306 to 178 earlier this month to back an amendment by the crossbench peer Lord Dear, a former chief constable, who claimed the move could criminalise any nuisance or annoying behaviour in the streets including peaceful protest, street preachers and even carol singers and church bellringers.

The Liberal Democrat Home Office minister, Norman Baker, said he would table amendments that would restore the original Asbo test under which harassment, alarm or distress must be caused before a court can grant an injunction. Baker said:

I have listened to what people said. We will be tabling amendments next Monday to the antisocial behaviour bill which accept Lord Dear's amendment.

The 128-vote defeat in the Lords came after Dear said anyone over the age of 10 could be served with an Ipna, it could last for an indefinite period of time, and it could lead to a prison sentence if breached.

A disparate alliance of 11 charities and civil liberties groups, including Justice, the Christian Institute and the National Secular Society, had all written to the home secretary, Theresa May, urging her to accept Dear's amendment to clause 1 of the antisocial behaviour bill. They had warned it would clog up the courts with needless applications.



Obituary: Jocelyn Hay...

Voice of the Listener and Viewer founder dies aged 86

Link Here25th January 2014
Jocelyn Hay, who founded the respected pressure group Voice Of The Listener And Viewer (VLV), has died aged 86. (nothing to do with Mary Whitehouse's moralist campaign organisation National Viewers and Listeners Association)

Hay founded the campaign group in 1983 as a voice for radio listeners, in response to a proposal by BBC managing director Richard Francis to change Radio 4 into an all-news network. She remained its president until her death.

As radio's unsung champion, Hay was made a CBE in 2005 for services to broadcasting. Announcing her death, the VLV said she had built the organisation into the United Kingdom's main consumer voice on issues affecting public service broadcasting and quality and diversity in radio and television programming .

She campaigned on issues related to the quality of programming and her organisation was noted for :

  • Challenging the Peacock Committee's proposals in 1986 to privatise Radio 1 and Radio 2
  • Opposing advertising on the BBC
  • Opposing the loss of the long wave frequency on BBC R4 in the 1990s.
  • Opposing ITV's withdrawal from children's television production and its regional commitments after the Communications Act 2003.



Investigating Crimes Against Compliance...

Investigation Discovery set for sanctions after crime reconstruction series found to be too violent for daytime TV

Link Here25th January 2014

 Deadly Women
Investigation Discovery, 16, 18 & 20 August 2013 at various times during the day

Deadly Women is a true-life crime series about female killers. Each episode, which had a scheduled duration of 60 minutes, relayed the crimes of three different murderers through dramatic reconstructions of specific crimes and interviews with experts in criminal behaviour, including forensic pathologists. It is TV-14 rated for US TV.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to graphic depictions of violence contained within an episode broadcast at 09:00 on 20 August 2013. Ofcom assessed this episode, along with another seven episodes shown between 06:00 and 17:00 on 16 and 18 August 2013. We noted that each episode was preceded by variations of the following warnings:

  • The following programme contains scenes of a violent nature which some viewers may find disturbing ; or

  • The following programme contains scenes of murder or violent crimes that have been re-enacted.

We had concerns about a large number of the dramatic reconstructions included within the series.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 1.3: Children protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .

  • Rule 1.11: Violence, its after-effects and descriptions of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television)...and must also be justified by the context .

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context... .

Discovery apologised for the broadcast of this content. The Licensee stated that: We accept that some of the content in these episodes was beyond the expectations of a daytime audience, even on a specialised crime channel such as [Investigation Discovery]. The Licensee also said that upon being alerted to the original complaint in this case, the content was reviewed and then immediately taken out of the daytime schedule.

It said that all the programmes in this case had been from series six of Deadly Women and none of these programmes were intended for transmission in daytime . While all the other series of Deadly Women had been correctly certified as post watershed , Discovery said that this had not happened in the case of series six. The Licensee stated that this deeply unfortunate incident had occurred as a result of an error of judgement by a less experienced member of the re-versioning team during the certification process for series 6 [which] meant that it was accidentally certified as suitable for audiences with a low child index .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rules 1.3, 1.11 and 2.3

Ofcom considered that these programmes were unsuitable for children, and that a number of the episodes would have been likely to have greatly troubled younger viewers in particular.

Ofcom reminds all broadcasters to ensure they are adequately resourced to ensure all their programming complies with the Code. Further they must have sufficient resources and appropriate arrangements in place to monitor as necessary output as it is broadcast to ensure that if, as here, a compliance mistake is made the licensee has a reasonable opportunity to spot the error and correct it before broadcast. In this case, the Licensee was seemingly unaware that it had broadcast wholly unsuitable material before the watershed until it was alerted by Ofcom.

We considered that the repeated broadcast during the daytime of very violent material in the form of prolonged and disturbing dramatic reconstructions of torture, mutilation and murder resulted in serious contraventions of the Code. Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches of the Code for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.11 and 2.3

Update: And again

4th February 2013. See  article [pdf] from

Scorned: Crimes of Passion
Investigation Discovery, 24 September 2013, 17:00

The Ofcom complaint was re-run in the following Complaints Bulletin with the same compliancy process failure blamed for an incorrectly scheduled programme. And another breach of Rule 1.3 recorded

Update: And again

4th February 2013. See  article [pdf] from

Embarrassing Bodies
TLC (Poland), 25 July 2013, 14:00

TLC (Poland) is a channel run by Discovery. Again the issue was a daytime broadcast of a post watershed content. This time the issue was a programme about sexual problems. Discovery argued that factual information about sexual health was not so much of an issue in Poland. But again Ofcom recorded a breach of Rule 1.3.



Update: An Orgy of Censorship...

German court orders Google to prevent links to Max Mosley orgy pictures

Link Here25th January 2014
A German court has ruled today that Google must block all access in the country to images of a sadomasochistic orgy involving the former Formula One boss Max Mosley.

The pictures, taken from a video filmed by the now-defunct News of the World and published in an article in 2008, were judged by the court to seriously violate Mosley's privacy. The paper was fined for a breach of privacy.

Google has resisted Mosley's attempts to make it block all access to the widely-circulated images, saying that to do so sets a disturbing precedent for internet censorship.

The search engine giant said it planned to appeal today's decision from a Hamburg court, which has ordered the company to prevent any pictures, links or even thumbnails images from the orgy to show up on the site.



Political Correctness Challenged...

BBC Trust respond to complaint about political correctness in using the term 'Asians' to describe a group of child sex abusers rather than the narrower and more obvious groupings of 'Pakistani' or 'Muslim'

Link Here24th January 2014

The complainant wrote to the BBC Trust following the decision of the Head of Editorial Compliance and Accountability, BBC News, not to uphold his complaint about BBC news reporting, which he felt was pro-immigrant and pro Muslim .

He referred, first, to a story which he said was reported by the BBC as being about three Lincoln men being jailed for the theft of lead, when the men had, in fact, been three Latvian immigrants.

The second story he referred to in his appeal was, he said, the Oxford sex case , in which the defendants had been referred to as Asians , when, in fact, there were seven defendants from Pakistan and two from North Africa. This, he said, was an insult to Thai, Chinese, Malays and all other Asians.

BBC Initial Decision: Complaint not upheld

The Trust's Senior Editorial Complaints Adviser (the Adviser) replied to the complainant explaining that in reports of this nature, the Adviser considered that it would generally be good practice for BBC reporters to stick to the facts as presented in court. Clearly, where an individual's nationality was relevant to the case, and was highlighted as such in court, it would be a different matter. But, as far as she could see from her research on other cases of lead theft from churches, this did not seem to be a peculiarly Lithuanian (or Latvian) or, indeed, immigrant crime. The Adviser thought that, for these reasons, the Trustees would be unlikely to find that the BBC's report on the lead theft had breached any of the guidelines.

The second case in the complainant's appeal referred to use of the term Asian , when defendants in the sex grooming case in Oxford had, said the complainant, been from Pakistan and North Africa. The Adviser considered that the Head of Editorial Compliance and Accountability, BBC News, had given a full account of references in the Oxford case which had demonstrated that the BBC had reported the men's origins on some relevant occasions. She also noted the references at Stage 2 to coverage of the Rochdale sex rings, the fact that it had been a feature of the case that there had been no agreement on the part of the authorities as to the role played by race and religion, and the BBC's exploration of these issues.

The Adviser considered there was no reasonable prospect of the Trustees finding the reports complained about had been in breach of the Accuracy and/or Impartiality or any other Guidelines, and the appeal would not, therefore, be put before the Trustees.

The complainant requested that the Trustees review the decision not to proceed with his appeal.

BBC Trust Editorial Complaints Committee Decision: Not to proceed with appeal

The Committee was not of the view that evidence had been presented which would be likely to lead it to conclude that BBC News reporting was in breach of Guidelines with regard to the original appeal, which cited the Lincoln and Oxford criminal cases.

The Committee did not believe the complainant's appeal had any reasonable prospect of success but joined with the Adviser in hoping the complainant would be reassured that this was an area the Trustees had given some thought to and would be discussing further with the BBC Executive.

The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.



Update: Too Many Moms...

One Million Moms whinges about lesbian moms story line on the Disney Channel show, Good Luck Charlie

Link Here24th January 2014
Full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
The christian moralist campaign group, One Million Moms has called for sponsors to withdraw from the Disney Channel show, Good Luck Charlie . The group spews:

Alerting all parents! If Good Luck Charlie goes through with introducing LGBT content, then the floodgates will be opened for all programs on the Disney Channel - a trend that will be almost impossible to stop.

Disney Channel has very few sponsors and advertisers on its network. was the only Disney Channel sponsor that was promoted during the January 19, 2014, newest episode of Good Luck Charlie. often sponsors programs on the Disney network.

An upcoming episode in this last season of Good Luck Charlie will feature a family with two moms, a first for Disney Channel. Because Good Luck Charlie is coming to a close, the characters are only expected to appear in one episode. However, one episode is enough, especially since the network repeatedly airs reruns of all its programs.

One Million Moms launched an email campaign in 2013 that urged Disney officials to abandon their plans to corrupt the children's network with LGBT content. However, Disney officials have not responded to the thousands of emails protesting their plans. Disney has decided to be politically correct instead of providing family-friendly programming. Disney should stick to entertaining, not pushing an agenda.



Quivering with Outrage...

BBC dismisses whinge about orgasmic washing machine vibrations on the daytime soap, Doctors

Link Here23rd January 2014

BBC 1, 21st May 2013

The complainant wrote to the BBC Trust following the decision of the Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) not to uphold his complaint of offence in a scene in Doctors in which a woman sat on a washing machine.

The complainant appealed to the Trust on 27 August 2013, saying that he was unhappy with the response received at Stage 2 and he wished the Trust to review it. The complainant said that the scene had shown the female character sitting on a washing machine having a sexual orgasm ; he argued that the scene was aggressively sexual in its inference and unsuitable for the daytime slot in which it was shown.

The Senior Producer stated:

The storyline built to this scene of comedic frustration as Daniel and Zara were having trouble with their marriage and their therapist told them to refrain from sex for a couple of weeks.

An adviser to the BBC Trust said that there was editorial justification for the scene. The Adviser noted the complainant's view that the programme had depicted a full blown female orgasm and that it had been aggressively sexual in its content. However, she considered the scene was, as the Senior Producer had stated,  one of comedic frustration . She noted that Dr Carmichael was interrupted when she was sitting on the washing machine and subsequently took out her frustration by kicking the machine. She did not consider the scene was aggressively sexual in either content or tone. She noted and agreed with the response of the Complaints Director on these points. The Adviser considered that while adult viewers would have understood what was happening, it was unlikely young children would have made sense of it.

BBC Trust's Decision

The BBC Editorial Standards Committee appreciated the concern felt by the complainant but believed that what was clear to older viewers would not have been clear to children. Further this was a comic scene and the sexual element was mitigated by the humour. The Committee was of the view that it would be likely to conclude that the programme met the Generally Accepted Standards as set out in the Editorial Guidelines and would not have exceeded the expectations of its daytime audience.

The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.



Updated: Legendary Crap Filtering...

Video game updates blocked by shoddy ISP website blocking

Link Here23rd January 2014

Negligent website blocking taking full effect in the U.K. this month is causing problems for some League of Legends users who haven't called their ISPs to opt out of the screening. It seems the patcher is trying to access a couple of URLs with the letters S and E followed by X in them, and that's enough to get a block.

Summoner Boompje noticed this a couple of days ago , posting about it on both League of Legends' official European forums and in the game's subreddit . The offending URLs are a couple of files---Varu sEx pirationTimer.luaobj and XerathMageChain sEx tended.luaobj.

Still, for a controversial policy that has kicked out its share of anecdotal, unintended victims, snaring a League of Legends patch shows how unsophisticated things can be.

For anyone affected, the simplest solution is the best: just ask the ISP to turn off the filter. For kids in a household that won't remove the filter, the alternative would seem to be getting the patch as a .zip file from a friend.

Update: Not so fast!

23rd January 2013. See  article from

Speculation that updates for the League of Legends game were blocked by ISPs' adult-content filters is incorrect, PC Pro has learned

Although the ISPs haven't fully detailed how their filters work, PC Pro understands that none block files in the way described above - they block specific URLs, rather than downloads.

Sky told PC Pro that League of Legends is still available to customers. BT said it had yet to receive any complaints.



That's One Way of Putting It...

Thailand dresses up media censorship in very polite terms

Link Here23rd January 2014
Thailand's 'Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order' (CMPO) might 'invite' editors from some media outlets to instruct them to not provoke unrest through their reports, CMPO secretary Paradorn Pattanatabut said yesterday.

His statement comes one day after the government invoked the emergency decree in Bangkok and its surrounding areas to deal with the ongoing anti-government protests led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban. The order, which went into effect yesterday, will remain in force for two months and allows for censorship of the press.

Paradorn, meanwhile, dismissed reports that the centre will use the authority it has been granted under the emergency decree to shut down media, saying this invitation has nothing to do with gagging the press ...BUT...

We should understand that news reports should not be the source of provocation and instigation that can lead to chaos and unrest.

When asked if he would invite the BlueSky Channel, which has been broadcasting the anti-government protests, Paradorn said he had already conveyed the message and that its editors would be 'invited' if there are any inappropriate news reports.



Censors queue up to get ISPs to block their pet prohibition...

ISPs object to policing censorship by the Gambling Commission

Link Here 22nd January 2014

The UK's gambling censor has asked the majo rISPs to warn their customers of the illegality of unlicensed gambling websites, and the ISPs have refused, arguing that it's up to the courts or Parliament to decide on such things.

It's nice to see the ISPs push back against the censorship and policing role that many in the British government think they should maintain.

According to the Financial Times, the Gambling Commission approached big ISPs including BT and TalkTalk asking for the insertion of splash pages when a customer is trying to access an unlicensed gambling site, in order to warn the customer that the service is illegal.

A TalkTalk spokeswoman quoted by the FT said:

We do not believe that it is for ISPs to decide what content customers should access. It is really important that there is either a proper legal framework when it comes to blocking access to sites, just like with copyright infringement, or that it is down to customer choice.

There is certainly a gathering momentum in the UK behind efforts to enforce the offline law online in new ways, and one has to wonder what the British government and its regulators will ask to block or police next.



Update: State Control of the Internet...

Russian parliament debates more onerous bills controlling information and money on the internet

Link Here22nd January 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media
Another Internet crackdown appears to be looming in Russia, where the Duma is reviewing three new pieces of proposed anti-terror legislation that could place hefty restrictions on the activities of website operators and civil society organizers.

Two of the bills address government surveillance powers---one would create new requirements obliging website operators to report on the every move of their users, while another addresses penalties for terror-related crimes. The third would set new restrictions for individuals and organizations accepting anonymous donations through online services like PayPal, a measure that could have an especially strong impact on small civil society groups.

The first of the three bills  creates new requirements for mandatory archives and notifications, granting the federal government wide jurisdiction. The most concerning article of the bill stipulates that individuals or legal entities who [organize] the dissemination of information and (or) the exchange of information between Internet users are obligated to store all information about the arrival, transmission, delivery, and processing of voice data, written text, images, sounds, or other kinds of action that occur when using their website. At all times, data archives must include the most recent six months of activity.

It appears that this obligation would apply to the owners and operators of websites and services ranging from multinational services like Facebook to small community blogs and discussion platforms.

Website organizers must also inform Russian security services when users first begin using their sites, and whenever users exchange information. Taken literally, this requirement could create a nearly impossible task for administrators of blogs, social media sites, and other discussion platforms with large quantities of users.

The second bill would broaden police powers and raise penalties for terrorism.

Finally, the third piece of legislation would place new limits on online money transfers. This draft law would raise limits on anonymous online financial transactions and ban all international online financial transactions, where the electronic money operator (e.g., PayPal, Yandex.Dengi, WebMoney) does not know the client's legal identity. The legislation also raises operating costs for NGOs, requiring them to report on every three thousand dollars spent in foreign donations. (Currently, NGOs must report on every six thousand such dollars.)



Shooting Off...

Harvey Weinstein claims that he will stop producing violent movies and for his next project he will have a knock at the National Rifle Association

Link Here21st January 2014
Hollywood studio head Harvey Weinstein has produced some of the most violent films of the last 30 years, but he says that's all in the past now.

Speaking to CNN's Pierce Morgan, Weinstein pledged to choose projects that aren't violent or as violent as they used to be as he gears up to make a film that takes aim at the National Rifle Association.

Weinstein told Morgan he was inspired to take on a project carrying a strong anti-gun message in the wake of the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that claimed the lives of 20 children and six adults.

Since announcing the as yet untitled project starring screen legend Meryl Streep this week, Weinstein has come under sharp criticism from gun rights advocates.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz wasted no time calling the head of the studio that produced so many of Quentin Tarantino's blood-soaked blockbusters, including Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, a hypocrite.



Burning Books...

Israel parliament passes first reading of bill to ban the use of the word 'Nazi'

Link Here21st January 2014
 Israel has passed the first step on the road to more severe banning of the use of Nazi symbols.

The ban would stop the use of all Nazi symbols and expressing remorse for the fall of the Nazi regime, and would make calling someone a Nazi illegal, with a punishment of up to six months in prison and a fine of 100,000 shekels (around £20,000).

In addition, the law would ban the use of the Jewish Star of David symbol when used in the context of the internment camps or in reference to the holocaust.

The bill has passed its first reading, but still has two more readings before it can become a law. The bill has been approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, meaning that it stands a better chance of becoming a law because it has the backing of the coalition government.

The bill says the word Nazi would be banned for anything other than for the purpose of learning, documentation, scientific study or historical accounts. Also, using words that sound like Nazi to indirectly refer to someone as an insult would also incur punishment.

The bill received objections from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, saying that it might raise constitutional problems. He said:

Not all behavior that offends the public deserves to be made a crime. Is it proper in a democratic country to ban an entire world of images from the public discourse to protect people's feelings?

Given the centrality and importance of the constitutional right to freedom of expression, any restriction on it must be examined meticulously and with exceptional caution.



Update: Aggressive Complaints...

Mothers Against Murder and Aggression are 'outraged' about a Dolce and Gabbana fashion advert

Link Here21st January 2014
A complaint about a fashion advert featuring guns and knives has been lodged by a moralist campaign group.

Fashion company Dolce & Gabbana created an advert for their winter campaign. It depicts a man with a flintlock pistol grasping a naked woman as they stand over a dead body with a bullet hole in its forehead, while two other men stand poised with daggers.

Dee Warner, of campaign group Mothers Against Murder and Aggression, said:

The poster has nothing whatsoever to do with fashion and everything to do with the glorification of guns and knives.

Dolce & Gabbana should take responsibility for the part they play in the damage caused by these insensitive and irresponsible advertising campaigns.

The fashion industry is looked up to by our young people, those that aspire to wear the clothing that their celebrity idols wear.

The industry is filled with irresponsible adverts that send out messages to these young people that guns and knives are cool and so are drugs.

Warner said she was submitting a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).



Update: Toxic Climate...

Demented campaigners blame online porn for contributing to a toxic climate of stress and pressure

Link Here21st January 2014
Children in Britain are suffering from growing up in a toxic climate of stress and pressure at school and online, according to survey commission by campaigners.

Fear of failure, bullying, the burden of trying to be thin and attractive, and depression were among the multiple threats facing young people. And almost a quarter of youngsters questioned said their relationships with their peers had been harmed after viewing online porn, according to the poll.

The survey, commissioned by the campaign group YoungMinds questioned 2,000 children and young people aged 11 to 25, found that 50% of 11-14 year olds have viewed online porn. The survey also found that children feared exam failure, 50% are bullied, 40% skip meals to stay slim, and a third don't know where to get help (presumably YoungMinds is conveniently willing to step in to help out).



Feel Good Or Else...

The Indian state of Uttar Pradesh censors major news channels after Bollywood propaganda extravaganza was rubbished

Link Here21st January 2014
India's largest and most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has been accused of taking the country's most popular English news channel, Times Now , off the air following a wave of critical reporting. The so-called ban also extended to another channel, India News . The move led to a widespread backlash, and both channels have been restored.

While the background causes for the ban were slowly built up over time, the immediate one was Times Now's dogged coverage of a star-studded Bollywood event at a time when victims of a riot in the town of Muzzafarnagar had been left in the bitter cold to fend for themselves in relief camps.

Juxtaposing images of the young Chief Minister watching nubile Bollywood starlets gyrate to the latest hit songs with images of a little child shivering in relief camps, the channels demanded to know, among other things, why the event was taking place and where the money was coming from.



Offsite Article: Holocaust denial is despicable...but it's wrong to ban it...

Link Here 21st January 2014
To ban it would be a grave moral error, since it would send the message that Truth is incapable of winning a war of words and wits against Falsehood. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from



Offsite Article: Will buying porn turn out to be bitcoin's killer app?...

Link Here21st January 2014
A quarter of subscriptions on come from bitcoin users, so will this vast market drive growth in the alternative currency?

See article from



Extract: The Lot of the Censor...

Andreas, Whittam Smith, Past President of the BBFC, comments on the new guidelines

Link Here20th January 2014

A storm of protest greeted publication of new guidelines by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). It always does. Children as young as 15 are to be allowed to watch films filled with obscene language, reported one newspaper. As a former chief film censor myself, I don't object to these expressions of outrage, though they are often unfair. For the activity comprises an unarguably good bit -- classifying films on grounds of suitability for different age groups in order to help parents. And also a controversial bit -- preventing people watching what they might otherwise wish to see, indeed interfering with their freedom.

In these circumstances, you should be exposed to vociferous challenge.


Another lesson you learn as a censor is that the BBFC must take society as it is, rather than seek to change it, as various pressure groups would wish. I believe this stance to be completely realistic. How could a body employing just 60 people, managed by a handful of executives, have any expectation of holding back movements in social behaviour against which the government itself, the political classes more generally and the major faiths fail to have an impact?

This powerlessness is going to become more acute. Because today's parents, as a result of developments in technology and the social media, are losing control of their children's viewing habits. The plethora of devices means the dynamics of film-viewing -- in terms of frequency, audience and impact -- has greatly changed in the past few years.

...Read the full article



Nafforf Atvod...

Campaign group propose legal action to strike at the legal heart of ATVOD who are doing their best to suffocate the British adult industry with impossibly onerous censorship rules

Link Here20th January 2014

Nafforf Atvod is a loose alliance of individuals opposed to the introduction of government regulation of the internet in the United Kingdom.

Many people are probably unaware of an insidious threat to freedom of speech on the internet posed by a quango called Atvod (the Authority for TeleVision On Demand). Most people have probably never heard of Atvod. But this quango has been given powers by another Government quango, Ofcom, to issue licences without which citizens in the UK are prohibited from making websites that consist of videos. Anyone making such a website must pay Atvod a licence fee, must allow the content to be regulated, and may be required to verify the identity of every visitor to the website. Anyone failing to register and pay Atvod faces the possibility of a fine of up to £250,000 or greater. Anyone who ignores the directions of this organisation commits a criminal offence, may be punished, and can be banned indefinitely from ever posting a video image on the internet again. Even if videos are merely posted to a video sharing site, even if the site is hosted in another country, Atvod has still threatened individuals with draconian sanctions.

The idea that in a democracy we could be required to get a license before posting a video to the internet seems incredible, but this is happening now. The price of liberty is eternal vigilence. Unless Atvod is opposed, and made to respect our right to freedom to express ideas and exchange information, there will be no end to censorship of the internet.

Nafforf Atvod has been formed with the intention of opposing this threat to freedom of expression by challenging the legality of the actions of Atvod and Ofcom. Nafforf Atvod proposes to do this by writing to Ofcom to demand that it reins in Atvod. If necessary Nafforf Atvod will apply to the Court for permission to seek judicial review on behalf of its supporters.

That is why we need your support. Your support is the legitimacy to oppose Atvod. The more supporters we have, the greater the legitimacy of a claim to represent a broad spectrum of internet users. Please follow us on twitter, @NafforfAtvod, or e-mail us at with the word support in the title.

Draft letter before action

Below is the text of a draft of a letter before action that it is proposed to send to Ofcom. Under Court rules Ofcom is obliged to reply within 14 days stating whether or not it concedes the case in whole or in part. The core of the claim is that for technical reasons Ofcom/ATVOD had no lawful power to make rules requiring age verification. Neither is the requirement to pay ATVOD fees lawful. Therefore Ofcom acted unlawfully in issuing a direction that a website called Jessica Pressley should be shut down following findings that it had not notified , paid a fee and instituted age verification checks. This action is being pursued to protect a matter of principle, on the basis that everyone has a right to be able to receive information and ideas from any source without interference from a public authority. It isn't being pursued on behalf of the Jessica Pressley website, or any other private interest. Jessica Pressley has had no involvement with the bringing of this case.

Because the statutory requirements are unambiguous, Ofcom has (hopefully) very little room to make a defence. It is hoped therefore that Ofcom will concede the issue and reign in ATVOD without the matter needing to go to Court. But if it is necessary to apply for judicial review we are quietly confident (albeit in advance of a response from Ofcom) that we would succeed.

...Read the Draft letter



Update: Nominated Censors...

Nominet decides to ban domain names with terms suggesting serious sexual offences

Link Here20th January 2014
Full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship
All new web addresses registered in the UK will be screened for terms that signal or encourage serious sexual offences.

Nominet, the organisation that oversees all the UK's web addresses, said all domain names will be checked within 48 hours of registration. If an address is found to contain a prohibited term it will be suspended or de-registered. Existing web addresses will also come under the new rules.

Once a domain name is registered it will be examined by a computer algorithm looking for terms relating to sex crimes. Any address that is flagged as containing one of the prohibited words or phrases will then be checked by a human. This is to ensure that legitimate domain names are not suspended unnecessarily.

An example of a legitimate website, that might be flagged by the algorithm, is one set up to help victims of rape. Or where a flagged word is contained within another word. Any domain name containing a sex crime term that does not appear to have a legitimate use would be reported to the police.

Nominet took this course of action after the publication of a policy review by former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald. However the policy added that the firm should have no role in policing questions of taste or offensiveness on the internet .

Eleanor Bradley, chief operating officer at Nominet told the BBC that the registration service was not trying to censor the internet:

This is not about domain names that offend, or about swear words, it is about criminal acts relating to sexual offences, she said.

Nominet has notably not published the list of potentially prohibited terms.



Update: Antisocial Censorship...

Continuing Facebook censorship of mastectomy pictures

Link Here20th January 2014
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

A cancer sufferer was accused of breaching Facebook anti-porn rules, for uploading before and after mastectomy photos to encourage women to check their breasts.

Tracy Morris lodged a complaint with the site after it blocked the pictures so no one else could see them. Tracy said:

I had a photoshoot done when I was first diagnosed because I wanted a lasting memory of how I had once looked. After my second mastectomy I decided to have another shoot done because I still felt beautiful -- in a different way. Losing my second breast was traumatic. It made me realise how drastic cancer is. I decided that I had to warn other women, to shock them into checking their breasts before it was too late.

She posted her photos on Facebook and received dozens of positive messages. But then Facebook sent her a message telling her it was investigating the photographs for violating its standards on nudity and pornography. She said:

I am disgusted by Facebook. If one woman checks her breasts after seeing my photos they might save a life. How can that be offensive to anyone?

Tracy tried to re-post the photos but had no success until the Sunday Mirror contacted the site to query their removal. The photos are now visible to everybody.



Update: Internet Dictators...

Turkish internet users protest against repressive censorship bill

Link Here19th January 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkish police used water cannon and fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters that gathered in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on Saturday for a rally calling against a bill that would extend government censorship of the Internet.

Smaller rallies have been held around Turkey including the capital Ankara and coastal city of Izmir. In Ankara about 300 protesters gathered chanting slogans opposing the government and the internet bill, calling the Turkish prime minister a dictator.

Activists have called for protests against the law further limiting the use of the Internet and social media. The campaign is circulating the internet with the hashtag #sansu redurde.

The bill that includes the controversial law was backed by a Turkish parliamentary committee on Thursday. It will be discussed by the National Assembly next week.

The new legislation allows government ministers to block websites deemed to infringe privacy, as well as force internet providers to retain information on their users, for up to two years. The bill also mandates ISPs to restrict access to proxy sites, making circumventing the censorship nearly impossible.

The new legislation also raises fines for not removing the content requested by the authorities. If the content is not removed within 24 hours after the request, it will be blocked by the Telecommunications Directorate (TI.B). In addition, web hosting services will be required to become part of a state-controlled association.



No Freedom to Twerk...

Martin Luther King's 'promised land' is populated by miserablists and party poopers

Link Here19th January 2014
A party celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr day called Freedom 2 Twerk has been cancelled after a poster promoting the event caused 'outrage'.

A Michigan party promotor called Mid-Michigan Teen Parties photoshopped Dr Martin Luther King Jr's head onto the body of a man wearing a heavy gold medallion and throwing a gang sign.

Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights icon, called the poster appalling and almost embarrassing in an interview with Fox 5 .

I lost a father who sacrificed everything for them to live a much more dignified and respectful life. And for it to come to this just makes me sad.

The owner of the venue where the Freedom to Twerk party was to be held, Vic McEwan, said he was not consulted about the advertising materials.

We have since cancelled said event, refunded the promotor's deposit and informed the group that they will no longer be welcome at our establishment.

This is about his legacy. Dr. King has done way too much for this country, or me, or anyone, to allow this to go on.



Update: Into the Censor Infested River...

New Zealand book censors raise rating of prize winning children's book to R14 on nutter appeal

Link Here19th January 2014

Into the River is a book by New Zealand author Ted Dawe. In September 2013 it was classified as unrestricted by the Classification Office after being submitted by the Department of Internal Affairs because of a complaint from a member of the public.

An application was made to the Film and Literature Board of Review for a review of the Classification Office's decision. The Board of Review classified the book as R14.

The novel is centred on Te Arepa Santos, a boy from a fictional village on the East Coast of the North Island in New Zealand/Aotearoa. He wins a scholarship to a boys' boarding school in Auckland, and the transition is difficult. He forges friendships, finds enemies, and discovers that his Maori identity is discounted and a disadvantage. He endures the bullying that comes from this, as well as that meted out to new boys, and sees what happens when that bullying goes too far. There are confusing encounters with sex and a growing understanding of intimacy, the use of drugs, peer pressure, deep racism, grief and death. Decision summary

The Film and Literature Board of Review noted in its decision that the book contains themes of bullying, underage casual and unsafe sex, drug taking and other matters that people may find offensive and upsetting. The Board considered that the book is likely to educate and inform young adults about the potentially negative consequences that can follow from involvement in casual sex, underage drinking, drug taking, crime, violence and bullying. The Board also considered that the book serves a useful social purpose in raising these issues for thought and debate and creating a context which may help young adults think more deeply about the immediate and long term consequences of choices they may be called upon to make.

However, there are scenes in the book that are powerful and disturbing, and in the opinion of the Board run a real risk of shocking and disturbing young readers. Whilst those aged 14 and above are likely to have a level of maturity that enables them to deal with this, those below the age of 14 may not.

The Film and Literature Board of Review classified the book as objectionable except if the publication is restricted to persons who have attained the age of 14 years. The Board also requires that any further publications of the book carry the same descriptive note as the present publication, reading parental advisory explicit content .

The Board of Review decision replaces the one by the Classification Office. It is illegal for anyone, including parents and guardians, to supply Into the River to anyone under the age of 14.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie, who lodged the complaint about the book, said it was disappointing a restricted work was an award-winning children's book.



Update: NSA collects millions of text messages daily in untargeted global sweep...

And Big Brother Watch asks how can this be legal?

Link Here 18th January 2014

The Guardian reveals mass that state snoops have a programme of mass interception and analysis of people's phone messages:

The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.

The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages -- including their contacts -- is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK's Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of untargeted and unwarranted communications belonging to people in the UK.

The NSA program, codenamed Dishfire, collects pretty much everything it can , according to GCHQ documents, rather than merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets.

The NSA has made extensive use of its vast text message database to extract information on people's travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more -- including of individuals under no suspicion of illegal activity.

...Read the full article

Big Brother Watch responds with some pertinent questions:

Today's Guardian newspaper carries an alarming report about an NSA database of text messages, including those sent by British people. While messages belonging to US citizens are deleted, those belonging to British citizens are not.

First we need to know how the NSA was able to get access to UK telephone networks and scoop up millions of our texts. Then we need to know who authorised it and why they decided to hand over the private messages of people under no suspicion whatsoever to the Americans without any public or Parliamentary debate.

If an interception warrant for an individual is not in place, it is illegal to look at the content of a message. Descriptions of content derived metadata suggest the content of texts is being collected and inspected in bulk and if this is the case GCHQ has serious questions to answer about whether it is operating under a perverse interpretation of the law cooked up in secret.

The telecoms companies providing our mobile phone services need to urgently reassure their customers that they are not handing over our data in bulk to the UK or US governments. GCHQ should not be using foreign agencies to get around British laws.



Update: It's Not Right...

EastEnders tackles some difficult issues, and inevitably receives a few whinges

Link Here18th January 2014
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
The BBC published a response to complaints, notably avoiding explaining what the complaints were about.

In fact the complaints were about statements by Shabnam Masood, played by newcomer Rakhee Thakrar. She told her father Masood Ahmed, that he should not be dating Carol Jackson because she is white. After the couple's break-up, Shabnam is heard telling him: Carol can see the obvious even if you can't. It's not right you being with a white woman.

The BBC responded:

BBC One, 14 January 2014


We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a comment made by Shabnam during EastEnders on 14 January 2014.

The BBC's response

EastEnders has a rich history of tackling social issues. The show does not advocate racism or intolerance in any way; in fact it seeks to challenge these negative views.

Shabnam has returned from Pakistan with a renewed religious faith, devoutness and with some strong views. In this episode Shabnam's comments came from her personal beliefs but as viewers will see in future episodes, she is strongly challenged on her views by her father, Masood. Drama often requires an oppositional voice or view-point in order for another character/s to express their feelings, and challenge a particular sentiment or standpoint. This is the case in the episode which will air on 15 January, when Masood makes it very clear that he finds her views unacceptable.

Update: Complaints dismissed

4th February 2013. See  article from

Ofcom decided to take no action after receiving 87 complaints about the episode shown on 14 January.



Update: Very Offensive and Obscene...

Warners Movie channel in India shut down for 1 day as punishment for not making 31 cuts to a TV showing of a PG-13 rated US comedy

Link Here18th January 2014
Full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults
The Indian government has decreed that the international movie channel, WB (Warner Brothers) will have to shut down for 1 day as punishment for nota applying 31 cuts to the PG-13 rated US comedy, It's a Boy Girl Thing .

The film is rated as UA in India which is a parental guidance rating. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had stipulated 15 voluntary cuts and l6 compulsory cuts in the film for TV broadcast, but these were not implemented.

The film channel had apologised and said that the broadcast was a mistake but the state censors had got very heavy with the film channel claiming:

The Visuals shown are very offensive and obscene as the private parts of male and female are focused upon. The portrayal of the sex change is in bad taste and is indecent. The visuals are not fit to be viewed by children and also not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition. These visuals also denigrate women.



One Million Moms Recommend...

The Fosters briadcast by the ABC Family Channel

Link Here18th January 2014
Full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
The winter season premiere of The Fosters aired this past Monday on ABC Family Channel. The 14-D (the D is for suggestive dialogue) rated show is packed full of inappropriate content for what is supposed to be a family program.

The controversial plot includes a lesbian couple raising children together, but that is only the beginning of the not family-friendly content in this program. But because family is a misleading part of the network's name, we thought another warning was needed for anyone who continues to watch the channel.

ABC Family's show The Fosters is about two women attempting to redefine marriage while also raising foster, adopted and biological children. New episodes will continue to air on Monday evenings at 9:00pm ET/8:00pm CT. In addition, frequent promos are airing for this series during primetime and during G rated programs on multiple channels. These promos include the two women nude in bed together while hugging and kissing, teen with a bloody face and teen bashing in a car windshield with a baseball bat.

Unacceptable content in the season premiere included:

  • Lesbians on their honeymoon lying naked in bed together while hugging and kissing
  • Grandmother admits to staying with a past boyfriend she did not really like only because she loved his bed
  • Engaging in casual conversation with prostitutes and asking for their help
  • Female teen shares a bed with a guy at a hotel
  • Teen steals with the goal of getting arrested
  • Runaway teen
  • Teen breaks probation



Offsite Article: The Most Important Bits...

Link Here18th January 2014
ACLU comments on the technicals of Obama's tweaks to NSA mass snooping

See article from



Offsite Article: Free Speech, Rape Threats and the War on Twitter...

Link Here18th January 2014
Sadly, most British people seem to have a vague understanding of what free speech is, or why it is so important.

See article from



Belarus Further Damages Its Bad Reputation...

By banning a book written by a political prisoner

Link Here18th January 2014
According to Belarusian authorities, a book by political prisoner Ales Bialiatski can damage the image of the country. Bialiatski is serving four-and-a-half years in prison, nominally for tax evasion, but the international community see his prison sentence as punishment for his principled stance in support of human rights.

In July 2013 Customs confiscated 40 copies of Bialiatski's book Enlightened by Belarus , as they were being transferred from Lithuania, where they had been published, to Belarus. The book has been included on a blacklist of goods that are barred from the territory of the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan. After it was first inspected, authorities concluded it could be harmful for the image of the Republic of Belarus .

Enlightened by Belarus is a collection of essays on the history of the Belarusian literature. Several essays contain critical assessments of literary works by Belarusian political prisoners, like Uladzimir Niakliaeu and Aliaksandr Fiaduta.

Ales introduced a notion of 'Belarusian prison literature'. In fact his book points out that for decades writers in Belarus have been persecuted and put in prisons, from the times of the Czar Russia and Soviet repression, to present day, says Tatsiana Raviaka, adding that the state censors cannot allow free distribution of the views on the literary process presented in Bialiatski's book. She and her colleagues from Human Rights Centre Viasna are going to appeal the ban.



Update: Kenya Recommends...

Kenya's film censor bans The Wolf of Wall Street

Link Here17th January 2014
Full story: The Wolf of Wall Street...Banned and cut around the world
The Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) has banned the sale, exhibition and distribution of a Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street.

When contacted, the board's communications office said the film has been restricted due to elements that include nudity, sex, alcohol, drugs and profanity.

She said that  the board has the mandate to restrict the distribution of a film if it tends to prejudice the maintenance of public order or offend decency, or the public exhibition or display of which would in its opinion for any other reason be undesirable in the public interest.

The communications office however clarified that the restriction stands for five years and can be reviewed again.



Update: The Art of Outrage...

China unbans Lady GaGa

Link Here17th January 2014
Full story: Lady GaGa...Winding up the nutters with sex and religion
Lady GaGa' s music is no longer banned in China. The government lifted the ban nearly three years after it said that GaGa's songs were too vulgar and put them on a "poor taste" blacklist.

Now that GaGa's music is allowed in China, her new album ARTPOP has been approved for release in the country with no cuts.



Offsite Article: EU lacks a coherent strategy on free expression in digital sphere...

Link Here 17th January 2014
Surveillance, internet governance, Intermediate liability, takedown and filtering

See article from



Update: Cowardly Wolves...

The Wolf of Wall Street self censored in Malaysia

Link Here16th January 2014
Full story: The Wolf of Wall Street...Banned and cut around the world
Sarawak Report has heard that movie theatres have decided it is not worth even trying to show The Wolf of Wall Street at all in cinemas in Malaysia. One movie business insider, who has made enquiries, told Sarawak Report:

I spoke with some film industry contacts in Malaysia and I'm told 'Wolf of Wall Street' was originally on the schedule for a local release, but after exhibitors saw the film, they realised there was no way they could get away with screening it in the country, due to the drugs, nudity, profanity.



Update: Censorship Without Accountability...

Minority groups meet with MPs to discuss over-blocking by negligent ISP website blocking algorithms

Link Here16th January 2014

As concern grows that filtering and blocking by internet service providers and mobile companies may be disproportionately targeting minority groups , organisations affected have met with MP's in parliament to assess the scale of the problem and look at ways to make companies that filter more accountable.

Central to the meeting will be claims that filtering systems are disproportionately blocking sites with the least connection to the LGBT community, as well as sites dealing with sex education, violence against women and child abuse.

The meeting also looked at whether the present filtering system is adequately regulated.

The meeting was organised by journalist and campaigner, Jane Fae, who said:

According to David Cameron, filtering is so important that if companies fail to implement it, government is prepared to force them to do so through legislation.

However, this supposedly vital protection for the nation's children has been handed over to a bunch of commercial interests, based for the most part in the United States -- one of just two countries worldwide that refuses to recognise the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

There is no transparency to the solutions applied -- and a strong suspicion that these systems systematically block access to the very sites that vulnerable children most need to access. The excuse that every single block of an LGBT site was a one-off or mistake is beginning to wear thin."

As far as supervision of this system is concerned, that task appears to have been delegated to a sub-committee of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).

That body, which is heavily skewed towards representing commercial interests and lacks any significant technological expertise in this area has met just once -- some weeks after the new blocking regime was set up.

Government claims that this is an important issue: yet unlike every single other form of censorship in the UK, it is not subject to regulation or independent oversight.

I believe it is time for government to consider the licensing of filtering solutions -- and to refuse licenses to any organisation that fails to explain its filtering adequately or is in breach of basic UK legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010.

Amongst the two dozen organisations that came together to discuss these issues were London Friend and Stonewall, organisations concerned with sex education and abuse, and representatives from relevant trade bodies. MP's Kate Green, Caroline Lucas and John Leech have indicated an interest in this meeting, which was sponsored by Julian Huppert, Lib Dem MP for Cambridge, who opened the meeting by setting out his own views on the subject: it was endorsed by publications GayStarNews and Diva

Extract: What was discussed

16th January 2013. See article from by Jane Fae

The following include some of the principle next steps/actions arising from discussion:

- ISP's and mobile operators should be providing a single central point for checking whether something is blocked and by whom

- ISP's and mobile operators should be providing a single central point for objecting to particular blocks

- ISP's/mobile operators should be prepared to open themselves to more techy review of their systems by some of those present and qualified to do so: request to be put back to relevant bodies

...Read the full article



Update: Rated 18 for Moderate Arbitrariness...

The BBFC write a few rules for ISP internet website blocking and then have a role in appeals against incorrect censorship

Link Here16th January 2014

How to complain about mobile filtering over-blocking

The BBFC is now involved in how mobile internet filtering works. In this post we [the Open Rights Group] explain what role they have and how you should be able to get over-blocking problems fixed.

Over Christmas there was an awful lot of understandable concern about mobile filters, especially the Parental Control filters provided as an optional service by O2. We wrote about this at the time, but for now it's worth repeating that one of the biggest lessons was that mobile networks don't do a good enough job of explaining how their filters work, why and how they make decisions about what gets filtered, and how people can complain.

I thought it would be helpful to explain what role the BBFC now has, and explain how the process for complaints about over-blocking (or under-blocking) is supposed to work.

The BBFC's role involves three things:

  1. Setting a framework that describes what should be considered adult content for the purposes of mobile phone filtering. They have defined a set of categories and explained what content will be considered blockable.

  2. They offer advice to the mobile networks when they are setting their filters.

  3. They run an appeals process, which is designed to resolve disputes about over- or under-blocking.

The BBFC do not classify individual sites for mobile networks or run a first-stage complaints process. And they aren't responsible for the decisions that mobile networks make about implementing the framework. It's also important to point out that their framework and complaints procedure only applies to networks' under 18 filters - their default safety level - and not to other services provided for different age groups. For example, they do not regulate O2's Parental Controls, which is an optional service designed for those under 12.

How you can complain about overblocking

  1. You should be able to complain direct to the relevant mobile operator. The BBFC have helpfully provided email addresses for each mobile network, which is where you should direct complaints about overblocking or underblocking in the first instance. This contact information should also be on the mobile operators' websites. In some cases it isn't, however. For example, at the moment, O2 point people at their Twitter account or forum. As we saw over Christmas, those are not helpful channels.

  2. If you do not get a satisfactory resolution from the mobile network, you can then appeal to the BBFC. Details about how to do this are on the BBFC website . BBFC have committed to resolving the complaints they receive in five working days.

What will happen after a complaint?

If the BBFC agree that a site should not be blocked by under 18 filters, in the case of over blocking, then they will inform the mobile network, who should then remove the site from their block list. The BBFC told us that in the cases they have handled so far, the networks have responded fairly quickly to these notifications.

The same applies for under blocking - i.e. if the BBFC decide a site should be blocked, they will inform the network and it should be added to the block list.

Things are slightly complicated with overblocking because at the moment, mobile networks are allowed to block more categories than the BBFC have set out.

So even if the BBFC decide that a site should not be blocked against the BBFC criteria for over 18 content, the mobile networks might decide that the site should still be blocked because it falls under their additional categories.

For instance, we believe most networks block information about circumvention technology, which might help people learn how to get round blocking, even though such information is not considered blockable by the BBFC. Networks also used to block content related to tobacco or alcohol, but the BBFC framework specifically excludes sites that supply age restricted goods or services such as tobacco or alcohol. We are not currently sure if any of the networks continue to block alcohol and tobacco.

That may lead to a fair amount of confusion if the BBFC decide something should not be blocked but the mobile network decides it still fits one of their additional categories. This is made more tricky for consumers or website operators because the mobile networks don't publish what categories they block, so it's impossible currently for someone to know in advance of any complaint.

Mobile networks need to be more transparent, consistent, clear and responsive

The BBFC site and process is a vast improvement on the previous code - it's clearer, more considered, and there's an added appeals process. They are taking the work seriously.

However, the issues with mobile networks' own implementation have not gone away. The BBFC's transparency, clarity and responsiveness cannot be a replacement for mobile networks' own information or process, because these networks will be customers' or website owners' first port of call when they are looking for information or trying to complain.

It is still hard to get clear information from networks about what they block and why - for instance what categories they filter - and it is still hard to get information about their own complaints procedure. For example, O2 point people at their Twitter account and forums, which to date have not been helpful. Three still link to the Mobile Broadband Group code of practice, rather than the BBFC. And Everything Everywhere used to provide a list of categories filtered by their two filtering levels, but that link no longer works.

Families should be in a position to make informed choices about what their children can access via mobile phones. At the moment, it's not really possible for a parent to get a clear idea about what a mobile networks' default safety filters do and why.

It also should be possible for someone who runs a website that is blocked by a mobile network for no good reason to get that problem fixed quickly. They should be able to find out easily if their site is blocked on different networks. Again, at the moment that process is not clear enough and happens too slowly.

It shouldn't be too difficult to fix these problems - it's more a question of whether mobile networks consider it important enough to spend time and resources really addressing it.



Update: What the L is Winding up One Million Mums?...

An advert for Staples office supplies

Link Here16th January 2014
Full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
Moralist campaigners One Million Mums are trying to get the US office supplies chain, Staples, to withdraw its 'What the L' adverts. The group writes:

The new Staples ad campaign uses the tagline What the L! We all know children repeat what they hear. Everyone knows exactly what the company is implying with the mock swearing, but their commercials make sure there is no doubt of their intentions to push the advertising envelope. Staples printed ad spells out STAP ES (minus the L), - leading to the question, What the L is going on?

Staples commercials use these slogans: There will be L to pay; L if I know; Get the L out of here; All L has broken loose and What the L is going on.

Staples' ads (airing on broadcast airwaves and in print) are irresponsible and offensive. They are extremely destructive and damaging to impressionable children who will be exposed to this suggested profanity.


Send Staples an email letter and urge them to no longer produce marketing campaigns that cross the line, to pull the newest What the L commercials off the air and stop circulation of the printed ad immediately.



Offsite Article: The Daily Fail Does It Again!...

Link Here16th January 2014
The BBFC And Bad Language!

See article from



Update: Wall Street Crashes in Dubai...

UAE cinema goers walk out of The Wolf of Wall Street after 45 minutes of cuts render it incomprehensible

Link Here15th January 2014
Full story: The Wolf of Wall Street...Banned and cut around the world
The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 USA crime comedy biography by Martin Scorsese.
With Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie. YouTube icon IMDb

The National Media Council (NMC), the UAE film censor, has weighed in on the uproar caused by Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street in the UAE. Audiences of the Martin Scorsese film, which released on Thursday, have complained that scenes were haphazardly chopped and dialogues muted, making most of it incomprehensible.

The film's runtime is 180 minutes on IMDb but cinemas in the UAE, however, list it at 135 minutes.

It seems that the film was massively pre-cut so that a single version could be distributed throughout the Gulf region. Juma Obaid Al Leem, director of the Media Content Tracking Department at the NMC said that the cuts were made even before it came under their review:

We didn't touch the film. The distributor already made the cut [when it came to us]. When we asked the distributors, they said they cut all those scenes and words, because they want to distribute the film in GCC.

Al Leem added that, following complaints from moviegoers, the NMC has instructed distributors to leave the editing to them.

[We have told them] next time, don't touch the film. We will make the cuts. We will decide. Maybe some scenes will be accepted. Don't make any cut outside till they bring the full film and we will decide about the film, he said. We told them very clearly.

Reel Cinemas at The Dubai Mall posted disclaimers outside its box office:

The Wolf of Wall Street contains muted words, and some scenes have been removed as they were not considered suitable. Reel Cinemas has no control on the censorship and we apologise for an inconveniences caused.



Update: Turkish Internet to get Constipated...

Turkey steps up its internet censorship via increased surveillance, website licensing and quicker website blocking which is required to be more robust against circumvention techniques

Link Here15th January 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's top business group has warned that a government-led bill to increase control over the Internet is worrying and the planned regulations might lead to wide censorship of the Internet.

In a written statement, the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSI.AD) noted the issues of freedom of speech, intellectual property and personal secrecy on the Internet should be delicately handled.

The TUSI.AD noted access to thousands of websites has been blocked since Law No. 5651, widely known as the Internet Law of Turkey, came into effect in July, 2007:

The law, which results in limiting the individual's fundamental rights and freedoms, has also been subject to a 'rights violation' ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, the statement read. In such a situation, the planned amendments to the law are concerning and will increase censorship on the Internet. The draft should be cleared of articles that could harm the fundamental rights and freedoms and the Internet economy that is growing every day.

Some articles added to an omnibus bill submitted to Parliament last week will permit authorities to limit access to the Internet and monitor all actions by individuals online and keep such records for two years. The draft law will permit officials to limit keywords searches more easily, meaning access to videos on video-sharing websites such as YouTube that include keywords deemed problematic by Turkish authorities will be blocked.

All individuals' Internet records, including details about what sites they have visited, which words they have searched for on the web and what activity they have engaged in on social networking websites, will be kept for one or two years, according to the draft law.

Websites will be forced to join some sort of registration body controlled by the government. In addition the government has specified that ISPs must censor nominated websites more quickly, and for the implemented blocking to be more robust against simple circumvention techniques currently used by Turkish people to work around government censorship.



Update: Vivienne Pattison Recommends...

18 rated bondage on Celebrity Big Brother

Link Here15th January 2014
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother has attracted a few complaints over its supposedly 18 certificate scenes , sexism and homophobia.

The most recent fun was on Monday night's show when housemates were given the task of producing certificate 18 footage .

Six contestants dressed in PVC bondage gear and were sent into a bedroom decorated like a pole dancing club. The scenes resulted in 47 whinges by yesterday morning.

Vivienne Pattison from Mediawatch-UK spouted:

Celebrity Big Brother has always been manipulative -- but this was specifically asking contestants to create 18-certified footage. It is not a free-for-all after the watershed. There is nothing stopping an eight-year-old going on to the Channel 5 on demand online content and ticking a box to say they are old enough to watch this sexual content.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield attracted the most complaints with his comments that being gay ain't normal angered 98 viewers. There were also 52 complaints objecting to supposedly sexist comments by former N-Dubz star Dappy.

The show has attracted 342 complaints to Ofcom since the series started.



Offsite Article: Daily quotes from 'Mary Whitehouse: Her Wit and wisdom'...

Link Here15th January 2014
Sarted up as promised, but it looks like someone has censored the 'wit'

MrsMaryWhitehouse Facebook Page



And if you asked the kids, they'd probably just say: fuck 'em...

Newspapers and moralists respond to the BBFC guidelines update

Link Here 14th January 2014
A fair amount of column inches have been devoted to the news that the BBFC has tweaked its guidelines a bit.

Easily the most astute was from the excellent Strange Things are Happening website

Extract: Tinkering at the edges and pandering to the paranoid

See  article from . By David Flint

Not only is the BBFC press release rather vague, but the consultation report is contradictory. Time and time again, we are told that the majority agreed with the BBFC's classification of certain films, yet the only people quoted most of the time are those who disagree.

One could easily imagine the Board are allowing the vocal but irrational opinions of the minority to hold sway, in search of an easy life -- censoring and classifying according to the delusions of the most censorial. But that would be silly, wouldn't it?

Surely the Board wouldn't survey so many people, be told -- as they continually boast -- that they are getting it right, and then still tighten up restrictions because some people are too dumb to realise that Ted isn't a kid's film, too weak minded to be able to tell their kids that ghosts are not real - When you bring in supernatural, where you can't explain it away, then you have got problems. (Female, with children 6 -- 10) - or so prudish that they are shocked by the use of arse and crap in a U rated film?

...Read the full article

Foul Mouthed: The Daily Mail speaks shite about the classification of strong language

See  Surrender on film swearing: Children can see films full of obscenities as censors relax rules  from
See  Leader: Censors who refuse to fight for decency  from

The Daily Mail picks up on the relaxation of strong language in the 12 and 15 categories. The changes are:

  BBFC Guidelines 2009 BBFC Guidelines 2014
12 certStrong language at 12/12A
  • Moderate language is allowed.
  • The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent.

(In practice this meant a maximum of 4 or 5 uses of 'fuck' in a 12 rated film)

  • There may be moderate language.
  • Strong language may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification
15 certStrong language at 15
  • There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’).
  • The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context.
  • Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.

(In practice there is a limit of 3 or 4 uses of the word 'cunt' assuming them to be non aggressive, non sexual, and not based on power imbalance. In addition these allowed used must be grouped together)

  • There may be strong language. (ie 'fuck')
  • Very strong language (ie 'cunt') may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification.

The BBFC press release added:

Regarding language, the public wants the BBFC to be more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15. Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public.

The Daily Mail article spouted:

Children 'as young as 1'5 (sounds so much more outrageous than 15-17 year olds) are to be allowed to watch films filled with obscene language.

Swear words are now so commonplace among teenagers that age ratings will be relaxed, censors said yesterday.

The British Board of Film Classification claims parents accept it is game over when protecting their children from bad language. Controversy: The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, received more complaints than any other film in the past four years, according to the British Board of Film Classification

Under the new rules, even 12-year-olds could potentially be exposed to more profanities.

And the Daily Mail rounded up a little outrage from its panel of sound bite campaigners:

Pippa Smith, of the christian moralist campaign, Safermedia said:

It is truly outrageous -- parents and children are being let down by a regulator who is no longer interested in regulating.

Everyone except the BBFC and broadcast media knows children will copy the swearing they hear. Films make it cool. We dread to think what this latest announcement will mean for films deemed acceptable by the BBFC -- an industry-funded body --for our children.

Margaret Morrissey, of the family group Parents Outloud, asked:

If no standards are set by adults, what chance do our children have of being polite and decent grown-ups and parents?

Philip Davies, a Tory MP on the culture, media and sport select committee, said:

This reflects the general decline in good behavioural standards. It makes children think it's perfectly normal and reasonable to use bad language. I would rather they weren't exposed to even worse levels of swearing.

They are still children at 15 and are already exposed to things in films at a younger age than I would care for them to be exposed to. I would like to think that people would want to bring up their children to know that that isn't acceptable.

Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch said:

Swearing is not tolerated anywhere else in life -- kids can't do it at school, you can't do it in public. So it is quite extraordinary that they're just saying "Well, it's a free-for-all in 15-rated films". There is this idea that you just have to accept obscene language because we've got an evolving contemporary society and that's just how it is. But, actually, no we don't.

The Daily Mail leader writer whinged:

In page after page of an exhaustive survey, parents tell the British Board of Film Classification of deep concerns over their children's exposure to obscene language in the playground and online.

The BBFC's response? With the perverse logic of the liberal intelligentsia, it concludes that the fight to protect the young from words that have become part of their vernacular is game over , and no longer worth fighting.

Hence its hugely controversial decision to make films containing foul language accessible to ever-younger audiences.

But then what's new? For decades, the BBFC has brought ever-more graphic obscenities and pornography into mainstream cinema.

Is it any wonder the battle for decency is being lost, when a body set up to defend standards proposes abject surrender?

The BBFC will launch a crackdown on sexual content and swearing in films

See  article from

The Daily Telegraph featured seemingly contradicted the Daily Mail by saying that the BBFC will launch a crackdown on sexual content and swearing in films. However they were referring to BBFC changes in the children's categories rather than the 12 and 15 categories that were mentioned by the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail also ran big headlines: Film ratings to be toughened up. Apart from a few lines of BBFC political correct vagaries about sexualisation then the toughening up claim seems to based on BBFC comments about horror at 12 an 15.

  BBFC Guidelines 2009 BBFC Guidelines 2014
12 certThreat/Horror at 12/12A
  • Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained.
  • There may be moderate physical and psychological threat and horror sequences.
  • Although some scenes may be disturbing, the overall tone should not be.
  • Horror sequences should not be frequent or sustained.
15 certThreat/Horror at 15
  • Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.
  • There may be strong threat and horror.
  • A sustained focus on sadistic or sexual threat is unlikely to be acceptable.

From my reading of the rather subtle rewording it would appear that one borderline 12/15 film every blue moon may be move from 12 under the old guidelines to 15 under the new guidelines. I think the Telegraph will be disappointed if they think Film ratings are to be toughened up.

Maintaining Public Trust in Film Classification

See  article from by David Cooke, Director of the BBFC

Finally David Cooke reiterates most of what was said in yesterday's press release in a Huffington Post article. But he does make the point that if film censors actually censored according to the wishes of the Daily Mail sound bite panel, then they would end up simply being ignored:

Public trust is crucial to an organisation such as the BBFC. It is vital that the public - parents in particular - trust that the classification decisions we make reflect their own sensibilities. If for example, we were to classify depictions of strong, unsimulated sex as suitable for all, or restrict mild language to older teens or adults only, the public would soon start to lose confidence in, and so ignore, the BBFC's classifications.

We therefore go to great lengths to ensure that our decisions are in tune with society's concerns.

But, As David Flint comments, it seems a shame that the BBFC go to the trouble of ascertaining that the majority of the public thought they got it right about, say The Woman in Black, and then somehow give more credence, or at least more column inches of PC pandering propaganda to a handful of whingers and moralists.



Extract: There are Director's Cuts, Producer's Cuts and Censor's Cuts...

Now Netflix are inventing the Netflix-Knows-Best-Money-Grabber's-Cut

Link Here 14th January 2014

Netflix, Lovefilm and the rest are a bit like the cheap DVD racks at your local supermarket, where you pay $10 for a bare-bones copy of a film. No special features, no director's commentary and no director's cut version.

That's a conscious decision, according to Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt My guess is that there really isn't a case for different versions of a film, he told us at the company's demo of 4K streaming. The studios should deliver the best version, and that's what we capture. Our job is to get the director's cut and not bother with all the rest of it; there are very, very few users who are going to care about watching the five different versions and geeking out on it. That's probably not an audience that it's cost-effective and worthwhile to chase.

CUT DOWN Accordingly, for Netflix titles like The Hobbit and Mimic, there's only one version available on the service -- indeed, there's no indication that there are any other versions available elsewhere. While that's a fair point of view for a company to hold, it does seem a bit short-sighted.

...Read the full article ...



Ticket to Ride...

Tajikistan mayor bans anything but islamic music on buses

Link Here14th January 2014
The mayor of Dushanbe has banned non-traditional music from the Tajik capital's buses, it's reported.

According to US-backed Radio Ozodi , mayor Makhmadsaid Ubaidulloev signed a decree outlawing music that is alien to national and universal human values . The ban includes rock and rap music which glorifies criminality, sexual content and music that propagates non-traditional Islam .

Apparently a public hotline has been set up to report transgressors.



Offsite Article: What does David Cameron's Great Firewall look like?...

Link Here14th January 2014
The PM panders to parents' fears, offers false hope, and imposes a regime of unaccountable censorship. By Cory Doctorow

See article from



15 Year Olds Granted an Angels' Share of Strong Language...

The BBFC publishes new classification guidelines for 2014

Link Here 13th January 2014

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is publishing new Classification Guidelines today alongside the results of the large-scale public consultation which underpins them. The new Classification Guidelines will come into force on 24 February 2014.

Speaking to more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK from December 2012 and throughout 2013 has highlighted public trust in the film classification system. 95% of parents with children under 15 say they check the BBFC classification before watching a film and 89% of film viewers consider classification as important. 92% of film viewers agreed with the classification of films and videos they had seen recently, with even the most complained about film of the past four years, The Woman in Black, receiving 89% support for its 12A rating. Only 11% thought it should have received a higher rating.

Specific changes to the Classification Guidelines as a result of the public consultation include:

  • Greater weight will be given to the theme and tone of a film or video, particularly around the 12A/12 and 15 level;

  • Particular attention will be given to the psychological impact of horror, as well as strong visual detail such as gore;

  • Regarding language, the public wants the BBFC to be stricter with the language allowed at U and more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15. Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public.

A specific issue highlighted by the consultation is in relation to sexual content, where the public is particularly concerned about the sexualisation of girls, and pornography. The content of music videos and the ease of accessibility of online porn are special worries.

Parents are also concerned about risks to vulnerable adolescents including self-harm, suicide, drug misuse and premature access to sexual content, including what some describe as the normalisation in films and videos of behaviours which parents consider inappropriate.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, says:

Regular public consultation is crucial to continued public trust in what we do. Our new Classification Guidelines reflect explicitly concerns raised by the public during the 2013 consultation and will, I believe, ensure that we continue to be in step with what the public wants and expects in order to make sensible and informed viewing decisions.

There is also room for continued improvement. Although it is 12 years old this year, the 12A rating remains confusing for a significant minority, with up to 27% of consumers unable to describe accurately what 12A means. We and the film industry will work during 2014 to improve understanding of this very important rating as well as raise awareness of BBFCinsight information, which is vital in helping parents decide if a 12A film is suitable for their child.

The new Classification Guidelines are now available online and will come into force in six weeks time, on Monday 24 February 2014. The consultation exercise, which began in December 2012 and was completed in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK, and for the first time involved teenagers as well as their parents. The consultation process issued hundreds of films and videos to households across the UK and asked for their views on the classification of this material. The research continued through the spring of 2013 with focus groups in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland looking at how the public thinks specific issues, such as sex, violence and language, in films and videos should be handled. Over the summer several thousand members of the public completed questionnaires about classification generally and about 60 specific films and videos, including some of the most controversial films of the past four years.

Large-scale public consultation is used to revise the BBFC Classification Guidelines every four to five years and is supplemented with additional in-depth research on specific issues.



Obituary: Alexandra Bastedo...

The Champions actress dies aged 67

Link Here13th January 2014
Alexandra Bastedo was a British actress, best known for her role as secret agent Sharron Macready in the 1968 British espionage/science fiction adventure series The Champions .

She has been cited as a sex symbol of the 1960s and 70s. Bastedo was a vegetarian and well-known animal welfare advocate.

She died of cancer aged 67 on 12th January 2014.

She starred in a couple of films on Melon Farmers, notably The Blood Spattered Bride (1972) and The Ghoul (1975).



Whingeing Baskets...

Advert censor dismisses complain

Link Here13th January 2014
A TV ad for the Nissan Note featured a soundtrack that seemingly had the lyrics What's the colour of the next car. It's red you bastard, yeah red you bastard. Don't believe in God, but believe in this shit ... . The ad featured scenes of a couple driving through a tunnel and being approached by ghosts, supernatural creatures with fluorescent swords on hover boards and on motorcycles, and being stopped by a giant jack-in-a-box.

Two viewers complained about the ad challenging whether:

  1. the swearing in the ad was offensive and unsuitable for children to hear;
  2. the reference to Don't believe in God, but believe in this was offensive to viewers who did believe in God.
  3. The second complainant, who believed young children would be frightened by the ad, challenged whether it was suitable for children to see.

Nissan Motor (GB) Ltd said they had commissioned a clean version of the song Evil Eye by Franz Ferdinand for use as a backing track, which did not feature any swearing. They said the words in question on the version of the song in the ad were basket and schtick . They added that the lyrics of the song were barely discernible in the ad.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA was satisfied that the radio edit of Evil Eye was used in the ad and this version of the song did not contain any swear words. We considered whether the words basket and schtick , which replaced the swear words in the original version of the song, sounded enough like swearing to be likely to cause offence.

We noted that while the song played in the background during the ad, a number of other noises could be heard throughout, for example the noise made by the jack-in-the-box springing up, the laughter of the ghostly characters and the beep from the safety shield system of the car. Nonetheless, we considered that the words basket and schtick could clearly be made out and while viewers who were familiar with the original version of the song might mistake those lyrics for the swear words contained in the original version, it was unlikely that the viewers and particularly children would believe they had heard swear words and be offended.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We again noted that the lyrics of the song might be difficult to hear amongst the other noises in the ad, but we considered whether the lyric Don't believe in God could cause offence to those who did hear them.

We appreciated that the lyric expressed a view that would be at odds with the beliefs of some people, but we acknowledged that there was nothing else in the ad's content to suggest criticism of religion or belief in God, and the lyric was given no prominence. We concluded that, given the context of the ad, the lyric was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

3. Not upheld

We noted that the ad depicted a couple driving through a tunnel that resembled a ghost train, with supernatural characters jumping out and following them. We acknowledged that the noises featured in the ad, including the supernatural characters' laughter, and the backing song gave the ad a spooky atmosphere. However, we also noted that the couple did not seem to be at all threatened or scared of the characters, and were safely locked inside the car. The couple was depicted smiling and seemingly enjoying themselves throughout the ride in the tunnel, even when directly confronted by the characters, for example when the jack-in-the-box sprang up in front of them.

We noted that Clearcast had instructed children's channels to view the ad to assess its suitability for their channel before screening it, and we concluded that that was sufficient.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find it in breach.



Bad Lawmaking...

Peers reject the governments disgraceful clause to dole out asbos for mere annoyance

Link Here13th January 2014
Peers have voted against a disgraceful government proposal under which courts could stop people being annoying in public.

Ministers want to replace anti-social behaviour orders in England and Wales with injunctions that will be inevitably abused by the authorities to prevent nuisance and annoyance (Ipnas).

Courts could impose these on anyone engaging - or threatening to engage - in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person .

But thankfully the government was defeated by 306 to 178 votes in the Lords.

Crossbench peer Lord Dear, who led opposition to the plan, said anyone over the age of 10 could be served with an Ipna, which could last for an indefinite period of time and result in a prison term if breached. He said:

It risks it being used for those who seek to protest peacefully, noisy children in the street, street preachers, canvassers, carol singers, trick-or-treaters, church bell ringers, clay pigeon shooters, nudists

This is a crowded island that we live in and we must exercise a degree surely of tolerance and forbearance.

Campaigners said the laws would not deter those most intent on causing trouble and likely to be committing other offences. Reform Clause 1 campaign director Simon Calvert said:

But it will give massive power to the authorities to seek court orders to silence people guilty of nothing more than breaching political correctness or social etiquette.

Crossbencher Lord Blair of Boughton, a former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said:

This is a piece of absolutely awful legislation and we should seek to avoid it.

Former Labour Attorney General Lord Morris of Aberavon criticised the Home Office for bringing forward ill thought out proposals with little regard for the consequences .

Speaking from cloud cuckoo land, the Home Office ludicrously claimed that the new injunctions, part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, would never be imposed in an unreasonable way.

The government could seek to reinsert the proposal in the bill later in its passage through the Lords and, if that fails, when it returns to the House of Commons.

Offsite Comment: New Asbo-style Bill Menaces Free Expression

13th January 2013. See  article from by Peter Tatchell

Last year, the government was outvoted in parliament. Against minister's wishes, MPs repealed the section of the Public Order Act 1986 that outlawed insults ; deeming it to be too sweeping and a threat to freedom of expression.

This year, in apparent revenge, the government has, in effect, reintroduced in the insult prohibition under another name.

...Read the full article

See also Jailed for being ‘annoying’: It could happen in Britain if ministers get their way  from



Relax, Don't Do It, When You Want To Come...

30 Years since the BBC catapulted Frankie Goes to Hollywood to fame by banning Relax

Link Here13th January 2014
This week marks the 30th anniversary of BBC banning radio play of Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Relax .

Frankie Goes to Hollywood's debut single Relax entered the British charts in 1983 in a fairly inconspicuous manner at number 67, and then slowly climbed only as far as 35 seven weeks later.

The single never really took off until FGTH performed Relax for the first time on BBC's Top of the Pops . Within a week the single catapulted itself to number 6 and, when BBC Radio 1 disc jockey Mike Read refused to play it on his radio show, thousands of inquisitive teenagers went straight to their local record shop to find out what all the fuss was about In doing so it put the record at number 1 in the charts by January 24th, where it remained for five consecutive weeks and became the biggest selling single of 1984.

Mike Read said he found the graphical images of the record sleeve and the song lyrics sexually suggestive, distasteful and should be banned. In fact the BBC had already decided to ban the record from its daytime playlists anyway. The ban unsurprisingly backfired on the BBC, drew more attention to the song and became more of an embarrassment to them as the song was being played elsewhere by commercial radio stations and TV channels.

The band publicly denied that the lyrics were of a sexual nature, even going as far as to suggest that the BBC directors and Mike Read were reading more into this than was apparent, thus questioning what sort of deviants the BBC were employing. Later however the band retracted any public pretence about the suggestive nature of the song.



Offsite Article: Rated R for Reasonable...

Link Here13th January 2014
The MPAA argue that it has got the PG-13 rating right, allowing action violence, but not sex and profanity

See article from



Updated: 'kin 'ell...

France bans gigs by Dieudonne M'bala M'bala over claims of anti-semitism

Link Here12th January 2014
Full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour

A top court in France has upheld the ban on a performance by the controversial comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala.

The decision comes less than two hours before the comedian was due to give the opening performance of his national tour in the city of Nantes, despite his lawyers claiming a breach of his freedom of expression.

The ban had just been lifted by local judge Jean-Francois Molla who said that a perceived risk to public order could not be used to justify as radical measure as banning the show . However, France's highest administrative court, the Council of State, ruled that the show should not be allowed to go ahead.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has led the campaign to ban the comedian's performances, said:

We cannot tolerate hatred of others, racism, anti-Semitism or holocaust denial. That is not France. This is a victory for the Republic.

The decision marks a landmark break with legal precedent in France, where previous attempts to ban Dieudonne from performing foundered against constitutional provisions on free speech.

The government has accused the comedian of insulting the memory of Holocaust victims, and his show has widely been condemned as anti-Semitic. However newspaper reports have not provided any details of his material, perhaps suggesting a weak case.

The ruling today leaves the rest of his tour uncertain.

Update: Appeal

11th January 2013. See  article from

The French comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has appealed against a ban on his show. He lodged the appeal with the country's highest court, the Council of State, after it overruled a provincial judge on Thursday and reinstated the ban.

The ban took effect as fans gathered for the first show of a tour, in the western city of Nantes on Thursday. Authorities in other cities on the tour have also banned the performance.

Legal analysts say that while the Council of State decision applied specifically to Nantes, judges in other cities will have to take it into account and a flurry of further bans is likely.

Supporters of the comic and critics of the bans accuse the authorities of denying Dieudonne freedom of speech.

Shocked fans booed outside the concert hall in Nantes, where more than 5,000 people had been due to see the show. Some gave Dieudonne's trademark quenelle gesture, which is regarded by many as an inverted Nazi salute, while some brandished pineapples. One of the comic's most notorious songs, Shoananas, roughly translates as Pineapple-Holocaust.

Update: Walled Off

12th January 2013. See  article from

The French comic Dieudonne M'bala M'bala has dropped a controversial show after it was banned by the authorities. He told reporters in Paris he would no longer perform The Wall , after France's highest court upheld a ban on the opening night of his tour on Thursday.

Citing blatant political interference , he said he wanted to perform a new show devoted to Africa. Dieudonne said in a statement on French TV:

The Dieudonne controversy and the Le Mur show are over.  Now, I think we will get a chance to laugh more intensely with my new show.

We live in a democratic country and I have to comply with the laws, despite the blatant political interference.

Offsite Comment: Was Francois Hollande right to support a ban?

12th January 2013.  See  article from

Should controversial comedian Dieudonne' M'bala M'bala, the man behind the quenelle gesture, be silenced by the law -- or by sharper arguments? Andrew Hussey and Padraig Reidy debate France's thorniest issue.

...Read the full article



Update: Nepal and Singapore Recommend...

The Wolf of Wall Street

Link Here11th January 2014
Full story: The Wolf of Wall Street...Banned and cut around the world
The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 USA crime comedy biography by Martin Scorsese.
With Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie. YouTube icon IMDb

The Nepal Censor Board has decided to ban the film completely, forcing local distributors to apologize to their customers who had been waiting to see the movie. The censor chairman Umakanta Parajuli said that the film was banned:

Due to Vulgarity. Nepal is orthodox regarding vulgarity.

Meanwhile in Singapore, fans are calling for a total boycott of the version of the film cut by 4 minutes by the local censors. Movie goers want to be able to watch the original uncensored version.



Update: Not Fit For Purpose...

LibDems distance themselves from Cameron's crap website blocking scheme

Link Here11th January 2014
Liberal Democrats have vowed to overturn David Cameron's plans to install crap website blocking systems on home networks by default.

Lib Dem party president Tim Farron said the Government should enshrine the digital rights of the citizen and halt requirement for filters, lists or controls on legal material . R

Farron said filters were misconceived, ineffective and illiberal . A motion set to be adopted at the party's spring conference will say families and individuals should decide how they wish to use them . He warned essential sites on sex education and gay rights were being blocked, while porn was slipping through filters. He said:

Our motion is designed to strengthen Lib Dem ministers' hands in challenging this nonsensical policy, which has yet to be brought before the House of Commons.

If the Prime Minister really wanted to protect children from inappropriate material, he'd ensure they had access to good sexual health and relationship education.

Conservative MP Julian Smith claimed: Tim Farron is clearly putting his Lib Dem leadership ambitions ahead of our children's protection.

Helen Goodman, Labour's media spokesman, said:

It is important our children are protected from 18-rated material. That should not include gay helplines or normal sex education websites but if anything the initial problems strengthen my belief that we need one unified standard and filtering system.

Labour has pledged to bring in mandatory filters if the coalition's voluntary approach is found to have failed. The party wants all filters to abide by British Board of Film Classification ratings.



Cumulative Filth...

Advert censor bans TV trailer for Filth from showing before 9pm

Link Here10th January 2014

A TV ad for the 18 classified film Filth featured a number of brief clips from the film including scenes featuring alcohol consumption, partial nudity, sexually suggestive behaviour, vomiting and drug use. It featured a voice-over in a Scottish accent, which stated, You've got to watch Filth. The Mail on Sunday Showbiz says it's the most exciting and attention grabbing film of the year. FHM reckons McAvoy gives the performance of the year and they gave it five stars. Some bloke at GQ reckons it's magnificent, hilarious and utterly compelling and Gordon Smart at The Sun calls it the greatest thing to come out of Scotland since the deep fried Mars Bar. From the creator of Trainspotting, Filth.

The ad was cleared by the broadcaster's advertising advice service, Clearcast, with a post 7.30 pm restriction.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was suitable for broadcast before 9 pm.

Clearcast felt that the post 7.30 pm restriction was an appropriate restriction for this ad. They said the scenes of a sexual nature were extremely brief and non-graphic. They noted that there were two scenes where liquid was seen coming out of someone's mouth. They said the first was an unidentifiable liquid and the second may have been vomit, but they said both shots were extremely brief and unlikely to be inappropriate viewing after 7.30pm. With regard to the behaviour depicted, they accepted that it may be considered distasteful, but deemed it acceptable to be shown after 7.30 pm as it was unlikely to be inappropriate for a post 7.30 pm audience.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the ad had been given a post 7.30 pm restriction, and it was therefore not shown around programmes commissioned for, principally directed at, or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16 years. However, we noted that the ad contained clips likely to be seen as portraying drug use, alcohol consumption followed by vomiting, partial nudity and sexually suggestive behaviour.

We noted that one scene portrayed a young woman in lingerie approaching a line of naked men, shown from the neck down, who were holding police helmets over their genitalia. We noted that another scene depicted three people in a room together. One person was fully clothed, facing the camera and looking directly at another person, who was seemingly naked from the waist down with the third person's arm on their leg. We considered that the scenes were overtly sexual and suggestive, but noted that the scenes were brief and there was no explicit sexual content. We also observed that what seemed to be alcohol consumption featured in several brief clips in the ad, and on one occasion, a character drinking from a bottle was shown to vomit immediately afterwards. We noted that at the end of the ad a character was shown blowing a white powder, which also covered his face, from his hand. We considered that this was likely to be seen as a reference to drugs, but again noted the briefness of the scene.

We acknowledged Clearcast's point that the disputed scenes were extremely short, and we considered that if shown in isolation, the individual brief clips would likely have been considered acceptable post 7.30 pm. We did not consider that the scenes would cause harm or distress to children, that is we did not think the scenes would encourage or condone the behaviour shown or frighten children, but we were concerned about their suitability for children. We concluded that, when viewed together as a series of clips, the overall cumulative effect of those scenes portrayed a very negative, anti-social culture, which we considered would be more appropriate to be shown post 9 pm to further reduce the likelihood of children viewing the ad.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling).

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form before 9 pm.



Draft Version...

Draft Day reduced from R to PG-13 on appeal

Link Here10th January 2014
Draft Day is a 2014 USA sport drama by Ivan Reitman.
With Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner and Tom Welling. YouTube icon IMDb

Draft Day , the upcoming football flick directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Kevin Coster, was initially given an R rating for brief strong language by the MPAA, but rather than trimming the film or accepting the R, Reitman and Lionsgate successfully appealed the rating.

The film, about a general manager (Costner) who trades for the No. 1 pick and has the onerous task of saving football in his city, now bears a PG-13 rating for brief strong language and sexual references.

Lionsgate and the MPAA declined to provide details on the appeal. Draft Day will open April 11.



Update: Shameful 'Justice'...

Naked Rambler jailed for 16 months for public nudity

Link Here10th January 2014
Full story: Naked Rambler...Stephen Gough imprisoned for being naked
The Naked Rambler has been jailed for 16 months for public nudity after a trial in which he was denied access. The Jury took two minutes to find Stephen Gough guilty of breaching order designed to prevent him appearing nude in public

Stephen Gough was not allowed into court to address the jury because he refused to put on any clothes. Recorder John Williams told Gough:

I'm afraid there is going to be a revolving door in and out of prison, because you are intent on flouting these orders and there is absolutely no way you are going to comply with them.

Your refusal is that you genuinely feel that it is some way in breach of your rights, but unfortunately the courts are of the view that they are not. I would like to hope that when you leave prison you will not leave in the state that you are today, but I know that is a vain hope.

The judge had earlier told the jury:

He would like to address you as naked as the day he was born, but I will not let him do that.

Comment: Good on the Naked Rambler, more public nudity would be a good thing

10th January 2013.  See  article from

We're continually being exposed to sexualised nudity, but it's rare to see a middle-aged man naked in public. During the day, before the watershed, we see hundreds of advertisements for gorgeous, semi-nude women moaning in ecstasy because they are enjoying their yoghurt or shampoo. Go and stand in any gym, cafe or shop with a TV on, and count the seconds until you see cleavage. For more than 40 years, the Sun newspaper has been publishing pictures of nipples that readers can gaze at over breakfast. Why is it OK to hint at highly sexualised nudity all day long and then persecute a normal man for getting naked as he goes about his business?

...Read the full article



Pirate Party Keel Hauled in Russia...

Russia bans the use of the word 'pirate' from the Pirate Party

Link Here10th January 2014
A long-running battle between the Pirate Party of Russia and the Russian Government has concluded with disappointment for the Pirates. In the final legal appeal, the Ministry of Justice declared that since piracy, ie sea piracy, is a crime under Russian law, no political party may have that word as part of its name. As a result the Pirate Party can never become officially recognized unless it calls itself something else.

The Russian Government's political party naming directive seems to have the reasonable aim of stopping undesirables from showboating offensive campaigns, but its refusal to recognize that word that has multiple meanings resulted in the Pirate Party taking legal action in 2011. But by July a judge sided with the Government and the party was told to find a new name.

They refused, but in 2012 a change in the law convinced the party to reapply. Yet again a rejection was forthcoming, this time for various administrative issues alongside using the word pirate in a way that did not conform to the party's goals and objectives.

With one last throw of the dice, the party reapplied for registration in September 2013, but to no avail. The next steps for the Pirate Party are not yet clear



Small Consolation...

China partially unbans games consoles

Link Here10th January 2014
The Chinese government has temporarily lifted a ban on selling foreign video games consoles, paving the way for firms such as Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft to enter a lucrative market.

China banned gaming consoles in 2000, citing a supposed adverse effect on the mental health of young people.

In a statement, the government said that it would allow foreign firms to make consoles within Shanghai's free trade zone and sell them in China after inspection by cultural departments.

Update: Rules

20th January 2013. See  article from

China has begun drafting new rules for the sale of video game consoles and games in the country, following the nation's announcement last week that its 14-year ban had been lifted .

Cai Wu, head of China's Ministry of Culture, said that the rules are being written as quickly as possible, though no specific timeline for their publication was provided.

Things that are hostile to China, or not in conformity with the outlook of China's government, won't be allowed under the rules of the free-trade zone, Cai said. We want to open the window a crack to get some fresh air, but we still need a screen to block the flies and mosquitoes.



Offsite Article: ISPs need to be sued way out into the Atlantic...

Link Here10th January 2014
Punishment for hurting the Net and their customers. By Rick Falkvinge

See article from



A Heritage of Political Correctness...

Australia Established in 1788 t-shirts cause 'outrage'

Link Here8th January 2014
Aldi supermarket has pulled an Australia Day T-shirts from its stores amid twitter claims that designs featured on the garments were somehow racist.

The range of promotional T-shirts proclaiming AUSTRALIA EST 1788 were scheduled to go on sale on this week in the lead up to January 26.

Twitter users claimed the design was racist and culturally insensitive to indigenous Australians, who inhabited the continent for thousands of years before Europeans arrived.

The 'outrage' prompted Aldi to apologise on Twitter for any offence taken before announcing that it had decided to remove one of its Australia Day special buy products, the Adults Australia Day T-shirt and Singlet from retail .



Claiming Possession...

Outrage over Peruvian football shirt using the outline of Israel for the number one

Link Here8th January 2014
A few from Chile' s Jewish community are 'outraged' over a Palestinian soccer club's jersey that depicts all of Israel as part of the number one on the back of the team's football shirts.

Club Deportivo Palestino of Chile released its new jersey that includes the number "1" in the shape of Israel and the Palestinian territories, supposedly implying all of the land is Palestinian, The Associated Press reported.

The president of Chile 's Jewish Community, Gerardo Gorodischer , is demanding an apology from the club and asking Chile 's soccer association to pull the jerseys.



Extract: News Censorship...

Sky Broadband Blocks news website covering file sharing issues

Link Here6th January 2014
Torrent Freak explains:

Here at TF we've long been opponents of website blocking. It's a blunt instrument that is prone to causing collateral damage and known for failing to achieve its stated aims. We recently discovered that thanks to Sky's Broadband Shield filtering system, TorrentFreak is now blocked on one of the UK's largest ISPs by users who think they are protecting their kids.

Our crimes are the topics we cover. As readers know we write about file-sharing, copyright and closely linked issues including privacy and web censorship. We write about the positives and the negatives of those topics and we solicit comments from not only the swarthiest of pirates, but also the most hated anti-piracy people on the planet.

If the MPAA, RIAA, FACT, BPI, RightsAlliance, BREIN and every DMCA takedown company on earth want to have their say they can do that, alongside the folks at The Pirate Bay. We won't deny anyone their voice, whether it's someone being raided by the police or the people who instigated the raid. Getting the news out is paramount.

We are not scared to let anyone have their say and we embrace free speech. But apparently the people at Sky and their technology masters at Symantec believe that we should be denied our right to communicate on the basis that we REPORT NEWS about file-sharing issues.

That's just utter nonsense.

Symantec write about viruses and malware ALL THE TIME, so are they placed in the malware and virus category? Of course not. Thanks to their very own self-categorization process they wear the Technology and Telecommunication label. Is their website blocked by any of their own filters? I won't even bother answering that.

Examining other sites helpfully categorized by Symantec and blindly accepted by Sky reveals no more clarity either. UK ISP Virgin Media runs its own Usenet access, customers can find it at From there it's possible to download every possible copyrighted movie and TV show around today, yet that service is listed by Symantec as a Technology and Telecommunication / Portal site., possibly the world's largest distributer of file-sharing software, is also green-lighted through.

On the other hand, TorrentFreak -- which neither offers or links to copyrighted files and hosts no file-sharing software whatsoever -- is blocked for any Sky household filtered for under 18s? Really? Our news site is suitable for all ages yet when Sky's teenager filter is turned on we are put on the same level as porn, suicide, self harm, violence and gore.

...Read the full article

Update: Unblocked

10th January 2013. See  article from

Sky has inevitably removed a block on TorrentFreak, after its crap new network-level filter negligently classified the news outlet as a file-sharing site. No doubt there are thousands more websites being unfairly blocked that don't quite have the influence of TorrentFreak.

Though intended to block unsuitable content for children such as porn, gambling or violent sites, the filter also appears to be blocking legitimate sites. Sky doesn't categorise sites itself, instead working with Symantec.



Sailing an Alternative Course...

Pirate Bay are working on defeating blocking and domain censorship via an alternative DNS system with peer to peer distribution

Link Here6th January 2014
Pirate Bay is developing a new tool that doesn't rely on domain names. Instead, users will serve as the P2P hosts of the sites, with the system running its own alternative DNS. The new tool will create its own P2P network through which sites can be accessed without restrictions. A Pirate Bay insider explained:

The goal is to create a browser-like client to circumvent censorship, including domain blocking, domain confiscation, IP-blocking. This will be accomplished by sharing all of a site's indexed data as P2P downloadable packages, that are then browsed/rendered locally.

It's basically a browser-like app that uses webkit to render pages, BitTorrent to download the content while storing everything locally.

All further site updates are incremental, so people don't end up downloading the entire site day after day.

The new software will be released as a standalone application as well as Firefox and Chrome plugins.

Since the site data comes from other peers, there is no central IP-address that can be blocked by Internet providers. Site owners will still offer webseeds to speed up loading, but sites are fully accessible when these are blocked.

Another important change is that the new software will not use standard domain names. Instead, it will use its own fake DNS system that will link the site's name to a unique and verified public key. The system will also establish a registry of website names with payment being via Bitcoin.



Book Burners...

Muslim extremists burn down historic library after being offended by a pamphlet left in one of the books

Link Here6th January 2014
Ancient books in a historic library in the Lebanese city of Tripoli have been torched by extremist muslims, after a pamphlet supposedly insulting religion was found inside one of the books.

Security sources say that up to 78,000 books, many irreplaceable ancient Muslim and Christian texts and manuscripts, are now unsalvageable.

The Al-Saeh library in the Serali neighborhood was set a-blaze after a local gang to objection to a sheet apparently insulting to the religious character Mohammed, found hidden in the pages of one of the library books.

The library's curator, Greek Orthodox priest Ibrahim Sarrouj, received threats from unidentified people who accused him of writing the article, according the Jordan News Agency.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the arson attack:

We denounce the burning of the library and reject any harm being done to Tripoli and its people, as it has been, and will remain, the city of the world and of intellectuals.



Throwing in the Towel...

Channel 4 censors cut Jewel in the Nile

Link Here5th January 2014
I happened to be watching The Jewel Of The Nile on Channel 4 on January 2nd. As expected all the swearing was missing or toned down, but I noticed an interesting edit that Channel 4 had made.

It occurs in the scene where Ralph finds Jack and Joan bound over the bottomless well and the Jewel is chained up. When the Jewel tells Ralph who he really is, Ralph's response is And I'm a kumquat from Queens . But I noticed that Channel 4 cut out the next line where Ralph then says Pipe down, towelhead .

Understanding what that means obviously, that's the first time I've heard that line cut out of the film. Is Channel 4 trying not to offend members of the Arab and Muslim world by cutting out that line, or have Channel 4 panicked a little, now that someone has finally figured out after 29 years what the term towelhead means?



Update: Fucks Per Minute...

The Wolf of Wall Street excels in strong language with 506 'fucks'

Link Here5th January 2014
Full story: The Wolf of Wall Street...Banned and cut around the world
Martin Scorsese's new film, The Wolf of Wall Street can claim one triumph: no non-documentary film has ever dropped quite so many 'fucks'. According to a report by Variety , with 506 'fucks' in its two-hour, 59-minute running time, Wolf uses the word approximately 2.81 times a minute.

The previous record holder was Spike Lee's 1999 serial killer drama Summer of Sam , which contained 435 instances of the word.

In an anecdotal ranking compiled by Wikipedia, of films with 150 or more instances of the word, the director's Casino (1995) and GoodFellas (1990) are also in the top 20, with 422 and 300 respectively. Notable by its absence, however, is Scorsese's 1980 film Raging Bull , which contains perhaps the Oscar-winner's best-known use of the word: when Robert De Niro playing Jake La Motta asks his brother: Did you fuck my wife?

The top 10 contains two British films, Gary Oldman's 1997 directorial debut Nil By Mouth , and the Welsh crime film Twin Town , from the same year.

The identity of the first use of the expletive on film is disputed, though the word appears in two pictures -- Ulysses and I'll Never Forget What's'isname -- from 1967.

Yet all of the above pale in comparison to the overall record-holder for the most fucks in any film: a documentary about the history of the expletive in question called, simply, Fuck . Director Steve Anderson elicits exclamations of fucks from a broad selection of celebrities, racking up a surely unbeatable 857, at a rate of 9.21fpm.

Update: And a little hype from Margot Robbie

12th January 2013. See  article from

Martin Scorsese's forthcoming film The Wolf of Wall Street has been criticised for its sexual scenes and foul language, but it could have been even more explict, according to Margot Robbie, who appears in a nude scene.

It was actually a lot more risque than the final cut, the Australian actress tells Mandrake at the film's premiere at the Odeon Leicester Square in London. A lot of it got cut in the final edit, so you lot haven't seen the half of it.



Obituary: Mike Vraney...

The founder of Something Weird Video dies aged 56

Link Here4th January 2014
Mike Vraney, the founder of Something Weird Video and a pioneer in the discovery, preservation and distribution of thousands of lost and obscure exploitation and sexploitation films, died Thursday following a long battle with lung cancer. Born in 1957, Vraney had just celebrated his 56th birthday on December 29.

Something Weird, which was founded in 1990, remains in business to this day, offering fans of alternative cinema a cornucopia of bizarre titles on DVD and video on demand. The company also screens new releases, including this past June in Los Angeles, when Something Weird Video collaborated with the Grindhouse Film Festival to present the world premiere of Frank Henenlotter's new documentary, That's Sexploitation! Over the years, Vraney's releases were also recognized by AVN, and garnered AVN Awards nominations, as well.

Mike had a larger-than-life personality and a genuine enthusiasm for movies. Something Weird was his heart and soul, he was obsessive in his pursuit of tracking down the weirdest, wildest movies out there. And it wasn't enough to find a few forgotten films, he was always in search of the movie motherload. (Making 370 two-hour volumes of Nudie Cuties loops is a good example of this. Who does that?! Mike Vraney!) Even as a child, Mike loved movies. During his teenage years, he worked at the Bel-Kirk Drive-In, and then later as a projectionist at the Green Parrot and Apple Theaters in Seattle. Then around 1990, Mike went in search of as many old, unusual, obscure, and lost low budget exploitation movies as he could, and preserved them for prosperity. Mike amassed thousands of these rare movies and had them transferred to video so that people could relive the good old days of going to the drive-in or grindhouse theater, in their very own home. We have him to thank for introducing fandom to the wonderful world of sexploitation sinema, rescuing it from the dark recesses of forgotten film vaults and defunct movie theatres.

The folks at Something Weird fully intend to keep Mike's incredible legacy intact. Mike may be gone, but his remarkable achievements will live on.



Update: Sharing Negligent Blocking...

Torrent Freak reports on crap ISP blocking algorithms as applied to file sharing websites

Link Here4th January 2014
UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants all Internet providers to block adult content by default, to protect the children. This filtering requirement is controversial for a number of reasons, not least due to ISPs' filters targeting a wide range of other content too. Sky's newly launched Broadband Shield, for example, blocks numerous legitimate file-sharing related sites including uTorrent and, download portals for Linux distributions, and even TorrentFreak.

While most of the discussion has focused on porn, Sky's filter -- and those operated by other ISPs -- actually block a much wider range of content.  Sky's The 13-years-old-and-over setting is ticked by default, which also includes dating, anonymizers, file-sharing and hacking.

In other words, those customers who don't opt out from the 'porn filter will also have file-sharing sites and services blocked. A quick round on the internet reveals that this category is rather inclusive, and not limited to pirate sites.

Among the blocked sites are, who work with Madonna and other artists on a regular basis to release free-to-download content. The same is true for other BitTorrent clients including uTorrent, Transmission and Vuze. Tribler , which is developed at Delft University of Technology with EU taxpayer money, is filtered as well.

Websites which offer perfectly legitimate content via P2P downloads are also filtered by Sky's default settings. This includes VODO , the distribution platform for indie filmmakers, the download page of the Linux-based Fedora, as well as the download portal Linuxtracker .

In addition, several websites that merely write news about file-sharing issues are blocked by the filter too, including TorrentFreak .

TorrentFreak spoke with the Open Rights Group (ORG), who have been very critical of the filtering schemes in the UK. According to Executive Director Jim Killock, Sky is not the only problem here, as other UK ISPs employ overbroad blocking schemes, including the older mobile network filters. To find out what is being blocked exactly, ORG has been building its own checking tools , as well as a website where false positives can be reported.

Whether anything can be done against the overblocking and false positives that are reported remains to be seen. For now all legitimate file-sharing services and sites remain blocked, including the article you are reading right now.



For Services to Censorship...

TV censor made a dame in the 2014 New Year Honours list

Link Here4th January 2014
The Chairman of the TV censor Ofcom, Colette Bowe has been appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to media and communications.

An article in Tablet, the international catholic news weekly, revealed her religious background, perhaps explaining some of the moralistic censorship of UK TV channels, particularly adult TV. Bowe is a director of Tablet magazine.



New Broom...

New censor starts as CEO of India's film censorship board

Link Here4th January 2014
Indian Railways Personnel Officer Rakesh Kumar has taken over as the CEO of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

It will not be a smooth sailing for Kumar because the film industry has been very critical of the CBFC in the recent past. The CBFC has had to face flak for the do's and don'ts issued to the industry. Both film makers and moralist campaigners have frequently taken the CBFC to court to dispute censorship decisions.

Like his predecessor Pankaja Thakur , Kumar is also a rank outsider in that he has not worked as a regional officer in CBFC, to have some knowledge of film censorship. The previous CEO has gone back to her parent department - customs and central excise after she completed her three-year tenure. Rakesh Kumar will also have a three-year term to serve.



Extract: Recommending 2 Broke Girls...

Revealing some of the whinges to the US TV censor

Link Here4th January 2014
The US TV show, 2 Broke Girls, is known for its bawdy comedy; it has plenty of sex jokes and racial stereotypes worked into episodes, and those jokes aren't sitting that well with a handful of easily offended viewers.

According to, 91 viewer complaints regarding the popular CBS sitcom have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission over the last two years.

Complaints have included instances of vulgar language and inappropriate sexual references, charges of the show being soft porn and overuse of the word vagina.

From constant comments about sexual positions and ejaculation in every orifice to menstrual cycles in much more vulgar terms...Two Broke Girls is unrelenting, wrote one viewer from Texas, adding that while he found many CBS shows funny, the network should be more responsible about what it airs. I don't know when TV censorship died in this country but we need it back.



Offsite Article: Hunger for Complaints...

Link Here4th January 2014
Irish film censor analyses a trivial number of complaints about film classifications

See article from



Comment: Much ado about the 'quenelle'...

The fuss sparked by Nicolas Anelka's goal celebration has sweet FA to do with anti-Semitism.

Link Here4th January 2014
Full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
French soccer star Nicolas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonne, provoked a furious reaction in France after he used the quenelle gesture in a Premier League match on Saturday.

Update: Fined and Suspended

28th February 2013. See article from

Nicolas Anelka has been suspended for five matches, fined £ 80,000 and ordered to complete a compulsory education course, despite a three-man panel of consisting of a QC, an FA official and a former player or manager clearing him of any anti-Semitic intent.

The commission said the FA had proven Anelka's conduct was:

Abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper and included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.

We did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle.



Offsite Article: Free speech after Duck Dynasty...

Link Here4th January 2014
A reality-TV controversy in the US shows that social intolerance can be just as bad as government censorship.

See article from



Australian Advert Censor Recommends...

GoodTime Burgers at Bondi Beach

Link Here2nd January 2014
A Bondi burger restaurant's advertisement depicting a woman's bottom as a hamburger has been banned by the Australian advert censor.

GoodTime Burgers, which opened at the Eastern Hotel in Bondi Junction last month, had published the ad in the December issue of eastern suburbs community magazine The Beast before its launch.

The ad showed a woman lying on a beach in a bikini with her bottom forming the buns of a hamburger, under the tagline the freshest fun between the buns .

One of the complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau was that the woman's body and private parts are objectified as something for people (probably men) to consume .

The advert censor claimed that the ad breached Section 2.2 of the Australian Association of National Advertisers code in that it was exploitive and degrading to women.

It also determined that the fun between the buns tagline was sexually related innuendo and, while the magazine was not targeted directly at children, it was easily accessible to a broad audience and therefore did not treat issues of sex and nudity with sensitivity to its audience.



Offsite Article: Creating a porn filter is one thing, creating a transparent and functional one quite another...

Link Here2nd January 2014
The Government has entrusted the safeguarding of children to a bunch of non-UK, unregulated, commercial interests. By Jane Fae

See article from



Offsite Article: You can't parody Islam...

Link Here2nd January 2014
Full story: Monty Python...Monty Python winds up the nutters
Monty Python star Michael Palin believes religious sensitivities have increased so much it would be impossible to make Life of Brian today

See article from



Update: Censors Howl...

Indian film censors cut 6 minutes from The Wolf of Wall Street

Link Here1st January 2014
Full story: The Wolf of Wall Street...Banned and cut around the world
India's films censors have cut 6 minutes from Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street .

A source from one of the multiplex chains showing the movie said Indian audiences will be denied visuals of frontal female nudity, intercourse and masturbation as well as the dialogue, "All nuns are lesbian". These cuts, amounting to a little over 6 minutes, bring down the movie's running time from 180 minutes to 174 minutes.

Three scenes were cut: a gay orgy, co-star Jonah Hill's public masturbation sequence and the opening scene of the film that features DiCaprio blowing cocaine into a woman's derriere using a straw.

The Indian release will also include an anti-smoking disclaimer, which is now mandatory for any film that features cigarettes.



Update: Mass Website Blocking...

Russia threatens to block all the websites on a hosting service if that service refuses to take down content that Russia does not like

Link Here1st January 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media
The Russian internet censor is threatening to block entire website hosts if they refuse to take down content that Russia does not like. US-based CloudFlare, a hosting company servicing at least 750,000 sites is on the blacklist.

Roskomnadzor is the body responsible for maintaining Russia's Internet blacklist. Sites can be placed on the blacklist for any number of reasons, from promoting drugs, crime and suicide, to failing to respond to rightholders complaints under the anti-piracy legislation passed earlier this year.

There are already tens of thousands of sites (including file-sharing portals) already on the list but if Roskomnadzor carries through on its latest threats the situation could quickly accelerate out of all proportion.

The problem, the censor says, is being caused by foreign hosts and service providers, mainly in the United States, who are refusing to disable access to a range of content that is illegal in Russia. Sites apparently hop around from location to location, but within the same provider, testing Roskomnadzor's patience. Spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky Said:

We have serious questions about a particular group of providers offering such sites hosting services. We ask them to block content, but they refuse to cooperate with us.

As a result Roskomnadzor says it is considering blocking a range of overseas hosts for failing to comply. They include Ukrainian host, Endurance International (US), Hostnoc (US), DataShack (US), Infinitie (US), and the torrent and file-sharing friendly OVH (France) and Voxility (Romania).

Rounding off the Russian list is CloudFlare , a US-based CDN company that assists many hundreds of thousands of sites worldwide. Back in March, CloudFlare experienced technical difficulties which resulted in 750,000 sites being taken offline. If the Russian's block CloudFlare, similar numbers of sites would be rendered locally inaccessible.



Offsite Article: Greece: Freedom of expression takes a beating...

Link Here1st January 2014
Reports are raising alarms about government policies in Greece. Free expression, free thought, free movement, right to work, equal treatment, access to decision-making and right to protest are being systematically attacked

See article from



Offsite Article: The NSA Can Use Your iPhone To Spy On You...

Link Here1st January 2014
Malicious software planted onto iPhones and iPads gives American intelligence agents the ability to turn the popular smartphone into a pocket-sized spy

See article from

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