Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2012: March

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31st March   

Update: Howe Censorial...

Elspeth Howe introduces Lords private Members bill to mandatorily block adult content unless adults specifically ask otherwise
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The first legislative attempt to introduce an opt-in system for accessing adult internet content, has been introduced to the House of Lords. Of course private members bills have little chance of becoming law unless they capture a large consensus of support including the government.

The Online Safety Private Members Bill was introduced by Baroness Elspeth Howe, who wants to require ISPs and mobile phone companies to block adult content, unless an adult user specifically asks for it.

And the bill has predictably won the backing of the Christian  campaign group CARE, who claim it is important that the government look at providing a safe online environment for web savvy children.

The Private Members Bill is calling for ISPs and mobile phone operators to provide a service that allows adult customers to make decisions about what sort of content they want blocking on their home broadband or their children's mobile phones.

Howe's Bill is based on MP Claire Perry's campaign. The government said at the time that they are in favour of the proposals put forward, but would like the industry to self-regulate and bring about these changes without amending primary legislation. Last year the industry made the pledge to bring forward self-regulatory measures, but did not go as far as endorsing the requirement to have an opt-in to access pornography through a filter at network level.

Howe said:

Historically, most internet content has escaped regulation. A laudable industry-wide effort in the UK resulted in the Clean Feed system that blocks illegal child abuse imagery, but there has always been a reluctance to block, or limit access to, other forms of adult material due to the international nature of internet content.


31st March   

Updated: Unrated...

Weinstein Company to release the documentary Bully unrated
Link Here
Full story: The Bully Project...Weinstein Co takes on America film censorship

Bully , a new documentary premiering Friday, will be released with no rating, following a failed effort to have the MPAA rating changed from R to PG-13.

The movie's rating attracted national attention, thanks to a petition started by 17-year-old Katy Butler. The petition MPAA: Don't let the bullies win! Give 'Bully' a PG-13 instead of an R rating! has almost achieved its goal of gaining half a million signatures.

The film's no rating status will prevent it from being screened in certain theaters, which is a risk The Weinstein Co. decided to take.

Update: Nutters of the Parents TV Council Unimpressed

31st March 2012. See article from

The Parents Television Council responded to the announcement that the Weinstein Company will release the documentary Bully unrated by calling on all major theaters, including AMC, to adhere to their own policies not to exhibit unrated films. PTC warns that showing unrated content is a threat to the continued viability of the ratings system. PTC President Tim Winter said:

This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system. If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like 'Bully,' nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.

It is unfortunate that the serious problem of schoolyard and online bullying is being overshadowed by a misguided and manufactured controversy over the MPAA rating. It's even more unfortunate that the MPAA ratings system, which only exists as a tool to help parents make informed viewing decisions for their own families, is being deliberately undermined by Weinstein and his colleagues in the entertainment industry, and that their efforts may well spell the demise of a system that has benefited parents and families for over forty years.

Either ratings mean something, or they don't. The MPAA's job is not to make subjective judgments about the merit of a film or the importance of the film's message. The MPAA's sole task is to take an objective measure of the adult content in a film, and apply the appropriate rating. Though the MPAA's system is not perfect, it has been remarkably consistent at least in this regard: any more than a single 'sexual expletive' (usually the 'F-word') will lead to an R-rating. 'Bully' employs multiple uses of this 'sexual expletive,' and that is why it was given an R-rating.


31st March   

Australia Doesn't Dare...

Nonsense about Madonna's cleavage being too much for the easily offended in Australia
Link Here

The Australian TV stations ABC has deemed Madonna's ad for her new her perfume, Truth or Dare, too sexy.

The 30-second television commercial shows the singer cavorting in a low-cut corset and fishnet stockings, while singing and writhing to the dance beat, I'm a bad girl.

Now network executives have ordered the black-and-white perfume ad to be digitally altered to cover the offending shots of her cleavage.

Among the content changes that have reportedly been requested are digitally altering the singer's bra to make it bigger and extend higher, covering more of her chest, and also making her corset longer to cover more of her behind.

Once the requested changes have been made, ABC will only air the perfume ad after 9pm, with the exception of the daytime talk show The View.

Update: National Cleavage Day

3rd April 2012. See article from , thanks to Nick

It seems that ABC's censorial nonsense is there way of celebrating National Cleavage Day, celebrated anually on 31st March.


31st March   

Update: Censored Skype Messages...

Microsoft censors Messenger to remove pirate bay URLs
Link Here

Microsoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app will not be able to send each other links to popular torrent site The Pirate Bay.

We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs were flagged by one or more of these and were consequently blocked, Redmond told The Register in an emailed statement.

Microsoft declined to give any more details for their censorship choice.


31st March   

Update: Kyle Riles...

Australian media censor censures the Kyle and Jackie O Show
Link Here

Australian radio personality, Kyle Sandilands made derogatory and offensive comments about a female journalist that amounted to a breach of the radio code of practice, Australia's media censor has judged.

Last November Sandilands called a journalist a piece of shit and a fat slag and told her to watch your mouth or I'll hunt you down after she reported on the negative reaction to his TV show the night before.

His derogatory comments, made on November 22, are believed to have cost his employer, Southern Cross Austereo, about $10 million in sponsorship, with advertisers walking from the 2Day FM's Kyle and Jackie O Show in disgust.

The ACMA has begun formal steps to impose a second licence condition on the broadcaster which would prohibit the station from broadcasting indecent content and content that demeans women or girls.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said:

The Authority found the comments by Mr Sandilands deeply derogatory and offensive and in all the circumstances a licence condition is the appropriate response.

Although the comments conveyed hatred, serious contempt and severe ridicule on the grounds of gender, they were not considered likely to incite those feelings in others, he said.


31st March

 Offsite Link: A Scottish license to kill culture...

Link Here
Bureaucrats north of the border seem to be on a mission to bleed all the spontaneity out of Scotland's thriving cultural scene. By Tiffany Jenkins of Spiked

See article from


30th March   

Updated: Can 'Healing on the Streets' Heal Belief in Nonsense?...

Group of MPs challenge the ASA for banning adverts containing nonsense healing claims
Link Here
Full story: Censors vs Religious Healing...Censors unimpressed by claims of religious healing

Last month the advertising censors at the ASA banned a christian group, Healing on the Streets - Bath, from making nonsense claims about their healing services.

They censured a leaflet which stated:


Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?

We'd love to pray for your healing right now! We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness.

Now MPs from the Christians in Parliament group are challenging the ASA decision. Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem), have written to Chris Smith, Chairman of the Advertising Standards Agency:

We are writing on behalf of the all-party Christians in Parliament group in Westminster and your ruling that the Healing On The Streets ministry in Bath are no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.

We write to express our concern at this decision and to enquire about the basis on which it has been made. It appears to cut across two thousand years of Christian tradition and the very clear teaching in the Bible. Many of us have seen and experienced physical healing ourselves in our own families and churches and wonder why you have decided that this is not possible.

On what scientific research or empirical evidence have you based this decision?

You might be interested to know that I (Gary Streeter) received divine healing myself at a church meeting in 1983 on my right hand, which was in pain for many years. After prayer at that meeting, my hand was immediately free from pain and has been ever since. What does the ASA say about that? I would be the first to accept that prayed for people do not always get healed, but sometimes they do. That is all this sincere group of Christians in Bath are claiming.

It is interesting to note that since the traumatic collapse of the footballer Fabrice Muamba the whole nation appears to be praying for a physical healing for him. I enclose some media extracts. Are they wrong also and will you seek to intervene?

We invite your detailed response to this letter and unless you can persuade us that you have reached your ruling on the basis of indisputable scientific evidence, we intend to raise this matter in Parliament.

Update: Oops...the letter was a mistake

30th March 2012. See  article from

It seems that the Lib Dems were not impressed by their MP, Tim Farron, signing the letter.

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has now apologised for the wording of a letter which called for a ban on adverts that claimed God could heal sick people to be overturned, but stood by his belief that prayer could help.

Following the publication of the letter Farron apologised to Liberal Democrat members, many of whom disagreed with his decision to sign the letter. In a post on the grass-roots Liberal Democrat Voice website, Farron said it was not a well-worded and that he should not have signed it as it was written . He said:

The reference to the ASA providing indisputable evidence is silly, and the implication that people should seek faith healing at the expense of medical intervention is something that I just don't believe in

For what it's worth, I also think that the Fabrice Muamba reference is crass. So on all those fronts, I should just say sorry and not bother defending myself. I shouldn't have signed that letter as it was written, so I apologise for putting some of you in quite a difficult position.


30th March   

Updated: The Hunger Games...

A pre-cut version is further cut by the BBFC for a 12A rated cinema release
Link Here
Full story: The Hunger Games...UK version gets cut for a 12A

The Hunger Games is a 2012 US Sci-Fi action film by Gary Ross. With Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. See IMDb

A pre-cut version was further cut by 7s by the BBFC for a 12A rating for intense threat, moderate violence and occasional gory moments for:

  • UK 2012 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • The company chose to make cuts in order to achieve a 12A classification. A number of cuts were made in one scene to reduce an emphasis on blood and injury. These cuts, which were implemented by digitally removing sight of blood splashes and sight of blood on wounds and weapons, were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.

    An uncut 15 classification was available.

    These cuts were made in addition to reductions already made following an earlier advice viewing of an incomplete version

The US release is PG-13 rated

Update: Pre-cuts Outlined

14th March 2012. See article from

The BBFC have updated their page describing cuts to The Hunger Games. They have now outlined the pre-cuts.

The BBFC comments now more fully explain the cuts:

  • This work was originally seen for advice in an unfinished form. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certied 12A classification could be achieved by making a number of cuts and visual reductionont>

    When the finished version of the film was submitted for formal classification, cuts had been made in four scenes of violence and in one scene showing details of injuries. These reductions were implemented by a mixture of visual cuts, visual darkenings and the digital removal of sight of blood.

    In addition to the reductions already made during the advice process, the Board required further reductions in one scene following formal submission of the finished feature. A number of cuts were made in one scene to reduce an emphasis on blood and injury. These cuts, which were implemented by digitally removing sight of blood splashes and sight of blood on wounds and weapons, were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.

    An uncut 15 classification was available.

Offsite Comment: 13-year-olds should be allowed to see splashes of blood

14th March 2012. See  F rom by Brendan O'Neill

And secondly, the whole point of The Hunger Games is that it is bloody and gory and gross and mental. As anyone who has spoken to a teenage fan will know, the thing that adolescents love about this trilogy of books, written by Suzanne Collins, is their violence (and also their strongly anti-state undertone).

The reason teens love these books is because, unlike Twilight (which actually has lots of blood but absolutely no personality), they are quite violent and disturbing. The trilogy's army of young fans will be able to handle seven seconds of red stuff.

Offsite: Daily Mail have been trawling Twitter and Mumsnet for comments from 'concerned parents'

27th March 2012.  See  article from

Some parents have complained the film scenes of murder and bloodshed were too graphic to be appropriate for children and suggested it should be rated 15.

Scenes that have upset some parents include one where a girl screams for her life as she stung to death by killer wasps, another when a young child is skewered with a spear, another battered with a brick and scenes were piles of bodies lay fallen after bloody battles between the combatants. The film's star, Jennifer Lawrence has defended the film's content

Some took to social networking sites such as Mumsnet and Twitter to voice their concern.

One mother said: It is really good, but I thought it was really stretching the 12 rating. [My 12-year-old] was so distressed at one particular part, not long before the end that we had to leave the cinema.

Another added: You don't see much gore but it's implied and some death scenes are quite shocking. You see a lot of dead faces and it's very realistic. There's one bit where the whole cinema rocked back in its seats and went "aaargh" together.

Others suggested it should have been rated 15 to avoid the risk of younger children being brought to see it by parents unfamiliar with the content.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Daily Mail find a couple of experts to whinge at The Hunger Games

28th March 2012.  See  article from

Geoffrey Beattie, professor of psychology at Manchester University, says watching teens killing each other will have a stronger effect on young people than adult battle scenes. He said:

If you identify with the characters then it is going to seem more familiar and ... the things that happen will feel more visceral and have a stronger emotional impact on you.

There is a danger that there is so much death or violence that teens become desensitised.

Writing about the film on her website, best-selling author and paediatrician Dr Meg Meeker said:

Kids process images they construct in their minds from written words differently than they process large, hyper-real images on a screen. Starlets: The film which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth grossed ?5million in the UK in its opening weekend

During the preteen and teen years, children's minds are mentally pliable. They are being hard-wired... So, when an image comes into a teen's brain it melds into that wiring and sticks.

Offsite: But Support from the Telegraph

30th March 2012.  See article from by Robbie Collin

The BBFC have got the 12A rating spot on. There's nothing in The Hunger Games that a 12-year-old shouldn't see, but more importantly, there's a lot that they should.

...Read the full article


30th March   

Sun City Goes Dark in Delhi...

Gay art exhibit closed in Delhi after a complaint and police action
Link Here

Indian police have forced closure of an exhibition of eminent photographer Sunil Gupta at Alliance Francaise in Delhi following an anonymous complaint that its content was supposedly obscene.

Gupta's exhibition, Sun City and Other Stories: Paris-San Francisco-Delhi, had opened to an enthusiastic response, and was scheduled to run till mid-April. An exploration of gay life, the exhibition featured 16 colour pictures taken by Gupta in France two years ago. The project involved a fictional narrative loosely based on the French science fiction film La Jetee , using homosexuality as a medium to connect to the life in Paris.

Gupta said the Alliance Francaise management informed him that the exhibition would be shut down for a day because of a fair at the cultural centre. However, I was informed by a third party in the evening that it would remain shut. No formal letter was sent...the decision was taken by the Alliance, he added.

Members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust issued a statement protesting the unexplained shutdown:

If major institutions like them [Alliance Francaise] cannot stand up against complaints made by a single individual and support the work of an artist they have invited to exhibit, they do not deserve the respect or patronage of the art community ... We hope the Alliance will clarify the circumstances which have led to yet another instance of moral policing against the freedom of expression.


30th March   

Update: Dangerous Uploads...

Australia's advert dutifully ban Mossimo Peep Show advert on the grounds that it somehow condones sexting
Link Here

Australian anti-sexualisation nutters Collective Shout! , launched a campaign against an Australian clothing store, Mossimo , who introduced an advertising campaign in shops and on Facebook alluding to peep shows.

Collective Shout! reported the campaign to Australia's advertising censors at the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

The ASM report explained:

Window display with the words Peep show and take a peek inside accompanied by images of men and women in lingerie. In one image the woman is pulling at the man's underpants so that they are coming away from his waist

Example Complaint

These windows are in plain view of children and provide complete approval of something that is illegal. It takes away the choice I get to make as a parent regarding the view my children should be allowed to make but it also made me feel the complete objectification of women. On the one hand I am being encouraged as a parent to protect my children from this sort of thing on the internet and provide strict parenting controls to protect and value my children but in a shopping centre they are being confront with something that not only provides a distorted perception for women but ok's doing this in secret. This is entirely unacceptable material for display to the general public.

Mossimo Response

Mossimo is a cheeky, irreverent and light-hearted brand! In the same vein, the Mossimo Peepshow Facebook campaign is a cheeky, irreverent, light-hearted and slightly controversial promotion that is consistent with Mossimo Underwear's brand positioning.

Mossimo believes that the Mossimo Peepshow Facebook app represents the best way to talk to its target audience in a language and a medium with which they are both familiar and use regularly. In this respect, the company believes that is no different to underwear advertisements in catalogues, print or other media channels, which are employed by other brands to talk to their customers. Indeed you could argue that the annual Victoria's Secret Parade which airs on Channel 10 despite being rated PG is far more risqué.

ASB Decision: Breach of the code for condoning sexting

The Board considered that the overall impression of the images was suggestive of images taken in a person's home and is suggestive of sexting - the practice of, in particular, young people sending explicit photographs of themselves via mobile phones.

The Board noted that sexting is an issue of concern in Australian society. The Board considered that the woman appears young and that the issue of sexting is of particular concern where it concerns young men and women and older children. The Board considered that the images of Liz on the website were sexualised and suggestive of sexting .

The Board considered that these images were not appropriate considering that the target audience of the advertisement is likely to include young men and women - the same audience considered to be at risk with regards to the issue of sexting .

The Board determined that these images did not treat sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and that the images breached section 2.3 of the Code.

The Board then considered section 2.6 of the Code:

Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not depict material contrary to Prevailing Community Standards on health and safety.

While accepting the Advertiser's commitment to refusing to publish inappropriate photos, the Board considered it possible that younger people would see the current advertisement as condoning or at least giving some legitimacy to the behaviour of uploading images of themselves in underwear and that this is a message that the community views as unacceptable.

The Board considered that this advertisement depicted material contrary to prevailing community standards on online behaviour and safety and was in breach of section 2.6 of the Code.


30th March   

The Ghost of Censors Past...

Horror allowed to boom in Malaysia as long as the religious good win out over the ghostly bad
Link Here

Horror films were effectively banned in Malaysia for three decades for celebrating the other-worldly in violation of Islamic teachings. But since strongman premier Mahathir Mohamad retired in 2003, and popular culture was allowed to relax a bit, they have risen from the dead.

Three of Malaysia's six top-grossing films are fright flicks made in the past two years, and the genre made up more than a third of domestic movies in 2011.

Horror films have struck a chord because they reflect the country's village culture and the traditional superstitions that trouble Malay hearts, says director Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nazri. Horror movies are the type that will be close to our culture, said the director of 2011 box-office hit Ghost Pillion Rider , about a motorcycle speedster haunted by the spirit of a girl who died aboard his bike.

After a 30-year lull in Malaysia when censors stopped approving scary movies citing Islamic, Fragrant Night Vampire hit screens in 2004. The film, about a pontianak , or vampiress spirit, a recurring Malay legend and movie subject, was a huge hit and even won accolades abroad.

Malaysian filmmakers suddenly realized there is a lot of money to be made in horror films, so they jumped on the bandwagon, said Andrew Hock Soon Ng, a film expert: However modern we are, we are still very much regulated by our traditional belief systems .

Mahathir, still an influential repressive voice, last year called such films a bad influence that stoked panic. The National Fatwa Council, which issues Islamic edicts, called them counter-productive to building a developed society.

However there has been no fatwa or any hint of a new ban actually appearing, but like all Malaysian movies, horror films are policed by the Film Censorship Board. It orders objectionable scenes cut and positive messages inserted, such as Islam winning out in the end over the supernatural. In Ghost Pillion Rider , for example, the reckless motorcycle-racing protagonist repents, becoming more religious and responsible.


30th March   

Update: Miserable China...

Chinese press censors seize 6 million publications considered illegal
Link Here

Chinese officials have confiscated more than six million publications deemed illegal during the first two months of this year. In all about 1,442 cases were involved, China's national pornographic and illegal publication office said.

The office has intensified investigation and punishment to some government authorities who serve as a protective shield for the illegal act of producing and selling porn and illegal publications, a statement said. It will launch stricter crackdowns in sectors such as printing, Internet communication and publication market to eliminate illegal publications, it said.

The repression of pornography and illegal publications has expanded in scope from printed publications to online releases in recent years.


29th March   

Just a Hitch...

According to the ASA, nothing to get all worked up about
Link Here

A poster for Todd Insurance Broker featured a woman walking through an office, away from the camera. One side of the woman's dress was tucked into her underwear. Text next to the image stated What are the odds? Further text stated Life's full of little surprises. Make sure you're covered for Home, Car, Travel and Business Insurance .

A complainant challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive because it degraded and objectified women; and

  2. irresponsible because it could be seen by children.

W Todd and Son Ltd did not believe that the poster was offensive or irresponsible. They said the poster was created by a female designer as part of a structured campaign that used the line, What are the odds? accompanied by an image of a recognisable mishap. They said the campaign was intended to be quirky and fun and took a light-hearted approach to thinking about insurance. They added that there was a male version of the poster planned for later in the campaign.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the complainant's objections to the ad. We noted that the image in the ad showed the women's dress tucked into her underwear and that her underwear, bottom and legs were visible. However, we did not consider that the image was sexually explicit. Neither did we consider the image, or the accompanying text, sexually suggestive. We considered that the image and the text What are the odds? was a play on a recognisable and embarrassing situation, but we did not consider that the approach used in the poster degraded women or was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We considered that the ad was a light-hearted approach to thinking about the chances of little surprises happening in life. Because we did not consider the poster sexually explicit or suggestive, or degrading to women, we considered that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. We also considered that it was suitable to be shown on a poster site that could be seen by children. For these reasons we concluded that the poster had not breached the Code.

We investigated the poster under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and Offence) but did not find it in breach.


29th March   

Pink Flamingos...

The BBFC agreed to pass John Water's gross comedy at 18 uncut in 2008, but unfortunately the release was cancelled
Link Here

Pink Flamingos is a 1972 US crime comedy by John Waters. With Divine, David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce. See IMDb

The BBFC agreed to an uncut 18 rated DVD release in 2008 but the release was cancelled.

The BBFC addressed the 3 remaining cuts:

  • Probably the most difficult scene was the one featuring a man assaulting a woman with live chickens. However, a careful viewing of the scene suggested that the handling of the chickens, although rough, was no stronger than other scenes of animals being manhandled that had been passed in other films. Furthermore, although the chickens were killed, the killing was quick and clean and therefore not in breach of BBFC policy on animal cruelty.
  • The scene showing a man masturbating and injecting semen into a woman's vagina was grotesque and repulsive, rather than erotic. Although the Board had previously expressed concerns about the non-consensual nature of the scene, the datedness of the film and the lack of credibility of the scene, argued against intervention.  With regard to the sexual violence in the scene, the Board's conclusion was that the scene was so over-the-top and so divorced from reality, that the likely response was disgust, shock and horror, rather than arousal.
  • The brief explicit fellatio could be justified by the wider context of the film, in that the whole purpose of the film was to shock, disgust and amuse (in a blackly comic fashion), rather than to arouse, and the explicitness of the image was important in creating the film's effect.

Previous Versions

Released uncut for the pre-cert video:
  • UK 1981 Palace VHS

After a long delay, out of fear of a BBFC rejection, the video was eventually passed 18 after 3:04s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1990 Castle VHS

The cuts, justified on grounds of sexual violence, degradation, animal cruelty, and obscenity, were:

  • Cuts were made to remove sight of chickens being roughly handled and killed during a bizarre sexual assault on a woman. [The chicken is crushed between the copulating lovers].
  • Cuts were made to reduce a scene in which Channing the butler masturbates over a captive woman and injects semen into her vagina with a syringe
  • Cuts were made to reduce a scene in which a man flexes his anus in close up, making it look as if the anus is singing .
  • Cuts were made to remove all sight of Babs fellating her son in explicit detail
  • Cuts were made to remove sight of Babs eating real dog excrement.

The elastic singing anus cuts were restored for:

  • UK 1997 cinema release

Then the excrement eating cuts were additionally restored for:

  • UK 1999 EIV VHS


29th March   

Update: European Court Filtered Out...

European Parliament trade committee somehow decides not to consult the European Court about legality after all
Link Here
Full story: ACTA Trade Restrictions...Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

The European Parliament's international trade committee has rejected a proposal by David Martin, an MEP who is drafting the Parliament's position on ACTA. Martin wanted to ask the European Court of Justice for its opinion on the controversial anti-piracy treaty, but the committee decided that wasn't needed and will now vote in June on whether to approve ACTA. Opponents of the treaty see the development as a victory.

In a February announcement, EU trade chief Karel De Gucht said that following discussion with fellow Commissioners, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The treaty, which is aimed at harmonizing global copyright enforcement globally, has largely been formulated behind closed doors and its critics fear it will only lead to censorship and surveillance of Internet users.

The plan was to ask the ECJ to look at ACTA and decide if it conflicts with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and right to privacy.

ACTA will now be pushed through committees in the European Parliament during April and May and then to a final full Parliament vote at its June plenary session.

If ACTA dies in European Parliament, then it's a permakill, and the monopoly lobbies will have to start fighting uphill, said Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge in a comment. If ACTA passes, the same monopolists get tons of new powers to use, and close the door for the foreseeable future behind the legislators for a very necessary reform of the copyright and patent monopolies.

After its existence was first discovered by the public in 2008 after documents were uploaded to Wikileaks, ACTA's opponents now have just 10 weeks to pull out the stops.


29th March   

Update: Straight Laced...

Ludicrous Apple censors ban Geometric Porn app
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

The Geometric Porn website describes itself as:

Something abstract existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence. Visual geometry containing the non-explicit description of sexual organs or activity. Arising in the mind it intends to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.

GeometricPorn is a project by Luciano Foglia, a multidisciplinary visual artist. He has been working in the design industry for over ten years focusing on interactive design, code based animations and music. His personal time is spent exploring new ways of expression in music and art, working from his studio in London, Hackney Wick.

Geometric Porn App has been rejected by Apple censors as explained on the website:

Reasons for Rejection:

16.1: Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected. We found that many audiences would find your app concept objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.


29th March   

Updated: Miserable Bigwigs...

Indonesia assembles a group of senior nutters, censors and the politically correct to battle against porn
Link Here

  Chief Religious Censor

The Indonesian government has formed an anti-porn task force to monitor and enforce an anti pornography 2008 law that prohibits just about anything vaguely sexy.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who formed the group under a presidential regulation signed on March 2, created the Pornography Prevention and Management Task Force to more effectively coordinate state bodies.

The government stated on its website:

The task force will work under the President and be responsible to the President, and will serve as a coordinating institution, which will coordinate efforts to curb and handle pornography.

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali will serve as executive chairman of the task force and Agung Laksono, coordinating minister for people's welfare, will act as the organization's chair. Other members include State Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Gumelar, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin and Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh.

Update: As expected, extreme repressive ideas result from putting a nutter in charge of defining pornography

29th March 2012. From

The government's controversial anti-pornography task force, headed by Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Al, is now working on measures to repress anything sexy in Indonesia. A discussion that includes coming up with a massively broad definition of pornography, which could potentially equate to dictating how women dress.

We think that there should be general criteria [for women's clothing]. For example, women's skirts should go past their knees, Suryadharma said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The task force, he said, is in the process of gathering suggestions from the public about what activities should be classified as pornographic and how best to repress them.

Masruchah, the deputy head of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), immediately slammed the proposed legislation, calling it a violation of women's rights.

Offsite Article: Minister's bid to ban miniskirts using anti-pornography law angers Indonesian women

23rd April 2012. See  article from

One opposition politician, Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, told the Jakarta Post that the government should be focusing on more important issues. The way women wear their skirts, below or above the knees, will not impact others, she said.

One of the country's main women's groups, the National Commission on Violence Against Women, has denounced the proposed ban as absurd and repressive.

One of the commissioners, Nurherwati, said it bolstered the still common perception in Indonesia that rape victims were to blame for their ordeal.

The pornography law, she said, was supposed to protect women, but it actually criminalises them . Ms Nurherwati gave the example of a striptease dancer in Bandung, West Java, who was prosecuted under the law, although she was a trafficking victim. When women reported sexual assaults, she said, the first thing police ask is, 'What did you do to get raped?'

...Read the full article


28th March   

Update: Canberra Leads the Game...

ACT to adopt the new R18+ adult games rating next week
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Canberra, Australia's capital, will start using the new R18+ rating next week.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said:

This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material, said  But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18.


28th March   

Advert Censors of Little Stature...

Advert with 'Midgets' Causes the Widespread Offence of One Person
Link Here

Claims on Bar Fusion's Facebook page, for a Christmas event at a bar, viewed on 9 December 2011, featured text which stated CHRISTMAS EVE WITH MIDGETS! FOR THE 1ST TIME IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS THIS CHRISTMAS EVE PARTY WITH OUR VERY OWN XMAS MIDGETS that's right MIDGETS!!!!!!!!! ENTRY JUST £ 5 ALL NIGHT . Beneath this text was an image which included the text To you & friends, from Santa's club. December 24th. XMAS EVE With Our Xmas Midgets .

A complainant objected that:

  • the ad, and in particular the use of the word midgets , was offensive to short statured people; and

  • the ad was irresponsible, because it reinforced negative attitudes towards short statured people.

Bar Fusion said it was never their intention to cause offence and with hindsight they felt they must apologise for doing so. They said the night and artists were booked by an outside promoter who used the term. They therefore believed it was acceptable to use the term and that it would not cause offence. They said once it become apparent that the ad had caused offence, they removed the ad.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that Bar Fusion did not intend to use the ad in future. However, we noted the ad stated CHRISTMAS EVE PARTY WITH OUR VERY OWN XMAS MIDGETS that's right MIDGETS!!!!!!!!! and considered the ad portrayed the presence of individuals of short stature as an attraction and source of entertainment. We therefore considered the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence. We also considered the ad promoted negative attitudes towards individuals of short stature and was therefore irresponsible. On that basis, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence). Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Bar Fusion to ensure that ads were prepared with a sense of social responsibility and did not cause serious or widespread offence in future.


28th March   

Extract: Lost Souls at the BBFC...

Robin Cooke talks about 100 years of film censorship at the BBFC
Link Here

As the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) celebrates its 100th year, its director David Cooke reflects on some of the films that have challenged the censor over the decades.

One of the best examples is 1932's Island of Lost Souls, the first non-silent screen adaptation of HG Wells' Island of Dr Moreau, starring Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi. Scene from Island of Lost Souls Island of Lost Souls was first rejected by the British censor in the 1930s

Originally rejected in 1933 - and again in 1957 - the film was eventually classified with an X certificate with cuts in 1958. In 1996 these cuts were restored and the film gained a 12 certificate.

In 2011, it was resubmitted for a new DVD/Blu-ray release and was passed as a PG - making it viewable by children, though it carries the warning: Contains mild violence and scary scenes .

When we had to classify it again last year, we went for PG on the basis of the comparison with the Doctor Whos and the Harry Potters, explains BBFC director David Cooke.

...Read the full article


28th March   

Update: Tired Old Minds of Teachers and Old Fogies...

Teachers to debate call for more stringent legislation on computer games
Link Here

  Tender young mind takes on tired old mind

The head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is whingeing that parents ignore age restrictions and allow their children to play violent computer games.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers will raise their concerns about children spending hours a day playing inappropriate computer games at debate during their annual conference in Manchester next week.

ATL head Dr Mary Bousted said some of these games were very violent and could have an effect on tender young minds of children and young people . And she was sure her conference would hear how parents are ignoring age restrictions of computer games. She told reporters:

Of course, they're extremely difficult to enforce, just like films, like TV.

It's about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can't do it alone.

If they're up to 12 or one o'clock playing computer games, and coming to school exhausted, not interacting with other children, that's not good preparation for school, and not good preparation for life.

The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they're not interacting, they're not playing and not taking exercise.

The motion being debated calls for the union's executive to commission research which will allow it to lobby government for the introduction of more stringent legislation on computer games.


28th March   

Updated: Turkish Jewish Group Ignores the 'Day of No Outrage'...

'Outraged' by an inane shampoo advert in Turkey that features a ranting Hitler
Link Here

A Turkish shampoo commercial featuring Adolf Hitler has drawn 'outrage' from Jewish groups worldwide and calls for it to be banned immediately.

It's totally unacceptable to make use of Hitler, the most striking example of cruelty and savagery, the Turkish Jewish Community said in a statement.

The commercial for Biomen, a men's shampoo, shows a gesticulating Hitler delivering an enthusiastic speech, urging male customers to buy the product that is a 100% male shampoo.

The United States-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) joined in the 'outrage'. Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the ADL said:

Using Hitler, who was responsible for the mass murder of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to sell shampoo is a disgusting and deplorable marketing ploy.

It is an insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, those who survived, and those who fought to defeat the Nazis.

Update: Storm Troopers Wade In

28th March 2012.  See  article from

A Turkish TV advert for men's shampoo, featuring Adolf Hitler, has been withdrawn following complaints from the country's Jewish community. Turkey's Jewish community threatened legal action over the unacceptable use of Hitler to promote the product.

The Istanbul-based advertising firm, Marka, and the company that produces the product, Biota Laboratories, both confirmed that, after just ten days on air, the decision had been taken to withdraw the advert for Biomen shampoo.

The Jewish community seemed more upset than they were supposed to be, Beril Mardin, account director with the Istanbul-based advertising firm Marka told the BBC.


27th March   

Update: Internet Companies Asked to Pro-actively Censor Social Media...

Government committee seems to envy Chinese censorship of the press and internet
Link Here

In a report published on 27th March 2012, Parliament's Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions says Parliament should not introduce any new privacy statute. It concludes that in weighing the competing rights to privacy and freedom of expression, each case must be judged on its own merits. The bar for limiting freedom of expression must be set high, but the Committee says that the courts are now striking a better balance in dealing with applications for privacy injunctions. It rejects criticism that privacy law has been judge-made , noting that it evolved from the Human Rights Act.

The Committee says the most important step towards improving protection of privacy is to provide for enhanced censorship of the media. The Press Complaints Commission lacked the power, sanctions or independence to be truly effective. Substantial changes to press regulation are needed to ensure that it encompasses all major news publishers including, in time, major bloggers.

The reformed media censor should:

Have access to a wider range of sanctions, including the power to fine; be cost-free to complainants be able to determine the size and location of a published apology, and the date of publication play a greater role in arbitrating and mediating privacy disputes

The body dealing with complaints should include representatives who have experience of working in the print media, but should not include any full-time employees of news publishers or individuals who have a demonstrable conflict of interest.

To make self-regulation work, all publishers must sign up to the new regulator. One possible mechanism the Committee suggests is for advertisers to agree to advertise only in publications that are members of the press regulator and subscribe to its rules.

A standing commission comprising members of both Houses of Parliament should be established to scrutinise industry-led press reforms and to report on them to Parliament. If the industry fails to establish an independent regulator which commands public confidence, the Government should seriously consider establishing some form of statutory oversight. This could involve giving Ofcom or another body overall statutory responsibility for press regulation, the day-to-day running of which it could then devolve to a self-regulatory body.

The Committee says that major internet corporations should take active steps to limit the potential for breaches of court orders through use of their products and, if they fail to do so, legislation should be introduced to force them to. In addition, the Attorney General should be more willing to bring actions for civil contempt of court in respect of injunctions being breached online.

It also concludes that parliamentarians should ensure that material subject to an injunction is only revealed in Parliament when there is good reason to do so. Gratuitous or repeated revelation of such information could lead to new parliamentary rules to prevent it. The media must be legally protected when reporting Parliament, and so qualified privilege should apply to the reporting of all proceedings in Parliament.


27th March   

Ofcom Announce a Performance Review of ATVOD...

An aborted ludicrous flat rate fee structure, rules that suffocate the nascent adult VOD industry, expensive fees just to adjudicate on a handful of complaints. ATVOD will pass with flying colours
Link Here

Christopher Wollard, group director of Ofcom, has written to ATVOD:

Two years ago, Ofcom designated ATVOD (the Authority for Television on Demand) as co-regulator of editorial content included in on-demand programme services ('ODPS').

Paragraph 13 of the Designation says that: The Designation shall be subject to a formal review by Ofcom at the expiry of two years from the date of this Designation taking effect [i.e. 18 March 2012] .

We propose to take the opportunity of the formal review of the Designation to take a broader look at how co-regulation is working.

To this end, the terms of the review, which have been agreed by Ofcom's Content Board, are to:

  • (a) assess whether Ofcom's tests for co-regulation are still being met, and that ATVOD remains an appropriate regulatory authority

  • (b) consider how ATVOD is discharging the designated functions and whether it is meeting the obligations and conditions

  • (c) identify any issues arising from the co-regulation of ODPS that would merit further consideration

  • (d) consider whether to continue the designation, and if so, whether there are any aspects of the designation that may require amendment

Ofcom are keen to hear from stakeholders, particularly VOD providers. Contributions are invited up until 21st May 2012.

Ofcom expect to announce the results of the review in summer 2012.


27th March   

Dangerous Protest...

Azerbaijan musicians beaten up by police 'censors'
Link Here

Claims that Azerbaijani police savagely beat performers at a protest must be independently investigated by the authorities, Amnesty International said as Jamal Ali and his band's bass player, Natig Kamilov, continued to be held in custody.

After Ali insulted President Ilham Aliyev's late mother during the band Bulistan's performance in the capital Baku, the two men were arrested along with the event's organizer Etibar Salmanli.

After the incident, a court charged all three men with petty hooliganism and ordered them to spend five to 10 days in administrative detention.

The police's violent assault on the performers at Saturday's peaceful protest must be promptly and thoroughly investigated by an impartial authority, and those responsible brought to account, said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Director for Europe and Central Asia.

Jamal Ali and Natig Kamilov are being denied access to their families and lawyer. During their court hearing they said they had been beaten again while in police custody.

Azerbaijani authorities have effectively criminalized peaceful anti-government protest in city centres, by banning demonstrations and imprisoning those who organize and take part in them. Police frequently use excessive force to break up peaceful, but officially unsanctioned demonstrations.


26th March   

Bangladesh Ignores the 'Day of No Outrage'...

Court orders the blocking of 'outrageous' web pages
Link Here

The High Court in Bangladesh has ruled that five supposedly blasphemous Facebook pages and a website must be blocked.

The court heard the pages were deemed to have offended Muhammad and other religions.

The case was brought by two teachers from Dhaka University and Dhaka Centre for Law and Economics who claimed the pictures hurt the religious sentiment of Muslims. The lawyer making the petition, Muhammad Nawshad Zamir, claimed to the AFP news agency that some of the images were close to pornography. Zamir added that the pages also contained disparaging remarks about the holy book of the Koran, Jesus, Lord Buddha and Hindu gods . He declined to name the Bengali-language website.

This is the first time the country's High Court has intervened, although two years ago Facebook was blocked in Bangladesh for a short period until caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and obnoxious images of the country's leaders were removed.


26th March   

The Not So Democratic Republic of Congo...

Television station attacked after criticism of provincial government
Link Here

A private television station in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been raided by unidentified men.

Radio Television Kindu Maniema (RTKM) who broadcast from the capital of Maniema province was attacked by a group of men, who set fire to the station's satellite antenna, and damaged the station's offices.

Programme presenter Mira Dipenge went into hiding five days ago, fearing he would be arrested following orders from the governor of the province, Tutu Salumu.

In early February, Salumu ordered station management stop broadcasting call-in programmes in which callers could criticise his management of the province.


25th March   

Update: Bare Arsed Hype...

YouTube provide a cuts list required for Madonna's new music video, Girl Gone Wild
Link Here
Full story: Madonna Crucified...Madonna winds up the nutters

Madonna's new video for Girl Gone Wild has been restricted to adults by YouTube. It is supposedly too raunchy for general viewing, with scenes including partial nudity and a close-up of a man's PVC-clad crotch.

YouTube censors have told Madonna's management that if they want it to be available for viewing by all, they must edit out shots of bare bottoms, a man rubbing his crotch and an implied masturbation scene where a man gyrates before a mirror.

A rep for YouTube told the New York Post

YouTube has decided the video is too raunchy and should only be viewed by those 18 or over, and actually, the video is hard to find on the site. YouTube has sent Madonna's team a list of shots that should be cut to make it appropriate for everyone.

While we don't comment on individual videos, we review all videos flagged by our users against our community guidelines. In some cases we age-restrict flagged material that, while not in violation of those guidelines, contains images that may be unsuitable for younger users.

Madonna's team are working on an edited version of the video for YouTube.


25th March   

Playing a Nutter Game...

US lawmakers want to label nearly all video games with a health warning about violent games
Link Here
Full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors
US lawmakers have proposed a bill that would label most video games with the warning:

Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.

Joe Baca and Frank Wolf have introduced the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act citing the supposed negative effects that video games have on people's health, despite increased findings that suggests otherwise.

Baca spouted.

The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers, to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,  They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.

If the bill passes, the only games that would be exempt would be those with an ESRB rating of Early Childhood (EC). All others would require the warning on the game box, regardless of whether the game actually featured violent content.

Previous attempts to pass the bill occurred in 2009 and 2011. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video game publishers in the US, called the bill unconstitutional. In a statement made to Game Informer, the trade group said:

We would commend Representatives Baca and Wolf to the reams of bourgeoning academic research demonstrating that video games can be innovative learning and assessment tools in engaging and educating America's youth, especially in core subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math.


25th March   

Updated: The People's Patois...

Chinese internet users develop coded language to work around banned words
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Don't look at me..
I was just out getting soy sauce

Scaling the wall. Buying soy sauce. Fifty cents. A mild collision. May 35. Mayor Lymph. River crab.

These words --- mild, silly, inoffensive --- are part of the subversive lexicon being used by Chinese bloggers to ridicule the government, poke fun at Communist Party leaders and circumvent the heavily censored Internet in China. A popular blog that tracks online political vocabulary, China Digital Times, calls them part of the resistance discourse on the mainland.


Perry Link, the author of Liu Xiaobo's Empty Chair , described the use of code words and Aesopian allegory by Mr. Liu and other popular bloggers like Han Han: Harmony, for example, is a key word used in the government's rhetoric, and Internet writers use hexie, or river crab, which is a near-homonym of the Chinese word for harmony, to mean repression.

To be harmonized, these days, is to be censored.

Officials are aware, of course, of its barbed meaning on the Internet, said the Chinese writer Yu Ha in an essay in the IHT Magazine, but they can hardly ban it, because to do so would outlaw the 'harmonious society' they are plugging. Harmony has been hijacked by the public.

Offsite: Naming the Unnameable

25th March 2012.  See  article from

[A few] days ago, Beijing was hosting an innovative tug-of-war for the elderly; this game has nine contestants in all, wrote one internet user, in a thinly veiled reference to the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's top political body.

The first round of the contest is still intense. The teletubby team noticeably has the advantage and, relatively, the Master Kong team is obviously falling short.

Teletubby is code for Wen Jiabao, who chided Bo publicly before his ousting - the Chinese version of the children's TV show, Tianxianbaobao, shares a character with the Premier's name. The popular instant noodle brand Master Kong is known as Kang Shifu in Chinese and stands in for Zhou Yongkang, who is reportedly supportive of Bo.

...Read the full article


25th March   

Agent Vinod...

Indian spy film banned in Pakistan
Link Here

Pakistan's censor board has banned the Bollywood film Agent Vinod .

A statement from IMGC Global, the Pakistani distributor of the film, confirmed that the movie had been banned by the censor board of Pakistan .

There was no official word from the board but sources told PTI that the film, which centres round the exploits of an Indian spy played by Saif Ali Khan, was banned as it contained references to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that could hurt the sentiments of people in Pakistan .

The statement issued by IMGC Global quoted the firm's chairman, Amjad Rashid, as saying that Agent Vinod had been banned due to the contents of the movie . Rashid suggested that films should not hurt either the religious or national sentiments of Pakistanis or decelerate the Indo-Pakistan peace-building process .


25th March   

Updated: Responding to a Pussy Riot...

Russian lawmaker proposes an increase in fines for for blasphemy
Link Here
Full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols

A Russian lawmaker has proposed a ten-fold increase in fines and up to 15 days' administrative arrest for insulting religious beliefs.

Under a bill proposed by United Russia Party member Alexander Sidyakin, fines for offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols would be increased from the current $17-$34 to $170-$340, RIA Novosti reported.

Sidyakin said current fines are insignificant and cannot serve as a deterrent against offending religious feelings.

He said the bill came in response to a stunt by the feminist group Pussy Riot in downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. Five masked members of the female group stormed the church to perform a punk prayer criticizing what it called the church's links to the Kremlin.

After the incident, Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman, demanded blasphemy be made a criminal offense.

Update: Arrested

11th March 2012. See  article from

Two members of the Russian feminist band Pussy Riot , who were arrested on charges stemming from a February demonstration inside a Moscow church, have now declared a hunger strike, RT reports.

Band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina have announced the hunger strike in protest of their arrest over the weekend and the court's decision today to keep them behind bars, supporters told the Russian news site

Police arrested six people on Saturday on charges stemming from a Feb. 21 incident at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in which five members of the band staged a five-minute performance before police caught up to them.

The five church performers, just a few of the dozens of women who make up the band, pulled the stunt in protest of the church's alleged support of Vladimir Putin, the Moscow Internet television station SOTV reports.

Since forming last September, the group has conducted a number of flash performances in visible areas around Moscow as part of their declared mission to confront Russia's authoritarian rule, sexism, ethnic intolerance, and social atomization, the station reports.

There was plenty of support for the jailed pair at an opposition rally in Moscow, which saw up to 15,000 gather in the city centre.

Pussy vs Putin said one sign in English at the demonstration while another called for Pussy Riot for the Eurovision . One protester held up the female torso of a shop dummy with Free Pussy Riot written on the back. The two women were included in a list of political prisoners read out from the stage.

Update: Chief Rabbi Weighs In

13th March 2012. See  article from

The Judaic community of Russia has sharply condemned the recent performance by the punk group Pussy Riot in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Andrey Glotser, the press officer for Russia's chief rabbi, told Interfax-Religion:

These people did not only insult Christians, they insulted all believers. These young women turned a temple into a cheap political platform. In addition, the way they expressed their views was so inappropriate that I personally absolutely understand to what degree they generally don't care about their fellow citizens, at least those who believe in God,

The protesters have committed blasphemy in a place where people pray to God, which means that they don't care about any temple and, if we look at the situation more broadly, they don't care about other people. Their desire to demonstrate their views was stronger than respect for other people.

One can have different opinions personally about the activities of Vladimir Putin or any other politician, and one can have different opinions about a religion, in particular, the work of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Muslim ummah, or the Jewish community, but this attitude does not give a person license to express his viewpoint in such barbaric ways as this group did.

Update: Still detained

15th March 2012. See  article from

Moscow City Court has upheld a lower-court decision to keep two members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot in pretrial detention until at least April 24.

About 20 supporters of the women gathered near the court on March 14, and three of them were detained by police.

Update: So much for christian tolerance, forgiveness and turning the other cheek

25th March 2012.  See  article from

 More than 2,000 people have signed an open letter to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, asking the clergy not press charges, over the Pussy Riot stunt in a church.

But Kirill has told Russian TV he was sickened by their protest and saddened that Russian orthodox believers would defend the band. He said:

Those people don't believe in the power of prayer, they believe in the power of propaganda, in the power of lies and slander, in the power of Internet and mass media, in the power of money and weapons. We believe in the power of prayer. I call on the whole Russian Orthodox Church for passionate and diligent praying for our country, for our trust, for our people, for God to forgive us our sin.

However not all religious leaders are so unforgiving, others including Vsevolod Chaplin, the influential head of the Orthodox Church's social affairs department, have said the women should not be imprisoned.


24th March   

Updated: Pandering to the Morality in Media Sanitarium...

Rick Santorum promises to enforce prohibitions banning adult hardcore porn in the USA
Link Here

Rick Santorum writes on his website:

America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.

Every family must now be concerned about the harm from pornography. As a parent, I am concerned about the widespread distribution of illegal obscene pornography and its profound effects on our culture.

For many decades, the American public has actively petitioned the United States Congress for laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core adult pornography.

Congress has responded. Current federal obscenity laws prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier. Rick Santorum believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.

The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws. While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration.

I proudly support the efforts of the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition that has tirelessly fought to get federal obscenity laws enforced. That coalition is composed of 120 national, state, and local groups, including Morality in Media, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Cornerstone Family Council of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania Family Institute, Concerned Women for America, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a host of other groups. Together we will prevail.

Update: Nutters harangue Mitt Romney to follow Rick Santorum's anti-porn promises

21st March 2012. From

Dear Governor:

Greetings and best wishes. We are writing to seek a meeting with you in the near future to discuss the necessity of enforcing federal obscenity laws should you be elected president. Those laws prohibit distribution of obscene (hardcore) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail, and by common carrier.

The U.S. Department of Justice has stopped all enforcement of these laws at a time when our nation is suffering an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography.

Illegal adult obscenity contributes to addiction, divorce and break up of families, harm to children who have easy access to the material, violence against women and misogyny, as well as to sexual trafficking. Children are targeted by the pornography industry, and they often engage in sexually exploitive behaviors as a result of their exposure to pornography. Many suffer life-long consequences.

Consumption of adult pornography leads many to consume harder and more deviant material over time and even leads many to consume child pornography, contributing to the widespread and increasing problem of child pornography distribution in America.

We believe that the next president needs to understand that a wealth of research now exists that provides overwhelmingly evidence of the great harms caused by pornography. We deserve to have the nation's obscenity laws enforced. There is widespread public support for enforcement of these laws, which were passed overwhelmingly by the United States Congress.

We look forward to meeting with you and thank you for your consideration

Alan E Sears: President, CEO, & General  Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
Tony Perkins: President, Family Research Council
Phil Burres: President, Citizens for Community Values
Bishop Harry Jackson: Washington, DC
Mathew d Staver: Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Tim Wildmon: President, American Family Association
Donna Rice Hughes: President, Enough is Enough
Laura Lederer: President Global Centurion
Ted Baehr: Chairman, Christian Film & Television Commission
Josh McDowell: Josh McDowell Ministry
Austin Ruse: President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
Patrick A Trueman: President & CEO, Morality in Media
Dr Richard Land: President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Comment: Rick, If You're Against Porn, Don't Watch It

23rd March 2012. See article from
See  article from

In 2008, Florida's 8th Congressional District elected what would turn out to be one of Congress's most liberal members, Alan Grayson.

But having been voted out of his congressional seat in 2010 hasn't stopped the feisty former New Yorker from commenting on a wide variety of social issues ... including porn.

He has excellently responded to Rick Santorum's nutter pandering call to prosecute makers and sellers of hardcore porn. He wrote:

In a TV interview on Sunday, Rick Santorum said that if he is elected President, he will file criminal charges against the distribution of pornography. Santorum specifically referred to exposure on the Internet, so presumably he would censor the Internet.

The Internet Police. What a concept.


I have a dramatically simpler idea.

Rick, if you're against pornography, then don't watch it.

You see how that works? Let me give you some more examples.

If you're against contraception, don't use it.

If you're against abortion, don't have one.

If you're against Moslems, don't become one.

If you're against gay marriage, don't have one.

If you're against unions, don't join one.

If you're against universal health care, just keep your distance from doctors and hospitals.

If you're against homosexuality, then feel free to limit your sexual interest to the 3 billion human beings of the opposite gender.

What I'm basically trying to say to Rick Santorum, and everyone like Rick Santorum, is this: mind your own business.


Alan Grayson

Update: Santorum Withdraws

11th April 2012. See  article from

Former Senator Rick Santorum surprised few today with his decision to pull up stakes and suspend his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

This also means that, unless he is tapped for the ticket, Santorum's so-called war on porn is officially a dead issue. Romney may share the same belief about prosecuting porn, but he is so uncomfortable with any subject that is even remotely messy that it is inconceivable he will ever mention the p word without having been forced to do so, and even then he'll probably just walk away from the issue altogether.


24th March   

Pants Censorship...

Dubai art fair censors four exhibits
Link Here

The Art Dubai art fair has, every year since its inception 2007, has unsurprisingly seen censorship problems relating to the content or message of its featured works.

The authorities have forced organisers to remove four works from the 2012 fair, two of which directly deal with the Arab Spring.

The first work is entitled After Washing , a round painting by Palestinina artist Shadi Alzaqzouq. The canvas depicts a woman wearing a foulard (veil) and holding a pair of men's pants upon which with the words clear off are written in Arabic. According to French daily Liberation, the artist had already been denied a visa by the authorities.

you were my only love by zakaria ramhaniThe second is You Were my Only Love by Moroccan Zakaria Ramhani, a large canvas depicting a scene from the Egyptian revolution, where members of the police and military have stripped and beaten a protester.

These two pieces were to be displayed at the Artspace Dubai gallery. The gallery's director, Maliha Al Tabari, said that the intervention had not been officially sanctioned. She said she would put the two works in display in the London gallery which she has just opened.

The two other works which were taken down were a statue of a naked man by Lebanese scultor Nadim Karim, and a painting by Iranian Khorow Hassanzadeh which were deemed offensive to Imam Ali .


23rd March   

Updated: Bullied by US Theatre Owners...

Weinstein Company thwarted in its quest to get Bully exhibited for the teen market
Link Here
Full story: The Bully Project...Weinstein Co takes on America film censorship

The Weinstein Company was not well pleased by the MPAA R Rating for the film Bully (aka The Bully Project ) for the amount of strong language.

After the failed appeal against the rating, the Weinstein co initially threatened to pull out of the MPAA and then suggested that they would release the film unrated.

These suggestions seem to have wound up the theatre owners and others in the industry leading to a press release from the Weinstein Co stating their position:

National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) President & CEO John Fithian sent Harvey Weinstein a letter dated February 24 on behalf of NATO stating that they may urge theater owners to treat BULLY as an NC-17 rated film. With an NC-17 rating, children under the age of 18 will not be permitted to see the movie even with a parent or guardian present. The NC-17 threat comes in response to The Weinstein Company's (TWC) suggestion to release BULLY, which has the sole purpose of educating children and highlighting how bullying has become a national crisis, in theaters unrated after the MPAA failed to lower the R rating given for some language.

As a company we have the utmost respect for the National Association of Theatre Owners, but to suggest that the film BULLY could ever be treated like an NC-17 film is completely unconscionable, not to mention unreasonable. In light of the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Ohio, we feel now is the time for the bullying epidemic to take center stage, we need to demand our community takes action.

Update: Just Six Expletives

5th March 2012. From

It seems that all the fuss about the R Rating of the Bully is down to just 6 expletives.

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, wrote to Harvey Weinstein, explaining that 'rules is rules' and that it would not be a good idea for Weinstein to try and release the movies unrated:

Grateful As a father of a 9-year-old child, I am personally grateful that (the Weinstein Co.) has addressed the important issue of bullying in such a powerful documentary. Yet were the MPAA and NATO to waive the ratings rules whenever we believed that a particular movie had merit, or was somehow more important than other movies, we would no longer be neutral parties applying consistent standards, but rather censors of content based on personal mores.

That leaves the makers of Bully with the question of whether to edit or bleep the expletives, which are part of the antagonistic behavior documented between kids in the film. Right now, director Lee Hirsch is declining to do that, and has the backing of Weinstein. The director says such editing would minimize the harsh realities of bullying.

To cut around it or bleep it out, it really absolutely does lessen the impact and takes away from what the honest moment was, and what a terrifying feeling it can be (to be bullied), says Hirsch: I feel a responsibility as a filmmaker, as the person entrusted to tell (these kids') stories, to not water them down.

Update: Passed PG in Canada

9th March 2012. See article from

Bully has been rated PG by British Columbia film censors. Parental guidance is advised for the documentary in the western Canadian province, and the film comes with a warning of coarse language; theme of bullying.

Director Lee Hirsch, who has been campaigning against the restrictive R Rating awarded by the US film censor, said:

Last night, I learned of the B.C. board's decision to grant Bully a PG-rating. I am thrilled that kids of all ages can now join their parents, teachers, social work advocates and leaders to bring about change for this deeply important cause.

Meanwhile in the US a petition with 200,000 Signatures will be delivered to the MPAA calling for a PG-13 rating.

Update: Nutters praise the censors but seem a bit confused about public opinion

10th March 2012. See article from

The Parents Television Council has praised the MPAA for maintaining the R rating for Bully despite pressure from the public and the film's distributors to lower it to PG-13.

The group says its position is based on the language reportedly used in the film. The MPAA also cited language as the reason for the rating.

The council also called for increased public involvement in the ratings process. [ the same public that's campaigning for the lower rating?]

Update: Another PG in Canada and Support from Congress

13th March 2012.  See  article from

Conservative Alberta became the second Canadian province to give the Lee Hirsch documentary about an epidemic of U.S. school bullying a PG-rating. The Alberta censors included a parental guidance warning, indicating themes or content in Bully may not be suitable for all children.

Meanwhile, the advocacy tools website has announced that 20 members of the US Congress have signed on to a petition asking the MPAA to lower the R rating it gave to director Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully .

The bipartisan group, led by Representative Mike Honda wrote:

We are writing to express our sincere disappointment in the MPAA's decision to issue an 'R' rating for the soon-to-be-released documentary Bully. This important project shows the real life anguish of many teenagers in this country who are tormented, harassed, and bullied by their peers. This truth should be shared with as wide an audience as is appropriate and possible. We believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is desperately important.

The petition started by high school student Katy Butler, has garnered over 275,000 signatures, helped by public support from Ellen Degeneres and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Update: More PGs in Canada

14th March 2012.  See  article from

Manitoba and Ontario are the latest provinces to give the Lee Hirsch documentary about school bullying a PG-rating.

Movie classification boards in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta last week gave Bully PG-ratings ahead of its theatrical release.

Update: The Hunger Games vs. Bully

23rd March 2012. From

Lawmakers, parents' advocates, filmmakers and teenagers are complaining that language and sex are scrutinized while violence gets a pass ( Bully received an R because it contains scenes of teens hurling profanities). Critics also say that the system of five alpha and alphanumeric characters are blunt tools rather than nuanced instruments and that the overall process is too secretive and rigid.

Michigan Representative Hansen Clarke said:

The hypocrisy is that the very movies that contribute to violence can be seen by teenagers because they get a PG-13, [referring to The Hunger Games]. And the one film ('Bully') that actually teaches them to respect others is given an R.

Dan Isett, public policy director of the nutter group, Parents Television Council, agrees a rethinking is necessary. Like Clarke, he believes movies such as The Hunger Games - and a lot of other films that are approved for teen viewing - merit R ratings:

Certain movies will never get an R no matter what's in them. That's the problem when the ones policing the system have an economic incentive to give films a certain rating.

Yet some legislators, such as California's Representative Linda T. Sanchez, say the rating panels are thinking too narrowly by counting swear words and body parts while ignoring the larger context. It seems like the MPAA missed an opportunity here, she said of Bully, arguing that raters should have taken into account the movie's message.

The MPAA says that making its system more flexible would require raters who can offer value judgments. And that, the group's chief, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, says, takes it into a messy thicket. Who am I going to hire to do that? Writers? Critics? Dodd said in his office last week as the Bully controversy was building. That's not a business we want to be in.


23rd March   

A Bumper Year for Appeals against MPAA Ratings...

8 appeals so far for 2012 US movie releases
Link Here

The MPAA, which administers the US ratings system via its Classification and Rating Administration, has already heard eight appeals for films scheduled for release this year. That's double the number the group heard for movies released in 2011 and surpasses the seven appeals it heard for 2010 films.

Failed appeals were:

  • Bully , a documentary about bullying.  Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R for strong language to PG-13.
  • Sea Level , an action adventure. Producers failed to get the rating reduced to G.
  • Killer Joe , a crime drama. Producers failed to get the rating reduced from NC-17 for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality to R.
  • Haywire , starring Gina Carano in an action picture.  Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R for some violence to PG-13.
  • This Means War.   Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R.
  • Apart . Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R.
  • The Possession , a thriller. Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R and so made cuts for a PG-13

The only successful appeal was:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower , a high-school romance. It was reduced from R to PG-13

I think studios are starting to push a little harder, said Ethan Noble, who runs Motion Picture Consulting, a company that assists filmmakers and studios with ratings and who has worked on numerous appeals, including the one for Bully. And while I think that this is the best system we can have, there does seem to be a disconnect between what the ratings board wants and what filmmakers think should be allowed.

That disconnect, say Noble and others, comes from changing social mores about language and other areas of explicit content while the MPAA, Noble said, is basically using the same system it's had in place for years.


23rd March   

Update: A Thin Legislative Programme...

Israel proposes law to ban thin fashion models including Naomi Campbell
Link Here
Full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

Israel is set to introduce a law banning underweight models from adverts.

Under the proposed legislation publications would also have to disclose when they use altered images to make women and men appear thinner.

The ban appears to be the first time a government has used legislation to take on a fashion industry accused of abetting eating disorders by idealising extreme thinness.

The law, which will not apply to foreign publications sold in Israel, requires models to produce a medical report, dating back no more than three months, at every shoot that will be used on the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organisation standards. WHO says a body-mass index below 18.5 is indicative of malnutrition.

That ludicrously means that models such as Kate Moss with a BMI of around 17 and Naomi Campbell with a BMI of around 6.5, would be considered too thin.

Top Israeli model Adi Neumman said she would not pass under the new rules, because her BMI was 18.3. She said she ate well and exercised. She also said the legislation should have focused on health and well-being, not weight.


23rd March   

Rating Appeals Process at the MPAA...

Background to the debate about the rating for Bully reveals a few details of the MPAA appeals process
Link Here
Full story: The Bully Project...Weinstein Co takes on America film censorship

Implemented by longtime MPAA chief Jack Valenti largely to avoid government censorship, the US movie rating process is a well-worn, if murky, system.

A group of modestly salaried employees watch dozens of movies every month and offer an initial rating. The MPAA does not reveal the identities of these individuals, or their qualifications, other than to say they are parents who are not affiliated with the film industry.

If producers are not happy with the rating that panel gives a film, they can take it to an appeals board of at least nine people. The MPAA does not say who is on the appeals board, though it is believed to be composed mainly of a rotating group of studio and theater executives - and representatives of religious groups are sometimes present. (The MPAA itself gets one vote.) A maximum of two people are allowed to argue on behalf of the film at an appeals session, which is closed to the public. Records of such sessions are sealed.

To win an appeal, a filmmaker must receive the support of two-thirds of the appeals panel. The ratings are overseen by the MPAA's Los Angeles-based Classification and Ratings Administration, headed by Joan Graves.

Only producers, not the public, can appeal ratings.

The MPAA says film ratings do not assess the value or social worth of a movie or censor any aspect of a film. They simply provide clear information to parents (and all interested moviegoers) about a film's content.

The group's chief, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut cites a study commissioned by the MPAA and conducted in 2005 by a company called the Opinion Research Corp. that found 76% of parents with children younger than 13 believed the ratings were useful or very useful.

He also noted that few ratings are appealed. We had something like six appeals out of more than 400 cases last year, he said. That says that we're doing something right.


22nd March   

Case Dismissed...

ASA dismisses complaints about an NSPCC mail shot using a DVD case
Link Here

A DVD case, sent as a direct mailing from a children's charity, viewed in December 2011, featured text which stated: KERRY'S FATHER ASKED HER TO DO THE UNTHINKABLE. AND THEN HE FILMED IT . The reverse of the box included the name and address of the recipient and the NSPCC details. The leaflet, inside the DVD case, included further information about ChildLine and a donation form. The leaflet stated: THE FOOTAGE OF KERRY IS NOW WITH THE POLICE. AS IS HER FATHER. BECAUSE SHE WAS ABLE TO TALK TO CHILDLINE .

  1. Seven complainants objected that the text on the cover of the DVD case was disturbing and offensive.

  2. One complainant objected that the text on the cover of the DVD case could cause distress to individuals who had suffered abuse.

  3. One complainant objected that the DVD case was inappropriate for children to see.

The National Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said they relied on mailings generating a good level of response from donors and it was therefore important that the mailing stood out. They said the pack recounted the experiences of two children and drew on real examples of the NSPCC's work. They said it was their policy to be truthful about their services and challenges faced by children and young people. They said the wording on the outside of the DVD case did not contain details of the abuse that the child had suffered. The NSPCC said they made every effort to ensure that the mailing was addressed only to individuals over the age of 18 years.

ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the NSPCC aimed to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse and that such a distressing subject was likely to cause discomfort when presented in any medium. Nevertheless, we took the view that any discomfort inherent in the subject of child abuse ought to be balanced by the worthwhile purpose of raising awareness of it. We considered that recipients were likely to understand the importance of the issue the mailing presented and that individuals who had suffered abuse would be likely to appreciate the work of the NSPCC and the message contained within it.

We noted that the DVD case was personally addressed to the intended recipient and that the NSPCC logo appeared beneath the address. We also acknowledged that text on the front cover of the DVD did not provide details of the abuse that the child had suffered.

In that context, we considered that the ad made clear its intended purpose, but was not likely to cause excessive distress or serious or widespread offence.

On points 1. & 2., we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it to be in breach.

We noted the complainant did not state that children had been distressed by the ad and that the NSPCC had attempted to ensure that the mailing was personally addressed only to individuals over the age of 18 years. We also noted the wording on the outside of the DVD case did not contain specific details of the abuse the child had suffered and, whilst we considered that adults would understand the references on the DVD case, we considered it unlikely that children would.

Because the NSPCC had taken steps to target their mailing, and because children were unlikely to understand the message given by the text, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to children and was not irresponsible.

On point 3, we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) but did not find it to be in breach.


22nd March   

Update: Gypsier TV...

Ofcom clears Channel 4 over two programmes, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Gypsy Blood
Link Here
Full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended

Channel 4 has been cleared by Ofcom for running a series of posters promoting the TV series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Billboards and other media adverts for the second series of the show used the words Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier.

More than 300 complaints were rejected after organisations such as the London Gypsy and Travellers Unit said the word gypsier in the advert was shocking and potentially racist.

January's Gypsy Blood documentary was also cleared of causing offence. More than 500 complaints were received by Ofcom about the 90-minute True Stories programme on Channel 4.

The TV censor said its rules had not been broken and that scenes, including children fighting and animal cruelty, showed context and were justified as part of the documentary.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also rejected complaints about promotion surrounding My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding's second series.


22nd March   

Update: Sofa King Right...

Sofa King boss appeals the ASA ban on his advertising slogan
Link Here

  The owner of the Northampton Sofa King furniture has appealed an advert by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Last month, the ASA found an advert reading The Sofa King -- Where the prices are Sofa King Low! was supposedly likely to cause serious or widespread offence because it alluded to ''so fucking low'. The ASA claimed that the advertisement alluded to a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in advertisements at all.

But Mark Kypta, who has run Sofa King and used the slogan for 10 years, has argued the decision was not consistent with similar cases, including the ASA's rejection of 52 complaints against Burger King advertisements in 2010.

In 2010, 52 complaints were made against a Burger King advertising campaign that used phrases such as king tasty , king delicious and no king parking . The ASA allowed the advertisements, stating they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because they did not contain any explicit bad language.

Kypta is arguing that this reasoning should apply to the Sofa King's advertising too.


22nd March   

Update: Hare Krishna Book Not Banned...

Russian censors lose their court appeal to ban Hindu holy book as extremist
Link Here

A Russian court has dismissed an appeal supporting the ban of an edition of the Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita As It Is , in a case that triggered protests in India. The book is a used by the Hare Krishna movement.

In December, a court in the Siberian city of Tomsk had rejected a plea by prosecutors to rule the edition to be "extremist" and therefore banned.

Prosecutors had filed an appeal in the higher court against the decision and so as to re-impose the ban.

The controversial commentary on the text was written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the  Hare Krishna movement. Followers in Russia saw the case as part of efforts by the Russian Orthodox Church to restrict their activities.

The Bhagvad Gita, one of the most popular texts for Hindus, takes the form of a conversation between the god Krishna and prince Arjuna.


21st March   

Update: An Ofcom Storm of Prudery...

Widespread offence of 1 person winds up the easily offended TV censors
Link Here
Full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Storm Night
Storm, 9 December 2011, 23:30

Storm is a free to air babe channel (Sky channel number 966). The licence for the service is held by Chat Central.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the broadcast of inappropriate content during Storm Night on 9 December 2011.

The female presenter was wearing: a grey pleated skirt, pulled up over her stomach and under her bare breasts; a striped tie draped over her shoulders; a novelty necklace; and white trainers and socks. The presenter was not wearing any underwear.

During the broadcast she lay back on a desk, facing the camera with her legs tightly closed. At various points during the broadcast she changed position and covered her genital area with either a flat or cupped hand.

Approximately 20 minutes into the broadcast she opened her legs to camera and placed a cupped hand over her genitals, clearly applying pressure against her genital area.

She also poured white lotion onto her breasts, which remained there for the duration of the broadcast.

Ofcom considered rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code:

Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Ofcom has previously published rules on what Ofcom considers to be acceptable to broadcast on these services post-watershed.

adult chat broadcasters should at no time:

  • broadcast anal, labial or genital areas or broadcast images of presenters touching their genital or anal areas either with their hand or an object; and
  • at no time broadcast shots of presenters using liquids of a sort in a way which suggests the liquid is ejaculate.

Ofcom Decision Breach of rule 4.2

In Ofcom's view the images highlighted above were strong and clearly capable of causing offence. We noted that the broadcast included material that is clearly inconsistent with Ofcom's guidance. For example: the presenter was clearly applying pressure against her genital area with her hand and used body lotion in a way that suggested it was ejaculate.

Ofcom noted that in conjunction with those images the presenter performed various other actions including: stroking her body; shaking her breasts to camera; and miming fellatio. Her position on screen (reclining on the desk facing the camera) also resulted in her genital area becoming the focal point of the shot, despite the fact there were no actual images of her genitals, intrusive or otherwise. Ofcom considered the material included images that are not permitted in „adult chat advertising content that is available without mandatory restricted access.

Ofcom considered that because the presenter was not wearing any underwear, the chances of the material contravening the relevant rules and guidance was significantly increased because she had to ensure her genital area was adequately covered by her hand each time she changed position.

Ofcom does not prohibit nudity in adult sex chat services. However, as set out in Ofcom's guidance, images of presenters touching their genital or anal areas either with their hand or an object are prohibited within the context of „adult chat advertising content that is freely available without mandatory restricted access. In light of this we would caution against the use of naked presenters when broadcasting this content.

Ofcom found this material in breach of Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.


21st March   

That's a Bit Rich!...

ASA dismisses batch of whinges about Harvey Nichols 'Walk of Shame' advert
Link Here

An ad uploaded onto YouTube by Harvey Nichols, titled A Harvey Nichols Christmas 2011 - Ever Faced the Walk of Shame? , was viewed between 6 and 12 December 2011. The ad showed several women in evening wear making their way home in the early morning, apparently after a night out. The women all looked dishevelled and uncomfortable, and some were given second looks from passers-by. On-screen text then appeared, which stated Avoid the Walk of Shame this Season , followed by footage of a smartly-dressed woman approaching the entrance of a flat and confidently acknowledging a postman.

The ASA received several complaints:

  1. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it reinforced negative stereotypes of women, and in particular those women who chose to have casual sex.

  2. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive and sexist, because it was demeaning to women.

  3. One complainant challenged whether the ad, and in particular a scene of a woman wearing ripped tights, was offensive, because it implied sexual violence.

  4. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it suggested that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame, whilst more wealthy women who behaved in the same way should feel proud.

  5. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it mocked less wealthy women and those who did not have model figures.

Harvey Nichols & Company (HNC) said they were sorry to hear that the ad had offended or caused concern. They said their intention had been to raise a smile by reminding people of a familiar hazard of the Christmas party season -- of waking up somewhere unfamiliar the day after a night out and having to embark on the journey home in attire that was less than suitable for the morning rush hour. HNC said that, in the past few years, that phenomenon had been popularly referred to as the Walk of Shame , but the ad was intended to convey the idea that women did not have any reason to be ashamed. Rather, it was intended to highlight the fact that society tended to be judgemental, and to suggest, playfully, that a woman's choice of outfit could go some way to offsetting that tendency. They said their intention was to show that women could also do the Stride of Pride , which was how men were popularly referred to in the same situation.

HNC said the response to the ad suggested that the vast majority of people who saw it had enjoyed it and taken it in the spirit with which it was intended. They said it had been enjoyed and celebrated by women's magazines and, after 725,000 views on YouTube, the ad had received 1223 likes and only 221 dislikes.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld

The ASA noted HNC's view that the women had not necessarily had one-night stands. However, like the complainants, we understood the term Walk of Shame to be popularly understood to refer to an early morning journey home specifically after a one-night stand. We therefore considered that, by referencing the Walk of Shame , the implication of the ad was that the women had had casual sex the previous night. Nonetheless, we noted that whilst the ad mainly depicted women on the Walk of Shame who looked dishevelled and uncomfortable, the final scene showed a woman who appeared neat and confident. We considered the ad did not, therefore, reinforce negative stereotypes of women generally, or women who chose to have casual sex in particular, nor that it was sexist or demeaning to women.

We understood one complainant believed the ad was offensive because the scene of a woman wearing ripped tights implied sexual violence. However, we considered the majority of viewers would not interpret the scene in that way, because ripped or laddered tights were common in everyday situations.

We noted the ad depicted women of a range of sizes and in a variety of dress styles. We also noted they were shown in a range of locations and situations which did not necessarily suggest they belonged to a specific social class or had a certain level of wealth. We therefore considered the ad did not imply that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame whilst more wealthy women should feel proud, or that it mocked less wealthy women who did not have model figures.

We acknowledged that some people might find the theme of the ad distasteful, but we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On all points, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.


21st March   

Extract: A Book Fair Missing a Few Key Pages...

London Book Fair is highlighting Chinese authors, but somehow only those that are state approved
Link Here
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship

The London Book Fair is facing claims it has bowed to pressure from Chinese authorities by failing to invite dissident and exiled writers to next month's event and choosing only state-approved authors.

Bei Ling, an exiled poet and essayist, has written to the British Council, the organisers of the cultural programme of the fair, which is one of the biggest international publishing events in the world, expressing his surprise over its plans to host Chinese state-approved writers and organisations.

I was amazed that no independent voice, no exiled or dissident writer from China is being represented at the London Book Fair, he told the Guardian, accusing the fair, which is focusing on China this year, of self-censorship to keep Chinese authorities on board.

It is shocking enough that the book fair has worked with Gapp (General Administration of Press and Publication, the agency responsible for regulating publications in China). In order to ensure that their guest country was happy they exercised self-censorship and didn't push for other, non-state-approved writers, although without them you don't get a full picture of literary China, he said.

...Read the full article


21st March   

Heads in the Cloud...

South Korea proposes measures to further restrict access to internet porn
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in South Korea...Repressive new internet censorship law

The South Korean government has proposed further measures to prevent teenagers from easy access to pornographic websites and adult content on mobile phones.

Social security numbers will no longer be used for the age verification needed to view adult content. Social security numbers have been frequently stolen and used by teenagers to gain access to pornographic sites.

Instead, credit card numbers and an Internet personal identification number called i-PIN will be used for online identification from August.

The government will also distribute software that will block access to adult content on smartphones within the first half of the year as well as a content-filtering program that will recognize adult material by analyzing colors and sounds of the content and turn them off by default, according to officials.

The government plans to make it mandatory for all online file-storage companies, dubbed webhard services in Korea, to be equipped with content blocking programs. Webhard services have been regarded as the main source for teenagers downloading adult content.

The government will also increase penalties for internet porn related offences.


20th March   

Alton Towers Attraction Rated 12A by the BBFC...

Confusing as to whether it is open to under 12's when accompanied by their parents
Link Here

Following unprecedented feedback from a testing panel during its beta phase, Alton Towers Resort has been compelled to seek advice from esteemed film classification body the BBFC, to help assess its new psychologically terrifying underground attraction, Nemesis Sub-Terra , which opens to the general public on 24th March 2012.

For the first time in history for a theme park attraction, the BBFC agreed to assess Nemesis Sub-Terra, so that Alton Towers Resort could protect its younger visitors from the intense and disturbing effects of the new attraction and consider appropriate restrictions.

Now in its 100th year of operation, until now the BBFC has only rated content in the form of film releases, DVDs/Blu-Ray, digital downloads and video games. The BBFC considered carefully the feedback and unique nature of the attraction (which is neither a ride, performance nor a maze) and agreed to lend their advice.

Murray Perkins, Senior Examiner at the BBFC commented:

The BBFC is seeing a real blur of the old boundaries of visual content and physical experience in both 3D and 4D cinema, and at theme parks. Applying our experience of the public's acceptability of moments of threat on screen, to more physical experiences, is something we have begun to do as cinema and other theatrical experiences evolve.

After experiencing the attraction first-hand, based on 100 years of experience and line with British public opinion, we would recommend that Alton Towers Resort classify the new Nemesis Sub-Terra a '12A'. The BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12 allow moderate physical and psychological threat, provided that the disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained. Nemesis Sub-Terra contains some intense moments, in some respects comparable with scary scenes which may be experienced in horror or science fiction films at '12A'/'12. But while some people will no doubt find this a frightening experience, the personnel monitoring the site are soon on hand to guide the public to safety.

Katherine Duckworth from Alton Towers Resort commented:

The classification advice from the BBFC is important for the Resort to ensure the wellbeing of our guests. We are aware the enforcements that will now be implemented will mean that many of our younger visitors are unable to experience Nemesis Sub-Terra, which we are obviously concerned about. However, the Alton Towers Resort prides itself on offering a variety of rides for all ages and we hope that those under the age of 12 will continue to enjoy our other attractions.


20th March   

Update: Games Rating Bill Goes Up a Level...

Australian lower house passes legislation to introduce an adult rating for games
Link Here
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Computer game ratings for adults-only are a step closer after Australia's lower house passed legislation on Monday.

The new laws will bring computer games in line with the classification system for films and make Australia more consistent with international standards.

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012 passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

It now proceeds to the Senate.


18th March   

ASA Just About Hide their Nutter Credentials with Figleaves...

Stiletto shoes make lingerie advert too sexy for posters near schools
Link Here

A poster ad for the lingerie company seen on 25 November 2011 showed a woman standing by a mantelpiece wearing a bra, knickers, stockings and stiletto shoes. Text stated everyday luxury for everybody . Issue

The ASA received four complaints.

  1. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive.

  2. Two complainants challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for display where it might be seen by children.

Figleaves said it was a major retailer of high-class lingerie and believed its presentation and promotion of its products was in the utmost of good taste. They said they tried to present their brand in an aspirational and stylish manner; they did not believe it was offensive or salacious in any way. They considered the photography in the ad was more tasteful and less provocative than other current outdoor campaigns and was done in the best possible manner relevant to the product being featured. They did not believe the ad had caused widespread or serious offence because of the low number of complaints the ASA had received.

Figleaves did not accept the ad was inappropriate for children to see. They said they had used a model who was of a suitable age so as not to cause question of age appropriateness. They believed there was no question as to at whom the ad was targeted. They said that very similar imagery was common place for underwear brands, perfume and fashion ads.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the ad was for a lingerie company and we recognised that their advertising would understandably feature a model wearing lingerie. In this instance, we noted that the model was wearing a matching bra and knickers set, as well as black stockings and stiletto shoes. We noted the complainants' concerns that the ad was overtly sexual but we noted also that the ad did not show any nudity and that the image used was relevant to Figleaves. We understood that the ad may not appeal to everyone. However, we considered that, given the context, which was for underwear, the ad was not overtly sexual and therefore, it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to those who saw it.

However, we considered that the stiletto shoes worn with the stockings, her facial expression and body language were sexually suggestive. Because of that, we considered the ad was inappropriate for children to see and therefore, the ad warranted a placement restriction to prevent it from being displayed within 100 m of schools. We understood that such a restriction had already been applied to the ad and we therefore concluded that in this instance, the ad was not socially irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.


18th March   

I'm a Palestinian...

Campaigners, judges and bus companies debate what's allowed for the wording of political adverts on the sides of buses
Link Here

A long-running dispute over Pro-Palestinian bus adverts in King County, Washington state finally came to a compromise. Adverts were allowed to run on buses, but the message was very different from what was originally requested.

The new ads are part of a campaign titled, I'm a Palestinian, with the saying equal rights for all underneath. The messages will run with pictures of everyday Palestinians on Metro Transit buses.

The ads were sponsored by SeaMAC, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign devoted to the Palestinian cause, which attempted to launch an ad in 2010 with the message, Israeli war crimes...your tax dollars at work with a picture of a demolished house by an Israeli military strike.

The 2010 ads were denied by a federal judge on the basis of threats made by those opposed to the ads. The judge said that officials had a reasonable basis for limiting the content of the ads on public buses, citing safety concerns in part because threats of violence and disruption from members of the public (from e-mails, phone calls, and anonymous photographs) led bus drivers and law enforcement officials to express safety concerns, and the court finds that it was reasonable for the cancellation of the ads.

The ACLU civil liberties organization joined the fray and helped with a legal defense. The ACLU continues to represent SeaMAC in a continuing appeal against King County regarding the initial banned adverts.


17th March   

Update: Jesus Wept!...

BBC tell vicar that religious exclamations are part of everyday language
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

The BBC has said religious exclamations are part of everyday language and refused to apologise to a vicar who complained about comments made by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Clarkson was filmed shouting Jesus wept while driving a KTM X-bow open top sports car and said: God Almighty while driving a Bentley powered by a Spitfire engine.

Graeme Anderson, the vicar of St Mary's church in Radcliffe-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire accused the BBC of double standards where religion was concerned. He whinged:

I found his comments very, very offensive and I think many Christians would also. Related.

They belittled, trivialised and cheapened Jesus Christ and Christianity. I was really quite surprised as he is a BBC presenter and it is blasphemous.

In a statement, the BBC said:

We're aware that blasphemous language, including the casual or derogatory use of holy names or religious words, can be a source of particular offence to some members of the audience, but judgements about its use are difficult because they depend on tone and context.

There is no consensus about words that are acceptable, when, and by whom, as different words cause different degrees of offence to different people. Some of the words and phrases that can cause offence have, whether we like it or not, become part of everyday language and it would be unrealistic for broadcasters to suggest they are not widely used in a range of contexts.


17th March   

Kindle Book Censors...

Amazon suspend the Kindle account of Digital Managa
Link Here

Digital Manga wrote:

As March 15, 2012, Digital Manga Inc.'s account has been suspended from the Kindle platform. While we're working to try and amend the situation, we will not be able to publish titles to the Kindle for the foreseeable future. Our account was suspended under troubling circumstances - we have had titles cited for content violation , and while we screen every title to ensure they adhere to Kindle's standards, their guidelines are notoriously vague, and prohibit Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.

There is no definition of pornography versus erotica officially available from amazon. In the past, we considered our titles the latter, and strive to comply with Amazon's guidelines. However, with such vague guidelines and a veritable library of erotica in written and drawn form already available on the Kindle, it is difficult to discern exactly what rules Amazon wanted us to comply with. We also find it disheartening that our titles depicting male homosexual romance have been banned while erotica depicting other forms of intercourse flourishes. What makes relationships between men more objectionable than erotic tristes between men and women? This is a question we imagine you're all asking yourselves right now, and a question that we need Amazon to answer for us.

While we work to restore our account, we encourage yaoi fans to explore alternate platforms for reading manga. Our titles are available on, Nook (including free apps for your PC, iPad, or Android tablet), and on the DMP App for Apple products and Android Tablets. This event has also led us to pursue the possibility of making digital manga available through other platforms. We look forward to continuing to bring you all the best in manga content, yaoi or otherwise, and appreciate your continuing support.

For Information the Kindle content rules re porn are simply:

See article from


We don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.


Content What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.

Thankfully Amazon soon changed their stance, and Digital Manga posted again:


Due to the events that transpired on Thursday, March 15th we were prepared for the worst. But thanks to the massive outpouring of fan support protesting Kindle's illogical censorship policies and flimsy guidelines, Digital Manga's Kindle account was restored in record time. We had expected an uphill battle, but manga fans and advocates of equal rights made their voices heard and Amazon realized how loud you all can be. This morning, we received this email:

After reviewing your response, we have reinstated your account and we will once again accept your books for possible publication.

Please be advised that all of your submissions must comply with our Content Guidelines for publishing in the Kindle Store and that your future submissions may be subject to additional review prior to being published. This may result in a delay in publishing.


17th March   

No Respect for Freedom...

Art censored by officials who claimed disrespect for Kuwait's repressive tradition
Link Here

Kuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin is in shock after her exhibition of paintings was shut down without an explanation.

Reports say that government officials walked into the show, three hours after its opening, and took the paintings down, saying they had received a complaint over the content of the paintings.

In an interview with Al-Qabas newspaper, Amin attacked censorship in Kuwait saying the men who closed down her show interpreted the paintings the way they wanted, saying they were disrespectful of the society's tradition and took them down.

Blogger Abrar AlShammari commented via a post entitled Paint to Freedom:

We can't find proper books in our own country anymore, now with Virgin being shut down and all the good writers banned in the other bookstores. Our movies are censored, and instead we're fed a bunch of media advertisements to turn us into consumerist robots during those 15 minutes that the cinema had cut out. Our writings are censored, it's inappropriate to write about love and inappropriate to address the endless issues our society is facing. How does denial help anyone? Why is it believed that if we pretend a problem doesn't exist, it'll go away? It only gets worse the more it's ignored

The intellectuals of the Arab society need to unite to fight censorship and ignorance and regression.

The paintings seemed controversial for some people as they tackle the sex taboo. The exhibition was entitled It's a man's world .

In reaction to shutting down her exhibition, Amin posted her paintings on her website .


16th March   

Scaredy Cats...

ASA consider Paranormal Activity 3 adverts too scary to show before 9pm
Link Here

Three TV ads for the film Paranormal Activity 3 broadcast in October 2011. The ads, each ten seconds in length, featured quickly changing scenes shot in the style of video-camera footage.

  • a. The first ad featured a young girl sitting in a garden, while a man said Kirsty has been talking to this imaginary friend . This was followed by a young girl whispering in the corner of a darkened room, then standing in a darkened doorway watching a woman sleeping. A woman said Oh My God! and a girl asked Did you hear that? ; furniture was shown moving around violently, before a girl was seen screaming. On-screen text that stated DISCOVER HOW THE ACTIVITY BEGAN was interspersed throughout the brief scenes.
  • b. The second ad featured a man who said There was something in the house , which was followed by shots of darkened interiors of a home. A woman said We're getting out of here before she was invisibly pulled backwards and, screaming, violently thrown onto a bed. On-screen text that stated DISCOVER HOW THE ACTIVITY BEGAN was interspersed throughout the brief scenes.
  • c. The third ad showed two young girls standing in front of a mirror with a video camera set up behind them. One of the girls said Remember the rules? and turned off the light. The red recording light of the video-camera was shown on screen, while the girls chanted Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary . One of the girls shone a torch under her chin and screamed. The other girl screamed as well and said Katie, it's not funny! before they left the room. The light from the hall revealed a silhouette of a figure standing in the room.

All three ads were cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30 pm restriction.

1. Twenty nine viewers challenged whether the ads were likely to cause distress to children and adults. 9 reported that their children, aged between 10 and 16 years, had been upset by the ads, and 11 reported personal distress.

2. Fifteen of the complainants challenged whether the ads were suitable for broadcast before 9 pm.

Clearcast said all three ads were approved with a post 7.30 pm timing restriction, which prevented the ad from being shown in and around children's programmes. They said, when they viewed the ads, they recognised the potential to cause distress to some viewers and in particular children, but nonetheless believed the short duration of the ads alleviated the potential for harm or offence, because they did not maintain a level of sustained threat and tension for a period long enough to leave a lasting impression on the average consumer.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

The ASA considered that, although the ads were brief, the general tone was one of fear and threat, with young children screaming in both ads (a) and (c) and a screaming woman being thrown violently backwards in ad (b). We noted the ads appeared to have been shot on a home video camera and took place in a recognisable domestic setting, with ordinary people, which added to the sense of threat.

We noted the ages of those children reportedly upset by the ads ranged from 10 to 16 years. Although we acknowledged that the restriction preventing the ads from being shown before 7.30 pm had kept the material away from younger children, we considered that the overall atmosphere of fear and menace portrayed was nonetheless likely to be upsetting to some older children watching television after that time. We considered that a post 7.30 pm restriction was not sufficient and a post 9pm restriction ought to have been applied in order to minimise the possibility of children seeing the ads.

We also noted some adult viewers were unsettled or disturbed by the ads. However, although we sympathised with their reaction, we nonetheless considered that the ads did not go beyond what viewers would normally expect from ads promoting a 15-certificate horror film.

We considered that a post- 9 pm restriction should have been applied in order to reduce the likelihood of children seeing the ads and concluded that they were unsuitable for broadcast before that time.

The ads breached BCAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not breach rule 4.10 (Harm and offence).


16th March   

Update: Doing the Dirty on Oscar...

Les Infideles cut to avoid controversy at the Oscars
Link Here

A joke about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America was cut from Jean Dujardin's, Les Infideles , new film so he could win an Oscar, it has emerged.

The French star of the silent comedy The Artist won the Best Actor Oscar. But what many of the Americans voting for him did not know was that he produced and acted in a potentially devastating sketch in Les Infideles, which he is currently promoting in France.

A source close to the makers of Les Infideles confirmed that Dujardin played a love cheat French businessman in one of the scenes cut out of the film. In the removed extract, the Frenchman had travelled to New York to conduct an affair, while telling his wife that he was working hard in an office in Manhattan.

As he is about to seduce his lover in a hotel room, the businessman receives a phone call from his wife and tells her: Yes, yes, my darling, everything is fine. Meanwhile, the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001 can be seen starting outside the window behind him, as a passenger plane flies in to the World Trade Centre. Original news footage was used in the sketch.

The source said: Yes, the scene was considered too much for America. It would have been provocative, especially in the run-up to the Oscars and other awards.

The film has previously come in for a bit of nutter stick. Posters for Les Infideles were taken down in Paris in response to whinges from the politically correct


15th March   

Updated: Killer Rating...

William Friedkin's Killer Joe given the dreaded NC-17 rating
Link Here

The MPAA has given an NC-17 rating to William Friedkin's crime drama Killer Joe , prompting Liddell Entertainment to announce it will appeal the ruling.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch and is due for its U.S. premiere at SXSW in March and a domestic launch this summer.

Hirsch portrays a 22-year-old drug dealer who has his stash stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6,000 quick or he's dead. Desperate, he turns to Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother's life insurance policy is worth $50,000.

Update: Appeal turned down

15th March 2012.From

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board has upheld the NC-17 rating given to the movie Killer Joe .

The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.

In the appeal brought by LD Entertainment, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Killer Joe from David Dinerstein, President of LD Entertainment, and Tracy Letts, Pulitzer Prizewinner, Playwright and Screenwriter.


15th March   

Human Rights of Equality, Diversity, Political Correctness, and Censorship...

Nutter group Gherush 92 calls for a ban on Dante's The Divine Comedy
Link Here

It is a world-renowned work of literature and one of the foundation stones of the Italian language, but Dante's The Divine Comedy has been condemned as racist, homophobic, anti-Islamist and anti-Semitic.

The classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a nutter group that ludicrously claims to be a human rights organisation. The group acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination.

Dante's epic is offensive and discriminatory and has no place in a modern classroom, claims Valentina Sereni, the group's president.

Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency that it represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a schismatic and refers to Jews as greedy, scheming moneylenders and traitors. Homosexuals are damned by the work as being against nature and condemned to an eternal rain of fire in Hell. Sereni added:

We do not advocate censorship or the burning of books ...BUT... we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content. Art cannot be above criticism,

Although supposedly not advocating censorship , they called for the book to be banned anyway, from schools and universities, or at least have its more offensive sections fully explained. 

Of course those being patronised by Gherush 92 are in little need of such bollox. For instance, Franco Grillini, the head of Gaynet, a gay rights' organisation, said the suggestion that Dante's writings should be prohibited marked an excess of political correctness .


15th March   

Updated: Miraculously Easily Offended...

Red Bull walking on water advert winds up the Catholic Diocese of Rio de Janeiro
Link Here

A Red Bull commercial has caused huge controversy for allegedly mocking Jesus' miracle of walking on water, and could be banned in Brazil by the National Advertising Council (CONAR), according to Brazilian publication Globo.

In the cartoon ad, Jesus and two of his disciples are sitting inside a small fishing boat. Jesus suddenly gets up and with frustration says: Well guys, that is it! Nothing is going to happen today! I am getting out of here! He leaves the boat and apparently walks on the water. Eventually explaining: There is no miracle here! You just have to be smart and find the rocks to step on.

Local media outlets are reporting that the Catholic Diocese of Rio de Janeiro is considering legal action.

Red Bull has denied any intention of mocking Jesus. The communication department explained:

Red Bull's intention was just to kid around. We even mentioned on the advertising that Jesus didn't need to drink a Red Bull to walk on the water. All we did was to suggest that you need to be smart to walk on the water.

According to CONAR, if the latest commercial is deemed offensive, it will have to be banned unless modifications are made.

Update: Withdrawn in South Africa

15th March 2012. From

Red Bull South Africa has pulled its Jesus walks on water television campaign following complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Father Christopher Townsend said religion and faith should never be ridiculed. [Even if it's being ridiculous]: We are used to Red Bull advertising being very cheeky and satirical ...BUT... there is a certain level where it oversteps the mark.


15th March   

Extract: Doonesbury Aborted...

The topic of the mockery of abortion legislation proves a little touchy for some newspapers in the US
Link Here
It seems that some newspaper editors think that abortion does not belong in the funnies section of their papers, and their reluctance is getting national attention.

The comic strip that is causing the uproar is Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury. Several newspapers around the country have decided not to publish the popular satirical comic this week because of a storyline dealing with those now-infamous ultrasounds.

Although Doonesbury often deals with politics, it has been more than 20 years since Trudeau last tackled the subject of abortion. In a recently released statement defending the strip, Trudeau said: This is happening in statehouses across the's lunacy, and lunacy, of course, is in my wheelhouse.


14th March   

Update: Pally Again...

Paypal book censors back off from general bans but may still object to specific books
Link Here
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors

PayPal retracted its threat to close the accounts of online booksellers who sell works that they claim could be considered obscene.

In a statement posted on its website today, PayPal announced that in the future it will not reject e-books that consist only of text unless they contain child pornography, or ... text and obscene images of rape, bestiality or incest (as defined by the U.S. legal standard for obscenity...).

PatPal committed to limit its objections to particular books rather than rejecting entire classes. It also said that it is developing a process that will allow an author to challenge a PayPal notice that a book violates its policy.

The PayPal statement does not fully resolve all issues, however. It is not clear whether legal material would be affected by PayPal's policy regarding e-books that contain child pornography, some of which may be legal.

This decision recognizes the important principle that neither PayPal nor any other company involved in payment processing has any business telling people what they should read, said Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).


14th March   

Updated: Good Christian Bitching...

One Million Moms Recommend ABC's new TV show, GCB
Link Here

One Million Moms (OMM) is a nutter project from the American Family Association. The Southern Poverty Law Center who monitors such groups designates them as an anti-gay hate group.

OMM's is currently calling for a boycott against Toys 'R' Us for selling the gay wedding issue of Archie. They have also called for a boycott of Dallas-based J.C. Penney store. The reason was the company's new spokeswoman, Ellen DeGeneres who is gay,

OMM director Monica Cole has now told a Christian news website that the group is calling for a boycott of GCB , the new ABC show about drunken, back-stabbing, big-hair, Park Cities ladies. On their website, One Million Moms put out an action alert about the show, which reads:

OMM is disgusted with the new program Good Christian Belles which is blasphemy at its worst! It is based on the book Good Christian B*tches and mocks Christianity repeatedly.

This anti-Christian program blasphemes God, Jesus Christ, God's Church, and the Bible. As Christians, we will not stand for this Christian-bashing program. No other religion has to contend with this ridicule so why should we?

The network's irresponsible behavior must be accounted for. They are deliberately attempting to sabotage our faith. Their actions are damaging and destructive to our religion.

As Christians we must demand respect. Together we will defend our Christian values and beliefs.

And they're already claiming a victory.  Kraft pulled their ad for Philadelphia Cream Cheese a few days ago, which OMM claims the company decided to do after consumer complaints started to pile up.

Update: One Million Moms Ignored

14th March 2012. From

Newt Gingrich has now joined the nutter attack on ABC's GCB , claiming it to be anti-Christian bigotry.

The group One Million Moms has called for a boycott of the show, labeling it blasphemy at its worst. B ut after just two weeks on the air, GCB seems to be doing OK.

It's common for a new series to lose 20% of its audience between the pilot and the second episode. But GCB dropped only 4%, going from 7.56 million viewers in week one to 7.25 million in week two. That's impressive audience retention. Much more importantly, GCB gained share among 18- to 49-year-olds, those coveted, credit card carrying, disposable income-laden consumers.


13th March   

Update: Legality Not Morality...

MasterCard distance themselves from Paypal's unilateral book censorship
Link Here
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors

Last week, BannedWriters wrote an open letter to MasterCard, asking them if they could confirm or deny whether pressure from them was behind PayPal's move to refuse the sale of erotica books containing taboo subject matter.

Chris Monteiro, Corporate Public Relations, MasterCard Incorporated responded:

Thank you for your inquiry as to whether MasterCard played a role in the recent decision by PayPal to limit certain content belonging to your members. We appreciate the opportunity to explain our policies and hope to provide clarity regarding this matter. To be clear, MasterCard had no involvement in the decision made by PayPal to refuse to process payments for certain books.

MasterCard maintains a set of standards that prohibit the use of MasterCard-branded cards and systems for illegal activities. These standards require MasterCard's customers to comply with all applicable laws and not to engage in illegal behavior, or in behavior that would cause MasterCard to violate any laws. In this particular scenario, MasterCard would not take action regarding the use of its cards and systems for the sale of lawful materials that seek to explore erotica content of this nature.


11th March   


US release of uncut R Rated DVD and Blu-ray
Link Here

Immortals is a 2011 US fantasy by Tarsem Singh. With Luke Evans and Henry Cavill. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

  • US 2012 20th century Fox 2D/3D RA Blu-ray just released on 6th March 2012 at US Amazon
  • US 2012 Universal RA Blu-ray just released on 6th March 2012 at US Amazon
  • US 2012 Universal R1 DVD just released on 6th March 2012 at US Amazon

Cut in the UK

UK: Passed 15 after BBFC cuts for category for:
  • UK 2012 Universal R0 Blu-ray/DVD
  • UK 2012 Universal Steelbook 2D/3D R0 blu-ray
  • UK 2012 Universal R2 DVD
  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC consumer advice reads:

  • Contains strong bloody violence

The BBFC commented on their cuts:

Company chose to make cuts to reduce violence in order to achieve a 15 classification. Cuts included:

  • removal of the bloody focus on a throat being cut

  • reducing the focus on young women dying, having been burnt

  • reducing the focus on eye gouging

  • removing the shot of a beheading, and

  • 'reducing some focus on large splashes of blood resulting from characters being killed.

An uncut 18 classification was available.


11th March   

Extract: A Weak Response from the Paypal Book Censors...

Forbes finds that it is not Visa pushing book censorship on Paypal
Link Here
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors

There has been a lot of criticism of PayPal across the web, in the erotica and general fiction communities in the last few days. PayPal responded on their blog, saying:

Unlike many other online payment providers, PayPal does allow its service to be used for the sale of erotic books. PayPal is a strong and consistent supporter of openness on the Internet, freedom of expression, independent publishing and eBook marketplaces. We believe that the Internet empowers authors in a way that is positive and points to an even brighter future for writers, artists and creators the world over, but we draw the line at certain adult content that is extreme or potentially illegal.

The problem here is in the weasel words extreme and potentially . How is PayPal to say what is extreme? Or potentially illegal? If they are concerned about facilitating the sale of illegal content they should work with the community to figure out what to do about it, not impose ill-defined and vague strictures on the publishing and distribution companies that use their services.

Then we have:

Some feedback we're getting is a belief that PayPal is forcing its moral beliefs on others and restricting people's right to free speech. We can tell you with 100 percent conviction that this is not our intention. While we understand that people don't always agree with our policies, this decision has nothing to do with our personal views on the content or any desire to limit free-speech rights.

It may not be PayPal's intention to censor fiction, but it is the effect of their policy nonetheless. But we didn't mean it like that is a poor response.


Blogger Madeleine Morris, writing on Banned Writers, published a response from Visa to her enquiries about the issues which disputes this view:

Dear Ms. Morris,

Thank you for your email regarding PayPal's recent decision to limit the sale of certain erotica content. First and foremost, we want to clarify that Visa had no involvement with PayPal's conclusion on this issue. Nor have we seen the material in question. This fact is made clear by PayPal's recent blog post where it states that its own policies drove the decision.

[T]he sale of a limited category of extreme imagery depicting rape, bestiality and child pornography is or is very likely to be unlawful in many places and would be prohibited on the Visa system whether or not the images have formally been held to be illegal in any particular country. Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or educational manner.

[...] Visa is not in the business of censoring cultural product. We recognize, as courts in the U.S. and elsewhere have long recognized, that this is a challenging topic. Bright lines are difficult to establish. We welcome the input of all stakeholders regarding our policies as we work to sustain a network that supports global commerce, while respecting the laws of the countries where we operate.

However you look at it, PayPal is imposing its moral position on writers and publishers because it is asking for work to be taken down that has not been found illegal.

...Read the full article


11th March   

Diary: Dead by Dawn...

Edinburgh's horror film festival takes shape
Link Here

Dead by Dawn
Thursday 29th March to Monday 2nd April 2012
Filmhouse Cinema, Edinburgh


  • BELOW ZERO (presented by screenwriter Signe Olynyk and co-producer Bob Schultz)
  • SLOBOS DE ARGA (Spanish werewolf movie presented by director Juan Martinez)
  • JUAN DE LOS MUERTOS (Cuban zombies)

4 day festival passed are £ 70


11th March   

Update: Just Not Cricket...

Libel tourism case as former New Zealand Cricketer sues in the UK over a dispute with an Indian tweeter primarily affecting his reputation in India
Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Ex-New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, who is suing a former Indian Premier League boss over a Twitter posting, has his case heard by the UK High Court in the latest example of libel tourism.

Chris Cairns is taking legal action over a  January 2010 tweet by Lalit Modi alleging that he was involved in match fixing.

The action is taking place in London despite claims by Modi's lawyers that there were only 35 readers of the tweet in England and Wales. Evidence for Cairns put the figure at around 100.

Padraig Reidy of Index on Censorshop said:

The Cairns case is one of the most clear-cut cases of libel tourism we have seen.

While cricket is an international game, the alleged libel took place in India, concerned conduct in India, and primarily affects Cairns's reputation in India.

Plans to prevent libel tourism were put forward by the Government last year. The proposed new rules would block celebrities and businessman from bringing such actions in this country unless it could be proved that publication caused them substantial harm in England and Wales.


11th March   

TV Censors...

Israeli troops raid and close down two Palestinian TV stations
Link Here

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the raids that Israeli troops carried out on two Palestinian TV stations in the West Bank in the early hours of 29 February, seizing equipment and thereby forcing the stations to close.

These arbitrary and illegal operations served yet again to intimidate Palestinian media and journalists, the victims of repeated attacks by the Israel Defence Forces, Reporters Without Borders said: We urge the Israeli military to return the confiscated equipment and allow the two stations to resume broadcasting.

The raids were carried out by members of the IDF accompanied by intelligence officers on Al-Watan in Ramallah and Al-Quds Educational TV in Al-Bireh (about 2 km outside Ramallah). Both stations are located in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The IDF claimed that the raids were carried out on two pirate TV stations because they were broadcasting without a licence on frequencies that endangered communications with civilian aircraft.


10th March   

Update: Game On...

The Bunny Game set to be release in the US in July 2012
Link Here
Full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

Adam Rehmeier's The Bunny Game , banned in the UK, will hit the US in July from new distributor Autonomy. This will be their first release.

Screen Daily reported that Derek Curl, David Gregory and Lewis Tice's new distributor aims to release uncompromising cinema on a worldwide scale and will handle four films this year, starting with Adam Rehmeier's torture porn. Autonomy president Curl said:

The Bunny Game is the last word on the torture-porn sub-genre. I was shocked by its audacity and the raw honesty that it depicted, making me question our collective enjoyment of extreme violence in cinema. At Autonomy Pictures we are not afraid to release such a film, which will undoubtedly inspire heated reaction, because it will allow audiences to make up their own minds.


10th March   

Clash of the Titans...

BBFC provide interesting archive material about their clash with the distributors of the 1981 fantasy film by Desmond Davis
Link Here
Clash of the Titans is a 1981 US fantasy by Desmond Davis. With Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin and Claire Bloom. See IMDb

Back in 1981 it was passed A (PG) after 9s of BBFC cuts for category for:

  • UK 1981 cinema release

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • Removed the close up of Calabos stabbing a man's back with a trident
  • shortened the scene where Calabos is stabbed in the stomach by Perseus to remove sight of Calabos in agony.

Since then it was passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 1987 MGM VHS

And passed 12 uncut for moderate fantasy violence for:

...Read the full article in which the BBFC publish several letters and documents about how they decided on the 1981 cuts.


10th March   

Update: Censors Devalue Freedom...

South Africa's TV censor unilaterally decides that freedom of expression rates below women's rights to whinge at porn
Link Here
Full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
South Afica's TopTV's bid to air TV porn channels was banned in part by the country's TV censor because it deemed women's rights and dignity outweighed the right to freedom of expression.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) released the reasons for its ban:

On the issue of balancing the rights of women to equality and human dignity with the right of freedom of expression, ICASA is of the view that the right of women to equality and human dignity overrides TopTV's right to freedom of expression, as well as the rights of viewers to receive pornography on television in the home.

ICASA holds this view because it regards the consumption of pornography as one contributing factor, amongst others, to the normalization of violence against women in SA.

In its statement  ICASA summarised:

  1. The right of women to equality and human dignity overrides TopTV's right to freedom of expression, as well as the rights of viewers to receive pornography on television in the home.
  2. TopTV's failure to take ICASA's public consultation process seriously damaged its application.
  3. ICASA sees no reason to expand access to pornography given government's restrictions on the content through the Film and Publications Act.

Satellite pay-TV broadcaster TopTV is now seeking legal advice before deciding on their next move.


10th March   

Out of the Picture...

German newspaper Bild unilaterally decides that free swinging expression rates below women's rights to whinge at porn
Link Here

After 28 years and 5,000 semi-clad and sometimes completely naked women, Germany's biggest-selling tabloid Bild, has announced that it was dropping its Page One Girl.

Bild is Europe's best-selling and the world's seventh biggest newspaper. It presented the decision as a spontaneous attempt by male staff to atone for decades of embarrassing sexism, although commentators said it was more likely it was driven by commercial concerns.

It is perhaps a small step from the viewpoint of women, the paper wrote in an editorial-style report. But it is a big step for Bild and for every man in Germany.

The paper said the decision had been made on International Women's Day, when the paper was run and edited solely by men. Three hundred female staff from secretaries to section editors were given the day off.

But the German media commentator Christian Meier said that the Bild's circulation figures have been declining for years and the paper desperately needs to attract new readers, particularly within the female market.


10th March   

Update: The Supreme Council of Cyberspace...

Iran's elite appointed as internet censors
Link Here
Full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

  Chief internet censor

Iran's supreme leader has ordered the creation of an internet censorship agency that includes top military, security and political figures in the country's boldest attempt yet to control the internet.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that the grandiously named, Supreme Council of Cyberspace, will be tasked with preventing harm to Iranians who go online, state TV reported.

The report did not spell out specifically the kind of harms that the council would tackle. But officials have in the past described two separate threats: computer viruses created by Iran's rivals aimed at sabotaging its industry, particularly its controversial nuclear program, and a culture invasion aimed at undermining the Islamic Republic.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace Censorship will be headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and includes powerful figures in the security establishment such as the intelligence chief, the commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, and the country's top police chief. It also includes the speaker of parliament, state media chiefs, government ministers in charge of technology-oriented portfolios, and several cyber experts.


10th March

 Offsite Article: The King of the BBFC's Speech...

Link Here
BBFC infomercial about consumer advice and the always useful extended classification information. By David Cooke

See article from


9th March   

Kombative Censors...

Australia bans Playstation Vita version of Mortal Kombat
Link Here
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board
The Sony PlayStation Vita version of the Warner Brothers classic fighting game reboot Mortal Kombat has been banned by the Censorship Board.

The game was submitted to the misleadingly named Classification Board of Australia by Warner Brothers despite previous console versions of the game being similarly banned for explicit violence. The publisher felt that the impact of the violence in the Vita version of Mortal Kombat would be lessened by the portable console's smaller screen size.

Obviously, the censors didn't agree.

Warner Bros. clarified that the version submitted was the same, unedited version of Mortal Kombat for the Vita that will be released globally, except Australia, on April 19.


9th March   

Update: Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar...

Join the screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy
Link Here

The Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar was launched on 8 March 2012, International Women's Day, in homage to Egyptian atheist, student and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy who posted a nude photo of herself, announcing the post on Twitter under the hashtag, #NudePhotoRevolutionary.

You can download and/or purchase the calendar via article from

The calendar is the idea of campaigner Maryam Namazie to support Aliaa Magda Elmahdy and join her screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy . Namazie says:

What with Islamism and the religious right being obsessed with women's bodies and demanding that we be veiled, bound, and gagged, nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.

The calendar is designed by SlutWalk Co-founder Toronto, Sonya JF Barnett who says:

I felt that women needed to stand in solidarity with Aliaa. It takes a lot of guts to do what she did, and the backlash is always expected and can quite hurtful. She needed to know that there are others like her, willing to push the envelope to express outrage.

Others who join the scream include mother and daughter Anne Baker and Poppy Wilson St James, teacher Luisa Batista, We are Atheism Founder Amanda Brown, atheist bloggers Greta Christina and Emily Dietle, FEMEN activist Alena Magelat, photographer Mallorie Nasrallah, actress Cleo Powell, freethinker Nina Sankari , writer Saskia Vogel, and mother Maja Wolna. The women are photographed by Julian Baker, Adam Brown, Grzegorz Brzezicki, Lucy Fox-Bohan, Agnieszka Hodowana, Ben Hopper, N. Maxwell Lander, Mallorie Nasrallah, Mark Neurdenburg, Vitaliy Pavlenko, and Michael Rosen.

On nudity and the calendar, Mallorie Nasrallah says:

When a tool of oppression can be turned in to an assertion of power, it is a beautiful thing. Nudity when celebrated harms no one, and when made shameful and barbaric harms everyone. Nina Sankari says: In solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, I would like to stress that our bodies (and thoughts) belong to us and to nobody else. Anne Baker says Men in frocks constrain, control and intimidate women the world over in the name of God ... it has to stop. Greta Christina says: Sexual freedom is an important freedom --- but it's one that commonly gets ignored or trivialized. Maja Wolna says: Irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, religion or culture we are equal. Personal dignity is a foundation of human civilization. Amanda Brown says: Dogma will never determine where I sit, what I wear, or how I live and Poppy Wilson St. James says: I find it strange that it is more acceptable to seen on screen violence and guns than even a nipple. There is something wrong with our mindset if that is what we accept as the norm and shy away from nudity which is a completely natural state.

Saskia Vogel says:

This calendar hopefully will reach people who are uncomfortable with empowered female nudity, and encourage them to reconsider their feelings about the nude figure. Luisa Batista says: I think the calendar is important, because it may help to open people's eyes and hearts. Women -- and men -- who are afraid, may find courage and feel supported by the quotes and faces and bodies of the people in the calendar.

According to Emily Dietle, If it weren't for people who took a strong stand against misogyny and for free-expression, we'd still be in an age where showing your ankles was taboo. Alena Magelat says: Our naked body is our challenge to patriarchy, dictatorship and violence. Smart people we inspire; dictators are horrified .

The women in the calendar stand firm in solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy and the countless women across the world who are denied basic rights, freedoms and dignity.

Join the Scream on Facebook and on Twitter under the hashtag #NudePhotoRevolutionary.

You can download and/or purchase the calendar via article from


9th March   

Rotten to the Core?...

Ofcom's Project Apple is considering whether News International is fit and proper to hold the broadcasting licence for Sky TV
Link Here

News International's involvement in the U.K. phone-hacking and bribery scandal has drawn attention from regulators, who are examining the company's fitness to hold a broadcasting license through its stake in Sky.

The ramifications of the scandal are being scrutinized by a special team, dubbed Project Apple, at TV censor Ofcom, according to minutes released under a Freedom of Information Act request published on Ofcom's website.

Ofcom, which has the ability to revoke a broadcaster's license, will determine whether the scandal has compromised News Corp.'s ability to manage the U.K.'s biggest pay-TV company.


9th March   

Wallflower Power...

The Perks of Being a Wallflower downgraded to PG-13 on appeal
Link Here

The Perks of Being a Wallflower has now been downgraded from R to PG-13 by the Classification and Rating Appeals Board of the MPAA.

Erik Feig, president of production at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and Stephen Chbosky, the director, screenwriter and author of the novel on which the movie was based, appeared before the board to make their case for the lower rating.

Originally, the Classification and Rating Administration assigned the movie an R rating for teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references.

However the booking of Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, suggested that the producers had a younger audience in mind. The movie is about 15-year-old high school freshman who is taken under the wings of two seniors while he copes with his first love, played by Watson, the suicide of his best friend and his own mental illness.


9th March   

Update: A Letter to the Paypal Book Censors...

The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses
Link Here
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors

Tell PayPal: Don't Censor Books

PayPal, which plays a dominant role in processing online sales, has taken full advantage of the vast and open nature of the Internet for commercial purposes, but is now holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica. As organizations and individuals concerned with intellectual and artistic freedom and a free Internet, we strongly object to PayPal functioning as an enforcer of public morality and inhibiting the right to buy and sell constitutionally protected material. Recently, PayPal gave online publishers and booksellers, including, Smashwords, and eXcessica, an ultimatum: it would close their accounts and refuse to process all payments unless they removed erotic books containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. The result would severely restrict the public's access to a wide range of legal material, could drive some companies out of business and deprive some authors of their livelihood.

Financial services providers should be neutral when it comes to lawful online speech. PayPal's policy underscores how vulnerable such speech can be and how important it is to stand up and protect it.

The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses. And while the books currently affected may not appear to be in the same league, many works ultimately recognized for their literary, historical, and artistic worth were reviled when first published. Books like Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover were banned as obscene in the United States because of their sexual content. The works of Marquis de Sade, which include descriptions of incest, torture, and rape, were considered scandalous when written, although his importance in the history of literature and political and social philosophy is now widely acknowledged.

The Internet has become an international public commons, like an enormous town square, where ideas can be freely aired, exchanged, and criticized. That will change if private companies, which are under no legal obligation to respect free speech rights, are able to use their economic clout to dictate what people should read, write, and think.

PayPal, and the myriad other payment processors that support essential links in the free speech chain between authors and audiences, should not operate as morality police.

Signed by:

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
Association of American Publishers
Authors Guild
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Feminists for Free Expression
Internet Archive
National Coalition Against Censorship
Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
PEN American Center
Southern California Independent Booksellers Association
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance


9th March   

Updated: Grabbing the Headlines...

Tunisia puts editor on remand to face obscenity charges for sexy but modest celebrity picture on the front page of his newspaper
Link Here

Reporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Nasreddine Ben Saida, the publisher of the Arabic-language daily Attounissia, and the withdrawal of all charges against him, the newspaper's editor, Habib Guizani, and one of its journalists, Mohammed Hedi Hidri.

The first media executive to be jailed in the post-Ben Ali era, Ben Saida has been held since 15 February, when he, Guizani and Hidri were arrested by the vice squad on the prosecutor-general's orders for printing a photo of German-Tunisian football player Sami Khedira embracing a topless model so as to hide the nudity on the front-page of that day's issue, which was seized from newsstands.

Guizani and Hidri were released after being questioned, but a judge ordered Ben Saida placed in pre-trial custody on charges that carry a possible sentence of six months to five years in prison and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (60 to 600 euros).

By bringing criminal charges, the prosecutor's office is showing that journalists can still go to prison for a newspaper article and is sending an extremely disturbing signal to all those who defend freedom of expression.

This is a hypocritical reaction because photos of this kind often appear on the cover of foreign magazines sold in Tunisia, Reporters Without Borders said.

Update: Fined

9th March 2012. See  article from

A Tunisian court has fined a newspaper publisher for supposedly violating public morals by printing a photograph of a footballer's girlfriend shown naked but mostly obscured.

Nasreddine Ben Saida was fined 1,000 dinars ( £ 420) and the court ordered all copies of the issue destroyed.

Critics called the case an attack on media freedom.


8th March   

Model Censorship...

ASA strangely unprovoked by sexy Agent Provocateur advert
Link Here

A video on the Agent Provocateur website, viewed on 4 November 2011, showed a woman in a nightgown in her home. She was shown answering the telephone before several women, who were wearing revealing lingerie with stockings and long boots, appeared at the window. The women were shown dragging the other woman through the house and adopted a series of poses, some sexual, alone and with the other women. The group of women appeared to attack the woman's body; she then she re-appeared wearing similar revealing lingerie to the group. Issue

The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because she believed it was disturbing and misogynistic.

Agent Provocateur said the video was produced in support of the online launch of their new Soiree 2011-2012 collection, because the limited edition range had previously been available only in global destination boutiques. The film was a unique take on the horror genre with a signature Agent Provocateur sensibility and eroticism. They said one of the gowns in the collection reminded the film's director of the type of gown that was worn by victims in classic 1950s Hammer horror films. The style suited Agent Provocateur perfectly, because in the past horror was the only way of showing sex in a film. Sex and horror had always been woven together but, they understood, had never been parodied in a film for a fashion label. They said the online video had been viewed over 450,000 times since its launch and there had not been any other complaints. They said they always tried to communicate with a sense of humour and did not condone violence in any form.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted the online video appeared in the context of the website of a luxury lingerie retailer. We acknowledged some viewers might find some of the scenes distasteful but considered the highly stylised nature and clearly fictional content of the video meant it was unlikely to be interpreted by most viewers in the way the complainant suggested. We considered the ads did not demean women and were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to visitors to the Agent Provocateur website. We also considered the ad was unlikely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.


8th March   

A Bookfair Without Books...

Holding a bookfair in Saudi when just about everything is banned
Link Here

The International Book Fair in Riyadh, which kicked off Tuesday, appears to be surrounded by a wall of censorship from both the state and the Salafis, who waged a campaign to ban it.

The absence of Syrian publishing houses was conspicuous this year after the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information banned them from the book fair in a political move.

The Iraqi publishing house Dar al-Jamal was also banned for the second year in a row. In addition, the space preserved for known publishing companies was reduced.

Religious warnings were issued that called for people not to attend the book fair and buy destructive books.

These edicts came out weeks before the Riyadh Book Fair opened, as rumors mounted that the Ministry of Culture and Information had banned 40 Islamic publishing houses from participating, which the ministry later denied.

This annual book fair is considered the most important cultural event in the kingdom. It includes books that local bookstores do not normally carry. In addition, it is an opportunity for Saudi and Arab intellectuals to come together at seminars held on the sidelines of the fair.

The issue that might prove most problematic for organizers this year is that by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information to allow men and women to attend the book fair at the same time, which is a departure from the norm. That means hardliners will likely intensify their attacks on the event.


8th March   

Thin Research...

Researchers claim that government censorship is justified to prevent beautiful people appearing in adverts
Link Here

Governments are justified in using the law to prevent modelling agencies from using very skinny women on catwalks and stop magazines from printing adverts and photographs that suggest extreme thinness is attractive, according to research from the London School of Economics.

The first-ever economic analysis of anorexia, studying nearly 3,000 young women in the UK and the rest of Europe, found that the social and cultural environment influences decisions by young women to starve themselves in search of what they perceive to be an ideal body shape.

Anorexia, say the researchers, is a socially transmitted disease and appears to be more common in countries such as France, where women are thinner than the European average. It mostly affects girls and women between the ages of 15 and 34, they found, who were willing to trade off their health against self-image.

LSE economist Dr Joan Costa-Font and Professor Mireia Jofre-Bonet from City University say that reducing the mass circulation of pictures of emaciated models and celebrities and restricting adverts in which they feature could lift some of the social pressure women feel to be thin.

Government intervention to adjust individual biases in self-image would be justified to curb the spread of a potential epidemic of food disorders, they write in their paper, to be published in the academic journal Economica later this year.


8th March   

Bloggers are Responsible for their Comments not the Blog Host...

High Court judgement confirms that Google is not responsible for claims of libel about comments posted on
Link Here

A former Tory local council candidate has failed in his libel action against Google over comments posted about him on a blog.

Payam Tamiz started legal proceedings against Google after allegedly defamatory comments were written about him on the London Muslim section of

Google argued that it had no control over any of the content and had no way of knowing whether the comments posted were true or not.

In a written judgement handed down at the high court on Friday, Mr Justice Eady said Google should not be regarded as a publisher under the established principles of the common law.

Eady said that even if Google was regarded as the publisher of the offending words, it would be exempted from liability in accordance with regulation 19 of the European Union's electronic commerce directive 2002.


7th March   

Update: Obscene Censorship...

Canadian horror filmmaker prosecuted for supposed obscenity
Link Here

A Montreal courtroom is booked for April determine whether a local filmmaker's graphic horror flick is obscene.

Remy Couture faces obscenity charges for creating Inner Depravity , a short film series depicting gory scenes of murder and sexual assault.

The goal was to reproduce the deviant mind of a serial killer, said Couture, a special effects make-up artist who's worked on films such as Barney's Version .

The series, which once won most deranged movie of the year at a film festival, was posted online in 2005 and was eventually forwarded to Interpol and police in Montreal.

According to a statement on Couture's website, Interpol was alerted to the film series by a German web surfer who was under the impression that the on-screen murders actually occurred. Police arrested Couture and raided his studio.

Couture maintains that he created the series to flex his skills as a make-up artist who got his professional start in the horror genre. The website featuring his project was only available to web surfers above the age of 18, he said in a statement. You can see the same thing in big budget movies so why mine is worse than the others, I don't understand, he told CTV Montreal.

Police charged Couture with production of obscene material, mainly for his depictions of graphic sexual violence. The charges, however, have drawn criticism from fans and some in the artistic community. He pushed some boundaries because it is shocking with what you can see, but it's in an artistic way, said Alexandre Duguay, a movie critic and horror aficionado.

Couture's lawyer Veronique Robert said this is the first time she's seen someone face obscenity charges for the content of a horror film. Previous obscenity cases have dealt with pornography.

Couture's trial will begin in front of a jury in late April, three years after his arrest.


7th March   

Update: Searching for Censorship...

Spain asks European Court to comment on the legality of demands of Google to de-list personal information
Link Here
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

Spain's highest court wants the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide if requests by Spanish citizens to have data deleted from Google's search engine are lawful.

The Spanish court said it had asked the ECJ to clarify whether Google should remove data from its search engine's index and news aggregator.

Madrid's data protection authority has received over 100 requests from Spanish citizens to have their data removed from Google's search results. An example case is a plastic surgeon who wants to get rid of archived references to a botched operation.

The Spanish judges also asked the ECJ whether the complainants must take their grievances to California, where Google is based, or whether  they can be addressed by Google Spain.

Google has maintained that it cannot lawfully remove any content for which it is merely the host and not the producer, a principle enshrined in EU law on eCommerce since 2000. Google told the Spanish prosecutor it needed more legal justification for removing references to events in an individual's history.


7th March   

Vogue for Sexualisation Reports...

A French government report calls for anti-sexualisation measures
Link Here

A French government report is calling for a ban on mini-miss beauty pageants and children's lingerie to combat what it describes as the hyper-sexualisation of children.

The moves follow a controversy over a Vogue magazine photographic shoot featuring images of a 10-year-old French girl in a typical Vogue fashion setting. While the feature initially failed to rouse anger in France, it caused outrage in America where the pictures were considered inappropriate, prompting the French government to announce its inquiry.

The parliamentary report, translated as Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight For Equality , calls for a ban on child-size adult clothing, such as padded bras and high-heeled shoes for children, and an end to beauty competitions for the under-16s.

Chantal Jouanno, the author of the report and a senator and former sports minister, has also called for the outlawing of young models in advertising campaigns and the return of uniforms in primary schools as part of a series of measures to stem the psychological damage she claims is being done to children.

She argued that while the sexualisation of children is not widespread in France, it is increasing and becoming acceptable because of what she described as the insidious normalisation of pornographic images.

The government report criticised the marketing of padded bras for eight year olds, thong underwear, make-up kits, and leggy dolls, all aimed at pre-pubescent girls under the age of 12.

As well as banning clothing and make up considered inappropriate for young girls, Jouanno also proposes making it illegal for top fashion houses or companies to use models under 16 in their campaigns.

Reintroducing school uniforms was a way of combatting competition between pupils over fashion label clothes which highlight social inequalities, said the report.


7th March   

Coloured Judgement...

Ofcom to consider the heinous use of the word 'coloured' instead of 'black' during a ITV News report
Link Here

TV censor Ofcom is to investigate ITV News after a presenter used the taboo word coloured when reporting on racism in football. Richard Pallot, an ITV News reporter, used the word in a report last month whilst attending a racism in football summit at Downing Street.

ITV took to Twitter, to apologise for the use of the word, which was broadcast during a lunchtime bulletin, as well as editing the comment out of all catch-up editions on ITV Player, and the ITV News website.

Ofcom will consider whether ITV News broke broadcasting rules covering the prevention of harm and offence to viewers, along with maintaining generally accepted standards, according to the Guardian newspaper.

An ITV News spokesman said at the time:

ITV News apologises for the inappropriate use of the word 'coloured' in a report on racism and football in today's news at 1.30pm. We take this error very seriously and we regret any offence caused.

Red Dwarf star Danny John Jules was amongst one of the first to criticise, taking to Twitter to say:

An @ITV news report on David Cameron's 'Race Pow-Wow' at No 10 and the DINOSAURS referred to Black players as 'COLOURED'. WTF? Dumb Fuckwits! (sic)


7th March   

Dangerous Scotland...

Warnings that Scotland's repressive Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act also applies to websites in the rest of the UK
Link Here
Full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

  Coming for English webmasters

Scotland's Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act was brought in to crack down on sectarian songs, chants and abuse at football matches, but also applies to such messages posted on the net.

It came into force on 1 March and there is concern in the media in Scotland, and further afield, about how they are to comply with the law

The act also applies to people or organisations based outside Scotland. The law would also apply to Twitter and Facebook if they allowed offensive material to remain on their sites, as it would to any publishers based in England. The practicalities of getting them into a Scottish court might be more onerous, but nonetheless the threat is there and it would not be the first time that an English publisher has been up in a Scottish court because of ignorance of the law.

Removing material as promptly as the new law appears to require is going to require intense moderation of sites, or else pre-moderation of message boards, building in delays which many users used to immediate posting would find unacceptably slow.

...Read the full article

The article continues that even the legal defence of innocent dissemination may not apply. This is where websites can claim they are not aware of content posted but do react to complaints. This defence is usually used against civil claims and may not be effective in criminal cases arising from the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.


7th March   

The Town...

New US Ultimate Collector's Edition contains a new cut with an alternative ending on All Region Blu-ray/R1 DVD
Link Here

The Town is a 2010 US crime drama by Ben Affleck. With Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm. See IMDb .

US: Extended Cut with Alternative Ending is MPAA R Rated for:

  • UK 2012 Warner Ultimate Collector's Edition (+theatrical + extended version, both on Blu-ray only) R0 Blu-ray/R1 DVD via UK Amazon and at US Amazon

Reviews suggest that the alternative ending fits the film well.

The film has previously been released in its Theatrical Version and a well received Extended Cut with an extra 25 minutes of material, mostly adding depth to the characters.


6th March   

Update: Frankie Cocozza's X Factor...

Ofcom seems to judge strong language transgressions on the speed of apology and the depth of grovel
Link Here
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

 The X Factor Results Show
ITV1, 23 October 2011, 20:00

This one hour live episode of The X Factor revealed which contestants had received the highest number of votes to keep them in the competition. Channel TV complied the programme on behalf of the ITV Network for ITV1.

A total of 108 complaints to Ofcom highlighted the use of the word 'fuck'.

Ofcom noted that at approximately 20:42 presenter Dermot O'Leary announced that the contestant Frankie Cocozza had received enough votes to secure his place in the following week's show, to which Frankie Cocozza responded: Fucking have it. Get in there.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.14 of the Code, which states:

The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television) ...

Channel TV said it deeply regretted Frankie Cocozza?s unexpected and unprompted outburst and had already apologised directly to viewers who had contacted ITV to complain.

The Licensee said that to prevent the broadcast of offensive language on the show judges, contestants and guests are all briefed carefully before they take part in the programme. Channel TV said that until now this has been all that was needed .

Channel TV said: Reviewing the footage it [i.e. Frankie Cocozza's use of bad language] was barely audible above the studio furore but is just about discernable in a quieter domestic setting . In its view not all viewers would have heard the offensive language as it was broadcast.

The Licensee explained that had we appreciated that the comment was audible to viewers, we would have asked [presenter] Dermot O'Leary to make an immediate apology . Channel TV said it only became apparent towards the end of the broadcast, through monitoring online social media activity, that in fact Frankie Cocozza had used some offensive language and that it had been heard by some viewers.

As a result, the hosts of The Xtra Factor on ITV2 (which is broadcast live immediately after The X Factor Results Show) apologised for any offence caused, as did Frankie himself.

The Licensee pointed out that an audio edit was made to remove the offensive language from ITV?s online catch up service (ITV Player).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.14

Ofcom noted that the word fucking was clearly audible to viewers who were watching the programme at approximately twenty minutes before the 9pm watershed. This was particularly unacceptable in the context of a programme that attracts a substantial family audience.

Later that evening when the Licensee realised the offensive language had been audible to viewers, an apology was broadcast during a live interview with Frankie Cocozza on The Xtra Factor on ITV2. One of the hosts stated: Apologies to anyone who heard the swearing to which Frankie responded: yes, sorry . Ofcom noted however that this apology was broadcast approximately 44 minutes after the offensive language occurred, and on a different channel.

Ofcom was particularly concerned that a high profile live programme such as this did not already have adequate systems in place to monitor the transmission output of the programme as it was broadcast. We considered that in this instance the offensive term was clearly audible to viewers. Had there been suitable compliance procedures in place the broadcaster could have responded in a more timely and appropriate fashion. Licensees are reminded that broadcasting live programme content can pose special challenges and as a result extra measures may be needed to ensure compliance with the Code.

The programme was in breach of Rule 1.14 of the Code.


6th March   

Extract: Who's behind the Paypal Book Censorship?...

The Paypal ban on erotica may be part of a larger move towards censorship
Link Here
Full story: Paypal Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as media censors

Re Paypal's ban on text based erotica and small self publishing companies:

While the government in the US is not able to censor speech, there is little preventing a private company like Paypal or its credit card partners from taking these actions. Yet, Smashwords is not giving up hope. In its latest update, Smashwords notes that it had managed to get the deadline extended as well as the definitions of prohibited content relaxed. It also wants to clarify that neither it nor Paypal are the real villians in this issue.

A lot of people have been attacking Smashwords for my decision to comply with PayPal's requirements. They're pointing their arrows at the wrong target, and they're not helping their cause. We're working to effect positive long term change for the entire Smashwords community, and that includes all our erotica authors and readers.

Over the weekend, many Smashwords authors and publishers demanded we abandon PayPal and find a new payment processor. It's not so simple, and it doesn't solve the greater problem hanging over everyone's head. PayPal is trying to implement the requirements of credit card companies, banks and credit unions. This is where it's all originating. These same requirements will eventually rain down upon every other payment processor. PayPal is trying to maintain their relationships with the credit card companies and banks, just as we want to maintain our relationship with PayPal. People who argue PayPal is the evil villain and we should drop them are missing the bigger picture. Should we give up on accepting credit cards forever? The answer is no. This goes beyond PayPal. Imagine the implications if credit card companies start going after the major ebook retailers who sell erotica?

...Read the full article


6th March   

Out of the Shadows...

Philippines FHM cover withdrawn after accusations of racism
Link Here

Men's magazine FHM pulled a magazine cover after being accused of racism.

The March edition of the Philippines FHM had featured white actress Bela Padilla posing in a pink swimsuit surrounded by dark-skinned models, accompanied by the caption stepping out of the shadows .

When the magazine uploaded a sneak preview of the cover on their Facebook page, it was recieved with criticism from readers who branded the concept racist . One reader posted: Seriously, did you guys not sense how racist this concept was?

Comments on Twitter followed including shame on FHM Philippines , and accused the magazine of being racist as well as sexist and horrendously backwards .

Bosses at FHM were quick to respond and the March edition of the magazine featured a different cover when it went on sale this week. Still Bela Padilla, but this time by herself.

And of course the 'controversy' has propelled the previously little-known actress, 'out of the shadows' and into the spotlight. She appeared on BBC News this week to defend the thought process behind the original concept. Her name also began trending worldwide on Twitter where she has gained an army of new followers offering their support. Don't fault Bela, she just did her job, one fan Tweeted.


6th March

 Offsite Article: Dame Prude Joan...

Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report
Joan Bakewell blames teenage magazines for sexualising girls with 'coarsening trash on a huge scale'

See article from


5th March   

Refused Classification Prohibited...

Legalising the sale of hardcore in Australia
Link Here
Full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report about rationalising media censorship across all formats has proposed some sensible reforms to remove some of the more ludicrous anomalies in Australian media censorship.

The current so called 'Refused Classification' (RC) category will be narrowed down a little and renamed to the more sensible tag, 'Prohibited'.

The ALRC first recommended that RC be renamed Prohibited to avoid confusion:

The plain meaning of the term is confusing, because content that is 'Refused Classification' has, in fact, received a classification. That is, the term is open to misunderstanding, because it does not make it clear that the content has been subject to a classification decision-making process.

The ALRC has recommended that the government should review prohibitions on the depiction of sexual fetishes in films and detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs , as well as refining prohibition on content that promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime to be only limited to serious crime .

ISPs would only be required to block prohibited content once it has been classified as being prohibited, the ALRC said, and, given the large amount of content online, the ALRC suggested that only a sub-category of prohibited content should be blocked by the filter, such as child-abuse material.

Another important recommendation of the review is that adult X18+ hardcore content need not be classified beyond the self declared X18+ label. At present such material may only be sold in shops in Canberra and the Northern Territory. It is recommended that it would be made legal across Australia.

But the regulation should be refined to protect minors from accessing the content. The ALRC conceded that it would not be possible for the Classification Board to classify all adult content online, suggesting that ISPs should take reasonable steps to restrict access to the content by minors, such as promoting family friendly filters, or potentially implementing age-verification tools for sites that the ISP knows to be classified X18+.

Pirate Party Supportive of ALRC Recommendation

See  article from

Government politicians have said little so far about the recommendations. However the Pirate Party have responded.

Pirate Party Australia has welcomed some of the recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) about reforming the current classification system.

Several recommendations in the ALRC's final report conform to the Pirate Party's policies, the party said in a statement. David W. Campbell, Party President said that the recommendation to use the term Prohibited in place of the spineless and vague 'Refused Classification' label was a move in the right direction. Too much content is left in limbo. Hopefully this is a victory for common sense, and we will see less content lumped in with materials that truly deserve to be illegal, such as child pornography.

Speaking about freedom of expression, the Party statement approved the possible redefinition of the Prohibited category to narrow its scope and review the prohibitions on depictions of sexual fetishes. The Party believes that it is indicative of a progressive society and feels it is necessary to bring the category in line with what are socially acceptable practices to certain communities legally engaging in the practices depicted.

The Party however, raised an objection to the inclusion of a recommendation which has appeared to some to compel Internet Service Providers (ISP) and other intermediaries to filter the Internet. The Party has been continuously campaigning against the compulsory Internet filter proposed by Stephen Conroy, the present Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The inclusion of the toxic notion of Internet Service Provider obligations is once again flogging the dead horse of privacy encroachment and destructive breakdown of Australian citizens' rights, Campbell elaborated. Saying that the recommendation tries to convert ISPs into enforcement agencies, Campbell referred to the technical impracticalities of restricting any content on the Internet without destroying it. This expansion of 'intermediary liability' constantly rears its head in all facets of Internet governance --- it is both unwarranted and unnecessary, he said.


5th March   

Updated: News Media Council...

Australian inquiry recommends the establishment of a press censor
Link Here

An inquiry into Australia's news media has recommended that a new press censor body be established to set and monitor journalistic standards.

The inquiry was launched in September 2011 in the wake of Britain's phone-hacking scandal. The report called for a News Media Council to handle public complaints.

The review, headed by former judge Ray Finkelstein, found that current self-regulation mechanisms did not make media organisations sufficiently accountable and said more needed to be done to bolster public confidence.

The new council would apply to news and current affairs across print, online, radio and television. The inquiry said it should be funded by the government but independent of it. The report said:

The establishment of a council is not about increasing the power of government or about imposing some form of censorship ...[But]... It is about making the news media more accountable to those covered in the news, and to the public generally.

The press censor would handle complaints and should have power to make a news outlet publish an apology, correction or retraction, the report said.

Update: Bloggers to be drawn into Australian press censorship

5th March 2012. See  article from

Bloggers whose writings receive just 41 page impressions a day could be drawn into Australian press censorship under a proposed new model of media regulation for Australia. The recommendation comes from the Finkelstein report.

The report's central suggestion is that the government should create and fund a new central body , called the News Media Council, to handle all complaints about media. Such a body is needed, the report argues, because Australia currently has multiple overlapping media regulators, most of which are ineffectual. There's also no regulator at all for online media.

The authors try to define just what media should be subject to the new body's oversight and decides that publishers must be in the business of creating news, a definition it says could include bloggers because there are many newsletter publishers and bloggers, although no longer part of the 'lonely pamphleteer' tradition, who offer up-to-date reflections on current affairs.

The report then says If a publisher distributes more than 3000 copies of print per issue or a news internet site has a minimum of 15 000 hits per annum it should be subject to the jurisdiction of the News Media Council, but not otherwise. The report adds that These numbers are arbitrary, but a line must be drawn somewhere. 15,000 page impressions a year computes to just 41 page impressions a day.


5th March   

Dogged by the US...

US internet censors forcibly take Down Canadian gambling website
Link Here

US internet censors at the Department of Homeland Security have seized a domain name registered outside of the US, by individuals who are not American citizens, and who registered with a Canadian registrar.

What is unique about this case is that the American authorities did not get the domain's registrar - a Canadian company - to pull the domain. Instead they went to Verisign, which operates the entirety of .com, and had them pull the glue records, the warrant states.

The domain in question,,  is a big name in online gambling. It was set up and run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre. He, and three others involved with the site, have been indicted and could be extradited to the US if the authorities catch them.

The indictment claims that Bodog paid out $100m in winnings to US gamblers, in violation of US law. The company is also accused of spending $42m to promote the site in various US states, including Maryland. The move came after an undercover investigation by the FBI, and with the help of a snitch who used to work at Bodog.

Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country, said US attorney Rod Rosenstein in a statement.

By going to the root operator of .com and having the records pulled - bypassing the registrar entirely - the DHS has sent the world exactly one message: anything hosted in the US, registered in the US, or using a domain whose root is controlled by a US corporation is subject to American law.


5th March   

Reflecting Reality...

Research finds that computer game developers depict religion as violent and problematic
Link Here

Recent video games have begun depicting religion as a violent, problematic force, according to research from a new University of Missouri study.

Greg Perreault, a doctoral student at University of Missouri's School of Journalism, studied five extremely popular games from the last few years that incorporate religion heavily into their storylines: Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Assassin's Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow , and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

In each case, Perreault found that religion became equated with violence within the video games' narratives. Perreault said in a press release:

In most of these games there was a heavy emphasis on a 'Knights Templar' and crusader motifs. Not only was the violent side of religion emphasized, but in each of these games religion created a problem that the main character must overcome, whether it is a direct confrontation with religious zealots or being haunted by religious guilt.

Just because religion was associated with violence, however, does not mean it was always depicted as evil. For example, Perreault noted that in Mass Effect 2 , the character of Thane is an extremely spiritual assassin who assists the player.

Of those five games, Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion all deal with religions created specifically for the game. The remaining two titles, Assassin's Creed and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow , both center around Catholicism.

Still, Perreault emphasized that he did not believe game developers were attacking religion with these themes:

It doesn't appear that game developers are trying to purposefully bash organized religion in these games. I believe they are only using religion to create stimulating plot points in their story lines. If you look at video games across the board, most of them involve violence in some fashion because violence is conflict and conflict is exciting. Religion appears to get tied in with violence because that makes for a compelling narrative.

While Perreault's study of just five games is far from an exhaustive survey of all of modern video games, he does believe game writers should be aware of how they use religion in their plots.


5th March

 Offsite Article: Human Centipede 3...

Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
Tom Six announces the Final Sequence with Dieter Laser (mad surgeon Dr Joseph Heiter) and Laurence R. Harvey (Martin), inevitably claiming that it will make Full Sequence look like a Disney film.

See article from


4th March   

Thin End of the Wedge...

Tumblr Bans 'Thinspiration' Blogs
Link Here

Tumblr, the popular blogging site, announced on Feb. 23 it is enforcing a new policy that will prohibit blogs that promote eating disorders and other self-harm.

The Tumblr blog announced:

We are deeply committed to supporting and defending our users' freedom of speech, but we do draw some limits. As a company, we've decided that some specific kinds of content aren't welcome on Tumblr.

The eating disorder community sometimes referred to as thinspo (short for thinspiration ) or pro-ana (anorexia nervosa) is one of the fastest growing communities on Tumblr.

Bloggers who continue to share this content will be given a short amount of time to edit their posts and, if they fail to do so, will be removed from the site.

If one was to search by using keywords such as pro-ana, thinspo, thinspiration, purge, bulimia, or anorexic, public service ads will appear alongside, stating the dangers of eating disorders, as well as adding contact info in order to get help.


4th March   

Stereotypically Easily Offended...

Light hearted TV advert set amongst tribal natives gets taken off air in Spain
Link Here

Footballer Pepe Reina got caught up in a nonsense race row in Spain after a television commercial starring the Liverpool goalkeeper was pulled by broadcasters due to its apparent racial and sexual stereotyping.

The 26 second advertisement for the Spanish insurance firm, Groupama, shows Reina in a jungle scene, being greeted by a spear-carrying tribe and their leader.

With Reina's name translated as Queen in Spanish, the tribe leader appears to suggest a sexual relationship with Reina by saying: Me King, you Queen. Reina responds with raised eyebrows, before sarcastically saying: I feel safe, la la la.

The tone of the clip prompted condemnation from campaign group Operation Black Vote, and was subsequently removed from the screens of Spanish television. Simon Woolley, a director of Operation Black Vote, said:

I'm shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?

Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade -- does he think it's OK to characterise black people this way? Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke?

Groupama responded:

Groupama Seguros does not consider that this advert contains either offensive or any discriminatory content.


4th March

 Offsite Article: You Can't Read this Book...

Link Here
Books banned in India. By Hasan Suroor

See article from


3rd March   

Break: No Mercy Just Pain!...

BBFC cut German survival horror film set in Canadian redneck territory
Link Here

2009 Germany horror by Matthias Olof Eich.
With Lili Schackert, Esther Maaß and Ralph Willmann. See IMDb

Passed 18 for strong gore, violence and sexual violence after 53s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2012 Trinity R2 DVD

The BBFC commented:

  • Company was required to remove elements of nudity from a scene of sexual violence that eroticise sexual violence in a potentially harmful manner.

Promotional Material: Survival Horror

When Anna discovers a pair of severed human feet dangling from a tree in the Canadian woods she quickly realises the camping trip with her three friends is going to be more than they bargained for. The terrified girls begin to realise humans are the preferred prey in this area and that they are being hunted. Armed with crossbows, two brutal rednecks start to pick them off to perform gruesome forms for torture, and a blood-soaked battle for survival begins ...


3rd March   

Three Very Wise Ice Cream Men...

Antonio Federici's humour at the expense of religion is OK as long as it is not sexy
Link Here

A magazine ad for ice cream was headed, THE THREE VERY WISE ICE CREAM MEN . The ad featured a traditional Christmas nativity scene but it had Mary holding a spoon and the three wise men bearing gifts of ice cream. Issue

13 complainants objected that the ad was offensive on religious grounds, particularly at Christmas time.

Antonio Federici said they did not believe that the ad would cause offence to the majority of people of saw it. Assessment

ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad was based on the biblical story of the wise men visiting the baby Jesus, but featured the wise men bearing gifts of ice cream rather than gold, frankincense and myrrh. We also noted that Mary was holding a spoon. We noted that the ad appeared at Christmas time, which the complainants found offensive on religious grounds. We acknowledged that the ad might not be to everyone's taste; however, we considered that most consumers would understand that it was light-hearted take on the biblical story rather than a mockery of Christian belief. Because we did not consider that the ad would cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded that it had not breached the Code.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.


3rd March   

Staged Protest...

Protestors whinge at film makers recreating Lahore in India
Link Here

Hindu extremists in India have protested against the shooting of a film by director Kathryn Bigelow on the grounds that the film-makers were portraying Pakistan on Indian soil.

The film, with the working title Zero Dark Thirty , is about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

The film-makers were denied permission to film in Pakistan so they converted parts of the Indian city of Chandigarh to look like the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Billboards with Urdu signs were put up on shops in a market in the north Indian city and auto-rickshaws were running with Lahore number plates. Burqa-clad women and men dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes roamed the streets.

But for right-wing Hindus, the use of India to portray sworn enemy Pakistan was too much.

The small group of protesters shouted slogans and some of them were seen arguing with cast and crew members. Vijay Bhardwaj, a leader of the radical Vishva Hindu Parishad group said:

We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot for the film.


3rd March   

Preventing Moralist Bullying...

Oklahoma decides to ditch idea to tax violent video games to fund charities
Link Here
A bill that would have imposed a 1% tax on the sale of violent video games in the state of Oklahoma has been rejected, Eurogamer reports.

The bill lost a subcommittee vote by a narrow margin of 5-6, largely due to concerns over a founding premise that linked video games to bullying and obesity among children.

The tax would have applied to any game rated Teen, Mature or Adult Only by the ESRB, whether violent or not.

Half of all the money recouped from the tax would have been donated to the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund - a charity dedicated to outdoor education initiatives. The other half would have been donated to the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund.


3rd March   

Cairo Exit Forcibly Exited from Film Festival...

Film banned in Egypt for the taboo topic of a muslim/coptic christian affair
Link Here

Egyptian film-makers and critics denounced the authorities for banning the screening of a supposedly taboo film about a love story between a Christian woman and a Muslim man.

We denounce the fact that censorship authorities have prevented the screening of Hesham Issawi's Cairo Exit at the Luxor African Film Festival, dozens of film-makers and critics said in a signed statement.

They charged the censorship authorities had failed to respond to festival organisers on whether they could screen the movie even outside the main festival.

The festival organisers suggested to the censorship authorities that the film be shown only to members of the jury, critics and journalists but they never replied, the statement said. The censorship authorities stalled, preventing the film from being screened.

Under Egyptian law, films must obtain a written permit from censorship authorities in order to be screened. Anyone violating the procedure could be sentenced to jail.

Cairo Exit deals with the ultra-sensitive issue of a relationship between a Muslim and a Coptic Christian. It was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year.

Religious conflict between Moslems and Coptic is one important taboo in Egyptian media.


3rd March   

Putting up with Crap Censorship...

Economics of mass internet censorship leads to shameful and incompetent overblocking
Link Here

Techdirt has apparently been deemed harmful to minors in Germany. The German Media Control Authority has apparently been pushing internet youth filters to protect kids from dangerous things online. So far, it has officially approved two internet filters.

It was discovered that Techdirt was one of many blocked sites as the filter claims that Techdirt has pornographic images and depictions of violence. We do?

Local Hanno reached out to a spokesperson for the JusProg filter, and got the usual runaround. We do not want to censor political opinions. BUT... The spokesperson claims that the system is automated and looks at links. When asked why Techdirt was blocked, it was explained that since we use certain words perhaps twenty times in discussions about pornography and censorship, the system deemed us clearly a danger. Apparently, we can appeal to JusProg, but it appears that might require some familiarity with German... So, in the meantime, let's just hope that we haven't already damaged the youth of Germany too much.


3rd March   

Dangerous Porn...

Vietnam man jailed for 2 years for porn posts to a government website
Link Here

Associated Press is reporting that an official has been sentenced to two years in prison for posting porn to a government website.

Phan Ngoc Quan was convicted of illegally accessing the official Tra Vinh province website.

AP reported that a police investigation found Quan uploaded pornography to the website in 2010 and 2011, and that he subsequently confessed to the charge.


3rd March

 Offsite Article: Protests at City Beach Stores...

Link Here
Full story: Collective Shout...Nutter campaigners against sexualisation and the like
Australian nutters from Collective Shout have been out and about picketing shops for selling products to youngsters that vaguely make reference to sex

See article from


2nd March   

Update: Offensive Football Law...

Scotland's law against football and internet sectarianism comes into force
Link Here
Full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

Police are continuing to voice concerns about new laws targeted at offensive behaviour and religious hatred in and around football grounds.

They warn that there is still confusion around areas such as the definition of sectarianism.

As the contentious Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 comes into force today, the organisation representing rank and file police officers -- the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) -- said earlier misgivings had not changed.

Brian Docherty, the newly installed chairman of the SPF, said doubts remained, particularly around the definition of sectarianism. He said:

Reservations are still there. But the law has passed and we now have to run with it regardless of concerns over impact on resources.


2nd March   


Nintendo reject The Binding of Isaac game on grounds of religion
Link Here
Edward McMillen, game developer from Team Meat, has said the firm's looking into bringing The Binding of Isaac to Sony platforms after it was rejected by Nintendo for 3DS due to what the platform holder deemed to be questionable religious content .

Speaking to Joystiq, McMillen said he thinks it's a bit primitive to 'censor' something due to religion, but it's [Nintendo's] platform and their choice on what they want to support .

The Binding of Isaac game follows Isaac, a young boy who is in possibly the worst situation imaginable. After his mother heard commands from God that she followed without question, she is commanded to kill her son in sacrifice to prove her devotion. Isaac manages to escape into the basement, and is on the run as he fights off demons both physical and mental, discovers secrets about his mother's past, and ultimately confronts her in an effort to survive.

The censor free PC platform sees a UK release of The Binding of Isaac on 16th March 2012.


2nd March   

Updated: Playing Musical Executive Chairs at ATVOD...

How many expensive censors does it take to handle a handful of complaints and to suffocate Britain's VOD industry?
Link Here

The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has announced the appointment of Gidon Freeman, Sophie Jones and Chris Ratcliff as Non-Independent Board Members and Directors.

Gidon Freeman is Director of Regulatory and Government Affairs at NBC Universal International. He works on regulation and government affairs issues across NBC Universal's various businesses internationally.

Sophie Jones is Head of Corporate Relations at Channel 4. She is responsible for public policy, regulatory affairs and stakeholder communications at Channel 4.

Chris Ratcliff is Programming Director for Portland TV. Chris was previously Managing Director of adult distribution company Hot Rod Productions. He rejoined Portland TV in 2007 to manage Portland's adult broadcasting output and their respective on demand services.

Gidon, Sophie and Chris are expected to take up their appointments at the end of March. They replace Simon Hunt (of Virgin Media), Simon Milner (formerly of BT) and Chris Loweth (formerly of Channel 5).

Welcoming the appointments, ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

We are delighted that Gidon, Sophie and Chris have agreed to join the Board. Between them they offer a wealth of experience in a variety of areas and will help to ensure that ATVOD understands the perspectives of the wide range of service providers who fall within ATVOD's remit as we work to ensure that consumers enjoy the regulatory protection provided for in law.

We would also like to express our thanks to the outgoing Directors -- Simon Hunt, Simon Milner and Chris Loweth -- for their outstanding contribution to the development of ATVOD, especially in its crucial first two years as the co-regulator for UK video on demand services.


2nd March   

Update: Not Very Private...

EU Justice Commissioner says that Google's privacy policy is in breach of EU law
Link Here
Full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

Changes made by Google to its privacy policy are in breach of European law, the EU's justice commissioner has said.

Viviane Reding told the BBC that authorities found that transparency rules have not been applied .

The policy change, implemented on 1st March, means private data collected by one Google service can be shared with its other platforms including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.

Google said it believed the new policy complied with EU law. It went ahead with the changes despite warnings from the EU earlier this week.

Offsite Comment: Thoughts on Google's Privacy Policy changes

2nd March 2012. See  article from

Google wants to be able to provide an ID card equivalent for the Internet.

...Read the full article


2nd March   

Update: We Need to Widen the Definition of Beauty to Include the Ugly...

Lynne Featherstone spouts touched up bollox at the UN
Link Here
Full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone held a world-first United Nations event into the portrayal of women in the media on Wednesday 29 February.

She joined delegates in New York pontificate over the use of supposedly misleading images of women used by the media across the globe.

The minister warned how, in extreme cases, such images can lead to eating disorders and a rise in demand for cosmetic surgery, as well as damaging self-esteem.

Delegates discussed how the media use air-brushed perfect images and create a distorted vision of beauty that is unrepresentative and impossible to obtain. Distorted

Lynne Featherstone said:

We need to challenge this culture of conformity and widen the definition of beauty to include all ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicities. And we need to help people recognise that their value goes beyond just their physical appearance.

This is an issue affecting girls at an increasingly young age, with children of five worrying about dieting, and it is paramount that we work together to take action and support each other in every way we can.


2nd March   

Update: Predatory Censorship...

Morocco bans newspaper from including an extract from a French book about the king of Morocco
Link Here
Full story: Royal Censorship in Morocco...Law puts the Moroccan king above comment

The International Publishers Association is speaking out after authorities in Morocco banned the Spanish-language daily newspaper El Pai's from distributing its February 26 issue because of an excerpt it featured from the French book Le Roi predateur (The Predator King).

The book, written by Catherine Graciet and Eric Laurent, offers a critical look at the King of Morocco, and is being published in France by the French house Le Seuil.

The IPA is calling the cancelation of the paper in Morocco an act of censorship. IPA member Olivier Betourne, said:

By prohibiting the issue of the El Pais daily, which included excerpts of The Predator King, the Moroccan authorities go against the wind of freedom which is currently blowing in the MENA region. Not only does IPA condemn the censorship of the Spanish daily, it also urges Morocco to authorize the distribution in Morocco of The Predator King.


2nd March   


Uzbekistan takes issue with Turkish TV series
Link Here

Actor Kivanç Tatlitug starred in TV series Gümüs with the actress Songül Öden.
Three state-run televisions in Uzbekistan have banned the broadcasting of this Turkish TV series on the grounds that they contain unsuitable content.

According to local news, sources close to state television said the real reason behind banning Turkish TV series was the rebellious situation of some characters in those series.

It is also said that some scenes in the series were inappropriate to the mindset of Uzbek people.


1st March   

Classification: Content Regulation and Convergent Media...

Australian law Reform Commission publishes its report on rationalising media censorship
Link Here
Full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

All media in Australia should be classified, and censored, in the same way, according to a landmark report published today.

Conducting the first review of Australia's classification laws in 20 years, the Australian Law Reform Commission found that the rapid rise of new forms of media had overtaken existing classification laws.

The review would have far-reaching implications for Australia's media. Radio and television broadcasters are subject to regulation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Television broadcasters are also subject to guidelines under the Commercial Television Code of Practice.

The report recommended:

  • One set of laws establishing obligations to classify or restrict access to content across media platforms.Clear scope of what must be classified: feature films and television programs, as well as computer games likely to be MA 15+ or higher, that are both made and distributed on a commercial basis, and likely to have a significant Australian audience.
  • A shift in regulatory focus to restricting access to adult content, by imposing new obligations on content providers to take reasonable steps to restrict access to adult content and to promote cyber-safety.
  • Co-regulation and industry classification, with more industry classification of content and industry development of classification codes, but subject to regulatory oversight.
  • Classification Board benchmarking and community standards, with a clear role for the Classification Board in making independent classification decisions that reflect community standards.
  • An Australian government scheme that replaces the current co-operative scheme with enforcement under Commonwealth law.
  • A single regulator with primary responsibility for regulating the new scheme.

Professor Flew of the ALRC said:

Classification criteria should also be reviewed periodically, to ensure they reflect community standards,

One category that may no longer align with community standards is 'Refused Classification' or 'RC'. The scope of this category should be narrowed, and the ALRC suggests changes for government to consider.

[So it is recommended that hardcore porn be legalised for sale across Australia with self classification by the industry. But all this in return for the adult industry taking on board strict conditions to ensure that the material is not sold to under 18s. In fact, any such restrictions will apply equally to softcore and even mainstream R18+ horror films for adults].


1st March   

Jupe Likes 69...

Indonesian music censors whinge at sexy lyrics in a modern popular genre of music named dangdut
Link Here

Ten dangdut songs with the titles Jupe Likes 69 Best, Rocking Van, Sorry I Got You Pregnant, Accidentally Pregnant, Anything Goes, Just One Hour, Pimping Love, Breaking Womens' Law, Here's Something Long and Crocodile Hole have been banned for broadcasting by Indonesian provincial censors.

Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that is partly derived from Malay, Arabic, and Hindustani music. It developed in the 1970s among working-class Muslim youth, but beginning in the late 1990s reached a broader following in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines.

The West Nusa Tenggara Broadcasting Commission (KPID) has decreed that radio and television broadcasters are prohibited from airing the songs, which it claims have pornographic lyrics.

The KPID took two weeks to examine 300 of the most popular dangdut songs after receiving a complaint from a nutter group which it said included academics and cultural scientists from the province.

KPID head,  Badrun A.M., claimed that the body did not take the step to impose censorship lightly.

In principle we do not wish to curb the creativity of anyone's art, ... BUT ... the KPID also wishes to protect the public from the negative impacts of listening to these songs. There's the potential for children and teenagers to copy what they hear.

The head of the broadcasting supervisory agency said that the words to Julia Perez' song Jupe Likes 69 Best were delivered in an erotic voice, with lustful sighs and emphasis on lyrics which portrayed intimate relations and the singer's preferred mode of sexual intercourse.

More vulgar still, according to Badrun, was Rocking Van by Lia M.J. and Asep Rumpi, which he said, promoted sex outside of marriage, and went into details of sex positions.

This is very vulgar, and completely inappropriate to be heard by our community here in West Nusa Tenggara. Not to mention 'Pimping Love' which tells the story of a husband who sells his wife as a prostitute --- this does not represent our Eastern culture, he said.

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