Censor Watch

 2015: March



  Daily Mail and the BBFC recommend the first 18 rated music video on YouTube...

Couple of Stacks by Dizzee Rascal


Link Here 31st March 2015  full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos

dizzee rascal couple of stacks video British made online music videos are to being given age ratings. The BBFC, which is running the initiative, has estimated that one in five videos released will be deemed unfit for those under 12. Video sharing sites YouTube and Vevo have signed up to the scheme and pledged to include the warnings on clips uploaded to their sites. Vevo puts the rating in the top corner of the video, while YouTube includes it in the information beneath.

However some of the world's raunchiest performers, such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, are not covered by the scheme and there are no measures in place to enforce the guidelines. A spokesman for Vevo said:

There is no signing in as such or filters -- although this is a next step that may be added in time. At the moment this is about giving parents and users the information they need to make a more informed viewing choice and decision. To be effective it requires that parents also take an active interest in what their children are watching.

Rapper Dizzee Rascal has scored a first, his video Couple of Stacks is the first and so far the only 18 rating under the initiative for strong bloody violence, gore, very strong language . The three and a half minute clip contains extreme violence with the rapper ripping the heart out of a stripping woman, brandishing a knife while covered in blood and decapitating a woman whose body then stumbles around the room.  He also holds a family hostage and serves a cake with severed fingers instead of candles. He is shown pulling out a person's eyeball, slitting one woman's throat and cutting another's head in half.

Vivienne Pattison, a moralist campaigner from Media Watch-UK, said:

When parents are surveyed, the two areas that came up as being particularly problematic were soap operas and music videos, those are the two areas that come up again and again as the issue. One in five, that's a huge number of videos.

What happens is one video pushes the boundaries and the next artists is under pressure to do the same in order to get people talking about it. It becomes a great merry-go-round and I think that is a fantastic illustration of exactly where this is gone, it's quite extraordinary.

It's not a magic bullet but it's a fantastic step and I think it will really make a difference. I don't know where we will end up down the line but I would like this to act as a kite mark for music videos. This is not a move about censorship, the videos will all still be there, but I think artists and record companies need to take seriously that if they are targeting young fans they have got to do it responsibly.

On the lack of enforcement of the ratings, she said: You can't go into a shop and buy a 15 rated film without ID and we need to see about extending those protections online.

 

 Update: Hard Done...

South African court refuses appeal against decision requiring TV censor to reconsider licence granted to porn service


Link Here 31st March 2015  full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
south africa supreme courtSouth Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has dismissed a petition by On Digital Media (ODM) for leave to appeal a Western Cape High Court judgment that Icasa re-consider its decision to licence ODM's porn channels.

The court dismissed the petition on March 17, as there was no reasonable prospect of success.

On December 10 last year, the Western Cape High Court upheld an order to remit a decision on the licensing of the three porn pay channels back to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).

 

  Tearful Offence...

Advert censor whinges at adverts for the horror film Annabelle appearing in apps suitable for children


Link Here 30th March 2015
Annabelle DVD Ward Horton Two in-game ads, a pre-roll YouTube ad and a digital outdoor ad promoted the film Annabelle , rated 15.
  • a. An in-game ad, which appeared on the Planet of Cubes app, opened with a shot of two houses at night, and the sound of a scream. A woman was then shown waking her husband and saying, John, next door, I heard a scream. The next scene showed the woman walking through the house and looking up to see another woman holding a doll and whispering, I like your dolls while a man whose clothes were covered in blood walked through a door behind her. The woman said, Just, just take whatever you want and just, just get out. Other scenes included the woman who was holding the doll slumped against a wall covered in blood, some of which dripped into the doll's eye; a woman being dragged across the floor screaming; and a child running towards a woman through a doorway while the woman asked, Who are you? , before transforming into a woman in a blood-stained dress as she reached the door and attacking the other woman.
  • b. The same ad appeared on the Wordfeud app.
  • c. The same ad appeared as a pre-roll ad on YouTube before a Pokemon film. It also included a section at the beginning which displayed the text, BEFORE THE CONJURING THERE WAS ANNABELLE , and which showed a doll with blood dripping from its eye.
  • d. A digital outdoor poster, which was seen at London Bridge train station. Text stated, BEFORE THE CONJURING THERE WAS ... ANNABELLE . A picture of a doll's face appeared, with the text Miss Me? . Issue

Four complainants, some of whose children had seen the ads, challenged whether the following ads were likely to cause fear or distress, and had therefore been irresponsibly placed:

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld complaints about ads (a) and (b)

The apps Planet of Cubes and Wordfeud were rated as suitable for those aged four and over on Apple devices, which meant that they should contain no objectionable material , according to Apple's rating system. They were rated low maturity , on Google Play, which meant they might contain instances of mild cartoon or fantasy violence .

The ad contained several scenes of characters in distress, and reflected the theme of the film from the outset, including through the use of eerie sound effects, and the whispered line, I like your dolls . The scenes including the man whose clothes were covered in blood, the woman who was holding the doll slumped against a wall covered in blood, the blood dripping into the doll's eye, the woman being dragged across the floor screaming, and the child transforming into a woman in a blood-stained dress and attacking the other woman, were likely to be distressing to young and early teenage children.

Although the ASA acknowledged that the ad had the option to skip and that it would have been scaled down to fit a mobile phone screen, we considered that the ad was nevertheless likely to cause distress to young and early teenage children, and that care was therefore needed to ensure responsible targeting. We understood that Warner Bros had asked their media agency to target people aged 16 to 34 with an interest in the horror genre of films, in order to target the ad at an appropriate audience.

We considered, however, that some parents might allow a child to play with the app believing that the content, including all in-app advertising, would be suitable for that age range. In particular, we considered that a parent who might not usually allow a child to browse the internet independently on a device might be more inclined to allow them to play an age-appropriate app. Therefore, we were concerned that an adult and child could share a device within the same browsing session, and there was a risk that the child could have been served the ad while playing Planet of Cubes or Wordfeud.

In light of that risk, and because the way the ad was targeted, it could not take into account the possibility of a child sharing a device with an adult. We considered, therefore, that Warner Bros had not taken the necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of a child viewing the ad by, for example, ensuring that it was served in line with the profile of the apps, and concluded that it had been irresponsibly targeted.

2. Upheld complaints about ad (c)

As in point 1, we considered that the ad was likely to cause distress to young and early teenage children, and would therefore not be suitable for display before content that children were likely to be watching.

We noted that the ad had been age-restricted by being served only to those logged in to an adult's account, and that it was targeted toward users who had demonstrated an interest in horror films. However, we considered that the content of a Pokémon film was likely to appeal to children, and that it would not be unusual for a parent to be logged into their own account when accessing content for their children. In view of the content of the programme material being watched at the time, it was reasonable for consumers to expect that only advertising material that was suitable for a young audience would be shown.

Therefore, we concluded that the ad was inappropriately targeted and was irresponsible.

3. Not upheld complaints about ad (d)

Whilst we acknowledged some people might find the poster mildly threatening and distasteful, we noted that it did not show any scenes of violence. We did not consider the ad likely to cause serious or widespread offence, or to cause undue fear, distress or harm to children. We therefore concluded that it was not irresponsible.

 

 Update: Block On...

India's Supreme Court confirms India's website blocking regime buts finds against other aspects of internet censorship


Link Here 30th March 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
india supreme courtIndia's Supreme Court has ruled on three internet censorship sections of the Information Technology Act 2000 - Section 66A, Section 79 and Section 69A.

The draconian Section 66A was originally meant to tackle spam and cyber-stalking but was used by the powerful elite to crack down on online dissent and criticism.

Section 79 was meant to give immunity to internet intermediaries for liability emerging from third-party speech, but it had a chilling effect on free speech because intermediaries erred on the side of caution when it came to deciding whether the content was legal or illegal.

And Section 69A was the web blocking or internet censorship provision, but the procedure prescribed did not adhere to the principles of natural justice and transparency. For instance, when books are banned by courts, the public is informed of such bans but when websites are banned in India, there's no clear message from the ISP.

The Supreme Court upheld 69A, so web blocking and internet censorship in India will continue to happen in an opaque fashion which is worrying.

But on 66A and 79, the landmark judgment protects the right to free speech and expression. It struck down 66A in entirety, saying the vague and imprecise language made the provision unconstitutional and it interfered with the right of the people to know - the market place of ideas - which the internet provides to persons of all kinds .

However, it only read down Section 79 saying unlawful acts beyond what is laid down as reasonable restrictions to the right to free speech in the Constitution obviously cannot form any part of the section. In short, the court has eliminated any additional restrictions for speech online even though it admitted that the internet is intelligibly different from traditional media and might require additional laws to be passed by the Indian Parliament.

 

 Update: Murderous Censorship...

Another atheist blogger murdered in Bangladesh


Link Here 30th March 2015  full story: Blasphemy in Bangladesh...Penalising disbelief
Bangladesh flagAn atheist blogger opposed to religious extremism has been hacked to death in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, the latest attack on the country's bloggers after an American atheist blogger was killed in the same manner last month.

Washiqur Rahman was repeatedly stabbed by three men in the Tejgaon industrial area of Dhaka. Police arrested two men who were caught at the scene of the crime and recovered three meat cleavers from the spot.

The attack on Rahman came a month after Avijit Roy, a US-based Bangladeshi atheist blogger , was hacked to death at a busy roundabout in Dhaka. Roy's wife Rafida Ahmed Bonya, also a blogger, was seriously injured in the February 26 attack that triggered international outrage.

A social media writer said Rahman was known to write against religious fundamentalism. He used to write using a penname Kutshit Hasher Chhana (Ugly Duckling).

Police compared Rahman's murder to the 2013 killing of blogger Rajeeb Haider. Haider, known as Thaba Baba in the blogging community, was hacked to death on February 15, 2013 near his home at Pallabi in Dhaka.

 

 Offsite Article: Artists against Erdogan's censorship...


Link Here 30th March 2015
turkey see no evil Turkish artists feel oppressed by the government. Beyond censorship and commercial speculation, an alternative art scene offers some hope. By Ceyda Nurtsch.

See article from en.qantara.de

 

 Offsite Article: Anti-Social Councils...


Link Here 30th March 2015
manifesto club logo How have councils used PSPO powers? By the Manifesto Club

See article from manifestoclub.com

 

  School bullies of the most despicable kind...

Cheshire schools implicitly threaten that parents who allow their kids to play 18 rated games will lose their children


Link Here 29th March 2015
childcatcherParents are in danger of being reported to police by their children's head teachers if they allow them to play video games for over 18s.

A disgraceful threatening letter sent by a group of schools in Cheshire said that parents would be reported for child neglect if they let their kids play games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto , which have an 18 classification.

It warns that if teachers are made aware their pupils have been playing these video games they will contact police and social services.

The letter, sent by Nantwich Education Partnership, said allowing children to play these type of games on Xboxes and Playstations is deemed neglectful . The letter threatens:

If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18+ we are advised to contact the Police and Children's Social Care as it is neglectful.

Nantwich Education Partnership covers 16 primary and secondary schools in Cheshire.

 

  Zombie Censors...

ASA whinges at a truck advert set in a zombie infested city


Link Here 29th March 2015
isuzu zombie advert video a. An online video ad promoted the Isuzu D-Max Blade truck. It appeared as a banner ad on various websites, including the advertiser's own. It depicted the truck as the hero in a zombie infested city.

b. The same video appeared as an in-game ad that appeared in the app 'Scrabble Free'.

The ASA received seven complaints.

  1. All of the complainants challenged whether the content was distressing and offensive, because it was excessively gory and frightening.
  2. Four of the complainants challenged whether ad (a) had been irresponsibly placed where it could be seen by children.
  3. Three of the complainants challenged whether ad (b) had been irresponsibly placed in an app that could be played by children.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad featured a number of zombies that were injured and covered in blood. We noted that while the main protagonist, within the Isuzu truck, was surprised and unsettled by the sudden appearance of zombies, his reaction was measured and he was not shown to be in immediate danger. Similarly, while a woman featured in the ad was shown to be trapped on the roof of a car trying to fend off a group of zombie attackers, we considered it was clear from the man's reaction that he intended to save her. While we acknowledged that some viewers might find the ad unpleasant and unsettling, and that the it would need to be targeted carefully to ensure it was not seen by young and early teenage children, who could be distressed and upset by its content, we concluded that it was not overly graphic, violent or threatening, and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Upheld

We considered that the content of the ad could distress young and early teenage children, and therefore needed to be targeted carefully. We noted that the ad was targeted at users who were identified, through their browsing behaviour, to be male, over 18, and interested in cars. We understood, however, that such targeting could not mitigate the possibility of a child sharing a device, and the same browsing session, with an adult, and therefore seeing the ad during that session. While we appreciated that parents or guardians could take action to minimise that risk by deleting their browsing history or opting out of behavioural advertising, we considered that many parents would not necessarily be aware of such targeting methods or the steps they could take to avoid being served targeted ads. We understood that the network did not serve ads on any sites that were predominantly aimed at children and so the ad would not have appeared on sites of particular appeal to children, even if the device's browsing history indicated that the user was an adult male. We were concerned, however, that the ad could nonetheless appear on sites regularly used by children. We noted from the data provided that sparknotes.com was visited by a large number of individuals aged between the ages of 13 and 17, and that, depending on who else shared the same device, children visiting the site could have been served the ad.

In light of that risk, and because the way the ad was targeted it could not take into account the possibility of a child and adult sharing the same browsing session, we considered that Isuzu had not taken the necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of a child viewing the ad, such as ensuring the ad did not appear on sites regularly used by children.

Despite the targeting steps taken by the advertiser, because the ad appeared on a website regularly used by young teenagers, we concluded that it had been irresponsibly targeted.

3. Upheld

We understood that the ad was targeted to app users depending on their browsing history, and so would only be shown in-app to those who appeared to be over the age of 18. We noted, however, that the app was deemed to be suitable for those aged four and over, and that parents might allow a child to play with the app believing that the content, including all in-app advertising, would be suitable for that age range. In particular, we considered that a parent who might not usually allow a child to browse the internet independently on a device, might be more inclined to allow them to play an age-appropriate app. Therefore, we were concerned that an adult and child could share a device within the same browsing session, and the child could have been served the ad while playing Scrabble Free.

In light of that risk, and because the way the ad was targeted it could not take into account the possibility of a child sharing a device with an adult, we considered that Isuzu had not taken the necessary precautions to mitigate the risk of a child viewing the ad, such as ensuring the ad did not appear in apps with a low age rating.

Despite the targeting steps taken by the advertiser, because the ad appeared in an app which was rated suitable for children, we concluded that it had been irresponsibly targeted.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Isuzu (UK) Ltd to carefully target their ads to avoid the risk of causing undue fear and distress to children.

 

 Update: Secularist of the Year...

Charlie Hebdo staff honoured for bravery in the face of terrorism


Link Here 29th March 2015  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
secularist of the year 2015 logo The National Secular Society has awarded the staff of Charlie Hebdo the annual Secularist of the Year prize, for their courageous response to the terror attack on their Paris office.

Just one week after the attack on 7 January 2015, in which 12 people were killed, the remaining staff of Charlie Hebdo published an edition of the magazine featuring a depiction of Mohammed and an editorial making a passionate defence of secularism and the right to free expression.

NSS president Terry Sanderson said:

Since the events of 7 January in Paris, Charlie Hebdo has become more than a magazine -- it has become an ideal, a symbol of democracy, a rallying cry to those who value freedom and openness in public debate.

The Charlie Hebdo horror has now joined the endless stream of other outrages committed in the name of Islam. The difference is that it prompted a commitment to free speech and secularism on the part of millions of people.

Looked at objectively, blasphemy is a ridiculous concept, transparently invented to protect eminently arguable ideas from challenge. Ridiculous it may be, but it is also lethal.

From the forty or so nominations that we received, there was one that could not be ignored, that was the obvious and only possible winner.

In addition to the main Secularist of the Year award, the NSS also acknowledged a number of others for their work in the past year.

  • Lord Avebury was recognised with a special award for his invaluable support of the NSS, and for being a tireless advocate for secularism. Lord Avebury recently tabled a Bill to abolish chancel repair liability and has spoken out in Parliament against collective worship in schools and new legislation allowing prayers to be held as part of council meetings.
     
  • Maajid Nawaz, who couldn't attend the event, was recognised for his work at Quilliam, countering Islamic extremism and promoting secularism.
     
  • Helen Bailey and Elaine Hession were acknowledged for their efforts in helping the National Secular Society campaign to abolish chancel repair liability.

 

 Updated: Frankly my dear, I don't give a dam...

Authors object to book censorship app that converts their carefully constructed prose into shite


Link Here 29th March 2015

clean reader logoAn app that blanks out swear words in e-books hasn't gone down well among writers including Chocolat author Joanne Harris, who have explained that the app is censoring their work without permission.

The app operates on a sliding scale from clean , which removes only the strongest swear words, to squeaky clean which even takes out damn .

Harris wrote a scathing critique of the Clean Reader application which has been designed to help parents shield their children from strong language. Condemning the app on her blog, in a post titled why I'm saying "fuck you" to Clean Reader , Harris likened the programme to examples of suppression from history. She said:

Anyone who works with words understands their power. Words, if used correctly, can achieve almost anything. To tamper with what is written -- however much we may dislike certain words and phrases -- is to embrace censorship. We've been down this road before. We should know where it leads by now. It starts with blanking out a few words. It goes on to drape table legs and stick fig leaves onto statues.  It progresses to denouncing gay or Jewish artists as "degenerate". It ends with burning libraries and erasing whole civilizations from history.

Apps like Clean Reader change the text without the author's permission.  They take the author's words and replace them -- sometimes very clumsily -- on the basis of some perceived idea of "bad words" versus "good words".  No permission is sought, or granted. There is no opt-out clause for authors or publishers.

Laurie Penny, a journalist and author, added: There's now an app for taking the swearwords out of books. I find this fucking horrifying .

Charlie Stross, a science fiction writer wrote on Twitter: This - from an author's point of view - is an obscenity: algorithmic censorship of ebooks.

Update: How the app works

29th March 2015. See  article from  freethinker.co.uk

How it works is that you load your ebook into the app via iTunes; you can then select one of three filter levels, from mild censorship to the full monty; and the app does a find-and-replace using a database of "offensive" words selected by the Maughans, replacing them with "clean" versions.

For instance, body parts in the genital region of women are all turned into "bottom"; "fuck" becomes "freak"; "breast" becomes "chest", "whore" becomes "hussy"; and "bitch" becomes "witch" (which could get somewhat confusing if the book actually discusses dogs). "Sex" is changed to "love", "penis" to "groin" and "blowjob" to "pleasure". (See a fuller list here ).

 

 Update: Sharing a long list...

UK ISPs now blocking 110 file sharing sites by court order


Link Here 29th March 2015  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Old BaileyMajor UK ISPs must now block 110 piracy related websites after a new High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the major record labels and targets several MP3 download sites as well as a search engine for the cloud hosting service Mega.co.nz.

In a new wave the BPI, which represents the major record labels, has teamed up with music licensing outfit Phonographic Performance Limited to obtain an order targeting a series of MP3 download sites.

A few days ago several providers including Sky, BT and Virgin implemented the new changes, making it harder for their subscribers to reach these sites. The other ISPs are expected to follow suit during the days to come.

Thus far the sealed Court order hasn't been released to the public but the list of 17 sites was confirmed to TorrentFreak by one of the major ISPs, which preferred not to comment on the latest blocking round.

Because the ISPs have given up on defending their position in court, it is now a mere formality for copyright holders to have a pirate site banned. However, the blocking efforts are not without cost. Leaked information previously revealed that even an unopposed application for a blocking order costs copyright holders around £14,000 per website . This brings the total costs of the requesting parties well over a million pounds.

 

 Offsite Article: Drawing pressure...


Link Here 29th March 2015  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
ecuador bonil Cartoonists react to threats on free speech

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Extract: La Dolce Vita...

BBFC look back at their ratings for Fellini's masterpiece


Link Here 28th March 2015

Dolce Vita DVD Marcello Mastroianni The film was originally classified X for cinema release in 1960, meaning no persons under 16 could be admitted to screenings. The film next entered the BBFC for cinema re-release in October 1987 and video release in 1989. The Examiner reports from 1987, available here, note the visual discretion of the film as potentially PG-level, although the despairing tone of the film and the suicide attempt by one character, of which only the aftermath is shown, was considered more suitably placed at 15.

...Read the full article

 

  Fun Loving Daily Star Brightens up Miserable Britain...

Whilst offensive censor objects ban competition to win meeting with Page 3 girls


Link Here 28th March 2015

win a date page 3 advert An ad for a competition on the Daily Star's website www.dailystar.co.uk and in the newspaper:

a. The website ad, headed Win a date with a Daily Star Page 3 babe! It's a cold miserable winter out there - but as ever your fun-loving Daily Star knows just how to brighten up your lives . The ad featured three photographs, including one photograph showing three women from the waist up, wearing bras and holding champagne flutes, and another photograph showing three women wearing burlesque-style knickers standing close together with their hands on each others' shoulders and waists, their breasts partially covered by their arms. The photographs were captioned WIN: Enter the competition to have a chance of spending a day with a page 3 babe! , DATE: The girls are desperate to meet you! and IRRESISTABLE: Who could turn down the chance to meet one of our babes?! .

b. The newspaper ad featured, on the front page, an image of two women in bikinis under the heading WIN a chance to meet our fab Page 3 girls . On page 3, underneath an image of three women wearing only bikini bottoms, the same text as in ad (a) was headed SPEND A DAY WITH A P3 BABE .

The ASA received 31 complaints, including one from the campaign group Object. Thirty complaints were from members of the public, many of whom had become aware of the promotion through social media.

The complainants, who believed that to offer a date with a page-3 girl as a prize was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and socially irresponsible.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA noted the demographic information about the Daily Star's readership and website users, and that the image of three topless women in ad (b) appeared on page 3 of the paper, where similar images routinely appeared. We noted the Daily Star's view that the models were promoted as individuals and were seen as celebrities by some of their readers. We acknowledged that it was not unusual for competition prizes to involve meeting, or having a date , with a celebrity.

We noted the ads referred to the Star Babes as a sizzling prize , and suggested that their visit to the winner's workplace would bring the approval of their colleagues for bagging them this prize and would invoke jealousy in their friends. In the context of a competition in which the prize involved a visit from page 3 glamour models, a job which was based on a woman's attractiveness and in which women posed nude or semi-nude and which therefore inherently involved the objectification of their bodies, we considered the implication was that the prize would be enjoyed or envied on the basis of the women's attractiveness rather than because of their personality or other non-physical qualities. We also noted that the competition prize was described as involving a visit from one of our babes! and two of our top Page 3 girls rather than from specific individuals. We considered the implication was therefore that it did not matter which individual models would be visiting the winner and that the women were presented as interchangeable. In that context, whilst we noted the ads were targeted at Daily Star readers and website users, many of whom would likely have no objection to page 3 itself, we considered it likely that some would nonetheless find the notion of offering women as a prize to be sexist, offensive and socially irresponsible.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told the Daily Star to ensure that their future advertising contained nothing that was socially irresponsible or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

  Ever Enabled Censorship...

EE has a crap website blocking system that keeps turning itself on even when you go through the official process of getting it turned off


Link Here 28th March 2015

ee logoJon observes:

EE's new content filtering system doesn't work properly. No matter how many times someone over 18, tries to switch OFF the filtering system in full, either via the EE iPhone App, via proof of age/ID in an EE store, or directly with EE Customer Services themselves, the Filtering almost always switches itself back ON again.

Sometimes this happens within a few minutes, and sometimes a few hours. Occasionally, it won't come on again, for 24 hours, if you are lucky. Sadly, EE know about this problem, as it's been happening for many months now, and it's a common issue that hasn't been fixed. However, EE will deny this. I can vouch for this, as I am (sadly) an EE customer, that frequently has this problem with the Filtering System limiting my Internet access to some of the most benign sites, it deems adult , like my local arthouse cinema's website, etc.

And I can confirm that I had similar problems when using a T-mobile dongle. The observation is also the source fo much annoyance reported on the Sex and Censorship websites.

 

 Update: Lads not interested in non-sexy lads' mag...

Sexed down Loaded magazine closes


Link Here 28th March 2015  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
loaded april 2015Loaded, one of the titles synonymous with the mid-1990s lads' mag boom, is to close after 21 years.

The last issue of the monthly magazine, which launched in 1994, is the April edition which is on sale now. the publisher said in a statement:

As of the current April issue, published on March 26th, Loaded will cease to trade as a printed magazine. We would like to pay tribute to our customers, staff and especially our contributors and editorial team.

Loaded was once one of the the leading titles in a booming lads magazine sector, with sales of 350,000 in 2000. After declining sales, the publishers recently tried a sexed down version but that doesn't seem to have panned out.

 

 Offsite Article: Political correctness devours its own children...


Link Here 28th March 2015
nick cohen writing from london logo It is abandoning its children, and declaring them illegitimate. It is shouting down activists who once subscribed to its doctrines and turning its guns on its own. By Nick Cohen

See article from nickcohen.net

 

 Commented: Less Bang...

Channel 4 suffers a rash of censorship on daytime showings of The Big Bang Theory


Link Here 27th March 2015
Big Bang Theory Season 1 7 manus37 tweeted:

I watched The Big Bang Theory at 12.30pm on Channel 4. They seemed to have cut out the herpes line...seems herpes is a bad word

For the record this was Series 6 Episode 01:  The Date Night Variable

Scene: Penny's apartment. Penny is bleaching Amy's upper lip.

Amy: This is so exciting. Soon, my upper lip will be the same fake blonde as my beautiful best friend.

Penny: Hey, this is my natural hair colour.

...

Amy: How long does this stay on?

Penny: Just a couple of minutes. You've really never done this before?

Amy: Once in high school, but I dozed off and woke up with second-degree chemical burns on my face.

Penny: Oh, my gosh, that's awful. The other kids make fun of you?

Amy: No, I had a cover story, I told everyone it was herpes.

Comment: Utterly incomprensible

24th March 2015. From phantom

It's been going on for some time.

It is utterly incomprehensible to me why something as innocent as this sitcom would be cut, but it is happening on a daily basis. It seems any screening before the watershed has any line which is even mildly suggestive removed. The very fact that something so mild can be deemed worthy of cutting does not bode well for any other TV content.

Update: Less Cheer

27th March 2015. Thanks to Jon

Cheers One DVD Ted Danson UK satellite TV channel GOLD have started broadcasting the classic US comedy CHEERS, at 4pm-5pm on weekday afternoons.

Whilst episodes are not being censored for content, they are censoring the show for running-time issues, to cram in more ads.

I received a Facebook Message from GOLD this morning, that said:

We can confirm that none of the content of Cheers has been removed for compliance or censorship reasons, the only edits we have made are to reduce the episode's overall duration. Unfortunately the original episodes of Cheers are slightly too long to fit into their scheduled time slot on Gold so some material has to be edited out before broadcast. We have passed your comment on to the Gold Scheduling team. Thanks, Gold

This is complete bullshit, of course, as episodes only run between 23-25 minutes when uncut, which leaves plenty of time for ads in a 30-minute timeslot. Their editing just magically happens to cut-out mild cussing (e.g. Holy crap at the end of the pre-credits teaser from Season 1, Episode 1) and/or the pre-credits teaser sequences, which just magically disappear in full, from most of GOLD's transmitted episodes. Amazing! It's not censorship, it's magic! LOL

And when they have UK-made comedy shows, that run between 25-29 minutes in length, such as ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES, FAWLTY TOWERS, PORRIDGE, and/or MRS BROWN'S BOYS, these are always shown in 35-40 minute time-slots. It seems GOLD are flouting their own rules, depending on their mood, as and when they see fit.

 

 Update: Insulting Humanity...

Jordan revives the ludicrous attempt to get the criticism of religion made internationally illegal


Link Here 27th March 2015  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN
inter parliamentary union logoJordan has introduced an emergency item to the next meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, calling for a ban on insulting religion or religious symbols. The draft resolution says insults to religion represent a danger to all humanity.

The Speaker of Jordan's House of Representatives has written to the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to introduce an emergency item titled respect for religions and religious symbols, respect for freedom of opinion and expression. Although the title feigns acknowledgment freedom of opinion and expression, the resolution does nothing of the kind.

The IPU is the international organization of parliaments and describes itself as

The focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue and works for peace and co-operation among peoples and for the firm establishment of representative democracy.

The draft resolution claims that insulting religion feeds religious extremism and fanaticism, terrorism and violence and says that a way to remedy the problem is to promote mutual respect among believers . The memorandum claims:

Insults to religions and religious symbols are uncivilized actions that have very serious consequences on all humanity, as they prevent the meeting of minds and dialogue and feed religious extremism and fanaticism, terrorism and violence.

The followers of Islam acknowledge the existence of other religions. Islam also gives the followers of those religions the right to exercise their religious practices freely within Islamic States, and regards non-Muslims as citizens and an integral thread in the fabric of the nation.

Freedom of opinion and expression should not be used as a pretext for insulting others' lives, reputations, religions, holy shrines or practices. In today's world, the term 'religious symbols' refers to prophets, places of worship and holy books. As a gesture of commitment, the religion of Islam obliges all its followers to believe in and respect all prophets, and to believe in holy books.

The Speaker has also called for an international convention to prevent disrespect for religions and religious symbols.

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, said the resolution was the latest in a long line of attempts to impose a global blasphemy law and called for it to be fiercely resisted .

Free speech campaign organisation Article 19 have denounced the proposal and warned that it would legitimise criminal prohibitions on religious insult or so-called 'defamation of religions' and warned that the introduction of prohibitions on insulting religion must be resisted in other international forums, after campaign groups saw recent success in seeing off attempts to introduce de facto blasphemy bans at the UN.

 

  BBFC kindly indicate the sexiest music videos on Youtube...

Ratings now feature on UK music videos on digital service providers Vevo and YouTube


Link Here 26th March 2015  full story: BBFC Online Music Censors...Scheme for UK music publishers to get BBFC rating for videos

robin thicke blurred lines video The BPI and BBFC, in partnership with Vevo and You Tube, and UK record companies Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK, can announce that age ratings are now being displayed on the music videos they upload to digital service providers Vevo and YouTube.

The age ratings are part of a government-backed pilot by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and digital service providers designed to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences can make more informed viewing decisions.

The pilot has been running since 3 October 2014. The first phase, which has been successful, saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for release online in the UK for which they would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*).

If appropriate, the BBFC then issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating -- in line with the BBFC Classification Guidelines. As part of the ratings process the BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail why an age rating has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers. Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the two digital service providers -- Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, will display it when the videos are broadcast online.

The pilot will be evaluated later this year based on consumer research, when consideration will also be given to how the scheme can be applied more widely.

Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, comments:

We want to empower consumers by giving them useful, advance guidance as to the suitability of the music videos they watch, whilst leaving artists the freedom to fully express themselves. The introduction of age ratings on top of the existing parental advisory warnings is a key next step by the UK's record labels, working with BBFC, Vevo and YouTube, that will enable families to make more informed viewing decisions.

David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC comments:

We are very pleased to see YouTube and Vevo displaying BBFC age ratings and BBFC insight for online music videos submitted to the BBFC for classification as part of this pilot. Parents taking part in our most recent review of the BBFC Classification Guidelines in 2013, expressed their concerns about the content of music videos online, in particular their role in the sexualisation of girls and portrayals of self-harm, drug use and violence in some music video content. We hope this pilot will provide consumers with information to help guide them and their families when accessing music videos online.

Nic Jones, EVP International, Vevo, comments:

Music videos give bands and artists their best opportunity to express personality and individuality to their fans. At Vevo we fully support their right to freedom of expression in the videos they create. We also recognise our role in being able to assist music fans, and their families in particular, to be comfortable with their choice of viewing material and its suitability. In turn age ratings will help Vevo become even more valuable to brands, helping them to connect to their desired audience.

Candice Morrissey, Music Partnerships, YouTube EMEA, comments:

Over the last few months, we have been working with the UK's music industry to help them display the BBFC's age ratings on their music videos on YouTube. These are in addition to the controls we already provide on YouTube including the ability for uploaders to add age warnings to videos and a safety mode to help parents screen out content they do not feel is suitable for their children.

* It is estimated that around 20% of music videos released within the pilot are likely to be subject to a rating -- the large majority are unlikely to contain content that would be rated 12 or greater. This estimate is based on a previous video catalogue audit of one of the companies taking part in the pilot.

 

 Commented: Arsey censor...

PC advert censor bans another American Apparel product image


Link Here 26th March 2015  full story: American Apparel...Sexy clothing adverts wind up the advert censors

american apparel lips advertA website (store.americanapparel.co.uk) featured a product page for the Lips Print Cotton Spandex Sleeveless Thong Bodysuit . A female model was featured in four images wearing the advertised product. One of the images showed her from the back with her buttocks visible.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive, because it portrayed a sexualised image of a model who the complainant considered looked under 16 years of age.

American Apparel (UK) Ltd believed the image did not represent an underage model and said the model shown was 20 years old. They said the ad depicted the advertised product from various angles and included an image of the thong component of the bodysuit. They believed the image was consistent with standards contained in similar ads.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA acknowledged the ad depicted the advertised product from various angles. We considered the model had a youthful appearance and that some consumers were likely to regard her as being younger than 16 years of age. The model was shown looking back at the camera over her shoulder with her buttocks visible. We considered that readers were likely to interpret the model's expression and pose as being sexual in nature. In conjunction with the youthful appearance of the model, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.

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

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told American Apparel (UK) Ltd to ensure future ads did not include images that inappropriately sexualised young women or were likely to cause serious offence.

Offsite Comment: ASA threats adults as children

26th March 2015. See  comment from  strangethingsarehappening.com

strange things are happening banner logo It's so easy to trash the Advertising Standards Authority -- who, as I must constantly point out, have no more legal authority than a bloke waving a placard in the middle of the street, and possibly far less common sense -- that I only do it sparingly. But once again, they have made a decision that beggars belief, going far beyond a mere judgement on issues of taste and decency and entering into a world of thought crime that ironically makes them sound like a group of repressed, twisted perverts.

...read the full comment

 

 Offsite Article: Internet in Iran...


Link Here 26th March 2015  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Iran flag Evaluating Rouhani's First Two Years as President

See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

 

 Extract: The Deprecated Version...

Unusual marketing for Johnny Depp in Mortdecai on home video.


Link Here 25th March 2015
Poster Mortdecai 2015 David Koepp Mortdecai is a 2015 USA action comedy by David Koepp.
Starring Johnny Depp, Olivia Munn and Ewan McGregor. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

US: Uncut and MPAA R rated for:

  • 2015 Lions Gate (RA) Blu-ray at US Amazon released on 12th May 2015
  • 2015 Lions Gate R1 DVD at US Amazon released on 12th May 2015

It is normal practise for Hollywood studios to pep up the home video sales of failed box office movies with an Unrated Version or perhaps an uprated version (eg an R rated version of a PG-13 movie. But the producers have decided to go in the opposite direction for home video releases for Mortdecai. An optional kiddified PG-13 version of Mortdecai will be offered on VoD.

Whereas the uncut theatrical version was rated R for some language and sexual material , the PG-13 version receives is rating for  sexuality including references and innuendo, action/violence and brief strong language.

It's a decision that has fascinated many, including Scott Mendelson who writes for Forbes:

I'm not really sure that the reason Johnny Depp's Mortdecai flopped was because all of those young Charlie Mortdecai fanatics weren't able to get into the theater on account of its R-rating. But desperate times call for desperate measures. Mortdecai will be arriving on DVD, Blu Ray on May 12th while arriving on Digital HD services on May 5th . Here's the weird part: While the film is being offered on physical media and VOD in the theatrical R-rated version, it is also being offered on Digital HD in an edited PG-13 version. That's right, Lionsgate isn't offering the Johnny Depp/ Gwyneth Paltrow comic crime caper in an unrated version with additional violence or sex tossed back in. No, they're going the opposite route, offering a PG-13 version of the film. And I quote: And now, even more comedy lovers can experience the hilarity with the uproarious PG-13 cut of the film, Mortdecai PG-13 , available exclusively on Digital HD and On Demand.

...read the full article

 

  The Devil Cries 'Cut!'...

Devil May Cry game is PC cleansed for its 'definitive' re-release


Link Here 25th March 2015
DMC Devil May Cry Definitive PlayStation The developer of the Devil May Cry  video game, Ninja Theory has censored a snippet of sexually suggestive dialogue from the action adventure's Definitive Edition re-release.

The game's new version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One supercedes the 2002 original version.

The original scene sees demon antagonist Mundus discussing his evil plans with fellow demon and mistress Lilith.

Mundus : I will control the world through debt. I have absolute power.

Lilith: The world is at last your bitch , as am I. Nothing left but to grab it by the hair, bend it over and -

Mundus grunts

Lilith: What's the matter? Wait - what's the matter?

The latter part of the dialogue in bold is cut from the definitive version.

Chief creative director Tameem Antoniades unconvincingly claimed that this wasn't a PC clean up. He said:

We did make an edit to the opening cut-scene. It wasn't a case of censorship as there are far more suggestive scenes in the game. We felt that scene in particular drags on a little bit for the opening sequence and frankly, we didn't like the line.

The edit does not affect the game play.

 

  A cunning plan...

Northamptonshire police commissioner has a plan to cure society's ills by renaming the '18' rating for games to 'adults only'


Link Here 25th March 2015
adam simmondsA new report into online safety from Northamptonshire Police & Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds comes to some bizarre conclusions about video games playing by youngsters.

In particular he reports that video games that ask players to participate in extreme acts of violence such as massacring civilians and torturing people should be labelled AO (Adult Only) to warn parents they are not suitable for children.

The press release for the report acknowledges that an 18 rating already exists but loses the plot a bit when starting to explain the difference:

While an 18 + certificate already exists warning parents and children of explicit content, there have been a number of recent controversies surrounding the release of high profile video games. Grand Theft Auto V, one of the most expensive computer games ever made, has caused outrage for including a torture scene in which the player must pull teeth and electrocute an unarmed man. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, players are asked if they wish to play a proactive part in an airport civilian massacre. The report found that 26% of children had accessed games that they knew they were underage for with over one in 10 children aged 11 saying they had downloaded Call of Duty.

The press release also includes some unexplained, maybe fanciful ideas about providing ' a parental lock as standard'. Presumably he has picked up something from default on internet website blocking system recently introduced by ISPs. The press release blathers on:

The report also suggests the video games industry provides a parental lock as standard to help parents protect their children from extremely violent and explicit images. If the industry fails to take greater responsibility, then the Government should consider banning certain games altogether.

One assumes that his selling technique of quoting a few shocking stats about children's media usage and then waving his arms a bit, and offering some ill defined censorial solution is a hangover from working for Christian advocacy group CARE and for the religious campaigning MP, Gary Streeter. (See article from en.wikipedia.org )

 

 Update: Shared Prosecutions...

More internet censorship is Turkey where people sharing censored material will be prosecuted


Link Here 25th March 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Facebook logoSocial media users who share content that has been subject to a legal complaint in Turkey will be punished, according an omnibus bill currently being debated in parliament.

Internet censors at the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) will be able to decide for the removal or blocking of Internet content based on vague claims about "protection of national security and public order" in the omnibus bill, and users who then share such content will also be punished.

On March 20, parliament approved a key article of the contentious omnibus bill that gives power to the prime minister and other ministers to shut down websites within four hours. The approval came just six months after a similar bill was overturned by the Constitutional Court.

The TİB could enforce the ministry's request as a blanket ban of the website if deemed necessary, within a maximum four hours. The TİB would then submit the decision to the judge of a criminal court of peace within 24 hours for approval. The judge would have to issue a ruling within 48 hours. If no verdict is issued, the ban would automatically be revoked.

According to the law, the TİB could also file criminal complaints by applying to prosecutors regarding the content of the website. ISPs or web hosts would be required to submit the necessary information to help locate those being censored through a court order. Providers that do not identify censored account holders could be given hefty fines Authorities would also be able to revoke their provider licenses in Turkey.

 

 Offsite Article: Speaking of Camel Toes and Quims...


Link Here 25th March 2015
Weirdos vs Quimboids Natasha Desborough Why I couldn't use the phrase 'camel toes' in the title of my first novel by Natasha Desborough

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Not Welcome in New York...

Abel Ferrara's new film Welcome to New York won't be released in New York


Link Here 24th March 2015
Welcome New York region Format Welcome to New York, Abel Ferrara's movie starring Gerard Depardieu as a character inspired by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, won't be released in New York.

In fact, the director's cut seen in Europe won't be released at all in the US, and Ferrara is unimpressed by the censorship. Ferrara speaks of the producer's cut of the film:

My film says 'no means no' and 'violence to women is not an option. Their film says, 'this is an innocent man being harassed by the NYPD.' It lets DSK off the hook.

Ferrara says IFC, the French distributing company that produced the film, have violated his right to the final cut, and butchered his critically acclaimed movie to be less-damning of DSK. The crucial scene where DSK is depicted as raping hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo is now edited as a flashback -- a dream the maid has.

Ferrara is calling for a boycott of the film when IFC opens it in a theater in Los Angeles and releases it online.

Wild Bunch and IFC deny they buckled to pressure from Strauss-Kahn and his lawyers to whitewash the story. IFC said in a statement{

We offered Mr. Ferrara an opportunity to edit his own R-rated version of the film at our expense, but he did not respond.

 

 Update: Committing an abomination...

Justice not seen to be done when a judge with a conflict of interests, (also being a sharia court judge), fines street preacher for unpleasant Bible quotes


Link Here 24th March 2015  full story: Preachers in the UK...Preachers come under censorship duress
HM Courts ServiceStreet preacher Michael Overd has been found guilty of using threatening or abusive words after making homophobic remarks during a sermon delivered in Taunton High Street.

Overd was ordered to pay £250 to a passer-by who had been 'offended' by the preacher's comments, and he initially refused, at which point judge Shamim Qureshi threatened the preacher with a prison sentence. He has been ordered to pay total costs of £1200.

Overd intends to appeal his conviction and said I follow my Lord and leader, so I won't tone down.

The street preacher was charged with a public order offence, after complaints were made by members of the public that he had made homophobic and Islamophobic remarks. In particular he quoted Leviticus 20:13 :

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (English Standard Bible)

The BBC reports that the judge told the preacher he seemed to enjoy testing the laws on free speech to their limits . Overd was also told that he should not have quoted from Leviticus 20:13 when speaking about homosexuality , according to Christian Today, who also report that the judge suggested that there were other verses he could have chosen if he wanted to talk about what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Judge Qureshi also works as a judge for the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, which aims to help Muslims resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic Sacred Law.

Overd was found not guilty on two other charges, which included causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress after he made critical remarks about the Muslim religious character Mohammed.

The National Secular Society has previously raised concerns about the trial's implications for free speech. Terry Sanderson, NSS president, said the ruling appeared to make the quoting of certain passages of the Bible illegal:

Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake. As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.

 

  Viewed from the Lobby...

Morality campaigners get Australian outdoor showing of Fifty Shades of Grey cancelled


Link Here 24th March 2015
  Australian Christian LobbyAn outdoor cinema in Adelaide has cancelled a planned screening of Fifty Shades of Grey after whinges from the Australian Christian Lobby.

Australian Christian Lobby claimed that it was concerned the film about a sadomasochistic relationship may be seen by children who are outside the cinema.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton claimed to the Advertiser that the movie tended to glorify sexual violence as being acceptable:

The message of the film is bad enough, let alone the potential for children or young people to walk past and be exposed to sexual violence against women.

The cinema said that it recognised concerns children may hear or see parts of the film from outside the confines of the cinema, but said it was built to avoid that issue, including the use of 2m high fencing and additional fencing panels to block views. A number of movies rated MA15 have been shown at the cinema already this year, without complaints.

 

 Update: Je Suis Billy Boy: free speech for football fans!...

In Britain in 2015 you can be jailed for singing a song. Where's the anger? BY Brendan O'Neill


Link Here 24th March 2015  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up
scottish prison service logo

 

 Update: Not building bridges with the traveller community...

BBC Trust accepts Jeremy Clarkson's use of the word 'pikey' as a cheap insult


Link Here 23rd March 2015  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Apocalypse Richard Hammond Top Gear
BBC Two, 2 February 2014

On 2 February 2014 Top Gear broadcast an item comparing hatchback cars from the 1980s with their modern equivalent. The presenters each chose a car. Richard Hammond's choice was a Vauxhall Nova, which the other two presenters felt was inferior to their cars and comments were made about this in relation to Richard Hammond's lack of style. When they arrived at the motor circuit to race their cars, Jeremy Clarkson stated:

We arrived at the terrifying Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb. Germany has the Nurburgring, America has Pikes Peak, we have this. It's more than half a mile long and at the bottom of this fearsome river of tarmac we were given more details of our challenge.

Sometime later, after the other two presenters had completed the circuit, a voice-over from James May said As I pondered on that, Jeremy prepared the course for Hammond's Nova. Jeremy Clarkson was then seen putting up a placard on a wooden hut on which Pikey's Peak was written. Richard Hammond was then shown driving his car up to the start line.

The initial complaint stated that the sign had no relevance to the programme and was:

Grossly offensive and racist to a minority community, the Gypsy Traveller community. They are one of the 9 protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010 and do not deserve to be treated like this, especially not on national TV.

The complaint was escalated through the full and long BBC complaints procedure until reaching the rarely achieved appeal to the BBC Trust, who concluded:

The Appeal Committee wish to state that it had carefully considered the case made by the complainants and the information they provided, and had accepted that the word pikey did have the potential to be deeply offensive to the Gypsy and Traveller communities, most notably when specifically attributing negative characteristics to these minority groups. The Committee was also mindful that some words, including pikey , can be used in an abusive context. The Committee therefore advised programme makers to bear in mind the potential for offence this word may have in some circumstances and advised extreme care and sensitivity when employing it in programming. Although the Committee accepted that the word pikey has evolved to have a meaning distinct from the Gypsy and Traveller communities, it nevertheless advises considerable caution in its use.

Finally the Committee noted that the complainants wanted the Editorial Guidelines to directly address the possible dual usage of the word pikey . The Committee considered that this was not necessary because the Editorial Guidelines were sufficiently clear.

Finding: not upheld

Update: Ofcom takes up the complaint

6th May 2015. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Ofcom has confirmed that it was investigating a complaint about Top Gear over the use of the word pikey .

 

 Update: GreatFire Under Fire...

China censors website helping to workaround Chinese censorship


Link Here 23rd March 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
greatfire A campaign organisation that circumvents Chinese website blocks has said it has come under a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) instigated by the Chinese authorities.

Greatfire called the attack an attempt to enforce censorship and noted in a tweet:

China internal docs show military, Ministries of State & Public Security and rogue operators used to wage cyberwar

Greatfire has tracked which sites are blocked in China and recently began offering a mirroring service to try to restore them for Chinese users. Similar to the campaign started by Reporters Without Borders last week, it set up content distribution networks (CDNs) using the same hosting services as many entities on which China relies. In a statement published on its website, Greatfire said the attacks started on 17 March and added:

We are receiving up to 2.6 billion requests per hour which is about 2,500 times more than normal levels. Likely in response to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) , we've experienced our first ever distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

In theory, the method provided protection to Greatfire because, to be sure that the blocked websites remained inaccessible, attackers would have to take down the whole hosting service - including many sites that China wanted to remain live. However, in practice, the attackers managed to find the individual URLs of the sites the authorities sought to block and bombarded them, in a more targeted attack, said Prof Alan Woodward of the University of Surrey. He added that keeping the sites online would require the purchase of more bandwidth, adding that he consequently believed the Chinese authorities wanted to put financial pressure on Greatfire.

 

 Update: Government committee backs government snooping...

The New York Times comments on pro-snooping UK parliamentary committee calling for the normalising of mass sureveillance


Link Here 23rd March 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

new york times logo A committee of the British Parliament has proposed legal reforms to Britain's intelligence agencies that are mostly cosmetic and would do little to protect individual privacy.

In a report published on March 12, the Intelligence and Security Committee acknowledged that agencies like MI5 collect, sift through and examine millions of communications. Most of this is legal, the committee said, and justified by national security. It proposed a new law that would tell people more about the kind of information the government collects about them but would not meaningfully limit mass surveillance. That is hardly sufficient for a system that needs strong new checks and balances.

As things stand now, intelligence agencies can monitor vast amounts of communications and do so with only a warrant from a government minister to begin intercepting them. Lawmakers should limit the amount of data officials can sweep up and require them to obtain warrants from judges, who are more likely to push back against overly broad requests.

The parliamentary committee, however, did not see the need to limit data collection and concluded that ministers should continue to approve warrants because they are better than judges at evaluating diplomatic, political and public interests. That rationale ignores the fact that ministers are also less likely to deny requests from officials who directly report to them.

The committee's acceptance of the status quo partly reflects the fact that Britons have generally been more accepting of intrusive government surveillance than Americans ; security cameras, for instance, are ubiquitous in Britain. But the committee itself was far from impartial. Its nine members were all nominated by Prime Minister David Cameron, who has pushed for even greater surveillance powers.

 

 Update: Blogs Censored...

Pakistan blocks the WordPress, the largest blocking platform in the world


Link Here 23rd March 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
wordpress logoThe largest blogging platform of the world, WordPress.com, has been banned in Pakistan which a tech blog says has been done on orders of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

According to the ProPakistani blog, who claims to have been confirmed by an anonymous source within PTA, reports that WordPress.com has been blocked due to references to the Pakistan Day. The exact nature of threat on WordPress.com that triggered the blocking is unreported.

The blog also reports the ban might be lifted in next two days

PTA has a history of blocking websites without giving any prior notice or reason of doing so.

 

 Offsite Article: Anime Censorship Reaches New Levels of Stupid...


Link Here 23rd March 2015  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
smoking in anime TV censorship in Japan

See article from kotaku.com

 

  Over strict...

The BBFC publishes rules for EE 'strict' website blocking. The BBFC treat this as a PG rating


Link Here 22nd March 2015
ee logoThe BBFC writes:

The BBFC is introducing a new Classification Framework for film and video, to filter video and website content available to customers under the age of 12 via mobile networks. The change on the EE networks will take effect from 16th March 2015.

EE restricts access to content classified as 18 and over on its mobile network as default for all customers, but offers three types of settings Off , Moderate and Strict giving customers the option to choose what content lock is right for them. The new Classification Framework is based on the BBFC's PG standard and will be added to EE's Strict content setting which can be changed on the device at any time.

David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said:

We first provided a framework for Mobile Operators to restrict access to content via mobile networks by customers aged under 18, in September 2013. We are pleased to be able to provide an additional Classification Framework for EE, to allow them to restrict content unsuitable for users under the age of 12. The Framework takes into account the same issues the BBFC considers when age rating a film or DVD and defines content which meets the BBFC's PG Guidelines and is therefore suitable for those under 12.

The Classification Framework is a living document and will be updated regularly to reflect evolving public attitudes and societal concerns. It has been developed using the BBFC's Classification Guidelines, these are based on large scale public consultations involving around 10,000 people, and are revised every 4-5 years.

And indeed the rules are strict

Sex

  • sexualised posing, dancing or gestures
  • sight of sexual activity unless discreet, infrequent and implied only
  • sight of sex toys and paraphernalia
  • moderate or crude sex references
  • nudity in a sexual context
  • sight of genitals in a work with no apparent educational purpose
  • sex education and advice which is inappropriate for children aged under 12 (this will include detailed discussion of topics such as abortion or sexual positions and performance)
  • verbal or visual references to bondage and other BDSM activities
Violence and Threat
  • moderate or strong violence
  • emphasis on injuries or blood, gory moments, which may be animated
  • prolonged or intense frightening sequences
  • moderate physical and psychological threat and horror
  • visual or verbal references to sexual violence
Surely a rule such as the clause that bans 'verbal references to sexual violence' would mean that all newspaper websites and perhaps all news site in general would have to be blocked along with daytime TV. The rules don't seem very will adapted to website usage. There doesn't seem to be any sense of practicality in applying the rules to large websites. Does a single use of strong language in a 12 thousand page website generally useful to kids, mean that the entire site has to be blocked?

 

  Customary Control...

US Representative proposes a new customs bill that controls or prohibits the import and export of pornography


Link Here 22nd March 2015
US SenateRepresentative Candice Miller is a Republican pas proposed a restructuring of Immigration and Customs Enforcement away from its current department and set it up as an agency all on its own.

Miller's bill, HR 877, would also create the position of Director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who'd have the power to:

Investigate and, where appropriate, refer for prosecution, any criminal violation of Federal law relating to or involving ... (B) customs, trade, or import or export control, including the illicit possession, movement of, or trade in goods, services, property, contraband, arms, instruments of terrorism, items controlled or prohibited from export, pornography , intellectual property, or monetary instruments...

The bill is being referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security for consideration before being brought to a vote by the full House-

 

 Offsite Article: ATVOD: Is It Time to Choose a Side?...


Link Here 22nd March 2015  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
pacino godfather 2 If they were the mafia, their fees would be termed protection money and their business model would be extortion. By Ben Yates

See article from xbiz.com

 

 Offsite Article: Thainess...Coups, military dictatorship, repression, censorship and good food...


Link Here 22nd March 2015  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
thai green curry Big Brother is watching you. By Abigail Haworth

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Follow the bleeping rules...

US Bravo channel's rules on bleeping strong language


Link Here 21st March 2015
bleeping rules A memo from the NBC Universal-owned network Bravo channel recently leaked onto the internet explaining the really specific way strong language is bleeped out. The rules are:
  • Asshole -- bleep "ass" and keep "hole
  • Bullshit -- bleep "it" and keep "bullsh (we cannot hear any of the "it")
  • Fag -- must bleep the entire word; no portion of the word can be audible
  • Faggot -- must bleep the entire word; no portion of the word can be audible
  • Fuck -- keep "f" & bleep "uck" (we cannot hear any of the "k")
  • Fucking -- keep "f" & bleep "uck" (and okay to leave the ing) (again, we cannot hear any of the "k")
  • Shit -- "keep "sh" & bleep "it" (we cannot hear any of the "t")
  • Shitting -- keep "sh" & bleep "it" and okay to leaving the "ing" (again, we cannot hear any of the "t")
  • Motherfucking -- keep "mother" & "ing" and bleep all of "fuck"
  • Retard -- must bleep the entire word; no portion of the word can be audible
  • Tranny -- keep the "tr", bleep the "anny"
  • Beaner -- keep the "er", bleep the "bean"
  • Jap -- keep the "J", bleep the "ap"
  • Midget -- keep the "mi" , bleep the "dget"

There were also 2 words that even the memo writer couldn't even write:

  • The N and C words must always be bleeped

 

 Update: Internet Bounty Hunters...

South Africa looks to its film censors to wander the internet looking for things to ban and to invoice their victims for censorship 'services'


Link Here 21st March 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in South Africa...Proppsal to block all porn from South Africans
south africa film censor logoSouth Africa's Film and Publications Board (FPB) is expecting to be granted the power to order an administrator of any online platform to take down any content that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing to children of certain ages.

The censors have generated a 14-page set of draft rules for online content that would, in theory, have given it the power to order Wikipedia et al to remove images, and then send them an invoice for the cost of doing so.

For Video on Demand services, the board has proposed co-cesnorship, which will allow each streaming provider to classify its own content with an in-house team of people after they are trained, for no more than five days, by the FPB.

By June 2016, everything such streaming providers make available to South African audiences must be rated. That may prove a challenge for in-house teams too, so the FPB draft regulations make another concession -- content classified under another system can be deemed classified by the FPB, if the regimes are sufficiently similar. In practice, a 13 (language) or 16 (nudity) classification imposed by regulators in the US or Europe will be accepted for South African use.

The censors look set to become very nasty about what the board describes as self-generated content. This, the draft rules say, could include a drawing, picture, illustration or painting; recording or any other message or communication, including a visual presentation, placed on any distribution network including, but not confined to, the internet .

Streaming services will be responsible for their own classification expenses, and those who distribute self-generated content can expect an invoice from the FPB once it has decided to classify such content of its own accord. So it appears that finding harmful content is the driver behind an expected eight-fold increase in the money the FPB says it will need to police the online space.

This week the department of communications, under which the FPB falls, published its budget forecasts. In the last financial year, the budget shows, the FPB spent under R1-million for online and mobile content regulation . By 2016 that is expected to increase to R8.2-million.

The department of state security is expected to release, within weeks, a first draft of the Cybercrimes and Related Matters Bill. That law is being drafted behind closed doors, but is understood to be a clear victory for the state security department over the department of telecommunications and the department of communications.

 

 Commented: Don't Lose Your Head...

Old BBFC category cuts for a PG rated cinema release


Link Here 21st March 2015
Carry Dont Lose Your Head Don't Lose Your Head is a 1966 UK action comedy adventure by Gerald Thomas.
Starring Kenneth Williams, Sidney James and Jim Dale. BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for a PG rated 1966 cinema release. Presumably subsequent home video releases are the same cut version.

Summary Notes

The time of the French revolution, and Citizen Robespierre is beheading the French aristocracy. When word gets to England, two noblemen, Sir Rodney Ffing and Lord Darcy take it upon themselves to aid there French counterparts. Sir Rodney is a master of disguise, and becomes "the black fingernail", scourge of Camembert and Bidet, leaders of the French secret police...

UK: Passed A (PG) after category cuts for:

  • 1966 cinema release
UK: Presumably the cut cinema version was passed PG for:
  • 2003 Carlton R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • 1987 Video Collection International VHS

Thanks to Vincenzo. The BBFC cuts were:

  • Reel 1 - Change "f-f-f-fishing" to "fishing."
  • Reel 1 - Remove "... two digits rampant" and accompanying gesture.
  • Reel 4 - Remove Bidet's reaction, and question "Get what out?" after Camembert's line "Get it out!"
  • Reel 4 - Remove the line "You've always had magnificent balls."
  • Reel 4 - Remove the line "By the look of him, he isn't even armed."
  • Reel 5 - Remove the words "... before you feel a big one."
  • Reel 6 - Remove the line "You've got two "F's" - surely you can spare an "f" for me?"
  • Reel 6 - Remove the lines "He's no use with any sort of weapon", "You wouldn't say that if you'd seen him in the rose arbour."
  • Reel 8 - Remove the line "I didn't see any harm in letting her have a pluck."
  • Reel 8 - Remove the line "That was a hair raising experience."

Comment: Magnificent Balls

21st March 2015. thanks to Braintree

The line You've always had magnificent balls is said to be cut but I'm sure its included. That very line is included in the opening montage of the theatrical That's Carry On so unless it's not in the original film and the cut clip is only seen in the compilation ( which was made 10 years later) it would indicate that at least that cut is restored to the film.

It was the first or second of the Rank films , now owned by ITV and it wasn't until Carlton/ITV got hold of them that the original 15 version of Carry On England was seen again. Uncut for an AA it lasted about a week in the cinema where it bombed and was withdrawn and recut for an A. It was the A version that played on tv , was released on video etc. But the uncut version was retained so perhaps the uncut versions of the other Rank films are also in the vaults.

When Carlton released England on dvd well over a decade ago it was something of a treat to actually get a choice to watch either version. Shame it had to be one of the worst of the series. The disc with dvd/magazine collection only included one version (not sure which one)

 

  The Duff Cut...

The latest cinema film suffering cuts for a lower age rating


Link Here 20th March 2015
Poster Duff 2015 Ari Sandel The Duff is a 2015 USA comedy by Ari Sandel.
Starring Bella Thorne, Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends.

UK: Passed 12A for infrequent strong language, moderate sex references after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice, at which stage the company was advised it was likely to receive a 15 classification but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by removing a scene involving strong sex references. When the film was submitted for formal classification, this sequence had been removed and the film was classified 12A.

 

  Getting Heavy...

Ofcom announces that it will be more proactive about TV censorship


Link Here 20th March 2015
Ofcom logoOfcom gets heavy with TV broadcasters. The TV censor explains (with MF emphasis added):

In Ofcom's Annual Plan 2013/2014, we committed to review how we license television and radio services and enforce general licence conditions and content standards on those services. Our aim in this work was to increase protection of audiences by: ensuring licensees are fully aware of their obligations; detecting non-compliant content and conduct more effectively; and enforcing against it robustly. We have now concluded a comprehensive review of our licensing and content standards enforcement processes. We are now implementing some changes, detailed below, to strengthen our processes. We did not conduct a consultation as part of this review as it did not involve any proposed change to our published procedures.

Content monitoring

In the past, Ofcom has generally conducted ad hoc monitoring, as required. We are now in the process of expanding our content monitoring programme to increase our ability to detect content which raises issues of potential harm to the audience. This will enable us to check whether licensees found in breach of our rules and licence conditions, and those on whom we have imposed sanctions, have improved their compliance. It will also enable us to check content broadcast on channels/stations about which we receive low numbers of complaints. Any investigations and Findings which result from our content monitoring will be published in the Broadcast Bulletin in the normal way.

Compliance investigations

Licensees are required by a condition in their licences to have sufficient compliance procedures in place to ensure compliance with Ofcom's codes and licence conditions. To detect serious and systemic compliance problems as early as possible, and therefore protect audiences from potential harm, we have implemented a new enforcement approach. In cases where we are concerned about a licensee's compliance procedures, based on its recent compliance history, we will conduct an investigation under our General procedures for investigating breaches of broadcast licences1.

'Assistance' for licence applicants and licensees

To improve the overall compliance of our licensees, we will work to actively 'assist' applicants and licensees in their understanding of their regulatory obligations.

Meetings

In addition to the meetings we already hold with existing licensees, we will be 'inviting' new licensees to meet with us. When a new licence is issued or awarded, the licensee will receive an invitation to attend a meeting with Ofcom. During the meeting we will 'offer' general support on regulatory obligations and the application of our codes, rules and licence requirements in order to provide licensees with a toolkit to devise and/or review their own compliance arrangements to ensure they are sufficiently robust.

 

  Burma jails bar owner over Buddha image...

Buddhism can sometimes be just as vengeful and vindictive as other world religions


Link Here 20th March 2015

Burma flag 2010A Burma court has jailed a New Zealand bar manager and two Burmese colleagues for two-and-a-half years for supposedly insulting religion by using a psychedelic image of Buddha wearing headphones to promote their bar.

Victims New Zealander Phil Blackwood, bar manager Htut Ko Ko Lwin and bar owner Tun Thurein had all pleaded not guilty . They were sentenced to jail with labour.

Rights groups condemned the verdict as an assault on freedom of expression and called for the trio's release. Matt Smith, executive director of the Bangkok-based group Fortify Rights said:

The authorities are clearly trying to make an example with this case, but ironically all it has done is hurt the image of Burma and Buddhism.

These men expressed contrition for what they said was a mistake.

At a hearing in December, Blackwood said he had not intended to offend Buddhism when he posted the image on the bar's Facebook page to advertise a cheap drinks night. He said he had removed the image and posted an apology when he realised it was being shared online and provoking outrage.

 

  DandG said something we disagree with? Destroy those deviants!...

The treatment of DandG exposes the shrill censoriousness of our age. Elton John and co lay into those who don't follow the PC line


Link Here 20th March 2015
Spiked logo

 

 Update: Je suis Michael Overd...

This obnoxious street preacher is a canary in the coalmine for free speech


Link Here 20th March 2015  full story: Preachers in the UK...Preachers come under censorship duress
National Secular Society logo

 

  Single Click Ratings...

More details about the international ratings service adopted by Google Play


Link Here 19th March 2015
iarc logoESRB and rest of the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) will bring global game ratings to Google Play, consoles and more.

The ESRB and the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) are pushing out a global rating system, along with other rating authorities in other parts of the world, including PEGI in Europe, ClassInd in Brazil, USK in Germany, and the Classification Board in Australia.

Importantly, the IARC (founded in late 2013) has gotten the ratings authorities to agree on a unified process that simultaneously generates ratings for multiple territories while preserving each of their distinct cultural standards. That means parents and consumers don't have to learn any new rating systems, and developers can get their games rated appropriately across global markets at the same time.

The ESRB is pushing its ratings onto mobile and digital storefronts, beginning with Firefox Marketplace and Google Play. PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and Nintendo's eShop have agreed to participate at a later date. While the ESRB does already have ratings on digital games available on consoles, a spokesperson clarified that what's actually new is the IARC process. Patricia Vance, president of ESRB and chairperson of IARC, commented:

With a single click, developers can publish their games and apps on digital storefronts reaching a worldwide audience. These realities have created regulatory and cultural challenges that call for an innovative solution like IARC to help developers and storefronts provide consumers with culturally relevant, legally compliant and reliable guidance about the age appropriateness of the content in games and apps they may be considering for download.

 

 Updated: Clean Living...

Disney decides to end the depiction of smoking in its movies rated G, PG and PG-13


Link Here 19th March 2015  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
cruellaWalt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger have declared that the company will absolutely prohibit smoking in its films that are targeted at younger audiences.

The details of the company's plan is that all Disney films featuring a PG-13 rating or lower - which includes the titles from Marvel Studios - will not be allowed to depict any of its characters smoking. The only potential exception to this rule is in cases where historical accuracy is important. An example that the executive threw out is Abraham Lincoln, who was just the subject of a Steven Spielberg-directed biopic and was known to be a smoker during his lifetime.

Bob Iger made it clear that the decision being made is an internal one, and not meant to influence either other Hollywood studios or the ratings board. Said Iger, We don't get involved in how MPAA applies ratings to films... nor do we try to influence the policies of the other studios we compete with.

Melody Time DVD Roy Rogers Update: Dragged Out

19th March 2015. Thanks to Braintree

  One of Disney's earlier movies, Melody Time , was released on DVD quite some time ago and one of the characters in it, Pecos Bill, has been adjusted to remove the cigarette that he has in his mouth. So this smoking ban is not new. Curiously the US disc is edited, but the existing UK DVD contains the unedited version.

Melody Time is a 1948 USA family animation by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson...
Starring Roy Rogers, Trigger and Dennis Day. BBFC link IMDb

From IMDb:

In 1998 Disney changed the Pecos Bill segment. They cut a scene of Bill rolling a smoke and digitally removed all other shots of the offending cigarette hanging from his lips. The cigarette was edited out in each case resulting in the removal of almost the entire tornado sequence and some odd hand and mouth movements for Bill throughout.

 

  Creepy Barbie...

The doll that records what the kids are saying and then ships it back to corporate base


Link Here 19th March 2015
hello barbieThe Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood writes:

Imagine your children playing with a doll that records everything they say and transmits it all to a corporation which analyzes every word to learn all of [your child's] likes and dislikes. That's exactly what Mattel's eavesdropping Hello Barbie does.

Unless we take action, it will be in toy stores this autumn. Kids using Hello Barbie ' aren't only talking to a doll, they are talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial. It's creepy--and creates a host of dangers for children and families.

The Wi-Fi-connected Hello Barbie uses an embedded microphone to record children's voices--and other nearby conversations--before sending them over the Internet to cloud servers. From there, Mattel's technology partner ToyTalk processes the audio with voice-recognition software. During its Toy Fair 2015 product demonstration, Mattel said it will use this information to push data back to children through Barbie's built-in speaker.

Hello Barbie's eavesdropping capabilities take technology to an even more troubling level. Children naturally reveal a lot about themselves when they play. In Mattel's demo, Barbie asks many questions that encourage kids to share information about their interests, their families, and more--all of which could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children.

See the  CCFC campaign demanding that Mattel halt marketing and production of "Hello Barbie."

 

 Offsite Article: Honouring the brave...


Link Here 19th March 2015
index logo Index announces winners of 15th annual Freedom of Expression Awards

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

  Mortdecai...

Cut in the US for an MPAA PG-13 rating


Link Here 18th March 2015
Poster Mortdecai 2015 David Koepp Mortdecai is a 2015 USA action comedy by David Koepp.
Starring Johnny Depp, Olivia Munn and Ewan McGregor. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold.

An uncut version was originally MPAA rated R for some language and sexual material. A couple of months later the film was re-rated PG-13 for sexuality including references and innuendo, action/violence and brief strong language.

The MPAA commented that the PG-13 rated version was an edited version with content different from the R rated version.

 

  Playing Self Censor...

Google introduces age ratings to its app store that vary according to locale


Link Here 18th March 2015
google play logoThe app store, Google Play has introduced an international rating scheme.

Developers fill in a questionnaire as to whether their app contains nudity or strong language etc and then an automated system assigns an age rating dependant on the locale. Local censorship variations will apply, eg an app might be okay for children in one Europe, but not in the US.

In North America, ratings are based off of the ESRB ratings that are usually seen on games (though they apply to non-game apps as well). In Europe, PEGI is used, and so on. Regions without an established ratings authority will receive a generic age rating.

The automated rating system will be backed up by an app review team composed of actual human beings who will also check out disputed or controversial ratings. The team will make decisions about ratings within hours of submission.

Google is also rolling more detailed information on app publishing statuses, giving developers more insight into why their apps may not be published right away.

 

  ASA preaches about religious offence...

Advertising rule makers advise advertisers not to mock people with irrational beliefs


Link Here 18th March 2015
CAP logo The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is a part of ASA tasked with writing the censorship rules that ASA enforces. CAP also advises advertisers how to abide by the rules. In one such advice piece, CAP expands on its rules designed to avoid giving opportunities for religious people to claim offence. CAP writes:

Advertisers should take care over referring to religious traditions or key beliefs, particularly when humour is intended. Although use of humour can act to mitigate offence, ads using religion as an object of ridicule are likely to prompt complaints. As a rule of thumb, if an ad appears to mock a religious belief or central tenet of a religion then it's likely to be considered offensive.

Many expressions are rooted in religious language and advertisers should be aware that their use may prompt complaints, such as concerns that Oh my God is blasphemous under a number of different belief systems, particularly Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The ASA will consider the context in which the phrases appear and, where they are used in a secular or non-religious way that does not mock a religion, is unlikely to investigate. Similarly, light-hearted use of words like sinner and temptation are also unlikely to prompt further action, as long as their use does not mock religious belief. Incidental references

Some references to religious iconography primarily intend to reference, for example, a location rather than any religious meaning. However, although some religious objects may have non-spiritual significance, they still carry importance for people of faith and care should therefore be taken over their use.

 

 Update: Watching the Watchers...

Big Brother Watch responds to parliamentary committee findings on mass snooping in the UK


Link Here 18th March 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Big Brother Watch logo The Intelligence and Security Committee publishes the findings of its Privacy and Security Inquiry while Open Rights Group has published its own report into the activities are GCHQ and their impact on British citizens.

The consequences of GCHQ's activities have the potential to harm society, the economy and our foreign standing. These have not been fully explored by Parliament. We hope that this report helps MPs to understand the range of GCHQ's activities and the fact that they affect ordinary people not just those suspected of threatening national security.

Open Rights Group responded to the Intelligence and Security Committee's report into Security and Privacy. Executive Director, Jim Killock said:

The ISC's report should have apologised to the nation for their failure to inform Parliament about how far GCHQ's powers have grown. This report fails to address any of the key questions apart from the need to reform our out-of-date surveillance laws. This just confirms that the ISC lacks the sufficient independence and expertise to hold the agencies to account.

A report published by Open Rights Group, has called for the reform of oversight mechanisms, including the Intelligence and Security Committee, so that they are truly independent, accountable to Parliament and have sufficient technical expertise to tackle the technical, legal and ethical issues around surveillance. We also call for reform of the laws that allow surveillance to be replaced by new comprehensive surveillance legislation that complies with human rights law and reflects the current technical landscape.

These would mean:

  • Targeted surveillance not mass surveillance
  • Prior judicial authorisation for all surveillance decisions
  • Increasing the legal protection for communications data so that it is the same as for the content of communications
  • Ending statutory definitions that are out outdated in the digital age -- such as the current distinctions between 'internal' and 'external' communications.

See  Big Brother Watch report from  openrightsgroup.org

Update: Report acknowledges failings but paves way for snooper's charter

See  article from  theguardian.com

The conclusion from the cross-party group of senior MPs and peers on the intelligence services -- who operate within the ring of secrecy -- that Britain's complex web of surveillance laws needs replacing with a single act of parliament would never have happened without those disclosures taking place.

Their recommendation that this new legal framework must be based on an explicit avowal of intrusive surveillance capabilities and spell out authorisation procedures, privacy constraints, transparency requirements, targeting criteria and the rest is also significant.

...Read the full article

 

  Caught Red Handed...

France blocks 5 terrorists websites without the requirement to obtain a court order


Link Here 17th March 2015
France flagThe French authorities have used new powers to block without a court order, five websites which they claim condone terrorism.

Internet service providers have 24 hours to comply. The chairman of European Internet Service Provider OVH tweeted that his firm had not been given any warning.

The rules were approved along with other counter-terrorism measures by the French parliament last year. It is the first time they have been put to use to block websites without going through a court process.

Visitors to the sites affected are now directed to a page from the French Interior Ministry, containing a graphic of a big red hand.

 

  Fashionable Offence...

Rosso di Sera advert set to brighten up the pope's visit to Naples


Link Here 17th March 2015
rossi disera advertA billboard featuring a praying bare-breasted nun has sparked a blasphemy row after it was erected in an Italian city ahead of a visit from Pope Francis.

The advert, which shows a model wearing part of a nun's habit and jeans whilst revealing parts of her breasts, appeared in Naples two weeks before an official papal visit.

Locals whinged that the image was 'offensive' and called for it to be taken down. But Italian clothing chain Rosso di Sera denied it was deliberately intended to offend as part of a publicity stunt. It said it would only remove the advert if it was forced to do so by the national advert censor.

 

  Cutting comments...

Ex New Zealand film censor speaks of the changes in film censorship since his time at the board


Link Here 17th March 2015
Bill Hastings

 

 Offsite Article: Super-complex snoopware...


Link Here 17th March 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
NSA logo Kaspersky claims to have found NSA's space station snoopware that gets forcibly downloaded on to the computers of those under surveillance

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Update: Detailed Breast Censorship...

Facebook provides more detailed rules about banned content


Link Here 16th March 2015  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logoFacebook has provided more details about what content can be posted on the site, and what updates will get users banned.

The new guidelines describe exactly what kind of nudity can and can't be shared, as well as including a whole section about dangerous organisations . Previously, the site only provided vague limitations about what couldn't be posted.

The updates now explicitly outlaw fully exposed buttocks and images of female breasts if they include the nipple . The bans affect CGI nudity as well, in addition to text posts that describe sexual acts in vivid detail . The site has also explicitly banned revenge porn.

The site explicitly says that it will allow pictures of breastfeeding women, or images showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring . Pictures of paintings , sculptures and art depicting nude people is also allowed.

Violent content is still not explicitly banned. The site tells users to warn their audience that updates include graphic violence. Facebook can add those warnings itself, but only when videos are reported.

The site will still rely on users to complain about content, and has said that it has no plans to develop technology to do so automatically.

Facebook's new rules also have special sections for criminal activity, self-injury and bullying, all of which it says it will do more to remove.

 

 Extract: Call SuperLawyer...

Author of comic book featuring muslim superheroes targetted by a private blasphemy prosecution in Kuwait


Link Here 16th March 2015
Fabian Nicieza Nabeel Mohan Al Mutawa Drawing on the strong-men and -women archetypes in the Marvel and DC universes, and now in their 10th year, Naif Al-Mutawa's comic books have their own fleet of superheroes: an all-Islamic cast gifted with special powers embodying the 99 attributes of Allah as named in the Koran.

Launched in 2006, first in Kuwait after the approval of the state's Ministry of Information, then in America and the rest of the world, The 99 was hailed as an exemplary model of inter-faith peace and tolerance by Barack Obama.

While the Kuwaiti government has endorsed his work, not everyone agrees with its message. In the past year, a Twitter campaign has accused him of being a blasphemer who should be brought to trial; and a legal case has been launched against him, not by the state, but by a fellow Kuwaiti suing him for heresy.

Since then, Al-Mutawa has received a hail of abuse and death threats. culminating in an ironic sequence of events:

Shortly before New Year 2014, I received an email informing me that The 99 had won in the media category of the Islamic Economy Awards [in Dubai]. A few days later, I received an email from my lawyer updating me on the case lodged against me in Kuwait for heresy and insulting religion through The 99. This is the same book President Obama, Sheikh Mohammed, even His Highness the Emir of Kuwait, publicly endorsed as being a bastion of tolerance.

He was particularly shaken by the chilling Twitter hashtag, #whowillkillDrNaif, that drummed up hate against him last summer. He is frustrated to be summoned to court on 26 March not least because the prosecution managed to secure a fatwa from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, who called his work evil .

...Read the full article

 

  Collateral Freedom...

RSF sets up mirror sites for news websites blocked in repressive countries such as China and Russia


Link Here 16th March 2015

collateralfreedom logo In an original initiative designed to circumvent website blocking by governments that violate human rights, Reporters Without Borders is using the technique known as mirroring to duplicate the censored sites and place the copies on the servers of Internet giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google. In these 11 countries that are "Enemies of the Internet," blocking the servers of these Internet giants in order to make the mirror sites inaccessible would deprive thousands of companies of essential services. The economic and political cost would be too high. Our nine sites are therefore protected against censorship.

Reporters Without Borders is renting bandwidth for this operation that will gradually be used up as more and more people visit the mirror sites. We are therefore asking Internet users to help pay for additional bandwidth so that the mirror sites will be available for as long as possible.

The nine mirror sites created by Reporters Without Borders
  1. Grani.ru , blocked in Russia, is now available at https://gr1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  2. Fergananews.com blocked in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, is now available at https://fg1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  3. The Tibet Post International , blocked in China, is now available at https://tp1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  4. Dan Lam Bao, blocked in Vietnam, is now available at https://dlb1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  5. Mingjing News , blocked in China, is now available at https://mn1.global.ssl.fastly.net/news/main.html
  6. Hablemos Press , blocked in Cuba, is now available at https://hp1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  7. Gooya News , blocked in Iran, is now available at https://gn1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  8. Gulf Centre for Human Rights , blocked in United Arab Emirates, is now available at https://gc1.global.ssl.fastly.net/
  9. Bahrain Mirror , blocked in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, is now available at https://bahrainmirror.global.ssl.fastly.net/

This list is also available at https://github.com/RSF-RWB/collateralfreedom

To help make freely-reported news and information available in these countries, all Internet users are invited to join in this operation by posting this list on social networks with the #CollateralFreedom hashtag.

 

  Why has Britain's top cop declared war on pubs?...

I have a real problem with our country's leadership, precisely because of this sort of nitwittery. I shake my head and wonder how someone who spouts this kind of evidence-free claptrap gets to that level.


Link Here 16th March 2015  full story: Drinking Restrictions...Drinking becomes the target of killjoy politicians
bernard hogan-howe

 

  Saved by the Election Bell...

Tory minister wisely slaps down PC extremist LibDem from initiating a 'review' of sexism in the media clearly angling for more censorship


Link Here 15th March 2015

Jo SwinsonLib Dem minister Jo Swinson has accused the Tories of blocking an 'independent' review clearing aiming to reveal sexism in the media.

The junior equalities minister has claimed that editorial decisions by British newspapers belittle women on a daily basis. She has long wanted to use an inquiry to shine a light on the issue. She revealed in a speech that the idea was shot down. In the speech at her party conference she called for censorship

I have argued within Government for a review -- to be led by senior representatives of the media -- to look at the implications of media sexism. Guess what? The Tories blocked it.

They are either happy with how things are or too afraid of a backlash. As we might find out in tomorrow's papers, sometimes suggestions like this one can be taken out of context.

But make no mistake. This is not a call for censorship, this is not a call for editorial agendas to bow down to government diktat. This is a call for an independent review -- chaired by media representatives -- to work with government and other stakeholders to take this issue seriously.

Lib Dem sources told BuzzFeed News that culture secretary Sajid Javid was the Tory minister who put his foot down over the inquiry.

Apparently, Swinson had been fighting for a review into sexism within the media for a long time. She had been conspiring with Tory education secretary and equalities minister Nicky Morgan. The pair had even talked about who might chair such an inquiry, with Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark's name among those mentioned.

BuzzFeed obtained the inquiry's suggested terms of reference which revealed that the inquiry was a thinly disguised call for more censorship:

The aim of the review would be to test the effects that everyday media sexism has on society and assess what can be done to reduce it. Everyday media sexism is defined as coverage that results in representations of women that are narrow, inappropriately sexualised, and demeaning .

The panel would undertake a rapid evidence review to demonstrate the prevalence of media sexism and women's feelings about it, and correlations between sexual violence, sexually demeaning attitudes and the consumption of pornography .

It would then consider whether there is scope to improve the regulatory framework and establish whether the public understands how to complain about media sexism, including reviewing the roles of/for Ofcom and the new press complaints body in setting content standards and assessing complaints .

 

 Update: Dangerous Songs...

Football banned from football for sectarian song


Link Here 15th March 2015  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

glasgow sheriff courtA Rangers fan who was arrested for sectarian singing while on his way to attend a game against Celtic has been jailed for four months.

Scott Lamont was heard singing the words of the Billy Boys song on Cathcart Road on 1 February. He admitted the charge at Glasgow Sheriff Court.

He was also given an 18-month football banning order. As part of the order he will be supervised for 18 months and must carry out 160 hours of unpaid work. Sheriff Paul Crozier said:

Glasgow has developed a good reputation in recent years. We had the Commonwealth Games last summer, we haven't had an Old Firm game in years. What happened at the first Old Firm game? People like him let Glasgow down. 'Ruin football'

A message has to be sent to those people who would choose to ruin football for the vast majority who want to go to these games, that you cannot behave like this. This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated, certainly not by me.

The sheriff described the words to the song as inflammatory an said it could have led to horrendous violence .

 

 Update: Censorship Gets Hard in India...

Hollywood is giving up trying to get R rated films past the new loony censor


Link Here 15th March 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
get hardGet Hard is a 2015 USA comedy by Etan Cohen.
Starring Alison Brie, Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Youtube link IMDb

When millionaire James King is nailed for fraud and bound for San Quentin, he turns to Darnell Lewis to prep him to go behind bars.

MPAA Rated R for pervasive crude and sexual content and language, some graphic nudity, and drug material.

The Indian censor board has created a regressive environment, says studio executive, citing the example of the censorship of Fifty Shades of Grey .

Wary of a series of recent decisions by the Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) to impose cuts and restrictions on movies scheduled for release, Warner Bros. has resolved against showing their upcoming film Get Hard in Indian theatres. The Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart starrer was to open in India on March 27.

It is learnt that the call to not release the adult comedy was taken jointly by Warner Bros. offices in the US and India. A source told Mirror:

Another studio deleted 20 minutes of content before screening its film for the Examining Committee and was still refused certification. In these times of aggressive censorship unless you truncate your product to an extent that it doesn't resemble the original anymore, you can't get it passed here.

Focus Blu ray Digital UltraViolet Combo Earlier, the Will Smith comedy, Focus , which opens this Friday, was banned by the CBFC's Examining Committee (EC). The dark romcom was eventually passed by the Revising Committee (RC) after 14 cuts.

They even objected to the word 'boob', said the source, pointing out that this kind of regressive environment is not conducive to adult comedies whose funny lines will be punctuated by 'over 100-odd beeps'.

It also is reported that the current censorship policy means that the distributors feel that there is little point pursing an appeal of the recently banned 50 Shades of Grey.

 

  Oggy and the Topless Painting...

Daily Mail reports on a few silly whinges in a topless image in a children's programme


Link Here 15th March 2015
oggy and the topless painting video An episode of a popular children's show has apparently been pulled off the air after 'outraged'  parents noticed cartoonists had drawn a picture of a pair of bare breasts into a scene.

Oggy and the Cockroaches is a French animated comedy series produced by Xilam and Gaumont Film Company and which airs on the Nickelodeon children's TV cartoon channel NickToons.

The busty topless cartoon character - who appears to be a duck blessed with an enormous bosom - was in the background of an episode which aired in the US on March 5. She also sports a pair of tiny bikini briefs, giant sunglasses and a bouffant hair-do.

The NickToons US website now appears to have removed the show from both its schedule and the show's homepage. But TV schedules for the next few days show other episodes are still billed to air in the US.

The Daily Mail quoted a few angry tweets but they didn't actually seem so angry:

Hedda G wrote: Of course the image was inappropriate. That being said an eight year old boy is in 3rd grade. He should know about breasts. The little guy should have a basic understanding.

Christine write: Cartoonists have been doing this crap for ages especially Disney. Parents still take their kids to Disney cartoons. Other things to worry about people.

 

 Update: Report brings tears to Cameron's eye...

MPs told that it is not feasible or desirable to ban Tor


Link Here 14th March 2015  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
tor logo UK MPs have been advised that internet encryption services can be used in the public interest, as well as for criminal purposes. Furthermore a repressive ban on online anonymity networks such as Tor would be technologically infeasible and unwise.

The advice for MPs contradicted the Prime Minister David Cameron, who has said law enforcement should be handed the keys to encrypted communications.

One expert said the document showed Cameron's plans to be noble , but ultimately unworkable.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post), which issues advice to MPs, said that there was:

Widespread agreement that banning online anonymity systems altogether is not seen as an acceptable policy option in the UK. Even if it were, there would be technical challenges.

The report, published on Monday 9 March, cited the example of the Chinese government, which attempted to block access to Tor in order to enforce bans on unauthorised websites. In reaction, it said, the body that maintains the network, simply added bridges that were very difficult to block , allowing people to continue accessing Tor.

 

 Update: Another Level of Censorship...

Now file sharing blocking extends to sites that provide information about sites that workround ISP blocks on Pirate Bay


Link Here 14th March 2015  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block
Old BaileyThe UK website blocking bonanza has started to move in a dubious direction. Several ISPs are now blocking access to websites that provide a list of Pirate Bay proxies. The sites in question do not host or link to any infringing material themselves and are purely informational.

Following a series of High Court orders, six UK ISPs are required to block access to many of the world's largest torrent sites and streaming portals. The blocks are somewhat effective, at least in preventing subscribers from accessing the domains directly. However, there are also plenty of workarounds.

For many sites that are blocked one or more proxy sites emerge. These proxies allow people to access the blocked sites and effectively bypass the restrictions put in place by the court.

The copyright holders are not happy with these worrounds and have asked ISPs to add the proxies to their filters, which they have done on several occasions. However, restricting access to proxies did not provide a silver bullet either as new ones continue to appear. This week the blocking efforts were stepped up a notch and are now targeting sites that merely provide an overview of various Pirate Bay proxies.

In other words, UK ISPs now restrict access to sites for linking to Pirate Bay proxies. Among the blocked sites are piratebayproxy.co.uk , piratebayproxylist.com and ukbay.org . Both sites are currently inaccessible on Virgin Media and TalkTalk, and other providers are expected to follow suit.

TF spoke with Dan, the operator of UKBay.org, who's baffled by the newly implemented blockade. He moved his site to a new domain to make the site accessible again, for the time being at least. Dan said:

The new blocks are unbelievable and totally unreasonable. To block a site that simply links to another site just shows the level of censorship we are allowing ISP's to get away with.

UKBay is not even a PirateBay proxy. It simply provides links to proxies. If they continue blocking sites, that link to sites, that link to sites.. there'l be nothing left.

The new additions were made as part of an existing High Court censorship order that allowed copyright holders to block The Pirate Bay, a Virgin Media spokesperson informs us.

Under the conditions of the original court order, the rightsholders have the authority to change the specific URLs or IP addresses that must be blocked by all major ISPs -- not just Virgin Media. Such changes happen on a regular basis. There is no @extension or amendment to the original court order.

As with earlier updates, the most recent changes are being made without a public announcement, which means that we don't know precisely how many sites were added.

 

  Exploring the Depths of Censorship...

Turkey bizarrely seeks to ban the video game Minecraft for supposedly being too violent


Link Here 14th March 2015
Microsoft 10182 Minecraft Xbox 360 Minecraft is an independently developed video game that allows users to explore a chunky three-dimensional world, mining for resources and constructing various structures out of little blocks.

This week Turkey's Family and Social Policies Ministry bizarrely decided that Minecraft should be banned.

Lats month Aysenur Islam, Turkey's family and censorship policies minister, ordered an investigation into Minecraft after being told by a journalist that players get points for killing other characters, including women. The investigation subsequently concluded that the game does indeed encourage violence in children.

In the report sent to the ministry's legal department, it was noted that the game allowed users to build homes and bridges but that mobs had to be killed to protect these structures. In short, it is a game based on violence, the report noted. Minecraft may also mislead children into thinking animals don't feel pain, the report found, or lead to social isolation or online bullying.

Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist eloquently summed up Turkey's censorship stance:

Investigating Minecraft for being violent is the equivalent of ordering an investigation into violent Lego playing.

 

 Extract: Does the ASA really represent viewers' opinions?...

Is is it offensive that ASA listens to a few easily offended whingers over vast amounts of uncomplaining viewers?


Link Here 14th March 2015

sainsburys christmas advert video According to an Advertising Standards Authority report released in February , two of the ten most complained about adverts in the UK last year featured charities. One of them was Sainsbury's Christmas advert, run in connection with the Royal British Legion , which retold the historical Christmas Truce on the Western Front in 1914 and received 823 complaints, coming fourth in the overall ranking.

Although that is quite a few outraged viewers, the more telling figure is online. At press time, the Sainbury's ad had been viewed 16,900,823 times on YouTube.

Although the ASA did not investigate the campaign further and it wasn't banned, the resultant web reaction raises a debate about whether the ASA as a governing body is truly representative of public opinion.

...Read the full article

 

 Offsite Article: Are you reading too many books by straight white men?...


Link Here 14th March 2015
Diverse Energies K Tempest Bradford ebook Authors find a jolly wheeze to exploit political correctness for their own ends

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

  Bankrupt Politics...

Spanish senate passes law gagging public protests and in particular community protests intended to prevent the eviction of austerity victims


Link Here 13th March 2015
Spanish flagThe Spanish senate has voted to push forward with controversial changes restricting the freedom to protest.

Recent years have seen millions of Spaniards take to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction with the rightwing People's party government, protesting against crippling austerity measures and attempts to roll back the country's abortion laws. Now the government has hit back with legislation, dubbed the gag law by critics, that seeks to limit protests by laying out strict guidelines on when and where they can take place and penalising offenders with steep fines.

Recent months have seen thousands of Spaniards pour into the streets of more than 25 cities and towns to voice their discontent with the bill , tying bright blue cloths over their mouths to demonstrate the chilling effect the law would have on free speech. A December poll by Metroscopia for Avaaz.org found that 82% of the 600 people queried thought the legislation should be modified or abandoned.

In a country where home evictions took place at a rate of 95 families a day in 2014, the proposed laws take aim at groups such as the Mortgage Victims' Platform whose spontaneous rallies in front of homes seek to physically block police from carrying out court-ordered evictions. The legislation stipulates fines of up to 30,000 euros for those who prevent government employees from enforcing administrative or judicial orders.

The legislation is expected to be finalised later this month. As the PP holds a majority in both houses of parliament in Spain, the legislation is certain to pass. The bulk of measures included in the legislation are expected to come into effect in July.

 

 Update: Bountiful Protest...

India's film censors protest against their tyrant boss


Link Here 13th March 2015  full story: Indian Film Censor Pahlaj Nihalani...Loony film censor wants to ban everything
CBFC logoMembers of India's Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) are protesting against its loony chairman Pahlaj Nihalani's dictatorial ways, accusing him of of being a tyrant for not just reviewing films himself but also ordering cuss words to be removed despite a board resolution putting the order to ban 28 cuss words on hold.

CBFC members Ashoke Pandit, Mihir Bhuta and Nandini Sardesai have reportedly accused Nihalini of making the censor board redundant by deliberately turning a deaf ear to board recommendations or suggestions.

Board member Chandraprakash Dwivedi expressed disappointment over cuts made in Anushka Sharma's film NH10 despite a collective decision to put on hold a circular banning cuss words.

Expressing anguish that collective decisions were being ignored, Dwivedi, a prominent filmmaker, sought an urgent meeting of the board in his letter to CBFC chairman Pahlaj Nihlani to address uncomfortable issues . Dwivedi said that he was in receipt of the list of cuss words asked to be deleted by board to the producers of NH 10. Recalling an earlier meeting of the board, Dwivedi said, it was resolved that the circular issued by chairman or the office of the CBFC, banning certain words, will not be implemented till there is a detailed discussion.

Meanwhile, CBFC member Ashoke Pandit in a Facebook post wrote:

From the day this man (Nihalini) has taken the reins of the board, the CBFC is resembling like a wild horse gone amok. His ridiculous diktats and autocratic functioning has made CBFC a laughing stock not only amongst the film makers but also the cinema viewing audience. Nihalani's diktats are supported neither by logic nor law, nor does he appreciate the intelligence of the film-maker and the audience. He literally functions like an archaic monarch treating CBFC and its office like his own fiefdom.

 

 Offsite Article: Taking a stand against political correctness and the establishment...


Link Here 13th March 2015
Spiked logo Nigel Farage on consensus, conformism and the virtue of dissent.

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: Dimensionally challenged or just plain obese?...


Link Here 13th March 2015
CAP logo Advert censor debates whether the PC rule that demands that being fat is unmentionable should be trumped by health concerns [pdf]

See article from cap.org.uk

 

  Paul Blart 2...

UK cinema release cut for a PG rating


Link Here 12th March 2015
Poster Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 2015 Andy Fickman Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is a 2015 USA action comedy by Andy Fickman.
Starring Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez and Eduardo Verástegui. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed PG for moderate comic violence after 8s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to remove a moment of moderate violence (a headbutt) and two sequences of weapons display (knives being opened and twirled) in order to obtain a PG classification. Cuts made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy. An uncut 12A classification was available.
Summary Notes

In this sequel, in which Kevin James reprises the role of Paul Blart, the security guard is headed to Las Vegas to attend a Security Guard Expo with his teenage daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) before she departs for college. While at the convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist - and it's up to Blart to apprehend the criminals.

 

  Singing from the right hymn sheet...

Australian film censors drop the rating for Boychoir on appeal


Link Here 12th March 2015
boychoirBoychoir is a 2014 USA drama by François Girard.
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates and Debra Winger. Youtube link IMDb

Summary Notes

Stet, a troubled and angry 11-year-old orphan from a small Texas town, ends up at a Boy Choir school back East after the death of his single mom. Completely out of his element, he finds himself in a battle of wills with a demanding Choir Master who recognizes a unique talent in this young boy as he pushes him to discover his creative heart and soul in music.

Boychoir has had its rating downgraded on appeal in Australia. The film has been re-classified PG (Mild bullying violence and themes) from M (Mature themes, PG-15 in US terms) by the Review Board. The Australian appeal board explains:

The National Classification Code and Classification Guidelines allows for violence and themes which are mild and justified by context. In the Classification Review Board's opinion BOYCHOIR warrants a PG classification because the violence and themes are mild in impact and justified by context.

The other classifiable elements can be accommodated within the PG classification or lower. The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than mild. Films classified PG may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. For this reason, PG films are not recommended for viewing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

Consumer advice is additional information about the main content of a film, intended to help consumers decide if they want to view this type of material. The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from the original applicant, Becker Film Group, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 10 February 2015, to classify Boychoir M with the consumer advice 'Mature themes'.

For comparison:

  • UK BBFC: Rated PG for mild violence, mild bad language

 

 Updated: Flogging a Grey Horse...

The inevitable inane whinges about Fifty Shades of Grey high street merchandising


Link Here 12th March 2015  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
ann summers fact not fiction advertAnn Summers has removed some Fifty Shades of Grey-style posters from its windows following whinges from mothers and bullying campaigners.

The high street lingerie chain confirmed several branches, located near stores targeted at children such as Mothercare and Build-A-Bear, have removed the images.

ann summers 50-shades bra advertThe posters, which were rolled out in all 142 Ann Summers stores several weeks ago, show a woman kneeling on a red sofa, dressed in a cut-away leotard that at first glance looks like she is just wearing nipple tassels, but in fact she is wearing a bra with a cap design over the area of the nipple.

She is holding a large leather whip and striking a pose next to a handcuffed man in his underpants.

Mothers and campaigners ludicrously complained that the pornographic images could be easily seen by children

Vivienne Pattison of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK said her group had made complaints about nine branches of Ann Summers.

As a result the posters have been removed from stores in Milton Keynes, Wimbledon, Sutton, Norwich, Eastbourne, Taunton, and the Ann Summers stores in all 18 Intu Chapelfield shopping centres.  A spokesman for Ann Summers confirmed the company has had six complaints from its retail stores and fewer than 20 complaints via email or letters.

Pattison claimed the campaign potentially breached the recommendations made by the 2011 Bailey Review into the sexualisation of children. She spouted:

We are used to seeing the windows of Ann Summers featuring lingerie but this image, featuring a bare breasted (except for nipple tassels) model goes too far and is inappropriate for display in places which are likely to have numbers of children present.

Any child passing this image will be subject to its overt sexual messaging and imagery. Government guidelines for retailers in the Bailey Review state that sexualised images should not be displayed in children's eye line.

This government has done much to address the early sexualisation of children in our society and Ann Summers needs to be made aware that it too has a responsibility in this regard.

Christian pastor Paul Burns joined and said he was 'shocked' to see the display on his way to church. He said:

I watched four separate families pull their children away from this window display. It has whips, it has a woman basically degraded with what you would expect to see in a porn film that people buy to watch. It is not what you expect to see in a family shopping centre.

Update: Taking the moralist line

13th March 2015.  See  article from  getsurrey.co.uk

childs eye line uk logoKathy McGuinness, founder of the two year old anti-sexualisation campaign group, Child's Eye Line UK, whinged about the poster continuing to be displayed at the Staines store:

They are pushing the boundaries and it's all about profit. They don't care about children. You've got parents wheeling children around shopping centres and they shouldn't have to deal with it. It may be okay for adults to see it, or not, but for a child it's very confusing.

They want to make as big an impact as possible, and it's pushing the boundaries. How is that fair for children? This shows a sexualised image which is damaging to children and is unacceptable in the High Street.

The guidelines are there for a good reason after extensive research. It's irresponsible in a family-friendly shopping centre. Ann Summers is refusing to act and the only reason the posters are coming down is because the shopping centres have shamed them into it.

Ann Summers is yet to make a responsible decision and is only doing so when it is enforced where local shopping centres have applied pressure.

The Two Rivers Shopping Centre said it had not received any complaints, but it has been in contact with the lingerie store about the poster and is awaiting a reply from its head office.

 

  One Million Moms Recommend...

Neighbours with Benefits, a US TV show about swingers


Link Here 12th March 2015
neighbours with benefitsThe religious moralists of One Million Moms write:

A & E's new reality series Neighbors with Benefits is a show about neighbors and friends who attend parties as married couples for the purpose of switching spouses and having sex. The premiere is expected to air on Sunday, March 22 at 10:00 pm ET/9:00 pm CT.

This inappropriate program glamorizes cheating and having affairs. Why get married if you do not plan on being faithful?

This immoral show belittles and makes a mockery of marriage.

 

 Update: A nice little earner...

South African censors propose law requiring publishers of internet videos, pictures, posts etc, to pay for censorship and then wait 10 days before being able to upload


Link Here 11th March 2015
south africa film censor logoOnline videos, pictures, posts and other content may soon find itself censored in South Africa. This is if the Film and Publications Board has its way in implementing its online censorshop policy aimed at intermet content distributed in South Africa.

The draft policy, gazetted for public comment, requires distributors to have digital content classified in terms of the board's guidelines. Producers of content would have to apply for classification before their content would be made available online.

A prescribed fee from R450 (£25) will be imposed upon applying for an online distribution agreement, with an expected turnaround time of 10 days for classification.

The FPB claimed it was concerned about children being exposed to unclassified content accessed through the internet and other mobile platforms.

Chief censor Sipho Risiba said distribution channels also had the responsibility to look out for unclassified content which may have any of the flagged elements guiding the board. He added that user-generated content was a problem leading to the prevalence of offensive content such as racism, sexual, school violence videos and posts that may entice imitative acts. He claimed:

Distributors and internet service providers were not yet playing their part in warding off sex offenders and racists from their platforms.

The board will go on a national public consultation road show between April and May to allow the public to give inputs on the policy.

 

  Fun in Wiltshire...

Tory councillors take easy offence at t-shirt commenting on their cuts


Link Here 11th March 2015
tory cuts tshirtEasily offended councillors have expressed their 'outrage' at an 'offensive and sexist ' T-shirt worn by a Green Party activist at a Wiltshire Council meeting. Gerard Byrne wore a T-shirt with a slogan about the Tory cuts as he read a public statement deriding the council's latest round of cuts.

As he began his speech, Cllr Bridget Wayman cut across him, saying: I find that garment he is wearing offensive.

The pictures showing Byrne's Tshirt have now been blacked out on the council's webcast, which can be viewed online. Newspaper articles don't describe the t-shirt but the most likely design is as shown right.

It didn't take a lot to offend Cllr Chris Devine, he said:

It wasn't very edifying to say the least. It degrades the proceedings down to the lowest level. I found it extremely offensive and I was in the army for 25 years so it takes a lot to offend me.

The green party confirmed that the matter had been looked into and they have severely reprimanded Byrne and he had been forced to apologise to those who were offended. They added that it was not an offence he would be thrown out of the party for .

The incident was reported to police, who have confirmed an investigation into a public order offence is ongoing.

 

  Free Horror...

Horror Channel goes Freeview


Link Here 10th March 2015
horror channel logoHorror Channel has announced that it is launching on the UK's most-watched digital TV service, Freeview on Friday, 13th March. It will be available on Freeview channel number 70 and is currently carried on Sky channel 319, Freesat channel 138, and Virgin channel 149.

The launch will result in a 90% DTT coverage in the UK, making Horror Channel available in 17 million Freeview homes. Horror Channel is already the second largest free to air movie channel in cable and satellite homes.

Tanya Gugenheim, Chief Business Development Officer, AMC Networks International -- Zone said:

Horror Channel has become the third channel in the CBS AMC Channel portfolio to launch on Freeview within a year, joining CBS Reality and CBS Action and underscoring the demand for our content offering. The channel already boasts a loyal fan base, and we're pleased to introduce it to a broader audience through Freeview.

 

 Extract: Forty Shades of Grey...

Fifty Shades of Grey cut by 20 minutes in Vietnam


Link Here 10th March 2015  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style

Vietnam flagIn the days leading up to the release in Vietnam, the movie was banned in Indonesia, neighbouring Cambodia and Malaysia -- whose censors declared it to be more pornography than a movie . This stoked even more anticipation in Vietnam. Newspapers breathlessly speculated about how many minutes of screen time would be devoted to sex scenes, while cinemas created elaborate Red Room displays in their lobbies for people to take risque selfies.

The film was promoted a lot, so it made us excited and curious, says Xuan Thao, who along with thousands of others queued patiently to get a ticket for the film when it opened on Valentine's Day. We wanted to see what all the fuss was about. She left feeling angry and short changed. In this version of Fifty Shades of Grey there is no sex at all.

In total, around 20 minutes of screen time has been cut by the country's censorship committee, excising any scene deemed potentially sensitive. Only a few kisses remain. The lack of passion has infuriated audiences, who hadn't gone for deft plotting or complex characterisation. It's totally ridiculous, Thao complains. This version is rated 16+, but it doesn't need an age restriction; a five-year-old could watch it. Even the trailer was sexier. They'd have been better banning it altogether.

...Read the full article

 

 Update: A New Rating Game...

Australia joins the International Age Rating Coalition with view to allowing game developers to use an approved tool to rate games rather than bother the censors of the Classification Board


Link Here 10th March 2015

australia minister justice logo Australia will trial a new classification tool to keep pace with mobile and online games ensuring users, particularly parents, are better informed about what types of games are being played on mobile devices.

Australia has joined the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a partnership of government and industry content classification authorities from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Brazil. As part of this partnership, Australia is preparing to trial the use of IARC's new tool for classifying mobile and online games.

Participating online storefronts that use the IARC tool require game developers to obtain certification by completing a questionnaire about the content of their games. The IARC tool then assigns games with local classifications for each member country or region based on standards set by the relevant authorities.

The use of this tool will help keep the National Classification Scheme up to date with the pace of growth of mobile and online games. Australians who download these games through participating storefronts will soon start seeing familiar Australian classifications. Parents will also be better informed when making decisions about what their children play on their devices.

Today's announcement follows amendments made by the Government last year to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 that allow the Minister to approve classification tools for classifying publications, films and/or computer games.

After close collaboration between the IARC and my Department over many months to ensure the tool meets Australia's requirements, I have approved the IARC classification tool for an initial 12-month trial period to begin next month.

As part of the trial, the Classification Board will audit a large number of classifications made by the IARC tool to ensure they reflect the Australian community's expectations and standards.

The Board also has the power to revoke classifications made by the IARC tool if it decides it would have given the game a different classification.

 

  A Nation of Trivial Whingers...

Phillip Schofield exasperated by complaints about bondage item on This Morning


Link Here 10th March 2015
scholfield on this morningThis Morning host Phillip Schofield has hit out after the TV censor Ofcom launched an investigation into the show's report on bondage for beginners , which drew more than 120 whinges from viewers.

Schofield, who presented the item with Christine Bleakley, told the Press Association that people complained to Ofcom over any minor outrage and that behind those closed, outraged doors of middle England the raunchy items that they featured were snapped up online:

I think for me, and it's my own personal belief, but in the old days, people would pick up the phone and complain or they'd write a letter. But now they go to Ofcom and they must be sick to death of all of this.

Any minor outrage that anyone's got, they go to Ofcom. They must be inundated with minor complaints.

What we did was reflect on what everyone else was doing or talking about at the time. Everyone went to see the movie and if you look at the stuff we had on there, it was very innocent stuff and also spectacularly when the item had finished the things we had were all sold out in moments.

So behind those closed, outraged doors of middle England, what they were secretly doing was going to buy this stuff online.

Update: Ofcom not interested

24th April 2015. See  article from  theguardian.com

Ofcom logoA segment on ITV's This Morning offering viewers a lesson in bondage for beginners has been cleared by the media regulator.

Ofcom launched an investigation into the ITV daytime show following 120 complaints from viewers about the item, which was inspired by the hit film Fifty Shades of Grey.

Ofcom investigated whether the item, which aired on 3 February, was unsuitable for broadcast before the 9pm watershed and concluded:

Following a careful investigation we concluded this programme didn't break broadcasting rules, after it aired a feature called 'bondage for beginners', before the watershed,

The material was scheduled at a time when children were at school and clear warnings were also given in advance of the feature to protect any children who were not at school. The feature itself was also appropriately limited in terms of detail.

 

 Update: Are there now crimes that cannot be depicted in BBFC approved films?...

And is the job of the by film censor becoming a little 'political'?


Link Here 9th March 2015
Hate Crime is a 2013 USA action horror thriller by James Cullen Bressack.
Starring Jody Barton, Nicholas Clark and Greg Depetro. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

The film has just been banned by the BBFC for 2015 Horror Show VoD.

The BBFC commented:

BBFC logo HATE CRIME focuses on the terrorisation, mutilation, physical and sexual abuse and murder of the members of a Jewish family by the Neo Nazi thugs who invade their home. The physical and sexual abuse and violence are accompanied by constant strong verbal racist abuse. Little context is provided for the violence beyond an on screen statement at the end of the film that the two attackers who escaped were subsequently apprehended and that the one surviving family member was released from captivity. We have considered the attempt at the end to position the film as against hate-crime, but find it so unconvincing that it only makes matters worse.

The BBFC's Guidelines on violence state that 'Any depiction of sadistic or sexual violence which is likely to pose a harm risk will be subject to intervention through classification, cuts or even, as a last resort, refusal to classify. We may refuse to classify content which makes sexual or sadistic violence look appealing or acceptable [...] or invites viewer complicity in sexual violence or other harmful violent activities. We are also unlikely to classify content which is so demeaning or degrading to human dignity (for example, it consists of strong abuse, torture or death without any significant mitigating factors) that it may pose a harm risk.'

It is the Board's carefully considered conclusion that the unremitting manner in which HATE CRIME focuses on physical and sexual abuse, aggravated by racist invective, means that to issue a classification to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines, would risk potential harm, and would be unacceptable to broad public opinion.

Of course, the Board will always seek to deal with such concerns by means of cuts or other modifications when this is a feasible option. However, under the heading of 'Refusal to classify' our Guidelines state that 'As a last resort, the BBFC may refuse to classify a work, in line with the objective of preventing non-trivial harm risks to potential viewers and, through their behaviour, to society. We may do so, for example, where a central concept of the work is unacceptable, such as a sustained focus on sexual or sadistic violence. Before refusing classification we will consider whether the problems could be adequately addressed through intervention such as cuts.' The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the fact that unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.

See article from haddonfieldhorror.com . The Director James Cullen Bressack responded:

james cullen bressackI am honoured to know that my mind is officially too twisted for the UK. So it goes...I find it unbelievable that a film that shows little to no on screen violence and no nudity was actually banned. it just shows the power of what is implied and peoples imagination; and is a testament to the fact that the same crimes that happen in the world are truly horrifying.

And an article from huffingtonpost.co.uk the director continues:

As a Jewish man, and a victim of anti -Semitic hate, I made a horror film that depicts the very thing that haunts my dreams. As an artist I wanted to tell a story to remind us that we live in a dangerous world; a world where racial violence is on the rise. It saddens me to learn that censorship is still alive and well.

Despite the lurid language used by the BBFC, reviewers have concurred that the violence and sexual violence is not explicitly portrayed. For example, see review from realmofhorror-blog.blogspot.co.uk

Clocking in at just over an hour, its not an exceptionally long feature film and with it being a low budget production, not all the acting is up to the standards of the Royal Shakespeare Company (so to speak). Also, some of the more brutal scenes are perhaps more implied than shown (the wife and daughter get to keep their underwear on for the most part whilst being sexually assaulted). But then, many might argue that's a good thing and in any case, does not detract from the extremely uncomfortable nature of it all.

The film as described in the language of 'outrage' by the BBFC doesn't quite tally with even mainstream film reviews. Well known US film critic Roger Ebert was quoted in an article from en.wikipedia.org saying that he gave the film 2.5 stars, saying of the film:

Actually more of a thriller than a social commentary. the film holds our attention and contains surprises right until the end and raises complex moral issues that makes the movie more thought-provoking than we could possibly have expected.

So it would seem that the ban is more about the racist invective, than the portrayal of the violence. And of course there's also the ever important political correctness aspect, that the the film would be unacceptable to broad public opinion .

Perhaps it is also relevant to note here that the BBFC has been lobbied by a political group on the subject of the censorship of racism. From an article from sputniknews.com :

Danny Stone the director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism told the Jewish Chronicle:

We welcome this decision [to ban Hate Crime]. We have worked closely with the BBFC over a number of years and are confident they not only have the right systems in place for certification, but a robust position on anti-Semitism and racism .

Could it be that the job of film censor is becoming a little 'political'. The BBFC now has to determine if it is acceptable to depict crimes that are PC sensitive, regardless of the director wanting to highlight the abhorrence of the racist crime portrayed.

 

 Offsite Article: The 4 Quadrants...


Link Here 9th March 2015
mpaa ratings A few facts and figures about US film ratings from the MPAA

See article from thewrap.com

 

 Offsite Article: We porn in public...


Link Here 9th March 2015
cinekink logo A weekend at CineKink and NYC Porn Film Festival

See article from theverge.com

 

 Updated: The Language of Censorship...

India's film censors ban Fifty Shades of Grey


Link Here 8th March 2015  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Grey Jamie Dornan India's Central Board of Film 'Classification' (CBFC) has decided to ban the screening of Fifty Shades of Grey.

The distributors had submitted a pre-cut version with all the nudity missing but this was not enough for the censors. One of the chief executive of the CBFC, Shravan Kumar declined to divulge details as to why the panel refused to approve the movie.

Previous reports suggest that the sexy dialogue was also too much for the censors to bear, particularly as the loony new chief censor is trying to ban strong language in all films.

A source from Universal Pictures talked about how filmmakers tried their best to tone down movie's sex scenes and remove all nudity in direction with the review process in India.

The announcement shouldn't shock Indian movie buffs, as CBFC's latest changing guidelines are all over the news with board posing issues to cuss words, sexually explicit content and words.

Update: Because the appeal options are not yet exhausted the CBFC bizarrely contend that the banned movie is not officially 'banned'

8th March 2015. See  article from  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

CBFC logoThe Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) has refuted news that the film adaptation of the erotic novel, Fifty Shades Of Grey , has been banned in India.

Reportedly, the examining committee of the Censor Board recently watched the pre-cut version and claimed it to be too provocative for Indian audiences. Shravan Kumar, CEO, CBFC pedantically tried to explain that this was not an 'official' ban:

Many mainstream films don't get clearance in the first step. The producers can appeal against the decision and go for the revising committee's opinion. Even if the revising committee gives a verdict refusing certification, an appeal can be made to Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). The film is in the process of certification and they have to revert to us,

 

 Updated: Hiding the Dirty Linen...

India fails in attempt to ban the BBC from showing the documentary, India's Daughter


Link Here 8th March 2015
indias daughterIndia's home minister has said that the government would act against the BBC after it ignored a court order and aired a documentary about a fatal gang rape in which one of the attackers blames the victim.

India's Daughter by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin was to have been shown on Sunday, International Women's Day, in India as well as in Britain, Denmark, Sweden and several other countries.

Indian police and the government got a court order that attempted to halt the screening. Indian authorities wrote to the BBC calling for the film not to be broadcast or posted online anywhere in the world, but the BBC brought it forward to air on Wednesday night.

The BBC said in a statement that it had moved the screening time forward given the intense level of interest and to enable viewers to see this incredibly powerful documentary at the earliest opportunity.

In a letter written by the BBC's director of TV Danny Cohen and obtained by The Independent, the broadcaster said it:

Appreciates [the government's] concern but said that the film represents an important account of an event that galvanised Indian opinion to ensure such tragedies are not repeated.

Indian viewers cannot see it on the BBC's website, but it could be seen on YouTube.

In the film Mukesh Singh, who was among four men convicted and sentenced to death for the 2012 rape and murder, said a girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy . Mukesh Singh is one of the men sentenced to death for the 2012 Delhi bus rape He added:

A decent girl won't roam around at 9 o'clock at night. ... Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes.

indias daughter video Update: Attempting to censor YouTube too

6th March 2015. See  article from  thenews.com.pk

India's disgraceful attempt to censor a cultural bad attitude to women continues with an India request YouTube to block access to the documentary India's Daughter about a savage gang-rape in Delhi.

Home Ministry spokesman M.A. Ganapathy told AFP the government had asked YouTube to block links to the film in India after large numbers of people viewed it online.

The video is currently still online. See video from YouTube

Offsite Link: Banning the film has brought India into disrepute by obstructing free speech

8th March 2015. See  article from  theguardian.com

The GuardianLeslee Udwin, the director of the documentary, said banning the film had brought India into disrepute by obstructing free speech.

The director of a documentary about the gang rape and murder of a woman in Delhi has said India committed international suicide by banning the film and asking for YouTube to remove all links to it.

The film, India's Daughter , was broadcast in Britain last week on BBC4 and many YouTube users have posted a recording of the programme on the site. It is available until Wednesday night in the UK on iPlayer .

Indian police said the ban was imposed as comments in the film by one of those convicted of the crime created an atmosphere of fear and tension.

...Read the full article

 

  Terrorist Censorship...

Islamic State issue death threats to Twitter employees over suspended accounts


Link Here 8th March 2015
twitter 2015 logoTwitter employees and co-founder Jack Dorsey are being threatened by supporters of Islamic State.

In an online post jihadists around the world are called upon to attack and kill Twitter staff over the company's efforts to block and ban Islamic State messages. The post says:

You started this failed war. We told you from the beginning it's not your war, but you didn't get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we always come back. But when our lions [brave men] come and take your breath, you will never come back to life.

Although it is not possible to identify who wrote the post, Twitter seems to be taking it seriously.

Twitter has been clamping down on IS activity on its social network, in an attempt to stop the group using it as a tool for recruitment and promotion.

 

 Offsite Article: So Far So Good...


Link Here 8th March 2015
montreal logo Hundreds of erotic massage brothels flourishing in Montreal despite federal anti-prostitution law

See article from news.nationalpost.com

 

 Update: London Underground bans stage show advert...

Easily offended whingeing believers and/or aggressive bullying PC censors. Does any of this do anything to generate any actual 'respect' for religion?


Link Here 7th March 2015  full story: Transport for London Censors...Advert censorship
bad jewsAdverts for a Jewish play which received five-star reviews in one of the religion's newspapers have been banned from the London Underground because they could cause offence . Transport for London (TfL) decided that posters of Joshua Harmon's acclaimed production, Bad Jews , should be banned.

The poster for the comedy, which is about a family brought together after the death of their Holocaust-survivor grandfather, shows four characters in a quarrel on the floor.

One complaint was made to the the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) during the play's first campaign, but the advert censor concluded that the poster did not breach rules. However, TfL disagreed with the ASA's ruling and told the Evening Standard it would not clarify the precise reason for the rejection. A TfL spokesperson said:

The advert, Bad Jews, was previously displayed on our network as our advertising contractor approved it without consulting us. It was subsequently submitted for display again and has been rejected as it contravened our advertising policy, which states that adverts will not be approved if they may cause widespread or serious offence.

Producer Danny Moar has blasted TfL's decision, saying it seemed like censorship , despite the play winning a five-star review for the Jewish Chronicle.  He told the paper:

Half the cast are Jewish, I'm Jewish, the writer is Jewish and the word 'bad' in the title, in so far as it matters, doesn't mean 'evil' -- it means 'non-observant'.  This is a form of censorship which is so weird and ironic when, in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo events, everyone marched against censorship. 

 

  Lordy Lordy...

PC advert censor is set to more proactively seek out easy offence


Link Here 7th March 2015
ASA logo The advert censiors at ASA have published waffle responses to a consultation on introducing new prioritisation principles. The ASA explains:

The principles were developed in line with our five-year strategy 2014 -- 2018, which is our public commitment to Having more Impact and Being more Proactive in how we regulate. It expresses our ambition to make every UK ad a responsible ad. [this would more snappily read: our ambition to make every UK ad a PC ad].

Under these prioritisation principles we will:

  • - consider what harm or detriment has occurred or might occur;
  • - balance the risk of taking action versus inaction;
  • - consider the likely impact of our intervention; and
  • - consider what resource would be proportionate to the problem to be tackled.

They will help us decide what resource we commit, or activity we undertake, in response to issues identified either through complaints or other forms of information, e.g. research or intelligence from another regulator.

This more proactive and targeted approach will allow us to have the biggest impact on the issues that matter most, benefitting consumers, society and responsible advertisers alike. [The ASA bizarrely thinks that its PC pedantry is somehow beneficial to society!]

We launched the consultation in November 2014, following pre-consultation with other regulatory bodies, consumer groups and business groups. We're grateful to those who responded and are satisfied, based on the feedback we've received, that we'd identified the appropriate prioritisation principles to help guide the allocation of our regulatory resources.

 

  H is for Harsh...

Substitute teacher jailed for occupying students with classrom showing of The ABCs of Death


Link Here 7th March 2015

ABCs Death Ingrid Bolso Berdal   A former substitute teacher convicted of showing a horror movie to a high school class was sentenced on Wednesday to 90 days in jail.

Sheila Kearns, who was convicted in January of four felony counts, apologized in court, saying she hadn't watched the movie before showing it to her Spanish classes at Columbus' East High School in April 2013. The successful movie, The ABCs of Death , consists of 26 chapters, each depicting some form of grisly death and representing a letter of the alphabet. The movie is R rated in the US which means that the film is considered suitable for 17 year olds, but younger children are allowed to see it when accompanied by their parents. The film was 18 rated in the UK.

Kearns was convicted of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. The Columbus Dispatch reported the judge placed her on probation for three years but made the jail time a condition of probation. Kearns contended she was unaware of the movie's content. Her attorney said she never would have knowingly showed it.

But a student testified Kearns watched the 129-minute movie. The student said the movie was disturbing and said students in the class went crazy while watching it.

An assistant principal who saw the DVD movie playing in the classroom confiscated it.

Prosecutors said the movie's title should have tipped off Kearns that she should check it out before showing it to her students, who ranged in age from 14 to 18.

Jurors watched the movie before convicting Kearns. After the conviction, the jury foreman said it wasn't proved at trial that Kearns was aware of the movie's content the first time she showed it but she would have known by the second, third, fourth and fifth showings.

 

 Offsite Article: The Sun suffers big sales fall without Page 3...


Link Here 7th March 2015  full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun
last page 3 But don't rush to conclusions yet. By Roy Greenslade

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Standing up to abusive take down requests...

WordPress wins court case against censorship attempt made by abusing the take down notice system


Link Here 6th March 2015
word press logoWordPress has scored an important victory in court against a man who abused the DMCA to censor an article of a critical journalist. The court agreed that the takedown request was illegitimate and awarded WordPress roughly $25,000 in damages and attorneys fees.

Automattic, the company behind the popular WordPress blogging platform challenged the abuse of the takedown process and decided to take a stand in court, together with student journalist Oliver Hotham who had one of his articles on WordPress censored by a false takedown notice .

Hotham wrote an article about Straight Pride UK which included a comment he received from the organization's press officer Nick Steiner. The latter didn't like the article Hotham wrote, and after publication Steiner sent WordPress a takedown notice claiming that it infringed his copyrights.

WordPress and Hotham took the case to a California federal court where they asked to be compensated for the damage this abuse caused them.

Automatic argued that as an online service provider it faces overwhelming and crippling copyright liability if it fails to take down content. People such as Steiner abuse this weakness to censor critics or competitors. WordPress explained:

Steiner's fraudulent takedown notice forced WordPress to take down Hotham's post under threat of losing the protection of the DMCA safe harbor. Steiner did not do this to protect any legitimate intellectual property interest, but in an attempt to censor Hotham's lawful expression critical of Straight Pride UK. He forced WordPress to delete perfectly lawful content from its website. As a result, WordPress has suffered damage to its reputation.

After reviewing the case United States Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero wrote a report and recommendation in favor of WordPress and Hotham, and District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton issued a default judgment this week.

The court finds the report correct, well-reasoned and thorough, and adopts it in every respect, Judge Hamilton writes.

It is Ordered and Adjudged that defendant Nick Steiner pay damages in the amount of $960.00 for Hotham's work and time, $1,860.00 for time spent by Automattic's employees, and $22,264.00 for Automattic's attorney's fees, for a total award of $25,084.00.

TorrentFreak comments that the case is mostly a symbolic win, but an important one. It should serve as a clear signal to other copyright holders that false DMCA takedown requests are not always left unpunished.

 

  The Sword is Mightier than the Pen...

Blogger is murdered in Bangladesh for supporting secularism


Link Here 5th March 2015
Bangladesh flagA prominent American blogger of Bangladeshi origin was hacked to death with machetes by unidentified assailants in Dhaka with the atheist writer's family saying he had received numerous threats from muslim extemists.

The body of Avijit Roy, founder of Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site which champions liberal secular writing, was found covered in blood after the attack which also left his wife critically wounded.

Roy is the second Bangladeshi blogger to have been murdered in two years and the fourth writer to have been attacked since 2004.

Muslim extremist  groups have long demanded the public execution of atheist bloggers and sought new laws to combat writing critical of Islam.

Roy's father said the writer, a US citizen, had received a number of threatening emails and messages on social media from hardliners unhappy with his writing. Ajoy Roy told AFP that his son was a secular humanist and has written about ten books including his most famous, Biswasher Virus (Virus of Faith).

Roy's killing also triggered strong condemnation from his fellow writers and publishers, who lamented the growing religious conservatism and intolerance in Bangladesh.

 

 Offsite Article: Vivienne Pattison recommends...


Link Here 5th March 2015  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Grey Jamie Dornan Fifty Shades of Grey in an interview with religious campaigner

See article from crossrhythms.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Mega Censorship...


Link Here 5th March 2015
mega logo US shuts down cloud service that did not provide decryption capabilities to the security services

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  Prudery Regeneration Committee...

MSPs moralise about distinguishing between the 'right' kind of nudity enjoyed by cultured theatre goers vs the 'wrong' kind of nudity enjoyed by uncultured strip club goers


Link Here 4th March 2015
federation of scottish theatre logoTheatre productions that contain nudity will be exempt new repressive licensing laws covering sexual entertainment, the Scottish 'Justice' Secretary has said.

Michael Matheson moved to reassure MSPs that the proposed new licensing regime will not impact on artistic freedom of expression on the stage enjoyed by the cultural elite.

Holyrood's Local Government and Prudery Regeneration Committee has heard that measures in the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill could have an inadvertent impact on risque shows. The Bill would allow local authorities to ban sexual entertainment venues in an area.

Jon Morgan, director of the Federation of Scottish Theatre, told the committee last month that this could affect performances at the Edinburgh Festival which contain nudity or explore issues such as pornography. His concerns were raised by independent MSP John Wilson, who asked Mr Matheson to give theatres an assurance that they would be exempt from the legislation.

We've heard in evidence as a committee from theatre group representatives who were concerned that they may be impacted upon in terms of their artistic expression by some vexatious complaints or other individuals using the legislation as proposed to shut down certain theatre productions.

Matheson said:

I think it's a fair point to be raised and a reasonable concern for some establishments to actually have. That is why we're going to take forward some guidance in order to give some specific direction around this area about the types of premises and circumstances that would be exempt in these circumstances, so that could be for example a theatre production that does involve some nudity in it for a particular performance or series of performances that they are operating.

 

  Not Trusted...

MPs call for the censorship duties of the BBC Trust to be handed over to Ofcom


Link Here 4th March 2015
Culture, Media and Sport select committeeParliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee's has published a report on a wide range of issues about the BBFC. In particular the report calls for the BBC to be funded by a tax on all households, not just those watching the BBC.

The document is the result of an 18-month inquiry and may form a key plank in the government's approach to charter renewal.

It provides a scathing assessment of the BBC Trust and calls for the governing body to be replaced by a unitary BBC board -- chaired by a powerful nonexecutive -- and a separate Public Service Broadcasting Commission (PSBC), which will hold the corporation to account and have wider industry duties.

The MPs put forward a new vision for BBC governance. They said a unitary board should be established, comprising a government-appointed non-executive chairman, a majority of independent directors and a small number of executives, including the director general.

The report also calls for the censorship duties of the BBC Trust to be transferred in their entirety to the current TV censor, Ofcom.

 

 Offsite Article: Meet Charlotte Rose...


Link Here 4th March 2015  full story: UK Internet Porn Content Censorship...2014 law censors content and mandates age verification for porn
charlotte rose Prospective MP and campaigner against David Cameron's internet porn censorship

See article from vice.com

 

 Updated: It's all tied up with money...

Fifty Shades of Grey proves a hit at the box office


Link Here 3rd March 2015  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Grey Jamie Dornan Fifty Shades of Grey scored one of the biggest R-rated debuts ever this weekend.

Playing at 3,646 theaters, the widest opening ever for an R-rated movie, ifty Shades of Grey scored an estimated $85 million over the three-day weekend. That's the top opening ever in the month of February.

And the movie is proving to be even more of a phenomenon internationally than it is in the U.S.

The movie earned a stunning $158 million from 58 markets this weekend. That's the second-biggest weekend ever for Universal Pictures International (behind Fast & Furious 6 ), and included their biggest single day ever (Valentine's Day at $55.1 million).

Update: Set to be the first film of 2015 to pass 500 million mark

3rd  March 2015.  See  article from  flickeringmyth.com

The film fell to fourth in the US box office over the weekend, but still added $10.9 million from its fourth week in the charts. That brings its domestic total to $147 million and its worldwide total to $486 million. Another week like this and it will become the first movie of 2015 to reach $500 million.

 

  Running onion rings around repressive governments...

Belarus bans Tor, the internet blocking circumvention tool


Link Here 3rd March 2015
belarus tor ban Belarus has moved to block access to all Internet anonymizers in the country, including Tor. The country's Communications Ministry published a new decree that mandates how access to certain online resources should be limited by Internet providers at the request of the state. Some of the limitations deal directly with anonymizing services. The decree reads:

The state inspection, upon discovering Internet resources, anonymizing services (proxy-servers, anonymous networks like Tor and others), that allow Internet users to access online resources whose identifiers are included on the limited access list, will add the identifiers of these Internet resources and anonymizing services to the list as well.

Internet users typically use anonymizing services to circumvent government censorship and reach online resources banned inside Belarus, including many of the opposition websites.

Tor statistics indicate that anywhere between 6,000 and 8,000 users in Belarus use Tor directly on a daily basis, with more connecting through bridges. According to Anton Nesterov , an anticensorship activist, in order to prevent access to Tor, officials will likely attempt to block the so-called guard nodes, the first nodes in the circuit through which a user would connect to route encrypted traffic further. They can just block torproject.org and stop there, but if they talk about blocking Tor, blocking nodes is what it means, says Nesterov.

Russia has also been considering a ban on VPNs and anonymizers. At the start of February, Leonid Levin, an MP heading the parliamentary committee on information policy and communications, suggested that access to anonymization and circumvention tools such as Tor, VPNs, and proxy-servers needs to be restricted.

 

 Offsite Article: Is censorship dead in the digital age?...


Link Here 3rd March 2015
andrew jack Well its alive and kicking in the UK but it is struggling a bit in New Zealand

See article from stuff.co.nz

 

 Offsite Article: The US bullies the Pacific world...


Link Here 3rd March 2015  full story: TTP Trade Restrictions...Trans Pacific Partnership
Electronic Frontier Foundation The White House Doesn't Want You to Know the TPP's Looming Effects on U.S. Copyright Laws

See article from eff.org

 

 Offsite Article: Is Weibo on the way out?...


Link Here 2nd March 2015  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logo Repressive Chinese requirements to register real names takes its toll on micro blogging

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

  Reddit Removedit...

Reddit set to remove images should the person depicted complain that permission has not been given.


Link Here 1st March 2015
reddit logoSocial networking and news site Reddit has said it will remove photos, videos and links with explicit content if the person in the image complains that permission has not been given for it to be posted.

Until now, Reddit has had a hands-off approach to privacy, largely allowing its 160m users to police their own forums within certain guidelines such as no child pornography or spam.

The change comes about six months after hackers obtained nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities and posted them to social media sites including Reddit and Twitter.

Effective 10 March, Reddit will prohibit any photograph, video or digital image of a person who is nude or engaged in a sexual act if the subject has not given permission for it to be used. Anyone who wants an image of themselves removed from the site can email contact@reddit.com.

 

 Offsite Article: Jack the Ripper...


Link Here 1st March 2015
jack the ripper 18 rated The story behind the first 18 certificated video game

See article from eurogamer.net

 

 Offsite Article: Fifty Shades of Grey poses a threat to online BDSM communities...


Link Here 1st March 2015
Fifty Shades Grey Jamie Dornan An upsurge in interest in online BDSM communities makes long time kinksters fearful of being outed

See article from theguardian.com