Censor Watch

 2010: April

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30th April   

Update: Fitna for Trial...

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Trial of Geert Wilders set for October
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

rechtspraak logoDutch political party leader Geert Wilders is set to stand trial in October on charges of inciting racial hatred against Muslims, the Amsterdam district court has announced.

The trial of Mr Wilders will start in October, the court said in a statement. According to a preliminary schedule, the case is to be heard on October 4, 6 and 8, followed by judgment on November 2, it said.

The lawmaker is accused of five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement. Wilder faces up to one year in jail if convicted.

His 17-minute film, Fitna , was called offensively anti-Islamic by UN chief Ban Ki-moon after its screening in The Netherlands in 2008 prompted protests in much of the Muslim world. Prosecutors initially declined to charge Wilders, citing freedom of speech in dismissing dozens of complaints from around the country. But an appeals court last January ordered prosecutors to put the MP on trial, saying politicians could not make statements which create hate and grief .

 

30th April   

Update: Fear of Teddy Bears...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

Swedish affiliate of Comedy Central opts to censor episodes of South Park
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

comedy central logoThe Swedish affiliate of broadcaster Comedy Central has said it will not show two controversial episodes of US satirical cartoon show South Park depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad in a bear costume, Aftonbladet reports.

Comedy Central has decided not to air these two episodes of South Park. It is a decision we've made with great reluctance. Comedy Central believes strongly in creative freedom of expression; when unique and deeply insightful creative talents like those behind South Park are able to express themselves freely, we all benefit.

However, the safety of our employees is our unquestioned number one priority, and therefore we have decided to take these precautionary measures, the broadcaster explained in a statement released to Aftonbladet.

Spokesman Peter von Satzgerl told the Svenska Dagbladet daily that the decision came as a result of international directives from the channel's parent network in the United States.

 

30th April   

iSealClub...

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Video Universe
 

At least Peta are admirers of Apple's arbitrary censorship
Link Here

isealclub According to iPhone app developer Matt Smyth, his iPhone iSealClub app has been rejected by Apple because it contains objectionable content.

Matt Smyth can't understand why Apple rejected iSealClub: They allow other apps, like Trophy Hunt for bear and deer and whatnot. I don't see the difference between killing a seal and killing a deer .

In iSealClub players use a cartoon club to hunt cartoon seals, but there are limits that make the game a little more tasteful. The game doesn't contain any blood and baby seals are off limits. Smyth, a Newfoundland resident, feels iSealClub was rejected because the company is against seal hunting, which is socially acceptable in his province and sanctioned by the Canadian government.

Meanwhile PETA was delighted with the decision. Commenting on the official PETA Blog, Jennifer O'Connor had nothing but love for Apple CEO Steve Jobs: We think that Jobs and the rest of the Apple crew are pretty great after learning that the App Store said no way to an app called iSealClub—a game in which users wield a metal-tipped club and earn points by bashing seals to death.

O'Connor went on to say that PETA would be sending Jobs a thank-you note along with some yummy vegan chocolate seals as a token of appreciation.

 

30th April   

Updated: Crime Against Cinema...

Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail reviews Kick-Ass
Link Here  full story: Kick-Ass...Movie hype featuring cussing teen assassin

Chris TookeyDon't be fooled by the hype: This crime against cinema is twisted, cynical, and revels in the abuse of childhood

Millions are being spent to persuade you that Kick-Ass is harmless, comic-book entertainment suitable for 15-year-olds.

Don't let them fool you. Kick-Ass has been so hyped that it is certain to be a hit. It is also bound be among the most influential movies of 2010. And that should disturb us all.

It deliberately sells a perniciously sexualised view of children and glorifies violence, especially knife and gun crime, in a way that makes it one of the most deeply cynical, shamelessly irresponsible films ever.

...See full review

Update: Certain to be a hit

21st April 2010. Based on article from myfoxmaine.com

Kick-Ass pulled in $19.8 million for its opening weekend to become the US box office leader.

That's not the $25-30 million the studio and industry thought it would pull in, but they'll take the No. 1 slot and hope good word of mouth fuels the buzzworthy flick.

Offsite: How I fell foul of the internet lynch mob

Thanks to Dan
30th April 2010. Based on article from dailymail.co.uk by Christopher Tookey

Chris TookeyAn unkind remark that most of us would never say to another person's face becomes much easier to express from the safety of a computer keyboard. Add to that the poisonous effect of anonymity - the ability to say anything you like without being held accountable - and, too often, any sense of proportion or civility is abandoned online.

I can say this with authority because I recently joined the ranks of the cyber-bullied, thanks to a review I wrote in the Daily Mail on April 2. It dealt with a film called Kick-Ass, by Jonathan Ross's wife Jane Goldman, which features a youth who decides to become a super-hero despite having no special powers.

The reason I found the movie so objectionable was that its most violent, foul-mouthed and sexually aggressive character, Hit-Girl, was an 11-year-old.

I called attention to the glaringly obvious sexual overtones in the deliberately glamorous, fetishistic way in which Hit-Girl and her startlingly violent behaviour is portrayed, and in her sexually explicit vocabulary. The movie's writers clearly wanted the audience to see Hit-Girl not only as cool, but also as sexy, like an even younger version of the baby-faced oriental assassin in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill. Paedophiles, I wrote, are going to adore her.

The Daily Mail often sets the news agenda, and I knew my review would provoke debate. What I hadn't anticipated is that it would result in an avalanche of vitriolic personal abuse - much of it simply too obscene to be repeated here.

Hundreds of bloggers, twitterers and Facebook fiends weighed in, creating websites dedicated to destroying my character and levelling the most outrageous accusations against me.

...Read the full article

 

30th April   

No Burley Bully...

Ofcom dismisses complaints about distressing Sky News interview for Peter Andre
Link Here

kay burleyAfternoon Live
Sky News
3 February 2010, 15:30

Afternoon Live is a live rolling news programme with a focus on the human interest angle of news stories.

This programme included a live interview by presenter Kay Burley of the pop singer Peter Andre. The interview took place on the day it was announced that the singer's former wife, and mother of his children, Katie Price, had married her partner Alex Reid. Kay Burley explained to viewers at the start of the interview that Peter Andre had been booked to come onto the programme a week earlier to discuss his new album. However, the presenter introduced the interview by saying they would talk about the [Katie Price/Alex Reid] wedding anyway . She then proceeded to ask Peter Andre questions about the wedding and how that might change the childcare arrangements for his children. The presenter commented that Peter Andre was responding cautiously to the questions. Kay Burley then stated that Peter Andre had been prewarned that the programme had earlier interviewed the father of Katie Price's first child, footballer Dwight Yorke. A clip from that interview was played in which Dwight Yorke criticised Peter Andre's interest in adopting Dwight Yorke's son by Katie Price. Following the clip Peter Andre responded angrily to the criticisms made about him by Dwight Yorke. Kay Burley said she wanted to show Mr Andre the clip because we were wondering how you might feel if Alex Reid said he wanted to adopt your kids . Peter Andre, who then appeared visibly upset, replied that he did not wish to talk about the issue, explained that he was not expecting the comments from Mr Yorke, despite being pre-warned it would be shown, and asked for the interview to be concluded.

Ofcom received 881 complaints from viewers who expressed concern about the way in which Kay Burley conducted the interview. The majority of complainants were concerned by the intrusive manner in which Peter Andre was interviewed by the presenter. They believed that the line of questioning about his personal life had made him distressed. In effect, these complaints appeared to have been complaints of unfair treatment or unwarranted infringement of privacy made on Peter Andre's behalf. Other complainants suggested that Kay Burley was bullying and intimidating; and that the interview was upsetting and offensive to watch given the obvious distress it caused Peter Andre.

Ofcom considered the material with reference to Rule 2.3 of the Code. Rule 2.3: Offence Rule 2.3 requires that, in applying generally accepted standards, broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence must be justified by the context. Such material includes humiliation, distress and violation of human dignity.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

First we considered complaints that Kay Burley was bullying and intimidating and that
the interview was upsetting and offensive to watch due to the obvious distress it
caused Peter Andre.

The interview was part of the Afternoon Live programme which is broadcast on a dedicated news channel and combines rolling news coverage with live studio interviews which have a human interest angle.

In Ofcom's opinion, it was in keeping with the established editorial line of the programme for the presenter to ask Peter Andre questions about the new marriage of his former wife given that it was a major news story on that day. Further, it was understandable that the presenter focussed on the human interest angle of the wedding by asking Peter Andre for his reaction, and how it would impact on their children.

In Ofcom's view, the audience could therefore reasonably have expected the presenter to ask him about the wedding, and the implications of it, given that the interview was taking place on a rolling news programme on the same day that the wedding featured as a major news item.

Ofcom then considered (assessing the language and approach of the presenter) whether the interview style and line of questioning was likely to have been perceived as bullying and intimidating and therefore, in the absence of appropriate context, beyond the expectations of the audience.

Ofcom acknowledges viewers' concerns that Kay Burley's interview style was persistent and probing. This was generally in response to Peter Andre choosing not to reply to her questions. In Ofcom's view, however, she remained overall measured in her tone throughout and did not put inappropriate pressure on Peter Andre for a response. She also expressed concern about his well being and apologised for any upset the broadcast may have generated.

Ofcom also notes that although he appeared upset to some extent by the style of interviewing, Peter Andre is a well known professional singer with considerable experience of the media, who had agreed to appear on the programme to promote his album knowing that the wedding of his former wife was a topical news story.

Overall, therefore, we concluded that the style of interview did not breach generally accepted standards.

Secondly, Ofcom looked at the specific lines of the questioning to determine whether or not they were of such a personal and private nature as to be unduly intrusive and a violation of Mr Andre's human dignity, and therefore offensive to viewers.

Regarding questions about his marriage to, and his children by, Katie Price, Ofcom noted that Peter Andre had previously talked candidly and frequently in public (including in television programmes) about his relationship with his former wife and his children. Therefore the subject of his family and his marriage breakdown has been previously brought to public attention on several occasions and it would not in Ofcom's opinion have exceeded viewer expectations for questions on these subjects to be put to him in the context of a programme with a populist news agenda.

In conclusion, taking all the circumstances into account, Ofcom considered that in the context of a news programme which focuses on the human interest angle the broadcaster applied generally accepted standards to the interview with Peter Andre. There was no breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code. Kay Burley's approach was persistent and probing, but in Ofcom's view it could not reasonably be described as bullying and intimidating.

Not in breach of Rule 2.3

 

30th April   

Update: A Painless End to Censorship...

Australian seniors taught how to circumvent internet blocking
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Peacefull Pill Handbook Euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke has warned that Queensland seniors will resort to desperate measures should the Rudd Government restrict access to reliable voluntary euthanasia information through its proposed internet censorship.

Dr Nitschke welcomed 120 seniors to a recent suicide workshop in Toowong that featured a hacking masterclass showing seniors how to get around the proposed filter.

It was the biggest turnout we've had so far to a workshop, said Dr Nitschke, who has spent six months touring workshops across Australia, Europe and US.

The Government's Clean Feed internet policy will bar seniors from accessing Dr Nitschke's Exit International website where they can download his Peaceful Pill Handbook . The document details ways of obtaining Nembutal, a lethal drug illegally imported from Mexico and South-East Asia by Australian euthanasia supporters.

Devised by a leading Australian computer hacker, the masterclass showed seniors how to get through the Government's filtering technology using their home computers.

Dr Nitschke said: If the Federal Government thinks it's a good idea to keep people deprived of good information then they have to explain why one of the commonest methods used by the elderly (to take their own lives) is by hanging themselves. That's an extremely grim death. Those who deprive these people of good information and force them down that horrible path I think have some explaining to do.

 

30th April   

A 1001 Tales of Nutter Censorship...

Egyptian book burners try to get A Thousand and One Nights banned
Link Here

Arabian Nights Tales Penguin Classics A group of nutter Egyptian lawyers have filed a communiqu้ to the Prosecutor General in order to confiscate A Thousand and One Nights book and imprison its publishers.

They claim that the heritage script is offensive to public decency .

The lawyers filed their complaint as per article #178 of the penal code, which fines and punishes with imprisonment for a period of two years anyone who published literature, pictures, offensive to public decency .

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has said that the failure of the Egyptian government to take a clear stance regarding the religious and political Hesba cases (private actions) has encouraged more religious extremists and publicity seekers to join the “Actio popularis” team.

Gamal Eid, ANHRI executive director said, Demanding the confiscation of a heritage book and a creativity piece , such as A Thousand and One Nights, is a crime in essence . We will not be silent regarding these cases . ANHRI legal aid unit for freedom of expression will lead the defense of these writers and intellectuals who are exposed to an unfair crackdown by those publicity seekers. These writers and intellectuals insist on handing over historical and cultural treasures to the Egyptian reader and making them accessible to the Egyptian citizen just like other citizens in other countries that respect freedom of expression and freedom of creativity.

 

30th April   

Victims of TripToPhrenia...

National Victims Association wound up by Charles Bronson art
Link Here

bronson artArtwork by the man dubbed Britain's most violent prisoner went on public display but was soon taken down.

The drawing by Charles Bronson depicts a head with three different faces poking out of a straitjacket.

Bronsonis widely regarded as being one of Britain's most dangerous prisoners. He was jailed for armed robbery in 1974 and has since committed a series of crimes outside and behind bars.

Charles Bronson's artwork was displayed temporarily at Angel tube station. The image was one of 60 artworks provided by Bronson and was among just a few that were given copy approval by Transport for London (TfL).

The decision to exhibit his work was made after Bronson wrote to Benjamin Moore who runs group Art Below asking if his drawings could be shown to a wider audience.

But the National Victims Association claimed it was both depressed and astonished by the move. I would say the overwhelming majority of victims of crime will be astonished and thoroughly depressed that one of the most violent criminals in the prison system is allowed to engage with the British public in this way, said a spokesman for the group.

Moore defended the decision to give Bronson a platform at a tube station, adding: There's a lot of madness and sadness in his work but what struck me was the humour. You'll never see any artwork like it because no artist is going to spend more than 36 years inside an incarcerated space. His art comes from a place no one else will ever reach.

 

29th April   

Update: No Consideration for Others...

Academics calls for films to be rated according to their pet smoking concerns
Link Here

ukctcs logoAnother analysis of modern films found that movies rated PG show cigarette use, with smoking also prominent in features granted 12 or 12A certificates.

The researchers also warned that active product placement may still be taking place, with British films more likely to feature specific tobacco brands than their US equivalents.

The analysis of the 15 most-popular films to screen in UK cinemas each year since 1989 was carried out by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. It scrutinised 300 films, recording how often tobacco use and smoking paraphernalia, such as cigarette packs, lighters, ashtrays, or a particular brand, appeared.

While it found that the prevalence of tobacco imagery has fallen dramatically over the past two decades, there remained notable exceptions. Tobacco, or tobacco by association, appeared in 70% of the films reviewed, over half of which had been given a 15 classification by the BBFC. Brand appearances were nearly twice as likely to occur in films with UK involvement, it added. It singled out two successful home-grown productions, Bridget Jones's Diary and About a Boy , for stern criticism.

Ailsa Lyons, a PhD student at the University of Nottingham who led the study, said the findings demonstrated the need for the BBFC to review its guidance on smoking in films in order to protect vulnerable youngsters.

She said: Although smoking imagery and branding images in the most popular films have become substantially less common over the past 20 years, it is apparent that children and young people watching films in the UK are still exposed to frequent and, at times specifically branded, tobacco imagery, particularly in films originating from the UK. More consistent application of BBFC guidance could dramatically reduce this exposure and protect children and young people from damaging imagery, and encourage film makers to avoid tobacco imagery without compromising artistic freedoms or factual accuracy.

Professor John Britton, head of the university's epidemiology and public health division and the report's co-author, added: It is well established that tobacco companies used films to promote tobacco products for many years, and adolescents who view tobacco use in film and who admire the lead actors whose characters smoke, were likely to view smoking favourably.

The BBFC said the idea of imposing an 18 rating on films which feature smoking was not going to happen, with the only exception being where a film actively promoted the habit.

The findings are published in the latest British Medical Journal's Thorax publication.

 

29th April   

Update: Crummy Censors...

BBC apologise over Frankie Boyle's quip at Israel beating up Palestine
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

My Shit Life So Far The BBC Trust's editorial standards committee has issued an apology over a joke made by Frankie Boyle which compared Palestine with a cake being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew .

The committee, which acts as a final arbiter of appeals if complainants are unhappy with the response from BBC management, upheld a previous finding that the comment was inappropriate and offensive.

But it said that no further action is needed in the case.

Boyle made the remark on Radio 4 comedy sketch show Political Animal , broadcast almost two years ago in June 2008.

The Scottish comedian said: I'm quite interested in the Middle East, I'm actually studying that Israeli army martial arts. And I know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back. It's a difficult question to understand. I've got an analogy which explains the whole thing quite well: If you imagine that Palestine is a cake - well, that cake is being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew.

A complainant wrote to the BBC Executive branding the comment disgusting and anti-Semitic.

Dissatisfied with the broadcaster's response, the complainant went to the editorial complaints unit, which is the next stage of the BBC's complaints process. But the complainant then went to the editorial standards committee as he felt that the remark had gone through the editorial process without ringing any alarm bells.

 

29th April   

Update: Election Issue...

Australian internet censorship legislation not imminent
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Stephen ConroyInternet censorship legislation is set to be shelved until after the next election. A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said.

The legislation would not be introduced next month's or the June sittings of parliament. With parliament not sitting again until the last week of August, the laws are unlikely to be passed before the election.

The US government, Google and free speech advocates have said any efforts to censor the internet would slow download speeds, stop the free flow of information and be ineffective.

Senator Conroy's spokeswoman said the government was not deterred by this criticism. The government was still consulting with internet service providers and considering public submissions; once that process was complete, it would introduce the legislation into parliament, the spokeswoman said.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace was disappointed: The minister has done an excellent job on this . . . and I would like to see it legislated because it was an election promise .

 

29th April   

Carrot and Stick...

YouTube ban supporting the hype for Redheads and MIA's Born Free
Link Here

born free video Musician M.I.A's video for her new single Born Free has been banned from Youtube.

The controversial video, directed by Romain Gavras, shows American police rounding redheads, and subjecting them to brutal violence.

Critics have suggested the explicit video is a publicity stunt for M.I.A and the director, whose debut feature film Redheads , is based on the same premise.

 

29th April   

Updated: Bleeping Hell...

BBFC report that strong language is bleeped in Iron Man 2
Link Here

Iron Man DVD Robert Downey Iron Man 2 is a 2010 US superhero film by Jon Favreau

No BBFC cuts to the 12 rated cinema release but they did note: Contains bleeped strong language.

Surely a sad day when intrusive bleeping gets a foothold in film censorship.

Update: Bleeping In Context

21st April 2010. Thanks to David & Alan

Just to reassure, the bleeping of swearing is deliberate.

The beeps are in a courtroom scene shown from the point of view of a TV news show, which would indeed bleep swearing.

So it's beeping within the context of the film, not for censorship.

Update: BBFC Explain their 12A rating

29th April 2010. Based on article from bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo The BBFC have now explained their 12A rating:

Iron Man 2 is an action blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jnr in his second outing as the Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man . It was passed 12A for moderate violence and bleeped strong language.

The BBFC's Guidelines at PG state that Moderate violence, without detail, may be allowed if justified by its context (for example, history, comedy or fantasy) . Although the story of Iron Man has many fantastical elements, there are also some scenes containing violence within a more realistic context. For example, in one scene we see a man being punched heavily in the stomach before having his face smashed into a stainless steel sink. These scene contains more detail than would be appropriate at PG but, given the lack of sight of blood, was permissible at 12A where the Guidelines state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood .

The Guidelines at 12A'/12 also state that The use of strong language (for example 'fuck') must be infrequent . In Iron Man 2 there are two bleeped but clearly identifiable uses of strong language. The film also contains occasional mild sex references.

 

29th April   

Clowns in Turkmenistan...

Turkmenistan reopens the circus previously thought to be an alien culture
Link Here

alien clown Almost a decade after Turkmenistan's leader banned circuses as alien culture, the circus has reopened in Ashgabat with a show of clowns and elephants watched by the current president.

The Central Asian country's authoritarian and eccentric leader Saparmurat Niyazov, known as Turkmenbashi, closed the circus in 2001 after declaring it alien culture and contrary to the Turkmen mentality.

Niyazov, who died in 2006, also closed cinemas, village libraries and the country's opera and ballet theatre in a bid to erase outside influences from the national culture.

The first show was attended by Niyazov's successor, President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov who called for a review of Turkmenbashi's policies after his death and a revival of the banned cultural institutions.

 

29th April   

Update: Raiding Press Freedom...

Soldiers confiscate newspaper reporting on an earlier raid
Link Here

Yemen flagSoldiers stormed the building of '14 October', a national media company based in Aden in order to seize the latest issue of Al-Tariq , a daily newspaper it publishes.

What happens in Yemen is hallucinating, Reporters Without Borders said. Not a day goes by without a news media being attacked or a journalist being kidnapped, arrested or convicted.

The raid in Al-Ma'ala took place just as President Ali Abdallah Saleh was ordering the release of three executives of Al-Ayyam, a daily newspaper based in the city of Aden.

The soldiers who overran the 14 October building searched all the vehicles parked outside, including that of publisher and chairman Ahmed Al-Hubaish, in order to confiscate that day's issue of Al-Tariq, which had a story about a raid by soldiers on a police station the previous afternoon in the nearby town of Al-Tawahi.

According to Al-Tariq's report, the raid on the police station was probably an act of revenge for a dispute between a police and a soldier during an operation to remove illegally-built homes on a hillside outside Al-Tawahi.

 

28th April   

Sanitising the News...

Ofcom take offence at real shootings in African news
Link Here

Al Jazeera logoAl Jazeera
9 February 2010, 21:04

Al Jazeera is an international news channel, originating in the Middle-East but with different language versions being broadcast around the world.

Ofcom received a complaint about the English-language version of Al Jazeera broadcast on the Sky platform and licensed by Ofcom.

The complainant objected to footage being shown in a news report on the channel concerning recent events in Nigeria. According to the complainant, in a news item, a number of people appeared to be shown being forced to lie down and then being shot dead by Nigerian security forces. The report concerned the aftermath of hostilities between Nigerian police forces and members of a Muslim separatist group Boko Haram.

In introducing the report, the studio presenter said: Pictures have emerged which appear to show Nigerian police carrying out extrajudicial killings…We must warn you that the images in Mike Hannah's report are very disturbing. The footage included images of seven men, in three separate groups (one group of four, a group of two, and then an individual), being walked forward onto a road. All three sets of men were forced to lie face down on the ground. They were then shown being shot a number of times in the back of their bodies. In total, the sequences of the shootings lasted just under a minute. Several of the men who were shot were shown twitching after the first bullets entered their bodies. The second group (of two men) who were executed were shown being made to walk forward on their crutches prior to being shot.

Commentary over the footage provided translations of some of the things being said by the Nigerian security forces carrying out the killings, including: One of the officers called out: 'Shoot him in the chest, not the head. I want his hat' . This man is told: 'Sit properly, we want to take your picture' .

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by the context).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

We carefully reviewed the material complained of as described above. The images were certainly extremely disturbing and graphic, showing at length the summary execution of a number of men. The murders were cold-blooded and ruthless. It is important that the news is not sanitised and broadcasters are free to report the reality of war and other atrocities – in line with the broadcaster's and the audience right to freedom of expression.

Ofcom considered the context in which this material was transmitted. First, this item was clearly a matter of significant public interest. It was reported in a serious manner and was not sensationalised. The footage itself was documentary evidence demonstrating alleged human rights crimes and atrocities. It was transmitted on a news channel where an audience, likely to be predominantly adult and self-selecting, would expect material to be challenging. Further there was a warning given by the news presenter just before the report.

However, the material was transmitted just after the watershed, when viewers would not expect to see the most graphic material. The images showed the callous killing of a group of men from the very moment they were shepherded onto a public highway and told to lie down in order to be executed. The three sets of men were then shot a number of times in their backs. The cumulative effect of the detailed and relatively close-up images of the shootings, contained within the footage, was clearly extremely disturbing. In particular, we considered that there were a number of factors that heightened the likely level of offence in this case. These included: the length of the footage; the fact that it consisted of long, unedited shots; the actual act of execution and the immediate effects of the bullets entering the men's bodies were shown at relatively close range; the ruthless behaviour of the Nigerian security forces undertaking the shootings; and the fact that none of the victims was shown resisting his captors (and two of them were on crutches).

We considered that Al Jazeera was intending to broadcast journalism with a serious purpose that included footage of events with a strong public interest. There was no intention to cause offence unnecessarily. However, despite this serious editorial approach, we considered that the sheer length and graphic nature of the images (as described above) went beyond generally accepted standards and could not be sufficiently justified by the context. In particular, while we appreciate that the editorial narrative may have required a certain amount of documentary evidence and actuality, the manner it was presented went beyond generally accepted standards in this case. We note that there are a range of techniques that exist that broadcasters can employ, when necessary, which can ensure that an appropriate level of challenging material is broadcast to verify legitimate stories but also ensure compliance with the Code.

Breach of Rule 2.3

 

28th April   

Offsite: iPlonker...

iPhones apps banned from ridicule of public figures
Link Here

steve jobsShould newspaper editorial cartoonists be banned from drawing cartoons about some selected, famous people? Many believe we should not be allowed to draw the Prophet Muhammad – but how about banning us from drawing Tiger Woods? If Apple has its way, iPhone users won't see cartoonists commenting about Tiger, and other topics that might ridicule selected public figures.

I distribute my own cartoons, and the work of dozens of other top editorial cartoonists from around the world to newspapers, Web sites and now to Apple's iPhone and iPad. As the audience for news and opinion has grown on the iPhone, we've put more effort into developing editorial cartoon apps that show all the latest cartoons that the cartoonists draw on different topics. Apple approved our msnbc.com Obama Cartoons app that shows the latest newspaper editorial cartoons drawn about President Obama, but Apple rejected our app on the topic of Tiger Woods. It seems that Tiger crosses an editorial line at Apple.

When I submitted my first iPhone app, msnbc.com Cartoons , the editors at Apple took three months to consider it, an unusually long time. I'm told it was a difficult decision for them. At that time they also rejected an app called Bobble Rep by my friend, Mad Magazine cartoonist Tom Richmond, because it contained caricatures of members of congress; after some public outcry, Apple reconsidered and approved Tom's app. Another cartoonist friend, Mark Fiore, had his rejected iPhone app reconsidered and approved only after he won a Pulitzer Prize for his cartoons. Soon after it was approved, Mark's app became the number one best selling news app on the iPhone. I've asked Apple to reconsider their rejection of our Tiger Woods Cartoons app, and have gotten no response.

It is chilling to see Apple pick and choose which topics can be discussed in the mediums they control. By positioning itself to control the new methods of delivery for news and opinion, Apple assumes a special responsibility to allow for a full and free debate on all topics and personalities in the news.

I don't want Apple deciding which public figures I may ridicule.

...Read the full article (with cartoons)

 

27th April   

Deterioration of Brain Cells...

Genesis TV censured for religious nonsense about cancer cures
Link Here

genesis tv logoBible Medicine
Genesis TV, 4 January 2010, 19:30

Genesis TV is a UK-based Christian channel that features a range of programmes with a religious theme.

On 4 January 2010, it broadcast Bible Medicine, a programme produced and presented by an 'academic' named Dr. John Grinstein. In the programme Dr Grinstein presented his approach to the prevention and treatment of cancer, which was proposed as an alternative to invasive surgery or traditional medicine.

Ofcom received a complaint that this programme provided advice giving people false expectations about…health issues and in particular claim[ing] to cure cancer . Dr Grinstein named his approach GC100. GC100 is founded on the belief that cancer and other neurological conditions1 can be prevented and cured by tackling the problem of DNA2 deterioration, through the eating of specific fruits and vegetables that naturally prevent and inhibit DNA deterioration or repair existing DNA damage.

The programme contained numerous comments about the benefits of using the GC100 approach. Some of these suggested that the GC100 approach could not merely help prevent or delay cancer, but cure it. All these comments were juxtaposed with statements about the ineffectiveness and negative side-effects of traditional medical treatments for cancer.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.1 of the Code. This states: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.1

During the programme Ofcom noted that there were several statements that were potentially harmful in two respects.

Firstly, we noted that there were statements which seemed to suggest that the GC100 approach might be preferable to established medical treatments for cancer, such as chemotherapy. In addition, during the Presentation, Dr. Grinstein made some comments suggesting that the GC100 approach could cure cancer.

Secondly, we noted that there were statements that could be construed as referring to traditional medical cancer treatments in negative terms and as being uniformly ineffective, and could be construed as either directly or indirectly encouraging viewers to stop using traditional medical for serious medical conditions such as cancer.

Ofcom notes that official Government health advice advocates the consumption of fruit and vegetables to help prevent cancer.5 However, we considered that, overall, the programme made unsubstantiated and potentially dangerous medical claims regarding the efficacy of the GC100 approach in relation to other established anticancer treatments. In particular, the statements endorsing the use of the GC100 approach to the detriment of established forms of medical treatment, and the cumulative effect of the views espoused in both the Testimonial and Presentation, created a potential risk of viewers with treatable cancers from dispensing with orthodox medical treatment in favour of the GC100 approach. Ofcom considered that this resulted in inadequate protection being provided to viewers against this risk and so a failure to apply generally accepted standards. We considered that the advocacy of GC100 as an anti-carcinogenic strategy had a clear potential to cause some members of the audience – especially vulnerable ones – very serious (and possibly life-threatening) harm.

The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 2.1 of the Code.

Ofcom takes very seriously the issue of broadcasters providing content that dispenses potentially misleading advice on serious illnesses, and in particular cancer. This partly reflects the fact that legislation6 exists that makes it a criminal offence for anyone to publish an advertisement offering to treat any person with cancer or prescribe any remedy or to give any advice in connection with the treatment of cancer. Parliament has therefore made clear that any public advertisement or advice on how to treat cancer must be very carefully regulated in the public interest.

Although, on balance, we did not recommend this case for consideration of a statutory sanction, we put Genesis TV on notice that we may consider recommending any future similar breach for consideration of a statutory sanction.

Note:

Perhaps this one of the reasons why Genesis TV (associated with Revelation TV) have opted out of Ofcom's remit and are now licensed in Spain.

 

27th April   

Obscene Chat...

Police bring obscenity charges over online chat
Link Here  full story: Obscene Private Chat...Extending OPA to private internet chat

Kent PoliceKent Police have charged an individual with nine offences under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 (OPA) in a case that could potentially see online chat in the UK subjected to a much stricter regulation regime.

A Kent Police spokeswoman confirmed to The Register it had brought the charges against the individual, and that these charges relate to online chat.

The individual is also charged with two offences of making indecent images of children and four of possessing indecent images of children. They have been bailed pending their next court appearance at Dartford magistrates on 6 May.

The implications of this case, if it proceeds, could be legal dynamite. At present, under the Obscene Publications Act, a publication is obscene if its overall effect is to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely ... to read, see or hear it. For the purposes of the law, publication appears to involve distribution, circulation, selling or giving an article to a third party.

The idea that a conversation – albeit one embodied in text chat – can be considered to be published would be fairly radical.

...See full article

 

27th April   

Offsite Bebo Talk...

Teenagers using jargon to evade adult monitoring
Link Here

Bebo logoTeenagers on social networking site Bebo have created a secret language to stop adults knowing what they are up to, researchers say.

Youngsters are using slang words to keep parents and employers in the dark about their social activities such as partying and drinking.

Instead of writing they are drunk, teens post Getting MWI - or mad with it. Being in a relationship is known as taken or Ownageeee , and Ridneck , a corruption of redneck, means to feel embarrassed, [as in caught with a love bite].

Lisa Whittaker, a postgraduate student at the University of Stirling, who studied teens aged 16-18 in Scotland, said the slang had been created to keep their activities private, and cited the example of one young girl who was sacked after bosses found pictures of her drinking on the website. She said: Young people often distort the languages they use by making the pages difficult for those unfamiliar with the distortions and colloquialisms.

...read full article

 

27th April   

Offsite: Next!...

Chatroulette: The most disturbing internet craze yet?
Link Here  full story: Chatroulette...Website providing random webcam link ups

ChatRouletteLate on a weekday afternoon and I'm sitting at my computer. On the screen in front of me are two small boxes - little video streams - one above the other. My face is in the bottom box. The face and bare torso of a man is in the one on top. Let's call him Gerry.

Beside Gerry's face is a box into which we can type, so that we can chat to one another. So he types hello and then asks where I come from. I say hello back and tell him I am from London.

Our exchange has lasted barely seconds, but suddenly another message pops up. He's asking me if I will remove my top so he can see my breasts. Olivia Lichtenstein and Francesca

He is a complete stranger, and one of the many crude and deviant men I have encountered in the past 30 minutes.

I quickly click a button to have him removed from my screen.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the world of Chatroulette - an internet site that is turning into something of a phenomenon.

...read full article

 

26th April   

A Roundabout Sort of Censorship...

Freedom of speech seminar cancelled on fears of protest
Link Here

jonkoping university logoArtist Lars Vilks was invited by J๖nk๖ping University to speak about freedom of speech. But the seminar was canceled for security reasons: I've understood that Muslim students protested, says Lars Vilks.

The politically independent Foreign Policy Association at J๖nk๖ping University was forced to cancel a lecture with controversial artist Lars Vilks.

Due to the security risk, the International Business School, the Culture Center and Hotel Victoria, all refused to offer their premises.

Johan Nordberg of the non-profit association was asked if there been any threats? We haven't received any direct threats at all, neither did Vilks. But we've heard angry voices, but it's well in the lecture's nature that it will be so.

According to Nordberg they've had continuous contact with the police in J๖nk๖ping before the lecture Lars Vilks was suppose to give. The lecture was about freedom of speech.

Lars Vilks is constantly guarded by Sไpo (Swedish Security Service) and thinks that it's unfortunate that his seminar had been cancelled: Evidently somebody pressured the organizers and thinks that it will be xenophobic and racist. It's actually ironic that a seminar on freedom of speech should be censored.

 

26th April   

Embassy Advice...

US winds up Pakistan by suggesting that TV programme linking assassination of Benazir Bhutto to the US should be censored
Link Here

us embassy logoIn a statement issued in Pakistan, a US Embassy Spokesperson said the United States rejects the allegations made by Gen (Retd) Hamid Gul that the United States Government was involved in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto: The United States rejects and other false allegations regularly made by Lt Gen (Retd) Gul about its policies and activities. At the time of Ms Bhutto's murder, the US swiftly and publicly condemned the act and called for an independent investigation.

The Spokesperson advised Pakistani anchors to present a balanced story. The Spokesperson complained despite the fact that Gul gave no proof for his allegations against the United States, his statements were not challenged by any of the TV anchors who invited him to their programmes. TV stations and the anchors have the same obligations as other journalists and they should present the public with balanced views, question unsubstantiated allegations by guests and reject incitement, the spokesman added.

The Pakistanis have reacted harshly to the US advice to the media on how to behave and what to say. In a TV program several prominent personalities confirmed the statements of Benazir Bhutto supporting General Hamid Gul.

The US Embassy would do better to teach the American media ethics and norms rather than putting pressure on Pakistani media, said senior journalists. The pakistanledger.com commented:

The US Embassy is present in Pakistan to help diplomatic channels, not to tell Pakistani media channels what content they can or cannot show. The US Ambassador is not the Viceroy of Pakistan, and cannot dictate the terms to news anchors or try to put pressure on them. This is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and the norms of diplomacy.

The Pakistani government has less control over Pakistani news channels than the US government has over CNN. The days of official censorship are a relic of the historical past. Even President Musharraf could not control the media of Pakistan. There are 80 channels and hundreds of newspapers and thousands of magazines–the US cannot control every one of them, even though it is trying very hard by bribing GEO with VOA money, and supporting channels like Dunya and Express. Aaaj is the most popular channel and the US cannot seem to control the content of The Nation

 

26th April   

Corrected: A Mockery of Justice...

Campaigner sentenced for public order offences over religiously insulting cartoons
Link Here  full story: UK Religious Hatred Law...Law abuse by the authortites
Sermon on the mount

  Love your neighbour...
Not gays, obviously

Harry Taylor left home made posters at Liverpool John Lennon Airport three times in November and December 2008.

The self-styled philosopher was convicted in less than an hour by a unanimous jury.

Among the posters, one image showed a smiling crucified Christ next to an advert for a brand of no nails glue. In another, a cartoon depicted two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: Not for women or gays, obviously. Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise were told in another: Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins. One image showed a pig excreting sausages with insults to Islam, and others linked Muslims to attacks on airports.

Unemployed Taylor, on medication for depression, said it was preposterous to suggest people could be incited to violence by cartoons.

It emerged that Taylor was previously convicted of similar offences. The previous December he was arrested handing out offensive leaflets in Waterstone's book store in Deansgate, Manchester. Police discovered he had also visited a nearby Tesco and unplugged the Christmas music because he found it offensive.

Taylor had also visited two city centre churches, St Ann's Church and St Mary's, known as the Hidden Gem. Inside he left leaflets including a picture of a monk making a finger gesture with the caption Father Fucker .

Judge James told him: Not only have you shown no remorse for what you did but even now you continue to maintain that you have done nothing wrong and say that whenever you feel like it you intend to do the same thing again in the future.

He was sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years, ordered to perform 100 hours' of unpaid work and pay £250 costs. He was also given an Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning him from carrying religiously offensive material in a public place.

Update: Distressed by Catch All Law

26th April 2010. From Harvey on the Melon Farmers Forum

Are we sure that Mr Taylor was convicted of an offence under the Racial and Religious Hatred Act?

The reports suggest the offence was that of intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress, which would be under Part 1 of the Public Order Act 1986.

4A Intentional harassment, alarm or distress

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

It is not necessary for there to be a racial or religious aspect to the offence, but if it is racially or religiously aggravated, it becomes triable in Crown Court and the maximum sentence is increased from 6 months or a fine to up to 7 years.

The Blair government added the racially aggravated aspect in 1998 and extended that to include the religiously aggravated offence in 2001, but the Public Order Act was introduced by the Thatcher government.

 

26th April   

Slashed...

Old cuts to Sleepaway Camp
Link Here

Sleepaway Camp Christopher Collet Sleepaway Camp is a 1983 US slasher by Robert Hiltzik

The BBFC waived their previous cuts for a 15 rated but pre-cut 2004 Anchor Bay DVD titled Sleepaway Camp

From cuts details on IMDb :

The version re-released by Anchor Bay in 2000 is cut in the following places:

  • In the prank scene when Mozart's face hits the kid's naked buttocks, the slap sound effect is missing and then his "You guys are gross" line is out of sync with his lips.
  • A shot of the naked guys running down the dock is completely missing replaced by a weird over-dubbed cat howl.
  • The water-snake slithering out of Kenny's mouth is cut drastically to the point where you only see the final few frames of the shot after the snake has emerged.
  • After Mel accosts the guys for throwing water balloons at Angela and Ricky and Paul tend to her, a shot of the guy's reaction to Mel leaving is cut, where one calls him a "wrinkled old dick".
  • After Ricky sticks his finger up at Judy and walks off, a shot of Judy coming back with "Same to you" is gone.
  • Many frames of Meg's corpse on the bathroom floor are cut, and Mel's reaction is cut up too - "He did it" should be followed by "to get back at me".
Previously the BBFC cut 57s from the 1986 CBS/FOX video titled Nightmare Vacation

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • edits to repeated shots of Meg's stabbed corpse.

 

26th April   

Update: Bollywood Unbanned...

Bangladesh ends protectionist ban on Indian films
Link Here  full story: Bollywood Banned...India films banned in Pakistan and Bangladesh

Bangladesh flagBangladesh has lifted a four-decade ban on Indian films in a bid to boost attendance at cinemas, a government minister said, drawing loud complaints from local actors and directors.

Films produced by India's huge Bollywood entertainment industry have been banned from Bangladesh's cinemas since 1972, a year after the country's independence, to protect the local movie industry.

We lifted the ban to boost the cinema industry, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Faruk Khan told AFP.

Cinema hall owners, who have been clamouring to be allowed to show Indian films, said they expected to start showing Indian films shortly.

The number of cinema theatres has slid to 600 in 2010 from 1,600 in 2000 in the country with Bangladeshi films and soft-porn English-language films shown in movie houses failing to draw viewers.

Pirated DVD copies of Bollywood movies circulate widely in Bangladesh in the absence of them being shown in cinemas and the films are hugely popular.

The lifting of the ban comes amid warming relations between India and Bangladesh after ties worsened between the neighbours when an Islamist-allied government was in power in Dhaka from 2001 to 2006.

But not everyone supports the move. Indian films will completely destroy our film industry and our culture. At least 25,000 people will be jobless, said Masum Parvez Rubel, a leading star and a co-coordinator of a newly created front against Indian films.

 

25th April   

Updated: Sadistically Censorial...

Australia relents on DVD ban for Salo
Link Here

Salo DVD The thirty-four year Australian censorship history of Salo has taken another turn with it again being awarded an R18+ (Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity) rating.

The Director of the Classification Board, Donald McDonald has stated that the R18+ version was rated because of: the inclusion of 176 minutes of additional material which provided a context to the feature film, mitigating its impact.

The new Salo rating has a condition attached that: this film is classified R 18+ based on the fact that it contains additional material. Screening this film in a cinema without the additional material would constitute a breach of classification laws.

Previously Salo has been banned in Australia except for a slight respite between 1993-1998 when cinema showings were allowed by the Review Board after an appeal.

Update: Australian government appeal against the R18+ for Salo

17th April 2010.

brendan oconnorThe Australian federal government has asked censorship authorities to reconsider their approval of an Italian film - twice banned in Australia over its portrayal of sexual sadism - for release here on DVD.

The Classification Board approved the distribution of Salo o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (The 120 Days of Sodom) , overturning a 1998 decision to ban the film in Australia.

The board gave the film an R18+ rating and compelled it to carry a warning that it contained scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity .

But the Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O'Connor, has now asked the Classification Review Board to reassess the decision.

O'Connor asked for the decision to be reviewed because he believed a reassessment would be in the public interest : There are likely to be sections of the community who will have different views on the content of this film, so it is appropriate to have an independent review.

Diary: Review Board to consider Salo on 4-5th May 2010

25th April 2010. See media release pdf from oflc.gov.au

Australian Film Classification BoardThe Classification Review Board (the Review Board) has received an application to review the classification of the recently submitted, modified version of the film Salo o le 120 Giornate di Sodoma (Salo) .

This modified version of Salo was classified R18+ by the Classification Board on 14 April 2010.

The review is in response to an application received from the Minister for Home Affairs. Under the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, the Minister for Home Affairs may make an application for a review at any time.

The Review Board will meet on 4 and 5 May 2010 to consider the application.

If an individual or organisation wishes to apply for standing as an interested party to this review, please write to the Convenor of the Review Board. The closing date to lodge your application for standing as an interested party and any submissions is 29 April 2010. Please note that the Review Board can only consider submissions about the film Salo itself. Submissions should be emailed to crb@classification.gov.au

The Review Board is an independent merits review body. It makes a fresh classification decision upon receipt of an application for review. The Review Board decision takes the place of the original decision made by the Classification Board.

 

25th April   

Updated: 200 Hundred Threats...

Another episode of South Park winds up the easily offended
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

South Park Season 13 Blu ray Episode 200 of South Park has provoked the wrath of a radical Muslim group which took offence at the depiction of the prophet Mohammed.

In the episode entitled 200? , Tom Cruise and a host of celebrities previously insulted by the town of South Park threaten a class action suit against unless Mohammed is brought in. Cruise tells the boys that he has always wanted to meet the prophet, but he reveals the real reason for the demand to his co-complainants:

Mohammed has a power that makes him impervious to being made fun of. What if we could harness that power?

Now Revolutionmuslim.com, released a YouTube video featuring the words of a sermon by Anwar a-Awlaki played over images of the murdered Theo van Gogh, Salman Rushdie, Ayan Hirsi Ali, Lars Vilks, Kurt Westergaard, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them

Update: Spooked by Islamic Death Threats

23rd April 2010. Based on article from entertainment.timesonline.co.uk

comedy central logoAn American television network has blocked global internet broadcasts of an episode of South Park featuring the Prophet Muhammad after death threats from an Islamic group.

The 201st edition of the satirical animation was aired on Comedy Central last night but only after the channel had introduced a slew of audio and visual obfuscations in addition to the self-censorship applied by the programme's makers.

Trey Stone and Matt Parker, the cartoon's creators, were warned this week that they would be killed if they were seen to continue mocking the Prophet after an episode broadcast. It included a character representing Muhammad, who spoke from inside a giant bear suit to prevent the illustrators having to depict him — a blasphemous act according to some Muslims.

The latest episode also featured Muhammad, but not before it was sent to Comedy Central by Stone and Parker with a black silhouette marked CENSORED in place of the bear. Every mention of the Prophet was also bleeped out.

Despite the programme-makers' alterations, Comedy Central added more bleeps and have now stopped the original episode being played on the South Park website.

The dispute comes after a little-known American group calling itself Revolution Muslim posted a message on its website warning Stone and Parker that what they are doing is stupid and they will probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show .

Update: Lining up to take easy offence at South Park

25th April 2010. Based on article from thesundayleader.lk

Sri LankaSr Lanka's Sunday Leader has uncovered a 'shocking' new example of the West's contempt for Buddhist culture and values.

On two recent episodes of the popular American television show South Park , the Lord Buddha is depicted as a drug addict, graphically snorting several lines of cocaine.

When contacted by The Sunday Leader, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Moral Uplift Secretary H. M. Herath expressed his indignation over the show's contents. We are going to forward this to the responsible authorities, Herath vowed. We will take it to the Sangha and to the Buddhist Congress. This is defamation to every religion. It is a crime and hurts others' beliefs, which shouldn't be done by any person. We should respect other people's beliefs.

When asked what action the Ministry of Religious Affairs would take, Herath said that he would ban the show, and even the entire TV series from coming to Sri Lanka. However, Herath would not say whether he would attempt to prevent the sale of South Park DVDs, which are widely available in Colombo.

The Sunday Leader has learned that Lord Buddha is a recurring character on South Park. He is portrayed as member of the Super Best Friends, along with Jesus, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and other religious leaders. In the television show's 200th episode last week, the Super Friends defend the fictional town of South Park, Colorado against a class-action lawsuit by a group of Hollywood celebrities led by Tom Cruise.

The show depicts Jesus scolding the Buddha for his drug abuse. The Buddha takes a rolled-up dollar bill and snorts several white lines of cocaine off the table. Buddha, don't do coke in front of kids! Jesus tells him.

In the most recent episode, the Buddha is again seen snorting lines of cocaine. Jesus tells him that his drug addiction is becoming a problem. The Buddha responds by pointing out that Jesus is watching internet porn. Jesus then says Internet porn isn't the same as doing coke, fag!

 

25th April   

A Talent for Whingeing...

Vivienne Pattison not impressed by fire eater and her pasties
Link Here

tia brodie The topless fire-eater who impressed the two male judges last night on Britain's Got Talent has appeared in pornographic films.

Exotic dancer Tia Brodie advanced to the next round of the ITV talent show after singing the Kasabian song Fire while running a burning torch over her skin, wearing only high heels, knickers and two patches over her breasts.

The show's creator Simon Cowell said he loved it , while fellow judge Piers Morgan said he would like to see more of her act.

Ms Brodie, 33, who has worked in the sex industry for nine years, said she was not ashamed of her past.

But nutter campaigners last night criticised ITV, saying the sexualised performance was inappropriate for Saturday night family entertainment.

Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch UK, said: This show is watched by thousands of children. ITV push the boundaries and push them again. It's an erosion of standards that we have to resist.

An ITV spokeswoman said: Britain's Got Talent aims to reflect the diversity of talent in the UK. It offers equal opportunities to all performers who operate within the law.

 

24th April   

Update: Interfact vs Liverpool City Council...

Expensive VRA court case revisited in light of the 1984 VRA not being enacted
Link Here  full story: Video Recordings Act Erased...VRA was not properly enacted

Old BaileyBack in 2004 Liverpool Council Trading Substandards took action against UK companies for selling R18 DVDs via mail order.

Interfact, associated with the Private Shops chain, were handed a substantial fine.

Interfact contended that they were operating from a licensed sex shop and challenged the prosecution right up to the House of Lords where they ultimately lost their case.

Now given that the 1984 Video Recordings Act wasn't actually in force, due to government oversight, then it is hardly surprising that Interfact would like to see some of their money back.

Interfact will now revisit the case in the High Court, Queen's Bench Division on the 6th May 2010. They have made an application for an appeal out of time in the case of Interfact vs Liverpool City Council.

 

24th April   

Diary: What would you put in a Freedom Manifesto?...

Manifesto Club event
Link Here

freedom manifesto advert What would you put in a Freedom Manifesto?
The Slug and Lettuce, 5 Lisle Street, Leicester Square, London
Wednesday 28 April, 7.30pm

The Manifesto Club have invited activists from different points on the political spectrum to discuss the challenges for freedom today – and to suggest what they would put in their Freedom Manifesto.

The speakers on the night will be:

  • Alex Deane (Big Brother Watch)
  • Guy Herbert (No2ID)
  • Henry Porter (Observer columnist and civil liberties campaigner)
  • James Panton (Manifesto Club)
  • Rowenna Davis (features writer, The Guardian)

Free for Manifesto Club members; £5 non-members.

 

24th April   

City of Restricted Life...

Cinema and DVD censorship in UAE
Link Here

UAE flagHuddled around a camp fire in the dunes, a group of young Emirati men drink vodka from plastic cups. Later, in the VIP area of a club, they swig magnums of champagne, eyeing the Western girls in miniskirts dancing by their table.

This week, these scenes will be on big screens all over Dubai. They're from City of Life , the nation's first big-budget feature film, written and directed by Emirati Ali Mostafa.

Ten years ago, no way would I have been able to show that, Mostafa tells Time Out. I'm surprised I'm able to show it now.

Mostafa defends his depiction of decadent Emiratis by declaring: I did what I thought was real. He concedes the film could have delved even further, but reasons: I didn't need to make a film that was so unnecessarily controversial that no [Emirati] could ever make a film again. I'm just scratching the surface.

While some locals may take offence at these scenes, the fact that they've not been cut before the film hits multiplexes shows a marked change regarding the UAE's censorship of celluloid. Of course, there remain non-negotiables . A public cinema must not offend the nation's social and religious values, meaning any sexual or nude scenes are immediately cast to the cutting room floor. Also up for the chop is anything that could be offensive to religion (not just Islam) and anything that criticises the rulers of the UAE and surrounding Arab nations.

Mohammed Mutawa, a senior staff member in the censorship department at the National Media Council (NMC), sums up the difficulty of his job when he tells us that 90% of material – films, music, video games – is from outside our culture . Inevitably, elements of this imported material will conflict with the UAE's social values.

Still, the department rarely bans films, with sometimes humorous results. Morgan Freeman is entirely missing from the UAE version of Bruce Almighty because censors cut all depictions of God. Contrary to popular belief, Sex and the City was not banned here. But because all scenes of a sexual nature were cut, cinemas decided not to screen it – probably because there were only about 30 minutes of the film left to screen.

City of Life director Mostafa says he thinks the psychology of seeing it on the big screen has drawn objections to the more risqu้ parts of his film. True, there seem to be different rules for public and private viewing here.

Juma Alleem, director of the NMC's censorship department, confirms it is not illegal to possess an uncensored film on DVD in the UAE because it is a personal effect. There is no official intervention because it is for personal use. He also tells us that DVDs for sale in the UAE aren't as censored as in the cinema because he lacks the technology to cut them. Therefore, if there are only one or two sexual scenes, a DVD is released. If there are too many obscene scenes , it is banned. That's why Watchmen , for example, was near incomprehensible in the cinema, but it's possible to buy the DVD and see the film in its entirety – sex scenes and Dr Manhattan's perennially naked presence included.

 

24th April   

Voting for Repression...

Sudan blacks election monitoring website
Link Here

sudan vote monitor logo Access to the Sudan Vote Monitor website , a collaborative platform created by Sudanese civil society with the aim of facilitating independent monitoring and reporting of the current elections and their results, has been partially or totally blocked for the past six days.

The elections, which began on 11 April and which are the first multiparty general elections in Sudan since 1986, have been marked by allegations of irregularities.

We demand the immediate and total unblocking of this website, which is used by NGOs, journalists and ordinary citizens to report fraud and irregularities in these historic elections, Reporters Without Borders said: Respect for freedom of expression is an essential condition for the holding of free and fair elections.

The press freedom organisation added: At time when criticism is coming from all quarters, this act of censorship is reinforcing doubts about the transparency of these elections. It sets a dangerous precedent for other upcoming votes, such as the crucial referendum on self-determination for the south that is supposed to be held by next January.

 

23rd April   

Flag Browning...

French politicians get wound up by prize winning flag photo
Link Here

french toilet paperIts aim was to shock. And a prize-winning photograph of a man wiping his derriere with the French flag has certainly succeeded.

So outraged is the French government that ministers are demanding the artist behind it is punished - even if the law needs to be changed to do so.

Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said criminal proceedings should be launched against this unacceptable act . Presumably the law can punish such an intolerable act against the French flag? If the existing law is not strong enough, then it should be revised.

The photograph was taken on a public street in France by an unnamed artist and entered for a competition organised by the FNAC store in Nice.

It was praised by judges and won a special mention in the politically incorrect category. It was later published in a newspaper.

Eric Ciotti, an MP from the ruling UMP party, said: The image is utterly offensive and should be removed. I want the person who committed this outrage to be punished, and possibly those who published it too.

But Eric de Mongolfier, the Nice prosecutor, said the image did not constitute an offence because it was produced in a creative spirit .

Frederic Vezard, editor of the Metro newspaper which published the photograph, said: It is a question of knowing what the limits of art, provocation and freedom of speech are.

 

23rd April   

Update: Cartoon Wars...

Dutch Arab group acquitted of publishing revenge cartoon
Link Here  full story: Holocaust Denial in the Netherlands...Cartoon wars over Mohammed cartoons

holocaust cartoonA Dutch court has acquitted an Arab group of hate crime for publishing a cartoon on its website questioning the Holocaust.

The Dutch arm of the Arab European League said it had wanted to highlight what it said was double standards.

It published the cartoon last year after a decision by Dutch prosecutors not to put MP Geert Wilders on trial for distributing cartoons of Muhammad.

The court in Utrecht said the group itself was not denying the Holocaust. It said the league had published the cartoon with a text explaining its purpose: Freedom of speech need not come second in this case to the right of others to be free from discrimination . The right of the AEL to make such a statement must be guaranteed, given the specific context and intention of the case.

 

23rd April   

Waiting for a Leaked Explanation...

Facebook take down a popular Wikileaks fan page
Link Here

Wikileaks Wikileaks has tweeted claiming that their Facebook fan page was deleted by Facebook for violation of the Terms of Service.

According to Wikileaks, the page had been disabled because it promotes illegal acts .

A Facebook spokeswoman stonewalled and said the group, which had 30,000 members, could have been taken down for a number of reasons, most likely because it had received a complaint from a member about objectionable content.

 

23rd April   

Degrading to Whingers...

ASA rejects complaint about lap dancing poster
Link Here

fyeo poster advertA poster for the table dancing club, For Your Eyes Only (FYEO) featured an image of a woman wearing lingerie posing on her hands and knees on a chaise longue.

One complainant, who believed the image was sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and inappropriate for public display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted the complainant believed the ad was sexist and degrading to women. We also noted that the woman in the ad was semi-naked and that her pose might be seen as sexually suggestive. However, we considered that in the context of an ad for a table dancing club, the image was unlikely to be seen as unduly explicit or overly provocative.

Whilst we acknowledged that the ad would be distasteful to some, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and was not unsuitable to be seen by children.

 

22nd April   

Intoxicated by Nonsense...

Complaints about 'Why let drink decide?' advert campaign rejected
Link Here

why let drink decide video Two TV ads, for the Why Let Drink Decide? campaign, both ended with a voice-over that stated The sooner we talk to our kids about alcohol, the less chance that drink will start making decisions for them. Why let drink decide? . They showed children, who spoke about future experiences:

a. The children in the first ad stated In less than four years, I'll start going to parties; where I'll be drinking alcohol; there'll be stuff going on there that I've never seen before; my friends will put pressure on me; I'll be tempted to do things I know are wrong; I'll be offered things I should say 'no' to .

b. The children in the second ad stated In less than four years, I'll start going to parties where I'll be drinking alcohol; before I turn fifteen, I'll be drinking at a party when a boy will pressure me for sex; I'll be offered things I should say 'no' to; my friends will put pressure on me; I'll be drinking with friends and I'll be challenged to a fight that could leave me in hospital; a stranger will stop and offer me a lift home; I'll be at my first gig, where an older kid will offer me drugs .

Ad (b) was cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm timing restriction.

The ASA received 27 complaints:

1. most viewers challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were likely to cause serious or widespread offence, in particular because they showed children discussing adult topics;

2. some viewers, who thought the ads could cause harm or distress to children, challenged whether ad (a) was suitable to be shown when children might be watching; and

3. some viewers, who thought the ads could cause harm or distress to children, challenged whether ad (b) was suitable to be shown when children might be watching.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged some viewers were concerned by the ads because they showed children discussing adult topics. We noted however the ads were intended to encourage parents, who were the target audience, to consider the scenarios that could arise when their children were older as well as the importance of discussing those formative experiences in a family setting. We considered adult viewers were likely to understand the seriousness of the message the ads presented and to recognise the need to consider issues related to families, young people and irresponsible alcohol consumption. Although we acknowledged some viewers had found the ads uncomfortable to watch, we considered the content was unlikely to be seen as disproportionate to the seriousness of the message. We concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. & 3. Not upheld

We noted the complaints we received were from adults, many of them parents. We noted most of the complainants did not state that children had seen, or been distressed by, the ads. We also noted that the message of both ads was targeted at adults.

We noted ad (a) included one reference to alcohol but that it otherwise only alluded to the type of scenario it aimed to encourage parents to discuss responsibly with their children. We considered very young children who saw the ad were unlikely to understand the references it included and, because the children delivered the messages in a calm manner and the references they made were largely indirect, it was also unlikely to cause harm or distress to older children who saw it.

We noted ad (b) included direct references to alcohol, sex and drugs but that it was cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm timing restriction. We considered the restriction was sufficient to help prevent the ad being seen by young children, for whom those direct references might be unsuitable. We also considered older children who might be watching would understand the message in the ad and it was therefore unlikely to cause them harm or distress. Because the ad had a post-9 pm timing restriction, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children.

 

22nd April   

Update: Case against Author Crushed...

Depictions of animal cruelty retain constitutional free speech protection
Link Here

Dogs of Velvet and Steel bookIn an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that banned videos depicting animal cruelty. The justices ruled that the measure violated constitutional free-speech rights.

Congress had adopted the law in question in1999 as an attempt to prevent people from profiting from videos depicting animal killing and torture. The bill was primarily aimed at crush videos in which women in high-heeled shoes step on small animals as a type of sexual fetish, reports Reuters.

Opponents argued the bill was too broad and vague, making videos of such things as bullfights or hunting and even some documentaries illegal. They argued the bill was a form of government censorship.

The case presented to the high court involved Robert Stevens of Virginia, who made and sold three videos of pit bulls fighting each other and attacking hogs and wild boars. His 2005 conviction was the first under the 1999 law, Reuters reports. Stevens was received 37 months in prison, but had not served time as his case was on appeal.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, citing the law as too broad and therefore invalid under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment free-speech protections.

 

22nd April   

Rated A for Arbitrary...

Website filtering ISP uses BBFC classification symbols
Link Here

tibboh logoAn ISP offering web filtering that uses BBFC classification certificates has launched.

It is the first time that the BBFC has teamed up with an ISP.

Parents select the filter level they require - U, PG, 12, 15 or 18 - on behalf of their children.

Tibboh is a 3G mobile internet service. Users need a dongle to access Tibboh, and they can register various profiles for different family members. There is a monthly charge of £19.99 for the service, which has a 15 gigabyte data limit.

According to Tibboh's ratings social networks Facebook and Twitter and search engines Google and Bing are given a 12 rating. News websites including the BBC, the Telegraph and the Guardian along with computer giants Apple and Microsoft have a U certificate. Sky and Virginmedia however are rated PG, along with web browser Mozilla. Blogging hosts Blogger and Wordpress are given a 15 rating.

Those on the most restrictive filters (PG and below) will be unable to access sites that have not been classified, while those on the 18 level may find that access is banned after a particular site has been screened.

 

22nd April   

Well Experienced in Repression...

8 newspapers banned in Belarus
Link Here

Belarus flagThe Belarus Ministry of Information has banned the newspepr Silnye Novosti Gomelya .

An order was signed by minister Aleh Pralyaskouski. He claimed the decision was about work experience of the editor, and his qualification doesn't meet requirements of the guide Positions of periodic press staff .

Director of Pechatnoe Slovo Pyotr Kuznyatsou believes: Denial of registration of a paper is prohibition to profession of a journalist. One cannot get a five-year work experience as an editor if he or she is forbidden to head a newspaper.

According to the journalist association BAJ, at least eight newspapers have now been banned or denied registration.

 

21st April   

Brazil are World Champions...

Google to keep track of the numbers of censor requests received from governments worldwide
Link Here

google europe censor requests A rticle 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Written in 1948, the principle applies aptly to today's Internet -- one of the most important means of free expression in the world. Yet government censorship of the web is growing rapidly: from the outright blocking and filtering of sites, to court orders limiting access to information and legislation forcing companies to self-censor content.

So it's no surprise that Google, like other technology and telecommunications companies, regularly receives demands from government agencies to remove content from our services. Of course many of these requests are entirely legitimate, such as requests for the removal of child pornography. We also regularly receive requests from law enforcement agencies to hand over private user data. Again, the vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations. However, data about these activities historically has not been broadly available. We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship.

We are today launching a new Government Requests tool to give people information about the requests for user data or content removal we receive from government agencies around the world. For this launch, we are using data from July-December, 2009, and we plan to update the data in 6-month increments.

As part of our commitment to the Global Network Initiative, we have already agreed to principles and practices that govern privacy and free expression. In the spirit of these principles, we hope this tool will shine some light on the scale and scope of government requests for censorship and data around the globe. We also hope that this is just the first step toward increased transparency about these actions across the technology and communications industries.

 

21st April   

Cape Censorship...

South Africa looking to block all internet porn
Link Here

South Africa flagFollowing recent remarks by South Africa's Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba expressing interest in a law to ban porn from being transmitted on the internet, cell phones and television, Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx has warned the government against the idea, saying it is futile, will only cost the country a lot of money to enforce and could make the country a global pariah in terms of corporate investment.

It's not possible to ban internet porn unless government becomes a nanny state over what everyone does over the Internet, said Goldstuck. It would require enormous resources from internet providers and extensive resources from government.

Home Affairs Minister Gigaba said that he also wants South Africa to not only join the global fight against the spread of child pornography, but also to work to protect children in general from porn in the mass media.

We are still awaiting the report of the Law Reform Commission on our request for advice on the possibility to prohibit pornography in the mass media, public broadcasters as well as internet and mobile phones, he said in a speech in Parliament, adding, We are determined that we should have legislation ... to protect our children. Those who want to view pornography must do so in the privacy of well-regulated adult shops.

 

20th April   

PMs Bugged by Spies...

Discussion of censored sections from the official history of MI5
Link Here

Defence Realm Authorized History MI5 Claims that the prime minister's study in Downing Street and the cabinet room were bugged by MI5 between 1963 and 1977 were ordered to be removed from an official history of the security service.

Details of the surveillance devices, which covered the tenure of five prime ministers from Harold Macmillan to Jim Callaghan were due to be revealed in The Defence of the Realm , an official history of MI5, written by the Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew.

However, weeks before publication of the book last October references to the buggings were deleted on the orders of the Cabinet Office on unspecified public interest grounds, according to a newspaper.

The book would have revealed that electronic listening devices had been installed in the cabinet room, the waiting room, and the prime minister's study by M15 in July 1963 on the request of Macmillan, then prime minister. A month earlier his war minister, John Profumo, had been forced to resign after admitting to an affair with a prostitute, Christine Keeler, who was also having an affair with the Russian naval attach้ Eugene Ivanov.

Andrew has declined to discuss the claims, although in his preface to the book he describes having had to make a significant excision , which he believes should be investigated by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.

 

20th April   

Update: Saudi Libel Tourist...

Business man threatens to sue US journalists in UK courts
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Wall Street Journal 6 month subscription A Saudi businessman who is being sued over a suspected multibillion-dollar fraud is invoking English libel law in what experts say is the latest high-profile example of libel tourism .

Maan al-Sanea is being sued by banks in New York, Dubai, London and the Cayman Islands over claims he is responsible for more than $15bn of bad debt in banks in Bahrain. But reports of allegations in papers around the world, including the Wall Street Journal and the The National in Abu Dhabi, have resulted in threats of libel action by lawyers in London, the Guardian has learned.

Journalists covering the case, which could have damaging repercussions for Saudi Arabia's business reputation, have received letters from the law firm Harbottle & Lewis warning of a libel suit in the high court unless articles about Sanea are withdrawn.

 

19th April   

Competition: The Cry of the Owl...

3 copies to be given away to readers of Melon Farmers
Link Here

Cry Of The Owl DVD The Give Away:

Just email Dave at webmaster@melonfarmers.com by midday on  29th April 2010.

Mention The Cry of the Owl and I will enter you in a draw for the three region 2 DVDs available to Melon Farmers readers.

Only one entry per reader and you must be at least 15 years old to enter. 

The Movie:

The Cry of the Owl

From the writer of The Talented Mr Ripley

Running time: 95 minutes
DVD RRP: £15.99
Cert: 15

Robert (Paddy Considine) leaves the big city and his ex-wife for the tranquillity of a small town where he begins to secretly watch the normal domestic life of a woman he doesn't know through her kitchen window. But when Jenny (Julia Stiles) catches Robert in the act, she doesn't call the police. Instead she feels a strange empathy for Robert and invites him into her home.

The fateful act sees the pair spiralling into a passionate relationship which has dire consequences when her boyfriend Greg finds out. Immediately suspicious of Robert, Greg makes it his mission to destroy him. But when Greg goes missing, Robert discovers he is the number one suspect in a murder case that is slowly beginning to look like the ultimate trap.

Please note: There are no extra features on this disc

cry of the owl video See also YouTube trailer

The Result

Congratulations to Elvis, Martin and Tom

 

19th April   

Updated: Censors See Red...

Thailand bans and blocks red shirt TV and websites
Link Here

thaicom logoThailand's Government has taken decisive action to close down media supportive of the anti-government protesters, but an official spokesman has continued to insist that force would not be used to disperse the crowds now besieging the nation's capital in their thousands.

In a move that has been compared with Thailand's restrictive bans on reporting news concerning the royal family, the protesters' People satellite television and 36 internet networks were suddenly blocked.

The closure was precipitated by the state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday, Government minister Sathit Wongnongtoey told reporters, and it was part of the plan to return Thailand to normalcy .

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protesters, widely known as red-shirts, have been broadcasting on the People Channel from an intersection in Bangkok's prime retail shopping strip.

Camped out at the Ratchaprasong intersection since the weekend, the red-shirts have blocked traffic and effectively forced the closure of as many as six large shopping malls and hampered the trade of two five-star hotels.

Thailand's tourism and commercial operators want action to disperse the red-shirt protesters who have been demonstrating in Bangkok since early last month, but they are concerned that a show of force will deter tourists and visitors and damage the nation's already battered reputation.

So far, there has been little outright violence, although grenade attacks by unknown marauders have injured a few and rattled Bangkok's residents.

The red-shirts, representing the rural poor of Thailand's north and northeast, want Abhisit ousted and his Government dissolved. They say the ruling coalition won power illegitimately, has never won a mandate from the Thai people, and is in thrall to the nation's military and urban power elites.

Update: PTV re-banned soon after being unbanned by protesters storming satellite uplink station

10th April 2010. Based on article from bangkokpost.com

The government yanked the red shirts' TV station off the air again after earlier agreeing to the protest group's demands to reinstate the service.

The government was forced to reinstate broadcasts of the People Channel (PTV) after a clash between red shirts and troops at the Thaicom satellite ground station in Pathum Thani resulted in the red shirts taking control of the station.

However, by last night troops had regained control after many of the red shirts returned to their main base in Bangkok.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, acting government spokesman, said the government would keep PTV off the air.

The red shirts stormed the telecom company compound after authorities shut down their TV channel in line with the state of emergency declared by the government on Wednesday.

But after soldiers failed to hold them back, the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) negotiated with police to return the People Channel to the air.

Meanwhile, a source from the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said staff are seeking cooperation from all internet service providers, including TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, to block websites supporting the red shirt movement. He admitted it would be a tough task, as red shirt backers could always open new sites again.

Update: Thailand Jam PTV transponder

12th April 2010. Based on article from bangkokpost.com

MICT logoThe Information and Communication Technology Ministry warned that all websites linked with the red shirt demonstrations and the current mass rally would be blocked.

ICT permanent secretary Sue Lor-uthai said the warning came after the Centre for Public Administration in Emergency Situations authorised his ministry to tackle websites and Twitter users considered provocative and inciting disunity.

Sue said the authority given to the ministry would help efforts to ban websites quickly rather than wait for a court order. Sue said almost 10,000 website links had been blocked since March when the red shirt demonstration began. Bans on another 700 links were awaiting court approval, he said.

Meanwhile, Thaicom Plc, the country's sole satellite service provider, said the government's blocking of the red shirts' People Channel television station (PTV) had severely damaged its international reputation. The company said foreign customers using the same transponder as PTV were threatening to sue Thaicom for their losses.

Despite the fact that signal jamming violates our contract and causes severe damage to our reputation, we must follow the order, an executive said.

PTV station uses one of the 25 C-band transponders of the Thaicom 5 satellite, leased from a company in Israel, for its broadcasts. Customers with C-band satellite dishes were able to receive the red shirts' broadcasts. The executive said Thaicom could not directly shut down PTV because the station broadcasts via the Israeli firm's uplink facility. Thaicom could only block the signal being beamed from the Thaicom 5 satellite by jamming the C-band frequency.

The signal jamming not only caused PTV to be taken off the air but also interrupted five other channels on the same transponder. The satellite's transponder was also damaged, the source said. The Israeli firm eventually decided to shut down PTV to avoid other channels being affected.

Update: Thailand blocking 4-500 URLs every day mostly related to red shirt opposition

19th April 2010. Based on article from facthai.wordpress.com

MICT logoThe Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation has ordered the MICT to close 190 websites, of which over 60% are claimed to be politically seditious. Since the red shirt protests started, the MICT has ordered the blocking of about 500 URLs per day on average.

On 16 April, a source at the CRES said that the CRES had ordered the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology to close 190 seditious websites, most of which broadcast the red shirts' protests.

According to the source, officials are keeping a close watch, especially over camfrogs broadcasting the protests. It takes less than 10 minutes to block an URL. However, there have been some hurdles with small ISPs, because during Songkran they did not have staff to do 24 hour a day monitoring.

About 7-8 URLs of the YouTube website have been ordered closed.

The MICT has received complaints to close about 400-500 URLs a day, of which 60% were politically seditious,.

The source confirmed PM's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey previous statement that the MICT could order the closure of websites directly, because it was authorized under the State of Emergency.

 

19th April   

Update: Unjammed...

BBC World Service restored to Sri Lanka
Link Here

BBC Workd Service logoBBC World Service is to reinstate its FM programming on the Sri Lankan national broadcaster SLBC from Thursday 15 April. This will be the first BBC programming on the SLBC FM network for 14 months.

The BBC suspended its programmes in the English, Sinhala and Tamil languages on 10 February 2009, following deliberate interference in its broadcasts.

Director of BBC Global News, Peter Horrocks, said: We have been reassured by SLBC that our contractual agreement will be respected, which guarantees that our programmes in English, Sinhala, and Tamil are broadcast uninterrupted.

We are pleased that we can now offer listeners to the SLBC FM network the BBC programmes they used to enjoy. Our audiences understand that in order to cover news events in the most comprehensive and balanced way, the BBC adheres to specific editorial values that include impartiality, editorial independence and seeking a relevant range of views on any topic.

 

18th April   

Oxymorons...

Family First have a whinge at New Zealand TV
Link Here

Family First logoFamily First New Zealand claims that 2/3'rds of New Zealanders are concerned about the level of 'foul' language, violence and sexual content during family viewing times and it is time that the Broadcasting Standards and Advertising Standards Authorities were made to reflect nutter concerns about what they are allowing.

In a poll of 1,000 New Zealanders, respondents were asked, Television broadcasters are obliged to protect children from sexual content, violent material, and language that exceeds current norms of good taste and decency. Are you concerned about the type of language used, or the level of violence and sex shown on TV before 8.30 pm when children are likely to be watching? , 65% said they are concerned, 29% said they aren't, and 6% didn't know or refused to answer.

Ironically, this comes just after a report by the BSA trying to argue that people are becoming less offended by foul language in the media, says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

The BSA and ASA argue that their standards are reflecting community standards. However, it is quite clear that as they allow broadcasters and advertisers to push the boundaries, the standards are lowered by default, offensive material becomes more mainstream, and are then used far more in the media. But now we know that NZ'ers are hugely concerned by this trend.

A Family First investigation of 15 programmes on four free-to-air channels between 6pm and 8.30pm in 2008 found a saturation of foul language, sexual innuendo, and promotion of Adult Only programmes.

Words featured during supposed family viewing times included bitch, fuck, ass, piss, bastard, bloody, and included expressions such as holy fuck , sex with your mother , shove bottle up his ass , and ass bitch . Among the worst offenders was Two And A Half Men which screens on TV2 at 7.30pm. Offensive language included son of a bitcg , damn hell , ass , and constant sexual talk including references to licking , stiffy , orgasms , and masturbation .

Also of huge concern was the number of programmes which are rated for Adult viewing only screening well after the watershed time of 8.30, yet were promoted between 6pm and 8.30pm.

The term 'broadcasting standards' and 'advertising standards' are complete oxymorons. Parents do not want their children bombarded with foul language, violence, and sexual content - yet broadcasters are pushing the boundaries with little to no retribution, says McCoskrie: The BSA and the ASA are the last places to look for a moral conscience and standards appropriate for families.

 

18th April   

Update: The News of the World Recommends...

Killer Bitch
Link Here  full story: Killer Bitch...Recommended by the tabloid press

killer bitch Alex Reid DOES act out rape in his horrific new film - despite him and his wife Jordan protesting he doesn't.

In the horrific movie Killer Bitch , Reid's character sickeningly forces the girlfriend of a man he has killed to have full sex twice in a wood.

As the first newspaper to have seen the straight-to-DVD shocker, we can reveal there are SIX other explicit sex scenes, including one of a stomach-churning group rape and another featuring a topless dwarf. But Alex, 34, and his spouse have always denied the film glorifies rape - with Jordan causing a furore last September when she told of her own rape ordeal.

News of the World movie critic Robbie Collin says: This is the shoddiest excuse for a film I've seen in my life. It's Alex's first acting job for eight years. Well, when I say acting . He's having a crack. Both he and co-star Yvette Rowland have strenuously denied the film is porn. You're telling me. The production values on Milfs Like It Big were much higher.

 

18th April   

It's not Easy to be a Priest you Know...

Mexican bishop blames internet porn for priestly depravity
Link Here

Mexico flagA prominent Roman Catholic bishop in Mexico blamed eroticism on television and Internet pornography for child abuse by priests, in the latest nonsense comments on sex scandals in the church.

With so much invasion of eroticism, sometimes it's not easy to stay celibate or to respect children, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said during an annual meeting of Mexican bishops.

If on television and on the Internet and in so many media outlets there is pornography, it is very difficult to stay pure and chaste, said Arizmend: Obviously when there is generalized sexual freedom it's more likely there could be cases of pedophilia .

The bishop was in charge of the formation of priests for two decades in Mexico but said that loose morals in society had made it difficult to keep seminarians committed to the faith.

 

18th April   

Update: Potentially Harmful eMails...

Ohio law governing communications directed to minors found to be constitutional
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Ohio state sealA federal appeals court has ruled that a 2002 Ohio law that attempts to shield minors from obscene material on the Internet is constitutional as interpreted by the state Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on reversed a lower court ruling and found that O.R.C. ง 2907.31 does not violate free speech and other rights.

The law, titled Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles, was later amended, and the state Supreme Court interpreted it to apply to personally directed communications and not public websites and chat rooms.

Ohio has an interest in preventing minors from potentially harmful materials and, as the statute applies only to personally directed communication between an adult and a person that the adult knows or should know is a minor, the statute is the least restrictive means of promoting this interest, the 6th Circuit panel ruled.

First Amendment attorney Michael A. Bamberger — who represents American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression — argued that the law, meant to shield children from online pornography and predators, violates free speech and is vague.

 

18th April   

Update: Red Apple...

Apple banned Pulitzer Prize winning cartoons
Link Here

mark fiore logoA California political cartoonist was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize this week jogging the memory that Apple's App Store barred his work last December.

Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Mark Fiore submitted his cartoon app NewsToons to the App Store, only to have it rejected. Fiore's sin was a supposed violation of the censorial Apple rule:

Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.

Perhaps the outcry over Fiore's banning will lead to a turnabout by Apple - after all, winning a Pulitzer Prize is no small achievement, and one that should earn Apple a fresh round of derision.

 

17th April   

Freedom to Block...

Ireland considers internet censorship
Link Here

IrelandThe Irish government has had extensive private discussions on introducing internet blocking – barring access to websites or domains – according to material obtained under a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

The approach is already used by some ISPs and mobile network operators to block access to child pornography. But increasingly, governments and law enforcement agencies are pushing for much broader use, ranging from blocking filesharing sites to trying to tackle cybercrime and terrorism.

The exact nature of the Government discussions cannot be determined as many of the requests for key documents were refused by the Department of Justice. However, the ongoing high level of discussion on the subject is indicated in the detailed description of each refused item in the list of materials returned by the department.

The FOI request, made by privacy advocate Digital Rights Ireland and seen by The Irish Times, contains eight pages of listed documents. One refused item details a June 2009 meeting between the department and Vodafone on the introduction of internet filtering in Ireland . Another is an e-mail from mobile operator 3 listing filter technologies it is using. Another refused item details minutes of a meeting between the Office for Internet Safety and the Garda re proposed introduction of blocking technology . Discussions on the international use of blocking and on proposed European legislation were also refused.

Possible interest in the wider use of such technologies is indicated by a refused document in which an e-mail and note on blocking child pornography sites was forwarded to the official in the Department of Justice in charge of casino gaming regulation.

 

17th April   

24 Rumours...

France 24 fined for reporting rumours of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy affair
Link Here

Negatif Benjamin Biolay A Paris court has fined the France 24 news channel for reporting rumours that first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was having an affair with a French pop singer.

Judges ordered the publicly-funded television channel to pay 3,000 euros to the singer in question, Benjamin Biolay, after ruling that the coverage violated his privacy.

Biolay had sought 20,000 euros in damages over a 10 March broadcast that referred to speculation about his possible involvement with Bruni-Sarkozy.

The judge downsized his compensation, but rejected France 24's defence that its report was in the public interest.

In the programme in question, France 24 journalist Stanislas de Saint Hippolyte discussed international coverage of rumours surrounding the presidential couple, Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni, as part of a review of the day's press. In particular he mentioned reports in the Daily Mail, Telegraph and The Sun newspapers of Britain, and the Swiss Tribune de Gen?e, which printed pictures of Bruni and Biolay and referred to online rumours about a romantic involvement.

France 24's lawyers argued that the exceptional volume of foreign coverage made it legitimate to include the story in its press review, and that not to do so would have constituted self-censorship .

 

17th April   

Update: Foreign Correspondent Under Fire...

Thailand complains about Australian programme
Link Here

foreign correspondent logoThailand has protested to the Australian government over the airing of a documentary critical of the Thai royal family and warned that the broadcast could affect ties between the nations.

A senior representative from the Thai embassy met with officials from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs o express his concern at the programme, Foreign Correspondent , aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The concern is that it might affect the good relations between Thailand and Australia, especially the people to people relations, Saksee Phromyothi, minister-counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy, told AFP: We consider this an issue matter of national security... because the royal family, the monarchy, in our constitution is above politics.

Thailand's ambassador designate Kriangsak Kittichaisaree has also written to ABC managing director Mark Scott to complain about the programme which could breach Thailand's lese-majeste laws which prohibit criticism of the royals: I regret that an organisation of the ABC's stature has lowered its own standard by airing the said documentary which is presented in a manner no different from tabloid journalism .

A spokesman for Australia's Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that Thai embassy officials had complained about the ABC programme but said: The Australian government does not and cannot control content run by Australian media organisation .

 

17th April   

China Needs More Censors...

China establishes social networking censor
Link Here

China flagChina has quietly formed a new censor expected to police social networking sites and other user-driven forums on the Internet, which are proving harder for the government to monitor and control than ordinary news portals.

The new censor, officially called the Internet news coordination bureau, is part of this effort to monitor the communications of Chinese Web users.

Chinese officials consider tools like social networking, microblogging and video-sharing sites a major vulnerability. In the past year, they have blocked access in China of overseas video and networking giants like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and suspend several upstart Chinese look-alikes, over information they deem subversive.

Both the new and pre-existing censors are under the auspices of the State Council Information Office, which acts as a leading daily enforcer over news-related content on the Web.

Public acknowledgment of the addition came last week, after The New York Times submitted a question about the overhaul. The next day, the Information Office altered a page on its Web site to reflect the new Internet censor. It also unveiled another new censor, devoted to regulating foreign news and information outlets that conduct business in China.

 

17th April   

Recommended Books...

Top 5 most whinged about books in US libraries
Link Here

Bff Girlfriend Book Write Together Once again sex is the biggest bugbear for US readers, according to the American Library Association, which tracks public complaints made to individual libraries and releases an annual list of the most challenged titles.

In 2009 the list was headed by a series of instant message novels for young adults by Lauren Myracle, which take the form of text messages passed among a group of teenaged girls. Complaints about sexually explicit language, nudity and references to drugs made it the most challenged title of the year.

Last year the office documented 460 such challenges resulting in 81 instances where books were removed or restricted. But documented cases reported to the ALA represent only a part of the total number of efforts to censor books.

Even the implication of a homosexual relationship between two penguins in a zoo was enough to keep a pre-reader's picture book, And Tango Makes Three , near the top of the list in second place.

The third most-campaigned-against book, a young-adult novel called The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, also made the list because of sexual content. But it retains the honour of having the longest list of different reasons people find for opposing it.  Angela Maycock of the ALA said: There's lots of stuff going on in there, from sexual content to a homosexual character to language and drugs and even a consideration of suicide.

No 4 was Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird , a perennial favourite of censors

No 5 was Stephenie Meyer's best-selling Twilight series, which is making its first appearance on the list due to a heady combination of sexual excitement and the supernatural.

 

17th April   

Barbaric Filipinos...

Bishop claims that UFC on TV has turned Philippines people into barbaric animals
Link Here

UFC Best 2008 Brock Lesnar A Philippines Catholic bishop wants to knock the mixed martial arts sport, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), off the airwaves, saying it is destructive and un-Christian.

Bishop Leonardo Medroso of Tagbilaran, Bohol, said UFC is proving to be a negative influence on the youth: The people [are] becoming barbaric over this. It's makes us like animals, Medroso said over the Church-run Radio Veritas.

The bishop called on the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board to consider his call to ban UFC from television, saying it promotes violence. Christianity promotes civilization and the acts being shown in the UFC program certainly do not conform with it, Medroso said.

Medroso said he was baffled why many people enjoy the sight of two men pummelling each other until they are bruised and bloodied: The unfortunate thing about this UFC is the way people cheer when a player is bloodied and unconscious on the floor. It's as if a person is a plaything, that it would not matter if he is hurt or died, he said.

 

17th April   

Manifestly Pirate...

Pirate Party publish their manifesto
Link Here

Pirate Party logoThe new political party The Pirate Party UK has launched its 2010 General Election manifesto.

The Pirate Party UK's manifesto encompasses three main areas: copyright and patent law, privacy law and freedom of speech.

  • Copyright and patent law : The party advocates a fair and balanced copyright law. They feel copyright should balance the artists' right to make money from their work with fair use rights for the public.
     
  • Privacy : The party believes individual privacy should be upheld at all times. This includes a right to private communication, no compulsory ID cards, stronger data protection laws, and acceptable use of CCTV. This is balanced by a call for increased government transparency and for the right of privacy for MPs to be secondary to the public right to hold them to account.
     
  • Freedom of speech : The party feels the Internet is instrumental to freedom of speech. As such, they pledge they will not allow government censorship of the internet except for extreme reasons, such as military secrets or child pornography. They also support whistleblowers and the right of citizens to take photos in public without persecution under anti-terror laws.

In other political matters, Pirate Party candidates are encouraged to listen to their constituents' views and come to their own decisions. The Party is fielding ten candidates in total across the UK.

 

16th April   

Update: Signing up for an R18+ for Games...

Retailer signs up 72,000 to its petition
Link Here

game logoA pro R18+ petition sponsored by retailer GAME has gathered the signatures of over 72,000 Australians.

The company plans to present some of it findings to a Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting on May 7 reports GameSpot, though it's unclear if the issue of R18+ will even be on the agenda of that gathering. GAME also plans to present the petition to Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendon O'Connor.

The petition, also sponsored by Everyone Plays, achieved the large number of supporters in only six weeks, and is on track to become the largest petition in Australian history, surpassing a 2005 petition for Work Choices that received 85,189 signatures.

A similar petition sponsored by EB Games and Grow Up Australia totaled over 46,000 signatures.

 

16th April   

Updated: BCA Drops Simon Singh Libel Claim...

Can back massage cure a pain in the wallet?
Link Here  full story: Simon Singh vs Chiropractors...Chiropractors take science sceptic to libel court

bca logoThe BCA have served a Notice of Discontinuance bringing to an end its ill-fated libel claim against Dr Simon Singh arising out of criticisms he made of its promotion of treatments for childhood ailments.

Dr Singh's predicament as the sole defendant in an action brought in respect of a comment piece in the Guardian newspaper, became a rallying point for those concerned about the abuse of UK libel laws in connection with scientific debate.

Comment: Delighted

16th April 2010. From www.libelreform.org

A delighted Simon said:

It still staggers me that the British Chiropractic Association and half the chiropractors in the UK were making unsubstantiated claims. It still baffles me that the BCA then dared to sue me for libel and put me through two years of hell before I was vindicated. And it still makes me angry that our libel laws not only tolerate but also encourage such ludicrous libel suits. My victory does not mean that our libel laws are okay, because I won despite the libel laws. We still have the most notoriously anti-free speech libel laws in the free world.

And other news, the Libel Reform Campaign petition has just hit the 50,000 signature mark!

 

16th April   

Diary: Free Speech Hustings...

Free speech, libel reform, counter-terrorism, privacy and religious hatred.
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Libel Reform Campaign logo Free Speech Hustings
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London
21 April at 6.30pm

To book email: bookings@freewordonline.com or call 020 7324 2570.

If you can't make it to the London date, we are planning on organising satellite events in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Westminster and other towns. See www.libelreform.org for more details soon.

The hustings will also be streamed live on the internet. See tinyurl.com/y6lrx5

In celebration of Simon Singh's libell victory, the Libel Reform Campaign is hosting the official Free Speech Hustings of the General Election 2010 and you're invited.

We have a number of free tickets reserved especially for our supporters so you can see Jack Straw from Labour, Dominic Grieve from the Conservatives, and Chris Huhne from the Liberal Democrats go head to head over libel law reform and protecting our freedom of speech.

The Free Speech Hustings will bring together scientists, writers, human rights activists, journalists, bloggers and most importantly… voters – we want you to put the difficult questions to the candidates about free speech and libel reform, counter-terrorism, privacy and religious hatred.

Representing LABOUR… Jack Straw

Jack Straw has been a Cabinet Member since Labour came to power in 1997. As Justice Secretary he set up the working-party that reported on reform of our libel laws and committed his party to a manifesto commitment. But could Jack have done more to protect free speech?

Representing the CONSERVATIVES… Dominic Grieve

Dominic Grieve is the Conservatives spokesperson for Justice. He committed the Conservative party to a manifesto commitment to reform our libel laws. But with the Conservatives promising yet another consultation on libel reform will Grieve deliver the change we want?

And for the LIBERAL DEMOCRATS… Chris Huhne

Chris Huhne fought Nick Clegg for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2007 and is now their Home Affairs spokesperson. His party was the first to commit to reforming English libel laws at their party conference in 2009. The Liberal Democrats made the first commitment, but why did they vote against Jack Straw's proposals in the Commons to cap lawyers' fees?

 

16th April   

Offsite: The Guardian Asks...

Are there too many 'fucks' in the Guardian?
Link Here

The GuardianThe people we write about seem to be swearing more and more. Our rivals opt for asterisks, but we tell you what they said. Are we right?

The statistics tell their own story: the word fuck (and its variants) has appeared 705 times in the past year, with a further 269 mentions in the Observer. The figures for other national newspapers are as follows: Independent 279, Independent on Sunday 74, Times 3, Sunday Times 2, all other papers 0.

The figures for the C-word, still regarded by many people as taboo, are: Guardian 49, Observer 20, Independent 8, Independent on Sunday 5, everyone else 0.

Two questions: how do we justify using, as a Steve Bell cartoon memorably put it in the week the word appeared on the cover of G2, more fucks than you can shake a fucking stick at ? And do many people object?

...Read full article

 

16th April   

Update: Opera Turbo...

Internet browser is popular in Kazakhstan due to workaround for blocked websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Kazakhstan...New internet censorship law

opera logoA browser that bypasses internet censors has become the most popular way to access the Internet in Kazakhstan, a Central Asian state where sites critical of the government are often blocked.

The Norwegian developed Opera browser made by Opera Software has increased its market share sharply in the ex-Soviet state since it began to allow downloads of compressed web pages via a server outside the country, a feature designed to speed browsing.

The Opera browser is now the most popular in the country with a market share of 32%, beating out rival products from Google, Microsoft and Apple, according to statistics for March from Web analytics firm StatCounter.

The new version of Opera introduced last year, Opera 10, allows users to view otherwise inaccessible Web pages using its Opera Turbo feature designed to speed up browsing over slow connections.

Kazakhstan introduced a law last year allowing local courts to block access to Web sites whose content has been deemed illegal, a step that human rights groups say amounts to censorship.

Some of the most popular blogging websites such as Livejournal.com and Google-run Blogger.com are now inaccessible to most of Kazakhstan's 3.2 million Internet users.

 

16th April   

Update: The Mean Face of Facebook...

Social networking website takes issue with breastfeeding
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

kate hansen gallery What was supposed to be images celebrating pregnancy and motherhood created by a Courtenay artist are now considered hateful, threatening or obscene by one of largest social networking sites in the world.

Mother and artist Kate Hansen recently created a series of portraits called The Madonna Child Project — images which feature different mothers and babies cuddling their babies while breastfeeding and bottle feeding.

Hansen posted some of the images in a figurative art group on Facebook and discovered the portraits were being deleted around late March.

Hansen noted she initially posted images in groups of three, and all images got deleted. She inquired with the Facebook group administrator, who assured her she had no reason to delete the images. Hansen continued to repost the images, and soon after, found they were being continually deleted from the site.

Last week, she received an e-mail from The Facebook Team noting: you posted an item that violated our terms of use, and this item has been removed. Among other things, content that is hateful, threatening or obscene is not allowed, nor is content that attacks an individual or group. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled.

During a recent interview with CBC Radio, which contacted a Facebook representative, Hansen said the social networking site representative noted they supposedly do not delete breastfeeding images.

She said the entire incident has made her question the overall topic of breastfeeding in society, and the public perception of the act. At least it's gotten people talking about it, noted Hansen: I will continue to post images and risk my account being deleted; the risk is worth it, she added.

 

16th April   

Serious Threat...

Thailand warns about internet postings about the protests
Link Here

nnt logoThe Thailand has issued  rather severe warning about internet postings about the red shirt protests:

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has now been strictly curbing all defamatory internet contents that likely pose serious threat to national security with an aim of preventing further division in the society.

Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication Technology Sue Loruthai said that the Ministry had been instructed to take a close watch and curb all allegedly defamatory internet contents which possibly instigate the hatred of the people and might cause further conflict in society.

Meanwhile, the internet users have been warned to use the internet in the right way or with appropriate purpose and avoid disseminating information that could create misunderstanding or instigate violent actions among the public. Also, all popular websites and social networks such as facebook, twitter, hi5 and my space will be under thorough watch.

Violators will be prosecuted by law with no compromise.

 

16th April   

Article 29...

Opposing a new repressive media censorship law for Uganda
Link Here

Uganda flagA proposed media law is a monster, says Dr George Lugalambi, chair of a coalition fighting to preserve press freedom in Uganda.

Publishers and journalists would have to apply annually for a licence, which could be revoked at will in the interests of national security, stability and unity, or if coverage was deemed to be economic sabotage.

Professor Fredrick Jjuuko, a media law expert says such provisions violate the constitution: The constitution provides for a freedom of expression and media and the presumption is that means for everybody. The new bill is making this freedom exclusive for those with university degrees which is unfair.

Lugalambi, who is also head of the Department of Mass Communication at Makerere University, says the Ugandan media is already burdened with repressive laws such as the one that makes it a crime to publish unfavourable information about government activities and public officials. Lugalambi's coalition - known as Article 29 after the section of Uganda's constitution that guarantees freedom of expression - calls on the government to support self-regulatory initiatives.

But Princess Kabakumba Labwoni Matsiko, Uganda's minister for information, insists she will go ahead with the proposed bill: Freedoms go with responsibilities. Do you want a media that does not follow any rules? What we are proposing is to create a responsible media and Ugandans will have chance to contribute when it's finally tabled in parliament. They write (about) everything. They draw cartoons of the president and sometimes pornography, like in the Red Pepper tabloid .

 

16th April   

Update: Premature Sexualisation...

A new nutter syndrome of getting wound up by trivia such as a padded bikini for kids
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

childrens society logoPrimark, the clothing chain, ordered padded bikini bras for 7yo+ girls to be removed from sale after criticism that they supposedly sexualised children.

The company apologised for any offence caused by the £4 item and said profits from any bikinis already sold would be donated to a children's charity.

The Children's Society whinged at Primark for premature sexualisation and inappropriate advertising , while Shy Keenan, a child protection consultant called for a boycott of Primark until the bikini top was withdrawn.

David Cameron also intervened in the row and condemned sale of the item, which came in candy pink with gold stars or black with white polka dots, as completely disgraceful.

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, the parents' online forum which recently launched a Let Girls Be Girls campaign, to lobby retailers against sales of such adult items to children, was also pleased that Primark had removed the bra top from sale. It's a shame it was ever put on the shelves in the first place, she said.

Gordon Brown gave his backing to the Mumsnet campaign and said: All of us parents can recognise there's something wrong when companies are pushing our kids into acting like little grown-ups when they should be enjoying being children.

 

15th April   

Burning Issues...

Whinges about loan harassment storyline in Coronation Street dismissed
Link Here

Coronation Street 1960s Disc Box Ofcom has cleared ITV soap Coronation Street following viewer complaints over an arson storyline.

In an episode which aired on February 19, fans saw menacing loan shark Rick Neelan set fire to a newspaper and push it through Tina McIntyre's letterbox. He did so as part of a harassment campaign he launched against the McIntyres and Platts over an outstanding debt.

Following the broadcast, 31 complained that the serial had incited and encouraged crime with its depiction of Rick's actions.

However, the media watchdog this week ruled that the instalment was not likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder .

 

15th April   

Thumbs Down...

ASA whinges at Left 4 Dead 2 public video advert
Link Here

Electronic Arts Left Dead DVD An ad, for the console game Left 4 Dead 2 , appeared as a video on two large screens in a London train station.

It included animated action sequences that showed zombies and humans as well as explosions. Some of the characters pointed guns, another was shown starting a chainsaw and another held an axe; an image of a thumbless hand was also shown. Text on screen stated YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS … vs 10 MILLION ZOMBIES … THEY'RE GONNA NEED MORE ZOMBIES .

A complainant challenged whether the ad:

  1. was likely to cause distress and offence, and
  2. was inappropriate for display where it could be seen by children.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ad was animated and appeared without sound. Although it included weapons and some violence, we noted the action was clearly not realistic and considered an adult audience was likely to understand it reflected the content of a fictional action game. We acknowledged that some consumers might object to the content of the ad but concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress.

2. Upheld

We noted the ad included images of explosions and that some of the characters pointed guns, or held chainsaws or an axe; it also included images of zombies and of a thumbless hand. We noted it was also animated and stated YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS ... , which we considered meant it was also likely to engage the attention of children. For those reasons, and because it showed some violence and scenes involving weapons or shooting, we considered it was unsuitable for children and irresponsible to place the ad in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was unsuitable for display where it could be seen by children.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Responsible advertising) and must not appear again in its current form.

 

15th April   

Catherine Itzin...

Feminist dies leaving lasting legacy to Miserable Britain
Link Here

Pornography Women Violence Civil Liberties Professor Catherine Itzin, who has died of duodenal cancer aged 65, was a feminist academic responsible for more than 30 British government policy documents on the supposed effects of domestic and sexual violence on women's mental health.

Itzin worked for the Department of Health (DH) from 1992 until 2008 and was a key player in developing its role in implementing policies on sexual violence, abuse and exploitation.

Itzin was very much an activist, and, in 1987, founded the Campaign Against Pornography and Censorship (CPC). The Campaign Against Pornography (CAP) had been founded by the Labour MP Clare Short in 1986 and was best known for its campaign against pictures of topless models in British tabloids. CPC adhered more closely to the civil rights anti-pornography approach favoured by US-based feminists and, although it folded in 1992, it had an impact.

Itzin contributed to the report on the supposed harm caused by extreme pornographic material (The Evidence of Harm to Adults Relating to Exposure to Extreme Pornographic Material: A Rapid Evidence Assessment, a joint publication of the Ministry of Justice and DH, 2007).

 

15th April   

Unbroken...

Cinema cuts restored for the DVD release of Daybreakers
Link Here

Daybreakers DVD Paul Sonkkila Daybreakers is a 2009 Australia/US horror by Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig

The cuts for the 15 rated version have now been restored for the 2010 18 rated Lions Gate DVD/Blu-ray

The BBFC further explained their 18 rating:

Daybreakers is a science-fiction horror film about a future world that is populated almost entirely by vampires and where the humans are either harvested for their blood or live in secret underground resistance movements. A cut version of the film was previously classified 15 for cinema release but this version of the film is uncut and has therefore been passed 18 for scenes of strong, gory and bloody violence.

The film contains several scenes where vampires are killed in extremely gory fashion, with copious bloodshed and including images of severed limbs and decapitations. The Guidelines at 15 state that violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain and injury and that the strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable . The scenes at the film's climax in particular show both vampires and humans being torn apart, with large quantities of blood and sight of flesh being ripped and torn.

Daybreakers also includes some strong language and a brief scene of female nudity.

 

15th April   

Burning the Midnight Oil...

South Korea asks online games to restrict children's playing time
Link Here

south korea culture ministry logoThe South Korean government is introducing policies aimed at curbing the amount of time children spend playing online games.

The first involves barring online gaming access to young people of school age between midnight and 8am.

The other policy suggests slowing down people's internet connections after they have been logged on to certain games for a certain period of time.

The Culture Ministry is calling on games providers to implement the plans. It is asking the companies to monitor the national identity numbers of their players, which includes the age of the individual. Parents can also choose to be notified if their identity number is used online.

The Korea Herald reports that Barameui Nara , Maple Story and Mabinogi , three popular virtual worlds, will introduce the blackout later this year. Meanwhile role playing games Dungeon and Fighter and Dragon Nest will pilot the connection slowing scheme.

 

15th April   

Offsite: Bloggers under Duress...

Formerly Jailed Moroccan Blogger Bashir Hazzam Tells His Story
Link Here

bashir hazzamOn December 2, 2009, the peace was interrupted in a southern Morocco town by the clamors of local students protesting their difficult situation and lack of decent infrastructure.

The peaceful march was violently confronted by the authorities who proceeded to arrest a number of students. Later that day, an ad hoc committee was created to support the arrested protesters. It issued a statement calling for the immediate release of the students and condemned what it described as harsh and barbaric treatment by the authorities.

Bashir Hazzam, a blogger from the region published the statement along with links to a video taken at the scene.

A couple of days later, Bashir, and Abdullah Boukfou, the owner of the Internet caf้ frequented by the blogger, were arrested and accused of publishing false information harmful to the image of the country on human rights.

...Read the full article

 

14th April   

A Nasty Re-release...

New UK release for Cannibal Apocalypse
Link Here

Cannibal Apocalypse DVD cover Cannibal Apocalypse is a 1980 Italian/Spanish film by Anthony M Dawson

There is a new UK DVD release scheduled for 7th June 2010 from Optimum Releasing

The BBFC cut 2s from the 2005 Cinema Club DVD and 2010 Optimum DVD: A compulsory cut was required to remove sight of animal cruelty (in this case, a rat being set on fire with a flamethrower)

The film was an early casualty of the video nasty press panic and was added to the DPP list of banned videos in July 1983. It remained on the list until the end of the scare so became one of the collectible DPP 39s

Review from UK Amazon : Horror and action

Interesting and disgusting mix of horror and action from the director of Castle of Blood Antonio Margheriti. What makes it work is that there is some nasty gore scenes like the infamous shotgun wound scene and eating chunks out of human flesh, a cool if cheesy funk soundtrack with a war theme that almost sounds like the theme to "G.I. Joe", a grisly twist in the end and the film is also a metaphore on how the horrors of vietnam can affect a soldier and this is one of Quentin Taratino's personal faves.

 

14th April   

Very Moderate Protection from Libel...

Any attempt to moderate an online forum loses immunity from libel actions
Link Here

Old BaileyA blog owner can avoid liability for user-generated content that appears on his site without being checked or moderated, the High Court has ruled. But fixing the spelling or grammar in users' posts could lose him that protection, it said.

The Court ruled that the operator of blogging site Labourhome.org could not have a libel case struck out because previous comments had been moderated.

The E-commerce Directive exempts information society service providers, such as ISPs, web hosts and search engines, from liability for the information they store or pass on to users as long as they are not involved in its creation or editing and as long as they remove it quickly once notified that it breaks the law.

Alex Hilton claimed in his defence against a libel charge that, though he ran the site, he did not edit or vet the articles and should qualify for the same safe harbour that was granted to search engines or ISPs. The ruling

There is no reason in principle why the operation of a chat room should be incapable of falling within the definition of the provision of an information society service consisting of the storage of information, said Mr Justice Stadlen in his ruling.

However the judge found that Hilton exercised some editorial control on parts of the website and in particular on the homepage . From time to time Mr Hilton considered whether entries appearing on the 'Recommended' and 'Recent Blogs' lists on the homepage were suitable for increasing to a more prominent position, said Mr Justice Stadlen. Upon promotion far more detail was provided about each post on the homepage including the date, the time of the post and a preview of part of the post comprising anything from a couple of lines to several paragraphs, pictures and video clips.

These activities, said Mr Justice Stadlen, went beyond mere storage so that Regulation 19 immunity would not be available in respect of liability for defamatory words appearing on the homepage . Mr Justice Stadlen said that even to fix the spelling in a post could cost the host the protection of Regulation 19.

Struan Robertson, a technology lawyer with Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that the ruling serves as a reminder of the risks in moderating user-generated content.

Many sites apply some form of moderation to all user contributions for reasons of quality control, whether that's before or after publication. This ruling just shows how dangerous that is and how narrow the safe harbour may be . Even an attempt to filter for profanities or comment spam, if done manually, involves a risk for the publisher. If you want to be sure that you're not liable for what your users say, the judge is basically saying you need to ignore user contributions completely until you get a complaint.

 

14th April   

Should Have Seen it Coming...

Rage in the Machine wouldn't fucking do as they were told on Radio 5 Live Breakfast
Link Here

Battle Angeles Rage Against Machine 5 Live Breakfast live performance by Rage Against the Machine
BBC Radio 5 Live
17 December 2009, 09:00

Radio 5 Lives Breakfast programme is broadcast on weekdays between 06:00 and 10:00 and features news, sport, weather and money reports. This edition of the programme included a live interview with the United States alternative rock band Rage Against the Machine.

At approximately 09:00, the band were interviewed in a live link with the United States. The band were on the programme to discuss a Facebook campaign to make their song Killing In The Name , Christmas number one in the UK.

After the interview the band performed the song live. During the performance the bands singer, Zack de la Rocha, repeated the phrase Fuck you, I wont do what you tell me four times before the song was faded out by the shows producers.

While the song was being faded out presenter Shelagh Fogarty was heard saying: Get rid of it. Sorry, we needed to get rid of that because that suddenly turned into something we were not, well we were expecting it and asked them not to do it, but they did it anyway so buy Joe's record.

Ofcom received a complaint from a listener who considered this language was offensive and unsuitable for the time of transmission.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 (material that may cause offence must be justified by the context).

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Ofcom acknowledges that there was editorial justification for having the band on the programme, given the well publicised story concerning the Facebook campaign to get their song Killing In The Name to Christmas number one. Ofcom also acknowledges that the producers took measures before the live performance to prevent strong language from being broadcast. Further, Ofcom notes that during the interview with the band and the first section of the song performance, the band had refrained from using strong language and this therefore gave comfort to the producers that they would comply with the BBCs requests not to do so. Ofcom also took into account that the apologies made during the programme would have gone some way in mitigating any offence caused of the language used.

Ofcom considered, however, that the language was likely to have gone beyond the expectations of the audience for a programme of this type and at this time. It was concerned that the programmes producers were well aware in advance that the original lyrics contained very strong language. In addition, the very nature of the song was about refusing to conform to society's expectations, as suggested through the lyrics Fuck you, I wont do what you tell me. Yet despite this, the bands singer was able to repeat the lyrics Fuck you, I wont do what you tell me four times before the song was faded out by the producer. This last point is of particular concern in view of the fact that the producers had full control over the output since it was provided over a live feed from the United States.

However, given the measures taken by and assurances given to the broadcaster before the broadcast, the conduct of the band during the interview and start of the song performance, and the apologies issued, we consider that on balance this particular case should be resolved.

 

14th April   

Update: PG-13 Rated Advertising...

FTC calls for more self censorship of adverts of interest to kids
Link Here  full story: FTC Advert Censor...FTC considers ads for age restricted movies

FTC logoThe US Federal Trade Commission has not called for more regulation of the broadcast and cable industries to protect kids in the digital age, but it pointed to what it saw as some self-regulation issues with TV ads for music and movies.

The FTC said : a study due out next year will help it determine whether media companies took its recommendations about expanding self-regulations to cover all forms of ads and promotions and the extent to which they had limited their use of character licensing to healthier foods and beverages.

While the FTC said it favored self-regulation in violent content, it pointed to its 2009 violence report and its ongoing concern that marketers can do much more to restrict the promotion of mature-rated or -labeled products to children. It pointed to the marketing of music and movies, saying that a lack of limits on ads for explicit content has resulted in ads on television shows that disproportionately attract young teenagers. It also points out that movie studios directly and pervasively market PG-13 movies to children under 13 on television, in print, and on the Internet, even though the rating is supposed to represent a strong caution to parents that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

The FTC said in its comments that it would continue to monitor this area. It also said that mobile applications are changing the way children access entertainment and that, at least in the near term, the industry needs to help parents deal with that flood by providing information and effective parental controls.

 

14th April   

Update: Blackberry Squashed...

Bahrain bans Blackberry groups for inline news dissemination
Link Here

BlackBerry 9000 Sim Free Mobile Phone Bahrain recently banned the use of BlackBerry chat groups citing supposed concerns over the chaos and confusion that would result from sharing and distributing local news through these groups, according to Abdullah Yateem, the Culture and Information Ministry assistant undersecretary for press and publication.

With this move Bahrain set a precedent in taking legal action against the users of BlackBerry chat groups.

An immediate result of the ministry's action was the suspension of daily news provided by Breaking News , started by Muhannad Sulaiman, a Bahraini journalist, to more than 13,000 BlackBerry subscribers.

The chat groups feature is widely used in Bahrain to deliver a variety of updates ranging from news headlines to political statements. The subscribers to these groups affected by the ban are in the thousands.

BlackBerry chat groups are now required to acquire licensing from the Ministry of Culture and Information before they are allowed to resume operation.

 

14th April   

Offsite: Flying Pigs Squad...

London cops focus on extreme porn and human trafficking
Link Here

1984 film poster: Anti Sex League A new command within the Metropolitan Police service will have responsibility for policing extreme porn and indecent images of children as well as prostitution and human trafficking.

The creation of the unit is either a vital step forward in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation, or a serious waste of police resources, motivated by political correctness, depending on your point of view.

On 1 April, a new command was launched: SCD9, Human Exploitation and Organised Crime – bringing together expertise in the fields of clubs and vice, human trafficking and immigration crime.

...read full article

 

13th April   

Jump...

Radio DJ censured over light hearted approach to suicide incident
Link Here

steve nkSteve Penk at Breakfast
The Revolution 96.2 FM
14 January 2010, 06:00

The Revolution 96.2 FM (The Revolution) is a contemporary-music radio station broadcasting to the Oldham area of Greater Manchester. Steve Penk broadcasts an early morning show every weekday on this station.

During the first hour of this edition of Steve Penk at Breakfast, it was reported that traffic on the local M60 motorway had been heavily disrupted due to police attending an incident. The presenter asked the production team to find out what had caused the disruption. It was then reported that the incident was caused by a woman threatening to jump from a motorway bridge.

Steve Penk (P) made light of the incident with the news editor (N)

At 07:33 the following exchange was broadcast:

P : Why don't they just suddenly inflate a giant bouncy castle below this woman?

N: Er they could do maybe. I think they're trying to talk to her.

P: Get a load of mattresses

N: Yeah I think they're trying to get her away from the side rather than tell her to go for it

P: Right how inconsiderate though.

N: I knew you were going to say that. [LAUGHTER]

P: Why do it in the middle of the rush hour? If you're going to do it, do it at midnight, when it doesn't inconvenience so many other people trying to get to work.

N: Well apparently she's been there since half three, so

P: Well...[INAUDIBLE] midnight then.

N: Well, I don't know, ask her?

P: Am I not being sympathetic enough?

N: Not really.

P: Well Im only saying what everybody else is thinking.

Later on in the programme at 08:02 Steve Penk mentioned on air that the broadcaster had received two requests from people stuck on the motorway: for the song Jumping Jumping by Destinys Child; and for Jump by Van Halen.

At 08:28, Steve Penk played the song Jump which contains the chorus:

Ah, I might as well jump. Jump! Might as well jump. Go ahead jump. Jump! Go ahead, jump!

Ofcom received 57 complaints that, given the circumstances, the broadcast was offensive and insensitive. Complainants variously considered the playing of the song Jump : showed complete lack of sensitivity to a horrific personal tragedy; was insensitive to those who had been affected by suicide; stigmatised people who have mental health problems; and that the broadcaster empathised with the motorists inconvenienced by the M60 Incident, whilst not empathising with the woman who was threatening to jump on to the M60 on the morning in question.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 (offensive content must be justified by the context)

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

Ofcom recognises that many radio stations broadcast DJ-led early morning programmes presented by popular presenters with a loyal listenership. In most circumstances, The Revolutions audience would have a good understanding of the irreverent content included in Steve Penk at Breakfast.

Throughout this programme there were repeated references to the M60 Incident. Ofcom recognises that the main reason for this repetition was the need to inform the audience about the traffic jam on the motorway. In some cases however as set out above - the potential suicide attempt was discussed in a light-hearted manner even though it was an on-going and live incident at the time. While some listeners may have been frustrated to be caught in traffic (and contacted the station) most would have been aware that, in real time as the programme was being aired, there was a woman considering suicide. Under such circumstances, and given this context, Ofcom does not consider that the broadcaster applied generally accepted standards by, during the 07:33 Exchange, making references to a giant bouncy castle, mattresses and a giant trampoline.

Ofcom noted that the News Editor countered to some extent the offence that could have been caused by Steve Penks comments. However her comments were not, in our view, enough to lessen sufficiently the potential for offence being caused, especially as the News Editor appeared to laugh at times at some of the comments made by Steve Penk during the 07:33 Exchange.

At the time of these remarks, listeners would not have been aware of whether the woman was about to or had jumped, and if so, whether she had died. We noted during the 07:33 Exchange Steve Penk made repeated references, which he intended to be humorous, to the M60 Incident. We considered the cumulative effect of these repeated references would have increased the potential for offence in this case.

Complainants objected to Steve Penk playing the track Jump . There is no absolute prohibition on a broadcaster playing any particular song, as long as in doing so, the broadcaster complies with the Code. Ofcom recognised that the playing of this track had the potential to be tasteless and insensitive. This is in light of the serious nature of the M60 Incident, and the fact that Steve Penk had announced on air at 08:02 that he had received a request for this particular song. We noted that Steve Penk played the track nearly half an hour after announcing the song request, and he made no explicit reference to the M60 Incident, either before or after the track was played. However, given the fact that listeners over the course of the programme had been aware of Steve Penks continuing comedic references to the M60 Incident, including his reading out the song request for the song Jump , we considered that the words Steve Penk used to introduce the song ( Just get on with it!) may well have been construed by listeners as a direct link to the song request at 08:02 to play the song Jump. We considered, therefore, that this would have compounded the potential offence that would already have been likely to have been caused by the 07:33 Exchange, and the song request for Jump .

Ofcom considered that the manner in which the potential suicide attempt was discussed on air on balance breached generally accepted standards and has therefore recorded a breach of the Code. Breach of Rule 2.3

Footnotes:

According to later news reports, the woman in question did subsequently jump onto the M60 but survived, sustaining minor injuries.

 

13th April   

Update: Manifestly Reformist...

All 3 major parties commit to libel reform
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Libel Reform Campaign logo All 3 major political parties in the UK are committed to libel law reform.

Dominic Grieve, the Shadow Justice Minister, told us on Friday that the Conservative party is committed, if elected, to undertaking a fundamental review of the libel laws with a view to enacting legislation to reform them. This reform could best be done by means of a separate Libel Bill and this is the preferred approach for us.

The Lib Dems made libel law reform a policy in September 2009 after Professor Richard Dawkins addressed their party conference and Jack Straw committed Labour to reforming English libel law at our mass-lobby of Parliament on 23rd March.

The Labour manifesto, released today, pledges To encourage freedom of speech and access to information, we will bring forward new legislation on libel to protect the right of defendants to speak freely.

 

13th April   

Update: Playing a Cautious Game...

John Rau and upcoming discussions about R18+ for games in Australia
Link Here

john rauAfter John Rau took over the job in South Australia following Atkinson's resignation earlier this year, political party Gamers4Croydon was popping champagne corks, claiming Rau supported the adults-only classification.

The Australian Christian Lobby hit back in a report in The Advertiser, claiming SA Labor had given it a written promise to oppose the changes.

However, Rau said through a spokeswoman that the response to the Christian lobby was given before the election and before Rau took over. He had yet to come to a final decision on the matter.

The response to the Australian Christian Lobby was a clarification of the Government's position, he said: I have no preconceptions about this issue and intend to listen to the arguments. I can neither support nor wisely argue against a position if I am not aware of all the facts.

A spokeswoman from the Federal Attorney-General's Department confirmed the matter of an R18+ classification for computer games was on the agenda for discussion at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting on May 7.

But the spokeswoman noted that the censorship ministers may decide not to vote on the changes at the May meeting, instead electing to defer the decision to a later meeting to allow them to properly analyse all public submissions to the recent consultation.

 

13th April   

Debbie Does Florida Agricultural and Mechanical...

College gets touchy about porn video
Link Here

famu logoA porn video was promoted as having been filmed at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with students acting in explicit sex scenes.

But Florida A&M University was not amused when the name of its teams — the Rattlers — the FAMU logo and the school colors appeared in a RK Netmedia video featuring what appeared to be eight students having an orgy.

RK Netmedia operates daredorm.com, which promises the hottest real college girls having wild sex parties in their dorm rooms.

FAMU officials investigated and contacted RK Netmedia which admitted that the video titled BigRattler77 was not filmed at FAMU. Plus, FAMU students did not act in the film.

So FAMU sued. As a result of the litigation, RK Netmedia agreed to pay $120,000 in scholarships and attorney fees to FAMU over the course of the next year as part of the settlement.

The apology says: RK Netmedia greatly respects the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and is pleased to fully fund two scholarships for two deserving Florida residents.

 

12th April   

Class Based Censorship...

India proposes new film ratings
Link Here

no riff raffThe Indian film certification system that divides movies into U , UA and A categories is soon going to witness a sea change, with three new categories to address age and, in certain cases, even the profession of the viewers.

The new film certification system is a crucial part of the draft Cinematograph Bill, 2010, which will be introduced in Parliament for ratification after seeking views from stakeholders, including the public. The new Act will replace the Cinematograph Act of 1952.

While the new system will retain the U (for universal viewing) and A (for viewing by adult or 18+ viewers), the UA system, which was given to films viewable by children if accompanied by adults, will be replaced by more age-specific 12+ and 15+ certification categories. The two new age-specific categories are aimed at giving certification to films on the basis of sensibilities towards language, violence, nudity and subject in various age groups.

The Bill also proposes a completely new S category for films that will be allowed to have restricted exhibition for members of particular profession or class, depending on their nature, content and theme. However, the Bill does not explain what will be these professions or classes of people and what kind of films could fall under this certification category.

The Bill says that children below the age of three years, accompanying their parents or guardians, would be allowed to view all categories of films. This exception has been allowed ostensibly because of the reason that children so young cannot grasp those aspects of cinema because of which the age-specific certification exists.

Punitive measures Violations of various provisions of film certification by producers and exhibitors would attract fines that could range between imprisonment of not less than one year or large fines.

The draft Bill also aims at ensuring that one-third of the members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), as well as the advisory boards, will be women.

 

12th April   

Collateral Murder...

Wikileaks publishes video of helicopter killing Reuters cameramen in Baghdad
Link Here

collateral murder video Wikileak's published a helicpter video revealing the shocking spree of killings by the US military force in Iraq 2007, leaving twelve dead including two Reuter's journalists.

One account of this horrifying attack that showed people running for their life in the streets was highlighted in the video , internet guru Clay Shirky cited, Wikileaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30. The latest and perhaps the most famous (or infamous) is the graphic video Wikileaks unveiled this week of a US Army attack in Iraq in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of Reuters.

IThis initiative was taken by WikiLeaks to reflect their commitment to their work, unhindered by the fact of extreme criticism from the opposition: We never censor.

More to Come

Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

Wikileaks, the whistle-blower website, is now reportedly preparing to release another secret video of a notorious US air strike said to have killed scores of Afghan civilians.

The video apparently shows previously classified footage from US warplanes called in to bomb Taliban fighters during a fire fight in Farah province last year.

The Afghan government said at the time that the strikes by F-18 and B1 planes near Granai killed 147 civilians. An independent Afghan inquiry later put the toll at 86.

Video footage of the strike could prove highly damaging to the Nato-led coalition if it showed pilots failing to safeguard civilian lives. The jets repeatedly dropped 500lb and 2,000lb bombs to support US and Afghan forces at they battled Taliban fighters and tried to evacuate wounded soldiers.

The inability to discern the presence of civilians and avoid and/or minimise accompanying collateral damage resulted in the unintended consequence of civilian casualties, the US inquiry found.

Employees of Wikileaks have said they are facing intimidation and attempts by intelligence services to shut them down after releasing a series of sensitive documents.

 

12th April   

Update: Tunes of Repression...

Mogadishu radio stations told to stop broadcasting music
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Somalia...Somalia adopts sharia law

Somalia flagThe Somali insurgent group, Hisbul Islam has imposed oppressive edicts on the radio stations in Mogadishu, especially those based in the areas under their control. Music has again been banned.

The edicts instruct stations not to air music and songs and not to name the foreign fighters as foreigners, but rather to refer to them as Muhaajiriin .

This is the first time the media stations in Mogadishu are facing such public censorship. Six of the eight radio stations under the Hisbul Islam and Al-Shabaab-held neighbourhoods of Mogadishu will be directly affected by these oppressive edicts.

Similar edicts have been imposed on media stations in the southern Somalia regions held by the radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) from Mogadishu strongly protested the increased censorship.

 

11th April   

Crafty Carper...

Whinging at advert for angler's bait
Link Here

sticky baits logoAn ad in Crafty Carper magazine, for Sticky Baits, showed a woman's bare legs from the thigh down. She wore black stilettos and had a pair of black knickers around her ankles. A stack of Sticky Baits Aviator Pop Ups stood alongside. Text stated How long do yours stay up? … . Issue

The complainant believed the ad was offensive, because it was sexist and derogatory to women. CAP Code

ASA Assessment: Not Upheld

The ASA understood that the ad's sexual innuendo might be seen as inappropriate for those readers who felt the image bore no resemblance to the product advertised. We considered however that, while it was likely to be deemed as tasteless and crass by some, the image was not explicit and likely to be understood, in the context of a magazine aimed specifically at anglers, as a reference to the products capabilities.

We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause widespread offence or serious offence to readers of Crafty Carper magazine.

 

11th April   

Updated: Fuddy Duddy Dudley...

Dudley Council censor play over its theme of discrimination
Link Here

Moonfleece Modern Plays Philip Ridley Dudley council worried that a performance of a new play that challenges white extremist thinking could jeopardise morale in their town, where the BNP has 10% of the vote.

The council became so worried, in fact, that it cancelled the play. Moonfleece by Philip Ridley, should have appeared at a theatre within its Dormston Sports & Arts Centre last Thursday.

Instead, the director of the centre wrote to the producer of Moonfleece , Will Young, saying: It has been brought to the theatre's attention that the play you are intending to show includes characters and themes of a political and potentially discriminatory nature. In view of this, the theatre/centre's governors and senior staff have taken the decision that the play and the theatre/centre's association with the play are unsuitable.

Dudley council appears unwilling to elaborate on these objections to the touring play which, though its story is too complex to rehearse here, has appeared without incident in Doncaster, Bradford and Leicester.

Will Young says his company, which is now bringing the play to London, chose venues where its issues of race and homophobia were likely to resonate with audiences. At least in Dudley, where the English Defence League was free to march, he has been taken seriously.

The council's belief that Moonfleece was too dangerous to be seen is so completely nonsensical that it seems, at first, overdramatic to relate this misguided ban to a wider, increasingly sinister willingness to suppress anything that might cause trouble. Yet it is hard to believe Dudley's worthies would have gone so readily for censorship had it not been for a climate in which new legislation on hate speech, supported by a host of amateur censors and protesters, constantly reminds everyone that free expression is tempered by a sacred duty not to offend other people.

That there appear to have been no local complaints in anticipation of Moonfleece , which transgressed no hate speech laws, only makes the Dudley case more abject.

...Read the full article

From promotional material for Moonfleece on amazon.co.uk

Moonfleece is an intense and thrilling exploration of memory and identity, with themes of contemporary resonance: racism, homophobia, and how those in authority distort both the truth and the past.

This play is Philip Ridley's most direct representation yet of his hopes and fears for disadvantaged, diverse communities across the UK, as two groups of teenagers are forced to judge for themselves the prejudices and preconceptions of their parents.

This is a vital, relevant and compelling story for the whole country and especially young people from all backgrounds in the UK.

Offsite: Why the ban of Moonfleece matters

11th April 2010. See article from guardian.co.uk by David Edgar

Why did the Dormston Arts and Sports Centre, Dudley, cancel a booking it had made for a performance of Philip Ridley's play Moonfleece in its 350-seat theatre, and why does it matter?

The first question is answered inadequately by one person and alarmingly by another. The headteacher of the school of which the centre is a part, Stephanie Sherwood, said: Some of the issues raised within the play may not have been suitable for a community school setting. The manager of the centre, Neil Eveson, told the play's producer: The play and the theatre/centre's association with the play are unsuitable , on the grounds that the play includes characters and themes of a political and potentially discriminatory nature .

Unpicking the evasive local gov-speak, Eveson's statement gets more disturbing the closer you read it. The protagonist of the play is Curtis, a teenage supporter of a far-right party, whose leader (and Curtis's stepfather) effectively banished the teenager's elder brother from the country on the grounds that having a gay stepson might threaten his political career. Thus, the communities potentially discriminated against by the play might either be the proponents of racism and homophobia, or their victims.

Either conclusion has terrible implications.

...Read full article

 

11th April   

Offsite: Beyond Belief...

Sikhs struggling with free speech
Link Here

Behzti Oberon Modern Gurpreet Bhatti Just over five years ago, in December 2004, a row kicked off in Birmingham over the play Behzti (Dishonour) by the playwright Gurpreet Bhatti. Sikh fundamentalists took to the Birmingham Rep to protest because it featured rape in a Sikh gurdwara and eventually managed to get the play shut down. They declared victory.

The writer is now back in the limelight as her next production, Behud (Beyond Belief) comes to theatre. It is also written as an attempt to recreate what happened over those fateful days. But any coverage of the new production, alongside with a review (which this isn't), raises the question: did the controversy change anything?

...Read full article

 

10th April   

Update: Venue Pressured...

Dieudonn้ M'bala M'bala performance cancelled in London
Link Here

Dieudonn้ M'Bala M'Bala posterA performance by the French comedian Dieudonn้ in London has been cancelled following complaints from the Jewish community, the Jewish Chronicle reports. Dieudonn้ M'bala M'bala, who was last year fined by a French court for performing an anti-Semitic sketch, was due to perform in Kensington this weekend.

Dieudonn้ previously stood for the European Parliament as head of the Anti-Zionist Party, which he formed together with Alain Soral, an ex-member of the extreme-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

After discovering that he was due to appear in London, campaigners urged the hotel where the comedian was due to appear to reject the booking and cancel the event.

A spokesman for the Millennium Gloucester Hotel and Conference Centre said: It's not going to take place. We had an enquiry from someone representing Dieudonn้ and then recently we had some calls from the Jewish community, telling us what the situation is with him. We decided not to pursue the booking and now it will not happen.

Update: Not Cancelled

19th April 2010. Thanks to Elodie

The show has not been cancelled, it rescheduled to the Savoy Theatre. here is the video

 

10th April   

Casting the First Stone...

German magazine investigated for priestly satire
Link Here

titanicThe current cover of the German magazine Titanic has provoked nearly 100 complaints.

The complaints were received by the Press Council and included two criminal charges from the Frankfurt prosecutor.

The cover artwork shows a Catholic priest facing a crucifix - but arranged so that it could be interpreted as a blow job. The Jesus figure's face is blushed red and bleeding from the wounds. The slogan reads: The church today

The idea came from Titanic editor Stephan Rrup, it was illustrated by the Munich painter Rudi Hurzlmeier. It is a satirical allusion to the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, the last few weeks dominated the media.

The German Press Council on Meedia is now considering whether the cover constitutes discrimination against adherents of a religious group.

According to a report by Dwdl.de the Frankfurt public prosecutor's two criminal charges against the responsible editor are related to a possible violation of Section 166 of the Penal Code, which prohibits the abuse of confessions, religious communities and faith groups. The chief prosecutor Claude Joerg said that this will be decided next week

 

10th April   

Updated: Censors See Red...

Thailand bans and blocks red shirt TV and websites
Link Here

Prachatai logoThailand's Government has taken decisive action to close down media supportive of the anti-government protesters, but an official spokesman has continued to insist that force would not be used to disperse the crowds now besieging the nation's capital in their thousands.

In a move that has been compared with Thailand's restrictive bans on reporting news concerning the royal family, the protesters' People satellite television and 36 internet networks were suddenly blocked.

The closure was precipitated by the state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday, Government minister Sathit Wongnongtoey told reporters, and it was part of the plan to return Thailand to normalcy .

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protesters, widely known as red-shirts, have been broadcasting on the People Channel from an intersection in Bangkok's prime retail shopping strip.

Camped out at the Ratchaprasong intersection since the weekend, the red-shirts have blocked traffic and effectively forced the closure of as many as six large shopping malls and hampered the trade of two five-star hotels.

Thailand's tourism and commercial operators want action to disperse the red-shirt protesters who have been demonstrating in Bangkok since early last month, but they are concerned that a show of force will deter tourists and visitors and damage the nation's already battered reputation.

So far, there has been little outright violence, although grenade attacks by unknown marauders have injured a few and rattled Bangkok's residents.

The red-shirts, representing the rural poor of Thailand's north and northeast, want Abhisit ousted and his Government dissolved. They say the ruling coalition won power illegitimately, has never won a mandate from the Thai people, and is in thrall to the nation's military and urban power elites.

Update: PTV re-banned soon after being unbanned by protesters storming satellite uplink station

10th April 2010. Based on article from bangkokpost.com

The government yanked the red shirts' TV station off the air again after earlier agreeing to the protest group's demands to reinstate the service.

The government was forced to reinstate broadcasts of the People Channel (PTV) after a clash between red shirts and troops at the Thaicom satellite ground station in Pathum Thani resulted in the red shirts taking control of the station.

However, by last night troops had regained control after many of the red shirts returned to their main base in Bangkok.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, acting government spokesman, said the government would keep PTV off the air.

The red shirts stormed the telecom company compound after authorities shut down their TV channel in line with the state of emergency declared by the government on Wednesday.

But after soldiers failed to hold them back, the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) negotiated with police to return the People Channel to the air.

Meanwhile, a source from the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said staff are seeking cooperation from all internet service providers, including TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, to block websites supporting the red shirt movement. He admitted it would be a tough task, as red shirt backers could always open new sites again.

 

10th April   

Retribution...

Nutter MP gets his comeuppance in games advert
Link Here

dead to rights video There's a nice short YouTube video putting a whinging MP dead to rights. (of course promoting the new console game Dead to Rights: Retribution.

Dead Rights Retribution Xbox 360 There must be a few MPs that deserve a similar comeuppance.

 

10th April   

Offsite: Starsuckers...

Documentary’s legal battles reveal ugly truth
Link Here

Starsuckers DVD Chris Atkins Last year, the producers of British documentary Starsuckers planted fake stories about celebrities into numerous tabloids: fables that told how Amy Winehouse's hair had caught fire, for example; and that Guy Ritchie had injured himself juggling cutlery.

Getting these silly, spurious stories into print garnered the film some attention in the press, but there is another side to the Starsuckers documentary that seems to have been roundly ignored by the nation's news journalists.

The week before Starsuckers , by Bafta-nominated Taking Liberties director Chris Atkins, was released it received numerous legal letters with some strong demands.

We knew that working with Chris Atkins on Starsuckers was going to be a legal headache, but we didn't quite expect all out war, says the film's lawyer, Simon Goldberg, of Simons, Muirhead and Burton.

The legal threats were also largely unreported by the media.

...Read the full article

 

10th April   

Offsite: UNRelenting...

Tide turning against support for 'defamation of religions'
Link Here

human rights first logoIn numerous examples unearthed by U.N. experts each year - blasphemy and defamation of religion laws have resulted in arrests and arbitrary detentions, as they have sparked assaults, murders and mob attacks. Journalists, bloggers, teachers, students, poets, religious converts and others are targeted, charged and sentenced for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Those who support defamation of religions law say these policies are necessary to combat incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, as well as to protect freedom of religion. But the facts tell a very different story, one that has resulted in eroding international support for this flawed concept.

Last month, as the United Nations Human Rights Council met in Geneva, it became increasingly clear that the tide is swiftly turning against support for defamation of religions. As it has since 1999, UN States from the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) sponsored a resolution endorsing the concept that nations have an obligation to implement laws against the defamation of religions. Although the text squeezed through to its adoption, that was only by a small margin of three votes -- it was 12 votes last year -- and a growing number of UN States voted against the measure and many nations that had previously abstained from the debate spoke out in opposition to the resolution's passage.

This weakening UN Human Rights Council support for the defamation of religions was also evident in a second resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on the Ad Hoc Committee on the Elaboration of Complementary Standards that has been charged to identify new methods to combat racism. That resolution's final text did not include any defamation of religions language and there was no authorization for the Ad Hoc committee to codify defamation of religions into a binding international treaty.

...Read full article

 

9th April   

Update: Low-Rent Controvesy...

Kick-Ass in Australia
Link Here  full story: Kick-Ass...Movie hype featuring cussing teen assassin

rt australia ma15Kick-Ass Has opened in Australian cinemas with an MA15+ rating, restricting it to those over 15 unless accompanied by an adult.

A spokesman for the Australian Family Association, John Morrissey, said the film was part of the shift in public standards and its classification was a mess . You've got some R certificate language but the film is rated MA, meaning that children can go along and yet it is most definitely aimed at 12, 13 and 14-year-olds.

In a media release issued last week, the director of the Classification Board, Donald McDonald, urged parents to note the film's classification: As one of the main characters in this film is a 12-year-old girl, [sic] parents may be mistaken in thinking this is a film suitable for children. It is not suitable for persons under the age of 15 years.

But a film reviewer with The Age, Jim Schembri, gave the film two thumbs up for refreshingly giving a fillip to the comic-book genre for an adult audience. All too predictably, a low-rent controversy has been stirred up over the film's MA15+ rating, which some think is too mild, he said: What nanny state nonsense … The suggestion that only a hard R rating can make that clear sadly highlights the need for people to take full responsibility for what their kids see.

 

9th April   

Foot in the Mouth Fetishists at the UKIP...

UKIP suspend Liverpool chairmen for making mild erotic films
Link Here

sex game video The UK Independence Party has shamed itself with a bad attitude towards an erotic film maker. Compare that with the Lib Dems who embraced porn film maker Anna Span as one of their general election candidtes.

Rob Ager was chairman of UKIP's Liverpool branch until party chiefs found out about his films, which include scenes of bondage, incarceration and flagellation.

One of Ager's films, called The Sex Game , features a half-naked man being whipped and abused by a dominatrix . However it is hardly porn, and is even hosted on the nudity averse youtube.com

Another, called The Victim , features what Ager describes as a duo of deranged sadists who capture a man at random so that he can be tortured and eventually killed .

Until he was warned off doing so by party officials, some of his films also contained plugs for Ukip in the closing credits.

A spokesman for Ukip said Ager had been suspended while party officials examined the films, which she said contained serious themes . She said: As a result of the evidence that has been supplied to us about Mr Ager, he has today been suspended as the chair of the Ukip Liverpool branch. There will be a thorough inquiry into the matter.

Ager confirmed he had been asked to step down but defended his films, saying many commercial productions were much more sexually and violently explicit . He said: My material is pretty tame. I put a lot of intelligent material into the scripts.

 

9th April   

Hughes Views...

Violent DVDs and video games exert a negative influence on nutter MPs
Link Here

simon hughesIn a debate lead by Labour MP Diane Abbott on London gang crime at Westminster, MPs linked the problem of increased knife crime to the prevalence of violent video games and movies.

Speaking of a Home Affairs Committee report on knife crime, Liberal Democrat MP and former party leader candidate Simon Hughes stated: The report then makes a controversial point, but I believe that it is true – evidence supported our view that violent DVDs and video games exert a negative influence on those who watch and play them.

Fortunately subsequent talk of possible action on the subject focused more on the fight against knife possession as opposed to a possible crackdown on gaming.

 

9th April   

Police Dicks...

Police censors confiscate willy garden ornament
Link Here

free willy A curiosity shop owner and councillor has had his stone willy seized by police after complaints it was supposedly obscene.

Jason Hadlow, chairman of Yarm Town Council and owner of the Simply Dutch store in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was left gobsmacked at the confiscation.

Now he faces an £80 fine to get his 4ft high masonry manhood back - something he has refused to do. Hadlow has instead ordered 150 more of the garden ornaments from Indonesia, 10 of which have already been sold.

It's absolute madness they've taken this willy - it was right there in the shop window next to a statue of Venus and a replica of Michelangelo's David, said the entrepreneur, who lives in Yarm. They involve boobs and willies - and there was a sign nearby saying Big Dick's Sausages and they didn't take that.

Hadlow was given 24 hours to remove the stone penis. When officers returned and he hadn't complied, it was put into a police van and Hadlow ordered to pay an £80 fine to release it or face court action. He added: The policewoman said it was 4ft tall. It's not that high, but people do often overestimate when it comes to willy size.

Hadlow has 21 days to pay the fine - but is hoping a Facebook group he set up called Free Willy will persuade the police to drop the charges - at the time the Evening Gazette went to print today he had 269 supporters online.

A spokesman for the North Yorkshire Police dicks said: The owner of Simply Dutch was visited on March 31 following a complaint from a member of the public. He was given the opportunity to remove the offending item within 24 hours. Officers returned the next day and issued him with a penalty notice for disorder for committing a public order offence after his decision to leave the item on view.

 

9th April   

Access Denied...

ASA easily offended by internet security advert
Link Here

retell advertA commercial e-mail, for the Retell call management system, included a large photograph of a naked woman with her back to the camera. Chains were wrapped around her and a sign which stated ACCESS DENIED was placed across her bottom. Issue

One complainant objected that the sexual implications of an image of a naked woman in chains with an ACCESS DENIED notice across her bottom, and the dated and sexist view of women it projected, were offensive.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA considered that, although the ad's image was not explicit, the ACCESS DENIED sign across the naked woman's bottom implied anal sex. That sign, in conjunction with the chains wrapped around the naked woman's body, suggested the woman was a sex object and were likely to be seen as demeaning and objectifying women. We noted nudity and sex had no relevance to the product advertised. We concluded that Retell had gone too far in their bid to attract attention and that the commercial e-mail, for an advertiser whose products would be of interest to those wishing to install call management systems, was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients.

The ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).

 

9th April   

Update: The Big Issue...

Australian state candidate runs on policy of banning sexy billboards
Link Here

Sexpo advertA Queensland senate candidate says she will run to ban risque billboards like the controversial Sexpo advertisement that caused 'controversy' in Ipswich earlier this year.

Family First senate candidate Wendy Francis said she would use billboards in Ipswich from the end of this month to push her Let's make outdoor advertising G-rated campaign slogan.

She said Family First and the majority of the community were sick of sexualised advertisements being seen by children on billboards: Our children deserve better; as adults it is our responsibility to provide a protecting and nurturing environment. I think some of the billboards out there wouldn't be allowed on television before 9pm because they are too over-the-top sexually.

She said because the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) was a self-regulatory industry body, it did not do enough to make sure billboards were censored to community standards.

The senate candidate said GOA Billboards refused to carry her G-rated slogan advertisement, but said she was in talks with other companies. GOA joint managing director Chris Tyquin said his group rejected Ms Francis' proposed advertisement because it lacked detail.

 

8th April   

Update: BBFC Kick the Daily Mail's Ass...

Explanation for the 15 rating of Kick-Ass
Link Here  full story: Kick-Ass...Movie hype featuring cussing teen assassin

Kick Ass DVD Chloe Moretz Kick-Ass is a 2010 UK/US film by Matthew Vaughn

The BBFC passed the 2010 cinema release 15 uncut with the following explanation:

Kick-Ass is a comedy action adventure in which an ordinary teenage boy decides to make a stand against the street crime in his city by becoming a superhero known as Kick-Ass . The film was passed 15 for strong language, one use of very strong language and strong bloody comic violence.

The film contains multiple uses of strong language. These exceed the 12A'/'12 Guidelines where there may be only infrequent strong language but are permissible at 15 where the Guidelines state that There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') . The Guidelines at 15 also state that the strongest terms (for example, 'cunt') may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable . Kick-Ass contains one use of very strong language. The word is spoken by a young girl who, like Kick-Ass, has become a makeshift superhero. Although some people might be offended by a child using this type of language, the predominant effect is comic. The young girl in question possesses incredible strength and agility and manages to dispatch a large group of adult male villains immediately after making the remark to them. The remark is delivered in a throwaway fashion rather than aggressively directed and the unexpectedness and incongruity of the use provides a comic justification for its inclusion.

There are numerous scenes of strong bloody violence throughout the film as the various would-be superheros battle the baddies. Many of these violent scenes show blood spray from gunshot wounds as well as the occasional severing of limbs, cutting of throats or stabbing of hands. While there is copious blood loss these scenes do not breach the BBFC Guidelines at 15 by dwelling on the infliction of pain or injury . This is especially so given that most occur in the context of a cartoonish style of choreographed violence that is rapidly edited and focuses more on the inventive skill and panache of the heroes than the detail of the wounds that are inflicted. Other scenes present violence in a more realistic and less comedic style with vicious beatings meted out to a couple of restrained heroes and one scene in which one of the main bad characters assaults the young girl superhero. However, those doing the beatings have been clearly established as evil characters and the audience is encouraged to feel sympathy for the victims rather than revel in the violence being inflicted. At the same time, the audience knows that the highly skilled good guys are likely to regain the upper hand very swiftly. None of the violence inflicted presents the strongest gory images which would be unacceptable under BBFC Guidelines at 15 and the comedic, fantastical tone of the film as a whole means that even the strongest moments of violent action have a lighter counterbalance.

The film also contains some strong sex references, including references to a teen boy liking to jerk off and scenes of implied below screen masturbation, as well as verbal references to drugs and sight of a man smoking a bong and another man snorting a line of coke. There are also many scenes in which weapons such as knives and guns are displayed and handled, including by a young girl who is shown to be proficient in their use. These are presented in a comically excessive manner and are designed to play up the rather ridiculous idea of having trained a young girl to be an assassin.

 

8th April   

Update: Bongo Republic Lawmaking...

Digital Economy Bill completes in the Commons
Link Here  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

House of Commons logoThe government forced through the controversial digital economy bill with the aid of the Conservative party last night, attaining a crucial third reading - which means it will get royal assent and become law - after just two hours of debate in the Commons.

But despite opposition from the Liberal Democrats and a number of Labour MPs who spoke up against measures contained in the bill and put down a number of proposed amendments, the government easily won two votes to determine the content of the bill and its passage through the committee stage without making any changes it had not already agreed.

Tom Watson, the former Cabinet Office minister who resigned in mid-2009, voted against the government for the first time in the final vote to take the bill to a third reading. However the vote was overwhelmingly in the government's favour, which it won by 189 votes to 47.

Earlier the government removed its proposed clause 18, which could have given it sweeping powers to block sites, but replaced it with an amendment to clause 8 of the bill. The new clause allows the secretary of state for business to order the blocking of a location on the internet which the court is satisfied has been, is being or is likely to be used for or in connection with an activity that infringes copyright .

The Labour MP John Hemming protested that this could mean the blocking of the whistleblower site Wikileaks, which carries only copyrighted work. Stephen Timms for the government said that it would not want to see the clause used to restrict freedom of speech - but gave no assurance that sites like Wikileaks would not be blocked.

Don Foster, the Liberal Democrats' spokesman for culture, media and sport, protested that the clause was too wide-ranging: it could apply to Google, he complained, adding that its inclusion of the phrase about likely to be used meant that a site could be blocked on its assumed intentions rather than its actions.

Video game censorship is now set to migrate from the BBFC to the Video Standards Council (VSC) using European-wide PEGI ratings.

 

8th April   

Update: Gutter TV...

Ofcom not impressed by complaints about video game discussion bias
Link Here  full story: Alan Titchmarsh Show...Audience groomed to boo video games defender

alan titchmarsh games video An edition of ITV's Alan Titchmarsh Show featuring a biased discussion of violent video games has attracted 131 complaints - but will not be investigated by Ofcom.

The show, which aired on 19 March, saw host Titchmarsh debate the perils of violence in computer games with former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, actress Julie Peasgood and computerandvideogames.com editor Tim Ingham.

Broadcast understands that viewers felt the discussion was not impartial, portraying an overly critical view of video games.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said it would not be investigating the issue.

 

8th April   

Barking Mad...

Celebrity gameshow gets 173 complaints
Link Here

the door200 viewers have complained about dogs being crammed into tiny cages on ITV's gameshow The Door.

Celebrity contestants including actor Dean Gaffney and Boyzone's Keith Duffy crawled between the cages with chunks of raw meat attached to them.

Viewers took to the internet, claiming it was disgraceful .

One forum member said: This cause great distress to the dogs and makes them appear aggressive - all in the name of entertainment. Others blasted host Chris Tarrant for describing the dogs as rancid and savage .

Media watchdog Ofcom confirmed it received 173 complaints about Friday night's show.

But an ITV spokesman denied it was cruel: The dogs were ones that are supplied for TV and film work and are used to being in a studio environment. Their handlers were present. At no time did the dogs show discomfort.

 

8th April   

Censorial Rage...

Toronto police attempt to ban book by one of their own
Link Here

Lethal Rage Mystery Brent Pilkey A Toronto Police officer, who has written a fictional mystery novel inspired by his 15 years in 51 Division, finds himself in a spot of censorial bother.

Constable Brent Pilkey either has to follow orders from his Toronto Police superiors and abandon his dream of becoming a published author, or buck the brass and face potential police act charges.

Stephen King had obstacles on the way to the literary penthouse, but never this.

For 22 years, Pilkey has followed the rules to the letter of the law. This could change because Pilkey will draw the line at not being allowed to publish his first novel for ECW Press called Lethal Rage , scheduled to be in stores May 1.

As of right now Toronto Police is telling him he can't do that.

It remains the position of the Service that this activity contravenes Section 49(1) of the Police Services Act, says a March 15 memo to Pilkey from Aillen Ashman, Toronto Police's director of Human Resources Management: Moreover, it effects a conflict of interest between your duties and position as a police officer in Toronto and your portrayal of individuals and incidents, notwithstanding that it is stated to be a work of fiction.

The staging of locations and events may be viewed by individuals resident in the area as disparaging and disrespectful, including suggestions of differential policing in the area, such that it reflects badly on the reputation of TPS, Ashman continues, adding your request for approval of secondary activities related to authoring, publishing and advertising fictional police novel(s) is hereby denied.

Despite facing potential charges, he still plans to invite Chief Bill Blair and other senior officers to his launch party because he has so much respect for them. I have had the dream of being published since university, the cop said, adding he will explain if sanctioned. I will be disappointed if they take that approach but I am not going to give up on the book.

 

7th April   

Diary: Blasphemous...

Art exhibition challenging Ireland's new blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

blasphemous advert Blasphemous
Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (IMOCA)
Lad Lane, Dublin 2
Until 25th April 2010

A new art exhibition titled Blasphemous opened on Good Friday in the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (IMOCA) in Lad Lane, off Baggott Street, Dublin 2. It's the second art exhibition to highlight and challenge the new Irish blasphemy law, which became active on 1st January 2010.

Since then, the Irish Justice Minister has responded to the campaign against the law by saying that he will propose a referendum, later this year, to remove the reference to blasphemy from the Irish Constitution, thus enabling the blasphemy law to be repealed.

This makes the new exhibition in IMOCA not just a challenge to the blasphemy law, but also a celebration of artistic freedom, and freedom of expression generally.

The exhibition runs until 25 April and is open from 12 noon to 5 pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

7th April   

Update: Bongo Republic Lawmaking...

Tories agree to pass internet censorship bill without debate or opposition
Link Here  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

House of Commons logoThe digital economy bill (DEB) looks set to become law after the Conservative shadow culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, gave the controversial legislation his support during its second reading in the Commons.

However, Hunt said during the DEB debate that if a Tory government is formed after the 6 May general election it would drop any flawed legislation.

The digital economy bill could have been massively improved if there had been more scrutiny at the committee stage … why is it debate on such a critically important bill has been left to the last minute? Hunt asked MPs during the debate. There are parts of the bill that we will reluctantly let through. Digital piracy is a very real problem for our creative industries ... We do accept that action needs to be taken to ensure the internet is a functioning marketplace and that copyright infringers do not get away with their actions scot free.

Conservative support has been seen as crucial because the fast-track wash-up process of negotiations only deals with unopposed legislation.

If the DEB is voted through the Commons late tonight, the wide-ranging legislation, which includes controversial measures that could see the internet connections of illegal filesharers suspended or copyright-infringing websites blocked, will head to the last minute wash-up period of fast-track negotiations before parliament is dissolved later this week. The Bill also grants the BBFC powers to revoke video certificates and transfers video game censorship from the BBFC to the VSC.

Harriet Harman said that after the general election a super affirmative process, which includes a full public consultation, would be undertaken to address any issues before the bill passes into law.

Critics of the bill, which include the Open Rights Group, the Liberal Democrats and internet service providers, argue that legislation of such importance is not being enough time to be properly scrutinised and have called for it to be re-introduced in the next parliament.

This bill is the victim of one of the worst lobbying scandals of this parliament, said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. Parliamentary scrutiny must be applied. Over 20,000 voters have written to MPs and raised funds for adverts, because we know disconnection of families for allegations of copyright infringement is a draconian punishment, and need to be fully debated, not rammed through at the last minute.

 

7th April   

Slumber at the BBFC...

New release for Slumber Party Massacre
Link Here

Slumber Party Massacre Debra Deliso Slumber Party Massacre is a 1982 US horror by Amy Holden Jones

All previous cuts were waived for the 2003 Prism DVD and 2010 Nouveaux Pictures DVD.

Previously the BBFC cut 30s from the 1986 Thorn EMI video titled Slumber Party Murders

From cuts details on IMDb

  • The BBFC cut 30s of gore from several scenes
  • The title substitution of Murders for Massacre is also reported as part of the knee jerk censorship implemented after the Video Nasties moral panic.

Review from UK Amazon :

The plot is a slightly tweaked and thinly veiled rip off of Halloween , but this movie doesn't take itself anywhere near as seriously as John Carpenter's classic shocker, and this is perhaps its saving grace.

Like all good horror movies of the period, The Slumber Party Massacre aims to provide us with two things; mild titillation though its utterly shameless use of female nudity and cheap thrills though its corny murder moments. While the latter is hardly on a par with many slashers, it is a bit of fun. Some of the murders are quite inventive, if a little sparing on the gore.

As far as the nudity goes, the premise dictates a fairly abundant use of boobs and thighs.

Happilly, not only is the film graced with some deliciously and flagrantly gratuitous breast exposure, but the owners of said breasts are uniformly gorgeous.

This is not to everyone's taste but, if you've read this far with a smile on your face, I'm pretty sure it's the film for you.

 

7th April   

Justice Seen to be not Done...

Alternative versions for Law Abiding Citizen
Link Here

Abiding Citizen Blu ray Gerard Butler Law Abiding Citizen is a 2009 US thriller by F Gary Gray

The US Unrated Version or Director's Cut was passed 18 for the 2010 Technicolor Blu-ray

The Theatrical Version was passed 18 without cuts for the 2009 cinema release and 2010 Technicolor DVD

The additional material for the Director's Cutis is mostly plot and dialogue, but the violent scenes, including the rape and torture, have been extended too.

See pictorial version details from movie-censorship.com

The BBFC explained the 18 rating:

Law Abiding Citizen is a thriller about a man who feels let down by the US justice system after his wife and daughter are murdered. The film has been classified at 18 for strong bloody violence, torture and sexual violence.

The film contains several scenes of strong violence, with a bloody and protracted stabbing in one instance. BBFC Guidelines at 15 state that violence may not dwell on the infliction of pain and injury . At least one of the scenes was judged to go beyond the scope of the Guidelines at 15 . Other scenes imply strong violence, including torture, but in most instances the strong detail is not seen on screen. The film includes one scene of sexual violence, with the attack implied rather than portrayed.

Law Abiding Citizen contains a vigilante theme, with a man taking the concept of justice into his own hands and using violence against those who he judges to have failed him. This theme was also considered suitable only at 18 . The BBFC Guidelines require caution with themes that appear to endorse illegal behaviour, such as violent revenge. In this instance there is some ambiguity as to how the vigilante is presented, with some dialogue references to the lack of wisdom of his choices, but this is counterbalanced with him being presented as a sympathetic character.

The film also includes frequent use of strong language.

 

6th April   

Update: Putting the Swiss Knife into PEGI...

Swiss nutter MP looks to ban the top dozen violent games
Link Here

Midway Games Ltd Mortal Kombat According to the politician behind a proposed Swiss law to ban violent video games, the ban would not blindly outlaw all violent games.

Swiss Social Democrat Evi Allemann indicated that the ban would apply only to individual games. She estimated that, like in Germany, only 12 or so games would wind up being banned, including titles such as Mortal Kombat and Manhunt (which are banned in Germany), but not the likes of Counter-Strike .

It appears Allemann would specifically focus on games which display cruel acts of violence that a player contributes to.

Allemann also said that the PEGI rating system is not enough and intimating that Switzerland and/or Europe needs an independent federal agency to rate games, one that is free of any ties to the gaming industry.

 

6th April   

Old Ways...

Russian MP submits draft law to ban quotes from terrorists
Link Here

Duma logoThe media should be banned from quoting terrorists' statements, according to a deputy from the ruling United Russia party.

Robert Schlegel has submitted a respective draft law to the State Duma.

The suggested amendment to the Law of the Russian Federation On Mass Media would prohibit the reproduction of any materials on behalf of those on a wanted list for terrorism or convicted of terrorist activities.

The move comes a week after two suicide bombings in the Moscow Metro claimed 40 which was then followed by a chain of terrorist attacks in the Russian North Caucasian republics of Dagestan and Ingushetia.

 

6th April   

Update: Rated as Inadequate...

India TV minister doesn't want to be a censor...but...
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults

ambika soniIndia's Information & Broadcasting Minister, Ambika Soni, said she herself was 'shocked' by some of the serials she sees on air.

Some serials are meaningless and take us back in time. I don't want to be a censor board for TV ...BUT... we are talking about homes which have just one TV. So there have to be some self-regulatory norms because what enters our rooms has to be separate from films, she said.

The Minister also said that if self-regulatory norms don't work, the government will have to step in.

She added that she wanted to review the entire ratings system for television or Television Rating Points: The present system of TRPs is not adequate.

 

6th April   

Passion for Censorship...

Re-enactment of crucifixion too much for the Australian police
Link Here

Passion DVD James Nesbitt When a tiny Australian church decided to remind people that Easter was about something more than chocolate, it was thought that re-enacting the crucifixion in a busy shopping mall would do the trick.

But 40 minutes into the display — which comprised a man spattered in red paint, a large wooden cross, two women mourners in black and orchestral music — the police shut it down, saying that it breached the peace. Shoppers, taken aback by the apparently bloody man hanging in Geelong, Victoria, complained that it had reduced children to tears. One mother said that her six-year-old son had been upset at seeing Jesus being hurt and crying out: Why, why?

Pastor Sarah Kenneally, of the Heaven on Earth Church said that she had seen no distressed children and that the decision compromised religious freedom. It wasn't like we were trying to take over the city, or tell everyone they were going to Hell, she said. They [the police] didn't talk to us first, they just came and yanked the cord out of our amp and said we had to stop. We got through 40 minutes of Jesus hanging on the cross. I was a bit disappointed.

The church has promised to tone down its performances in the future.

 

5th April   

Update: Nutters Free 2B Nutters...

Australian nutters want to ban softcore from corner shops
Link Here  full story: Magazine Censorship in Australia...Barely Legal winds up Australia'n nutters

Barely LegalAustralian nutters are calling for a ban on the sale of pornographic magazines from newsagents, milkbars, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations.

The group has asked censorship ministers to review the rules under which magazines such as Playboy , Penthouse, People, The Picture, Zoo and Ralph are reviewed, saying they are increasingly explicit and contributing to the sexualisation of children, Fairfax newspapers report.

A letter to the standing committee of attorneys-general/censorship ministers signed by a former chief justice of the Family Court Alastair Nicholson, the chief executive of World Vision Tim Costello, actor Noni Hazlehurst and 34 academics, child professionals and advocates says such material should be restricted to adults-only premises.

They are particularly disturbed by the prevalence of teen sex magazines featuring women apparently aged more than 18 but looking younger and styled with braces and pigtails but in highly sexualised poses and sometimes performing sex acts. Under Australian censorship laws it is illegal to use under-age models or models who appear to be under 18.

Julie Gale, director of the nutter group Kids Free 2B Kids, said easy access to the internet means young people are experiencing unprecedented exposure to pornographic images, voluntarily or involuntarily: But allowing pornography and overtly sexualised images to be sold in the public arena with easy access for children and teens tells them that this is acceptable. It gives it public validation.

 

5th April   

Update: The Times They Ain't a-Changin'...

China bans Bob Dylan concerts
Link Here

Together Through Life Bob Dylan The Chinese Ministry of Culture has refused permission for Bob Dylan to play his scheduled dates in Shanghai and Beijing this month, the Guardian reports.

This has led to the cancelling of shows in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

According to promoter Jeffrey Wu, Chinese officials have become more cautious since Bjork, the Icelandic singer, chanted 'Tibet! Tibet!' after performing a song called Declare Independence in Shanghai in 2008.

Jeffrey Wu, of Taiwanese promoters Brokers Brothers Herald, said that What Bjork did definitely made life very difficult for other performers. They are very wary of what will be said by performers on stage now.

 

5th April   

Update: A Revelation...

Christian TV channel opts out of Ofcom TV censorship
Link Here

Revelation TV logoThe christian TV station Revelation TV has crossed swords several times with the TV censor Ofcom.

The satellite TV station has been censured by Ofcom for programmes going over the top in criticising homosexuality, islam and abortion.

With another Ofcom investigation under way, Revelation TV has made a strategic withdrawal from UK censorship.

On 1st April 2010 Revelation TV gave up its UK broadcasting licence and took up a new one from the Spanish government. This means that they no longer have to comply with UK broadcasting regulations and Ofcom will not accept any further complaints about the channel.

 

5th April   

Zimbabwe Still Battered and Bruised...

Temporary reprieve for art exhibition showing state violence
Link Here

Zimbabwe flagApplause broke out at a Zimbabwe exhibition as seized photos were returned.

24 hours earlier, police had barged into the gallery, seized the photographs and arrested Okay Machisa, an activist who organised their exhibition. The police claimed the 66 pictures were lewd because they showed nudity and that the subjects had not given their consent.

No one doubted their real motive was that the exhibition, Reflections , contained devastating images of the political violence that wracked Zimbabwe two years ago. They included a man lying on a hospital bed, a livid wound where his leg used to be, and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), his face battered and swollen.

Human rights activists went to the high court and obtained an order for the pictures to be returned. So they were rehung in the gallery courtyard just minutes before Tsvangirai himself arrived to formally open the exhibition.

Tsvangirai called for more such exhibitions and said that Machisa, who was nowhere to be seen, had no need to remain in hiding. He told the gathering: He should come out. No one is going to threaten him.

But as so often in Zimbabwe, he spoke too soon. Shortly after the prime minister's departure, the police returned, warning that they would be back to impound the photos before the night was out. So as the last guests melted away, the organisers could be seen frantically taking the pictures down and rushing them to a car so they could be driven to a secret location. The exhibition has been cancelled, though there are plans to revive it elsewhere.

 

5th April   

A Strategically Located Pizza Slice...

Australian police censor Pizza advert
Link Here

strategic slice advertShop owners call it clever marketing, but some local nutters called it pornography.

The cut-out drawing of a naked woman with a pizza slice covering her nether regions in the window of Pizza Supremo in Murray Bridge has had tongues wagging.

But owners Damien Eve and Sarah Budarick who have had to remove the artwork after a visit from the police, say they don't know what all the fuss is about.

The eye-catching piece - painted by Mrs Budarick is entitled A Slice of Heaven .

But since then, there have been complaints about the sign, with nutters describing it as offensive and even porn.

Gloria Booker, Murray Bridge Council's manager of development and environmental services, told the Sunday Mail she had received four written complaints and six phone calls about the sign on Pizza Supremo's roof, which is close to a primary school.

 

5th April   

Poetical Threats...

Indian religious party whinge at play about Pakistani poet
Link Here

Shiv Sena logoSelf styled religious police in India have taken action against a Hindi play, Sara , based on the life of a Pakistani poet

Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab said: We received some complaints from local people saying that some of the dialogues in the play are very obscene. So we are demanding that they should be removed.

The party has also given a letter to local police station regarding the issue and asked the play producer Tarun Singh Negi to show its censor certificate.

We will agitate if the objectionable lines are not removed, Shiv Sena local leader Suresh Dube said.

However, the play director Mahesh Dattani said the allegations are baseless: Their complaint letter does not mention any specific dialogue. Initially, they objected to the play, saying it was written by a Pakistani, which is not true. None of the Shiv Sena activists have seen the play .

Threatening calls were also made to the producer and the director who have asked the police for protection.

The drama is written by Shahid Anwar on the life and time of Sara Shagufta, one of Pakistan's most controversial poets. Her life was troubled with personal conflict, which were expressed through her writings.

 

4th April   

Dallas Prudes...

US singer harangued over supposedly naked shoot for music video
Link Here

Live Erykah Badu US neo-soul singer Erykah Badu has been charged with disorderly conduct for stripping naked on a street among pedestrians for her music video shoot.

She ended by re-enacting receiving a fatal gunshot to the head at the spot in Dallas where President John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Sergeant Warren Mitchell said Badu was charged after a witness offered a sworn statement to police.

The singer, who was born in Dallas, performed a walking striptease in front of tourists and pedestrians during the shoot in Dealey Plaza on 13 March for her video for the song Window Seat.

Sgt Mitchell claimed that the police department has had people calling from all across the country to express their concern . After much discussion, we feel that these charges best fit her conduct. She disrobed in a public place without regard to individuals and small children who were close by.

He said Badu can either fight the charge or pay the fine. Disorderly conduct is punishable by a fine of up to $500 (£328)..

 

4th April   

Nutters on the Retreat...

Toronto Bible group remove anti-gay website and associated bus advertising
Link Here

gays in christinity advertA Christian group called Bus Stop Bible Studies has voluntarily removed a set of advertisements from Toronto buses, along with an associated homophobic website which answered questions like, Does God heal homosexuals? and Is AIDS God's punishment against homosexuals? .

Torontoist reported that the Toronto Transit Commission spokesman Brad Ross said that Bus Stop Bible Studies' has requested to remove the ads. According to Ross, it will take advertising agency CBS Outdoor a few days to completely remove the Does God care if I'm gay? ads from the vehicles.

As reported in the Star, the original content of the website has been replaced with an apologetic dispatch that It seems that the whole message of God's justice and grace was being misinterpreted.

Toronto Transit Commission objections led to the removal of the ads, the National Post reports. Ross said: The TTC has an obligation under the Ontario Human Rights Code not to refuse religious advertising. [But] the website content that this ad pointed to was not appropriate.

 

3rd April   

Hate Mail...

More from the Daily Mail's obsession with Jonathan Ross
Link Here
Why Do Say These Things

  Maybe to wind up the Daily Mail?

Jonathan Ross has predictably 'shocked' the Daily Mail at a charity gala for Great Ormond Street Hospital with a foul-mouthed routine using the c-word repeatedly.

Ross told the audience to scream the word so they could break the record for the most people saying it at once.

Appearing at the Channel 4 Comedy Gala for the children's hospital, Ross also made lewd comments about Lady Gaga.

The main butt of his jokes was show-business friend Ricky Gervais, who he branded a lazy cunt twice.

His behaviour 'angered' the 'taste and decency' mob as well as a spout-a-quote MP.

Vivienne Pattison, of pressure group Mediawatch UK, said: You have to worry about someone, who the only way they can get a laugh is to use language like that. It is kind of pathetic really. I would say he is totally out of step with public opinion, people don't like it.

Tory MP David Davies added: If you are trying to get money out of people for a good cause then it is not good to have people using humour like that.

Comment: Yeah Yeah Yeah

From Dan

And the Daily Mail is happy to put him back into the headlines! Whilst being ever so outraged about him of course!

The Daily Mail is following everything Ross does and everything he says just so they scream outrage about him and take offence on behalf of their middle England readers over his antics!

Viv Pattison couldn't miss out to give her two pence worth: I would say he is totally out of step with public opinion, people don't like it.

Yes because the views of the director of Mediawatch UK, a few Tory MPs and the Daily Mail represents public opinion!

Yeah yeah yeah!

 

3rd April   

Updated: Behind the Curtain...

EU calls for internet censorship
Link Here

EU flagThe EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, wants all member states to be obliged to block websites containing child pornography.

This would be a great mistake, the left-liberal daily Frankfurter Rundschau writes:

Firstly, hiding online images of abuse and rape behind a curtain rather than erasing them won't help a single child.

… Secondly the possibility of blocking websites will create the infrastructure for a censored Internet. This could lead to the blocking other types of content that have nothing to do with child pornography. We have seen this in Finland and Australia. And in Germany several politicians want gambling sites, filesharing sites and online killer games blocked. The promises that only illegal content would be blocked are therefore implausible. A political class that thinks only in the short-term can't be trusted to keep such promises in the long term.

Update: Delete Not Block

3rd April 2010. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Germany flagGermany has called for stronger action to combat images of child sex abuse online, saying material should be deleted rather than blocked.

Justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said Germany rejected the idea of stopping people getting access to images by blocking.

Blocking, said Ms Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, is not an effective weapon in the fight against child pornography and also leads to a loss of trust among internet users.

I expect a broad debate ... in which I will push the position 'delete, not block', said the minister during an interview with the Hamburger Abendblatt regional daily newspaper.

Her comments came after the unveiling of European Commission plans to block child sex abuse sites outside Europe. The blocking plan is part of proposed new laws on child exploitation.

 

3rd April   

Update: New Ofblog...

Reports on Babe Channel plans to sidestep Ofcom
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

ofwatch logo A new Ofcom watching blog has sprung into life at Wordpress. It introduces itself:

OFWATCH has been set up to monitor the actions of the numerous quangos that hinder out daily lives. It aims to expose the malpractice and injustice of these organisations whenever possible. OFWATCH poses the question why should the British taxpayer have to put up with such poor treatment?

And  starts off with a good rumour:

OFWATCH has received sketchy information that a Babe Channel (currently transmitting on Astra at 28E) is to launch a UK aimed service from another Euro satellite and also via the internet.

The decision is thought to come about following the continued hardening of Ofcom policy on soft erotic entertainment broadcasts.

More information will be posted on ofwatch.wordpress.com as it becomes available.

 

3rd April   

Crossed Out...

Old cuts to Richard Pepin's Firepower
Link Here

Firepower DVD Firepower is a 1993 US action film by Richard Pepin

The BBFC waived their cuts for the 2003 ILC Prime DVD.

Previously the BBFC cut the 1994 Imperial DVD by 1:34s

From cuts details on IMDb

  • edited out footage of weaponry including all crossbow scenes

Review from US Amazon : Typical B action movie

Firepower is one of those cheesy martial art movies that tries to take place in the future and the result is even more cheesiness that is just a 1980's looking future. But not all is lost. There are plenty of fights in this film, and it stars familiar faces Chad Mcqueen and Gary Daniels.

Overall, the story is ok. There is a huge surprise near the end I did not expect from a film like this.

The fights are really the only decent thing about Firepower . If you are into underground cage fighting with weapons and screaming spectators, this is that kind of movie. None of the fights are exceptional, but most are good and solid for a martial arts film. Gary Daniels is definitely more skilled in Firepower than Chad Mcqueen.

A basic martial arts film that is a typical B action movie. The setting in the future makes it suffer more than it should with all its cheesiness glory, but other than that expect an average film.

 

3rd April   

Killed in the Crossfire...

Bangladesh gallery closed over exhibit about extrajudicial killings
Link Here

drik logoReporters Without Borders urges Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to lift a ban on a photo exhibition in Dakha's Drik gallery about extrajudicial executions by a special police unit.

The press freedom organisation also calls on the police to investigate the death threats that have been made against the gallery's founder, the well-known photographer Shahidul Alam.

The censorship of this exhibition is a serious violation of freedom of expression, Reporters Without Borders said. The threats against our colleague, Shahidul Alam, are very disturbing and cast doubt on the possibilities of freely debating human rights issues in Bangladesh.

The press freedom organisation added: The abuses practiced by certain police officers in the course of their efforts to combat crime are a disgrace to the rule of law in Bangladesh. The reporters who expose them play a key role in helping to put a stop to these practices. We urge the government to keep the promises it made before the election to respect human rights.

The Dakha police closed the Drik gallery on 22 March 2010, just before the opening of the exhibition of photos and displays about extrajudicial executions by members of Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The exhibition is called Crossfire, because the police claim that their victims are caught in the crossfire when the police act in legitimate self-defence or to prevent criminals escaping. Human Rights Watch puts the number of people killed by the RAB at around 500.

 

3rd April   

Vanessa...

High definition porn channel approved in Canada
Link Here

CRTCCanadian TV censor, the CRTC has approved an application by Sex-Shop Television which would allow the broadcaster to offer its adult pay television Vanessa in high definition (HD).

First approved by the CRTC in 2007, the adult pay television service has yet to make it to air in standard definition.

The station is the brainchild of Anne-Marie Losique, a French television host and producer whose stated goal is to produce a Canadian version of the Playboy Channel.

In her blog, Anne-Mairie who goes by her stage name AML, says she expects the station to be on air in August of this year. Previously she had stated the station would be on air in March of this year.

 

3rd April   

Flying Kites for Censorship...

Nutters get The Kite banned from Lebanese TV
Link Here

Kite Flavia B%C3%83%C2%A9chara Private Lebanese TV channel NTV has refused to broadcast the feature film The Kite , directed by Randa Chahal Sabbag. Winner of the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 2003, the film tells the story of an impossible love affair between a young Lebanese Druze woman and a Druze man in the Israeli army (the Druze religious community practice a form of Islam derived from Shi'ism, live in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel).

Two political leaders from the Druze community, Walid Joumblatt and Talal Arslan, as well as several of the community's religious authorities convinced the channel's executives to postpone broadcasting the film. Their efforts were motivated by what they saw as the film's potential to offend members of the Druze community. Earlier in the day, several dozen protesters had gathered near the home of the channel's owner and next to the channel's headquarters to demand the cancellation of the film's scheduled broadcast.

 

2nd April   

Update: Singh Stiffs Back Quacks...

Simon Singh wins right to use fair comment defence against chiropractors' libel claim
Link Here  full story: Simon Singh vs Chiropractors...Chiropractors take science sceptic to libel court

Old BaileyThe science writer Simon Singh has won the right to use the defence of fair comment, in a landmark ruling at the Court of Appeal.

The strongly worded judgment by three of Britain's most senior judges brings Dr Singh significantly closer to defeating the action brought against him by a group of chiropractors. The ruling also sets a precedent that could, in practice, make scientific criticism and debate exempt from claims of defamation by companies or organisations.

Dr Singh was accused of libel by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) over an opinion piece he wrote for The Guardian in April 2008, suggesting that there was a lack of evidence for the claims some chiropractors make on treating certain childhood conditions, including colic and asthma. The BCA alleged that Dr Singh had, in effect, accused its leaders of knowingly supporting bogus treatments.

In May last year, Mr Justice Eady, in a preliminary High Court ruling in the dispute, held that Dr Singh's comments were factual assertions rather than expressions of opinion, which meant that he could not use the defence of fair comment.

However, Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice Sedley ruled that Mr Justice Eady had erred in his approach last May and upheld Dr Singh's appeal. Dr Singh described the ruling as brilliant , but said the action had cost £200,000 and two years of his time just to define the meaning of a few words . He added: At last we've got a good decision. So instead of battling uphill we're fighting with the wind behind us.

The written judgment said that the original decision threatened to silence scientists or science journalists wishing to question claims made by companies or organisations. It said: This litigation has almost certainly had a chilling effect on public debate which might otherwise have assisted potential patients to make informed choices about the possible use of chiropractic. Asking judges to rule on matters of scientific controversy would be to invite the court to become an Orwellian ministry of truth , the judgment said.

In a statement issued after the ruling, the BCA expressed disappointment and said it was considering whether to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling. This is not the end of the road ... Our original argument remains that our reputation has been damaged, it said. The BCA can now either appeal to the Supreme Court, proceed to trial and challenge Dr Singh's defence of fair comment, or withdraw its case. A BCA spokesman said that board members would decide in the coming days.

 

2nd April   

Kissing the Publicist...

First gay kiss passed by the Indian censor
Link Here

Pankh posterIndia's cinema screens will soon show Bollywood's first gay kiss in Pankh, according to Mid Day.

The Censor Board reportedly passed a kissing scene between actors Maradona Rebello and Amit Purohit in the movie without any cuts.

Another sequence where Rebello goes nude hidden by pixellation has also been passed.

The film's director Sudipto Chattopadhyaya has reportedly claimed that the kiss is actually a case of molestation as Purohit's character gets drunk and forcibly kisses Rebello's, who he believes is gay.

Chattopadhyaya also apparently said that the nude scene was pivotal to the plot.

 

1st April   

Updated: The Libel Tourism Game...

British blogger sued in Australia over criticisms of online game registered in the US
Link Here

bruce on games logoIn an internet defamation case that lawyers say could set an extraordinary precedent , an American registered games company is suing a British blogger in the Australian courts.

Evony, an online games company registered in the US state of Delaware, is suing Coventry-based blogger Bruce Everiss for libel over a series of allegations made on his website, Bruce on Games. In a bizarre twist, however, Evony has decided not to pursue its case in Britain or America, but 10,000 miles away.

A hearing in Sydney on Monday will determine whether or not the supreme court of New South Wales has jurisdiction – with the potential to set a precedent for the way defamation laws are applied to the online world.

Evony's owners, who boast that the game has more than 11 million players worldwide, have accused Everiss – a 30-year veteran of the computer games industry – of damaging their reputation with a series of claims made on his blog. Among the allegations that Evony is objecting to are claims that the game is exploitative and has links to another company that is already being sued for fraud by Microsoft.

Evony – which has also threatened legal action against the Guardian for similar claims made in an article published in July – says that the assertions made by Everiss are completely untrue and damaging to its business, and that neither the company nor its owners are associated with fraud or implicated or involved with the Microsoft case.

Before the case against Everiss reaches court, however, Evony must first argue why a company registered in the US should use the Australian courts to take action against a British citizen.

Update: Libel Dropped

1st April 2010. Based on article from gamepolitics.com

A libel suit filed by Evony, LLC against a UK-based blogger has been dropped.

Bruce Everiss has been taking the company to task on his blog for quite some time now, detailing some of the sketchy practices used by the game's creator.

Evony filed its lawsuit in Australia, a move that Everiss called libel tourism, and dropped the case just two days into hearings, reports the Guardian.

A Vice Development Director for Evony said in a statement that the case was dropped in deference to criticism from players of the game themselves. A lot of our players expressed opinions about the lawsuit, and we reacted to that, said Benjamin Gifford.

Evony is now saddled with a bill of $114,000 AU (approximately $104,550 U.S.) for Everiss' legal costs. The company also must pay a security fee of $80,000 AU (approximately $73,350 U.S.).

The Guardian wrote that Evony's case began unraveling once Gifford began to fold under cross-examination by Everiss' lawyers.

If the lawsuit was intended to quiet Everiss, it didn't work; his website is chock full of fascinating stories about Evony.

 

1st April   

Update: Propaganda Games...

Rapelay used as as ammunition for Australian internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

RapelayAttempts to ban the infamous Rapelay video game have inevitably generated a little interest in it on torrent sites.

Australian nutters have picked up on this small interest game as useful propaganda for calling for internet censorship.

Karen Willis, executive officer of the NSW Rape Crisis Centre, said that the existence of material such as the RapeLay video game, which lets players simulate stalking and raping young girls, made internet filters, such as those proposed by the government, necessary.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy also believes that filters are necessary to block content such as RapeLay for all Australians, but a poll on this website yesterday found 96% of the 45,000 respondents did not support Senator Conroy's policy.

Sexual assault victims' rights advocate Nina Funnell is against online censorship. ..BUT... said: These games are quite vile and for victims out there it's quite distressing to come across these games or even just be aware that they exist and there's a culture of rape tolerance and acceptance. Willis said she absolutely believes the forthcoming internet filtering regime is necessary and should block sites that offer access to the game.

While I don't think that playing games causes people to go out and do things, what it can do for those who may already have that preclusion is further break down social barriers to them taking that action, she said.

Colin Jacobs, spokesman for the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said on the surface a game like RapeLay might seem like a good argument for internet censorship but in reality trying to filter it would not work. Games like this will only ever represent a tiny minority, and the proper response is largely parental, to make sure kids aren't getting their hands on them.

 

1st April   

Too Hot for the 70's...

Updated details of old ban to Tropic of Cancer
Link Here

tropic of cancerTropic of Cancer is a 1970 US drama by Joseph Strick

The BBFC rejected the 1970 cinema release.

It was later given a GLC X certificate. It was shown on Sky in the early 1990s. Its most recent UK showing was in November 2009, as part of the Barbican's directorspective of the work of Joseph Strick.

Trivia point: It's almost certainly the first US major-studio film to feature the word 'cunt' in its dialogue - earlier than the usual film so credited, Carnal Knowledge .

A Region 1 US releases is scheduled for 2010 from Olive Films

See review from IMDb : Fairly Explicit

The movie had difficulty synthesizing Henry Miller's  sense of sacred and profane in harmony. It tried now with a Rip Torn voiceover reading from Miller's work, then with some poetic shots of the beauty of Paris. It never really seemed to succeed.

The movie could never find anything to focus on. It represents a string of vignettes, and they don't seem to lead to any common goal. Many scenes seem to concentrate on the minor characters for much too long, and without apparent purpose. Such picaresque efforts rely on the charm of characterization for impact, and this film has some of that, but not enough. It's structured as if somebody said let's make a film of Tropic of Cancer without actually feeling any passion for why they wanted to do that.

It was certainly interesting to see Rip Torn so young and so good-looking, and to see Ellen Burstyn in such a flagrant display of nudity. Some of the locales are accurately evocative, and Torn is reasonably credible in the lead. It is fairly explicit in the sexual scenes, and extremely explicit in its use of language.

You could watch it and not feel you've wasted your time, but be advised that you won't feel much rewarded, either.

 

1st April   

Update: Win Bonuses...

MPs block shortcut to limit lawyers fees in libel cases
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Libel Reform Campaign logo A Statutory Instrument that would have reformed costs in English libel cases was stalled at committee stage tonight after several Labour MPs voted against their party whip to bock a reduction of lawyers' success fees from a 100%mark-up to 10%.

Chris Mullin, Peter Kilfoyle, Tom Watson and Jim Sheridan and Conservative Julie Kirkbride acted against the move. Watson and Kilfoyle have both taken advantage of Conditional Fee Agreements in past court cases. Other Conservative MPs abstained from the vote.

The proposal will now go to a full parliamentary vote.

 

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