Half of a Yellow Sun is a 2013 Nigeria/UK drama by Biyi Bandele.
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose.
In the US the film was rated R for some violence and sexual content. In the UK the film was rated 15 for strong violence and sex.
The most awaited movie of this year in Nigeria, Half of a Yellow Sun , has been banned by the country's film censorship board because the movie partially takes place during the Biafran War.
According to the director, Biyi Bandele, the movie scheduled to open in Nigeria last Friday was essentially banned as the country's film censorship board has refused to issue the movie a certificate.
The movie which is unites some of Nigeria's major cultural figures of civil war (also known as the Biafran War) is already showing in Britain and is scheduled to open in the United States next month.
It also had its premiere last year at the Toronto International Film Festival. And Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, who starred in the Academy Award-winning film, 12 Years a Slave , is one of the stars in the movie.
Bandele said officials seemed to be
Jittery about its content. That it deals with the Biafran War (from 1967 to 1970). That it might incite people to violence.
Bandele denounced what he characterized as a blatant attempt to suppress discussion about a crucial if painful episode in Nigeria's coming-of-age:
It is seriously shocking that someone would presume to be this arbiter of what Nigerians want and don't want to see.
Bandele suggested that the war remains largely taboo in the country's classrooms, making his film all the more important as a discussion point.
The songwriters behind Let It Go , the hit song from the successful Disney cartoon Frozen , have revealed that the word God is banned from Disney movies.
Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez explained that Disney was not a sanitized corporate environment but that one of the only places you have to draw the line at Disney is with religious things, the word God . Lopez went on to say: You can say it in Disney but you can't put it in the movie.
Somewhat understandable in this age of easy offence, the revelation is likely to draw the ire of Christian commentators who have already targeted Frozen for its supposed pro-gay propaganda.
Broadband ISP TalkTalk has come under fire for blocking access to the women's rights website sherights.com.
One TalkTalk customer quipped via Twitter:
TalkTalk_UK blocks me from sherights article on 'dude feminism.' Reason: 'Pornography.'
Turns out the whole sherights.com site is blocked. Heaven forbid kids learn about gender equality, right?
The efficacy of censorship through website blocking has been brought under scrutiny in recent times, as rather than block porn as advertised, the algorithms block more or less anything with a few adult terms.
When the negativity got too much, TalkTalk predictably unblocked the website but no doubt there are millions more that have not achieved the necessary outrage and are quietly being suffocated by the blocking.
It would be interesting to see if the crap blocking is affecting take up. If parent's favourite websites get blocked then surely they will be likely to turn it off entirely.
China has announced another miserable campaign against online pornography and has asked websites to remove any such links to avoid repressive punishment. The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications announced:
The campaign, Cleaning the Web 2014, will conduct thorough checkups on websites, search engines and mobile application stores, Internet TV USB sticks, and set-top boxes.
All online texts, pictures, videos and advertisements with pornographic content will be deleted. Websites, web channels and columns will be shut down or have their administrative license revoked if they are found to produce or spread pornographic
The campaign will last until November, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
China's state media services announced the progress of its Cleaning the Web 2014 campaign , which has resulted in the closure of 110 websites and more than 3,300 accounts containing supposedly obscene material since January.
A Chinese crackdown on pornography is taking a creative turn. Authorities have arrested over 20 women in Henan province for writing gay erotic fan fiction online, according to a report (video in Chinese) from Anhui Television. +
Exported from Japan in the 1990s, slash, a subset of fan fiction that usually focuses on attraction or sexual relationships between people of the same sex, has taken on a cult following in China. Chinese Slash or danmei-- literally indulging in beauty
--focuses almost exclusively on relationships between men.
The writers for danmei blogs and websites are usually heterosexual women in their 20s who make a few yuan on each of their stories. Comics, videos that embellish story lines from favorite TV shows, and stories circulate on Chinese social media regularly.
Sina Internet Information Service Co, one of China's Internet giants, has been suspended from engaging in Internet publication and audio and video dissemination for supposedly running pornographic content online, the National Office Against Pornographic
and Illegal Publications said.
We have revoked the two licenses of Sina.com, including those for Internet publication and network distribution of audiovisual programs, and fined the company up to 5 million yuan ($800,000), said Zhou Huilin, deputy director of the office.
Sina supposedly published about 20 obscene articles in its reading channel and posted four Internet audiovisual programs with claimed obscene information, said Shen Rui, an internet censor with the Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Enforcement
Bureau. He said that some of the articles that were investigated included 500 chapters, and the number of clicks was more than 1 million, which brought serious negative social impact and seriously harmed the physical and mental health of minors.
Government censors explained that the supposedly pornographic material, included a book called The Village Woman's Dream Lover: Village Doctor Wanted.
Sina have since grovelled with several profuse apologies.
The sculptor who created Blue Human Condition , A censored piece featured in the Adrian Art Discovery installation in downtown Adrian, Michegan, says he was surprised and disappointed to learn that there were people who found it offensive.
Mark Chatterley told Adrian Today:
I thought it was a pretty normal piece that didn't have any kind of sexual connotations. I really had to work at it to think about how it would offend people. I just didn't get it.
The sculptor shows seven androgynous figures resting on each other in various poses. Chatterley said the vision behind the piece was to portray the way people depend on each other. Chatterley explained:
My initial thought was that we all need each other for support. We can't do it alone and we are a global village, so we are all resting on someone else to survive. That's what this piece is about.
Whingers has complained to the city council that the sculpture was sexually suggestive, and the word orgy was used to describe it.
A US pastor has slammed a contemporary sculpture unveiled last month, claiming it depicts a gay sex orgy even though the figures are sexless. Local pastor Rick Strawcutter uploaded a video to YouTube to vent his anger about such a sculpture being on
public display .
In the video, entitled Adrian City Commission
Is Leading Us to Sodom , he not only attacks the sculpture, but also attacks the city commission for voting in favour of equal rights for LGBT people, who he says are an abomination. Everyone I know who sees this just feels like it is in itself an
abomination he said. Making various references to Sodom and Gomorrah, the Bible and God he also attacked what he called the gay agenda.
Support for the artist and the statue is evident as an online petition sprung up in order to stop the town from censoring or removing the sculpture. However, the sculpture was moved to Yew Park, as it was considered there would be less traffic and
Russia's repressive culture ministry and Parliament are seeking to censor strong language in theater and film.
The State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, is preparing to adopt a law authored by Stanislav Govorukhin. It will be aimed at banning the use of strong language in the arts. A year ago, a similar law restricting strong language on TV was
Minister of Censorship. Vladimir Medinsky, known for his repressive views, said that he supports the law and his agency will make sure that movies containing profanity will not obtain exhibition licenses. He said:
I believe that if a movie has a general release, it shouldn't have any profane language. Our stance is that profanity shouldn't be present on [theater] stage or in the movies.
He added that movies containing profanity could only be screened at film festivals as screenings of that kind don't require exhibition licenses.
The law is unlikely to affect Hollywood movies, though, as bad language in them has been traditionally translated into Russian using softer terms that are not considered profane.
The Russian parliament's lower house has passed a bill that bans swearing from films, music and other works of art.
The measure would impose fines for swearing in films, plays, concerts and shows, the Itar-Tass news agency reports . In addition, members of the public could face penalties of up to 2,500 roubles (£42; $70) for swearing in public and officials
would have to pay double.
The bill says a panel of experts will decide exactly what counts as a swear word. If the measure is approved by the upper house, it will be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin and take effect on 1 July 2014.
US Adult performers across the industry are reporting that JPMorgan Chase has sent hundreds of letters to performers informing them that their accounts will be closed May 11.
While Chase has yet to comment on the story, the company has a history of enforcing a quasi-morality clause, prohibiting some businesses deemed adult in nature.
This story was supplemented by reporting by Perez Hilton, who spoke to several sources inside the adult industry, one of whom sent a screenshot of the letter. We recently reviewed the account and determined that we will be closing it on May 11, 2014,
the letter from Chase wrote. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.
After the Perez Hilton story went live, other porn performers, including Layton Benton and Teagan Presley, began posting similar letters from Chase Bank on Twitter. Benton's account was actually closed on April 11.
And these aren't isolated incidents. According to XBiz, Chase Bank has actually been shutting down porn performers' accounts over the past few months.
A worthy, but hardly riveting, episode with all participants taking the issues as seriously as one would expect.
In the news section, the BBFC mentioned the burdensome extension of film censorship to documentaries, music, sport and DVD extras. But the presenter rather dismissed concerns about economic viability with a well its for the protection of children.
It seems strange that the powers that be are so concerned about kids needing protection from sexy videos yet seem so keen to push Britain towards poverty by steadily inventing ever more expensive new rules that stifle people's ability to make some money
for their families
Right now, Obama is meeting with leaders in Asia to finalize the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
The TPP threatens to censor your Internet1, kill jobs, undermine environmental safeguards, and remove your democratic rights2.
We're going to get the attention of decision-makers and the media by projecting a Stop The Secrecy message on key buildings in Washington D.C. - but we need you to add your voice now.
The TPP is huge: It covers 40% of the global economy and will overwrite national laws affecting people around the world.3
The worst of the TPP threatens everything we care about: democracy, jobs, health, the environment, and the Internet. That's why decision-makers are meeting in Asia under extreme secrecy and pushing Fast Track laws to cement the plan into place.
This is no way to make decisions in the 21st century. We need to raise a loud global call to expose this dangerous secrecy now.
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has found himself at the centre of a trivial 'racism' row following a comment he made during the final show of the series.
Clarkson was commenting on a newly constructed makeshift bridge over the River Kwai: That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it , as a man walked towards them on the bridge. Fellow presenter Richard Hammond replied saying: You're right,
it's definitely higher on that side.
A few viewers took to Twitter in 'shock' following his use of the word slope in the second episode of the two-part special, which is apparently considered a derogatory term for people of Asian decent.
One wrote: Topgear - There's a slope on it - Subtle racism!, while another viewer appeared to agree: That slope joke on Top Gear tonight was ill advised. A great show ultimately spoilt by a gag too far.'
The BBC has received a formal complaint over an supposedly racist remark made by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson during one of the show's Burma specials.
A law firm acting on behalf of the nearly unknown actress Somi Guha has written to the BBC claiming Clarkson's use of the word slope , which can be used as a derogatory term for people of Asian descent, contravened the Equality Act 2010. Guha is
seeking an apology and disciplinary action against Clarkson. In the formal complaint, sent to the corporation's management and the BBC Trust, law firm Equal Justice wrote:
Casual racism in the media by established BBC stalwarts is constantly brushed aside. Discrimination within the industry is accepted. Racial profiling of roles is accepted and expected. I find it offensive that Jeremy Clarkson refers to people of
different races in pejorative terms.
[The show] must be censured to ensure that another race or nation is not targeted, and that the BBC should give due consideration to not re-commissioning Top Gear until these matters are addressed.
The show attracted 10 other complaints from viewers.
Update: Top Gear's producer grovels over trivial quip
Top Gear's executive producer, Andy Wilman, has expressed regret for supposed offence caused by a quip on the show made by presenter Jeremy Clarkson that some easily offended viewers found racist. In a statement, Wilman said:
When we used the word "slope" in the recent Top Gear Burma special it was a light-hearted wordplay joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it.
We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive and although it might not be widely recognised in the UK, we appreciate that it can be considered offensive
to some here and overseas, for example in Australia and the USA.
If we had known that at the time we would not have broadcast the word in this context and regret any offence caused.
An online trailer for the film Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones , which played before games on www.girlsgogames.com, began with a woman saying, What is this? and a man replying, It's some black magic stuff . A number of brief
scenes from the film followed, including a sheet flying quickly towards the camera, a man pulling a long thread from his eye, something smashing through the window of car, objects flying around a living room as a woman screamed, arms breaking through a
door, a girl looking through a trapdoor and being grabbed by the arm, a close-up of a woman looking frightened, and two young girls with a ghostly appearance and no eyes speaking in demonic voices. The ad also featured night vision clips of cinema
audience members screaming, shielding their eyes and looking frightened. On-screen text interspersed between scenes stated NEW YEAR ... NEW FEAR . Issue
The complainant challenged whether the ad had been responsibly targeted, because it was likely to be seen by children and would cause them harm and distress.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA considered the overall tone and the content of the ad, including in particular the scene of two young girls with a ghostly appearance and no eyes speaking in demonic voices, was likely to cause harm and distress to children.
We acknowledged Paramount Pictures UK had instructed their media buying agency to buy online advertising space aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds, and that the ad should only be served between 8 pm and 6 am. We considered, however, that the Girls Go Games
website was, due to its overall design and the type of games it featured, likely to have strong appeal to children, and to young girls in particular. We noted that according to SPIL Games BV, 32% of users of the Girls Go Games website were 12 years of
age and under, which we considered to be a significant percentage of the website's users. We also noted that 61% of website users were between 13 and 22 years of age, and we considered it likely that a significant portion of websites users in that age
group would fall into the lower end of that age range, given the design of the website and types of games featured.
Because the ad had been targeted to a website which was used by a significant proportion of children, and we considered the ad was not suitable for children, we concluded it had not been responsibly targeted.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on President Vladimir Putin to veto a new bill that would subject popular bloggers to the same restrictions as traditional media in Russia. The bill was approved by Russia's parliament, the State Duma, in
its final reading.
The bill would apply to blogs with more than 3,000 daily visitors. As with other laws recently adopted in Russia, the language of the bill is broad and open to wide-ranging interpretation and selective implementation by government agencies. It bans
bloggers from using their platforms for committing crimes, divulging state secrets, publishing extremist materials, as well as propagating pornography, the cult of violence, and cruelty, according to local press reports . They would also be banned
from using swear words, the news agency Itar-Tass reported.
The bill would also require the bloggers to publish their real names and contact details, news reports said. They would be allowed to publish only confirmed information and could be punished for distributing unchecked facts , the news website
Lenta reported. Punishment for violating the law would range from a fine of up to 500,000 rubles (US$14,000) to suspension of blogging activities for up to 30 days.
CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said:
We call on President Vladimir Putin to veto this restrictive bill that, if passed, will censor the remaining independent voices in Russian media. The broad restrictions laid out by this legislation invite both its abuse by Russian authorities to silence
their critics and self-censorship on the part of bloggers in order to avoid potential repercussions.
If signed into law, the new bill will go into effect on August 1, the Russian press reported.
Foreign companies will soon be able to produce and sell game consoles in China , although they do have to work with a local partner and operate out of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
All games will have to be approved by the "culture department in charge" . Happily, this refers to the local Shanghai government culture department, not the probably-more-strict national Ministry of Culture.
Games that are not approved will be returned with the reason for their rejection clearly stated. That certainly suggests that rejected games may be easy to fix and resubmit. Content that won't be allowed in games includes:
Gambling-related content or game features
Anything that violates China's constitution
Anything that threatens China's national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity.
Anything that harms the nation's reputation, security, or interests.
Anything that instigates racial/ethnic hatred, or harms ethnic traditions and cultures.
Anything that violates China's policy on religion by promoting cults or superstitions.
Anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling.
Anything that harms public ethics or China's culture and traditions.
Anything that insults, slanders, or violates the rights of others.
Other content that violates the law
Obviously, many of these can be interpreted broadly or very selectively, but there's reason to hope that the Shanghai local government will take a less broad approach than the Ministry of Culture might have. However, it seems highly unlikely that the
likes of Grand Theft Auto will be available any time soon.
Hundreds of students and activists marched in Mexico's capital Tuesday to protest a telecommunications law being debated by the Senate that they say will allow the government to arbitrarily censor Internet content.
Protesters carrying signs that read No to Censorship and Freedom of Expression marched to the Senate building after organizing the demonstration on social networks.
One of the most controversial articles in the proposed law allows the government to request that internet providers block access to certain content, applications or services, including cutting off cellphone service or Internet access if it
considers there is a risk to public safety.
If they can block Internet and cellphone signals whenever the government wants that will leave us very vulnerable and go against our own security, said protester Carla Sandoval.
A French judge has dismissed charges that Bob Dylan incited racial hate by making a comparison between Croatians and Nazis in an interview with Rolling Stone. Prosecutors are now said to be pursuing the magazine's French publisher, Michel
Birnbaum, for his decision to print the remarks.
In the interview Dylan compared the relationship between Jews and Nazis to that of Serbs and Croats. He is reported to have said:
Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery - that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that.
If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.
After the interview was published, the easily offended Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) filed a complaint.
According to the AFP, a judge ruled that Dylan had not given his consent for his Rolling Stone statements to be published in France.
All 3 of the I Spit on Your Grave films so far have been censored in the UK, so it looks a fair bet that the 4th will also invoke similar censorial ire.
CineTel, who produced the two recent offereings, have decided to go into production for a 3rd time. The story:
Will focus on a serial killer that uses a crisis hotline to target rapists. One of the counsellors has a dark past, which sends detectives sniffing in her direction -- but is she the killer they're looking for?
There's a good chance that Steven R. Monroe, who helmed the last two instalments, will return for this latest effort.
Rouh's Beauty is a 2014 Egypt drama by Sameh Abdelaziz.
Starring Salah Abdallah, Nagwa Fouad and Mohamed Lotfy.
Egypt's interim Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahleb has banned a recently released Egyptian film, Halawet Rooh (Rouh's Beauty) . It will now be withdrawn from movie theatres and resubmitted to the country's censorship board.
The decision comes after the for-adults-only film, released on 3 April, was hit with a wave of moral indignation accusing it of containing heavy sexual connotations that violate the Egyptian moral code .
The film, which revolves around Rooh, played by Egyptian/Lebanese diva Haifa Wahbe, who becomes the object of desire of all the men in her working class neighbourhood while her husband is away.
A review published last week in the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm took aim at Halawet Rooh under the title of How to Make an Egyptian Porno , which accused the film of unsuccessfully posing as drama while it was only concerned with sexually
arousing the audience .
Other morality campaigners have joined the crusade against the film. The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) claimed:
The film includes language and scenes that negatively affects the morals of children.
Meanwhile the easily offended in Qatar have also been campaigning against the film.
Supposedly, the indecent nature of the film has caused social media outrage due to the x-rated content, which was deemed inappropriate to the norms of the conservative Arab culture. The hashtag #banbeautyofthesouldmovie was trending on Twitter in
support of banning the film from screening in Qatari cinemas.
They claim the film was banned in some of Qatar's neighbouring countries for its brazen display of nudity, and the sexual undertones. 'Concerned' Qatari citizens said:
How could they have approved such a movie, we need new regulations to ensure that such unconventional movies are kept out of our islamic society.
The head of Egypt's censorship board has resigned after the country's prime minister overruled his decision to allow the screening of the film Roh's Sweetness .
Ahmed Awad, undersecretary to the culture minister and head of the censorship authority, told The Associated Press that he had submitted his resignation in response to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab's decision to stop the film from being shown. The
censorship board is meant to be an independent body that gives the final say on whether a movie can be seen by Egyptian audiences. Awad said:
Of course I'm not happy with what happened I did this out of respect for myself.
Egypt's Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb has decided to form a panel tasked with restructuring the Censorship Authority following a controversy over his earlier decision to ban Lebanese star Haifa Wehbe's latest movie, which was deemed as supposedly
The PMs decision came after he had met with a number of actors, directors, authors and film critics. A Cabinet statement said:
The panel will be comprised of representatives of artistic associations and syndicates, as well as specialists, in order to introduce a developed ideology for the authority.
A poster advertising a satirical play about the Monarchy and, showing Prince Charles gagged, has been censored by London Underground because it fears it could cause offence.
The advert for the critically acclaimed production of King Charles III features a punk-style portrait of the Prince with his mouth covered by white duct tape.
But despite the fact that the poster has been displayed across London since the play opened nearly three weeks ago, a nervous Transport for London has decided to pixelate Charles's face.
There appeared to be confusion over exactly why the poster had been censored. TfL laid the blame on the company that deals with adverts on the Tube:
We work with a company called Exterion Media, which handles our adverts on the Tube network and offers advice. They may say this or that could cause offence. Exterion may have said the poster doesn't fit with part of their policy. The decision was made
without reference to us and does look to have been a little over-enthusiastic. We will speak to them about it.
The Parents Television Council is calling on Fox Broadcasting to immediately remove the explicit video, Easter Bunny's Coming, from its YouTube Channel for its Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) programming block.
The video short, which is produced and copyrighted by Fox Broadcasting Network, contains graphic cartoon images of fornicating rabbits, multiple unbleeped f-words, harsh references to male sexual anatomy and vulgar slang for ejaculation.
PTC President Tim Winter said:
Nine months ago we issued an urgent warning to parents, as well as a harsh condemnation to Fox Broadcasting and potential sponsors, regarding the network's new 'ADHD' programming block. Fox has now validated our concerns by creating the most explicit
material we've ever seen produced by a broadcast television network. Though still being distributed by Fox only via the Internet, the network is using its weekly broadcast to promote the website, and children are clearly in the cross hairs. And the
recently tarnished retailer, Target, appears to be underwriting explicit material on the 'ADHD' website.
We thought we had seen the worst of 'ADHD' when Fox aired a segment several months ago with high school characters gleefully taking cell phone pictures of their genitals and texting the photos to other students. That content pales in comparison to the
material in this new video.
The animated Easter Bunny clip, which runs 2 minutes and 19 seconds in duration, features over a dozen unbleeped 'f-words;' depictions of dozens of fornicating rabbits; more than a dozen instances of a vulgar slang term for ejaculation; a depiction of a
male character eating rabbit feces; and music lyrics that are grotesquely sexualizing and misogynistic. An overt reference to Christians and Jews only adds to the offensive nature of a video being promoted during Holy Week and Passover.
The 'ADHD' Easter Bunny segment isn't some random Internet video, it's easily X-rated material that directly targets, and appeals to, children. The content is produced and copyrighted by one of the major commercial broadcast television networks and
they're using the publicly-owned airwaves as a promotional vehicle to drive traffic to the 'ADHD' website. The suits at Fox will need to explain how such a use of their broadcast licenses fulfills their statutory public interest obligation.
The Parents Television Council welcomed the news that Fox Broadcasting has decided to cancel its Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) programming block, and praised the efforts of parents and families across the country for raising their voices.
According to Broadcasting & Cable: Some [Fox affiliates] had tired of fielding calls from upset viewers.
PTC President Tim Winter said:
Parents and families across the country rose up and called on their local Fox affiliates not to air 'ADHD' because of the violent and sexually explicit content, which routinely used familiar and beloved children's characters as tropes. We congratulate
our members on their activism which has led Fox Broadcasting to make this wise decision.
NBC's newest program, About A Boy , could be misleading to parents with this title, but with a TV-14 rating you can be assured this will not be for family viewing. The name of the show along with the age of the primary cast member will
attract young viewers. The content in this program, and even its commercials, is inappropriate for young viewers.
The show uses foul language and includes sexual encounters and innuendos throughout the entire thirty-minute program.
NBC's newest show is irresponsible and tasteless. It is appalling that NBC intends to air a show that features immoral behavior in a positive light while attempting to draw in young viewers with the title and adolescent plot of the program. The network
should be ashamed of themselves for also exposing this young male actor to this filth and crude humor.
New episodes air on Tuesday evenings at 9:00 p.m. EST/8:00 CST.
Google has clarified its email scanning practices in a terms of service update, informing users that incoming and outgoing emails are analysed by automated software. The revisions explicitly state:
Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent,
received, and when it is stored.
Google's ads use information gleaned from a user's email combined with data from their Google profile as a whole, including search results, map requests and YouTube views, to display what it considers are relevant ads in the hope that the user is more
likely to click on them and generate more advertising revenue for Google.
A psychopathic murderer character in a play had his age raised by censors as gay sex was considered too shocking at the time, new research reveals.
Gay British playwright Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane , which first premiered in 1964, was forcibly changed by the Lord Chamberlain's Office.
Emma Parker, a professor from the University of Leicester, came across several letters when she was researching for the 50th edition of the play.
Orton wrote in his letters he wanted the main character Sloane, a psychopath, to be 17 in first edition. He was made into a 20-year-old man in the later editions, making Sloane's sexual encounters with two siblings less provoking.
In Orton's letters, he also stated the Lord Chamberlain's Office had forced him to change words like shit and bugger in the play. Orton was told the actors playing Kath and Sloane were expressly forbidden to simulate copulation.
Dr Parker's new edition of Entertaining Mr Sloane will be launched at the University of Leicester's Bookshop on Tuesday 6 May at 12 pm.
Sex and censorship in Indian cinema Bollywood may be the blushing ballerina to Hollywood's brazen pole-dancing stripper, but, as the history of film censorship in India reveals, its screen stars are no stranger to the lip lock
The Raid 2 is a 2014 Indonesia action crime thriller by Gareth Evans.
With Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle and Yayan Ruhian.
In an interview with Hypable, director Gareth Evens has provided a few more details about what was cut for an MPAA R rating:
Hypable : After seeing this finished version of the film and the previous unrated cut at Sundance, I barely noticed any changes. How were you able to get through the MPAA ratings board with so few changes?
Gareth Evans: We were very lucky because the changes were minimal. We did make some changes but they're so subtle like cutting a couple of frames here and there. Also, there were some issues with Hammer Girl where she impacts to the flesh. Impacts
to the flesh are okay but impacts to the flesh and dragging the body are not. I trimmed here and there and thankfully you didn't notice, which is great for me.
On April 11, several Myanmar newspapers and journals blacked-out their front pages to protest the jailing of journalists by the national government.
The Myanmar Journalist Network says five journalists are currently detained in Myanmar, despite the government's commitment to further expand media freedom in the country.
The protest was organized right after a multimedia reporter for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an independent online publication, was sentenced by a local court to one year in prison for trespassing on government property and disrupting the work of
a government official. The case involved Zaw Pe, a reporter covering a Japanese-funded scholarship program in 2012. He was accused of trespassing after attempting to visit and take footage at an office of the national Department of Education in central
Myanmar during office hours.
In an interview with Irawaddy.com, DVB bureau chief Toe Zaw Latt called the sentence outrageous :
He was taking the video recording during office hours. It's outrageous that he is being sentenced for trespassing...We have to question the degree of press freedom in the country.
These are not good signs for press freedom, if journalists have to face a lawsuit for covering news during office hours. We are worried that these actions might be a sign of restrictions in press freedom again, as it was in the past.
An Oxford church has had to cancel its Passion play after a council worker in charge of censorship apparently thought that it was a sex show and could cause grave offence .
The performance, telling the story of the crucifixion of Christ, had been planned for Good Friday by St Stephen's House Theological College and Saints Mary and John Church in Oxford.
The worker in question apparently did not know that a Passion play was a religious affair, and thought it was an obscene production.
The Oxford performance was previously held in 2012, without a licence, when an audience of some 200 watched Jesus, haul a wooden cross from Cowley Road Methodist church to Saints Mary and John. This year, the organisers decided to stage a repeat, but
were told they must apply to the council's censors for a licence, and were astonished when they were turned down.
A church source told MailOnline:
A council official didn't read the paperwork properly and didn't realise it was a religious play, so told us we needed an events licence when we didn't. If they'd told us 24 hours earlier, we would have had time to apply for and get one, but we ran out
of time. It's frustrating because we didn't need one in any case - they just hadn't read what the play was about.
LMPs and religious groups criticised the unbelievable actions of Oxford City Council. Local government minister Brandon Lewis said:
This is typical health and safety bureaucracy that one can sadly expect from a Labour run-council.
Julian Alison, licensing team leader at Oxford City Council, apologised:
I would like to apologise for a wrong decision that I made late on Friday afternoon in relation to the planned Passion play on Cowley Road.
At the time of processing the application, I did not appreciate that this was a religious event. I made a mistake and by the time I realised my mistake, the organisers had cancelled the event. Such a mistake will not happen again.
This statement surely asks a lot of questions about how one person is given the power to censor productions on a personal whim, and without due consideration, just because she thought there was a sexual connection. She should be forced to pay
compensation for her gross negligence to all those participants who have wasted their time and effort.
Religious morality campaigners, One Million Moms, praise the CBS TV comedy Mom :
CBS is Still Making Moms Look Awful
If possible, try to imagine the worst possible characteristics a mother could have. Then multiply that by ten, and you have the entire theme of the television program Mom. The characters of the mom and her mother both set terrible examples and are
the farthest from positive role models for women today. Children will also see this program - which airs entirely too early considering the content presented - and they will be affected negatively by this broken television family.
CBS's newest program, Mom , could mislead parents with this title, but with a TV-14 DL rating, you can be assured this will not be for family viewing. The name of the show along with the age of the child cast members will attract young viewers.
The content in this program and in its commercials is inappropriate and will send the wrong message to America's youth.
Offensive content in the program includes: teen pregnancies, affairs, sexual innuendos, drug use, alcohol abuse, crude language and mocking Christianity.
New episodes air on Monday evenings at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 CT.
Carrie was submitted to the BBFC for classification in November 1976. Language, implied off-screen sexual activity and the cruelty of the early bullying scenes kept the film out of the AA category (over 14s) and placed it in the higher X certificate
(over 18s), although the examiner report observes it would be a perfect film for a 16-year-old-category .
For a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources, including the use of stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive
presentations or other visual material, a gold medal.
Awarded to The Washington Post for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of
Awarded to The Guardian US for its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security
A TV ad, for the computer game Dead Rising 3 , presented in the style of a news broadcast featured the newsreader with blood on her clothes and in her hair. Partial text on screen stated ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE . The camera shook and studio
lights flickered; a zombie shadow was seen in the background and the shaking legs of another zombie were shown sticking up from the floor. The newsreader described a possible saviour for mankind before she slumped forward, splattering blood.
Straightening up, she was revealed as a white faced, bloodied zombie, before she lurched towards the camera. Small monitor screens on the right of the screen showed clips from the game throughout the ad.
The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm restriction.
Three viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable for broadcast, because of the distressing and graphic images.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted the ad was intended for a post-9 pm audience and had been scheduled during a season of horror, science fiction and action programmes where the zombie theme would not appear out of place. Although there were some elements of horror in the ad
with the blood splattered newsreader transforming into a white faced zombie lurching towards the camera, we considered that the clearly over-the-top acting and comic tone, such as a pair of shaking legs sticking up from the floor, removed any real
element of horror or distress from the ad. We also noted the ad did not include any violence or graphic horror action.
We acknowledged that the ad would not be suitable for a younger audience, who would be unlikely to understand the comic nature of the ad, but concluded that the ad was not unsuitable for broadcast after 9pm.
Two TV ads, for a women's clothing company, Missguided, featured a young woman posing in different outfits to the song Jack with the repeated lyrics I want your body, everybody wants your body, so let's Jack.
Two viewers challenged whether the ads were sexually suggestive and inappropriate for broadcast when children might be watching.
One viewer challenged whether the ads were suitable for broadcast before 9pm.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted the model was shown posing in different outfits, but considered that her stance consisted of traditional model poses used to accentuate the clothing, rather than being sexually suggestive. Although the model was briefly shown pouting at the
camera, we considered that her action was only mildly sexual in nature and the quick shot was unlikely to be understood by children. The outfits featured in the ads were not particularly revealing, other than a leotard that showed more of the model's
legs than the other clothing, but nonetheless there was no sexual connotation attached to the garment.
We understood that the song played during the ads referred to a style of dance. Although the lyrics were open to mild sexual interpretation, we considered that very young children would be unlikely to understand that allusion and the song was not
unsuitable for older children, many already likely to be familiar with the song and its dance based lyrics.
We considered that the ads were not sexually explicit or suggestive and were unlikely to cause harm to children or to a more general audience. We therefore concluded that the ads were suitable to be broadcast at anytime.
The Other Woman is a 2014 USA comedy by Nick Cassavetes.
Starring Cameron Diaz, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Kate Upton.
Cameron Diaz, represented her upcoming movie The Other Woman successfully appealed the MPAA's Classification and Rating Appeals Board to overturn its initial R rating for some sexual references.
The film is now rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language.
As a comparison the film was passed 12A uncut in the UK for infrequent strong language, moderate sex references.
While speaking to a group of reporters on the red carpet about The Other Woman, Diaz said:
It's really unfortunate that [members of the ratings board] see things that women do a little bit more strict -- they judge us a little bit more than they do men. A lot of the things that they're judging -- like we say, 'You need to close your vagina.'
Like, you can't say 'vagina' ... What's wrong with a vagina? Guys make reference to their parts all the times nowadays without getting the R rating.
The Daily Mail has praised the first of episode of Season 4 of Game of Thrones:
A prince strips a posing group of prostitutes naked one by one as he selects a companion for the night. It sounds like a scene from a porn film, but this was the latest episode of the epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones, based on the novels of George R R
Other scenes in the episode, which followed the Stark family coming to terms with the killing of their relatives at the end of season three, featured an attempted rape and graphic disembowelment.
Some 700,000 tuned in to watch its long-awaited return on Sky Atlantic at 9pm. The prostitute scene came ten minutes from the start, 10 minutes after the TV watershed.
Miranda Suit, of the religious morality campaign, Safermedia, said:
What are [young girls] learning from some of these storylines? That what most men want is their body and handing it over is one of the easiest ways to get their attention. This does a great disservice to both men and women.
Pippa Smith of Safermedia asked:
Extreme sadistic violence and sexual violence involving harpooning prostitutes and what appears to be attempted rape served up for television entertainment?
That this series is so popular is deeply troubling and no doubt it is particularly popular with young boys and teens many of whom who are already becoming desensitised, more aggressive and lacking in empathy from the violence in films and video games and
Vivienne Pattinson of Mediatwatch-UK agreed that while the quality of the scenery was fabulous and the acting brilliant , there was a worrying undertone of violence being acceptable. She said:
It's normalising this violence and unhealthy relationships, or whatever it is. It's giving it a context and that is worrying.
Megan MacLeod of Sky Atlantic said:
'HBO's Game of Thrones sits perfectly alongside Sky Atlantic's range of bold content which we know our customers enjoy.
Sir Anthony May, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, has launched a review to see if there is excessive monitoring of people's phone calls and emails as figures show more than 1,400 requests are made every day.
He fears police may automatically resort to checking an individual's communications at the outset of an investigation when it is not justified.
Last year, a total of 514,608 requests were made for such data, the majority of which came from police forces. In his first report since taking up the post, Sir Anthony said a review would now:
Take a critical look at the constituents of this bulk to see if there might be a significant institutional overuse.
Since a very large proportion of these communications data applications come from police and law enforcement investigations, it may be that criminal investigations generally are now conducted with such automatic resort to communications data that
applications are made and justified as necessary and proportionate, when more emphasis is placed on advancing the investigations with the requirements of privacy unduly subordinated.
In a landmark ruling, the European Court of Justice has declared the EU's Data Retention directive to be a violation of Internet users' privacy.
Under the Directive Internet providers and other telecom companies were required to log and store vast amounts of information, including who their subscribers communicate with, and what IP-addresses they use.
The local authorities could then use this information to fight serious crimes, but it was also been frequently used by third parties, in online piracy cases for example.
The Court ruled that the data collection requirements are disproportionate:
The Court is of the opinion that, by adopting the Data Retention Directive, the EU legislature has exceeded the limits imposed by compliance with the principle of proportionality.
By requiring the retention of those data and by allowing the competent national authorities to access those data, the directive interferes in a particularly serious manner with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of
It's now up to the individual member states to change local laws accordingly. Meanwhile the Swedish provider Bahnhof immediately announced that it would wipe all subscriber data it stored. Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung said:
Bahnhof stops all data storage with immediate effect. In addition, we will delete the information that was already saved.
Russian lawmakers are thinking about new legislation for the censorship of computer games.
Some of the proposals are a little bit more novel than simply introducing mandatory age restrictions. For instance, the Ukrainian crisis and a controversial game it has spawned, namely, a multiplayer game called Maidan , referring to the
Independence Square, the ground zero for Ukrainian protests which began last year, have prompted Russian legislators to look into tighter regulation of the industry.
State Duma deputy Oleg Mikheev has drawn up a bill which prohibits videogames, which spread war propaganda, national and religious hatred and strife and introduces fines for distribution of pro-Nazi games. He said:
The Ukrainian events have shown that comprehensive harsh punitive measures for crimes of indirect propaganda and justification of Nazism is a burning political issue. Such propaganda is being spread through seemingly innocent media -- videogames. Their
real agenda may be defamation of Russia's historic past, its current status and creation of the country's negative image for both foreign nationals and our compatriots. We need to fight that.
Other deputies so far have supported this legal initiative. Vadim Dengin, a deputy who often pens bills related to the digital world, suggested that the new bill can protect children and adolescents from anti-Russian propaganda. While he stressed that
governmental regulation of videogames is needed, he noted that the final version of the bill will take into consideration opinions of experts, such as gamers, psychologists and other specialists with knowledge of this issue.
There is a similar initiative targeting websites. The Federation Council has proposed introducing a harsher law on protection of the younger generation from information which may harm their health or development. If the proposed bill passes, websites
will have to mark their content, warning children and their parents of potentially harmful media. This includes media which uses special tricks in order to affect the subconscious, causing disorders of moral, spiritual and psychological development. The
same goes for media which provokes children to conduct anti-social and illegal actions and actions, potentially harmful to their life or health. The list also includes intimidating information -- media, which can cause recurrent fears, panic or
A well known TV bailiff has failed in a high court bid to censor a John Sweeney Panorama investigation into debt recovery being broadcast.
Jamie Waller's JBW Group tried to get an injunction against the BBC programme, which is due to air on Monday night, after it learned of undercover filming of staff working for the company.
Monday night's Panorama goes undercover to expose the bailiffs who seize cars and demand huge fees in what has become a multi-million pound business chasing unpaid parking tickets.
A BBC spokesman confirmed on Monday the attempt to block the programme and said the company had argued in its application that it should be granted the injunction of the grounds of defamation. It was denied the application by a high court judge, Mr
Justice Tugendhat, on Friday.
The independent production company making the Panorama film, Snapper, sent a letter alleging that the company had breached relevant regulation, guidelines and committed unlawful acts by its agents . JBW Group said it had provided a detailed
response to the letter comprehensively dealing with all points and allegations made by Snapper .
A BBC statement about the programme stated:
Bailiffs recovering debts for local authorities say they do a public service, hunting down those who don't pay up. But Panorama has evidence that some bailiffs are intimidating motorists, exaggerating their powers and pumping up fees.
Graham Jules who has written a book for entrepreneurs called Business Zero to Superhero received a letter from Marvel & DC's solicitors demanding he refrain from using the word super hero!
He is now in the position of fighting or scrapping the entire book. He says:
I am running a small business and cannot see how I can fight Iron Man, Spiderman and Captain America all by myself! Having looked into this further I can see Marvel & DC have tried this before, threatening small publishers from using the word
superhero in their work. It's not very fair, superhero is a word used by many comic books and creative writers
On further investigation it appears DC & Marvel have held the trademark Super heroes since 1979, however lawyers are divided as to whether this should ever have been granted. Apparently there is a strong case that the word super hero is generic
or in common every day usage and as such should be free for all to use.
As a small business and new author, I do not have the resources to compete with Marvel & DC, but I am willing to give it a go...
Members of the media and others often have attributed violence in video games as a potential cause of social ills, such as increased levels of teen violence and school shootings. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found that media acceptance of
video game violence has increased as video game technology has improved over time. Greg Perreault, a doctoral student at the MU School of Journalism, examined the coverage of violent video games throughout the 1990s by GamePro Magazine, the most popular
video game news magazine during that time period. Perreault found that journalists from GamePro expressed a considerable amount of concern about the level of violence in the game software companies were creating in the early 1990s, when video game design
was limited by technology. Perreault said:
Early in the '90s, when video games were still a relatively new medium, journalists expressed quite a bit of concern about the level of violence in many of the games,. It is interesting because the simulated violence in these games was so mild relative
to modern-day games.
As technology improved throughout 1990s, new gaming systems such as the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation were released, along with the capacity for higher levels of graphic violence. Perreault found that despite this increase, the levels of concern about
violence from GamePro journalists decreased. Perreault said:
As technology improved and the animations became more and more life-like, game creators had increased capability to design more graphic violence, including blood and gore. Despite this increasing amount of violence, journalists seemed to be less and less
bothered by the blood and guts. This is important to note because journalism often mirrors the culture of the audience it serves. As technology improved, the entire gaming community became more and more comfortable with the levels of violence that were
simultaneously increasing in video games. In a sense, the gaming community grew up. They aged from children using video games as toys to adolescents and adults using them as recreational devices. It appears that journalists reflected this trend in their
Perreault says the video game rating system is another example of this trend. He says when the rating system first was created, gaming journalists opposed it; however, as games become more and more violent, the rating system is used continually as a
defense against outside criticism:
As more and more parents and outside sources criticize violent games, gamers and gaming journalists point to the rating system and say that parents should not allow their kids to play violent games with explicit ratings. Ultimately, the trend in violent
games is a reflection of what interests our society. Similar trends can be found in the increased number of 'R' rated movies as well as the popularity of gangster rap and other violent music. Video games are just another way our culture is expressing
Perreault will present his research at the International Communication Association conference in Seattle this May.
Noah is a 2014 USA adventure drama by Darren Aronofsky.
With Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Hopkins.
A home ministry official has confirmed that Noah will not be screened in Malaysia. Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, chairman of the home ministry's Film Censorship Board, said the decision to ban the film was made about two weeks ago. He said:
Yes, I can confirm that it has been banned by the board, the movie can cause quite a lot of anger and distress if it is shown in Malaysia.
Abdul Halim said the main reason for the ban was the portrayal of Noah by Crowe, since Islam forbids visual depictions of any prophet.
A flood of tributes from across the political and public spectrum have been paid to the Scottish politician Margo MacDonald, who died on Friday aged 70 after a long, public struggle with Parkinson's disease.
From the moment she burst on to the scene with the SNP in the 70s to her bitter bust-up with the party and reinvention as a popular independent politician, she never relinquished her role as a political firebrand and maverick operator.
Serious yet charismatic, Ms MacDonald was hugely influential within the Scottish independence movement for more than 40 years.
She was also known for high-profile campaigns, from protecting female sex workers to legalising assisted suicide for the terminally ill - an issue which took on a deeply personal significance.
In fact she also stood up for workers in other adult industries, notably lap dancing.
Turkey's telecoms authority lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter, after the constitutional court ruled the previous day that the block breached freedom of expression.
Turkey's Official Gazette published the court's ruling on Thursday morning, further piling pressure on the telecoms authority, TIB, to lift the ban. TIB removed court orders blocking the site from its webpage on Thursday afternoon, after which Erdogan's
office confirmed the ban was no more.
YouTube however remains offline in Turkey. The TIB blocked it one week after blocking Twitter. Legal challenges are pending.
Turkey's telecoms regulator removed an official order blocking access to YouTube from its website on Tuesday after the country's top court ruled last week that the ban was a breach of human rights.
The video-sharing website will be accessible in Turkey later on Tuesday, an official at the office of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Reuters: As the constitutional court verdict was received today, YouTube will be open to access
A British woman has been locked up in Iran for five months after posting derogatory comments about the country's government on Facebook and fears she will be executed.
Concerns are growing for the welfare of Roya Saberi Negad Nobakht, from Stockport, who has been charged with insulting Islamic sanctities , a crime which can be punishable by death. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it was urgently
looking into her case.
Mrs Nobakht was in Iran visiting family in October last year when she was arrested by police as she arrived by plane in the south western city of Shiraz, according to an account given by her husband, Daryoush Taghipoor.
She was then taken back to Tehran and charged with gathering and participation with intent to commit crime against national security and insulting Islamic sanctities , according to a copy of her charge sheet seen by The Independent .
Mr Taghipoor, who is currently in Iran, claimed that his wife's arrest was over comments she had made on a Facebook group about the government being too Islamic , and that she had only been charged after a confession was extracted from her under duress
To: Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Dear Ms. Miller,
Please forgive this open letter; it's an ungainly form of communication but I approached your department for an interview and didn't hear back. So...
You might not realise it but the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has undertaken a course of action that puts a number of small businesses at direct risk. Right now, Britain has some of the most exciting and inventive independent DVD labels in the
world, companies doing everything from producing definitive editions of art-house classics to rescuing the forgotten treasures of British film.
The sheer quality of their work has made them indispensable to discerning viewers around the globe. Hell, if you want a recommendation, just ask the Prime Minister -- those Borgen box-sets he's so fond of are released by Arrow Films , one of our
All that's under threat because of new regulations from the DCMS.
Let me explain: as it stands, the Video Recordings Act 1984 exempts certain types of material -- including documentary articles -- from the scrutiny of the British Board of Film Classification (an organisation, it's important to note, that charges
heftily for its services).
Since most DVD extras -- the featurettes, interviews and visual essays that so often supplement the main feature -- are classed as 'documentaries', independent DVD labels can create high-quality special editions stuffed to the gunnels with extra material
without incurring the prohibitive BBFC costs.
That's all going to change. The VRA is being amended to remove certain of the existing exemptions. While some material will remain free from classification, the changes are profound enough to have independent DVD labels extremely worried.
You're no doubt aware that all labels are facing huge problems from online piracy -- if a film can be illegally grabbed for free, why buy it? Well, a lavish suite of DVD extras is a damn good incentive to slap down the cash. But additional BBFC costs
will place a huge strain on already tight budgets: this means fewer extras will be produced. Inevitably, some labels will go to the wall -- as a direct result of Government legislation.
It's important to note that these problems are unintentional: these changes are a response to parental pressure to do something about saucy music videos. Targeting physical media, though, seems a curiously toothless response in the age of YouTube: these
changes look set to harm independent DVD labels and do nothing about the issue you're ostensibly trying to address.
According to the documents
that lay out these changes, they were the result of a detailed consultation. However, none of the labels I have spoken to were even aware of the changes until very recently. I must ask: did the DCMS consult with ANY independent labels about the changes?
Given the impact these changes will have on businesses, I hope you'll reconsider the changes to the VRA, to prevent unintended damage. It also seems worth asking if you are prepared to meet representatives of the independent DVD labels and hear their
concerns directly. Ask them nicely and they might even give you some of their discs. Then you can see for yourself just how good they are and why it would be such a loss if any went under. If you want any recommendations, I'm happy to oblige.
Saudi Arabia has officially identified atheists as terrorists in repressive new laws that threaten up to 20 years in prison for almost any criticism of the government or Islam.
Under the new decree by King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia will jail for up to 20 years anyone who fights in conflicts abroad - an apparent move to deter Saudis from joining rebels in Syria. But the law also applies to any Saudi citizen or a foreigner residing
in the kingdom that calls for atheist thought in any form or calls into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.
The laws have unsurprisingly been denounced by human rights groups. Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch said:
Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism.
[Another example of BBFC discrimination and insult of porn viewers. The BBFC trust 'normal' viewers to watch Jackass stunts, Fast & Furious driving and as much torture as they can endure, without worrying about copying 'harm'. Yet the moment there is
a one in a million chance of risk in a porn film, then the BBFC go into patronisation mode and decide that it should be banned in the name of infinitesimally small risk].
BelAmi have announced that they would be pulling their latest gay porn release Rebels from the UK due to mandatory cuts the BBFC demanded in order to give the film an R18 classification.
The source of contention revolves around a scene 45 mins into the movie where Jack Harrer is sick and the other Kinky Angels come over to help him get well. First things first so they decide to take Jack's temperature the old fashioned way by sticking a
thermometer where the sun doesn't shine. Apparently this type of medical attention is not deemed viewable in the UK:
Luca Norcen, Head of BelAmi's global DVD operations says of the BBFC ruling:
This whole affair is so utterly ridiculous it borders on the absurd. The BBFC should begin treating UK viewers as responsible adults rather than children. Upon careful evaluation, we feel we cannot go ahead with the proposed cut. It will compromise the
integrity of the scene, its unique flavor and its natural build up. As far as a thermometer constituting penetration with an object which may cause harm I find that hard to believe given every mom in the world of a certain age has done it a zillion times
with her kids!
A senior adviser at the BBFC explained that there is potential for harm if someone were to copy the scene using the thermometer due to the fact that glass thermometers are apparently to be avoided as they could break!
Rebels complete with thermometer and all will be released on April 1st in the US via PULSE and at the end of the month in the EU via Millivres Prowler Group.
Surely alcohol enhances confidence, is integral to the success of a social event, and is certainly capable of changing mood or behaviour...But...ASA won't allow advertisers to mention the bleedin' obvious. ASA writes:
The Facebook page for WKD showed various ads:
a. A post featured an image which stated WKD 8 BALL Weekend Prediction YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST and showed a bottle of WKD.
b. Information in the advertiser's About section stated Where there's good times, there's WKD. We're all about getting together with the best people and enjoying yourself - especially at the weekend. Like us and get involved! .
c. A post stated HAIRCUT? [tick] WKD? [tick] UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER? [tick] Have you got a WKD side? and showed a bottle of WKD.
d. Three images showed a cartoon character dressed in a suit and tie and a hat which stated HEAD OF WKD WEEKENDS across the top. The first was used as the background photo for the Facebook page. The second was used alongside the text DON'T MESS
WITH CATHERINE WHEELS. HER BOYFRIEND'S MASSIVE . The third was used alongside the text REMEMBER, REMEMBER, THE 5TH OF NOVEMBER. IS BIN DAY . Issue
The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council challenged whether the ads were irresponsible, because:
Ad (a) implied that alcohol could enhance confidence;
Ad (a) suggested that alcohol was capable of changing mood and behaviour;
Ads (a), (b) and (c) suggested that alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event; and
Ads (c) and (d) were likely to appeal to under 18-year-olds and youth culture. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.318.1418.218.318.7 Response
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA acknowledged Beverage Brand's willingness to make changes and that ad (a) did not show alcohol being consumed. However, we considered it was clearly an ad for a brand of alcoholic drink and noted that a bottle of WKD was prominently shown. We
considered British consumers were likely to understand karaoke to be an activity that often took place after alcohol had been consumed and that, in some instances, reluctance to participate might be lessened after drinking alcohol. We considered that,
particularly in the context of an ad for an alcoholic drink, the text YOU WILL REFUSE TO DO KARAOKE. AT FIRST was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that alcohol could enhance confidence and was also capable of changing mood and behaviour. We
therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
We considered ad (a) was likely to be interpreted to mean that those at a social occasion involving karaoke would be willing to participate only once they had consumed alcohol. We therefore considered it implied that alcohol was a key component of the
success of that occasion.
We noted ad (b) included general references to the weekend and to socialising with friends. However, we considered the text Where there's good times, there's WKD , which also appeared under the image of a man in a hat labelled HEAD OF WKD
WEEKENDS and images of the products, was likely to be understood to mean that successful weekends involved the alcoholic drink WKD. We therefore considered it implied that alcohol was a key component of the success of social occasions.
We noted ad (c) presented a checklist, which showed elements that related to a social occasion next to ticks. We considered the ad would be understood to mean that WKD, the alcoholic drink referred to in the list and also shown prominently in the
accompanying image, was an important element of the social occasion in question. We therefore considered ad (c) also implied alcohol was a key component of the success of a social occasion.
For the reasons given, we concluded that the ads breached the Code.
4. Not upheld
We considered ad (c), by referring to an UGLY MATE TO MAKE YOU LOOK BETTER , could be seen as a reflection of an immature mentality in those interested in meeting members of the opposite sex on a night out. However, we considered the ad, which was
available to view only by those aged over 18, was not likely to have particular appeal to under-18s by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.
We noted ad (d), which was also available to view only by those over 18, showed brightly coloured drinks, lights and fireworks, and that the use of cartoons in general could appeal to children. We considered the image of a male character in a suit, and
wearing dark sunglasses and a hat, although cartoon-like in appearance, was also not such that it was likely to have particular appeal to under-18s. We also considered the overall impression of the ad, while light hearted and colourful, was such that it
was clearly intended to appeal to those interested in adult social occasions, rather than having particular appeal to under-18s.
Ads (a), (b) and (c) must not appear again in their current form. We told Beverage Brands (UK) Ltd to ensure their future advertising did not imply alcohol could enhance confidence, was integral to the success of a social event, or was capable of
changing mood or behaviour.
The notion that the formerly mighty American publisher Reader's Digest would allow the Chinese Communist party to censor its novels would once have appeared so outrageous as to be unimaginable. In the globalised world, what was once unimaginable is
becoming commonplace, however. The Australian novelist LA (Louisa) Larkin has learned the hard way that old certainties no longer apply as the globalisation of trade leads to the globalisation of authoritarian power.
Larkin published Thirst in 2012. She set her thriller in an Antarctic research station, where mercenaries besiege a team of scientists. China is not a major theme of a novel set in Antarctica. But Larkin needed a back story for her Wendy Woo character
who was linked with the villains of her drama. So she wrote that Chinese authorities arrested and tortures Woo's mother for being a member of the banned religious group Falun Gong.
Larkin was delighted when Reader's Digest said it would take her work for one of its anthologies of condensed novels. Thirst would reach a worldwide audience in the English edition for the Indian subcontinent, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and
But the publishers had outsourced its printing to China. The printing firm noticed the heretical passages in Larkin's novel. All references to Falun Gong had to go, it said, as did all references to agents of the Chinese state engaging in torture. They
demanded censorship, even though the book was not set for distribution in China.
Phil Patterson from Larkin's London agents, Marjacq Scripts, tried to explain the basics for a free society to Reader's Digest . To allow China to engage in extraterritorial censorship of an Australian novelist writing for an American publisher
would set a very dangerous precedent , he told its editors. Larkin told me she would have found it unconscionable to change her book to please a dictatorship. When she made the same point to Reader's Digest, it replied that if it insisted on
defending freedom of publication, it would have to move the printing from China to Hong Kong at a cost of US$30,000.
Reader's Digest decided last week to accept the ban and scrap the book.
Smartphones risk turning children into criminals because they provide easy access to online pornography and violent images which desensitise them, the police watchdog has warned. Exposure to violence and sexually explicit material can distort and
confuse their perceptions of normal behaviour , according to Tom Winsor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary.
Winsor issued the warnings in his first annual assessment of British policing, in which he launched a scathing attack on the state of modern policing and warned the service's reputation had been severely shaken by recent scandals.
Winsor said parents had a role to play in crime prevention in general, which was the obligation of every citizen and not just the police:
Parents and families, as well as schools and other educational institutions, must instill in children a strong appreciation of right and wrong, and the reality, instincts and inclinations, motivations and means, to behave as responsible, law-abiding
He said the criminal justice system was concerned with the consequences of a failure to prevent crime before listing an array of causes. They included:
families in crisis,
the failings of parents and communities,
the disintegration of deference and respect for authority,
the corrosive effects of readily-available hard-core pornography
the suppression of instincts of revulsion to violence through the conditioning effect of exposure to distasteful and extreme computer games and films .
But he added: And some people are just selfish, greedy or wicked.
An initiative that hopes to cut off advertising revenues from websites offering illegal copyrighted material has been launched. It will see the creation of an online database of websites verified as being illegal. It is hoped that firms that
handle advertising will use the resource to make sure they do not serve advertising on those sites, cutting off revenue.
The Infringing Website List (IWL) will be an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites that can be cross-referenced by third party advertising systems, in the hope that they will pull their advertising from those sites.
But Ernesto Van Der Sar, editor of Torrentfreak, a news site that covers issues around online piracy, said there could be worrying implications that arise from the IWL. He told the BBC:
As with all blocklists there is a serious risk of overblocking. Without proper oversight perfectly legal sites may end up losing good advertising opportunities if they are wrongfully included.
The City of London police said any sites listed would be notifiied in advance - but it was unable to tell the BBC how many sites would be on the list at launch.