Censor Watch

 2008: June

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30th June   

New Censors on the Block...

The Independent identifies the London public art censors
Link Here

City of Westminster logo An art project has joined other artworks and monuments rejected by the little-known Westminster Public Art Advisory Committee, whose work is rarely publicised despite its power to influence the look of some of the capital's best-known locations.

According to confidential minutes of meetings released to The Independent on Sunday, the plan to honour Reagan by the US artist Chas Fagan was ruled out in April after members said the work was "weak", "lacking gravitas" and risked "cluttering" the square outside the American embassy.

The work now joins the panel's rejected list, which includes Marc Quinn's giant steel orchid outside Hertford House, ruled "anachronistic".

The influential panel deals in the high numbers of public art applications. Its members are drawn from institutions such as the Royal Academy of Art. A negative view usually forces artists to review their plans or kill them altogether.

Jo Darke of the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association said: I can appreciate the view about cluttering Westminster, but there are lots of dark corners that could be brightened up by a sculpture.

 

30th June   

No Barracking Barack...

Google suspends anti-Obama blogs
Link Here
Blogger logo

It looks like Google has officially joined the Barack Obama campaign and decided that its contribution would be to shut down any blog on the Google owned Blogspot.com blogging system that has an anti-Obama message.

Yes, it sure seems that Google has begun to go through its many thousands of blogs to lock out the owners of anti-Obama blogs so that the noObama message is effectively squelched.

Thus far, Google has terminated the access by blog owners to 7 such sites and the list may be growing. Boy, it must be nice for Barack Obama to have an ally powerful enough to silence his opponents like that!

It isn’t just conservative sites that Google’s Blogger platform is eliminating. For instance, www.comealongway.blogspot.com has been frozen and this one is a Hillary supporting site.

The operator of Come a Long Way has a mirror site off the Blogspot platform and has posted the suspension message received from Blogger

Dear Blogger user,

a message from the Blogger team.

Your blog, at http://comealongway.blogspot.com/, has been identified as a potential spam blog. You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog.

Sincerely,

The Blogger Team

It turns out that there is an interesting pattern where it concerns the blogs that Google’s Blogspot team have summarily locked down on their service. They all belong to the Just Say No Deal coalition, a group of blogs that are standing against the Obama campaign. It seems the largest portion of these blogs are Hillary supporting blogs, too.

Here is a list of the Blogspot blogs that have been frozen by Google thus far:

Update: Restored

16th July 2008

Google has restored posting rights to the blogs that were affected.

 

30th June   

Update: Hardcore Initiations...

Court review of Irish Censor's depraved ban of Anabolic Initiations 5
Link Here

Irish Film Censors Office logo A case which came for hearing before Mr. Justice Kevin O’Higgins in the High Court in November 2007 was relevant to certain issues relating to censorship legislation.

On 13th April 2004, the Film Censor, John Kelleher had issued a Prohibition Order in respect of Anabolic Initiations #5 , which had been submitted for certification by Jacqueline Byrne, because in his opinion the viewing of it would tend, by reason of the inclusion in it of obscene and indecent matter, to deprave or corrupt persons who might view it. Notice of the Prohibition Order was published in Iris Oifigiúil on 16th April 2004.

On 11th June 2004, the applicant gave notice of appeal against the Prohibition Order.

In processing the appeal, which involved protracted correspondence with the applicant’s legal advisers, the Censorship of Films Appeal Board agreed to two oral hearings and acceded to a request that additional time be made available to the applicant so that expert evidence could be sought and submitted.

On 11th July 2006, the Censorship of Films Appeal Board upheld the decision of the Film Censor.

On 24th July 2006, the applicant applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review seeking, inter alia, to set aside the decisions of the Film Censor and the Censorship of Films Appeal Board.

At the hearing of the case before Mr. Justice O’Higgins, the issues netted down to whether or not sufficient reasons had been given to justify the decision and to comply with fair procedures. This issue concerned both the response of the Film Censor to the Board’s request to him for a statement in writing of reasons and to the affirmation by the Board of the Film Censor’s decision and, in particular, whether the reiteration of the grounds set out in the Video Recordings Act 1989 was sufficient. It was contended by the applicant that insufficient reasons for the failure to certify the video work were given, that this gave rise to a breach in fair procedures as she did not know why the work was refused and that this in turn limited her ability to challenge the decision - for example, on the basis of irrationality.

The constitutional challenge to the relevant sections of the 1989 Act was not pursued at the hearing. Mr. Justice O’Higgins delivered his judgment on 21st December 2007. He states in his judgment that it is apparent that the Film Censor can only refuse to grant a certificate declaring a video work fit for viewing if he is of the opinion that the work is unfit for viewing on very specific grounds set out in Sec. 3 (1) (a) or (b). The Court found that the reasons given in this case by the Film Censor informed the applicant of the specific grounds on which the decision was made and were sufficient.

The Court stated that just because a statement of reasons follows the wording of a Statute does not render an adequate reason into an inadequate one. Accordingly, the Court found that sufficient information was conveyed to the applicant in relation to the decision to refuse to certify the work, such that she could form a view on whether or not to challenge the decision. Accordingly, the Court found that there was no basis on which the Film Censor’s decision (affirmed on appeal) should be quashed.

A notice of appeal was served in late December 2007.

 

30th June   

Offsite: Shitting on Stephen Green...

Christian Chickens Come Home to Roost
Link Here

Christian Voice banner There is something awfully delicious about the news that anti gay activist Stephen Green has had his prophetic ass kicked.

I know its terribly naughty, but I just cannot help taking joy from this whole thing, of course I feel suitably guilty for doing so, but mmmmmm it's delicious. To add insult to injury there is this marvellous YouTube video where he interprets being shit on by a seagull as a sign from God , I kid you not.

...Read full article

 

29th June   

Talking to EU about Human Rights...

Turkmen reporter is tortured and forcibly incarcerated in psychiatric hospital
Link Here

Turkmenistan flag The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the abduction, torture, and forcible psychiatric hospitalization of Sazak Durdymuradov, a contributing reporter for the Turkmen Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

According to RFE/RL, Durdymuradov was seized by agents of the secret police (MNB) from his Bakhaden home on June 20 and forcibly taken to a local psychiatric clinic, then shuttled to an MNB station where he was severely beaten, tortured with electroshock, and pressured to sign a letter that said he agreed to stop reporting for RFE/RL. Colleagues say they believe that Durdymuradov was then transferred to a psychiatric hospital in the eastern Lebap region, notorious for “admitting” critics of the Turkmen regime.

His wife, Ogulnar Durdymuradova, received a tip that her husband was at the MNB station, and found him there on June 24. She later told RFE/RL that her husband was in such a terrible shape that he told her “he wanted to die” after the torture he said he suffered at the hands of the MNB.

The abduction, torture, and forced hospitalization of Durdymuradov took place against the backdrop of Tuesday’s European Union-Turkmenistan talks on human rights. The summit, which took place in the capital, Ashgabat, was supposed to signal a reversal of Turkmenistan’s international isolation. The summit, however, was closed to independent journalists; only the state-controlled domestic media were invited. There was practically no press coverage of the meeting, titled “Human Rights Dialogue.”

Update: Freed but Out of Contact

16th July 2008

Sazak Durdymuradov has now had his phone disabled, according to RFE/RL. Bowing to international pressure, authorities freed Sazak Durdymuradov on July 3. A security officer warned him to “go and tell the truth” about his treatment in detention, and not to “slander” in his broadcasts, he said.

 

29th June   

Comment: Deli Cut...

Heinz Used to Mean Beans, Now it Means Bigots
Link Here

The ASA said viewers had complained that the Heinz scene depicting two men giving each other a quick kiss goodbye was "offensive", "inappropriate" and "unsuitable to be seen by children".

Viewers? Bigots more like. There is nothing wrong with homosexual expressions of affection. They would not moan if it was a heterosexual display of affection would they? As to it being unsuitable for children this is simply hate in caring form. There are gay children, we do not want to deal with it but there are, and positive depictions of same sex relationships such as this are a great help all round.

...Read full article

 

28th June   

Free From Where...

French TV regulator inquires into 70 European adult channels
Link Here

CSA logo The French media authority CSA says it has written a letter to satellite operator Eutelsat demanding all necessary information about the seventy porn and adult channels that transmit over one of their satellites.

The regulator wants to identify all these broadcasters and their place of origin, apparently in a move to better control the channels.

The CSA wants to identify all such broadcasters and see if they operate with a proper broadcasting licence.

Lately, in some European countries there has been some uproar about the large number of adult channels available free to air on satellite.

 

28th June   

Update: Dual Ratings Duel...

Microsoft really doesn't want to deal with multiple censors
Link Here  full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

XBOX logo Microsoft exec Neil Thompson has warned the introduction of a new dual ratings system could make games more expensive in the UK.

We're in the business of providing great games to a broad audience of gamers, and we need to be able to fulfil that role by getting products to consumers quickly and at a good price, he told GamesIndustry.biz.

We're concerned with any measures that would mean this process is made more unwieldy, or incurs additional costs which have to be shared with the consumer.

We want a steady stream of product to consumers via retail and therefore support PEGI as the single ratings system in the UK. That way, we're able to ensure the right content goes to the right audience, as efficiently as possible.

 

28th June   

Dressed to Grill...

Question Time cross dresser attracts the whingers
Link Here

Grayson Perry The BBC has defended its decision to include cross-dressing Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry on the panel of last night's Question Time, with one viewer complaining that the show had descended into a Channel 4-type freak show.

Following around 40 complaints on the Question Time website, the BBC today issued a statement pointing out that the BBC1 current affairs flagship often includes panellists from "diverse backgrounds".

Perry appeared on Question Time in Bexhill, east Sussex, last night in a long powder-blue dress with puffed sleeves, which one viewer claimed made him look like a "pantomime dame".

However, some viewers also supported Perry's Question Time appearance, claiming his choice of outfit reflected politics being a pantomime.

A BBC spokesman said: "Question Time invites a wide range of panellists on the show from diverse backgrounds – including artists: As a respected artist and Turner Prize winner, we felt he offered interesting viewpoints on the topics debated."

 

28th June   

Update: The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways...

Christian loses blasphemy case, causes blasphemy law to be repealed, now faces bankruptcy
Link Here

Christian Voice banner A Christian activist who tried to charge the BBC's Director General and the producer of Jerry Springer the Opera with blasphemy is facing bankruptcy over a 'grotesque' costs order.

The High Court ruled last December that Stephen Green could not prosecute Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, and Jonathan Thoday of Avalon over the BBC2 broadcast of Jerry Springer the Opera and its subsequent theatre tour. The Court ordered costs against him.

In a hearing a fortnight ago, Mark Thompson and Jonathan Thoday were awarded costs totalling £90,000 against Stephen Green, who is the National Director of Christian Voice. The BBC's solicitors were awarded £55,000 and Olswangs Solicitors, who acted for Thoday, got an order for £35,000.

The money is due to be paid today, but Green doesn't have it.

He has written to both Mark Thompson and Jonathan Thoday inviting them to waive their costs in the interests of goodwill and justice.

Stephen Green, who brought the action over Jerry Springer the Opera in his own name, said today: It should be enough for Mark Thompson and Jonathan Thoday that they got away with blasphemy, insulting God and the Lord Jesus Christ, at least in this life. For these rich, powerful men to pursue me into the bankruptcy courts over money I don't have would be vindictive.

Stephen Green concluded: How are people with limited means expected to bring actions of public importance against public bodies or wealthy people? It is outrageous that a public-spirited individual should be dissuaded from upholding standards of public decency in a public body because of the fear of adverse, grotesque costs orders.

 

28th June   

ICANN enable XXX in Russian...

Choice of domain names to be massively widened
Link Here

ICANN logo Businesses now can choose the suffix for their Internet addresses after a decision to expand the choices beyond current staples such as ".com", ".co" and ".org,".

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expanded the online naming system over prolonged objections by family advocates who say suffixes such as ".xxx" and ".sex" will only make the Internet worse.

We're going to further normalize pornography and obscenity, said Daniel Weiss, senior analyst nutter for media and sexuality at Focus on the Family Action. People are going to be further desensitized to its negative emotional and relational effects. I think ICANN has opened a Pandora's box in this decision.

Applications will be accepted next year, with new domain names costing at least $100,000.

See full article from The Register

The organization has also agreed to "fast track" certain IDN ccTLDs - country code top-level domains that use non-Latin characters. You know: Russia's country code is currently "ru," but it wants the Cyrillic equivalent.

Sorting out non-Latin codes for every country on earth will take a good two years, but ICANN wants a quicker fix for countries like Russia and China. "The issue of how to express country codes in characters other than Roman characters is an exceptionally complicated one, technically and in terms of policy," Dengate-Thrush said. "The internet has always relied on a table that outlines all two letter country codes, and that table is in English...It may take up to two years to develop a new table.

There has been speculation that the network architecture required to support new letters may create another squeeze point for state censorship.

 

28th June   

On Mass Media...

Belarus introduces repressive media legislation
Link Here

Belarus flag Belarussian journalists and bloggers issued an online protest last Wednesday by not posting anything for an hour or using a black banner, lashing out against the "On Mass Media" law that the government adopted without public hearings and international expert examinations, Belarussian Association of Journalists (BAJ) reported.

Last Tuesday the House of Representatives of the Belarus National Assembly approved the law after its second reading, Jurist reported. The BAJ said that the law violates the freedoms outlined in articles 33 and 34 of the constitution.

Belarus media outlets are now banned from getting foreign financial backing and are required to register with the government. Reporters Without Borders termed the law as "repressive" and predict that censorship will increase, the Globe reported.

 

28th June   

Cold Coffee...

Litigious lawyers surprised at the lack of people 'offended' by Hot Coffee.
Link Here

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas game Lawyers involved in a civil class-action lawsuit against the creators of the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas reportedly are surprised that most players weren't offended by sex scenes hidden in the game.

Under a settlement the lawyers hatched with the game's creators, Rockstar Games and its parent company Take-Two Interactive, buyers who took issue with the hidden sex scenes could file claims. Of the millions who bought the game since its 2004 release, 2,676 filed claims.

Am I disappointed? Sure, Seth R. Lesser, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, told The New York Times: We can't guess as to why now, several years later, people care or don't care. The merits of the case were clear.

Lesser and colleagues from 10 other law firms are asking for more than $1.3 million. Take-Two Interactive's lawyers say the company will dole out $300,000 to resolve the claims.

It doesn't typically go that way, said Mary J. Davis, a University of Kentucky law professor who has studied this type of litigation. She said it is sort of backwards for legal fees to dwarf a settlement payout.

 

28th June   

The ABC of Self Interest...

Australian TV calls for censorship of his internet competitors
Link Here

ABC TV logo ABC television chief Kim Dalton has called on the federal Government to extend Australia's TV content standards to web-based video, a move that would greatly increase government censorship of the internet.

Dalton argues that with more TV being delivered through broadband internet services there is a risk of Australian culture being lost under a tide of cheap-to-access overseas programming. He warns that unless urgent moves are taken, Australian content could be wiped from the new broadcasting landscape in as little as five or 10 years.

The [Internet] business model here favours cheap, foreign video content and ... online content is putting pressure on established business models.

It is likely that existing regulatory arrangements to deliver local drama, documentaries, comedy, children's, news, current affairs and other programming may have diminishing effects on the market as the existing business models of broadcasters are challenged and the content offered becomes, increasingly, foreign.

It is time to reassess and reshape the Australian content policy framework
.

 

28th June   

Banned Black Diamonds...

Ethiopia's first nude photography exhibition censored
Link Here

Ethiopia flag Ethiopia has slapped a ban on what had been billed as the nation's first exhibition of nude photography.

The photographer Biniam Mengesha told AFP he had been planning to show 45 photos at the unprecedented exhibition - titled Black Diamonds - in the capital Addis Ababa from Friday through to July 4.

Authorities from the ministry of culture asked me to submit my photos before the exhibition was inaugurated. Afterwards, they said: 'This isn't art, it's pornography', Biniam said: The photographs are fine art and include partial nudity aided by digital photography. Had it not been censored, it would have been the first in our country.

Biniam said he is arranging to show his images elsewhere in Africa in two months time.

 

27th June   

Shellshocked Censors...

ShellShock 2 computer game banned in Australia
Link Here

R18+ Banned ShellShock 2: Blood Trails last week became the latest in a long series of videogames to be banned by the dishonestly named Australian Classification Board.

No reason has yet been made public for the refusal, but the game's high levels of violence may have been a factor.

The game is sequel to 2004's Shellshock Nam '67 (which also was banned), and centres on the use of psychological horror and fear, according to Eidos Interactive.

For comparison in the UK, the BBFC passed the game uncut at 18 with the following explanation:

See decision from the BBFC

18 cert SHELLSHOCK 2: BLOOD TRAILS is a first-person perspective shooter. The player assumes the role of a soldier fighting in Vietnam against both infected soldiers and the Vietcong army. The game was classified '18' for frequent strong bloody violence and strong language.

The violence includes blood spraying when enemies (both human and infected) are shot, and the sight of heads exploding due to a head shot. Blood splatters onto the 'camera lens' frequently as a result of the violence, during both gameplay and cut scenes.

The game also contains moments of gore, such as when soldiers are seen near or post-death, with limbs missing (and occasional spurting blood from the remaining stump). During gameplay the player also encounters a few soldiers slumped with their bodies having clearly been eviscerated, the organs and rib cage bloodily visible.

The BBFC's Guidelines state that at '15', 'violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury'. SHELLSHOCK 2's violence does include such emphasis, and was classified '18' as a result.

BBFC Guidlines for language at '15' allow for 'frequent use of strong language (eg 'fuck')' and ensure that the language in the game is comfortably acceptable at the '18' category.

 

27th June   

Clinical Cutting...

Contributing to the hype for Autopsy
Link Here

MPAA logo When a horror movie with a title like Autopsy enters the halls of the MPAA, it's immediately walking in with a bullseye on its head.

Co-writer/director Adam Gierasch said: It took five submissions to get an R rating for the movie, he says like a proud father enthusing over his rebellious offspring. The scene that riled up up the MPAA board involved one of the leads in an unsettling predicament involving a drill and an oxygen tank. We wound up having to cut almost forty seconds out of that scene. First we just did some trimming and they were like, 'No.' Then we cut a little bit more, and they said, 'No.'

Gierasch assures us an unrated director's cut of Autopsy will ultimately be released.

 

27th June   

Fucking Whingers...

Ofcom whinge at the usual string language before the watershed
Link Here

Entertainment TV logo Battle of the Hollywood Hotties
E! Entertainment, 8 April 2008, 17:00

Battle of the Hollywood Hotties is a light entertainment documentary which features the careers of various international celebrities.

Ofcom received one complaint about the use of word “fucking” by the narrator in the programme in view of fact that it was broadcast before the watershed.

Decision

Ofcom welcomed the remedial actions taken by the broadcaster, we are concerned that such a clear example of strong language was allowed to pass undetected by its quality control team. Our research indicates that the word “fuck” and its derivatives are considered by respondents to be the most offensive language.

Breach of Rule 1.14 ( the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed).

Look Who's Talking DVD Look Who’s Talking
LIVING, 5 April 2008, 17:00

Look Who’s Talking is an adult comedy film made in the late 1980s about parents whose new-born baby can talk. Ofcom received one complaint about the frequent use of the words “bastard” and “shit” in this broadcast. Ofcom noted that in addition one character used the word “fuck”.

Decision

Ofcom notes that it had recently upheld a similar complaint concerning the most offensive language against LIVING concerning the reality show Dirty Cows . Ofcom also notes that in this case the broadcast of the incorrect version was not deliberate and welcomes the new measures taken by Virgin Media Television to improve compliance in future as regards editing out inappropriate material.

Additionally, we noted several instances of offensive language throughout the film, which Ofcom considered to be too frequent to be acceptable before the watershed. It was also noted that the film was transmitted on a Saturday.

Breach of Rules 1.14 ( the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed) and 1.16 (which requires broadcasters to avoid frequent use of offensive language in programmes shown before the watershed)

 

27th June   

Red to Impress...

China strengthens its propaganda system
Link Here

China flag China has ordered a strengthening of its news media propaganda system, dashing hopes of a more liberal approach to censorship in the wake of relatively vigorous domestic reporting of the Sichuan earthquake.

Party newspapers said that all domestic media had been ordered to earnestly study and implement a speech last week by President Hu Jintao, laying out guiding principles for development of China’s fast-growing news sector.

Hu said the primary task of the news media was to guide public opinion correctly, since doing so would benefit the party, benefit the nation and benefit the people: [We] must strengthen political acuity and discrimination, maintain strict propaganda discipline . . . and properly guard the gate and manage the extent [of reporting] on major, sensitive and hot topics, Mr

The party’s propaganda department has been broadly successful in ensuring that quake reporting has stressed the positive contributions of government leaders and party members.

Hu praised the handling of earthquake reporting but said innovation was needed to ensure the party could set the news agenda. City newspapers and on­line media had created new “propaganda resources”, the president said, adding that the internet should be considered the battlefield forward position for the propagation of advanced socialist culture.

 

27th June   

Undesirable Censorship...

Sudan bans novel, Desirable Glance
Link Here

Desirable Glance book Sudanese authorities confiscated an Arabic novel dealing with Darfur atrocities under the bollox pretext that the Canada based publisher had failed to obtain the appropriate permission

The Key Publishing House said in a statement that Sudanese security confiscated a novel, Desirable Glance , written by Yagoub Adam Saed Al-Nour because it failed to produce the appropriate documented permission for the book

The Desirable Glance narrates the frustration of the hero "Nour Al-Din" who tries to understand the unimaginable horror that transformed his beloved country into the current political dilemma.

Despite constitutional guarantees for the respect of freedom of expression in accordance with the Interim National Constitution, Sudanese authorities continue to control the media and the content of printed publications.

 

27th June   

Trumped up Treason...

Azerbaijan newspaper editor jailed for 10 years
Link Here

Azerbaijan flag The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by an Azerbaijan court’s decision on to convict the editor of a small, minority newspaper on a treason charge and to sentence him to 10 years in prison. Novruzali Mamedov, editor of now-defunct Talyshi Sado (Voice of the Talysh), was tried in closed-door proceedings that began in March.

A secretary for the newspaper, Elman Quliyev, was convicted under the same charge and sentenced to six years in prison.

We condemn the heavy prison sentence handed to Novruzali Mamedov after a closed trial in the absence of defense counsel, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said : Authorities should make evidence against Mamedov public, and Azerbaijan should work to remedy, not aggravate, its record of jailing journalists on trumped-up charges.

Mamedov was convicted of treason under Article 247 of Azerbaijan’s penal code for what the prosecution called distribution of Talysh nationalist ideas and attempts to destroy the foundations of the Azerbaijani state, the independent news agency Regnum reported. News reports said the case was based on an allegation that Mamedov had received money from Iran to publish the newspaper.

Defense lawyer Ramiz Mamedov told the U.S.-government funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the case was fabricated.

 

26th June   

Update: Delayed Reaction...

Games trade really doesn't want to deal with multiple censors
Link Here  full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

EA logo Games company Electronic Arts has stepped into the fray over videogame ratings in the U.K., saying that proposed changes to the current system will result in release delays for new titles.

The proposals, initially raised by the Byron Review, recommend the BBFC begin rating games that earn a 12+ rating from PEGI, rather than the 15+ minimum currently used. As a result, according to Eurogamer, the number of games demanding the attention of the BBFC would increase significantly, resulting in delays of ratings across all games.

The government's proposed changes to the existing age rating systems will create further delays in getting hit games to the U.K., said Electronic Arts U.K. Vice President Keith Ramsdale in an interview with GamesIndustry. An extra and unnecessary layer of administration beyond a single system slows the process, and that delay will get passed on to the players themselves.

Every time you add a new standard, game developers have to guess what the censors are looking for. If there's more than one standard in the U.K., and across Europe, that can only equal delays in getting games to market and into the hands of British players."

 

26th June   

Censorship Victim Honoured...

Queen confers knighthood on Sir Salman Rushdie
Link Here  full story: Satanic Verses...Salman Rushdie irritation of the muslim world

Sir Salman Rushdie Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has conferred a knighthood to Salman Rushdie, the author of the blasphemous book Satanic Verses.

The ceremony to confer the knighthood was held in London's Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, with many believing the move would trigger a wave of protest by Muslim nations.

A spokeswoman for the queen, who asked not to be identified because of the monarch's policy, was quoted by AP as saying that Rushdie was not listed among those to be honored because he was a late addition to the investiture.

The late Imam Khomeini pronounced a death sentence on Rushdie because of blasphemy against Islam in his novel The Satanic Verses.

The conferment of knighthood to the author of a blasphemous book which has insulted the Muslim world is widely considered as demonstration of Britain's flagrant hostility toward Islam.

 

26th June   

Comment: Happening in Germany...

The Happening cuts happen to be the same as in Germany
Link Here

The Happening film poster I found that post you had about cuts to the UK version of The Happening very interesting.

First of all, though, I can tell you that the UK version is definitely not the only one that has been cut.

M. Night Shyamalan has stated in an interview with a German news magazine that the German version has been cut losing shots of:

  • the needle piercing the throat during the suicide at the beginning
  • a man having his arm bitten off by lions
  • a man dying under a lawnmower

Some of these shots do turn up in the Red Band trailer and I strongly suspect that these aren't the only shots that were cut, due to the erratic editing other viewers already mentioned.

I wasn't worried about hearing this, though, as I normally watch the original versions of films, which not only gives me the film as it is supposed to be but also bypasses any German censorship-cuts, in cases like Iron Man and The Hulk (both of which were cut for a lower rating).

You can probably imagine that I was a bit pissed off when I realised that the English-language version of The Happening I was watching was missing the same shots that I knew had been edited out of the German version.

This suggests that this may indeed not be a matter of national censorship but that 20th Century Fox might well have created a Euro-cut and is hoping to cash in on an Unrated Director's Cut DVD later on.

I might feel less annoyed if the film had been better.

 

26th June   

TV Censor to Hang up his Scissors...

David Currie steps down at Ofcom
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom have announced that David Currie will step down as Chairman of the Ofcom Board after Easter 2009. David was named in July 2002 as the inaugural Chairman of the then new regulator for the communications sector and has been instrumental, during two terms as Chairman, in guiding Ofcom through its formative years and establishing the strong censorial reputation that Ofcom has built within the sector.

The process to appoint his successor, which is an appointment by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, has begun and the intention is to advertise for the role of Chairman in September 2008.

 

26th June   

Update: Nutter Campaign Lives On...

Peaceful Pill Handbook can be sold at least until OFLC hearing
Link Here  full story: Euthanasia...Euthenasia campaigns wind up the censors

Pro-life groups trying to stop a euthanasia book from going on sale are vowing to fight on despite their latest efforts being rejected.

The Film and Literature Review Board declined last week requests by Right to Life and The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards for interim restriction orders on Australian euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke's Peaceful Pill Handbook.

The order would have stopped distribution to New Zealand shops till a review of chief censor Bill Hastings' decision to allow its sale was heard.

Both groups are seeking a review of the decision in which Mr Hastings allowed the sale of the book to over-18s. A hearing is set down for August 25.

David Lane, executive director of The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, said the group would apply for another restriction order.

Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr said he was disappointed by the decision. The group would present a submission to the August hearing asking that the book be deemed objectionable and be banned.

Dr Nitschke, founder of pro-euthanasia group Exit International, said copies would be available at a Christchurch conference on July 5 before being distributed to bookshops: We are thrilled the injunction has been turned down. It gives us till August to get the book distributed.

 

26th June   

Sad Day in Sydney...

Sydney sex shop suffers police raid
Link Here

NSW police badge Thousands of pornographic movies have been seized during a raid on a Sydney sex shop.

Officers raided a store on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst. Police say they found 4,903 X-rated DVDs, 68 X-rated videos and 165 vials of a substance believed to be amyl nitrate.

Amyl nitrate is a restricted substance, which is sometimes used as a drug. The seized vials will be analysed and the movies classified.

Charges are expected to be laid.

 

26th June   

F***ing Radio Censors...

Radio trailer not bleeped enough for the radio censors
Link Here

GWR 96.3 logo GCap radio station GWR 96.3 FM has breached Ofcom's Broadcasting Code.

A promotion for GWR broke rules on strong language with a trailer aired during The Bush And Troy Show in March.

Swearwords were bleeped but not sufficiently, leaving it absolutely clear that the most offensive language could still be heard, said Ofcom. The trailer said: Easter bunny here. If you laugh at my big teeth again, I’ll knock yours out. Happy f***ing Easter, you fat motherf***er.

GCap apologised and said the presenters had believed bleeping out part of the words would be sufficient.

 

26th June   

Divisive Censorship...

What have Australia's racist porn bans achieved in teh first year?
Link Here

Eros Eros, Australia’s national adult retail association, has called the ban on hardcore porn enacted a year ago in the heavily-Aboriginal Northern Territories divisive.

Eros CEO Fiona Patten said that after a year, the bans on sexually explicit but non-violent adult material could not be shown to have done anything to stop the sexual abuse of children and simply stood as yet another issue dividing Aboriginal Australians from the rest of the community.

With the benefit of hindsight, these bans now simply say that Europeans can handle depictions of nonviolent, explicit sex, but indigenous Australians can’t, Patten said: It’s an insult and is not sustainable through any verifiable procedure or inquiry.

Patten said that Eros initially committed to support the bans as long as the Northern Territories introduced regulations for the sale of adult films, similar to the Capital Territories. Possession of adult films is legal nationwide, but the sale of adult films is legal only in the Northern Territories and Capital Territory.

Eros has advocated uniform rules for porn sales throughout Australia.

 

26th June   

Beefed Up Internet Controls...

Blogosphere lays into South Korean president
Link Here

South Korea flag South Korea's embattled President Lee Myung-Bak is considering web monitoring because his government is getting kicked to death by bloggers.

There has been a wave of tumultuous protest inspired largely by bloggers and it is fast becoming difficult for Myung-Bak's government to cope.

It all started when he thought it would be a wizard wheeze to open the country to meat imports from the US. The bogsphere claimed it would open the country to the dangers of mad-cow disease.

Myung-Bak said that the Internet needed to become a space of trust rather than something venomous.

Myung-Bak has ruled out any intention to censor cyberspace although the Korea Communications Commission said it would consider strengthening the identity verification system introduced last year to curb cyber bullying.

 

25th June   

Update: Kissing Sales Goodbye...

Whinging at same sex kissing advert being withdrawn
Link Here

Gay rights supporters have been urged to boycott Heinz products, after the company dropped a mayonnaise advertisement that showed two men kissing.

Campaigners insisted that Heinz had capitulated to a concerted homophobic campaign and that they would be urging supporters to boycott the company's products.

The corporation decided to withdraw the light-hearted Deli Mayo commercial within days of its launch because it was "listening to its consumers".

The Advertising Standards Authority said yesterday that it had received 202 objections from viewers, a high number in such a short time. A spokesman for the ASA said it has yet to decide whether to investigate if the commercial breached its rules, adding: Homosexuality in itself is not a breach but they could look at it from the point of view of taste and decency.

The commercial also caused controversy in the US where the notoriously reactionary Fox News host Bill O'Reilly complained: I just want mayonnaise, I don't want guys kissing.

Last night Ben Summerskill, the chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, urged its supporters to stop buying Heinz products. We're shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way.

Our phones have not stopped ringing with supporters who are deeply upset. I think people are a surprised they have responded so swiftly to what appears, on the face of it, to be organised complaints, a campaign by people who are determined to be outraged whenever there is any reference to homosexuality, however light hearted.

 

25th June   

Update: Child Regulation Action Plan...

Government publish action plan for Byron proposals
Link Here  full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

Action Plan cover A comprehensive plan for how the Government intends to make the internet and video games safer for children and young people was published today by Children’s Minister Kevin Brennan, Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker and Culture Minister Margaret Hodge.

The Byron Review Action Plan sets out key milestones and deadlines to deliver all of Dr Tanya Byron’s recommendations as set out in her landmark report Safer Children in a Digital World.

The Action Plan outlines the Government’s proposals for appointing the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. The Executive Board will be chaired by Department for Children, Schools and Families and Home Office Ministers and will include representatives from industry, the third sector, law enforcement and the devolved administrations. It will be responsible for driving the Council’s agenda.

The Action Plan sets out detailed actions and milestones including:

  • how the new UK Council for Child Internet Safety will be set up
  • the development of a self regulatory approach by industry which will make the internet safer for children
  • plans to raise awareness of e-safety issues among children, young people, parents and other adults through a public information and awareness campaign which will begin in summer 2008 as part of a £9m investment by Government in communications to the public about child safety
  • the role of schools and other services for children and families that can help equip and empower children and their parents to stay safe online.
  • reforming the classification system for video games, including plans to launch a consultation to consider all necessary evidence around current and future video games classification
  • how Government will work with industry to improve information and support to parents on video games

 

25th June   

Update: Nutter Hopes Put to Rest...

Nutter appeal against Peaceful Pill Handbook rejected
Link Here  full story: Euthanasia...Euthenasia campaigns wind up the censors

Australian euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke has welcomed a decision by New Zealand authorities that will allow him to sell his controversial book in the country.

Nitschke said he was heartened by Friday's decision to reject an application from pro-life groups, who wanted to stop the distribution of the Peaceful Pill Handbook.

Earlier this month, the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards, and Right to Life New Zealand sought a fresh order restricting its distribution.

The decision by the OFLC had demonstrated the open attitude of New Zealand to the important question of censorship," Nitschke said in a statement today: New Zealand's approach to censorship stands in stark distinction to the approach taken by the government in Australia, where the book remains a banned publication.

 

25th June   

Community Standards...

Perhaps best characterised by Google search records
Link Here

Google logo A defendant in Florida will use data about searches on Google to argue that material he sold on the web was not obscene.

The defendant will use publicly available search data from Google to show that people are more likely to search for terms like "orgy" than "apple pie" or "watermelon".

Clinton McCowen, who runs a pornographic website based in Florida will argue that, because Google users show more interest in sexual subjects than many topics considered "mainstream", the material on his site should not be deemed obscene.

McCowen's lawyer said that jurors would routinely condemn material that they themselves consumed in private, and that Google's search data would give a sense of how people really think and feel and act in their own homes.

The Florida state prosector in the case, which will be heard on July 1, said that just because people used Google to search for sex-related topics did not mean that data could be used as evidence for a community's values.

The defence case may also run into difficulties in that the data, which is gleaned from an experimental service called Google Trends, does not show how many people searched for terms - only their relative popularity over time.

Walters said he had served Google with a subpoena requesting more specific data, for instance the number of searches for particular, sex-related topics by local residents. Google said it was reviewing the request.

McCowen faces charges of creating and distributing obscene material via a Florida-based website. The legal test for what constitutes obscenity was established by a 1973 decision of the US Supreme Court, and will typically be based on whether the material is offensive or appeals to a prurient interest in sex. Courts in turn decide such questions with reference to contemporary community standards.

Lawyers have typically made arguments about "community standards" by reference to the types of goods that are on sale - for instance sexually explicit magazines, but Google's search data opened a whole new body of evidence by revealing what people did in the privacy of their homes, legal experts said.

 

25th June   

Update: Game On...

New York State passes bill mandating video game ratings
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors

New York state seal The New York State Senate has voted 61-1 to approve a bill proposed by Senator Andrew Lanza.

The video game bill mirrors that passed yesterday by the State Assembly and the measure will now go to Gov. David Paterson for consideration. If Paterson signs the bill, it will become law in 2010.

Prior to that, however, the video game industry is likely to sue, arguing that the measure is unconstitutional.

The bill says that every video game sold in the state of New York simply should have a rating consistent with what the ESRB does presently in a voluntary way.

Last year's version included a provision that would have made it an E-felony to sell these games. This was taken out for the latest bill.

 

25th June   

Comment: What's Happening?...

Has The Happening been pre-cut?
Link Here

The Happening film poster Whilst there seems to be a split in opinions over M. Night Shyamalan's new film The Happening, I think we can all agree that certain scenes seem rather weirdly edited and somewhat cut short.

The BBFC website states that this work was passed with no cuts made however scenes differ from those shown in the trailer (cutting away earlier from the lady with the knitting needle) and some people on forums (such as IMDB etc) are comparing notes and reporting differences elsewhere - in fact it seems that the UK is the only territory where the film is cut in this way.

Now since there is no mention of cuts on the BBFC database it is therefore assumed that 20th Century Fox submitted a shortened version - was this in fear of the BBFC's stance on 'Imitable Techniques' ("the Board's concerns in this area include combat techniques, hanging, suicide and self-harm")? Was it a simple mistake? Are we merely being pre-sold an 'uncut' DVD version?

Like Mark Wahlberg's character says we will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it'll be just a theory. I mean, we will fail to acknowledge that there are forces at work beyond our understanding

 

25th June   

Ghostly TV Censors Lurk in the Shadows...

Ofcom whinge at trailers for Supernatural
Link Here

Supernatural DVD ITV2 has been criticised by Ofcom for repeatedly showing supposedly frightening Supernatural trailers before the 9pm watershed.

Scenes of characters morphing into demons, "menacing" images of the paranormal and violence linked to the supernatural prompted complaints to the regulator in January.

Ofcom had also expressed concerns about trailers for the US drama in spring last year.

Ofcom said the "dark and sinister" clips - including a car being driven through a ‘ghost woman’ and a man hitting a demonic figure with a weapon - were shown too early on several occasions.

ITV2 blamed the scheduling on an "isolated failure" and said it had revised procedures.

 

24th June   

Update: Buried by Complaints...

Ofcom whinge at the burial alive in EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders An EastEnders storyline which involved a live burial has been ruled "offensive" by Ofcom.

The TV censor received 116 complaints from viewers who thought the scenes, featuring character Max Branning, were "unsuitable" for the time of broadcast.

The BBC said the storyline, aired in March, was crafted in a "responsible manner" and took into account any pre-watershed audience "sensitivity". But Ofcom has ruled that the BBC was in breach of its rules.

'The BBC noted that the two episodes involved "no explicit violence" and the lead up to the burial scenes were "carefully paced with several indications of the direction of the storyline offered". However, the Corporation admitted more than 600 complaints had been made following two pre-watershed episodes which saw Branning drugged, put into a coffin and buried alive by his wife, Tanya.

Ofcom said the scenes of the burial alive had a seriously disturbing element to them. Overall the storyline and its treatment had more in common with a dark psychological thriller than a pre-watershed drama. Further, in our view, the information supplied at the start of the programmes did not adequately prepare viewers for the extent of the distressing scenes that followed. For the reasons already stated the scenes of Max being buried alive were offensive and not justified by the context.

 

24th June   

Publicity with Mayonnaise on Top...

Whinging at same sex kissing advert
Link Here

A mayonnaise advert showing two men kissing has been withdrawn after it led to more than 200 complaints.

Heinz confirmed last night that it had withdrawn the television commercial for its Deli Mayo following 'consumer feedback'.

Nigel Dickie, of Heinz UK, said: We recognise that some consumers raised concerns over the content of the ad and this prompted our decision to withdraw it. The advertisement, part of a short-run campaign, was intended to be humorous and we apologise to anyone who felt offended.

The advertising watchdog has yet to confirm if it will investigate the Heinz commercial, one of the most complained about commercials this year.

Viewers said it was 'offensive', 'inappropriate' and 'unsuitable to be seen by children', while some parents were angry that they had been forced to explain same-sex relationships to their youngsters who asked them about the ad.

The commercial shows a family scene with a young boy and girl getting ready to go to school. They refer to a man making sandwiches in the kitchen as 'mum'. He is dressed like a delicatessen worker and has a New York accent. Their father enters the kitchen, grabs a sandwich and says to the man: See you tonight, love. The 'mum' then shouts back Hey, ain't you forgetting something, before the two men kiss.

It finishes with the slogan: Heinz Deli Mayo – Mayo with a New York Deli flavour.'

 

24th June   

Update: Censorship Gurus...

Love Guru nutters fail to make much impact at the BBFC
Link Here  full story: Love Guru Nonsense...Love Guru Mike Myers movie winds up hindus

The Love Guru US Nutters are fearful that The Love Guru mocks hinduism. They petitioned many companies involved in the distribution of the film including the BBFC. They asked the American film censors to award the adults only NC-17 rating. But it doesn't sound like the religious aspect of the film made much impact at the BBFC.

The BBFC have kindly explained the uncut 12A rating as follows:

THE LOVE GURU is a sex comedy about an American playing an Indian love guru who is employed by an ice hockey team coach to help one of her top players get back with his estranged wife so he can lead his team to victory. It was classified '12A' for frequent moderate sex references and moderate language

There are moderate sex references throughout the film, many of them playing on the 'Carry On' film tradition of innuendo and double entendre. Examples include: a numberplate which reads 'Big Coq', a reference to 'they were into doggy style before the missionary position' when the holy man talks about a couple who became missionaries, a couple of references to a man having 'syphilis' but without any further elaboration at all, an elephant having completed its 'ejaculation' after mating and an acronym of BLOWME' pronounced 'blome'. Most of these references and the context of the film are good natured rather than intentionally crude, and on these grounds the references were felt to be acceptable at '12A' where Guidelines on sex state 'Sexual activity may be implied. Sex references may reflect what is likely to be familiar to most adolescents but should not go beyond what is suitable for them.'

Language includes the use of 'prick' and 'bitch' which would be unacceptable at 'PG' where 'mild bad language only' should be present, but does not present a problem at '12A' where 'infrequent use of strong language' is acceptable.

THE LOVE GURU also contains some scenes of comic violence and slapstick e.g. hockey players fighting on the ice rink with comic sound effects and a holy man hitting himself with chainsticks. There are also a couple of passing drug references, for example when a man is talking rubbish his colleague asks 'you're back on drugs aren't you?', which lacks detail, is ambiguous and possibly refers to medication.

 

24th June   

Age Old Restrictions...

SubStandard concerns about mail order selling to kids
Link Here

Stranglehold game Violent computer games are being sold to children through internet auction sites, avvording to Trading SubStandards

Almost 90% of traders investigated by the Welsh Heads of Trading Standards supplied violent games to youngsters.

In the investigation, six local authorities enlisted volunteers aged between 12 and 16 who attempted to buy 18-rated video games on the internet using postal orders.

Of the 44 purchases attempted, 38 traders sold the games to the children.

Among the games bought by the youngsters were Manhunt, Grand Theft Auto, Godfather and Hitman .

Traders found guilty of supplying such games to under-age customers can be jailed for up to six months or fined.

Lee Jones, acting head of Bridgend County Borough Council Trading Standards, said: This survey shows how easily children can gain access to age-restricted violent video games.

A Trading Standards Institute spokesman said: Traders selling goods over the internet have a responsibility to make sure they have methods in place to avoid breaking the law. If traders cannot be sure the person they are selling to is over 18 then they should not be selling.

TSI chief executive Ron Gainsford said: Parents and guardians also have an important role to play in making sure children are not playing unsuitable video games.

 

24th June   

Update: Carry On Swearing...

Long running Australian TV censorship comedy continues
Link Here  full story: Gordon Ramsay...Gordon Ramsay stirs trouble for Australian TV censors

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVD An Australian Senate inquiry into bad language used on the country's TV by British chef Gordon Ramsay has rejected calls for a ban on certain swear words.

The series Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares produced by the celebrity chef in the United States and Britain is a hit in Australia.

The inquiry was initiated by an opposition senator who argued that there is no excuse for gratuitous bad language being broadcast repeatedly.

But a Senate committee reported that they would not recommend broadcast restrictions on Ramsay's choice of swear words because there was insufficient community support for a ban.

 

24th June   

Daily Censorship...

Iran bans newspaper critical of economic policy
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Iran...As if there were any

Tehran Daily logo An Iranian newspaper has been banned after carrying articles critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies, the state Press TV satellite station said on its website.

A government media body revoked the license of Tehran Emrooz on Saturday.

Tehran Emrooz's publisher was summoned to a court on Sunday to answer charges of "printing pictures and editorial material insulting to the president and propagation of lies with the intention of agitating public opinion", Fars News Agency said.

The daily last week published a special issue on the third anniversary of Ahmadinejad's election that included articles criticizing the government's economic record.

The daily's editorial board acknowledged in a statement on Sunday it had gone beyond fair criticism of the government and issued an apology, the official IRNA news agency said.

Update: Condemnation

27th June 2008

Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns the 11-year prison sentence imposed on Kurdish journalist Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand on 22 June for “activity against national security.”

The authorities have no scruples about using unfair trials to convict journalists on trumped-up charges, Reporters Without Borders said. No consideration was given to Kabovand’s poor health, either. This especially severe sentence is a message to all those who do not kowtow to the regime, especially in the Kurdish northwest. The decision to close Tehran Emrooz was taken without referring to any court. President Ahmadinejad uses government commissions to settle his political scores.

The former editor of Payam-e Mardom-e Kurdestan, a weekly closed down in 2005, Kabovand received his 11-year sentence from a Tehran revolutionary court for creating a human rights organisation in Iran’s Kurdish region. Since his arrest in July 2007, he has been held in Tehran’s Evin prison, where he spend the first five months in solitary confinement.

 

23rd June   

Update: No Joke...

Lèse majesté law is damaging the prestige of Spain
Link Here

Magazine cartoon with Spanish prince One cartoonist depicts a drunken King; another shows the Crown Prince having sex. Now the humorists face separate trials for insulting King or country in a nation where humour is still a distinctly risky business. We have noticed a worrying trend in Spain, because these laws [against insulting the Crown] have been put into practice, Giulia Tamayo, of Amnesty International, said.

In the first case, two Basque newspapers are on trial for poking fun at King Juan Carlos I after an incident during an official visit to Russia in 2006. The Spanish King, an avid hunter, reportedly killed a circus bear named Mitrofan that had been plied with vodka to make it an easy target.

He was cooked! read the headline in the satirical supplement of a Basque newspaper, Deia. A photo-montage on the cover showed a drooling King wearing a Russian hat, brandishing a rifle over a dead bear and a barrel of booze. Deia and Gara, another Basque newspaper, are also on trial for publishing an article entitled The Tribulations of Yogi Bear.

In April a Spanish judge shelved the case, arguing that the cartoonists were covered by the right to free speech. Last week Judge Fernando Grande-Marlaska was overruled by the Spanish National Court, which insisted that the cartoon and article constituted an attack on the monarch’s self-esteem . Insulting royalty or damaging the prestige of the Crown is a crime in Spain, punishable by up to two years in prison.

In a second case, two cartoonists working for the satirical weekly El Jueves are appealing against a €3,000 (£2,400) fine for a drawing of Crown Prince Felipe having sex with his wife and saying: Do you realise that if you get pregnant, it will be the nearest thing to work I’ve done in my life?

A Barcelona court shelved the case last year, but it was reopened last week by a superior court, setting the stage for another trial.

 

23rd June   

Old Wives Tales...

Watching films about pregnancy makes you pregnant
Link Here

Knocked UP DVD When a 15-year-old girl at Gloucester high school in Massachusetts discovered she was pregnant earlier this year, she displayed no trace of fear or concern. Shown the results of her pregnancy test, she responded: “Sweet!” She then rushed off to tell her friends.

The girl was among a group of up to 18 Gloucester teenagers who may have made an apparent “pregnancy pact” that has stunned this decaying fishing community and sparked a renewed national debate about sex education in American schools.

Christopher Farmer, the British-born superintendent of local schools, found himself under siege as reporters around the world attempted to link events in Gloucester to the recent Hollywood vogue for cheery films about unplanned pregnancy.

Films such as Juno and Knocked Up have been blamed for romanticising a social evil, as has massive media coverage of Britney Spears and her family. Spears’s actress sister, Jamie Lynn, gave birth last week after becoming pregnant at 16.

Yet Farmer and other local officials are not so sure they have found the cause of the pregnancy surge. School officials confirmed last week that 18 students had become pregnant in the past 12 months, compared with an annual average of three or four.

The initial report of a pregnancy pact was based on supposed remarks to Time magazine by the school’s headmaster, Joseph Sullivan, who was on holiday last week. Nobody disputes Sullivan’s contention that several girls were trying to get pregnant, but he did not specifically mention a pact and for all the media attention lavished on Gloucester last week, nobody was able to produce a girl who could testify to its existence.

 

23rd June   

Comment: What is obscene these days?...

BBC ask the question of the BBFC and Vice Squad
Link Here

Straw Dogs DVD It's 2008 and sex seems to be everywhere. So who holds the line between permissiveness and obscenity? What is obscene these days? And how do those people entrusted to make these calls cope with the harrowing work?

...Read full article

Comment: Doing the Rounds

23rd June 2008. Thanks to Alan

I had a good belly laugh at the remarks by Inspector Shortland about his sensitive subordinates being exposed to that horrid pornography.

Back in my misspent youth I was a member of an organization for young business and professional men, which shall remain nameless, but if you think of a circular item of dining room furniture, you won't be far off the mark. I was a bit miffed when I was unable to attend the meeting one week when the entertainment was some blue movies. How had the organizers acquired them and ensured that the films were especially raunchy? A member who was a copper (sergeant awaiting promotion to inspector) had made arrangements with his pals in the Obscene Publications squad for the loan of some juicy recently confiscated material.

 

23rd June   

@Censored...

Uniting against website censorship in Uzbekistan
Link Here

@ Censored logo A new campaign has swung into action in Uzbekistan protesting against government censorship of the internet.

News agencies and media outlets have joined forced to fight back against the crackdown. Websites which have been suspended or censored are uniting to take part, placing a special symbol online to indicate support.

The purge on free and independent information was imposed in Uzbekistan after the Andijan ‘massacre’ in May 2005. The opposition claims it was a massacre of civilians in which up to 1,000 people could have been killed. The exact number of victims is still uncertain, but the bodies of many of those who died were allegedly hidden in mass graves.

What followed was countless reports of unprecedented media repression. Hundreds of websites have been banned for Uzbek internet-users since those events. Among them are websites of opposition political parties as well as a range of independent and opposition media.

International watchdogs say that Uzbekistan is an enemy of the internet and on a list of the world’s ‘internet-censors’, along with Cuba, North Korea, China, Vietnam, Tunisia and Burma.

 

22nd June   

Update: EU Public Consultation...

Age Verification, Cross Media Rating and Social Networking
Link Here  full story: Safer Internet programme...EU get their hooks into social networking

EU flag
Age Verification, Cross Media Rating and Social Networking

The European Commission has launched a public consultation titled Age Verification, Cross Media Rating and Social Networking :

The purpose of the public consultation is to gather the knowledge and views of all relevant stakeholders (including public bodies, child safety and consumer organisations, industry).

The gathered information will be fed into this year's Safer Internet Forum 2008 under the topics:

  • Age verification
  • Cross media rating and classification
  • Online social networking.

Deadline to send contributions: 31 July 2008

 

22nd June   

Update: Oh Brother!...

Sponsored whingers about Big Brother 9
Link Here  full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother

Big Brother 9 Viewers have complained to Ofcom about Big Brother ’s sponsorship adverts.

The broadcasting watchdog has received several complaints about the "ageist, homophobic and sexist" Virgin Media idents, which are shown during commercial breaks.

However, Virgin Media defended the ads, arguing that they feature people from all walks of life and include a humour suitable for a Big Brother audience.

A spokesman said: They are intended to be irreverent and thought-provoking but also to make people laugh. At no point would we ever want to cause, or encourage, offence.

 

22nd June   

Update: Head on the Block...

Turkey ranks alongside China for website blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

YouTube logo A two-day workshop sponsored by the Ankara Bar Association and turk.internet.com was organized on June 18 and 19 to discuss Web site censure issues in an attempt to produce possible solutions.

Popular video-sharing Web site YouTube had been banned by court order in Turkey for one-and-a-half months when it was lifted on Tuesday night -- only to be reintroduced at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning through another court decision.

The Web site was banned yet again for hosting a video insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. The bans on YouTube have been frequent in the past few months, sparking serious debate over a law that regulates Web site content and Internet publishing, which has been criticized for restricting freedom of expression.

The frequent YouTube bans are a major embarrassment for Turkey internationally, as they place the country alongside China, Pakistan and Thailand, the only other countries to ban YouTube so far. By mid-April, 321 Web sites were banned under the Internet Publications Law and another 102 under other laws in Turkey.

The workshop heard of problems with existing Turkish legislation such that Web site owners were not given a chance to defend their Web site content. The law is also very problematic in that its ambiguous description of “obscenity”.

As a remedy, Web site owners attending the workshop suggested partial bans that would block only the illegal content and not the entire site. Experts also suggested that the authority to ban access to Web sites be given to specialized courts only, to avoid arbitrariness in Web site ban rulings.

The major reason for most of these bans, Telecommunications Authority Internet Department head Osman Nihat Sen explained, were complaints filed by individual citizens. Under the law, the police must relay these complaints to prosecutors, who are in turn legally obliged to act on them and launch court processes. The courts, in turn, have to rule in accordance with the current Internet publishing laws, which criminalize ambiguously defined offences, such as insulting Atatrk or encouraging suicide or gambling.

He also said that 10,103 complaints had been registered with the Telecommunications Authority as of June 16. One hundred seventy of these complaints caused a Web site to be blocked by court decision, and 314 more sites were blocked automatically after complaints were received, without resorting to a court. Warnings were issued to 22 Web sites, and inappropriate content was removed, Sen added: We do not have the authority to block Web sites promoting the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]. Even when there are complaints about this kind of content, we cannot remove them. There are also videos insulting the prime minister, Islam and the Turkish flag. Those videos cannot be interfered with, because the law does not say anything about those issues. Turkey behaves like an ostrich, sticking its head in the sand. We have to implement the law.

Law No. 5651 on Internet Publishing is the legal basis of Web site bans in the Turkish Constitution. The law’s Article 8 allows for blocking access to broadcasts for the following reasons: inciting violence, online sexual exploitation of children, encouraging drug use, obscenity, prostitution, enabling means to gambling and crimes stated in Law No. 5816 regarding insulting Atatrk. The Telecommunications Authority can block Web sites with a court decision or at its own initiative.

 

22nd June   

Update: Olympic Firewall of China...

No let up in Chinas blocking of the internet
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking in Olympic China...Chinese Olympics herald a lull in internet censorship

Olympic hand cuffs China has only continued to tighten censorship of the Internet as the Olympics draw near, not loosen up as expected.

That's the conclusion of activists who monitor the state of censorship in China. They say that a number of China-related that events, such as the unrest in Tibet and the recent earthquakes, have caused authorities to clamp down even further on what can be published online within the country, and what information can be accessed by citizens.

My observation is that during this year the Internet police became much more efficient in terms of surveillance of the Internet activities to suppress freedom of expression, Independent Chinese PEN Centre member Zhang Yu said: The suppression is getting much more severe, just in the recent months.

Journalist arrests and convictions may have gone down since 2004 but it's not because there's more freedom in China, Zhang said. Instead, China is cracking down on the use of Internet cafes for subversive purposes by requiring customers to show ID, for example. After signing up with an ID and possibly even having a photo taken, users will be able to log in with their unique ID numbers, which will allow the cafes to keep track of exactly who is using which machine at all times. From there, if the government identifies the IP address of an unruly user on the 'Net, it should easily be able to identify the user in question.

Zhang's observations come just over a month after China admitted that it doesn't plan to fully open the Internet during this summer's Olympic Games as was previously expected. The government said that it would attempt to offer as much access as possible to international journalists and bloggers (as dictated by the host city agreement signed with the International Olympic Committee), but that there was no way China would turn off the Great Firewall entirely.

Update: Said the Small Censor to the Big Censor

23rd June 2008

It is unacceptable for China to block Internet content, a European Commissioner has said calling the Internet a free and open medium.

We say for instance to the Chinese, very clearly so, that their blocking of certain Internet content is absolutely unacceptable, said Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner for Information Society and Media: So Europe speaks up in this sense, and is fighting for the freedom of speech and the freedom to receive the news.

 

22nd June   

Update: Bells Silenced...

Sudan newspaper protests unworkable level of censorship
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

Sudan flag One of Sudan's leading independent papers suspended work on Thursday, saying censorship by authorities had made it impossible to function.

Ajras al-Huriya, or the Bells of Freedom, said it had not been able to publish for two days this week after Sudanese security arrived and ordered the removal of up to nine articles and columns minutes before the paper went to the printing press.

They, the security elements, are replacing the role of the editor-in-chief, said deputy chief editor, Fayez el-Sheikh el-Silaik: We want to send a very strong message to the international community and the political forces that we are in a very dangerous situation -- freedom is in danger now. We cannot even write about the fact that there is censorship .

Update: Bells Resume

25th June 2008

One of Sudan's leading independent newspapers resumed publication on Tuesday after halting its presses in protest at government censorship of the media.

Ajras al-Huriya, or the Bells of Freedom, which stopped printing on Thursday, said it had been particularly targeted by the authorities who had removed up to nine articles just before the paper went to press last week.

Today we have resumed publishing after talks with political parties and civil society organisations, said editor Abdel Moneim Suleiman.

Ajras al-Huriya said they were not allowed to print stories about Darfur, Chad, the censorship itself or anything critical of the ruling National Congress Party.

 

21st June   

A Stab in the Dark...

Boris Johnson blames video games for London's knife crime
Link Here  full story: Knife Blame...Media predictably blamed for increased knife crime

Manhunt 2 scene with knife London Mayor Boris Johnson has pointed the finger at violent video games for being a cause of knife crime in the Capital.

In a piece railing against ‘London’s knife crisis’ written for thelondonpaper, the blunder-prone public figure writes: We must show young people that knives are not cool, and for that we need positive role models.

I want to counteract the damaging influences drug-addled celebrities and violent video games and the lure of the life in the gang by providing opportunities.

 

21st June   

Tinky Winky Censors...

France whinges at TV for babies
Link Here

French culture and communications minister Christine Albanel has called for greater awareness among broadcasters and parents of the potential dangers of TV aimed at very young children, such as U.S.-based channels Baby TV and BabyFirst .

In response to a report by France's Directorate General of Health warning against channels for children under three years of age, irrespective of the type of programming, Albanel said: I want to tell parents not to use these channels. They bombard children with images and sounds. We do not know what effects this may have on such young people.

Both Albanel and France's broadcasting authority Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel have expressed their concerns about the potential dangers represented by baby and toddler-oriented channels including Baby TV and BabyFirst, which are available in France and other European countries via cable and satellite.

As both channels are broadcast into France from the U.K., however, CSA restrictions on youth programming cannot be enforced. The regulator's intention is to make its British counterpart, Ofcom, more aware of its concerns.

 

21st June   

Update: Hindus Duped into Hype...

Predictably Love Guru not found to be anti-hindu after all
Link Here  full story: Love Guru Nonsense...Love Guru Mike Myers movie winds up hindus

The Love Guru A Fremont-linked Hindu rights group that got a last-minute screening of The Love Guru , had few kind words about the new Mike Myers comedy, which pokes fun at enigmatic Indian spiritual guidance.

The film was vulgar, crude and — in the opinion of many of our attendees — too often tasteless in its puerile choice of humor, said Aseem Shukla, a board member of the Hindu American Foundation: Very few of the Hindus viewing the film, however, found it overtly anti-Hindu or mean-spirited.

In a statement, the foundation said: Most agreed that the film will be widely seen as a satire of a Hindu character, though this is never overtly stated in the film.

Still, many of the foundation members expressed unease that since widespread understanding of Hinduism ... is so limited, this film does nothing to promote tolerance and pluralism, and may reinforce widely held negative and exotic stereotypes of Hindus.


Virginia Lam, a spokeswoman for Paramount, said in a statement: The 'Love Guru' is a Mike Myers comedy in the same spirit of 'Austin Powers.' No one could confuse, or has confused, this film as intending to tackle serious issues surrounding faith and religion.

Hindus are for free speech ...BUT...

Rajan Zed is a Hindu chaplain in northwestern Nevada and he has led the campaign against Love Guru

He wrote in a blog:

Rajan Zed Despite lot of support and encouragement, we faced some criticism also: Why is religion trying to censor free speech? Is Hinduism so weak that a small movie can damage it? Why are you protesting when you have not even seen the movie? Why can't Hindus take a joke? Who made you the representative of Hindus and speak for them? This movie is not about Hinduism and Hindus and is a mythical and completely made up system of teachings. And so on.

Hindus are for free speech as much as anybody else, if not more. Hindu tradition encourages peaceful debates to be won on their intellectual merit ...BUT... faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Filmmakers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as cinema is a very powerful medium.

Of course a small movie, which will be forgotten in few months, would not destroy the great tradition of Hinduism, which has been around longer than any other established religion and has faced many onslaughts and come out stronger ...BUT... Hinduism is often misunderstood and wrongly portrayed outside India. Movies like this bring more confusion and create stereotypes in the minds of audience, many of whom may not have had any other exposure to its tenets.

...

Humor is a part and parcel of Hindu society and our folk festivals, plays, stories, etc., are full of parody, satire, mimicry, buffoonery, etc. We are strong enough to take a joke or rather many jokes ...BUT... there are certain convictions in every tradition, which are venerable and not meant to be mocked.

...

Comedy should make everybody smile and should not come at the expense of ridiculing others’ faith and spreading misinformation. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed.

Moreover, cinema is a forceful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences. So it should handle faith related subjects especially carefully.

 

21st June   

Update: Zack Flack...

Supporting the hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here

Zavk and Miri Make a Porno trailer Kevin Smith's upcoming film Zack And Miri Make A Porno is struggling to secure an R rating in the US, MTV reports.

The movie, in which Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks play lifelong friends who try to solve their cash problems by making an adult film, has encountered ratings problems with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Rogen said: The MPAA is gunning for us, I think. It's a really filthy movie. I hear they are having some problems getting an R rating from an NC-17 rating, which is never good.

 

21st June   

Update: 56 Censors...

China shuts down video sharing site
Link Here  full story: Video Sharing in China...China bans most video sharing websites

56.com One of the most popular video-sharing websites in China has been shut down.

The site, 56.com, which usually offers YouTube-style video, has been suspended for more than two weeks. A message on the home page blames a server upgrade, but it would be unusual for such routine maintenance to take so long.

Executives at the company refused to explain the delay, according to the Wall Street Journal, prompting concern that it may have fallen foul of regulators. 56.com is one of the three largest video-sharing sites in China, and along with similar sites has been closely scrutinised by the Government in recent months.

In December the Government issued new rules which held that in order to operate, video-sharing sites must be part state-owned. Regulators later issued guidance that some privately run sites may continue if they were given licenses and agreed to abide by content restrictions, but it has so far refused to give licenses to the three largest sites – Tudou.com, Youku.com and 56.com.

Most Chinese sites employ teams who comb through content as it uploaded - unlike YouTube, which waits for offensive or inappropriate content to be pointed out by users before it is taken down.

 

21st June   

Update: Finger Wagging Okayed...

ASA find in favour of anti-KFC animal cruelty leaflet
Link Here

Kentucky Fried Cruelty A circular, for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), showed a caricature of KFC frontman Colonel Sanders, grinning maniacally whilst holding a chicken by the legs in one hand and a kitchen knife pointing directly at it in the other. The chicken appeared to be in distress and had many feathers missing. The knife dripped blood and the Colonel's clothes were covered in blood splatters. Text stated KFC Cruelty The Colonel's Secret Recipe Includes: Live Scalding, Painful Debeaking, Crippled Chickens PeTA KentuckyFriedCruelty.co.uk.

The complainant, who received the circular through her letter box, challenged whether it was offensive, irresponsible and unsuitable for untargeted delivery. She was particularly concerned about its effect on children as it had caused distress to a child in her care who had picked it up.

PETA said, in their view, disturbing facts should not be censored simply because they made some people feel uncomfortable and there was no indication that the leaflet had caused serious or widespread offence. They explained that they did not encourage the distribution of the leaflet through letter boxes or any form of untargeted delivery and pointed out that text on their website stated Dont drop leaflets into mailboxes; it was handed out only to willing takers and offered to activists and others who ordered it.

They argued that the image of Colonel Sanders on the front of the leaflet was obviously a comic character and the statements and images in the leaflet were not intended to cause shock or distress, but depicted the treatment of chickens by KFC in a manner that lightened the burden of the message.

Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that the leaflet was intended to promote the views of PETA and their concerns about animal welfare. We also understood that PETA did not encourage or condone the leaflet's untargeted distribution and acknowledged that it was generally handed out or sent to those who willingly accepted it.

We considered, however, that the cartoon image on the front of the leaflet and the text and photographs shown on the rear of it were graphic and likely to upset recipients who had not been targeted and who were unaware of its context before reading it. We, therefore, appreciated the complainant's concern.

While we did not condone the leaflets untargeted distribution, we acknowledged the measures taken by PETA to ensure that the leaflet was not distributed indiscriminately and, while it was regrettable that it had caused distress to a child by being posted through a letterbox, we considered that PETA had made reasonable efforts to instruct its supporters not to distribute the leaflet in this way. In addition, we considered that only one complaint was likely to be an indicator that the leaflet had not been distributed widely in the same manner. We concluded that it had not been targeted inappropriately and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress to children.

 

21st June   

Armenian Rights Abuse...

Armenia fined for closing critical TV station without good reason
Link Here

A1+ logo The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Armenia’s repeated denials of a broadcasting license to the independent A1+ television station violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. According to the verdict, the Armenian government must pay the station 20,000 euros in damages.

Famous for its criticism of Armenian authorities, A1+ was forced off the air in 2002 when the National Committee on Television and Radio—a regulatory body whose members are directly appointed by the president—awarded the station’s frequency to another company. Since then, the agency has repeatedly rejected A1+ applications for a broadcasting license—moves widely viewed as retaliation for the station’s journalism. When local courts dismissed A1+ appeals as unfounded, station owner Mesrop Movsesyan filed an appeal with the Strasbourg-based court in 2004.

The court found that the repeated and unexplained denials violated the right to impart information and ideas as outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

20th June   

Update: Suicidal Censorship...

Why do the government claim all their draconian laws are just closing 'loopholes'?
Link Here  full story: Suicide Censorship...UK government proposes to ban suicide information

Samaritans Websites that encourage people to commit suicide could be shut down under changes to the law. The sites offer users tips on taking their own life and have been linked to around 27 deaths in Britain over the last six years.

The Government is considering closing a legal 'loophole' to outlaw the advice. Under laws introduced in 1961 aiding or encouraging suicide is illegal - but only if the offender met the victim face to face.

Madeleine Moon, MP for Bridgend in south Wales where a number of the 20 recent suicides are believed to have involved suicide sites and chatrooms, said: These sites can only be described as truly evil. The law needs to be changed. These websites are horrendous. They push and push people to kill themselves and tell them how to do it.

Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister, told a committee of MPs that the Government was determined to act: Aiding and abetting suicide, online or offline, is illegal. Something should be done about it and they should be taken down .

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: There are difficulties as many of them are based overseas, but we're considering whether the law can be strengthened.

 

20th June   

Update: Australia All Fucked Up...

More TV censorship to deal with Gordon Ramsay
Link Here  full story: Gordon Ramsay...Gordon Ramsay stirs trouble for Australian TV censors

Gordan Ramsay's The F Word DVD British chef Gordon Ramsay has sparked a recommendation to lock-out programs with swearing, and to redefine ratings in Australia.

The British chef, known for his often potty-mouthed approach to work, swore about 80 times during a 40-minute program aired in Australia.

A Liberal MP now wants a parental lock-out system installed on all digital TVs sold in the future, allowing parents to block-out the swearing comment.

I say this not because I believe in censorship... BUT... because I believe strongly that what we broadcast on our televisions has a profound impact on how we conduct ourselves over a period of time, Senator Cory Bernardi said.

However a committee disagreed, saying that swearing was a natural part of growing up and it was up to parents to educate their children.

The committee does not believe it is appropriate to make any recommendation with regard to imposing additional limits [on] the use of the words 'f---' or 'c---' on Australian television, beyond the requirements of the current classification system, the report said.

The Nine Network has now promised that any reference to the word "cunt" would be blocked out altogether.

 

20th June   

Update: Retrial Request...

Max Hardcore challenges validity of trial
Link Here  full story: Max Hardcore on Trial...Max Hardcore on trial for obscenity

Max Hardcore Extreme 12 DVD Attorneys for "Max Hardcore" (Paul Little) and Max World Entertainment yesterday filed a Motion for New Trial And/Or Judgment of Acquittal on behalf of both defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

The motion, largely written by Max World attorney Jennifer Kinsley, cites six reasons for overturning the jury's verdict of guilty on all counts, including:

  1. That the federal obscenity statutes are invalid under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights, as well as being unworkable when applied to Internet speech under the current COPA holding that the "community" for the 'Net is the entire world
  2. That the judge erred in allowing prosecutors to present only excerpts from the charged videos - the "Euro" versions of Max Extreme 20, Pure Max 19, Golden Guzzlers 7, Fists of Fury 4, and Planet Max 16 - thereby prohibiting the jury from considering the material "as a whole," as well as prohibiting the defense from playing some "extras" on four of the DVDs
  3. That the Court should have recused herself from presiding over the trial after she made comments indicating that she had already formed an opinion as to the guilt of the defendants without having heard all the evidence
  4. That the Court should have dismissed the counts involving mailing of the five DVDs to Tampa on the basis that the government presented insufficient evidence that defendants knew the mails would be used to send the videos, and also that the defendants did not in fact mail the videos at all
  5. That the Court failed to properly handle several jury irregularities, including a note sent from one juror during the trial asking that only excerpts of the charged videos be played rather than the videos in their entirety, and the fact that on the evening of the first day of deliberations, one juror was informed that she had been fired from her job that day, and such firing was not brought to the attention of either the prosecution or the defense
  6. That the government failed to show that the charged material met the federal standards for obscenity in relation to the material's target audience: the "dominant and submissive sexually deviant group."

The prosecution has 30 days to respond to the defense motion, and Judge Bucklew will rule shortly thereafter.

 

20th June   

Update: Turkey Proves Worthy of Criticism...

Turkish star sees trial postponed until September
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress

Bulent Ersoy One of Turkey's best known singers, Bulent Ersoy, has gone on trial charged with attempting to turn the public against military service.

The charges were brought after she suggested it was not worth sacrificing soldiers' lives in Turkey's conflict with the Kurdish separatist PKK group.

The transsexual singer made her comments on television last February.

The army was conducting a major operation against the PKK in northern Iraq at the time.

Ms Ersoy did not show up in court, saying she had to attend a concert, so the trial has been postponed until September, when she will be obliged to attend.

Ms Ersoy has already said she will stand by her comments. But she faces up to four-and-a-half years in prison if she is convicted.

Ms Ersoy's trial may well scare many into silence, our correspondent says.

 

20th June   

Wrong Brand of Nonsense...

US magazine receives death threats about variation of islam
Link Here

Pakistan Times USA logo The publisher and editor of an Urdu-language newspaper in Houston, Pakistan Times USA, has received telephone death threats, and thousands of copies of the free weekly were removed in bulk from dozens of locations in southeastern Texas.

The threats and theft of the papers came after the Pakistan Times USA published an advertisement by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a sect deemed heretical by some Muslims.

The ad briefly described the Ahmadiyya Muslim faith and announced a centennial celebration of the sect to be held in Houston.

In accordance with our policy of equal coverage to all faiths we accepted the ad, Publisher and Editor Najam Ali told CPJ. Pakistan Times USA ran the advertisement on Thursday, May 22. The following day some Islamic clerics at local mosques in Houston denounced the paper for running the ad by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Ali told CPJ. He said he soon began receiving several threatening phone calls about having published the ad.

We’re going to burn your house [in Houston], and we’re going to burn your house in Pakistan, too, Ali said one caller threatened on May 24. He said he immediately reported the threat to the Houston Police Department.

 

20th June   

Amnesty Media Awards 2008...

Winners for 17th annual awards
Link Here

Amnesty Media Awards 2008 Amnesty International have announced the winners for its prestigious annual Media Awards, which recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism's significant contribution to the UK public's awareness and understanding of human rights issues.

Gaby Rado Memorial Award (for a journalist covering human rights for less than five years)

  • Lucy Bannerman, The Times
  • Winner: Xan Rice, The Guardian
  • Zeina Aboul Hosn, Channel 4 News, ITN

International Television and Radio

  • Assignment: Louisiana burning, BBC World Service: Joanna Mills,
    Jeremy Skeet, Mike Williams
  • Inside Myanmar - the crackdown, Al Jazeera English: Lucy Keating, Marcus Cheek, Tony Birtley, Badrul Hisham
  • Winner: The Lost Tribe - Secret Army of the CIA, Al Jazeera English: Eunice Lau, Stephanie Scawen, Tricia Tan, Tony Birtley

National Newspapers

  • Children for sale, The Telegraph: David Harrison
  • Winner: Iraqi interpreters series, The Times: Deborah Haynes
  • MI5's role in torture flight hell, The Observer: David Rose

New Media

  • Burma coverage, Kate McGeown, BBC News online: BBC News Interactive interactivity team, newsgathering team and Burmese section World Service.
  • Winner: Honour killing sparks fears of new Iraqi conflict, Institute for War and Peace Reporting: Sahar Al-Haideri
  • Tibet protests, guardian.co.uk: Dan Chung, Tania Branigan, Jonathan Watts

Nations and Regions

  • BBC Wales Today - Ama Sumani, BBC Wales: Alistair McGhie, Carolyn Carey Jones, Gail Morris Jones, Nick Palit
  • Winner: Congo to Motherwell, BBC Scotland: Fiona Walker, Dorothy Parker, Fiona Walker, Matt Pinder
  • Immigration investigation, Lancashire Evening Post: Stefanie Hall
  • In the line of fire, Spectrum (Scotland on Sunday magazine): Billy Briggs

Newspaper supplements

  • Gender genocide, Sunday Times Magazine: Christine Toomey
  • Winner: Selling soccer into slavery, Live (Mail on Sunday magazine): Jonathan Green

Consumer magazines

  • No place for children, New Statesman: Alice O'Keeffe
  • Winner: Nothing Personal / Under Pressure / Crime Without Punishment, Index on Censorship: Fatima Tlisova / Sergei Bachiwin / Alexei Simonov

Photojournalism

  • Winner: Congo unrest, Newsweek: Cedric Gerbehaye
  • In the line of fire, Spectrum (Scotland on Sunday magazine): Angela Catlin
  • There's the rub, Guardian Weekend: Justin Jin

Radio

  • Honour killings, BBC Radio 4 - File on Four: Samantha Fenwick, David Ross, Angus Stickler
  • The My Lai tapes, BBC Radio 4 - The Archive Hour: Rosie Goldsmith, Sue Ellis, Maria Balinska, Robert Hodierne
  • Winner: Where there's muck: Mike Thomson in the Congo, Radio 4, Today Programme: Pascale Harter, Ceri Thomas, Mike Thompson

Television Documentary and Docudrama

  • Winner: Storyville: The devil came on horseback, BBC FOUR / Break Thru Films: Gretchen Wallace, Jane Wells, Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern, Nick Fraser, Brian Steidle
  • Storyville: Taxi to the dark side, BBC TWO / Jigsaw Productions / Steps International: Alex Gibney, Eva Orner, Susannah Shipman, Don Edkins, Mette Heide, Nick Fraser
  • The boys from Baghdad High, BBC / Renegade Pictures: Ivan O'Mahoney, Laura Winter, Karen O'Connor

Television News

  • Exploited workers, BBC News (10:00): Annie Allison, Craig Oliver, Allan Little, Audreus Lelkaitis
  • Five years in Iraq, ITN / Guardian Films: Teresa Smith, Maggie O'Kane, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad
  • Winner: Too young to die - Children of the frontline, ITV News / ITN: Chris Rogers, Deborah Turness

Amnesty's 'Special Award For Human Rights Journalism Under Threat

  • The award was made by BBC journalist Alan Johnston to Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, 42, the former editor of Yemen's political weekly newspaper Al-Shora. Last week (9 June) Mr Al-Khaiwani was jailed for six years, a move criticised by Amnesty, which said he should 'never have been on trial in the first place' and that 'his imprisonment looks like a clear case of the authorities putting an independently-minded journalist behind bars for his criticism of government policies.'

 

19th June   

Dangerous Information...

Entwistle searched for information about killing with a knife
Link Here

Vital points Briton Neil Entwistle searched the internet for advice on killing a few days before his wife and baby daughter were murdered, a US court has heard.

The jury was shown a diagram of major human arteries and "strike points" in the chest, found in the internet history of Entwistle's laptop.

Detective Lawrence James, a computer specialist, told the jury that the diagram of the major arteries had been found on a website following a search for how to kill with a knife.

The jury of eight men and eight women also heard how the same laptop and Entwistle's username had been used to trawl adult sex sites less than 12 hours before the how to kill with a knife search.

The trial continues.

 

19th June   

Update: Cross Border Games...

ELSPA commission survey to back their case to adopt PEGI
Link Here  full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

YouGov logo A YouGov survey reveals strong UK support for pan-European games rating system, PEGI. This was carried out on behalf of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers’ Association (ELSPA).

The survey found that a majority of British adults (67%) believe it is important to have a single age-ratings system which would be consistent across Europe.

ELSPA has been lobbying for a pan-European system, PEGI, as the consistent age-rating system across the continent.

MEP Michael Cashman welcomed the latest YouGov findings. A senior member of the European Parliament’s Justice, Home Affairs and Civil Liberties Committee, he said: I am not surprised that most Brits believe it is vital that we are signed-up to a pan-European rating system. Many buy their games when they are away, and others download content from European games companies. These are trends which will inevitably continue. PEGI and PEGI Online offer security when UK residents buy games from the continent– and when visiting Europeans buy games from us during their visits.

Total sample size of YouGov research was 1990 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th and 9th June. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Update: Euro Pressure

20th June 2008

In a written response regarding a recent meeting of the Education, Youth and Culture Council, The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport - Margaret Hodge - has reported strong backing for the PEGI video game rating system.

Hodge states, The Commission summarised their communication on video games and pushed member states to implement the voluntary Pan European Game Information (PEGI) system for age rating of video games.

 

19th June   

User Created Ratings...

Xbox community don't see a role for BBFC or PEGI in user created games
Link Here

XNA logo The head of Xbox community developer service XNA, Chris Satchell, has said that user generated content can be responsibly rated by an audience of its creators' peers – and doesn’t need any intervention from the BBFC or PEGI.

In his keynote at the GamesHorizon Conference in Newcastle, Satchell introduced the audience to XNA’s service, Creators Club Online, launching later in the year.

The service allows bedroom developers to share their games with one another, and encourages the community to rate them in categories of violence, sexual content and more – as well as giving them a critical score.

A Beta version of the site has been running for the last four weeks, and XNA members have already created 54 titles.

We’re giving tools to the community, but we’re not arbiters of good taste, he said. Our only ground rules for these user-generated games is that they don’t infringe other people’s IP and that there aren’t things we consider obscene.

PEGI and the BBFC simply are not going to be able to rate community content. We have to work out a way to police ourselves to avoid huge regulatory pressure. The core of Creators Club Online take it very seriously. If you give the community tools, they act responsibly.

 

19th June   

Discriminating Against European Citizens...

EU to propose all encompassing anti-discrimination law
Link Here

EU flag The European Union's executive will put forward a draft law banning all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of age, religion and sexual orientation.

All discrimination is serious and deserves to be fought with the same determination, European Commission Vice President Jacques Barrot told a hearing at the European Parliament.

The 27-nation bloc has already agreed legislation barring racism and xenophobia. The European Commission had been expected to propose barring discrimination on the grounds of disability, and after lobbying by Euro MPs, this proposal will now be widened to ban all forms of discrimination, Barrot said.

Barrot said the new proposal, to be unveiled early next month, would need unanimity among EU states to be adopted. Other measures were also planned, he said.

 

19th June   

Less Lip...

Tesco ad pulled due to lyrics mentioning Jesus and Mohammed
Link Here

Black Lips CD The band Black Lips have claimed that their music was set to feature in an advert for Tesco, until the supermarket cancelled it over concerns with the lyrical content.

The advert, which was reportedly made, was soundtracked by the American band's track Veni Vidi Vici , taken from their 2007 album Good Bad Not Evil.

However, the song's references to religious figures led Tesco to pull the advert.

Bassist Jared Swilley said: They took it away because we mentioned Muhammad and Jesus.

 

19th June   

Human Rights Hijacked...

Canadian Human Rights Commission Re-Examines 'Hate Speech' Laws
Link Here

CHRC logo Amid mounting public and political controversy, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has launched an independent review of the way it deals with so-called hate speech on the Internet, Canada.com reported.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) has engaged Richard Moon, an expert in constitutional law and a professor at the University of Windsor, to review its policies with regard to suppressing and punishing expression.

Although the primary task of the CHRC is to combat discrimination in housing and the workplace, the commission seeks also to protect marginalized and vulnerable Canadians from hateful or contemptuous expression. It derives its authority to do so from Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the section according to which it is a discriminatory practice ... to communicate ... any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt on the basis race, religion, or other specified characteristic.

More than a few critics charged right from the beginning that Section 13 denies Canadians freedom of expression. These critics have long demanded that the CHRC get out of the censorship business entirely. But the matter didn't make it onto the general public's radar screen until late last year, when the CHRC, as well as two provincial commissions, accepted to hear a complaint that Maclean's magazine had exposed Muslims to hatred and contempt.

In announcing the review, the CHRC states that it wants to know how to balance freedom of expression with the need to protect Canadians from hate messages.

 

19th June   

Distorting the Norms of the Russian Language...

Russian state looks to censor vulgar language from TV
Link Here

Russia flag North Ossetia in Russia wants to censor the media, banning the use of vulgar words and expressions and scrambling erotic broadcasts.

Legislators from that republic have introduced amendments to prevent journalists from using words and expressions distorting the norms of the modern Russian literary language, state languages of the republics and other languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation.

According to the authors of the bill, such distortion is a common occurrence in the Russian media.That distortion, the legislators say, is a violation of the Russian Constitution and the law “On the State Language.”

The same package of measures contains a ban on erotic radio and television programming unless it is scrambled. Currently, that programming is allowed unscrambled from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. local time.

 

19th June   

Shared Kiss...

Rock band Kiss refuse to make new records until music sharing stops
Link Here

Kiss album The rock band Kiss have declared that the record industry is "dead".

Bassist Gene Simmonds explained that his band were refusing to record new material until illegal downloading ceases, calling the act of downloading "uncivilised".

The record industry is dead, the Daily Star reported the singer saying: It's six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this.

They've decided to download and file-share. There is no record industry around so we're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilised. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we'll record new material.

Singer Paul Stanley went on to defend the band's policy of only playing old hits live: With any classic band that hits the road, the last thing you want to hear is their new songs.

 

19th June   

De Facto Censorship...

Kyrgyzstan closes De-Facto newspaper after claims of corruption
Link Here

Kyrgyzstan flag Police in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek raided the newsroom of independent newspaper De-Facto on June 14, taking all its financial records, confiscating computers, and sealing the newsroom, the independent regional news Web site Ferghana reported. The paper was shut down after it published a letter to Kyrgyzstan’s president and other public officials that alleged official corruption.

The raid took place after the prosecutor general’s office opened a criminal investigation into the paper’s publication of a letter that they say was distribution of knowingly false denunciation, Cholpon Orozobekova, De-Facto founder and editor-in-chief, told CPJ. The charge would carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

 

18th June   

Update: Propaganda of Little Use...

Lyrical terrorist has her conviction quashed
Link Here  full story: Extremist Censorship...Censorship of religion and terrorism

Old Bailey scales A woman who wrote jihadi poetry using the pen name “Lyrical Terrorist” has had her terrorism conviction quashed by the Appeal Court.

Three senior judges said the jury at Samina Malik’s trial last year had been confused and her conviction for possessing items of use to terrorists was unsafe.

The Crown Prosecution Service indicated that it would not seek a retrial.

Miss Malik became the first woman convicted under terrorism legislation since 2001 when she was found guilty of possessing jihadi propaganda in December last year. Of 21 items found in Miss Malik’s possession, 14 were propaganda items. However, she also possessed documents including The Terrorists Handbook , The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook , and operator manuals for firearms and anti-tank weapons.

She was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months.

Miss Malik had also penned gruesome poetry in chatrooms praising the beheading of hostages in Iraq. On the back of a till receipt she scribbled: The desire within me increases everyday to go for martyrdom.

Her conviction, under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000, was widely condemned as a “thought crime” by commentators and Muslim community leaders.

But it became inevitable that she would be cleared of the crime in February when the Appeal Court quashed the convictions of five men under section 58 and effectively rewrote the Terrorism Act. The court ruled then that propagandist or theological material - no matter how extreme - could not be considered of practical use to terrorists.

But Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, presiding at the Appeal Court, said her conviction was now unsafe: The jury was required to consider not only documents which were capable of being of practical utility for a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, but a large number of documents that were not. We consider that there was scope for the jury to have become confused.

 

18th June   

Loose Canon...

Joan Rivers thrilled to be marched off TV programme
Link Here  full story: Loose Women...Complaints about Joan Rivers on TV

Loose Women poster US comedienne Joan Rivers has had an appearance on a daytime TV show cut short after swearing live on air.

The 75-year-old's outburst came when talking about actor Russell Crowe on ITV's Loose Women .

The star claimed she was expecting a time delay so the strong language could be bleeped out.

An ITV spokeswoman said: Guests are always briefed that it is a live daytime show and are reminded not to swear or use inappropriate language. An editorial decision was taken that Joan Rivers should not appear in the final part of the programme. We would like to apologise to Loose Women viewers for the inappropriate language used on today's show.

Rivers, who is currently in the UK promoting her London acting debut in a self-penned autobiographical play, said she had warned the show: Get ready to bleep. She added that it was not her fault that producers did not have the facility to edit out bad language.

During a commercial break, Rivers said producers took her off the set, adding that it was the first time she had been removed in 40 years and she was "thrilled".

 

18th June   

ASA Hits Out at The Hits...

Whinges about stripping woman dressed as a schoolgirl
Link Here

The Hits logo A TV advert showing a woman dressed as a schoolgirl conducting a striptease for two men should not have been shown when children were watching.

The ASA criticised broadcaster Box Television after it showed an advert for a mobile download of a controversial music video on its The Hits channel.

In the advert, which had no time restrictions, clips of HTwoO and Platnum's video for their What's It Gonna Be single were shown.

The video provoked controversy after showing a group of men and women wearing school uniforms dancing in front of a school.

In another section a woman performs a striptease in a classroom for one of the men, revealing a lacy red bra and pants under the uniform.

Two viewers who saw the advert on Sunday morning and Thursday afternoon complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it was inappropriate to broadcast the clip when children could have been watching.

The broadcaster noted that the music video itself had already been cleared by Ofcom over its sexually provocative content.

In its adjudication the ASA warned The Hits of failing to apply scheduling restrictions to adverts inappropriate for children.

 

18th June   

Update: Turkey Insults Humanity...

5 months in jail for publishing book about Armenian Massacre
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress

Turkey gagged A Turkish publisher has been sentenced to five months in prison for publishing a book by a British author about the mass killing of Armenians in 1915.

Ragip Zarakolu was found guilty of insulting the institutions of the Turkish republic under Article 301 of Turkey's penal code.

The controversial law was recently reformed under pressure from the EU to ensure freedom of speech in Turkey. This is the first high-profile verdict to be handed down since then.

Zarakolu's sentence confirms campaigners' fears that changes to the law were merely cosmetic, says the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul.

In April it became a crime to insult the Turkish nation, rather than Turkishness. But insulting the Turkish nation can still be punished by up to two years in jail.

Zarakolu was brought to trial for publishing a book by British author George Jerjian on the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Passing sentence, the judge told Zarakolu he had insulted the Turkish republic and its founders. His own defence - that he had the right to criticise - was rejected.

Zarakolu's case was not referred to the Turkish ministry of justice, as required under the reforms, and he has said he will appeal against the verdict, our correspondent reports. His sentence will not be imposed until that appeal process is complete.

The justice ministry recently revealed that 1,700 people were tried under Article 301 in 2006 alone.

 

18th June   

Searching for Unregulated Advertising...

European discussions about regulation of online advertising
Link Here

PPAI logo Debates are taking place in Europe over the self regulation of online advertising.

The PPA, the association of UK magazines and publishers, has commented that advertising codes should cover all forms of internet adverts in order to avoid introducing 'unnecessary' legislation.

For example, search results and sponsored links are not covered by the code.

Now the government and non-governmental organisations in the UK and Brussels are discussing how advertising self-regulation applies to online media.

PPA's director of legal and public affairs, Kerry Neilson, has called on the advertising industry to address whether it wants to be regulated by legislation or whether it would be more effective to extend self-regulatory codes.

Although self-regulation shows the industry can police itself, it requires sign-up rules that involve obligations that occasionally go further than the law therefore meaning it is 'not the easy option', she added.

 

17th June   

Da Vinci Code 2...

Nutters and Censors ban Angels and Demons
Link Here

Angels and Demons book The Vatican has banned the makers of Angels & Demons , the latest book from Da Vinci Code bestseller Dan Brown to be turned into a movie, from entering the Holy See and any church in Rome.

The entire film is set in Rome, and Sony Pictures applied for permission to film two key scenes inside the churches of Santa Maria del Popolo and Santa Maria della Vittoria.

However, the scenes will now be shot on a soundstage after the diocese of Rome closed its doors against the producers. Father Marco Fibbi, a spokesman, said: Usually we read the script but in this case it wasn't necessary. Just the name Dan Brown was enough.

Fibbi said: Angels and Demons peddles a type of fantasy that damages our common religious beliefs, just like The Da Vinci Code did.

The film, which also stars Ewan McGregor, is due to be released next May.

 

17th June   

Update: Censorship Guide...

Arts group to produce guide to censorship in Australia
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Australia...Getting wound up by children in art

NAVA logo An arts body will produce a censorship guide to clarify the laws about artistic freedom of expression. The National Association for the Visual Arts said yesterday it would develop a guide to better educate artists about the moral and legal limitations of artistic expression.

The move follows the recent uproar over photographer Bill Henson's use of nude children as models.

The guide will consider ethical issues, rights and responsibilities, explain the law, advise about public exposure of sensitive material and the most effective way to deal with complaints.

The National Gallery of Victoria's chairman, Allan Myers, said that while producing a guide was "sensible", it would be difficult to define the moral and legal limitations facing artists: That's why it's best to err on the side of freedom, I think.

 

17th June   

Update: Political Beer Goggles...

Australian internet users to get access slowed for filter they do not want.
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

goggles Australian Broadband providers Internode and iiNet have hit out against the Federal government's ISP-level content filtering initiative — a scheme that could cripple Australia's high-speed internet access, according to one exec.

Mandatory filtering, one of Kevin Rudd's election promises, is set to move the emphasis from parents onto ISPs to remove "inappropriate content" from Australians' internet experience with potential software filters currently being trialled by ACMA.

The regulator is expected to file its report on the filter tests with Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy by the end of this month, after the Federal government pledged a one-off AU$125.8 million subsidy for ISPs to install the required equipment as part of this year's budget.

The plan has already attracted its critics. Security experts recently called government filters to block malware — rather than the "inappropriate content" currently targeted — a suggestion backed by ISP Internode. John Lindsay, Internode carrier relations manager said: We support the government's desire to keep kids safe on the internet and certainly from any type of exploitation, but we don't support the government crippling high-speed broadband services which they say are so essential to the development of our economy.

He also said he was intrigued the government seems so confident that users will be happy to have their access slowed down to allow for filtering they don't want. Some of the things the government could mandate are simply not technically feasible, some could be highly disruptive to users, some could be simply ineffective at blocking access to certain content. What you end up with is everybody being dissatisfied with the filter.

 

17th June   

The eXile Exiled...

Investors desert magazine investigated by Russian authorities
Link Here

The eXile book For more than a decade, The eXile has delighted Moscow’s English-speaking expatriate community with its irreverent mix of vicious humour, sharp political analysis and shameless hedonism.

But after 11 years of scorched-earth Gonzo journalism and taking down every sacred cow in sight, The eXile’s time appears to be up.

An unexpected inspection this week by Russia’s Federal Service for Mass Media, Telecommunications and the Protection of Cultural Heritage to see if the biweekly was in compliance with Russian media laws spooked the tabloid’s investors, who withdrew their funding, said Mark Ames, the editor-in-chief.

The eXile’s closing comes after the Kremlin brought every major national media outlet to heel, leaving little room for political criticism in Russia’s public discourse.

The government media watchdog was to issue the results of its inspection on whether The eXile violated Russian media laws last Wednesday, but Ames said he had not yet heard anything. Yevgeny Strelchik, a spokesman for the watchdog, declined to give any details and said it was an internal matter between the inspectors and the newspaper.

Nothing may come at all of the inspection. They may say there are no violations at all, Ames said: But it doesn’t matter. The job is already done.

The fall of The eXile, which launched the career of Matt Taibbi, a political correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine, marks the end of perhaps the world’s most unique publishing project.

Publishing in Moscow, it found a niche in which it was out of the reach of libel laws in western countries, yet, with its small circulation and foreign-language content, remained largely under the radar screen of Russian authorities – until now. The result was a paper that published sophomoric pranks on Russian government officials and western businessmen, savage criticism of western journalists covering Russia, and misogynistic club reviews informing male readers which clubs were optimal for finding overnight female companionship.

 

17th June   

Update: Jeering Jerry...

14,000 letters protest Jerry Springer the Opera in Cincinnati
Link Here

Jerry Springer: The Opera DVD Jerry Springer: The Opera is already causing a stir in the talk show host's hometown of Cincinnati.

The New Stage Collective is putting on the production, and organizers said that they've already received 14,000 letters from people protesting the show.

The troupe said they wanted to bring the show to town for two reasons: to acknowledge the city Springer started in and because, they said, the city has served as a battleground for the First Amendment.

The show is set to run June 26 through Aug. 3.

Update: Opening Night Protest

25th June 2008

When Jerry Springer: the Opera opens in Cincinnati on Thursday it will be greeted by a “rally of reparation” made up of protesting pseudo-Catholic cultists.

The campaign is being organised by Robert Ritchie who entitles himself “executive director” of America Needs Fatima - an offshoot of the pseudo-Catholic American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property.

 

17th June   

Update: Not Looking Good for Pervez...

Even the judge is against Afghan student accused of blasphemy
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Afghanistan...Afghan sentenced to death for blasphemy

Free Pervez! International pressure is all that stands between a young journalism student and the death penalty, say his supporters.

A subdued, anxious crowd filled the courtroom of the Kabul Appeal Court on June 15 for the latest installment in the case of Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh, the Afghan journalism student facing a death sentence for blasphemy.

There was little evidence of the international media in the courtroom, and the few foreign diplomats present sat quietly, some conferring with the defence from time to time.

The lack of a strong international presence could be bad news for Kambakhsh. Several sources close to the case have said international attention is the only thing sustaining his appeal.

If the eyes of the world were not on him, this judge would just hang Kambakhsh, said one insider, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Presiding judge Abdul Salam Qazizada has weathered several Afghan administrations. He is a holdover from the Taleban regime, and his antagonism to the defendant was visible.

By the end of the June 15 session, it was clear there was to be no swift end to proceedings against Kambakhsh, 23, who is accused of insulting Islam and abusing the Holy Prophet Mohammad. For the fourth time in the past 30 days, the case was adjourned without a decision.

During the session, Qazizada appeared to take on the role of prosecutor rather than impartial judge, engaging in a legal duel with defence attorney Mohammad Afzal Nooristani. Lacking a gavel, he repeatedly banged his pen against his microphone in an effort to halt Nooristani’s defence of his client.

Just tell me why you did these things, insisted Qazizada. What were your motives?

I cannot give you reasons, since I did not do anything, responded Kambakhsh.

The young student is accused of downloading and distributing a text from the internet that criticises, sometimes quite harshly, Islam’s treatment of women. The prosecution contends that Kambakhsh added several paragraphs of his own, and that this proves he is “against Islam”.

The defendant’s brother, Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi, who has been a reporter with IWPR for the past six years, was visibly upset by the day’s events. Welcome to the Middle Ages, he grimaced.

A foreign diplomat also expressed consternation at the way the trial was being conducted. I do not see any way out, said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonmity.

 

17th June   

Thieving State...

Moldova steals computers from 12 young critics of the state
Link Here

Moldova flag On June 4th, 2008, a Court from the Moldavian capital of Kishinev ordered the sequestration of personal computers of about 12 young people who expressed critical opinions against the ruling communist party of the Republic of Moldavia on Internet forums and news portals.

According to Curaj.Net. these young people can be charged for making illegal public calls for the overthrow of the constitutional order and threatening the statality and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldavia.

 

16th June   

Update: Not Much to Like About Turkey...

Student under investigation for televised dislike of Ataturk
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress

Turkey gagged Turkey's restrictions on free speech came under the spotlight when prosecutors launched an inquiry after a student said on a television programme that she did not like Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of the modern Turkish state.

Nuray Bezirgan also expressed admiration for the leader of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini. She now faces possible charges under law 5816, crimes committed against Atatrk , after her comments last week on the popular show Teke Tek . If convicted, she could be jailed for up to four-and-a-half years.

On the show, Bezirgan - who was wearing the Islamic headscarf regarded by Turkey's secular authorities as a symbol of political Islam - was asked if she liked Atatrk. She replied: Does the right not to like Atatrk exist? If so, I do not like him. If people are persecuting me in the name of the ideology of Atatrk, then you cannot expect me to like Atatrk.

The interviewer, Fatih Altayh had earlier disclosed that Kevser Cakir, a fellow student also appearing on the show, had a picture of Khomeini on her Facebook page. The pair were being interviewed about their criticisms of the secular system, which Atatrk is seen as embodying.

Law 5816 is distinct from Article 301, which makes it an offence to insult Turkishness and under which several prominent intellectuals have been prosecuted. Turkey has been pressurised to liberalise its laws on free speech in its quest for EU membership.

 

16th June   

Update: NC-17 Nonsense...

Calling for adults only certificate for hindu mockery
Link Here  full story: Love Guru Nonsense...Love Guru Mike Myers movie winds up hindus

The Love Guru Hindus have appealed to the MPAA for assigning upcoming Hollywood movie, The Love Guru , NC-17 (adults only) rating instead of currently held PG-13.

Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, in communiques to MPAA, said: Paramount Pictures, presenter of The Love Guru movie, has not pre-screened it for Hindu leaders, despite various requests by Hindu leaders so that they have more information. So, from the information available about the movie, it appears to be mocking and ridiculing Hinduism, Hindu philosophy, ashram life, Hindu concepts and terminology, Gurus, etc. Cinema is a powerful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially in the minds of younger audiences, who are passing through an impressionable phase. We do not want our next generation to be growing up with a distorted view of Hinduism and Hindus.
Shinde further said in the communique: We appeal to you to reconsider your earlier rating decision this season and assign The Love Guru movie the 'NC-17' rating. If the filmmaker wants a lower rating, they should pre-screen it for Rajan Zed, us and other Hindu leaders, edit the material objectionable (if any) to this group and re-submit the movie to you.

The Love Guru , a comedy starring Mike Myers, is set to release on June 20.

 

16th June   

Naked Rant...

Rallying call for nutter Texas Republicans
Link Here

Nude Statue Robert Hurt went to Washington and didn't like what he saw – nudity in the nation's capital.

Nude women, sculptured women, he told the state Republican platform committee, which sat in rapt attention. Of all the evils in Washington that the Texas Republican took aim at this week, removing art with naked people from public view was high on the list for Hurt, a delegate from Kerrville.

You don't have nude art on your front porch, he explained: You possibly don't have nude art in your living rooms. So why is it important to have that in the common places of Washington, D.C.?

Hurt offered statistics: He'd heard that 20% of the art in the National Gallery of Art is of nudes. He offered detail: On Arlington Memorial Bridge overlooking the famed national cemetery, there are two Lady Godivas, two women on horses with no shirt on and long hair.

Actually, they are classical sculptures about war – one called Valor, depicting a male equestrian and a female with a shield, and Sacrifice, a female accompanying the rider Mars.

The Republican platform presented to rally the troops advocates prayer in school, getting out of the United Nations, teaching intelligent design with evolution in science classes, repealing of the minimum wage, declaring illegal immigrants criminals and outlawing abortion with no exceptions.

Hallelujah! said a delegate who had urged strong anti-abortion language.

The platform calls homosexuality contrary to the unchanging truths ordained by God. It opposes gay marriage, civil unions and the custody of children by gays.

Ridding Washington of naked art didn't make the cut though.

 

16th June   

Update: Read Only Bloggery...

China allows visitors to read blogs but not to post
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking in Olympic China...Chinese Olympics herald a lull in internet censorship

Olympic hand cuffs Blogspot, Google's popular blogging platform is accessible again in China, judging from reports from Chengdu and Beijing.

Blogspot has been blocked and unblocked so many times in China that is barely worth mentioning: it usually works for a few weeks, and then gets blocked again. But this time seems to be different.

In the past, even when Blogspot was inaccessible in China, people using the platform could still post to their blogs even though they could not read the blogs without a proxy. Today it seems that Blogger, the part of Blogspot used for publishing blog entries, is blocked.

This may just be a technical glitch, but perhaps it is a rather subtle strategy of the Net Nanny:

With Blogspot available, most Olympic visitors are less likely to notice Internet censorship, but stopping Blogger will make it much harder for some athletes, journalists and other visitors to publish their thoughts online.

 

16th June   

Update: Bolly Lolly Interchange...

Pakistan proposes regular quota of Indian movies to be imported
Link Here  full story: Bollywood Banned...India films banned in Pakistan and Bangladesh

Pakistan flag With an intention to revive cinema culture in Pakistan, the Ministry of Culture has finally decided to permit the screening of Indian movies on permanent basis.

The proposal for screening at least six movies per year has been sent to the prime minister for approval, which is likely to be approved within a few days.

Sources told The News that in a high level meeting presided by Secretary Ministry of Culture Shahid Rafi, it was decided after a heated debate that Indian movies of high quality and good subject should be screened in Pakistani cinemas to revive the cinema culture in the country. The secretary was of the opinion that Indian movies would not only help generate revenue but would also create an atmosphere of competition that would definitely bring positive changes in Pakistani movies.

He added that the proposal sent to the PM was not only about screening Indian movies in Pakistan but also included the suggestion of same number of Pakistani movies to be screened in India to maintain a balance.

Rafi said the number of movies to be screened in Pakistan could be changed if the prime minister asks to do so. It could be more than six or less than six, as it depends upon the prime minister, he added.

He said there were more than 700 cinemas in Pakistan but due to the poor quality of movies and good-for-nothing subjects, it has now been reduced to 250. People stopped going to cinemas, as there was nothing in the movies to entertain them and the cinema was confined to a particular class of people, he said.

Update: Pakistan Censors still Blocking Indian Films

15th July

Many Indian films are still failing to release in Pakistan. Reportedly a film company had paid heavy amounts to purchase the rights of several Indian movies but the films could not be released due to certain policies and laws of the Censor Board.

These Indian films include Saanwariya , Mary Gold, Superstar and others. The same film company claimed to release Indian film Mehboobha on July 11 but also failed to do so.

The film industry had shown its concern on the issue since it disturbs the schedules of the Pakistani films while cinema owners too have to face difficulties if the Indian movie gets dropped at the last moment.

 

16th June   

Geo Veto...

UAE bans Pakistani programmes from Geo TV
Link Here

Geo News logo The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is extremely concerned that two popular talk programs transmitted to Pakistan from Dubai-based GEO TV have been taken off air at the request of the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The IFJ calls on the UAE Government to explain why, and on whose authority, it asked the independent Pakistan television broadcaster to cancel the programs.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) said the owner of GEO, Shakeelur Rehman, confirmed that UAE authorities had asked GEO to discontinue broadcasting Capital Talk , hosted by Islamabad-based Hamid Mir, and Meray Mutabek , hosted by Dubai-based Shahid Masood.

UAE authorities reportedly told GEO management that they did not want anything transmitted from Dubai to disturb UAE’s relationship with friendly countries.

Mir told the IFJ that he had received messages in recent weeks that President Musharraf was displeased with his program. Mir was informed this morning, as he prepared for his regular Thursday program, that the closure of both shows came into force at midnight on June 11.

Capital Talk had only returned to air in early March 2008 after being banned during the November state of emergency.

The PFUJ was informed that the new bans would be debated when Pakistan’s Parliament next meets on June 14.

 

15th June   

Update: Nutters in Charge at the UN...

World Association of Newspaper protests hijack of UN human rights council
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

World Association of Newspapers logo The World Association of Newspapers and the World Editors Forum have condemned what they say are the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council's repeated efforts to undermine freedom of expression in the name of protecting religious sensibilities.

WAN reminds the UN that the council's proper role is to defend freedom of expression and not to support the censorship of opinion at the request of autocracies, the WAN Board said in a resolution issued during the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum. The 1 to 4 June meetings of the world's newspapers and editors were held in Gothenburg.

In its resolution condemning actions by the UN Human Rights Council, WAN cited the council's approval of an amendment proposed by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, requiring the council's investigator to report on instances where the abuse of the right to freedom of expression constitutes an act of racial or religious discrimination.

WAN said the amendment "goes against the spirit" of the work of the UN Special Rapporteur. It said that amendment will require the rapporteur to investigate abusive expression rather than focusing on the endemic problem of abusive limits on expression imposed by governments, including many of those on the council.

The resolution issued by the groupings of newspapers and editors said, The WAN Board is concerned at what appears to be the emergence of a negative trend against freedom of expression in the UN Human Rights Council.

It noted, In March 2007, the Council has already passed a resolution, sponsored by Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which opened the door to the restrictions of freedom of expression by governments on the grounds that it might offend religious sensibilities.

 

15th June   

Censorial Squirts...

Has Californication been cut on DVD?
Link Here

Califiornication Any news if the new R2 release of Californication has been cut?

Seems to be a bit missing in episode 10 during the threesome scene.

The actual squirting bit seems to have been trimmed. Its simulated to which makes it a bit silly.

There are no cuts mentioned on the BBFC website so maybe pre-cut to avoid hassle.

ps An episode in the last series of The Sopranos had hardcore sex on a background TV in a sex shop digitally changed for the DVD release too. The scene was shown uncut on Irish TV but blurred when it was on E4. Again it was pre-cut before submission to the BBFC as there are no cuts noted in their database

 

15th June   

Censorship Rally...

Thai minister tries to ban opposition TV
Link Here

ASTV logo Thailand's Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has kicked off a new censorship row with an order to cable-TV broadcasters to block the opposition's ASTV station. He has now denied that he intends to try to close the satellite and Internet based TV station.

ASTV, owned and operated by People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) founder Sondhi Limthongkul, is currently broadcasting saturation coverage of the PAD's anti-government rallies in central Bangkok.

Pol Capt Chalerm told provincial governors to order all cable-TV operators in the provinces to stop carrying the ASTV signal, and threatened to jail any operator who defied him.

He claimed he ordered the ban because PAD members and supporters called for the overthrow of the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and used "rude words".

However, it is far from clear that the minister has any authority to halt or otherwise control broadcasts by satellite TV.

Several cable TV operators in provinces immediately suspended broadcasting the ASTV coverage of the PAD rallies following his threat of taking legal action.

The PAD decided late Friday to file a complaint with the Administrative Court against  Chalerm becase of his issuing the order.

 

15th June   

Not Playing Ball...

Euro 2008 TV producers censor crowd disturbances
Link Here

Euro 2008 logo Does UEFA censor the images TV viewers see during the Euro 2008 championships ? TV channels around Europe use a centralized video feed provided by UEFA, the organizer of the games. But there’s been a bit of debate about what gets shown and what doesn’t.

The whole issue might not have come up if Federal Cabinet Minister Samuel Schmid hadn’t mentioned the “smoke bombs” to Swiss German television.

It just was after a Sunday match in Vienna. He said he preferred the match the day before, because fans hadn’t set off smoke bombs. In fact, a significant portion of the stadium in Vienna was covered with smoke.

But that would have been news to TV viewers. Only a few wisps made it onto the telecast.

Did UEFA censor the images of fans behaving badly?

Pascale Voegeli is a spokeswoman for UEFA and said: If there are riots from some few people in the stands, there is no reason to give those people a platform on TV. So that’s why the producers they decide not to show some images.

François Jeannet is head of sports at French-language public television, TSR says the producers are right not to focus on disturbances in the stadium. Jeannet says most TV sports producers, including TSR, follow similar policies: There are some guidelines when you produce a sport event that say that you try not to emphasize or to bring publicity to agitators because you don’t want to make publicity for those actions on the field.

Update: Offside

16th June 2008 See full article from Strangeglue

The Swiss national broadcasting authority is set to formally complain about UEFA’s censoring of TV images at the European Championships.

SRG Director General Armin Walpen is concerned that UEFA’s decision not to show the incidents in question were ‘more than problematic’ from a journalistic point of view.

Walpen is preparing an official letter of protest for the governing body about their handling of the matter.

 

15th June   

Pages Stuck Together...

Chinese censors wank over National Geographic
Link Here

National Geographic magazine The National Geographic magazine dedicated its May issue to China, but some in China had trouble reading it — because pages had been glued together.

Readers of the 5,000 copies of the English-language edition distributed in China have reported that pages 44 and 45, which show a map of China, were stuck together.

These pages didn’t make the often-censored slip-up of treating Taiwan as a separate country, but the concern might have been labeling several borders disputed with Pakistan and India.

Another map, on pages 126 and 127, showing the distribution of China’s ethnic minorities, was also glued, perhaps because of recent sensitivities over the country’s Tibetan population.

Pages 100 and 101, which feature controversial artwork, as well as pages 128 and 129, on dissent, were also censored, presumably for more obvious reasons...

 

15th June   

Repression by Proxy...

Burma moves against internet proxies
Link Here

Burma flag Technical changes have been made to prevent Burmese Internet users from using proxy servers to get around government controls, according to an announcement from Myanmar Teleport, one of the country’s two Internet service providers (ISPs).

In a notice to customers that was obtained by The Irrawaddy, the company said that it had upgraded its service to remove the need for proxies.

As part of this upgrade, the use of web proxies is no longer required, said the announcement: Myanmar Teleport would like to cordially request you to reconfigure your web browser settings not to use proxies.

When contacted, a technician at Myanmar Teleport confirmed that the move was intended to tighten control over access to unauthorized Web sites.

Burma has some of the world’s most restrictive Internet policies, banning blogs and exiled news providers critical of the country’s ruling junta. However, access to prohibited Web sites is often possible through use of proxy servers.

 

15th June   

Offsite: Classic Classification...

Age guidance on books will help buyers - and improve sales
Link Here  full story: Age Ratings for Books...Publishers propsose age ratings for books

Harry Potter book, adult edition It's all very well for those who have an easy familiarity with literature. But the world of children's books does not feature in the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of adults. And, research tells us, they are crying out for guidance when buying a book for a grandchild, niece or nephew. Many do not have a good local bookshop where they can get expert advice. Where do they start?

...Read full article

 

14th June   

Update: Broadcasting Protests...

Broadcasters predictably having difficulties setting up in China
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking in Olympic China...Chinese Olympics herald a lull in internet censorship

Olympic hand cuffs The BBC will show political protests if they occur during the Beijing Olympics, the corporation has said, even if the Games' organisers attempt to censor official footage.

The BBC, the only British broadcaster with access to stadiums this summer, says it cannot be expected to hide demonstrations if they happen at events where they have cameras.

Its decision, which it stresses will be applied "responsibly", will increase Beijing's nervousness as the Games approach.

The Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, BOCOG, has already had angry exchanges with the world's leading broadcasters who complain of delays over permits to bring their equipment into the country and to deploy them around the city.

Dave Gordon, head of major sports events for the BBC, told The Daily Telegraph that Beijing had become "more difficult" for broadcasters than the Moscow Games in 1980. He said international representatives had tried to get answers for two years on whether the Olympic broadcasting agency that provides the only feed of the actual events would show footage of protests if they occurred: They fudge the question. They won't commit to saying yes, they will cover it or no, they will not cover it. They put a lot of stress on the importance of covering the sport. I think we have to draw our own conclusions.

He added it was unthinkable that if its own cameras in the stadium picked up a protest it would not be shown: We have to cover the Olympics warts and all.

The difficulties in obtaining the necessary permits to operate for other broadcasters came to a head at a meeting in Beijing on May 29. According to minutes leaked to the Associated Press, even the representative of the International Olympic Committee described Beijing's demands as "unworkable".

Another delegate, representing Asian broadcasters, said Beijing was "suffocating the television coverage in the crazy pursuit of security".

Many broadcasters want to film live from well-known but politically sensitive locations such as Tiananmen Square. They have been told this will be allowed in principle, but complain that permission seems not to be forthcoming.

Update: Fixers

See full article from Reporters without Borders , 15th June 2008

The Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) has been insisting since January 2007 that the foreign media recruit professionals chosen by official intermediaries as translators. The latest rules want all Chinese working for the foreign media to be registered and suggest that the authorities should "select and name appropriate candidates" for the foreign media.

If foreign journalists want to propose their own candidates, they must provide an ID, a curriculum vitae, evidence of no criminal record and a medical certificate. And a contract must be signed between employer and employee.

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China told Reporters Without Borders that hiring and registering assistants through government service agencies potentially increases bureaucracy, expense and oversight by the authorities. The FCCC hopes the foreign media will eventually be able to hire Chinese as journalists, photographers or cameramen, but for the time being that is not allowed.

Reporters Without Borders has also learned of a directive issued by the BOCOG media centre’s visa division telling journalists to submit precise information about coverage plans in China, including the places they want to visit and the people they want to interview, in order to obtain a J-2 visa, which is for media personnel who want to arrive before the 8 August start of the games. The BOCOG also requires a letter from an employer, which effectively eliminates freelancers.

 

14th June   

Sharing the Blame...

Judge cites violent video clips as inspiring to GBH with intent
Link Here

YouTube logo A senior judge urged Whitehall to investigate ways to censor internet images which are so shocking they should never be seen.

The call came after four teenagers were jailed for a "sickening" assault filmed on a phone.

Paul Vickers was left paralysed and blind in his right eye after being beaten with a metal wheel brace and having his head stamped on as he slept.

Judge David Rennie said the attack was inspired by violent images said to be easily accessible on the web and itself was intended to be uploaded to the net. He told the Old Bailey: I believe this was copying and adding to the violent images already in circulation.

I am not sure if there is any sufficient censorship of material before it finds its way into the public domain. I would urge the Government to continue to investigate this problem to see if there is anything else that can be done to protect people from images which are so shocking that they should never be seen.

Oliver Skeggs was given an indeterminate sentence with a minimum term of 13 years after being convicted of attempted murder and admitting an attack seven days earlier when a wheelchair-bound man was robbed. The court heard how he leered into the phone camera before launching the attack on Mr Vickers.

Ross Beeby was jailed for 12 years after admitting grievous bodily harm with intent. He had grinned at the camera before jumping on Vickers’s head.

Alistair Field who filmed the attack on Skeggs’s phone, was jailed for eight years as was Terry Bryan of Quest Close, Chichester, the fourth member of the gang. The court heard that Bryan had a series of other "disturbing" and violent video clips on his phone, including one of a woman being shot in the head, and another of a hostage being beheaded.

The judge told the teenagers: The fact that you wanted a video souvenir of this attack is one of the most shocking and sickening aspects of this case.

He said the other violent clips on Bryan’s phone appeared to be the sort that could easily be downloaded from the internet: There is a direct connection between the filming of the attack on Mr Vickers and violent film clips of this sort.

 

14th June   

Credibility Suicide...

Australian psychologists whinge at MA rating for The Happening
Link Here

The Happening film poster The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has expressed grave concerns over the classification MA given to the soon to be released movie, The Happening.

APS President, Amanda Gordon, said:

This movie, with its graphic and repeated depictions of violent suicides should receive an R classification instead of the MA rating. We call on the Classification Board to urgently review this rating.

Not only does this movie romanticise and sensationalise suicide, but it depicts many different methods of achieving that end. There is good evidence that the reporting of suicides can lead to copycat behavior, and there are many instances of increased suicide rates following media portrayals of suicide. The more detailed the descriptions or portrayals of the suicide, the greater the risk that vulnerable people, including young people or people with mental health problems, may harm themselves.

Psychologists have grave concerns that we will see a real increase in both suicide attempts and successful suicides, as a result of people viewing this movie. The most vulnerable, including young people, will be protected by a higher rating by the Classification Board

We have media guidelines for the reporting of suicide, and classification systems for films for very good reasons. What better reason is there than the protection of vulnerable people in our society?

In the UK, the BBFC passed the film 15 with the following explanation:

BBFC logo THE HAPPENING is a thriller about a couple and a young girl trying to escape a mysterious toxin causing people to commit suicide and murder. The work was passed '15' for frequent images of suicide and moderate bloody injury.

Besides references to terrorism, and a sustained menace from an unseen and uncontrollable threat, the film also features a series of suicides by different methods, including a policeman shooting himself with sight of blood trickling from a bullet wound in his head, sight of another man lying in a pool of blood having shot himself off-screen, a jump moment where several bodies are seen hanging from trees, a scene where a man slits his wrist at a small distance and another scene where two young teenage boys are shot. In each case sight of blood and injury is fairly brief. However the treatment of the suicide theme and the frequency and nature of the injury detail went beyond the bounds of a '12A', but met the BBFC's '15' Guidelines which allow 'strong threat and menace', and state that 'no theme is prohibited, provided that treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds', 'violence may be strong but not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury' and 'dangerous techniques (e.g. combat, hanging, suicide, and self-harming) should not dwell on imitable detail'.

The work also contains moderate language including uses of 'bitch'.

 

14th June   

Age Constrictions...

Germany passes law requiring more prominent age labelling
Link Here

Counter Strike game The German Federal Assembly has passed a new law designed to prevent youths playing violent video games.

The new, revised law for the protection of the young also covers movies and internet sites of questionable content.

According to Heise Online, age certificates now have to be featured more prominently on video games and movies, and video games featuring highly realistic, cruel and lurid scenes of violence and death, which dominate the events as an end in itself are more or less going to be banned.

Video game developers are going to run into difficulties marketing, advertising and distributing their products. Conservative minister for family affairs, senior citizens, women and youth, Ursula van der Leyen, has even considered regulating internet cafes.

The move has been a response to school rampages in Emsdetten and Erfurt in which the perpetrators of the shooting sprees were apparently influenced by the violent computer game Counter Strike .

 

14th June   

Pain No Pleasure...

Gay art exhibit struggles to get shown in Singapore
Link Here

By Martin Loh drawing Singapore doesn’t have the best gay track record. So it should come as no surprise to hear that artist Martin Loh’s 24-image collection, Pain To Pleasure , which illustrate men in S&M situations, has been axed.

Loh had been meant to open the show this August at a relatively liberal gallery, Utterly Art, which had also commissioned some of Loh’s more mainstream pieces.

Loh said: We live in the Victorian times, anything that is beyond the missionary position is frowned upon. The gallery is exercising some kind of self-censorship partly based on misplaced business considerations. The assumption that this will not sell is absurd.

Realizing he faces an uphill battle back home, Loh’s now trying to shop his collection overseas. And we’re sure this “censorship” publicity will do good things…

 

14th June   

Flood of Bad News...

Burma bans satellite dishes and parts to block foreign news
Link Here

Burma flag In a new attempt to prevent television viewers watching broadcasts from abroad, the Burma authorities are now forbidding electronics shop owners from selling satellite dishes and spare parts.

Satellite dishes are being seized in raids on shops and the owners are being warned they face prosecution if caught selling them, according to sources in Rangoon.

One TV mechanic, Ye Lwin, said raids had occurred in Rangoon.

A Rangoon journalist said some shops were circumventing the ban by selling satellite dishes and equipment to trusted mechanics, who then dealt directly with private households. The ban was also not being universally applied in rural areas, where people were still able to buy satellite spare parts from electronics shops.

Rangoon residents see the ban as a new attempt by the regime to prevent TV viewers watching the news programs of such foreign stations as Aljazeera, CNN and the BBC and, in particular, the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), which are only available via satellite.

 

13th June   

Big Bully Brother...

Channel 4 bullied by whingers
Link Here  full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother

Big Brother 9 The bullying row on Big Brother 9 has sparked more than 750 complaints since the show started last week.

Channel 4 has been accused of "not learning anything" from the last series of Celebrity Big Brother involving the allegedly bullying between Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty.

Today, the media watchdog Ofcom said it had received 505 complaints since Alex De Gale began launching a foul-mouthed tirade at her housemates.

Channel 4 has also had around 250 complaints.

Update: More Whinging

18th June 2008

Ofcom has had more than 1,500 complaints about BB9. Alex De-Gale’s bullying is top of the list with 1,542 angry fans contacting the regulator.

 

13th June   

Comment: Wankers Slipped Through...

Channel 4 regularly cut the Simpsons
Link Here

Simpsons meet U2 In regards to the complaints about the use of "wankers" x2 on the Simpsons, not sure how this slipped through, as Channel 4 regularly cut this show.

On quite a few occasions "GAY" comments have been removed, (homer drives by Lenny and Carl shouting about something incomprehensible, Lenny asks Carl what Homer said, Carl replies with I dont know, something about being gay , in the channel 4 version the pair just look confused and are cut away from before the line). This happens on quite a few episodes.

Yet the now infamous John waters/gay steel mill episode is shown in its entirety, yet it contains some of the bluntest stereotyping of the gay community could ever wish to see. Strange.

Plus several episodes seem to have been cut for advertising space/time. The Halloween specials seem to suffer from this the most, but they did on Sky one for a vast portion of the 90's. Not as bad as the U.S. though, great chunks of footage are constantly cut for syndicated airings. Most famously Treehouse of Horror 3 which at one point was due to have an entire story removed for advertising time, as the show reached its peak of popularity.

 

13th June   

Offsite: Nugget of Nuttery...

Inexorable slide into censorious hell that Britain is becoming
Link Here
Anime girl of indeterminent age

How the fuck are we expected
to know how old she is?

So which Zealot can we thank for this latest "nugget of nuttery". Stand and take a bow, Justice Minister Maria Eagle.

Now this women has voted very strongly against a transparent Parliament, voted moderately for introducing a smoking ban, voted strongly for introducing ID cards, for Labour's anti-terrorism laws,for the Iraq war and against an investigation into the Iraq war. Control freak alert! A pro secret state, pro war Gordon Brown apparatchik as far as I am concerned.

Obviously the word "pencil" is so close to the word "penile" that she believes something must be done. These perverted sketchers deserve a long stretch in prison to cure them of their horrendous proclivities.

Mark Lawson of the Guardian is kind enough to state that she is not mad just wrong. Well I beg to differ Mr Lawson, she is both wrong and mad, blindly aiding and abetting the decline of a country with a proud and inspiring history replete with enlightening examples of free expression and speech. This is very much at risk as this case illustrates.

This legislative abortion will follow on from others that have begun the inexorable slide into censorious hell that Britain is becoming and you do not have to look far for examples of this in action. It all started with the best of intentions, but as is oft said, history is littered with the devastation that the best of intentions can cause. Censorship is not and never will be an either or. Once you give them an inch these nutters will take a mile, and that is what they have done.

...Read full article

 

12th June   

Burnham Converges on Bollox...

Government looks to regulate internet similarly to TV
Link Here

Andy Burnham The government have signalled its support for a common set of standards for internet content in response to worries about the impact of violent and sexual output online.

The culture secretary, Andy Burnham, said he wanted to see online content meet the same standards required for television as the boundaries between the two media continue to blur. Television in the UK is governed by the broadcasting code of Ofcom, the media regulator. There is no overall regulation for the internet.

In the same way that there are standards that are essential to broadcasting, in this converging world I believe there should be a set of standards online, Burnham told a media seminar in London.

He also floated the idea that websites such as the video-sharing portal YouTube should include warnings on clips which include bad language, violence or sex. If a clip on YouTube gets a million hits, it is akin to broadcasting and it doesn't seem to me to be too difficult to have an alert on that clip with regards to language or violence or for sex. That to me is not overly intrusive.

Referring to the recent government report by the child psychologist Tanya Byron, on the effects of the internet and video gaming on children, which raised concerns about a climate of anxiety, Burnham added that people felt a sense of risk and uncertainty about this world they are roaming.

He denied his focus on internet standards was due to the subject being a potential vote winner. It was, he said, a reaction to public concern. I just sense the moment in time where people need to have this kind of discussion about the online world. There is an unease out there about it. What I am challenging is this slight sense of helplessness.

 

12th June   

Better the Con that you Know...

Government sides with Ofcon against pan-Europe TV regulator
Link Here

EU flag The Government has sided with Ofcom against EU plans for a pan-European telecoms regulator.

The Government have never been convinced of the case for a new pan-EU regulator, notes Baroness Vadera, parliamentary under-secretary of state for business and competitiveness in a ministerial statement: You will be reassured to know that none of my opposite numbers in other member states, or indeed the views from the European Parliament, support the Commission's original proposals.

She goes on to confirm that Britain, together with Germany and France, intend on laying out their objections during a meeting with telecoms Commissioner, Viviane Reding in Luxembourg.

Vadera says that rather than a pan-EU authority the Government is in favour of a much smaller entity comprising the chairs of all 27 National Regulatory Authorities complemented by a small permanent secretariat appropriate only to undertake the revised remit.

Ofcom will undoubtedly take heart from the Government's stance, following a spat with the EU when the proposals were first announced. At the time Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards questioned whether such a body would undermine the watchdog's authority.

 

12th June   

Over Protection...

US attempt to revive law making websites responsible for age verification
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Lock up all dads Despite opponents' claims that the law is significantly outdated and blocks legal speech while not blocking much questionable content from overseas, government lawyers tried Tuesday to revive the 1998 Child Online Protection Act.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union went before the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court, urging judges hearing the matter to uphold a ban on COPA, which would impose draconian criminal sanctions.

Under the law - which was created long before the days of chat rooms, YouTube and other interactive sites the law does not address - those convicted could face fines up to $50,000 per day and up to six months in prison for online material acknowledged as protected for adults but deemed "harmful to minors."

The judges hearing the case questioned the law's effectiveness, given estimates that half of all online porn is posted overseas, beyond the reach of U.S. law.

Lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union argued that Internet filters block 95% of offensive content and can be set according to a child's age or a parent's judgment. Federal attorneys argued that only about half of all families use Internet filters.

The three-judge panel did not indicate when it would issue a ruling. A federal judge declared the law unconstitutional in 2007. The Department of Justice is hoping to overturn that ruling.

 

12th June   

China Bars Guide...

Time Out magazine vanishes for the Olympics
Link Here

Time Out Beijing book Beijing has declared time out on Time Out . The English-language edition of the monthly magazine that gives foreign residents and visitors the latest lowdown on the coolest bars, the hippest shops and the hottest shows in the Chinese capital has disappeared.

The June issue of Time Out Beijing has been banned from distribution by China's censors, The Times has learnt. But the decision seems to have been taken not because of any racy or politically incorrect content. Time Out Beijing has fallen victim to the accelerating imposition of restrictions on any aspect of life in the capital deemed to pose a potential threat to a smooth Olympics.

Tom Pattinson, the editor of the magazine, hinted that the timing — just two months before Beijing plays host to the Summer Games — was not coincidence. He told The Times: The magazine has been impounded while officials look at licensing issues. But these have not changed in the past three and a half years and it is perhaps a strange time to question an issue that has not been a problem before.

Magazine insiders said that they thought it unlikely that an edition would be available until after the Olympics as nervous censors move to reassert control over all publications before an expected flood of foreign visitors for the Games opening on August 8.

China is tightening all rules across the board with the approach of the Olympics. It is increasingly difficult to obtain a visa to enter China. Many foreigners are being forced to leave. Security is being stepped up citywide as Beijing tries to ensure that the Games run without a hitch.

But for foreign visitors looking to have some fun in Beijing during the Games, the absence of Time Out could make it much more difficult to find the city's most happening bars, clubs and restaurants. Much of the June edition can be found online, however.

 

11th June   

Update: Naf Case...

Swiss judge refuses politicians case to ban Stranglehold game
Link Here

Stranglehold game A Swiss judge declined a politician's request to ban John Woo's Stranglehold .

As reported by SwissInfo.ch, it was the first time that a court in Switzerland had ruled on the sale of violent video games.

Roland Näf, a politician affiliated with the Social Democratic Party, had targeted retailer MediaMarkt for selling the game. Näf claimed that violent games such as Stranglehold violated Article 135 of Switzerland's criminal code.

The court rejected that argument... MediaMarkt had limited the sale of the game to customers over the age of 18.

However, a statement from the Social Democrats indicates that they may be planning to pursue tougher legislation: Now we know that the federal government must act [to address violent games].

 

11th June   

La Liberté Fades...

France imposes internet blocking on ISPs
Link Here

La Liberté guidant le peuple 1830 The French Government has apparently decided that it doesn’t much like being democratic, and that it would rather like to censor the Internet instead.

Not content with simply limiting itself to blocking despicable child sex abuse, a move three major ISPs in the US also agreed to yesterday, the French government feels it necessary to go a radical step further and decide for its citizens whether or not they can view content it considers inappropriately racist and or linked to terrorism.

In fact, worse still is that any site is now game for a French blockade, as Sarkozy’s government is inviting people to send in huge long lists of sites which offend their delicate sensibilities. The French government, which will purportedly be able to receive complaints from Internet users in real time, will be able to add sites to a so called “black list”, which it will then force national ISPs to block.

The move, announced by France’s Interior Minister, Michel Alliot-Marie, is France’s way of showing it is indeed taking a strong stand against cyber-criminality, but it seems that the line between ‘strong’ and ‘authoritarian’ is a little fuzzy on this one.

Alliot-Marie, only caring to justify the block on child sex abuse sites, noted Other democracies have done it. France could wait no longer. She added that all of France’s Internet Service Providers had agreed to comply with the new regulations which go into effect as of September.

 

11th June   

Brundle Bungles...

And speaks of pikey F1 Constructors
Link Here  full story: Pikey on TV...Formula 1 commentator under duress for pikey quip

F1 2008 logo on ITV.com Ofcom is to consider if broadcasting rules were broken when the word "pikey" - a slang term for gypsy - was used in ITV1's sports coverage

Commentator Martin Brundle was interviewing Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone before the Canadian Grand Prix, where part of the track crumbled.

There are some pikeys there at turn 10 putting tarmac down - what do you think of that, he asked Ecclestone.

Ofcom said it had received seven complaints. ITV said sorry to viewers.

A "small number" of people had contacted the network after Sunday's broadcast, an ITV spokesman said: We apologise for any offence .

An Ofcom spokeswoman said the regulator would assess the interview to see if there had been a potential breach of its broadcasting code. If this was felt to be the case, a formal investigation would then begin, she added.

 

11th June   

Offsite: Something Must Be Done...

Dangerous Pictures Act is based on ill-informed notions
Link Here

Inside Deep Throat DVD Question: what do Lady Chatterley’s Lover , Last Exit to Brooklyn and Inside Linda Lovelace have in common? Answer: they were all subject to failed prosecutions under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 & 1964 (OPA).

Next question: what do the Protection of Children Act 1978, the Video Recordings Act 1984, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Criminal Justice Act 2008 have in common? Answer: they are all attempts to circumvent the OPA, whose provisions the censorious have long agitated against as overly liberal and ‘permissive’.

Thanks to the last of these measures, those suspected of possessing the ‘wrong’ kind of pornography can now look forward to having their homes and offices trashed by the police and their reputations publicly dragged through the mud; if convicted, they could languish for up to three years in prison. So how did we arrive at this extraordinary state of affairs?

...Read full article

 

10th June   

Teaser Teases MPAA...

Contributing to the hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here

Zavk and Miri Make a Porno trailer A short, hilarious teaser trailer for Kevin Smith's Zack and Miri Make a Porno riled the MPAA who went ape shit and forced them to take it down.

The reason? Weinstein Co. (like most studios) is a signatory of the MPAA. As such, there are protocols involving trailers that we failed to follow.

Kevin Smith goes on to explain that they never submitted the teaser trailer to the MPAA because they assumed since there was no real footage they didn't need to. And we all know what happens when you assume. Unfortunately since the vulgar content of this trailer would earn it a red band rating, they were not allowed to keep it up because there is no way to check the age of those who are watching it. Are you kidding me?! It wasn't that bad!

Turns out all promotional material for any film financed/distributed by a signatory of the MPAA has to be signed-off on by the MPAA - including internet-only materials. I never realized this, as it'd never been a problem in the past: we've been doing 'net-only teasers since Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and nobody ever raised a red flag before (not even on the last flick, for which we also put up two 'net-only teasers in advance of the rated trailer). But I guess since the teaser was so, shall we say, racy… a rating was in order.

Smith says that Quick Stop Entertainment had to take down the trailer from their site for the time being and plans to get it back up as soon as the MPAA does approve the trailer.

Given the title of this movie contains the word "porno" and is literally about two friends who decide to make a porn movie, it's been under intense scrutiny since the start. I'm sure this isn't the last we'll hear of the MPAA clamping down on Zack and Miri Make a Porno . Not only that, but I'm sure we'll see activists and religious kooks alike come out of the woodwork when it actually hits theaters in October to protest its vulgar nature and obscene content. Oh the world we live in…

 

9th June   

Update: Delaying the Inevitable...

Nutter appeal has stalled publication
Link Here  full story: Euthanasia...Euthenasia campaigns wind up the censors

A euthanasia campaigner's book outlining ways in which people can kill themselves could be banned for a second time if an appeal from pro-life advocates is upheld.

The appeal by Right to Life New Zealand has stalled distribution of Philip Nitschke's The Peaceful Pill Handbook to bookshops, expected this month.

Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr said the group had been granted permission by the secretary of Internal Affairs to make a submission to the Film and Literature Review Board after chief censor Bill Hastings approved the book for sale last month.

It was given an R18 classification and must be sold sealed.

Orr said the board had been asked to issue an interim restriction order so the book could not be sold till the submission had been heard: We're quietly confident that the board will agree with our submission and classify it as objectionable and have it banned.

The book would now not go on sale till after a conference called Voluntary Euthanasia Matters run by Exit International in Christchurch on July 5.

 

9th June   

Diary: Art Censorship: the Bigger Picture...

Panel discussion in Sydney
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Australia...Getting wound up by children in art

Bill Henson photo Thursday 12th June 2008, 6-8pm
Foundation Hall
Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)
140 George Street
Sydney

Open to the public. Entry by donation (donations to cover costs of holding the forum).

The evening's proceedings will be introduced by Margaret Pomeranz, ABC TV film critic and President of Watch on Censorship. The discussions will be chaired by David Marr, lawyer, writer and journalist and Vice President of Watch on Censorship.

Panel Speakers:

  • Ian Howard is an artist, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW and Chair of the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA). He will provide an artist's perspective about his experience in testing the boundaries in relation to militarism and national security, self censorship, and the vagaries of audience interpretation.
  • Gallery speaker (TBC), will offer the gallery perspective on art censorship discussing galleries as 'special' places, curatorial decision-making, dealing with sensitive subject matter, and dealing with complaints and threats.
  • Hetty Johnston, is Executive Director and founder of Bravehearts Inc. which aims to engender child sexual assault prevention and protection strategies, advocate for understanding, promote increased education and research, and provide healing and support. Ms Johnston will give her views on the boundaries of public tolerance in relation to art and protection of the child.
  • Julian Burnside QC, is a barrister, writer and President of Liberty Victoria, has acted pro bono in many human rights cases and is passionate about the arts. He will elaborate the law in relation to art censorship and how it is exercised, including the complexities of 'intention', 'context', 'reasonableness', public attitudes, protecting human rights and freedom of expression.
  • Clive Hamilton, is a prolific writer and public commentator and immediate past Executive Director of The Australia Institute. He will comment on community standards and public moral codes, and the limits to freedom of expression.

 

9th June   

Land of the Free and Censored...

US auctioning spectrum for free and censored wireless internet access
Link Here

FCC logo The FCC will meet June 12 to discuss the auction of a piece of spectrum. The winning bidder will be required to offer some free wireless Internet access in the US

There is a catch for carriers: They will be required to offer the free wireless Internet without perceived obscene or adult content. Another FCC requirement calls for content filtering on the free service to prevent minors from accessing adult sites.

The highest bidder for the spectrum would be responsible for building out the network and would have to make it available for free to 50% of the population within four years, FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin said: In addition, the top bidder will have to reach 95% of the US population within 10 years."

Reed Lee, a member of the boards of the Free Speech Coalition and the First Amendment Lawyer's Association, told AVN Online that he opposes the proposal because of its filtering requirement: One major problem I have with the proposal is that it promotes - indeed, requires - channel filtering, the worst kind of all. From the point of view of a free-expression enthusiast, one of the greatest things about the Internet - so far - is that it makes channel filtering impossible as a practical matter. I would oppose anything which encourages channel controllers to do it, either by changing the Internet or by researching ways to do it as is.

 

8th June   

Helpless Whingers...

Complaints about Radio 4's Book At Bedtime
Link Here

Radio 4 logo The commissioning editor of BBC's Book At Bedtime has defended its choice of books after listeners said they were "inappropriate" and "disturbing".

Caroline Raphael said Barbara Gowdy's book Helpless , about the stalking and abduction of a nine-year-old girl, was extremely well written .

One Radio 4 listener complained the book made them feel physically sick.

Raphael said: Unfortunately, writers do want to write about disturbing things, but we felt that this showed a level of humanity and an attempt to understand the story from everybody's perspective, that we thought listeners would enjoy hearing.

 

8th June   

The Taste of Tasteless Advertising...

Release of never aired IRN-BRU advertising
Link Here

IRN-BRU can A series of adverts for Scotland's other national drink that were deemed too strong for public consumption can be revealed today.

Over the years Irn-Bru's anarchic and controversial advertising campaigns have come under fire from pensioners, goths, animals rights activists and even a police chief.

But now we can reveal the ads that even the makers of the soft drink, AG Barr, considered too near the knuckle to use.

The images have been gathering dust in the vaults of AG Barr, but now they can be revealed in all their bizarre glory.

A spokeswoman confirmed the firm had pulled together censored and ditched adverts from over the years: Dozens of funny and original ideas are generated, but not all of them can make it through to be produced into an Irn-Bru advertising campaign. The not-so-lucky ideas that didn't make it have been lying unused for some time and we felt it was appropriate to let Irn-Bru fans have a lighthearted look at these funny adverts.

Even at first glance it is clear why some of the posters were pulled before they hit the streets. One features a photograph of a gorilla alongside the slogan: Gimme some Irn-Bru or I'll shuffle my nuts in front of your mother.

Another depicts a clawed crustacean stating: I'm into Irn-Bru and hardcore prawn sites.

The firm also developed a never-before-seen series of ads entitled It's Happy Time! They show a man beaming with delight despite his partner being in bed with the plumber, campers being cheerfully torn to pieces by bears, and a grinning alien erupting from the stomach of a drink-swilling man.

Over the years the tongue-in-cheek commercials for the fizzy orange drink have attracted awards as well as a cult following, particularly among teenagers. Their popularity is such that last year a cinema presentation of classic Irn-Bru ads proved to be more popular than Quentin Tarantino's latest movie. Tickets for Phenomenal Advertising were snapped up in less than 24 hours at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, while those for Death Proof remained unsold.

See Irn-bru never seen before advertising

 

8th June   

Offsite: Castlebar Lake Attracts Bigots...

Who the whinge at criticism
Link Here

Mayo Echo A popular community-based website in the west of Ireland was forced to cease operating last week in the fallout that followed the publication of an inflammatory article in a local newpaper attacking alleged gay ‘perverts’.

The article, penned by Tony Geraghty, editor and proprietor of local freesheet, the Mayo Echo, provoked widespread debate on Irish web forums. This quite startling front-page article, which reads like a bad Onion spoof, told the story of a recreational area in Castlebar, Co Mayo being transformed into a latter day Sodom, with hundreds of men visiting on a weekly basis to have anonymous sex with strangers, propositioning young boys, and getting their rocks off whilst thumbing through children’s magazines. Perhaps most horrifying, the article described ‘drooling perverts getting off whilst watching children’ playing at an adjacent playground.

Castlebar.ie was a tremendously popular local website, receiving as many as three million hits per month - or at least it did up until last Saturday, when the site announced on its main page that it had been ‘forced to cease operation after more than 10 years of publication [due to] threats of legal action received from a commercial publication based in Castlebar’, which it identified as the Mayo Echo. Editor Geraghty had objected to critcism of his article, and him, on the site’s very active forum. Indeed, an email from Mr Geraghty, previously available on Castlebar.ie, read:

I would like to express my utter disgust at postings placed on your website www.castlebar.ie on the ‘Online Forum’… There is lengthy discussion of an article published in the Mayo Echo this week, and some of the comments are completely unacceptable, untrue, and completely defamatory to myself…

The offending posts were removed, and, it is understood that the website issued an ‘unreserved and unequivocal apology’ - the first time in its history it had done so. But the unremitting cloud of legal threats finally forced that site administrator’s hand into shutting the site down entirely.

...Read full article

 

8th June   

Bad Taste Bears...

Russia to ban western toys, Halloween and St Valentine's Day
Link Here

Bad Taste Bear Russia has announced plans to ban foreign toys and Valentine’s Day in a bid to protect the country’s youth from moral corruption by the West.

Despite accusations of censorship and nationalism, the Russian Duma this week introduced a series of bills designed to uphold the spiritual values of children by protecting their morals.

The legislation envisages a ban on the sale of children’s toys that provoke aggression, model actions of a sexual nature, justify extremism and a criminal lifestyle, depict horror or unbearable pain or are created on the basis of the psychologically incongruous.

Under the new law, schools would also be forbidden from celebrating Halloween and St Valentine’s Day because they were inappropriate to ‘Russian cultural values.'

All school children would also be subject to a 10pm curfew, while minors would be banned from wearing tattoos and body-piercing. Mobile phone providers are to be instructed to block text messages sent by children than contain obscenities.

The authors of the policy paper, which has yet to be debated, were unable to provide a full list of the products to be sanctioned, but said that most came from the West.

Giving examples of the kind of merchandise that would be targeted, Yevgeny Yuryev, a sociologist who co-ordinated the draft legislation, identified a range of British made soft toys called the Bad Taste Bears: I can’t even describe what these bears do but they involve things of a sexual nature that might be traumatic for children.

Alongside a range of violent and criminal teddy bears, the company’s website advertises a line of “pornstar bears” featuring a character called Kenny Lingus and his friends.

Teenagers who model themselves on Western youth subcultures like Goths — who are accused of “cultivating bisexuality” — are to be regarded by the authorities as social nuisances in the same league as skinheads, football hooligans and anti-fascists.

The authors of the legislation, which mirrors other government measures to promote Russian nationalism, say urgent action is required to end a moral crisis inspired by the West that has seen a dramatic rise in alcoholism and addiction among teenagers.

Today we have a lost generation of wandering morons whose parents’ moral vision was robbed by perestroika, said Stanislav Govorukhin, a Duma deputy: We have taken the worst from the West because we failed to resist the encroachment of Western values. He denied accusations by liberal activists that the new laws represented an attack on freedom of expression: The essence of freedom is that there should be moral restrictions — that is what freedom is .

 

8th June   

Smile You're Snapped by Nutters...

Threats to put lingerie shop customers on YouTube
Link Here

Smile you're on YouTube Customers heading into Secrets Lingerie Boutique in Vacaville, California, are sometimes met by nutters and a sign saying, Smile, you're on YouTube.

Youth pastor Jim White said the protesters gather to film shoppers entering the store because they think Secrets is a shop that is profiting from pornography and other materials that we feel are degrading to people and exploitative.

The Vacaville City Council passed a law last week that bans adult businesses. According to a city representative, Secrets is not breaking any laws.

Protest organizers said they haven't posted any video of customers on YouTube, but they plan to.

 

7th June   

Attacking Russia's Black Knight...

Garry Kasparov attacks Putin's assault of press freedom
Link Here

Garry Kasparov detained World chess star turned political activist Garry Kasparov told world news industry leaders that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had assaulted press freedoms in Russia, and urged them to challenge Kremlin leaders over the issue.

Kasparov said Putin and his colleagues must be faced with complaints about press freedoms. Make sure they have to respond and make sure your governments raise the issue, he told about 200 senior news industry executives at an invitation-only luncheon during the World Newspaper Congress in Sweden.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged the country's parliament to scrap a bill widely seen as restrictive to the media. It was not immediately clear whether Medvedev's move signaled his intention to take a more liberal course compared to Putin, his predecessor and mentor, whose eight-year tenure saw a steady rollback of post-Soviet media and political freedoms.

The congress also criticized the U.N. Human Rights Council, claiming it has repeatedly sought to undermine freedom of the press to protect religious sensibilities. The group adopted a resolution saying the council's proper role is to defend freedom of expression and not to support the censorship of opinion at the request of autocracies.

 

7th June   

Drama Over Tamil TV Ban...

Malaysian bans imported Indian TV dramas
Link Here

RTM logo Malaysia has denied that it had banned Tamil TV shows from being aired on state controlled media.

Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) through its Family Channel RTM2 has not banned the airing of imported Tamil drama series... the accusation is baseless, a statement issued here by the director general of the Department of Broadcasting said: RTM will keep on airing Tamil films and programmes produced by local production houses as well as imported programmes ...HOWEVER... there are cases (in which some) programmes cannot be aired because they failed to meet RTM quality and regulations.

RTM will always revise the need and suitability of multi-languages programmes from time to time. However, RTM will increase the local content of Tamil drama series so as to develop the local content industries to become more competitive and it can go to the world market, the statement added.

Quoting the Malaysia Namban newspaper, IANS had reported that the information ministry had decided to ban the screening of Tamil TV dramas imported from India.

Tamil programmes are popular among the 2.6 million Malaysian Indians, the bulk of whom are Tamil settlers.

 

7th June   

Offsite: Censorship Does Not Silence Music...

Perhaps that's why the Zimbabwe government will starve its people instead
Link Here

Mubikira CD Many songs of the Zimbabwean music star Leonard Zhakata have been blacklisted by the state broadcaster. This has not silenced him, though, as a spokesman for tolerance and peace. During the past months he has toured the country with his band, performing in rural and marginalised communities.

Apart from putting together free music concerts in April and May 2008, Leonard Zhakata has been holding music workshops for aspiring musicians as part of a programme meant to scout for talented youths in remote villages. His tour was however not ‘smooth sailing’ in certain locations because of political interference from what he termed as ‘overzealous’ ZANU PF party youths and officials.

Leonard Zhakata told Freemuse that he experienced a lot of intimidation on his tour, and he had had to cancel some of his concert shows because of politicians who said they “were not sure of the musicians’ motive”. They had to approach the village chiefs first in order to get permission to perform, and at some venues a list of songs was handed to him which he was not allowed to perform.

...Read full article

 

6th June   

Painter Sees Red...

Artist David Hockney opposes Dangerous Drawings Bill
Link Here
Anime girl of indeterminent age

How the fuck are we expected
to know how old she is?

David Hockney is over 70 years old, and very angry. With the passing of the years, the Sixties working-class wonder boy has metamorphosed into a very cross pensioner. That he is Britain's greatest living artist might be disputed by Lucian Freud devotees and others, but surely he, and no one else, holds the title of Britain's Grumpiest Artist.

This is too bad for Gordon Brown. With his radical background, libertarian views and general disrespect for authority, Hockney might seem like a natural Labour voter. But yesterday he made it clear that he is not any more. I detest the cultural vandalism that contaminates New Labour, he pronounced. I hope they go – and soon.

That is another vote lost for the Government, and it appears that the minister responsible is Maria Eagle, at the Ministry of Justice, who has alarmed many of the people who care for the right to free expression with a proposal she announced last week to deal with computer-generated pornography.

...Read full article

 

6th June   

Dangerous Advice...

Advice about Dangerous Pictures from Consenting Adult Action Network
Link Here

Police Raid 14th June 2008 12:00-14:00
Meet at: Philpotts,
36 Colmore Circus,
Birmingham, B4 6BN

ACTION NOTICE – CJIA & EXTREME IMAGES

  • Come with us to get advice about BDSM images, or support
  • Print or email images for us to get advice about on an action
  • Tell people you know or take flyers to local adult events this month to get more people involved
  • Talk to the press on the day
  • Donate resources (eg paper, stamps) or time to get this off the ground behind the scenes (CAAN is new & unfunded)
  • Phone West Midlands Police (0845 113 5000) from 12:00 on the day and ask them for advice, or assurance that images of consensual activities between adults will not be criminalised
  • Maybe you know another way to join in. Let us know!

THERE WILL BE AN ACTION EVERY MONTH.

We’re creating a template for actions around the country, until this law is enforced, stopped, or we get assurances that consensual adult images will not lead to prison sentences. Please get involved.

Despite lack of evidence, government and West Midlands Police claim banning violent porn will reduce sex crime. We don't agree and on 7th May protests were held in London at the British Library and Houses of Parliament. Study after study shows the positive effect of porn on our society, however West Midlands Police DS Keith Wharton said in consultation,
“Those pushing the boundaries are time and time again leading to criminal offences against children and animals and although empirical data is poor those probation officers who I work with who are part of the sexual rehabilitation programme see pornography, especially of an extreme nature, as 'throwing fuel on the fire'... A ten year sentence is not excessive.”

Will West Midlands police enforce this law fairly, given their biased anti evidence approach?

Extreme Law Bans BDSM Images.

On May 8th 2008, the government passed legislation criminalising the personal possession of 'extreme' and 'disgusting' pornography. Provisions 64 to 67 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 come into effect in January 2009. Convictions will carry up to 3 years jail sentence and inclusion on the Sex Offender Register, even if the pictures are of your partner. Just because the police think the pictures are extreme.

What does extreme mean?

Despite concessions from the government concerning some images of legal activities in which the owner can be proved to feature, this law will still make criminal fantasy images involving consensual acts between adults – whether or not the act was staged: for example 'realistic' pictures that look like acts which threaten life such as strangulation or serious harm to breasts, anus or genitals. Could this also mean sex without a condom, fisting, sex while smoking? Lobby group www.backlash-uk.org.uk , an umbrella group of organisations, has been opposing this law since its inception. Now we also need to act on our own behalf.

We need advice.

Many of us need advice about whether books and images we own are illegal, or not, if we don't want to be criminalised. We want to talk to some the organisations which have advised the Government during consultation. We need to show how ridiculous this law is and try to interrupt its commencement by making our confusion and concerns more obvious.

Let's go and get it!

It's time to take action to prevent our civil liberties and ourselves from falling foul of this legislation. If we go together to get advice about images we own there's safety in numbers and we can share the information we get with each other and the wider public. The Ministry of Justice says it will give us more guidance about what is illegal closer to the date but we need to ready ourselves now.

 

6th June   

Age of Literature...

Publishers consider classifying children's books
Link Here  full story: Age Ratings for Books...Publishers propsose age ratings for books

Harry Potter book, adult edition A literary war broke out in April, when the kid-lit wing of the Publishers Association announced plans to print a suggested reading age on all children's books. This followed research apparently showing that many adults are wary of choosing junior volumes as gifts because of the risk of, say, giving a novel about an adolescent being hired as a drug mule to a sensitive eight-year-old.

Although it amounted to a radical change in the way that school-age books have been sold, the initiative attracted little coverage at the time. But now, six weeks later, like heroes and heroines suddenly awaking to their special powers, children's writers, led by Pullman, have risen up against the plan to stamp a number on their jackets.

On the side of the age stickers is the fact that there is greater opportunity for confusion on the under-16 shelves than in adult fiction. Many authors - including Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson, another writer in a rage about age guidance - write different series aimed at infant and senior schoolers.

Another argument in favour is that other art forms have long steered material towards different birth dates: the cinematic system of certification and also the 9pm watershed for grown-up shows that is more or less observed by television broadcasters.

The contrary position, vigorously expressed by Pullman, is that literary development is hugely variable. There are columnists who claim to have been devouring War and Peace at six years old - while, routinely, there will be children in any classroom whose reading age will be a couple of years ahead of or behind the number of birthdays they've celebrated.

Pullman and Rowling, in particular, have demonstrated this elasticity of appeal. Her Harry Potter books seem genuinely to have achieved the old advertising dream of appealing to consumers from eight to 80, while he, although the Dark Materials trilogy would seem most suited to people in their early teens, has also found a precocious younger audience. It's clear that such catholicism might be nobbled by declaring the age at which stories should properly be absorbed, and it doesn't take much imagination to predict what might happen to a 10-year-old spotted on the school bus with a book aimed at the seven to eight-year-old.

At the moment both sides seem unyielding. The Publishers Association insists that the number stickers will go on the front of books. And yet writers such as Pullman, Rowling and Wilson would clearly have the economic power to demand a retreat, backed by the threat of establishing a new, ageless publishing house.

A comparison with cinema is instructive in a particular way. It is now only at 15 that the state begins to take an absolute stand on what people can see. The two lower categories - PG and 12A - leave it to the parents or guardians to make the decisions. Those rules seem to acknowledge that late teenagers are more homogenous in their reactions than younger children. So, on this basis, the existing system of children's bookselling - in which a general, invisible PG certificate applies to all titles - might sensibly be left in place.

 

6th June   

Update: A Sad Day for America...

Max Hardcore found guilty of distributing obscene material
Link Here  full story: Max Hardcore on Trial...Max Hardcore on trial for obscenity

Max Hardcore Extreme 12 DVD Producer Max Hardcore was found guilty today of 10 federal counts of distributing obscene materials over the Internet and through the mail. His company Max World Entertainment was also found guilty on 10 related charges.

It's a sad day for all Americans when they smash any kind of free speech and that's what happened in Tampa today, Max Hardcore told AVN. They trampled on free speech, and I intend to appeal.

The government had separately sought the forfeiture of Hardcore's home in Altadena, California, but the jury ruled against that sanction.

I'm full of good spirits and they didn't get my house, Hardcore said. We're talking to a couple of jurors and they felt very strongly for me, but the way the laws are formulated, they were boxed in to a corner. I should have got off for this nonsense; obscenity is an archaic term, it's not defined well. I received no warning and they attempted to put me behind bars; they've got a conviction, but we intend to fight on.

The jury returned its verdict after deliberating for a total of 14 hours in the past two days. After the jury returned its verdict, the judge dismissed the defense's motion to dismiss the case which had been held in reserve.

It was a travesty but we had no choice because of the way the law is written, one juror told AVN. Several jurors approached Max Hardcore and his attorneys to express their sympathy at having been forced to convict him on the counts due to the "poorly written" law regarding the transportation of obscene material via the internet and the mailing of the DVDs to the middle district of Florida. Another juror reportedly said that if two words in the law had been different, he would have held out for acquittal.

Max Hardcore will be sentenced September 5. He is free on bail until that date.

 

6th June   

Update: The Human Right to be Easily Offended...

Canadian magazine quizzed over Maclean's magazine article
Link Here  full story: Human Rights in Canada...Canada's Human Rights works against free speech

America Alone book A four-day human rights hearing began in an overcrowded Vancouver courtroom Monday with the Canadian Islamic Congress claiming a Maclean's magazine article subjected Muslims to hatred and contempt.

The complaint against the article, titled Why the Future Belongs to Islam and published Oct. 23, 2006, was made to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal by Naiyer Habib, an Abbotsford cardiologist and B.C. director for the Canadian Islamic Congress.

Maclean's is published in Ontario but the Ontario Human Rights Commission declined to hear the complaint.

It alleges the magazine discriminated against Muslims on religious and racial grounds contrary to section 7 (1) of the B.C. Human Rights Code.

The article by author Mark Steyn was based on excerpts from his book America Alone .

Faisal Joseph, representing Habib, accused the national media of consistently denigrating Muslims and said the article alleged Muslims were poised to take over Western society and impose their laws by virtue of their numbers.

He said the context of the article was that Muslims were violent people, and cast suspicions on them as potential terrorists and extremists who were a threat to Western values such as democracy and human rights.

Joseph said Muslims were discriminated against in Western society and made to feel they don't belong. The fact a person is Muslim doesn't mean he wants to take over the world, he said.

Roger McConchie, representing the magazine, said the tribunal's hearings constituted an unjustifiable infringement of freedom of the press as guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

McConchie said Maclean's doesn't accept that the tribunal is entitled to monitor editorial decisions and what should and shouldn't be published. Maclean's will not be calling any witnesses, he added.

The hearing continues.

 

6th June   

Update: Waiting for Ages...

Thailand film classification delayed
Link Here  full story: Age Classification in Thailand...Thailand introduces age classification for films

25 cert The long wait for Thailand's first film rating system will continue for at least another few months.

The ministerial regulations on audience age restrictions have not yet been finalised. The rating system had been due to start in June, as stipulated in the Film Act passed by the National Legislative Assembly in December.

The sub-committee has finished drafting the regulations, but we will have to submit it to the cabinet before they become effective, said Somchai Seanglai, the deputy permanent secretary for culture.

Under the Film Act, the Culture Ministry will replace the police as the body that oversees theatre screening of movies.

The law specifies six ratings: G (fit for all age groups); 13-plus; 15-plus; 18-plus; 20-plus; and a special "P" rating for films that deserve to be promoted to all audiences. The authority will retain power to cut or ban films.

The rating committee will comprise government officials, academics and film industry representatives.

 

5th June   

Upper Class Twits of the Year...

Whinging about light hearted insurance advert
Link Here

Privilege insurance ad A tongue-in-cheek TV ad campaign that sends up the lifestyle of posh people, featuring Nigel Havers at a game shoot on an exclusive estate, has drawn complaints that it might be prejudiced against the upper classes.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received a dozen complaints that the TV ad, for Privilege car insurance, is stereotypical and projects and offensive view of the upper class".

Privilege's campaign, created by ad agency M&C Saatchi, opens with Havers standing in a peaceful rural setting. Just listen to that, the wonderful sound of: he says before the tranquillity is broken by a barrage of shotgun fire, "… ...the upper classes. The ad then shifts to show apparently well-to-do gentlemen blasting away with shotguns and more people arriving by helicopter. If you're really posh you fly in, says Havers.

He then points out that with Privilege car insurance you don't have to be posh to be privileged.

 

5th June   

Facebook information should be regulated...

According to survey commissioned by those that want the job
Link Here

Press Complaints Commission logo 9 out of 10 people think there should be tighter regulation of information on social networking websites, according to new research.

A survey commissioned by those who want to do the regulating found that most Britons believe sites such as Facebook and MySpace should be covered by rules that would help ordinary people complain about intrusive material posted online.

Currently each of the major social networking sites operates under its own set of terms and conditions. However, 89% of those surveyed by the Press Complaints Commission said there should be a set of widely accepted rules to help prevent personal information - such as private photographs - being abused.

Sir Christopher Meyer, the chairman of the PCC, said there was an "unprecedented scale" of information being put on to social networks, and suggested members of the public needed help to deal with problems that arise as a result. There is a need for public awareness about what can happen to information once it is voluntarily put into the public domain, he said.

The survey comes as the PCC seeks to expand its role as the lines between different forms of media continue to blur. The organisation already oversees internet and video content produced by newspaper organisations, though the commission's director, Tim Toulmin, has stated that he is not in favour of internet regulation.

Suggestions that the PCC would be the best body to oversee a social networking code of conduct are likely to cause controversy. Some experts suggested it would prove beneficial to bring some form of light self-regulation to the internet, but questioned whether there was a real consensus on what "intrusive" really meant. If you take pictures and put them on Facebook, you've deliberately surrendered your privacy, said Charlie Beckett, the director of Polis, a journalism thinktank at the London School of Economics.

 

5th June   

Madmen Advertising...

New Zealand Prime TV pulls adverts
Link Here

Prime TV logo Prime TV has pulled billboards advertising an upcoming programme following complaints from the Jewish community.

The billboards were erected in Auckland and Wellington advertising Madmen: The Glory Years of Advertising , and bore the slogan: Advertising Agency Seeks: Clients. All business considered, even from Jews, it was reported.

The advertisements also appeared over two pages in the latest New Zealand edition of Time magazine which has promised to publish a two-page apology in its next edition.

The wisdom of the entire project defies belief, said New Zealand Jewish Council chairman Geoff Levy: Long ago we moved on from this sort of language, but obviously not. In these days of 60 years plus since World War 2, I never thought it would come again, let alone to New Zealand.

 

5th June   

Contempt of Singapore Court...

Blogger in Singapore arrested and detained for insult to judge
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Singapore...Singapore blogger jailed for insulting a judge

Singapore flag A California-based blogger who allegedly accused a judge of "prostituting herself" has been arrested and charged in Singapore.

Gopalan Nair, a former Singapore lawyer who is now a US citizen, was arrested in the city-state and charged with insulting a public servant, his lawyer Chia Ti Lik told AFP.

Nair was later remanded in custody for one more week as the authorities said they needed to investigate further.

According to a court document, Nair is charged with insulting Justice Belinda Ang Saw Ean by sending an email which said she was throughout prostituting herself during the entire proceedings, by being nothing more than an employee of Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his son and carrying out their orders.

Nair's lawyer Chia said the comments essentially repeated those Nair made in a recent blog about a defamation case filed by Singapore's leaders against an opposition party and its members.

In the blog, Nair strongly criticised a three-day legal hearing last week at which Singapore founding father Lee Kuan Yew and his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, testified.

In another post on his blog Saturday, Nair taunted authorities, saying he was in Singapore at a particular hotel, and also gave his phone number: I am now within your jurisdiction... What are you going to do about it?" .

Nair is charged with insulting a public servant, which on conviction carries a maximum fine of 5,000 dollars (3,660 US) or one year in prison.

Update: On Trial

12th September 2008

US blogger and attorney Gopalan Nair appeared in the Singaporean Supreme Court and pleaded not guilty to insulting a public servant.

Nair is on trial for accusing a judge of prostituting herself in a defamation case brought by former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew against the Singapore Democratic Party. Under a provision of the Singaporean Penal Code, insulting a public servant conducting a judicial proceeding is punishable by up to one year in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. After Nair entered his plea, the trial was adjourned until later this week.

Nair faces another trial on a charge of insulting a second judge. He is also appealing his conviction last week on charges of disorderly conduct and using abusive words toward police officers.

In July, a report by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) concluded that Singapore lacks an independent judiciary and fails to meet international standards of human rights by heavily regulating international and domestic press and enforcing extreme defamation laws.

 

4th June   

Update: Free Speech Not Kosher...

Brigitte Bardot fined for criticising islamic slaughter methods
Link Here  full story: Brigitte Bardot...Brigitte Bardot under duress for views on islam

Greeting for Eid A French court has fined former film star Brigitte Bardot 15,000 euros (£12,000) for inciting racial hatred.

She was prosecuted over a letter published on her website that complained Muslims were destroying our country by imposing their ways.

It is the fifth time Ms Bardot been convicted over her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers. This is her heaviest fine so far.

The fine related to a letter she wrote in December 2006 to the then Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, which was published on her website, in which she deplored the slaughter of animals for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. She demanded that the animals be stunned before being killed.

She said she was "tired of being led by the nose by this population that is destroying us, destroying our country by imposing its acts".

In a letter to the court Ms Bardot, who is a prominent animal rights campaigner, insisted she had a right to speak up for animal welfare.

The prosecutor said she was weary of charging Ms Bardot with offences relating to racial hatred and xenophobia.

 

4th June   

Update: Not So Welcoming...

China publishes restrictions on Olympic visitors
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking in Olympic China...Chinese Olympics herald a lull in internet censorship

Olympic hand cuffs China is warning visitors to the Olympics they could be fined or jailed without trial if they breach rules on a range of offences including staging political protests.

A list of rules for tourists coming for the Beijing Games in the summer published outlines a long list of reasons why they may not be allowed into the country at all.

Those banned will include anyone suffering from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or sexually transmitted diseases such as Aids, the mentally ill, prostitutes, and anyone with "subversive" intent.

Books, articles and computer files with content harmful to China's politics, cultures, morals and economy would also be banned, the rules say.

But it adds that those who break the law while in China could face standard penalties. Any illegal gatherings, parades and protests and refusal to comply are subject to administrative punishments or criminal prosecution, it says.

Administrative punishments are those that can be imposed by the police without referral to the courts, and as well as fines include detention in a re-education through labour facility for up to four years.

The authorities in Beijing have begun a tightening of controls on foreigners in the run-up to the Games, imposing new visa restrictions and regular checks on residence permits, and cancelling some concerts and festivals featuring foreign acts.

 

3rd June   

Update: Detesting Military Service...

Turkish star on trial for a jibe against anti-PKK raids
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress

Bulent Ersoy One of Turkey's most popular singers is facing up to three years in jail after being accused of trying to weaken public support for the powerful armed forces.

In a case highlighting the pivotal role of the army in Turkish life, prosecutors have indicted Blent Ersoy on charges of making the public detest military service after saying on nationwide television that if she had a son, she would not let him fight against Kurdish separatists.

Her comments, made last February, came after the army launched a controversial ground offensive in northern Iraq against the militant Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) - regarded by Turkey and many western countries as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey's leaders regard the PKK as an ethnic secessionist group which threatens the integrity of the Turkish state. But Ersoy questioned the rationale of the offensive, saying: Of course the homeland is indivisible, but why are we sending these youths to death? If I had a child, I would not send him to the grave for the war of other people.

The singer has been a controversial figure since undergoing a sex change operation in 1981. She had previously carved out a successful singing and acting career as a man.

Ersoy now faces trial under article 318 of the Turkish penal code, which makes it a crime to undermine the institution of military service.

 

2nd June   

My Baby's Gone Blank...

Babe channel throws in the towel?
Link Here

The girls on the Sky babe channel, Babecast, announced on the 31st of May that this would be their last nightr.

And on the 1st June the channel was duly replaced by Bluekiss TV.

Ofcom have been turning the screws both in terms of prohibiting adult material on free to air channels and also proposing that they should not be allowed to become rolling adverts for premium rate numbers.

 

2nd June   

S** and the City...

Censoring Sex and the City movie in UAE
Link Here

Sex and the City film poster The Film censors say the big-screen version of the hit television series Sex and the City may be too risqué to be shown in cinemas in the UAE.

Censors and cinema industry commentators warn the film may be banned, cut or the title changed, to ensure it did not offend the country’s moral code.

Although distributors said prints had not yet arrived in the country, Tariq al Attar, the head of the screening committee at the Dubai censorship department, said the film might not be approved because of explicit content and it was likely that it would not be shown.

Even if this passes the censors the title would definitely have to change, said one industry source: They may call it S** and the City or just change it altogether.

Roy Chacra, from the company Shooting Stars, which has a joint agreement with Gulf Films to distribute the film, said he did not know what all the fuss was about. It hasn’t even gone to the censors yet. The title may be a problem but it can always be changed. We will abide by the decision of the censors, whatever it is.

Two or three people from the National Media Council, which is responsible for censorship, typically view films before deciding on a rating – general or family – and whether it needs to be cut. If a film is banned, there is no right of appeal.

On the Other Hand

See full article from 7 Days

A decision regarding the release of the film Sex and the City will be taken after censors have seen the movie, an official from the censorship department told 7DAYS. The official added that the department was hopeful of giving the film the go-head, after a few cuts. Juma Alim, Director of Dubai Censorship department also said that he doesn’t see any problem with the title of the film.

 

1st June   

Guinea's Ill Health...

Guinea government summarily closes newspaper for 2 months
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Guinea flag The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a two-month ban summarily handed to a Guinean independent newspaper last week over an editorial that raised critical questions about the health of President Lansana Conté’s second wife.

The state-run National Communications Council decided on the ban, which is the third suspension of a newspaper in Guinea this yea.

The ban on La Croisade should be lifted immediately, said CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator, Tom Rhodes : The media in Guinea has a right to report on political and public figures.

The ruling was linked to an editorial that discussed widely circulated rumors about whether the president’s wife, Kadiatou Seth Conté, was mentally ill and had been in France for medical care.

The state-run National Communications Council, in a ruling issued on May 19, accused La Croisade, a weekly based in the capital, Conakry, of harming the honor and esteem of physical and moral persons and violating privacy.

 

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