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 2009: July
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31st July   

Easily Offended Twats...

Ever milder cuss words get claimed by the easily offended
Link Here  full story: Pissed Off Twats...David Cameron under fire for mild cusses

Christian O'Connell The Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, apologised for any offence caused after he used the word 'twat' during a breakfast radio show interview.

When Absolute Radio host Christian O'Connell asked him about his views on Twitter, the Tory leader said: The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it – too many twits might make a twat.

He compounded the slip-up when he said people were pissed off – sorry, I can't say that in the morning – angry with politicians.

While Cameron's aides pointed out that twat is not a swear word under radio guidelines and said he had apologised immediately for his latter comment, he later expressed contrition for his use of bad language.

You always have to be careful what you say. If I've caused any offence I obviously regret that, he told Sky News.

O'Connell praised the twat comment as fantastic.

 

31st July   

Update: Whingeing Censors...

Philippines censors get wound up by university showing of banned films
Link Here  full story: Aurora...Philippines censor bans movie Aurora

Aurora titles The move by the Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to stop Thursday's scheduled screening of Kinatay at the UP Film Institute was "not a personal attack" on its director, Brillante Mendoza, said censor chair Marissa Laguardia.

She said it was meant to check the state-run institution's practice of holding public screenings of banned "X"-rated films.

During a press conference on Tuesday night, Laguardia referred to an ongoing case between the board and the UP Film Institute that stemmed from the latter's showing of previously disapproved films like Adolf Alix Jr.'s Aurora , Lav Diaz's Death in the Land of the Encantos and Alejandro Bong Ramos' Butas .

Are they really showing ' Kinatay ' just to professors and critics? How many persons are expected to attend? The UP Film Institute representative we spoke with on Monday failed to answer these questions, Laguardia told Inquirer Entertainment.

She stressed that a film screening attended by at least 50 people is already considered a public exhibition-which makes the movie to be shown subject to classification. Citing the board's rules and regulations, Laguardia added that a movie slapped with an "X" rating is banned from public and commercial exhibition.

As late as Tuesday night, the chief censor noted, Centerstage/Swift Productions, the producers of Kinatay , had not filed a request for review.

Mendoza's movie debuted at the last Cannes International Film Festival in France, where he won the Best Director trophy. The UP screening was to be its local premiere.

Update: Kinatay Passed Uncut

11th August 2009. See article from philstar.com

Cannes Film Festival Best Director for 2009 Brillante “Dante” Mendoza received an unexpected bonanza — a regular permit to show his Cannes film Kinatay without cuts in all venues from the MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board). Ironically, the controversial film may just have served as catalyst for the board to rethink its policies.

During the open forum that followed the UP screening, director Dante revealed that during the meeting he requested with MTRCB, he made it clear that he would have his film reviewed but would not allow any cuts on his film and would simply cancel the premiere screening should that be the case. After the MTRCB review, interestingly, he was given the green light. Kinatay is a dark grim look at the underworld where a drug dealer-prostitute is butchered by corrupt cops.

Update: Graphically dismembered

13th August 2009. See article from screendaily.com

Kinatay . Filipino director Brilliante Mendoza delivered what could be read as a searing indictment of his country's attitude towards women – or you could also see it as an ultra-violent film in which a woman is kidnapped, beaten, tortured, graphically dismembered, her body parts put into plastic bags and shoved on rubbish heaps outside Manila.

 

31st July   

Constitutional Cruelty...

Campaigners submit court brief outlining the dangers of censoring depictions of animal cruelty
Link Here  full story: Animal Cruelty in US Media...Legal challenge to censorship of animal cruelty

Dogs of Velvet The US passed a 1999 federal law that makes it a crime to sell, create or possess videos and other depictions of cruelty to animals for commercial use. Violators are subject to up to five years in prison for each count as well as fines.

A case arose in 2004, when Robert J. Stevens of Virginia was sentenced to 37 months in prison by a federal court in Pennsylvania for selling videos that showed pit bulls fighting and training to hunt wild boar. Stevens is not accused of organizing dogfighting, and in a book he wrote about raising pit bills as pets and working dogs, Dogs of Velvet and Steel , he argues against the practice.

Last summer, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia overturned Stevens' conviction, saying both the law and its application were unconstitutional.

Now the Obama administration are pursuing the law and are taking the case against Stevens to Supreme Court where the U.S. v. Stevens is scheduled for argument on Tuesday, October 6, 2009.

The National Coalition Against Censorship, joined by the College Art Association, warned that a law banning depictions of animal cruelty violates the First Amendment right to free speech and that the exemption it provides for work with serious value rings hollow, given the long history of censorship of disturbing or unpopular images.

In defending the law, the Obama Administration is making the unlikely claim that local prosecutors and juries can be trusted with the power to decide whether certain words and images are worthy of First Amendment protection. Even more disturbingly, the government asserts that speech rights can be limited to promote a social interest in order and morality, and that the Constitution only protects material with serious social value that serves a higher purpose.

The road to censorship is paved with good intentions said Joan E. Bertin, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship. The assertion that free speech rights depend on 'balancing of the value of the speech against its societal costs,' could threaten a vast array of material that is currently considered protected expression.

The government could argue, as it has with regard to depictions of animal cruelty, that flag burning, as well as some video games, rap music, and videos are not protected by the First Amendment because their social costs outweigh their value. This would overturn more than half a century of First Amendment law holding that even material with no discernible social value is, in the words of the Court, 'as much entitled to the protection of free speech as the best of literature.'


NCAC, which tracks and responds to censorship incidents around the country, provided numerous examples in its brief of works of art that were initially scorned but were later deemed to be groundbreaking and influential, from the Impressionist school to Marcel Duchamp to Andy Warhol. The brief also offers examples of art works containing images of animal cruelty that are directly threatened by this law, including Blood Orgies by Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch, in which ritualistic performances combine fake crucifixion with the disemboweling of lambs and other animals; as well as controversial work by French Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed and Belgian artist Wim Delvoye.

These and other similar artists, and anyone who buys or displays their work, would be at risk for prosecution. Even though their work has been shown in major museums and art venues around the world, juries could still conclude that it lacks serious value. The law invites subjective judgments about what work has serious value and creates a real risk that it will be used to punish the expression of ideas that are unpopular, unwelcome, or unfamiliar, NCAC said in its brief.

The fact that we have determined as a society that animal cruelty should be prohibited does not mean that speech about animal cruelty or images of such acts can be similarly prohibited, said Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of Programs for NCAC and an author of Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression . Indeed, a core purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the right to express odious or offensive ideas or ideas that undermine moral and legal norms. We don't have to like the work and may even condemn it from an ethical standpoint – criminalizing it, however, forecloses an important discussion.

Mintcheva noted that the law threatens not only artists but also journalists, photographers, television and film producers, scientists, academics, and others if their works—despite having serious value when considered as a whole—contain depictions of animal cruelty that juries may find lack such value when viewed in isolation. For instance, video footage of a bullfight from a travel documentary on Spain, when viewed without the context of the program, would by definition be grounds for prosecution since it depicts animal harm that is illegal in this country

 

31st July   

Update: There's Probably No God in Indiana...

Indiana town gives away to atheist bus advertising after threat of law suit
Link Here

You can be good without God From the beginning, the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign said it knew it was going to win the fight against the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation.

After two months, the campaign was given the OK to run the ad You Can Be Good Without God.

We're all elated we won, of course, said Charlie Sitzes, spokesman for the bus campaign: We knew we were going to win the lawsuit.

The decision comes just a week before the lawsuit was supposed to hit federal court in Indianapolis, Sitzes said. On May 9, the Indiana Atheist Bus Campaign filed a federal lawsuit against the Bloomington Public Transportation Corporation because it rejected the campaign's advertisement proposal. The ad was rejected by Bloomington Public Transportation Corp. because, as its policy reads, Statements of position in support of or in opposition to controversial public issues shall not be accepted.

 

31st July   

Update: Vulgar Politicians...

Indian minister suggests a TV censor along the lines of Ofcom
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults

I&B logo There are debates going on in India to adopt a content censor, similar to the UK's OFCOM, in order to curb what is seen as a obscenity and vulgarity on TV and radio.

A parliamentary discussion in New Delhi saw India's Broadcasting Minister, Mrs Ambika Soni, state that such a body with some teeth was the only way to cut vulgarity on certain shows especially reality TV programming in the sub-Continent.

Soni suggested that the government would support the creation of such a body, membership of which would include key stakeholders in the media, lawyers and consumer organisations.

 

31st July   

A Fatwa Against Secular Writing...

Prize for prominent secular writer winds up Egyptian nutters
Link Here

Egypt flag Egypt's Islamic Legislation Authority has issued a fatwa against the country's prominent writer Sayed Kemny, triggering angry reactions from Islamic scholars, activists and rights groups.

In the fatwa against him, Kemny was called an infidel and a criminal because he doubts Islam.

Gamal Al Banna, a leading progressive Islamic thinker, said such fatwas give a bad impression of Islam and did not encourage a debate over the role of religion in daily life: We need to understand better how words are taken because this sort of thing is wrong and must be ended. What should happen is a discussion about the work, not the man. Simply condemning the writer for his words will not create a society that thinks deeply about their faith.

Kemny is known for his secular writings and his calls for an end to the use of Sharia.

The fatwa, issued last week, was in response to a letter sent to the Islamic Legislation Authority inquiring about the religious consequences for someone who denounces Islam in his books, and comes one month after the author was handed Egypt's 2009 State Incentive Prize in Sociology.

The authority argued that Kemny's writings violated Egyptian law, and that the writer should never have been awarded the prize.

 

30th July   

Professor of Medieval Culture...

Indian university textbook seized, author and publisher arrested
Link Here

India flag The author and publisher of an Indian textbook, that carries a picture of Mohammad, were arrested in Uttar Pradesh for hurting the religious sentiments of people, police said.

Karan Singh, author of Udayimaan Bhartiya Samaj ke Shikshak (Teachers in Emerging Indian Society), and R.P. Singh, owner of Lakhimpur-based Govind Prakashan, were arrested in Lakhimpur, near state capital Lucknow.

Karan Singh is a retired professor of the Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University.

According to officials, a case under the Section 295 A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has already been registered against the author and the publisher.

Following an uproar among Islamic scholars and the clergy over a picture of Prophet Mohammad in an officially prescribed textbook of Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University, officials seized about 700 copies of the text books. The textbook is prescribed for the B.Ed course run by the university.

Meanwhile, Muslim clerics have demanded constitution of a screening committee to check publication of such books in future.

 

30th July   

Offsite: Fighting Back...

An intrepid, ragged band of bloggers vs The British Chiropractic Association
Link Here  full story: Simon Singh vs Chiropractors...Chiropractors take science sceptic to libel court

Trick or Treatment book Today the Australian magazine Cosmos, along with a vast number of other blogs and publications, reprinted an article by Simon Singh, in slightly tweaked form, in an act of solidarity. The British Chiropractic Association has been suing Singh personally for the past 15 months, over a piece in the Guardian where he criticised the BCA for claiming that its members could treat children for colic, ear infections, asthma, prolonged crying, and sleeping and feeding conditions by manipulating their spines.

The BCA maintains that the efficacy of these treatments is well documented. Singh said that claims were made without sufficient evidence, described the treatments as "bogus", and criticised the BCA for "happily promoting" them. At a preliminary hearing in May, to decide the meaning of this article, Mr Justice Eady ruled that Singh's wording implied the BCA was being deliberately dishonest. Singh has repeatedly been clear that he never intended this meaning, but has been forced to defend this single utterance, out of his own pocket, at a cost that has run to six figures.

...read full article

Simon Singh is a science writer in London and the co-author, with Edzard Ernst, of Trick or Treatment? Alternative Medicine on Trial . This is an edited version of an article published in The Guardian for which Singh is being personally sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association.

Beware the spinal trap

Some practitioners claim it is a cure-all, but the research suggests chiropractic therapy has mixed results – and can even be lethal, says Simon Singh.

You might be surprised to know that the founder of chiropractic therapy, Daniel David Palmer, wrote that '99% of all diseases are caused by displaced vertebrae'. In the 1860s, Palmer began to develop his theory that the spine was involved in almost every illness because the spinal cord connects the brain to the rest of the body. Therefore any misalignment could cause a problem in distant parts of the body.

In fact, Palmer's first chiropractic intervention supposedly cured a man who had been profoundly deaf for 17 years. His second treatment was equally strange, because he claimed that he treated a patient with heart trouble by correcting a displaced vertebra.

You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact some still possess quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything, including helping treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying – even though there is not a jot of evidence.

I can confidently label these assertions as utter nonsense because I have co-authored a book about alternative medicine with the world's first professor of complementary medicine, Edzard Ernst. He learned chiropractic techniques himself and used them as a doctor. This is when he began to see the need for some critical evaluation. Among other projects, he examined the evidence from 70 trials exploring the benefits of chiropractic therapy in conditions unrelated to the back. He found no evidence to suggest that chiropractors could treat any such conditions.

But what about chiropractic in the context of treating back problems? Manipulating the spine can cure some problems, but results are mixed. To be fair, conventional approaches, such as physiotherapy, also struggle to treat back problems with any consistency. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is still preferable because of the serious dangers associated with chiropractic.

In 2001, a systematic review of five studies revealed that roughly half of all chiropractic patients experience temporary adverse effects, such as pain, numbness, stiffness, dizziness and headaches. These are relatively minor effects, but the frequency is very high, and this has to be weighed against the limited benefit offered by chiropractors.

More worryingly, the hallmark technique of the chiropractor, known as high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, carries much more significant risks. This involves pushing joints beyond their natural range of motion by applying a short, sharp force. Although this is a safe procedure for most patients, others can suffer dislocations and fractures.

Worse still, manipulation of the neck can damage the vertebral arteries, which supply blood to the brain. So-called vertebral dissection can ultimately cut off the blood supply, which in turn can lead to a stroke and even death. Because there is usually a delay between the vertebral dissection and the blockage of blood to the brain, the link between chiropractic and strokes went unnoticed for many years. Recently, however, it has been possible to identify cases where spinal manipulation has certainly been the cause of vertebral dissection.

Laurie Mathiason was a 20-year-old Canadian waitress who visited a chiropractor 21 times between 1997 and 1998 to relieve her low-back pain. On her penultimate visit she complained of stiffness in her neck. That evening she began dropping plates at the restaurant, so she returned to the chiropractor. As the chiropractor manipulated her neck, Mathiason began to cry, her eyes started to roll, she foamed at the mouth and her body began to convulse. She was rushed to hospital, slipped into a coma and died three days later. At the inquest, the coroner declared: 'Laurie died of a ruptured vertebral artery, which occurred in association with a chiropractic manipulation of the neck.'

This case is not unique. In Canada alone there have been several other women who have died after receiving chiropractic therapy, and Edzard Ernst has identified about 700 cases of serious complications among the medical literature. This should be a major concern for health officials, particularly as under-reporting will mean that the actual number of cases is much higher. If spinal manipulation were a drug with such serious adverse effects and so little demonstrable benefit, then it would almost certainly have been taken off the market.

 

30th July   

There's Something Wrong with Warners...

Philippines nutters wound by Orphans film
Link Here

Orphan An institution promoting the adoption of orphaned children has asked the Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to stop the public showing of Warner Bros.' Orphan because of the film's detrimental message.

The movie Orphan delivers a detrimental message about 'waiting' children in need of a 'forever family'. The trailer was deemed so offensive to some communities in America that the line 'It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own' was removed, the group said in a statement.

Adoptions advocate Kim Michelle Richardson (USA) said the movie's tagline, There is Something Wrong With Esther, should be applied to the production company: There Is Something Wrong With Warner Bros.

Lawyer Gwen Pimentel-Gana, president of the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (Accap), said the group's member- agencies are terribly offended and appalled by the movie's negative story line featuring an orphan little girl character as the villain. Maybe the MTRCB, before allowing movies like these, should be more sensitive to issues that affect the plight of orphaned, abandoned, neglected and dependent children.

 

30th July   

Offsite: Funny and Offensive...

The new offenders of standup comedy
Link Here

Scott Capurro Live CD Political correctness used to rule comedy, but now comics routinely offend their audiences. How did things get so nasty?

It's a Saturday night in north London, and a group of people are listening to one white man speak. First he suggests that all Muslim men are secretly gay. Next, he's using the n-word. Then he draws his eyes into slits to mock the Chinese. One woman in the crowd has had enough. "You're awful," she says, leaving the room. "You're a disgrace." Soon, others join her; the man abuses them as they leave. The atmosphere is sour.

This is not an unruly seminar on racism, but comedy, 2009-style. It's a world where all the bigotries and the misogyny you thought had been banished forever from mainstream entertainment have made a startling comeback. Tonight's comic is San Francisco comedian Scott Capurro, and his routine is not unusual in the taboo-teasing world of 21st-century standup. Before the gig, I ask Capurro how he feels about routinely offending his audience. "It's great," he says. "I'm not friends with my audience. I'll never see them again. If they want to fight, they can have one with me. How often does an audience get the chance to stand up and say, 'You are fucked up'? It's so exciting – it's a conversation."

...read full article

Comment: There isn't a "New Offensiveness"

1st August 2009. See article from guardian.co.uk by Richard Herring

On Monday I was astounded to read an article by Brian Logan in this very paper in which he wrote, and I quote, that "racists have a point". I never thought I'd live to see such a hateful opinion expressed by a Guardian journalist and was morally outraged.

Actually, I'm not being entirely fair. The piece read: "This year veteran comic Richard Herring is sporting a Hitler moustache for his show Hitler Moustache, in which he argues that 'racists have a point'." So it wasn't Logan who said it. It was me. I knew that all along, and yet I wilfully took the line out of context in order to be sensationalist. What a cheap and shoddy tactic: you'd expect that in a tabloid perhaps, but the Guardian?

...read full article

 

29th July   

Chinese Censorship Mafia...

China bans video games featuring mafia gangs
Link Here

The Godfather II game China has banned websites featuring or publicizing online games which glamorize mafia gangs, saying violators will be severely punished, state media reported.

The Culture Ministry said such games "advocate obscenity, gambling, or violence," and undermine morality and Chinese traditional culture, the official Xinhua news agency said.

These games encourage people to deceive, loot and kill, and glorify gangsters' lives. It has a bad influence on youngsters, the report said, citing a ministry circular.

In games like Godfather people can play at being hitmen or gangsters, Xinhua said.

The ministry ordered its law enforcement bodies to step up oversight and harshly punish those sites that continue to run such games, it added, without elaborating.

 

29th July   

Plenty More from Where Those Came From...

Thailand's banned website list up to 16,944 URLs
Link Here

EFF logo Danny O'Brien, International Coordinator of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), expressed his astonishment at learning that the Thailand's Minister of Information and Communications Technology had revealed that the ministry had already dealt with 16,944 URLs with improper content.

In his view, it is peculiar for the ICT Minister to come out and claim such an achievement, because it is like a Minister of Transport bragging about how many roads the government has closed, instead of how many the government has built to benefit the public.

Out of the 16,944 URLs, 11,000 concern national security, 5,872 have content which is socially and culturally inappropriate, and 72 have content affecting the economy.

Update: Easier Blocking

28th August 2009. See article from prachatai.com

9,600 web pages have been blocked. The 2007 Computer Crimes Act will be amended to allow Internet Service Providers to immediately block 'offensive' web pages on sight or upon complaint without court orders or requests from the MICT, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry says.

In a Manager report on 26 Aug, according to Angsumal Sunalai, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT), when contents and pictures deemed offensive to the monarchy are found in the internet, the MICT will request the ISPs to block those web pages, or URLs, and then will ask for court orders to permanently block them. The request for court orders usually takes only one day.

 

29th July   

Update: Highlights...

Banned films get a film festival showing in the Philippines
Link Here  full story: Aurora...Philippines censor bans movie Aurora

Aurora titles Controversial and X-rated (banned) films were given a public exhibition because of the Netpac competition of the Cinemalaya film festiva at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) is composed of film critics from all over the world. Among the films vying for the Netpac prize are Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos' Walang Hanggang Paalam and Adolfo Alix Jr.'s Aurora , both rated X by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Meanwhile, a third entry, Bayaw , created a buzz because of its full-frontal male nudity. A fourth Netpac film, Auraeus Solito's Boy , was banned in Singapore because of a long gay love scene as well.

Villaluna said that the film's journey from censorship to the CCP was long and arduous. It makes you realize that filmmaking has become a struggle in this country. It's frustrating ... but we are totally relieved to premiere at the CCP.

Update: Bayaw Banned

31st August 2009. See article from pep.ph

The indie film Bayaw , was banned (Rated X) when the Movie and Television Review & Classification Board (MTRCB) reviewed it on August 27.

Bayaw will be submitted again to the MTRCB for a second review on September 1. The people behind this production are all hoping that it will be approved for exhibition, with minimal cuts or no cuts at all, in time for its showing. The film, produced by Climax Films and directed by Monti Parungao (Sagwan), is scheduled to open on September 2 in selected theaters nationwide.

 

29th July   

City Lights Extinguished...

Famed Maltese cinema closed after police raid finds adult films
Link Here

City Lights cinema A well-known Valletta cinema that has been operating for years was shut after its operator was charged with screening pornographic films.

The police seized almost 5,000 adult films in a raid on the famed City Lights Capitol Cinema.

Alexander Baldacchino pleaded not guilty to screening the films in public, selling them and using a projector and video machine illegally.

The cinema with an ornate façade is situated in St John's Street, just a few metres down from Republic Street and round the corner from the court house.

The arraignment was over in minutes and Baldacchino was granted bail against a personal guarantee of €5,000.

 

29th July   

Update: Internet blocking in Sri Lanka...

Court orders blocks on the likes of redtube.com
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking

Sri Lanka A Sri Lankan court has ordered a dozen websites to be blocked for allegedly containing pornographic material involving local women.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) was asked to block access to the 12 websites, including redtube.com, an adult-content sharing portal, the Lankadeepa newspaper said.

There was no immediate comment from the TRC, which a year ago announced it was filtering websites showing obscene, pornographic and other sexually explicit material.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi said the censorship order was issued following a police complaint that some videos contained Sri Lankan women and children and that the free access to the sites corrupted society.

The websites' owners have 14 days to respond and if they do not, the TRC has been asked to continue blocking those sites, the magistrate was quoted as saying.

Sri Lanka already maintains an unofficial ban on websites of dissidents by getting local Internet Service Providers to block access to those portals.

Update: Wider Ban on Porn

31st July 2009. See article from humanevents.com

The Government is to propose tough new laws to curb adult movies, advertisements, publications containing obscene materials appearing in various forms in Sri Lanka.

Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene at a press briefing in Sigiriya yesterday said that a decision had been taken after considering the harmful impact of such materials to society at large and its contribution towards the erosion of the social values in Sri Lanka.

In this regard, wider power would be relegated to the existing Censor Board to enact these proposed measures. Mobile service providers would also be advised to refrain from airing such materials.

The Minister also noted that the proposals in this regard would be submitted to the Cabinet shortly.

Update: Local Porn

12th August 2009. See article from business.avn.com

Sri Lanka's Criminal Investigation Department is investigating porn content created within the country, according to the Colombo Chief Magistrate.

The CID claims links between porn websites and locally produced material, reports the area's regional Daily Mirror.

Update: Demarcation Dispute

17th August 2009. See article from dailymirror.lk

Cabinet Spokesman and Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa yesterday said he was disappointed and displeased at the Cabinet Cultural Affairs Minister Piyasiri Wijenayaka had trespassed the purview of his cabinet portfolio in undertaking to control the telecast of films, Tele Dramas and Commercials.

He may be unaware of what he is doing. But it is unethical and against the collective responsibility of Ministers when he said he was to introduce legislation to control 'Adults Only' telecasts, Minister Anura Priyadharshana said.

 

28th July   

Update: Antichrists Beyer and Widdecombe...

Beyer suggests that local authorities should ban Antichrist
Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

Antichrist DVD From the Sunday Express:

There were growing calls last night to ban a controversial film that shows the mutilation of female and male genitalia, scenes of graphic sex and a toddler falling to his death.

Tory MP Anne Widdecombe led the condemnation branding the film, truly revolting.

As disbelief grew that the explicit and horrifying film had been deemed fit for our cinemas, campaign group mediawatch-uk called on local councils to view the film and decide if it is suitable for showing in their area.

John Beyer, its director, said: There are explicit scenes of masturbation, real sexual activity, mutilation and part of it are filmed in black and white to accentuate the theme of darkness. I would call upon every local authority to watch this film and if they are unhappy with what they see, they should withdraw it from cinemas straightaway.

Ms Widdecombe said the film is no different to hardcore pornography.

 

28th July   

Update: Bruno the Brave...

Threats of permanent censorship by terrorists
Link Here  full story: Bruno...Supporting the hype for Bruno

Bruno film poster Sacha Baron Cohen has stepped up his security after being threatened by a militant Palestinian group angered at its portrayal in the film Brüno .

The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a coalition of Palestinian militias in the West Bank, said in a statement released to a Jerusalem-based journalist that it was very upset that it featured in the film starring Baron Cohen's homosexual fashionista alter ego: We reserve the right to respond in the way we find suitable against this man. The movie was part of a conspiracy against the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.

The comic is taking the threat seriously and has improved security for himself and his family in preparation for violent reprisals.

Baron Cohen's Austrian character ridicules the Martyrs' Brigades when he bids for fame by getting himself kidnapped by Ayman Abu Aita, who is identified in the film as the leader of the organisation.

Abu Aita's lawyer, Hatem Abu Ahmad, said that he is preparing a legal action against Baron Cohen and Universal Studios alleging that the Martyrs' Brigade reference could get his client in trouble with the Israelis and the homosexual association could get him killed by the Palestinians.

Abu Ahmad said: This joke is very dangerous. We are not in the United States, we are not in Europe, we are in the Middle East and the world operates differently here. Aaron Klein, the WorldNet reporter who received the statement from the Martyrs' Brigades, said: These are terrorists. They are against feminism, gay rights and abortion. Once I asked them what would they do if they found out one of their members was a homosexual. They said they would cut off his head.

Baron Cohen also angered Orthodox Jews during the filming of Brüno in Jerusalem when he nearly provoked a riot as he strutted down the street in a sexed-up Hasidic outfit with skintight shorts.

 

28th July   

Updated: Random Censorship...

US ISP blocks pages on popular forum
Link Here

4chan logo The global internet censorship debate landed in the home of the not so free with news that AT&T has censored the popular 4chan /b/ image board. (/b/ is a sub forum/board dedicated to random postings)

The censorship was first reported on Reddit, where users confirmed with AT&T that the site had indeed been censored, and was not being blocked due to a technical issue. 4chan owner Moot later confirmed the news, saying that the /r9k/ (Relationship advice degenerated into randomness) was also blocked and that AT&T users should call or write [to] customer support and [AT&T] corporate immediately.

The censorship at this time extended only to AT&T DSL customers. Erling Løken Andersen notes that 15.5% of all US internet users use AT&T DSL, meaning that /b/ is now blocked somewhere around 40-60 million people in the United States.

There is no official word from AT&T on the decision yet. 4chan users though aren't particularly happy about the decision, with /b/tards currently discussing ways to fight back against the imposition of censorship.

The decision by AT&T to censor /b/ may also further spark further debate around net neutrality; love or hate 4chan, the decision by a provider to start censoring sites is the beginning of a slippery slope to unaccountable corporate imposed draconian censorship that should have no place in allegedly free democratic societies.

Update: 4Chan.org access restored

28th July 2009. Based on article from arstechnica.com

AT&T blocked access to parts of 4chan on Sunday (img.4chan.org, which of course includes /b/) thanks to what AT&T says was a denial of service attack coming from that domain. AT&T was uncommunicative with customers at the onset of the 4chan blockage, leaving many users questioning whether the telecom was trying to censor 4chan.

According to an Anonymous posting on 4chan itself, it seems as if there were hundreds of thousands of connections being made from the IP address of the image server.

This information has now been confirmed by AT&T itself, and, as of Monday morning, AT&T's block has been lifted. Beginning Friday, an AT&T customer was impacted by a denial-of-service attack stemming from IP addresses connected to img.4chan.org. To prevent this attack from disrupting service for the impacted AT&T customer, and to prevent the attack from spreading to impact our other customers, AT&T temporarily blocked access to the IP addresses in question for our customers. This action was in no way related to the content at img.4chan.org; our focus was on protecting our customers from malicious traffic, AT&T spokesperson Brad Mays told Ars.

Overnight Sunday, after we determined the denial-of-service threat no longer existed, AT&T removed the block on the IP addresses in question.

 

28th July   

Updated: The Petition Game...

Petitioning the German parliament to lay off computer games
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Deutscher Bundestag logo With an apparent official crackdown against violent games underway in Germany, gamers are petitioning their government to back off.

In Germany citizens are able to post petitions in an official internet forum of the Bundestag. These petitions are "accepted" when 50000 German citizens electronically sign the petition. When petitions are accepted, the German government has to review, respect and discuss the petition.

The petition Reads:

The German Bundestag should decide against the decision of the interior minister conference from the 5th of June, that aims for a ban of action computer games. As an adult citizen and a person eligible to vote, I beg you firmly;

To erase the irritating and discriminating term of 'killerspiele' [killer game] from political discussion.

To strengthen the trust of the public in existing national youth protection mechanics.

To improve and warrant the execution of existing laws, that ensure kids and the youth only get access to video games and computer games rating according the USK.

To support parents and educationally responsible persons in the advancement of media competence.

To promote the computer games and video games industry in Germany and especially the training of these promising professions.

The petition currently stands at 42,000

Sign the petition (German language)

Update: 50,000 Signatures

28th July 2009.  Based on article from gamepolitics.com

The petition passed 50,000 signatures about two weeks ago meaning the German government will be required to review and discuss its requests.

Granted, this does not mean that the ban will ultimately be reversed, but it is a step in the right direction.

 

28th July   

Offsite: Rated R for Arbitrary...

Are the ratings that Hollywood gives its movies becoming irrelevant?
Link Here

MPAA logo The MPAA started rating films in 1968 to indicate suitability for children. Ever since, some group or another – whether of parents or politicians or filmmakers – has complained: Too broad. Too easily manipulated. Too arbitrary.

The association, financed by the movie studios, has occasionally bowed to public pressure and tinkered with its evaluation process. In 2007, for instance, it started considering smoking alongside sex, violence and profanity when assessing films.

But the ratings system is coming under fresh attack via the Web, and that may make bigger changes inevitable, some Hollywood veterans fret. Studios count a movie's rating as one of their primary marketing tools, and they worry that any recalibration would cut into their attendance – and profits.

...Read full article

 

28th July   

Jeremy Kyle Show Judged as Exploitative...

Confrontational TV spills over into violence
Link Here

Jeremy Kyle Show ITV has defended The Jeremy Kyle Show after it was criticised in court. Judge Sean Enright claimed that the programme contained an element of cruelty and exploitation as he presided over a case involving two former Kyle guests this week.

Peterborough Crown Court heard that Jamie Juste, had attacked his partner Rebecca Langley after they appeared on the daytime show and took lie detector tests. Juste, who believed that Langley had been unfaithful, was jailed for two years.

Summing up the case, Enright commented: I have not seen this show, which I believe is classified as light entertainment, but there is plainly an element of cruelty and exploitation in what takes place. [The couple] must have both suffered considerable mortification and embarrassment.

Responding to the criticism, an ITV spokeswoman told The Guardian: With respect to the judge, we are surprised at his remarks given that he pointed out that he has not seen our programme, and we absolutely refute the notion that it involves cruelty and exploitation.

Jamie Juste and Rebecca Langley approached the production team requesting an appearance on the show to resolve problems within their relationship. As well as discussing these issues in the studio they were given advice from our aftercare team about dealing with their difficulties and offered counselling sessions prior to this incident.

 

28th July   

Advice Censor...

Irish film censor now provides online consumer advice for DVDs
Link Here

Irish Film Censors Office logo The Minister for Blasphemy, Injustice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, visited the Irish Film Censors Office (IFCO) new offices in Smithfield, where he launched IFCO's new online DVD consumer advice service for parents.

The IFCO is now providing parents and the public in general with the same consumer information and advice for DVD releases that it has been providing online for films. This new service is available via their website www.ifco.ie where the age related classification on every new DVD released in Ireland is published.

John Kelleher IFCO Director commented, This is part of an overall technological enhancement that now enables IFCO's commercial customers to transact their business online. It's an initiative that has made IFCO's service comparable or superior to similar organisations worldwide, and has been warmly welcomed by the industry.

 

27th July   

Sex and Violence Phased Out...

Denmark imposes new censorial rules for digital TV
Link Here

Kanal Kobenhavn logo Denmark broadcast TV is going digital. Many small stations are finding it difficult to meet the censorial guidelines required by the government for digital TV.

On 1 November, the two million or so antennae-based televisions across Denmark will be forced to switch to digital service if they want to watch any television. City TV station Kanal Kobenhavn is one such station that needs to make significant changes if it wants to keep its broadcasting license.

Among the most affected are public stations like TV2 and DR, as well as countless small local stations. Kanal Kobenhavn's trouble is with its non-commercial broadcasts such as the pornography it shows late at night. The station has been showing these sexy movies for 25 years, but the new regulations forbid any content that contains pornography or gratuitous violence.

In a touch of state control over freedom of expression, the government has decided to ban any station broadcasting material deemed to cause serious harm to minors' physical, mental or moral development.

The Copenhagen Post reports there are presently 286 local television stations around Denmark. Only nine of these are labeled non-commercial by the Culture Ministry's Agency for Libraries and Media. This means nearly all Danish television will be much tamer and more morally rigid as of the first of November.

 

27th July   

Updated: The 10 Conditions of Love...

China annoyed by Melbourne Film Festival entry about a Uighur activist
Link Here  full story: Festivals of Politics...Boycotts and politics at film and book festivals

The 10 Conditions of Love logo The Chinese Government has stirred more controversy in Australia by demanding that a film about a Chinese Uighur Muslim activist be dropped from the country's largest film festival.

The Cultural Attache at China's Consulate in Melbourne contacted the organisers of the Melbourne Film Festival, and insisted that they drop the documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled businesswoman and activist whom the Chinese Government blame for last week's riots in restive Xinjiang province.

Richard Moore, the executive director of the film festival told The Times that the attache, Chunmei Chen, demanded he justify his decision to include the film, The 10 Conditions of Love , in the festival.

We had a strident conversation, Moore said: Ms Chen urged me to withdraw the film from the festival and told me I had to justify my actions in programming it. I told her that under no circumstances would I withdraw the film, that I had no reason to do so. I don't need to justify my actions, unless it's in relation to our own sense of morals.

The film tells the story of the relationship between Ms Kadeer, leader of the World Uigher Congress, and her activist husband Sidik Rouzi and explores the effect on her 11 children of her campaign for autonomy for China's Uigher population. Two of Ms Kadeer's sons have been jailed as a result of her actions.

Ms Kadeer is due to speak at the Melbourne Film Festival next month after being invited by the film's producer John Lewis.

Ms Chen said the Chinese were also very unhappy that Rebiya is coming here as a guest, said Moore: She proceeded to list Rebiya's crimes, everything from evading taxes to being a terrorist. It was a real character assassination. To be honest, after a couple of minutes listening to this very detailed list of accusations I phased out. In the end I hung up. I would never normally do that but when you have someone who isn't listening to you and won't stop talking I just said 'I have nothing else to say, goodbye.'

Update: China pulls 2 films in response to refusal to ban 10 Conditions of Love

23rd July 2009. Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

China has withdrawn two films from an Ausrtralian film festival after the event's director refused to ban a documentary about Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.

Two weeks before the Melbourne Film Festival was due to open, director Richard Moore received a phone call from Chen Chun Mei at the Chinese consulate, who asked him to withdraw the film. He refused and politely hung up . Then, on Tuesday, he was notified that two Chinese films were being pulled out of the festival.

Moore claimed the film-makers withdrew their movies after he ignored pressure from Beijing to drop the documentary about Ms Kadeer. He said he believed Beijing had ordered the withdrawal of films Perfect Life and Cry Me a River in an attempt at political intimidation ahead of the August 8 screening: It's hard to draw any other conclusion .

Chow Keung, the Hong Kong-based head of Xstream Pictures, which produced both films, said he had no problem with the screening of 10 Conditions of Love . However, the film-makers had an issue with Ms Kadeer appearing as a festival guest. The group had no links with the Chinese authorities, he told the Australian: We are independent filmmakers. This response is by consensus, and it is very personal. He said he did not blame the Melbourne festival organisers: We respect their programming freedom. But hundreds of ordinary people have just been killed in the conflict in Xinjiang. I know the families of two of the victims, and it offends my sense of morality to appear there alongside (Kadeer) as a guest. I would not be comfortable.

Tickets to 10 Conditions have since sold out and a second screening is being scheduled.

Update: Chinese Hackers Attack Film Festival Website

27th July 2009. Based on article from guardian.co.uk

Chinese hackers have attacked the website of Australia's biggest film festival over its decision to screen a documentary about the exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer.

Two days after the Melbourne international festival opened, hackers replaced programme information with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans and sent spam emails in an attempt to crash the site, according to reports in the Australian press.

We like film but we hate Rebiya Kadeer, one message said, demanding an apology to the Chinese people.

The festival director, Richard Moore, said staff had been bombarded with abusive emails after he rebuffed demands from the Chinese government to drop the film about Kadeer, The 10 Conditions of Love , and cancel her invitation to the festival.

The language has been vile, Moore told the Melbourne Age: It is obviously a concerted campaign to get us because we've refused to comply with the Chinese government's demands.

He said the festival had reported the attacks, which appear to be coming from a Chinese internet protocol address, and was discussing security concerns with Victoria's state police. Private security guards are being hired to protect Kadeer and other patrons at the film's screening on August 8.

Update: Chinese Prove Their Repressive Nature

1st August 2009. See article from theepochtimes.com

The artistic director of Brisbane's International Film Festival (BIFF) says she is horrified by the behaviour of the Chinese consulate and the ensuing cyber attacks on the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).

I think it is appalling. It is a really strange, inappropriate kind of tactic in a society that has freedom of speech, Anne Demy-Geroe told The Epoch Times.

Ms Demy-Geroe said she is receiving calls from friends in Europe equally horrified at the bullying and stands firmly in the belief that international film festivals have a duty to screen controversial films.

 

27th July   

Update: Playing the Advertising Game...

Advertising codes for video games updated in response to Tanya Byron's recommendations
Link Here  full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

CAP logo Dr Tanya Byron's review, Safer Children in a Digital World ,  looked at the advertising of video games, its effect on children and the clarity of guidance to the industry.

Advertising codes are the responsibility of two industry Committees independently administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA):

  • the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP)
  • the Broadcast Committee of Practice (BCAP)

The Review made two recommendations to the advertising self-regulatory system, specifically on its rules and guidance:

  • …that the video games industry and the advertising industry should work together to ensure consistency of approach between advertising self-regulation and the video games classification systems
  • … that the advertising and video game industries, and those responsible for the classification of video games should work together to produce CAP and BCAP guidance on the advertising of video games.

The Review also highlighted the granularity of codes and guidance relating to ads for video games and encouraged CAP and BCAP to introduce, during the Code Review, placement and scheduling restrictions on ads for age-rated video games.

The ASA, CAP and BCAP have now actioned Byron's recommendations:

  • In 2008, the ASA conducted a Video Games Advertising Survey to assess the compliance rate of advertising for video games against the Codes.
  • In its Code Review consultation, BCAP proposed a new scheduling rule for ads for video games, which mirrors the scheduling restrictions already in place for ads for films and videos. The proposed rule would prevent video games carrying an 18+, 16+ or 15+ rating from being advertising in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16.
  • CAP and BCAP have compiled new Guidance, which is intended to help advertisers and media owners on both broadcast and non-broadcast ads for video games. The Guidance draws together all of CAP and BCAP's existing guidance on ads for video games and films, as well as lessons from relevant ASA adjudications, to provide a useful, central source of information. The Guidance will also apply to ads for films because they too have the potential to breach the Advertising Codes through unsuitable scheduling or placement or through the content of the ad.
  • To assist the advertising industry further, CAP and BCAP will host an Advice:am seminar on video games and films ads on 15 September this year. The seminar will clarify the Codes' requirements on ads for video games and films and to provide a forum for stakeholders to ask questions about those requirements.

So, by launching new, consolidated Guidance, proposing a TV scheduling rule for video games ads based on the existing rule for ads for films, and by hosting an Advice:am seminar, CAP and BCAP are working with the industry to make sure the dos and don'ts of advertising video games and films are clear. That way, CAP and BCAP can help ensure ads for video games and films remain responsible and that children are protected from potentially harmful or distressing ad content.

 

27th July   

Nazi Book Censors...

American Jewish Committee attack Amazon.de books questioning the holocaust
Link Here

Amazon.de logo The American Jewish Committee has said that it was suing the German branch of online retailer Amazon for selling books which it said questioned the Holocaust and trivialised the Nazis.

According to AJC research, around 50 works including Der Auschwitz-Mythos – Legende oder Wirklichkeit (The Auschwitz Myth – Legend or Reality) by Wilhelm Staglich were on sale on Amazon.de this month.

Some of these books, the AJC said, were classified by the German authorities as being unsuitable for under-18s.

It is unacceptable that books are for sale on Amazon.de that normally are only available under the counter in far-right extremist shops, the AJC said in a statement: We cannot let the spread of internet sales erode laws that ban Holocaust denial and incitement to hatred of minorities in Germany .

A spokeswoman for Amazon Germany said that of course it did not sell any books that were banned or classified as unsuitable for under-18s. She added that in the interests of freedom of speech, it was not keen on stopping selling certain titles: We think that the best response to questionable literature is not removing them but more discussion, a spokeswoman told AFP.

She added that the company had recently tightened up its rules regarding books that glorify or trivialise the Nazis and that certain books had been withdrawn from sale as a result.

 

27th July   

Update: Political De-Censorship...

Bill to strip Philippines censors of political censorship powers progresses
Link Here

Philippines film cesor logo Philippines House committees on public information and government reorganization has approved a bill stripping the censorship powers of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board and limit its function to simple film classification.

The unnumbered substitute measure to House Bills (HB) 2294 and 3854 also seeks to replace MTRCB with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Commission. The proposal was approved on June 3.

Rufus B. Rodriguez, who is with the political opposition, said MTRCB's functions should be revised to veer away the agency from censorship and policing: The new agency must be restricted to classification functions. That is why the use of a proper classification system must be employed .

Under the bill, the new body, which remains under the supervision of the Office of the President, will only review and classify materials.

 

27th July   

Bouncer Justice...

Bouncers become third tier police with powers to issue fines
Link Here
Nazi soldiers

 An army of security guards and park wardens

Private security companies that employ nightclub bouncers are being licensed to issue on-the-spot fines under a huge extension of police-style powers to 'accredited' civilians.

There are now more than 1,400 people enrolled across England and Wales to issue fines for offences from dog fouling to public disorder.

A private security company in Norfolk is the latest group to be accredited to issue instant fines. The company, Norwich-based EventGuard, has won accreditation for the first 25 of its employees to help police with antisocial behaviour and to issue fixed penalties. The company manages crowds and traffic at  events such as the Royal Norfolk Show but also carries out 'door supervision'.

It is licensed to direct traffic on the highway; control antisocial behaviour including harassment; prevent drinking in certain places and issue fixed penalty notices for offences including graffiti, flyposting, dog fouling, littering and public disorder.

EventGuard is understood to have spent about £10,000 on the accreditation including uniforms of yellow jackets and T-shirts emblazoned with a logo indicating they are authorised by the police to issue the tickets.

The powers are granted by chief constables under the Police Reform Act 2001 to organisations that contribute towards community safety. They must undergo extensive vetting and training and wear a badge and uniform approved by the chief constable.

Security guards and others accredited, such as park wardens, parking attendants and shopping centre guards, have access to the Police National Computer and must use it before issuing an on-the-spot fine. Where the offender has a criminal record, a ticket should not be issued but the police called and the offender dealt with through the courts system.

Magistrates are not impressed, they are lodging a protest with Jack Straw, the Injustice Secretary, amid concerns that guards will have a gung-ho approach to issuing fines.

John Howson, deputy chairman of the 30,000 Magistrates' Association in England and Wales, said there were already numerous examples of such tickets being issued inappropriately. Our concern is that here we have essentially a 'third-tier' police force that is now including security guards and door supervisors. These people need to check the Police National Computer to see if the person has a criminal record. We don't think it appropriate for these people to have that access.

 

27th July   

Update: First Strike...

Karoo end policy of disconnecting customers on the first suspected strike
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access

Karoo logo ISP Karoo, based in Hull, has changed its policy of suspending the service of users suspected of copyright violations.

The about face was made following a BBC story outlining the firm's practice.

Karoo issued a statement saying that it has been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners. The firm will now adopt a three strikes rule, in which suspected file-sharers will receive three written warnings before action is taken.

We have always taken a firm line on the alleged abuse of our internet connections, said Nick Thompson, director of consumer and publishing services, in the statement: It is evident that we have been exceeding the expectations of copyright owners, the media and internet users. So, we have changed our policy to move in more line with the industry standard approach.

Karoo - the only ISP in the area, which has no BT lines - long held a policy of suspending service of suspected file-sharers. In order to get their service restored, customers had to sign a document promising not to repeat the offence.

Andrea Robinson, a Karoo customer, told the BBC that a day after her service was cut off, she received a letter from the firm claiming that she had been using the peer-to-peer file-sharing service BitTorrent to download the film Terminator Salvation.

On calling Karoo, she was told to visit the company's offices to resolve the issue. They gave me a form to sign to get reconnected. The form basically said 'if I admit my guilt you'll reconnect me'. So I didn't sign it and walked out.

Jim Killock, executive director of the digital rights activists The Open Rights Group, told the BBC that it is totally unfair to disconnect people without notice: In fact, disconnection is something that should only even possibly be considered as a result of court action .

 

26th July   

Offsite: Anti ChrisT...

Chris Tookey finds Antichrist to be Hell
Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

Antichrist DVD ...

In its defence, Antichrist turns out to be not the picture that I have seen vilified in the press, sometimes by writers who lack any context of recent cinema with which to compare it, and in at least one case by someone who hadn't even taken the elementary step of seeing it.

...

The British Board of Film Classification does have guidelines, and these require cuts in portrayals of sexual or sexualized violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault.

However, the BBFC has been disregarding its own guidelines for at least five years. Indeed, they tried to evade enforcement of them as early as 1996, when they awarded an 18 certificate to David Cronenberg's notorious eroticisation of non-consensual sexual mutilation, Crash .

The sad truth is that there is nothing in Antichrist that this pathetically ineffectual organisation, funded by the film companies and seemingly unaccountable to the public, has not let through before, with an 18 certificate.

...Read full review

 

26th July   

Offsite: Please Enjoy your Violence...

Sean Bedlam entertains
Link Here

Sean Bedlam Sean Bedlam entertains on YouTube with his entreaty to Please Enjoy Your Violence

Suggested by IanG
From YouTube July 2009

 

26th July   

Update: Scanning for Corruption...

Chinese bigwigs use internet censorship to protect their own
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China flag Chinese internet users are being blocked from accessing stories about the son of President Hu Jintao after a company he used to run was reported to be under investigation for corruption.

The latest brick to be built into the Great Firewall of China came in the form of news that the technology channels of the leading Chinese web portals, Sina and Netease, could not be opened for several hours after they posted reports about the company linked to Hu Haifeng. Articles about an investigation in Namibia into corruption allegations against Nuctech, a Beijing company that produces scanning equipment for airport security, disappeared quickly, even though they did not mention the former company president by name.

The China Digital Times, a US-based blog run by Xiao Qiang, of the Berkeley China Internet Project at the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, posted a copy of a notice it said had been issued by the Communist Party's propaganda department. The notice, issued to all search engines, read: Hu Haifeng, Namibia, Namibia bribery investigation, Nuctech bribery investigation, southern Africa bribery investigation. Please show no search results for all the above keywords.

 

26th July   

Compromising Positions...

Kenya and Tanzania addressing internet and media censorship
Link Here

Kenya flag Tanzania has had a controversial debate over adult content after photos of President Jakaya Kikwete were manipulated to show the president in compromising positions. The photos were published online on a Web site that has since been blocked, with the owner arrested.

Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority officials have been engaging cyber cafe owners in every town, urging them not to allow unaccompanied children to surf, said Innocent Mungy, Public Relations Manager at TCRA. To address issues of online content and how to deal with adult material, Mungy said TCRA has published a bill for legislative debate. The bill aims to give the public recourse in cases where embarrassing pictures or content are published.

In Kenya, the Ministry of Information and Communication is amending criminal law that makes pornography illegal. Recently, the police seized hundreds of local porn DVDs.

Kenya is revising Chapter 222 of the laws to protect children from pornography, said Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication. Through broadcast regulations, the ministry is expected to add specific regulations targeting the protection of children from porn.

On Internet however, the responsibility squarely lies with the parents; we cannot start regulating Internet just because a few parents are not able to control which their content their children have access to, added Ndemo.

 

26th July   

Updated: A Monopoly on Repression...

Venezuela takes action against poplar radio stations supposedly monopolising the airwaves
Link Here  full story: Broadcasting Censorship in Venezuela...Shut down of opposition radio and TV stations

Venezuela flag Alonso Moleiro, the Vice President of the Venezuelan Journalists' Association (CNP), said that the government's alleged intention to democratize public broadcasting frequencies, is actually meant to censor nationwide radio stations.

The intention is to eliminate some radio anchors -- a group of well known people that voice opinions and political views that disturb Venezuelan authorities. No government is going to concede that it is a censor. They are disguising censorship as democratization of the media, the journalist said.

Moleiro described as fallacious the government's rationale to launch administrative procedures against several radio stations: It is not true that the radio networks are monopolies, and that they belong to one single family ... they are local radios that have united voluntarily to maximize programming.

Update: Venezuela moves to silence hundreds of broadcasters

26th July 2009. Based on article from cpj.org

Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists has written to Diosdado Cabello Rondón, Venezuela's Minister of the Popular Power for Public Works and Housing:

The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by your recent announcement that regulators may revoke the concessions of 240 radio stations for failing to update their registration papers. We believe that this decision is yet another attempt by Venezuelan authorities to expand pro-government media, control the flow of information, and suppress dissent.

On July 3, the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL), Venezuela's regulatory agency announced that 154 FM and 86 AM radio stations failed to update their data with regulators by a June 23 deadline.

On July 9, during a presentation before the National Assembly, you announced plans to further regulate cable and satellite television stations that broadcast largely Venezuelan-produced content. Your country's broadcast regulations, which contradict international standards on freedom of expression, include a measure requiring all broadcasters to carry live President Hugo Chávez Frías' cadenas--his nationwide simultaneous radio and television broadcasts. In your speech before the legislative assembly, you said both decisions are intended to democratize the airwaves.

During a July 16 interview with state-owned television station Venezolana de Televisión, you said that the government could also take over 50% of Globovisión's license because one of the two people granted the concession has died, the press reported. Globovisión, known for its antigovernment views, has been the target of a barrage of government investigations.

CPJ believes that your recent announcements and the persecution of Globovisión is part of a strategy to strengthen state media in order to control the flow of information and limit critical ideas and opinions.

The ongoing battle against the private media has fostered an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that is having a negative impact on the work of the press. While your government has the right to regulate the airwaves, it must not use this authority to violate Venezuelans' basic human right to seek and receive information, as established by the Constitution. We call on you to put an end to the persecution of critical media outlets, and to guarantee that the regulation of all broadcast concessions is unbiased and transparent.

Update: First 34

1st August 2009. See article from news.brisbanetimes.com.au

The Venezuelan government has ordered the closure of 34 radio stations, the head of national telecommunications regulator Conatel has said.

They will have to cease transmission once they have received the order from Conatel, said Diosdado Cabello, who is also minister of public works in President Hugo Chavez's government.

Cabello said: These are the first 34 decisions that we have taken, and warned that more closures may follow.

 

26th July   

Ordered Society...

Anti-terrorism legislation further restricts Ethiopian press
Link Here

Ethiopia flag Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists has written to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia:

We are writing to express our serious concerns about legislation that would further restrict press freedom in Ethiopia and about an ongoing pattern of criminal prosecutions, administrative restrictions, and Internet censorship. We are concerned that these measures, which official rhetoric has publicly justified as policies to safeguard the constitutional order , actually criminalize independent political coverage and infringe on press freedom as guaranteed by the Ethiopian Constitution. We call on you to use your influence to reverse this trend.

On July 7, the Ethiopian House of Peoples' Representatives passed the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation despite concerns raised by legal experts, lawmakers, and the private press about sweeping statutes that restrict fundamental constitutional rights, including press freedom. Several journalists, who asked that their names be withheld for fear of government reprisals, told CPJ they received phone calls and warnings from officials and government supporters to censor coverage scrutinizing the law.

The proclamation contains far-reaching statutes giving the executive branch sweeping powers to imprison for as long as 20 years whosoever writes, edits, prints, publishes, publicizes, disseminates statements deemed encouraging, supporting, or advancing terrorist acts. This statute effectively institutionalizes censorship of reporting the government deems favorable to groups and causes it labels as terrorist . Worse, the law grants the federal police and national security agency exclusive discretion to carry out warrantless interception of communications, and search and seizure solely on the basis of reasonable belief that a terrorist act is in progress or will be committed. The law also provides for terrorist suspects to be held for up to four months without charge.

 

25th July   

Updated: Gnomic Master Race...

Artist investigated by Nuremberg authorities over Nazi gnome
Link Here

Nazi gnomes A garden gnome giving the Nazi salute has landed a German artist in trouble with the authorities in Nuremberg.

Prosecutors are investigating whether the gnome, which went on show in one of the city's galleries, breaks the strict law banning Nazi symbols and gestures.

The Bavarian city is particularly sensitive about the Nazi era because Adolf Hitler used it for big rallies and leading Nazis went on trial there.

The artist, Ottmar Hoerl, says his gnomes poke fun at the Nazis: I'm astonished that a single garden gnome, in what is for me an obscure gallery in Nuremberg, has unleashed such a public discussion because of an anonymous denunciation by someone .

The artist has been president of Nuremberg's Academy of Fine Arts since 2005: I didn't put it in the art gallery. Someone must have bought it and put it there. But I don't know what all the fuss is about. With my gnomes I'm highlighting the danger of political opportunism and right-wing ideology. I get the feeling that this gnome has reopened an old wound.

Last year hundreds of Hoerl's "Nazi" gnomes went on show in the Belgian city of Gent, in an exhibition called Dance with the Devil. He said that Belgians had well understood the political meaning when one portrays the master race as a garden gnome.

A spokesman for the Nuremberg public prosecutor's office, Wolfgang Traeg, said we're checking to see if garden gnomes fall into the same clear category as posters that show the swastika crossed out. He said the aim was to establish whether the artist and the gallery owner had intended the gnome as an endorsement of the Third Reich or as a rejection of Nazi ideology.

Update: No War Crimes in Nuremberg

25th July 2009. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

German prosecutors have decided to take no action against an artist who created a garden gnome raising its right arm in a Nazi salute. They say the gold-painted gnome was mocking the Nazis rather than promoting their return and therefore was not illegal.

However, the prosecutors in Nuremburg, Bavaria, warned against any attempt to copy the idea behind the exhibit. Nazi symbols and Hitler salutes have been illegal in Germany since the end of World War II.

 

25th July   

Updated: The Kindle Book Burning Button...

Amazon forcibly deletes electronic books on customers devices
Link Here

1984 on Kindle Amazon the online book seller has forcibly deleted copies of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm from customers' Kindles.

The ebooks were pirated copies sold for 99 cents by a company that had no rights to the material.

Amazon was able to remove the titles because the Kindle is configured to automatically sync up with the user's Bookshelf via the electronic book reader's WhisperNet wireless service.

When the company removed the unauthorized books from customers' accounts, they also disappeared from the Kindle.

Amazon then delivered a cryptic e-mail about what happened:

We recently discovered a problem with a Kindle book that you have purchased. We have processed a refund to the payment method used to acquire this book. The next time the wireless is activated on your device, the problematic item will be removed. If you are not in a wireless coverage area, please connect your device to a computer using your USB cable and delete the file from the documents folder.

Contrary to what the New York Times reported, the publisher did not change its mind, nor did Amazon cave to pressure. Rather, Amazon was notified that copyrighted material was being sold on the Amazon store without permission and it removed said material.

Instead of being honest about what happened -- that it sold unauthorized ebooks and has done so in the past -- Amazon only told customers that there was a problem. While removing such titles from a customer's Bookshelf and in turn deleting them from the Kindle may be standard policy, a lack of communication about what actually happened has led to a media firestorm that will surely last through the weekend. Amazon also could have offered customers a legitimate replacement copy of 1984 or Animal Farm and footed the difference, because in the end, this was Amazon's mistake.

Um sounds a nasty facility for censorship and control freakery has been built into Kindles. Surely it is only a matter of time before claims of libel or 'offence' will easily get Amazon reaching for their book burning button.

Update: Stupid Amazon

Amazon surely were stupid, they have lowered the perceived worth of their products now customers know that books aren't really theirs at all and can be taken away without notice.

25th July 2009. Based on article from shelf-life.ew.com

In an apology posted on Amazon.com, company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos fell on his sword over his company's deletion of unauthorized e-books from the Kindles of consumers who had already purchased them. Borrowing a rather loaded word from President Barack Obama, Bezos termed his company's preemptive actions stupid ”— as well as thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles. Amazon's actions last week kicked up a firestorm in the media about the nature of e-book ownership and the specter of censorship by Amazon.

Bezos' announcement reads in full: This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

 

25th July   

Confessional TV...

Saudi man up for a flogging after confessing his sexual exploits on TV
Link Here  full story: Religious Police in Saudi...A law unto themselves

Saudi flag A Saudi man has been arrested following an in-depth confession of his sexual exploits on a Lebanese talk show. He was arrested for publicising vice , police said

Abdul Jawad, an employee of Saudi Airlines, recounted to the Red Line TV show's audience explicit details about his sex life, which ultimately landed him in jail for violations of Saudi Arabian law.

While being interviewed on the talk show, Jawad described how he slept with a neighbor at the age of fourteen, and his use of the Bluetooth functionality of his cellphone to pick up women in Saudi Arabia, as they are forbidden to interact with men in public.

Jawad also shared with the audience a recipe for an aphrodisiac.

Red Line is a talk show on Lebanon's satellite TV channel LBC that addresses a variety of social and political issues. The show airs in other Arab countries, and is popular in Saudi Arabia.

English-language daily Arab News reported that about 100 people filed complaints to Saudi officials after Jawad's segment on Red Line was aired.

Under Saudi Arabia's strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sharia law, it is forbidden to speak publicly about what the authorities determine to be vice. Pre-marital sex is also prohibited under shariah law, but Jawad could only be convicted of engaging in pre-marital sex if he were to attest to it in a Saudi court.

According to Arab News, Jawad plans to file a lawsuit against the producers of Red Line, claiming his remarks were taken out of context.

The program presents anomalies and deviancy in society that are unacceptable and immoral and should be punished according to sharia, Ahmad Qasim Al-Ghamdi, Mecca head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the religious police, said.

 

25th July   

Update: Sex Politics...

Australian Sex Party well on the way to government recognition
Link Here  full story: Australia Sex Party...Adult trade association organises a politcal party

Australian Sex Party The Australian Sex Party, a proposed political party which filed papers for recognition by the Australian government last month, has completed its four-week comment period with only four complaints from the Australian population.

Yesterday our office received the objections people had made to the Electoral Commission about our political party registration, Australia Sex Party organizer Fiona Patten said: There were only four, which was a little surprising. We now must respond to them and allay fears that the democratic process as we know it will cease to exist with the birth of the Australian Sex Party, which seems to be the concern of some. So we are now in the final stretch and hopefully will be approved as a fully fledged Australian political party this time next month.

 

25th July   

Update: Blogged Up...

3 bloggers arrested in Egypt
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Egypt...Heavy handed Egyptian authorities jail bloggers

Egypt flag July 22, 2009, seems to be a start of a series of crackdown on bloggers in Egypt, as 3 young bloggers were arrested separately.

The first blogger is Ahmad Abu Khalil, who was taken from his home in the dawn. State Security forces broke into Ahmad's house and confiscated his books. The State Security did not inform his family about the accusations against the son, or as to where he will be taken.

Ahmad who blogs at Al- Bayareq (means: lanterns), identifies himself as an Islamist and he used to write about his life.

The other two bloggers are Abdel Rahman Ayyash and Magy Sa'd, who have been arrested at the Cairo Airport. The two bloggers were coming back from a visit to Turkey. Ayyash is running Abdel Rahman's Blog , while Magdy is writing at Yalla Mesh Mohem blog, (means: OK it doesn't matter).

Egyptian bloggers are circulating the arrests news via Twitter.

Update: 2 out of 3

3rd August 2009. See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Two out of the three bloggers who were arrested on July 22, 2009 are now free. Abdel Rahman Ayyash and Magdy Saad were released after six days of arrest at Cairo airport, then sent to State Security Intelligence (SSI) headquarters at Lazoghly Square, (Cairo).

 

25th July   

Update: Jaffa Fruit Cakes...

Amos Kenan's play Friends Talk about Jesus cancelled in Jaffa
Link Here

Hebrew Arab Theatre in Jaffa The performances of Amos Kenan's play Friends Talk about Jesus , scheduled at the Arab-Hebrew Theater of Jaffa, Israel, have been cancelled due to opposition from Jaffa locals.

The play was rejected by the state censorship board in 1972, when it was written, but was staged in February by the Tel Aviv University Department of Theater Arts, under the direction of Ro'i Hertz Russo.

Some Christian Arabs living in Jaffa claim the play portrays Jesus in a negative light, as well as depicting Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a prostitute.

Kenan's satirical play deals with the nature of being Israeli and with the occupation. In it, Jesus dies, returns to life and dies again, and is shown in various ways: as a child whose home is destroyed by the army, as a young man who is concerned about the security situation and as a reserve duty soldier who is sent to war. After the play was banned by the censor it was also banned by the High Court of Justice.

Igal Ezrati, one of the Arab-Hebrew Theater's two artistic directors, related that when the news of the play's production became public, it set off protests, and he was asked not to stage it.

I got phone calls saying, 'You should be ashamed of yourselves,' because the play hurts the feelings of Christians in Jaffa and throughout the world, the theater's head, Mohammed Desouki, related: I talked to Igal Ezrati and together with the theater management we decided to cancel the show so as not to hurt anyone's feelings.

 

24th July   

Update: Nonsense Prevails...

Ireland adopts blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Mary McAleese Irish President Mary McAleese has signed the Defamation Bill 2006 and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill 2009 into law.

McAleese presided over a three hour meeting of the Council of State which discussed the constitutionality of both measures last night.

The Defamation Bill has been at the centre of controversy as it includes a definition of the crime of blasphemy.

However McAleese has decided against referring either bill to the Supreme Court to test their constitutionality and has now signed them to enable them become law.

 

24th July   

Political Guidance...

Another parliamentary committee to consider video games policy
Link Here

  Political Guidance?

The Government is to create an all-new 'video games committee' – in which cross-departmental representatives will be tasked with considering changes in policy to help the industry.

The decision was a result of ELSPA's first formal meeting with new Minister for Creative Industries Siôn Simon last week. ELSPA director general Michael Rawlinson and Simon discussed the new PEGI age ratings system, tax breaks and more.

The new committee will feature representatives from the Department Of Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, the Department of Health, the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Rawlinson said. The Minister assured us that the Government is confident of being able to introduce pro-PEGI legislation before the next election.

 

24th July   

Immature Censors...

Chicago Transit Authority's ban on M rated game adverts is challenged as unconstitutional
Link Here

ESA logo The Entertainment Software Association, (ESA) which represents software and video game publishers filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Transit Authority, They are claiming that a CTA ordinance disallowing advertisements of computer or video games with mature ratings is a violation of the first amendment that unfairly targets the entertainment software industry.

The suit is in response to a recently enacted ordinance, which prohibits any advertisement that markets or identifies a video or computer game rated Mature 17+ (M) or Adults Only 18+ (AO).

CTA spokeswoman Wanda Taylor said the CTA has yet to be served with the suit, but calls the policy defendable. We do not allow advertisements for alcohol or tobacco, and believe that this ordinance is consistent with that long-standing policy. We have guidelines on the system for all kinds of advertisements; what is allowed, what is prohibited [the ordinance] falls in line with that.

The suit claims the ordinance is unnecessary because the video game industry is already subject to regulation by the Entertainment Software Rating Board, which strictly regulates computer and video game advertisements that are seen by the general public.

The suit asks the ordinance be eliminated, along with court fees and other relief.

 

24th July   

Update: Uncensored Politics...

Anti censorship campaigner appointed to post with the Australian Democrats
Link Here

Australian Democrats logo The Australian Democrats have announced Sydney technologist Geordie Guy as their new National Technology Policy Coordinator.

Currently a board member of Electronic Frontiers Australia, Guy has been an active figure in the fight against internet censorship as proposed by the Rudd Government.

He is a computer systems architect with a decade of experience working with business and people in the IT industry itself as well as other markets and a qualified network engineer.

The Technology Policy working group under Mr Guy's direction will continue the Australian Democrats' search for a better solution than censorship to current web content concerns through the nointernetcensorship.com campaign website.

 

24th July   

Setting Store by Internet Monitoring...

Iranian president orders that all internet users communications should be stored for 3 months
Link Here

Iran flag It has been announced by the Government Press TV that the President has ordered Ahmadinajad to execute the recently approved law to fight cyber-crime and offer navigators greater security appears aimed at the opposition.

The requirements of Article 24 of the Act, for which Internet providers must retain for three months, all data sent or received by each of their customers, is particularly significant. For the Attorney General, Qorban-Ali-Najafabad Dorr, the law is to protect the rights of people and help to attack pornography and other prohibited content.

Reporters Sans Frontieres said that the Iranian government recognizing the growing influence of blogs is trying to reduce their space, filtering and trapping sites that host them.

 

24th July   

Safe Summer Surfing...

Telecoms censor publishes internet advice for parents
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom has launched a campaign to help parents and carers keep their kids safe online this summer.

Our research shows that two-thirds of 5-7 year olds, over three-quarters of 8-11 year olds and over four-fifths of 12-15s already use the internet at home.

And with schools broken up for the summer, they'll be able to spend a lot more time surfing the web.

But while the internet offers a host of opportunities for fun and learning, there are websites which are not suitable for children or appropriate for someone of their age.
Online safety tips

We've put together ten tips so that parents and carers can help their children surf the web safely over the summer holidays.

To keep kids safe online:

  1. Talk to them and get to know how they use the internet; ask to see some of their favourite sites.
  2. Make them aware that there are things on the internet which may upset them and that they can always talk to you - or another trusted adult.
  3. Be aware of any changes in the way they use the internet, such as the amount of time they spend online.
  4. Make sure your children know not to share their personal details online, such as their address and phone number.
  5. Tell them never to respond to junk email or open attachments that are from people they don't know.
  6. Learn how the history feature on your computer works - it can help you monitor the websites that your children are using.
  7. Install filtering software to restrict access to inappropriate websites. Check with your internet service provider to learn how to block sites you don't want children to see.
  8. If you are using a recent edition of Windows or you have a reasonably recent Mac you will find within the operating system or available as a download lots of parental control tools which you can use at no cost. Many of these work with or through the browser.
  9. Work with your children to understand how search engines work so that they don't stumble across unsuitable content and are able to find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
  10. Make sure your children know why cyberbullying is wrong.

 

23rd July   

Sausage Head Advert Censors...

ASA claim sausage innuendo may harm older children
Link Here

Mattessons ad Four radio ads, for Mattesons smoked sausages, which were broadcast on Forth One, Clyde Radio and Real Radio, featured a male voice, which stated Mmm, Mattesons smoked pork sausage ... . It continued:

a. Think about all the things you can stick this tasty, extraordinarily large sausage in. Mmm. Pizza, pasta, stir fry. You have any ideas? Give me a call and tell me where you like to stick it. Ladies, Im waiting for your call ... Mmm, Mattesons smoked pork sausage. You want it.

b. You've all been telling me where you like to stick it. Jenny certainly let her imagination run riot. A female voice stated: I stick mine in a nice warm casserole but some evenings when Im alone I like to stick it, in my pasta salad. The male voice continued: I wondered what she was going to say there. Ladies, keep telling me where you like to stick yours ... Mmm, Mattesons smoked pork sausage. You want it.

c. You've all been calling in, telling me where you like to stick it. This was Leslies response . A female voice stated: I stick mine in a hot creamy pasta, theres nothing like a saucy sausage. The male voice continued: I'm sure the ladies out there would agree, eh? Keep the calls coming, tell me where you like to stick yours ... Mmm, Mattesons smoked pork sausage. You want it.

d. You've all been telling me where you like to stick it. This was one of my favourites. A female voice stated I'm renowned for my big sausage hot pot. People are always calling by for a bit and my husband Roger loves it . The male voice continued: Roger that Fiona. Ladies, keep telling me where you like to stick yours ... Mmm, Mattesons smoked pork sausage. You want it.
The ASA received 21 complaints from listeners who heard the ads at various times throughout the day.

1. All 21 listeners believed the ads were offensive, because they contained inappropriate sexual innuendo.

2. Seven listeners also believed the ads were not suitable to be broadcast when children were likely to be listening.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the ads were intended to be light-hearted and considered that the opening line Mmm, Mattesons smoked pork sausage ... made clear that they were referring to food. We acknowledged that some viewers might find the humour in the ads in poor taste but considered that the innuendo was not sexually explicit; it was clear that the ads were referring to food using tongue-in-cheek humour. We concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Upheld

We considered that young children would be unlikely to understand the innuendo in the ads. However, although it was not sexually explicit, the innuendo was sufficiently strong to present a problem if it was heard by older children. We concluded that the ads could cause harm to children and, because they had not been scheduled away from times when children might be listening, had not been appropriately scheduled.

The ads must not be broadcast in or around programmes likely to be heard by a significant number of children.

 

23rd July   

Update: Fry Stirred...

Bollocks to Ireland for being as crap as Britain
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Making History by Stephen Fry Actor Stephen Fry has launched a scathing attack on Irish politicians over their decision to criminalise blasphemy.

The star stunned fans on his Twitter networking page when he left a post blasting the State and comparing it to the UK.

Bollocks to Ireland for being as crap as Britain, it read.

Fry was quick to clarify the message in a later post, stating he was referring to politicians and not the nation as a whole: When I say 'Ireland' I mean the politicians who are trying to vote this in [the blasphemy bill] not the country itself obviously.

Fry is just one in a long line of high-profile media personalities to have criticised Justice Minister Dermot Ahern for his proposal to add a new crime in an amendment to the Defamation Bill.

Ahern wants to define blasphemy as matter: That is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion [and] intended to cause outrage.

 

23rd July   

Olympic Sport of Gagging...

UK government gold medal contenders
Link Here

China flag Police have been handed 'Chinese-style' powers to enter private homes and seize political posters during the London 2012 Olympics.

Little-noticed measures passed by the Government will allow officers and Olympics officials to enter homes and shops near official venues to confiscate any protest material.

Breaking the rules could land offenders with a fine of up to £20,000.

Civil liberties groups compared the powers to those used by the Communist Chinese government to stop political protest during the 2008 Beijing Games.

Anita Coles, of Liberty, said: Powers of entry should be for fighting crime, not policing poster displays. Didn't we learn last time that the Olympics should not be about stifling free expression?

The powers were introduced by the Olympics Act of 2006, passed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, supposedly to preserve the monopoly of official advertisers on the London 2012 site. They would allow advertising posters or hoardings placed in shop or home to be removed. But the law has been drawn so widely that it also includes non-commercial material - which could extend its reach to include legitimate campaign literature.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: This is a Government who just doesn't understand civil liberties. They may claim these powers won't be used but the frank truth is no one will believe them.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Chris Huhne said: This sort of police action runs the risk of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. 'We should aim to show the Chinese that you can run a successful Olympics without cracking down on protestors and free speech.

 

23rd July   

Update: Room Cleaners...

Rochester, Minnesota seeks a voluntary ban on hotel room porn
Link Here

Minnesota state seal Rochester, Minnesota,  was one of the first places to enact a smoking ban in hotels, now the city is going after publicly-available pornography.

Olmsted County passed a county-wide resolution for prevention of sexual violence, said Jeanne Martin. She says the public health initiative starts by asking Rochester hotels to voluntarily stop offering pay-per view porn movies.

Olmsted County administrator Richard Devlin says the first step will be to restrict employees from staying in hotels or motels that have pornographic material in the room. County Commissioners will vote later this year on whether to prioritize clean hotels as the first choice for public officials and employees who travel.

Devlin hopes this message spreads across the state, eventually leading to all hotels restricting access to pay-per-view porn: That's kind of our ultimate goal, is to discourage that type of material in hotels and motels, said Devlin.

The Minnesota Department of Health has created a list of hotels that do not offer adult pay-per-view entertainment. 75% of hotels in the state with more than 30 rooms do not.

 

23rd July   

New Censor...

New board member joins the TV censors
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom have announced the appointment of Norman Blackwell as a new Non-Executive Board member for a three year term commencing 1 September 2009.

The vacancy was created when David Currie stepped down as Chairman of Ofcom in March 2009.

Ofcom has also announced that Millie Banerjee has been re-appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member until 30 June 2011.

These appointments were made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Lord Blackwell is a former partner of McKinsey & Company and Head of the Prime Minister's Policy Unit from 1995-1997.

He is Chairman of Interserve plc and the Senior Independent Director at Standard Life plc and Segro plc. He is also a Board member of the Centre for Policy Studies and the Office of Fair Trading.

 

22nd July   

Global Regulation...

Nutter Vaz gets another moment in parliament to whinge at video games
Link Here

Keith Vaz Video Games
Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport
House of Commons debates, 20 July 2009


Keith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour): What recent discussions he has had with pan-European game information on the age classification of video games.

Siôn Simon (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Culture, Media & Sport; Birmingham, Erdington, Labour): I have spoken to the Video Standards Council—the current UK agents for the PEGI system—about the classification of video games and have another meeting scheduled with it very soon. I have also had discussions with the British Board of Film Classification. Both organisations are working hard to ensure the success of the new system.

Keith Vaz: I thank the Minister for his answer and welcome the steps that the Government are taking on this issue. However, it is still a matter of concern that a game such as "RapeLay", which shows extreme violence against women, can be downloaded from the internet. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that such games are not accessed from the internet, so that children and young people are properly protected?

Siôn Simon: We should be clear that the game was not classified, but was briefly available on Amazon and then was banned. The point that my right hon. Friend is making is about games that, like other brutal, unpleasant, illegal content, can be available on the internet. All steps that apply to any other content on the internet will apply to games. Specifically, as part of the Byron review we set up the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to work with content providers, internet service providers and all aspects of Government to make sure that such content cannot be accessed, particularly by children.

Mark Field (Cities of London & Westminster, Conservative): The Minister will know that Britain is a great leader in video and computer games, and while I take on board many of the concerns expressed by Keith Vaz, will the Minister recognise that this is a global industry, not simply a European one, and in so far as we are going to have the safeguards to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, we will clearly also need to have global regulation along those lines?

Siôn Simon: The system of regulation for which we have opted—the PEGI system—is pan-European, and as such, we see it as the building block to moving towards a global regulatory future. The key principle is that the markings on games should make it clear to parents which games are suitable for adults and which are suitable and unsuitable for children and young children. Adults should be allowed to access adult content; children most certainly should not.

 

22nd July   

Heard the One about the Sensitive President?...

Pakistanis face 14 years for jokes about the president
Link Here  full story: No Joking...14 years for mocking Pakistan's leadership

Zardari cartoon Pakistanis who send jokes about President Asif Zardari by text message, email or blog risk being arrested and given a 14-year prison sentence.

The country's interior minister, Rehman Malik, announced the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had been asked to trace electronically transmitted jokes that slander the political leadership of the country under the new Cyber Crimes Act.

Malik, said the move would punish the authors of ill motivated and concocted stories through emails and text messages against the civilian leadership.

The step, which was described by human rights groups as draconian and authoritarian, came after government was particularly riled by a barrage of caustic jokes being sent to the presidency's official email.

Zardari has proved to be prickly about what others say of him since he was elected as president by the national parliament a year ago. Most of the criticism stems from his government's inability to address problems such as severe power outages and inflation, and his inability to shake off old allegations of corruption.

The ban has become the focus of intense television debate in Pakistan, as Zardari's aides have attempted to justify the move using every argument ranging from counter-terrorism concerns to saying that women parliamentarians had received abusive messages.

 

22nd July   

Update: A Kick up the A...

Call for Indian film censor to be more gay friendly
Link Here

CBFC logo Sridhar Rangayan is a gay activist, makes movies on issues confronting the community and is delighted with the Delhi High Court order decriminalising consensual gay sex between adults. Now, he feels it's high time the censor board also updates its rule book.

Rangayan has made three films on homosexuality -- the first is still lying with the censor board, the second he did not bother to submit for certification at all and the third has been accepted by the Central Board of Film Certification but with an 'A' [adult] certificate.

The censor board has rules which are antiquated and it's not accepting today's trend. I think it's time to fight to get the censor board rules changed. What we need is to have some young people as part of the core committee, Rangayan told IANS.

In 2003, he made Pink Mirror , which is said to be India's first film on drag queens. Though it has been screened at various NGO meets, it has yet to be screened in India: I approached the censor board thrice for the certificate and every time they rejected the movie. There is no nudity, titillation in my film. I have depicted my characters very sensitively, still I didn't get the certificate .

They had strange reasons to reject the film. They say that I have not depicted the gay community in good light. It was funny because I'm know the community very well. They wanted my characters to be apologetic for being gay. They wanted me to show characters crying and asking why god has made them like this, said Rangayan, who is founder of the Mumbai-based The Humsafar Trust that advocates gender and sexuality issues.

When Rangayan made his second film Yours Emotionally in 2006, he didn't bother to take it to the censor board and instead it screens it at NGO meets. The film is about two best friends - Ravi and Paul. The two come to India on a vacation and attend an all night gay party. Surprised by the openness of their hosts and the aggressiveness of the guests, the boys fall into the steadily growing Indian gay culture.

His third film 68 Pages , however, has got an A-certificate from the board and he is hoping for a commercial release.

Another director who has made a film on the issue is Ashish Sawhny. His Happy Hookers is a documentary that explores the secret world of male sex workers in the country.

Then there is US-based Indian filmmaker Manan Singh Katohora's When Kiran Met Karen . It is about a Bollywood actress called Kiran who is on the verge of becoming an international movie star until she meets sexy magazine journalist Karen and they find themselves swept up in a torrid affair.

None of these films have been released in India. As Rangayan says, perhaps we will have to wait till the censor board changes it rules.

 

22nd July   

Update: Pig Business...

The story of Channel 4's showing of the campaigning Pig Business film
Link Here  full story: Pig Business...Suing a film about the pig farming business

Pig Business logo Pig Business is an expose of US industrial pig farming conglomerate Smithfield Foods. It has met with repeated attempts at censorship by the company's lawyers.

Filmmaker Tracy Worcester explains how England's libel laws have helped stall the film's general release, and stopped the world learning more about the environmental realities of intensive livestock rearing.

After a showing of my film, Pig Business, at the Royal Society of Arts on 13th November 2008, Channel 4, which was scheduled to broadcast the film in the New Year, received two letters from lawyers acting for the main focus in the film, Smithfield Foods of America, the world's biggest pig producer and processor.

Fearing the legal might of a $12 billion company threatening to sue, Channel 4 pulled my film just before broadcast on February 3rd 2009. To prepare for the worst, Channel 4 made changes to accord with England's business-friendly libel laws and the UK TV's fairness standards, administered by OFCOM. Despite a further two threatening letters, Channel 4 broadcast the film on its More 4 channel on June 30th.

In the US, the Constitution's First Amendment enshrines free speech as a right. So, if you allege in good faith that a public company is causing harm, as long as the allegations are not made maliciously, the company has to prove that it has not caused the harm. In England however, the burden of proof is reversed. The person making the allegation has to prove their case with scientific analyses, court judgments or credible witnesses.

Not even the tabloids are immune from Smithfield's threatening letters: both The Daily Mail and The Evening Standard have received warning letters for reporting about the film.

On the day of a showing at the Barbican arts centre in London on 27 May 2009, Smithfield's lawyers told the Barbican's management that the film was 'defamatory'. As a result, the audience was made to wait half an hour while the executive producer and myself were told that the showing would only go ahead if we signed a document agreeing to indemnify the Barbican.

Putting it on my website would apparently expose me to Smithfield's litigation in every jurisdiction. So the message will have to be spread guerrilla-style - i.e. below Smithfield's radar. For another nine days, the film will be on Channel 4's web site. It is also available free of charge to anyone who wishes to give a private screening.

 

21st July   

Offsite: Censoring Local Art...

Local bureaucracy leads to self-censorship among artists
Link Here

Helen Gorrill art Just what is it with petty bureaucracy and art? Are unelected officials uneasy with matters that cannot be precisely codified and tick-boxed to death? Or do they really believe that all culture must be shoe-horned into a lowest common denominator one size fits all family model?

Last week, it was Wigan's turn to hit the headlines, as Tory councillor and opposition leader Michael Winstanley laid into a photography exhibition, entitled Fetish Rocks. He claims to be "quite frankly, shocked".

He goes on:

They talk about this being an example of cultural diversity but as far as I am concerned this is nothing more than pornography. I don't think that this is appropriate for the town centre. We should be looking to attract families into Wigan, not weirdos.

Sterling stuff – which might be deserving of a little more serious attention had Winstanley seen the exhibition, spoken to the organiser, or in any way attempted to get to grips with what the exhibition was about.

...Read the full article

 

21st July   

Searching for Common Sense...

UK High Court finds Google not liable for libel in text snippets that may appear in search results
Link Here

Old Bailey Google is not the publisher of defamatory words that appear in its search results, the High Court has ruled. Even when Google had been told that its results contained libellous words, it was not liable as a publisher, said Mr Justice Eady.

The search giant's US and UK operations were sued in England by a London-based training business over comments about its distance learning courses that appeared in the forum of a US website. The comments were said to be defamatory and an excerpt from them could be found in Google's search results.

Metropolitan International Schools Ltd (MIS) runs distance learning courses in games development under the name 'Train2Game'.

In addition to suing Google it is also suing US company Designtechnica Corporation, which runs reviews website Digital Trends. The user forums on that site contained a thread that comprised 146 postings across 15 pages, calling the Train2Game courses nothing more than a scam .

MIS said that when it searched for the term "Train2Game" at Google.co.uk and Google.com, results for the Train2Game thread were returned as the third and fourth results for a period of three weeks preceding the date of its lawsuit. They included the snippet of text: Train2Game new SCAM for Scheidegger . MIS used to trade as Scheidegger MIS and it said that this snippet of text was defamatory.

Google argued that its UK operation, Google UK Ltd, should not be a party to the action because: its employees do not have access to any of the technology used to operate and control google.com and google.co.uk which are owned and operated by [Google Inc].

Google said that Google Inc. should be sued in California, not England. But even if England is the proper forum, it argued, Google has no responsibility for the words complained of, and therefore there is no reasonable prospect of success which is a requirement of rules on serving lawsuits outside the court's jurisdiction.

The appropriate question here, perhaps, is whether [Google Inc.] should be regarded as a mere facilitator in respect of the publication of the 'snippet' and whether, in particular, that would remain a proper interpretation even after the date of notification, wrote Mr Justice Eady.

He concluded that Google was a mere facilitator. The Bunt case, also heard by Mr Justice Eady, confirmed that mere facilitators, like telephone carriers, are generally not liable for defamatory content.

 

20th July   

Update: Dark Day for Art...

Saudi cancels its only film festival
Link Here  full story: Cinema in Saudi...First steps to re-opening cinemas in Saudi

JFF poster Saudi Arabia's only film festival has been cancelled, dealing a blow to reformist hopes of an easing of clerical control over culture that was raised by the low-key return of cinemas in December.

In a country where cinemas were banned for almost three decades, the Jeddah Film Festival has since 2006 presented aspiring Saudi film-makers and actors with a rare opportunity to mingle with more experienced peers from other countries. On the eve of the festival, Mamdouh Salem, one of the festival's organisers, received a call. He said: The governorate of Jeddah notified us of the festival's cancellation after it received instructions from official parties. We were not told why.

The film festival was cancelled upon indirect instructions from the interior ministry, said an official at the information and culture ministry.

Abdullah al-Alami, a Saudi writer, said there is a trend of attacking cultural festivities. This is a dark day for art and literature in our modern history.

King Abdullah has tried cautious reforms in the kingdom, a US ally which has no elected parliament, but diplomats say he is facing resistance from conservatives opposing changes.

Many Saudi religious conservatives believe films from more liberal Arab countries such as Egypt could violate religious taboos. Some also view cinema and acting as a form of dissembling inconsistent with Islam.

 

20th July   

Updated: Al-Jazeera Assassination Attempt...

Palestine bans Al-Jazeera over news interview
Link Here

Al-Jazeera logo The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Palestinian Authority's decision today to suspend the operations of Al-Jazeera in the West Bank after the satellite channel aired a controversial interview on Tuesday. The suspension, according to a Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information statement, will remain in place until the judiciary issues a ruling on the subject.

The Ministry of Information's actions came a day after Al-Jazeera broadcast its talk show Behind the News from Doha, Qatar, to discuss accusations made earlier in the day by Faruq al-Qadumi, a Fatah party leader, against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Al-Qadumi had told journalists in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday that Abbas and the former head of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service, Muhammad Dahlan, were involved with Ariel Sharon in a plot to assassinate former President Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders in 2004, according to regional news reports. Many Arab media outlets, including Al-Jazeera, reported on the accusations.

The Ministry of Information said that it plans to file a lawsuit against Al-Jazeera because of its incitement and unbalanced reporting from the Palestinian territories.

We are alarmed by this decision of the Palestinian Authority to punish Al-Jazeera for allowing critical discussion of Fatah party affairs, said Robert Mahoney, CPJ's deputy director: These are matters of legitimate interest to the Palestinian public. We call on the Ministry of Information to immediately allow ?Al-Jazeera to resume all its operations in the West Bank.

Update: Ban Downgraded to a Lawsuit

20th July 2009. See article from news.bbc.co.uk

Arabic satellite news TV al-Jazeera has resumed its broadcasts in the West Bank, after a ban on it was lifted by the Palestinian Authority (PA).

On Sunday bureau chief Walid al-Omary said Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had phoned him to say the ban had been lifted. The station's staff have resumed covering the news.

But Fayyad said his government would still press ahead with a lawsuit against the Qatar-based channel for alleged incitement, Omary added.

 

20th July   

Offsite: Narrow Minded at the Daily Mail...

What DOES it take for a film to get banned these days?
Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

Antichrist poster As censors approve a movie that plumbs grotesque new depths of sexual explicitness and violence, one critic (who prides himself on being broad-minded) despairs...
Grotesque: Lars von Trier's latest film Antichrist has been given an 18 certificate by the British Board of Film Classification

A film which plumbs new depths of sexual explicitness, excruciating violence and degradation has just been passed as fit for general consumption by the British Board of Film Classification.

They have given the film an 18 certificate. As we all know, this is meaningless nowadays in the age of the DVD because sooner or later, thanks to the gross irresponsibility of some parents, any film that is given general release will be seen by children.

You do not need to see Lars von Trier's Antichrist (which is released later this week) to know how revolting it is.

I haven't seen it myself, nor shall I - and I speak as a broad-minded arts critic, strongly libertarian in tendency. But merely reading about Antichrist is stomach-turning, and enough to form a judgment.

...Read full article

 

19th July   

Update: The Good Old Days...

Old censor fondly remembers James Ferman's censorial reign
Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

Antichrist poster Letter to the Times

Don't blame the iconoclastic, sensation-seeking marketing genius von Trier. Appleyard goes to the crux : how come this film was passed 18 uncut by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)?

David Cooke, the BBFC director, asserts : The board has, since 1990, passed a number of works containing such images.

As a BBFC examiner from 1984 to 2000, I have contacted colleagues from these years. None attests to passing blood ejaculation from an erect penis, or auto-clitoridectomy, in any film.

The truth is, when the BBFC director James Ferman (1975-99) retired, his film editor's room was dismantled. Thus ended the BBFC's subtle editing of the gratuitously sadistic, grisly mutilations that some directors offered.

Michael Bor

 

19th July   

Offsite: Remembering Natalia...

Journalist Natalia Estemirova murdered in Chechnya
Link Here

Natalia Estemirova Natalia Estemirova, murdered this week, was Chechnya's foremost defender of human rights and an exceptionally brave woman, as I discovered on a recent visit to the capital Grozny, where I had come to investigate a string of abductions, unexplained disappearances and murders of women.

Natalia was head of the Grozny branch of Memorial, the organisation that campaigns for human rights across Russia. She had brought me to this dreary suburb to see the place where three women's bodies were found one day last November. The morning after that gruesome discovery, four more dead women were discovered around the Chechen capital. All seven had been shot in the head with an automatic weapon.

As we stood shivering in the dying light, I never dreamt that three weeks later Natalia, herself, would suffer a similar fate.

On Wednesday she was bundled into a van as she left her home. Her body was found later the same day in the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia, with multiple bullet wounds.

There is little doubt in Chechnya that her killing was connected to her investigative and campaigning work - including the case of the seven murdered women.

...Read full article

 

19th July   

Update: Euphemistically Speaking...

Craigslist acts get more subtle but this isn't enough for the moralists
Link Here

Craigslist logo Craigslist has been accused of returning old ways, running thinly veiled sex-for-hire ads and sparking a new round of 'outrage' from law enforcement.

Ads posted on the Internet giant have replaced pornographic photos and explicit sexual language with shots of scantily clad women tantalizing would-be customers with love it like it's your last . . . have some fun with this sexy, attractive, vibrant young lady. My measurements are . . .

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley ripped the Web site, saying its new adult services ads are basically no different than the old erotic services come-ons: A cursory look at the adult services section of the site shows no significant distinction from the 'erotic services' section that preceded it, Conley told the Herald.

In Illinois, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, a staunch Craigslist critic, said the new revamped site has changed little from the old raunchy one. To say I've been less than overwhelmed by Craigslist's new practices would be an understatement, Dart told the Herald.

In May, the site announced a crackdown on ads, ordering his employees to censor them for graphic sexual content.

Now instead of appearing naked, women advertising adult services are pictured wearing bikinis and lingerie. And they rely on innuendo - and the user's familiarity with Craigslist - to get their message across.

The site now runs ads such as Upscale European Beauty Ready to Play and all natural 40f's ... no disappointments and Let's have some late night fun!

 

19th July   

Update: Playing a Fascist Tune...

UK government insist on vetting the bands at your local pub
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

DCMS logo Live music is fast disappearing from pubs, clubs, wine bars, restaurants and other small venues, musicians claim, because of a law passed in 2003.

Hopes were raised recently when the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport ended a lengthy investigation into the 2003 Licensing Act by recommending that venues with a capacity of fewer than 200 people should be exempt.

But this week, the Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw surely, gave the Government's reply: it does not matter how small a venue is, it can still attract trouble. Bradshaw has agreed to revisit the issue, but not for at least a year, by which time there could be a different government.

If there is a folk singer or rapper in the pub, there has to be a special licence called a Temporary Event Notice (TEN). According to the Musicians' Union, small venues have stopped putting on live music because managements do not want the hassle of filling out lengthy and intrusive forms.

In London, which has perhaps the most vibrant live music scene of all, there is the additional hazard of form 696, compiled by Scotland Yard, which some people suspect is a deliberate device for suppressing the forms of music that black and Asian teenagers enjoy – dubstep, hip hop, ragga, and the rest. The original version of form 696, since amended, asked after the ethnic background of all performers, and for their mobile phone numbers.

Lowkey, a British-Iraqi rapper, added: I've seen it doing the clubs. On a night when they are expecting the white audience, there will be one bouncer on the door. On the next night, when there is a black audience, there will be bouncers everywhere, metal detectors, you have to show your passport and give your address. that kind of thing. They just assume that where there is a lot of brown people, there is going to be violence.

But Bradshaw said that his department has considered exemptions for small venues, but has not been able to reach agreement on exemptions that will deliver an increase in live music whilst still retaining essential protections for local residents. There is no direct link between size of audience or number of performers and potential for noise nuisance or disorder, he claimed.

His decision provoked a furious reaction from musicians. Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of the charity UK Music, and former lead singer of the punk rock group the Undertones, said: After six years of legislation, eight consultations, two government research projects, two national review processes and a parliamentary select committee report, all of which have highlighted the harmful impact these regulations are having on the British music industry, the Government's only reaction is yet another review.

The Met says that the form is simply a tool for protecting the public, including the young people at these gigs, and that, even when there is a high risk of trouble, it is very unlikely that police will close the venue. It happened eight times last year.

But on the Downing Street website there is a petition, organised by the singer Jon McClure, to scrap the unnecessary and draconian usage of the 696 form from London music events. It has attracted 17,405 signatures. Gordon Brown has not yet responded.

 

18th July   

Update: Blasphemy Against the Constitution?...

Irish president calls Council of State to consider blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Ireland The President has convened the Council of State to review the Government's controversial new Criminal Justice Amendment Bill. She will also seek the council's views on the new Defamation Bill, which aims to reform the libel laws and which also introduces a new offence of blasphemous libel.

Mary McAleese has decided to seek the views of the 22-member Council of State before deciding whether to refer the legislation to the Supreme Court to test its constitutionality.

The Council of State is an advisory group which includes the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste, the Ceann Comhairle of the Dail, the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, the Chief Justice, the President of the High Court and the Attorney General.

 

18th July   

Whenever press freedom needed a champion...

Walter Cronkite's press freedom legacy
Link Here

Walter Cronkite The death of Walter Cronkite elicited tributes from colleagues, presidents past and present, world-famous astronauts and those who hoped in vain to fill his empty anchor chair, all honoring the avuncular face of TV journalism who became the most trusted man in America.

Cronkite died with his family by his side Friday night at his Manhattan home after a long illness. He died of cerebrovascular disease at the age of 92.

Walter Cronkite had such a profound impact in so many ways that one might overlook an important part of his legacy--his long efforts on behalf of international press freedom and his advocacy on behalf of local journalists around the world. Cronkite was a vital participant in the launch of the Committee to Protect Journalists 28 years ago and, though his title here may have been honorary co-chairman, he was an active force throughout the years.

Not only was Cronkite America's best-known journalist, he had led a group during the Vietnam War that gathered information about reporters and photographers who were missing in action. His involvement with CPJ suggested to U.S. journalists the seriousness of the new organization, and his name at the top of the letterhead had the potential of getting the attention of government officials around the world. It did.

In April 1982, for example, after Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, starting a war with Britain, the government there arrested three British journalists on charges of espionage. The Swiss government, the pope, and the U.N. secretary-general all appealed for the release of the three journalists, Simon Winchester of The Sunday Times and Ian Mather and Tony Prime of The Observer.

But Winchester remembers that it was the CPJ letter, signed by Walter Cronkite and sent to Argentina's foreign and justice ministers, that gave him the greatest hope. After he learned of the letter, he wrote to his wife and children in England saying that he believed that the end was in sight because Cronkite and CPJ had taken up his case. After 77 days in captivity--during which British Marines retook the Falklands Islands--Winchester, Mather, and Prime were released and put on a plane out of Argentina. Mather later sent a letter to CPJ noting that, we are totally convinced that it was outside pressure that the led Argentine authorities to realize that our continued incarceration could never be beneficial to the reputation of Argentina no matter how well they looked after us.

As CPJ Chairman Paul Steiger said in remembering Cronkite's enduring contribution to press freedom, From putting his own life on the line to cover the battlefields of World War II to challenging the 'thugs' who physically harassed his reporters on the floor of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, Walter Cronkite knew firsthand the challenges journalists face bringing news to the public, and he never forgot them. Whenever press freedom needed a champion, he was there. We will miss him.

 

18th July   

Update: Free to Hate...

US religions get an exclusion from the hate crimes bill
Link Here

US Senate The National Religious Broadcasters Friday (NRB) praised passage of a religious speech-related amendment to hate crimes legislation, while the ACLU said the overall bill still lacked sufficient First Amendment protections.

The religious amendment was adopted by a vote of 78 to 13 after which the underlying hate crimes bill was approved by a voice vote. The bill would raise to a federal offense certain crimes that could be tied to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

NRB has opposed the hate crimes bill because it fears protected religious speech--on abortion or homosexuality, for example--could be subject to prosecution. ACLU also argues the bill threatens speech.

The amendment, which was introduced by Senator Sam Brownback, essentially clarifies that speech from the pulpit, electronic or otherwise, remain protected unless its intent was to cause violence.

The amendment says that nothing shall be construed or applied in a manner that infringes the rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or substantially burdens any exercise of religion (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), speech, expression, association, if such exercise of religion was not intended to 1) plan or prepare for an act of physical violence or 2) incite an imminent act of physical violence against another.

The House hate crimes bill, which has no amendment on religious speech, has already passed, while the Senate version that passed this week is an amendment on the defense authorization bill. That bill is must-pass legislation, but it has not passed yet, and when it does it will have to go to conference committee, where the hate crimes portion must be reconciled with the House version.

 

18th July   

Inspiration for a Song...

Iranian singer sentenced to 5 years for religious disrespect
Link Here

Mohsen Namjoo An Iranian singer and composer who has been likened to Bob Dylan has received a five-year jail sentence in absentia for disrespecting religious sanctities, according to Iranian television.

An Iranian Koran scholar filed a complaint against Mohsen Namjoo, who also plays a traditional Persian lute, for the way he had performed using verses from Islam's holy book.

The scholar, Abbas Salimi, accused Namjoo of an insulting, sneering performance of Koranic verses with musical instruments.

It quoted the singer's brother and lawyer as dismissing the accusation, saying he did not mean any disrespect. Press TV said Namjoo, who apologized a few months ago for the incident, was abroad but did not say in which country.

Iran's Fars News Agency quoted a judge on Monday as confirming that Namjoo was found guilty subsequent to an investigation of the complaint against him .

In a 2007 profile, New York Times said Namjoo's playful but subtly cutting lyrics about growing up in an Islamic state had made him the most controversial, and certainly the most daring, figure in Persian music today.

 

17th July   

Update: Mega Censor...

Irish film censor may be merged into telecoms, broadcasting and film censor
Link Here

Irish Film Censors Office logo The Irish Department of Finance has published recommendations for around €5.3bn worth of public spending cuts; €37m across Arts and Culture, which includes the transfer of the Irish Film Board's functions to a new enterprise agency and discontinuation of the investment fund.

The report proposes a Mega Censor:

  • The merger of ComReg with the new Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (the result of merging the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission and the regulatory functions of the RTÉ Authority) because of the growing convergence between the communications and broadcasting industries.
     
  • Transferring the Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) into the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)

 

17th July   

Update: Economising on Free Speech...

Thailand misses another issue of the Economist
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

The Economist Distributors blocked the July 4-10 edition of The Economist from entering Thailand for an article that covered the mounting threat of lese majeste complaints to the country's Internet freedom and freedom of expression, according to a local distributor and international news reports. 

This is the third time since December that distributors have opted not to distribute the British weekly newsmagazine because of concerns over its coverage of the monarchy, according to a distributor who spoke on condition of anonymity with CPJ. The Economist has more than 2,500 paid subscribers in Thailand and is also distributed by various newsstands and book stores.

The one-page article, Treason in cyberspace, noted that the scope of investigations under the law has recently widened and that Thai authorities have used the law as justification for blocking more than 8,300 Web pages since March 2008. It also referenced the lese majeste case pending against Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of online news site Prachatai, who is charged for allowing a comment critical of Queen Sirikit to be posted by a reader to her site's message board. Because she faces multiple criminal counts for perceived anti-monarchy postings, The Economist reported, she could face as long as 50 years in prison. The article also discussed the lese majeste complaint, filed by a private citizen, against the entire board of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

Authorities have not formally banned The Economist's distribution in Thailand and the following week's edition of the magazine was available on local newsstands, according to CPJ research.

The growing use of lese majeste charges has had an unmistakable chilling effect on freedom of expression in Thailand, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney: We call on the authorities to amend these laws so that journalists and those who distribute their work are not cowed into self-censorship.

 

17th July   

Update: All in a Good Cause?...

More on the 'terrorist' interview in Bruno
Link Here  full story: Bruno...Supporting the hype for Bruno

Bruno film poster A "terrorist leader" interviewed in the just-rreleased hit movie "Bruno" is fuming mad, telling WND the film mislabels him and that the movie's star, Sasha Baron Cohen, conducted the interview under false pretenses.

Ayman Abu Aita slammed Baron Cohen as a big liar who "made up stories" when describing to CBS's David Letterman last week the way he met Aita at an undisclosed location. Aita said he is pursuing legal action against Baron Cohen.

[Baron Cohen] said this was a film going to help the Palestinian cause, Aita told WND. When I heard (four days ago) what this film was about I really didn't believe it.

At one point in the movie, Bruno meets Aita, depicted as a terrorist group leader from the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, in a bid to seduce the jihadist group into kidnapping him so Bruno can become famous.

During the interview, Aita explained: [Bruno] said he is a German actor making documentaries watched by young people. ... He wanted to make a story to mobilize the young people to help us (Palestinians). ... I didn't have any impression he would use my interview in a bad way.

The Brigades is responsible for scores of suicide bombings, shootings and deadly rocket attacks against Israeli civilian population centers. Aita, however, is not exactly a terrorist. At least not anymore Aita is a representative of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party to the West Bank town of Beit Sahor, which is a satellite of Bethlehem. Aita also is a board member of the Holy Land Trust, a nongovernmental organization promoting Palestinian rights and commitment to nonviolence.

Aita served in the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades from 2000 until 2003, after which he did a two year stint in Israeli prison on accusations he was involved in shootings against Israeli soldiers operating in Bethlehem. Still, according to Israeli security sources speaking to WND, Aita, while a member of the Brigades, once worked with Jewish state officials to return two Israeli reserve soldiers who had gotten lost in Bethlehem.

 

17th July   

That's So Gay!...

Discussion about the use of gay slurs in online game chats
Link Here

glaad logo If you've ever played an online multiplayer game with voice chat, your mistakes have probably been branded as gay more than once.

But the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and a number of gaming companies are debating the issue of people using homophobic slurs to bully and harass each other in games.

This Saturday, Electronic Arts is hosting a panel discussion on the topic and will look at what gaming companies can do to limit this behavior, create more gay-friendly games and educate gamers about the need for more sensitivity.

Justin Cole, director of digital and online media at GLAAD and the panel moderator, said the problem is widespread among online gamers.

Cole cited a 2006 University of Illinois survey of gay gamers that found that 53% of those surveyed said the gaming community is somewhat hostile to gay and lesbian gamers and 14% said very hostile.

The survey also found that 88% of respondents reported hearing the phrase, That's so gay, used by players.

The panel is free to the public and takes place Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Electronic Arts, 250 Shoreline Drive, Redwood City.

 

17th July   

Update: No Comment...

Kazakhstan's president signs in repressive internet law
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Kazakhstan...New internet censorship law

Kazakhstan flag Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed into law new controls on the Internet that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called repressive.

The OSCE had earlier urged Nazarbayev to veto the bill. The legislation will allow local courts to block websites, including foreign ones, and to class blogs and chatrooms as media.

But Kazakhstan pressed ahead with the new law, with local rights activists confirming the legislation had been endorsed by the powerful president.

Several websites, including the popular blogging service LiveJournal.com, are already inaccessible to most Kazakh Internet users. There are already were signs of increasing self-censorship by local websites where moderators were quickly removing comments that could be deemed offensive.

 

17th July   

Me No Fun...

Hong Kong government unsurprisingly finds that people 'want' internet censorship
Link Here

Hong Kong flag A Hong Kong survey commissioned by censors claims that citizens in Hong Kong 'want' the government to rein in internet porn.

According to The Standard, the survey was conducted through Hong Kong University for a consultants' report commissioned by the government on the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance.

Of 1,500 people questioned, three-quarters said they want the internet monitored and greater restrictions imposed as well as penalties for violations.

Less than 10% of respondents said the Obscene Articles Tribunal wasn't doing its job properly, while 40% want to see the agency shut down, instead establishing classification parameters.

Some 60 percent said they support the creation of a new independent system, replacing adjudicators with jurors.

One Hong Kong politician, inappropriately named Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, told The Standard she doesn't understand why anyone would protest regulation: Online activities should be supervised like the real-world activities .

 

17th July   

Update: Political De-Censorship...

Bill to strip Philippines censors of political censorship powers
Link Here

Philippines film cesor logo Stressing that it should not be censoring films and TV programs solely because of their critical political or social content, some party-list congressmen are pushing for the abolition of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

In filing House Bill 6425, the lawmakers, led by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, want the MTRCB to be replaced with the Movie and Television Classification Board (MTCB).

Casiño, the bill's principal author, said the measure seeks to protect and promote freedom of expression in motion pictures and television programs in the country – which he said the MTRCB often fail to do. 

The bill will ensure that the right to freedom of expression would not be abridged by replacing the existing Movie and Television Review Classification Board (MTRCB), he said in a press statement: The present MTRCB, in the fulfillment of its duties, often violates or curtails this constitutionally guaranteed freedom.

The lawmaker cited the case of some films and television programs, which were censored and rated "X" by the MTRCB due to its critical political or social content.

Casino said the proposed Movie and Television Classification Board Act of 2009" aims to sanction the eventual self-regulation of motion pictures and television programs to lessen, if not prevent, any abuse or discretion on the part of MTCB in the classification of any material.

 

17th July   

Offsite: Writing Censorship History...

British academics protest after Russia closes down history website
Link Here

Stalin A group of British academics including the historian Orlando Figes and the poet and translator Robert Chandler have spoken out after authorities in Russia closed down a website dealing with the country's controversial Soviet past.

On 19 June the home affairs ministry in St Petersburg shut down the site www.hrono.info. The website had been Russia's largest online history resource, widely used by scholars in Russia and elsewhere as a unique source of biographical and historical material.

Officials said they closed the site because it published extracts from Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf. Today, however, its founder, Vyacheslav Rumyantsev, said the closure had nothing to do with Hitler, adding that the text was widely available elsewhere and was only summarised on the site.

Rumyantsev said the authorities may have pulled the plug after an article was posted on 16 June criticising St Petersburg's pro-Kremlin governor, Valentina Matviyenko. The article attacked Matviyenko's decision to cut an allowance given to survivors of the Nazi siege of Leningrad.

The closure comes amid official attempts in Russia to rewrite some of the darkest aspects of its 20th-century history. School textbooks now portray Stalin not as a mass murderer but as a great, if flawed, national leader and an "efficient manager" who defeated the Nazis and industrialised a backward Soviet Union.

...Read full article

 

16th July   

Complaints Aborted...

ASA finds that morning after pill advert wasn't offensive
Link Here

Levonelle One Step ad A TV ad for Levonelle One Step emergency contraception featured cartoon-style animation of a worried-looking woman lying in bed next to a snoring man. Above her head a condom balloon floated round the room and burst to reveal the text The 'condom split' one. The woman was then shown on a bus near to another woman holding a crying baby. Text on the window of the bus stated The 'I'm not ready for that' one. The ad then featured the woman walking into a chemist where she was given Levonelle One Step by a female pharmacist. The text The 'only over the counter' one appeared as she picked up the product. The woman was shown walking out of the chemist with a smile on her face as the text The 'what a relief' one appeared on a billboard. A female voice-over said Levonelle One Step 72 hour emergency contraception. More effective the sooner you take it . On-screen text during the ad stated Emergency contraception and advice can also be obtained from your GP, Family Planning Clinic or NHS Walk-in Centre" and "Contains levonorgestrel. Always read the label. Not 100% effective.

112 viewers, who believed the light-hearted, cartoon style of the ad trivialised a serious issue and might lead young people to think that unprotected sex was not a problem and therefore encourage promiscuity, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Clearcast said the ad offered help to those who feared they might become pregnant through no fault of their own, rather than because they were indulging in promiscuous or unsafe sex. The ad featured a condom splitting and therefore encouraged safe sex while pointing out that accidents could happen. The ad, and on-screen text in particular, made it clear that the product was for emergencies rather than something to be used in a casual manner. They believed the public information tone of the ad justified the use of animation, which was not graphic in itself and did not contain any overt references to sex. Because of the adult theme, they had given the ad a post-9pm restriction in order to keep the ad away from younger viewers.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the visuals and on-screen text referred to the fact that a condom had split, and we considered that it was clear that the couple's method of contraception had failed, rather than that they had had unprotected sex. We also noted that the voice-over and on-screen text referred to the product as emergency contraception , and we considered that it was also clear from the ad that the product was designed to be used in a specific situation where a contraceptive mishap had occurred, rather than as a regular form of contraception. We noted that the woman looked worried as she was shown sitting in bed and on the way to the chemist, and we considered that the ad suggested that her situation was not trivial but of concern to her. We considered that the animation did not present the woman in a glamorous or fashionable way, and we therefore considered that the style of the ad was unlikely to have particular appeal to young people. Because of that, and because we considered that the ad as a whole did not trivialise the issue of emergency contraception or encourage unprotected sex, we concluded that the ad would not cause serious or widespread offence.

 

16th July   

Harry Potter and the Half Baked Nutter...

Traditional nutters turn out to whinge at the latest Harry Potter opening
Link Here

Harry Potter 6 poster A small crowd gathered in Lewiston, Maine, to discuss witchcraft influences and overtones of the teen wizard series.

Watch out, Harry Potter fans — the Rev. Doug Taylor and his Jesus Party are battling for your souls.

There is a battle raging for the minds of our children, and it's a moral battle, said Taylor, founder of the local ministry that aims to reach out to area youth: J.K. Rowling has truly bridged the gap between magical make-believe and paganism.

Taylor hosted a protest Tuesday on the eve of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince , the sixth instalment in the wildly popular movie franchise. Armed with a movie of his own, the documentary Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged — Making Evil Look Innocent, Taylor resurrected his public stand that parents and schools should closely examine the occult influences found in the books and ban them.

In keeping with his tradition, Taylor opened the evening by tearing the pages from a hard-covered copy of a Harry Potter book.

Harry Potter teaches witchcraft to children through children, author Robert McGee said in the documentary: It's teaching children that witchcraft is something attainable. When a child is captured by witchcraft, they rarely choose to get out until much later in life, after they've led a very miserable life.

I would not look foolish tonight if every church in town would take a stand against witchcraft, Taylor said as he ripped the book: And because nobody else will, that's why I do it.

 

16th July   

Update: Virtual Not Private Enough Networks...

Chinese police arrest website operators using foreign hosting
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

May Erotica In its latest move to crush porn, China has arrested or detained operators of adult sites that use foreign servers.

According to PC World, this latest crackdown follows the arrests of mobile porn website owners in China as well as the government's plan to have all machines sold in the country pre-installed with the controversial Green Dam Youth Escort software.

Police claimed two Chinese porn sites, May Babe and May Erotica , ran on U.S. servers and were updated through an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) to avoid detection, according to the state-run Xinhua news service.

Officials said most owners of Chinese porn sites now employ server space abroad to avoid China's web police. It was not stated how the site owners were tracked down.

Police also arrested staff members of a Chinese company that created more than 40 pornographic WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) sites for mobile users, Xinhua said.

Chinese police have also warned third-party payment businesses against providing services for those providing pornographic and lewd material online. The ministry statement referred to one case in which people were arrested for selling porn site memberships to Love City through third-party payments via companies such as AliPay, PayPal and YeePay.

 

16th July   

Offsite: Copies Better than the Originals...

The more Malaysia censors, the more DVD pirates thrive
Link Here

Copy DVDs Why is the public so willing to protect the pirates, who may be backed financially and logistically by organised crime? The pertinent short answer is the extremely low cost of acquiring near-flawless digital content but there is a long answer, an incisive element that enables the pirates to flourish despite being whacked hard by law enforcement raids: censorship.

...Read full article

 

15th July   

Update: No Angels...

Angels and Demons pre-cut for its 12A cinema release
Link Here

Angels and Demons DVD Angels & Demons is a 2009 US drama by Ron Howard

The pre-cut cinema release was passed 12A without further cuts in 2009. The BBFC stated:

This film was originally shown to the BBFC in an unfinished version. The BBFC advised the company that the film was likely to receive a '15' classification but that the requested '12A' certificate could be achieved by making reductions in four scenes. In particular the BBFC suggested that sight of blood splattering onto a character's face, sight of a character screaming in pain as he burns, sight of a wound being injected and sight of a character self-immolating and burning should all be reduced. When the finished version of the film was submitted, all these reductions had been made satisfactorily and the film was classified '12A'.

The BBFC further explained their 12A rating:

ANGELS & DEMONS is a thriller drama about attempts to stop a secret organisation from destroying the Papacy. It was passed '12A' for scenes of moderate violence and horror.

These include the sight of a dead man with a rat eating inside the corpse's mouth, a man bleeding on the steps of the Vatican, a bound man dangling over a fire as attempts are made to save him and a man setting himself on fire. These are permitted under '12A' Guidelines which say that violence must not dwell on detail; and there should be no emphasis on injuries or blood although occasional gory moments are allowed.

Sustained moderate threat or menace are permitted under '12A' Guidelines. There is such tension as a couple of men find themselves trapped in an airtight underground library after the ventilation system has failed. In a different scene, a bound man with a weight tied around him is thrown into water; he struggles fitfully under water before being rescued.

There is also mild language. The mild language is infrequent and includes 'hell' and 'bastard'.

 

15th July   

Update: The Fashion to Complain...

Bruno clocks up the complaints in Australia and gets banned in Ukraine
Link Here  full story: Bruno...Supporting the hype for Bruno

Bruno film poster Bruno is to become the most complained-about film of the year in Australia and is set to be sued by a terrorist leader featured in the movie who claims the interview was conducted under false pretences.

Bruno, which features swingers' parties, barely-pixelated oral sex and a "talking" male appendage, has clocked up 12 complaints with the Classification Board since it started screening in Australia with a MA15+ rating last Wednesday.

All say the film, based on Sasha Baron Cohen's flamboyantly gay fashionista character, should be rated R18+.

MA15+ bars under-15s without a parent or guardian while R18+ bars under-18s from viewing the film at all.

In New Zealand, Bruno has been rated R16, which restricts those aged under 16 from watching.

In the US, it is rated R, which means under-17s must be accompanied by a guardian.

Ayman Abu Aita, who is labelled in the movie as a terrorist group leader, said he was shocked when he learned five days ago the film depicts a homosexual character and contains scenes including full frontal male nudity and graphic homosexual fetish sex.

Aita also slammed Baron Cohen as a big liar who made up stories when describing to David Letterman the way he met Aita at an undisclosed location. Aita said he is pursuing legal action against Baron Cohen.

Ukrainian Dick Censors

Based on article from guardian.co.uk

Ukraine flag It may have been the visit to the swingers' party that did it. Or perhaps it was the scene where Brüno drops in to see a medium and simulates oral and anal sex with a ghost. Either way, the antics of Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno all appear to be too much for Ukraine.

According to reports, Ukraine's culture and tourism ministry is set to ban the film Brüno , which was due for release in the post-Soviet country next week.

The ministry has so far not explained its decision. But it appears to have taken the view that several of the scenes – among them a mock gay parade, and one in which Brüno shows off his penis – were likely to offend conservative and religious opinion.

Ukraine's Catholic west and orthodox east take a dim view of gay rights, and hold highly traditional social views. And despite efforts by Ukraine's western-leaning political elite to integrate with Europe, there is little sign of a more liberal view taking hold.

Yesterday, however, some sources in Ukraine's cinema industry suggested that the controversy may simply be an elaborate publicity stunt, dreamed up by distributors Sinergia to boost the film ahead of its release.

The Ukrainian website korrespondent.net, however, today reported the ban was genuine.

 

15th July   

No Shit!...

Old distributor cuts to Team America: World Police
Link Here

Team America unrated DVD Team America: World Police is a 2004 US/Germany animated comedy by Trey Parker (Paramount)

The BBFC didn't cut the 2004 cinema release nor the 2005 DVDs from Paramount. However the version cut for a US R rating was submitted.

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • In the Unrated Version, the puppet sex scene is extended. It now contains shots of Gary performing oral sex on Lisa from behind and two separate shots of them urinating/defecating on each other, all of which had to be cut to secure an R-Rating.

See also pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com

 

14th July   

Update: French Freedom to Rap...

Even if it winds up the feminists
Link Here

Orelsan CD Orelsan is known as the French Eminem: a middle-class teacher's son from a dull town in lower Normandy who raps about the rural drug epidemic, boredom and the hopelessness of French provincial teenagers.

But ever since the political class expressed outrage at a song from Orelsan's back catalogue in which he once sang about grotesque violence against a girlfriend who cheated on him, the 26-year-old rap star has become the centre of a national debate over censorship.

The row has just escalated as politicians from all political parties waded in to express disgust that Orelsan had been dropped from the lineup of one of France's most important summer music festivals, the Francofolies at La Rochelle.

Nicolas Sarkozy's ruling centre-right UMP party, which earlier this year led criticism of Orelsan's song, Sale Pute (Dirty Slut), has now issued a statement saying it was intolerable to censor an artist. The party rounded on the Socialist Ségolène Royal, head of the western region where the festival takes place, saying she was attacking freedom of expression.

Earlier this month, Royal told a local paper she was happy Orelsan's appearance had been pulled and that she had written to the festival for clarification on his part in the lineup.

Jack Lang, the Socialist and former culture minister, warned of a culture of moral censorship in France. He said the move to axe Orelsan was symptomatic of broader attacks against freedom of expression by local councils of all political persuasions. Last month, Orelsan's new album was pulled from all Paris's municipal libraries, prompting the League for Human Rights to appeal to Paris's Socialist head of culture to think again.

Orelsan today told French radio his removal from the Francofolies festival was really abhorrent . He stressed that he no longer sang Sale Pute on stage, having removed it from his website, and that those censoring him had not seen his act. He said he wanted a meeting with the new culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand.

 

14th July   

Updated: Unproven, Ineffective Relief from Internet Nasties...

Australian campaigners against government filtering introduce censorsdyne
Link Here

Censordyne ad GetUp! has officially launched Censordyne, an ad and website campaign combo to help stop the Government from introducing Internet censorship in Australia. The group hopes to show the ad on Qantas flights in August when politicians are on flights to Canberra as Parliament resumes.

Children's welfare groups Save the Children and the National Children's & Youth Law Centre joined GetUp! in the campaign, issuing a joint statement:

We argue that the tens of millions of dollars that such a scheme will cost should instead be diverted to appropriate child protection authorities and police to prevent the abuse of children, and towards effective community-based education strategies that give children and parents the skills to protect themselves.

Further, PC-level filtering software should be promoted to and provided to parents that wish to protect their children from inappropriate internet content.

The Australian Library and Information Association, Civil Liberties Australia, Liberty Victoria, National Association for the Visual Arts, NSW Council for Civil Liberties, QLD Council for Civil Liberties and Dr Alex Byrne FALIA, University Librarian, UTS, also signed the statement.

Senator Conroy's office responded, claiming GetUp's campaign misrepresents the Government's position: For its last campaign on the issue, GetUp! falsely claimed that any form of filtering would slow internet speeds by 87%, the statement said: Now it resorts to spurious claims about the future expansion of the list of content that may be filtered. The Government regards freedom of speech as very important and the Government's cyber-safety policy is in no way designed to curtail this.

Update: Sensitive Airlines and Sensitive Teeth

14th July 2009. Based on article from smh.com.au

Qantas has put the kybosh on online activist group GetUp's latest anti-censorship campaign, refusing to run the Censordyne ad on its flights.

Simon Sheikh, chief executive of GetUp, said the group had planned to run the parody ad on all Qantas domestic flights into Canberra next month to ensure it was seen by politicians and their staff members around the first sitting week of Parliament.

But Qantas refused to run the ad, which lampoons the Government's forthcoming internet filtering scheme, saying it had a long-standing policy not to run political advertising.

Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline, which owns the Sensodyne brand, on which the parody campaign is based, said it was considering legal action against GetUp. It said it was not consulted over the campaign and did not endorse GetUp's use of the word "Censordyne".

Hardly a brand improving association: Censordyne promises unproven, ineffective relief from internet nasties

A group of mainly smaller internet providers are now finishing their trials of the Government's internet filtering scheme and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said he expects to release results within weeks. Senator Conroy has said the results will determine whether the Government proceeds with the controversial election policy.

 

14th July   

Update: Wretched, Backward and Uncivilised...

Irish blasphemy law brings atheists out of the closet
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Root of All EVil uncut The new blasphemy law will send Ireland back to the middle ages, and is wretched, backward and uncivilised, Prof Richard Dawkins has said.

The scientist and critic of religion has lent his support to a campaign to repeal the law, introduced by Atheist Ireland, a group set up last December, arising from an online discussion forum. The law, which makes the publication or utterance of blasphemous matter a crime punishable by a €25,000 fine, passed through the Oireachtas last week.

In a message read out at Atheist Ireland's first AGM, Prof Dawkins said: One of the world's most beautiful and best-loved countries, Ireland has recently become one of the most respected as well: dynamic, go-ahead, modern, civilised – a green and pleasant silicon valley. This preposterous blasphemy law puts all that respect at risk. He said it would be too kind to call the law a ridiculous anachronism: It is a wretched, backward, uncivilised regression to the middle ages. Who was the bright spark who thought to besmirch the revered name of Ireland by proposing anything so stupid?

At the AGM, Atheist Ireland members voted to test the new law by publishing a blasphemous statement, deliberately designed to cause offence. The statement will be finalised in the coming days.

Labour Senator and barrister Ivana Bacik said the establishment of Atheist Ireland was long overdue . More than 150 people attended the meeting in Dublin and the group ran out of membership application forms. I think it's also good to see an organisation that has the word atheist in the title because for a long time many of us were in the closet, she said: It's not fashionable or popular to declare oneself to be an atheist. There are many people in Ireland who would like to describe themselves as atheists and I'm one of them. I think I may be the only self-confessed or card-carrying atheist in the Oireachtas.

The group also launched a website www.countmeout.ie which provides information on how to formally leave the Catholic Church.

 

14th July   

Beyer's Watercolour Bollox...

Having a whinge at nude posing for Life Class
Link Here

Life Class Ofcom received dozens of complaints after fashion model Kirsten Varley was seen posing for artist Gary Hume on Channel 4 at lunchtime

She stripped off and posed for artist Gary Hume in the programme Life Class: Today's Nude .

The programme saw the camera lingering on the model's naked form as the artist talked through the process of drawing her. But the show which was filmed at Hume's studio has sparked a 'backlash' from nutters.

John Beyer, of TV pressure group Mediawatch UK, questioned showing the programme at lunchtime.

He has referred the matter to media regulator Ofcom after being contacted by 'concerned' parents: I have had complaints about this. Obviously people feel this is not really suitable for daytime TV when they have got children at home. One was particularly incensed because his child was at home and thought it was not appropriate. It's a pity Channel 4 cannot revive its Watercolour Challenge show.

One viewer who was in her sick bed watching daytime TV, said: It nearly gave me a relapse. It was adult viewing, not for screening in the middle of the day.

Channel 4 has defended the programme, insisting it was not gratuitous and saying it was meant to help artists capture the beauty of the human body.

 

14th July   

Update: Murray Burridge...

Norwich North by-election on 23rd July 2009
Link Here

House of Commons logo There a re a couple of interesting sounding candidates in the approaching Norwich North parliamentary by-election 23rd July 2009

Thomas Burridge is standing for the Libertarian Party who introduce themselves:

Libertarians believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government—on all issues at all times. We don't say government is too big in one area, but then in another area push for a law to force people to do what we want. We believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government—on all issues at all times.

Craig Murray made a name for himself by bravely standing up to diplomatic nastiness when he was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan. He introduces himself:

Craig Murray is standing as a candidate in the Norwich North by-election. He is a human rights activist, writer,  and former British Ambassador, Rector of the University of Dundee and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law.

 

13th July   

Minister of Blocked Communications...

Israel survives proposal to set up state internet filtering
Link Here

Knesset building Discussion of a bill that would censor web sites in Israel has been rejected by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

The legislation, proposed by Shas MK Amnon Cohen, would mandate that ISPs offer customers the option of blocking sites deemed unsuitable . Specifically mentioned in the proposal were sites featuring pornography, violence and gambling.

Only one member of the committee, Religious Services Minister Ya'acov Margi, supported putting the bill forward for deliberation in the Knesset plenum, while the other seven ministers opposed the bill.

Various lawmakers and civil rights activists spoke out against the bill in recent days, charging that it would deny citizens' rights to freedom of information and privacy.

One major bone of contention was a clause according to which the the right to decide the criteria for the appropriateness of the content would remain solely in the hands of the communications minister.

 

13th July   

Censorship Hotspot...

China refuses to allow Wi-Fi capability for iPhones
Link Here

China flag After drawn out negotiations with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Apple has conceded and filed an application to officially sell its best-selling iPhone without wi-fi connectivity in the mainland.

The Network Access License will allow the company's iPhone to enter the Chinese market and run only on Chinese cellular networks in Beijing's bid to maintain government censorship.

One of the iPhone's selling features was its wi-fi connectivity that allowed users to access the internet and other special iPhone applications from any place with a hotspot connection.

Apple was hell bent on having the iPhone be wifi-enabled, says Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison told Businessweek: The Chinese government has been just as adamant that it not be.”

 

12th July   

Update: Easily Offended Russian Prime Minister...

Putin clip excised from Russian showing of South Park
Link Here  full story: New Religion for Haircare...ASA patronise christians by banning haircare advert

South Park clip In an effort to spare their leader a shame, a Russian TV channel cuts a segment of South Park that mocks Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin. A spokesman for the channel, which is called "2x2", said that: the given scene in this version was absent.

Originally airing in U.S. back in 2005, the episode called Free Willzyx portrays Putin as a leader who is desperate for money. When Kyle calls him about sending a killer whale to space, he demands 20 million dollars. But realizing that it is just a non-serious call from America, Putin curses on the phone and says Kiss my a** George Bush, this isn't funny.

It is still unclear yet, whether the censorship comes from the network or the regulator. Nevertheless, the decision prompted criticism and discussion on Russian blogs.

 

12th July   

Fear of the Unflattering...

Press photographers to boycott Britney Spears over restrictive contract
Link Here

Britney Spears CD Swedish top newspapers have threatened to boycott a Britney Spears concert in Stockholm because of restrictions the pop star has imposed on their photographers.

Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen and Aftonbladet, the country's top four papers, say they will not send photographers to the show unless Spears agrees to scrap certain conditions on how the images can be used.

The contract allegedly bars the papers from reselling the pictures and from publishing them more than 30 days after the concert.

The contract also reportedly prohibits newspapers from publishing pictures from the show that the concert's organisers deem unflattering. However, if a picture is favourable, the contract demands that Spears' manager be given ownership rights to it.

Roger Turesson, photo editor for Dagens Nyheter, said: The next step would be to tell critics they can't write anything critical.

 

12th July   

Cut and Run...

Two versions of Ruggero Deodato's Cut and Run
Link Here

Cut and Run Cut and Run is a 1985 Italian action film by Ruggero Deodato (Medusa)

The 1985 Medusa video was not cut by the BBFC, but the softer of two versions was submitted

From cuts details on IMDb

There were 2 different versions of this film made for different markets. The first version was a straight forward action film, which was made for the US market (to get an R rating) and for countries like the UK where censorship restrictions where problematic. However the director filmed several additional extra gory scenes for use in Italy, Japan and other countries that demanded a "stronger" version.

These included alternate takes on the intro fight scene, the drug house massacre and the raid on the jungle camp, which featured additional violence nudity and gore.

Thanks to Simon:

The US Anchor Bay DVD contains the additional extra gory scenes in Italian language only (so the dialogue keeps switching between Italian and English) as they claim the extra gory "hard" version was never dubbed into English.

This is not the case as the Hong Kong video was of the uncut version and entirely in English. Also, there's a couple of scenes in the Anchor Bay DVD in Italian that were actually dubbed into English on the "soft" version, so there's no reason for these to be in Italian at all.

Review from UK Amazon : Slick jungle adventure

This is a slick jungle adventure that was first offered to Wes Craven but was given to Ruggero Deodato to direct.

The producers wanted a Cannibal Holocaust 2 and it shows with several scenes that is not for the squeamish but looking beyond that this is a big budget 80's horror/action adventure that boasts several standout performances and an outstanding score from Claudio Simonetti.

Given his brief screen time Richard Lynch gives a weird understated performance that was something out of Colonel Kurtz from Apocolypse Now.

Who also stands out even though he is given even less time than Lynch is Michael Berryman who has to be given the honour of having the greatest screen entrances of all time!! You have to see to believe!

Lastly was lifts right up above the rest is the pounding score by Simonetti, it creates the right mood for a jungle setting and switches pace with that of the movie. If anybody wants to know what the role of a score is, just watch this film.

Although this film does suffer from conflicting plot lines and confused genre direction, it is still a great film that is worth seeing.

 

11th July   

Stephen Conroy Internet Villain...

UK ISPA dishonours Australian minister for internet villainy
Link Here

ISPA logo The UK ISP trade association ISPA famously make awards to the internet Hero and internet Villain of the past twelve months.

These went respectively to the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), for their work in recognising publicly that the focus of music companies should be the development of new business models for distributing content online, and to Stephen Conroy and the Australian Government for continuing to promote network-level blocking despite significant national and international opposition.

Unsurprisingly, no-one turned up to collect the internet Villain award. But collecting the Internet Hero award on behalf of Featured Artists Coalition, Billy Bragg urged greater co-operation between the music and internet industries.

FAC Chairman and Blur drummer Dave Rowntree added: I hope this shows that artists are willing to talk with ISPs about the challenges of adapting music industry business models to the digital age. We have to work together – the status quo is not good enough.

So is ISPA going soft on file-sharing? Of the 9 nominations in the Hero/Villain categories, one nomination for villainy went to France's President Nikolas Sarkozy, for his role in promoting draconian sanctions in respect of internet piracy (the "loi Hadopi").

A spokesman for ISPA confirmed that they do not condone unlawful file sharing. However, he said: We feel that disconnection and technical sanctions are disproportionate. We are very much in favour of working toward a better position than the present through the more pragmatic approaches that the FAC have come out with. We want to change the focus away from music companies calling for people to be cut from the internet.

 

11th July   

Update: Ireland Succumbs to Nonsense...

Irish Seanad narrowly approves blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Houses of the Oireachtas The Irish government lost a vote in the Seanad on the Defamation Bill but managed to save the legislation by calling for a walk-through vote which gave enough time for two missing Senators to be found.

The Government defeat came on an amendment to the Bill proposed by Senator Eugene Regan of Fine Gael proposing to delete the provision in the legislation making blasphemy a crime.

In an electronic vote whereby Senators press a button, the Government was defeated by 22 votes to 21 in the 60-member upper house.

However, Fianna Fáil whip Diarmuid Wilson immediately requested a walk-through vote which takes about 10 minutes to complete. In that period two Senators, Geraldine Feeney of Fianna Fáil and Deirdre De Burca of the Green Party, had time to get to the chamber and the amendment was defeated by 23 votes to 22. The Bill itself was then passed by the same margin.

The controversy surrounded a clause in the Defamation Bill dealing with the crime of blasphemy which Minister for Injustice Dermot Ahern insisted had to be included for constitutional reasons, although this was disputed by Opposition parties and Independents.

Senator Dan Boyle of the Green Party said that while he accepted the reason blasphemy was included in the Bill, the effect would be to codify an offence that most people did not believe in and that made a nonsense of the legal process.

 

11th July   

Update: Unilateral Free Speech...

Nutters happy at retaining exemption allowing continued whinges at gays
Link Here  full story: Gay Hate Law in the UK...Christian MPs and ban on anti gay speech

House of Lords logo The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its attempt to repeal a free speech protection from a sexual orientation 'hatred' law.

Peers voted by 186 to 133 to keep the protection in place. The matter will be passed back to the House of Commons where MPs voted for repeal.

The protection makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct or encouraging people to refrain from such conduct is not a crime.

The Government says the protection is not necessary, insisting that the homophobic hatred offence would not catch the expression of such beliefs.

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: Genuine supporters of free speech will be pleased with this result. Democracy depends on the freedom of people to challenge ideas, to dispute with each other, to contend for what they believe. Too many Christians have already been intimidated by over-zealous police action because they gave voice to their views on sexual ethics. Surely the world is big enough to allow all sides to express their beliefs about sexual behaviour without fearing a knock on the door from the police. [But I wonder of he is so keen to defend free speech when it is religion that is being criticised]

 

11th July   

Controlled Hate...

Two men jailed for offences linked with race hate website
Link Here  full story: Race Hate Internet Prosecutions...UK prosecutions over internet comments

HM Courts Service Two men have been jailed after becoming the first in the UK to be convicted of inciting racial hatred via a foreign website.

Simon Sheppard received four years and 10 months, and Stephen Whittle two years and four months. The men printed leaflets and controlled US websites featuring racist material.

They fled to the US after being convicted at Leeds Crown Court last year, but failed in an asylum bid.

Sheppard was found guilty of 11 offences and Whittle was found guilty of five offences at a trial in July last year. Sheppard was convicted of a further five charges in January 2009.

Leeds Crown Court was told Whittle wrote offensive articles that were then published on the internet by Sheppard. The published material included images of murdered Jews alongside cartoons and articles ridiculing ethnic groups.

Judge Rodney Grant said: These are serious offences. I can say without any hesitation that I have rarely seen, or had to read or consider, material which is so abusive and insulting... towards racial groups within our own society.

The investigation into Sheppard began when a complaint about a leaflet, called Tales of the Holohoax , was reported to police in 2004 after it was pushed through the door of a synagogue in Blackpool. It was traced back to a post office box in Hull registered to Sheppard. Humberside Police later found a website featuring racially inflammatory material.

The pair thought that they could circumvent English law because their website was hosted in the US.

Comment: Holocaust denial via the back door

11th July 2009. From Phantom on the Melon Farmers Forum

This looks like a outlawing of holocaust denial via the back door.

It also is a tightening up on existing standards of freedom of expression. The moment you voice anything abusive or insulting you're taking a step closer to jail.

Billy Connelly, Frankie Boyle and Roy Chubby Brown better take note. They are inches away from being outlawed.

I'm sorry, but in my mind's eye, we're hitting a serious wall here.

Just recently we've had a guy sentenced to one and a half years of supervision and re-education meetings for being curious about an aspect of bizarre adult sexuality.

Now we've just had a guy sentenced to four and a half years in jail for not liking Jews and saying as much.

I have at times myself been the man with the wrong face and name in the wrong place, so I'm no friend to prejudice and xenophobia of any kind. But I've always understood that the price of freedom is to let those of an opposing opinion speak. This includes narrow-minded people with little more than hate between their ears.

Yet it seems these days - especially with this government - argument is being closed down (just look what they allow for debate in the commons!) and instead bans and prohibitions are the preferred norm. Who needs Perikles or Cicero if you can just ban anyone from making wrong choices?

I really think we are witnesses to something very bad happening here, people.

Comment: Lost Appeal

1st February 2010. See article from news.bbc.co.uk

Two men have lost their appeals against the UK's first conviction for inciting racial hatred via a foreign website.

Simon Sheppard was sentenced to four years and 10 months, and Stephen Whittle to two years and four months at Leeds Crown Court in July.

However, the Court of Appeal has reduced Sheppard's sentence by one year and Whittle's jail term by six months.

 

11th July   

The Cerebrally Challenged ASA...

Advert censor whinges radio advert using the word 'mental'
Link Here

Bognor Motors A radio ad, for a car dealership, stated Did you know the service department at Bognor Motors can collect your car or van from your home or work service it, MOT it and even clean it inside and out and deliver it back to you for just £99.99 ... For leasing, sales service and rental, if you don't go to Bognor Motors, you must be mental.

The Capital Project Trust (CPT), a mental health charity, challenged whether the ad was offensive to those with mental health problems.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA considered that listeners would infer that the word 'mental' referred to those potential customers who chose not to avail of the services offered by Bognor Motors and that those customers were therefore not of full mental capacity. We understood CPT's concern that 'mental' was a pejorative term habitually used to demean or ridicule people with mental health problems and considered that was the context in which it would be understood in this ad. We considered that the reference was likely to be seen to denigrate those with mental health problems and concluded that the ad could cause serious offence to some listeners.

The ad breached CAP (Broadcast) Radio Advertising Standards Code section 2 rule 9 (Good Taste, Decency and Offence to Public Feeling).

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

 

11th July   

The Council on Morality...

Moral censors add to the already repressive censorship in Belarus
Link Here

Belarus flag A council on morality is being created in the country. It is to study the moral image of Belarusian book and cinema markets. Even Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin and Hilter Kaputt! films can be banned by this censorship.

The council on morality is created as a public organisation. It unites writers, artists, and workers of arts, experts of the Ministry of Culture, Education and Information, the representative of the Union of Belarusian Writers noted.

Practical activities haven't been started by experts yet, but Ryhor Marchuk gave examples of works they are to focus on: Blue Salo , a book by Vladimir Sorokin, and Marius Vaisberg's comedy Hitler Kaputt! which recently was screened in Belarusian cinemas.

In no way we are comparing our activities with censorship, as in most cases we will analyze works of art which have already been released and entered the market. We will trace all the new works of art, observe reaction of people to the so-called objectionable works, which evoke diametrically opposed opinions, and then acquaint ministries and agencies with the results of our research, Narodnaya gazeta quotes the secretary of the Union of Writers as saying.

The aim of the organisation, Marchuk said, is preserving high moral ideals the society has”. As said by him, the evaluation of the council is to be given to interested agencies in the form of recommendations to pay attention to “particular extremity of this or that work of art.

It should be reminded that over the time of Alyaksandr Lukashenka's rule in Belarus almost every printed word undergoes censorship. There are no independent TV channels in the country, so films that contradict the views of the regime are not shown. The same concerns books. Not only closing down of almost all independent newspapers has become a sign of destroyed freedom of speech in the country. Books of independent authors are not printed by state publishing houses. Even the People's Writer of Belarus Vasil Bykau was banned, as he criticized Alyaksandr Lukahsneka's policies.

 

10th July   

Update: Bad...

Complaints about too much Michael Jackson TV coverage
Link Here

Michael Jackson Bad CD The BBC has been criticised over the extent of its coverage of Michael Jackson's funeral and memorial service in Los Angeles.

One online complaint said: The coverage of Jackson's death has been far too extensive. The BBC has developed a cult of personality in line with the rest of the new media and have great pleasure in over reporting celebrities. Once it was the channel to watch for news, now it is not. The argument for the licence fee is founded on its impartiality and capability. Both can seriously be questioned.

The BBC News channel and the international BBC World News outlet screened the memorial with coverage fronted by Rajesh Mirchandani in Los Angeles. However, BBC Two also cleared its early evening schedule to broadcast live from the memorial from the Staples Centre.

Last week, the BBC received 748 complaints over its wall-to-wall coverage of the death of the singer.

Mary Hockaday, head of the BBC newsroom, posted a blog entry on BBC website defending the coverage. She said: We've had a number of complaints about our coverage, the main charge being that we simply did too much: that his death didn't justify the prominence and scale of our reporting through Friday and into the weekend. The story was certainly very prominent, with extensive reporting on our domestic and global news channels and it was the lead story on our television and radio bulletins and on the web. But this wasn't to the exclusion of other important stories domestically and internationally.

 

10th July   

The ASA Sucks...

Advert censor whinges about 12 rated ad on Yahoo!
Link Here

I Love You Man DVD An internet display ad, for the film I Love You Man , showed the film's trailer when the user clicked through. The trailer featured scenes where various characters discussed oral sex. A female character said He goes down on you like six times a week to which another female character replied Lock that tongue down girl . In another scene, a male character said: Sometimes I wish that she enjoyed ... to which another male character replied getting it in the tush? ; the first male character responded No. Oral sex. In a further scene a male character said: Zoe you are about to marry a pleasure giver ... so give it back, return the favour to which a male character whispered to his female partner I don't think she sucks his ... and she replied Watch your mouth.

The complainant, who maintained that his child had viewed the ad, objected that the sexual content of the ad was offensive and unsuitable to be displayed on the Yahoo! homepage where children could see it.

Paramount Pictures UK (Paramount) said, although they acknowledged that the ad was of a theme that was not family orientated, Yahoo! had assured them that 90% of the visitors to the page it appeared on were over 18 years of age. They said the ad only ran for one day and stated clearly that the film had been given a 15 certificate. Paramount pointed out that the ad had to be clicked on in order to play the trailer and they believed that users would therefore have seen the film rating. They said the video content within the ad (the film trailer) had been given a 12A rating by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), and a post-9pm restriction by Clearcast for the same content when broadcast on TV.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted the ad made several sexual references including explicit and implied references to oral sex. Although the trailer was representative of the content of the film and might be seen by some users to be humorous, we considered that some users were likely to consider such references offensive. We also noted the complainant's concern that the ad could be viewed by children but noted Yahoo!'s assertion that the audience for the Yahoo! homepage was overwhelmingly over the age of 18. However, we considered that the site was of general interest and likely to appeal to a broad range of internet users. We noted they had also pointed out that the trailer aspect of the ad appeared only after the user clicked on the display ad. However, we noted the ad was not protected through age verification or targeting and the display element of the ad gave no indication of the sexual themes of the trailer.

Because we considered that the sexual themes of the ad were likely to offend some users and were unsuitable for children, and because Yahoo! had not taken adequate steps to ensure that the ad was appropriately targeted, we concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Responsible advertising) and 5.1 (Decency).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form unless appropriately targeted.

 

10th July   

Dishing up a Ban...

Maldives ban satellite TV receivers
Link Here

Maldives flag The import of Airtel digital satellite receivers to Maldives has been banned, the Islamic Affairs Ministry has said.

Speaking a news conference held by the Ministry, the Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Baaree said that they had been receiving many complaints about the receivers from the public: We've even received a CD of a program that was aired on the channel, he said, adding that the program promoted Christianity.

When asked why the Airtel receivers were being banned while pornography websites and sites that promoted Christianity were still available, the Minister said that dish antennas were different from the internet.

Dish antennas are imported through the Customs, he said: The law prohibits the import of material that can be used to promote and spread illegal religions in the country. We discussed with the authorities whether there was any way we could switch off certain channels or not but they told us that it was not possible. Then we discussed it with the Attorney General and came to this decision. Internet is not made available through the Customs.

 

9th July   

Update: Ireland Brings Back the Guillotine for Blasphemy...

Irish Dáil approves blasphemy law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

Houses of the Oireachtas The legislation to revise Ireland's libel laws has been passed in the Dáil and will now go to the Seanad.

This afternoon in the Dáil, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern amended the legislation so that the maximum fine for blasphemy will be cut from €100,000 to €25,000.
Advertisement

Both the leaders of Labour and Fine Gael criticised the fact that a guillotine, was imposed on the debate.

Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh said only an hour was given over to debate the 33 amendments to the legislation.

See also article from mediawatchwatch.org.uk :

This is what  the Dáil has imposed on their citizens:

36. Publication or utterance of blasphemous matter.

(1) A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person publishes or utters blasphemous matter if (a) he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion, and (b) he or she intends, by the publication or utterance of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

(3) It shall be a defence to proceedings for an offence under this section for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find genuine literary, artistic, political, scientific, or academic value in the matter to which the offence relates.

 

9th July   

Updated: Covert CounterStrike...

Germany bans public display of CounterStrike
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Germany has banned any public display of the immensely popular game CounterStrike .

As a result, tournaments have been cancelled - including the Convention-X-Treme tournament, as well as several Friday night game events. LAN parties are no longer permitted to play the game. Of course, in private dwellings, people are still able to play for now.

The move has come as a response to a wave of school shootings that the government has blamed squarely on violent video games. In fact, ministers have proposed that the production and distribution of all violent video games should be banned.

It remains to be seen whether the minister's requests will be granted, and that video games will be subject to further censorship. This is clearly a first step along that path.

Update: Violent Games Protests

9th July 2009.  See article from gamepolitics.com

While information to that effect is sketchy so far, talk of a ban would be consistent with our May report on the forced cancellation of a LAN event in Stuttgart which featured Counter-Strike and Warcraft III competitions.

German gamers aren't taking these repressive measures lying down, however. An estimated 400 gamers assembled for a June protest march in Karlsruhe. German gamer Matthias Dittmayer e-mailed GamePolitics to let us know that more gamer demonstrations are planned for later this month:

Because of this [censorship] there was the (as far as I know) first demonstration of gamers in Germany with up to 400 gamers. The next 3 demonstration in Cologne, Karlsruhe and Berlin are announced for the 25th of July.

 

9th July   

Update: Whinge TV...

Whinge count for Big Brother 10 stands at 290
Link Here

Big Brother 10 logo TV censor Ofcom has received almost 300 complaints about Big Brother in the past week, with the majority about an incident broadcast on Friday in which one of the housemates threatened another.

Ofcom said it had received 290 complaints about a variety of issues connected to the show in the week up to Monday 6 July.

The largest proportion of more than 200 complaints was about an argument between housemates Marcus Akin and Sree Dasari, which occurred on Thursday.

A Big Brother spokeswoman said: Big Brother intervened and took immediate and appropriate action relating to the argument between Sree and Marcus.

Marcus received a formal warning following his use of threatening language during his argument with Sree. Threatening language and behaviour is not acceptable in the Big Brother house. Big Brother monitors the welfare, language and behaviour of housemates at all times and will continue to monitor this situation.

 

9th July   

Update: Freedom of Preach...

Christians petition to be able to continue hating their neighbours
Link Here  full story: Gay Hate Law in the UK...Christian MPs and ban on anti gay speech

CCFON logo A petition signed by 20,000 Christians across the UK was handed in yesterday to Buckingham Palace, No 10 Downing Street and the House of Lords. Petitioners believe Government plans, contained in Clause 61 of the Coroners and Justice Bill to be voted on this week in the House of Lords, will effectively gag Christians from openly explaining what they believe the Bible has said about sexual conduct for more than 2,000 years.

The petition also drew attention to the plans of a small group of Peers who are trying to legalise assistance with suicide by tabling amendments to the same Bill. (Editor's note: this amendment was defeated last night in the Lords by 194 votes to 141).

Christian Concern for our Nation, sister organisation to the Christian Legal Centre, which has represented many Christians in high profile cases where employers have denied Christians the right of freedom of speech on moral issues, co-ordinated the Petition, signed by 20,000 individuals, to draw attention to what they describe as the devastating consequences to Christian witness if the Coroners and Justice Bill goes through Parliament as it stands.

 

9th July   

Censorial Bullshit...

Ofcom publish their 2008-9 Annual Report
Link Here

Ofcom logo Our worthless TV censor, Ofcom, seem to excel in writing such bullshit fine ideals as

  • Empowering citizens and consumers and improving regulatory compliance where necessary
  • Reducing regulation and minimising administrative burdens

    Whilst at the same time they are running an almost religious crusade against sex on TV.

    Anyway, if anybody would like to read any further examples of vaporous nonsense, then they have just published their Annual Report

  •  

    9th July   

    Update: Freedom to Repress...

    Iran replaces China as world's worst jailer of journalists
    Link Here

    Iran flag A With at least 30 journalists currently in prison, Iran replaces China as the world's worst jailer of journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ called on the Iranian authorities to release all journalists who have been detained following the country's disputed June 12 presidential elections.

    CPJ research shows that at least 24 detained in the aftermath of the elections remain in custody, in addition to at least six journalists who were in detention prior to the disputed elections. In the past few days three journalists have been freed, while at least three others have been arrested.

    Of the 30 journalists currently behind bars, 13 work primarily for print publications, three work for online publications, two work for television stations, six are primarily bloggers, and an additional six are freelancers or with unknown affiliations.

    The Iranian authorities have orchestrated a campaign against journalists of all types since the June 12 presidential elections, said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem: Despite some isolated releases, the number of journalists behind bars is at an all time high. The authorities should immediately release all the detained journalists.

     

    9th July   

    Update: Tunisia Spreads Rumours about Repression...

    Tunisian woman jailed for 8 months for writing about child abduction on Facebook
    Link Here

    Tunisia flag A court in Tunis has condemned a retired professor, Dr Khedija Arfaoui, to eight months in prison for spreading rumors, on the social networking website Facebook, supposedly liable to disrupt public order.

    Dr Khedija Arfaoui, a feminist retired professor was accused of spreading a message on Facebook about the rumor of 5 children being abducted from school in Tunisia. Recent rumors that children have been abducted and trafficked in Tunisia have been circulating for some months and have reached epidemic proportions with many parents concerned that their kids will be kidnapped, despite an official denial by Tunisia's Minister of Interior during a press conference.

     

    8th July   

    Cameron to Ban TV Censor...

    Tory leader suggests TV censorship policy making should revert to government
    Link Here

    David Cameron Conservative leader David Cameron has said that he would remove media regulator Ofcom's policy-making powers if the party were to win at the next General Election.

    In a speech to the Reform think tank, Cameron laid out his plans to reduce the number of quangos, should he become Prime Minister.  

    The plans include scrapping Ofcom and the Qualifications, Curriculum and Development Agency (QCDA), in order to cut costs.

    The Conservative leader said: The problem today is that too many state actions, services and decisions are carried out by people who cannot be voted out by the public, by organisations that feel no pressure to answer for what happens in a way that is completely unaccountable.

    He said that some powers would be handed back to Ministers, with some quangos being reformed and slimmed down, while others - including Ofcom - would cease to exist in their current form.

    The policy-making functions of Ofcom - such as deciding the future of local news and Channel 4 - would be handed back to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

    In an interview with BBC Breakfast, Cameron said: Give Ofcom, or give a new body, the technical function of handing out the licences and regulating lightly the content that is on the screens. But it shouldn't be making policy, it shouldn't have its own communications department.

     

    8th July   

    Update: Judicial Firebolt...

    Arsonists sentenced to 4.5 years for attacking home of The Jewel of Medina publisher
    Link Here  full story: Jewel of Medina...Publishers run scared over book

    Jewel of Medina book The muslim arsonists who tried to burn down the house of the publisher of The Jewel of Medina have each been sentenced to 4 years, 6 months in jail.

    Sentencing Ali Beheshti and two accomplices, Mrs Justice Rafferty told them: If you choose to live in this country, you live by its rules. There is no such thing as "a la carte citizenship" and, in your case, there is no such thing as "a la carte obedience" to the law.

    Beheshti, a follower of hate cleric Abu Hamza, poured diesel through the letterbox of Martin Rynja's £2.5million house and set it alight to punish him for agreeing to release The Jewel of Medina , a fictional account of the Prophet's child bride.

    Last September, with accomplices Abrar Mirza and Abbas Taj he attacked the five-storey home and office of Rynja in Islington, North London. A small fire began but nobody was hurt because police and fire crews arrived in time to smash down the door and put it out.

     

    8th July   

    Update: Underwhelmed by Discriminatory Legislation...

    So has a porn ban cured Aboriginal society woes?
    Link Here  full story: Discriminatory Porn Ban in Australia...Porn is banned in Aboriginal communities

    Australia: Northen Territories flag Only a handful of people have been prosecuted for possessing pornography in Northern Territory Indigenous communities, where the explicit material is banned.

    The ban was one of a raft of measures, including alcohol restrictions, introduced in remote communities when the federal intervention was initiated in 2007.

    The Darwin Magistrates Court today heard that only a handful of people have faced court for having the material under intervention laws. The ABC understands the number is as low as five.

     

    8th July   

    UAE Press Censors on Steroids...

    Newspaper closed down for 20 days over horse racing doping story
    Link Here

    Al-Emarat Al-Youm newspaper logo A criminal court has suspended a newspaper that reported on a horse-racing scandal, upholding a 2008 ruling. Its editor and publisher were also fined.

    The UAE's Federal Supreme Court upheld on July 1 a November 2008 defamation conviction issued by an appeals court in Abu Dhabi. The ruling called for the suspension of the Arabic-language daily Al-Emarat Al-Youm for 20 days and the fining of editor-in-chief Sami Al-Reyami and Abdullatif Al-Sayegh, the chief executive of the newspaper's publisher, the Arab Media Goup, to 20,000 UAE dirhams (US$5,400) each, according to local news reports. The court ruling cannot be appealed. The suspension took effect as of Sunday, according to local press reports.

    We are disappointed by the Federal Supreme Court's decision to uphold the suspension of Al-Emarat Al-Youm, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ program coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa: Not only does this suspension deprive the public from information but it also illustrates the inadequacy of the UAE's media law.

    The case stemmed from an October 2006 article that alleged that a company called Warsan Stables had given steroids to horses to improve their performance in an Abu Dhabi race, CPJ research shows.

     

    8th July   

    Update: Panic and Censor...

    Australians fearful of the excesses of art, film, television and the internet
    Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Australia...Getting wound up by children in art

    Bill Henson photo Watching the smouldering ruins of the Henson bonfire in the past few months, I've had reason to recall the old ambassador's wisdom. The transition from Howard to Rudd has seen not much change from the social caution of the old era. The liberals inside Labor are almost as embattled as they were inside the Coalition. That Rudd is, as we were warned, very, very conservative involves more than maintaining the American alliance. It also means continuing to promise fearful Australians protection from the excesses of art, film, television and now, above all, the internet.

    As the year drags to a close, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is fine-tuning a regime of internet censorship unique in the democratic world. Under direction from Rudd, the Australia Council is drafting protocols that will tie in bureaucratic knots any artist dealing with children and present extraordinary obstacles to their work being put on the net. And the nation's attorneys-general are roaming the outskirts of censorship law to try to crack down on images of naked children. Kevin Rudd's Australia is in a funk over art and kids.

    ...Read full article

     

    7th July   

    Update: Not In Bweach...

    Jonathan Ross cleared over gay quip about Hannah Montana MP3 player
    Link Here

    Jonathan Ross: Why? Jonathan Ross
    BBC Radio 2, 9 May 2009, 10:00


    During a live and unscripted part of his Saturday morning radio show, Jonathan Ross discussed the prizes for the week's competition with his producer, Andy Davies. The prizes were primarily made up of Hannah Montana merchandise, which included a Hannah Montana MP3 player. As part of this discussion, Jonathan Ross said:

    If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, then you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption in later life, when they settle down with their partner.

    Ofcom received 61 complaints from listeners who were concerned that Jonathan Ross' comments were offensive and derogatory towards the gay community.

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

    Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

    Jonathan Ross' BBC Radio 2 show has been broadcast since 1999. It has an established format that is largely made up of quirky, humorous stories and on-air chat with the show's producer, Andy Davies.

    The comment complained of was made during a live and unscripted element of the programme as part of a light-hearted discussion between Jonathan Ross and Andy Davies. In Ofcom's opinion, the comment was clearly presented as a joke intended to make light of the reactions that some parents may have if their child chooses a toy that is very widely recognised to be designed and marketed for the opposite sex. The humour was therefore based on the absurdity of the scenario and was not intended to cause offence. The fact that this comment was intended to be a joke was illustrated further by the reaction from Andy Davies, who was heard laughing. Ofcom therefore considered that the nature of the joke and the tone and manner in which it was presented made clear that it was not intended to be hostile or pejorative towards the gay community in general.

    Ofcom took into account that Jonathan Ross is a well known personality, who has an irreverent, challenging and at times risqué humour that is familiar to audiences. Ofcom also recognised that the comment was clearly aimed at an adult audience. Importantly, if children did hear this comment it was unlikely that they would have understood it or its implications. In light of this, Ofcom considered that there was little potential for the comment to be imitated by children, for example in the playground.

    Ofcom considered that the comment was in keeping with the usual light-hearted and humorous style and format of the programme. The nature of the joke would have been well understood by the vast majority of listeners and would not have exceeded their normal expectations for the programme.

    Taking all these factors into account, Ofcom considered that on balance the material was justified by the context and met generally accepted standards. The programme was therefore not in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

     

    7th July   

    Lara Does a Twirl...

    Uncut Lara Croft Tomb Raider lined up for Blu-ray
    Link Here
    Lara Croft Tomb Raider US Blu-ray Lara Croft Tomb Raider is a 2001 US action film by Simon West (Paramount Home Entertainment)

    Thanks to Gavin

    The 2009 Paramount Blu-ray is noted as the Uncut Feature and has just been passed uncut but with a 15 certificate

    Previously the BBFC state that the 2001 Paramount DVD is cut as per the cinema release: Cuts required to glamorising shots of flick knife (including sight and/or sound of knife opening , a close shot of the knife covered in blood, and clear sight of knife being twirled) and to sight of a headbutt delivered by heroine, to take account of the large, young, 12-14 year old audience which has already been created by the similarly cut film version.

     

    7th July   

    Digging Up Old Cuts...

    Old Cuts to The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue
    Link Here

    The Living Dead The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue is a 1974 Italian/Spanish horror by Jorge Grau (Anchor Bay)

    All BBFC cuts were waived for the 2002 Blue Underground DVD, Let Sleeping Corpses Lie/The Living Dead at  Manchester Morgue

    It is interesting to see that this DVD has just been resubmitted to the Australian film censors and they have down graded the certificate to an MA 15+

    Previously the 1:27s pre-cut cinema version was submitted for video in 1985 by Network Distribution. The BBFC demanded 26s of further cuts. This release was titled The Living Dead at  Manchester Morgue

    From cuts details on IMDb :

    • Removed shots of the policeman's mutilated body
    • Removed all footage of flesh eating
    • Removed shots of zombies on fire
    • Removed the killing of the Doctor with an axe
    • Removed a nurse being eviscerated and her breast ripped off.

    Before that, VIP released the uncut video in June 1992 titled The Living Dead. The Living Dead was listed as a video nasty in October 1983 but it was dropped from the list in April 1985

    Review from US Amazon : British Mini

    Watching this film was a real treat as it was devoid of the usual American teenage students being slaughtered and was even filmed here in the U.K. It's full of 1960's/70's kitsch and the hero's even drive a real British Mini, a link copied in a recent advertisement campaign! The picture quality is excellent so you can see the Zombies in all their lurid excellence and so are the extra's and packaging. If you only ever buy one Zombie movie, make it this one!

     

    7th July   

    Offsite: Internet Censorship...

    UK adult internet users: 2008 research report
    Link Here

    IWF logo Research was commissioned by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in September 2008 to provide the following insights and information:

    • An up-to-date picture of the public's awareness of the IWF and its work
    • Public perceptions of issues associated with the IWF and its role
    • To enable an evaluation of IWF awareness campaigns
    • To explore public opinion on wider issues outside the IWF's specific role including online content, behaviours, and criminal activity as well as key concerns such as freedom of information

    This report is based on 1,000 interviews with adult men and women in the UK as a representative and significant sample of UK adult internet users.

    Selected Results:

    2. Just over one quarter of respondents (27%) describe the principle of “freedom of information” on the internet as vitally important and two thirds (65%) say it is at least very important. Most of the remainder think it is quite important and only 7% say it is not important.

    4. 17% of all respondents say they use the internet for adult content websites; more men (27%) than women (8%).

    7. 55%, rising to 67% of male respondents, consider pornography on the internet to be legal. Only 13% of all respondents and 19% of male respondents consider very extreme/violent pornography to be legal.

    17. 28% of respondents, rising to 31% of men and 35% of those aged over 65, are aware of the recent changes in the law making it illegal to possess very extreme pornography, such as that featuring animals or extreme violence.

    19. Women (30%) are twice as likely as men (15%) to want adult websites removed from the internet as are over 65 year olds (33%) compared with 18-24 year olds (16%). 23% overall think adult sites should be removed from the internet.

    20. Few respondents have definitely heard of the IWF or know them well (4%). 19% recall hearing the name.

    ...Read full article

     

    6th July   

    Diary: FrightFest 2009...

    Fantasy and horror film festival
    Link Here

    FrightFest logo 27th - 31st August 2009
    Empire Leicester Square, London

    FrightFest 2009, the tenth edition, has been confirmed for August at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square in the heart of London's West End. This year's dates are Thursday 27th to Monday 31st of August.

    Thursday 27th August

    Main: 6.30 pm - Triangle
    Main: 9.15 pm - The Hills Run Red
    Main: 11.30 pm - Infestation + Deadwalkers

    Friday 28th August

    Main: 11.00am - The Horseman
    Main: 1.45 pm - Beware The Moon
    Main: 4.1O pm - An American Werewolf in London - Remastered
    Main: 7.20 pm - Shadow
    Main: 9.35 - The Horde
    Main: Midnight - Macabre + Paris By Night of the Livivng Dead

    Discovery: Noon - Best Worst Movie
    Discovery: 2.15 pm - I Sell The Dead
    Discovery: 4.15 pm - I Think We're Alone Now
    Discovery: 6.45 pm - Colin
    Discovery: 9.00 - Black

    Saturday 29th August

    Main: 11.30 am - Smash Cut
    Main: 1.45 pm - Hierro
    Main: 3.45 pm - Millennium
    Main: 7.00 pm - Giallo
    Main: 9.00 - Trick r' Treat
    Main: 11.15 pm Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl + Sad Case

    Discovery: Noon - The Horror of Writing' Competition
    Discovery: 1.45 pm - Evil Things
    Discovery: 4.15 - Fragment
    Discovery: 6.45 pm - It's Alive
    Discovery: 9.00 pm - Pontypool

    Sunday 31st August

    Main: 11.30 pm - Dead Snow
    Main: 1.45 pm - Human Centipede
    Main: 3.50 pm -Coffin Rock
    Main: 6.45 pm - Night of the Demons
    Main: 9.00 pm - Clive Barker's Dread
    Main: 11.15 pm - 100 Best Deaths

    Discovery: Noon - Black
    Discovery: 2.40 pm - Pontypool
    Discovery: 5.00 pm - I Think We're Alone Now
    Discovery: 7.00 pm - I Sell The Dead
    Discovery: 9.00 pm - Best Worst Movie

    Monday 31th August

    Main: 11.00 am - Zombie Women of Satan
    Main: 1.15 - The House of The Devil
    Main: 3.30 pm - Case 39
    Main: 6.30 - Heartless
    Main: 9.15 - The Descent Part 2

    Discovery: 11.00 - Colin
    Discovery: 2.15 pm - It's Alive
    Discovery: 4.15 pm - Fragment
    Discovery: 6.45 pm - Evil Things

     

    6th July   

    Dreaming of Freedom in UAE...

    Authorities threaten to close down illicit satellite services
    Link Here

    UAE flag Illicit pornography and pirate TV broadcasts in the UAE will be barred this week as the pay TV network Showtime Arabia and the local telecoms regulator join forces against the illegal programming.

    The partnership with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) will block 500 web servers transmitting pirate TV codes to approximately 1.5 million illegal set top boxes currently active across the Gulf, Dubai-based trade magazine MediaWeek Middle East reported.

    We're working hand-in-hand with the TRA because the majority of the piracy we suffer from involves criminal organisations putting encryption codes on the internet, Marc-Antoine d'Halluin, president and CEO of Showtime Arabia, was quoted as saying: What these servers do is allow people within the region to access pornography, as well as platforms such as Showtime.

    Many of the set-top boxes, branded 'Dreambox', are manufactured by the German company Dream Multimedia, which Showtime has initiated legal action against, the magazine said.

    D'Halluin said once barred the Dreamboxes would be useless, making it more like an 'idiot box. He said the boxes were being imported by criminal organisations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

     

    5th July   

    Update: Is God in a Biscuit...

    Father Ted creators see Irish Blasphemy law as a return to the Middle Ages
    Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

    Father Ted The creators of the Father Ted television series have denounced Ireland's proposed blasphemy laws as insanity and pledged to support a campaign to repeal them.

    Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan backed moves by a group of Irish secularists to challenge the bill against blasphemy introduced in the Dáil last week. Atheist Ireland said this weekend that it will publish a statement blaspheming all the major religions in Ireland, including Christianity and Islam. The group said it would be a calculated challenge to the law.

    Under the Irish constitution, the state is obliged to have blasphemy laws. The bill going through the Dáil would amend the Defamation Act of 1961, which includes blasphemy as a crime. To abolish blasphemy laws, the government would have to hold a referendum to amend the constitution. The duo described the blasphemy law contained in the new bill covering defamation in Ireland as a return to the Middle Ages.

    Linehan told the Observer that the justice minister Dermot Ahern, who introduced the bill, should be challenged to define what he meant by blasphemy . This is insanity. Please, Mr Ahern, define the things we can't say, please! Can we say, 'Jesus is gay'? Or can we ask, 'Is God in a biscuit? Could he tell us what it means? It is just insanity. After all, there are things contained in the holy books of one religion that are blasphemy to another religion. The logic behind this comes from Alice in Wonderland. He said the Irish blasphemy law was part of a trend in the west where freedom of expression was being attacked to placate the craziest people on earth.

    Linehan said that technically, under the new bill, certain scenes from Father Ted could be deemed blasphemous: In Ted we kind of generally avoided central tenets of belief, because it was not what the show was about. It was about a very bad priest who didn't think about religion a lot. Writers should not be looking over their shoulders. If you are writing a satire today, the Irish government are making it harder to do that.

     

    5th July   

    Bye Bye Beyer Goodbye...

    John Beyer to step down from Mediawatch-UK
    Link Here
    John Beyer

       A voice whingeing in
    the wilderness

    John Beyer has announced his retirement from Mediawatch-UK

    The many hundreds of responses from members to the news that I have decided to retire from mediawatch-uk after 33 years were over whelming and very humbling. Speaking at the Annual General meeting in May, John Beyer said:

    There were just so many letters and messages that it was impossible to reply to each one personally. The gifts that so many people sent were very generous and the messages that accompanied some of them were very touching and will always be greatly treasured. Above all, these showed that mediawatch-uk is rather like an extended family with a unity of purpose that binds us all together.

    In his reflection on his time with mediawatch-uk John said: The challenges now are far greater than when Mary Whitehouse pioneered the campaign in the 1960s. In those days there were just two TV channels and a handful of radio stations. There was no internet, no computer games, no satellite or cable TV and video recorders were confined to the TV studios.

    The greatest difference then, however, is that there was a much stronger public consensus of what was acceptable on TV and what was not. There was greater certainty about what was good or bad taste and what was decent or indecent. Sadly, all that has changed and broadcasting and film have contributed significantly to the erosion of that consensus and the fragmenting of values.

    "The ongoing challenge for everyone involved is to reverse the responsibility-free attitudes and behaviour of the permissive 60s, which, combined with a political ideology, had a huge impact on the social, moral and economic development our society and culture. I am confident that mediawatch-uk is up to the challenge. Please continue to support the new team".

     

    5th July   

    Update: Russians See Red over Blue Language...

    Madonna winds up the Russians
    Link Here

    Sticky & Sweet book Madonna has upset dignitaries in St. Petersburg, Russia, by using strong language.

    The singer said It's fucking great at the beginning of an online audio teaser for her Sticky and Sweet concert in Palace Square which will take place on 2nd August.

    Reports suggest members of the legislative assembly in St. Petersburg have addressed Governor Valentina Matvienko with a proposal to sue Madonna for her comments, reported contactmusic.com.

     

    5th July   

    BBFC Fury...

    Old Cuts to Caged Fury
    Link Here

    Caged Fury Caged Fury is a 1989 US action film by Bill Milling (RCA/Columbia)

    The BBFC cut the 1991 RCA/Columbia video by 2:41s

    From cuts details on IMDb

    • Cut to edit scenes of fighting and violence including blood spurts and an eye gouging.

    See review from IMDb : Dirk Ramsey is the MAN

    This has got to be one of the funniest films of all time; featuring the most underrated action hero ever to grace the silver screen. For those of you who have yet to watch this masterpiece, Dirk Ramsey is the MAN! He is far superior to Spiderman; his intellect makes Batman look like a dunce, while his strength, even Superman would struggle against the might that is Ramsey. And did I mention that he oozes sex appeal? Throw in sleazy Eric Estrada as his side-kick Victor, and you have all the ingredients for one hell of a viewing. Also, all the 'ladies' on offer apart from Cat and Tracey Collins, are porn stars in real life, you've gotta love this film.

     

    5th July   

    Update: In the Best Possible Taste...

    Microsoft pull puke advert for private browsing in IE8
    Link Here

    OMGIGP Microsoft have pulled a pukey advert for private browsing mode introduced for their internet browser IE8.

    A woman borrows her husband's computer, visits a curious link in his Internet browser history (presumably porn), and vomits all over her husband. Then Dean Cain shows up and tells the viewer how to avoid such situations by using IE8's private-browsing mode.

    Anyway, Microsoft has pulled the advertisement - as much as you can from the Internet. The ad, as you can tell, is still available on YouTube and other places, though not through Microsoft. It was also taken off of BrowserForTheBetter.com, which is Microsoft's IE8 promotional Web site.

    Microsoft apparently got a slew of complaints about the video. 

    We make a point of listening to our customers, a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to CNET News: We created the OMGIGP video as a tongue-in-cheek look at the InPrivate Browsing feature of Internet Explorer 8, using the same irreverent humor that our customers told us they liked about other components of the Internet Explorer 8 marketing campaign. While much of the feedback to this particular piece of creative was positive, some of our customers found it offensive, so we have removed it.

     

    5th July   

    Morality Above Legality...

    US judge admonished for posting sexually explicit pictures on the internet
    Link Here

    US Dept of Justice A panel of his peers has admonished the chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for having posted sexually explicit images on a computer server that was publicly accessible. But the federal panel concluded that no further action or punishment was necessary against Judge Alex Kozinski because he apologized and took corrective action.

    We find that the judge's possession of sexually explicit offensive material combined with his carelessness in failing to safeguard his sphere of privacy was judicially imprudent, said the report by Anthony J. Scirica, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, who headed the special panel in Philadelphia. The panel scolded Kozinski, who was nominated by President Reagan, for exhibiting poor judgment ... [that] created a public controversy that can reasonably be seen as having resulted in embarrassment to the federal judiciary.

    Kozinski had stored the images on his family's personal server.

     

    5th July   

    Offsite: Slash, Femslash and Popslash...

    How to police popslash
    Link Here

    Girls Aloud CD It started with Star Trek fans writing stories about a Kirk/Spock love affair, and it quickly became a craze. Fantasy fiction, or fanfic websites now attract contributions from large numbers of obsessive fans, and new genres are emerging at a remarkable rate: slash fanfic focuses on gay relationships (the Lord of the Rings characters provide particularly fertile ground), with femslash for lesbian characters; and then there's real person popslash , where the unlucky subjects are celebrities in the music business.

    One popslash fantasy came to public attention this week when, most unusually, its author found himself in court. Darryn Walker's writing is darker than most. The 35-year-old former civil servant's story, a 12-page article called Girls (Scream) Aloud , depicted the kidnap, rape and murder of each member of girl band Girls Aloud by their coach driver.

    ...Read full article

     

    5th July   

    Offsite: Hands Up or I Shoot...

    East German film gets first release after being banned 43 years ago
    Link Here

    Hands Up or I Shoot film poster 43 years after it was blocked by communist censors, one of the funniest films shot in East Germany has finally seen the light of day.

    Hands up or I Shoot , a comedy that quietly mocked the East German police state has now gone on general release.

    Directed by Hans-Joachim Kasprzik, the film plays on the ideological creed that crime — a permanent feature of capitalism — was only a transitory phenomenon under socialism. When true communism arrived, crime would become extinct.

    The hero, Holms, played by Rolf Herricht, is a cop in a village without crime, a sign surely that East Germany was getting ever closer to communist paradise. How could the censor even raise his eyebrow let alone his red pen? Holms is ambitious and frustrated; he craves a car chase, a successful case, an opponent worthy of the name. So he engages some layabouts to steal the monument from the main square of his village. He goes in hot pursuit and on the way falls in love.

    All harmless stuff, one might think. Nothing doing. The Central Committee of the Communist Party insisted on changes in the dialogue. And in the editing. And in the voice of the narrator. Even this hatchet work was not good enough: the film was banned in 1966 and has not been seen since.

    ...Read full article

     

    4th July   

    Update: Hidden Games...

    Japanese timetable for an end to Rapelay like game
    Link Here  full story: Western censorship of Japanese Games...Japanese games winds up the social justice whingers

    EOCS general audience certificate As you're probably all aware, the mess that slowly started spinning with Rapelay is slowly going out of control recently.

    A new fax from the Japanese trade association censors, EOCS, has been sent out and as with previous faxes companies are still not allowed to release any of the information for some reason.

    • #New guidelines will start from October, all sales of older rape games will also have to stop, no matter if they're downloadable games or physical package games.
       
    • The period from 5th June to 31st September will be the changeover period where rape games will still be allowed to a certain extent, and the new restrictions will go full force starting from October. Games released sometime by the end of the year will most likely still be okay as games go through the judging process earlier before the actual release.
       
    • Shoujo (girl) and school council keywords managed to escape from the list of NG words.
       
    • Normally big decisions like this would need to be done through official meetings where companies can show their disapproval, but the EOCS is really forcing it in this time, and the person leaking the info suspects the EOCS is under huge pressure for them to be doing something like that. However he does not know if there are any other entities pressuring the EOCS other than the politicians.
       
    • CSA's regulations will be released next week apparently so some are waiting to see how that goes.
       
    • 5 companies were talking about quitting the industry.

    More of the translated information can be found on:

    Online DL shop announces new restrictions
    Summary of 26th June conference
    Visualarts blocks foreigners too

     

    4th July   

    Update: Hopeless Apple...

    More nonsense from the ludicrous iPhone censors
    Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

    Obama Hope Start Mobile has managed to get 18 separate iPhone applications approved by Apple. So you'll imagine their surprise when one of them was recently rejected. But you may be even more surprised to find out why.

    Apparently, Apple doesn't like the way one piece of art in the app depicts President Obama. Is it out of line or tasteless? Well, you can determine for yourself, because you've undoubtedly seen the art in question before: It's Shepard Fairey's famous “HOPE” image of Obama that was everywhere during his Presidential campaign.

    So why on Earth would this be rejected? Well, here's the wording in the rejection:

    It contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states: “Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.

    Ridicules public figures? This image is hanging in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian — yet, Apple apparently finds it inappropriate.

     

    4th July   

    In the Best Possible Taste...

    Singapore blown away by Burger King advert
    Link Here

    It'll blow your mind away A print advertisement of Burger King's sandwich in Singapore has come under fire because of its distasteful and unappetizing

    The ad for the BK Super Seven Incher shows mind-blowing sandwich near the open mouth of a wide-eyed, red-lipsticked woman accompanied by suggestive tagline: It'll blow your mind away.

    Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled, Fox News quoted the ad as saying further.

    The ad is a limited time promotion in Singapore, known around the world for its strict government controls of social conduct. And now advertising experts have said the ad leaves little to imagination and should be discontinued.

    A spokeswoman for Burger King, said the ad was produced by a local Singaporean agency.

     

    4th July   

    Comment: Moral Panic Part 765...

    The Sun doesn't shine on The Antichrist
    Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

    Antichrist poster The BBFC has decided that we, the ugly, rowdy, masses are, at 18, able to decide for ourselves whether or not we want to watch a film. Their research backs this up and, so it seems, do the majority of The Sun's readers…

    How do I know this? Well, today the British newspaper The Sun published a story with the shocking, weeks old, revelation that Lars Von Trier's latest offering, The Antichrist (2009), has been passed uncut as an '18' certificate. Sandwiched between links to a story about a girl taking her clothes off and the famous delights of Page 3 the writer (reporter seems too strong a word) informs us that the film contains images that cannot be properly described in a family newspaper . In true salacious overload we are also treated to a check-list of the contents.

    ...Read full article

    Comment: Sun, Sky, Morality & Ethics

    4th July 2009 from David

    So, if it's that offensive to the folks at News International, does that mean we can expect it not to be shown on Sky movies in a few months' time, with a salacious exclusively on here uncut message?

    Thought not...

     

    4th July   

    Offsite: What's the point of the BBFC...

    When it comes to independent films
    Link Here  full story: Diary of a Bad Lad...What’s wrong with the British Film Industry

    BBFC logo The BBFC defines its purpose as being to protect children – anyone under 18 – from unsuitable material. This may be all well and good when it comes to films on general release, or on sale at supermarket checkouts. But over 90% of these films are American productions (some with English actors and storylines) and at least six% of the rest are French productions from either Pathe or Gaumont.

    Basically British independent films don't get a look in because UK distributors simply can't afford the marketing spends which the multiplex chains demand before they'll consider booking a film. The result is that these films only get screened in specialised cinemas and arts centres which under 18s don't go to, and the DVD's are mainly sold via the internet to 18+ credit card holders. In short the BBFC is not 'protecting' anyone from these films.

    ...Read full article

     

    4th July   

    Hunting for Censorship...

    Old Cuts to The Hunting Party
    Link Here

    Hunting Paarty DVD The Hunting Party is a 1971 UK drama by Don Medford (Warner Home Video)

    The BBFC similarly cut the X rated 1971 cinema release and the 1986 Warner video by 1:43s

    From cuts details on IMDb :

    • Cut to remove horse-falls
    • Edits to the attempted rape scene with Hog Warren beating Melissa
    • Cut close up of the slaughter of a cow
    • Blood spurts from gunshot wounds were removed
    • Ending cut to the scene of Brandt Ruger's bedroom assault of a hooker with a candelabra and a cigar.

    See cuts details from dvdcompare.net

    In the US, the film was originally cut before its release in 1971, to achieve an 'R' certificate from the MPAA. The uncut version of the film was also submitted to the BBFC, who demanded 1min 43s of edits that were somewhat different to those required by the MPAA.

    However, all DVD versions of the film appear to derive from the American 'R' rated variant.

     

    4th July   

    Defenceless Bloggers...

    New Jersey court finds that bloggers are not afforded the same legal protection as journalists
    Link Here

    New Jersey state seal A judge in Freehold ruled yesterday that a Washington state blogger who posted comments about the pornography industry is not covered by shield laws that protect newspaper reporters and can be sued for defamation.

    Acknowledging that he was wading into largely uncharted legal waters, Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio said Shellee Hale's message board postings last year about a Freehold-based computer software company were nothing more than the rants of a private person with unexplained motives for her postings and cannot be given the same protections as information compiled though the process of news gathering.

    Locascio said judges have had to distinguish between people who are engaged in the true dissemination of information and those who are expressing opinions.

    Courts are now being faced with the task of evaluating a virtually limitless number of people who claim to be reporting' on issues, but who are, many times, doing little more than shouting from atop a digital soapbox, Locascio said.

    The decision maintains the distinction between internet bloggers and journalists affiliated with news organizations, said Thomas Cafferty, counsel to the New Jersey Press Association. Cafferty said he was not surprised by Locascio's ruling because New Jersey's shield law specifically applies to those affiliated with the news media.

    Update: Appealing

    26th September 2009. See article from business.avn.com

    As expected, Shellee Hale is appealing the July decision by Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio in which the Washington state resident was denied the protection of New Jersey's reporter shield law for critical blog postings she made in 2008.

    Update: Appeal to be Heard

    23rd September 2010. See  article from  xbiz.com

    The state Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether blogger Shellee Hale, who was sued by Too Much Media for defamation over her online postings, can raise New Jersey's statutory protection of news reporters' sources and editorial processes.

    The court will hear Hale's interlocutory appeal, limited only to those issues relating to the New Jersey Shield Law and the 1st Amendment.

     

    3rd July   

    The Terrorist Hunters...

    UK governments bans book
    Link Here

    Terrorist Hunters book The publication of a book by a former top counter-terrorism officer has been blocked by the Attorney General.

    Baroness Scotland obtained an injunction preventing The Terrorist Hunters from hitting the shelves as planned today.

    The book, by the retired Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Andy Hayman and the former BBC home affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore, focused on the struggle against terrorism since the July 7 attacks. It also looked at the murder of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko and gave a glimpse of top-level political and intelligence work.

    The reasons behind the injunction cannot be published for legal reasons. Sources said it had been vetted by the Cabinet Office, MI5 and MI6.

     

    3rd July   

    Update: Green Protest...

    Chinese protest against Green Dam internet filter
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

    China banned page In a rare event for the Chinese capital a group of about a thousand people met for a public but convivial protest against government plans to install the controversial Green Dam filtering software on computers. They were responding to an invitation by Beijing artist Ai Weiwei who called for a day of boycott of the internet.

    Recently Chinese authorities decided that all new computers made and sold in the country must contain this filter, ostensibly to fight pornographic or other dirty websites.

    But many in China and abroad believe the real motive behind the move is to establish total control over mainland internet users. For this reason there have been many protests.

    However, on the eve of its official starting date, Chinese authorities put the web filtering software on hold

    For those who came out to protest this was but a short term victory, conscious that the battle against internet censorship must continue.

    China's Green Dam internet filtering system will go ahead

    Based on article from guardian.co.uk

    China's controversial plan to install Green Dam internet filtering software on all computers will go ahead despite being postponement, a government official told state media today. The official said it was only a matter of time until the software was installed.

    An official, speaking anonymously, told China Daily: The government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam. It's just a matter of time.

    What will happen is that some PC manufacturers will have it included with their PC packages sooner than the others. But there is no definite deadline at the moment.


    The official said the delay was necessary because some computer manufacturers needed more time to prepare.

     

    3rd July   

    Update: Crap Apple...

    Apple ludicrously set themselves up as censors of every image shared by users
    Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

    iPhone Apple has pulled BeautyMeter—the iPhone/iPod touch app that allowed users to upload pictures of themselves for others to rate—after a 15-yo girl published this picture showing her bare breasts and pubic hair.

    Charlie Sorrel at Wired argues correctly that Apple will be damned with 17+ apps no matter what:

    The problems for Apple are clear. By setting itself up as a guardian of the store, Apple can't win. Any time a controversial application is approved, or non-allowed elements are snuck into an application post-approval, Apple is blamed. If these apps are pulled ahead of time, Apple is called out as an evil censor.

    Any application that allows you to upload pictures and share them could be used to do exactly the same. So where should Apple stop, then? Should they ban any app that can be used to publish pictures or videos? Shouldn't the developers—and the users—be responsible about this and not Apple.

    The problem for Apple is probably not a legal one, but one of public perception, with people and mainstream assuming that—just because it runs on the iPhone—it is Apple's app.

     

    3rd July   

    Offsite: Cleared of Obscenity But...

    Another victim of an archaic law
    Link Here

    Index on Censorship logo Darryn Walker has suffered unemployment and vilification for writing a pornographic story. The censorious obscenity law that allows this to happen must be scrapped, say John Ozimek and Julian Petley

    Authors across the UK breathed a sigh of relief on Monday, as a landmark prosecution for obscenity was dropped at the eleventh hour. The importance of this case cannot be underestimated. The alternative, a world in which this prosecution had gone ahead and succeeded, would have changed the nature of the Internet (and publishing) in the UK for years to come.

    ...Read full article

     

    3rd July   

    Offsite: Moral Panic Part 765...

    The Sun doesn't shine on The Antichrist
    Link Here  full story: Extreme Cuts...Lars Von Trier sexual violence causes a stir

    Antichrist poster The BBFC has decided that we, the ugly, rowdy, masses are, at 18, able to decide for ourselves whether or not we want to watch a film. Their research backs this up and, so it seems, do the majority of The Sun's readers…

    How do I know this? Well, today the British newspaper The Sun published a story with the shocking, weeks old, revelation that Lars Von Trier's latest offering, The Antichrist (2009), has been passed uncut as an '18' certificate. Sandwiched between links to a story about a girl taking her clothes off and the famous delights of Page 3 the writer (reporter seems too strong a word) informs us that the film contains images that cannot be properly described in a family newspaper . In true salacious overload we are also treated to a check-list of the contents.

    ...Read full article

     

    3rd July   

    Censorship Crime...

    Indian film censor blames drop in quality of movies on censorship
    Link Here

    CBFC logo Excessive portrayal of violence in Kannada movies is one of the major reasons for the poor quality of films released by the film industry in the State, according to outgoing Regional Officer of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) A Chandrashekar.

    Chandrashekar, who completed a five-year-term as Regional Officer of CBFC in Bangalore, said high percentage of crime and violence-based films produced in the State compared to other cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Trivandrum.

    The percentage of crime-based movies in Bangalore rose from 15.3% in 2004 to 24% in 2007.

    Chandrashekar said the dip in the quality of Kannda films could be attributed to the Censor Board's strict policy against portrayal of violence and obscenity in films.

     

    2nd July   

    Update: Nonsense Inspired Law...

    Ahern claims to have drafted blasphemy clause so that it is virtually unusable
    Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

    Dermot Ahern The Irish Minister for Injustice, Dermot Ahern, is to cut proposed fines for blasphemy from €100,000 to €25,000, under changes to be made to the Defamation Act next week.

    Ahern claimed the legislation, which passed its committee stage in the Dáil yesterday, has been drafted to make it virtually impossible to get a successful prosecution [for blasphemy] out of it.

    A blasphemy prosecution has not been won for a century, while powers already in force under the 1961 Defamation Act have never been used.

    The Government is currently amending Ireland's defamation laws, which passed its committee stage in the Dáil last evening.

    Under Article 40 of the Constitution, the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is a criminal offence.

    Ahern insists blasphemy must remain a crime, unless the reference to it in the Constitution is removed. It is already there in the 1961 Act, and it is in the Constitution and we have to comply with the Constitution. You are in derogation of your duty if you ignore the Constitution, he told Opposition TDs.

    The inclusion of the blasphemy clause was accepted by Government TDs and passed by nine votes to six during yesterday's committee stage debate.

    Fine Gael TDs, Charlie Flanagan, Denis Naughten and Jim O'Keeffe, and Labour's Pat Rabbitte criticised the Minister, suggesting he abandon the blasphemy clause, or that he hold a referendum to remove the reference to it in the Constitution.

    Naughten said the legislation will be impossible to enforce because it is entirely subjective, and it could threaten Ireland's future economic interests. Islamic countries could retaliate if the DPP did not prosecute some future alleged insult against Islam, he warned.

    The fact that the legislation will be unworkable is the classic Irish solution to an Irish solution, said Charlie Flanagan.

     

    2nd July   

    Update: Extreme Sentence...

    Rob Black and Lizzie Borden sentenced to a year in jail
    Link Here  full story: Extreme Appeal...Rob Black on obscenity charges

    Extreme Appeal Rob Zicari better known as Rob Black and his wife Janet Romano (stage name Lizzie Borden) were each sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to once count of conspiracy to distribute obscene materials last March.

    As part of the guilty plea, Zicari and Romano admitted that through the parent company of XPW, Extreme Associates, Inc., they mailed three obscene movies to Pennsylvania, where this whole thing started.

    The movies that essentially brought down the company were Forced Entry - Director's Cut, Cocktails 2 - Directors Cut , and Extreme Teen #24 .

    They also got in hot water for distributing the material through Internet streams.

    As part of of their plea agreement the couple was also sentenced to a two year probationary term upon their release from prison.

    Offsite: In Defense of Extreme Pornography

    29th October 2009. See article from reason.com

     

    2nd July   

    Update: Lost Credibility...

    New Zealand Whinges at Australian film certificate
    Link Here  full story: Land of the Lost...Land of the Lost controversy in Australasia

    Land of the Lost film poster Complaints from the public have prompted the chief censor to lift the rating for the film Land of the Lost from PG to M.

    Chief censor Bill Hastings said New Zealand automatically adopted G, PG and M ratings from Australia, but the system was not always perfect.

    But there is an inbuilt safety valve - if members of the public are concerned about a film's rating they can ask me to review it.

    The M label applies to films containing offensive language and sexual references.

     

    2nd July   

    Son of a Bitch...

    South Korean cartoonist sued over hidden dig at president
    Link Here

    South Korea flag The South Korean Wonju city government filed a 123-million-won ($100,000) compensation suit against a cartoonist who inserted abusive words about President Lee Myung-bak in its promotional gazette.

    The cartoonist, identified only as Choi caused a stir after he drew a cartoon containing the offensive remarks in the June edition of the publication.

    In the cartoon, which is supposed to be in honor of Korean Vietnam War veterans, a couple of people bow in front of a monument, but behind them stand two statues with Lee Myung-bak should die , and Lee Myung-bak son of a bitch written on their torsos. The words had been subtly hidden in the form of patterns.

    The cartoon somehow passed censorship checks and the magazine was released to the public. The city government later recalled and discarded all copies of the edition.

    The cartoon was drawn in such a manipulative way that not many people could notice what was written in the first place. However, the content was so humiliating for not only the head of the state, but all public servants. We will fight for the dignity of the city, the office said.

     

    2nd July   

    Update: Temptation to Censor...

    ASA Advertising censor offended by tempting ice cream
    Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

    antonio federici ad An ad, which appeared in Delicious Magazine and Sainsburys Magazine , for Antonio Federici Gelato Italiano ice cream, showed a priest and a nun looking as if they were about to kiss. The nun was in full habit and the priest was wearing rosary beads around his neck and holding a pot of ice cream in his hand. Text stated KISS TEMPTATION.

    Ten complainants thought the suggestion of a kiss between a priest and a nun was offensive, because it demeaned people who had chosen to follow a religious vocation.

    ASA Assessment: Upheld

    The ASA noted the ad played on the theme of giving into temptation but stopped short of showing the nun and priest kissing. The ad stated KISS TEMPTATION and the two were portrayed in a seductive pose, as if they were about to kiss passionately.

    We considered that the portrayal of the priest and nun in a sexualised manner and the implication that they were considering whether or not to give in to temptation, was likely to cause serious offence to some readers.

    The ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency) and must not appear again in its current form.

     

    1st July   

    Update: Conroy is an Embarrassment...

    ICANN says that Australia will embarrassed itself over internet filtering
    Link Here

    ICANN logo The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) chief has said the Australian government will embarrass itself if it pushes ahead with plans to install a national Internet content filter.

    The group is a non-profit corporation that oversees management of domain names and IP addresses, Internet Protocol address space allocation and generic Top Level Domains.

    ICANN board chair Peter Dengate Thrush said national Internet content filters are ineffective at law enforcement. The plan was introduced by federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

    The government has set itself up for embarrassment, Thrush said: I have no problems with the principle behind it [but] censoring material outside the country is difficult and the tools to do it cost a lot.

     

    1st July   

    Update: Mouldy Orange...

    Possession of pornography is made illegal in Ukraine
    Link Here

    Ukraine flag Possession of pornography is now a criminal offence in Ukraine, Lenta.ru reports, after Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko signed a law to that effect.

    Human rights activists and members of the Ukrainian artistic community had asked the president to veto the law.

    The draft of the law was prepared by the Ukrainian government. It was passed by the Ukrainian parliament, the Supreme Rada, on June 11.

    Now pornography can be kept only for medical purposes, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Injustice. The ministry also warns that possession of a large number of identical images will be considered evidence of trading in pornography, which is also criminalized.

    Punishment for possession of pornography will include fines and imprisonment for up to three years.

     

    1st July   

    Update: When You're Chewing on Life's Gristle...

    Censorial Glasgow finally relent for a showing of Life of Brian
    Link Here  full story: Monty Python...Monty Python winds up the nutters

    For almost 30 years, one of the classic comedy films has been unofficially banned in Glasgow, after it was branded blasphemous by councillors on its release.

    Monty Python's Life of Brian will finally get a screening after it was granted a licence by the city council – the last of 39 across the UK that imposed the initial ban.

    The stars of the film, including Michael Palin, John Cleese and Terry Jones, will be invited to a special screening at the Glasgow Film Theatre in September.

    In sharp contrast to the furore of 29 years ago, the city council's licensing committee did not receive a single objection to the application heard yesterday.

    The move was welcomed by film experts for bringing an end to a cinematic anachronism.

    Allison Gardner, head of cinemas at the GFT, said: The film has been widely available to the general public on video and DVD and has been screened on terrestrial television. None of these events has caused widespread offence, or in any way destroyed the sanctity of the Church or undermined its place in our wider society. I believe the film is seen as an affectionate and inspired depiction of the life of Jesus from a perspective that is humorous, rather than blasphemous.

    But Christian nutters said the decision to grant the film a 15 certificate was a reflection of declining standards in society, and called it a sad day.

    Stephen Green, director of the radical campaign group Christian Voice, which has organised protests against shows such as Jerry Springer: The Opera , said: We know Glasgow was the last place in the country to keep the ban in place, as the only other area, Aberystwyth, had a screening a couple of months ago. It is a bit of a shame it's now been granted a licence in Glasgow, but it shows how much we have let standards slip.

    Comment: Scotland 'Rogered'

    6th July 2009, thanks to Chris

    Life of Brian was shown on the welsh language channel S4C when it was banned in Swansea and Aberystwyth sure that the same would be the case in Scotland being it was shown on channel 4.

     

    1st July   

    Update: Beyer's Board of Film Classification...

    Gordon Brown proposes nutters' rights of appeal against BBFC decisions
    Link Here

    Gordon Brown weilding scissors Gordon Brown unveiled his plan to supposedly rebuild the country.

    The Prime Minister promised a series of measures in the 11 months before the general election that will form the basis of the Labour manifesto.

    This plan included a section on censorship most of which has been well telegraphed by recent government reports on game censorship:

    Video Games

    Compulsory age ratings will be given to all video games.

    The voluntary system will be replaced by a "new and strengthened system of statutory age ratings", said the Prime Minister.

    There has been increasing concern among MPs at the way the British Board of Film Classification rates games.

    Critics say that, in recent years, it has adopted a perilous policy of allowing practically anything to be seen by adults - and offensive material to be shown to children.

    A review of the impact of violent films and games on children was headed by TV psychologist Dr Tanya Byron.

    It is also expected that the public will be given new rights to appeal against the rulings of the BBFC.

     

    1st July   

    Update: Green Dam Damned...

    China declares a delay to the mandatory pre-installation of internet filter
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

    Chinese PC censor China has backed down from a plan to install censorship software on all computers sold on the mainland.

    A law requiring computer manufacturers to include a program called Green Dam on every PC was delayed just hours before it was due to come into effect.

    Green Dam filters the internet and blocks access both to pornography and to politically sensitive content. Researchers also discovered that it is capable of sending reports about an individual's web use back to the authorities.

    China retreated in the face of angry and sustained criticism not only from internet users but also from computer manufacturers and trade bodies. In addition, a US company called Solid Oak has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Green Dam, charging them with having stolen the software that makes up the program.

    China will delay the mandatory installation of the software on new computers, said Xinhua, the government newswire. The pre-installation was delayed as some computer producers said such massive installation demanded extra time, it added.

    Damning Report

    Based on article from independent.co.uk

    A trial of the Green Dam program suggested its filters may be of limited use to worried parents.

    When the software is installed, and an image scanner activated, it blocks even harmless images of a film poster for cartoon cat Garfield, dishes of flesh-color cooked pork and on one search engine a close-up of film star Johnny Depp's face.

    With the image filter off, even though searches with words like nude are blocked, a hunt for adult websites throws up links to soft and hardcore sites.

    Green Dam has not detailed how it scans images for obscene content, but computer experts have said it likely uses color and form recognition to zoom in on potential expanses of naked flesh. When too much skin is detected, Green Dam closes all Internet browsers with no warning, sometimes flashing up a notice that the viewer is looking at harmful content.

    But the interpretation of obscene is apparently generous enough to include the orange hue of Garfield's fur and, on the highest security settings, prevent viewers clicking through to any illustrated story on one English language news website.

    The software also allows users to choose what they want to filter for, and besides adult websites and violence, categories include gay and illegal activities. ay and health activists fear the blanket ban on gay content, in a country where homosexuality is not criminalized, could damage projects including sexual health and Aids education.

    Another setting allows Green Dam to take regular snapshots of a user's screen and store them for up to two weeks - ostensibly so parents can monitor computer use by minors.

     

    1st July   

    Offsite: Thinking Out Aloud...

    These obscenity laws should be abolished
    Link Here

    Girls Aloud CD That Walker was cleared is not surprising. It was a ridiculous charge to bring in the first place. But it also testifies to the obsolescence of the Obscene Publications Act itself, a piece of nineteenth-century legislation that rests upon a perception that some people are incapable of dealing with certain material without being adversely affected in some way.

    ...Read full article

    UK obscenity law: Where to now?

    See article from theregister.co.uk by John Ozimek

    As the dust settles on the Girls (Scream) Aloud trial, what are the implications for the future of obscenity law in the UK?

    In the short term, the answer has to be not much . Had the trial produced a guilty verdict, then much would have changed.

    It would have been the first successful prosecution of written material under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 (OPA) in over 30 years: it would have succeeded in respect of material that, however apparently appalling, is not that much more extreme than hundreds – thousands, even – of similar works on and off the internet.

    The door would have been open to a slew of similar prosecutions: more importantly, it would have had a serious chilling effect, putting on guard any budding writer thinking of dealing with the cruder, rawer side of erotic life.

    ...Read full article

     

    1st July   

    Offsite: Terrifying Pictograms...

    The Edge interview ELSPA's Michael Rawlinson about VSC and PEGI
    Link Here

    ELSPA The Edge games magazine interviewed Michael Rawlinson of the video game trade association, ELSPA

    The Edge: The Borehamwood-based Video Standards Council reportedly has just three employees who will ensure that games coming into the UK comply with PEGI ratings before they're given licenses allowing their sale. Is this enough staff?

    Michael Rawlinson: The Video Standards Council, in conjunction with the people at NICAM, in conjunction with the PEGI personnel in Brussels, as a collective, have been sufficient to be able to do the job at work up until now, which is just rate PEGI games. The Video Standards Council will be given additional roles and responsibilities when the legislation is passed to become the designated body. I understand that between now and then they will be looking at their structure and their whole business model and will be gearing up as necessary to perform those functions. I know that [when] the BBFC, some 20 odd years ago, were given the same responsibilities under the Video Recordings Act, they too had to scale up to take on those new responsibilities, so I think it's grossly misleading to say that the organisation as it stands today will be the same as the organisation that exists when those powers are confirmed.

    ...Read full interview

     

    1st July   

    BBFC Took their Pound of Flesh...

    Old Cuts to Castle Freak
    Link Here

    Castle Freak DVD Castle Freak is a 1995 US horror by Stuart Gordon (Film 2000).

    The BBFC passed the 2008 Film 2000 DVD uncut.

    Previously the BBFC cut the 1996 Entertainment in Video release by 1:09s

    From cuts details on IMDb

    • Cut to remove shots of mutilated female bodies
    • a woman's breast being bitten
    • footage of a woman's body being sexually eaten
    • a scene of a cat being dragged through a hatch door.