Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch


2011: October

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31st October   

Update: Opting Out of ISP Level Website Blocking...

Church of England threatens to pull their investment from ISPs unless they 'take action against porn'
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The Church of England is threatening to use its financial power to inflict internet censorship on Britain. It is considering withdrawing the millions it has invested in ISPs unless they take action.

The Church of England, which wields significant financial clout on the markets, is reviewing investments worth tens of millions. It refuses to invest in firms which fuel the very problems Christians are trying to tackle and has already leaned heavily on supermarkets to be more responsible in the way they sell alcohol.

A Church spokesman said members of its ethical investment advisory group are considering new guidelines on pornography which take into account how easy it is to access with modern media.

The Church of England's stance on porn was welcomed by the Reverend Nutter Richard Moy, who works with young people in Lichfield, Staffordshire. He spouted without a grain of justification:

It is not surprising that people go from soft porn to progressively more hard-core porn to the point where they are so depraved that they do things that they would never imagine doing.

I think that if people start using mild porn to gratify a need rather than looking at why they need that gratification then they will eventually move on to more disturbing things.

[On the other hand, if people don't gratify their needs, eg priests trying to be celibate, then they may eventually move on to even more disturbing things].

 

31st October   

Good Books...

German catholic church owns erotic book publisher
Link Here

Weltbild , Germany's largest media company, sells books, DVDs, music and more. It also happens to belong 100% to the Catholic Church. Few people knew about this connection until this month when Buchreport, a German industry newsletter, reported that the Catholic company also sells erotica.

A Church spokesman responded to the report by claiming: Weltbild tries to prevent the distribution of possibly pornographic content. Presumably erotic novels aren't seen as pornographic.

For more than 10 years, a group of Catholics has been trying to point out what is going on to Church authorities, and they are 'outraged' at the hypocrisy of the spokesman's statement. In 2008, the group sent a 70-page document to all the bishops whose dioceses have shared ownership of Weltbild for 30 years, detailing evidence of the sale of erotic books.

Weltbild employs 6,400 people, has an annual turnover of 1.7 billion euros, and an online business in Germany second only to Amazon. Weltbild is also Germany's leading book seller. The 2,500 erotic books in their online catalogue, including those from Blue Panther Books, an erotic book publisher owned by Weltbild, are one example. Their titles include: Anwaltshure (Lawyer's Whore), Vo gelbar ( Fuckable ) and Schlampen-Internat (Sluts' Boarding School).

The Church also owns a 50% share in publishing company Droemer Knaur which also produces pornographic books

 

31st October   

Update: Kill the Bill...

700 football fans protest against Scotland's anti-sectarian football bill
Link Here
Full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

Hundreds of football fans turned out in Glasgow on Saturday to protest against proposals for a new anti-sectarianism bill. More than 700 people cheered as key speakers from Fans Against Criminalisation called for the bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, to be scrapped.

Banners with slogans including kill the bill were waved at the mass gathering in the city's George Square. Organisers of the event said they were delighted with the support, which they say reflected the strength of feeling on the issue.

Jeanette Findlay, of Fans Against Criminalisation, said:

We want this dangerous piece of legislation stopped in its tracks. If they want to tackle sectarianism, use the existing powers... It is not a proper piece of legislation and is unnecessary and unworkable.

 

31st October   

Due Impartiality...

Ofcom censures Sikh Channel for a panel discussion programme with a one sided view of Sikh repression in India
Link Here
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

  Sikh Channel Youth Show
Sikh Channel, 28 May 2011, 19:30

The Sikh Channel is in the religious section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), and the channel is aimed at the Sikh community in the UK. The Sikh Channel Youth Show was a weekly live programme broadcast in Punjabi. The licence for the Sikh Channel is held by TV Legal Limited.

This programme consisted of a live discussion programme, consisting of a panel of guests and a live studio audience. The discussion touched on a range of subjects including: a Sikh demonstration that had taken place in Dudley on the day of the broadcast (28 May 2011); and various reported actions taken by the Indian Government towards the Sikh community in India, including Operation Blue Star 1.

Two viewers alerted Ofcom to the programme, objecting to the manner in which the programme had referred to the Hindu community.

On assessing the content, Ofcom noted the following statements made within the programme:

  • In India there is one law for the majority and another law for the Sikh minority .
  • The Sikhs should realize that they are slaves .
  • In genocide, people are physically eliminated. But you can also eliminate them mentally by making them subservient and slavish. That is being done to the Sikhs in India .
  • This is a message to the oppressors that you have done what you did and you can do more but we are ready to seek a homeland for ourselves .

Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 5.5 of the Code which states that:

Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service. This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 5.5

In assessing whether due impartiality has been applied in this case, the term due is important. Under the Code, it means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. Therefore, due impartiality does not mean an equal division of time has to be given to every view, or that every argument and every facet of every argument has to be represented. Due impartiality may be preserved in a number of ways and it is an editorial decision for the broadcaster as to how it ensures due impartiality is maintained.

In this case, Ofcom considered that the programme included a number of viewpoints, but all of them were: either critical of the Indian state's policy in relation to its treatment to the Sikh community in India; or could be interpreted as arguing the case for an independent homeland for the Sikh community in India.

We considered that the programme did not contain any alternative views, which could be reasonably and adequately classed as supportive of, or which sought to explain: either the actions of the Indian State in relation to the Sikh community within India, and in particular, the Punjab; or the arguments against an independent homeland for the Sikh community within India.

Ofcom concluded the programme was in breach of Rule 5.5 of the Code.

The Sikh Channel got in further trouble for evasion of supplying of a full recording of the progamme.

Ofcom recorded Breaches of Licence Condition 11(2)(b).

 

31st October   

Axed...

South Africa's advert censor whinges at Axe (Lynx) advert suggesting that even angels will succumb to the allure
Link Here

South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has instructed a TV advert depicting angels falling from heaven because they are attracted to a man's deodorant, to be withdrawn, as it could offend Christians.

A viewer who complained to the ASA about the advert said the suggestion that angels - God's messengers - would literally fall for a man wearing this deodorant was incompatible with his belief as a Christian, according to the rulin.

The advert for Axe deodorant depicts winged, attractive women crashing to earth in what appears to be an Italian town, and then being drawn towards and sniffing a young man who has used the deodorant. The text at the end of the ad reads: Even angels will fall .

The directorate was concerned that the angels were depicted falling and, secondly, being attracted to a mortal man.

As such, the problem is not so much that angels are used in the commercial, but rather that the angels are seen to forfeit, or perhaps forego their heavenly status for mortal desires. This is something that would likely offend Christians in the same manner as it offended the complainant.

 

30th October   

Throats and Thrusts...

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 cut for a 12A rated cinema release
Link Here
Breaking Dawn Part 1 is a 2011 US fantasy by Bill Condon with Kristen Stewart and Nikki Reed. See IMDb .

Passed 12A after BBFC suggested cuts for category were implemented for

  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • Contains moderate violence and sex

  • 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 changes to a sex scene between the Edward and Bella characters. In particular the BBFC suggested that more graphic sight of Edward thrusting while he lies on top of Bella, and while her legs are wrapped around his torso, be removed. When the finished version of the film was submitted these changes had been made, with the scene having been reduced in length and with less focus on full body shots. As a result, the film was classified 12A .

The US release was also said to have similar category issues. The film was said to be cut to reduce the initial R Rating down to a PG-13. However, it seems likely that the story of an initial R Rating may be just promotional hype. The director seems to have refused to confirm the supposed R Rating.

Update: Meanwhile in India

25th November 2011. See  article from  moneycontrol.com

Though the Twilight movies have largely been a hit amongst the teenage audience but this time they will have to give it a miss as the upcoming The Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part 1 film gets an uncut adults-only A certificate by the Indian Censor Board.

Update: Inevitable Director's Cut

27th November 2011. From dailyfill.com

Some fans were a little let down by the film's decidedly PG-13 sex scenes. Director Bill Condon initially included a much more explicit sex scene, but the MPAA demanded he tone it down or face a dreaded R rating.

Much to fans dismay, he obliged. But screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg says she always wanted Condon to keep the footage, which in her words contained a lot more thrusting. Bill, he went for it, Rosenberg said, according to MTV News. I wanted to keep [the footage]. She added that the extended love scene and additional unused footage could end up on a directors cut of the film to be released on DVD.

 

30th October   

Update: A Mad Orgy of Nutters...

Nutters lining up against the Australian premiere of Human Centipede 2
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) will make its Australian debut at the Brisbane International Film Festival on Saturday 5th November.

It has been labelled a mad orgy of depravity and gore, a movie so disturbing and sickening it was banned in Britain [for a while].

But this week the film scuttles into Brisbane cinemas, untouched by censors and courting inevitable moral 'outrage'.

Queensland was once infamous for its movie censorship, with the state banning an average of five films a year until former premier Wayne Goss disbanded the review board in 1990. But now the state's Arts Minister Rachel Nolan is wisely refusing to intervene, saying it's up to federal classifiers to approve films: This is the new Queensland and the Government and I, as Arts Minister, are not going to be some kind of moral censor.

However the Classification Review Board is set to examine the film's R18+ rating after a request from the NSW Attorney-General.  A total of eight complaints have been made to the film censors. But the review will not be conducted until November 28, allowing the film to premiere at the festival.

Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia is preparing a submission to the review board and is calling for the film to be banned in Australia.

Films like this are really promoting a very demeaning image of women and children, claimed national research officer Roslyn Phillips, urging Brisbane organisers to ditch the movie from its program.

Meanwhile University of Queensland psychology researcher Brock Bastian provided a puerile and generalised sound bite for the newspaper article. He claimed violent media, including films, could affect the behaviour of their viewers: It's not the most healthy or best way to be spending your time and it may transfer into your interpersonal interactions in subtle ways . [perhaps having the occasional urge to molest a centipede].

The Brisbane International Film Festival runs from November 3 to 13. Tickets and more information are available via the BIFF website .

 

30th October   

Comment: Creeping Around the Internet...

Human Centipede 2 Online
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

It seems that a video on demand version of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is all over the internet via file sharers - so much for the BBFC cuts and previous ban.

From the Melon Farmers:

From reports I have read though, this seems to be US Unrated version that is missing the barbwire rape of the 'centipede'. It is much more complete than the cut BBFC version though.

Reviewers don't seem to have been impressed by the need for BBFC cuts. For instance the sandpaper masturbation is off screen, the BBFC claimed sexual motivation is near non existent, and most of the violence is of a level that has been passed before.

This seems to leave just the BBFC concern that arses, mouths and shit in near proximity could be deemed obscene by the authorities.

Update: Differences

2nd November 2011. Thanks to goatboy

The sandpaper scene in the leaked VOD version of Human Centipede 2 is exactly the same as in the BBFC cut. Also in the VOD version the rape scene at 76 minutes is completely cut out, some of it is retained in the BBFC cut. However the guy having his teeth knocked out is shorter in the BBFC version and some shots of swallowing in the centipede are in the VOD version but not the BBFC .

It is an odd film!

 

30th October   

Big Drips at Ofcom...

Ofcom have a whinge at phallic ice carving in Being Erica
Link Here

Being Erica
E4, 11 August 2011, 07:35

Being Erica is a Canadian comedy drama series about a woman who begins seeing a therapist to deal with regrets in her life, only to discover the therapist has the ability to send her back in time to re-live and change events in her life.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a scene in this programme which featured a large sculpture made out of ice clearly shaped as a penis. The programme was broadcast at a time when children were likely to be viewing (during the early morning in the school holidays).

In the scene in question, at the beginning of the programme, two characters discussed a large ice sculpture of an erect penis and scrotum, which had been placed on the counter in a bar, as decoration for a party.

In the rest of the 50 minute programme, there were four further scenes in which the „penis ice sculpture appeared either as background to the dramatic action, or was referred to by characters in the programme.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of their Code, which states:

Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Channel 4 said that during the scene in question and in several subsequent ones, the „ice penis sculpture is referred to in a comedic way and it is mostly background and incidental . It added that it considered the ice sculpture to be an an abstraction of a phallic image that is made of ice, rather than a facsimile of an „erect penis .

Channel 4 said that the programme had been substantially edited to make it suitable for its scheduled transmission time. However, the broadcaster said that in retrospect some of the edits didn't go far enough, particularly in view of the fact that it coincided with school holidays . Specifically, the broadcaster said that it considered in retrospect … that the inclusion of the ice sculpture itself as a narrative element... may not have been appropriate at 07:35 on E4 .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3

Under the Code, there is no prohibition on depictions or descriptions of human genitalia appearing in programming before the watershed. However, in Ofcom?s view, in this case the cumulative effect of the repeated appearance of, and references to, a large erect penis ice sculpture, was to convey a sexualised theme, even though the primary purpose of the programme was not necessarily to convey a sexual theme, but rather to provide a comedic narrative.

We noted Channel 4's submission that it considered the ice sculpture to be an an abstraction of a phallic image that is made of ice, rather than a facsimile of an erect penis . We disagreed. In our view, the appearance and relative dimensions of the penis and scrotum depicted in the ice sculpture were highly likely to mean the ice sculpture would be perceived by members of the audience as being a depiction of an erect penis.

Given the above, it is Ofcom's view that this content was not suitable for children. Ofcom concluded that the material was in breach of Rule 1.3.

 

30th October   

Update: Culturally Backward Malta...

A country who can't even stage well respected plays without censor hassle, seeks to become the European Capital of Culture 2018
Link Here
Full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded

Internationally acclaimed playwright Brad Fraser has joined local artists in questioning whether a country that bans plays and prosecutes writers for obscene literature deserves consideration for European Capital of Culture 2018.

Fraser, whose critically acclaimed works include Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love , argues that countries which actively censor plays and other works of art or literature should be disqualified from such accolades.

There is no place for artistic censorship in a civilized society. Any country that stifles the alternative ways of looking at the world is undeserving of any creative recognition at all. Adults are completely capable of deciding for themselves what they do or don't want to see. Censorship is the first sign of a corrupt regime.

Fraser's objections are largely connected to the controversial ban on Andrew Nielson's play Stitching in 2009: deemed too offensive to be staged locally by Malta's Stage and Film Classification Board (though less than a year later, the same play was staged with a 14+ age certificate at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival).

Other recent examples include productions like Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild , Howard Brenton's Paul , The Reduced Shakespeare's Company's The Abridged Bible , Patrick Marber's Closer and A Day In the Death of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols, all of which have suffered at the hands of the national censors.

 

30th October   

Women Given the Boot...

Women noticeably absent from Jerusalem billboards and adverts
Link Here

  It appears that graphic artists and public relations professionals in Jerusalem have recently developed a fetish for shoes. A glance at billboards and posters pasted around the city shows that Jerusalem is draped in shoes.

In Jerusalem, a shoe is not just a shoe, says Uri Ayalon, a Conservative rabbi who promotes religious pluralism, and who recently established an uncensored Facebook group that protests against the elimination of women from public spaces. Shoe images, he says, are used to obscure the fact that in Jerusalem women are rarely pictured on public posters and billboards.

It takes time to grasp that something is missing in public spaces in Israel's capital. But once you notice it, it's hard to fathom how you didn't pay attention to this fact earlier. It appears that in recent years, and in an escalated fashion in the past several months, women have disappeared from advertisements in Jerusalem.

This fact does not refer to scantily clad models, who were purged from signs and posters in the city several years ago as a result of campaigns waged by the ultra-Orthodox - struggles that sometimes included the burning and destruction of billboards and bus stops. The purging of women from publicly displayed pictures in Jerusalem applies to images of females in regular dress and daily situations. Pictures of women in family settings and advertisements of women using face cream or being connected to food or fashion products are hard to come by in this city.

Jerusalem municipality officials adamantly deny that there has been a change in the city's advertising policy, and they refer to several advertising campaigns that featured images of women. However, figures in the city's public relations industry admit that women have been entirely removed from public billboards and pictorial advertisements.

It seems that this trend is being led by private advertisers who prefer to conceal women rather than deal with ultra-Orthodox anger. For instance, a hamburger company that promoted its product around the country with a picture of happy family members choose in Jerusalem to show only images of its burgers. In Jerusalem, a campaign for regional radio stations dropped the image of radio presenter Ofira Asayag, which was featured everywhere else in the country.

This becomes a process of self-censorship, explains Rabbi Ayalon. You decide in advance not to use a photograph of a female dancer, so that nobody sprays it. You decide not to confront anything, and that's the position adopted by the advertisement agencies.

 

29th October   

Update: Opting Out of ISP Level Website Blocking...

ISPs clarify that their approach to website blocking is to ensure that parents are well informed about free blocking software that may be used on home computers
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The UK's four major Internet Service Providers have published a Code of Practice, putting the decision on what to block in parents' hands. Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk and Sky, said they believed parents are best-placed to decide whether to turn controls on, and to decide what types of content and applications to block, rather than having those decisions made for them by internet firms.

The Code commits them to educating parents about content controls but does not require them to provide ISP level blocking. Instead the code commits its signatory ISPs to teaching parents about the availability of parental controls, providing tools free of charge to filter access to the internet at the point of purchase and reminding customers of the blocking tools at their disposal at least once a year.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said he was pleased to see the industry taking action to help parents protect their children online . He said:

The new code of conduct is a real, practical step to ensure households make a choice about parental controls when opening a new internet account.

The Children's Minister Tim Loughton added:

Parents are quite rightly concerned about their children accessing harmful or inappropriate content online. But many parents don't always know how to activate parental controls at home. That's why it's important they are asked to make a choice at the point of purchase over whether they want parental controls switched on or off.

 

29th October   

Ofcom Don't Believe...

Ofcom to consider sanctions for religious channel claiming pastor can heal HIV and cancer
Link Here
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

Believe TV
25 June 2011, 11:00 to 12:00

Believe TV is a service which broadcasts Christian programming and is located in the religious section of the Sky electronic programme guide. The channel broadcasts programmes which include testimony where members of the churches featured, including the VPA, proclaim how health problems, financial issues or other personal matters have been alleviated through healing from a pastor or other religious leader and their faith in God.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to two alleged claims of serious illnesses being cured. These were broadcast on Believe TV on 25 June 2011. The claims were included in a programme which lasted around 20 minutes promoting the work of the church known as the Victorious Pentecostal Assembly ( VPA ). The claims appeared as onscreen text while images of the pastor of VPA, Alex Omokodu, were shown giving healing to followers at the church. The onscreen text claims referred to by the complainant were shown on the bottom third of the screen in white lettering on a black background: HIV IS HEALED and CANCER IS HEALED .

Ofcom considered rules:

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

Rule 4.6: Religious programmes must not improperly exploit any susceptibilities of the audience.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 2.1 and 4.6

In assessing whether there was a breach of Rule 2.1, Ofcom therefore had to consider whether the claims broadcast could have encouraged viewers to believe that the serious illnesses featured, in particular cancer and HIV, could be cured through the work of the VPA (without orthodox medication). If this were the case, there was a potential for harm because some viewers with serious illnesses – who may therefore be more vulnerable – might have understood on the basis of what they saw on Believe TV that they could be cured by the work of the VPA, and as result either not sought medical advice or stopped following a course of recommended medical treatment. This clearly could be very harmful.

The claims were made in a programme promoting the VPA, and its founder and pastor Alex Omokodu. Around two minutes into the programme it showed images of attendees at the church receiving healing from Pastor Omokudo as a voiceover stated:

Victorious Pentecostal Assembly is a church regularly in communion with the power of the Holy Spirit and has been witness to scores of miraculous testimonies, breakthroughs, healing and what can only be described as divine intervention – a second nature at this mountain of God. This centre of excellence is committed to building up a people of purpose, power and praise, nursing the afflicted to deliverance, the downtrodden are restored to a royal priesthood, from many other afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivered them from them all. And He will do the same for you.

Ofcom noted that as these images were broadcast various graphics were laid over a black segment filling the bottom third of the screen. Each separate graphic was on screen for around 10 seconds. Four of the graphics stated consecutively: THE LAME WALK AGAIN ; CANCER IS HEALED ; WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD BUT RESTORED AT V.P.A ; and HIV IS HEALED .

Taking into account :

  • the juxtaposition of the images of healing and the claims contained in the graphics; and
  • the voiceover stating that VPA had been witness to scores of miraculous testimonies and healing,

Ofcom considered that viewers would have reasonably understood from the onscreen claims that the healing and testimony at the church could include the curing of HIV and cancer through attendance at the VPA alone.

However before the start of the promotional style programme the following three onscreen graphics were broadcast while the text was read in voiceover:

We advise you to always seek your medical practitioner advise [sic] before making any decision based on this programme.

This statement provided some protection to viewers, by warning them to seek medical advice. But Ofcom noted that:

  • these statements were broadcast before the promotional style programme began;
  • they were separated from the claims of healing by about two and a half minutes; and
  • no warning or information was broadcast immediately before, during or after the four claims for healing highlighted above.

These factors limited the protection afforded to viewers by the statement

Ofcom concluded that, taking all these factors into account, viewers were not provided with adequate protection from harm. Some members of the audience – especially those with serious illnesses – could have been left with the impression that the healing of HIV and cancer could, and would, take place if the viewer attended the church. This was a breach of Rule 2.1.

Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster did not appropriately recognise and mitigate the risk to vulnerable viewers, and that the susceptibilities of members of the audience (some of whom might be experiencing a life threatening illness) were improperly exploited by the claims of healing of cancer and HIV broadcast on Believe TV. This was a breach of Rule 4.6.

Considering Sanctions

Ofcom has recently recorded breaches of Rules 2.1 and 4.6 against the Licensee in relation to the promotion of products as cures for serious illnesses and other medical claims made in various broadcasts between 21 December 2010 and 1 February 20111 . Ofcom regarded these contraventions of the Code as so serious and also repeated that we put the Licensee on notice that it was being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

29th October   

Enough Christianophobia...

French police arrest christian protestors disrupting theatre performance
Link Here

 Paris police arrested around 20 Christian fundamentalists who burst into a theatre and threw stink bombs shouting: Enough Christianophobia!. They were protesting against a play featuring the face of Christ drizzled with fake excrement.

Police made the arrests at the Theatre de la Ville, during a performance of On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God, directed by Italian Romeo Castellucci.

The play is the story of an incontinent man being looked after by his son. A copy of a huge portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina hangs at the back of the stage and appears to be covered in excrement towards the end of the performance.

France's ministry of culture blamed the demonstration on members of the Institut Civitas. Civitas head Alain Escada said: Our mission is to spread the word about this performance and to organise a response. Civitas has called for a mass demonstration in Christ's honour . It's insulting at the end of a scatological play to sully the portrait of Christ by making people believe that it's faecal matter that has dirtied it, wounding so many believers.

Update: Further Protests

2nd November 2011. From minivannews.com

For the past week, throngs of Catholic fundamentalists have been brandishing crosses, chanting in Latin, and dropping to their knees in prayer outside a popular Parisian theatre to protest against a play featuring the face of Christ allegedly covered with fake excrement.

Outraged by what they consider blasphemy and Christianophobia , over a thousand protesters (and up to 5,000, according to protest organisers) gathered on Saturday in front of the theatre, hurling eggs and oil at the building and theatre-goers entering it. Two days earlier, police arrested 20 people for breaking into a performance of the play and planting stink bombs.

 

29th October   

Updated: Sold Out by My Tehran...

Iran sentences actress to a year in jail and a flogging for work on banned film
Link Here
An Iranian actress has been sentenced to a year in jail and 90 lashes for her role in a film about the country's artistic repression.

Marzieh Vafamehr was arrested appearing in My Tehran for Sale , which came under harsh criticism in conservative circles.

The film, produced in collaboration with Australia, tells the story of a young actress in Tehran whose theatre work is banned by the authorities. She is then forced to lead a secret life in order to express herself artistically.

The Fars news agency said the movie had been banned in Iran and was being distributed in the country illegally. The makers had also not been given permission to film in Tehran

Marzieh Vafamehr's lawyer has appealed the sentence.

Update: As Recommended by Iran

14th October 2011. See  article from  voxy.co.nz

My Tehran for Sale , an Australian film critical of Iran, will screen on New Zealand's Maori Television following reports its lead actress has been sentenced to jail and 90 lashes.

Directed by Iranian-Australian Granaz Moussavi and produced by Adelaide-based Cyan Films, My Tehran for Sale , tells the story of a young actress in contemporary Tehran whose stage work was banned by authorities She meets an Australian-Iranian actor at an underground rage who offers her a chance for a new life free from oppression.

The film was never intended for release in Iran, but has been distributed illegally and condemned by the country's conservative commentators.

My Tehran for Sale screens on Maori Television on Saturday 5th November at 9.30pm.

Update: Spared the Rod

29th October 2011. From  truthdive.com

Iranian actress Marzieh Vafemehr has been spared 90 lashes and further imprisonment for her role in the South Australian film My Tehran for Sale , Amnesty International has stated.

We are extremely pleased to hear that Marzieh has been released without being subjected to the cruel and degrading punishment of flogging, but the crackdown on filmmakers continues in Iran, the Herald Sun quoted Amnesty International's Campaigns Manager, Hannah Harborow, as saying.

Marzieh seems to have been released after an appeal court reduced her imprisonment to three months and overturned the flogging sentence on Monday night, Harborow added.

 

29th October   

Cutting Out the Flab...

Australian advert censor clears Underbelly Razor billboard
Link Here

A woman holding an old fashioned razor blade with what appears to be blood dripping from it is surrounded by three men who are crowded around her closely. Above the image it says, Underbelly Razor and below is the Channel 9 logo.

Complainants said:

I don't think it is a suitable image/message for a public space as the TV show is rated M and yet children could see the billboard.

It is objectifying the woman and intentionally playing on the rough sex notion.

While there is no sexual act being performed in the poster the woman doesn't look safe as the men look like they will take advantage of her.

I just think it is quite tasteless combining the sexual nature of the billboard with the violent nature.

ASB Decsion: Complaints not upheld

The Board first considered whether the advertisement complied with Section 2.1 of the Code which requires that;

advertisements shall not portray or depict material in a way which discriminates against or vilifies a person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, age, sexual preference, religion, disability or political belief.

The Board noted the advertisement shows a woman holding a razor surrounded by three men. The Board noted the woman does not appear unhappy with the situation she is in, but rather she looks as though she is empowered and in control. The Board noted that one of the men is kissing the woman's shoulder but considered that this does not depict the woman as a sexual object as it is clear that she is the person in control of the situation depicted and the image does not amount to objectification of women. The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.1 of the Code.

Section 2.2 of the Code requires that:

advertising or marketing communications not use violence unless it is appropriate in the context of the advertised product or service.

The Board noted the advertisement is for a television program called Underbelly , a program known to contain violent behaviour, and that the woman is holding a large razor blade dripping with what appears to be blood.

The Board noted that this advertisement was seen on a billboard and potentially it could be seen by children. The Board noted that the image was relevant to the widely recognised television program it is advertising. The Board determined that images of razors are not of themselves prohibited and that in this advertisement the razors are not being used to threaten or injure a person and there is more a suggestion of violence rather than an actual depiction.

The Board agreed that some people would find the image unpleasant and prefer not to see it but the Board determined that the image is relevant to the advertised product and not so strong as to be inappropriate for general viewing.

The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.2 of the Code as it does not depict or condone violence.

 

29th October   

Update: Friends Again...

Missouri law banning teachers from Facebook friendship with pupils has been repealed
Link Here

In July 2011 the state of Missouri enacted legislation making Facebook friendship between teachers and students, as well as any sort of social networking, illegal.

After teachers complained the ban was unconstitutional and interfered with education, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon altered the state policy in a new bill he just signed. The initial state senate bill, which has come to be known as the Facebook Law, is no longer in effect, reports The Kansas City Star.

Instead, all Missouri school districts will have until March 2012 to create their own social networking policies.

The Missouri State Teachers Association, concerned about First Amendment rights, had sued the state over the law, claiming it was too vague. They were awarded an injunction Aug. 26, two days before the law was supposed to go into effect.

 

28th October   

Dangerous Words...

Parliamentary task force examines hate speech on the internet
Link Here

A UK Government Task Force is meeting to discuss ways of combating the growing supposed problem of people publishing bigoted statements on websites.

The Internet Hate Speech Task Force hearing follows a meeting attended by MPs and ISPs.  At that discussion, Israel's Minister of Public Affairs and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein claimed: The issue of hate on the internet needs greater attention given its scope and potential for harm.!

The task force is hosted by John Mann MP and was set up by the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism (ICCA). It will look at the nature and scope of internet hate. This will include racism, religious hate speech, misogyny and homophobia.

The types of hate speech that are appearing on the internet will be examined as will the various online media through which it appears. The hearing will also highlight the impact that internet hate can have, including its role in fostering hate crimes, and it will include testimonies from experts and witnesses.

Further hearings will be scheduled by the Task Force and a report containing recommendations is due in late 2012

 

28th October

 Offsite: No Media Influence...

Link Here
An interview with David Cooke of the BBFC

See frontrowreviews.co.uk

 

28th October   

A Heritage of Air-brushed History...

Playwright refuses to censor references to Nazis in historical presentation at castle used for wartime coastal defence
Link Here

A playwright has cancelled a play set partly during the Second World War, claiming the quango which commissioned it asked him to remove references to Nazis, Jews and the invasion of Poland for fear of offending the audience.

The Halloween play was originally approved to be performed as part of ghost tours at Pendennis Castle, in Falmouth, Cornwall, over four nights for an adults only audience.  The scenes in question included a young Polish Jew, who arrived in Britain as a refugee, voicing fears about what would happen to his relatives in occupied Europe.

Playwright Rod Tinson hit out at English Heritage for trying to create a Disneyfied version of history by insisting on changes to his play. Tinson said of the English Heritage request:

They said it was inappropriate for an English Heritage audience. What version of history are they trying to illustrate at this place?

I cannot see why it would be deemed offensive, it was intended for adults, many of whom remember the war or know people who were involved in it. I cannot understand it. I refused to change it because it would have changed the whole storyline.

 

28th October   

Updated: Google Transparency Report...

Google reveal the number of requests for them to remove or hide content
Link Here

Google have revealed the number of requests for them to remove content, mostly from YouTube and to hide content from searches. The figures cover the period January to June 2011.

UK

Google received 7 UK court orders to remove 43 items from searches. 14 on grounds of defamation and  28 on grounds of privacy or security.

Google received 1 UK court order and 52 letters from the likes of police and government requesting removal of a total of 220 YouTube videos. 61 for privacy and security, 135 for national security, 3 for violence and 1 for hate speech.

US

Google received 24 US court orders and 3 government/police requests to remove 198 items from searches. 188 of these on grounds of defamation

Google received 6 US court order and 26 letters from the likes of police and government requesting removal of a total of 113 YouTube videos. 62 for privacy and security, and 16 for defamation.

Google also received 5 court orders to remove 379 Google Groups on grounds of defamation. Also 18 requests to remove 47 items from Blogger blogs.

The US requests are a 70% increase over the previous 6 month.

Update: Occupying the High Ground

28th October 2011. From readwriteweb.com , thanks to Nick

In a show of good faith, Google touted the fact that it has refused to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. who requested the removal of YouTube videos of police brutality and criticisms of law enforcement officials.

Google cited its transparency report from the first half of this year, but to mention it with violent crackdowns at Occupy Oakland this week, is telling. Google said:

We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests, which we have categorized in this Report as defamation requests.

 

28th October   

Licence to Censor...

Freedom House reports that supposed media regulation is in fact media censorship
Link Here

A range of governments are increasingly restricting media freedom using licensing and regulatory frameworks and receive little criticism or attention for doing so, according to Freedom House's newest report, License to Censor: The Use of Media Regulation to Restrict Press Freedom.

The report provides an overview analyzing this trend at a global level and in-depth analyses of the regulatory environments in eight countries: Ecuador, Georgia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. It describes some of the most commonly used methods to regulate the media - legal controls on licensing and registration, regulatory bodies that are not independent or operate in an nontransparent or politicized manner, and the imposition of vague content requirements on media outlets - as well as detailing the use of arbitrary or extralegal actions, including license denials and the suspension or closure of media outlets to restrict media freedom.

The findings in this report show that governments, as they adapt to diverse and globalized media environments, are becoming increasingly savvy in maintaining control over content, said project director of the Freedom of the Press index at Freedom House, Karin Karlekar. The report shines a light on an issue that is slowly eroding press freedom in democracies and non democracies alike, and Freedom House hopes that it will result in greater attention paid to regulatory bodies and licensing practices, to ensure more transparent decisions.

 

28th October   

Poverty in Saudi Arabia...

Film makers imprisoned for short film revealing poverty
Link Here

Three young film-makers are still in detention a week after being arrested for posting a film about poverty in Saudi Arabia on the internet.

Feras Boqna, Hussam al-Drewesh and Khaled al-Rasheed were detained for questioning in Riyadh three days after uploading their 10-minute film, called We are Being Cheated, to the site, the Riyadh-based Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association said.

The film exposed the dire poverty of Saudis who have not benefited from the kingdom's vast oil wealth.

Although the film's scenes, interviews and comments are all considered familiar to the majority of Saudi society the Riyadh-based Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association said, the producers have breached new Saudi media regulations that enable the government to close or fine publications that hurt the kingdom's stability or insult Islam.

 

28th October   

Degraded Sweden...

Miserable advert censor whinges at sexy women in advert for men's clothes
Link Here

The Jack & Jones clothing retailer has been rapped by Sweden's miserable advertising censor for a supposedly sexist ad campaign which utilised scantily clad women to market a line of men's clothing.

The censor took up the case following a few complaints who took issue with Jack & Jones for using scantily clad women who lacked any connection to the men's clothing products being marketed. Complainants argued the adverts amounted to offensive and objectifyingly sexist stereotypes of both men and women . Others complained that the Jack & Jones campaign also discriminated against homosexuals because it only showed heterosexual situations.

In addition to in-store posters, the campaign features a commercial in which a woman in a jogging suit warns, The new spring collection from Jack & Jones has turned out to have some unfortunate side effects that we didn't anticipate. The ad then cuts to a scene in which a man is lying passed out on a bed surrounded by three women dressed in bras and panties. In the next scene, a bare-chested man lying in bed is straddled by a blond woman in her underwear who appears to be trying to revive him before leaning down to blow on the man's crotch. The woman who appeared at the start of the commercial reappears later wearing a bikini and performing aerobic exercises in which she urges viewers to join the company's get in shape and ready for action online fitness club .

The advert censor issued a unanimous ruling condemning the campaign:

Through their clothing and poses, the women are portrayed as pure sex objects and in a way that can be considered offensive to women in general.

In an overall assessment, the committee finds that the advertisement can be considered offensive and that the conventions expressed in it give a stereotypical view of gender roles which is degrading to both women and men.

 

27th October   

Shame...

Difficulties for the distribution of an NC-17 (adults only) film in the US
Link Here
Full story: MPAA NC-17...US adults only certificate is the kiss of box office death

Fox Searchlight's US distribution deal with Shame specified that the studio would not re-edit the movie for a lower-rating even though it's almost certainly going to get an NC-17. The movie, which follows the downward spiral of a sex addict (played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender), features copious sex and nudity with a sprinkling of implied incest.

There are multiple challenges to marketing an NC-17 movie. Most networks won't air promos for an NC-17 film (at least not during primetime), newspapers are wary of buying ads for NC-17 movies, and even theaters aren't eager to show NC-17 movies because it's adults only. This allows for stupid folks to come out an accuse the theater of not being family friendly.

Actually Shame has been very well received wherever it has been shown on the festival circuit, so Fox will market the film on the strength of good reviews and word of mouth. It has a good start as it picked up awards at the Venice Film Festival for Best Film and Best Actor.

Shame isn't going to open with a wide release. It opens in New York and Los Angeles on December 2nd, which means that the studio will only have to rely on newspaper ad buys in those cities. Fox will also put a green-band (suitable for all ages) trailer into theaters.

The Fox studio co-president Steve Gilula said:

I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner. The sheer talent of the actors and the vision of the filmmaker are extraordinary. It's not a film that everyone will take easily, but it certainly breaks through the clutter and is distinctive and original. It's a game changer.

 

27th October   

Olympic Word Games...

London Olympics News Service claims that competitor sound bites will be uncensored
Link Here
Full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control

Tim Barnett, the head of the Olympic and Paralympic News Service, which will provide quick flash quotes to the world's media during the Games, said he strongly refuted any suggestion that there may be censorship of athletes' comments.

We will report fairly and accurately what happens in the mixed zone [where athletes give quick remarks after events], Barnett told more than 500 of the world's media at the World Press Briefing in London.

Barnett's assurances come after the Olympic News Service failed to report any athlete opinion or comment about the London riots during the beach volleyball test event. At the time OPNS staff said they were instructed to only report comments made about sport.

 

27th October   

Updated: Good News from Theresa May...

Proposal to withdraw much abused police censorship power from the Public Order Act
Link Here

An official consultation on public order powers has just been launched.  

The home secretary, Theresa May, is seeking curfew powers for the police to create no-go areas during riots. The powers are expected to include immediate curfews over large areas to tackle the kind of fast-moving disturbances that swept across many of England's major cities in August. May also wants to extend existing powers to impose curfews on individuals and stronger police powers to order protesters and rioters to remove face masks.

On a more positive note, the consultation will look at repealing section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act, which outlaws insulting words or behaviour . There are claims the provision hampers free speech and it has been the subject of a strong Liberal Democrat campaign.

Parliament's joint human rights committee has called for the removal of the word insulting to raise the threshold of the offence, citing a case in which a teenager was arrested for calling Scientology a cult. Evangelical Christians have complained about the use of section 5 to fine street preachers who proclaim that homosexuality is sinful or immoral.

Those supporting the reform say it would still cover threatening, abusive or disorderly behavour.

The consultation closes on 13 January 2012.

Update: So What About Section 4?

22nd October 2011. Based on article from secularism.org.uk

The National Secular Society, faith groups and civil liberties groups as well as the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR), have long argued that the word insulting should be removed from section 5 of the Public Order Act on the grounds that it criminalises free speech.

The NSS is also concerned about the use of insulting in Section 4A of the Public Order Act.

In March 2010, Harry Taylor was found guilty of religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress after he left anti-religious cartoons and other material he had cut from newspapers and magazines in the prayer room of John Lennon airport in Liverpool. Taylor was charged under Part 4A of the Public Order Act after the material was found by the airport chaplain, who said in court that she was insulted, offended, and alarmed by the cartoons and so called the police.

In its legislative Scrutiny of the Protection of Freedoms Bill, the Joint (Parliamentary) Human Rights Committee recommended the amendment of the Public Order Act to remove all references to offences based on insulting words or behaviour. Their report stated: We consider that this would be a human rights enhancing measure and would remove a risk that these provisions may be applied in a manner which is disproportionate and incompatible with the right to freedom of expression, as protected by Article 10 of the [European Convention on Human Rights] and the common law.

Stephen Evans, Campaigns Manager at the National Secular Society, said: In an open and democratic society such as ours, none of us should have the legal right not to be offended.

The word insulting should be deleted because in the interests of free speech there must be a higher threshold for criminality than insult . The law needs an urgent re-examination, so we very much welcome this consultation.

Offsite Comment: The Public Order Act: More than a little insulting

27th October 2011. See  article from  libdemvoice.org by Juilan Huppert MP

What do Peter Tatchell and the Christian Institute have in common? Before you answer, this isn't some deeply unfunny jibe from a Coalition colleague, but one of many unexpected alliances which have formed to oppose Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.

This rather insidious Section criminalises all those who use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress . It also applies to those who display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting .

 

27th October   

So What Would Ofcom Have Made of This?...

Government hate speech censor considers religious call to murder on Swedish Radio
Link Here

Sweden's government hate speech censor has been adjudicating on religious nastiness.

The case was about the Swedish public service broadcaster Sveriges Radio featuring a programme in which a Somali imam called for all converts from Islam to be killed.

The Swedish Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern) cleared the programme of hate speech after the presenter mildly reminded the imam that they were in Sweden. To which the imam had replied that the same rules apply here.

The decision said that the programme features opinions that could be taken as a threat against those who have converted from Islam . However, due to the responses from the presenter, the Chancellor has decided not to investigate the matter further.

The programme in question was a panel discussion and was broadcast live by SR International's Somali service.

The initial police report was filed by Erik Johansson, at the Swedish Evangelical Mission about words underlining every Muslim's responsibility to kill anyone who leaves Islam. Johansson also contacted Sveriges Radio complaining that the item was left available on their website for more than two weeks. Soon after his telephone call the programme was removed from the website.

 

27th October   

Advert Censor on the Brink...

Australian advert censor clears bus advert for the video game Brink
Link Here

An advertisement on the side of a bus featured a character from the game in an action pose with a gun and the relevant video game platform packshots that it was available on.

A complainant said:

I do not think this sort of picture should be displayed publicly on buses (or anywhere else for that matter). Young children see these pictures and it could scare them. I was also offended by how large the advertisement was and found it quite affronting. I do not believe society should condone these sorts of images by advertising them in such an open way.

The mask that the man in the ad is wearing is particularly disturbing and his pose is also threatening. The fact that he is carrying a machine gun only adds to the impact. I believe that an ad like this should not be shown where young children can be exposed to it.

ASB Decsion: Complaint not upheld

The Advertising Standards Board noted that the advertisement is clearly for a computer game and the depiction of violence is permitted by the Code if appropriate in the context of the product advertised .

The Board considered that the image of a person holding a gun is relevant to the game. The Board determined that images of guns are not of themselves prohibited and that in this advertisement the gun is not pointed at a person and there is more a suggestion of violence rather than an actual depiction.

The Board determined that the image is not an inappropriate image. The Board determined that the advertisement did not breach Section 2.2 of the Code as it does not depict or condone violence.

 

27th October   

Updated: This is Not a Film...

Iran upholds 6 year jail sentence for noted film director Jafar Panahi
Link Here
An Iranian appeal court in Tehran has upheld film director Jafar Panahi's sentence to six years in jail, and a twenty-year ban on filmmaking.

Charges against the award-winning director were summarised by state media as: acting against national security and propaganda against the regime .

With the ban now in-place, the filmmaker's This is not a Film , which premiered at Canne Film festival, may be his last work for two decades. The handheld-shot documentary covers Panahi's struggle with censorship whilst being prosecuted.

Update: London Film Festival

27th October 2011. From  littlewhitelies.co.uk

This is Not a Film is thoughtful, inviting and not at all preachy or didactic. It is truly a video postcard, though a potentially contentious one having been smuggled to the 2011 London Film Festival via a memory stick. Still, it stands up a testimony to the defiance against censorship and towards this man's desire to tell stories, in whatever format he is able to.

Offsite: Update

28th March 2012.  See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Jafar Panahi's This Is Not A Film demonstrates by the simple fact of its existence that the political oppression of difficult artists -- a tradition as ancient and venerable as art itself -- is alive and well in modern Iran. No surprises there, perhaps, but more encouragingly it also shows that Iranian responses to being silenced are as inventive as any ever developed by film-makers in repressive regimes. Given the formal and stylistic adventurousness of many movies made under arduous political circumstances, you might even argue that a bracing dose of aggressive censorship and brutal repression can sometimes do wonders for a director's formal and intellectual development.

...Read the full article

 

26th October   

Update: Educationally Challenged...

Nutter MP repeats her call to appoint the BBFC as book censors for sex education material
Link Here

Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom has repeated her call for sex education books to be classified by the BBFC.

Leadsom claims some of the material being taught to children as young as five is extraordinarily inappropriate . She wants books and videos used for sex education to be given a rating by the British Board of Film Classification before they are used in schools.

During a Westminster Hall debate, Leadsom said many adults were horrified when they found out what children were being taught about sex. She said:

 I've seen cartoons of two people engaged in sexual activities with the caption 'Here are some ways mummies and daddies fit together', others depicting two cartoon characters locked in an intimate embrace, accompanied by a vivid explanation, using sexual terminology of the act of intercourse.

As well as cartoons I've been shown a video of two people engaged in intercourse, with a child's voice over the top, saying, 'it looks like they're having fun'.

She also wants the law changed so that parents actively have to opt in to sex lessons, rather than opt out , as is currently the case if they have objections.

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, said all sex education material used in state schools was scrutinised to ensure it set the right tone . The education secretary had set out statutory guidelines for schools and councils to follow, he added, which would ensure that inappropriate content would not be used.

Comment: Parental Guidance

Perhaps a Sex Ed Parental Guidance certificate would read:

Suitable for children of all ages. Children are advised to consider whether the material may upset sensitive parents before showing it to them.

 

26th October   

Holy Terror...

The latest Frank Miller graphic novel rattles a few cages
Link Here

There is nothing subtle about Frank Miller's newest graphic novel, Holy Terror . The book opens with the quote: If you meet the infidel, kill the infidel , which Miller attributes to the islamic prophet Mohammed.

Miller is no stranger to controversy. His stories, which include the film inspiring 300 and Sin City , regularly explore the darker corners of society amid shades of moral grey.

His latest work was originally envisioned as a Batman tale after September 11 attacks on the US, the comic features heroes The Fixer, and thief-come-love interest, Natalie, as they join forces to stop an Al Qaeda plot on Empire City, a thinly veiled New York City.

For some, this underlines a worrying shift in American entertainment. We are witnessing a growing industry of information and fear-mongering, and this work fits in the centre said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He described the work as shameful .

In a post on his website dated September 23, Miller unapologetically defended Holy Terror as a piece of naked propaganda , but propaganda in a virtuous sense. Holy Terror is his contribution to the fight against terrorism.

Despite wary reviews, Holy Terror was the best-selling graphic novel in September, according to Diamond Comic Distributors.

 

26th October

 Offsite: Experts in Aberrant Psychology...

Link Here
Adventures with the Censor: The BBFC and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

See product details at amazon.co.uk

 

26th October   

A OK...

Australian advert censor clears hand gestures in Friends with Benefits film poster
Link Here

The outdoor billboard features Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake for the release of the film „ Friends With Benefits in cinemas. Mila is making the okay sign with her thumb and forefinger, and Justin is pointing at the okay sign.

A sample of comments which the complainant/s made regarding this advertisement included the following:

  • The advertisement includes an obscene gesture for sexual intercourse.

  • This looks like a crude gesture for sex which I believe is inappropriate in a public ad. The way the actors are holding their hands is a well-known mime for a sex act. I find this crude vulgar and inappropriate for mass advertising.

  • I take offence from the crude and sexual nature of this ad. The finger signs being made by Justin and Mila are a rude and belittling symbol for sex. If I were to make such a symbol at work or amongst my social group it would certainly be seen as a dirty and uncouth thing to do.

  • I believe this poster breaches clause 2.3 of the code of ethics as it does not treat sex with in a sensitive manner. I have seen this poster in numerous locations around Melbourne. In particular it is displayed in a bus stop that attracts large groups of school children. I'm sure if these kids went home and made these gestures in font of their parents they were not be received well. I believe it is inappropriate to encourage and promote such insensitive gestures in public.

ASB Decsion: Complaint not upheld

The Board considered whether the advertisements were in breach of Section 2.3 of the Code:

Advertising or Marketing Communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and, where appropriate, the relevant programme time zone.

The Board considered that the hand gestures on their own are not in themselves offensive gestures, however, the Board noted that most members of the broad adult audience would recognise the intended double entendre and suggestive sexual nature of the two gestures together. The Board noted there is a level of community concern about the sexualisation of children and acknowledged the placement of the advertisement meant that the relevant audience was very broad and could include children. The Board considered that most young children would not recognize or be familiar with the sexual connotations associated with the gesture, the concept, or with the content of the movie.

The Board acknowledged that some members of the community might be offended by the advertisement but considered that the image is only mildly sexualised and is not offensive or inappropriate.

The Board determined that the advertisement did treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and did not breach Section 2.3 of the Code.

 

26th October   

Sickly Skinny...

Super thin doll catches the eye in Sweden
Link Here

A Swedish toy shop has pulled a sickly skinny doll from store shelves following Facebook complaints from 'shocked' parents concerned over the supposed effect the doll might have on children.

When Marja-Liisa Luther took her daughters to Swedish toy chain Barnens Hus last week she was 'shocked' to find a doll skinny enough to make Barbie look overweigh.

Luther grabbed hold of some of the other parents nearby asking them for their opinion and then picked up her phone and snapped a picture of the emaciated doll. When she got home Luther uploaded the image to Facebook and caught press attention with her postings.

I am really pleased people have reacted. It shows that they care about these things, Luther said. She is convinced that children are influenced by the toys they play with: Kids who play with the doll will identify with it. They might feel that it is natural to be super-skinny and think 'Well, maybe this is the way I should look too' .

The doll in question is called Defa Lucy Mermaid Princess and was being retailed in six of the Barnens Hus stores in Sweden. However, after the media 'storm' the doll was removed from the shelves .

 

25th October   

Update: Transparent Control...

Ofcom revokes the broadcasting licences of Babeworld, House of Fun, and The Other Side
Link Here
Full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Ofcom have revoked the licences of the following services:

  • Babeworld licensed by Babeworld TV Ltd
  • House of Fun licensed by House of Fun Television Ltd
  • The Other Side licensed by Forenzquick UK Ltd

Section 362(2) of the Communications  Act, sets out who should be treated as the provider of the service for the purposes of holding the licence:

A person will normally have general control if that person exercises effective control over the selection of programmes that comprise the service and their organisation into a programme schedule. It is that person who will normally be treated as being the provider of the service and who will need to hold a broadcasting licence authorising its provision.  

In the course of correspondence and meetings with Ofcom, statements made by Babeworld Television Limited, House of Fun Television Limited and Forenzquick UK Limited about the operation of the Licensed Services failed to satisfy Ofcom that these Licensees had general control over which programmes and other services were comprised in the Service.

Ofcom therefore concluded that Babeworld Television Limited, House of Fun Television Limited and Forenzquick UK Limited were not the providers of the Licensed Services in accordance with section 362(2) of the Communications Act 2003 and that, accordingly, it was appropriate to revoke their Licences.

 

25th October   

The Daily Mail Recommends...

Marat/Sade by the Royal Shakespeare Company
Link Here

Theatregoers have been walking out of a filthy and depraved Royal Shakespeare Company production in their droves, 'disgusted' by its scenes of nudity, violence and rape.

On one night, 80 left Stratford-upon-Avon's Royal Shakespeare Theatre during the play, Marat/Sade , which features simulated sex acts and torture by Taser.

It is set in a lunatic asylum in post-revolutionary France, where the infamous Marquis de Sade is directing a play about the last days of political thinker Jean Paul Marat using inmates as actors. Written by Swedish playwright Peter Weiss, it has generated controversy since it was first staged in 1964.

Theatregoer Kate Dee, who left at the interval, said:

It was utter filth and depravity. The rape scene came just before the interval and many people did not return for the second half. I knew it was supposed to be edgy but it was the worst kind of filth dressed up as quality theatre. They have got it badly wrong. I don't blame people for walking out. They took it too far this time.

Last night the RSC admitted that, on average, 30 people had left the theatre each night since the production opened on October 14.

Michael Boyd, the Company's Artistic Director said:

Marat/Sade changed the face of British theatre when it premiered in 1964. It's a controversial play because the subjects it explores -- insanity, individuality, sexuality, the abuse of power, freedom versus control -- are just as sensitive today as they were in the 1960s.

 

25th October   

Preoccupied by Censorship...

China unsurprisingly blocks tweets with 'occupy' associated with place names
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

The Chinese website Sina Weibo which features a Twitter-like messaging service is reportedly filtering out search results containing the word occupy when paired with the names of various places.

China Digital Times (CDT) reports:

As the Occupy Wall Street movement goes global, China's call for calm observation and reflection may have been followed by another round of censorship in cyberspace. A long list of banned keywords on Sina Weibo's search function has been uncovered and tested by the CDT team yesterday. All the listed phrases stick to one simple rule: a combination of occupy and a place name--provincial capitals, economically developed regions, and few symbolic local areas.

 

24th October   

Update: The Miserable 21st Century...

Harriet Hatemen whinges about Page 3
Link Here
Full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

Harriet Harman has had a whinge against Page 3 girls, telling Sky Newsthat tabloid pictures of topless females are not the right thing for women in the 21st century .

Labour's deputy leader said:

I'm not saying that we should ban it. ..BUT.. .I think that women in the 21st century who are going out to work, who are bringing up their children, who are playing a full role in public life, I think that the idea that women are sex objects to be posing in their knickers to be leered at by men in a national newspaper - I don't think that that's the right thing for women in the 21st century.

Perhaps the 21st century will one day become known as the Miserable Century. When for one reason or another, all pleasures in life were frowned upon. And when everything ended up banned, nobody could make any money, and the western world went down the pan.

 

24th October   

Tokidoki Barbie...

US nutters whinge at chic Barbie Doll with tattoos and a fashion label
Link Here

A rock chick Barbie doll with dyed pink hair and a chest and neck covered in tattoos has been criticised by parents' groups.

Mattel, the manufacturer, described the Tokidoki Barbie doll as a funky fashionista who is ready for fun in fashion.

But parents and commentators across America have criticised the image it portrays to children. Professor Joel Bakan, the author of Childhood Under Siege , described it as a cynical exercise : This is a calculated attempt to play on young girls' natural desire to appear older. This is something to be resisted.

The doll was created with tokidoki, a Los Angeles-based fashion label, and carries a bag bearing the company's logo.

Holly Lebowitz Rossi, a writer for parents.com, said: For those who look to Barbie as a role model for strong, empowered girls, the tokidoki doll is overly-sexualised and inappropriate.

 

23rd October   

Updated: Not Nice...

Ofcom receives complaints about images of Gaddafi's death
Link Here

There has been plenty of coverage about the death of Gaddafi, particularly as it was somewhat more graphic than usual news coverage.

UK TV censor Ofcom said it had received complaints about numerous broadcasters that aired the images of a dazed or dead-looking Gaddafi being manhandled by his captors.

Media commentators debated the unusually graphic images in Britain's Friday morning papers.

The BBC defended its use of the images as crucial to dispelling the swirl of rumour as conflicting reports emerged about Gaddafi's state. BBC newsroom head Mary Hockaday said:

We do not use such pictures lightly. The images of his dead body were an important part of telling the story to confirm reports of his death.

By contrast, American newspapers tended to shy away from the stronger images.

Update: BBC response re graphic news pictures

23rd October 2011.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk by Mary Hockaday, head of the BBC newsroom.

When the end came, it came very suddenly. For months, the Libyan rebels, supported by Nato, were striving to end Muammar Gaddafi's rule in Libya. For weeks that goal seemed to be coming closer, but for many Libyans a tantalising question remained: where was Gaddafi? For days, attention has been on his hometown of Sirte, where Gaddafi loyalists held out. Then yesterday, Sirte fell and suddenly, unexpectedly, Gaddafi was found. A dramatic news day, which posed many challenges. Our continuing commitment to coverage of Libya means we were able to provide on the ground reporting from Sirte. We are the only UK news organisation to have had a permanent continuous presence in Libya since February and yesterday, our correspondent Gabriel Gatehouse was the only UK broadcaster in Sirte as Gaddafi was killed, able to provide first-hand reporting of what happened, carefully piecing together the day's events. We gained big audiences for our coverage yesterday across platforms. Col Gaddafi

It was a confusing story. This posed another challenge. In the age of mobile phones, footage of the capture of Gaddafi soon started to emerge. We could not always be clear of its origins so it was important to make what checks we could and then be very clear with our audiences what we'd been able to verify and what we hadn't. The other challenge was posed by the nature of the footage itself - very graphic, some of it showing Gaddafi alive but manhandled and bloody and other footage and stills showing his dead and bloodied body. We judged that it was right to use some footage and stills, with warnings about their nature. Part of yesterday's story, especially in the first hours, was the swirl of rumour. The images of his dead body were an important part of telling the story to confirm reports of his death. Images of him alive but manhandled were also disturbing, but told an equally important part of the story about how his captors treated him and how far he himself had fallen. As the different footage emerged through the afternoon, it became an important way for us to piece together what happened - what were the circumstances of his death, did he die from wounds sustained in the fighting or was he captured alive and then shot? As different officials and eyewitnesses gave different accounts, the footage helped us share emerging photographic evidence with the audience.

We do not use such pictures lightly. There are sequences we did not show because we considered them too graphic and we took judgements about what was acceptable for different audiences on different platforms at different times of day, especially for the pre-watershed BBC1 bulletins. I recognise that not every member of the audience will agree with our decisions, but we thought carefully about how to balance honest coverage of the story with audience sensitivity. The News Channel faces a different challenge. We know that many people join the coverage through the day or only watch for a short while. For these audiences we need to keep retelling the story. But we also know that some people watch the live rolling coverage for several hours, and with the Gaddafi story this meant some repetition of the graphic images. It is a difficult balance to strike. For the website, we chose to use an image of Gaddafi's body in the rotating picture gallery on the front page. We recognise that it is hard to provide a warning on the front page and so while we felt it was an important part of telling the core story in the early stages, as time passed we found other ways to convey what had happened on the front page, with the most graphic images at least a click away and with a clear warning.

There were undoubtedly shocking and disturbing images from yesterday. But as a news organisation our role is to report what happened, and that can include shocking and disturbing things. We thought carefully about the use of pictures - which incidentally we used more sparingly than many other UK media - and I believe that overall they were editorially justified to convey the nature of yesterday's dramatic and gruesome events

 

23rd October   

Updated: Silly Tweet...

A Ricky Gervais windup with jokes about 'mongs'
Link Here
Full story: The R Word...Campaign against the word 'retard'

Ricky Gervais has refused to apologise after disability groups and fellow comedians condemned him for repeatedly using the word 'mong' on Twitter and posting photos of himself pulling monged-up faces. In the past month Gervais's Twitter followers have leapt from 68,000 to more than 440,000 as the comedian became embroiled in an online row about the use of the term.

In a statement Gervais said that the term was completely different to mongol , a derogatory term for people with Down's syndrome. I have never used the word 'mongol'. I have used the word 'mong', he said. I have never used that word to mean Down's syndrome and never would. The modern use of the word 'mong' means 'dopey' or 'ignorant'. It's even in modern slang and urban dictionaries.

See one of many definitions from urbandictionary.com :

Mong is short for mongoloid , which was originally an anachronistic term for a Down's Syndrome sufferer. The modern Mong however is a total fuckwit, who deserves nothing less than complete humiliation for their idiocy.

The controversy began after Gervais returned to Twitter on 29 September. He made a string of tweets involving variations on the word mong . Phrases included What a fucking useless Mong I really am , two mongs don't make a right and good monging .

Gervais had already responded to criticism earlier this month, tweeting: Just to clarify for uptight people stuck in the past. The word Mong means Downs syndrome about as much as the word Gay means happy.

The tirade has now come to the attention of the press. Frank Buckley, of Down Syndrome Education International, told the Sun: Most would consider it as offensive as comparable terms of abuse referring to racial background or sexual orientation. A Mencap spokesman, Mark Gale, said that the comedian's behaviour was very disappointing , adding that such language can perpetuate discriminatory attitudes .

Gervais remains unrepentant, bullishly posting another gurning self-portrait of himself on Twitter with the caption: The police just came round and confiscated all my awards. Gutted.

Update: Sorry, I was being a bit of a mong

23rd October 2011.  See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Ricky Gervais apologised over his use of the term mong , after being criticised by the tearful mother of two disabled daughters.

The comedian claimed he had been naive to use the word without realising that it was still used to insult the disabled.

He was seemingly affected by Nicola Clark, a disability campaigner and mother of two disabled girls, who had broken down in tears while talking about the row on Jeremy Vine's BBC Radio 2 show.

Gervais then contacted Mrs Clark on Twitter to offer a very public thank you for her kind, rational and understanding words in private since the issue broke.

 

22nd October   

Updated: Small Beer...

Dutch crime boss wants movie ban for The Heineken Kidnapping
Link Here

A Dutch crime boss, Willem Holleeder, wants The Heineken Kidnapping film banned.

A court in Amsterdam has heard from lawyers for the convicted kidnapper, who wants to use the legal system to protect his reputation from a new film.

The film portrays the 1983 kidnapping of brewing executive Freddy Heineken. Holleeder was among those convicted of the crime, and is unhappy with the portrayal of his character in the film.

The new film stars Rutger Hauer who plays the kidnapping victim Freddy.

Update: Not Banned

22nd October 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A Dutch court has rejected a gangster's bid to block the release of a film about his infamous 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken.

Judge Wil Tonkens rejected the suit without comment. She said she would publish her reasoning on 28 October.

 

21st October   

Update: Unacceptably High Costs for Defending Libel Cases...

Parliamentary committee finds that libel reforms don't go far enough
Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Reforms to England's libel laws will not do enough to protect free speech. A powerful parliamentary committee believes further steps are needed to prevent big corporations using their financial muscle to gag opponents by threatening legal action.

It also wants extra measures to protect scientists and academics who are publishing legitimate research, and to prevent trivial claims ever reaching court.

The committee has been scrutinising the Coalition's proposals to end the international embarrassment that sees rich and powerful foreigners flocking to our courts to silence critics.

The report from the joint committee on the draft Defamation Bill says many of the Government's proposals, particularly a move to end trial by jury except in the most serious cases, are worthwhile . But it says the plans are modest and do not address the key problem in defamation law, the unacceptably high costs associated with defending cases.

Recommendation that websites be held responsible for anonymous comments

See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Websites should have protection from defamation cases if they act quickly to remove anonymous postings which prompt a complaint, a report says. A joint parliamentary committee tasked with examining libel reform says it wants a cultural shift so that posts under pseudonyms are not considered true, reliable or trustworthy , But it says websites which identify authors and publish complaints alongside comments should get legal protection.

The committee proposes a new notice and takedown procedure for defamatory online comments - aimed at providing a quick remedy for those who are defamed and to give websites which use the procedure more legal protection.

It recommends that where complaints are made about comments from identified authors - the website should promptly publish a notice of the complaint alongside it. The complainant can then apply to a court for a takedown order - which if granted, should result in the comment being removed, if the website is to avoid the risk of a defamation claim.

But where potentially defamatory comments are anonymous, the website should immediately remove them on receipt of a complaint, unless the author agrees to identify themselves, the report says. The author of the comment can then be sued for defamation but if a website refuses to take down an anonymous remark it should be treated as its publisher and face the risk of libel proceedings .

The report also says a website could apply to a court for a leave-up order, if it (is rich enough and) considers the anonymous comment to be on a matter of significant public interest.

But Mumsnet, a parenting website, says many of its members rely on the ability to ask questions or post comments anonymously. Many of the women posting messages do so under a user name , rather than their real name - and the site is worried the proposal will mean more people demanding messages be taken down.

Its co-founder, Justine Roberts, said while it was right to stop people from assassinating the character of others from behind the cloak of anonymity the report did not recognise how useful anonymous postings were in allowing people to speak honestly about difficult real-life situations . The recommendations could have a chilling effect on sites like Mumsnet where many thousands of people use anonymity to confidentially seek and give advice about sensitive real-life situations.

Under the current law, websites are liable for defamatory statements made by their users. If they fail to take down a post when they receive a complaint, they risk being treated as the primary publisher of the statement.

So how is a website to know if users correctly identify themselves anyway?

 

21st October

 Offsite: Censors Under Siege...

Link Here
Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs was notorious, but can the remake repeat its incendiary impact?

See article from independent.co.uk

 

21st October   

Update: Undercover Copwatch...

Court orders French ISPs to block Paris Copwatch website
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection

A French court has ruled that local ISPs must block access to the website, Copwatch Nord Paris I-D-F , that shows pictures and videos of police officers arresting suspects, taunting protesters and allegedly committing acts of violence against members of ethnic minorities.

Law enforcement officials, who had denounced the site as an incitement to violence against the police, welcomed the decision.

But free speech advocates reacted with alarm, saying the ruling reflected a French tendency to restrict Internet freedoms.

This court order illustrates an obvious will by the French government to control and censor citizens' new online public sphere, said Je're'mie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based organization that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet.

The police had said they were particularly concerned about portions of the site showing identifiable photos of police officers, along with personal data, including some cases in which officers are said to express far-right sympathies on social networks.

The case was then taken up by Claude Gue'ant, the French interior minister. He had asked the court to issue an order blocking only certain pages of the site, those showing the most sensitive personal information. But ISps argued that this would be impossible,.

The court ordered that the site be blocked immediately.

 

20th October   

Update: Crazy Bitch...

Canadian music censor clears song by Buckcherry
Link Here
Full story: Radio Censorship in Canada...Canadian music censor bans Dire Straits song

Canada's radio censor has cleared American hard rock band Buckcherry's song Crazy Bitch . It was cleared for broadcast after deciding it is not aimed at womanhood.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, which censors the airwaves explained that the song is about an apparent crazy girlfriend. And

...the song only referred to one particular woman rather than generalizing all women as 'crazy bitches,'

The ruling followed a listener complaint received after Crazy Bitch was played on Ottawa station CKQB-FM in March 2011.

 

20th October   

Easy Offence on a Hair Trigger...

Susan Sarandon's throw away joke about the pope proves a major windup
Link Here

Catholic and Jewish groups have called on actress Susan Sarandon to apologise after being easily offended by a statement at Hampton's Film Festival.

Raised in New York as a Roman Catholic, she said at the festival that she had sent a copy of the book on which one of her movies, Dead Man Walking , was based to the pope. She then clarified which pope: The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now.

Formerly Joseph Ratzinger, German born Pope Benedict XVI was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in the early 1920s when membership was compulsory, according to the Vatican. Also he deserted the military during the Second World War.

According to Newsday, interviewer Bob Balaban gently chided Sarandon for the remark and repeated what she had said.

The New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for Sarandon to apologise to the Catholic community after branding her statement obscene , saying that her ignorance is wilful .

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights against anti-Semitism, also called on Sarandon to apologise to the Catholic community. A spokesman for ADL said in a statement: Ms Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust.

 

20th October   

Extremist Book Censors...

Russian prosecutor seeks to ban Hare Krishna holy book on the grounds that it is extremist for belittling people of other faiths
Link Here

Prosecutors in Tomsk are seeking through the courts to have the Russian translation of the most important work for Hare Krishna devotees, the Bhagavad-Gita As it Is , declared "extremist" and placed on the Federal List of Extremist Materials.

An 'expert' analysis completed in October 2010 by three academics at Tomsk State University, Sergei Avanesov, Valeri Svistunov and Valeri Naumov, found that the book contains signs of incitement of religious hatred and humiliation of an individual based on gender, race, ethnicity, language, origin or attitude to religion .

The analysis claimed the book humiliated those who did not believe in or even know about Krishna or follow Krishna's teachings. It claimed that the author propagated the exclusivity and superiority of his faith and was hostile, insulting and humiliating about other faiths [Just like any other supposedly holy book then] . It also claimed that the author called for hostile or violent acts against women and non-Hare Krishna devotees.

This case is more than important for us - it is vital, Hare Krishna lawyer Mikhail Frolov told Forum 18: This is the most important development in the whole history of our movement in Russia. They are trying not just to declare our book extremist, but our religious teaching also. If they succeed, our community throughout Russia could be declared extremist.

Meanwhile, an appeal court in Dagestan, while upholding a three-year suspended prison term on Ziyavdin Dapayev, has ruled that works by the late Muslim theologian Said Nursi should be handed to the Dagestan Muslim Board for a decision on the question of the destruction of the banned books and pamphlets.

 

19th October   

Pixel Fixated Censors...

ASA whinges at Duke Nukem Forever advert featuring pixellated cartoon strippers
Link Here

A TV ad, for the computer game Duke Nukem Forever , seen in June 2011, featured animated scenes which included naked women pole dancing in a strip club and a full frontal view of a woman wearing only thong-style pants. Pixilation obscured the women's bottoms and nipples. It also showed two girls in the club, who were dressed in school uniform and had their hair in bunches, and were about to kiss. Those scenes were intercut with quickly edited scenes of action, including aircraft firing weapons over a blazing city, a character being punched and a robot marching through a street. Issue

Thirty-four viewers, who saw the ad after 9pm, challenged whether it was offensive and irresponsible, because it was sexist, violent and overly explicit and included imagery which was likely to harm children and vulnerable people.

Take Two said that Duke Nukem Forever was a cartoonish, over-the-top, humorous take on the first person shooter videogame genre and deliberately distanced itself from the ultra realistic, graphic modern war games that dominated the field. They said any sexual content and violence was presented in an exaggerated, non-realistic way, by animated characters, in an attempt to send up the main protagonist Duke Nukem, who could be seen as something of a 1980s, muscle-bound, ultra-macho figure of fun. They said that all content was actual game footage and the game had been rated 18 by the BBFC.

They did not believe the ad contained any content that would cause the type of harm referred to under the Code, nor content that would cause serious offence. They said the content was clearly fictional and the ad used computer-generated characters from the game's storyline and from game play. They felt that the combat scenes were no more violent than viewers would expect, or those from action films broadcast at that time.

Clearcast acknowledged that the ad contained sexual imagery and violent images but felt the content was of a level similar to that approved for other video games, film trailers and similar ads. They felt the violent scenes were relatively restrained and were no worse than many others in that category. They believed the post-9pm timing restriction was appropriate given the content and felt it would keep the ad away from most young viewers.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

Although we understood that neither the game nor the ad would appeal to all tastes, we noted the scenes were representative of the game's content and did not consider that the violent imagery was overly graphic for broadcast after 9pm. We therefore considered that the scenes featuring action and violence were not at a level likely to distress or cause harm to children or vulnerable people.

We noted that the ad also contained several scenes in a strip club, featuring women who appeared naked, or nearly naked, pole dancing and gyrating. We noted that some pixilation obscured the women's bottoms and nipples, but nonetheless considered that the presentation of the women's naked bodies and their very sexual movements and gyrations were overly sexually explicit for an ad with a post-9pm scheduling restriction. We also noted that the ad featured two girls in school kilts and bunches about to kiss, and considered that, in the context of other scenes with sexual content, the ad appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative behaviour.

On that basis, although we did not consider that the images of violence were likely to distress or cause harm to children or vulnerable people and although we did not consider that the portrayal of the women in the ad was overtly sexist, because we considered that the sexual imagery and content in the strip club scenes were overly explicit for broadcast at that time, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to cause serious or widespread offence when broadcast before 11pm.

The ad breached BCAP Code Rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising), 4.1, 4.2 and 4.9 (Harm and offence).

 

19th October   

Updated: Free Speech Abuse...

Irish child abuse advert banned by advert censors pandering to a particularly nonsensical piece of political correctness
Link Here

 The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children created a moving and brutal advertisement intended for television as its summer campaign, which features a small boy proclaiming his hopes for a future free from violence while being beaten by a man who is presumably his father.

After drawing some early criticism for being too traumatic for television, the video was ultimately banned in Ireland for an unrelated reason. Namely, the Irish advertising Standards Authority ( IASA ) received 13 complaints that the advertisement is sexist because a man is doing the beating rather than a woman. The IASA agreed, deciding that in the absence of reliable statistics on whether men or women are mostly at fault for violence against children, the ad is too sexist to stay on the air.

 

18th October   

More Sense...

New uncut UK Blu-ray + DVD release of Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses
Link Here
In the Realm of the Senses is a 1976 French/Japanese erotic film by Nagisa Oshima. See IMDb

The Producers Cut was passed 18 uncut with all BBFC cuts waived for:

  • UK 2011 Optimum Online
  • UK 2011 Optimum RB Blu-ray + R2 DVD Combo at UK Amazon just released on 17th October 2011

The BBFC commented (thanks to Jon):

  • Contains strong real sex, bloody mutilation and sexual fetish theme.
     
  • In the Realm of the Senses contains... a scene in which an adult woman briefly tugs a young boy's penis. However, the tugging of the penis does not occur in a sexual context and is in no way sexualised. This scene was optically reframed or deleted on previous releases but was not considered to be indecent under the terms of the Protection of Children Act 1978 as currently applied.

Previously the Producer's Cut was passed 18 after a 10s cut for:

  • UK 2009 BFI cinema release
  • UK 2007 Nouveaux Oshima Boxset R2 DVD
  • UK 2000 Nouveaux R2 DVD

From article on sbbfc.co.uk :

In 2000, the BBFC was again asked to look at the film for DVD release. By this time sexual portrayals at the 18 level had become gradually more explicit and recent public surveys had shown that the public felt the BBFC could afford to be more relaxed about sex for adults. Therefore, following on from recent decisions on films like The Idiots and Romance, The Realm of the Senses was passed 18 uncut for video and DVD release, subject once again to the optical reframing of one scene [showing a boy's penis being yanked].

Summary Review: Dark and disturbing

A dark and disturbing psychological drama about sexual obsession.

This movie is definitely not for all tastes or who are easily offended by graphic scenes of sex. But recommended for those adventurous souls looking for something different and interesting.

 

18th October   

Update: Blocking Practicality...

Commentators point out the impracticalities of ISP level 'one size fits all' website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Adult content filters can't replace good parenting

See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Corry Doctrow

The government's proposed web controls are too simplistic when it comes to understanding and filtering adult material

Last week's announcement of a national scheme to block adult content at the point of subscription (as the BBC's website had it) was a moment of mass credulity on the part of the nation's media, and an example of how complex technical questions and hot-button save-the-children political pandering are a marriage made in hell when it comes to critical analysis in the press.

Under No 10's proposal, the UK's major ISPs, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin, will invite new subscribers to opt in or out of an adult content filter. But for all the splashy reporting on this that dominated the news cycle, no one seemed to be asking exactly what adult content is, and how the filters' operators will be able to find and block it.

Adult content covers a lot of ground. While the media of the day kept mentioning pornography in this context, existing adult filters often block gambling sites and dating sites (both subjects that are generally considered adult but aren't anything like pornography), while others block information about reproductive health and counselling services aimed at GBLT teens (gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender).

Then there's the problem of sites that have a wide variety of content, such as the venerable LiveJournal, which contains millions of personal and shared diaries. Some of these have material that children, especially small children, shouldn't see, but others don't. Is LiveJournal an adult site? It is, at least according to some filters.

...Read the full article

Britain's broadband censors: a bunch of students

See  article from  pcpro.co.uk by Nicole Kobie

McAfee creates blacklists of online content, categorising sites in order to let ISPs block them. BT and Sky use McAfee's lists for their parental controls, which a new Government-sponsored code of conduct requires them to offer to all customers.

The overall process is mostly automated, with McAfee's system looking for keywords on a site to classify it. Toralv Dirro, a security strategist at McAfee's Avert labs told PC Pro. If there's any doubt, we do have a team of people that take a look at a website and correct a classification if it's necessary. The team responsible for covering McAfee's customers worldwide is made up of between five to ten people. I think it's a fairly popular job for students, Dirro said.

However, he admits the very sites the small team is asked to judge are those that are the most subjective. Drawing the line between erotic and hardcore pornography is probably the most difficult, he said. Another thing is websites that go into extreme left or right side [politically], but still do news or something like that.

Dirro admitted there can be difficulties when a mainstream site features material that could be deemed pornographic to some people. Maybe they had pornographic or erotic stuff on their site, which for example could happen with a newspaper site, if they have the 'Page 3' picture of a woman on the front page. Normally, the entire site would be banned, not only the offending page. However larger sites such as The Sun have markers to prevent them from being slotted into a category and subsequently blocked.

There's no way you can obtain the complete list from us, Dirro said, adding McAfee would never publish the full list for intellectual property reasons. If you published that list, anyone could just take it and use it and create their own products.

If a site has been wrongly categorised, which Dirro admitted does happen, the site owner can open a ticket with support to get it changed. If McAfee refuses to change it, there's not really much that a site can do, Dirro admitted.

...Read the full article

EFF Criticises UK Government over Gambling Filter Plans

From bingosupermarket.com by Mark Bennett

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is criticising the UK government for its plans on internet filtering. In conjunction with the Christian organization Mothers' Union, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has enacted a plan with four of Britain's major ISPs, BT, TalkTalk, Virgin, and Sky, to block access to pornography, gambling, self-harm, and other blacklisted websites.

The EFF claims that the plan lacks transparency. The blocked categories are vague in nature, and the list's origins unknown. Not only do the categories contain legal content in some cases, but there is significant room for overblocking.

The EFF also suggests opt-in services create privacy concerns. Users who choose to opt out of the bad content filter are then on one list. The plan does not in include privacy protections for the people who choose to opt out. The list could potentially be made public, shaming users who would prefer their Internet with its pornography, gambling, and self-harm websites intact.

 

18th October   

Legal, Honest and Truthful Maybe, But Who Wants 'Decent'?...

ASA's new remit for online advertising generates a significant number of extra complaints
Link Here

ASA extended their advert censorship remit into online advertising in March 2011.

Seven months on what's the story so far?

The data reveals that complaint levels have been substantially above those forecasted. The ASA is said to have its hands full dealing with the number of complaints.

Between 1 March and 23 September 2011, the ASA received:

  • 5,531 complaints about 5,165 ads/campaigns (cases) under the new remit. This is 30% of the total of 18,369 complaints to ASA in this period
  • 86% of the cases under the new remit related to misleading advertising claims (compared to 65% for all cases in 2010).

What has prompted the complaints?

In terms of the new remit, the most complained-about sector is complementary health, in the main because it has been targeted by orchestrated complaint campaigns. But on the whole the subject of the complaints and the sectors about which complaints have been raised are similar to those about ads in other media: concerns around pricing, availability and the performance of products in sectors like retail, leisure, computers and telecommunications and holidays and travel.

In the vast majority of cases website owners who have been contacted by the ASA have amended or removed problem claims.

However some advertisers have continued to make problem claims on their sites, despite the initial intervention of CAP's Compliance teams. These have now been posted on the ASA's name and shame section for non-complying digital advertisers.

 

18th October   

Harmful to Youth...

South Korean bands win court case against adult only restrictions applied to songs with lyrics mentioning alcohol
Link Here

South Korea's music censors monitoring K-pop songs have been forced to adopt a more flexible approach to using its harmful to youth ratings on alcohol-related lyrics, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said.

A censorship body under the ministry has withdrawn its harmful to youth rating on a song called Another Day by the band S.M. The Ballad . This follows a court order to do so.

Long criticized by the public for its unfair and vague censorship standards, the ministry backtracked from its rigid stance on its censorship of songs with alcohol- or smoking-related lyrics.

In January, the Youth Protection Committee under the ministry banned the song for those under 19, saying some of its lyrics, such as so that I will not miss you after drinking and I dream after falling asleep by getting drunk, lead adolescents to drink alcohol.

The group protested and filed a suit in March. The Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of the agency, saying it can't be said that songs containing words about alcohol encourage youngsters to drink, unlike references to narcotics and other hazardous materials.

After the ruling, boy band Beast also filed and won a suit against the ministry. The group's song On a Rainy Day was also previously banned due to lyrics including I should stop drinking 'cause I'm drunk.

Following criticism that the censorship standards lack objectivity and depend on screening committee members' personal views, the ministry has come up with detailed and clarified standards.

About expressions regarding drinking and smoking, we'll limit the 'harmful to youth' rating to phrases directly encouraging the use of alcohol or cigarettes, the official said. Songs depicting violent or sexual acts after drinking in detail, or those justifying or glorifying such acts will be banned for youngsters. Other criteria also include lyrics about adolescents' purchase of alcohol or cigarettes.

 

18th October

 Offsite: One for the Lawyers...

Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth
A crucial week for the cause of free expression

See article from spectator.co.uk

 

18th October

 Offsite: Dangerous Like Button...

Link Here
Bahrain polytechnic expelled students for 'liking' the wrong Facebook pages

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

17th October   

More Pulp...

New uncut UK Blu-ray release of Pulp Fiction
Link Here

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 US crime film by Quentin Tarantino. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Lions Gate Online
  • UK 2011 Lions Gate RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon released today on 17th October 2011
  • UK 2011 Lions Gate R2 DVD at UK Amazon

The BBFC commented in the 2009 Annual Report:

Up to date advice suggests such specific visual details do not in themselves provoke a harmful response which would justify intervention at the adult category. In line with similar decisions in recent years, Pulp Fiction was passed at 18 without cuts.

Previously passed 18 after 3s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2008 Buena Vista Collector's Edition R2 DVD
  • UK 2008 Disney R2 DVD
  • UK 2002 Buena Vista Collector's Edition R2 DVD
  • UK 2001 Buena Vista R2 DVD
  • UK 2000 Buena Vista VHS
  • UK 1995 Buena Vista VHS

The BBFC explained:

  • 3 seconds were reframed on the Buena Vista video versions of 1996 to remove a close up of heroin injection. The BBFC cut this on the grounds of potential harm to viewers: the injection image is known to be hypnotically seductive to some potentially addictive young people and is nearly an advertisement for the pleasures of heroin injection.

Blu-ray extras for UK 2011 Lions Gate RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon

  • Stunning New 1080P Transfer Approved by Quentin Tarantino
  • NEW 5.1 Lossless DTS-HD Master Audio™
  • NEW Interviews with Cast including: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Rosanna Arquette, Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth and more
  • NEW Critics' Retrospective on the Movie's Place in Film History
  • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
  • Pulp Fiction: The Facts Featurette
  • Production Design Featurette
  • Siskel & Ebert At the Movies The Tarantino Generation
  • Independent Spirit Awards Footage
  • Cannes Film Festival Footage
  • The Charlie Rose Show Tarantino Interview
  • Still Galleries
  • Trivia Track
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17th October   

Updated: Dangerous Cartoon...

Violent protests in Tunisia against the broadcasting of the film, Persepolis
Link Here
Full story: Persepolis Banned...Iran tries for worldwide ban of movie Persepolis
Police in Tunis used tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of muslim extremists who were attacking them with stones, knives and batons.

The Islamists were protesting a decision to broadcast animated film Persepolis which they said denigrated Islam. They were also protesting against a ban on women who wear the niqab, or full-face veil, enrolling in university.

This was the biggest clashes over religion in the Tunisian capital for several years.

Update: TV Channel Chief Firebombed

15th October 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Tunisian extremists have firebombed the home of a TV station chief. About a hundred men, some of whom threw Molotov cocktails, lay siege to the home of Nabil Karoui, the head of the private television station Nessma late on Friday, the station reported in its evening news bulletin.

Sofiane Ben Hmida, one of Nessma's star reporters, told AFP the station chief was not at home when the attack on his house took place. But his wife and children were. About 20 of the protesters had managed to get inside. The family managed to get out the back and are safe. The attackers wrecked the house and set it on fire.

Interior ministry spokesman Hichem Meddeb told AFP around a hundred people had turned up outside the house, forced their way inside, broken the windows and torn out two gas pipes. Five people had been arrested, he added.

This was the most serious incident yet in an escalating series of protests against the station's broadcast of Persepolis on October 7. The globally acclaimed animated film on Iran's 1979 revolution 'offended' many Muslims because it depicts an image of God as an old, bearded man.

Earlier on Friday, police fired tear gas at demonstrators as some of the protests against the station degenerated. The main demonstration began peacefully at a central Tunis mosque after Friday prayers, with men and women chanting slogans against Nessma. Thousands of people, many of them Salafist Muslims, were present.

Karoui has already  apologised for having broadcast the film.

Update:  3000 Protest in defence of freedom of expression

17th October 2011. See  article from  monstersandcritics.com

Around 3,000 people peacefully demonstrated in the capital of Tunisia Sunday in defence of freedom of expression, two days after a violent protest against the broadcast of an animated and supposedly blasphemous film Persepolis .

The demonstration was meant as a riposte after the violent protests that followed the broadcast last week by Nessma TV, a private channel, of the film about the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution.

The film by French-Iranian director Marjane Satrapi, based on the autobiographical graphic novels of the same name, show the author as a young girl chafing under the clampdown on civil liberties and discussing her frustrations with God.

We're demonstrating against extremism, for freedom of expression, including artistic freedom, Semia Mahfoudh, a high school teacher, who attended Sunday's demonstration, told dpa. She said she feared that if Ennahda came to power, Tunisia's tradition of secularism and commitment to gender equality would be jeopardized.

 

17th October   

Town Hall Tits...

US town of Manchester bans art exhibition featuring decorated shop dummies
Link Here

An art exhibit has been banned from Manchester Town Hall in Connecticut

The Manchester Art Association exhibit of 35 painted and decorated torsos were considered inappropriate.

The show was planned to promote breast cancer awareness. Local artists responded to a call for an exhibit called Paint the Ta Tas (large breasts), and the result is more than a dozen painted and decorated female and male torsos that were considered inappropriate for a public office.

Town officials made the decision after looking at a website that the art organization suggested as an example of the original exhibit, but the mannequins online were quite different from the torsos planned for town hall.

The examples that they told me to look at are just terrific, sometimes inspiring, sometimes shocking. It's art. It's provocative, a little bit controversial, it's terrific stuff. It's just that Town Hall is a place of business Town Hall Manager Scott Shanley said.

Now the 35 torsos are on display at the gallery of Manchester Memorial Hospital, which is open to the pubic seven days a week. The hospital has not received a single complaint on the exhibit, which is actually getting the attention they need to spread the word about breast cancer awareness.

 

16th October   

Impartiality and Revolution...

Ofcom censures Aden Live TV for its programming about South Yemen
Link Here

Aden Live
27 October 2010 to 16 November 2010

Aden Live is a general entertainment service broadcast in Arabic by Dama Ltd, a company based in the UK. The service is aimed at the people of South Yemen and includes programmes based on news, political views, South Yemeni culture and entertainment. It can be received in the Middle East and some parts of Europe by satellite, but it is not on the Sky Electronic Programme Guide and cannot be received in the UK on normal satellite equipment. At the time of the complained about Broadcasts, it was also streamed on the internet.

Background

In 1990 North and South Yemen were united to form the Republic of Yemen ( Yemen ), and Ali Abdullah Saleh became president of Yemen. The capital of Yemen is Sanaa (sometimes spelt Sana ). Aden is a city and governorate in the south of Yemen.

Complaint

In October 2010 Ofcom received a complaint made on behalf of the Government of Yemen about the service Aden Live. In summary, the complaint stated that the channel is encouraging Yemeni nationals in southern Yemen to revolt against the Government of Yemen and to divide the nation into separate states. It stated that the channel was spreading hatred and calling for attacks on government regional offices, the police and the national army; and its content was affecting the civil peace and stability of Yemen.

Having viewed the Broadcasts and the transcripts, Ofcom considered that some of the content of the Broadcasts raised potential issues under the Code and warranted investigation. Ofcom consider rules:

  • Rule 2.4 Programmes must not include material (whether in individual programmes or in programmes taken together) which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour.

  • Rule 3.1 Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

  • Rule 5.4 Programmes in the services (listed above1 ) must exclude all expressions of the views and opinions of the person providing the service on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy (unless that person is speaking in a legislative forum or in a court of law). Views and opinions relating to the provision of programme services are also excluded from this requirement.

  • Rule 5.11 In addition to the rules above, due impartiality must be preserved on matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy by the person providing a service (listed above2 ) in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes.

  • Rule 5.12 In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes. Views and facts must not be misrepresented.

Ofcom Decision: Breaches of Rules 2.4, 5.4, 5.11 and 5.12

It is not within Ofcom's remit to take a view on the legitimacy or otherwise of the policies and actions of the Southern Movement or those opposed to the Yemeni government. However, in Ofcom's view, material which condones or glorifies death in support of a cause, revolt against a government and the carrying of weapons can reasonably be considered material which condones or glamorises violent or dangerous behaviour.

Given that Dama directs its broadcasts predominantly to a South Yemeni audience, many of whose members (given the political context set out above) are likely to support the Southern Movement and oppose the Government of Yemen, Ofcom considered that the material in examples could reasonably be considered as material likely to encourage others to copy violent or dangerous behaviour.  Ofcom noted Dama's comment that the carrying of arms by tribespeople is common in Yemen … and there are likely to be far more guns than people in Yemen . Ofcom considers that, while this context may to some extent account for the prevalence of references to arms in the examples, it made it more likely that the material would have encouraged others to carry weapons. In light of the above, we concluded that the material was in breach of Rule 2.4.

However Ofcom found that the example content was not likely to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder and so did not breach Rule 3.1.

Dama accepted that in relation to the requirement for due impartiality, on two occasions, the presenters may have strayed a little from their roles as presenter. Presenters may express their own views on matters of political controversy within the limits of the Code. However alternative viewpoints must be appropriately represented. Accordingly, Ofcom considered that the Broadcasts as a whole (as translated and transcribed for Ofcom), due impartiality was not preserved on matters of major political controversy and major matters relating to current public policy, and an appropriately wide range of significant views was not included and given due weight. Ofcom therefore considered that for the reasons given above the Broadcasts breached Rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Code.

The views and opinions of the Licensee on the contemporaneous political situation in Yemen, including the policies and actions of the Government of Yemen could reasonably be identified from the material and representations. These views and opinions were in turn expressed in different ways and to varying degrees in the output of the channel, contrary to the requirements of Rule 5.4. Ofcom therefore considered that the relevant material was in breach of Rule 5.4 of the Code.

Ofcom Considering Sanctions

The right to broadcast comes with responsibilities. It is important that broadcasters do not use their licensed service to condone or glamorise violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour, or fail to maintain due impartiality on matters of major political controversy and major matters relating to current public policy, in contravention of the Code.

Dama has assured Ofcom that it is now well aware of the need for due impartiality in its broadcasts, and is taking steps to address this going forward . However Ofcom considered Dama's contraventions of the Code to be serious. Dama is therefore put on notice that these contraventions of the Code are being considered by Ofcom for statutory sanction.

 

16th October   

Update: Generally Repugnant Book Censorship...

Turkey to prosecute publisher and translator of Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk on obscenity charges
Link Here
Full story: Book Censorship in Turkey...Freedom of speech under duress

Two books by American authors are currently on trial in Turkey on obscenity charges which could lead to imprisonment for their publishers and translators.

The publisher and translator of the Turkish translation of The Soft Machine by William Burroughs are on trial with the latest hearing held on 11 October. The case was brought following an investigation by the Board for Protection of Minors from Obscene Publications. The Board pronounced the book as not compatible with the morals of society and the people's honour , injurious to sexuality and generally repugnant .

In September 2011, another publisher and translator were told that they will be brought to trial, also on charges of obscenity under Article 266, this time for the Turkish translation of a contemporary work, Snuff , by American writer Chuck Palahniuk. The book had been brought before the Board for the Protection of Children from Obscene Publications in May 2011 which judged that there were grounds for indictment. The publisher was also accused of releasing the book, without warning and with no precautions to ensure that children did not read it. If found guilty, the owner of the Ayrinti Publishing House, Hasan Basri Ciplak and the book's translator, Funda Uncu, could be imprisoned for between six months and three years.

PEN Turkey has protested the decision to press charges against the publishers of the book, and nominated Snuff as the Centre's Book of the Month in reaction to the accusation.

The book, published in 2008 to mixed reviews, is a satire on the American pornography industry. The Board has deemed the book as immoral. In her defence, translator Uncu pointed out that Palahniuk is a world-renowned author and argued that rather than being pornography, the book is a critique of the commoditisation of women .

...English Pen makes a call for action against these prosecutions. See  details from  englishpen.org

 

16th October   

Update: Game Over...

Austrian politician cleared of incitement over anti-mosque game
Link Here

A right-wing Austrian politician has been cleared of incitement after he created a simple anti-mosque flash game as part of an election campaign.

Freedom Party deputy Gerhard Kurzmann used the game in his failed bid to become governor of the south-eastern province of Styria last year.

Players of Moschee Ba Ba (Bye-bye, Mosque) had to shoot at Muslims and mosques as they emerged from a rural scene.

The game sparked inevitable criticism from other parties and religious groups. Judicial authorities forced the Freedom Party to take down the game and Kurzmann was later charged with inciting religious hatred and defaming a religion.

But on Friday a court in Graz cleared Kurzmann. It did not reach the threshold of incitement and I would also say this was not the intention, Judge Christoph Lichtenberg said, in remarks carried by the national APA news agency.

The prosecution said it would lodge an appeal.

 

16th October   

Updated: Desexualisation...

New ASA advertising guidelines would make Saudi Arabia proud
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Miserable new advertising rules have been revealed to further restrict public billboard adverts.

Some sexy advertising hoardings will be banned from public display altogether, while any put up within 100 yards of schools will have to pass even stricter new codes designed to remove supposedly sexualised imagery.

The move means clothing and perfume companies particularly face further restrictions on how they promote their products in the new guidelines from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The move comes ahead of a Downing Street summit this week between David Cameron and sexualisation campaigners. Banning sexy billboard adverts near schools was one of a number of recommendations made in May this year following a Government-commissioned review by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union.

Billboards will still be allowed to carry posters of models wearing bikinis, they will not be allowed to show them in poses that are deemed to be sexually suggestive. This will cover everything from images of stockings and suspenders to poses where the legs are parted or even hands are placed on hips.

Posters which show sexually suggestive pictures will be subject to placement restriction , and the guidelines warn this could include images where a couple are fully clothed, but in a passionate clinch . Overtly sexual images will not be acceptable for any use in public. This could include ads which draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way , the ASA warns.

Bailey, claimed the move was a crucial step in trying to reduce children's exposure to indecent images and curbing the rise in consumerism:

Now more than ever we need to look at ourselves as a society and at all the things that give value to our lives. What we are seeing is that companies are concentrating their energies on working together to change industry practices and ultimately create a more family friendly society. I hope this is the start of getting children to see themselves as rounded human beings rather than just as consumers.

A spokesman for the Advertising Association said:

All advertising has to take account of what society thinks is decent. We're giving the recommendations our full support.

Update: UK ASA now more prudish than South Africa ASA

16th October 2011. See  article from  bizcommunity.com

Commenting on the ASA UK statement, Gail Schimmel, director of Clear Copy, a South African marketing regulation advisory service, said:

The South African ASA has been fairly permissive in the imagery that it allows on outdoor advertising. It will be interesting to see if a change in the international approach has any effect on how the local ASA considers these matters.

She adds that certain images identified by the UK ASA as unacceptable are images that the South African ASA would allow. I would be sorry to see a move towards an overly conservative approach, but we also have to remain in touch with the acceptable norms of the rest of the world.

 

15th October

 Offsite: Island Mentality...

Link Here
Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers was banned in Guernsey in 1995

See article from cinemascream.wordpress.com

 

15th October   

Suitable for 10 Year Olds...

Kenya TV censors set to impose a very restrictive watershed on radio and TV
Link Here

Kenya's Communication Commission is set to impose a very restrictive watershed for radio and TV.

According to the CCK acting director general Francis Wangusi, the broadcast content advisory council has finalised the preparation of the new code of conduct.

Wangusi said the new code will restrict radio stations which broadcast adult discussions during morning hours while also stopping TV stations from showing 'inappropriate' shows during the day.

A draft broadcast code published by the commission stipulates that all programmes broadcast between 5.00am and 10.00pm must be suitable for children.

The proposed code reads:

These are programmes or movies classified/rated as General Exhibition (GE) or rated 10 by Kenya Film Censorship Board. The transition from family-oriented to a more adult programming after the watershed time of 10.00 PM shall be gradually executed,

The code states programmes that requiring parental guidance and which has mild adult themes or content but may be of particular education or entertainment value to younger viewers should be aired after 10.00 PM. The programme should also be preceded by at least a five seconds advisory warning that also includes their rating.

 

15th October   

Update: Dangerous Link...

US man pleads guilty to lese majeste charges in Thailand
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

A US man has pleaded guilty in Thailand to charges of commenting unfavourably about the monarchy.

The Thai-born man, who uses his American name Joe Gordon, is accused of posting a link on a blog to a royal biography banned in the country.

Lese majeste is an extreme offence in Thailand, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, but defence lawyers hope the guilty plea will result in the usual 50% reduction in sentence.

Judges are due to sentence Gordon on 9 November.

Gordon, has previously denied the charges, media reports say, but after repeatedly being denied bail he changed his mind.

 

15th October   

Update: Vengeful Censorship App...

China blocks Android Marketplace website
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Access to the Android Marketplace has been blocked entirely from within China as The Next Web reports, but locals are also complaining that Android handsets are having a hard time getting onto the Gmail service. The Gmail block isn't being applied to IMAP connections, which means iPhones and similar are working well, lending weight to the idea that this is a political, rather than a security, issue.

The absolute block on android.com started over the weekend, just after Google announced it would be helping the Dalai Lama to (virtually) visit South Africa. That might be coincidence, but it's not the first time that China has been accused of using restrictions on internet access as a political tool.

 

15th October

 Offsite: Edward Bond's Saved...

Link Here
Stage censorship history from 1965

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

14th October   

Update: Disappointing, Worrying and Sad...

Distributors, Trinity X, comment on the BBFC ban of The Bunny Game
Link Here
Full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

The Bunny Game is a 2010 US horror by Adam Rehmeier. See IMDb .

The film has just been banned by the BBFC for:

  • UK 2011 Trinity DVD

The distributors, Trinity X have now issued their comments on the ban in a press release:

Trinity X saddened by BBFC decision to ban The Bunny Game

Trinity X, the recently formed DVD genre distribution arm of UK-based film distributor Trinity, described the BBFC's decision to ban The Bunny Game as disappointing, worrying and sad .

Mark Sandell, co-director of Trinity, who acquired the film during Cannes this year, went on to say:

We knew the film was challenging and confrontational, but also felt, as a independent filmmaker, Adam Rehmeir (the director), had a highly original filmic eye and had elicited powerful performances from the cast. We did imagine that the BBFC might ask for cuts but an outright ban gives the film a twisted notoriety that, quite frankly, it doesn't warrant .

Adam Rehmeier, the director commented : Rodleen and I didn't make 'The Bunny Game' to glamorise prostitution. It is far from an erotic film. It is a modern cautionary tale grounded in reality.

Trinity is currently considering its options

 

14th October   

Update: Desexualised Advertising Rules...

New ASA advertising guidelines banning anything sexy for outdoor adverts
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Advertising censors at the ASA have provided examples of new rules to pander to those blaming all of society's ills on sexy images in the media.

Suitable for all outdoor locations.

Images that are not sexual, or no more than mildly sexual

Example. The model is wearing a bikini and holding a pose which is unlikely to be considered to be sexually suggestive. Images in outdoor ads similar to these are likely to remain acceptable on the basis that they are no more than mildly sexual.

asa suitable but not near schoolsSuitable for outdoor locations but not near schools

Images that are sexually suggestive

The woman is shown with her legs astride, drawing attention to her groin area.

Such images in ads might be acceptable in some locations but are likely to require a placement restriction, preventing them from being placed in locations of particular relevance to children.

Unacceptable for outdoor advertising

Overtly sexual images

Some advertisements may not be suitable for general outdoor display, irrespective of a placement restriction. The woman in lingerie pulls down the side of her knickers and bra strap in an overtly sexual and seductive way.

Advertisers should be particularly cautious about the imagery they use to advertise gentlemen's clubs or sex shops because the ASA consider that the public responds differently to those images in light of the product or service offered rather than the content of the advert.

The ASA also list some of the characteristics that may be sexually suggestive or overtly sexual:

  • Poses suggestive of a sexual position: the parting of the legs, accentuation of the hip etc.
  • Amorous or sexually passionate facial expressions
  • Exposure of breasts, including partial
  • Poses such as hands on the hips, gripping of hair in conjunction with a sexually suggestive facial expression
  • Images of touching oneself in a sexual manner, such as stroking the legs or holding/gripping the breasts
  • Suggestion in facial or bodily expression of an orgasm
  • Images of suggestive undressing, such as pulling down a bra strap or knickers
  • Ads which draw undue attention to body parts, such as breasts or buttocks, in a sexual way
  • Ads which show people in poses emulating a sexual position or alluding to sexual activity
  • Overtly sexual lingerie such as stockings, suspenders or paraphernalia such as whips and chains.

 

14th October   

Facing the Press or Facing the Music?...

Lord Hunt is appointed Chairman of the Press Complaints Commission
Link Here

Former Conservative Cabinet Minister David Hunt (Lord Hunt of Wirral) has been named as the next chairman of the Press Complaints Commission.

Current PCC chair Peta Buscombe had been expected to complete her three-year-term as head of the press watchdog and step down in the New Year. But it was announced today that Lord Hunt will take up his new role as of Monday.

The PCC is currently under huge scrutiny with the whole system of press self regulation under review as a result of the phone-hacking scandal. The regulator is expected to be radically reformed, and may even be abolished and replaced with a new body, once the Leveson Inquiry has finished its deliberations.

David Hunt said:

I am delighted I shall be leading the crucially important process of wholesale regeneration and renewal of the system of independent self-regulation of the press. My job is to ensure we create in due course an effective, genuinely independent standards body, which enjoys the overwhelming respect and support of the media, our political leaders and the general public.

Throughout my political life I have fought for freedom of expression; and a free press is the distinctive and indispensable hallmark of any truly free, civilised society. I have no desire to live in a country where the legitimate, lawful investigative activities of the press are fettered at the whim of politicians. That would not be freedom at all.

Those who work for newspapers or their digital off-shoots are, however, rightly bound by the law of the land, just like everyone else. They should also abide by recognised standards of professionalism, consideration and common decency.

 

14th October   

Inciteful Books?...

Book publisher on trial for extremist material
Link Here

Ahmed Faraz  distributed extremist books and DVDs with the aim of priming people for terrorism , a court has heard.

He is charged with 10 counts of disseminating terrorist publications, nine counts of having terrorist publications in his possession, with a view to distributing them, and a further 11 counts relating to the possession of information that is likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

He was not connected to any specific terrorist plot, a jury at Kingston Crown Court, south west London, was told.

Max Hill QC, prosecuting, said:

This case is about the distribution of books and DVDs and other material which we say represent steps along the road to radicalisation of Muslims to engage in violent terrorist attacks around the world, including the UK. This case is also about the ways and means by which to solidify that radicalisation and provide practical assistance for those who have been radicalised.

Several of the publications distributed by this defendant did end up in the hands of individuals, many of them now notorious - or infamous - terrorists who have stood trial in English courtrooms such as this in the last five years and are now serving long prison sentences, having been found guilty of plotting to terrorise the British public.

Faraz denies all charges. The trial is scheduled to finish in January 2012.

 

14th October

 Offsite: Playing the Censorship Review Game...

Link Here
Full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media
Meet the Man Who Could Revolutionise Game Classification in Australia

See article from kotaku.com.au

 

14th October   

Conspiracy Theory...

Indian film censor blanks dialogue implicating China in a conspiracy theory against India
Link Here

Indo-China relations are very sensitive, and have now affected a Bollywood film. The Censor Board has asked the makers of Azaan to mute out dialogue, which mentions China as being part of a conspiracy theory against India.

Director Prashant Chadha explained:

We have been asked to mute, and not beep out, a few lines. So, you will see people talking, but you won't hear anything. Our tagline is, 'A country, a conspiracy, a common man.' But now, there won't be any conspiracy angle for the audiences.

The general feeling is that everyone is aware of Pakistan's involvement (in terrorism) but no one has, till date, blamed China for it. But everyone knows of Chinese incursions and their aggressive stance against India. If you put Middle East, Syria or Pakistan, it's fine, but China shouldn't be mentioned.

The filmmakers want to take their case to the courts, but the review process will surely delay the film. So, for the time being, the film will release with muted lines.

The film has just been passed 12A uncut by the BBFC for showing in British cinemas.

 

14th October   

Update: Forbidden Art...

Graphic novel documents the censorship of a Russian art exhibition
Link Here
Full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

Censorship is supposedly forbidden by the Russian Constitution, although the past decade has seen attempts to reintroduce a censorship body governed by the state or the Russian Orthodox Church, or both.

Forbidden Art , a 158-page documentary graphic novel published by Boomkniga Publishers in St. Petersburg earlier this month, deals with a situation in which the state and church joined forces to suppress dissent in present-day Russia.

With drawings by artist Viktoria Lomasko and text written mostly by artist and former political journalist Anton Nikolayev, both from Moscow, the book documents the legal trial of the organizers of the Forbidden Art 2006 exhibition held at the Andrei Sakharov museum and community center in Moscow in 2008. The trial was brought by the Orthodox Christian nationalist movement Narodny Sobor (People's Council).

During the trial, critics found similarities with the Soviet show trials held under Josef Stalin in the 1930s.

Forbidden Art 2006 featured works that were rejected by Russian galleries and museums for political or religious reasons. The artworks were put behind a false wall with peep holes in it high above the floor, and visitors had to climb up onto a bench in order to peep at the works through the holes.

Curator Andrei Yerofeyev and his co-organizer Yury Samodurov were found guilty of inciting religious hatred and were given substantial fines (the state prosecutor had called for three-year prison sentences for both).

Speaking at a presentation of the book at the bookstore Vse Svobodny, Nikolayev said he had the idea of documenting Yerofeyev and Samodurov's trial, which he described as a social comedy, because he felt it would expose the characters of the people involved as well as new social trends.

 

14th October   

Bomber Bombs...

Commentator banned for life from New Zealand radio station after criticising the prime minister
Link Here

An independent left-wing commentator was banned from New Zealand's state-funded national radio station after criticising the Prime Minister.

In the first such instance, of what many are interpreting as state censorship, the ban was imposed by Radio New Zealand management after Bomber Bradbury was invited to air his opinion on the afternoon radio show.

The unusual over-reaction to what were reasonably expressed criticisms of Prime Minister John Key's recent behaviour, has resulted in a ban for life for Bradbury.

 

13th October   

Update: The Bunny Game Banned...

Unremitting sexual and physical abuse of a helpless woman
Link Here
Full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

The Bunny Game is a 2010 US horror by Adam Rehmeier. See IMDb .

The film has just been banned by the BBFC for:

  • UK 2011 Trinity DVD

The BBFC explained in a press release:

The BBFC has rejected the sexually violent DVD The Bunny Game . The film follows a female prostitute who hitches a lift with a truck driver. The truck driver kidnaps the woman, restrains and forcibly strips her, and proceeds to physically and sexually abuse and humiliate her. The abuse of the kidnapped woman takes up the greater part of the film.

The Board's Guidelines state A strict policy on sexual violence and rape is applied. Content which might eroticise or endorse sexual violence may require cuts at any classification level. This is more likely with video works than film because of the potential for replaying scenes out of context. Any association of sex with non-consensual restraint, pain or humiliation may be cut . The principal focus of The Bunny Game is the unremitting sexual and physical abuse of a helpless woman, as well as the sadistic and sexual pleasure the man derives from this. The emphasis on the woman's nudity tends to eroticise what is shown, while aspects of the work such as the lack of explanation of the events depicted, and the stylistic treatment, may encourage some viewers to enjoy and share in the man's callousness and the pleasure he takes in the woman's pain and humiliation.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

It is the Board's carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board's Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the Video Recordings Act, and would accordingly be unacceptable to the public.

The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, the pervasiveness of the abuse makes it very difficult to deal with The Bunny Game by means of cuts. If the company would like to attempt to cut this work in order to submit it in a reduced form, they are entitled to do so, but the Board can offer no assurances that such re-editing would be successful.

The decision to reject The Bunny Game was taken by the Director, David Cooke and the Presidential Team of Sir Quentin Thomas, Alison Hastings and Gerard Lemos.

The decision means that the film cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK.

 

13th October   

Update: Confused Hate...

Canadian private members bill attempts to delete hate speech law
Link Here

A private members bill introduced into the Canadian House of Commons is seeking to delete the controversial hate speech provision in the Human Rights Act that has been used to silence Christians and conservatives who express politically incorrect opinions.

I've been working with colleagues to try to make sure that we make some changes to a piece of legislation that is flawed and --- quite frankly --- has been abused over the last several of years, said Conservative MP Brian Storseth who introduced the bill.

Bill C-304 proposes to delete Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) to ensure that there is no infringement on freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It received its first reading on September 30th, 2011.

Critics of section 13 have long argued that the clause creates the precise equivalent to a thought crime. The provision defines a discriminatory practice as any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt if the person or persons affected are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Storseth said:

This is really about freedom of speech in our country and pushing back on the tyrannical bureaucracy need to censor speech in our country.

If we don't have freedom of speech, what good are the other freedoms that go along with it? What good is the freedom to assemble or religious freedoms if you don't have the freedom of speech in the first place?

Storseth hopes that the bill will be debated at the beginning of November and that the first vote will take place at the end of that month.

 

13th October

 Offsite: Ofcom Bans Press TV...

Link Here
Full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship
But who knows what to believe when everything comes across as propaganda

See article from presstv.com

 

13th October

 Offsite: Hacks and Hacking...

Link Here
Index on Censorship at the Leveson Inquiry

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

13th October

 Offsite: Warping the Little People...

Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
Just how stupid is the British Board of Film Classification?

See article from blogs.telegraph.co.uk

 

13th October   

Update: Burma Uncensored...

Hopeful signals of increased freedom in Burma
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

The head of Burma's powerful press censorship department has called for greater media freedom in his country.

Tint Swe said censorship was now incompatible with democratic practices and should be abolished in the near future ...BUT... He cautioned that all publications should accept the responsibilities that go with press freedom.

The comments will be seen as further evidence that the new civilian-military hybrid government is trying to soften its stance.

Some previously blocked websites have also recently been made accessible.

The Burmese government has also freed about 200 political prisoners as part of a general amnesty, activists say.

 

12th October   

Update: Filtering Out Spin...

ISPs don't seem to talking from the same hymn sheet as David Cameron re website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

As widely reported yesterday the four biggest ISPs said they have come up with a code of practice re website blocking and parental controls.

However this does not quite mean that ISPs are automatically blocking pornographic sites, and customers who wish to see such content do not have to ask their provider for permission to do so.

In fact what the ISPs said is something a little different. For example BT said in a statement:

The ISPs have committed to improve the way they communicate to customers, enabling parents to make simple and well-informed choices about installing and activating parental controls and other measures to protect children online. The four ISPs are working with parents' groups and children's charities on this important initiative and will continue to do so.

The ISPs are offering a wider range of services, not just the automatic blocking facility that has caught the attention.

All four ISPs already offer controls, and some of their users already have the feature turned on. The only change is that new customers can no longer sidestep the activation decision. A spokesperson for TalkTalk said: This is called 'active choice' rather than an opt-in or opt-out.  

In the cases of BT, Sky and Virgin Media, the parental control software is PC-based rather than network-based, and comes on the CD new customers need to set up their connection. BT said it plans to remind existing customers that they can activate the parental controls if they wish. This will be PC software provided by the security company McAfee.

TalkTalk goes a step further, in that it uses a network-level blocking system called HomeSafe, which has already raised the ire of anti-censorship campaigners. HomeSafe has blocked one million websites since its introduction in May, TalkTalk said in a statement, adding it hopes to see other ISPs follow its lead with network-level measures.

However, a spokesman for BT said the company is not convinced these screen material as effectively as PC-based controls, at this time . They could prove irritating and end up being unused, because they are inflexible and do not offer the versatility of PC-based controls, the spokesman told ZDNet UK.

 

12th October   

Update: A Somewhat One Sided 'Impartial' Setting...

Westminster Media Forum event titled 'Protecting children from commercial and other adult pressures: next steps for policy and business practice'
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

There is an upcoming meeting of the Westminster Media Forum where a battalion of sexualisation nutters will have a chance to bully those that may still hold the notion that adults should be free to enjoy life.

The event is set for Tuesday, 18th October 2011 at the venue Sixty One in Whitehall, London SW1A 2ET.

The Westminster Forum website describes the event:

This timely seminar will bring together representatives from across retail, parent and consumer groups, education providers and the media in an impartial setting to discuss the next steps for policy and best practice.

The event will offer an opportunity to discuss the Bailey Review's recommendations, with sessions examining the prospects for a voluntary retail code of good practice, the next steps for child internet safety, including empowering parents to block adult and age-restricted services, and the options for strengthening the ASA to protect young people from excessive commercialisation. Delegates will also examine the lessons learned and the unintended consequences 5 years on from the ban on the marketing to children of food high in fat, salt and sugar.

We are delighted to include keynote addresses from:

  • Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England
  • Reg Bailey, Chief Executive, Mothers' Union and Author, Letting Children Be Children: the Report of an Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood
  • Sue Eustace, Director of Public Affairs, Advertising Association
  • Dr Agnes Nairn, Professor of Marketing, EM-Lyon Business School.

Further speakers include:

  • Mike Baker, Chief Executive Officer, Outdoor Media Centre;
  • Jane Bevis, Director of Public Affairs, British Retail Consortium;
  • John Carr OBE, Secretary, UK Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety;
  • Tony Close, Director of Standards, Content, International and Regulatory Development Group, Ofcom;
  • Dido Harding, Chief Executive Officer, TalkTalk;
  • Anna Home OBE, Chair, The Children's Media Foundation
  • Katie O'Donovan, Head of Communications, Mumsnet;
  • Dr Clarissa Smith, Reader in Sexual Cultures, University of Sunderland
  • Lynsay Taffe, Director of Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs, Advertising Standards Authority.

 Chairing this event:

  • Baroness Massey of Darwen, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children
  • Claire Perry MP, Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Child Protection

 

12th October   

Update: Too Many Apps...

Australia draws up legislation to exempt apps from the formal censorship process
Link Here
Full story: Online Games Censorship in Australia...Online games producers try to evade censorship

Thousands of mobile phone apps released every week in Australia will be exempt from classification for the next two years under a federal government plan to give mobile phone application creators and businesses clarity pending the ongoing review of Australia's classification system.

Currently, mobile apps are treated the same as video and computer games and are technically required to be classified by the classification board. But because of the huge volume of apps created every week, very few actually go through the system.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, who will introduce the legislation to allow the exemption, said:

The current classification system never envisaged the technology powering smart phones, let alone the rapid development of online games or mobile phone apps.

These changes will allow most mobile phone and online games to be supplied without classification for the next two years, while retaining safeguards to protect children from computer games that are of concern.

The exemption will not apply to computer games likely to be refused classification and the classification board will retain the power to call in a game if it is likely to be classified M or above. The public will still be able to lodge a complaint.

 

12th October   

Updated: Topically Correct...

Condom bus shelter advert causes easy offence over its proximity to an Australian catholic school
Link Here

Proximity to schools has become a fashionable 'justification' for easy offence. Not just in Britain, but in Australia too.

A bus shelter ad showing a kissing couple next to a packet of condoms is causing nutter controversy in Brisbane, supposedly due to its proximity to a Catholic primary school. Some reports said that couple in the ad appeared to be naked, with clothes painted on.

Australian Christian Lobby's Wendy Francis claimed the new poster was sexually offensive and contained no positive message about safe sex, deeming its placement across the street from the school as inappropriate.

The ACL Queensland branch director said members of the school community were 'distressed' by the poster, and that AdShel had promised to remove the poster within an hour of receiving her complaint. Francis said:

she was totally opposed to this pathetic advertising.

I cannot see why you would place this ad outside a Catholic primary school, where school children catch their bus from, she said.

I object to the highly sexual imagery in the ad, and the poster's message, 'zero or nothing', it's pathetic, it doesn't even have safe-sex message, and all it does is show that money matters more than our children.

 

12th October   

Updated: The Director's Son's Cut...

New Arrow DVD release of Terry Jones' Erik the Viking
Link Here

Erik the Viking is a 1989 UK/Sweden comedy by Terry Jones. See IMDb

The Original Theatrical Version was passed 12 after 37s of BBFC cuts for category for:
  • UK 1989 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • Edits to the opening rape of Helga.

Then a shortened UK Video Version was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow Complete Version (UK Video Version + Director's Son's Cut) R2 DVD at UK Amazon just released on 10th October 2011
  • UK 2000 Arrow R0 DVD
  • UK 2000 Arrow VHS
  • UK 1990 CBS/Fox VHS

Then the even more shortened Director's Son's Cut was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow Complete Version (UK Video Version + Director's Son's Cut) R0 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 10th October 2011
  • UK 2006 Freemantlemedia R2 DVD

Erik the Viking: The Complete Viking (Arrow Video) Be There Or Beheaded

Now Arrow have just released a DVD containing 2 versions of the film.  However their publicity material seems to be a bit confused about the Theatrical Version. It sounds like the 2nd feature is the UK Video Version rather than the longer UK Theatrical Version

Release details from our special feed with Cult Labs .

In the age of Ragnorok, when all the earth has been laid waste by snow and ice, one Viking must take his men into battle against the very gods themselves in order to bring back the sun. Meet Erik (Tim Robbins), the world's most sensitive Norse warrior, a man with little time for pillage and no taste for rape. Erik killed a girl once and he feels very badly about it. Erik isn't really like the other Vikings but now he must take his warrior clan to the gates of Valhalla itself, braving harsh seas, terrifying creatures and horrifically atonal singing along the way. From Monty Python star Terry Jones comes an hilarious Viking satire that proves you can fight the Gods and still have a good time.

THIS EDITION CONTAINS:

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries
  • Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
  • Collector's booklet featuring a note from director Terry Jones and brand new writing on the film by journalist James Kloda

ERIK THE VIKING: THE DIRECTOR'S SON'S CUT SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • The Director's Son's Cut: Professional Editor and Terry Jones' son Bill Jones' cut of Erik the Viking, an edit of the film supervised by the director representing his original vision of the film
  • Audio commentary with director Terry Jones
  • Interview with Terry and Bill Jones
  • Photo Gallery

ERIK THE VIKING: UK THEATRICAL CUT SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Original UK theatrical cut of the film
  • Audio commentary with director Terry Jones
  • The Making of Erik the Viking
  • The Evolution of a Director
  • The Casting of a Comedy Adventure
  • The Special Effects of Erik the Viking
  • Making Move Magic on Malta
  • Jones and Cleese A Grand Reunion
  • Creating the Look
  • Interviews with stars John Cleese, Charles McKeown and Danny Schiller and star and director

Terry Jones Director's Son's Cut Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Anamorphic, Running time: 75 mins, Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround / 2.0 Stereo, Language: English, Region: 0 PAL, Subtitles: English

Theatrical Cut Aspect Ratio: 4x3 Full Frame, Running time: 90 mins, Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround / 2.0 Stereo, Language: English, Region: 0 PAL

 

12th October   

Updated: Ganesh vs the Third Reich...

Melbourne festival play causes predictable 'outrage'
Link Here

Hindus in Australia, America and India have been 'outraged' by an Australian play that depicts the Hindu god Ganesh taking on Adolf Hitler in a swashbuckling fight over the use of the swastika symbol.

Ganesh Versus the Third Reich is yet to open at the Melbourne Festival, but news of its storyline has caused consternation among the Indian community.

In the play, which has been described by its producers as rambunctious fable brimming with humour, the elephant-headed Hindu god rampages through Germany on a quest to reclaim the ancient Hindu symbol of goodwill from the Nazis.

Promotional material for the play reads

The Nazis stole the swastika, an ancient icon of Hindu culture. Ganesh wants it back. Gods, like elephants, don't forget.

Only Geelong's bold Back to Back Theatre (Food Court, Small Metal Objects) could conjure an epic journey of an elephant-headed Hindu god who seeks to go one-on-one with Hitler. As our hero Ganesh cuts a swathe through Germany we embark on a wildly inventive ride through history, where sacred icons and rituals become weapons of theatrical production.

Yadu Singh, president of the Council of Indian Australians, said that using Ganesh, the revered god of wisdom, learning and good luck, as a cheap form of entertainment was unacceptable:

Lord Ganesh is one of the most important gods or deities for the Hindu religion and they are making fun of him, making money out of him.

Update: Producers vs the Religious Reich

12th October 2011. See  article from  theage.com.au

Nevada's self-proclaimed Hindu statesman , and perennial whinger, Rajan Zed, issued a statement declaring that the Lord Ganesh was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be made a laughing stock on theatre stages.

Zed's statement snowballed into a flurry of protest, mainly from the US, but also from within Australia, again by people who had neither seen the play, nor read the script. Before long, Back to Back Theatre was receiving a virulent stream of emails, with some messages so abusive it became clear that the company had to take the matter seriously.

A meeting was called at the Office of Multicultural Affairs, attended by representatives of Victoria's Hindu community, Back to Back Theatre, and relevant government agencies. A person in attendance told me that many of the Hindu community's older members were moderate in their approach and felt that it was wrong to protest before having seen the play. Some younger Hindus, though, wanted the play banned, or, at the very least, the script vetted.

Back to Back refused to cancel the play or allow the script to be vetted. However, the company did resolve to remove inappropriate references from its website and promotional material and to display warnings alerting theatre patrons to the play's content. It also invited Hindu community representatives to attend the play's opening night - the invitation was accepted.

But it remains disconcerting that some religious people feel it is their right to sabotage creativity and censor thought. They demand respect for their beliefs, but seem to show little for those of others. Their over-reactions play directly into the themes of this show - which explores abuses of power, and asks who has the right to tell certain stories.

 

12th October   

Update: Dating Mr. Bland...

China's TV censor bans fun on matchmaking shows
Link Here

Matchmaking shows like If You Are The One , have enjoyed immense TV success in China. The show features a jury of 24 single women who decide on whether one hopeful man is an eligible bachelor.

But the TV censors at the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) are increasingly imposing ever more restrictions. The administration has recently banned fake participants who seek publicity, hosts being morally provocative , and sexual references in all entertainment shows.

Wang Gang, the producer of If You Are The One , said he has to be careful, given all the new rules. Since the regulations, the show has been decidedly watered down, much to the disappointment of some viewers.

 

11th October   

Update: ParentPort...

UK government to solve all society's ills with internet blocking and a website for parental complaints
Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

The government has set up a website for parents, guardians and carers to either complain about something they see as inappropriate for children, or else just to pass on their opinions.

The parentport.org.uk website points out that it is only for parents, guardians and carers, so it will inevitably be one sided ,and now doubt pander to those who shout loudest about the easiest offence.

Complaints to ParentPort will be allocated to the appropriate censors who are taking part, namely:

  • ASA
  • ATVOD
  • BBC Trust
  • BBFC
  • Ofcom
  • Press Complaints Commission
  • VSC

David Cameron in a press release said:

Parents will be able to report products, television programmes or other services which promote images of a sexual or risque nature to young children to a new whistleblowing website

The move also comes as the four big ISPs reveal that they will in future offer customers an active choice, at the point of purchase, of blocking adult content.  Subscribers to BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin who do not opt in will have no access to internet porn. There is no mention of the specifications of what will be blocked yet.

Advertising near schools will also be more restricted. Billboards which show sexy images will be banned from close proximity to schools.

There will also be attempt to stop brand ambassadors with ministers saying that they are determined to try and halt the way social media can get to young impressionable children. Apparently some big companies, in the wake of crackdowns on traditional advertising of certain products to children, have turned to paying children small sums to promote sugary soft drinks and other products through social networking sites and playground chat.

And if this is not enough, as it surely won't be,  Cameron is expected to warn that he is prepared to act if companies do not do more to halt the sexualisation of children.

 

11th October   

Update: Nauseating and yet Bizarrely Artful...

Australian premiere of Human Centipede Part 2 will be at the Brisbane International Film Festival
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) will make its Australian debut at the Brisbane International Film Festival in November. It will give local audiences a first look at what American critics are describing as a methodical snuff film , an unfortunate success and a dismal, nauseating and yet bizarrely artful sequel .

Recently released in full in America, and to be shown cut n the UK, the film has been booked by festival director Richard Moore and guest curator Tim League for the 20th anniversary program of BIFF after the Australian Classification Board cleared the uncut version for R18+ release earlier this year.

It's not the first time Moore has sparked controversy; while head of the Melbourne International Film Festival, his selection of Bruce laBruce's L.A. Zombie was followed by a ban, and an illegal screening.

Moore said he was not showing The Human Centipede 2 at the festival to create controversy but as a chance to present BIFF audiences with an Australian premiere of a hotly anticipated genre title. He said the movie was not being treated as one of the showpiece films of the event.

Having seen the sequel himself Moore admitted the movie would not be everybody's cup of tea.

Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence opens at the Brisbane International Film Festival at midnight on November 5. BIFF runs from November 3 to 13. Tickets and more information are available via the BIFF website .

 

11th October   

Update: You know You Come from Nothing...

Terry Jones comments that Life of Brian could never be filmed today
Link Here
Full story: Monty Python...Monty Python winds up the nutters

Monty Python star Terry Jones has revealed he would shy away from making the film Life of Brian today, because of a resurgence in religious belief. He said:

At the time, religion seemed to be on the back burner and it felt like kicking a dead donkey. It's come back with a vengeance and we'd think twice about making it now.

Jones directed and acted in the 1979 film, which sparked accusations of blasphemy. Opponents of the now-celebrated comedy claimed it made fun of Jesus.

Comment: A resurgence in religious belief?

There's hardly much evidence 'of a resurgence in religious belief'. The opposite is clearly the case. However the sharp decline in belief must be making the christians feel a little insecure. Perhaps in the days of Life of Brian, the christians generally were confident enough that such a minor jibe could hardly shake their religion. Now they are a little beleaguered, and must feel that they have to be more willing to fight for the survival of their cause.

Then of course there's the tension with other religions. And there its the authorities who feel that they must calm any tensions by trying to censor anything that could add to that tension.

Either way, it would appear that Terry Jones is right, and Life of Brian could never be filmed today.

 

11th October   

Red, White and the Green...

Documentary about Iranian election protests banned from Beirut International Film Festival
Link Here
The Lebanese Government has banned an Iranian documentary showing the violence leading up to the 2009 presidential elections from being screened at the Beirut Film Festival, along with the man who made it.  The coalition government in Lebanon is led by Hezbollah, which is a strong ally of the Iranian regime.

Nader Davoodi's Red, White and the Green was to be screened at the Middle East Documentary Film Competition.

Lebanese censorship authorities on 7th October informed us we would have to pull Iranian director Nader Davoodi's film Red, White and the Green from our programme. Colette Naufal, director of the Beirut International Film Festival was also informed that Davoodi would not be allowed to travel to Lebanon.

Iranian Kurdish filmmaker Ibrahim Al-Saaidi, director of Mandoo, was also unable to attend the festival due to unspecified travel difficulties, added Nafaul.

 

11th October   

Updated: Less Severed...

New ArrowDrome release of The Man with the Severed Head
Link Here

The Man with the Severed head is a 1976 Spain/France horror by Juan Fortuny. See IMDb

Passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow/ArrowDrome R2 DVD at UK Amazon Just released on 10th October 2011
  • UK 2004 Freemantlemedia/Arrow R2 DVD
Previously passed 18 after 13s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1985 Careyvision VHS titled Crimson

Promotional: Material: Fleapits of Europe

Spain's greatest horror icon Paul Naschy is transformed into a raging psychopath in this sleazy ride to murder and depravity from a time when exploitation cinema ruled the fleapits of Europe.

When a jewellery heist goes awry, Jack Surnett (Naschy) finds himself with a bullet in his head and few options. Luckily, his gang have the novel idea to transplant his brain into the corpse of their arch nemesis, a gangster called The Sadist . But as he settles into his new body, Jack feels sinister urges welling up inside, urges that will lead him down a path to madness, torture and crimson murder!

Includes:

  • additional erotic scenes and featurette with star Paul Naschy

  • Paul Naschy in America: an interview with Naschy distributor Sam Sherman’

  • booklet by Calum Waddell!

 

11th October   

Update: Vandals...

Banksy mural removed from London street
Link Here

The valuable Banksy street stencilled wall mural on the side of a London Post Office, which had become a tourist attraction in itself, has been censored. Presumably this was on the orders of some apparatchik at the Westminster Council or the Post Office, in spite of the fact that such Banksy stencil wall murals are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Incredibly, Westminster Council have installed a WiFi connected CCTV camera overlooking the site, should anyone have thoughts of art restoration.

 

11th October   

Updated: Press Freedom in Italy...

Related to the wrongful murder prosecution of Amanda Knox
Link Here

You may find it interesting to go to the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists and do a search for Giuliano Mignini. This is the idiot who made such a pig's ear of prosecuting Amanda Knox and the Monster of Florence serial killer hunt.

Among his stunts are arresting the American journalist Douglas Preston and an Italian colleague when he didn't like what they said about him, prosecuting Knox for slander of the police in attempting to defend herself, prosecuting her parents for saying they believed the the alleged slander in - wait for it! - an interview given to the Sunday Times in Seattle. (Yeah, I can really see the Yanks, with their First Amendment, extraditing them.) He has also attempted to clap a civil writ for libel on a journalist on the West Seattle Herald whose support for the hometown girl he found a bit irksome.

Hardly the sort of open minded person that you would want as a state prosecutor.

Comment: Bulgari Acquitted

11th October 2011. Thanks to Alan

brigitta bulgariRecently read on Perugia Shock website that Giuliano Mignin's other young woman victim, the stripper Brigitta Kocsis (aka Brigitta Bulgari) has also been acquitted. [She had been in trouble for doing a striptease show where an underage spectator was found, but this was nothing to do with the performer].

This guy is a complete nutcase. He was also reported to have prosecuted an English couple who let wild poppies grow in their garden, accusing them of cultivating heroin!

 

11th October

 Offsite: Treading Carefully...

Link Here
In vindicating al-Jazeera's publication of diplomatic documents, Ofcom is supporting truth-telling in a turbulent region

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

10th October   

Frightened Fox...

New UK Blu-ray release of Peter Jackson's The Frighteners
Link Here

The Frighteners is a 1996 New Zealand/US comedy horror by Peter Jackson. See IMDb

The Director's Cut was passed 15 uncut for:

The US release featuring the Director's Cut is MPAA R Rated for:

  • US 2011 Universal 15th Anniversary Edition (Theatrical+Director's Cut) R0 Blu-ray at US Amazon
  • US 2005 Universal Director's Cut R1 DVD at US Amazon
Previously the Theatrical Version was passed 15 after 2s of BBFC cuts for;
  • UK 2000 Columbia/TriStar VHS
  • UK 1998 CIC VHS
  • UK 1997 CIC VHS
  • UK 1997 cinema release

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com "

  • The bloodied body of the dead mother gets a shorter screen time
  • Cuts to Jeffery Coombs' head explosion:

 

10th October   

Well Turned Out...

New US Region Free Blu-ray release of the Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill
Link Here

Dressed to Kill is a 1980 US thriller by Brian De Palma. See IMDb

The US release includes the Director's Cut which in MPAA Unrated for:

British viewers are still stuck with the old cut Theatrical US R Rated Version which was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for
  • 2002 MGM R2 DVD
  • 1990 Virgin VHS
  • 1986 VCI VHS
  • UK 1980 cinema release

The version released in the UK was the R-rated US version.  James Ferman said that the Director's Cut, which ran slightly longer, was offered, but Ferman turned it down. The murder of Angie Dickinson was much more explicit - including a very specific razor slash down the face, more blood generally.

The MPAA cuts to avoid an 'X' rating, are as follows:

  1. The famous shower-scene has Kate (Angie Dickinson... or rather her body double) caressing her pubic area were replaced with shots of Kate caressing her stomach, and her breast.
  2. The rape of Kate has been slightly trimmed.
  3. The brutal death of Kate in the elevator has been softened by using alternative takes (thus eliminating two extremely graphic bloody close-ups).
  4. Dialogue was altered from a conversation between Liz (Nancy Allen), and Dr Elliot (Michael Caine); Liz's line All the time he's talking I can see the bulge in his pants is completely removed, and another Liz's line He drops his pants, spreads my legs, kneels down behind me, is changed to He drops his pants, he forces me down on my stomach, kneels down behind me. Even another Liz's line Well, because of the size of that cock in your pants has the word cock replaced to bulge in the R-rated cut.

 

10th October   

Update: Yellow Sites...

Mobile porn doing well in China on fly-by-night websites
Link Here
Full story: Pornography in China...Always under the cosh

Mobile porn in China is on the rise thanks to low-cost entry into the adult business.

According to a Penn-Olson report, even though porn is illegal in China, would-be adult mobile companies can get server hosting packages set up for as little as $78 per year. The deals are reportedly being advertised heavily by hosting companies hiding behind disposable Chinese social networking QQ websites.

Mobile websites are less strictly regulated than conventional sites, and the growing number of dubious companies offering cheap hosting and ready-made WAP site templates makes it easier for fly-by-night 'yellow' sites to flourish, the report said.

The boom is keeping Chinese authorities hopping as they try to stem the spread of the illegal WAP adult sites, supposedly over concerns 'for the children'. Because the sites come and go quickly, authorities are finding it difficult to patrol and shut them down.

 

10th October

 Offsite: The 99 Censors...

Link Here
TV adaption of burkha clad superhero comic book seemingly put on hold on fears of controversy

See article from religion.blogs.cnn.com

 

9th October   

Obituary: David Hess...

Noted for censor baiting performances in The Last House on the Left and The House on the Edge of the Park
Link Here

The US music maker and actor, David Hess, has died aged 69.

Interleaved in a long career in the music industry were a few film acting performances that have secured him a place in the Melon farming Hall of Memory.

His first major appearance was as the ultra thug Krug in Wes Craven's landmark 1972 film, The Last House of the Left. Hess also composed the score.

Hess also played another notable thug in Ruggero Deodato's 1980 film, The House on the Edge of the Park.

He also appeared in later films by the same directors. He played a villain in Wes Craven's 1982 Swamp Thing, and appeared in the 1987 slasher, Body Count , for Ruggero Deodato.

 

9th October   

Updated: A Serious Chill...

Alex Salmond's nasty bigotry bill under fire from many sides
Link Here
Full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

Pressure is mounting on the Scottish Government over its plans for anti-sectarian speech laws after an unprecedented attack on Alex Salmond by the Catholic Church.

It comes as the First Minister prepares to meet with Bishop Philip Tartaglia at the First Minister's official residence, Bute House, in Edinburgh.

As The Herald revealed yesterday, the bishop, who many expect to be Scotland's next cardinal, warned of a serious chill between the Catholic community and SNP Government. He also accused Salmond of reneging on a promise to make public statistics on convictions for sectarian offences.

On other fronts, Labour's justice spokesman, James Kelly, has wrotten to Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, casting doubt on whether the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill is compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Kelly, speaking ahead of publication tomorrow of findings from the second stage of the Bill, claimed the demand was made in light of concerns from the Scottish Human Rights Commission and said the legislation was too broad and risked spawning rafts of costly court cases and compensation claims. He said:

There are serious questions as to whether the Bill complies with the European Convention on Human Rights. My fear is the legislation is drafted too broadly, which may lead to a situation where fans do not even realise their behaviour is breaking the law.

We must have complete confidence any legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament is absolutely watertight to avoid our laws potentially being subject to costly court cases and compensations claims down the line.

A Tory spokesman said:

All right-minded people want to eradicate the evils of sectarianism, but the best way of doing this is with clear, robust and vigorous legislation. We must guard against 'something must be done syndrome' producing bad law.

Update: Freedom of Speech Clause

8th October 2011. See  article from  thescotsman.scotsman.com

Alex Salmond has offered a freedom of speech concession to opponents of his government's anti-sectarian legislation in a bid to appease critics of the SNP's contentious new laws. The announcement of the freedom of expression clause came after the First Minister held a meeting with the Bishop of Paisley in response to a letter the churchman had written setting out concerns about the government's anti-sectarianism legislation and its plans to bring in same-sex marriage.

Afterwards, Bishop Philip Tartaglia acknowledged the concession by the government.

Update: Review to check how crap the law will be

9th October 2011. SSee  article from  scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com

Alex Salmond is set to agree to a formal review of his anti-sectarianism crackdown to appease critics who claim the measures he is proposing will prove to be either worthless or counter-productive. The First Minister is expected to back a call from MSPs to put the new laws under review after they get through a parliamentary vote, so sceptics can monitor whether or not they make any difference.

The move comes after Salmond's bid to win unanimous backing was damaged last week when Labour MSPs announced they were opposing the new laws on the grounds that they might make the fight against sectarianism harder.

 

9th October

 Offsite: Mark Kermode: Triers of a Clown...

Link Here
Lars Von Trier in DogsHouseVille

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

9th October   

Braindead...

Ex-prime minister Dr. M blames horror movies for Malaysia's social ills
Link Here
Malaysia's former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that horror films were counter-productive to building a developed society because they encouraged a belief in mythical beings rather than the scientific approach.

Dr Mahathir also said the prevalence of ghost stories was responsible for the hysteria attacks among Malay female students.

More than 15 local horror films have been produced since 2007's box-office hit Jangan Pandang Belakang, which for three years held the record for the highest-grossing Malaysian film, garnering more than RM6.3 million (S$2.5 million).

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) followed up Mahathir's words with a call to film producers to appoint or refer to religious experts in their productions, especially horror films, for fear that the films would contain negative values and deviate from the teachings of Islam.

Its director-general Othman Mustapha said that film genres like horror, fantasy and superstition are not helping much in developing the future generation, but instead, such films are corrupting the minds of the younger generation. He also said that producers should also adhere to Jakim's Guidelines prohibiting contradictions with islam.

But the film censors were taking a more 'wait and see' line. Finas (National Film Development Corporation) director-general Mohd Naguib Razak said:

Until we receive a directive from the Information, Communications and Culture Minister (Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim) to take action, we are not in a position to impose sanctions on the films.

We can't step in and tell film-makers what they can or cannot do because that will affect the performance of the industry, which is currently doing very well.

Naguib said the horror film genre is a trend that has seen successes in other countries as well.

Amir Muhammad, who co-directed the 2008 thriller Susuk , said the popularity of horror films merely reflected society's concerns.

We live in a superstitious society, so it is not surprising that many local films would cater to the public's demands for the supernatural.

They are only reflecting beliefs and practices that are already prevalent among Malaysians.

Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations president Datuk N. Marimuthu also disagreed with the contention that horror films had a negative influence on movie-goers.

Movies are movies. For most people, they exist purely as entertainment or a pastime. Personally, I do not believe a horror film or any other kind of film has any real bearing or influence on people's beliefs.

 

9th October   

The People's Station...

Guyana's president censors opposition TV in the run up to general elections
Link Here

Reporters Without Borders condemns President Bharrat Jagdeo's order suspending broadcasting by Guyana's CNS Channel Six, a privately-owned opposition TV station, for four months from 30 September.

The presidential order is all the more reprehensible for forcing the station off the air during the run-up to regional and general elections that must be held by 28 December.

Firstly, this suspension is both discriminatory and absurd, Reporters Without Borders said. How can the president's personal view of a comment made on the air be grounds for reducing CNS Channel Six to silence? But this appalling measure is all the more inopportune for coming during an election period. The fact that the station is owned by Chandra Narine Charma, the leader of the opposition Justice for All Party, is a further reason for seeing it as an attack on pluralism and democratic debate.

The official reason for the suspension was opposition parliamentarian Anthony Vieira's on-the-air criticism of Protestant bishop Juan Edghill, the head of the Ethnic Relations Commission. The bishop was too close to the president and was not doing enough for Catholics, Vieira said. President Jagdeo held the station responsible for the comments, which he said were intended to sow discord among Christian denominations.

 

8th October   

Diary: Frightfest Allnighter...

Horror movies in Leicester Square
Link Here

Frightfest Allnighter
Vue Cinema, Leicester Square, London
Saturday 29th October 2011

For the first time Film4 FrightFest is bringing its critically acclaimed Halloween event to the Vue West End.

Six world, European, UK and London premieres over one intense 12 hour period on Saturday October 29th.

With all the must-see chiller movies of the moment:

  • LIVID
  • BAD MEAT
  • COLD SWEAT
  • THE WATERMEN
  • FACES IN THE CROWD
  • and an amazing Surprise Movie .

Tickets for all six films is £ 50. 

Update: Human Centipede Part II

8th October 2011. See  article from  exquisiteterror.com

Well it seems that the amazing Surprise Movie, mentioned in the programme above is none other than Human Centipede Part II (Full Sequence)

The film will see its UK premiere at Film4 FrightFest's Halloween all-nighter at Leicester Square's Vue on 29 October. Present will be director Tom Six and producer Ilona Six, to be accompanied by some of the cast.

Ian Sadler, sales director for Eureka Entertainment said:

Eureka Entertainment, and Bounty Films (Australia), are extremely excited to be able to present The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) at FrightFest. Fans of the first film are in for a fun-filled, stomach-churning, seat-squirming treat of the most nauseous. Tom Six has delivered us a villain who in years to come will be revered alongside Freddie and Jason.

Presumably the film will be shown in the cut version approved by the BBFC.

 

8th October   

Junk Movies and Junk Food...

New US DVD of Brian Trenchard-Smith's Dead End Drive-In
Link Here

Dead End Drive-In is a 1986 Australia action drama by Brian Trenchard-Smith. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

It was last seen in the UK when it was passed 18 after 16s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1987 New World VHS

Summary review: Drive-In Lock-up

Society is going down the tubes and the authorities have the idea of keeping the kids locked up in drive-ins complete with junk food and 24 hour movies.

Generally enjoyed by most reviewers though noted for being a bit silly. But punks, violence, drugs and car chases keeps viewers interested

 

8th October   

Update: Nothing's Shocking...

Except to Facebook who censor Jane's Addiction album cover art
Link Here
Full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

The band Jane's Addiction posted the cover for their 1988 album Nothing's Shocking on their official Facebook page, along with a few other classic images from their history. But Facebook apparently took offence to the Nothing's Shocking cover, which features two naked ladies, and removed it.

The band quickly reposted the image, albeit an edited version with Facebook logos covering the girls' modesties, along with a post that said:

In 1988, nine of the 11 leading record chains refused to carry Nothing's Shocking because of its cover. (In 2011, Facebook joined them.)

 

8th October   

Updated: Protecting Berlusconi...

Italy's bloggers protest over right to reply bill that will throttle freedom of expression
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Italy...Censorship affecting bloogers and the press in Italy

Italy's Internet activists gathered in front of Rome's ancient Pantheon Thursday to protest a new law they say will throttle freedom of expression on the Web.

The new rule, due to be presented in parliament next week, would oblige all online publications to publish a correction within 48 hours of receiving a request or risk a EUR12,000 ( £ 10,400) fine.

Critics say the law would have a particularly devastating effect on citizen bloggers and is intended to protect the interests of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose image has been severely battered by the publication of police telephone taps that have cast an embarrassing light on his unorthodox private life.

Luca Nicotra, secretary of the activist association Agora Digitale, said his organization was calling on all lawmakers to support amendments to the bill that would limit its effects to professional news organizations only.

A newspaper has the ability to respond to requests that may be illegitimate. The ordinary citizen does not, Nicotra told a crowd of around 100 people gathered in front of the massive Roman temple.

It's easy to imagine this instrument being used in an intimidating way, said a leaflet distributed by Agora Digitale at the rally. Any citizen writing on the web, who doesn't have a newspaper's legal department to defend him, will be induced to accept requests for corrections even when convinced that he has written the truth, causing people to censor themselves in order to avoid the risk of a fine.

Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition lawmaker and founder of Articolo 21 , said he would appeal against the law to the European Court of Human Rights if it was passed in its present form by the Italian parliament.

Opponents of the law were setting up a committee of media law specialists to assist bloggers and anyone else who ran into difficulty because of it, Giulietti said. If there is a democratic emergency we will be present to support you, wherever you are, he said.

Update: Wikipedia Protest

6th October 2011. Based on See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Wikipedia's Italian edition has taken all entries but one offline in protest at a draft privacy law restricting the publication of police wiretaps. Transcripts of his telephone calls have embarrassed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on trial for corruption and using underage prostitutes.

MPs have begun debating an amendment which would limit the right of newspapers and other websites to publish wiretaps during a police investigation.

Wikipedia says it may take down its Italian site, www.wikipedia.it, permanently if the law is passed. Amendments would have to be published within 48 hours at the request of the person making the complaint, without any recourse to a court or independent adjudicator. In an open letter to its Italian readers, Wikipedia said:

The obligation to publish on our site the correction... without even the right to discuss and verify the claim, is an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia.

Update: Amateur bloggers excused from repressive take down requirements

8th October 2011. See  article from  en.rsf.org

Reporters Without Borders has strongly condemned the resumption of parliamentary discussion of a government bill that would curb the publication of police wiretaps in the news media and would force websites to publish corrections automatically.

The bill had been approved by the senate in June 2010, but had been shelved because of an outcry from civil society. Conveniently for the embattled prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, the bill's adoption was added to the agenda of the chamber of deputies. With a few cosmetic changes that were approved by a legislative committee on 5 October, the final version was due to be voted on next week.

Reporters Without Borders said.

Restricting the publication of tapped phone conversations in the media to this degree would gravely impede investigative journalism. It has all the hallmarks of a crude and dishonest device for gagging the media. It also has a distinctly political dimension. The government is trying to cover up the prime minister's sex scandals, many of which have been exposed by the publication of phone transcripts.

Although bloggers are omitted from the bill's latest version, online journalists are facing the possibility of having to censor themselves or comply with every request for a correction in order to avoid a 12,000 euro fine. By ignoring the right to information and by making corrections automatic, allowing no possibility of challenging them, the bill is totally out of step with international principles and European legal precedents.

As a democracy and European Union member, Italy has a duty to defend civil liberties. Italy's parliamentarians must consider the international impact of their actions and abandon this bill.

The bill would also allow any individuals who deem themselves to have been defamed by online content to demand the publication of a statement or correction within 48 hours. The demand could be sent by email and failure to comply could result in a 12,000 euro fine. The bill's original version concerned anyone posting online, including bloggers, but this caused such an outcry that the amended version concerns only professional websites.

The vagueness of this clause continues to be very worrying. Worse still, the measure is automatic. Websites are given no opportunity to dispute the demand for a correction before a judge on the grounds of accuracy or bad faith on the plaintiff's part.

 

8th October   

Comment: High Stakes...

Slovakia proposes to introduce internet censorship in the name of banning online gambling
Link Here

The Slovak Ministry of Finance has published a draft law that would require the blocking of websites that provide online gambling without a Slovak license.

ISPs would have to block web sites from a list updated twice a month - not by the court, but by the Tax Office.

Opposition to the law is  being led by the Society for Open Information Technologies (SOIT) and the Slovak IT Association

SOIT warns that this way Facebook should also be blocked completely, because it allows users to play online roulette and poker.

According to SOIT consumer protection, crime prevention or reduction of tax burden are not sufficient arguments for establishing of Internet censorship: We believe that the promotion of purely economic interests at the expense of personal freedoms of citizens is particularly dangerous and unconstitutional. Their online petition [Slovak language] has been signed by thousands of citizens.

The Ministry of Finance have now asked the European Commission for their opinion about the law

 

8th October   

Updated: Suggestions on Avoiding Abuses...

UN human rights session criticises Thailand's lese majeste law
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
United Nations representatives of a dozen countries including France, Germany, the UK and Australia have recommended that the Thai government amend their lese majeste law to bring the country's level of freedom of expression in line with international standards.

The recommendation was made during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in Geneva. The four-yearly process organised by the United Nations Human Rights Council requires each UN member state to present a report on various human rights conditions and to hear questions and recommendations by representatives of other members.

Representatives from the United Kingdom, France and Slovenia shared the view that the lese majeste law affected freedom of expression and urged Thailand to consider this aspect of liberty. Hungary and Finland urged Thailand to invite the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression to visit Thailand.

The representative of Norway made the suggestion, that although Norway has a lese majeste law, a charge can only be brought with the personal approval of the king in order to avoid abuses .

The United States joined China, Syria, Singapore and Burma in not expressing any concern about the lese majeste law. One European diplomat told The Nation that Washington's lack of comment on the issue put the US in the same league with dictatorial states.

Other states whose representatives urged Thailand to amend the law included Switzerland, Brazil, Spain, Sweden and New Zealand. Some of these, including the Canadian representative, also raised the issue of the Computer Crimes Act, which critics say is also being used by the Thai government to curb freedom of expression.

 

8th October   

Women Journalists Without Chains...

Yemini press freedom activist is joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Link Here
The Committee to Protect Journalists is delighted that the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to renowned Yemeni press freedom activist Tawakul Karman, Chairwoman of Women Journalists Without Chains.

Tawakul Karman's selection for the Nobel Peace Prize not only recognizes her relentless battle for a free press in Yemen but also highlights the free flow of information as vital for peaceful and democratic societies, said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. We rejoice with Karman and hope that this prize helps to shed light on the targeting of journalists which continues to plague the Arab world.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded jointly to three women, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen.

They were recognised for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work .

Mrs Sirleaf is Africa's first female elected head of state, Ms Gbowee is a Liberian peace activist

 

7th October   

Updated: Human Centipede 2 Unbanned...

BBFC agree to grant an 18 certificate after cuts
Link Here
Full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Eureka Entertainment is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of the controversial horror film The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) .

Ian Sadler, Sales Director for Eureka Entertainment, Bounty Films' UK distributor said:

We are really pleased that after nearly 4 months of detailed discussion and debate, we have been able to reach an agreement with the BBFC and to produce a very viable cut of the film which will both excite and challenge its fans. Naturally we have a slight disappointment that we have had to make cuts, but we feel that the storyline has not been compromised and the level of horror has been sustained.

Further details of our plans for the UK theatrical and DVD release will be announced early next week.

The BBFC has awarded an 18 classification to a cut version of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) after 32 cuts

6th October 2011. From press release from bbfc.co.uk

The DVD of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has been passed with an 18 classification following 32 cuts made across 8 separate sequences. The cuts total 2 minutes 37 seconds and address all the concerns raised when the Board refused a classification on 6 June 2011, including those relating to sexual violence, graphic gore and the possibility of breach of the law relating to obscenity.

The President, Sir Quentin Thomas, said

When we first examined this work earlier this year we judged that, as submitted, it was unsuitable for classification; and, as we explained to the company, we could not ourselves see how cuts could produce a viable and classifiable work. That remains the view of one of our Vice Presidents, Gerard Lemos, who is therefore abstaining from the Board's collective decision.

The company lodged an appeal against our decision to refuse classification. In the course of preparations for that appeal, the company proposed a number of cuts which it was right for us to consider. In response, after further examination, we proposed a more extensive series of cuts. These cuts produce a work which many will find difficult but which I believe can properly be classified at the adult level. The company has now accepted these cuts, withdrawn its appeal and the work has been classified, as cut, at 18.

In its original letter of 6 June refusing classification, the Board made clear that it was open to the distributor to attempt cuts. The cuts which have now been made are, in the Board's judgement, necessary if the film is to be classified.

Update: The BBFC list their cuts

7th October See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

Human Centipede Part II (Full Sequence) has been unbanned and passed 18 after 2:37s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Bounty video
  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC commented on their cuts:

Company was required to make 32 individual cuts to scenes of sexual and sexualised violence, sadistic violence and humiliation, and a child presented in an abusive and violent context. In this case, cuts included:

  • a man masturbating with sandpaper around his penis

  • graphic sight of a man's teeth being removed with a hammer

  • graphic sight of lips being stapled to naked buttocks

  • graphic sight of forced defecation into and around other people's mouths

  • a man with barbed wire wrapped around his penis raping a woman

  • a newborn baby being killed

  • graphic sight of injury as staples are torn away from individuals' mouth and buttocks.

 

7th October   

Update: A Bitter Pill...

Nominet closes down 500 UK websites over allegations of selling counterfeit pharmaceutical products
Link Here
Full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

Nominet has suspended 500 .uk domains as part of an international operation to close down websites selling counterfeit pharmaceutical products.

Almost 13,500 websites worldwide were suspended as part of Operation Pangea IV, an Interpol coordinated effort which resulted in the seizure of more than 2.4 million pills.

Nominet acted to suspend the .uk domains following a request from The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Police Central e-Crime Unit.

Eleanor Bradley, Nominet's Director of Operations, said that the sites were in clear breach of Nominet's terms and conditions, due to their owners having provided fraudulent WHOIS details.

 

6th October   

Insuring Stifled Creativity...

The ever more ludicrous ASA get easily offended by model hiding her breasts with cameras
Link Here

An ad in Amateur Photographer magazine for the specialist multimedia insurer Aaduki, in July 2011, was headlined Confused and don't know where to look? . Underneath was a picture of a woman wearing only men's boxer briefs and holding a D-SLR camera to each breast.

A complainant, who believed the ad was sexist and degrading to women, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

Versatile Insurance Professionals Ltd said Aaduki were well known in the photographic market for the Aaduki Boys , a group of male models used to advertise the brand at exhibitions and conventions and who also featured heavily in their marketing campaigns. They said they had run a series of ads across the specialist photographic press featuring the male models in their trademark blue shorts, which were designed to amuse the reader with tongue in cheek innuendo much like the Carry On films from the 1970s. Versatile provided copies of the ads in the series, which they believed were suggestive and naughty without being obscene.

Versatile said the idea behind the Confused and don't know where to look ad? was that they now had a girl wearing the blue shorts instead of a boy, and aimed to engage the male photographer that did not normally find their ads attractive. Versatile said they did not believe the ad was sexist or degrading to women, and pointed out that many photographic magazines featured female models, some of whom would be completely naked and a large number of whom would be topless.

ASA Decision

The ASA considered that the image of the woman wearing only boxer briefs and holding a D-SLR camera to each breast was provocative. We noted that the ad was for multimedia insurance, and that the image bore no relation to the advertised service. We considered that the image was likely to be seen to degrade women by linking their physical attributes to that of the cameras, and concluded that the ad had the potential to cause serious offence to some people.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

6th October   

Updated: Vivienne Pattison: Would Ya?...

Mediawatch-UK baited by Wright Stuff nonsense
Link Here

Mediawatch-UK have been wound up by a rather puerile sounding edition of The Wright Stuff.

Matthew Wright got a bit of a response from the usual suspects after hosting a TV debate entitled Foxy Knoxy: Would Ya? Wright discussed with panellists how Amanda Knox was undeniably fit and loves wild sex .

In a preview blurb for the episode of The Wright Stuff, the Channel 5 website said: So if you were a guy who'd met her in a bar and she invited you back to hers, would you go? Crass and insensitive: Viewers of The Wright Stuff were stunned when presenter Matthew Wright asked viewers to vote on whether they would 'take home' Amanda Knox in light of her acquittal for murder

Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-UK said the discussion was unbelievable and totally inappropriate. She said:

To think that someone thought this would be an acceptable format for a show is beyond belief.

It's entirely insensitive and should not be aired at any time, let alone as part of a morning chat show.

It seems totally sick and is as bizarre as it is cruel. It's cruel for all concerned and is an example where the boundaries of 'banter and entertainment become blurred.

Of all the takes on this huge and sensitive case this has to be the worst. 'I should hope there would be some serious questions asked by producers on this.

A Wright Stuff spokeswoman defended the show saying the topic was handled sensitively. She said:

The discussion conducted between Matthew Wright and our panel of Kelly Hoppen, Christopher Biggins and Liz McClarnon was handled extremely sensitively and at no point did we lose sight of the fact that at the heart of the matter is the tragic death of a young girl - Meredith Kercher.

Update: Apologies

6th October 2011. See  article from  mediaweek.co.uk

The Foxy Knoxy episode of The Wright Stuff was taken down from Channel 5's online video service so that an apology could be added.

Matthew Wright duly apologised during the next edition, saying:

While I'm not going to apologise for discussing Amanda Knox's future after all the terrible things the media has said about her these past four years, I do want to say sorry for the way I framed the debate.

The on-screen title was wrong, no doubt about it. I only wish all those mouthing off about it on twitter had seen the whole 20-minute debate and not just reacted to the 10-second introduction. But nevertheless, I am sorry.

So far Ofcom has received less than 20 complaints about the episode but will consider further investigation.

 

6th October   

Questionable App...

Google pulls Android app: Is my Son Gay?
Link Here

A new smart phone app from France promised to help parents determine their son's sexuality in 20 questions.

It caught the eye of TV commentators who saw the potential for 'outrage'. CBS 2's Sean Hennessey had particularly good fun. Hennessey called and e-mailed Google to see what kind of vetting is done when it comes to selling controversial apps, but the company never responded at the time with a comment.

The Android app claims to be able to assess sexuality via question such as: Does your son like musical comedies, Madonna, or football? Does their son dress well? Is his best friend a girl? Are you divorced?

Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educational Network, called the app ridiculous and horrifying:

The questions in this app are horrendous stereotypes that would be completely laughable if they weren't so dangerou.

The implication, one, is that there is one way to be if you're gay and, two, that there's sort of blame to attach to parents.

Psychologist Alan Hilfer said the app will never replace a heart-to-heart talk.

But now Surrendering to 'widespread' 'outrage', Google has pulled the app from its online store.

 

6th October   

Updated: Protecting Berlusconi...

Italy's bloggers protest over right to reply bill that will throttle freedom of expression
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Italy...Censorship affecting bloogers and the press in Italy

Italy's Internet activists gathered in front of Rome's ancient Pantheon Thursday to protest a new law they say will throttle freedom of expression on the Web.

The new rule, due to be presented in parliament next week, would oblige all online publications to publish a correction within 48 hours of receiving a request or risk a EUR12,000 ( £ 10,400) fine.

Critics say the law would have a particularly devastating effect on citizen bloggers and is intended to protect the interests of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose image has been severely battered by the publication of police telephone taps that have cast an embarrassing light on his unorthodox private life.

Luca Nicotra, secretary of the activist association Agora Digitale, said his organization was calling on all lawmakers to support amendments to the bill that would limit its effects to professional news organizations only.

A newspaper has the ability to respond to requests that may be illegitimate. The ordinary citizen does not, Nicotra told a crowd of around 100 people gathered in front of the massive Roman temple.

It's easy to imagine this instrument being used in an intimidating way, said a leaflet distributed by Agora Digitale at the rally. Any citizen writing on the web, who doesn't have a newspaper's legal department to defend him, will be induced to accept requests for corrections even when convinced that he has written the truth, causing people to censor themselves in order to avoid the risk of a fine.

Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition lawmaker and founder of Articolo 21 , said he would appeal against the law to the European Court of Human Rights if it was passed in its present form by the Italian parliament.

Opponents of the law were setting up a committee of media law specialists to assist bloggers and anyone else who ran into difficulty because of it, Giulietti said. If there is a democratic emergency we will be present to support you, wherever you are, he said.

Update: Wikipedia Protest

6th October 2011. Based on See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Wikipedia's Italian edition has taken all entries but one offline in protest at a draft privacy law restricting the publication of police wiretaps. Transcripts of his telephone calls have embarrassed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on trial for corruption and using underage prostitutes.

MPs have begun debating an amendment which would limit the right of newspapers and other websites to publish wiretaps during a police investigation.

Wikipedia says it may take down its Italian site, www.wikipedia.it, permanently if the law is passed. Amendments would have to be published within 48 hours at the request of the person making the complaint, without any recourse to a court or independent adjudicator. In an open letter to its Italian readers, Wikipedia said:

The obligation to publish on our site the correction... without even the right to discuss and verify the claim, is an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia.

 

6th October   

Politically Incorrect...

In light of the Norwegian massacre, Germany considers whether to keep anti-islam blogs and websites under surveillance
Link Here

The most intense public reaction the July 22 Oslo atrocities outside of Scandinavia has been in Germany. The German authorities are now reportedly considering monitoring and controlling Islamophobic blogs and websites to prevent another Breivik.

The Islam-critical site Politically Incorrect (PI) is the most popular blog in Germany, and perhaps in Europe, so it's no surprise that it has been a major focus of media and governmental scrutiny.

PI commented on September 27, that after a campaign by reporters of the Frankfurter Rundschau and Der Spiegel to have PI investigated, the federal constitutional protection i.e., intelligence/security service will meet to consider the issue.

PI wrote an Open Letter  to the Intelligence Service:

As we have learned from pertinent media reports, Islam-critical internet blogs, first and foremost PI, are to be the subject, on Thursday in Berlin, of discussions by the heads of German security services. There will be discussion of whether we will be declared a future target of surveillance by the intelligence service.

We make no secret of our astonishment and anger at this development. PI was founded seven years ago by concerned citizens for whom our constitutional system is deeply important. Under the impression of an ever constricting corridor of allowable opinions and reportage in the established media, it was our wish to use the internet as a compensation in this regard. Specifically, what has been established in recent years by the large news operations as so-called media responsibility and voluntary self-control is for us truly nothing other than a ban on thought and discussion about the central, fateful questions of Europe.

Beyond that, we would like to emphasize: We not only have a claim to provide equality of information, above all, we have a right to do so! In our publications, we lay claim to no more nor less than one of the highest legal rights of our land, the basic right of freedom of opinion and information. The Enlightenment figure Voltaire aptly described its essence: I may condemn what you say, but I will give my life for your right to say it.

...Read the full article

 

5th October   

Update: Playboy Binned...

Nutters crow after NBC cancels The Playboy Club
Link Here

After just three episodes, NBC has canceled their new TV series The Playboy Club as a result of low ratings and nutter 'outrage', drawing praise from many family organizations and faith-based groups that avidly sought to close the club.

The drama, based on the chain of Playboy nightclubs started by Hugh Hefner in the 1960s, drew strong opposition before it premiered on September 19.

Though the first episode debuted to 5 million viewers, the ratings fell dramatically thereafter, eventually leading producers to cut the show.

Groups like Morality in Media and the Parents Television Council campaigned aggressively to bring what they claimed to be a demeaning and pro-porn show to an end quickly.

Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media, said in a statement:

It is great news that The Playboy Club is canceled after just three episodes,

Clearly viewers are not interested in supporting the brand that normalized pornography and caused immeasurable harm to women, children, and to the men who became addicted to porn.

For the Parents Television Council, President Tim Winter said:

We're pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women Bringing 'The Playboy Club' to broadcast television was a poor programming decision from the start.

We are grateful to every member of the public who responded to our call to take action against this attempt to mainstream a brand that is synonymous with the pornography industry. We hope other broadcasters heed the important lessons of this programming debacle.

 

5th October

 Offsite: Are our Kids Oversexualised?...

Link Here
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report
Or is it the adults?

See article from blogs.independent.co.uk

 

4th October   

Updated: Trilogy of the Dead...

New ArrowDrome release of Romero's Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead
Link Here

Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 US horror film by George A Romero. See IMDb

Passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow/Arrowdrome Trilogy of the Dead R0 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2008 Optimum RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon
  • UK 2008 Freemantlemedia/Arrow R2 DVD
  • UK 2007 Metrodome R2 DVD

Back in 1969 it was passed X (16) after BBFC cuts for UK 1969 cinema release

From IMDb

  • Substantial edits to the trowel murder
  • The removal of all the flesh-eating scenes.

Dawn of the Dead is a 1978 US horror by George A Romero. See IMDb

The Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut with all BBFC cuts waived for:

This film also has a past history of BBFC cuts

The Director's Cut was passed 18 after 6s of BBFC cuts (rather falsifying the label Director's Cut) for:
  • UK 1997 BMG VHS

The 6s of BBFC cuts were:

  1. Apartment raid by SWAT team: cut: scene of a woman having her shoulder bitten.
  2. Apartment raid by SWAT team: cut: SWAT guy literally blowing a man's head off with a shot gun The edited version shows victim, then a scream and gun shot but the impact of the shot is not seen. (see picture below)
  3. Peter shooting two zombie children at petrol station: trimmed.

And up to 1989, the BBFC demanded nearly 4 minutes of cuts

Day of the Dead is a 1985 US zombie film by George A Romero. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut with previous cuts restored for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow/Arrowdrome Trilogy of the Dead R0 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2010 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon
  • UK 2010 Arrow R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2006 Freemantle/Arrow R2 DVD
  • UK 1998 Polygram VHS
  • UK 1997 Arrow VHS

But again when it first came out, the BBFC had issues with it. It was passed 18 after 30s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1986 Media Releasing VHS
  • UK 1986 cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  1. Brief cut to a shot of a female zombie biting a strip of flesh off a soldier's neck.
  2. The scene where Miguel (Antone DiLeo) gets his infected arm amputated loses the shot of the machete working its way through the arm along with a shot of spectators reaction.
  3. A shot of a shovel cutting through the head of zombie has been removed.
  4. A soldiers death has been much reduced and loses a zombie biting off the soldier's fingers
  5. Several shots are missing from the zombies feasting on the remains of Rhodes (Josef Pilato)

 

4th October   

Update: Well Moderated...

Ofcom clears Newsnight after David Starkey mentioned the elephant in the room
Link Here
Full story: Balibo...Indonesia bans movie about jounalist deaths

Ofcom will take no action against BBC2's Newsnight following an item on the summer riots in which the historian David Starkey claimed the problem is that the whites have become black .

The media regulator received more than 100 complaints from members of the public while the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, also joined in the criticism of Starkey's comments on race, describing them as disgusting and outrageous.

However, Ofcom has ruled that Newsnight presenter, Emily Maitlis, had sufficiently challenged Starkey's claims. An Ofcom spokesperson told the Independent:

This was a serious and measured discussion within a programme with a well-established nature and format and with reputation for dealing with challenging subjects. The effect of his comments was limited by the presenter's moderation of the item and his comments were countered by the views of other contributors.

The BBC had already found similarly in August. The BBC explained that while it acknowledged that some people will have found Starkey's comments offensive, he was robustly challenged by presenter Emily Maitlis and the other contributors who took issue with his comments .

 

4th October   

Holy Flying Circus...

BBC to dramatise the nutter debate preceding Monty Python's Life of Brian
Link Here

The BBC has announced a new programme lined up for BBC 4.

In 1979, Monty Python's film Life Of Brian caused nutter outrage around the world. Nuns with banners picketed cinemas, councils banned the film and the religious group Festival of Light organised a concerted campaign against the film, trying to get it banned.

Against this backdrop Michael Palin and John Cleese found themselves facing prominent society figures Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark in a television debate in front of a live studio audience to defend their film against charges of blasphemy: but who won?

Written by Tony Roche, Holy Flying Circus is a fantastical re-imagining of the controversy surrounding the release of Life Of Brian. Witty and humorous in tone, the comedy drama incorporates surreal cutaways including puppetry and animation in telling its narrative.

Richard Klein, Controller BBC Four, comments: This is a smart and witty take on both the nature of censorship and the world of Monty Python. Tony Roche's script is both bold and entertaining, a wonderfully warm homage to one of the most original of British comedy teams.

 

4th October   

Diablo III...

Much anticipated computer game passed by the BBFC
Link Here

The BBFC have passed the computer game Diablo III as 15 uncut.

The consumer advice is:

  • Contains moderate bloody violence

The BBFC also noted that the game contains 32:00s of cut scenes or video footage inserted into the game.

 

4th October   

Comic Defense...

Historic comic book censorship seal taken over for fund raising purposes
Link Here

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has announced that it has received the intellectual property rights to the Comics Code Authority Seal of Approval in an assignment from the now-defunct Comic Magazine Association of America, which administrated the Code since the 1950s.

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, As we reflect upon the challenges facing intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week, the Comics Code Seal is a reminder that it's possible for an entire creative field to have those rights curtailed because of government, public, and market pressures. Fortunately, today comics are no longer constrained as they were in the days of the Code, but that's not something we can take for granted.

The CBLDF will take over licensing of products bearing the Comics Code Seal, including t-shirts, providing a modest source of income for the organization's First Amendment legal work. Graphitti Designs is currently offering t-shirts with the Code Seal to benefit CBLDF.

Brownstein adds It's a progressive change that the Comics Code seal, which is yesterday's symbol of comics censorship, will now be used to raise money to protect the First Amendment challenges comics face in the future. That goal probably would have been unimaginable to the Code's founders, who were part of a generation of comics professionals that were fleeing a witch-hunt that nearly trampled comics and any notion that they deserved any First Amendment protection.

 

4th October   

He Bangs...

Honduras nutters seek to ban Ricky Martin
Link Here

Ricky Martin's tour to Honduras has angered Catholic and evangelical nutters who have asked the government to bar his entry because he's a gay dad.

Honduras Minister of Interior, Africo Madrid, told local newspaper El Heraldo that the religious leaders have solicited that he deny a visa to Martin in order to protect the moral and ethical principles of our society .

Madrid claims that the religious leaders particularly object to Martin's non-traditional family: His nuclear family is not the type of family that Honduran society, and laws, approve of.

 

3rd October   

Series: Censor Cuts 007...

A little bit less of A View to a Kill
Link Here

A View to a Kill is a 1985 UK/US James Bond action film by John Glen. See IMDb

It was passed PG after BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2008 MGM R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2007 20th Century Fox R2 DVD
  • UK 2006 Sony R2 DVD
  • UK 1993 Warner VHS
  • UK 1985 cinema release

View Kill DVDThe film was originally viewed by the BBFC in an incomplete form, with the music score unfinished and the opening and closing credits missing.

During this advice screening, the BBFC requested that a heavy crotch kick and a double neck chop, both given by Bond, be removed from the film to get a PG rating. These cuts occur during the fight in the hidden room under Zoran's stable. If you watch the scene closely, or even frame by frame, the scene is somewhat sloppy in a couple of places. When the film was edited, the pre-cut version was submitted for a formal rating.

During this stage of classification, the Board asked for an alteration to the opening titles on a shot of an almost nude woman. Its hard to speculate which woman this refers to, but viewing the titles it seems likely that it could be the woman seen through a scope near the beginning, who becomes defocused and blurry whenever she turns the front of body towards the camera, or the mirrored image of the dancing women at the end as Michael Wilson's name appears. She too, goes out of focus on a profile shot where her nipples almost become clearly visible.

With this last change made, the PG rating was awarded.

 

3rd October   

Update: Satanic Judgement...

Bible ripping death metal singer winds up the nutters as he becomes a judge on a TV talent show
Link Here
Full story: Blasphemy in Poland...Under duress for minor comments about religion

Politicians and bishops across Poland are 'shocked' by the presence of a Satanic rock star on a popular television talent show.

National television station TVP has appointed Adam Nergal Darski, the lead singer and guitarist of death metal group Behemoth, as judge for a talent show for singers. From October onward, Nergal will work as a coach supporting the 12 singers now competing in The Voice of Poland.

Nergal became a hate figure for many Polish nutters after tearing up a Bible during a concert in September 2007. He was just recently acquitted of violating blasphemy laws in connection with the Bible tearing performance.

Nutter clergy are collecting signatures after Sunday masses for a petition against Nergal being on the program.

Bishop Wieslaw Mering wrote to TVP, complaining that:

the engagement of a self-confessed Satanist ... on public television surpasses all limits of decency.

In September, a parliamentary commission dealing with culture and the media adopted a resolution by the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party condemning the board of TVP for hiring a Satanist who publicly offends Christian values. The resolution was passed by a comfortable majority as members of the governing liberal-conservative Civic Platform party failed to show up at the commission meeting.

Parliamentarian Jan Dziedziczak from the Law and Justice party said:

It is unacceptable that Christians can be insulted in this Catholic country. We demand that this is forbidden in Poland, and definitely not allowed with our money and our licence fees.

In a TVP interview, Nergal said:

I don't think of myself as the messiah of death metal who only stands for the extreme, he said. I simply love music.

As for his critics, he said:

I forgive them for they know not what they do.

 

3rd October   

Morally Unhappy Church...

Russian church spokesman rails at books that 'romanticise perverted passions'
Link Here

Russian orthodox church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate, called for novels by Nabokov and Garcia Marquez to be banned.

Chaplin's demand that Russia's government investigate and limit the use of the books was his church's latest attempt to impose religious norms on the Russian people.

Chaplin discussed Nabokov's Lolita and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude on Ekho Moskvy radio, accusing both of justifying paedophilia .

The priest later elaborated in comments carried by Interfax, saying the authors' works should not be included in high school curriculums as they romanticise perverted passions that make people unhappy . Obviously, the popularisation of these novels in schools will not make our society more morally happy.

Mikhail Shvydkoi, a Kremlin envoy for international cultural co-operation, disagreed, saying such action by authorities would badly hurt Russia's image.

Nabokov published Lolita in English in 1955. The book, which describes a relationship of a middle-aged intellectual with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, was briefly banned in several European countries. The Colombian novelist Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a complex historical cum adult fairy tale acclaimed as a masterpiece.

 

3rd October   

Deconstructing Sexist Practices...

Brazilian government whinges at lingerie advert
Link Here

Supermodel Gisele Bundchen's latest project, a lingerie campaign for the Brazilian label Hope, has 'appalled' government officials in her homeland and led to calls for the sexist and stereotyped adverts to be axed.

The campaign includes several TV adverts, one of which features a bikini-clad Bundchen, trying to appease her husband after committing a series of marital blunders: crashing his car, maxing his credit card and, worst of all, inviting her mother-in-law to stay.

Bundchen's solution isto seduce her furious husband, using the Hope's new underwear line. The advert's voiceover tells viewers: You're a Brazilian woman, use your charm .

Government officials from the women's secretariat in Brasilia have demanded that it be banned from TV saying:

The campaign promotes the misguided stereotype of a woman as a sexual object of her husband and ignores the major advances we have achieved in deconstructing sexist practices and thinking.

Officials said they had received at least SIX complaints from 'outraged' viewers.

 

3rd October   

Update: Confiscated...

Authorities close Sudanese daily newspaper
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

In July, two female journalists of the al-Jarida daily were sentenced to one month in prison for writing an article about the alleged rape of an activist by security forces. The security forces have categorically denied the rape allegations.

Security forces have now informed al-Jarida staff that it will no longer be allowed to publish, said editor-in-chief Saad el-Din Ibrahim. They told us about a decision by security forces that the newspaper will be closed and its property will be confiscated. They didn't give a reason. Staff were told by them to take their personal belongings.

Update: Another

30th October 2011. See  article from  allafrica.com

The editor of the Arabic daily newspaper Alwan told Reuters that security agents arrived late on Saturday's night and banned the title from distributing its Sunday edition.

According to Alwan's editor, Ahmed Younis, no reason was given for the ban.

They told us the edition would be confiscated. Until now I have no ideas why they did that. I think they just want put pressure on the publisher, editor Ahmed Younis said.

 

2nd October   

Series: Gavin Salkeld Presents: Censor Cuts 007...

BBFC got their tentacles into Octopussy
Link Here

Octopussy is a 1983 UK/US James Bond action film by John Glen. See IMDb

Bond Remastered Octopussy 1 disc DVDPassed PG after BBFC suggested cuts were implemented for:

  • UK 2008 MGM R2 DVD
  • UK 2007 20th Century Fox R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2006 MGM R2 DVD
  • UK 2006 Sony R2 DVD
  • UK 2000 MGM R2 DVD
  • UK 1993 Warner VHS
  • UK 1986 Warner VHS
  • UK 1983 cinema release

The BBFC suggested cut was:

The opening credits were edited after an advice screening during post production to a remove a single shot of a visible nipple. When formally submitted later, it was passed PG uncut (i.e. no additional edits were made, but it is still precut. This is the worldwide version available everywhere).

 

2nd October   

Update: Take a Liberty...

Rival football factions unite to recognise their government as the common enemy
Link Here
Full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

Campaigners against a proposed nasty new law to stamp out football sectarianism vowed to step up their protest as they distributed thousands of leaflets at the Rangers versus Hibs game.

Take a Liberty (Scotland) also plans to target Celtic Park and other football grounds, and demonstrate outside the Scottish Parliament when the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications bill is debated.

The bill would see those convicted face up to five years in jail for bigoted behaviour, such as singing or chanting that could incite trouble, at matches or online.

Their campaign intensified amid growing signs that opposition politicians at Holyrood believe the SNP's proposals are becoming increasingly confused and could criminalise ordinary fans.

Take a Liberty has the backing of former Celtic director and ex-Lord Provost of Glasgow, Michael Kelly, who said the bill is a runaway train . Kelly said:

It is ironic that our much maligned football fans are the first to stand up to defend freedom of speech and oppose this ridiculous, undemocratic and unenforceable piece of redundant legislation.

The ordinary fan has clearly a much firmer grasp of what human rights mean in Scotland than a First Minister jumping on a bandwagon which has quickly become a runaway train.

Take a Liberty spokesman Stuart Waiton said fans from a variety of clubs, including Airdrie and Celtic, helped hand out 5,000 leaflets at Ibrox, demanding free speech in football and an end to the police harassment of fans who are deemed to be singing 'offensive' songs . He said the move was aimed at boosting a petition against the bill, which has attracted nearly 3,000 signatures. The group has also produced T-shirts with the slogan, after Voltaire: I may hate what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.

 

2nd October   

Update: Common Complaint...

BBC responds to complaints about use of the calendar terms CE and BCE
Link Here

The BBC have responded to complaints about the use of the calendar terms CE/BCE to replace AD/BC:

Complaint

We received complaints from people concerned about press reports claiming that the BBC has replaced the reference terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) with BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).

BBC Response

It is incorrect to say that the BBC has replaced date systems BC and AD with Before Common Era (BCE) and Common Era (CE). Whilst the BBC uses BC and AD like most people as standard terminology, it is possible to use different terminology, particularly as it is now commonly used in historical research. The BBC has issued no editorial guidance on date systems, and the decision rests with the individual editorial and production teams. It should also be noted that for every BCE or CE reference, there are still a great many BC and AD references used across the BBC.

 

2nd October   

The Good Rating...

The Good Doctor reduced from an R Rating to a PG-13
Link Here

The MPAA has reversed its earlier R rating for the upcoming Orlando Bloom drama The Good Doctor , reducing it to a PG-13 on appeal.

The indie film was originally slapped with an R rating for some crude sexual references by the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration. However the movie will now be rated PG-13 for thematic material, disturbing situations and some crude sexual content.

Also read: Harvey Wins! MPAA Overturns Blue Valentine's NC-17The decision to reverse the rating was made following arguments by Jonathan King and Julia Lebedev, the film's producers.

 

1st October   

Pandering to the Easily Offended...

Broadcasters told to be more careful about sexy content around the time of the watershed
Link Here

Ofcom has issued new guidance on the TV watershed, warning broadcasters to be more careful about programmes they show before 9pm that could be unsuitable for children or the easily offended.

The new guidance follows a series of recent meetings with broadcasters to ensure they are clear about the censorship rules compliance that Ofcom expects from them.

The new guidance outlines how broadcasters must comply with the Broadcasting Code rules for pre-watershed content, with specific focus on:

  • Programmes broadcast before and soon after the watershed; and
  • Music videos broadcast before the watershed.

Broadcasters are expected to pay particular attention to family viewing programmes, trailers and soaps. Ofcom advises broadcasters to take particular care with post-watershed content which has been edited for pre-watershed viewing, for example by masking or editing offensive language.

Surveying the easily offended

Ofcom have also published a new survey about viewing 'concerns'. For example, fewer parents are now concerned about the TV programmes their children watch (31%) than they were in 2009 (36%).

Ofcom also measures parents' views about the time of the watershed and the amount of TV regulation. 77% of parents think the watershed is at the right time, and 73% believe the amount of censorship of television is about right .

The new research found that the majority (58%) of parents surveyed were not concerned by what their children had watched on television before 9pm in the last 12 months. One quarter (24%) of the parents surveyed said they were fairly concerned , although fewer than one in ten (9%) said they were very concerned .

21% of all parents surveyed mentioned concerns about nudity or sexual content, one in five (20%) were concerned about violence, and one in six (17%) had concerns about offensive language.

Just under a quarter (23%) of teenagers surveyed said that over the past 12 months they had seen something on TV before the watershed that had made them uncomfortable or had offended them.

 

1st October   

Update: Rationalised Ratings and Censorship Delegated to Industry...

Australia presents proposals for censorship reform
Link Here
Full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

Professor Terry Flew, Commissioner in charge of the National Classification Scheme Review has said:

In an age of media convergence, Australia needs a 21st century classification system that is more platform-neutral, concentrates government regulation on media content of most concern to the community, and a system that can be adapted to accelerated media innovation.

The goals of classification in balancing individual rights with community standards and protection of children remain vitally important, but we need a new framework that minimises costs and regulatory burden, and does not penalise Australian digital content industries in a hyper-competitive global media environment.

Drawing on over 2,400 submissions responding to its May Issues Paper, the Australian Law Reform Commission found that the existing classification framework is fragmented, approaches content inconsistently across media platforms, and is confusing for industry and the wider community.

The ALRC has now released the National Classification Scheme Review Discussion Paper [pdf] that puts forward 43 proposals for reform on which it is seeking public input.

These proposals focus on the introduction of a new Classification of Media Content Act covering classification on all media platforms, online, offline and television. The ALRC proposes what media content should continue to be classified, who should classify it, and who should have responsibility for enforcement.

The proposed new framework envisages:

  • a greater role for industry in classifying content, allowing government regulators to focus on the content that generates the most community concern, and ensure access to adult content is properly restricted;
  • content will be classified using the same categories, guidelines and markings whether viewed on television, at the cinema, on DVD or online;
  • changes to classification categories, with age references, PG 8+ and T 13+ (Teen), to help parents choose content for their children;
  • the Australian-wide Commonwealth taking on full responsibility for administering and enforcing the new scheme, rather than delegating this to individual states or territories.

Closing date for submissions is 18 November 2011.

 

1st October   

Update: PC Superiority...

Court hears case to ban a 1931 TinTin book
Link Here
Full story: TinTin Book Censorship...TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive

A Congolese-born campaigner has finally stated his case in court in a 4-year bid to ban a Tintin book. He is claiming that its cartoon depections of Africans are racist.

Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu launched a legal case in 2007 against the book Tintin in the Congo .  The book was published in 1931 and he is taking action against a modern version of the original. Openly racist language was removed in subsequent editions.

What poses a problem today is not Herge, it's the commercialisation of a cartoon book which manifestly diffuses ideas based on racial superiority, his lawyer Ahmed L'Hedim told the court.

The English language version carries a warning to readers that its contents could be offensive and that it should be seen in the context of its time. If the court decides against an outright ban, the complainant wants a similar warning placed on the editions in French and Dutch sold in Belgium.

Moulinsart, the foundation which holds the Tintin copyright, has refused to attach a warning. It says many works could be accused of discrimination.

Mbutu Mondondo initially brought criminal charges over the book created by Belgian author and illustrator Georges Remi, better known as Herge'. However, after lengthy delays, his legal team started a civil case last year.

Publisher Casterman and Moulinsart will present their counter-arguments at a hearing in Brussels on 14 October, with a ruling expected in about two months.

 

1st October   

Update: Reverting to Old Ways...

CPJ unimpressed by the return of newspaper censorship in Egypt
Link Here
Full story: Press Freedom in Egypt...Press under duress in Egypt

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the censorship of two newspapers in the past four days, the first instances of their kind since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Production of the Saturday edition of the independent weekly Sawt al-Umma was halted, while the daily Rose al-Youssef was prevented from printing a page in today's paper that was to feature a controversial story.

The military government has revived Mubarak-era repression, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. These two instances of censorship have been preceded by the closing of a news bureau, the interrogation of journalists, and other instances of press restrictions and intimidation.

Al-Ahram printing house, which publishes the semi-official daily Al-Ahram and other newspapers, told Sawt al-Umma editors that it was halting production of its Saturday edition because of the paper's story on Mubarak's ongoing trial, news reports said. Sawt al-Umma was a frequent target of harassment under Mubarak's regime, CPJ research shows.

The Rose al-Youssef article that offended described an alleged Israeli spy once stationed in Cairo.


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