Censor Watch

 2011: November

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30th November   

Updated: The App Rating Game...

US computer game ratings group set to move into rating mobile apps
Link Here

ESRB logoThe Entertainment Software Rating Board ESRB, is teaming up with the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association trade group to create a standardized rating system for mobile apps and games.

The groups teased the existence of the new new ratings system, which will be based on age-appropriateness of their content and context, ahead of an official announcement.

There is currently no unified standard for content-based ratings across mobile platforms.

Since its creation in 1994, the industry-backed ESRB has rated over 21,000 console and PC games released in the United States. In April, the group introduced an automated system to aid in rating the high number of digitally distributed console games.

Update: ESRB Ratings to be used for Apps

30th November 2011. See  article from  business.avn.com

CTIA, the international nonprofit association representing wireless carriers, in collaboration with the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), has announced the development of a mobile application ratings system to be implemented next year.

In a press release, CTIA stated:

The CTIA Mobile Application Rating System with ESRB will utilize the well-known and trusted age rating icons that ESRB assigns to computer and video games to provide parents and consumers reliable information about the age-appropriateness of applications. Today's announcement is an extension of CTIA's 2010 Guidelines for Application Content Classification and Rating.

When developers submit their applications to a participating storefront they will be able to complete a detailed yet quick multiple choice questionnaire that is designed to assess an application's content and context with respect to its age-appropriateness. This includes violence or sexual content, language, substances, etc., as well as other elements such as a minimum age requirement, the exchange of user-generated content, the sharing of a user's location with other users of the application and the sharing of user-provided personal information with third parties.

Once developers complete all answers to these questions, their applications are rated within seconds. Each rated app is issued a certificate and a unique identifying code that may be subsequently submitted to other storefronts during their respective onboarding processes, avoiding the need for developers to repeat the rating process. This means consistent ratings across participating storefronts and a convenient, cost-free process for app developers.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the age-based ratings categories will be the same as those used by ESRB for video games, adding, The carriers, which sell apps via their own storefronts---much as Apple Inc.'s iTunes sells music---are expected to roll out the ratings sometime next year. Each carrier will decide for its own store whether the ratings will be mandatory for some or all apps, or entirely voluntary.

iPhone apps will not be covered, since Apple already has set up a far more censorial ratings system.

Also Google said publicly that it didn't make a lot of sense to sign on to the new ratings system because it already had its own system.

ECRB ratings for video games are:

  • EARLY CHILDHOOD (EC) Content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
     
  • EVERYONE (E) Content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
     
  • EVERYONE 10+ (E10+) Content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
     
  • TEEN (T) Content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
     
  • MATURE (M) Content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.  This category is particularly designed to ensure that the most adult possible can be sold at many supposedly 'family friendly' retailers who refuse to stock adults only titles.
     
  • ADULTS ONLY (AO) Content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.  Many US retailers refuse to carry AO titles.
     
  • RATING PENDING (RP) Titles have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)

 

30th November   

Update: Censor Island...

German games censors ban Dead Island
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Deep Silver Dead Island DVD The computer game Dead Island has been banned in Germany.

Speaking to GameIndustry.biz Germany, a Techland spokesperson said that they expected this to happen:

This isn't unexpected. Germany has its unique regulations regarding video games and violence and the industry can only comply.

Germany's Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPJM) classified Dead Island as List B. Such games cannot be sold anywhere in Germany, and anyone caught doing so can face legal action. Importing retailers run the risk of cargo being seized at German customs if they attempt to bring the game into the country.

The BPJM also didn't explain why Dead Island was banned in the country, but that is the norm for most bans.

Publisher Koch Media avoided German restrictions to some extent by distributing the German language version of the game in Austria.

 

30th November   

Has the Daily Mail Taken Over the ASA?...

Another cringeworthy PC decision from ASA finds Marks harmless lingerie advert to be overtly sexual and therefore banned from the side of buses
Link Here

ms lingerie advert

  " The pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual,
as her legs were wide apart,
her back arched and one arm above her head
with the other touching her thigh".

Two posters, for M&S lingerie, were seen on the side of buses in September 2011. Both featured two images of women wearing lingerie.

a. The first image was a close up of a woman lying on her side. The second image was of a women kneeling on a bed.

b. The first image was of a women lying on a bed with her legs slightly apart. The second image was of a woman sitting on a bed. Issue

  1. Nine complainants objected that ad (a) was offensive because they believed the images were overtly sexual and objectified women.

  2. Eight complainants objected that ad (a) was unsuitable for display as a poster on buses because the images were sexually suggestive and were likely to be seen by children.

  3. One complainant objected that ad (b) was unsuitable for display as a poster on buses, as the images were sexually suggestive and were likely to be seen by children. CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.34.1 Response

Marks and Spencer (M&S) said they did not believe the ads were offensive, overtly sexual or objectifying. They said the ads simply featured the product, a lingerie range, and that they were well known as a lingerie retailer. They said the ads were part of a major campaign for one on their sub-brands which featured both outerwear and lingerie images shot in a filmic and atmospheric style. They said that if the images were not suitable for use on buses they believed this would have been picked up by their internal clearance process. They also said the images had been used in their in-store advertising and decor and, according to their Retail Customer Service team, they had not received any customer complaints or comments regarding these. the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh.

Assessment Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the images, and considered that it was reasonable to feature women wearing underwear in an ad for lingerie. We considered that the nature of the product meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous and objectifying women. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was mildly sexual in nature, as not all of her face was visible and there was some emphasis on her breasts. We considered that the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh. However, although we recognised that some might find the ad distasteful, in the context of an ad for lingerie, we did not consider that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We noted the complainants' concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that most children viewing the ad would understand that the poster was advertising lingerie and, as such, the models would not be fully clothed. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was only mildly sexual in nature, and as a result was unlikely to be seen as unsuitable to be seen by children. However, we considered that the pose of the woman kneeling on the bed was overtly sexual, as her legs were wide apart, her back arched and one arm above her head with the other touching her thigh. We also noted that the woman in this image wore stockings. We considered that the image was of an overtly sexual nature and was therefore unsuitable for untargeted outdoor display, as it was likely to be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was socially irresponsible.

On this point ad (a) breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

3. Not upheld

We noted the complainants' concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that most children viewing the ad would understand that the poster was advertising lingerie and, as such, the models would not be fully clothed. We considered that the image of the woman sitting on the bed was not likely to be seen as sexual, in the context of a lingerie ad. We considered that the pose of the woman lying on the bed was mildly sexual, as her legs were slightly apart and her hands behind her head, but that, in the context of a lingerie ad, this image was less overtly sexual than the image in ad (a), and was acceptable in untargeted outdoor media likely to be seen by children. We concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible.

On this point we investigated ad (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

30th November   

Update: Happy 30th Anniversary at Last...

Producer credit restored to 30th Anniversary Edition of Halloween II
Link Here  full story: Halloween II...Campaign to restore the producer's credit
Halloween Blu ray Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween II is a 1981 US horror film by Rick Rosenthal.

Universal released a 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray on 13th September 2011.

But the fans were not impressed as explained in a news story shortly after the release:

In a completely disgraceful move, Universal/MCA replaced producer Moustapha Akkad's credit, on the new release of HIS film, Halloween II, with their own corporate logo.

What's worse, they did it after his tragic death, when he is not here to defend his own work. Therefore, we need to let the studio know that we will not stand for it. No one did more for the Halloween franchise than Moustapha Akkad, and we want his credit put back - NOW.

Do not but this, or any other Universal DVD, until they fix this shameful situation! And if you have bought it, return it.

Solidarity among Michael Myers lovers, for the Godfather of Halloween, Moustapha Akkad, R.I.P.

Universal responded to the campaign and explained that the omission of the credit was a mistake and that release will be fixed.

moustapha akkad credit And indeed Universal made good with the pledge, and have now issued a replacement complete with the well deserved credit.

Where possible Universal are now emailing buyers of the errant disk:

Dear Halloween II Blu-ray Owner,

We're happy to let you know that revised Halloween II Blu-ray discs are now available.

For information on receiving a replacement, please let us know your mailing address and daytime telephone number.

Sincerely,

Consumer Relations UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT

 

30th November   

Updated: Australia Crawls Under a Stone...

Human Centipede II banned after government appeals against the previous uncut R18+ certificate
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede Full Sequence DVD The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has been been banned by the Australian Classification Review Board (ACRB).

The review was the result of an appeal against the previously uncut R18+ certificate awarded by the Classification Board. The appeal was requested by Australia's Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor, reportedly on the advice of the New South Wales Attorney General Greg Smith.

The film has already opened at select cinemas a fortnight ago, including Melbourne's Cinema Nova, which advertised the film with a prophetic see it before it's banned motto.

From the ACRB's official press statement:

A three member panel of the Classification Review Board has by unanimous decision determined that the film The Human Centipede II (full sequence) is classified RC (Refused Classification).

In the Review Board's opinion, The Human Centipede II (full sequence) could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as the level of depictions of violence in the film has an impact which is very high.

In addition, the film must be refused classification because it contains gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact and cruelty which has a high impact.

Films classified RC cannot be sold, hired, or advertised in Australia.

The Review Board's reasons for this decision will appear on the Classification website when finalised.

Update: Nutters Rejoice

30th November 2011. See  article from  au.christiantoday.com

family voice australia logoRos Phillips, national research officer for FamilyVoice Australia, said:

We congratulate the Classification Review Board for its unanimous decision to classify the torture porn film The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) as Refused Classification,

Earlier this year we were shocked to learn that the uncut version of this horrific film had been passed by Australia's Classification Board as R18+ - but had been banned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Phillips said.

On behalf of Australian families, we thank the Board for its unanimous agreement. Pornography based on human torture has no place on Australian screens.

FamilyVoice provided the Classification Review Board with a substantial submission, explaining in detail why Australia's classification guidelines require scenes in Human Centipede 2 to be Refused Classification.

FamilyVoice describes itself as: A Christian Voice for family, faith and freedom. They obviously have got themselves about the concept of 'freedom'. Perhaps A Christian Voice for family, faith and censorship, would be a more honest strap line.

 

30th November   

Offsite: Monitoring of the Press...

Former Press Council chief talks about press regulation
Link Here

index on censorship dark matterAs British journalism faces the most significant media public inquiry in a generation, Julian Petley talks to former Press Council chief Louis Blom-Cooper.

Louis Blom-Cooper: What we actually need is an independent body which carries out monitoring --- independent monitoring of the press. The word regulation implies, I think, to some people, some form of executive power, and what I would propose does not contain executive power.

Any form of public intervention to create such a body would require legislation in the first instance. But one absolutely does not want the supervision to be carried out by government itself, rather the government should establish an independent, standing body by means of statute, namely a Commission. The statute establishing the Commission would also set up an Appointments Commission which would consist of, for example, the chairmen of the British Library, the British Museum, the Association of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of Universities, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Lord President of the Court of Sessions; they wouldn't be specifically named people, but the people who held these offices at the time of selection. One would thus put between the institution of government and the public itself a wholly independent body, independently selected.

...Read the full article

 

30th November   

Brain Games...

Anti game nutters support research that finds diminished brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex of gamers
Link Here

iusm logoA functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of long-term effects of violent video game play on the brain has found changes in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control in young adult men after one week of game play. The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

The controversy over whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful to users has raged for many years, making it as far as the Supreme Court in 2010. But there has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.

For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home, said Yang Wang, M.D., assistant research professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. These brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.

For the study, 22 healthy adult males, age 18 to 29, with low past exposure to violent video games were randomly assigned to two groups of 11. Members of the first group were instructed to play a shooting video game for 10 hours at home for one week and refrain from playing the following week. The second group did not play a violent video game at all during the two-week period. Each of the 22 men underwent fMRI at the beginning of the study, with follow-up exams at one and two weeks.

The results showed that after one week of violent game play, the video game group members showed less activation in the left inferior frontal lobe during the emotional task and less activation in the anterior cingulate cortex during the counting task, compared to their baseline results and the results of the control group after one week. After the second week without game play, the changes to the executive regions of the brain were diminished.

These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning, Dr. Wang said.

Coauthors are Tom Hummer, Ph.D., William Kronenberger, Ph.D., Kristine Mosier, D.M.D., Ph.D., and Vincent P. Mathews, M.D. This research is supported by the Center for Successful Parenting, Indiana.

Game Politics points out that the Center for Successful Parenting, Indiana is in fact a nutter group with a website that is designed for parents to learn about the negative side effects of violent video.

 

30th November   

Demented Censorship...

Putin cartoon banned by Russian election censors
Link Here

Putin cartoonRussia's Nizhny Novgorod election committee has banned political cartoons for the State Duma election on 4th December because they depicted Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

KPRF Party Communists say that the images show not Putin, but an old man with progressing dementia. They plan to contest the ban by central election committee.

The main reason for the ban was that Putin did not agree for his image to be used in the campaign, Kommersant reported.

Deputy head of Nizhny Novgorod election committee Alexander Ivanov explained the reasoning. In the comics it may have been possible to recognise representatives of other political parties, but we decided not to even discuss the cases where there are doubts. For example, A Just Russia's representatives did not recognise their leader Sergei Mironov as one of the characters. But the caricature of the prime minister looks like Vladimir Putin 100 percent, all the members of election committee recognised it.

The character that looks 100 percent like Putin is shown in the comics as the Communists' main adversary, who gets help from other political movements. For example, one of the illustrations shows a mighty man, who resembles a young Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, arm wrestling with a feeble man, who resembles the prime minister.

The election committee banned the brochures and sent a notice to law enforcement that if the communists go on distributing the comics, their Nizhny Novgorod division could be held accountable.

Putin's press-secretary stressed that any image use of his boss had to be approved by him. He did add that lawyers would have to decide whether a drawn image is the image of the prime minister and said he did not see the comics, Kommersant reported.

 

29th November   

Obituary: Wrestling with the BBFC...

Film director Ken Russell dies aged 84
Link Here

British Picture Autobiography Ken Russell British film director Ken Russell, who was Oscar-nominated for his 1969 film Women In Love , has died at the age of 84. His son, Alex, said he died peacefully in his sleep in a hospital on Sunday.

During his career, he became known for his controversial films including Women In Love, which featured Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling nude. He also directed the infamous religious drama The Devils and The Who's rock opera, Tommy , in 1975.

Russell frequently crossed swords with the film censors at the BBFC who took issue with Billion Dollar Brain , Women in Love, The Devils, and Crimes of Passion.

The Devils

Perhaps a suitable Melon Farming tribute is a summary of Russell's strength of character in pushing through his outrageous vision for The Devils. He was up against the BBFC, his own distributors and the British establishment.

The Devils was first seen by the BBFC in an unfinished rough cut on 27 January 1971. At around the same time, this rough cut was also shown to senior executives from Warner Brothers, the film's distributor. Both the BBFC and Warners expressed strong reservations about the strong religious and sexual context of the film, which seemed likely to provoke significant controversy. Warners and the BBFC therefore drew up separate lists of the cuts they would require before the film could be distributed in the UK. Warners were content with their own plus the additional cuts requested by the BBFC and a full list of required changes was forwarded to the director.

The cuts were intended to reduce:

  • (i) the explicitness and duration of certain sexual elements, including an orgy of nuns
  • (ii) elements of violence and gore during an interrogation scene and the final burning of the character played by Oliver Reed
  • (iii) scenes that mixed sexual activity and religion in a potentially inflammatory fashion.

A modified - but still technically unfinished - version of the film was seen again by the BBFC on 8 April 1971, incorporating many (but not all) of the cuts requested by both the BBFC and by Warners. Ken Russell had toned down or removed what had been regarded as the most difficult scenes, including the entire Rape of Christ sequence in which a group of nuns cavort on a crucifix, whilst hoping that the significant reductions he had already made would perhaps allow certain other shots to remain. The BBFC requested further reductions in four sequences. Russell responded by complying fully with three of the cuts but insisted that the fourth additional cut could not be made properly because it would create continuity problems.

On 18 May 1971 the BBFC awarded an X certificate to the cut version of the film. Because of the scale of the changes made to the film (including the deletion of one entire scene) it is difficult to calculate accurately how much was removed from the film between January and May 1971. However, it is safe to say that several minutes were removed.

The resultant version suffered cuts as follows:

  • A scene showing nuns assaulting an effigy of the cross was deleted (approximately 30s)
  • An enema scene loses some details
  • The crushing of Grandier's legs loses details.
  • Grandier's tongue torture loses details
  • Shots of a priest being assaulted by nuns after the King's visit are missing
  • Jeanne masturbating with a chard bone was cut
  • Whippings scenes throughout were removed

A Timely Tribute to Ken Russell. The BFI re-release of his Masterpiece, The Devils

See article from criterionforum.org

After much arm-twisting the BFI has indeed persuaded Warner Bros to let them handle The Devils, and a packed two-disc lovingly-curated special edition will be out next March.

I'll get the bad news out of the way right now: as already spotted, it's DVD only, and it's the 1971 British theatrical cut, not the 2004 restoration. Since BFI DVD Publishing is demonstrably run by Blu-ray evangelists and has a policy of sourcing the longest available version of the films they put out, you probably don't need to live at 221B Baker Street to work out the reasons for this.

But that really does appear to be all the bad news. I've seen the full specs, and it looks like an absolute blinder of a release - and hopefully all will be revealed in a matter of days.

UK 2012 BFI R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 19th march 2012

 

29th November   

The Nutter Flipside...

PTC kindly identify the top US advertisers supporting edgy adult TV programming
Link Here

PTC logoThe Parents Television Council (PTC) has published a new report ranking major TV advertisers by the type of programming that they support.

The PTC assigned the companies a point value based on the programs they supported, according to the PTC's traffic light rating system. The traffic light' system ranks television programs as green, yellow, or red based on the amount and frequency of sex, violence, and language they contain. Points were added to companies when their products appeared on green-lighted shows, and deducted when they appeared on red-lighted shows.

Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education at PTC, said the report has an impact on both consumers and companies. She said:

All other choices being equal, if you have the ability to go with a company that supports your values, that upholds values you believe in, then we would hope people would make their buying decisions accordingly.

The PTC's Top Ten Advertisers for the 2010-11 television season are as follows:

Top supporters of edgy adult programming:

  1. American Express
  2. General Motors
  3. Target
  4. Toyota
  5. Victoria's Secret
  6. L'Oreal (L'Oreal, Maybelline, Redken, Lancome)
  7. McDonald's
  8. AT&T
  9. Sprint and Verizon (tied)
  10. Burlington Industries

Top supporters of nutter friendly inanity:

  1. Ford
  2. Sears
  3. Procter & Gamble (Pampers, Tide, Crest, Downy, Febreze)
  4. CVS Pharmacy
  5. Visa
  6. Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  7. General Mills (Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Pillsbury, Old El Paso) and Kellogg (Rice Krispies, Cheez-It, Keebler, Nutri-Grain) (tied)
  8. SC Johnson (Pledge, Windex, Shout, Glade, Off!)
  9. Walmart
  10. Clorox, Coca-Cola and Wendy's (tied)

 

29th November   

Cult Classic...

New 15th Anniversary DVD of Sean Weathers' House of the Damned
Link Here

House Damned DVD Region NTSC House of the Damned is a 1996 US comedy horror by Sean Weathers with Valerie Alexander and Blue. See IMDb

Somehow the movie never made it to the UK

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Summary Review: Evil Mom

The plot revolves around Liz who is having her 21st birthday party and finds out that her mother, Emily is an evil witch who wants to kill her and steal her youth so that she can go without aging for another 21 years.

The major thing that makes House Of The Damned stand out from a lot of crappy low budget horror movies is that as opposed to just moving from site gag to site gag it has an actual story-line to follow and it gets you wrapped up in wanting to know what's going to happen next. So if you are of fan of camp like me this movie is definitely worth a watch.

 

29th November   

Update: News Propaganda Only...

China has a real downer on entertaining TV and bans advert revenue during such programmes
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT

China flagChinese broadcasters will be banned from airing commercial breaks during TV dramas from Jan. 1 or face being suspended, the country's TV censor has proclaimed.

The ban follows a State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) directive in October warning the nation's main 34 satellite broadcasters that they would be barred from showing excessive entertainment and must air at least two hours of news propaganda nightly, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

SARFT said on its website:

Radio and television are the mouthpiece of the party and the people. Broadcasters that still air commercials during TV series will be ordered to suspend commercial operations.

Broadcasters must cancel television commercials during TV series as an important measure to construct a cultural service system.

Tom Doctoroff, the head of US advertising firm JWT's China operations, said the policy would threaten the creativity of Chinese television:

This policy is draconian. Consumers won't really be angry because no one likes commercials. But they will not be happy when content becomes even more watered-down than it already is.

No doubt good for internet and DVD though.

 

28th November   

Update: An Allegory to Extreme State Control...

Australian government censors explain why they banned A Serbian Film on appeal
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Serbian Film Srdjan Todorovic The Australian Government Classification Review Board has just published a detailed report on why it banned A Serbian Film . It is a very strongly worded explanation with numerous reasons cited, each of which would be enough to get the film banned.

Australian Government Classification Review Board

Review Date: Monday 19 September 2011

MEMBERS: Ms Ann Stark Ms Helena Blundell Dr Melissa de Zwart

APPLICANT Minister for Justice, the Hon Brendan O'Connor MP

INTERESTED PARTIES Accent Film Entertainment Melinda Tankard Reist (Collective Shout)

To review the Classification Board's decision to classify the film, A Serbian Film , R 18+ (Restricted) with consumer advice high impact sexual violence, sex scenes and violence .

Reasons for the decision

Pursuant to the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games, this film is refused classification.

The rationale given by the distributer for the very high levels of sexual and sexualised violence within the film was that it was an allegory of victims of war. The narrative of the film itself did not support this claim. Although the publicity accompanying the film makes this claim, there was only one instance within the film when any direct connection was made between the rape of women and children comprehensively depicted and the rape of the country viz at 52 minutes Vukmir, in answer to Milos expressed intense discomfort at having to make such a film in a kindergarten spends approximately two minutes describing the whole country as a victim. Other than this speech, there is no direct linkage of the extensive, gratuitous and exploitative depictions of sexual violence and child sexual abuse described in section 6 and the political rationale provided in the film's description.

In the opinion of the Review Board this does not provide sufficient rationale to justify the contents of the film in context. In the Review Board's opinion there are numerous examples already detailed of instances where sexual violence and themes of incest and depictions of child abuse have been used gratuitously .

In the Review Board's opinion, A Serbian Film could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as the level of depictions of sexual violence, themes of incest and depictions of child sexual abuse in the film has an impact which is very high and not justified by context.

The Review Board determined that the film, A Serbian Film, is refused classification.

See  the full report from  refused-classification.com

 

28th November   

Mediawatch-UK Recommend...

Angry Armies, a mobile games app set in the world of football hooliganism
Link Here

Angry ArmiesA mobile phone app game which is set around warring football hooligans has been criticised by the usual sound bite nutters for promoting violence.

The App Angry Armies costs 69p on iTunes and pitches gangs of thugs against each other as they hurl coins and bottles to lift the Hooligan World Cup.

They score a point every time they strike a rival fan and the army with the most hits wins.

A spokesman for campaign group Mediawatch UK said:

We are very concerned.

To present something as serious as football violence like this is extremely irresponsible.

But Justin Finch of games developer The Innocent Devils defended Angry Armies, saying: It's no different to the many hundreds of games which use war as a backdrop.

 

28th November   

The Views of a Small Minority...

Christian Broadcasting Council asks for the BBC to be packed with churchgoers
Link Here

Christian InstituteThe Christian Broadcasting Council (CBC) has claimed that churchgoers are underrepresented at the BBC and it may be affecting the Corporation's output.

The Christian media group made the comments in a submission to the TV censor Ofcom.

J Peter Wilson, a media consultant with CBC who co-wrote the submission, highlighted the BBC's own figures:

The number of staff professing a Christian faith was 37%, compared to 63% nationally. Those saying they were Muslim was the same as the national figure, and those saying they were non-religious was 50%, compared to 23% nationally.

It is important that media organisations -- including the BBC -- employ people with a real knowledge and understanding of religion, including the Christian faith in its many forms.

Ofcom and Parliament need to understand that the reporting of any matter is influenced by the journalist's worldview.

A variety of providers is essential in a free and democratic society -- including those with a faith-based perspective.

CBC also called for fair representation of faith groups in media ownership .

 

28th November   

Religious Censor...

Kazakhstan outlines proposal for censors to pre-vet all religious literature
Link Here

Kazakhstan flagKazakhstan's state Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA) has prepared -- but not yet adopted -- the new rules to implement the system of compulsory state censorship of almost all religious literature and objects. The rules for expert analyses will also apply to religious organisations' statutes.  Without such ARA approval, religious books cannot be imported (apart from in small quantities) or distributed, and religious organisations will not be able to gain state registration.

The draft rules -- seen by Forum 18 News Service - make no provisions for any challenges to ARA's censorship decisions. The draft rules were presented to a closed 27 October meeting of about twenty senior government officials to devise plans for implementing that month's harsh new Religion Law. No one at the ARA was prepared to discuss the censorship rules with Forum 18 or when they might be adopted.

Under the draft rules Kazakhstan's state Agency of Religious Affairs (ARA) will have up to 90 days to conduct the compulsory state censorship of almost all religious literature and objects, as well as the statutes of religious organisations.

While some individuals and religious communities say that government prior censorship of religious literature is required to prevent the distribution of texts inciting violence, others complain to Forum 18 that such censorship violates freedom of speech. They also fear that ARA officials will act arbitrarily and slowly to ban religious literature they do not like or which is associated with religious communities they do not like.

The draft rules -- drawn up in the wake of October's harsh new Religion Law -- represent the first time the way the official state censorship of religious literature and other materials is conducted will have been codified. However, partial state censorship of religious literature imported into the country has existed for some years. In one case known to Forum 18, religious books imported into the country were held up in customs for months until the ARA gave permission earlier this year.

 

28th November   

Offsite: Kite Marks for the Media...

Future press regulation must recognise multi-platform content
Link Here

Regulating Trust Journalism Standards Regulation Who are the press? What is the media? What defines journalists? These are questions Lord Leveson will have to address before he can move on to consider questions of press regulation.

How do we identify the press when it's not just in print but online? Where are the boundaries between traditional and citizen journalism? What differentiates the broadcast, print and online worlds of the media now that they all provide video and text based content across PCs, smart phones, tablet devices and, shortly, internet-connected televisions?

Why are journalists subject to comprehensive rules, including impartiality, when they broadcast? And yet when their material is accessed on catch-up services, or as originated video-on-demand content, or on newspaper websites, they are bound by no such rules.

...Read the full article

 

27th November   

Propagandised Extremism...

Russian bill proposes bans for movies with vague connections to extremism
Link Here

Russia 88 DVD Petr Fedorov The Russian Culture Ministry has drafted a bill that could ban movie theaters from showing films that so much as mention extremist organizations, Kasparov.ru reports.

Films could be banned if they contain scenes containing public calls to carry out terrorist activities or that publically justify terrorism or other extremist activity, or scenes that propagandize pornography or a cult of violence and cruelty.

The ministry will also reserve the right to ban screenings of films found to include information on ways or methods of developing, producing, or using narcotics, psychotropic substances, or their precursors, or about places where they can be purchased, as well as scenes propagandizing any sort of advantages of using particular narcotic substances, psychotropic substances, or their precursors.

The draft is posted on the Culture Ministry's website for public discussion from November 25 to December 8.

Ekho Moskvy journalist Vladimir Varfolomeyev featured the bill on his blog, noting that it could prevent any movie with incisive social or political content from making its way into Russian theaters. There won't be any more films like Russia 88, Trainspotting, or even Kill Bill or Shattered , he said.

Russia 88, a 2009 award-winning docudrama about neo-Nazis in St. Petersburg, has suffered both from lawsuits and self-censorship on the part of theaters that refuse to screen the film.

Commenting on the Culture Ministry bill, Russia 88 director Pavel Bardin said: We already have effective mechanisms for film censorship. The federal law against extremism allows any movie to be banned (true, along with the effect of an unnecessary scandal). The theaters wait for telephone calls signaling if they can or cannot show a certain film and basically never show any incisive movies. This order is simply the final accord.

 

27th November   

Canadian Prudery...

Fredericton city hall gets uptight over an art exhibit featuring trivial nudity
Link Here

jeff crawford The Canadian city of Fredericton has hit the news with a ludicrous show of prudery in banning an art exhibit featuring a tiny image of a naked female breast.

The city has a gallery where art from various sources is displayed. Since Oct. 5, pieces from the Fredericton Arts Alliance's Artists-in-residence summer series have hung there.

One of the pieces, by photographer Jeff Crawford, showed a woman with one of her breasts visible. When that became apparent, Crawford was asked for a replacement photo that did not feature nudity.

Crawford, not wanting to hide the piece from the public, came up with a brilliant, progressive and technological way around it. He removed the photo, but instead hung a large quick response (QR) bar code in its place. Those with smart phones can scan it and get the internet link to the actual photo.

Fredericton's Cultural 'Development' Officer Angela Watson says it's probably time the city write a policy on what can hang in its gallery. She lamely justified the prudery saying:

Our policy has been a verbal policy where every time I work with a group to show, I say, 'Look, it's a city hall gallery, so we can't have anything too challenging or racy or violent or graphic because that's to be left to the galleries here in the city that do it so well'

 

27th November   

Sexualising Australia's Youth...

'Call Me' knickers wind up nutter campaigners
Link Here

girl xpress call meThe Australian retail chain Kmart withdrew a youth line of underwear for girls that carries slogans such as call me and I love rich boys after the store was accused of sexualising teenagers.

The underwear is part of its popular Girl Xpress range, after it was the target of a Twitter campaign led by the easily 'outraged', who described the slogans as disgusting and sleazy .

Melinda Tankard Reist, a spokeswoman for the group Collective Shout, which campaigns against the sexual exploitation of woman, said the slogans were completely inappropriate and Kmart should know better.

Why else would you put this sort of thing, such as 'call me' on underwear if you were not encouraging young women to flaunt their sexuality? Tankard Reist claimed.

A spokeswoman for Kmart told Fairfax Media that it had received one complaint about the underwear. Due to the fact that it has been brought to our attention that there may be some concerns with the item, we have decided to remove it from our stores, the spokeswoman said. She said Girl Xpress was aimed at the female youth market but did not define what age that market was.

The federal MP for Moreton, Graham Perrett, hit out at the retail giant for stocking the underwear after being sent photos of some of the pieces in the range: It sickens me, he said. It makes me cry to see that sort of stuff out there in our stores. It sends the wrong message entirely.

 

27th November   

Anti-National Sentiments...

Inklab director unhappy with Indian censors cuts excising his highlighting of corruption in contemporary politics
Link Here

inklabA short film, based on Bhagat Singh, is likely to be dropped from screening at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) by its director as it ran into trouble with the Censor Board for its alleged anti national contents.

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), has suggested nine cuts in Inklab , a short film by Chandigarh-based filmmaker Gaurav Chhabra, saying its contents are anti-national.

Chhabra has defended his portrayal and has refused to budge. The short film, inspired by the landmark Assembly bombing by Bhagat Singh in 1929, was part of the Short Film Centre.

The filmmaker said that he might drop the film due to censor board issues . He said that the board has refused him certificate saying the film violates section 5B of the Cinematographic Act 1952 which bars a movie with visuals or words promoting communal, obscurantist, anti-scientific and anti-national sentiments.

Dubbing the CBFC suggestions as uncalled for, the director said, the cuts prescribed by the CBFC chop off selectively the talks about corruption in contemporary politics . These talks represent average discussions on contemporary news among today's youth.

 

26th November   

Series: James Bond Censor Cuts...

Rough Treatment. How film censors got their hooks into GoldenEye
Link Here

Gavin Salkeld presents Goldeneye DVD Pierce Brosnan GoldenEye came before the BBFC in 1995, who viewed the film in a rough cut form. This is a common practice with filmmakers who are seeking a certain rating. They can submit their film (in an unfinished state) to the Board informally, who will suggest cuts to the film so that the desired rating is more likely to be achieved when the final, formal submission is made. Like Licence to Kill before it, GoldenEye went down this route. These are the cuts originally made in 1995 to the rough cut of the film.

See article GoldenEye at the BBFC

 

26th November   

Sorry Kids, We Only Care About Supposed Sexualisation...

ASA prefer living in their own fairyland about 'widespread distress' and don't recognise real 'widespread distress' when they see it
Link Here

littlewoods christmas advert video The advertising censors at the ASA have received 456 complaints from parents complaining that retailer Littlewood's festive TV campaign is upsetting children by revealing that Father Christmas doesn't exist.

The ad features young children performing in a school Christmas play who sing about who has bought their presents. They join in a chorus singing that it is their mothers who have done all the shopping.

Most of the complainants said that they wanted the ad to be rescheduled to a later hour when children are in bed. Some parents went as far as to say that their children were distressed to find out that Father Christmas does not provide presents.

However the ASA decided:

After careful consideration ASA council has decided that, as the ad did not make reference to Father Christmas or suggest Father Christmas did not exist, it was unlikely to cause distress to children and therefore we won't be launching an investigation.

Yes but if parents had told their kiddies that presents under the christmas tree were left by Santa then it gives the game away nevertheless.

 

26th November   

War on Cyber Crime...

Government announces measures against cyber crime
Link Here

cabinet office 1 logoThe Government has published its new Cyber Security Strategy, setting out how the UK will support economic prosperity, protect national security and safeguard the public's way of life by building a more trusted and resilient digital environment.

Around 6% of the UK's GDP is generated by the internet and is set to grow -- making it a larger sector than either utilities or agriculture -- with the internet boom predicted to create 365,000 jobs over the next five years . We want to create new opportunities for businesses and help build a thriving cyber security industry.

But our increasing dependence on digital technologies has given rise to new risks. For example, there are more than 20,000 malicious emails on Government networks each month, 1,000 of which are deliberately targeted.

Summary of some of the key actions in the strategy:

Pioneering a joint public/private sector cyber security hub : This will allow the Government and the private sector to exchange actionable information on cyber threats and manage the response to cyber attacks. A pilot will begin in December with five business sectors - defence, telecoms, finance, pharmaceuticals and energy.

On tackling cyber crime, the strategy sets out commitments to:

Expand the use of cyber-Specials to help the police tackle cyber crime : The Metropolitan Police's Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeU) has been making use of Police Specials with relevant specialist skills to help tackle cyber crime. We will encourage all police forces to make use of cyber-Specials . We will involve people from outside law enforcement to help tackle cyber crime as part of the NCA cyber crime unit.

Create a cyber crime unit within the National Crime Agency by 2013 : The unit will help deal with the most serious national-level cyber crime and to be part of the response to major national incidents. It will draw together the work of the e-crime unit in SOCA and PCeU and provide support to all elements of the NCA, and all police forces.

Encourage the police and the courts to make more use of existing cyber sanctions for cyber offences : Additional powers are already available when there is strong reason to believe someone is likely to commit further serious cyber crime offences. For example, a range of terms -- including restriction on access to the internet and prohibition from using instant messaging services -- have been used to restrict the ability of organised criminals to commit online fraud. We will publish new guidance aimed at increasing the use of cyber sanctions for cyber offences.

Make it easier to report financially motivated cyber crime by establishing a single reporting system for businesses and the public : Action Fraud -- the national fraud reporting and advice centre run by the National Fraud Authority -- will become the central portal for reporting any financially motivated cyber crime.

On prevention and raising public awareness, the strategy sets out commitments to:

Bolster the role of Get Safe Online : Everyone has a crucial role to play in keeping cyberspace safe, including the public. Get Safe Online already provides independent, trustworthy advice on staying safe on the internet. We are increasing our investment to make Get Safe Online the single, authoritative place to go for the public to get the latest information on internet threats and the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.

Develop kitemarks for cyber security software: This will help consumers and businesses navigate the range of cyber security solutions available, allowing them to make more informed choices and avoid unnecessary scareware .

 

26th November   

War on Google...

Senior US politician demands Google censorship in support of the war on terror
Link Here

Google logoUS Senator Joe Lieberman is calling on Google to censor more content on its blog platform.

Lieberman apparently believes that censorship of anti-West and violent jihadist content will keep people from wanting to attack America. At least that's what it sounds like when you read the senator's formal letter to Google CEO Larry Page - asking Mountain View to censor content on its blogs.

Lieberman thinks that Google's primary mission should be to keep the Internet free of radical ideology and help the government fight its war on terror. Lieberman references the blog of recent lone wolf terrorist suspect Jose Pimentel as a reason to police content on Google's blogger platform. Pimentel allegedly used the Internet to access instructions to make bombs and share his support for violent Islamic extremism, writes Lieberman.

Lieberman ends his letter claiming that Google is getting in the way of the government's fight against terrorists. I strongly believe that Google should expand that standard to include your other platforms. The private sector plays an important role in protecting our homeland from the preeminent threat of violent Islamic extremism, and Google's inconsistent standards are adversely affecting our ability to counter violent Islamic extremism online, Lieberman said.

 

26th November   

War on Google...

Max Mosley demands Google censorship in support of his war on newspaper exposes
Link Here

Google logoMax Mosley's legal attempt to force Google in France and Germany to act as a self-appointed censor and remove controversial material ahead of any formal court order, would fundamentally alter the web , according to a leading free-speech pressure group.

Mosley won a 60,000 privacy action against the News of the World following a libellous story that wrongly alleged a Nazi-themed orgy with five prostitutes, is suing the leading internet search company in Germany and France, and is legally active in 20 other jurisdictions. All actions aim to remove any link to the NOTW article and video.

The Index on Censorship claimed the legal action by Mosley showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of search engines. Padraig O'Reilly, news editor, said: Search engines are not publishers and cannot be held responsible for everything on the web.

Google has already delisted hundreds of links to the NOTW article.

 

26th November   

Update: War on Football Shirt Piracy...

US seizes 131 more domain names
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

doj logoUS authorities have initiated the largest round of domain name seizures yet as part of their continued crackdown on counterfeit and piracy-related websites. 131 domain names have been taken over by the feds to protect the commercial interests of US companies. The seizures are disputable, as the SOPA bill which aims to specifically legitimize such actions is still pending in Congress.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have resumed Operation In Our Sites , their domain name seizing initiative.

TorrentFreak has identified 131 domains taken over by the government during the last 24 hours (See  article for list),.

This time the action appears to be mostly sites selling sports kit, football jerseys etc, but there are also DVD and software sellers.

Update: 70 More

25th July 2012. See  article from  thehill.com

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it has seized 70 domain names of websites accused of selling counterfeit products. During the operation, federal law enforcement officers purchased sports jerseys, baby carriers and luxury goods from the sites. Many of the goods purchased from the sites were shipped from outside the United States.

Federal authorities have seized a total of 839 domain names, including the latest round of seizures, according to ICE. Of that number, 229 domain names have been forfeited to the U.S. government.

 

26th November   

Update: War on Yoga...

Chief Exorcist spews green bilge about yoga and Harry Potter being satanic
Link Here

Rite DVD Anthony Hopkins Father Gabriele Amorth, who for years was the Vatican's chief exorcist and claims to have cleansed hundreds of people of evil spirits, said yoga is Satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and all eastern religions are based on a false belief in reincarnation .

Reading JK Rowling's Harry Potter books is no less dangerous, said the 86-year-old priest, who is the honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists, which he founded in 1990, and whose favourite film is the 1973 horror classic, The Exorcist.

The Harry Potter books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, seem innocuous but in fact encourage children to believe in black magic and wizardry, Father Amorth claimed.

Practising yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter, he told a film festival in Umbria this week, where he was invited to introduce The Rite , a film about exorcism starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as a Jesuit priest.

It's a theory --- if one can call it a theory --- that is totally without foundation. Yoga is not a religion or a spiritual practise. It doesn't have even the slightest connection with Satanism or Satanic sects. Giorgio Furlan, the founder of the Yoga Academy of Rome, said yoga had nothing to do with religion, least of all Satanism. Whoever says that shows that they know absolutely nothing about yoga, he said.

 

26th November   

Update: War on Censorship Circumvention...

China tackles Tor and similar internet blocking circumvention
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

  tor logoIn the cat-and-mouse game between Chinese censors and Internet users, the government seems to be testing a new mousetrap--one that may be designed to detect and block tunnels through its Great Firewall even when the data in those tunnels is aimed at a little-known computers and obscured by encryption.

In recent months, administrators of services with encrypted connections designed to allow users secure remote access say they've seen strange activity coming from China: When a user from within the country attempts to reach a server abroad, a string of seemingly random data hits the destination computer before he or she can connect, sometimes followed by that user's communication being mysteriously dropped.

The anti-censorship and anonymity service Tor, for instance, has found that many of its bridge nodes --privately-placed servers around the world designed to connect users to the rest of Tor's public network of traffic re-routing computers--have become inaccessible to Chinese users within hours or even minutes of being set up, according to Andrew Lewman, the project's executive director. Users have told him that other censorship circumvention services like Ultrasurf and Freegate have seen similar problems, he says. Someone will try to connect, then there's a weird scan, and the bridge stops working, says Lewman. We see weird things all the time, but this is a semi-consistent weird thing, and it's only coming from China.

Lewman believes that China's internet service providers may be testing a new system that, rather than merely block IP addresses or certain Web pages, attempts to identify censorship circumvention tools by preceding a user's connection to an encrypted service with a probe designed to reveal something about what sort of service the user is accessing. It's like if I tell my wife I'm going bowling with my friends, and she calls the bowling alley ahead of time to see if that's what I'm really doing, says Lewman. It's verifying that you're asking for what you seem to be asking for.

 

26th November   

Slightly Less Reason to Protest...

Burma's parliament passes bill to allow peaceful protest
Link Here

Burma flag 2010Burma's military-dominated parliament has passed a bill allowing citizens to protest peacefully, a lawmaker said.

The bill, which needs to be signed off by President Thein Sein to become law, requires that demonstrators inform the authorities five days in advance of any protest. Protesters would be allowed to hold flags and party symbols but must avoid government buildings, schools, hospitals and embassies.

The new leaders of the country have surprised observers with a number of reformist steps in an apparent move to end international isolation. They have freed and held direct talks with long-detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, halted work on an unpopular dam project that was backed by key ally China, eased media censorship and passed a law giving workers the right to strike.

 

26th November   

Political Correctness Trumping Free Speech...

Canadian move against clause of Human Rights Act that enables censorship via political correctness
Link Here

pen canadal logoPEN Canada has announced its support for Conservative MP Brian Storseth's private member's bill calling for the repeal of section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA) which deals with hate speech.

The best defense against so-called 'hate speech' is not government enforcement of vague prohibitions, but an educated and alert citizenry and vigilant and responsible media, said Charles Foran, President of PEN Canada.

Section 13 makes it a discriminatory practice to communicate by telecommunication, including the internet, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

In 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Commission hired constitutional law expert Professor Richard Moon of the University of Windsor to examine section 13. He recommended that it be repealed, a recommendation that was never acted on. In his report, Professor Moon wrote: We must develop ways other than censorship to respond to expression that stereotypes and defames the members of an identifiable group and to hold institutions such as the media accountable when they engage in these forms of discriminatory expression.

The right of free expression is guaranteed as a fundamental freedom by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms said Philip Slayton, Chair of PEN Canada's National Affairs Committee, section 13 of the CHRA is inconsistent with the right of free expression in Canada and is wrong in principle.

PEN Canada is an organization of writers and others that defends freedom of expression both at home and abroad.

 

26th November   

Updated: Brief Respite Until the Next Lot...

Libya celebrates the unbanning of books after the demise of Gadhafi
Link Here

Sexuality Arab World Samir Khalaf Libya marked the end of the Gadhafi-era blacklist with a ceremonial unbanning of books in the former regime's public library.

Many of Libya's emerging political hopefuls joined militia leaders and returning expat exiles at the Italianate Royal Palace for a sunset event..

With a fanfare of Libyan bagpipers in full ceremonial flourish, the VIP crowd made its way to the top for of the palace, heaped with table upon table of books deemed unreadable during Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule.

There, Arabic titles including The Secret Life of Saddam Hussein and The CIA Files of Arab Rulers sat alongside censored troves of Islamic literature, theology and philosophy. Books about Israel, Hezbollah, books by Salmon Rushdie. One slim volume was titled Sex In The Arab World.

Among the attendees was journalist and human rights activist Hassan al-Amin, one of the Gadhafi regime's sharpest critics during his years of exile in London, who shared a bittersweet swirl of emotions as the books were revealed.

This is a major moment for us because this is where we reclaim our intellectual freedom. We say goodbye to an era where free thinking was forbidden, where ideas were dangerous, Amin told the Star.

 

26th November   

Offsite: Unoccupying the Olympics...

Authorities taking precautions against the prospect of an Occupy London Olympics protest
Link Here  full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control

Olympics 2012 logoA series of Home Office proposals could ban protests during the London 2012 Olympic games. In reaction to the longevity and scale of recent Occupy London takeovers of public and private space at St Paul's Cathedral, Finsbury Square and a former UBS bank, ministers are reported to be drafting legislation loosely based on part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 -- paying particular note to restricting tents and sleeping equipment for up to 90 days around exclusion zones. Police and authorised officers will be allowed to disperse protests quickly. Presumably with reasonable force .

...Read the full article

 

25th November   

Making New Zealanders Cross...

New Zealanders under threat of big fines for using social networks to influence the vote of friends and family
Link Here

Facebook logoFacebook and Twitter users in New Zealand have been warned to be careful what they post online or they could face hefty fines for breaching election rules.

On election day it is an offence to publish anything intended or likely to influence people before they vote. Political parties must remove all billboards, and media must not publish anything about the election before 7pm. Fines for breaching the rules are up to $20,000.

And this year, the Electoral Commission has warned social media users could also be in their sights:

The Electoral Commission's advice to people using social media is not to post messages on election day that could breach these rules, a spokesperson said.

Where the Electoral Commission becomes aware of a breach, or receives a complaint, the commission will look into the incident and where appropriate refer the matter to the police.

Some social media commentators believe individuals should be able to exercise their right to free speech. Charles Mabbet, contributing editor to Social Media NZ, believes the 2011 election is the first social media election with more people expressing their opinion online since the last election in 2008. He said:

I think if people are expressing an opinion, not on the behalf of an organisation or if they're not a lobbyist for a party, then it's fair enough, it's free speech..

The question is, how strongly will the Electoral Commission police it? We don't know how strictly they will enforce the fines, whether it will apply to someone on Facebook telling friends who to vote for or to someone who sends out mass tweets.

 

25th November   

Asking the Impossible...

European Court of Justice disallows Belgian copyright group from demanding that ISP blocks peer to peer sharing
Link Here

European Court of JusticeThe major Belgian ISP Scarlet can't be forced by a national court to block users from illegally sharing music and video files, the European Union's highest court has said.

EU law precludes the imposition of an injunction by a national court which requires an internet service provider to install a filtering system with a view to preventing the illegal downloading of files, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg said in a statement.

The court ruled that the filtering could infringe the rights of customers and their right to protect their own data. It could also mean that legal content was blocked.

Such an injunction could potentially undermine freedom of information since that system might not distinguish adequately between unlawful content and lawful content with the result that its introduction could lead to the blocking of lawful communications, the court said.

A Belgian court last year sought the EU top tribunal's guidance on whether forcing an ISP to stop illegal file sharing on its network is in line with the 27-nation bloc's rules. Belgian music-copyright group Sabam, started the legal fight over the use of so-called peer-to-peer software for file sharing.

In Belgium Scarlet is appealing a June 2007 Belgian court order to make it impossible for users to violate copyright laws, saying it would entail breaching customers' privacy rights.

 

25th November   

Update: Dangerous Likes...

In the wake of a 20 year jail sentence for 4 anti-monarchy SMS messages, Thailand warns its Facebook users not even to 'Like' items critical of the monarchy
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Facebook logoThailand is taking on Facebook over articles that are critical of its monarchy. The Thai Ministry of Information and Communications Technology has sent a request to Facebook to remove 10,000 pages or URLs that are critical of the Thai monarchy.

However this is being challenged in the US. The US authorities have been asked to investigate the Thai request against the background of the Freedom of Information Act, the Speech Act of 2010, US constitutional safeguards and other laws relevant to free expression in a democratic society.

Meanwhile the Thai Information and Communication Technology Minister, Anudith Nakornthap, has warned Thai internet users that those who press share or like buttons on Facebook in response to monarchy-related content can violate the Computer Crime Act.

Although the clicks were only aimed at showing support for people who posted messages or to oppose the ill-intentioned messages, they could be considered an infraction of the law, the minister said.

He advised people who pressed those buttons in Facebook to delete all their reactions and comments.

A Facebook account entitled Report Society of Thailand has been created to allow Facebook users to report spam, fake [Facebook] accounts, infringements of intellectual property rights, immoral or violent content, and of course content critical of the Thai monarchy.

Update: Proposing a Facebook Ban

2nd December 2011.  See  article from  prachatai.com

Mallika Boonmetrakul, deputy spokesperson of the main opposition, the Democrat Party, said that if all attempts to block or ban online content deemed defamatory to the monarchy failed, then the government should adopt her final solution of blocking Facebook and YouTube completely.

 

25th November   

Updated: Policing by the Book...

New Zealand book police ludicrously seize Bloody Mama, an innocuous book banned 40 years ago
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in New Zealand...Embarassing book bans

Bloody Mama Robert Thom An old book declared indecent and banned way back in 1971 has been seized from a Wellington bookstore by government officials.

Bloody Mama by Robert Thom has been listed for sale on Book Haven's website for $8.50 since February, store owner Don Hollander said: It got seized today. A very nice chap from the DIA [Department of Internal Affairs] with a fancy badge came by.

The book is based on a true story about Kate Ma Barker who raised her sons to be criminals in the 1930s. A film was also made about Ma Barker starring Shelley Winters and a young Robert de Niro.

I had a quick look through for the dirty bits or the nasty bits and it didn't see any, Hollander said.

The book was deemed indecent and banned by the now defunct Indecent Publications Tribunal 40 years ago, however the ruling still stands. The tribunal was replaced by the Office of Film and Literature Classification in 1993.

Update: Book Burners

25th November 2011. See  article from  stuff.co.nz

A New Zealand book censor has been given the task of reading a banned book seized this week, to see if it can be cleared for sale. The title, Bloody Mama , was seized by government officials from a Wellington book store.

The bo0ok was banned in 1971 by the now-defunct Indecent Publications Tribunal due to its indecency . Commentators have said that the book possibly suggests an incestuous relationship between Barker and her sons.

The book would be read by a censor and a decision was likely in two months, adviser Michelle Baker said.

It has also been revealed that instead of cataloguing banned books in a forbidden library, the classification office destroys them (presumably by the traditional means of burning).

 

25th November   

Comment: A Choice of the Director's Cut or the Vicar's Cut...

US DVD released with officially sanctioned version with bleeped strong language
Link Here

Sons Perdition Artists Not Provided The DVD release of the documentary, Sons of Perdition , about teens exiled from Warren Jeffs' FLDS Church, comes with a choice: Full of swears or Utah nice.

The movie was given an R rating by the MPAA for its adult language. The DVD (which is released Nov. 29, on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Documentary Club label) presents the movie with that language intact,  but also offers an audio option that bleeps out the strong language.

We understood that a large audience, including teenagers, wouldn't be able to view the film due to the strong language. But we wanted to give everyone a chance to see this powerful story, said co-director Tyler Measom in a statement. The story is essentially the same, just without the cuss words.

Update: Vicars and Trainspotters

25th November 2011. From Alan

I think you're a bit unfair to vicars! I know a few, and I don't think any of them would blush at a few cusswords. One of them - a rector actually - cheerfully recounted to me and others how he had given an undertaker the instruction Turn that fucking coffin round - now!

hailee steinfeld for miu mii advertVicars are also good trainspotters - e.g. the Revd W. Awdry of Thomas the Tank Engine fame - and I'm sure they might notice that the rails in that picture to which the increasingly barmy ASA objected are red rusty. No train had been down those tracks in years, Hence, no danger to the model.

From the Melon farmers

Fair comment. Henceforth the Vicar's Cut will be renamed as the Nutter's Cut.

 

25th November   

Full Control...

Mary Whitehouse would have been proud of ASA's ludicrous claims about Lucy Pinder Lynx adverts
Link Here

lynx lucy pinder.oven advertFive internet display ads for Lynx Dry Full Control deodorant. The first four ads were video ads viewed on Yahoo, Hotmail, Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak in June and July 2011. The fifth ad was a static display ad on Spotify viewed in July 2011.

a. The first ad showed Lucy Pinder carrying out various activities including getting dressed, washing a car and eating an ice lolly. In each scene she was wearing different outfits all of which revealed her cleavage. On-screen text stated Can she make you lose control? Put premature perspiration to the test . Text at the end invited viewers to Play with Lucy and gave the web address www.lynxeffect.com.

b. The second ad showed Lucy Pinder carrying out various activities such as stripping wallpaper, jogging, applying lip gloss, eating whipped cream off her finger and playing with a light sabre. On-screen text stated What will she do to make you lose control? . At the end of the ad Lucy Pinder beckoned to the viewer and on-screen text stated Lucy Pinder [blank]ing makes me prematurely perspire .

c. Ad (c) was the same as ad (b) above but featured different on-screen text that stated Can she make you lose control? and Put premature perspiration to the test .

d. The fourth ad featured various close ups of Lucy Pinder's cleavage. On-screen text at the end of the ad invited viewers to Play with Lucy and gave the website address www.lynxeffect.com.

e. The Spotify ad featured an image of Lucy Pinder wearing underwear and bending over an oven door. Text stated Can she make you lose control? . The ad then reduced to a sidebar image of Lucy Pinder standing outdoors under a washing line in her underwear and a short shirt. The ad invited viewers to click through to watch a video. Issue

Ten complainants challenged whether ads (a), (b), (c) and (d):

1. were offensive, because they featured sexually provocative content and were degrading to women; and

2. were irresponsible, because they were inappropriately located on sites that could be seen by children, and could cause harm to children.

Six complainants challenged whether ad (e):

3. was offensive, because it featured sexually provocative content and was degrading to women; and

4. was irresponsible, because it was inappropriately located on Spotify where it could be seen by children, and could cause harm to children.

Unilever said their ads for Lynx often provoked diverse reactions and opinions, but that it was not their intention to cause harm or offence. Whilst they were confident that the ads complied with the CAP Code, they sincerely regretted any offence caused.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that Unilever intended the ads to be a tongue-in-cheek take on the mating game . However, we considered that the various activities that Ms Pinder carried out were presented in a sexually provocative way, and that alongside the focus on Ms Pinder's cleavage, especially in ad (d), the ads were likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women. We considered that was emphasised by the text Can she make you lose control? in ads (a) and (c), What will she do to make you lose control? in ad (b), Lucy Pinder [blank]ing makes me prematurely perspire in ad (b), and the invitation to Play with Lucy in ads (a) and (d), which we considered would also be seen as degrading to women. We therefore concluded that the ads were likely to cause serious and widespread offence.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that Yahoo had targeted the ads to men over the age of 18 years, and that 97% of users of their news channel, where the ad appeared in addition to appearing across their UK website, were over 18. We also noted that Hotmail had targeted the ads to males between the ages of 16 and 25, and that 94% of users of the Hotmail site were over 15 and 91% were over 18 years of age. Notwithstanding our concern in point 1 above that the ads were likely to cause offence, we noted that for the purposes of the CAP Code a child was someone under the age of 16 and considered that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to those aged 16 or over. We also considered that, because the ad was unlikely to be seen by those under the age of 18 on the Yahoo and Hotmail sites, it was not irresponsible on those grounds for the ads to be placed on those websites.

However, we noted that we had not seen evidence that showed what proportion of the users of the Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak websites were over 16 years of age. We understood that the Rotten Tomatoes and Anorak websites were not protected through age verification or other similar targeting, and therefore that the ads could be viewed by a wide audience. For the reasons given in point 1 above, we considered that the ads were unsuitable to be seen by children and could cause them harm, and that Unilever had not taken adequate steps in relation to those websites to ensure they were appropriately targeted. We therefore concluded that the ads were irresponsible.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c) and (d) breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Children).

3. Upheld

We considered that the image of Lucy Pinder leaning over the oven door in her underwear was provocative. Whilst we noted that the second image of Ms Pinder wearing her underwear and a short shirt was less suggestive, we considered that, alongside the text Can she make you lose control? , the ad was likely to be seen as objectifying women and degrading to them. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some people.

On this point, ad (e) breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

4. Not upheld

We noted Unilever's assertion that the ad was targeted to Spotify users over the age of 16, and understood that, on registering, Spotify users were asked to give their age and confirm whether they were over 12 years of age and had parental consent, or over 18 years of age. Notwithstanding our concern in point 3 above that the ad was likely to cause serious offence, we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to those aged 16 or over. We also considered that, because the ad was unlikely to be seen by children under the age of 16, it was not irresponsible on those grounds.

On this point, we investigated ad (e) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Children) but did not find it in breach.

 

25th November   

Update: Press Under Attack...

Iran targets opposition newspapers for closure
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Iran...As if there were any

etemaad logoThe authorities in Iran have closed down the country's biggest-circulation reformist newspaper, Etemaad , accusing it of supposedly breaching media laws.

Observers say that the paper had just published a story on the reaction to the emergence of a film showing the police attack on Tehran university last June.

Authorities also suspended publication of a weekly reformist paper whose managing director is the son of one of Iran's opposition leaders, Mehdi Karroubi. Last week Mehdi Karroubi was beaten up by Iranian security forces at a rally.

Hossein Karroubi told the BBC that the paper, Iran Dokht , was targeted due to his father's political activities. He said that a few days ago, an Iranian government official had spoken to his mother, the proprietor of Iran Dokht. The official had criticised the political stance of the opposition leader.

A third publication, Sina, a weekly provincial newspaper, was also banned, accused of not operating in line with the constitution.

 

24th November   

Updated: Vaz Called to Nutter Duty...

Inevitable parliamentary motion to whinge at the new video game, Modern Warfare 3
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD Keith Vaz, perennial whinger about computer games has compiled his usual parliamentary motion call for more censorship of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Early Day Motion 2427

Primary sponsor: Keith Vaz
Sponsors: Jeremy Corbyn, Alan Meale, Bob Russell*

That this House:

  • is deeply concerned about the recently released video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 , in which players engage in gratuitous acts of violence against members of the public;

  • notes in particular the harrowing scenes in which a London Underground train is bombed by terrorists, bearing a remarkable resemblance to the tragic events of 7 July 2005;

  • further notes that there is increasing evidence of a link between perpetrators of violent crime and violent video games users; and

  • calls on the British Board of Film Classification to take further precautions when allowing a game to be sold.

Supported by Martin Caton, Mike Hancock, Kelvin Hopkins,  Dr William McCrea, Sandra Osborne and David Simpson

Update: Counterstrike

24th November 2011. See article from parliament.uk

Counter Strike Tom Watson gamely proposes to amend the Vaz EDM by replacing it entirely.

EDM Amendment 2427A1 - CALL OF DUTY 3

Primary sponsor: Tom Watson
Sponsors: Julian Huppert, Kerry McCarthy

That this House notes:

  • that the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) gave the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 an 18 classification, noting that 'the game neither draws upon nor resembles real terrorist attacks on the underground;

  • further believes that the game has an excellent user interface and challenges the gamers' dexterity as well as collaborative skills in an outline setting; and

  • encourages the BBFC to uphold the opinion of the public that whilst the content of video games may be unsettling or upsetting to some, adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk or harm.

 

24th November   

Update: Not So Extreme...

BBFC pass Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy for DVD, with the same cuts as the cinema version
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3D Sex Zen Extreme Ecstasy 3D Sex and Zen is a 2011 Hong Kong erotic drama by Christopher Sun Lap Key. See IMDb

An already short version was passed 18 for strong sex, violence, nudity and sexual violence after 2:48s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2012 Metrodome R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 2nd January 2012
  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • Compulsory cuts were required to two scenes of sexual and sexualised violence, which included elements with a tendency to eroticise and endorse sexual violence.

The BBFC further explained (ignoring a rather redundant explanation that the film goes beyond a 15 rating):

3D SEX AND ZEN EXTREME ECSTASY is a Chinese erotic period drama about a recently married young man who embarks on a sexual odyssey when his wife is unable to satisfy his sexual desires. The film was classified 18 for strong sex, violence, nudity and sexual violence.

There are frequent sequences of strong sex and nudity which include sight of a man sucking a woman's nipples, pubic nudity in a sexual context, sight of a man's erect penis, buttock thrusting implying penetration, and implied but masked fellatio and cunnilingus.

Before the film was classified 18 , the BBFC required cuts in two scenes.

  • In the first scene, a man rapes a woman, with the woman then going on to enjoy the sex. The scene is shot in the same eroticised style as the rest of the film and creates the impression that rape can be an enjoyable and exciting erotic experience. The scene was cut to remove the non consensual set up, leaving a purely consensual sex scene.
  • In the second scene, a man engages in violent sex with a woman. Although the sex is consensual, the man beats and whips the woman during sex, before finally suffocating her to death as he thrusts into her. The scene, which is filmed in the same eroticised style as other scenes, creates a strong link between violence and sexual arousal. Although the BBFC suggested that the scene could be reduced to an acceptable level by multiple cuts, the distributor chose to remove the scene in its entirety.

Both scenes breach the terms of the Guidelines at 18 which state the BBFC may cut any portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault .

 

24th November   

Updated: Short on Freedom...

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority requires that mobile phone companies censor SMS messages
Link Here

pta logoThe Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has directed all telecom operators to censor obscene, indecent, false and fabricated content transmitted through short message service (SMS).

In a recently issued memo, the telecom watchdog has asked all cellular operators to set up an effective SMS filtering mechanism by November 21.

It has also issued a couple of catalogues containing more than 1,600 words and phrases, in both English and Urdu languages, which will be blocked during transmission.

The Telecom regulator has also asked all mobile phone companies to submit a monthly report indicating the total number of blocked messages by each operator.

Update: 'Jesus Christ' revealed as an obscene term to be banned in SMS messages

20th November 2011. See  article from  christiantoday.com

A Pakistani Christian leader has attacked The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) who is reported to have told mobile phone companies to begin blocking text messages containing supposedly obscene words including Jesus Christ .

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman, British Pakistani Christian Association, has told the ASSIST News Service that one from the list of supposedly offending words is Jesus Christ. In a message sent to ANS, he said that among the words and expressions that have to be blocked are Jesus Christ, bewaquf (meaning foolish'), and bakwaas (meaning 'nonsense'). Chowdhry added:

The inclusion of the name of Jesus Christ within this list of offensive words is another example of the intense hatred that resonates within Pakistan towards Christians.

The selection of other words raises further questions. I am baffled at terms such as 'Athletes foot' and 'flatulence' receiving a ban when they are commonly used medical terms.

Update: SMS censorship postponed until the heat is off

22nd November 2011. See  article from  voanews.com

Pakistani officials are now denying they ordered the country's mobile phone operators to block certain text messages sent by customers.

According to a letter signed by the chief of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority dated November 14, the order to block text messages containing prohibited words was ordered to go into effect on Monday. The letter orders mobile phone service providers to block text messages containing any of more than 1,600 words and phrases -- more than 1,000 of them in English, the rest in Urdu. T

Since the letter and list became public last week, social media services like Twitter have exploded with derisive ridicule from Pakistanis. Few would disagree most of the words on the list are vulgar, but some of the words included are viewed as more innocuous and occasionally bizarre. Sex, condom, and nude are all on the list. So are the words Jesus Christ, deposit, drunk, and, perhaps the most frequently ridiculed, monkey crotch.

Mohammad Younis, spokesman for the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) said via translator that the list should never have been made public, explaining it was meant to be kept between PTA and mobile phone companies as a means to find out whether it was possible to filter obscene messages. He said a final, shorter list of banned words will be released later, after consultation with phone companies.

Shahzad Ahmad, Pakistan country director for the digital free speech advocacy, Bytes for All, said:

It has actually embarrassed and shamed us a lot. This is outrageous. I don't know how and why PTA had so much time [or] how much effort they have put in to compile this stupid list without realizing what kind of impact it will have on the whole communication infrastructure, which is already pretty pathetic.

Pakistani telecommunications companies have announced they would hold off on implementing any text message blocking guidelines until they could seek further clarification from the Pakistani Telecommunication Authority.

Update: SMS filtering plan makes a mockery of Pakistan

24th November 2011.See  article from  pakistantoday.com.pk

Lahore High CourtThe Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is being taken to court over its plan to block list of obscene and indecent words from SMS text messgaes.

A petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) has challenged the PTA for restricting the freedom of speech as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan, while making a mockery of the country in the international media.

The list contains about 1,100 English words and about 500 Urdu words. A massive uproar erupted against the list on the Internet and social networks. International media groups including CNN, BBC, ABC news, criticised Pakistan for issuing the list which contains several words of everyday use. Upon getting an unexpected reaction from around the world, the PTA announced that the list needed to be revised and was shelving the case temporarily.

Some words are being presented here to give an idea of their nature. The words are spelled according to the list:

ASS MONKEY, ASS PIRATE, ATHLETES FOOT, BACK DOOR, BACKSEAT, BARELY LEGAL, BEAT OFF, BI SEXUAL, BI-SEXUAL, BITCH, BITE ME, BLACK OUT, CAMEL TOE, CARPET MUNCHER, CARPETMUNCHER, COCKTAIL, CONDOM, DEAPER, DO ME, DRUNK, DRUNKEN, EAT ME, FOOTACTION, FORNICATE, FOUR TWENTY, GAY, GAY PRIDE, GENITAL, GET IT ON, GO TO HELL, GOT JESUS, HEAD LIGHTS, HELL NO, HELL YES, HEN HOUSE, HERSHEYHIGHWAY, HOMO SEXUAL, HUSTLER, IDIOT, INTER RACIAL, JESUS CHIRST, KILL, KILLER, KILLING, LAID, LOOSER, MAN HATER, MARYJANE, MASTABATE, MOLEST, MOLESTER, MOLESTOR, NAKED, NO SEX, NUDE, PENTHOUSE, PERIOD, PLAY BOY, POCKET POOL, PORN, QUEER, QUICKIE, RAE CARRUTH, RAPE, RAPIST, REAR END, RED LIGHT, SCREW, SEX, SNIPER, SNOT, SODOMITE, SODOMY, SPANK THE MONKEY, SPANKTHEMONKEY, SPIT, STUPID, SUICIDE, THIRD EYE, TONGUE, UPSKIRT, URINATE, URINE, UTERUS, VIRGIN YELLOW MAN.

And some have called for even more extreme censure of the PTA. In an  article from  tribune.com.pk , Dr Allama GR Chishti, the chairman of Ifhamul Quran International appealed to the president and prime minister to order an inquiry into who had made the decision to ban mentions of Jesus Christ, and to prosecute them under the blasphemy law.

 

24th November   

Meshnet...

Internet users consider internet alternatives that are less open to censorship
Link Here

meshnet logo Users of the social news and community site Reddit don't like the way the US government seems to be muscling in on the Internet. So they plan to build a new one.

Redditors have flocked over the last week to a new subgroup on Reddit.com they're calling the Darknet Plan or Meshnet with the aim of building a mesh-based version of the Internet that wouldn't be subject to the control of any corporation or government, with a focus on anonymity, peer-to-peer architecture and strong resistance to censorship.

In the last few days, about 10,000 users have joined the group, and about 200,000 have visited, according to Chris Bresee, the 17-year old Vermonter who founded the project. He attributes the sudden spike in interest to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the awareness of the possibilities of government censorship that the bill has created: If passed in its current form, SOPA would use Domain Name System filtering to effectively disappear infringing sites from the Internet.

Mesh networks are designed to allow users to connect to one another directly instead of to a centralized Internet service provider. Bresee says Meshnet would start by aiming to create local clusters of users and connect them with the traditional Internet. We would piggyback on the current infrastructure to connect these islands of meshes, he says. But as the mesh networks grow, less and less dependence on the ISPs would be needed.

 

24th November   

Tots Reading Tatler Warned Off Rail Tracks...

The ever more ludicrous ASA bans advert for unsafe photo shoot location
Link Here

hailee steinfeld for miu mii advertAn ad in the September 2011 edition of Tatler Magazine for the fashion retailer, Miu Miu, featured the young model/actress Hailee Steinfeld. She was sitting on railway tracks and looked as if she was upset and may have been crying.

  1. A complainant, who believed the ad showed someone who had been crying, objected that it was irresponsible because it was suggestive of youth suicide, especially because the ad could be seen by impressionable young people.
     
  2. The ASA challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it showed a child in an unsafe location.

Prada Retail UK Ltd said the ad was part of a serious, high-fashion campaign aimed at adult women. It was placed only in adult, high-fashion magazines such as Tatler.

Prada stated that the ad was not created to give this impression to anyone, or with the intent of depicting a child in an unsafe location. The campaign was photographed by well-known photographer and film maker, Bruce Weber, and featured the well-known American actress, Hailee Steinfeld who was nominated for an Oscar and BAFTA this year for her performance in the film True Grit . The photographs were shots of the actress in between takes of the film, while she was waiting for the next scene to begin.

1. Prada said Hailee Steinfeld was rubbing her eye with her finger, indicating that it was itchy or had something in it. This was one of the between takes shots in the campaign. Hailee Steinfeld was waiting for the next take of the film to start and, therefore, was not posing for the camera and was relaxed. She was acting in an unconscious manner. Prada stated this was natural for a person to do when they were not being watched. They stated that Hailee Steinfeld was not crying, nor had she been asked to cry or look upset. The ad pictured her with a wistful and thoughtful face.

2. Prada said the ad was photographed on an abandoned railway track in a foreign country. Hailee Steinfeld was sitting on the edge of the train track as if she was resting between takes of the movie on a hot day. They said the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track and it was clear that there was no train in sight. Prada said that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting because she was not restrained in any way. Because the ad was photographed on a redundant railway track in the ad, neither Hailee Steinfeld nor anyone else, was not placed in danger.

ASA Decision

1. Not Upheld

We did not consider that Hailee Steinfeld was shown looking in distress or that she had been crying. We noted that the ad had been carefully targeted and placed in a sophisticated, high fashion magazine with a predominantly adult readership and that the Miu Miu brand was not aimed at teenagers or young children. Because the ad was placed in a magazine with a mainly adult readership and it showed a stylised image of Hailee Steinfeld dressed in sophisticated 1940s style clothing we considered that readers of the magazine would understand that the image was sufficiently removed from reality and that it represented a staged fashion shoot. In that context, we therefore concluded that the ad was prepared with a due sense of responsibility and would not be suggestive of youth suicide to impressionable young people.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We noted Prada's comments that the photo was shot on an abandoned railway track and that Hailee Steinfeld was not in any way constrained to that position, and that the viewpoint of the ad extended along the railway track where there was clearly no train in sight. We noted that she could have easily moved from where she was sitting, that she was not running along the track, and she was not playing on it. We acknowledged that the ad was part of a serious, high fashion campaign aimed at adult women; and that it was placed only in adult, high fashion magazines such as Tatler, which was not aimed or addressed at children. Nevertheless, because the ad showed Hailee Steinfeld, who was 14 years of age only when the photo was shot, in a potentially hazardous situation sitting on a railway track, we concluded the ad was irresponsible and in breach of the Code in showing a child in a hazardous or dangerous situation.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social Responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and Offence) and 5.1.2 (children).

 

24th November   

Update: Human Rights Heroes...

Liberty Awards
Link Here

Liberty logoHuman rights heroes from various walks of life were rewarded for their achievements at Liberty's Human Rights Awards last night.

Inspiring young people, artists and campaigners were honoured along with dedicated lawyers, journalists and politicians at the ceremony at the capital's Southbank Centre.

The event, which was hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, was attended by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Baroness Hale, as well as senior figures from the worlds of law, media and the arts. Sir Patrick Stewart, Dame Vivienne Westwood and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper were amongst those handing out the awards.

And Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti presented the Norwegian Ambassador Kim Traavik with a special tribute to the people of Norway in honour of the victims of 22 July 2011 and the dignity and humanity of the country's response.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said:

We are full of admiration and appreciation for the dedication and commitment to the protection of rights and freedoms shown by all our winners and nominees.

It's been an interesting year for human rights and the fight to defend the Human Rights Act, which has never been more vital, is far from over.

But we're acutely aware that we're far from alone in that promotion of human dignity, equal treatment and fairness and Liberty is immensely proud to honour our candidates' achievements.

The Liberty Human Rights Awards 2011 winners and category nominees in full were:

Human Rights Young Person of the Year:

Cerie Bullivant -- for his inspirational and courageous personal campaign against the unjust control order regime and proposed Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill. The other nominees were Zin Derfoufi, Abigail Stepnitz and Chris Whitehead.

Human Rights Arts Award, in association with the Southbank centre:

Penny Woolcock, screenwriter and film director of On the Streets -- for her compassion and commitment to those living and surviving on the margins. The other nominees were the Iceandfire Theatre Company and David R. Dow for Killing Time: One Man's Race to Stop an Execution.

Human Rights Lawyer of the Year:

Lieutenant-Colonel Nicholas Mercer -- for his integrity and courage in the face of dissembling and denial of human rights abuses by British forces in Iraq. The other nominees were Fiona Murphy, of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, and Hugh Southey QC, of Tooks Chambers.

Human Rights Close to Home Award:

Janis Sharp -- for her passionate and sustained campaign to protect her son, Gary McKinnon, from facing extradition to the USA. The other nominees were Janet Alder, Davies, Gore & Lomax LLP and Housing Justice.

Independent Voice of the Year:

Peter Oborne -- for calling to account the most powerful in our country, especially in relation to the shameful history of complicity in torture during the War on Terror . The other nominees were Joe Plomin, Paul Kenyon & BBC Panorama and Tom Watson MP.

Lifetime Achievement Award:

John Hendy QC , from Old Square Chambers -- in recognition of a career dedicated to defending and upholding the rights of workers and trade unionists in this country.

Human Rights Long Walk Award:

Private Eye -- for keeping the powerful on their toes and the public informed and entertained -- and Tony Bunyan & Statewatch -- for dedication to openness, democracy and informed debate about European institutions, keeping us reliably informed and suitably engaged for the last 20 years.

 

24th November   

Update: Dangerous SMS...

20 years in Thai jail over 4 anti-monarchy SMS messages
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flagA raging debate kicked off on social network sites when a 61-year-old man was given a 20-year jail sentence for sending four text messages on his mobile phone, which the court considered as being anti-monarchy. This is the longest known sentence to date under the Thai Computer Crimes Act of 2007.

The suspect is accused of having sent four defamatory text messages from his mobile phone last year to Somkiat Klongwattanasuk, secretary of then-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Meanwhile, many royalists were elated because they believed justice had been served, with some calling for even harsher punishment.

Karnt Thassanaphak, a member of the Awareness 112 Campaign Group which is seeking to abolish the lese majeste law, said this reaction was shocking.

 

24th November   

Offsite: TV Censorship...

Can Indian media self-regulate?
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults

India flagThere is a noisy debate in India on whether the media should be self-regulated or have a tough, outside authority do the job for it.

If you cannot do it yourself, then someone might just have to do it for you. That is what stands out from the Indian media debate.

While the print media gets away with gentle admonishment from the Press Council of India, there is no regulator that oversees the growing number of television channels in the country.

...Read the full article

 

23rd November   

The Lynx Effect...

Addles the mind of advert censors and makes them see sexualisation wherever they look
Link Here

lynx the cleaner you get advertA poster for Lynx shower gel, in July 2011, featured a picture of a young woman standing beneath an outdoor shower on a beach. She wore bikini bottoms and clasped an undone bikini top against her breasts. Text on the right of the ad above a large picture of a bottle of the product stated THE CLEANER YOU ARE THE DIRTIER YOU GET . Text at the bottom of the ad stated VISIT FACEBOOK.COM/LYNXEFFECT AND GET DIRTY THIS SUMMER . Issue

The ASA received 113 complaints:

  1. 97 complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive because it was sexually suggestive, provocative, indecent, glamorised casual sex, and because it objectified and was demeaning to women;

  2. 71 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was inappropriate for public display, where it could be seen by children; and

  3. 12 complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it promoted promiscuity.

Unilever said the poster made use of the cheeky and humorous tone commonly used in Lynx advertising but did not believe the content was inappropriate. The image selected included nothing overtly sexual, suggestive or provocative and was not indecent. They acknowledged that the woman's bikini top was undone and that she was holding it to her chest but argued that that tied in with the light-hearted tone without the resulting image being materially more revealing than if it were not undone. The model was pictured on a beach, which linked to the TV ads, and she was not undressed to an extent that would be in any way unusual in that location. They had been careful to ensure that the model's expression, while reflecting the light-hearted tone, was in no way unduly suggestive, provocative or indecent. They said the overall feel of the campaign, the poster and Lynx advertising over the years was cartoonish and believed that it was unlikely to be seen as objectifying or demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence on that basis.

Unilever said the strapline THE CLEANER YOU ARE THE DIRTIER YOU GET was intended as a playful innuendo and the key point stylistically was the use of the word DIRTIER in contrast to being cleaner as a result of using the shower gel. They said the strapline was not intended to convey any particular message about sex or sexual relationships in the real world and did not believe that it would be understood to do so.

ASA Assessment

The ASA previously considered two TV ads from the same campaign which featured a group of women in bikinis at a beach mimicking the behaviour of a man taking a shower, and which also featured the statement The cleaner you are, the dirtier you get in the voice-over and on screen. We had concluded that those ads did not warrant investigation. However, that decision was in part due to both ads having been given timing restrictions by Clearcast so that they could not be broadcast before 7.30pm and 9.30pm respectively and could not be shown during, or adjacent to, programmes likely to appeal strongly to children. Although we considered that those TV ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence we considered that the poster, an untargeted medium likely to be seen by a wide variety of audiences and age groups, needed to be considered on its own merits and outside the context of the wider campaign.

1.Upheld

We noted that the poster featured a woman standing under a beach shower wearing bikini bottoms and holding a bikini top against her breasts. While we considered that the poster was not graphic or indecent we noted that the woman's bikini top was undone and that the ad also included the statement THE CLEANER YOU ARE THE DIRTIER YOU GET . We considered that that statement, particularly placed next to a picture of a woman with an unfastened bikini top and reinforced by the statement GET DIRTY THIS SUMMER at the bottom of the poster, was clearly intended to imply that using the advertised product would lead to more uninhibited sexual behaviour. We therefore considered that the poster would be seen to make a link between purchasing the product and sex with women and in so doing would be seen to objectify women.

We also considered that the combination of the image and the suggestive text, in a poster on public display, was likely to be considered offensive by many members of the public, particularly those who were accompanied by children. We concluded that the poster was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point the poster breached CAP rules 4.1 (Harm and Offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that efforts had been made by Clear Channel to limit the locations in which the poster was displayed. Nonetheless, we noted that some of the complainants reported that they had seen the poster near schools and on their way to school.

For the reasons given in point 1 above, we considered that the image and the text were likely to be considered offensive and we were also concerned that a number of the complainants had had the ad pointed out to them by their young children or been asked by them to explain the meaning of the text. We considered that the suggestive nature of the image and the strong innuendo were not acceptable for public display where they might be seen by children and concluded that the poster was irresponsible on this point.

On this point the poster breached CAP rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

3. Not upheld

We noted that 12 complainants were concerned that the image in the poster, and particularly the text were irresponsible because they encouraged promiscuity. We noted that many of those complainants had raised concerns about societal attitudes to casual sex, the prevalence of unwanted and underage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. While we took those concerns seriously, we noted that the poster did not feature a sex scene or refer to or suggest that unprotected sex or sex with multiple partners was desirable, or should be sought out. We concluded that the poster was not irresponsible on this point.

On this point we investigated the poster under CAP rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

23rd November   

Update: Scotland Sings a Song of Repression...

Football sectarianism bill clears 2nd stage
Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

The Scottish ParliamentScottish football fans could soon be arrested for singing what the authorities deem offensive or sectarian songs at football game. The repressive new legislation has led to suggestions that fans could face prosecution for singing the national anthem or crossing themselves.

The SNP government has been accused of using its substantial majority to steamroller through the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication Scotland Bill, despite widespread concerns from opposition parties and bodies outside Holyrood. But the measures are backed by the police and prosecution chiefs.

Ministers rejected a series of opposition amendments aimed at refining the laws and the bill is now expected to complete its third stage reading by parliament in mid-December. It should become law by mid-January.

Patrick Harvie, the leader of the Green Party, claimed the SNP has forced the measures through parliament, ignoring a growing chorus of objections. This prompted him to claim that the measures had been steamrollered through parliament. Ministers are stubbornly determined to force it through in the teeth of consistent and reasoned opposition from all quarters, inside and outside parliament, he said.

The freedom of expression clause was agreed though which covers communications, such as messages sent over the internet, which may contain insults or abuse of religious beliefs. But it does not cover online messages which are threatening or likely to cause public disorder. Neither does it apply to sectarian or threatening behaviour at and around football matches. Another change made by the committee widens part of the bill to include people not necessarily travelling to a football match.

 

23rd November   

Updated: Fanning a Moral Panic...

ASA turned on by a glimpse of thigh and ban Oh Lola! perfume advert
Link Here

dakota fanning marc jacobs advertA magazine ad for Oh, Lola! perfume which appeared on 5 August 2011, showed the actress and model Dakota Fanning, sitting on the floor, alone, wearing a pale coloured thigh length dress. She used one arm to support herself as she leaned backwards and in the other hand she held an oversized bottle of the perfume, which rested in her lap. The bottle was shaped like a vase holding a flower in bloom. Issue

Four readers challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible as it portrayed the young model in a sexualised manner.

Coty UK said that they had not received any complaints about the ad. They did not believe the styling in the ad suggested the model was underage or that the ad was inappropriately sexualised because it did not show any private body parts or sexual activity. They believed the giant perfume bottle was provoking but not indecent.

Sunday Times Style magazine had not received any complaints. They did not believe that the ad was so sexually suggestive that it breached the Code. They said their publication was marketed to adults with an interest in cutting edge fashion and that any sexual connotations that may have been associated with the ad would be reduced because of that target audience.

ASA Decision: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood that the ad had appeared in publications with a target readership of those over 25 years of age. We noted that the model was wearing a thigh length soft pink, polka dot dress and that part of her right thigh was visible. We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative. We understood the model was 17 years old but we considered she looked under the age of 16. We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality. Because of that, along with her appearance, we considered the ad could be seen to sexualise a child. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

Update: No pandering to sexualisation nutters in Australia

23rd November 2011. See article from smh.com.au

advertising standards bureau logoThe Australian Advertising Standards Bureau has rejected five complaints about an ad for Marc Jacobs's Oh, Lola! perfume, which features young actress Dakota Fanning (pictured) and references the novel Lolita, the story of a middle-aged man's sexual relationship with a young girl.

Despite the ad being banned in the UK for sexualisation of children, the board found the ad to be acceptable because Ms Fanning was 17. The board found the ad was not an image that sexualises young women .

 

23rd November   

Update: End of a Chapter...

German church has decided to sell book publisher Weltbild after fracas about erotic novels
Link Here  full story: Religious Erotica...German publisher of erotica owned by church

weltbild logoThe Catholic church in Germany is to sell Weltbild, its bookselling arm, after the unit admitted last month to publishing erotic novels.

Weltbild is one of Germany's major  book publishers. Catholic leaders were outraged that the profitable company's book range included steamy pulp novels with titles like Boarding School for Sluts and The Lawyer's Whore and advice on how to practise esoteric superstitions.

Germany's 27 bishops met this week to press the 12 bishops who co-owned Weltbild to end the investment after Weltbild defended its commercial policy of publishing whatever books met market demand.

Weltbild said it welcomed the decision to seek new ownership without delay .

 

23rd November   

Female Equality...

New US DVD of Sean Weathers' Hookers in Revolt
Link Here

Hookers Revolt Jovan Roman Hookers in revolt is a 2006 US crime thriller by Sean Weathers with Melissa Grimmond and Olivia Lopez. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Somehow the film has never made it to the UK.

Summary Review: A must watch

Tired of mistreatment from the hands of their pimps, a group of hookers ban together to start their own escort agency under the credo, all women are equal to men . But as the money quickly comes in, the hoes in charge become corrupt from their newfound power.

An entertaining offbeat movie. A Mix between Animal Farm, A Clockwork Orange and Death Race 2000. Action, dark comedy, political satire, beautiful women, naked bodies and wild sex scene. A must watch for any cult movie fan.

 

22nd November   

Oh Bother! I've Been Shot...

Subtitlers for The Killing told to tone down the strong language
Link Here

Killing 1 DVD Sofie Grabol The BBC has asked for swearing in the subtitles of series two of hit Danish import The Killing to be re-written to tone them down.

That followed a single complaint from a viewer that, in series one, softer expletives were translated as 'fuck'.

In a memo, the BBC asked the outside translation firm to err on the side of caution and use the less strong word . Programme acquisitions editor Simon Chilcott said the memo was

a reminder to keep it consistent with the character and within the context of the original script.

If there are suddenly lots more uses of the f-word in one episode, we have to check it's consistent with the script and the rest of the series.

Chilcott said the translators' task is not just a straight translation - it's a rewrite .

 

22nd November   

Update: Dark Days...

Turkish website blocking due to come into force today
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey flagA new internet censorship regime was originally planned to be introduced three months ago, but was postponed until November 22 for technical reasons, according to the government.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of Turks have held protests across the country under the motto Hands off my Internet! Media outlets and Internet forums have also sharply criticized the plan.

Turkish officials have claimed that the website blocking is voluntary, but organisations that have researched into the implementation say that this is not the case. The government also claims that the censorship would protect children and youth from objectionable content on the Internet. In addition, separatist propaganda by groups such as the PKK Kurdish rebel organization is also to be banned.

An 11-member government commission came up with the list of more than 130 search terms deemed harmful. Internet freedom advocates criticized the group's composition, as it was composed exclusively of officials from the ministries of information and family, and did not include any independent experts. Among the banned search words are the English terms porno, sex, adult, fetish, escort, mature and gay, as well as the Turkish words for naked, hot, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, stepmother and incest. Curiously enough, the German word Verbot (ban) is also forbidden.

According to findings from the press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, access to more than 7,000 Web portals could be either completely blocked or heavily limited. Tthis could also include several online services provided by Google, Myspace and the video service Vimeo.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called the blocking another dimension of censorship, and said it would limit the individual rights to freedom of information.

The Alternative Information Technologies Association has filed a petition with Turkey's highest administrative court to cancel the blocking legislation, saying the measure is not voluntary, as claimed.

Joe McNamee, of European Digital Rights, an advocacy group based in Brussels also interprets the blocking as being mandatory, he says calling Web blocking voluntary is far easier politically.

Yaman Akdeniz, a Turkish human rights expert and professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul, said the blocking was a cornerstone for further censorship of the Internet.

Deutsche Welle report that there is doubt that the blocking will actually come into effect as on November 22.

 

22nd November   

Rihanna Spanked by French TV Censors...

Supporting the hype for Rihanna's We Found Love
Link Here

we found love video Rihanna's latest music video, We Found Love , has been banned by French censors after they ruled that it contained images of self-destructive behaviour.

The video, which stars British boxer/model Dudley O'Shaughnessy details the story of a couple's troubled relationship and features Rihanna smoking cigarettes, shoplifting and being slapped on the bottom.

According to WENN.com, officials at the Supreme Audiovisual Council of France have decided that the video is too explicit to be shown on daytime television and can only be shown after 10pm.

The video also features scenes shot in the Northern Ireland when the landowner recently got heated up about the sexy content.

No doubt the video will also get tagged in the UK as post watershed only. probably most other countries too.

 

22nd November   

Update: Rihanna's Fuck Off Shoes...

More nonsensical press fascination with the X-Factor
Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

ashish undergroundPop star Rihanna wore shoes daubed with the words 'Fuck Off' live on The X Factor. The singer 'shocked' those in the studio audience that were close enough to read her 'outrageous' footwear.

The superstar asked to tone down from her sexy act in last year's final cheekily tricked show bosses by wearing a prim tartan frock. But the words Fuck off were spotted in close-up shots.

Fans in the front row gasped and pointed. Lucy Morgan said: I was shocked. She's a rebel. Tamzin Lewis said: They should have known she'd do something like that.

The 100 creeper-style shoes she wore are a collaboration between the Indian-born London designer Ashish Gupta and the British rock n roll footwear brand Underground. They are decorated with gold studs and come with a Tipp-Ex pen to add your own designs.

Last night an X Factor spokesman said: There were no close up shots of Rihanna's shoes. We believe the performance was suitable.

 

22nd November   

Update: School Bully...

Head nutter of the Girls' Schools Association berates parents for not following her miserable brand of morality
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

gsa logoLetting youngsters dress up in mini-me sexy clothing is a sign of our society's eroded moral values, according to Dr Helen Wright.

Treating girls in this way is intensely wrong , according to Wright , who is head nutter of  the Girls' Schools Association.

But she reckons that parents who don't follow her particular brand of miserable morality are not entirely to blame. [There's also Rihanna's performance on X-Factor to blame].

Wright reckons that parents themselves have been failed by a poor education, lacking in the teaching of moral standards, so they are unable to see that 'sexy' is wrong.

Wright pre-empted her speech, set for today's GSA conference, in a press release. She will say:

There are all these images in magazines and TV -- if you're bombarded with that, you're going to think it's normal, and actually it's not. It's becoming twisted.

Some parents have been so deprived in their own lives of education and values that they no longer know right from wrong, and that they are, as a result, unwittingly 'indulging' children in some parallel universe where it is acceptable to let young children wear make-up and provocative clothing.

If parents can't see anything wrong in dressing up their children in 'Future WAG' T-shirts and letting them wear make-up, high heels and mini-me sexy clothing, then something is intensely wrong in our society'

I have no doubt that these are the parents who have been failed by the education system themselves. They have grown up without any respect for their elders or any idea of how to bring up a child.

And if you're not entirely sated of Daily Mail nutter nonsense, then there's more at  How our children have been sold a sexualised ideal of achievement from  dailymail.co.uk

 

22nd November   

Update: An Expensive Ghetto...

Major internet companies take legal against the introduction of .xxx domains
Link Here

digital playground logoTwo of the internet's biggest pornography firms are suing the net's address regulator, Icann, over its introduction of the .xxx suffix.

Manwin Licensing, which runs websites for Playboy, and Digital Playground have filed lawsuits against Icann and ICM Registry, which is running the new top-level domain name, .xxx

The firms claimed that the decision to create .xxx had been flawed and that ICM had abused its position.

Manwin issued a press release alongside the lawsuit claiming that ICM was charging annual registration fees of about $60 per address. It claimed that was 10 times the fee charged for other comparable top-level domain names. It said costs mounted up because website owners had to register mis-spelt versions of their addresses to prevent cybersquatters exploiting them.

Manwin has also filed papers with Icann complaining that the body never sought competitive bids for the .xxx registry, and failed to conduct proper economic studies to support its creation.

 

22nd November   

Updated: Slithering into a Bath Near You...

New UK Arrow DVD of Wes Craven's Deadly Blessing
Link Here

Deadly Blessing DVD Deadly Blessing is a 1981 US horror by Wes Craven with Maren Jensen and Sharon Stone. See IMDb

Unconfirmed on the BBFC database, but seems to have been passed 15 uncut for:

It was previously releases on VHS and at the cinema with an 18 rating.

DVD Goodies

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Fangoria art director Gary Pullin
  • Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
  • Collector s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author and critic Kim Newman
     
  • Introduction by star Michael Berryman
  • Craven Images: The Horror Hits of Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes Series, Cut and Run, Weird Science) - An interview with Deadly Blessing s iconic star
  • Deadly Desires: An interview with screenwriter Glenn M. Benest
  • Easter Eggs

Summary Review: A Good Effort

A good effort from Wes Craven, having an eerie and at times claustrophobic atmosphere. It is set in an Amish like community but altogether more menacing.

Two women outsiders join their friend, the wife of a suspiciously killed member of the mysterious community. Strangers aren't appreciated in the community and any minor moral transgression seems to to cause nasty things to happen courtesy of a local incubus.

There are some scary moments in this film but also some well-worn cliches.

The demonic ending seems a bit tagged on, and has in fact been left off in the past out of choice.

 

22nd November   

Major Inconvenience Over Minor Issue...

Popular cloud computer file hosting website, Fileserve is blocked by the IWF
Link Here

fileserve logoUK users of the popular Fileserve file-hosting service are currently unable to download any files as the site is being blocked by ISPs acting on a block list provided by the Internet Watch Foundation.

Since early this week the blacklist, which aims to disable access to sexual child abuse content, has been preventing users from accessing their personal files and downloading those uploaded by others. Fileserve expects the issue to persist for at least a couple of days.

With hundreds of millions of page views each month, Fileserve is listed among the 10 most-visited file-sharing sites on the Internet. The site allows users to store files in the cloud for personal use or subsequent sharing with the rest of the world.

Update: IWF demonstrate to cloud computer users just how easy it is to pull the plug on all of their data

22nd November 2011. See  article from  zdnet.com
See  also techincal explanation of how one small block triggered a total block from  publicaffairs.linx.net

IWF logoThe UK's Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has now lifted a block imposed on a major cloud computing data host.

The target of the block was Fileserve,  one of the top most-visited sites on the web, allowing users to store files, documents, music etc.

The IWF caused major inconvenience in an attempt to block what is understood to be a single file hosted on the site. But this blocked access to all of the sites' download servers.

Many inconvenienced users had taken to their web providers' support forums to complain about the move, with many believing their ISPs were blocking downloads. Subsequently, an updated message on the Fileserve site revealed in cringeworthy language that the: IWF recently implemented changes that may affect your download ability on the site .

 

22nd November   

Offsite: Hungary...

How not to regulate the press
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Index on Censorship logoAt the heart of the new media law is a requirement to protect the audience from insult, threats to public morality, and hatred whether against a minority, or the majority. Its terms are broad and the grounds for investigation by the Media Authority uncertain.

As Dr Judit Bayer points out, the law may restrict any critical statement about any person or organisation . Even defamation of religions is now an actionable offence.The media code embodies a wide set of protections for the audience.

This includes an obligation for broadcasters to warn viewers before the transmission of any image or sound effects in media services that may hurt a person's religious, faith-related or other ideological convictions or which are violent or otherwise disturbing .

...Read the full article

 

21st November   

Update: Crawling into the Shops...

Cut UK DVD/Blu-ray of Tom Six's The Human Centipede 2 released today
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede Full Sequence DVD The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) is a 2011 Netherlands/UK horror by Tom Six with Laurence R Harvey and Ashlynn Yennie. See IMDb

The film was unbanned by the BBFC and passed 18 for very strong bloody violence and gore, and sexual violence after 2:37s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Bounty Blu-ray at UK Amazon released today on 21st November 2011
  • UK 2011 Bounty R2 DVD at UK Amazon released today on 21st November 2011
  • UK 2011 cinema release

The film found fame where it was earlier banned by the BBFC for:

  • UK 2011 Bounty R2 DVD

BBFC Comments: Very Distressing

Based on article from bbfc.co.uk

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) is a horror sequel, this time about an asthmatic London car park attendant called Martin who has become obsessed with the film THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE). Martin decides to kidnap a number of people and construct his own human centipede by stapling them together. The film was classified 18 for very strong bloody violence and gore, and sexual violence. Prior to classification, the BBFC required cuts to remove several elements of sexual and sexualised violence, sadistic violence and humiliation, and a child presented in an abusive and violent context.

Although the BBFC was clear that the original version of the film was potentially harmful in its portrayal of violent acts and sexual and sexualised violence, the classified version of the film, which omits the most explicit moments of sadistic violence, sexual and sexualised violence, and the killing of a newborn baby, does not pose a credible harm risk, although some viewers may find it very distressing.

 

21st November   

Update: Police Distressed by Court Judgement...

Police unlikely to be harassed, alarmed or distressed by the word 'fuck'
Link Here  full story: Public Order Act...Enabling police censorship

Old BaileyThe decision by the Court of Appeal to overturn the public order conviction of a young suspect who repeatedly said 'fuck' while being searched for drugs, was described as unacceptable by police representatives last night. They claimed the ruling would undermine respect for officers. [They probably meant undermining 'fear' of officers ,who can currently hand out their own brand of 'justice' using the Public Order Act'].

Overturning Denzel Cassius Harvey's conviction, Mr Justice Bean said officers were so regularly on the receiving end of the rather commonplace expletive that it was unlikely to cause them harassment, alarm or distress .

Harvey was fined 50 for using strong language while they attempted to search him for cannabis in Hackney, east London. He told officers:

Fuck this man. I ain't been smoking nothing. When the search revealed no drugs, he continued: Told you, you wouldn't find fuck all. Asked whether he had a middle name, he replied: No, I've already fucking told you so.

Magistrates at Thames Youth Court found him guilty in March last year after hearing that Harvey's expletives were uttered in a public area while a group of teenage bystanders gathered around.

Appealing against his conviction, Harvey claimed that none of those within earshot, especially the two hardened police officers, would have been upset by his swearing.

Mr Justice Bean agreed that the expletives he used were heard

all too frequently by officers on duty and were unlikely to have greatly disturbed them. The judge added that it was quite impossible to infer that the group of young people who were in the vicinity were likely to have experienced alarm or distress at hearing these rather commonplace swear words used.

Peter Smyth, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said:

If judges are going to say you can swear at police then everyone is going to start doing it. I'm not saying that police officers are going to go and hide in the corner and cry if someone tells them to 'F' off, but verbal abuse is not acceptable and this is the wrong message to be sending out.

 

21st November   

Australian Proposal for Bongoland Press Censorship...

Reporters Without Borders comments on Press Council proposal to introduce a licensed press
Link Here

australian press council logo Reporters Without Borders is concerned about proposals made at the first session of the Inquiry into Media and Media Regulation on 8 November to give the Press Council the power to penalise newspapers by imposing fines of up to 30,000 Australian dollars and to submit the press to tighter controls, such as the introduction of licences.

The press freedom organization said:

If such measures were adopted, they would undermine Australia's international credibility as a country with relatively high respect for freedom of the press where news organizations can carry out their work without hindrance.

There are already numerous laws controlling journalists, the media and digital communications in Australia. We find the plan to introduce licences and exorbitant fines for the press extremely shocking.

Measures such as these characterize those countries that are at the bottom of the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders. We do not expect to find them in a democracy ranked 18th out of 178 countries in 2010.

We suggest the inquiry commission turn its attention to the improvement of existing self-regulations systems, rather than recommending new controls which could be misused for political ends.

 

21st November   

Update: Changes in Motion...

UN committee adopts motion on religious intolerance that doesn't call for laws against 'defamation of religion'
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logoHuman Rights First applauds the United Nations' Third Committee's adoption of a text on combating religious intolerance that does not include the harmful concept of defamation of religion, an historic step that brings the text closer to final passage in the full General Assembly in coming weeks.

Human Rights First's Tad Stahnke said:

If this text is adopted by the full General Assembly, it would mark a decisive break from the polarizing focus in the past on defamation of religions.  Governments should now focus on concrete measures to fight religiously-motivated violence, discrimination, and other forms of intolerance, while recognizing the importance of freedom of expression.

The U.N.'s new approach reflects what is needed to combat the intolerance we continue to see around the world. It is crucial for leaders to protect freedom of expression, condemn and prosecute violence, speak out against hatred and affirm equal rights for all.

This resolution coming out of the Third Committee is based on one adopted by consensus at the Human Rights Council in March 2011. It calls on governments to speak out and to condemn hatred, while encouraging open debate, human rights education, and interfaith and intercultural initiatives. The text also calls on the U.N. Secretary-General to submit a report on steps taken by States to combat intolerance.

The resolution marks a welcome departure from previous U.N. resolutions on combating religious intolerance. For over a decade, efforts were made in several venues at the U.N. to promote the concept that states should prohibit defamation of religions -- thus providing cover for abusive national blasphemy laws. Human Rights First has long argued that this concept is inconsistent with universal human rights standards that protect individuals rather than abstract ideas or religions. Indeed, blasphemy laws promote a stifling atmosphere in which governments can restrict freedom of expression, thought and religion and persecute religious minorities.

 

21st November   

Declaring Drinking and Dancing to be Obscene On Pakistan TV...

So what do you do when you've censored everything on TV and society is still shite?
Link Here

Pakistan flagBroadcasting supposedly indecent and obscene material on the cable television networks is not going down well with nutters.

I was 'shocked' to watch a man and woman singing and dancing with Allah's name in the background. I really can't stand to watch Allah's name being disgraced, said, Fazal Mahmood Rokhan:  No one can deny the fact that cable television plays a crucial role in keeping the people informed. However, showing obscene material such as drinking and mixed dancing is not justified in any way.

Rokhan was of the view that the Pakhtun culture promotes high moral values and the cable operators should broadcast positive aspects of their culture instead of showing indecent material.

The area magistrate Peerzada Noor Muhammad Shah, when contacted, said he had issued a warning to the cable operators to stop broadcasting indecent programmes. We have also planned a meeting for all operators, he said.

The cable operators, on the other hand, claimed that they are paying thousands of rupees per month to run their network and they had the authority to show such material.

 

20th November   

Update: Undermining Scared values...

TV station boss on trial for blasphemy for broadcasting the animated movie, Persepolis
Link Here  full story: Persepolis Banned...Iran tries for worldwide ban of movie Persepolis
Persepolis DVD Catherine Deneuve The head of Nessuna TV has appeared in court in Tunis on charges of undermining sacred values, undermining decent standards and causing trouble to public order.

The case, which has been brought against Nabil Karoui and two of his employees by 140 lawyers, follows the broadcast by his private TV station of the film Persepolis on 7 October.

The animated film, based on Marjane Strapi's novel about the 1979 revolution in Iran, supposedly 'offended' many Muslims because in one scene it depicts their god as an old man with a beard. Literal images of their god are forbidden by Islam.

Karoui apologised for the scene, but anger at its transmission erupted into street demonstrations in the Tunisian capital last month, culminating in Karoui's home being firebombed.

He told AFP that he will plead not guilty to the charges. The hearing was adjourned and will resume in Tunis on 23 January 2012.

 

20th November   

Parents Television Council Recommends...

Allen Gregory, Two and a Half Men, and The Hard Times of RJ Berger
Link Here

Hard Times RJ Berger Season Nutters of the Parents Television Council attended a Microsoft shareholder meeting to urge the company to use its television advertising dollars to support more nutter friendly programming.

Peter Wick III for the Parents Television Council was invited to submit their case in writing. Wick responded accordingly:

I wish to bring your attention to television shows Microsoft has supported with its advertising budget, and what we as shareholders have helped air with our investment dollars.

Recently, Microsoft sponsored an episode of the show Allen Gregory , where Allen, a seven-year-old cartoon character, attempts to make a sex tape with his elementary school principal. Allen is heard describing sex in one scene and fantasizes about having sex with his principal in another.

Microsoft has also sponsored an episode of Two and a Half Men , where one of the characters receives a penis pump in the mail, and then gives it to his teenage son because the teen feels inadequate about his manhood.

Another show sponsored by Microsoft was an episode of The Hard Times of RJ Berger . The show's central character is RJ Berger, a 15-year-old who has an exceptionally large penis. In this episode, RJ's father, Rick, and his best friend encourage RJ to have 'birthday sex.' His father even offers to pay for a motel room for RJ and his girlfriend.

Microsoft has also sponsored and placed advertisements on many other television shows that consisted of explicit sexual humor and profanity, such as The Vampire Diaries, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, Glenn Martin, DDS, and American Dad.

Exposure to graphic violence, explicit sex and profanity on television is unhealthy for children in their social and emotional development. Microsoft may not have produced these shows, but their advertising dollars support this content, which makes it possible for these types of programs to air in our homes, and accessible for children to watch, especially cartoon-based shows.

According to a Harris Poll, Twenty-seven percent of Americans say they did not purchase a certain brand because they did not like a program or event sponsored by the brand. I say to the Microsoft executives and shareholders, let's not give people this reason to avoid purchasing Microsoft products and services, or investing in this great company.

I plead with you on behalf of millions of Americans to bring higher standards to Microsoft's advertising practices.

 

20th November   

Offsite: Morality in Revenge...

Adam Rehmeier speaks of the reception so far to The Bunny game
Link Here  full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

The Bunny Game posterBrutal as hell have interviewed Adam Rehmeier on the progress of his BBFC banned film, The Bunny Game

Brutal as hell: Can you tell me your reaction to the BBFC decision to ban your film outright?

Adam Rehmeier: I think the BBFC decision to ban the film is quite harsh. Of course, they will let remakes of films like I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left pass uncut. Hollywood remakes, nonetheless, that capitalize on the notoriety of rape and revenge of the original films and do absolutely nothing to further the genre.

I guess unremitting rape and callous behavior is okay with the BBFC as long as the victim exacts revenge on the tormentor, which, in reality, is never the case. The Bunny Game is a journey through several days in the life of a prostitute and is grounded in reality. It is grim and, as with most abductions, the ending is far from happy.

The BBFC seems to think that we are eroticising the torture in the film, encouraging the viewer to join in on the abductor's pleasure. Did they even watch the film? Out of all the screenings we have had in the past year, not a single person has ever expressed that same thought.

...Read the full interview

 

20th November   

Offsite: Scotland's Football Problem...

Scotland: football hate law confused and unneccessary
Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

Index on Censorship logoScottish football seems to be embroiled in an endless battle to overcome the sectarian undertones that stain it. Although it has been claimed that the propensity of sectarian discrimination is a myth unsupported by evidence, the popular perception is that a problem exists and that more action is required to eradicate it.

...Read the full article

 

20th November   

Update: Fighting the Good Fight...

Jerusalem's mayor joins battle against religious vandals seeking to eradicate public images of women
Link Here  full story: Invisible Women in israel...Women removed from the media lest men get offended

haredim no women allowed signJerusalem's secular mayor, Nir Barkat, has pitted himself against the city's swelling ranks of ultra-orthodox extremists by demanding that local police enable women to reclaim their position in the public domain.

Over recent months, women's faces have disappeared from billboards across the city amid mounting pressure applied by the powerful ultra-orthodox lobby, who find the female image offensive.

Advertisers that do not fall in line with the standards of the extreme ultra-orthodox have frequently fallen victim to direct action. Across Jerusalem, female figures have been blacked out of billboards with spray-paint, or vandalised with graffiti branding the image illegal . Other posters are simply torn down.

On Sunday, Barkat wrote a letter to district police commander Niso Shaham in which he said: We must make sure that those who want to advertise [with] women's images in the city can do so without fear of vandalism and defacement of billboards or buses showing women.

The battle over Jerusalem's billboards is only one manifestation of an alarming trend towards gender segregation across Israel driven by the religious right. Activist Hila Benyovich-Hoffman was spurred to take action by reports that nine male cadets in the Israeli Defence Force had walked out of an army event in September because women were singing. Four were expelled from an officer's training course for refusing to apologise. Benyovich-Hoffman said:

This was the final straw for me, that these cadets could humiliate female soldiers because some rabbi has told them that a woman's voice is indecent. The army used to be a source of pride because women served alongside men as equals. But more and more, rabbis are influencing army behaviour.

She organised a series of demonstrations last Friday in which hundreds of women gathered for singalongs in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheva to demand their right to a public presence. She says much more needs to be done.

 

20th November   

Updated: Appointing a Pro-Violence Censor...

Mumbai film censor's office physically attacked in support of appointing a censor to support Marathi interest
Link Here

mns logoMaharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) members vandalised the Censor Board office in South Mumbai over their demand that a Marathi person be appointed in the Board.

According to police, the Censor Board office on Walkeshwar Road was attacked. They have registered a case of rioting and criminal conspiracy at the Malabar Hill police station. They [MNS] arrived on the Censor Board premises and damaged a couple of computers. We have booked them for rioting and criminal conspiracy. Further interrogation is in progress, said Anil Kumbhare, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II).

Leaders of Maharashtra Navnirman Chitrapat Karmachari Sena (MNCKS), the cine wing of the party, confirmed that their members had attacked the office as their demand was not met. MNCKS president Amey Khopkar said the party had submitted a letter requesting the appointment of a Marathi person four months ago and no action had been taken.

In June, MNCKS had demanded that a Marathi person should be appointed among the new recruits by the Censor Board in Mumbai to give due credence to Marathi cinema. They complained that among the 15 newly appointed members --- who will review Marathi films being made in Maharashtra and Goa --- there is not one Marathi person.

Update: Censors Respond

20th November 2011. See  article from  dnaindia.com

CBFC logoThe Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has rejected allegations of Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) that Marathi films were certified by persons who did not know the language, a day after its Mumbai office was vandalised by party supporters.

The CBFC CEO clarified that the board's Advisory Panel of 123 members has 47 members whose mother tongue is Marathi. Almost all the films are certified at the local level by the Advisory Panel, which consist of members drawn from various fields, he said.

Even in its board, the CBFC has three members, Deepesh Mehta, Arundhati Nag, as well as the chairperson Leela Samson, who are familiar with Marathi, he said.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has condemned the act of hooliganism and vandalism and said that such methods of protest have no place in a democratic and civilised society. The ministry has also taken up this matter with utmost gravity with the government of Maharashtra and has been assured of strong and deterrent preventive and punitive action.

 

19th November   

Megan is Objectionable...

New Zealand film censor bans Megan is Missing
Link Here

Megan Missing Amber Perkins The New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Censorship has banned a US film titled Megan is Missing by Michael Goi. The film censor found the film to be 'objectionable'.

In the US the film is MPAA Unrated on DVD and it has not been submitted to the BBFC.

Perhaps a few clues about the reason for the ban in the promotional material:

On January 14th, 2007, 14-year-old Megan Stewart disappeared. Three weeks later, her 13-year-old best friend Amy Herman also vanished. Assembled from video chats, webcam footage, home videos and news reports, this is what happened in the days immediately before -- and after -- Megan went missing.

From writer/director Michael Goi comes this unblinking depiction of internet predators and child abduction as seen through the eyes of two North Hollywood teens. Their language is blunt. Their behavior is shocking. And their fate is absolutely horrific. Amber Perkins, Rachel Quinn and Dean Waite star in this disturbing and often explicit drama about a real-life world of risks and danger that every teen must know...and no parent can afford to miss.

 

19th November   

Update: Back in the Domain of Courts...

Nominet develops its domain takedown powers to provide defences against over zealous police
Link Here

NominetNominet is consulting and developing its procedures for taking down internet .uk domains when presented with claims of them being used illegally.

Under the latest changes, Nominet will be able to deny a site suspension request unless police provide a court order or the site is accused of putting the public at serious risk.

Early draft recommendations came in for criticism because police would be able to instruct Nominet to take down unlimited numbers of domains without a court order. Following previous coverage, many El Reg readers were outraged that the proposals didn't seem to do enough to protect ordinary .uk owners from over-zealous cops.

The new draft recommendations state that should a suspension notice be objected to by a domain's registrant, Nominet would be able to consult an independent expert , likely an outside lawyer, before deciding whether to ask police for a court order.

A new revision also draws a distinction between serious cases of botnets, phishing and fake pharmaceuticals sales, which pose an imminent risk to internet users, and cases of counterfeiting, which are perhaps not as risky.

Nominet would draw a distinction between the two scenarios. If it received a suspension request relating to a low risk crime, such as alleged counterfeiting, it would have to inform the registrant, giving them an opportunity to object and/or rectify the problem, before it suspended the domain name.

The policy has stated in all drafts that it would not be applicable to private complainants, such as intellectual property interests, and that hasn't changed. We're excluding all civil disputes, Blowers said. If the MPAA [for example] wanted to bring down 25,000 domains associated with online piracy, that would fall outside of this process.

The policy has also been tweaked with respect to free speech issues. To take down an overtly racist or egregiously pornographic site, Nominet would not suspend the domain name without a court order.

The recommendations are still in draft form but it is intended that the final version will be implemented early in 2012.

Update: LINX Concerns

29th November 2011. See  article from  theregister.co.uk

A spokesperson for LINX, representing ISPs said that the organisation fears social networks, online auction houses and similar sites could be unfairly taken down by cops if their users upload dodgy material. Its statement reads:

A domain owner should be allowed to defend themselves in court. We are also concerned that the law enforcement agencies' proposal does not limit suspension to domains where the domain owner had criminal intent itself: this could place at risk any domain with user-generated content, such as auction sites and social networking.

LINX members are committed to helping the police combat criminal behaviour online, but all such action needs to be balanced and proportionate, and respect the property rights of legitimate businesses. We would welcome suspension of domains held by criminal enterprises, but to protect the innocent suspension should be ordered by a court.

Update: Further Consultations

30th June 2012. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net

Nominet will conduct a further round of public consultation before implementing a policy for dealing with domains associated with criminal activity. The Nominet Board communique states:

Further research and legal advice was presented in relation to the ongoing policy development for dealing with domain names associated with criminal activity. The Board agreed to conduct a public consultation prior to implementing the final recommendations.

 

19th November   

Updated: Unacceptable Love...

Vatican complains about Benetton advert showing the pope kissing top Egyptian imam
Link Here

benetton pope kissing imam advertThe Benetton clothing company has withdrawn a website advert featuring Pope Benedict XVI kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips after the Vatican denounced it as an unacceptable provocation.

Benetton had said its Unhate campaign was aimed at fostering tolerance and global love. The campaign's fake photos feature a half-dozen purported political nemeses in lip-locked embraces, including President Barack Obama and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

The photo of the pope kissing Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Cairo's al-Azhar institute, the pre-eminent theological school of Sunni Islam, had been on Benetton's website all day but was pulled about an hour after the Vatican's protest.

Al-Azhar suspended interfaith talks with the Vatican earlier this year after Benedict called for greater protections for Egypt's minority Coptic Christians.

Update: Whatever happened to the christian code: 'turn the other cheek'?

19th November 2011. See  article from  monstersandcritics.com om

VaticanThe Vatican has threatened legal action against Italian clothing company Benetton for its use of a doctored photograph in which Pope Benedict XVI appears to be kissing a top Muslim imam on the mouth.

The Secretariat of State has instructed its lawyers to take on, in Italy and abroad, the appropriate action to prevent the circulation, including through the mass media, a photomontage created as part of the Benetton advertising campaign, the Vatican said in a statement.

The ad was damaging to not only to dignity of the pope and the Catholic Church but also to the feelings of believers.

 

19th November   

Offsite: Tom Six and Lawrence R Harvey vs The BBFC...

Getting To The Bottom Of The Human Centipede 2 Controversy
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede Full Sequence DVD In June, the British Board of Film Classification banned The Human Centipede 2 , causing every news outlet in the country, and many more around the world to suddenly take an interest in the movie. We were no exception, reporting "The BBFC have denied The Human Centipede sequel a certificate on the outrageous grounds that it's too "sexually violent and potentially obscene"".

With the film finally out in the UK, we decided that it was the perfect time for us to do some digging, and try to understand what it was that so offended the BBFC initially, and what persuaded them to finally change their minds.

In the interest of balance, we also spoke to Tom Six and Laurence R. Harvey, respectively the director and star of Human Centipede 2.

...Read the full article

 

19th November   

Bongoland in Barnet...

Barnet Council trump up data protection charges against critical blogger
Link Here

barnet logoTory-run Barnet Council made a complaint against a local blogger that, if set as precedent, could criminalise the work of citizen journalist/bloggers across the country.

The council has already been criticised in the past for trying to restrict local bloggers from reporting on its activities. It recently went a step further by reporting a blogger critical of its activities to the Information Commissioner, arguing it had to register as a Data Controller in order to carry on monitoring its activities.

Derek Dishman writes at the Mr Mustard blog on issues relating to Barnet Council. He regularly makes FOI requests and recently discovered the council had appointed change and innovation manager , Jonathan Tunde-Wright, for around 50,000 a year. The job description included phrases like delivery of system thinking interventions . The appointment was justifiably ridiculed.

As a result the Council complained to the Information Commissioner that Dishman had broken the law (worth a 5000 fine) because he had processed personal data unfairly and had no protection under the Data Protection Act.

The Information Commissioner rejected that. So Barnet Council came up with another wheeze

Journalist David Hencke, who uncovered the story, explains what happened next:

Initially rebuffed the council then came up with an extraordinary description of what Mr Dishman was allowed to blog without being forced to register or be prosecuted for unfairly processing data.

According to Barnet the only things bloggers can write about is their own personal data, their own family defined as people related by blood or marriage and their own household, anybody living in their house or flat.

Everything else requires registration and can be subject to legal challenge.

Imagine that! Such a restriction would put nearly every blog in the country out of business.

Thankfully, the Information Commissioner rejected that definition by Barnet Council too.

David Hencke adds:

If Barnet had succeeded it would have had enormous implications and costs for bloggers across the country. As Conservatives who are committed to transparency, the council should know better. They need to put up and shut up!

 

18th November   

Boxed in by Censors...

MPAA turn down appeal for a PG-13 for the R Rated The Possession
Link Here

dibbuk boxThe MPAA's rating appeals board has upheld the R rating given to Lionsgate's children's horror The Possession.

The Classification and Rating Administration had assigned the movie an R for violence, terror, and disturbing images in October, prompting an appeal for a PG-13 instead.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in The Possession, formerly titled Dibbuk Box , with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert producing, and Ole Bornedal directing. The movie follows a divorced father whose youngest daughter becomes strangely connected to an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale.

 

18th November   

The World has a Seizure...

The EU comes out against new SOPA law enabling the US to seize domain names worldwide
Link Here  full story: SOPA...Internet censorship in the name of preventing piracy

eff The European Parliament has adopted a resolution which criticizes domain name seizures of infringing websites by US authorities.

According to the resolution these measures need to be countered as they endanger the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication. With this stance the European Parliament joins an ever-growing list of opposition to the proposed US law called Stop Online Piracy Act .

Starting in 2010, US authorities have used domain name seizures as a standard tool to take down websites that are deemed to facilitate copyright infringement.

Despite fierce criticism from the public, legal experts and civil liberties groups, taking control of domain names is now one of the measures included in the pending Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), legislation designed to give copyright holders more tools to protect their rights against foreign sites.

Opposition to SOPA has been swelling in recent days, and today the European Parliament adds its voice by heavily criticizing the domain seizures that are part of it. A resolution on the EU-US Summit that will be held later this month stresses the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names.

If SOPA does indeed become law the US would be able to shut down domains worldwide, as long as they are somehow managed by US companies. This includes the popular .com, .org and .net domains, and thus has the potential to affect many large websites belonging to companies in EU member states.

 

18th November   

The Exemption Gap...

Mike Weatherley MP meets the BBFC
Link Here

Exempt symbolsMike Weatherly is the Tory MP for Hove who has a bee in the bonnet about sport, music and religion DVDs that are exempt from BBFC classification.

It seems that he would prefer that makers of these mostly benign videos to be saddled with the inevitably high cost of classification just so that a handful of titles identified by nutters could be given a 15 or 18 certificate. Exactly the sort of control freakery and expensive thinking that has suffocated western enterprise and that is now making us all poor.

Back in November 2010, Weatherly enquired in Parliament about exempt DVDs. During Parliamentary Questions he asked Ed Vaizey, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport

How many DVDs that were exempt from classification were released in (a) 2007, (b) 2008 and (c) 2009.

He received the bleedin' obvious answer

The Department does not hold the information requested.

No data are recorded for films released on DVD which are exempt from classification, as this exemption renders them outside of any administrative process.

Anyway Weatherley has been following up at the BBFC and he rather simplistically reports on his progress:

Mike has met with executives at the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to gain a better understanding of the regulator and its work.

Mike was invited to the headquarters of the BBFC in central London and given a tour of the building whilst discussing the exempt category which is not actually classified by the BBFC. Videos which are designed to educate, inform or instruct or which are concerned with music, sport or religion are exempt from classification unless they contain certain extreme content. Mike was shocked though by some of the material that is in fact exempt from classification.

Commenting, Mike said: It was fascinating to see first-hand the work that BBFC undertakes and having met with representatives before, I was aware of the important work that they do. It was a very informative visit and I was given a demonstration of the classification process. I particularly look forward to working with the BBFC in the future to help solve the exemption gap.

 

18th November   

Offsite: Hate in Context...

HeyUGuys interview a senior examiner at the BBFC
Link Here

Haine Special DVD Vincent Cassel heyuguys.co.uk put some questions to Craig Lapper, a Senior Examiner with the BBFC about their way the organisation works, the process they go through when deciding on a rating for a film, and how the board, and their stance on certain issues, has changed over the last decade or so.

HeyUGuys : How important is social context to decisions made by the board? We are already aware that there is a tough stance against the use of knives due to knife crime in the UK, but if the film La Haine -- that depicts youths rioting in the streets -- came out this year, do you believe that it would still receive a 15 rating, or is the social context of recent rioting in the UK enough to justify a higher classification?

Craig Lapper : It would all depend upon how the violence was presented and the overall message of the film. A film suggesting rioting is cool and glamorous would be far more of a problem than a film showing the consequences of such violence in a balanced and responsible manner. Just because a film depicts anti-social behaviour, that doesn't mean the film is endorsing it.

...Read the full interview

 

18th November   

Navel Fluff...

Egypt launches 3 satellite TV channels showcasing belly dancing
Link Here

Luscious Belly Workout Beginners REGIONS A group of unidentified businessmen has launched three international Arabic-language television channels as part of a project to promote Egyptian belly dancing in the region and abroad.

From Europe to Asia and North America, each day lovers of oriental dance watch el-Farah (Arabic for Joy), el-Teet and Darabuka (the drum) channels on NileSat 1 to enjoy this ancient Egyptian art. These three channels show professional and amateur dancers from around the world as well shoddy Egyptian singers, who take part in elaborate non-stop shows.

Of course the report lined up the inevitable whinges from nobody passers-by. Zainab Naguib, described as a 'veiled government employee' said that she totally rejected the idea of launching these three channels, which she dismissed as immoral and vulgar.

It is absolutely wrong and unnecessary to have these channels because they are offensive to our religion, honour and customs.

Shed added that the three channels have nothing to do with personal freedom:

If freedom harms others, it is no longer a freedom. These dancers are sinners because they wear outfits that do not cover the breasts, the belly button and what is below that. They also make gestures that awaken the sexual instincts of viewers. Freedoms and public rights are not absolute, they are limited by the respect of the family which is the base of the Egyptian conservative society that rejects any form of seduction.

Such entertainment forms are branded un-Islamic and are associated with prostitution, she asserted.

 

18th November   

Updated: Court Internet Censorship Begins...

BT blocks Newzbin 2 website
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

Old BaileyBT has started blocking Newzbin 2 as ordered by a UK court.

Newzbin 2 is a members-only site which indexes material shared in Usenet discussion forums. The site is being blocked via legal actions of the Motion Picture Association, who managed to get the UK court to block the site.

We've heard that the British Telecom censorship of the free web has begun, the group behind Newzbin 2 told the BBC. It also said that 93.5% of its active UK users have downloaded workaround software developed by them to bypass the block. The group would not divulge how it worked.

Newzbin2 shall go on, its users shall continue to access the site and its facilities, the Newzbin team told the BBC. Nothing has changed and they [the MPA] have no change after paying millions of dollars in legal fees.

Update: Inevitable clamour for more blocking

18th November 2011. Based on article from out-law.com

The Motion Picture Association (MPA) has asked two UK internet service providers (ISPs) to consent to a court order that would force them to block their customers' access to a copyright-infringing website.

A ZDNet report said the MPA told it that it had sent letters to Virgin Media and TalkTalk referring to the recent order by Mr Justice Arnold and asked the major UK ISPs whether they would consent to a court order requiring them to impede subscriber access to the Newzbin2 website .

TalkTalk said in a statement:  We are considering our position since there are some objectionable elements to the proposed injunction. We will only block access to a website if ordered to do so by a court. .

Virgin Media also confirmed that it had received MPA's letter and that it would only act on receipt of a court order. A Virgin Media spokesperson said in a statement: As a responsible ISP, we will comply with any court order addressed to us but strongly believe such deterrents need to be accompanied by compelling legal alternatives, such as our agreement with Spotify, which give consumers access to content at the right price.

 

17th November   

Killer Double Feature...

New US DVD double bill featuring Bad Dreams and the video nasty Visiting Hours
Link Here

Dreams Visiting Hours Region NTSC Bad Dreams is a 1988 US horror by Andrew Fleming with Jennifer Rubin and Bruce Abbott. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

The UK is still suffering a cut version. The BBFC cut the 18 rated 1989 video from Film and Video by 22s.

Cuts details from IMDb:

  • to remove closeup shots of self-mutilation with a knife and a scalpel
  • to reduce a scene where a man is repeatedly hit by a car.

Summary Review : Underrated Entertainment

Bad Dreams is very much a product of the t 80s and horror filmmaking style at that time. The film tell the story of the sole survivor of mass suicide at an interesting hippielike commune/cult led by a David Koresh type leader.

Yet Bad Dreams is a cut above most other for many reasons. The film is filled with surrealistic arresting images-in particular, the house where the mass suicide took place is an intriguing looking building, tragically beautiful. The acting is better than in most horror films. Jennifer Rubin is especially good.

In short, Bad Dreams is a must see.

Visiting Hours is a 1982 Canadian horror film by Jean-Claude Lord with Michael Ironside and Lee Grant. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Again the UK is still suffering a cut version. The cinema version and the 1986 CBS/Fox VHS were cut by about 1 minute.

BBFC cuts details from IMDb:

  • Cut to edit a scene where Colt traces his knife across Lisa before slashing her clothing
  • Also cuts to shots of Colt kicking Sheila as he photographs her.

Summary Review: Not your everyday slasher

A crazed, women-hating killer (Ironside) attacks journalist Deborah Ballin (Grant). When he discovers that his attack didn't kill Deborah, he comes to the hospital to finish what he started.

The movie is really quite tense at times. The attack at Deborah's home is frightening, especially the dumb waiter scene. And the climactic chase is amazingly pulled off. The acting is alright and the music is also to note, and adds a lot of atmosphere.

This is much different from what you'd probably expect, and is worth a look. Definitely not your everyday slasher.

 

17th November   

No Picnic...

Another stage play winds up French christians
Link Here

golgota picnicChristian groups have condemned a provocative Spanish play about Jesus called Golgota Picnic , due to premiere in France.

Christian fundamentalists are expected to protest publicly outside the Garonne Theatre in Toulouse on Wednesday, while a counter-demonstration in support of freedom of speech is being organised by leftist groups.

In a message carried by the Toulouse diocesan website, Archbishop Monsignor Robert Le Gall said:

Mr Rodrigo Garcia wants to denounce forcefully all forms of fundamentalism and rebel against an all-powerful God he has feared since childhood - that is not the God Christians proclaim... Is it right to foul the faith of many believers, to attack them in their devotion to Christ? I do not think so.

Another senior Catholic cleric, Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon, condemned what he said was Garcia's depiction of Christ as madman, dog, pyromaniac, messiah of Aids, devil-whore, no better than a terrorist .

The theatre's manager, Jacky Ohayon, insisted Rodrigo Garcia's play was not blasphemous and pointed out it had run for six months in the Spanish capital Madrid with no trouble .

A bid by Catholic groups to have the play banned was rejected by the regional authorities in Toulouse.

 

17th November   

Updated: Narrow Minded...

Advert censor bans bikini adverts featuring slim model
Link Here

drop dead advertA website ad on www.iheartdropdead.com, for an online clothing retailer, Drop Dead Clothing , featured a model in a number of images, including in bikinis and denim shorts.

A complainant objected that the ad was irresponsible and offensive, because they believed the model was underweight and looked anorexic.

Drop Dead Clothing Ltd said the model was a standard size eight, as defined by the British Standard BS EN 13402, and wore an unadjusted size eight bikini in the ad. They said while many people in the UK may find a size eight too slim, a size eight was a normal UK clothing size and it would be unreasonable to consider a size eight model offensive. They said size eight was their most popular size.

Drop Dead provided the model's measurements and said that she might not have any fat around her ribs, but she had a bust, hips and healthy skin. They said the makeup used in one of the images may have given her the appearance of dark sunken eyes and a stretched pose may have made her torso look slimmer. They also supplied other photos of the model, which they said showed she was not emaciated and was perfectly healthy.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA considered that the model was very slim, and noted that in the bikini images her hip, rib and collar bones were highly visible. We also noted that in the bikini and denim shorts images, hollows in her thighs were noticeable and she had prominent thigh bones. We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye makeup, the model looked underweight in the pictures.

We noted that Drop Dead's target market was young people. We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy makeup and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead's clothing, and as being something to aspire to. Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) but not 4.1 (Harm and Offence).

Update: MP with a thinking disorder supports ASA ban of perfectly healthy slim model

17th November 2011. See  article from  eveningtimes.co.uk

jo swinsonEast Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson, who co-founded the Campaign For Body Confidence says she is glad the Advertising Standards Authority has acted over the online images of Amanda Hendrick in a Drop Dead clothing advert.

Swinson said:

While Amanda is clearly a very beautiful young model, in this advert she is posed in such a way that emphasises her petite frame and makes her bones clearly visible.

Glamorising ultra-thin bodies in fashion ads can have a really damaging effect -- particularly on those at risk or recovering from eating disorders, so I'm glad the Advertising Standards Authority has taken action..

Drop Dead Clothing maintain Amanda is healthy and is not anorexic.

 

17th November   

Underarm Sexy...

Indonesian city bans sexy women on billboards
Link Here

depok logoThe municipal government of Depok, one of Jakarta's satellite cities, banned advertisement billboards featuring sexy women this month.

The deputy mayor of Depok, Abdul Somad, said the policy was adopted because one of Depok's missions is to become a religious city.

A few weeks ago, Depok officials took down a deodorant ad billboard featuring a woman showing her underarm. They deemed the advertisement to be sexy.

Depok, located 20 kilometers south of Jakarta, is led by a politician from the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Nur Machmudi Ismail. The mayor is known for his campaign to transform Depok into a religious city.

 

16th November   

Troll Whinges Dismissed...

ASA clear job advert for Troll Hunter in which 'christians need not apply'
Link Here

Troll Hunter DVD Knut Naerum A teaser ad for the movie Troll Hunter , published in the job section of the Guardian , on 6 August 2011. The ad was headed TROLL HUNTERS REQUIRED . Text underneath stated APPLICANTS MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE OF HUNTING LARGE GAME, MUST BE COMFORTABLE WORKING INDEPENDENTLY AND AT NIGHT. TROLLS CAN SMELL GOD-FEARING BLOOD - CHRISTIANS NEED NOT APPLY. COMPETITIVE SALARY ON COMMISSION. LIFE INSURANCE AND COMPANY LANDROVER INCLUDED. APPLY NOW. VISIT [WEBSITE] . Small text at the bottom of the ad stated (c) Troll Security Service (TSS 2011) .

  1. Two complainants challenged whether the claim Christians need not apply , was offensive to Christians.

  2. One complainant also challenged whether the ad was misleading because it was not obviously identifiable as an ad for a movie and appeared to be a job ad.

Momentum Pictures said that the ad was a teaser for an upcoming movie. They said it took the form of a job ad recruiting for the fictitious role of Troll Hunters and was very much in the spirit of the upcoming film. They said that mythical stories about trolls told how they were able to smell Christian blood; a theme that featured in the film. They said that this theme was similar to that of the giant in the Jack and the Beanstalk tale who was able to smell English blood. They said that the text TROLLS CAN SMELL GOD-FEARING BLOOD - CHRISTIANS NEED NOT APPLY was meant in a light-hearted way, within the spirit of fairy tale tradition. They said that the campaign was amended online to read Trolls can smell God fearing blood, believers apply at their own risk , as a means of softening the message.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad was intended to resemble a fictitious job ad recruiting troll hunters. We noted that the theme that trolls could smell Christian blood was a popular one and that it also featured in the plot of the film.

Whilst we acknowledged that the text Trolls can smell God-fearing blood - Christians need not apply might be distasteful to some, we considered that most readers were likely to interpret it as a light-hearted play on the fairy-tale theme of trolls being able to smell Christian blood. We therefore concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the ad was intended to mimic the style of a recruitment ad and we considered that readers would quickly realise that it was not a genuine job ad. We noted that the text Christians need not apply was preceded by Trolls can smell God-fearing blood . We considered that this helped identify the ad as a fantastical and fictional piece. We noted that the ad did not refer to a movie and that the website link in the ad had the word jobs in the URL. Nevertheless we did not consider that the average reader would follow the link expecting to arrive at a jobs website. Because of this, we did not consider that the ad was materially misleading in not explicitly stating that it was promoting a movie.

On this point we investigated under CAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) but did not find it in breach.

 

16th November   

Humongous Cuts...

New uncut US DVD release of Paul Lynch's Humongous
Link Here

Humongous Janet Julian Humongous is a 1982 Canada horror by Paul Lynch with Janet Julian and David Wallace. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2011 Scorpion Katrina's Nightmare Theater R1 DVD at US Amazon just released on 15th November 2012

The film was last released in the UK in a version passed 18 after 1:03s of BBFC cuts for

  • UK 1987 Embassy VHS

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com . The cuts were to the opening scenes with Tom and Ida:

  • Tom striking Ida in the face
  • Tom ripping off Ida's clothes, spreading her legs and raping her
  • Shots of injuries to Tom and Ida after a dog attack

Summary Review: Enjoyable B Movie Nonsense

A woman is raped at cocktail party. Years later, her son grows up to be a big hairy murderous monster who stalks a group of teens shipwrecked on his island.

Reviewers seem to fall into 2 camps. Those consider it a bad movie, but with sufficient B movie charm to make it a bit of a laugh.

Other reviewers seem to rate it as decent enough on merit to make it enjoyable.

At least both schools of opinion end up enjoying the film.

 

16th November   

Updated: Playing a Long Game...

BBFC to VSC handover of video game ratings now set for early 2012
Link Here

EU flagThe last report of the handover of video game censorship from the BBFC to the Video Standards Council (VSC) suggested that this would occur by Christmas.

Now the handover date is being talked about in terms of sometime early 2012.

However the video game trade group UKIE has confirmed that plans are still on course for PEGI, which is currently awaiting final EU sign offs before UK Government grants the on-pack marks as the only ratings standard for video games.

Update: Playing a Longer game

16th November 2011. See article from mcvuk.com

MCV are now reporting that the games censorship handover to the VSC, the new games censors using PEGI symbols, will not no occur early in 2012.

However a revised launch window has yet to be given.

 

16th November   

Update: Peta vs a Few Brown Pixels...

Animal activists PETA launch campaign against Super Mario's raccoon skin.
Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

mario kills tannoki logo In a bizarre overreaction, the animal rights campaigners of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have launched a campaign against Super Mario games.

They are taking issue with a magic skin of a raccoon used occasionally in the games.

Peta write:

When on a mission to rescue the princess, Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy---even wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers.

Tanooki may be just a suit in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur.

Anyway Peta have published a flash game to highlight the issue of raccoon dogs being slaughtered for their fur.

Update: Nintendo reply

16th November 2011.  See  article from  gamepolitics.com

Speaking to Eurogamer, Nintendo commented on PETA's claim that Mario is pro-fur.

Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games. These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different abilities and make his games fun to play.

The different forms that Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves.

 

16th November   

Diary: Too Much, Too Young...

Are advertising censors pandering to sexualisation nutters?
Link Here

ASA logoToo Much, Too Young: Are advertisers sexualising childhood
Burnage Media Arts College, Manchester
Thursday 1 December, 7pm - 9pm

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is hosting a public debate on how we should protect children from inappropriate advertising.

Many parents are worried about a sexualised culture surrounding their children. The accessibility of pornography on the internet and sexual imagery in advertising, TV programmes, films and music videos are just a few examples of things that parents say contribute to their anxiety that children are under pressure to grow up too quickly.

The ASA is the UK's independent regulator of advertising across all media and works to ensure that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. We place the protection of children at the heart of our work. We already have strict rules that prevent ads from containing anything likely to result in a child's physical, mental or moral harm.

But what about ads aimed at an adult audience, for example posters for perfume featuring sexual imagery? Are these contributing to an unthinking drift to ever greater sexualisation ? Do you think the ASA makes the right decisions or should we be drawing the line in a different place?

Make your voice heard and join the debate Whatever your views, the ASA invites you to participate in Question Time style public debate. We'll provide you with a valuable opportunity to put forward your opinion, concerns and questions on this topical subject and hear the views from representatives from the advertising industry, family and parenting groups, and Reg Bailey, the Government's independent reviewer of the sexualisation of childhood. There will also be a chance to act as ASA Council and look at recent ASA rulings where you can decide whether or not the complaint should be upheld.

The event is free but registration is required.

Loved the bollox about sexualisation campaigner Reg Bailey being an 'independent reviewer of the sexualisation of childhood' He is a lead campaigner of the christian Mothers' Union who actively campaign against 'sexualisation'.

 

16th November   

Victorian Drinks Police...

Proposal for police with snitch cams to patrol bars seeking out strong language and hence a case to persecute the licensee
Link Here
police bar-raid

  You're under arrest for uttering the word
'fuck' in a Victorian hospitality venue.
You have the right to say fuck all.

Proposed legislative changes by Victoria's Baillieu Government have been labelled as short sighted and a serious threat to the viability of the hospitality industry by prominent nightclub owner Peter Iwaniuk.

Iwaniuk explained:

Instead of focusing on the streets where the real problems are, the Baillieu Government and Victoria Police are making the same mistake as the Brumby Government - by blindly pursuing a vendetta against the hospitality industry.

The Nightclub Owners Forum successfully campaigned against the Brumby Government at the last State election and, unfortunately, it now appears we will have to run a similar campaign against the Baillieu Government.

On top of exorbitant fee increases and other harsh regulations, the Baillieu Government has recently announced it is introducing a demerit points system against licensed venues and amending the Liquor Control Act 1998 so that even using profane, indecent or obscene language inside a venue can be deemed to be disturbing the amenity and grounds for prosecution of a licensee.

One can imagine our secret police squad, Victoria Police's RAZON Task Force, for example, covertly filming and recording patrons inside public bars where swearing is commonplace, or charging licensees when entertainers are caught swearing. Comedians, in particular, are renowned for using profane language.

We already have ample evidence that the RAZON Task Force and other police enforcement units will use any technicality at their disposal to persecute and prosecute responsible licensees - now they can add swearing and demerit points to their armoury.

 

16th November   

Free India...

India film censors cut Tibetan flag from film to keep China Happy
Link Here

rockstarTibetans calling for a free country for more than half a century are dismayed and disappointed over the loss of that one moment in the Bollywood film Rockstar in which their cause has been obliterated by the censor board.

The film has been asked by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to delete the Free Tibet flag in the song Saadda Haq in the film, the obvious reason being not to hurt Indo-China relations.

A spokesperson for the filmmaker told Gulf News that they have agreed to blur the image of the flag.

Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan writer and activist, said: We did go and meet Pankaja Thakur, CEO of CBFC, to ask her why the banner has been blurred. She, however, questioned the relevance of the scene showing the Free Tibet slogan on the flag.

 

16th November   

Update: When is a Dictator Not a Dictator?...

By dictate of the Turkish establishment
Link Here  full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress

Photographic Mustafa President Mary Evans Nagehan Alci is a young Turkish journalist who writes a column for the mainstream daily Aksam and appears regularly prominent on news channels, including CNN Turk. She is, by all definitions, a secular liberal. Yet Mrs. Alci said something on TV last week that enraged millions of secular Turks. During a discussion on Turkish political history, she referred to Ataturk, Turkey's founder  father, as a ' dictator'.

Then it took less than a day for a campaign to culminate against her in the media. The National Party, a die-hard defender of the Ataturk cult, called on the whole Turkish nation to protest this insult. Kemalist columnists in various papers wrote angry pieces that bashed Alci and passionately argued why Ataturk, the Supreme Leader, was never a dictator.

Moreover, a Turkish prosecutor initiated an investigation into Alci's comment for possible violation of the Law to Protect Ataturk. It is very probable, in other words, that Alci might be tried for insulting Ataturk, which is a serious crime in Turkey that can put you in jail for six years.

The funny thing, of course, is that the term dictator is not an insult but a political definition, and Ataturk really fits into that quite nicely. From 1925, when he initiated the single party regime, to his death in 1938, he ruled Turkey with the perfect dictatorial style: he banned all opposition parties, closed down even civil society organizations (from Sufi orders to freemasons), and did not allow a single critical voice in the media. You just need Politics 101 to call this regime a dictatorship.

Of course, Ataturk cannot be considered in the same camp with the more notorious dictators of his age, such as Hitler or Stalin, who were ruthless mass-murderers. When compared to such figures, Ataturk was a very mild autocrat. Hence historian Ahmet Kuyas,, who has genuine sympathy for Ataturk and his heritage, argues that he must be called a good dictator. Yet a dictator, nonetheless.

 

16th November   

Moral Crime...

EU ban a film they commissioned to highlight injustice of an Afghan woman imprisoned for being raped
Link Here

Loves Crimes Kabul Tanaz Eshaghian The European Union has blocked the release of a documentary titled: In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail directed by Clementine Malpas. The film highlights the plight of women who are in jail for so-called moral crimes .

The EU says it decided to withdraw the film - which it commissioned and paid for - because of very real concerns for the safety of the women portrayed .

Half of Afghanistan's women prisoners are inmates for zina or moral crimes. Some of the women convicted of zina are guilty of nothing more than running away from forced marriages or violent husbands. Human rights activists say hundreds of those behind bars are victims of domestic violence.

Amnesty International says it is important to lift the lid on one of Afghanistan's most shameful judicial practices .

The documentary told the story of a 19-year-old prisoner called Gulnaz. After she was raped, she was charged with adultery. Her baby girl, born following the rape, is serving her sentence with her.

At first my sentence was two years, Gulnaz said, as her baby coughed in her arms. When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?

But for Gulnaz there is now the hope of freedom. Her name is on a list of women to be pardoned, according to a prison official, but as she has no lawyer, the paperwork has yet to be processed. Gulnaz's pardon may be in the works because she has agreed - after 18 months of resisting - to marry her rapist.

Banned on grounds of danger for those that contributed

See article from google.com

Associated Press throw some light on the humanitarian reasons for the ban. AP obtained transcripts of the interviews in which the women gave consent to take part if the film were only shown outside the country. The EU maintained there was still a risk the film could end up on the Internet, making it available inside Afghanistan.

The filmmakers argue the matter should be left to the women to decide. Any potential risk to the women must be balanced against their clear and express wish to tell their stories, and we have obtained their informed consent to do so, said the director, Clementine Malpas ... Ultimately, it is their decision, and we admire their clear-eyed courage to speak out. It is not for us to veto their voices.

HBO have aired a similar film

See article from icplaces.com

HBO aired Love Crimes of Kabul in July. It tells the story of an Afghan women's prison and the 50% of inmates who are held there for moral crimes .

Love Crimes of Kabul deals directly with Badam Bagh Women's Prison and the ladies that are imprisoned for defying the moral codes of a region. It is directed by Iranian-American Tanaz Eshaghian.

Eshaghian found three particular subjects that provide intimate looks into the moral struggle that wages on in Afghanistan and elsewhere in that part of the world. Each of the ladies faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted and all are currently awaiting trial.

Marriage in the country is still mostly an arranged affair and thus all three circumstances revolve around that practice.

Kareema, Aleema, and Sabereh are all under the age of 22. Kareema's boyfriend got her pregnant, Aleema ran away from an abusive home and was accidently sold to an undercover cop by the women she was staying with, and Sabereh was found in the closet with a boy by her father.

  • Rape Victim released after 'agreeing' to marry the rapist

  • 4th December 2011. See  article from  rferl.org

    Aghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned an Afghan woman serving a 12-year prison sentence for adultery after being a victim of rape.

    Karzai's office released a statement saying the woman and her attacker agreed to marry.

  • Maybe not agreeing to marry the rapist

  • 5th December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    An Afghan rape victim who was jailed for adultery does not have to marry her attacker to be freed, her lawyer has told the BBC.

    Lawyer Kimberly Motley says this was clarified personally to her by President Hamid Karzai's office.

    Karzai pardoned the woman, named as Gulnaz, earlier this week, but some reports had said this was on condition that she married her attacker.

    On Friday, Ms Kimberly said that 21-year-old Gulnaz would be released with no pre-conditions and would then be free to marry whomever she chooses.

    Update: Freed

    18th December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    An Afghan woman jailed for adultery after a relative raped her has been freed, her lawyer has told the BBC.

    The woman, known only as Gulnaz, was released on the orders of President Hamid Karzai, who pardoned her earlier this month.

    Her lawyer told the BBC that she was released without precondition, dispelling fears that she may have to marry her attacker.

     

    15th November   

    Cyberstalking...

    Consultation on Stalking
    Link Here

    consultation on stalking The Home Office has started a consultation on amending laws applying to stalking. There is particular emphasis on ensuring that laws stay up to date with cyberstalking as communication technologies evolve.

    Hopefully not so relevant to Melon Farming causes, but widely defined laws targeted at stalking could well intrude on censorship issues. Particularly those drawing the lines of acceptable levels of insults, trolling etc.

     

    15th November   

    Update: Equally Nuts...

    Norwegian equality ministers calls for cigarette style warning on all airbrushed models in adverts
    Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

    audun bjorloImages of airbrushed fashion models should come with a cigarette-packet style health warning in a bid to tackle eating disorders in teenage girls, a government minister in Norway has declared.

    Advertisements of super-skinny models are causing young women to starve themselves to obtain unobtainable ideal bodies , equalities minister Audun Lysbakken claimed.

    He has called for stark warnings on all posters and press adverts when a photo has been digitally altered.

    One suggested text for the warning reads: This advertisement has been altered and presents an inaccurate image of how this model really looks.

    Lysbakken claimed Hundreds of thousands of young girls endure eating disorders while living with a distorted self-image obtained partly by hopeless comparisons with cleaned-up beauty adverts.

     

    15th November   

    Update: Unverifiable Sources...

    China lays out new restrictions on journalists using unverified news sources
    Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news

      China flagChina's press censors at the General Administration of Press and Publication have released new restrictions on journalism.

    Some regulations simply reiterate journalistic best practices, others introduce new restrictions:

    Reporters are required to be objective and report all sides of a story. They are prohibited from aggregating reports or relying on second-hand accounts that have not been independently verified, in particular information obtained from online sources, outside contributors, or by phone. News organizations must set up systems to guard against the publication of false reports and strengthen responsibility at all levels and through every stage of the editorial process, including the establishment of procedures to investigate errors and publish corrections and apologies.

    The rules state that journalists should rely on in-person interviews, authoritative sources of information, and verifiable facts in their reporting. Critical news reports must be based on information from at least two different sources, and journalists must retain evidence of the information that has been received and verified. The use of anonymous sources is discouraged, with limited exceptions for national security, privacy or other special reasons, and reporters are cautioned against describing anonymous sources with phrases such as a person familiar with the matter, a person involved in the matter, or an authoritative person. Likewise, the use of pen names is barred, and reporters and editors involved in a story must sign their real names to it.

    Crucially, the rules also reiterate that reporters must be licensed by and warns news organizations against hiring reporters on a temporary basis, eg freelancers and temps.

     

    15th November   

    Offsite: Dick Held Prisoner by the Cops...

    Voina: Russian Robin Hoods
    Link Here

    voina dick Russian guerrilla artists from the Voina art collective are facing criminal prosecution for their controversial brand of political street art.

    ...

    Voina's action had been brilliantly planned and executed, it was refreshingly low-tech and delightfully accessible. Over two weeks of clandestine observation, the group calculated they had an average of just 30 seconds between traffic being stopped and Liteinyi Bridge being raised for the night. Over the same two weeks they practised daily with water in a parking lot, dividing the phallus into five cuts with one artist responsible for each, and perfecting the assembly of the five cuts into a well-formed and recognisable whole, completed within the 30 seconds. Fifty-five litres of white water-based emulsion paint mixed with water were divided into five-litre canisters, two together for the penis head and testicles in order to achieve the required thickness. Further activists distracted the bridge security in their roles of drunken football fan, nervy woman driver and cyclists. On the night, the group stormed the bridge and completed the phallus in 23 seconds; the only blemish a slightly ill-formed left testicle due to one of the artists being taken out by a security guard. An incredulous crowd wondered and photographed as the bridge towered insolently above the FSB [previously the KGB] headquarters.

    ...Read the full article

     

    15th November   

    Retired TV Life TV Retires...

    Expensive British censorship requirements renders small scale internet TV unviable
    Link Here

    retired life tvThe Retired Life TV has just been closed down.

    The operator of the site, online video pioneer Chris Gosling, says that the Government Video On Demand Regulator ATVOD is too difficult to work with for him to wish to continue.

    My main intention with Retired Life was to operate a video site which would help retired people make choices, improve their lives and have fun. It was something which I thought would make an interesting retirement project for myself, and a potentially worthwhile resource for older people, I also thought that, like other projects I've been responsible for, it might make a worthwhile small-scale TV programme for satellite or internet broadcast.

    After a three month trial period, I was quite willing to continue it as a personal project even if it didn't generate any income, and cost money from my own pocket, but the immediate hostility I had from ATVOD makes me think that attempting to work with them would be a wasted effort. I don't need the stress of dealing with a Quango which seems to have a serious anti-small business and anti-enterprise standpoint.

    ATVOD's main objective, Gosling says, is to be funded by major broadcasters and to work closely with them:

    They are keen to work with large organisations to whom a few thousand a year in licensing is petty cash -- but they seem only to want to pay lip-service to working with smaller operators. I, as a one-person enterprise whose total business turnover was less than one-third of the ATVOD chief executive's salary, only blipped on their radar because I believe we should fight to get the best deal for the UK's small business sector.

    Gosling says that he believes that ATVOD will damage the UK's smallest TV operators and will inhibit the development of new online services and methods of working:

    The world of communication, especially in TV and video, is changing rapidly, and I believe that high-cost, low-benefit regulation like that being imposed by ATVOD is inappropriate in the online arena. Law-of-the-land regulation, through advertising, libel, and other normal laws and regulation is sufficient to regulate this area, although I do believe that there should be a register of small video publishers to ensure that legal oversight can operate.

     

    14th November   

    Maintaining a Free Press...

    Chris Patten of the BBC speaks against Ofcom style censorship for the press
    Link Here

    What Next Surviving Twenty first Century Speech by Chris Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust, to the Society of Editors Annual Conference on 13th November 2011.

    Why the BBC needs a free press

    I may have in due course to explain the standards we apply to our journalism at the BBC to the Leveson Inquiry. If so, I hope I can make a convincing case that the sort of regulation that covers us is appropriate for broadcasters but would not work for newspapers.

    There is a kind of symbiosis between the BBC and the press. We do different but complementary things. The BBC depends on the press for some of its news agenda and it gives some stories back to the press to pursue further. The style of the tabloids is not something we could or should try to match. But nor should we be snobbish or squeamish about it. The Sun under Kelvin McKenzie added (to use the word in the old-fashioned sense) to the gaiety of the nation. I still have a copy of The Sun's front page Up Yours Delors , written of course by our Diplomatic Correspondent . Trevor Kavanagh is plainly one of the outstanding political writers of his generation. I have not always agreed with The Daily Mail (perhaps I am guilty of understatement) but I greatly admired its brave campaign in pursuit of the murderers of Stephen Lawrence and -- which I trust won't annoy him too much -- I try not to miss Quentin Letts. It may be that I have always been more relaxed about the tabloids than some former political colleagues because I have never been convinced that they set the political agenda decisively. I used to be the Chairman of the Conservative Party. When after the election in 1992 we heard that it was the Sun wot won it , I reflected on the fact that our polling throughout the election campaign had shown that most of the public and its readers thought it was a Labour newspaper. Max Hastings is right to argue that political leaders demean themselves by the amount that they court the press. Looking back over the years it is clear that at least one very famous proprietor waited until it was pretty plain who would win an election and then threw his weight behind the predicted victor.

    So I have no wish to turn our tabloids into trimmed down versions of The Church Times. Their vigour is an important part of the liveliness of our democracy. Free speech, and therefore that vitality, would truly be damaged if a single group of people, beholden to and perhaps even appointed by politicians, were to have the power to decide what should or should not be published. Statutory regulation of the press would in my view be more than wrong-headed, it would pose a real danger to the public discourse that underpins our democracy.

    Only the press can reform the press

    So the responsibility to ensure high standards of professionalism rests with journalists, their editors and their proprietors. My rather prosaic conclusion is that newspapers have to be given the chance to find their own solution -- although I note that already there is talk of Ombudsmen and backstop powers to help make any new system work.

    But how can you give a system of self-regulation -- a form of accountability that newspapers invariably scorn when others advocate it for their own industries and professions -- the credibility that the public seek?

    It is particularly important because newspapers have played and continue to play a fundamental role in our democratic life. They can continue to do so - in particular if they can carve out a distinctive role and a position of trust in and amongst the din of the internet. They can help to close the democratic deficit that risks opening up in that new online world of endless unmediated opinion and information.

     

    14th November   

    Susan George Takes a Pounding...

    Straw Dogs DVD bargain at Poundland
    Link Here

    straw dogs1971 UK drama by Sam Peckinpah. See IMDb

    Passed 18 uncut for:

    • UK 2004 Prism R2 DVD

    Now on the shelves for 1 at Poundland

     

    14th November   

    Offsite: Video Nasties: The Definitive Interview...

    Jake West on Season of the Banned
    Link Here

    Video Nasties Definitive Guide DVD UK BrutalAsHell.com contributor Aled Ll Jones has interviewed Jake West, director of Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide

    BrutalAsHell.com: What was the genesis of the Video Nasties documentary?

    Jake West: Marc [Morris] and I had already been doing the Grindhouse trailer compilations and we were just trying to think of ideas for projects in the future and this came up. Marc has already written some books on the subject and we were talking about that. We thought: Wouldn't it be interesting to investigate why these films were banned in the first place? and that spiraled out of control into this project that has taken over a year to do. As we went ahead we actually found stuff out that we didn't even know prior to beginning and then we got even more drawn in. The films coming up on the Horror Channel have an introduction explaining exactly why they were banned so it was a fascinating journey in the end. We also felt that people should know exactly what happened, as well.

    ...Read the full interview

     

    14th November   

    Dangerous News...

    Mexican newspaper offices burnt down after attacked by armed men.
    Link Here

    el buen tono logoThe offices of the Mexican daily El Buen Tono were almost totally destroyed in an early morning arson attack, barely a month after it was launched.

    A description obtained by Reporters Without Borders from the newspaper's publisher, Julio Fatanes leaves no doubt that it was intended to silence the newspaper, the press freedom organization said.

    A motive has yet to be established, although some elements point to a political one. We hope that the judicial authorities in Veracruz state will have the courage to explore this avenue and will act with complete independence.

    We recall that other serious attacks on press freedom in the region since the start of the year have gone entirely unpunished. Veracruz has become one of the deadliest states in the country this year with the murders of three journalists, and among those most affected by the war among drug cartels.

    About 15 armed men burst into the newspaper's offices after firing at the front of the building. About 20 employees were on the premises at the time. The attackers emptied cans of gasoline and set fire to the building. Members of the editorial staff had just enough time to take refuge in the press hall.

    Fatanes described the newspaper as a citizens' campaigning daily for the city. We draw attention to bad workmanship and negligence on the part of local authorities, he told Reporters Without Borders.

    El Buen Tono recently published several articles accusing the mayor of Cordoba, Francisco Portilla Bonilla, of involvement in corruption and influence-peddling. It went so far as to demand the dismissal of the state's head of public transportation, Carlos Demuner Pitol, because he did not have the academic qualifications for the job.

     

    13th November   

    Bullying Social Networks...

    Anti-bullying campaigners to target internet anonymity
    Link Here

    diana award logo A campaign group called Diana Award write:

    As the UK prepares to raise awareness of bullying during Anti-Bullying Week, 14-18 November, latest research reveals that cyber-bullying amongst teenagers is on the increase with 38% affected. A staggering 78% of young people fear cyber-bullying will continue to rise. 46% of young people feel that current initiatives are insufficient in targeting their protection, prevention and needs, perhaps partly explaining why 28% of cyber-bullying victims have not informed anyone of their experience.

    The research, Young People's voices on Cyber-bullying, was commissioned by the Diana Award, with the support of the Children's Research Centre, Open University. The Diana Award run a peer led bullying prevention programme, Anti-Bullying Ambassadors, in 200 schools and youth organisations throughout England.

    The research will be discussed at the Diana Award National Anti-Bullying Conference on Monday 14th November in London.

    Update: Calling for an end to internet anonymity

    See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

    formspring logoThis week campaigners will use a conference in London to call for social networking websites to stop bullies sending messages anonymously, saying that it is particularly damaging to children and teenagers.  They will say that new websites which make use of Facebook - by far the most popular social networking medium - are encouraging the anonymous posting by making it easy and accessible to under-18s.

    The report, by campaigning group Diana Award questioned 1,512 children aged 11 to 16 across England and found that 38% had suffered abuse online at lease once, and that 28% of victims have not told anyone about their experience. Nearly half of youngsters feel current attempts to prevent online bullying are inadequate.

    Beatbullying said it was particularly concerned about the growth of trolling . One website, Formspring, has been particularly linked to anonymous cyberbullying. Formspring allows its 25 million members to send unmoderated questions or messages to each other anonymously. Many are drawn into it through Facebook, which itself prevents anonymous messages.

    Richard Piggin, the deputy chief executive of Beatbullying, said:

    Users should not have the option of remaining anonymous on sites such as Formspring and other social networking platforms. Anonymity encourages people to act in a way they might well not in real life or if they were named online.

    Whatever sites like Formspring say about anonymity allowing people to express themselves, it is clear that it is being used in a negative way by allowing children to hide behind it in order to abuse others.

    Other social networking sites encourage you to use your real identity, which is a positive thing. Formspring needs to make changes.

    Ending anonymity is one of a series of reforms campaigners now want from the websites. Charities want internet and mobile phone networks to provide stronger safeguards against bullying, including better safety features, more regulation and codes of conduct.

     

    13th November   

    Update: Discussing Religious Intolerance...

    US to host upcoming meeting to discuss OIC demands to criminalise the criticism of religion
    Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

    us dept of state logoAn upcoming meeting with Islamic leaders hosted by the State Department has campaigners warning that the United States may play into the push by Islamic nations to create new laws to stifle religious criticism and debate.

    The meeting on religious tolerance, which is scheduled for mid-December, would involve representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a coalition of 56 nations which more or less represents the Muslim world.

    Critics describe the get-together as a Trojan horse for the long-running OIC push for restrictions on speech. They note the track record of nations that want the dialogue, including Egypt, where recent military action against Coptic Christians raised grave concerns about intolerance against religious minorities.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton originally announced the meeting this past July in Turkey, where she co-chaired a talk on religious tolerance with the OIC. The event was billed as a way to foster respect and empathy and tolerance among nations. Delegates from up to 30 countries, as well as groups like the European Union, are also invited.

    A State Department official told FoxNews.com this week that the meeting is meant to combat intolerance while being fully consistent with freedom of expression.

    A key worry is that the meeting could become a platform for Islamic governments to push for hate-speech laws which, in their most virulent and fundamentalist form, criminalize what they perceive as blasphemy.

     

    12th November   

    A Full Sequence of Spoilers...

    UK version of Human Centipede 2 compared with Video on Demand version
    Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

    Human Centipede II Full Sequence Just got back from seeing it on the big screen in London (Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly Circus)...

    As hard as it is to believe, some scenes are in fact longer in the UK version than in the VOD version!! I made some notes on my mobile phone, so here goes...

    First up, the company logo is no longer IFC, it's Monster films ...

    Part that seems cut in both US & UK versions: When Martin looks at the warehouse with the lettings guy, it seems the attack on the guy is missing in both versions, as both jump from him being asked to sign the lease to him dead on the floor with stomach wounds...

    Another part that seems cut in both versions: When Martin is on the stairs with the hooker, it jumps from him getting maced to the body being in the van...

    The scene after Martin kills his mother: Not a huge difference, but the camera lingers for longer on her mangled face (When she's sitting in the chair), showing a slightly closer, gorier angle.

    The sandpaper part: This is longer in the UK release, you see him unzipping his trousers (Not in VOD) and the sequence goes on slightly longer until he climaxes...

    The part with the Dr, Martin and his mum together: A very small difference here, you see the centipede eating its prey for longer, as it crushes it etc...

    The teeth removal part: This is shorter, there are less hits from the hammer (I think you see about 4 hits), then it switches to Martin dragging the bloody teeth etc from the mouth. Seemed a bit pointless to shorten this, as, like I said, it only removes a few hits.

    The ligament cutting part: This part is almost exactly the same as the VOD release, but there seemed to be more screaming added.

    The buttock cutting: Exactly the same as VOD.

    The buttock stapling: This is essentially the same as VOD, however the VOD shows possibly around 2 seconds longer of the stapling itself.

    When the completed centipede is revealed: The VOD is missing a shot of Martin with his arms out-stretched, looking very happy with his creation...

    The laxative / Wall painting scene: Is identical, this is the only bit where colour (Brown) is shown...

    The rape scene: This is where it get's interesting, as in the VOD, this scene is practically non-existant, you just see Martin slumped over the end of the centipede; In the UK version, this part go's on for 20 - 30 seconds, and is pretty nasty! There's no mention at all of barb-wire, but you see Martin Getting himself ready (Playing with his y-fronts), followed by him humping the centipede, with a LOT of screaming, shots of reaction from other members of the centipede, and like I said, lasts about 30 seconds and is pretty disturbing to watch. Absolutely NONE of that was in the VOD version.

    The baby scene: The scene is essentially the same, but when the bay comes out it's on the screen for a tiny (Very tiny) bit longer, but cuts straight from that to the car driving off. (Interestingly, some shots of Martin banging on the car and shouting have been removed.)

    When the centipede is being killed: During the shooting, one of the women pees herself, I didn't notice that in the VOD version - The shootings and throat slashings are the same.

    And that's about it!! Sorry if I've missed any parts!! To be honest, for a UK cut of the film it really wasn't too bad, I went there expecting to see next to nothing!!

     

    12th November   

    Limmy's Rant...

    Scottish comedian takes on the Tories and comes off worse
    Link Here

    Limmys Show DVD Brian Limond Scottish comedian Limmy has backtracked over a series of aggressive Tweets against Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family, after they sparked calls for him to be sacked by the BBC.

    The comic, real name Brian Limond, said: I have deleted my tweets, and I'd like to apologise for any offence caused. It is never my intention to offend.

    His Twitter rant started with a comment on William urging FIFA to relax its ban on the England football team wearing Remembrance Day Poppies. He tweeted: Would Prince William write to FIFA on behalf of the Scotland team wearing poppies? No. Cos he thinks ENGLAND won the war.

    That was followed by: I'd love to slide a samurai sword up Prince William's arse to the hilt, then yank it towards me like a door that won't fucking open.;

    Of the Tories, Limmy wrote: 'England voted in the Tories KNOWING what would happen, just like Germany voted in the Nazis KNOWING what would happen.

    After that attracted the attention of Tories he said: This is fucking excellent, I've got a shower of Tory cunts coming after me, retweeting everything. COME INTAE ME, TORY SCUM, COME INTAE ME!!!!

    When criticised over this, he changed his avatar to Stalin, and then to a picture of Thatcher with Die Now written in red over it.'

    Tory MP Louise Mensch took up the rebuke. She tweeted: How is it possible for a working comedian to put up an avatar of an old woman w/ red line over her throat & DIE NOW written across her face? Violence against an old woman totally beyond "free speech".

    She then enquired about Limmy's employment with the BBC... and Limmy reverted his avatar back to the photograph of himself, and issued the apology.

     

    12th November   

    Update: Don't Copy This at Home Children...

    India to end its smoking problem via movie censorship
    Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

    i hate you teluguHenceforth, every time an Indian actor is seen taking a puff on screen, a prominent scroll warning that smoking is injurious to health will run at the bottom. What's more, the actor will personally read out the ill-effects of smoking, say the new health ministry rules to be effective from Monday.

    According to the rules, all filmmakers depicting usage of tobacco will have to show a message or spot of minimum 30 seconds at the beginning and middle of the concerned film or TV programme.

    For films or programmes being made after Monday, a strong editorial justification for display of tobacco products or their use shall be given to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) along with at least a UA (Parental Guidance) rating.

    A representative from health ministry will also be present in the CBFC.

    Also, the names of brands of cigarettes and other tobacco products will also have to be cropped or blurred.

     

    12th November   

    Updated: Name Banners...

    Lebanese cinema with Spielberg's credits covered up spark international interest
    Link Here

    Adventures Tintin Secret Unicorn DVD A blog image at BlogBaladi.com has intrigued the world as it shows a Beirut cinema with Steven Spielberg's name covered over on promotional posters for the new TinTin film.

    Last year, a U.S. embassy memo released by WikiLeaks revealed that Spielberg had been blacklisted by the Arab League's Central Boycott Office in 2006 after making a $1 million donation to Israel during the conflict with Lebanon. Representatives from 14 Arab states voted to ban all films related to Spielberg.

    Films have continued to be shown in Lebanon and other Arab League countries, however, but the blacking out of Spielberg's name suggest that the issue hasn't totally been forgotten.

    Internet material promoting the film in Lebanon has not been similarly censored and carries Steven Spielberg's credits as per normal.

    Update: Spielberg Unbanned

    12th November 2011. See  article from  nowlebanon.com

    Bassam Eid, coordinator for Empire Theatres in Lebanon, said that General Security had nothing to do with the incident. Instead, he contends that the act of censorship was the work of a stupid employee who thought that covering Spielberg's name was procedure and was acting alone. When asked whether NOW Lebanon could speak with the offending employee, Eid refused, saying, I don't want to make it a big issue. I prefer no.

    Eid stressed, though, that Cinema City was the only theater affected by the temporary censorship and argued that had it been government policy, the film would not have made it to cinemas in the first place. As of Sunday evening, the strips of tape were removed, and Spielberg's name was visible on film posters.

    Regardless, others are not convinced this was an innocent mistake.

     

    12th November   

    Cult of Censorship...

    Uzbekistan bans the country's artists from using religious themes
    Link Here

    nafsThe Uzbek national security service (SNB) has issued warned to the country's leading artists against using religious themes in their work. The warning was issued at a special conference held at the end of October.

    At the meeting, an SNB representative told leading theatre and film professionals, writers, painters and musicians that the use of any kind of religious theme in their works was strictly forbidden.

    Following the KGB-style warning, a member of Uzbekistan's State Committee for Religious Affairs described how members of extremist Islamist organizations knowingly misrepresent the Koran, exploiting the fact that the majority of Muslims in Uzbekistan do not know the Arab language and cannot refer to the original text.

    It is thought that one of the reasons for the move to ban religious themes in works of art was the recent film Nafs (Desire) by the young Uzbek actor and director Farroukh Saipov. The film premiered not long before the special meeting of Uzbek artists, but Saipov's film was banned from distribution after the screening.

    Saipov is very popular among young Uzbeks as an actor and director. He is deeply religious and is also a member of a Muslim sect which is not recognised in Uzbekistan. Not long before the premier Saipov was arrested and charged with belonging to a banned religious organization.

     

    12th November   

    Offsite: Oz...

    The censorship trial that changed Britain
    Link Here

    Trials Oz Tony Palmer It was a cultural turning point for the country. John Mortimer QC --- who went on to create Rumpole of the Bailey --- appeared for the defence and saw the case as standing at the crossroads of our liberty, at the boundaries of our freedom to think and say and draw and write what we please .

    For the prosecution, however, it was a fight to hold back what they viewed as a tide of filth and immorality that was threatening to engulf Britain.

    Their case amounted to a solemn declaration that unless sex took place within the confines of marriage it was kinky and diseased.

    Brian Leary QC, the Crown Prosecutor, elaborated on his horror of inflatable rubber dolls and his amazement at the existence of sundry mechanical aids, advertised primarily for divorcees . He also maintained that rock n roll music was a coded plea for sexual perversion.

    ...Read the full article

     

    12th November   

    Newcastle Fun Police 'Appalled' by Flyer...

    Misery guts whinge at fun filled nightclub flyer
    Link Here  full story: UK Nightclub Adverts...Drink and fun frowned upon by advert censors

    tequila flyer advertLeaflets alluding to sexy fun have sparked a council probe and landed club promoters in hot water.

    Flyers were circulated across Tyneside causing 'outrage' wherever they went.

    Baring the suggestive image dedicated to oral pleasure the advert promotes a student night at the Riverside nightclub on Newcastle's Quayside.

    But 'horrified' residents, Newcastle, complained to council chiefs, claiming the material was crass and inappropriate .

    Stephen Savage, Newcastle City Council's director of regulatory services and public protection from fun, claimed: The content of the flyer is appalling and suggests a significant flaw in management control. The city council is awaiting comment from the operator's lawyers before considering further action.

    One local whinger said: It landed on my doormat and my youngest child saw it. I think it's outrageous that this material was circulated -- it takes no consideration of the people who might pick it up, like elderly people or young children.

    Last night Tarquin Van De Vaart, event manager, defended the promotion and hit back at criticism. He said: We at Tequila see no problem with the flyer. It's up to the reader's interpretation as to how they view the flyer. Those with a crude mind may think the worst.

     

    12th November   

    Offsite: Potatoes and Eggs...

    Brave music video from Pakistan pokes fun at the authorities
    Link Here

    beygairat brigade video The song, Aalu Anday, which means Potatoes and Eggs, comes from a group of three young men who call themselves Beygairat Brigade, or A Brigade Without Honor, openly mocking the military, religious conservatives, nationalist politicians and conspiracy theorists.

    Their YouTube video has been viewed more than 350,000 times since it was uploaded in mid-October. The song is getting glowing reviews in the news media here and is widely talked about, and shared, on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

    The name of the band is itself a satire of Pakistan's nationalists and conservatives, who are often described in the local news media as the Ghairat Brigade, or Honor Brigade.

    Local musicians have produced work in the past vilifying the West, especially the United States, but rarely do they ridicule the military or religious extremists, and none have had Beygairat Brigade's kind of success.

    ...Read the full article

     

    11th November   

    Update: Shame about American Prudery...

    Myths about the distribution of an NC-17 (adults only) film in the US
    Link Here

    shameAfter a showing of the NC-17 rated Shame at the US AFI Fest, National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian talked to TheWrap about Shame and the distribution of adult rated films..

    Fithian said about Shame:

    It would have destroyed this film to cut it down to an R rating. Too many filmmakers and too many studios do that, and I applaud Steve McQueen and Fox Searchlight for sticking to their guns.

    This is the kind of film that the NC-17 is designed for, and I think we need more bold filmmakers and distributors to make content appropriate for the rating and release it that way.

    Fithian then claimed that distributors reluctance to release NC-17 films was largely based on myth. He said:

    The first myth, is that theaters will not play movies with the rating.

    That's just not true. We've surveyed 100 of our members, and three of them said they would never play NC17s, just as a personal choice. So that myth is 97% false.

    And the other myth is that you can't advertise movies that are rated NC-17. That's wrong, too. Fox Searchlight released a Bertolucci picture a while back [9 years ago] called The Dreamers , and [company president] Steve Gilula says they got it played where they wanted to get it played. In terms of advertising, one newspaper in Utah wouldn't take advertising for NC-17, and that was about it.

     

    11th November   

    Distorted Censorship...

    Advert censor bans Kopparberg cider advert claiming that the noise-pop club music appeals to under 18's
    Link Here

    kopparberg tv ad video A TV ad, on 29 June 2011, showed, in black and white, various people walking from the street down into an underground nightclub. Text projected on the exterior wall of the club stated FIND THE VENUE YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED , text above the staircase into the club stated FIND THE DOOR YOU NEVER NOTICED . The ad then showed the dance floor of the club and various people dancing to music in slow motion amid flashing lights. Text projected on the wall of the club stated FIND THE CROWD WHO THINK EVERY NIGHT IS FRIDAY NIGHT . Superimposed text at the bottom of the screen stated Enjoy Kopparberg Responsibly . The ad then cut to a colour product shot of three Kopparberg cider bottles turning towards the viewer. On-screen text then stated PREMIUM CIDER KOPPARBERG FIND KOPPARBERG.COM . Issue

    One viewer challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it was likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 years of age.

    Cider of Sweden Ltd (COS) said all of the actors in the ad were aged 25 or over and that no one was seen drinking or holding a drink. They said the product itself did not appear until the end frame and was therefore disassociated with the nightclub scenes in the ad.

    COS said the ad's target audience was over-25s. They said they had used photography featuring a gig with an undiscovered new band and had aimed the creative treatment squarely at an older, more mature audience. COS said the song featured in the ad was by a band called Sleigh Bells who they had chosen because their age range and target audience were over 25.

    Clearcast said the ad's message was about trying something different and being alternative. They said the people featured were shown listening to great music and having a good time without the need for alcohol. They said they had made enquiries about the target audience of the band whose music featured in the ad and had received a CV from the band's record company that had assured them that the band's target audience were aged over 25 years. They pointed out that the ASA had received only one complaint, and believed that the ad did not breach the Code.

    ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

    The ASA noted that COS and Clearcast had argued that the people in the ad were not seen drinking and were not under 25, however we also noted that the BCAP Code required that TV alcohol ads must not be likely to appeal strongly to people under 18, irrespective of the age of the actors or how, if or when the product itself was featured.

    We noted that the ad showed people walking through a back alley at night before going down some stairs into an underground venue where people were shown dancing in slow motion to a live band. We considered that that scenario was likely to be attractive to a range of viewers, but that a hidden venue where people were dancing to live music was likely to be seen as particularly attractive by viewers under 18. We considered that that impression was reinforced by the statements projected on the walls outside and inside the venue and particularly the statement FIND THE CROWD WHO THINK EVERY NIGHT IS FRIDAY NIGHT which we considered conveyed the message that viewers should seek out fun and excitement at every opportunity, and was likely to enhance the appeal of the scenario to an under 18 audience.

    We noted that the music featured was a song by an American noise-pop band called Sleigh Bells and we considered that the heavy baseline and distorted female vocals, were also likely to draw the attention of viewers under 18 and we were also concerned that the song itself was called Kids . We noted that COS had argued that they had chosen the band specifically because their target audience were aged over 25 and we understood, from the Spotify and MySpace data that the band's primary audience were of around that age. We noted however, particularly from the MySpace data, that the band did still have a following amongst under-18s, albeit a less extensive one, and therefore did still have an attraction for that age group.

    We concluded that the overall impression of the scenario and music combined was one that was likely to appeal strongly to people under 18 and was irresponsible.

    The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social Responsibility) and 19.15.1 (Rules that apply to alcohol advertisements).

     

    11th November   

    Diary: Nutters Do Their Bit to Publicise Hide/Seek Exhibit...

    Catholics whinge at Brooklyn Museum art exhibit
    Link Here

    hide seek Hide/Seek
    Brooklyn Museum, New York
    18th November 2011 to 12th February 2012

    The art exhibition Hide/Seek cam to the public's attention courtesy of nutter rants targeted at David Wojnarowicz's 1987 short film A Fire in My Belly.

    Predictably, the Christians' crusade continues as local groups are now pressuring the Brooklyn Museum to remove the late artist's film from the exhibition.

    Both the Christian Post and Daily News note that the Brooklyn Museum has received many complaints from members of local groups outraged by the shortened, 13-minute version of the 21-minute original's ten-second segment in which ants crawl over a crucifix.

    In reaction to the forthcoming exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, Director Arnold Lehman said he received thousands of pre-programmed emails from a Catholic group. Lehman said the film is an important piece of American art history. He told the Daily News: For a city that prides itself on diversity and creativity, there couldn't be a better exhibition.

    Brooklyn's Catholic Diocese has also requested that the work be censored from the show.

    Meanwhile Pastor A. R. Bernard, who leads Brooklyn's Christian Cultural Center said: What is the point? I think this is the piece in the Hide/seek collection they really need to hide.

    Undeterred, the museum plans to show every piece in the Hide/Seek exhibition, which opens November 18 and remains on view through February 12.

     

    10th November   

    Lightweight Whinges...

    ASA reject complaints about HM TV fashion advert
    Link Here

    hm girls on film advertA H&M TV ad in the series "Girls on Film" featured a female model wearing a jacket and high heels, striking different poses for the camera.

    Nine complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive and harmful because they believed:

    1. the model looked unhealthily thin; and
    2. could give an unrealistic idea of a desirable body image to children and younger viewers.
    3. One complainant, who believed that the ad could cause unhealthy eating habits in vulnerable people, in an attempt to look like the model shown, challenged whether the ad was socially irresponsible.

    Clearcast said the ad mostly showed the model's legs. They said, although her legs were long and slim, she did not look unhealthy or emaciated. They said it was clear that the ad promoted the attractiveness of the coat and its low price and did not imply that viewers should attempt to look like the model.

    ASA decision: complaints 1, 2 & 3 Not upheld

    We welcomed H&M's assurance that they would take the complaints into consideration for their future advertising campaigns. We acknowledged that the model was slim and wore a short coat and high heeled shoes, which emphasised the length and slimness of her legs. However, we considered the ad was typical of those used for fashion products and that the model did not appear too thin for her frame, nor did she look unhealthy or emaciated. We noted the ad showed the model striking various poses in the coat and that on-screen text stated 24.99. We considered most viewers, including young children and women, would interpret the ad as promoting the design and price of the coat, rather than a desirable body image. We also considered viewers were unlikely to interpret the ad as encouraging unhealthy eating habits in vulnerable people, in an attempt to look like the model.

    We considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible, or cause harm or serious or widespread offence. We concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

    We investigated the point under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

     

    10th November   

    Update: Dotting the X's...

    .XXX domains enter the next introductory phase and are now more widely available
    Link Here

    xxx domain logoAfter more than a decade of debate, rejections and legal challenges, the Internet's governing body began accepting applications for .xxx websites from the adult entertainment industry on Tuesday, 8th November 2011.

    The so-called landrush phase signifies the true launch of .xxx websites.

    ICM Registry had already began accepting some .xxx applications from trademarked companies looking to use a .xxx address and those seeking to prevent their company from appearing on a .xxx website on September 7.

    Adult entertainment producers without trademarks can apply for .xxx website names for the next 17 days, with their general availability following on December 6.

    The chief executive of ICM Registry, Stuart Lawley, said his company had received 80,000 applications in this early phase. Presumably most of these were defensive, to prevent other people from creating an xxx variant of an existing website, so won't actually become websites in their own right.

     

    10th November   

    Can Religious Nonsense be Proved...

    No, but the nonsense of British libel law can
    Link Here

    Attempted Murder God Hidden Science A man is set to appear in the High Court to defend himself against libel allegations over a book review he wrote on Amazon's website last year.

    Vaughan Jones cannot afford representation and is having to defend himself alongside barristers acting on behalf of internet giant Amazon and Richard Dawkins who are also named as co-defendants. The Richard Dawkins Foundation had also published an article by Jones on its website.

    The case is being brought by Chris McGrath who wrote and self-published a little known book entitled The Attempted Murder of God: Hidden Science You Really Need to Know .

    Libel reform campaigners have expressed concern that the hearing is another example of how Britain's defamation laws disproportionately favour claimants, closing down debate particularly among individuals and organisations who cannot afford costly legal battles.

    John Kampfner, the Chief Executive of Index on Censorship, one of the founding partners of the Libel Reform Campaign, said:

    That a family man from Nuneaton can face a potentially ruinous libel action for a book review on Amazon shows how archaic and expensive our libel law is. We're pushing the government to commit to a bill in the next Queen's speech so that these chilling laws are reformed to protect freedom of expression.

     

    10th November   

    Updated: Human Centipede Gossip...

    Disappointing box office for the opening weekend
    Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

    Human Centipede II Full Sequence Human Centipede 2 has taken just 942 at the box office after opening in the UK last weekend.

    hecklerspray.com suspect that it has been streamed and downloaded online (uncut) more times than it has been seen in a cinema.

    Offsite Comment: Story is a few legs short of the full sequence

    10th November 2011. See  article from  cinema-extreme.blogspot.com

    Playing on just ten screens across the entire country, and predominantly at once-off, late-night festival screenings, Human Centipede 2 has taken just 942 at the UK Box Office, over its opening weekend. That's just in ten, individual showings, not ten screens playing the film three or four times a day!

    ...But..

    What the report failed to state, is that in the USA, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II has been doing very well, thank you very much! So far, the film has taken some $49,456 (US) in its Opening Weekend, playing on just 18 screens.

    ...Read the full article

     

    10th November   

    Offsite: Foreign Office of Communications...

    Scotland seeks greater influence over broadcasting policy
    Link Here

    scottish government logoFiona Hyslop the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs at the Scottish Parliament was interviewed on ATV Today about broadcasting in the country.

    ATV Today: What powers does the Scottish Government have over media organisations that are based and / or broadcast in Scotland?

    Fiona Hyslop: Powers over Broadcasting are almost entirely reserved to the UK Parliament and Government. The Scottish Government is seeking greater influence over broadcasting policy and has made a submission to the UK Government in an attempt to have this recognised in the Scotland Bill.

    ATV Today: Would you ever consider trying to implement a regulatory body to control the media and get rid of the existing governance from OFCOM and the PCC?

    Fiona Hyslop: There is significant difference between regulation and 'control'. We would ensure that appropriate regulation is in place for the media sector in an independent Scotland, as it is in other European nations such as Ireland, Finland and Denmark.

    ...Read the full interview

     

    9th November   

    Inciting Censorship...

    Private members bill introduced to give police censorship powers over YouTube videos
    Link Here

    heidi alexanderMP Heidi Alexander has launched a private members bill allowing police to censor social media videos that incite violence. She has been in the forefront of attacks against social media since the riots in August.

    MPs have now backed a call for police to be given censorship powers to block or take down YouTube videos that could incite violence.  MPs voted in favour of allowing Alexander to bring forward her bill, which will receive a second reading in March. However, the proposals are unlikely to become law without government support.

    Alexander told MPs:

    I am introducing this bill because I am appalled by the proliferation of online videos which glorify gangs and serious youth violence.

    Police, via the courts and internet service providers, need to be given explicit power to get these videos taken down or access to them blocked.

    I recognise the policing of the internet is always going to be incredibly difficult but unless we start to grapple with the online manifestation of gangs, I question our ability to really tackle the problem

    We can talk about gang injunctions all we like, and yes, there may be a need to stop a certain individual or group coming into a certain area at a certain time, but don't we too need to recognise that the same individual may be causing an equal amount of fear by his or her actions sat on a computer at home, or spreading these vile videos through social networking sites?

    Similar powers already exist to take down or block access to websites that could incite racial hatred or feature extremist material.

     

    9th November   

    Update: Pope Raps German Church Found to be Publisher of Erotica...

    Pope says prostitution, pornography threaten the human dignity of women (whereas a religious ban on sex threatens the human dignity of children)
    Link Here  full story: Religious Erotica...German publisher of erotica owned by church

    Pope BenedictThe pope has called for an end to prostitution and pornography, saying the practices denigrate women and represent a serious lack of humanity.

    The pope made the remarks as he welcomed Reinhard Schweppe as Germany's ambassador to the Holy See Nov. 7. The pope's talk focused on the church's role in defending human dignity... and no doubt the issue that the catholic church owned publisher, Weltbild, has been spotted publishing erotica.

    The pope said:

    A relationship that does not take into account the fact that a man and a woman have the same dignity represents a serious lack of humanity.

    With the materialistic and hedonistic tendencies that seem to be gaining space in the West, there is a growing form of discrimination against women.

    The moment has come to energetically halt prostitution as well as the widespread distribution of material with an erotic and pornographic content, including through the Internet in particular.

    The pope said the Holy See would encourage and assist the Catholic Church in Germany so efforts against these types of abuse would be more decisive and clearer.

     

    9th November   

    Updated: Faced Down...

    Facebook removes pages of bad taste jokes
    Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

    Facebook logoFacebook have removed pages dedicated to bad taste jokes about rape and sexual violence.

    Change.org has been campaigning against the pages for 2 months, and raised a petition of 186,000 signatures against the pages. In addition they ran a twitter campaign and a Facebook page of their own.

    One of the target pages, now removed was called : You know she's playing hard to get when... and featured wisecracks such as:

    •  Don't You Hate it When You Punch a Slut in the Mouth and They Suck It

    After removing the pages, Facebook's rep told AllFacebook that they take things seriously, and reminded everyone that reporting a Page is how to get offending content reviewed and also said that they've made the social reporting tool totally much more awesome because they care and stuff.

    Update: Tagged as Humour

    9th November 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    Facebook has removed several rape joke pages from its social network. However, controversial postings may remain if administrators add a tag stating they are humorous or satire.

    Facebook told the BBC:

    We take reports of questionable and offensive content very seriously. However, we also want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.

    Groups or pages that express an opinion on a state, institution, or set of beliefs - even if that opinion is outrageous or offensive to some - do not by themselves violate our policies. These online discussions are a reflection of those happening offline, where conversations happen freely.

    The statement's formal language contrasts with the firm's previous comments. In August it said: Just as telling a rude joke won't get you thrown out of your local pub, it won't get you thrown off Facebook.

     

    9th November   

    Mine's a Stiffy...

    UK drinks censor bans Stiffy's Jaffa Cake vodka drink
    Link Here

    stiffys jaffa cake kola kubez webA complaint about Stiffy's Jaffa Cake and Kola Kubez vodka liqueur products has been upheld by the Portman Group's Independent Complaints Panel for inappropriately linking an alcohol product with sexual success.

    The complaint was made by a drinks manufacturer which considered that the brand name Stiffy's was an overtly sexual reference which is banned under the Portman Group Code.

    In considering the complaint, the Panel noted that stiffy was a common slang term for an erection and considered that the brand name therefore had strong sexual connotations. The company, Stiffy's Shots Ltd maintained that the brand name had been chosen because Stiffy was the nickname of a person involved in the development of the drink; it had not been chosen for its sexual connotations. The Panel acknowledged that while the company may not have deliberately set out to link the product with sexuality, the brand name alluded to sexual success and accordingly found the product in breach of the responsibility Code.

    Henry Ashworth, Chief Executive of the Portman Group, which provides the secretariat for the Independent Complaints Panel, said:

    It is totally inappropriate for alcohol marketing to allude to sexual success and following this ruling and our enforcement action, Stiffy's products will be removed from sale in their current form. We would urge anyone who comes across examples of irresponsible alcohol marketing to complain immediately to the Portman Group.

    Alcohol companies must be extremely vigilant about marketing their products responsibly and we encourage companies and their agencies to contact our fast, free and confidential advisory service which last year alone handled over 500 requests for advice.

    The company, in consultation with the Portman Group's Advisory Service, has now changed the brand name to Stivy's.

     

    9th November   

    Sluts and Bolts...

    New US All Region Blu-ray release of Frank Henenlotter's Frankenhooker
    Link Here

    Frankenhooker Blu ray US James Lorinz Frankenhooker is a 1990 US comedy horror by Frank Henenlotter with James Lorinz and Joanne Ritchie. See IMDb

    The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

    Meanwhile in the UK, the Unrated Version/Director's Cut was passed 15 uncut for strong language, sexualised nudity and drug use for:

    • UK 2011 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon for release on 2nd January 2012

    Once Cut

    The cut US R Rated version was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:

    • UK 2000 Synergy R0 DVD
    • UK 2000 Synergy VHS

    See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com . The R Rated version is missing:

    • several scenes with sex and nudity
    • some scenes with drug taking.
    • shortened scene of an exploding prostitute and remains
    • shortened scene of a decapitated prostitute

    Summary Review: Explosive Fun

    Jeffery resurrects his fiancee named Elizabeth after a tragic accident. He goes out to New York City to look for some prostitutes and use a special experimental crack to make the hookers literally go out with a bang, he stitches all parts together along with Elizabeth's head then use lightning to resurrect her as a sleazy minded hooker who can literally kill men during sex.

    Entertaining and over-the-top horror comedy from Frank Henenlotter (director of Basket Case and Brain Damage ) brings another winning combination of laughs, splatter and sleaze galore.

     

    9th November   

    Updated: Miserable Gits...

    A few miserable complaints about wannabe X-Factor star partying and having fun in London nightclubs, and a few more about strong language
    Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

    X Factor 2011The X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza's wannabe rockstar antics have resulted in a few viwer complaints, with Ofcom launching multiple investigations into the 19-year-old swearing on stage and supposedly glamorising alcohol consumption.

    Ofcom launched a total of three investigations into The X Factor, two relating to the behaviour and portrayal of Cocozza and one into the mishandling of an on-air competition. Ofcom received about 150 complaints from members of the public.

    On the X Factor results show broadcast on 23 October Cocozza shouted fucking get in there when he survived the public vote.

    Ofcom is investigating the show for broadcasting swearing before the 9pm watershed, after receiving 102 complaints.

    The second investigation related to a clip aired on Saturday 22 October showing what each contestant or group had been up to in the week they had been off-air. This featured Cocozza, who was shown spending his free time partying in London nightclubs. It prompted 28 complaints to Ofcom that it glamorised and encouraged the misuse of alcohol.

    Update: Sacked

    9th November 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk , thanks to Nick

    rx5klmcsl. sl500 aa300 Frankie Cocozza has been pictured leaving the X Factor house this evening after being axed from the show following claims he boasted about cocaine-fuelled sex sessions .

    The cocky wannabe rockstar was ordered to leave the house this morning after he had broken a golden rule , which it soon emerged was related to drug use.

    A senior show insider was unforgiving about the wannabe's dismissal, telling the Daily Mail:

    Frankie is the worst role model we have ever had on the show.

    We couldn't have someone who thinks they are the next Pete Doherty -- and more importantly, acting like it -- performing to millions of impressionable children and teenagers. We did what we had to do and told Frankie to go.

    An X Factor spokesperson confirmed the news, saying: Frankie is leaving the show today after breaking competition rules.

    The X Factor's main sponsors last night acted swiftly after disgraced contestant Frankie Cocozza was axed over cocaine claims.

    Marks & Spencer, which has a deal worth several millions with the ITV show, removed Cocozza from its X Factor Christmas TV commercial with immediate effect. The company would not comment on the departure, but it made clear that its partnership is with the show and not individual contestants. Now that Frankie has departed the show he will not appear in the future edit, said an M&S spokesman.

     

    9th November   

    Temple of Insult...

    Indian nutters whinge that movie song insults the deity Datta
    Link Here

    deoolAfter screenings at international film festivals, Marathi film Deool (Temple) has drawn the ire of Hindu right wing activists. They have registered a complaint with the Censor Board demanding a song in the film, allegedly insulting a Hindu deity, be deleted before the film's release.

    We are demanding that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cancel the film's certification or at least delete the denigrating song before its release, said Shivaji Vatkar, Mumbai and Thane coordinator for the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

    He added that the organisation will undertake constitutional means of protest, including roping in the support of the several thousand Datta Bhagwan temples in the state and requesting all Maharashtrians to boycott the film. Vatkar claimed the song Phoda Datta Naam insults the deity Datta.

     

    8th November   

    Update: The BBFC Duty to Deflect Nutters Calling for a Ban...

    The BBFC gives Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 an 18 classification
    Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

    Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD The video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has been given an 18 classification by the BBFC. The BBFC is aware that some comparison has been drawn between the action in the game and terrorist attacks on the London Underground in July 2005. However, a full examination of the game makes clear that the storyline is far removed from these real events.

    The game is a continuation of the Call of Duty Modern Warfare franchise, with characters returning from the previous instalment in a continuing narrative. The game includes a level set in a fictional London in which Special Forces soldiers chase enemy Russian mercenaries through London Underground tunnels as the mercenaries attempt to escape on a train. The train, which contains no civilian passengers, crashes beneath Westminster Underground Station and the battle continues through the station up to street level.

    David Cooke, Director of the BBFC says, In reaching its decision the BBFC has given careful consideration both to the depiction of action on the Underground and elsewhere in London and the context in which that action takes place. The game neither draws upon nor resembles real terrorist attacks on the Underground. Nevertheless, the location of the action in familiar London settings, both above and below ground, establishes a context within which the tone and impact of the work may, for some, be more unsettling, and upsetting, than in previous games in the series. The Board's decision to restrict the game to adults primarily reflects some moments of strong violence, but also takes account of these contextual elements.

    The BBFC is satisfied that Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 3 contains no material that requires restriction beyond the 18 classification. The Guidelines at 18 accept the principle, repeatedly endorsed by the public, that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment in the absence of legal issues or material which raises a risk of harm. The BBFC has no legal power to refuse classification solely on the grounds of offence.

     

    8th November   

    Updated: Vermin Given the Blues...

    New UK Blu-ray release of The Exterminator
    Link Here

    The Exterminator Blu ray The Exterminator is a 1980 US vigilante film by James Glickenhaus with Christopher George and Robert Ginty. See IMDb

    The Director's Cut/Unrated Version was passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

    The BBFC commented:

    • Time had diminished the power and impact to the extent that it was no longer likely to prove harmful and so previous cuts were waived.

    Blu-ray Features

    • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
    • Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
    • Collector s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by critic David Hayles

    Extras:

    • Introduction to the film by director James Glickenhaus
    • Fire and Slice: Making The Exterminator - An interview with James Glickenhaus
    • 42nd Street Then and Now: A tour of New York's former sleaze circuit from director Frank Henenlotter
    • Audio commentary with Mark Buntzman, producer of The Exterminator and writer/director of The Exterminator II, moderated by Calum Waddell.

    Review from imdb Decent cult movie

    As far as I'm concern, this isn't even an action movie like it's usually classified - this is definitely a thriller. Sure there are lots of cruel scenes and bloodshed. It still isn't far as ultra-violent critics sometimes makes it to be. Violence is just something that gives audience the necessary shocks to built the excitement or to keep it up.

    Actors aren't brilliant and the plot is faulty but from time to time this movie gets very interesting and it has a great bunch of magnificent sequences and couple of really good lines. Not a perfect thriller but surely a decent cult movie.

     

    8th November   

    Haunt You...

    Phones 4U ghostly adverts wind up the easily scared
    Link Here

    phones4u haunt you advert Phones 4U's Haunt You ad campaign, which features a ghostly image of a child, has received 321 complaints -- the highest in the UK this year.

    A few viewers claim the ad, which will run through to Christmas, was too scary for children and adults.

    The complaints are being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

    An ASA spokesperson said: Members of the public have objected that the ad is unduly scary, unsuitable for children to see, scheduled too early and is frightening for adults.

    Phones 4U head of brand communications Caspar Nelson defended the company's advertising style: As far as we are concerned, our core audience of 16- to 35-year-olds recognises those horror scenes and gets our sense of humour .

     

    8th November   

    Update: Ratty Comments...

    Animal activists PETA complain about the killing of rats in the Battlefield 3 computer game
    Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

    Battlefield 3 Limited Xbox 360 Electronic Arts' recently released Battlefield 3 allows players to shoot hundreds upon hundreds of human characters but it also features the horrific and brutal snuffing out of a small and innocent life.

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have issue a press release in Germany saying:

    The realistic computer game Battlefield 3 treats animals in a sadistic manner. The game gives players the option to kill a rat with a combat knife in the back in order to then lift it by its tail, then toss it away.

    Killing virtual animals can have a brutalizing effect on the young male target audience. There have been repeated cases of animal cruelty in Germany, where young people kill animals. Inspiration behind these acts often came from movies and computer games.

     

    8th November   

    Update: National Knee Jerking...

    Survey finds support for closing down social networks at times of unrest
    Link Here

    Twitter logoMore than two-thirds of adults support the shutdown of social networks during periods of social unrest such as the riots in England this summer, new research has revealed.

    A poll of 973 adults carried out for the online security firm Unisys found 70% of adults supported the shutdown of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), while only 27% disagreed.

    However analysis by the Guardian of 2.5m tweets relating to the riots, part of its Reading the Riots study in conjunction with the London School of Economics, found little evidence to support claims the network had been used to instigate unrest. However, the BBM network was believed to have played a role in organising disturbances.

    Freedom of expression campaigners said they were worried that Britons were sanctioning draconian measures as ever more services shift online. Padraig Reidy, news editor of Index on Censorship said:

    It's very worrying that people would believe shutting down social networks would be in any way desirable. The vast majority of social network use during the unrest was people sreading information and helping each other get home safely. These kinds of actions would weaken the UK's position against authoritarian regimes who censor internet access. As we live more of our lives online, people should be conscious of the amount of power they're potentially handing over to government.

     

    8th November   

    Offsite: British Viewers Anaesthetised with a BBFC Tyre Iron...

    Why do we find the digestive tract so hard to stomach?
    Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

    Human Centipede II Full Sequence The BBFC's outright rejection of The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) in June surprised some. The film's predecessor, The Human Centipede (First Sequence), was passed uncut last year. It too featured human beings sewn together mouth-to-anus so they shared a common alimentary system, but unlike its successor it was disturbingly realistic. Expert advice ensured that the experiment it depicted would actually have worked. Any filmgoers in danger of being depraved and corrupted into emulating what they'd seen were thus presented with a workable blueprint.

    The new film, on the other hand, is outright farce. Its protagonist isn't a distinguished surgeon but a dim-witted car-park attendant. He makes no attempt to provide his victims with the nutritional supplements they would require, or even with water. He anaesthetises them with a tyre iron and attaches them to each other with a staple-gun. No one could possibly take him seriously.

    ...Read the full article

    I wonder if perhaps the Guardian blogger shouldn't also be targeting the lords and masters of the BBFC at the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS jealously guard the few things left that are considered obscene, and anything shitty is one of them. Perhaps they couldn't bring themselves to promise to lay off prosecutions for Human Centipede 2.

     

    8th November   

    Update: Legal Blocks...

    The state of play of Turkey's opt in/out website filtering
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

    Turkey flagTurkey's controversial opt in/out website blocking system was developed within the Draft Bill on Principles and Procedures for the Safe Use of the Internet as published by the Council of Information Technologies and Telecommunication (BTK) on 22 February 2011.

    Assistant Prof Kerem Altiparmak, member of staff at the Ankara University Faculty of Political Sciences, explained in a statement:

    Bianet filed a case with the Council of State requesting to halt the execution of the Draft on Principles and Procedures for the Safe Use of the Internet that was going to be enforced on 22 August.

    Very probably, the BTK contacted the Council of State as a result of the trial. Then, the BTK made a few amendments in the draft and postponed the application to 22 November.

    The Council of State did not dismiss bianet's request to stall the application because it was considered unjust but because the regulations the request was based on have been changed. In administrative procedures, a trial is being opened once. As the result of the case filed by bianet and the reactions of the public, the administration understood that the regulations were contrary to the law and amended them.

    The lawyer pointed to the changes in the regulation: The obligation to choose one of the four [filter] profiles has been removed. Furthermore, it was decided that a delegation of ten experts defines the contents of the internet packages. In the previous regulation the BTK could act the way they wanted.

    Altinparmak announced to file another case against the amended regulation that is going to be enforced on 22 November. He also said that they were going to claim the cost of the previous trial from the administration.

    If this trial should be rejected as well, they will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the lawyer indicated.

    To summarise:

    • The original August 22nd 2011 implementation did not go ahead after legal challenge by ISP Bianet
    • The government watered down the website blocking proposals a bit and delayed the implementation until 22nd November 2011
    • Bianet are still not happy and will launch another legal case ahead of the 22nd November implementation date

     

    7th November   

    Updated: Gates of Hell Trilogy...

    New UK ArrowDrome DVD release of Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, and The House by the Cemetery
    Link Here

    Lucio Fulcis Gates Hell Trilogy City of the Living Dead is a 1980 Italian zombie film by Lucio Fulci. See IMDb

    Passed 18 uncut after previous BBFC cuts were waived for:

    • UK 2011 Arrow/ArrowDrome Gates of Hell Trilogy R0 DVD at UK Amazon released today on 7th November 2011
    • UK 2010 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon
    • UK 2010 Arrow R0 DVD at UK Amazon
    • UK 2003 Protected/Vipco R0 DVD

    Previously passed  18 after 2:21s of BBFC cuts for:

    • UK 1992 Vipco
    • UK 1987 Elephant VHS
    • UK 1986 Network Distribution VHS

    The BBFC inflicted 4 additional cuts adding up to 1:29s :

    • All 53s of a girl vomiting up her intestines has been deleted
    • 8s is deleted from Michele Soavi's head being ripped off and his brains spilling out
    • Sandra falls victim to a zombie who has a penchant for brains, but 10s of this is not shown
    • Without her brains, Sandra (Janet Agren) attacks Peter (Christopher George) and takes his. 9s of cuts prevent us seeing the meal

    The 1981 1:01s cinema cut still applied

    • The cut was applied to the infamous scene where John Morgan gets his head drilled.
    beyond arrowdrome The Beyond is a 1981 Italian horror film by Lucio Fulci. See IMDb

    Passed 18 uncut for:

    • UK 2011 Arrow/ArrowDrome Gates of Hell Trilogy R0 DVD at UK Amazon released today on 7th November 2011
    • UK 2011 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon
    • UK 2011 Arrow R0 DVD at UK Amazon
    • UK 2010 Cornerstone R2 DVD
    • UK 2002 Protected/Vipco R2 DVD

    Previously the cut cinema version was passed 18 without further cuts for:

    • UK 1992 Vipco VHS
    • UK 1987 Elephant VHS
    And before that Vampix released the cut cinema version on pre-cert video in March 1982. This was b anned as a video nasty in November 1983 but was later dropped from the list in April 1985

    And before that it was passed X after 9 BBFC cuts totalling 1:39s for:

    • UK 1981 cinema release

    The cuts were.:

    • 18s have been cut from the prologue, ie the man being killed for witchcraft is missing several chain whippings, I have also heard that it is missing shots of his hands being nailed and his face melting after having acid thrown at it
    • The eye gouging of a drainage mechanic has lost 6s of the gouging
    • 4 cuts totalling 43s have been imposed on the attack of (very unconvincing) spiders on a librarian. These include shots of the spiders biting his lip, nose and tongue and also of them pulling his eye out.
    • 5s has been cut from a cleaning lady being impaled on a nail through the eye.
    • 26s are missing from the blind girl's throat being ripped out by a dog. this includes shots of blood gushing from the wounds and shots of her ear being bitten off.
    • 1s is missing from a child's head exploding after a gunshot.
    house by the cemetery arrowdrome The House by the Cemetery is a 1981 Italian horror film by Lucio Fulci . See IMDb .

    Passed 18 uncut after the BBFC waived their cuts for:

    • UK 2011 Arrow/ArrowDrome Gates of Hell Trilogy R0 DVD at UK Amazon released today on 7th November 2011
    • UK 2011 Arrow/ArrowDrome R0 DVD at UK Amazon recently released on 26th September2011
    • UK 2009 Arrow R2 DVD at UK Amazon

    Previously passed 18 with some BBFC cuts waived for:

    • UK 2001 Protected/Vipco DVD

    The additional video cuts of 1988 were waived along with some cinema cuts to the poker murder. The majority of the cinema cuts were retained though.

    And before that a pre-cut version missing 7:27s was passed 18 without further BBFC cuts for:
    • UK 1993 Vipco VHS

    It is assumed that the extra cuts were to try and smooth over the edges of the BBFC cuts.

    And back in 1988 it was passed 18 after a further 4:11s of BBFC cuts beyond the 34s of cinema cuts for:

    • UK 1988 Elephant VHS

    The BBFC's further 4:11s of cuts were:

    • Removal of all details of a girl being stabbed through the back of her head through to her mouth and of her body being dragged away.
    • The entire poker killing mentioned above has been deleted along with the body being dragged away.
    • The killing of a vampire bat and related blood spattering is missing.
    • Shots of decomposing bodies in the cellar and the disembowelled man on the table have gone
    • Norman having his throat cut by Fraudstein has also been removed

    The cut cinema version was released on pre-cert video in January 1983 but was banned as a video nasty in November 1983. It remained on the list through out the panic so became one of the collectable DPP 39's

    The cinema version was assed X (18) after 34s of BBFC cuts for:

    • UK 1982 cinema release

    The BBFC required 6 cuts totalling 34s:

    • 3 cuts totalling 16s removed an estate agent being subjected to two stabs with a poker. This included the slow motion gushing of blood from her wounds.
    • 3 cuts totalling 18s were imposed on the scene of a nanny having her throat cut.

     

    7th November   

    Update: Gamers Going Down the Tube...

    Modern Warfare 3 passed 18 uncut despite a few trivial nutter whinges
    Link Here  full story: Call of Duty...Nutters wound up by warfare video game series

    Call Duty Modern Warfare DVD The BBFC has given Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) , which is released, tomorrow, an uncut 18 certificate.

    The BBFC states that the game, which involves chasing armed mercenaries through London Underground Tube carriages, establishes a context which may be unsettling and upsetting .

    BBFC director, David Cooke, said they would not be restricting the game's London scenes. The board's decision to restrict the game to adults primarily reflects some moments of strong violence, but also takes account of these contextual elements.

    When news of the game's content leaked earlier this year, it was panned by the nutters of Mediawatch-UK for being in incredibly poor taste .

    Some bloggers have also reacted against a teaser trailer released late last week by the game's creators, which include gaming publisher Activision, stating it is heavy-handed and gratuitous .

    The trailer shows a parked truck full of explosives vapourising next to a mother and child. It's a somewhat heavy-handed approach to get some shock value out of the game's story, said Pete Davison, contributing editor at gaming website GamePro.com

     

    7th November   

    Coarse Complaints...

    Ofcom receives 2 complaints about a joke on Chris Moyles' Quiz Night
    Link Here

    One Direction Official Annual Annuals Channel 4 has come in for a bit of nutter stick over a joke by Little Britain star  David Walliams.

    Appearing on Chris Moyles' Quiz Night , Walliams agreed with Moyles that Harry Styles was his favourite member of teenage boy band, One Directio n. Walliams talked fondly about the singer's hair, and then cracked: I'd like to suck his dick.

    The show was aired at 10pm, an hour after the watershed.

    Peter Foot, the chairman of the National Campaign for Courtesy, said that Walliams's remark was worse than the legendary gag by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Foot Said:

    I've never heard of anything going this far. I'm amazed there hasn't been more of an uproar about this because that it is incredibly graphic language to use. It doesn't leave much to the imagination.

    Foot claimed that Channel Four could not justify the lewd joke by saying it was shown after the watershed as he said many teenagers could have been watching.

    Vivienne Pattison, director of mediawatch-UK, said that Channel Four's decision to broadcast the obscene remark demonstrates how far the boundaries of decency have been pushed.

    You expect comedians to push the envelope, but it's down to producers to check that it doesn't overstep the mark, she said. Chris Moyles and David Walliams have a huge young following. They are role models and responsibility comes with that.

    Instead, jokes like this set up a context of behaviour that somehow normalises and justifies it. This is leading to a coarsening of our culture.

    A Channel 4 spokesman said:

    The show was appropriately scheduled post-watershed at 10pm and viewers were warned of strong language and adult humour.

    An Ofcom spokesman said:

    Ofcom received two complaints about the episode of the programme, which was broadcast after the watershed. We will assess the complaints against the Broadcasting Code.

     

    7th November   

    Update: Disputed Impact...

    Australian games trade accepts the proposed censorship guidelines for R18+ games
    Link Here

    igea logoThe Australian trade group representing computer games producers has welcomed the proposed R18+ certificate for computer games.

    However the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA) says it is concerned about references in the document to the high impact of games on players.

    The document contains a segment on interactivity and computer games which says:

    Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the participant, as a general rule, computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.

    It goes on to say that interactivity may increase the impact of some content.

    For example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries, death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in sexual activity.

    iGEA chief executive, Ron Curry, said in a statement that he had concerns about the acknowledgment in the guidelines that interactivity had a greater impact on players:

    The Federal Attorney-General's office published a literature review in December 2010 that found no evidence to support these claims. There will be continued debate about whether the interactivity of video games has a greater impact than other forms of media, and we will continue to refer to the lack of the evidence.

    However, Curry accepted that compromises were made to sweeten the pill for opponents, and added that the new guidelines appeared to exercise a high level of caution and balanced the range of views towards classifying video games.

     

    7th November   

    Sent to the Sin-Bin...

    Australian advert censor has a whinge at Lynx advert taking a sexy look at the ruies of rugby
    Link Here

    lynx rules of rugby video New Australian nutters on the block, Collective Shout!, organised a whinge to the Australian advert censors of the Advertising Standards Bureau about an online Lynx advert having fun with the rules of rugby.

    UK's Daily Mail had also spotted the advert, and ran a piece fishing for 'outrage'.

    Anyway the Advertising Standards Board upheld the complaints about the advert and explained:

    The Video starts with the statement Lynx presents – Rules to the game – Episode #1: Rugby . A narrator then reads out a number of rugby rules while these rules are played out by a group of young women dressed in sports briefs and short shirts in the national rugby colours of Australia and New Zealand. At the end of the video we see the winning Australian team celebrating and the words Lynx Know your game appear. Voiceover: Go you good thing

    Sample complaints:

    • I was grossly offended by this advertisement. The way in which these women are dressed and the way in which they are physical with one another is completely inappropriate for national television. Having up-close shots of women's cleavage, butts and stomachs is incongruous with both rugby and male deodorant and is disrespectful to women.

    • This advertisement implies that women are nothing more than mere sex objects and that it is appropriate for men to stare at their body parts without remorse. I believe that this ad has been grossly influenced by the pornography industry and the hidden hype surrounding girl on girl pornography. I find it offensive that this attitude and fantasy has been given freedom to be shown on television.

    Unilever commented:

    The Video was posted on YouTube only Unilever has aired the Video exclusively on its Lynx YouTube channel. We have been careful to restrict the Video on our Lynx YouTube channel to users over 18 by way of using the YouTube age verification function soon after launch. We can confirm that the Video has not been aired on TV as part of an advertising media buy.

    Lynx is a brand with a history of fun, tongue-in-cheek, playful advertising. Lynx also has a proud history of award winning commercials which both entertain and surprise its consumers. We submit that the Video continues this tradition of funny entertainment and that the intended young adult male audience understands the playful and hyperbolic nature of the Video and its distinction between fact and fiction.

    ASB Decision: Complaints 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 that the advertisement features young women wearing sports briefs and short shirts demonstrating the rules of rugby but noted that the women are not depicted on a sporting field. The Board considered that the advertisement is clearly shot to emphasise various physical attributes of the women – with lingering shots on the women's breasts, groins and bottoms.

    The Board considered that the advertisement depicts the women as sexual objects and that the advertisement did breach Section 2.1 of the Code.

    The Board then considered whether the advertisement complied with Section 2.3 of the Code. Section 2.3 states: …shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and, where appropriate, the relevant programme time zone .

    The Board noted that the advertisement is posted on the Lynx YouTube channel and that to access the advertisement there a person must be over 18 years of age in order to view it. The Board noted that the advertisement has not been broadcast by the advertiser on television. The Board noted also that the advertisement has been rebroadcast by a number of third parties and is easily able to be viewed on the internet without any age verification.

    However the Board overall considered that the relevant audience of the advertisement are Lynx consumers over the age of 18. The Board considered that the content of the advertisement is in keeping with the style of advertising synonymous with the Lynx brand and that the women in the advertisement are all clothed. The majority of the Board considered that in light of the placement of the advertiser's placement of the advertisement in a restricted manner and the relevant audience the advertisement did treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and that it did not breach Section 2.3 of the Code.

     

    6th November   

    Patterns of Force...

    German TV finally shows the Nazi episode of the original Star Trek
    Link Here

    Star Trek Original Episode Patterns More than 40 years after it was filmed, an episode of Star Trek in which Spock and Captain Kirk dress up as Nazis has been shown in Germany for the first time.

    The Patterns of Force episode was never screened over sensitivities to anything Nazi.

    Broadcaster ZDF chose to schedule it after 10pm and warned viewers that no-one under the age of 16 should see it. In Britain the video is rated 'U'. Suitable for all.

    In the episode the Starship Enterprise visits planet Ekon where the citizens have begun behaving like Nazis. The swastika is displayed throughout the episode. The people of Ekon attempt to wipe out the nearby planet Zeon suspiciously sounding like 'Zion'. The people of Zeon are also referred to as Zeonist pigs in the controversial episode.

    Spock and Kirk steal uniforms to infiltrate the regime. The characters are surprised that such a culture could have developed on the planet. No doubt Kirk put the world to rights with a rousing speech or two. Pity he wasn't around 75 years ago.

     

    6th November   

    Less Adventurous...

    Old cuts to Deathstalker II just released on US Sword and Sorcery Collection DVD
    Link Here

    Sword Sorcery Set Region NTSC Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans is a 1987 Argentina/US swords & sorcery adventure by Jim Wynorski with John Terlesky and Monique Gabrielle. See IMDb

    UK Release

    In the UK, the Long Version was passed 18 after 22s of BBFC cuts for:

    • UK 1991 Polygram VHS
    • UK 1987 Lazer VHS

    From IMDb. The BBFC cuts were to remove:

    • All shots of the Ninja Star
    • The head clap in the wrestling match.
    • About 10 seconds of Reena's rape.

    US Release

    Meanwhile in the US, the Director Approved Cut is MPAA R Rated for:

    The director shortened the film by removing a lot of the cheesy B movie dialogue and 2 entire scenes, one between Sultana and Evie, and the other with Reena and the Amazon Queen getting a massage.

    The film then becomes tighter, faster paced and more serious. But sometimes it is the light hearted dialogue that makes a B movie worth watching. So some fans at least prefer the long version.

    The Long Version is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

     

    6th November   

    Offsite: Maybe it was Something they Said!...

    Women bloggers call for a stop to 'hateful' trolling by misogynist men
    Link Here

    troll woman with stickCrude insults, aggressive threats and unstinting ridicule: it's business as usual in the world of website news commentary -- at least for the women who regularly contribute to the national debate.

    The frequency of the violent online invective -- or trolling -- levelled at female commentators and columnists is now causing some of the best known names in journalism to hesitate before publishing their opinions. As a result, women writers across the political spectrum are joining to call for a stop to the largely anonymous name-calling.

    The columnist Laurie Penny, who writes for the Guardian, New Statesman and Independent, has decided to reveal the amount of abuse she receives in an effort to persuade online discussion forums to police threatening comments more effectively.

    I believe the time for silence is over, Penny wrote on Friday, detailing a series of anonymous attacks on her appearance, her past and her family. The writer sees this new epidemic of misogynist abuse as tapping an old vein in British public life. Irrelevant personal attacks on women writers and thinkers go back at least to the late 18th century, she says. The implication that a woman must be sexually appealing to be taken seriously as a thinker did not start with the internet: it's a charge that has been used to shame and dismiss women's ideas since long before Mary Wollstonecraft was called a hyena in petticoats . The net, however, makes it easier for boys in lonely bedrooms to become bullies.

    ...Read the full article

     

    6th November   

    Not So Odd...

    Odd Future banned from New Zealand music festival after complaints about homophobic lyrics
    Link Here

    12 Odd Future Songs Explicit If Odd future is booked to perform at a festival, it's inevitable that there will be some form of public outcry.

    The LA-based crew has now been pulled from the lineup in New Zealand's Big Day Out festival due to objections from locals who are offended by the crew's homophobic lyrics.

    Resident and activist Calum Bennachie penned a lengthy letter to the Auckland City Council, urging them to remove the group from the show. He wrote:

    People like Beenie Man and groups like Odd Future that promote hatred and discrimination against groups encourage violence against those groups. If it is acceptable to say something similar to Gays are a cancer on society that deserves to be eliminated?, then what group would be next?

     

    6th November   

    Updated: While the Barriers are Down...

    While Thai attention turns to the floods, police book and newspaper censorship is being brought in
    Link Here

    Thai Police logoAfter a cabinet meeting on 18 Oct, Thai Minister of Culture, Sukumol Kunplome, told reporters that the cabinet had approved amendments to the 2007 Print Registration Act as proposed by the Ministry.

    The amendments include:

    • Any print media, excluding newspapers, printed in the kingdom must identify itself by category according to criteria set by ministerial regulation;
       
    • The National Police Chief is authorized to ban the printing, distribution or import of any printed media which affects the monarchy, national security or public order and morals;
       
    • Those who violate a banning order by the National Police Chief will be punished with a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to 100,000 baht, or both.

    Under the new amendment, every publisher must apply for permission to have his license renewed every five years. In other words, the media will have to operate under the frightening threat of non-renewal - in addition to the constant possibility of being censored, suspended or closed down for publishing a story that could be interpreted by the press officer as undermining the monarchy, national security and law and order or the good morals of the country .

    An age rating system for printed media will also be introduced in the law because currently newspapers, magazines and journals are found to have content and pictures which are not 'appropriate' for young readers.

    The Ministry of Culture will work out the details of the rating system 'appropriate' to Thai society.

    The amendments will be vetted by the Council of State before being forwarded to Parliament, the Minister said.

    Update: Unconstitutional

    6th November 2011. See  article from  prachatai.com

    A Spokesperson of the PM's Office told reporters that the Office of the Council of State had rejected amendments to the 2007 Print Registration Act as proposed by the Ministry of Culture and approved by the Cabinet on 18 Oct.

    The agency, which is the government's advisory body on legal matters, told the government that certain parts of the proposed amendments might go against Section 45 of the Constitution which guarantees the people's rights to freedom of expression.

    The Cabinet then asked the Ministry of Culture to reconsider the amendments, he said.

    Update: From the Frying Pan into the Fire

    12th November 2011. See  article from  bangkokpost.com
    See also Editorial: Abolish the Printing Act from  bangkokpost.com

    After the Council of State advised that the bill would be illegal, the government claimed that all it wanted to do was to change the authority to close down printing shops and newspapers during a time of national emergency - giving it police and taking it away from army generals.

    The Printing Act of 2007 was enacted by the military-installed interim government, following the Sept 2006 coup that toppled the Thaksin Shinawatra administration. The law was presented as an update to the 1941 Printing and Publishing Act, which was used to suppress the Thai media in the past.

     

    6th November   

    Unwelcome News...

    Somalia bans 2 TV channels
    Link Here

    Somalia flagAuthorities in northern Somalia banned two private broadcasters from operating in Puntland, blaming independent media coverage for undermining national security as they grapple with potentially destabilizing violence in the region, according to local news reports.

    The Information Ministry in semi-autonomous Puntland banned the local operations of Universal TV and Somali Channel TV , accusing the stations of working with the peace haters who are always against the Puntland security, according to CPJ's translation of the directive.

    We condemn the ban on Universal TV and Somali Channel TV and call on Puntland authorities to reverse this arbitrary censorship order, said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. Accusations of carrying propaganda and undermining national security are clearly a pretext for silencing journalists who may deliver unwelcome news.

     

    6th November   

    Update: The Return of the Invisible Women...

    Jerusalem women fight back against the religious ban on women in advertising
    Link Here  full story: Invisible Women in israel...Women removed from the media lest men get offended

    haredim no women allowed signSix women met in Jerusalem to be photographed so their pictures can be hung from balconies throughout the city to counteract what appears to be the attempt to keep women out of advertising in the capital.

    A group that calls itself Yerushalmim ( Jerusalemites ) and focuses on issues of pluralism is behind the initiative.

    The idea is to return the city space to its natural state and turn the appearance of women into something boring, that no one notices, one of the originators of the idea, Rabbi Uri Ayalon, a Conservative rabbi who created a Facebook page called uncensored, through which the women signed up to be photographed.

    The six volunteers met at the Jerusalem home of activist Shira Katz-Winkler. One of them, Idit Karni, says: A minority can't take over the city and cause women and girls to disappear. I have four daughters, and I don't intend to leave them a city that has lost its sanity.

    Another of the volunteers, Tzafira Stern-Asal who is the director of a dance school, says she has had personal experience with the difficulty of putting women in advertising in the capital when trying to advertise her school. I finally had to limit myself to a shoe or some sort of fluttering material, which certainly reduces the attraction of the ad, she says.

    In the first phase of the project, 100 posters of the women will be hung throughout the city, focusing on the downtown area.

    The women believe the problem lies with advertisers, who self-censor out of fear of the ultra-Orthodox. Now we'll see the skies won't fall. I don't say it will pass quietly, but people will breathe easier when they see pictures of women returning to billboards.

     

    5th November   

    Update: Under Fire from Facebook...

    Now Facebook censor Charlie Hebdo
    Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

    Facebook logoPress freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) have slammed Facebook for threatening to terminate the account of a French weekly whose offices were firebombed after publishing images of the Prophet Mohammed.

    RSF noted with irony that Charlie Hebdo's staff could no longer edit comments on its Facebook wall , including those inciting violence, while the enemies of freedom of expression could continue to post hate messages.

    Apparently Facebook sent a warning messgae to Charlie Hebdo:

    Facebook has just discovered opportunely that Charlie Hebdo 'is not a real person', something that breaks the site's rules.

    The content that you have published on Facebook has been deleted for breaking (Facebook) rules. Postings with graphic, sexually explicit or excessively revealing content are banned.

    This message is a warning. Another infraction will result in the account being terminated.

    Charlie Hebdo journalist Valerie Manteau said that the newspaper has now taken down its Facebook page voluntarily and as a temporary measure because it could not edit the comments.

    It is extremely worrying to notice that the social network seems to fall on the side of censorship and restricting the freedom to inform, said RSF, noting that Facebook had already closed the pages of several dissidents.

     

    5th November   

    Update: Supplementary Cartoonery...

    Charlie Hebdo's brave Mohammed cartoons gets distributed with one of France's major dailies
    Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

    liberation logoThe French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose office was firebombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, has reproduced the images in a special supplement distributed with Liberation, one of the country's leading newspapers.

    The weekly defended the freedom to poke fun in the four-page supplement, which was included with copies of the left-wing daily on Thursday, a day after an arson attack gutted Charlie Hebdo's Paris headquarters.

     

    5th November   

    Update: Hopping Around...

    The Bunny Game on course for release in US, Germany and Scandinavia
    Link Here  full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

    The Bunny Game posterThe Bunny Game is a 2010 US kidnap film by Adam Rehmeier. See IMDb .

    The BBFC ban on The Bunny Game has ended the chance of a release in the UK, but it looks as if Brits will be able to import the film from a choice of other countries.

    German has now picked up the film for distribution via Illusion Unlimited, and the film will be distributed in Scandinavia by Njuta.

    There are hopes that a US distributor can be revealed in the next week.

     

    5th November   

    Update: A Wrong Message about Life...

    Sri Lanka announces bill to establish a Board of TV Censors
    Link Here  full story: Sri Lanka's Killing Fields...UK's Channel 4 comes uder pressure from Sri Lanka over TV documentary

    Sri LankaNew legislation will be enacted next month to set up a Sri Lankan Board of TV Censors.

    Cultural and Aesthetic Affairs Minister T.B. Ekanayaka said the draft Bill would be presented to the Cabinet next month and that it was backed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had received complaints of substandard programmes being aired.

    He said the move was a result of numerous complaints received from parents and other concerned citizens regarding the poor quality of the programmes, claiming that some of the programmes aired had given rise to a number of social problems: Most of these programmes are substandard and target teenagers and young adults. They give young people a wrong message about life.

    The minister added the Board of Censors would consist of eminent persons in various fields and will be similar to the board that scrutinizes films shown in the country.

     

    5th November   

    Registered as Censorship...

    Lebanon moves to censor news websites and blogs
    Link Here

    Lebanon flagA recent decision by Lebanon's National Audiovisual Media Council (NAMC) is catching a lot of flak. The council called for all news websites to register with it starting November 1, prompting fears the move is both illegal and a move to censorship.

    In an interview with NOW Lebanon, Abdel-Hadi Mahfouz, head of the 10-member NAMC, claimed the council merely wants to get an idea of the electronic media landscape in the country prior to passing a new law that would extend media control to include online publications.

    Mahfouz told NOW Lebanon that both news websites and blogs should register, after which details would be hammered out on how the two should be regulated in the future. He added that failure to register could result in the site being banned.

    Ayman Mhanna, executive director of the press-freedom-promoting SKEyes Center, said he feared censorship was the main goal of the initiative and lamented what he called the council's past dismal record of speaking up when journalists were beaten or intimidated as well as the council's lack of explanation for its recent decision. Mhanna said:

    Also, there are deep flaws in the decision . There's absolutely no clarity in terms of what they mean by 'news websites.' I really think that they themselves don't know the difference between official news websites, blogs, citizen journalism platforms [and the like].

    Change and Reform bloc MP Ghassan Moukheiber, who authored a new media law that would address electronic media and is currently under review in parliament, also questioned the decision, highlighting what he called its complete illegality.

    Moukheiber and Mhanna said that the current 1994 law does not mention electronic media at all, and therefore it, and the council it created, has no legal authority to regulate websites.

    Moukheiber said: This decision is not only [legally incorrect] but dangerous. Although it looks benign, legally [registration would be] a de facto recognition that electronic media are subject to the [1994] law.

     

    4th November   

    Forever Censoring...

    Immortals cut by the BBFC for a 15 certificate
    Link Here

    Immortals Cinemas November 11 DVD Immortals is 2011 US fantasy by Tarsem Singh with Luke Evans and Henry Cavill. See IMDb

    The film was passed 15 after BBFC cuts for category for:

    • UK 2011 cinema release

    The BBFC provided consumer advice:

    • Contains strong bloody violence

    The BBFC commented on their cuts:

    Company chose to make cuts to reduce violence in order to achieve a 15 classification. Cuts included:

    • removal of the bloody focus on a throat being cut

    • reducing the focus on young women dying, having been burnt

    • reducing the focus on eye gouging

    • removing the shot of a beheading, and

    • 'reducing some focus on large splashes of blood resulting from characters being killed.

    An uncut 18 classification was available.

    The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated

     

    4th November   

    Update: Adult Impact...

    Proposed censorship guidelines released for R18+ games
    Link Here

    australia games classification guidelines The Australian government has published Final Agreed Draft Guidelines [pdf] that incorporates an adult R18+ rating into the censorship scheme  for games.

    kotaku asked Brendan O’Connor, the minister in charge of censorship about the timetable for the introduction of the new guidelines.

    David Emery, the Manager of Applications at the Classification Branch, has recently estimated that it would be at least two years until he received an application for an R18+ rated video game in Australia. O'Connor maintained that we wouldn't have to wait that long, but did concede that there were obstacles that have to be navigated. He said:

    We need to make sure that the legislation is enacted in all of the jurisdictions so we can have this R18+ rating in effect next year. The commonwealth has begun drafting the necessary amendments and is on track to introduce it to parliament early next year.

    Meanwhile Australia's New South Wales Attorney General Greg Smith has appeared on Australia's Channel 7 News calling for the ban of Grand Theft Auto IV. The news story also targets Saints Row The Third , claiming it glorifies blowing up petrol stations.

    Elsewhere, Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby claims that Norwegian murderer Anders Behring Breivik's citing of Call of Duty as practice indicates that video games incite violence.

    Published Final Agreed Draft Guidelines

    Assessing impact

    The Guidelines use the following hierarchy of impact:

    • very mild - G

    • mild - PG

    • moderate - M

    • strong - MA 15+

    • high - R 18+

    • very high - RC

    Assessing the impact of material requires considering not only the treatment of individual classifiable elements but also their cumulative effect. It also requires considering the purpose and tone of a sequence. Impact may be higher where a scene or game-play sequence:

    • contains greater detail, including the use of close-ups and slow motion

    • uses accentuation techniques, such as lighting, perspective and resolution

    • uses special effects, such as lighting and sound, resolution, colour, size of image, characterisation and tone Dr 6

    • is prolonged

    • is repeated frequently

    • is realistic, rather than stylised

    • is highly interactive

    • links incentives or rewards to high impact elements.

    Impact may be lessened where reference to a classifiable element is verbal rather than visual. For example, a verbal reference to sexual violence is generally of less impact than a visual depiction. Also, some visual impacts have less impact than others: for example, an incidental depiction may have less impact than a direct one. Some depictions in computer games may have less impact due to the stylised nature of computer generated images.

    Interactivity and computer games

    Interactivity is an important consideration that the Board must take into account when classifying computer games. This is because there are differences in what some sections of the community condone in relation to passive viewing or the effects passive viewing may have on the viewer (as may occur in a film) compared to actively controlling outcomes by making choices to take or not take action. Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the participant, as a general rule computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.

    Interactivity may increase the impact of some content: for example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries or death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in sexual activity. Greater degrees of interactivity (such as first-person gameplay compared to third-person gameplay) may also increase the impact of some content.

    MA 15+ - MATURE ACCOMPANIED

    • THEMES The treatment of strong themes should be justified by context.

    • VIOLENCE Violence should be justified by context. Strong and realistic violence should not be frequent or unduly repetitive. Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by context.

    • SEX Sexual activity may be implied. Sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

    • LANGUAGE Strong coarse language may be used. Aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent, and not exploitative or offensive.

    • DRUG USE Drug use should be justified by context. Drug use related to incentives or rewards is not permitted. Interactive illicit or proscribed drug use is not permitted.

    • NUDITY Nudity should be justified by context. Nudity must not be related to incentives or rewards.

    R 18+ - RESTRICTED

    • THEMES There are virtually no restrictions on the treatment of themes.

    • VIOLENCE Violence is permitted. High impact violence that is, in context, frequently gratuitous, exploitative and offensive to a reasonable adult will not be permitted. Sexual violence may be implied, if non-interactive and justified by context.

    • SEX Sexual activity may be realistically simulated. The general rule is simulation, yes – the real thing, no .

    • LANGUAGE There are virtually no restrictions on language.

    • DRUG USE Drug use is permitted. Drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted.

    • NUDITY Nudity is permitted.

    RC ƒ- REFUSED CLASSIFICATION (Banned)

    Computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain any of the following:

    CRIME OR VIOLENCE

    Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.

    The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.

    Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years. Depictions of:

    (i) violence with a very high degree of impact which are excessively frequent, prolonged, detailed or repetitive;
    (ii) cruelty or realistic violence which are very detailed and which have a very high impact;
    (iii) sexual violence.

    Implied sexual violence related to incentives and rewards.

    SEX

    Depictions of practices such as bestiality.

    Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

    (i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
    (ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

    DRUG USE

    Detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.

    Material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use.

    Computer games will also be Refused Classification if they contain:

    (i) illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards;
    (ii) interactive drug use which is detailed and realistic.

     

    4th November   

    Update: Tinpot Dictator...

    Opposition parties unimpressed by Alex Salmond's football bigotry bill
    Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

    The Scottish Parliamentcensorial laws to targeting sectarianism in football are the stuff of a tinpot dictatorship , opposition MSPs have told ministers.

    In a debate at Holyrood, they said they could not support the Scottish Government because it had failed to make the case for the legislation.

    Labour back-bencher Neil Findlay derided a recent comedy evidence session from justice minister Roseanna Cunningham, who appeared to indicate that singing God Save the Queen or making the sign of the cross could, in some cases, lead to fans being arrested. He said:

    This is like some tinpot dictatorship where the national anthem could be outlawed and carrying out a symbolic Christian act could have you in the pokey. When the law is beyond satire, the law is an ass.

    Fellow Labour MSP Michael McMahon called the bill:

    the most illiberal legislation ever put before this parliament.

    When the First Minister claims that he wants to stop people reliving 1690 and 1916 on our streets, I ask him to reflect on this glib statement and ask himself how prepared would he be to consign William Wallace in 1297 or Robert the Bruce in 1314 to the dustbin of history and set his culture and heritage aside because it may give offence to someone.

    Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Green and independent MSPs released a joint statement last night, saying they had come together to send the strongest message possible to the government, asking it not to use its majority to force through the flawed legislation .

    The bill passed to its second stage after receiving narrow backing from the justice committee.

     

    4th November   

    A Parliamentary Question about ISP Internet Blocking...

    The Mood of the House is for action and legislation
    Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

    Andrea LeadsomOral Answers to Questions, Culture, Media and Sport, 3rd November 2011

    Andrea Leadsom took the opportunity of parliamentary questions to badger the government about ISP blocking for 'unsuitable' sites.

    Andrea Leadsom (South Northamptonshire, Conservative):

    Has the Minister seen a demonstration of TalkTalk's HomeSafe system, which enables families to keep their children safe not only from internet porn, but from sites on suicide and on bomb-making, and all sorts of unsuitable sites? Does he agree that unless internet service providers do more to enable family-friendly systems to protect children, the Government will have to legislate?

    Edward Vaizey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries), Business, Innovation and Skills; Wantage, Conservative):

    My hon. Friend makes a good point. I have seen the TalkTalk system. I have said to ISPs again and again that I prefer self-regulation to legislation, but the mood of the House is for action and legislation. This is not about censorship, but about giving families the tools to protect their children from inappropriate content, and we rely on them to come up with solutions.

     

    4th November   

    Update: TinTin JuJu Warning...

    Publishers of TinTin in the Congo cover it with a protective band warning of historic racist content
    Link Here  full story: TinTin Book Censorship...TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive

    Tintin Au Congo Aventures The Campaign for Real Education has condemned his publishers as over the top for deciding to package one of his early adventures, Tintin in the Congo , in shrink-wrap and with a warning about its content.

    George Remi, the Belgian artist better known as Herge, first published his tale of derring-do in Africa in 1930. When he re-worked it in 1946 he removed several references to the Congo being a Belgian colony.

    But the book still contained a number of images that were perceived as racist. One of these showed a black woman bowing to Tintin and saying White man very great...White mister is big juju man .

    The book's publisher, Egmont UK, said it recognised that some readers may be offended by the content. A spokesman said:

    This is why we took the unusual step of placing a protective band around the book with a warning about the content and also included an introduction inside the book by the original translators explaining the historical context.

    Whilst being frequently requested by fans and collectors who had seen it available in other languages, the work contains scenes which some readers may find offensive.

    The warning reads:

    In his portrayal of the Belgian Congo, the young Herge' reflects the colonial attitudes of the time...

    He depicted the African people according to the bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period -- an interpretation that some of today's readers may find offensive.

     

    4th November   

    Offsite: Cinema Extreme...

    Uncoiling The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)!
    Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

    Human Centipede II Full Sequence By now, you're all wondering if the film is worth it. How badly have the cuts affected the film. Well, having watched the cut version on DVD, I can now say that if you enjoyed the original, you will probably get a kick out of the sequel.

    Unfortunately, the cuts are very noticeable. There are at least two major censorship moments in which the scene builds-up to a murder, only for the living victim to suddenly turn up dead, without any explanation.

    ...Read the full article

     

    4th November   

    Confirming Religious Stereotypes...

    Offices of French satire magazine are destroyed in a fire bomb attack
    Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
    charlie hebdo hacked website

      Charlie Hebdo website after being hacked

    The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been destroyed in a petrol bomb attack.

    It comes a day after the publication named the Prophet Muhammad as its editor-in-chief for its next issue. The cover of the magazine carried a caricature of the Prophet making the comment: 100 lashes if you don't die laughing

    French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has described the petrol-bombing as an unjustifable attack on the freedom of the press.

    The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press. He said: If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.

    Charbonnier said the magazine had received several threats on Twitter and Facebook before the attack: This is the first time we have been physically attacked, but we won't let it get to us,

    Inside, there is an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons - one showing the Prophet with a clown's red nose.

    Charlie Hebdo's website has also been hacked with a message in English and Turkish attacking the magazine.

    Offsite Comment: The dangers of mixing satire and Islam

    4th November 2011. See  article from  blogs.telegraph.co.uk

    In a world that has been getting safer, one religion is stubbornly holding on to a violent past. I'm not going to call for ordinary Muslims to denounce terror. They do, fairly regularly. But it would be nice to think that one day in the not-too-distant future we in the newspaper industry can make bad jokes about Mohammed as often as we do about Christ, without fear of brutal reprisals. In fact, the right note to end on is to congratulate Christianity worldwide for leaving its savage past behind: let's hope Islam can follow.

    ...Read the full article

     

    4th November   

    Update: Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project...

    Kindly publicised by Facebook's censorship department
    Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

    bcabpp Ellen Gondola had breast cancer. One day, years later, she stood topless in an artist's studio and allowed her chest to be covered in paint, her cancer scars blanketed with bamboo and butterflies. She'd never felt so beautiful.

    But Facebook called it pornography, inappropriate nudity, a violation of the terms of use. The social networking giant took her photo down, and the encouraging comments beneath it.

    Twenty-four other breast cancer survivors have posed topless like she did. Most of their images have been taken down, too, creator and photographer Michael Colanero said, citing puritanical resistance from Facebook users who flagged the images as inappropriate.

    Gondola had joined a cause, the Fort Lauderdale-based Breast Cancer Awareness Body Painting Project, which has a group page on Facebook. Now she's part of a second cause, the Facebook No-Censor Petition.

     

    4th November   

    Ukrainophobia...

    Open letter to Ukrainian MPs about wide ranging censorship in the name of public decency
    Link Here

    Ukraine flagDear Members of Parliament,

    Reporters Without Borders, an international organization that defends freedom of information, would like to share with you its concern about Bill No. 7132 proposing amendments to the Protection of Public Decency Law.

    This bill, which you approved on first reading on 18 October, aims to ban pornography and the use of words or images of an obscene, vulgar and brutal nature in the print and broadcast media and on the Internet. It also aims to penalize extremist and offensive content and the defence of violence. While we understand your goals, we are extremely concerned about the methods being used to achieve them. We think that the very vague definition of banned content, the possibility of blocking websites without a court order and the failure to take account of the public's right to information pose a great danger to freedom of information in Ukraine.

    This bill's defence of public decency covers a very wide range of subjects, including not only pornography but also defence of fascism, appeals for war, Ukrainophobia, humiliation of handicapped persons and promotion of cigarette smoking. The response is nonetheless the same for all these crimes. The lack of clear definition leaves a disturbing degree of room for varying interpretations. Who will decide what promoting (...) terrorism and other forms of criminal activity covers? There have unfortunately been many examples in neighbouring countries of this kind of provision being used to crack down on every form of criticism. Our concern is increased by the fact that the bill applies to a very wide range of media.

    By default, the National Commission for Protecting Public Decency is granted excessive powers. There is no provision for supervising the committee and no mechanism for appealing against its decisions. It alone has the power to determine the degree to which any content comes under a banned category. It will be able to require Internet Service Providers to restrict free access to content deemed to be indecent within 24 hours and without need for a court order. Since not only content creators but also editors and hosting companies could be held responsible, overblocking will be likely, threatening the free flow of information.

    Ukrainian NGOs that defend the media are worried that acts of provocation, such as the posting of hate comments, could be deliberately used to get critical websites closed down. We share their concern. As in very closed countries, Internet Service Providers will be reduced to playing the role of Internet policemen without any autonomy. Whenever required, they will moreover be forced to immediately hand over a user's private data to the police in order to prevent banned content from circulating online.

    We regret that this bill does not weigh the legitimate need to combat terrorism and pornography against the public's right to information about subjects of general interest. This principle nonetheless lies at the heart of all the rulings that have been handed down by the European Court of Human Rights. The United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently recognized in a joint report that this principle also applies to the Internet.

    The news is unfortunately often dominated by violence or by disgraceful statements. Will these news events be censored because they fall within the definitions of the Protection of Public Decency Law? As international practice has often shown, there is a great danger that the bearers of bad news will be confused with those who were responsible for them. Journalists and bloggers are not responsible for the events they have a duty to report.

    We are of the view that, if implemented as its stands, this proposed law would violate article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which have been ratified by your country. We therefore think there it would redound to your credit it you were to reject this bill on second reading.

    I thank you for the attention you give to this letter.

    Sincerely,

    Jean-Francois Julliard

    Reporters Without Borders secretary-general

     

    3rd November   

    Update: It's Not Porn, It's Softcore!...

    German church owned book store gets defensive about its erotica section
    Link Here  full story: Religious Erotica...German publisher of erotica owned by church

    Ich will dich noch mehr In a press release, the major German publishing company Weltbild owned by the Catholic Bishops of Germany says the company is considering suing the slanderers who have accused it of profiting from porn, because the erotica sold on its website does not meet the legal definition of pornography.

    Last week media in Germany reported that the company Weltbild, owned by German dioceses and the bishops conference, carries 2,500 porn titles. The press also reported that the bishops had ignored the pleas of Catholics who had tried to halt sales of erotic book.

    Following the publication in the German media, LifeSiteNews verified that there were hundreds of erotic images, mostly book-covers, on the Weltbild site. Some of the covers featured full frontal nudity and explicit photos typical of the covers of pornographic magazines like Playboy.

    Weltbild was also found to be carrying softcore DVD's that would be deemed pornographic by Christian standards, but do not meet the legal definition of hard-core pornography in Germany.

    Since the story broke in the German media, the publishing company has been removing supposedly 'offensive' pages from its website and disabling search engine functions for searches on its website using words such as erotic.

    The bishops' company press release states that less than 0.02% of its annual turnover comes from the erotic offerings of the company and thus headlines such as Catholic Church makes a fortune with porn are simply untrue and defamatory.

    It should be noted, said Weltbild in its press release, that: 'pornography' is a clearly defined legal term. They add that according to that definition, Weltbild offers no pornography and has never done so before.

     

    3rd November   

    Update: Diplomatic Censorship Declined...

    Ofcom concludes that the Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, was neither biased nor misleading
    Link Here  full story: Sri Lanka's Killing Fields...UK's Channel 4 comes uder pressure from Sri Lanka over TV documentary

    sri lanka killing fieldsSri Lanka's Killing Fields
    Channel 4, 14 June 2011, 23:05

    The documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields , which presented evidence of alleged war crimes in the final stage of the Sri Lankan civil war, generated 118 complaints and alerted Ofcom to a range of potential issues including impartiality, offensiveness and the broadcast of misleading material.

    Sri Lanka's Killing Fields was a documentary which focused on: the conclusions of the UN report by the Secretary-General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka ( UN Panel Report ) into the Sri Lankan civil war in 2008/2009; the actions and policies of the armed forces of the Sri Lankan Government and of the Tamil Tigers ( LTTE ) towards the civilian population at this time; and the call, by the survivors of the conflict, on the international community to investigate the potential war crimes set out in the programme.

    The information about potential war crimes presented in the programme, which supported the UN Panel Report findings, was drawn from a dossier of evidence including film (such as mobile phone footage), photographs and eye witness accounts collected by Channel 4 in the previous two years.

    The Sri Lanka government were also displeased with being shown in such a poor light. At the time of broadcast Sri Lankan diplomats and leading forensic video 'experts' contested Channel 4's claims of accuracy. They claimed that video footage used to support the killing fields story was faked or altered

    Ofcom considered:

    • Due Impartiality and whether Channel 4 has presented the policies, arguments and actions of the sides involved in the conflict in a balanced way

    Rule 5.5: 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.

    • Misleading Material and whether the footage and eyewitness accounts obtained by Channel 4 (which was presented in the programme as the evidence that war crimes were committed) may have misled viewers through the broadcast of faked or manipulated material, and was presented in such a way that materially misled the audience.

    Rule 2.2: “Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must
    not materially mislead the audience.”

    • The programme included a number of images of murdered and tortured bodies, and also of partially clothed women who, it was suggested in the documentary, had been sexually abused prior to their death. Ofcom considered this material was potentially offensive.

    Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

    Ofcom Decision: Not in breach of the rules

    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 the 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 noted that:

    • Channel 4 did seek to include the viewpoints of the Sri Lankan Government and produced evidence that it had put all of the significant allegations included in the programme to them for a response in advance of the programme. As the Sri Lankan Government chose not to respond in full, Channel 4 could only broadcast the limited statement provided; |
       
    • the programme included - when the relevant evidence was presented - several official statements previously made by the Sri Lankan Government regarding the events in the final stage of the civil war. The narration at various points referred to the Government's official position. The programme also included clips of Government officials setting out that position stating for example that: there had been zero civilian casualties ; it was engaged in a humanitarian rescue operation ; all the civilians inside the no fire zones were rescued by government forces; and, that the first video of an execution shown in the programme was a fake. The programme also explicitly referred to the Sri Lankan Government's rejection of the UN Panel Report;
       
    • the subject matter of this documentary was clearly presented as being about the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war, and in particular, the serious effects on many in the civilian population of the offensive of the Sri Lankan Government against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) held areas of Sri Lanka. It was never intended to be an analysis of the entire conflict or the actions of the LTTE and Sri Lankan Government during the duration of the civil war as a whole. Consequently, the programme was only required to maintain due impartiality of the specific subject matter presented - which detailed the Sri Lankan Government offensive against the LTTE held areas at the final stage of the conflict. While the subject matter did present evidence which predominantly covered the actions of the Sri Lankan Government offensive, the documentary included explicit references to the LTTE activities at this time where this was relevant.

    Ofcom therefore concluded that overall Channel 4 preserved due impartiality in its examination of the Sri Lankan Government's actions and policies during its offensive and there was no breach of Rule 5.5.

    On the topic of faked or misleading material Ofcom noted that:

    • with regard to the overall editorial context, before the alleged faked footage was broadcast, the presenter Jon Snow explained that no international observers were allowed to enter the conflict zone and the official footage from the Government of Sri Lanka suggested its activities were humanitarian only. Therefore, the alleged footage of executions and torture, filmed on the mobile phones of Sri Lankan Government soldiers, according to Jon Snow represented public evidence of war crimes which demand proper investigation . Ofcom therefore concluded that the broadcaster provided viewers with this editorial justification for the inclusion of the mobile phone material and other supporting evidence;
       
    • the broadcaster took steps to ensure the view of the Sri Lankan Government – that the footage was faked – was made clear to viewers. With regard to the first clip shown, the presenter Jon Snow explained that the same footage had been shown previously on Channel 4 and it had been denounced as fake by the Sri Lankan Government . He then explained: the footage has since been authenticated by the UN although the Sri Lankan Government refuses to accept that . With regard to the second clip Jon Snow highlighted this was shocking new video evidence of the shooting of three bound prisoners filmed on a mobile phone. He also advised: we have had this footage analysed by experts who say it shows no signs of manipulation and appears to depict genuine executions. Metadata encoded within the video indicates it was recorded on 15 May 2009 in the last few days of the civil war ; and
       
    • the programme included eyewitness accounts and photographs to corroborate that the incidents of torture and sexual abuse recorded on mobile phones were not isolated, as well as other footage which the programme therefore claimed depicted systematic war crimes.

    It is Ofcom's view that the broadcaster therefore ensured that the audience was not materially misled regarding the nature of the content by taking reasonable steps before the broadcast to establish that the material was not faked or manipulated, and informing the audience of those steps during the programme.

    And on the subject of offensive images, Ofcom said that the images included in this programme, whilst brutal and shocking, would not have exceeded the expectations of the audience for this Channel 4 documentary scheduled well after the watershed with very clear warnings about the nature of the content.

    Not in Breach of Rules 2.2, 2.3 and 5.5

     

    3rd November   

    Update: Extreme Concern...

    New Russian software set to search the net for supposedly extremist comments set to be launched in December
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

    rozkomnadroz logoReporters Without Borders condemns plans by Roskomnadzor, Russia's federal supervisory agency for communications, information technology and mass media, to use search software to track down extremist content on the Internet. The agency is currently testing the software and intends to start using it in December.

    When Roskomnadzor's software, using very vague criteria, decides that a website has extremist content, the site will be given three days to remove it. If it fails to comply, it will be sent two further warnings and then it will be closed down.

    In a separate development, the justice ministry has announced a contest for the design of software that it could use for scanning and monitoring Internet content. It would scan for anything posted online about the Russian government and judicial system, and any European Union statement concerning Russia.

    Our main concern is Roskomnadzor's very broad definition of 'extremist' content and the arbitrary and disproportionate nature of the sanctions, that can include website closure, Reporters Without Borders said: The creation of this software will establish a generalized system of surveillance of the Russian Internet that could eventually lead to the withdrawal of all content that troubles the authorities. It will inevitably restrict the free flow of information.

     

    2nd November   

    Updated Blu-Mimicry...

    UK Blu-ray release of the new Director's Cut of Mimic
    Link Here

    Mimic Directors Blu ray Mira Sorvino Mimic is a 1997 US Sci-Fi horror by Guillermo del Toro. See IMDb

    The Director's Cut was passed 15 uncut for:

    • UK 2011 Studio Canal Online
    • UK 2011 Studio Cana/Optimuml RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon just released on 31st October 2011

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

    From Promotional Material:

    This all new cut of the film, featuring seven minutes of restored footage, introduces subtle character moments that transform Mimic into a film that Del Toro fans and newcomers alike will embrace as the definitive version.

    Extras:

    • Video prologue with director Guillermo del Toro
    • Audio commentary with director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro
    • Reclaiming Mimic Featurette
    • A leap in evolution, the creatures of Mimic featurette
    • Back into the tunnels,  shooting Mimic featurette
    • Deleted scenes
    • Storyboard animatics
    • Gag reel
    • Theatrical trailer

     

    2nd November   

    Lightly Blue Dolce and Gabbana Advert...

    ASA dismisses complaint about passionate embrace and untied bikini knot on outdoor digital poster
    Link Here

    d dolce gabbana westfield A digital poster near Westfield shopping centre in west London, for Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Fragrance, viewed on 17 July 2011, featured a man and woman in swimwear emerging from the sea. They kissed passionately and the man began to undo the woman's bikini top. A clapperboard appeared in front of the couple and obscured them from view. The ad cut to a long shot of the couple embracing by the sea, and an image of the product appeared. Throughout the ad a still image to the right of the screen pictured the product.

    A complainant challenged whether the sexual content in the ad was offensive and unsuitable for an untargeted medium that could be seen by children.

    This was considered under the rule CAP Code (Edition 12) 1.34.1. This edition of the rules is before the new restrictive censorship guidelines have come into effect to appease the sexualisation lobby.

    P&G Prestige Products said the ad was a small part of an extensive print and TV advertising campaign. They said the digital poster had been cleared by Clearcast to be broadcast on TV, with an ex-kids restriction. They said that a similar TV ad, also given an ex-kids restriction, had resulted in one complaint to the ASA, but it was found that it did not breach the BCAP Code. P&G said that an overview of the entire campaign showed that it was not based on shocking viewers with overtly and unacceptably sexual imagery. They believed the campaign as a whole was prepared and executed responsibly, in line with sector norms, and that it was most unlikely to cause harm or offence.

    P&G said they were mindful of societal concerns about sexualised imagery in outdoor advertising. Nonetheless, although the ad was sensual, they thought it fell short of the elements of sexuality seen in other ads which had had complaints upheld against them in relation to harm and offence.

    ASA Decision: Complaint not upheld

    The ASA acknowledged the ad showed the man undoing the knot of the woman's bikini top, but noted that there was no explicit nudity. We also acknowledged that, although the couple kissed passionately, there was no explicit sexual content. We noted that the majority of people who walked past the digital poster site were over 16 years old, and considered that any young children in that location would be accompanied by adults. We also considered the ad was unlikely to particularly attract the attention of young children.

    We acknowledged the ad would not be to everyone's taste, but we considered that, because it contained only a low level of nudity and limited sexual content, the ad was not irresponsible and it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

    We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

     

    2nd November   

    Update: A Few 'Outraged' Tweets...

    A testicular cancer check on ITV's This Morning
    Link Here

    this morning logoThis Morning 'stunned' a few easily offended viewers by showing a naked model being checked for testicular cancer live on air.

    The ITV1 magazine show had been running a feature on male-related cancers when they showed a man having his testicles examined by the show's doctor. The intimate shots showed the model, naked save for a white dressing gown, having his genitals examined by Dr Chris Steele as host Phillip Schofield looked on.

    Reaction to the today's footage was largely positive however, with many congratulating This Morning for tackling a serious health issue head on.

    However, not all reaction to the daring segment was positive, as some viewers were left stunned and bemused by the intimate examination. The Daily Mail scoured Twitter and found 2 tweets:

    • I know it's for a good reason but watching a mans testicles on this morning was strange
    • No This Morning, I do not want to see testicles on my TV screen at lunch time.

    A spokesperson for This Morning said:

    Testicular cancer is an important issue to our viewers and the item and advice offered on today's programme - which we have covered before with lots of positive feedback - has again generated many positive comments and no complaints.

    But as usually lately, Vivienne Pattison offered up her trivial sound bite via the Sun:

    Vivienne Pattison, director of MediaWatch UK, which campaigns for responsible broadcasting, said: "Lots of people were offended."

     

    2nd November   

    Offsite: Maniacs at the FSK...

    Director Tim Sullivan comments on his trouble at the German film censor
    Link Here

    2001 Maniacs Field Screams Extreme Tim Sullivan, director of  2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams was sent the official cuts list with 15 edits and the following explanation from the German film censors of FSK:

    (Comments by Tim Sullivan)

    This film is a mix of Trash, Splatter und Slasher-Horror-Comedy . (EXACTLY!) The comical intention to show everything as a sharp satire and the breaking of every single taboo is quickly recognizable. (Wait a minute, you DO know what we're up too!) All sequences follow this principle, even with the consequence to show every action or character in a sexual way. (Um, sex and horror kinda go hand in hand, Herr Censor. Or didn't you know that?) .

    The sequences are filled with racist commentaries while references to the civil war are made. There are jokes about Jews as well as degrading and cynical comments about races and minorities to emphasize the slaughterings. (DUH!!!! This is a SATIRE about racism and the way the conservative factions stereotype the liberal factions- and vice versa!)

    There are human body parts for dinner and lots of sex. (Always a good combo!) The road trip is an orgy of terror in which sex and violence are directly connected. The killings are celebrated in epic proportions as one huge party. (That would actually make a great tagline!)

    The style of the film celebrates violence as lustful. Revenge is the primary motive as well as raping the innocent for pure self satisfaction. The film goes beyond any taboos and connects sex directly with violence. (That's the point, for God's sake! That's what the Maniacs are all about! That's why they are called, well... MANIACS!) The destruction of human life and bodies is shown just for the sake of it.

    In this movie all borders are crossed and this might cause desensitizing and brutalizing of the youth.

    ...Read the full article

    The UK release was uncut by the BBFC for:

     

    2nd November   

    Proper Internet Utilisation...

    Malaysia calls for a level of censorship that will not actually be censorship, just banning porn and negative elements
    Link Here

    Malaysia flagMalaysia will call on the international community to embark on a campaign to save the younger generation as well as the next generations from moral degradation arising from exposure to negative elements on the Internet.

    Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the matter would be conveyed at the current London Conference on Cyberspace which..

    He said Malaysia would also articulate its view on the enforcement of the law either domestically or internationally, which he said, should not be regarded as an act of Internet censorship.

    There should also be a commonly accepted stand to deal with child pornography and pornography in general, he told Bernama and RTM after visiting the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS).

    In Malaysia, Rais said, cyberspace matters should be seen from the point of view of how the Internet, through its social media, can be used responsibly within the perimeters of the country's law. But when we say this, let it not mean that the Internet or the social media is subject to censorship. The law is the law and should be respected, he said, adding that the conference would galvanise understanding among the international community on 'proper' Internet utilisation.

     

    2nd November   

    Norms of Behaviour...

    UK calls for a level of censorship that is half way between freedom and control
    Link Here

    Ragged Union JackGovernments must not clamp down on Internet and mobile phone networks at times of social unrest, the British government said weeks after suggesting police should do just that during riots. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the fact that criminals and terrorists can exploit digital networks is not justification for states to censor their citizens.

    And Prime Minister David Cameron said governments must not use cybersecurity as an excuse for censorship or to deny their people the opportunities that the Internet represents. The prime minister told the conference that:

    governments cannot leave cyberspace open to the criminals and the terrorists that threaten our security and our prosperity but at the same time we cannot just go down the heavy-handed route. The balance we have got to strike is between freedom and a free-for-all.

    Cameron and Hague spoke as a two-day international cybersecurity conference opened Tuesday in London. Their stance contrasts with calls by Russia and China for tighter regulation of the Internet through binding international treaties. 

    Britain supports the less proscriptive idea of internationally agreed online norms of behavior. That approach was backed by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who warned against imposing a repressive global code for the Internet.

    John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship:

    It's very easy to defend the case of black and white, human rights against dictatorships around the world, said  But as soon as our own Western-style stability of the state is called into question, well then freedom of expression is expendable. There should be one rule for all, including Western governments.

     

    2nd November   

    Update: Australia Slow to Grow Up...

    Adult gaming looks set to be delayed for another couple of years yet
    Link Here

    game macquarie university logo Macquarie University hosted a public debate on the politics of play as part of the university's GAME festival, organised by the Interactive Media Institute. The debate considered issues surrounding the creation of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia and how interactive entertainment is treated compared to other forms of media such as films, as well as the impact of games on society.

    One of the things that came out of the debate was the news that it seems that the already agreed introduction of an R18+ certificate for computer games looks unlikely to be introduced prior to the wider classification  review.

    The final report of the classification review is expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2012. Even if the recommended changes to the classification scheme are adopted, it still is probably going to take another couple of years before you're actually going to get an R18 you can apply for like a conventional classification that you have today, said David Emery from the Classification Branch, which is a public body supporting the operations of the Classification Board.

    Emery said the legacy system of classification that Australia has been saddled with is a product of the R18 issue not being alive when the current classification scheme was created: Games are for kids, kids shouldn't have R material, and that's how it was; we've ended up with a legacy system... the fact of the matter is that it took a long time for a head of steam to get up from the gaming community to call for R18. It's really only been the last 18 months it's come onto the government's radar in a significant form.

     

    2nd November   

    Update: Prejudicial or What?...

    Lawyer argues that porn use should always be revealed in court
    Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

    usual suspects porn userEver been tempted to look at porn on the internet? After all, pornography is viewed by 35.9 % of UK internet users.

    It's unlikely many of these are more than casual sauce-surfers, idling away a few moments of spare time over their lunchtime pot noodle. Certainly - or rather, hopefully - very few, fuelled by a cyber-fix, would develop a thirst for violence or even murder. Unfortunately, it did in the case of Vincent Tabak. And yet his predilection for hard-core and violent pornography - including images of women being held by the neck saying choke me - was kept from the jury in the Jo Yeates murder case.

    An outrage since in my mind this was a scorching piece of evidence which directly played to the mindset of the accused. Without it, the Crown just about limped home with a conviction after the jury deliberated for two days before returning a 10 - 2 majority. A very close call for the Crown.

    ...

    It's time to smash this disgraceful contradiction by carving the legal position in statute.

    In my view, anyone watching internet porn should know that if they subsequently become a defendant or witness in criminal proceedings, their cyber spectating could be open to questioning in court, if relevant to the charge. Every day minds are polluted by the toxic trash being pedalled on the web. Yet the law seems to protect a violent killer tanked up on gruesome internet footage whilst exposing an innocent witness for his lamentable sexual interest.

    At the moment a judge has a discretion to make this call. It's not enough. If he errs on the side of caution, suppresses evidence arbitrarily and gets it wrong, a vicious murderer could walk free. The scales of justice between the probative and the prejudicial need to be rebalanced. The law needs to stand as a serious deterrent.

    There are 755 million porn-heavy pages on the web, generating 60billion a year in filth-soaked revenue. And nearly 36% of the population are looking at it. One of them could be you. Would you take a peek if you knew your secret wasn't safe?

     

    2nd November   

    EU Controls...

    EU Commissioner looks for all internet devices to have installed parental controls
    Link Here

    EU flagThe EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has called for all Internet-connected devices to be produced with parental controls installed by default.

    In a speech to the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg, Kroes praised existing self-regulation initiatives but put forward a list of measures for industry to implement in the next 18 months:

    • children should be able to easily report abusive content, cyber-bullying or grooming using a single-click system;
    • children's profiles on services like social networking sites should be set to privacy by default;
    • Internet-connected devices should have parental controls installed also by default;
    • age-rating and content classification systems need expansion and improvement

    It is not yet clear whether installed by default is intended to mean installed and activated by default . It is also unclear what sort of parental controls Kroes has in mind, whether parental control software installed on home computers and under the complete control of the user, or internet blocking implemented at the network level.

     

    2nd November   

    Miserable Lawyers...

    Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association petition the High Court to demand that the government stops all porn in the country
    Link Here

    Bangladesh flagThe Bangladesh High Court has asked the government to explain in four weeks why the spread of pornography should not be stopped.

    The court came up with the rule as Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association filed a writ petition as a public interest litigation seeking directives to end the spread of pornography through websites, mobile phone, CV, VCD, printed magazines etc.

    The petition said the information technology is being abused to spread pornography materials and it should be stopped for the protection of private life.

     

    2nd November   

    Given a Bit of Lip...

    Chapsticks adverts gets people's arses up
    Link Here

    chapstick advertThe US lip balm brand ChapStick is in hot water over supposed 'outrage' at the sexually perceived nature of their latest print advertisement. The ad, which features a woman scrambling around a couch, is entitled WHERE DO LOST CHAPSTICKS GO? and ran in print publications.

    The conclusion by those that found this offensive, is that this advertisement is objectifying women by centering on the woman's backside. Apparently on online Facebook posting of the advert also had the filename Ass.jpg, according to the site Redefine Girly.

    After receiving backlash in the comments of the Facebook post, administrators of the Facebook page began to delete some of the messages, which brought on cries of censorship and irony . Ultimately, ChapStick pulled the image off of their Facebook page and their website, later posting the following apology:

    We see that not everyone likes our new ad, and please know that we certainly didn't mean to offend anyone! Our fans and their voices are at the heart of our new advertising campaign, but we know we don't always get it right. We've removed the image and will share a newer ad with our fans soon!

     

    1st November   

    Updated: Boys in Blu...

    Theatrical Version of Maniac Cop released uncut on UK Blu-ray
    Link Here

    Maniac Cop Blu ray Maniac Cop is a 1988 US action film by William Lustig. See IMDb

    The Theatrical Version was passed 18 uncut for:

    • UK 2011 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon just released on 31st October 2011

    Release details from our special feed with Cult Labs

    Police brutality never felt so good

    Notorious video nasty creator William Lustig and B-Movie legend Larry Cohen return to the dirty streets for a unique high speed collision of the slasher movie and police thriller in Maniac Cop, a blood splattered tale of brutal cop vengeance from beyond the grave.

    When reports come in of a man in a police uniform committing gore drenched bloody murder on the city streets, officer Jack Forrest (Bruce Campbell) stands accused. Now, with few friends, powerful enemies and a psychopathic slayer still at large, it's up to Jack to prove he's not guilty and bring down the killer. Now, Arrow Video brings the Maniac Cop back from the 80s video vault to stalk the night time streets once more, looking for fresh victims...

    THIS EDITION CONTAINS:

    • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
    • Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
    • Collector's booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author Troy Howarth and The Original Maniac: An interview with William Lustig, adapted from Calum Waddell's book Taboo Breakers

    SPECIAL FEATURES:

    • Brand new High Definition transfer of film film
    • Exclusive UK introduction to the film from star Tom Atkins
    • Doomed Detective: Tom Atkins on Maniac Cop
    • Lady of the Night: Laurene Landon remembers Maniac Cop
    • Scripting a new Slasher Super-Villain: Larry Cohen on Matt Cordell
    • Trailer

    Original Art by Rick Melton

    In original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
    Original Stereo 2.0 Audio
    Optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired
    Feature and extras 1080/24p Region ABC Blu-ray playable worldwide

    Previously, the Extended Version/Japanese TV Version was passed 18 uncut with previous cuts waived for:

    See pictorial version details from movie-censorship.com :

    The Japanese TV Version runs 5:36s longer and includes additional dialogue and an alternative ending

    Before that, the Theatrical Version was passed 18 after 5s of BBFC cuts for:
    • UK 2000 Synergy R2 DVD
    • UK 1991 Channel 5 VHS
    • UK 1989 Lazer VHS
    • UK 1988 cinema release

    The BBFC cuts were:

    • The cut is to the shower scene and involves Robert Z'Dar getting stabbed in the back with a knife. It's a shot of the knife going in and out again
    • Also cuts to the torture of Z'Dar as his face gets carved with a knife.

    Summary Review: Worth a watch

    This film has a good B-movie cast with Tom Atkins, Richard Roundtree and Bruce Campbell.

    Some good tension is built up in the various chases around the city and overall this is definitely worth a watch.

     

    1st November   

    Update: Jane's Legacy...

    Liz Longhurst disappointed by the crap law that persecutes the innocent and doesn't pick up on the guilty
    Link Here  full story: Vincent Tabak Knee Jerk...Aftermath of a murder conviction

    Martin Salter and Liz LonghurstLiz Longhurst, the woman who fought for a ban on violent online pornography after her daughter's murder, has said she is disappointed it has not been more effective.

    She said: I was glad that the law had been passed in 2009 but I did not feel it was necessarily going to have a tremendously marvellous effect.

    I was rather surprised that really very few cases have been brought. There have been lots of cases of [connected with] child pornography but not many with adult pornography.

    Longhurst said she was very sad to discover the man who murdered landscape architect Jo Yeates had viewed violent pornography on the internet.

    [I wonder if Liz Longhurst ever sheds a tear for the innocent people persecuted by the law over a jokey bad taste video clip, or else for those people who would never dream of harming anyone, but who's tastes in porn would have been better left private?]

     

    1st November   

    Offsite: Christopher Tookey Recommends...

    Human Centipede 2, which he likens to violent porn of the Tabak kind
    Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

    Human Centipede II Full Sequence The newspapers are full of the revelation that Vincent Tabak, the Dutchman who strangled Joanna Yeates to death, was addicted to violent pornography showing the choking and strangulation of young women.

    On the same day as Mr Tabak was found guilty of Jo Yeates's murder, I was exposed to the latest work by another Dutchman.

    Writer-director Tom Six has followed up his controversial 2009 horror film The Human Centipede, which features a mad scientist joining three people together surgically.

    For his sequel, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), Six has stitched together a film that is ten times more extreme, filthy and psychopathic than the original.

    I don't think many critics are going to bother denying it is ugly, boring, nihilistic, repetitive and profoundly repellent.

    ...Read the full review

     

    1st November   

    Update: Controversy is the Lifeblood of the Arts...

    Peter Hall defends the production of Marat/Sade by the Royal Shakespeare Company
    Link Here

    marat sade advertThe Royal Shakespeare Company's founder Peter Hall has defended the company's right to be subsidised, saying controversy is the lifeblood of the arts.

    Hall, who was the RSC's artistic director at the time of Peter Brook's original production in 1963, said:

    The RSC's first production of Marat/Sade back in the sixties was indeed controversial, but the reactions then, it seems to me, were more mature than they are now.

    The director's comments come in the wake of an article by the Daily Mail's theatre critic Quentin Letts, which appeared under a headline describing Anthony Neilson's revival as nothing but a shocking waste of your money. Letts wrote:

    Subsidised theatre is a wonderful idea. At its best it can ignite noble aspiration. It can inform, entertain, elevate. But not when it is like this.

    The Telegraph's Charles Spencer has also subsequently written in favour of the production:

    If contemporary drama wants to reflect the way we live now, sex and violence are subjects it cannot afford to ignore.

     

    1st November   

    Publishers Descended into Savage Censorship...

    Lord of Flies publisher demanded that William Goldring write out allusions to christianity
    Link Here

    Lord Flies William Golding The author of a classic novel which charts the descent into savagery of a group of marooned schoolboys was ordered to remove a Christian theme from the book before it was published.

    The surprising insistence of publishers editing William Golding's seminal work Lord of the Flies has emerged in correspondence released on the centenary of the author's birth. As well as telling Golding to steer clear of Christianity, his publishers also ordered details of nuclear holocaust to be struck from the pages.

    In 1954, Golding was an author struggling to find a publisher for his first book, Lord of the Flies, an allegorical tale of civilisation crashing into barbarism. It had been rejected 10 times, including by Faber and Faber, who then relented and finally put the book into print.

    Correspondence with publishers, which have not been made public until now, forms a central part of new display at Oxford's Bodleian library. Also on display for the first time is the rejection note from Faber which called the novel an absurd and uninteresting fantasy. Rubbish and dull .

    Eventually the book was championed by a publishing executive, Charles Montieth. The letters reveal Montieth objected to what Golding called the theophany of the novel, the appearance of God to man, and the obvious Christianity of Simon, another of the boys marooned on the island after the plane crash.

     

    1st November   

    Dangerous Lyrics...

    Ofcom to cure all the world's social ill's by reiterating its ban on strong language in song lyrics
    Link Here

    parental advisory explicit lyrics logoRadio stations are to get new guidance on avoiding sexually explicit songs.

    [Oh dear, does that mean some unfortunate employee has got to actually listen and try to work out what on earth the musicians are singing anyway. Sounds an impossible task to me].

    The BBC and commercial radio broadcasters will have to take more care with sexually explicit lyrics, particularly in songs by rap artists, as part of a continuing crackdown by Ofcom on content that is inappropriate for children.

    UK radio broadcasters are to be issued with new guidance by the TV and radio censor to address the supposed problem of broadcasting sexually explicit lyrics at times when children are listening.

    An Ofcom spokeswoman said:

    Ofcom takes its role in protecting children from offensive language on the radio very seriously. We are concerned that there have been a number of recent cases where offensive language was broadcast, some at times when children were particularly likely to have been listening. That is why we held a meeting with the radio industry this week to discuss the issues. We intend to publish guidance by the end of the year to clarify the rules in the broadcasting code.

     

    1st November   

    Bad But Good...

    Sexy routines on Strictly Come Dancing draw in the complaints, but also the viewers
    Link Here

    strictly nip slip Robbie Savage's routine on Saturday night's Strictly Come Dancing complete with Michael Jackson-style hip thrusts, proved a step too far for the easily offended prompting 267 complaints to the BBC.

    Another contestant, actress Chelsee Healey, suffered a wardrobe malfunction when her low-cut costume slipped to reveal more than she intended.

    Fans of the show took to the BBC's online messageboards to register their disapproval at the supposedly sleazy choreography and skimpy outfits in a pre-watershed show.

    Savage, the former footballer, failed to impress Len Goodman, the veteran judge, who told him: It was a little bit disconcerting when you kept thrusting your wobbly bits all over the shop.

    In addition to the 267 complaints about Savage's routine, the BBC has received 80 complaints about the series being too sexy . But predictably despite the criticism, the series is a ratings success. Saturday's show attracted 10.2 million viewers, putting it ahead of ITV1's The X Factor .

    Update: BBC Response

    6th November 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    BBC logoResponding to the criticism, the BBC said:

    Robbie danced a Paso Doble to Michael Jackson's Bad on Saturday's show and the choreography emulated some of Michael's most famous dance moves.

    Strictly is a live entertainment show and with it being the Halloween Special, Robbie wanted to pull out all the stops. We would like to assure viewers no offence was intended.

     

    1st November   

    Chewing the Fat...

    Man boobs on YouTube
    Link Here

    mr pregnantYouTube employees are still debating where to draw the censorship line between titillating content that may or may not be acceptable.

    Victoria Grand, YouTube's director for global communications and policy, said:

    Recently we had the issue of man boobs. Do man boobs need to be age-restricted or not?

    Man boobs, is an unlikely but popular category on YouTube, in part because mischievous uploaders may imply the exposed bosoms are actually, well, female. One gentlemen who goes by the name of Mr. Pregnant has uploaded over 1,000 videos (one, aptly titled manboobs and featuring his ample chest, has been viewed nearly 2 million times).

    Literally, these are the things that we debate ferociously to the point that we don't sleep at night, Grand said during a panel discussion about free speech at a human rights conference in San Francisco: We try to take into account user safety versus age appropriateness versus what a general community of kids 13 and up can see.

    YouTube censors pornography. Its policies do, however, allow partial nudity and non-sexual nudity as long as those videos are placed behind a warning screen that requires users to say they're 18 years or older. What falls into the age-restricted category is highly context-dependent: YouTube policies refer to the length of time an image appears in the video, the lighting, and the camera angle and focus.

    YouTube appears to have resolved the debate over buxom men in favor of Mr. Pregnant and free speech: his videos have not been not age-restricted.

     

    1st November   

    Pinching the Winner...

    Indefinite bans for 2 Iranian footballers after 'immoral' goal celebrations
    Link Here

    iran goal celebration Iran's football federation has imposed indefinite bans on two players for their immoral acts during goal celebrations.

    The incidents, condemned by officials and commentators alike, took place during a league match between Persepolis Tehran and Damash Gilan, broadcast live on national television.

    Footage on YouTube shows Persepolis defender Mohammad Nosrati pinching his teammate Sheys Rezaei's bottom as they celebrated a goal.

    Rezaei, another YouTube video shows, squeezed an unidentified teammate during another goal celebration later in the game.

     

    1st November   

    Understaffed, Underfunded, Underfire and Unloved...

    Kenyan film censors come under fire for failing to stop 'immoral' films
    Link Here

    kfcb logoKenyan MPs have accused the Film Classification Board and the Information ministry of failing to protect children from harmful and immoral content in videos and television programmes.

    The accusations were directed at Information assistant minister George Khaniri shortly after he admitted that the film board does not have enough staff to monitor the videos shown in cafe cinema's across Kenya.

    Khaniri said the board would soon be employing staff to be deployed in the 47 counties to monitor the content of videos shown in the popular screening rooms. He said the board is waiting for Sh17 million from the Treasury for that purpose and that those found showing the harmful, mostly pornographic, videos, would be arrested.

    But MPs Gitobu Imanyara and Jeremiah Kioni claimed the existing officers had not done enough to stop screening of immoral films. They were supported by Yusuf Chanzu and Dr Boni Khalwale who said the board has also failed to police the content on television.

     

    1st November   

    Update: Homeohedonism...

    Malaysian muslims may be easily 'corrupted' by Elton John's sexuality
    Link Here  full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars

    Greatest Hits 1970 2002 Elton John Members of an Islamic party have called on Malaysia to ban a concert by Elton John, claiming that the gay singer promotes hedonism .

    Shahril Azman Abdul Halim Al-Hafiz, an official with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), said the concert at the Genting Highlands resort on Nov. 22 would corrupt young Muslims because of John's homosexuality: It's not good. In Islam homosexuality is forbidden . What he is doing is hedonism. Hedonism is not good in Islam. Shahril is the chairman of the PAS youth wing of eastern Pahang state.

    But the show, part of John's Greatest Hits Tour , is expected to go ahead in the resort.

    PAS often protests concert by Western acts, saying the artists promote a promiscuous lifestyle and corrupt youngsters' minds. But despite protest threats, most concerts have gone ahead without incidents.

     

    1st November   

    Emulating the North...

    South Korea telecoms companies to block porn on mobile devices
    Link Here

    kcc logoThe South Korean government and telecom companies have agreed to ban access to foreign pornography via mobile devices such as tablet PCs and smart phones from November, communications authorities said.

    According to the Korea Communications Commission, the nation's top three telecom services providers: KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus will block access to adult content.

    SK Telecom voluntarily blocked five pornographic websites from overseas in August that were most frequently accessed by smartphones.

    Adult users will be able to access presumably mild content approved by the KCC after an identification process.

     

    1st November   

    Offsite: Graphic Justification...

    Yes, yes, yes - publication of Gaddafi death pictures was justified
    Link Here  full story: Gaddafi Death Reporting...Unusually gruesome pictures of death

    sun on gaddafiChris Elliott, The Guardian's readers' editor, has waded into the contentious matter of whether it was right to publish pictures - especially on the front page - of Muammar Gaddafi's bloody corpse.

    He points out that many readers and some members of the paper's staff objected to their use in print and online.

    When I asked my City University students last Monday I was surprised to discover that many of them objected too.

    ...Read the full article

     

    1st November   

    Offsite: The Hounding of Lanka-e-News...

    State censorship of Sri Lanka's news
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking

    Sri LankaReporters Without Borders deplores the action of two Sri Lankan Internet Service Providers in blocking access to the independent news website Lanka-e-News and calls on them to explain themselves. If they are doing it at the government's behest, they have become accomplices to state censorship. The site has been inaccessible since 18 October.

    This decision by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and Dialog Axiata PLC to block the Lanka-e-News site reflects the increase in censorship in Sri Lanka, Reporters Without Borders said. We urge these ISPs not to discriminate against news sites that are critical of the government and to restore access to Lanka-e-News. The government must also stop pressuring ISPs and guarantee their independence.

    The hounding of Lanka-e-News has intensified this year. An arson attack on its headquarters in the Colombo suburb of Malabe in the early hours of 31 January gutted most of the building including the rooms housing its computers and library and forced it to suspend all activities.

    The Lanka-e-News political journalist and cartoonist Prageeth Eknaligoda is meanwhile still missing. He disappeared on 24 January 2010.

    Several other sites, including the Sri Lanka Guardian, are permanently blocked. Groundviews and its partner site Vikalpa were temporarily blocked on 20 June, like the Transparency International site.

    ...Read the full article

    Update: Later Unblocked

    19th January 2012.  See  article from  khaleejtimes.com

    Last year the government blocked the Lanka-e-News (www.lankaenews.com) website on defamation grounds and providing false news . The UNP, however, alleged that the website was blocked because it targeted President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers Defence Secretary Gotabhya Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

    The United States strongly objected to the blocking of Lanka-e-News, which was later lifted after an apology by the website, calling the move a hindrance to democracy.

    The United States believes that a free and independent media is vital to ensuring the health and continuation of any democracy. Freedom of expression, including unfettered access to internet news websites, is a basic right which must be respected, said a US embassy statement.

     

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