Censor Watch

 2011: December

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31st December   

Update: BBFC Shows a Bit of Heart...

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BBFC's 100 Years of Film Censorship celebrations will include an uncut screening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Link Here  full story: 100 Years of Film Censorship...BBFC celebrates

Indiana Jones Temple Doom Region British fans will be able to see Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom just as its director Steven Spielberg wanted, almost three decades after its release.

The film will be screened unedited at the National Film Theatre in London for the first time at the end of next year as part of a season of films put together to celebrate the centenary of the BBFC.

Censors demanded a number of cuts to Temple of Doom when it was submitted in 1984 before it would grant a family-friendly PG rating.

Paramount Pictures was keen to avoid a 15 certificate as the film was aimed at kids and families, but it was too violent and intense for a PG classification, a spokeswoman for the BBFC said. And the option for a 12 certificate wasn't available at the time. The BBFC director at the time, James Ferman, flew to Los Angeles to edit the film for UK release with Spielberg.

The numerous cuts reintroduced will please the more bloodthirsty of fans. They include close-ups of a heart being ripped out and a head cracking against a rock. A scene where Indiana Jones is forced to drink blood before being whipped will also be reinstated.

The season will also include a showing of The Devil s, directed by Ken Russell who died last month. But it seems that a hundred years of film censorship is not sufficiently important to persuade Warners to allow a screening of their uncut version.

The season of censored films also includes The Evil Dead , which made the Director of Public Prosecution's video nasties list in 1982.

This is just one among several initiatives the BBFC is preparing for its 100th anniversary next year. David Cooke, director of the BBFC, said: This is a chance for us to look forward and to celebrate our past.

 

31st December   

Update: Bravo!...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Top Gear Christmas Special winds up Keith Vaz
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Official Annual Annuals Top Gear's Christmas Special had a bit of fun in India. The usual irreverent jokes ridiculed India's food, toilets, traditional clothing, trains and history.

The jokes notably included Clarkson riding around the country's worst slums in a 4-litre Jaguar fitted with a toilet, joking: This is perfect because everyone here gets the trots.

This excellently wound up the parliamentary nutter Keith Vaz. Vaz, whose parents are from India, said:

Clarkson and the BBC should be ashamed for broadcasting gags about the nation.

Mr Clarkson needs to stick to talking about cars, not cultures.

And he should apologise for his lack of taste. He and the BBC have done India a great disservice with this programme.

Some of the contents of the programme are clearly offensive and not the least bit funny. They were completely pointless.

Mr Clarkson is not a comedian. He talks about his cars and that is why he gets on the show.

Why do him and the BBC bother putting this out?

Even David Cameron participated in the Top Gear fun. He had a cameo role waving off the Top Gear trio on a trade mission as ambassadors of Britain to save the UK from bankruptcy.

The BBC confirmed they had received 23 complaints about the show, all about racial issues. A spokesman said there were no plans for Clarkson or the BBC to apologise.

 

31st December   

Update: All Just TalkTalk...

Melon farming Fresh
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Melon Farming Fresh

 

HomeSafe website blocking service attracts few takers
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

HomeSafe logo The number of people signing up to a ground-breaking new service to block children from accessing self-harm and pornography websites has slumped amid criticisms that it fails to achieve its aims, could breach privacy and employs technology connected to the Chinese military.

TalkTalk ISP launched its free HomeSafe service to its 4 million internet subscribers in May, but the product has only attracted around 200,000 users despite signing up more than 100,000 in its first two months.

The slowing take-up follows HomeSafe featuring prominently in TalkTalk's recent advertising campaign which attempted to attract customers by plugging the UK's safest broadband .

Some technology blogs and websites have raised concerns that HomeSafe might be easily bypassed by dubious websites, while also querying whether the product could introduce worries about privacy.

On his blog, Dr Richard Clayton, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge, wrote:

I doubt that malware distributors will see this [HomeSafe] as much of a challenge. The system is described as 'opt in', [but] that only applies to whether or not websites you visit might be blocked. What is not opt in is whether or not TalkTalk learns the details of the URLs [websites] that all of their customers visit, whether they have opted in or not.

 

31st December   

Proves Nothing Except to the Daily Mail...

Radio 4's The Media Show discusses research into children's TV viewing
Link Here

media show 281211 The Media Show Special: Children and Television. First broadcast 16:30 Wednesday, 28th December.

Steve Hewlett discusses research on TV's impact on children and claims of possible harm.

 

31st December   

Updated: Respectful Bollox...

Ambassador to India decries Russian prosecution of holy book on charges of extremism
Link Here  full story: Religious Book Censorship in Russia...Russia prosecutes holy books over supposed extremism

Bhagavad gita As It Is ebook Russia has expressed regret over a Siberian court trial considering a ban on a one Hindu holy book causing an 'uproar' in India.

State prosecutors in Tomsk seek to ban the Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita , contending it is an extremist religious text that should be banned. They said the book spreads social discord, the IANS news agency reported.

Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said:

I consider it categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to the courts. For all believers these texts are sacred.

He claimed that Russia was a secular and democratic country where all religions enjoyed equal respect.

The Siberian court is expected to deliver its verdict in the case on December 28.

Update: Not banned

31st December 2011. See  article from  en.wikinews.org

A judge in Tomsk, Russia drew a round of applause from the court room as she dismissed charges of extremism against the Bhagavad Gita As It Is , a Russian commented translation of the Bhagavad Gita published by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. This decision put an end to the six-month-long trial of the book accused by the state prosecutors of fostering social discord and incitement to religious hatred .

The Indian Foreign Ministry, which had been urging Moscow to avert the possible ban they termed as absurd , welcomed the verdict calling it a sensible resolution of a sensitive issue which demonstrates yet again that the people of India and Russia have a deep understanding of each other's cultures and will always reject any attempt to belittle our common civilizational values and thanked the Russian government for their support.

The controversial court case on the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient text regarded sacred by millions of Hindus, had caused political and societal turmoil in India, with the Indian Parliament stalled over the proposed ban and Hindu activists burning Russian flags. The trial also evoked strong criticism from the international media.

 

31st December   

Comment: Due Impartiality...

Ofcom rejects appeal from the Islam Channel over censure of TV discussions about Gaza
Link Here  full story: Ofcom vs Islam Channel...Islam Channel criticised for offensive preaching

Islam Channel logo TV censor Ofcom has rejected an appeal by the Islam Channel over its coverage of Israel.

The English-language satellite station had challenged a ruling last year that it breached Ofcom's broadcasting code in two programmes which discussed Israel's conduct in Gaza.

But Ofcom's broadcasting review committee, in a decision published this month, stated that the London-based channel had failed to maintain an adequate and appropriate level of impartiality .

The committee noted the channel's difficulties in finding guests to represent the Israeli government viewpoint. But it went on: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is, however, a matter of political controversy and the Islam Channel... was therefore obliged to ensure some discussion of the policies and actions of the Israeli government which represented its viewpoint.

The two programmes under scrutiny were an edition of Umma Talk , broadcast on October 14 2009, and an edition of Politics and Beyond. The subject was the Israeli blockade of the peace flotilla to Gaza.

The Ofcom review committee said that the Islam Channel was required to ensure that alternative viewpoints are adequately represented . Although the channel's breaches of the broadcasting code were not serious enough to merit a statutory sanction , it was considered appropriate for the Islam Channel to be invited to attend a meeting with Ofcom , to discuss how to improve its compliance with impartiality rules.

Update: Ofcom's response warrants closer examination

31st December 2011. From Alan

Israel illegally occupies adjoining territory, starting when I was an undergraduate and going on as I prepare to collect my pension.

Muslim Channel understandably wants to comment on this state of affairs, but must impartially show Israeli viewpoint. If the channel invites Israeli government spokesman to appear, the latter can effectively censor the progamme by refusing to turn up.

Barmy or what?

 

30th December   

Update: Misery Objects...

Page 3 nutters make submissions to the Leveson Inquiry
Link Here  full story: Leveson Inquiry...Considering UK press censorship and regulation

leveson inquiry logo Four nutter groups: End Violence Against Women, Equality Now, Object and Eaves -- are calling on the Leveson inquiry to move away from addressing the concerns of celebrities and other victims of alleged phone hacking by News International and look at the daily treatment of women, which they claim contributes to a society where rape can only be committed by evil strangers down darkened alleyways and where a woman is valued only because of her body.

In four detailed submissions the groups lay out what they see as the worst culprits. The organisations say they took a small sample of sexist, and often misleading, articles from a vast number of supposedly offensive reports.

End Violence Against Women (Evaw) pulled out 10 examples which they say provides a snapshot of poor reporting of violence against women stories which were either intrusive, inaccurate, which misrepresented or were misogynistic, victim-blaming or condoning violence against women and girls . The portrayal of prostitutes in the media was also damaging, according to the Evaw submission. It feeds into myths about prostitution, which at worse lead to attitudes that tolerate violence against women in prostitution or regard it as inevitable, it said.

A joint submission from anti-sexualisation campaign group Object and Turn Your Back on Page 3 charted a week in the life of the Sun, the Daily Star and the Sport . It highlighted an article on 14 November when the Sun trialled invisible shaping bum boosters by testing men's reactions when a woman bent over at work, and, according to the groups, eroticises a form of sexual harassment making it appear that it is what women should, and do, seek from men .

It criticised the same newspaper for presenting itself as a family product, offering a free toy on its front page while containing adverts for XXX DVDs and Page 3 imagery , and highlighted a article the day earlier which provided tips for women on how to stop your man having affairs which included the advice: Men have three basic instincts -- food, shelter and sex. If you nail that as a woman, there's no need for him to look elsewhere.

The organisation's campaigns manager Anna van Heeswijk said: Sexualised images such as 'Page 3' are banned from the workplace due to the intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment that these images can create. Yet, in a situation unusual to the UK, these images saturate national tabloids which are sold without age-restriction in newsagents and supermarkets and which are read and left lying around in the public domain.

 

30th December   

Dangerous Fingers...

Google gets all easily offended by Google+ profile pictures
Link Here

google offending profile picture Earlier this week, TechCrunch writer MG Siegler's Google+ profile pic vanished without explanation. After thinking it may have been a bug, the photo was uploaded again, and once again removed -- this time with the following message from a Google:

As the first point of interaction with a user's profile, all profile photos on Google+ are reviewed to make sure they are in line with our User Content and Conduct Policy. Our policy page states, Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content. Your profile photo was taken down as a violation of this policy.

Google also pointed out the Sexually Explicit Material section of their policy:

10. Sexually Explicit Material Do not distribute content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Do not drive traffic to commercial pornography sites. Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content. For example, do not use a photo that is a close-up of a person's buttocks or cleavage.

This censoring has created quite a stir, with people asking what exactly is offensive? Is the use of offensive language next? Will it impact the success of Google+ overall?

marketingland.com point out that maybe Google's sensitivity to supposed offense in profile pictures may be related to the fact the Google itself re-uses the profile pictures when displaying search results.

 

30th December   

Update: The Dirty Picture...

Bollywood film banned in Qatar
Link Here  full story: The Dirty Picture...Bollywood movie under censorship duress

dirty picture The most talked about Bollywood film of this year, The Dirty Picture , has been banned in Qatar.

Our distributors applied for a censorship certificate in Qatar and they received a notice saying that the movie can't be released there. The film is currently being screened in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other Middle East countries, but it will not go to Qatar, says Tanuj Garg, CEO Balaji Motion Pictures, adding: The film was supposed to release there either this week or the next, but we were informed that it has been deemed unsuitable for theatrical exhibition.

There were some hitches in releasing the film in Pakistan as well but it was all sorted out when the makers appealed their Censor Board's decision. Even a conservative country like Pakistan released the film after initially rejecting it. Qatar is the only place where the film has been banned, reveals Garg.

 

30th December   

Likely to Deprave and Corrupt?...

Bollox about 1950's Playboy images being considered obscene by police
Link Here

-print room chair When shop owner Lucy Wilkes decided on a window display for her business, she knew it would ruffle a few feathers. Two vintage, kitsch chairs, standing side-by-side, one decorated in pages from Playboy featuring nude women.

However, even she was astonished at the level of controversy the display attracted among visitors to her shop The Print Room, in Lewes, East Sussex. She was stunned when police ordered her to remove one of the offending items after a customer complained that it was obscene .

Clearly ignorant policemen claimed to Wilkes her vintage furniture contravened the Obscene Publications Act because it is decorated with 1950s Playboy magazines, which features images of topless women. Perhaps the police would have been better advised to cite the Indecent Displays Act or the more usual Public Order Act. It seems the police involved are in need of a little basic legal training.

The astonished retailer was forced to hide the seat at the back of her shop and has now draped it with a public health warning. The ironic sign reads: This chair has been deemed inappropriate for public view. Please take care.

Designer Laura Diez, who made the chair, insisted her creation was tasteful . She said: I can't believe anyone in their right mind could actually be offended by this. I used 1950s Playboys which are no more scandalous than the front cover of some men's magazines which are on show in any newsagents.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: Police attended a Lewes shop following a complaint from a member of the public regarding an item that was on display in the shop window. The member of public was offended by the images displayed on a chair and the shop owner was politely asked by police to remove it from public view, which he voluntarily did.

 

30th December   

Update: Media Freedoms Go West...

Azerbaijan media group protests upcoming ban of foreign TV soap operas
Link Here

Azerbaijan flag The decision of the National TV & Radio Broadcasting Council of Azerbaijan (NTBRC) to ban foreign TV soap operas has resulted in protests from media groups.

The subject of criticism was a ban on broadcasting of foreign soap operas by the national broadcasters.

The protest was expressed by the Media Rights Institute (MRI) which called the Council's decision the introduction of censorship on national television, violation of the right for freedom of expression and restriction of the right of access to quality TV production. In the Institute's opinion, the decision can not be supported by the protection of some legitimate public interest. The attempt to justify the decision by the formation of the younger generation is considered by the Institute pointless from legal viewpoint. The MRI thinks the decision will undermine the national broadcasting industry and reduce its already small audience to transfer to cable and satellite broadcasters to gain direct access to the banned products. The Institute claimed.

The NTBRC decision contrasts to the Constitution of Azerbaijan and the European Convention on Human Rights, as it is incompatible with freedom of expression. It harms the national broadcasters and should be abolished.

The ban will be introduced since May 2012. The NTBRC believes that airtime of foreign serials will be filled by local soap operas.

 

29th December   

Offsite: What the Public Didn't Need to Know...

Italian journalist whistleblower spotlights RAI news censorship
Link Here  full story: Media Control in Italy...Silvio Berlusconi's media empire under fire

italian journalist spotlights censorship Censorship at RAI is commonplace, says Alberico Giostra, radio newsreader at Italy's public service broadcaster.

Giostra had had his buttons pushed just once too often and decided to post changes made by the editorial desk to one of his news bulletin texts on Facebook.

Now he's facing the consequences.

About two months ago, during former prime minister and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi's final days of rule, Giostra published a photograph of one his radio scripts on his Facebook profile page. A section of the text, written for a news bulletin for Radio Rai 1, was crossed out.

It was about doubts prime minister Berlusconi had expressed to the president concerning the economic crisis and the strength of his government. The bulletin item was based on news from various sources -- two news agencies and two national newspapers. But it contradicted the words Berlusconi fed to the public -- that only his government was capable of leading the country through the crisis. The editor-in-chief didn't think the public needed to know about that.

...Read the full article

 

29th December   

Update: Spring Phobia...

Extreme jail sentence for dissident calling for a Chinese Spring
Link Here  full story: Human Rights in China...Chinese round up the usual suspects

China flag A Chinese court has sentenced a veteran democracy activist to nine years' imprisonment for inciting subversion.

Chen Wei was convicted of incitement to subversion over four essays he wrote and published online, according to one of his lawyers. He was detained in February amid an extensive government crackdown in response to anonymous online calls urging Chinese to imitate protests in North Africa and the Middle East.

Attorney Liang Xiaojun said: We pleaded not guilty. He only wrote a few essays. We presented a full defence of the case, but we were interrupted often, and none of what we said was accepted by the court.

Chen's wife Wang Xiaoyan denounced the punishment: He is innocent and the punishment was too harsh. The court did not allow him to defend himself and he was completely deprived of his right to free speech . What's wrong with a person freely expressing his ideas?

The sentence handed down to Chen appears to be the heaviest penalty meted out in relation to this year's crackdown, said Wang Songlian, a researcher with the Hong Kong-based advocacy group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

This severe punishment against an activist, caught up in the Jasmine crackdown, shows how the Chinese government's nerves are still jittery. All its latest moves, its attempts to control its microblogs, its crackdown on activists, show it is increasing tightening on freedom of expression and other civil liberties.

 

29th December   

Update: Dangerous Likes...

Thais advised about safe web surfing
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flag The newly opened Centre for Monitoring Lese Majeste Websites is offering advice to Thais on what to do and not to do when browsing the internet: 

  • The first advice the centre gives the public is: Do not forward, send a link or revisit websites - including Facebook, Twitter or YouTube - with content that is critical of the monarchy. Those who do so can be regarded as supporting such websites.
     
  • Never press 'Like' in Facebook or click 'Follow' on Twitter for sites with content critical of the monarchy.
     
  • If you Google certain key words such as 'King Thailand' and come across indecent content, do not activate the link because browsing those websites can upgrade the ranking of those lese majeste sites, eventually pushing them to the top of the list.
     
  • It is suggested that the public check in to such websites as www.weloveking.com and www.welovekingonline.com.

 

29th December   

Updated: General Patronisation...

Philippines media censors unveil new TV ratings
Link Here
mtrcb banner logo Philippines' Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has launched its revised classification ratings for television programs.

The new TV ratings will be:

  • General Patronage (G)
  • Parental Guidance (PG)
  • Strong Parental Guidance (SPG)
  • Banned for Airing on Television (X)

MTRCB said the program advisories were designed to empower parents to exercise caution and vigilance with the viewing habits of their children.

A full-screen written and verbal advisory of the program's classification rating must be shown for at least 10 seconds immediately before the opening credits. Then a standard pictogram advisory must be superimposed on screen throughout the program.

Update: Accepted

29th December 2011. See  article from  bworldonline.com

strong parental guidance logo The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has issued guidelines for the implementation of an additional classification rating for television programs that contain more serious topics and themes. The Strong Parental Guidance (SPG) tag is given to programs that may not be advisable for children to watch except under the very vigilant guidance and presence of a parent or adult.

Programs under the SPG classification contain more explicit content than those under Parental Guidance category, which is currently the only warning issued by the MTRCB for television shows.

It was approved on Dec. 1 by the MTRCB and becomes effective on Jan. 7.

A program advisory showing the capital letters SPG on a red box with the phrase Strong Parental Guidance Striktong Patnubay at Gabay at the bottom shall be clearly superimposed at the bottom right corner of the TV screen throughout the entire showing of the program.

The full screen advisory shall specifically declare the content descriptors pertinent to the program being shown, whether it be drugs, violence, sex, horror or language. A voice-over to the effect that the program is classified as SPG shall be broadcast for at least 20 seconds immediately before the opening credits and midway in the full airing of the show.

 

28th December   

Dangerous Tweets...

US Senators are looking to close down social media accounts by groups such as the Taliban
Link Here

US Senate US Senator Joe Lieberman is heading up a movement in the US Congress that would like to see Twitter censor the Taliban's tweets, in order to eliminate violent Islamist extremism propaganda on social media.

The Taliban has been prolific on Twitter, but their account tweets a mixture of up-to-the-minute information about NATO attacks, as well as anti-Western propaganda.

Leslie Phillips, a spokesman for the senate homeland security committee, said:

Senator Lieberman's efforts to eliminate violent Islamist extremism propaganda from the internet and social media has been a campaign of persuasion.

He has written letters, for example to Google seeking the company to enforce more strongly its terms of service, which ban the sort of thing that we see from violent Islamist extremists.

Google is said to be resisting the demands that the accounts be closed. They are specifically citing the fact that, unlike Al Quaeda, the Taliban is not considered a terrorist group by the US government.

 

28th December   

Growing Up...

Malaysia moves towards industry self censorship of local movies
Link Here

Malaysia flag The Malaysian Film Producers' Association (PFM) claims that it can be made the body to determine age ratings for films because of its vast experience.

Its general-secretary, Norman Abdul Halim, said the concept of making the film producers' association as the rating agency was being practiced in the United States of America through Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). He said:

A body with experience and is an expert in films, like the film producers' association, is required to determine the rating because it is not an easy task.

PFM can do this. We can give warning, in the form of rating for films, like those containing violence and sex are suitable for viewing by those above 18 years old.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam has just announced that local movie producers would be allowed to carry out their own censorship on movies or dramas that they produced, effective next year.

 

27th December   

Update: The Internet is Charged with Obscenity...

Major internet companies offend India over such immorality as showing pictures of people kissing
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

India flag Facebook, Microsoft, YouTube, Google, and 21 others have been issued summons by the court, on grounds of carrying objectionable content.

They have now been charged with section 292 (sale of obscene books etc), 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

If these sites fail to clear derogatory content off their websites by February 6, 2012 they would be charged for contempt of court.

According to a statement from the court, the judge was deeply shocked by what he saw amongst the evidence presented to the court. Apparently unknown persons are selling, publicly exhibiting and have put into circulation obscene, lascivious content which also appears to the prurient interests and tends to deprave and corrupt the persons who are likely to read, see or hear it. Such as images of women kissing men.

It is also evident that such contents are continuously openly and freely available to everyone who is using the said network irrespective of their age and even the persons under the age of 18 years have full and uncensored access to such obscene contents, the court ruled.

It means that all the big names will either have to censor the internet or pull out of the lucrative Indian market. They are not likely to find much support from politicians either. The Indian government is furious that its citizens are apparently able to go onto the Internet and say nasty things about the Gandhi family.

 

27th December   

Update: Getting Propaganda Cake and Eating It...

Whingeing at UK action against Iranian Press TV whilst jamming the BBC
Link Here  full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

Press TV logo Press TV have issued another propaganda peice suggesting that Ofcom are set to ban the satellite channel from broadcasting with a UK licence.

Press TV writes in a website posting:

London has spared no effort in its two-year-long battle against Press TV. Its media tool, Ofcom, is now about to revoke the channel's broadcast license, hoping this desperate measure will silence criticism.

And in a coincidently timed piece, the Wall Street Journal points out that Iran is regularly jamming BBC programmes targeted at Iran:

As uprisings rolled across the Middle East this year, Iran stepped up its jamming of the BBC, Voice of America and other Western networks with Persian-language news channels. The move is intended to prevent Iranian audiences from seeing foreign broadcasts the Iranian government finds objectionable, five networks protested in a joint statement this month.

Some 45% to 60% of Iranians watch satellite TV, according to estimates from the state media company and an Iranian research center, exceeding the number believed to use the Internet. Iran so far seems to be winning a struggle to filter out unwanted TV content and broadcast its own propaganda: The country jams channels like the BBC on Western satellites even as Iran's state media company broadcasts pro-government news on some of the same satellites, and at times has aired forced confessions of political detainees.

Iran is having it both ways, said a U.S. State Department official. While they benefit from the international community's respect for 'freedom of expression' and 'freedom of the airwaves,' they deny that same right to their own citizens, aggressively jamming Persian-language broadcasts from other countries.

 

27th December   

The Olympic Sport of Internet Policing...

Police report that 2000 sites have been closed for fraud prevention
Link Here

Olympics 2012 logo Websites targeting Olympics visitors have been closed down by police. For example sites purporting to sell luxury goods were using the events' signature image of five Olympic rings to make people believe they were endorsed.

Police from the UK's cyber crime unit have identified hundreds of websites that could be used to dupe visitors to next year's London Olympics. They have already closed around 2,000 sites set up by criminals and purporting to sell luxury goods, and are monitoring hundreds of others that have popped up on the web with the games in mind.

We think there is some evidence to suggest they are waiting to commit fraud, Janet Williams, the deputy assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan police, said. These websites have been set up and are in a holding position, and we will monitor them to see if they are used for criminal purposes.

Williams, the head of the e-crime unit, said ticket fraud was just one way criminals would try to exploit the games. We would be naive to think that it would be the only threat during the Olympics, she told the Guardian. Her unit, which has a staff of 106, is working with other agencies, including the government communications headquarters GCHQ, to intercept traffic that might point to an attack on London's internet infrastructure, eg via denial of service attacks.

 

27th December   

Morally Unacceptable...

Crap internet blocking at O2
Link Here

Open Rights group logo For the last four months, and despite repeated complaints, O2 has blocked the website of a Sheffield church, claiming it features adult content.

And as naff as O2's blocking algorithm turns out to be, their procedures for putting things right is even worse.

O2 customer and ORG Supporter Gervase Markham explains:

My wife and I just moved to Sheffield and joined a network of churches called The Crowded House . I used my O2 Mobile Broadband to try and access their website, but it told me it was 18+ content ! When I contacted O2, my first email was rejected due to having insufficient information . I finally managed to find a contact form which worked, and they told me that I could solve the problem by having my mobile enabled for 18+ content! I told them that this was definitely not what I wanted, and refused to go through their age verification procedure. Fixing the censorship for me alone is not a proper fix.

The next thing I knew, a text arrived on my phone saying you can now access 18 rated content . I had to explain to my wife quite why I was getting a text saying that.

During the call, an O2 representative told me that he and his manager knew of no procedure for appealing against a block. He said that the block wasn't just for 18+ content, but it was also for things which might corrupt the morals of children. I asked him if he was describing my church's website in that way, which he hastily denied. He told me they unblocked people's phones all the time because they couldn't access perfectly innocent websites. I suggested that perhaps that this indicated that the system wasn't working very well.

ORG believes that innocent websites should not be censored by default, and clear mechanisms should exist to get innocent sites taken out of automatically generated censorship lists.

Just as importantly, people should provide their consent before having their Internet censored. They should be told what it means. And a customer should not be forced to label themselves a porn-fiend in order to remove censorship.

 

26th December   

Empire Building-Like ATVOD...

ATVOD thwarted in their attempt to define newspaper video clips as TV-like and hence open to ATVOD censorship
Link Here

Ofcom logo The Sun has won its appeal against the Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD) who claimed that newspaper's video clips section was TV-like. Being TV-like forces websites to register with ATVOD's very expensive Video on Demand censorship regime.

Ofcom deliberated on the appeal and ruled in favor of The Sun newspaper. The decision is wide-ranging and it will apply to video on other newspaper sites.

The Ofcom decision was based on the fact that the Sun publishes more content than just video on its website: Too much focus was placed on the 'Sun Video' section of The Sun's website, it noted in that decision.

Essentially, Ofcom said that only sites whose primary purpose is to show the kind of video that one would find on regular television should be subject to ATVOD's regulations.

This should come as some relief to magazine and newspaper publishers in the UK. This will save newspapers high fees, perhaps up to £ 20,000 depending on turnover and the number of service.

Update: ATVOD responds to Ofcom decision

26th December 2011. See  press release from  atvod.co.uk

ATVOD logo 2011 ATVOD has acted promptly following a decision by Ofcom today to uphold an appeal by News Group Newspapers Ltd. against a determination by ATVOD that The Sun's website included a video on demand service which fell within the video on demand regulator's remit. Given the similarities between The Sun case and other newspaper and magazine websites, ATVOD has today announced that it will withdraw its Determinations that The Sunday Times Video Library, Telegraph TV, The Independent Video, FT Video, Guardian Video, Guardian You Tube, News of the World TV and Elle TV were On-Demand Programme Services.

ATVOD had held that The Sun's internet video offering met the definition of an On-Demand Programme Service, set out in the Communications Act 2003. The Ofcom decision is that the Sun Video section of the website (previously styled as Sun TV') is not subject to regulation by ATVOD.

The appeal judgement is the third made by Ofcom this year, the communications regulator having previously backed ATVOD's rulings that adult websites Demand Adult and Climax 3 fell within the scope of the new rules which include a requirement that children are protected from material which might seriously impair their development.

ATVOD Chief Executive, Pete Johnson, said:

Most people will recognise that defining the scope of new regulations in a fast-moving market is a complex and difficult task. The appeal system is a vital part of the process, giving users and providers of video on demand services greater clarity over where the new protections for consumers do and do not apply. Given the clear similarities between The Sun and the other newspaper and magazine websites under appeal, we have moved quickly to confirm that the Determinations in relation to those services are being withdrawn with immediate effect.

We will now reflect further on the appeal judgement and consider any implications it may have for any other past and future rulings on whether a service falls within ATVOD's remit.

 

26th December   

Dangerous Play...

Actor arrested for staging a play critical of the Malawi goverment
Link Here

Malawi flag Freedom of expression continues to be trampled upon by the Malawi regime as actor Thlupego Chisiza was arrested for staging a play critical of the government.

The play SEMO which was co-written by slain student activist Robert Chasowa lampoons the DPP led governments handling of the economic, repressive laws that have retrogressed the country back to dictatorship and questions police role in stripping Malawians of their human rights.

Armed police arrested Chisiza when he was performing the play with his Lions Theater in Blantyre claiming Chisiza did not pass it to the Board of Classification for vetting, a claim the playwright dismissed as untrue.

Arresting actors and performers show how insecure this government is, Malawians must come together and defeat these threats to human rights, freedom and liberty, social-political activist Ben Chiza Mkandawire told Nyasa Times.

Performing arts in the country creates space where serious engagement with the social issues surrounding liberty, freedom, human rights can be addressed, art gives people inspiration, hope and determination, it is a medium where people can get empowerment, Mkandawire added.

 

24th December   

Update: Tory Taliban...

David Cameron goes to war against anything remotely sexy
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

David Cameron Businesses have been warned that they face new rules to tackle what the Prime Minister has described as the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood.

The Prime Minister will hold meetings early in the new year with retailers and advertisers to put a spotlight on their conduct, whatever that means. If voluntary codes of conduct fail to do enough to protect children, ministers are threatening to legislate and impose new laws.

In a letter to business leaders inviting them to meet the Prime Minister, Sarah Teather, the children's minister, warned that companies must demonstrate the real difference they are making for families . She said: The Prime Minister and I will expect to see concrete progress and for this to feel real and meaningful to parents and children.

The letter, seen by The Daily Telegraph, sets out a detailed list of reforms that ministers want to see introduced over the next 10 months, including:

  • Children under the age of 16 must not be used as brand ambassadors or in peer to peer marketing campaigns. A voluntary ban is already under way but Teather said: The industry needs to do further work to ensure that this is strongly enforced.
     
  • A nationwide ban on outdoor advertising that uses sexualised images . A voluntary ban already exists on advertising near schools but ministers want firms to go further. Teather suggested a ban on outdoor advertisements using sexualised images could be required. She said: Children go to more places than just their school and see advertising everywhere they go. If an advertisement is not acceptable close to a school, is it acceptable anywhere?
     
  • So-called lads' magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers must not be in easy view of children in shops. A code of practice already exists for newsagents and retailers. However, application of the code is very patchy and there are many shops, including many well-known high street names where these magazines and newspapers are very clearly visible to children, Teather said: There is no reason these magazines could not be sold bagged or shelved behind modesty boards provided by publishers and wholesalers and we expect to see a great deal of progress on this issue.
     
  • Age ratings for music videos could be introduced as a result of a Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation. [This may be interesting, the government may find that most of the supposedly child devasting Rihanna videos may turn out to be no more than 12 rated, with even the most sexy being 15 rated rather than the assumed 18].

 

24th December   

Update: Syndicate Decapitated by Censors...

Australia bans the computer game Syndicate
Link Here

Electronic Arts Syndicate PC DVD The Australian Classification Board has banned the upcoming computer game Syndicate. No doubt it would have qualified for an 18 rating, but as there isn't one then the game was banned.

The Australian censors justified their decision as follows:

In the Board's view this game warrants an 'RC' classification in accordance with rule 1(d):

Computer games that: are unsuitable for a minor to see or play will be Refused Classification.

The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The game is set in a futuristic dystopia where people have computer chips in their heads that allow them to interact with the "dataverse", It is a first person shooter with realistically rendered graphics. A player controls Kilo, an agent of one of the "Syndicates" (powerful corporations), as he moves through levels completing objectives such as rescuing Eurocorp employees and extracting chips from people's heads.

In order to complete the missions, a player has to engage in intense combat with swarms of enemy combatants who are clad in light armour. A variety of weapons is available and these often cause decapitation, dismemberment and gibbing during frenetic gunfights. For example, an intense sequence of violence commences when a player collects a "G290 minigun", which operates much like a Gatling gun. A player moves through a building rapidly firing at enemy combatants. Combatants take locational damage and can be explicitly dismembered, decapitated or bisected by the force of the gunfire. The depictions are accompanied by copious bloodspray and injuries are shown realistically and with detail, Flesh and bone are often exposed while arterial sprays of blood continue to spurt from wounds at regular intervals.

Similar injuries can be caused by many other weapons, including shotguns, high-calibre revolvers, sniper rifles, assault rifles, rocket launchers, laser guns and grenades.

The game also allows a player to repeatedly damage enemy combatants' corpses. This is shown in realistic depictions. For example, it is possible for a player to decapitate a corpse with a headshot before individually blowing off each of its limbs. Depending on the weapon used, it is also possible to bisect a corpse, with realistic ragdoll effects noted. The depictions are again accompanied by arterial sprays of blood and detailed injuries that include protruding bone.

Throughout the game, a player consistently encounters unarmed civilians and has the choice of whether to target them or riot. Civilians can be shot, accompanied by copious bloodspray, but it is not possible to decapitate or dismember them, whether they are alive or dead. Their corpses can still be targeted, resulting in bloodspray only. In single player mode, the game treats civilian deaths neutrally, but it is noted that in cooperative gameplay, points are awarded for civilian casualties.

In the opinion of the Board, the game contains intense sequences of violence which include detailed depictions of decapitation and dismemberment that are high in playing impact. The game also contains the ability to inflict repeated and realistic post mortem damage which exceeds strong in playing impact.

It is therefore unsuitable for a minor to see or play and is therefore Refused Classification.

Update: Meanwhile at the BBFC

24th December 2011.See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC has passed Syndicate 18 uncut with the consumer advice: Contains strong bloody violence.

The game includes 1 hour of video or cut scenes.

 

24th December   

YouView WeCensor...

YouView internet TV service to launch using BBFC classifications for films
Link Here

YouView logo The BBFC has added TalkTalk to the BBFC.online classification service.

TalkTalk will launch YouView in Spring 2012, and subscribers viewing film content will see the same classification symbols and content information as those the BBFC provides for cinema releases and DVDs. The BBFC's information will make it easier for consumers to make informed decisions about the films they and their families watch.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said We're delighted to add TalkTalk to our BBFC.online service. Parents have told us it's important for them to see the classification symbols they recognise before they stream a film for family consumption. We asked parents for their views and 82% said they would prefer to download films that are classified with the trusted BBFC symbols and Consumer Advice.

Max Alexander, Director of TV at TalkTalk, said It's important that our customers trust the suitability of content they are about to watch and this agreement with the BBFC gives them what they want. Working with the BBFC shows our ongoing commitment to ensure that we help protect our customers across all products and services they use with us.

 

24th December   

Enquiring Minds...

So who actually decides which websites are blocked on mobile phones in the name of child protection?
Link Here

Open Rights group logo All the major UK mobile operators have Internet blocking schemes that block certain content from users. This is designed to protect children from accessing adult material. The filters are turned on by default when anybody signs up to a mobile contract. Age verification, normally via a credit card, is required to turn them off.

We've heard a lot of anecdotal evidence of mistakes, over-blocking and the difficulty of pointing out when things go wrong.

Mobile Internet access is becoming more important as a means of getting online. According to Ofcom, 28% of UK adults said they accessed the internet on their mobile in the first three months of 2011. So we've started to look more closely at how this blocking works.

It's clear that mobile operators could be much clearer about this. They tend to be pretty opaque as to exactly how their blocking works, and how they decide which Web pages are inappropriate for under 18s.

For example, Orange says that it is the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB) that decides what is adult content or not. However this is not true. The IMCB only provides a framework for determining content from mobile phone companies that is inappropriate for children and teenagers. But content from the Internet is out of IMCB's remit, as stated in its Classification Framework.

Mobile operators all declare that they are acting according to a code of conduct set by the Mobile Broadband Group. But this code does not provide for any kind of criteria for determining or defining blockable content. It simply points at the IMCB framework.

It is most likely that lists from US companies like Blue Coat are used to decide what we are able to access. How the policies of these companies fit with the frameworks of the IMCB and the Mobile Broadband Group is another question we are looking to answer.

Transparency regarding how mobile operators decide what counts as blockable content is increasingly important. Customers should be able to ascertain how and why content is blocked, and have easier ways to point out when things are going wrong. We'll be developing more work on this, including tools to help you point out when mobile operators are blocking sites, soon. Please let us know if you're interested in helping out.

...See  more information at  openrightsgroup.org

 

24th December   

Updated: Asking the Impossible...

Indian government asks Facebook and others to pre-censor content posted by users before it is published
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

India flag The Indian government has asked Internet companies and social media sites like Facebook to prescreen user content from India and to remove disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory content before it goes online, three executives in the information technology industry say.

Top officials from the Indian units of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook are meeting with Kapil Sibal, India's acting telecommunications minister to discuss the issue.

About six weeks ago, Sibal called legal representatives from the top ISPs and Facebook into his New Delhi office, said an executives who was briefed on the meeting. At the meeting, Sibal showed attendees a Facebook page that maligned the Congress Party's president, Sonia Gandhi. This is unacceptable, he told attendees, the executive said, and he asked them to find a way to monitor what is posted on their sites.

In the second meeting with the same executives in late November, Sibal told them that he expected them to use human beings to screen content, not technology.

The executives said representatives from these companies will tell Sibal that his demand is impossible, given the volume of user-generated content coming from India, and that they cannot be responsible for determining what is and isn't defamatory or disparaging. If there's a law and there's a court order, we can follow up on it, said an executive from one of the companies attending the meeting. But these companies can't be in the business of deciding what is and isn't legal to post, he said.

Update: Mr Angry doesn't get his way

7th December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

kapil sibal Indian Communications Minister Kapil Sibal met officials from Google, Facebook and other websites and he was not a happy bunny.

He ludicrously wanted social media companies to implement the vetting of user content before it was published. He said the firms had told him they were unable to take action

He said the government would now introduce guidelines to ensure blasphemous material did not appear on internet.

Addressing a press conference Sibal said companies would not be allowed to say, we throw up our hands, we can't do anything about this . My aim is that insulting material never gets uploaded. We will evolve guidelines and mechanisms to deal with the issue. They will have to give us the data, where these images are being uploaded and who is doing it.

Before the press conference, Sibal showed reporters morphed photos of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, as well as pigs running through Islam's holy city of Mecca.

Sibal's nonsense hasn't gone down well with social media users. The hashtag #IdiotKapilSibal is currently seeing a lot of chatter. No doubt he will want that censored too.

Update: Out of his depth comms minister backtracks on Facebook pre-censorship

11th December 2011. See article from timesofindia.indiatimes.com
See also article from  zdnet.com

kapil sibal Indian Communications Minister Kapil Sibal has been on the receiving end of much international ridicule for his ludicrous suggestion requiring user content websites to pre-censor content before publication.

Google, owners of YouTube and Blogger, were forthright with their comments. In a statement issued by company spokesperson Google categorically said they will not censor content simply because it is controversial. The representative said:

We work really hard to make sure that people have as much access to information as possible, while also following the law. This means that when content is illegal, we abide by local law and take it down. And even where content is legal but breaks or violates our own terms and conditions we take that down too, once we have been notified about it, but when content is legal and does not violate our policies, we will not remove it just because it is controversial, as we believe that people's differing views, so long as they are legal, should be respected and protected.

Well now the beleaguered minister has back tracked on his proposal via denial. Sibal spoke on TV to NDTV:

There can be no pre-screening of content on the electronic media and on the social media... It would be madness to ask for it and I don't think any sane person would.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, defence minister A K Antony repsonded to Kapil Sibal's suggestion to censor social media platforms like Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and YouTube. He said the government had already given clarification that there was no such move.

Social media is a reality and has become the voice of young generation to express their feelings and opinion, and government would not curtail this freedom, he said, adding that social media is like any other media in the present world.

...BUT... the power of social media should not be misused and people should maintain some restraint in using the potential of social networking sites and Internet.

Offsite: I don't believe in censorship...but...

24th December 2011. See  interview from  week.manoramaonline.com

kapil sibal looking foolish Surely a classic from the Indian communications minister, Kapil Sibal,  who is clearly floundering out of his depth.

Interviewer:   According to US media reports, these companies said you were trying to impose censorship [on social media websites].

Kapil Sibal: I have never said that the government will impose censorship... [BUT] ...I have only requested them to pre-screen the material.

...Read the full interview

Update: Party political concern at India's corrupted youth

26th December 2011. See  article from  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Kapil Sibal found an ally in Aditya Thackeray Aditya on censoring of social networking sites. At a press conference called by the political party Shiv Sena, Thackeray said government should put a mechanism in place to filter objectionable content in sites like Facebook.

A lot of objectionable material is available on these sites. They are corrupting our youngsters and posing a threat to our culture, he said.

 

23rd December   

For Fear of the Daily Mail...

ITV axe Woody Allen Jesus song from the Jonathan Ross Show
Link Here

tim minchin on jonathan ross video Tim Minchin has blasted ITV bosses after he claimed a specially-written track was pulled from the Jonathan Ross Show for fear of upsetting Christians.

Tim - who is behind West End hit Matilda - has written a furious blog pointing the finger at the network's director of programmes Peter Fincham, suggesting he was nervous about a backlash.

Tim said compliance staff and lawyers had given the go-ahead to his lyrics long before the recording of the programme..

But he said the humorous song - which drew parallels between Woody Allen and Jesus - was pulled when Fincham watched the show.

In his blog Minchin said:

Peter Fincham demanded that I be cut from the show.

He did this because he's scared of the ranty, shit-stirring, right-wing press, and of the small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way.  I have to admit I'm really fucking disappointed.

An ITV source lamely claimed that the decision was less about religious sensitivity and more that tonally, it wasn't right for the show .

Update: Clergy Relaxed

24th December 2011. See  article from  theaustralian.com.au

Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen said he was more frightened about people not talking about Jesus than what they said about him. He said:

Tim Minchin doesn't worry me nearly as much as the people who try to suppress Jesus Christ. I'm more frightened about people who don't talk about him at all and try to censor him out. People talk about the festival season, doing anything they can to avoid the obvious.

Lutheran Church of Australia Reverend Mike Semmler said a comedian making jokes about Jesus meant he was considered a serious subject worthy of a laugh. He said:

Part of the Christmas message is that Jesus becomes human and if people are trying to relate him to other human beings, while it may not be terribly uplifting for the church, he was after all really human.

 

23rd December   

Pure Nutter Bait...

Australian advertisers have fun with Pussy energy drink
Link Here  full story: Pussy Energy Drink...The drink's pure. It's your mind that's the problem

Pussy energy drink Australian marketeers are having fun with a new energy drink that has just arrived in Queensland called Pussy.

As distributors plan to saturate the state's shops with the product, a furore is already stirring about the double meaning in the name and its placement alongside other soft drinks in family stores.

The drink, backed by Richard Branson's children Sam and Holly, is the centre of some overtly provocative advertising, with photos of naked women with fully clothed men in suggestive sex poses.

The drink has a great slogan: The drink's pure. It's your mind that's the problem .

Collective Shout co-founder Melinda Tankard Reist told The Sunday Mail that the group was discussing a boycott, not only of the product, but also any stockists. She said:

The Pussy energy drink is another example of the mainstreaming of porn-inspired themes.

It encourages teen boys to say, 'I'm going to get some Pussy', or 'I could really use some Pussy', so a woman's body is consumed by a man.

Russell Dymond of Liquid NRG, the Brisbane distributor of Pussy, told The Sunday Mail the name was not smutty:

It's a brand with a unique name, just as Richard Branson's Virgin brand created a stir when it was first introduced but now is a word that is on everyone's lips. As the slogan suggests, it depends what your mind makes of the name.

 

23rd December   

Toppling PC Towers...

The Lacoste art prize cancelled over political sensitivities
Link Here

nation estate larissa sansour The Swiss Lacoste art prize worth 25,000 euros has been cancelled amid controversy that the organisers censored one of the nominees.

Jerusalem-born artist Larissa Sansour claims she was taken off the shortlist for being too pro-Palestinian .

The Elysee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland said it was the prize's sponsors, clothing company Lacoste, who decided to exclude Sansour.

Lacoste denied the accusation and withdrew their sponsorship.

Sansour was among eight finalists shortlisted for the photography prize for her Nation Estate project. Her trio of images was inspired by Palestine's attempt to gain UN recognition and depicts a skyscraper housing the entire Palestinian population.

The news of her removal earlier this week came as a complete surprise, she said. Sansour told The Independent she had been told by senior staff at the museum that the reason for her removal was allegedly because her work was considered by Lacoste to be too pro-Palestinian .

Organisers released a statement saying her work had been deemed inappropriate for the prize, which had a Joie de Vivre (joy of life) theme.

 

23rd December   

Updated: Denied by Turkey...

France debates bill to criminalise the denial of the Armenian Massacre
Link Here  full story: Armenia Massacre Denial in France...France debates new law much to Turkey's annoyance

Armenian Massacres 1894 1896 Media Testimony Turkish President Abdullah Gul has called on France to halt plans for a law criminalising the denial of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide.

The French lower house of parliament is due to consider a bill that proposes a one-year prison term and a heavy fine.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million people died during mass deportations. Turkey puts the figure at closer to 300,000.

In a statement, President Gul said the proposed legislation, set to go before the National Assembly on Thursday, denied Turkey the freedom to reject unfair and groundless accusations . He also suggested that France was jeopardising centuries of friendship because of small political calculations .

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote to French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning him that bill was hostile and directly targeted Turkey and Turks living in France. Such steps will have grave consequences for future relations between Turkey and France in political, economic, cultural and all areas, and the responsibility will rest with those behind this initiative, the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

A delegation of Turkish MPs and businessmen has travelled to Paris to lobby against the bill and was due to meet Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser, Jean-David Levitte, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

Update: Passed

23rd December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Turkey flag The Turkish prime minister has announced measures against France after MPs passed a bill criminalising denial of the 1915-16 Armenian genocide .

Ankara is recalling its ambassador and freezing political visits as well as joint military projects, including exercises, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The bill was passed by the French National Assembly on Thursday and is due to go before the Senate next year.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has publicly opposed it.

Under the bill, those publicly denying genocide would face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros.

 

23rd December   

Update: Undiplomatic Blocking...

Iran blocks UK embassy website
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

uk in iran logo Iran has blocked the website of the British embassy in Tehran following a diplomatic crisis last month that led to the closure of the UK mission.

The Foreign Office said that the government's website in Iran, which had continued working despite the closure of the embassy, had been deliberately filtered by the Iranian authorities.

People inside Iran who try to visit ukiniran.fco.gov.uk, are re-directed to a web page that reads: Access to the webiste is denied according to [Iran's] computer crimes regulations.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, said: Britain's website in Iran has now been added to the list of thousands of other internet sites deliberately censored by the Iranian authorities. Hague said Iran's move was counter-productive and ill-judged :

It will also make it harder for Iranian nationals to access information about visiting the UK. And it is further proof to the rest of the world the Iranian government's dire record on freedom of speech and human rights in general. This action will not deter Britain from continuing to engage with the Iranian people, including through the internet.

 

23rd December   

Strident Debate...

Ofcom censures Ummah Channel for abusive treatment of followers of variants of islam
Link Here

Ummah Channel Debate Night
Ummah Channel, 3 September 2011, 22:00

The Ummah Channel is a satellite television service which aims to promote knowledge of Islam through educating viewers to fulfil their spiritual and religious development .

This edition of Debate Night was the first of three programmes broadcast on three consecutive days starting on 3 September 2011, that debated when the Islamic holiday of Eid1 should be celebrated in the UK.

17 complainants alerted Ofcom to the 3 September programme because they considered the programme:

  • incited hatred against non-Barelvi 2 Muslims;
  • stated non-Barelvi Muslims celebrated Eid on the wrong day ; and
  • Encouraged Barelvi Muslims to storm mosques that celebrated Eid on the wrong day

Barelvi muslims are generally from South Asia, Non Barelvi seems to refer to Saudi muslims.

Ofcom had two concerns.

Firstly that a Muslim scholar (who was one of four panellists in the studio) made the following statements:

When [the Saudis] celebrate Eid on a day of Ramadan, they are publically insulting that month – even if they fast for their whole lives, they cannot atone for this sin.

If you see wrongdoing going on, then stop it physically. If you have no power, then stop it verbally. If that too is not possible, then consider it as wrongdoing in your heart…We are not even talking about [the Saudis?] filthy erroneous beliefs with regards to Allah and his Prophet but just moon-sighting, which is damaging and destroying the worship done by simple Muslims. If you cannot do so with your hands or tongue then at least condemn them.

Ofcom considered this raised issues under Rule 3.1:

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

Ofcom concluded that this did not constitute incitement:

In considering Rule 3.1, we are required to address the likelihood of the commission of a crime against a follower of the non-Barelvi tradition of Islam or of disorder being created. In particular, we considered whether this statement in the programme included a direct or indirect call to action with a reasonable likelihood it would have encouraged or incited, for example, Barelvi Muslims to take violent or criminal action against non-Barelvi Muslims or lead to disorder.

We recognised that phrases such as If you see wrongdoing going on, then stop it physically and If you cannot do so with your hands or tongue then at least condemn them could be construed, to some limited degree, as having the potential to encourage some form of physical action (possibly including assault or violence) against, or lead to disorder involving, members of the non-Barelvi Muslim tradition of Islam.

However, it was Ofcom's overall view that this one statement on its own would not be likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder. Therefore, Ofcom did not consider that the broadcaster breached Rule 3.1.

Secondly Ofcom considered statements made by callers to the programme:

If you are in Saudi Arabia, you have to follow them because otherwise you will be oppressed by the tyrants but we here do not follow them...[Saudis] have no fear for the laws of Allah and Sharia and they are transgressing. And Allah has no love for those who transgress. They are not following the Sharia and it appears in some ways that they are not even Muslims.

Before these, Mecca was ruled by others – the Saudis captured the country; their [Saudi] beliefs are filthy. People need to be told that they [Saudis] are expropriating in the name of the holy places but they grossly insult those holy places…These cruel people [Saudis] have destroyed our holy places. You need to tell people that their beliefs are filthy and we hate them not because of some personal reasons but because they insult our ancestors, our beliefs, and use inappropriate words about Prophet Muhammad. That is why we have differences with them and people should stop blindly following them.

Ofcom consider these remarks under Rule 4.2:

The religious beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.

it was Ofcom's view that the use of such terms and references when taken together amounted to abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of non-Barelvi Muslims in Saudi Arabia, and those who follow that tradition of Islam within the UK. And hence a breach of Rule 4.2.

Ofcom added:

Although the breach of Rule 4.2 in the present case was not as serious as the breaches recorded in Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin 167, we are concerned that a similar breach of the Code occurred despite enhanced compliance procedures that Ummah Channel put in place. Therefore, if any similar breaches should happen in future, we are putting Ummah Channel on notice that we would consider taking further regulatory action.

 

22nd December   

Sensitive Ears...

Ofcom re-iterate its censorship rules for song lyrics broadcast in daytime
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom has re-iterated its rules for banning 'inappropriate' song lyrics.

The radio and TV censor claims that the new guidelines will be clearer about what is and isn't suitable.

Subject matter is as relevant as the quantity of swear words, says OfCom in its new guidelines, stressing that radio broadcasters should avoid broadcasting lyrics that clearly focus on the taking of drugs, sexual acts or behaviour, or convey a clearly sexualised theme, when children are particularly likely to be listening .

Times when children are likely to be listening are listed as 6am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm on weekdays during term time, and 6am to 7pm at weekend.

 

22nd December   

Update: Warning Light...

Ofcom starts the ball rolling for another attack on Playboy and its Red Light channels
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Red Light Central ****Babes
Red Light 1 (Channel 911), 1 September 2011, 00:00 to 01:00
Red Light Central
Red Light 2 (Channel 902), 26 August 2011, 22:32 to 23:00
Red Light 2 (Channel 902), 2 September 2011, 22:55 to 23:05
Red Light 2 (Channel 902), 5 September 2011, 21:03 to 21:35

****Babes and Red Light Central are segments of programming on babe channels Red Light 1 & 2. Playboy TV is the licensee of both channels (albeit via a Just4Us subsidiary for Red Light 1).

Ofcom received two complaints about the content listed above. In summary the complainants were concerned about the level of sexual content which they considered was capable of causing offence and the level of sexual imagery immediately after the watershed.

Ofcom cited several examples of material they considered too sexy, but their main whinge was about:

1. Red Light 1, 1 September 2011, 00:00 to 01:00

The presenter was wearing a black latex thong and red shoes. The broadcast included prolonged images of the presenter adopting sexual positions, such as with her legs wide open to camera, often mimicking sexual intercourse. At various points during the broadcast intrusive images of the presenter's genital area were shown. Approximately 18 minutes into the broadcast, the presenter was shown pouring oil onto her buttocks and anal area and three minutes later spitting onto her fingers and letting the saliva drip down onto her genital area, as if to emulate ejaculate. Throughout the broadcast the presenter was shown touching her outer genital area and massaging oil into her legs and breasts.

Approximately 50 minutes into the broadcast the presenter spoke directly to viewers to encourage further calls:

Come on, bend me over, give me a spank, stretch me open. Do whatever you want. I'm up for it. I want every hole filled up with your dirty, hot, sticky muck. Come on you naughty boys, call me right now .

Predictably Ofcom found the channels to be in breach of the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (BCAP) rules:

  • Rule 4.2 Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

  • Rule 32.3 Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.

And of course given that Playboy TV have just been fined £110,000, Ofcom have started the ball rolling again with the warning:

Ofcom has recently recorded a number of serious and repeated breaches of the BCAP Code6 against Playboy TV and Just4Us which led to the imposition of a financial penalty totalling £110,000 . These present contraventions of the BCAP Code are another example of poor compliance by the Licensee, particularly with regards to the material broadcast on 1 September 2011 that was of a strong sexual nature. Playboy TV is put on notice that any further similar contraventions of the BCAP Code will be considered for further regulatory action by Ofcom.

 

22nd December   

Update: Red Blooded Censorship...

Indian film censors suggest that there's too much of the red stuff and perhaps it would be better if it were orange
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

green blood Indian film censors are saying enough is enough and want an end to excessive blood being shed in Telugu films. There is a feeling among censors that perhaps it could be shown as orange.

Film directors and producers are amused, enraged and are at their wits end as to how to get out of this bloody mess but the censor scissors are proving to be much sharper than the long swords and spears that heroes wield on screen.

The latest film to hurt the sensibilities of the censors is Rajanna . Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairperson Leela Samson has raised concerns over too much of violence in South Indian films, and taking a cue from her observations, board regional officer A Dhanalakshmi is clamping down on gory scenes.

The general instructions for Rajanna have been:

Delete the visuals of blood, slurring the whole screen, spilling, spurting, dropping, and dripping wherever it occurs in the movie. Delete the visuals of sword, spear or any weapon coming out from the other side of the body wherever it occurs.

According to sources, the war against blood by the censors began a few months ago with producers and directors being gently asked not to show so much of bloodshed on the screen. If it is inevitable, it is suggested that at least the red should be given a gentle orange hue. It is learnt that one film producer obliged and whenever he had to show blood, it was in orange colour.

 

22nd December   

Update: Anti-Social Judge...

The Indian government found that it was not easy to censor social media so now the courts are giving a try instead
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

India flag Even as the controversy over Indian IT minister Kapil Sibal urging social networking sites to censor offensive content rages on, a trial court has directed several sites, including Facebook, Google, Orkut and Youtube, to remove anti-religious or anti-social content promoting hatred or communal disharmony .

Administrative civil judge Mukesh Kumar has directed the social networking sites to remove objectionable content in the form of photos, videos or text which might hurt religious sentiments. The court's order came on a civil suit filed by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi who had submitted a CD and printouts of the supposedly offensive contents.

The judge said:

The defendants (websites) are hereby restrained from publishing defamatory articles shown by the plaintiff and contained in the CD filed by the plaintiff immediately on service of this order and notice. Defendants are further directed to remove the same from the social networking sites.

The court has also issued summons to the sites and fixed the matter for hearing on December 24, 2011.

 

21st December   

Fucking Vague TV Censorship Rules...

Ofcom bans strong language after the 9pm virtual watershed, perhaps having to wait until the 10pm actual watershed
Link Here

big brother on channel 5 logo Big Brother
Channel 5, 23 and 30 September 2011, 21:00

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the broadcast of the words fuck and fucking in the opening sequence in an episode of this well-known reality show broadcast on 23 September 2011. Ofcom noted a similar incident in the eviction show broadcast the following week.

Both episodes began at 21:00 with clips of notable events in the Big Brother house from the previous week. Each pre-title sequence contained two instances of the word fuck or fucking . In the case of the episode transmitted on 23 September 2011, Ofcom noted the word fucking was broadcast at eleven seconds and again 16 seconds after the 21:00 watershed. On 30 September, the word fuck was broadcast 18 seconds and the word fucking 31 seconds after the watershed.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.6:

The transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed … . For television the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.

Channel 5 said that Rule 1.6 does not prohibit an 'abrupt' transition to more adult content nor does it specify…that strong language should not be included in programmes until a certain set time - for example, 9.05 or 9.10pm.

The Licensee added that the use of duly (in Rule 1.6) in its view incorporated elements of the transition to adult content being improper, inappropriate and/or without editorial justification?. Channel 5 said that the use of strong language in these programmes was completely editorially justified and therefore the transition to strong language was not unduly abrupt.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.6

Rule 1.6 is not prescriptive. It does not stipulate a certain set time after the watershed when broadcasters may start to transmit the most offensive language. What constitutes an unduly abrupt transition to more adult material depends on the context: for example, factors such as the editorial content of the programme, the time it is broadcast and the expectations of the audience. Clearly however, bearing in mind that there is an absolute prohibition on the most offensive language immediately before 21:00 (Rule 1.14), a broadcaster would need very strong reasons to justify starting to broadcast the most offensive language in the period immediately after the 21:00 watershed.

Ofcom noted that the episode broadcast on 23 September featured housemate Rebeckah saying are you fucking crackers? 11 seconds after the watershed and less than six seconds into the programme. The second use of fucking was 16 seconds after the watershed. The episode on broadcast 30 September featured housemate Harry shouting stay the fuck out of other people?s business 18 seconds after the watershed, and another housemate used fucking 31 seconds after the watershed. We therefore did not accept Channel 5?s argument that the programmes did not include strong language immediately? after the watershed .

Ofcom did not consider there was sufficient editorial justification to include repeated use of the most offensive language in these programmes so soon after the watershed. The two uses of the word fuck or fucking in each programme in the period directly after the watershed did in Ofcom's view constitute an unduly abrupt transition to more adult material at the watershed.

Rule 1.6 was therefore breached.

 

21st December   

Phones 4 U Ghost Child Ad Cleared...

ASA may be easily offended, but not so easily scared
Link Here

phones4u haunt you advert Six TV ads and one video-on-demand (VOD) ad, seen on various dates in September and October 2011, for a mobile phone retailer featured a ghost-like little girl.

Five of the TV ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) were two seconds long and appeared sequentially between non-related ads in the course of a commercial break around six programmes that were broadcast on 28, 29 and 30 September. Ad (a) showed the girl standing with her arms by her sides at a distance. Ad (b) showed the girl standing in the same way but closer to the camera. Ad (c) showed the girl lifting her hand to the side of her head mimicking the action of answering a telephone. Ad (d) showed the girl with her hand raised and four fingers extended. Ad (e) showed the girl with her hand raised and her index and little fingers extended to create a U shape.

The sixth TV ad (f) was 30 seconds long and followed a woman walking through an underground car park as the little girl appeared and disappeared in the background. The woman seemed scared and ran to her car, dropping her shopping. Once in the car, the girl appeared at the window and held out a mobile phone to the woman, who screamed. A child voice-over said, Hello, the Samsung Tocco Icon is only £ 59.95 on pay as you go. An adult female voice-over whispered, Phones 4 U. Missing our deals will haunt you. The little girl was then shown making the Phones 4 U hand signal.

The VOD ad (g) was the same as TV ad (f) and was shown on 4OD at 10.45pm during the programme The Big Bang Theory.

601 viewers complained about the ads.

  1. A number of viewers challenged whether ads (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) were offensive, irresponsible, unduly distressing and inappropriately scheduled at a time when children might see them.

  2. A number of viewers challenged whether ad (f) was offensive, irresponsible, unduly distressing and inappropriately scheduled at a time when children might see it.

  3. One viewer challenged whether ad (g) was offensive, irresponsible and unduly distressing, particularly to children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not Upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the little girl's appearance was reminiscent of a character from a horror movie and we considered that the way in which ads (a--e) had been broadcast, without context between non-related ads, was likely to have contributed to the unease felt by some adult viewers. However, we considered the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or to be unduly distressing for most adults, particularly those who were familiar with the Phones 4 U hand signal.

We understood that the little girl's appearance had distressed some children who had seen the ads. We noted that Clearcast had applied a restriction which prevented ads (a--e) from being broadcast in or around programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children and that the six programmes around which the ads had been scheduled were all broadcast after 9pm, which reduced further the likelihood of them being seen by children. We considered the scheduling restriction applied by Clearcast was appropriate and that the ads had been responsibly scheduled to minimize the risk of children seeing them. Because of this, and because we considered the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or to be unduly distressing for most adults, we concluded that the ads did not breach the Code

We investigated the ads under BCAP Code rules on Social responsibility, (Harm and offence and Children, but did not find them in breach.

2 & 3. Not upheld

We understood that Phones 4 U had intended to draw attention to the offer in ad (f) by parodying a horror movie. We considered that the ad had created a sense of tension which peaked with the sudden appearance of the little girl at the car window and the woman's scream. We considered, however, that the content and tone of the message delivered by the little girl alleviated that tension and we noted that the woman in the car did not appear frightened once the little girl had spoken. We considered that, although some adult viewers had found the ad distressing, the creation and subsequent dissipation of moderate tension was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or to be unduly distressing for most adults.

We understood that the horror movie theme of the ad had distressed some children who had seen it. We noted that Clearcast had applied a restriction which prevented the ad from being broadcast before 7.30pm or around programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children and we considered that those restrictions were appropriate to minimize the risk of children, and particularly very young children, seeing the ad. Because of this, and because we considered the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to most adults, we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

We noted that 4OD had applied the same timing restriction as had been applied to the TV ad (f) and that in addition to this the programme during which the ad was shown had carried a parental guidance flag. We considered that those measures were responsible and appropriate to minimise the risk of children seeing the ad and we concluded the ad did not breach the Code.

We investigated ad (f) under BCAP Code rules on Social responsibility, Harm and offence and hildren, but did not find it in breach.

 

21st December   

Updated: Open Access...

UK BlackBerry phone users are not subject to age verification before access to adult websites
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

BlackBerry Curve 8520 Free Smartphone Last week my attention was drawn to a notice which had been put up on 3's web site. It reads as follows

Note: If you're using a BlackBerry, we can't put a filter on your phone. This is because BlackBerry apply their own settings to access the internet

Why had this caveat appeared out of the blue where previously there had been nothing? Had something changed? If so, what and when?

At first everyone started clamming up. I took that as a sure sign. Then finally two networks confirmed that, right now, they believe none of their BlackBerry users are covered either by the adult content blocking policy or by the IWF list blocking policy. Another network said they believed some BlackBerry models were still covered but they acknowledged not all of their BlackBerry users are any more.

Why have Blackberry decided to stop running services which keeps adult sites away from children or indeed anyone who has not asked for the adult bar to be lifted? And what exactly is the position with the IWF list? When did universal coverage under either or both headings cease to be a fact? Was it ever a fact?

Was OFCOM, CEOP, the Government or anyone in authority informed of any changes to what was very widely understood to be the status quo? If not why not? This is a scandal which risks putting a big dent in the credibility of the whole notion of self-regulation of the internet in the UK, if not elsewhere as well.

My understanding is that all of the UK's mobile phone networks have been tearing their hair out trying to get RIM to sit down with them and resolve this but it hasn't happened. Meanwhile what are the networks to do? Cut off all of their customers who use BlackBerry devices? I am sure some people will say that is exactly what they should have done but I think that is rather an extreme view and it ought not to be necessary when RIM have it within their gift to avoid it.

Should the mobile networks have warned parents or the public or some of their customers?

Blackberry has some explaining to do.

...Read the full article

Update: Summonsed

18th December 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Ofcom logo BlackBerry has been summoned to a meeting with the internet censors at Ofcom after it emerged that its internet feed is provided without age restrictions.

Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry, will be joined at the summit by the leading mobile networks at the summit called by the telecommunications regulator.

It was brought to our attention that there was a problem, an Ofcom spokesman said: It is to do with the way in which the BlackBerry operating system works. We are very concerned and want to get this resolved as quickly as possible.

While mobile phone operators have been able to apply filters to other handsets such as the iPhone, they have been unable to do so on the BlackBerry. This is because data flows through the BlackBerry's own services rather than those provided by the networks. It is understood that RIM did offer its own filtering system to UK networks, but this has only been taken up by T-Mobile.

Update: Blocking Report

21st December 2011. See  article from  news.techworld.com

RIM logo Ofcom have had their first meeting with RIM on the subject of website blocking. The meeting was attended by all the UK mobile operators and the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). A second meeting has been scheduled for the New Year to check on progress.

An Ofcom spokesperson reported to Techworld that, although RIM was blocking access to those URLs flagged up by the IWF, it does not currently prevent access to adult content by default.

RIM explained it is now working on new parental control features that will give parents the ability to control and restrict their children's use of various services and applications on BlackBerry smartphones. Integrated parental control features will be provided in future versions of BlackBerry 7, and BlackBerry App World 3.1 also offers content rating and filtering options for applications based on the CTIA Wireless Association's Guidelines for App Content Classification and Ratings .

 

21st December   

Offsite: Sex and the BBFC...

Close Encounters with Foreign Erotica
Link Here

Sex Zen Extreme Extended Directors In 2011, Sex and Zen 3D broke all box office records in Hong Kong, beating Avatar's previous opening day milestone by raking in HK$2.78 million. However, around the world, Sex and Zen ran into trouble with censorship bodies, and the distributors released modified versions in a number of territories. The British Board of Film Classification cut almost three minutes from the film, filtering out the most extreme sequences of sexual violence.

...Read the full article

 

21st December   

Update: Test of Consequences...

Latest angle for the OIC to get criticism of religion internationally criminalised
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

OIC flag A little while ago the muslim countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) dropped demands for 'defamation of religion' to be internationally enacted in law.

Instead they would look towards the existing western approach to to criminalize incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds. This change of direction was related to ongoing diplomatic work by US Secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

However there have now been further moves that have become a little worrying to observers.

The OIC's intent, as stated explicitly in its April 2011 4th Annual Report on Islamophobia, is to criminalize incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds. However the report also alluded to a 'useful' definition of 'incitement to hatred and violence' that rather ends the consensus with the western view.

Using the 'test of consequences' to define incitement to violence simply means that if violence actually results from say a cartoon of Mohammed, then the publisher is automatically criminally liable. [Because it did incite violence]

In fact the OIC report only says that idea is useful and should be explored as a solution to the perceived gap in enforcement of the 'soft laws' adopted by the west. The report states:

Approaches like applying the test of consequences were useful and would have to be explored/refined further in an objective fashion towards evolving a consensus with regard to effectively addressing the matter.

Resolution 16/18 (ie to criminalize incitement to hatred and violence on religious grounds ) was hailed as a victory by Clinton, because it calls on countries to combat intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization based on religion without criminalizing free speech -- except in cases of incitement to imminent violence.

But if the criterion for determining incitement to imminent violence is a new test of consequences, then this is nothing but an invitation to stage Muslim Days of Rage following the slightest perceived offense by a Western blogger, instructor, or radio show guest, all of whom will be held legally liable for causing the destruction, possibly even if what they've said is merely a statement of fact. The implications of such prior restraint on free speech would be chilling.

 

21st December   

Update: Seeing red...

Thai red shirt firebrand sentenced to 15 years in jail for criticising the monarchy
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flag Daranee Chamchoengsilpakul, the Thai Red Shirt firebrand known as Da Torpedo, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for violating Thailand's lese-majeste laws criminalising criticism of the monarchy.

Daranee received the prison sentence for speeches she made during 2008 Red Shirt rallies against the previous government.

It appears that Thailand is becoming aware of international impact of the stream of repressive jail sentences that have hit the headlines recently.

Army chief Prayuth Chano-cha has now urged the public to refrain from discussing the possibility bombings during the New Year holiday, and the issue of the lese majeste law.

Don't start talking about possible bombings and stir up unrest during the New Year, because it could hurt tourism, Gen Prayuth said. People should not be calling on the authorities to amend Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the lese majeste law:

Personally, I feel we should not talk about this and I don't want it to go overboard. If people think Thai law is unjust or too harsh, they can go live abroad.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has also voiced opposition to amending the lese majeste law. He said he had been always clear about his stance on the lese majeste law.

Why change Section 112 since it's good already? Don't they [people who want Section 112 amended] have jobs to go to?

Chalerm also said he would chair a meeting of the committee for dealing with websites with lese majeste content and that a 'war room' would be set up for this committee.

 

20th December   

Forty Years Of Chocolate Orange...

BBC Radio Today programme discusses how attitudes to towards violence in films has changed
Link Here

Clockwork Orange Disc Special DVD Clockwork Orange and the BBFC were the topics of conversation on BBC Radio 4's  Today programme on the 19th December 2011. Previous BBFC President Andreas Whittam Smith and Julian Petley, professor of journalism and screen media at Brunel University, spoke about turn of the century BBFC film censorship.

During the talk, Whittam Smith spoke about the time when Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist. Straw Dogs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre struggled at the BBFC.

They also spoke about violence in films and whether it effected viewers. Whittam Smith said:

... nobody's ever .. uhm .. shown the link. The best research I ever saw took young offenders. Showed them violent videos uhm, and so on, about six months later they re-interviewed and they tended to remember scenes, the graphic scenes better than a control group of ordinary people. And that suggests that it does have some effect but it's very hard to make that, bring that up to the level required for uhm, a court of law, where actions had to be beyond all possible doubt

Julian Petley thnn says In my view there is no proven link...

So Andreas Whittam Smith says that the best evidence he has seen is not up to the level needed for a court of law.

 

20th December   

Exorcising Evil Spirits from GEM TV...

Ofcom censures an Iranian language channel for broadcasting The Exorcist during the day
Link Here

Exorcist Blu ray Region Free The Exorcist
Gem TV, 20 September 2011, 18:30 (UK) and 21 September 2011, 11:30 (UK)

A complainant drew Ofcom's attention to the morning and early evening scheduling of The Exorcist , the notorious 1970s horror film.

Gem TV is a Farsi (Iranian) language channel broadcasting via the Hotbird 6 satellite. The channel can be received in Europe and the Middle East. The licence for this channel is held by General Entertainment & Music Ltd (GEM)

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) rates the The Exorcist at „18 for theatrical and video release.

Ofcom considered the scheduling of the film to raise an issue warranting investigation under Rule 1.23 of the Code, which states:

BBFC 18-rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast before 2100 on any service (except for pay per view services), and even then they may be unsuitable for broadcast at that time.

GEM said that it accepted that it had made a mistake in scheduling. However, the Licensee told us, because the channel broadcasts in Farsi for Iranian viewers its programme times and schedules are based on Iranian time. The Licensee stated that the film's scheduling would therefore have been compliant with the Code when judged against Iranian local time. The Licensee apologised and stressed that it strives to comply with Ofcom's rules

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.23

Given The Exorcist's themes of self-mutilation, possession and violence, Ofcom considered this film to be clearly unsuitable for children.

Ofcom noted the Licensee's comments in respect of its target audience being in Iran, but rejected this as a defence. First, the transmission of The Exorcist at 11:30 UK time was inappropriately scheduled even when assessed against local Iranian time. The same time slot would have been 15:00 in local Iranian time, still well before the 21:00 watershed.

Second, and more importantly, where a service can be received in more than one time zone, scheduling considerations made under the Code are judged against the earliest time at which the service can be received (i.e. the most westerly time zone). For GEM TV this is UK time. In that respect we would point out that the complaint was made by a viewer in the UK.

For The Exorcist to have been scheduled in the morning and early evening therefore represented two clear and serious breaches of the Code.

We have reminded GEM Ltd of its responsibilities under its Ofcom licence. Any recurrence of this issue is likely to result in the consideration of the imposition of statutory sanctions.

Breaches of Rule 1.23

 

20th December   

Explicit Warning...

Parental advisory of explicit lyrics extended to online retailers
Link Here

parental advisory explicit lyrics logo The music industry's parental advisory scheme has been extended to explicit content in music and video downloads.

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) scheme has applied to physical music and video since 1995, with logos attached to material deemed offensive or inappropriate for children.

The logo now signposts unsuitable files on sites including iTunes and Amazon.

The updated scheme states that UK digital music retailers and streaming services use the Parental Advisory logo or the word explicit alongside files that could be considered unsuitable.

The BPI said that while some sites already flagged up explicit content, the scheme, introduced on Tuesday, would provide consistent labelling.

 

20th December   

One Hundred Years Of Film Censorship...

BBFC celebrate with a year of nostalgic film certificate styles
Link Here  full story: 100 Years of Film Censorship...BBFC celebrates

100 years of censorship logo The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is marking its 100th year in 2012 by resurrecting its historical Theatrical Black Cards. Beginning in January cinema-goers across the UK will see updated versions of the vintage Black Cards ahead of all 2012 theatrical releases. The six retro designs based on those used in 1913, the 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and the present day will be released as a series with each design appearing for two months at a time.

The first retro card to be show in cinema's in 2012 will be based on the 1912 theatrical card, first shown in 1913.

Other activities taking place to mark the BBFC Centenary year include a film season at the BFI; an exhibition about the history of the BBFC; and a Centenary book mapping 100 years of film classification and controversy.

David Cooke Director of the BBFC says: The BBFC's Centenary is a chance for us both to look forward and to celebrate our past. We are constantly striving to develop new services; provide the public with fuller, richer information; and to improve our efficiency. At the same time, we recognise our duty to explain our history, and we do a lot of this, particularly with schools and teachers. The retro Black Cards are a way of celebrating our history. I think they're pretty stylish too .

Established as the British Board of Film Censors in 1912, the BBFC was designed by the film industry to ensure uniformity in film classification and was a reaction to the 1909 Cinematographers Act whereby all Local Authorities had the power to provide or withhold licenses for cinemas in their area.

Areas of notable interest in the Board's history include T.P. O'Connor's 1916 list of 43 grounds for deletion, intended as a guide for Examiners; the shifts in public opinion and changes in the law over the decades; and the classification of various controversial films from Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange to the video nasties of the 1980s.

Today the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent, private, not for profit company which classifies films, videos, DVDs and certain video games, advertisements and trailers under the Video Recordings Act (1984).

...Read the full article

 

20th December   

Update: Censorial Fanaticism...

China proposes even more repressive film censorship
Link Here

china state council logo China is planning even more repressive movie censorship to bar anti-government sentiments and messages of religious fanaticism from the screen, the government says.

The proposal, posted to the web site of the State Council. It is part of a draft film law now under consideration that would raise to 13 the subject categories not allowed. Previous bans cover too much smoking on screen, explicit sex and graphic violence.

Under the proposals, China would bar incitement to resist or undermine the constitution and the promotion of religious fanaticism from films. A further proposed ban would bar any film from promoting illegal drugs or terrorist activity.

 

19th December   

School's Out...

New US DVD-R release of the video nasty Terror Eyes (aka Night School)
Link Here
Night School DVD Region NTSC Terror Eyes (aka Night School ) is a 1981 US slasher by Ken Hughes.
With Leonard Mann, Rachel Ward and Drew Snyder. See IMDb

A new US release is Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Back in the UK

The film hasn't been seem in the UK for a long time now. It was last released with an 18 rating after 1:16s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1993 Vipco VHS

  • UK 1987 Guild VHS

The BBFC cuts were:

  • stabbings and girls being threatened with knives during the changing room and cafe murders

Summary Review: Action over Suspense

A Boston police detective investigates a series of gruesome decapitations of various college coeds committed by a helmeted, black-leather clad serial killer which leads him to suspect a well known anthropology professor as well as his female live-in assistant.

A slasher flick with more action than horror. But the acting is above par as are the overall production values, and there isn't a lot of padding. There's also something of a story complete with characterization.

One could certainly do (much) worse in picking a slasher film from this era.

 

19th December   

Updated: Finally the Full Sequence...

The uncut version of Human Centipede 2 has been released online by Bounty Films
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2 uncut 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 Uncut Version is now finally available online for:

Update: About Human Centipede 2 at BountyFilms.com

From  press release from  cinemart-online.co.uk

Philadelphia based Breaking Glass Pictures is proud to announce the beta launch of it's new VOD platform Bountyfilms.com. Teaming with the Bounty films content library, Breaking Glass will be promoting some of the best independent content in the world, starting with the highly controversial Human Centipede 2 Uncut . This version is completely uncensored respecting Tom Six's original unadulterated masterpiece.

This is the first time that the ucut and uncencored version is available anywhere in the world for rental and legal download -- Exclusively from Bountyfilms.com.

Available in the UK and Australia, Bountyfilms.com aims to bring the best in cutting edge cinema straight to any device you want to view it on, be that you PC/MAC, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or almost any other device. With a range of purchase options and no contracts or minimum term, and best of all no DRM so you can watch your film anywhere at any time on any platform of your choice.

Cut Releases

UK: Temporarily banned

  • Banned by the BBFC in June 2011.
  • Unbanned by the BBFC in October 2011 after 2:37s of BBFC cuts
Australia: Temporarily banned
  • Originally passed R18+ uncut by the Classification Board
  • Banned on appeal by the Review Board in November 2011. The appeal was requested by NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith
  • Unbanned by the Classification Board after 30s of cuts in December 2011

US: A pre-cut version is missing the barbed wire rape of the last girl in the chain. This is the version that has been available online for sometime now.

Summary Review: Sick Fantasy

Inspired by the fictional Dr. Heiter, disturbed loner Martin dreams of creating a 12-person centipede and sets out to realize his sick fantasy.

This is the type of movie you will either like or hate, I doubt there will be much in between. The film is quite shocking, but not the most outrageous of the genre.

Actor Laurence R Harvey is masterful as Martin yet doesn't utter a single word of dialogue.

 

19th December   

Obituary: Don Sharp...

Film and TV director dies aged 89
Link Here

Psychomania Beryl Reed Donald Sharp (19 April 1922-18 December 2011) was born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. He became a notable film and TV director based in Britain.

His most famous films were made for Hammer Studios in the sixties. His filmography of the period reads:

  • The Kiss of the Vampire (1963)
  • Wichcraft (1964)
  • The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)
  • Curse of the Fly (1965)
  • The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)
  • Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966)
  • Our Man in Marrakesh (1966)
  • The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966)
  • The Violent Enemy (1967)
  • Rocket to the Moon (1967)
  • A Taste of Excitement (1969)
  • Dark Places (1973)
  • Psychomania (1973)

He then moved onto more mainstream films:

  • Callan (1974)
  • Hennessy (1975)
  • The Four Feathers (1977)
  • The Thirty Nine Steps (1978)
  • Bear Island (1979)

Later he worked in TV

  • Hold the Dream (1986) (TV)
  • Tears in the Rain (1988) (TV)
  • Act of Will (1989) (TV)

 

19th December   

Offsite: Virgin A***holes...

Virgin Media inane censorship of their programme guide
Link Here

Virgin media censored Some Virgin Media customers may have noticed the company has rather over-officiously started censoring content in the menu and guide screens (though it seems not all Virgin Media customers are affected). The censorship goes as far as censoring the name of London football club A***nal on tonight's Match Of The Day 2

...Read the full article

 

18th December   

Updated: BBFC Podcast Episode 2...

Including David Cooke on Human Centipede 2
Link Here

BBFC logo December 16th, 2011 by Catherine Anderson

In this episode of the BBFC podcast, BBFC Examiners James Blatch and Caitlin O'Brien discuss classifying violence in films, and talk to BBFC Director David Cooke about The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).

... See  BBFC Podcast Episode 2

And if you missed Episode 1 on the subject of the 12A certificate

...See BBFC Podcast Episode 1 from bbfc.co.uk

Update: David Cooke on Radio 5

18th December 2011. A film a week film censor

Listen  to interview with Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode from  bbc.co.uk

 

18th December   

In the Land of Blood and Honey...

Angelina Jolie's controversial film about ethnic cleansing and Balkan wars
Link Here

in the land of blood and honey Angelina Jolie is being noticed for her work behind rather than in front of the camera with her directorial debut - a harrowing story of love and war in Bosnia.

Even before the release of In the Land of Blood and Honey , Jolie garnered her first directing honour, winning the Producers' Guild of America special award for portrayal of social issues.

But in the Balkans, the film is inflaming old and deeply-held emotions. The passionate reaction reflects the deep ethnic rifts that still divide Bosnia ahead of next year's 20th anniversary of the bloody fratricidal conflict that claimed an estimated 200,000 lives.

The leader of a Bosnian Serb prisoners group has slammed the film for its allegedly one-sided depiction of the atrocities and called for it to be banned from the country's Serbian areas.

The film, which opens in the US on 23rd December, centres on the fictional relationship between a Muslim woman artist and Serbian army officer. Once romantically involved before the war erupted in April 1992, they are reunited when she is detained in a Serbian internment camp that he commands.

...Read the full article

 

18th December   

For Old Times' Sake...

Czech public TV broadcaster under the spotlight for political censorship
Link Here

Czech Republic flag Controversy has not been far away from the new director of the Czech public TV broadcaster Czech Television (CT), Petr Dvorak, since his appointment at the end of September.

First it emerged he had lied about not ever being a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC), then he visited his former boss and friend Czech oligarch, Petr Kellner, just days after appointment, and now he faces allegations by CT reporters that there have been several cases of interference by the management into investigative reports into sensitive political cases.

In recent days we here [in CT] have witnessed the termination or shortening of several sensitive reports, a CT editor, who did not want to be named for fear of dismissal, told the daily Mlada fronta dnes (MfD).

According to CT staff, the management also blocked the news team from reporting that President V'clav Klaus pres officers refused to allow CT journalist Jan Molacek to pose a question to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the press conference during his visit to Prague on November 8, because he refused to guarantee that he would not ask about the disputed Russian parliamentary elections held on December 4.

 

18th December   

Lowe Esteem...

Nutter family campaigners find themselves out of favour
Link Here

Florida Family Association The Florida Family Association is a small and little-known evangelical organisation which for the past two decades has mounted campaigns against everything from strip clubs to gay rights and the teaching of evolution in schools.

One of the groups supporters happens to be Robert Niblock, the CEO of Lowe's, one of America's largest DIY chains.

The Florida Family Association have been rallying against a TV reality show called All-American Muslim , which seeks to portray the Islamic community as normal everyday Americans being positive, and just getting on with life.

But  the Florida Family Association have interpreted this normality as propaganda and claimed in a letter Niblock that this was clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law.

The CEO appears to have taken the organisation at its word, apparently without bothering to actually watch an episode, and immediately announced that Lowe's would pull all of its advertising. In a statement, the firm claimed that the programme had become a lightning rod for strong political and societal views.

But Niblock's views have failed to find resonance with roughly one million viewers of the show. Many felt that Niblock and the Florida Family Association were spouting bollox.

Several politicians, celebrities, and Islamic faith groups have roundly condemned the DIY firm. Petitions calling for a boycott of its stores had 25,000 signatories and counting, while 22,000 people had posted on the subject on the firm's Facebook page.

Ted Lieu, a Californian state Senator, branded Lowe's bigoted, shameful, and un-American. Keith Ellison, one of the few US Representatives who is a practicing Muslim, said it had chosen to uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and given in to intolerance.

Mia Farrow, the actress, used Twitter to call for a big effort to boycott the company, and hit Lowe's where it hurts. The comedian Kal Penn asked fans to sign a petition against the firm, joking that his next movie would be called: Harold and Kumar do not go to Lowes. Russell Simmons, the hip-hop impresario, said that he had purchased all the newly-vacant advertising slots on All-American Muslim.

Protesters descended on a Lowe's store in one of the country's largest Arab American communities on Saturday. About 100 people gathered outside the store in Allen Park, a Detroit suburb adjacent to the city where All-American Muslim is filmed. Protesters including Christian clergy and lawmakers called for unity, held signs that read Boycott bigotry and chanted God bless America; shame on Lowe's during the rally, which was organized by a coalition of Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups.

Elsewhere, David Caton, the leader of the Florida Family Association, shrugged-off suggestions that it is a fringe hate group, telling the Associated Press that it exists to defend traditional American biblical values. He has previously lobbied against Degrassi , a teen show on the Nickelodeon channel, alleging that it promotes the transgender lifestyle.

 

17th December   

Update: Rumours of Repression Prove True...

China demands ID to use local versions of Twitter
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Weibo Authorities in Beijing have issued new rules requiring users of microblog sites to register personal details.

New users of Weibo - Chinese equivalents of Twitter - will now have to submit their real names. Existing users have to register in three months. Those who refuse to do so will lose the ability to post tweets.

The move comes with Chinese people increasingly using Weibo platforms to criticise government policies or vent anger over particular incidents.

Chinese authorities have accused netizens of spreading rumours on Weibo in the past and have long been discussing putting in place a real name mechanism .

The new regulations - which take effect immediately - were issued jointly by Beijing's information, communication and police authorities, and published on the city's official news portal.

Some users on Sina Weibo have expressed unhappiness at the new rule, posting messages such as goodbye Weibo and time to move on and calling on friends and followers to migrate to other social media sites such as Twitter and Google+ instead.

 

17th December   

Universal Censorship...

Universal seems to have an agreement with Google to remove any videos it wants from YouTube, and is not limited to those over which it has copyright claims
Link Here

mega upload song video Universal Music Group has suggested it has the power to make YouTube take down any video it wants, even if it doesn't own the content or the copyright, thanks to a secret agreement with Google.

The world's largest record company apparently exercised that power when it ordered the removal of a competitor's star-studded video, as well as a news report about the controversy.  The video features a song and endorsements from a dozen celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, will.i.am, P. Diddy, Kanye West and Chris Brown.

The movie in question is called Megaupload Mega Song , a promotional video created by the Hong Kong-based file-sharing service Mega Upload. Record companies aren't impressed by the service and claim Mega Upload knowingly hosts pirated music and flouts international copyright laws.

For years, Universal has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to file take-down notices, requiring websites to remove copyrighted content owned by Universal. But in this case Universal have no rights to the Megaupload video content. The song is original and does not belong to Universal.

So Mega Upload sued the record company, alleging it acted outside the bounds of copyright law.

But Universal responded with a brief saying that their agreement with Google to remove YouTube videos is not limited to copyright claims.

For the moment the video is back on YouTube, but the legal action is continuing.

 

16th December   

Less New Flesh...

New UK Blu-ray of Videodrome disappointingly is reported to be the cut R Rated version
Link Here

Videodrome Blu ray Region Free Videodrome is a 1982 Canada Sci-Fi by David Cronenberg.
With James Woods, Deborah Harry and Sonja Smits. See IMDb

The cut R Rated Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2011 Universal R0 Blu-ray for release on 26th December 2011.
  • UK 2002 Universal R2 DVD
  • UK 1990 CIC VHS
  • UK 1983 cinema release

The US cuts for an R Rating were:

  1. During the screening of Max's (James Wood) Samurai Dreams video a shot of a dildo is very much shortened
  2. The first appearance of the Videodrome programme is slighter shorter as it loses a glimpse of pubic hair and a female victim being strangled
  3. The sequence in Harlan's (Peter Dvorsky) lab after the Rea King Show uses a toned down take of a woman being whipped.
  4. Nickie's (Debbie Harry) ear piercing loses several shots; Max moving the needle across Nicki's body, Nicki's cry of 'God', the needle being pulled out of the ear, a close up of the other ear being pierced and a pan to reveal Max & Nicki making love afterwards.
  5. The scene of Max shooting his second partner is slightly shortened.
  6. The death of Convex (Les Carlson) does not show his innards briefly erupting.

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Summary Review : Surreal

A sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a very unusual fashion when he acquires a new kind of programming for his station.

In Videodrome, James Woods plays a Canadian television entrepreneur, a man who provides material - usually suspect, often porn - for cable TV. In the course of his seedy research he finds a pirate broadcast of a strange, compelling programme. The torture and masochism he glimpses as the programme hisses and breaks up is ... well, it looks real. Or is it just incredibly well made, with the interference and fluctuating picture quality just an example of good engineering and clever directing, simulating clandestine status to give the show a bit of edge?

A disturbing, thought-provoking, hugely entertaining film. If you enjoy the unusual, if you appreciate the surreal, if you like to be challenged and explore irony, this may be a movie you'll love.

 

16th December   

Offsite: BBFC Infomercial...

Calling the Shots Online
Link Here

David Cooke But isn't pre-release classification irrelevant in the age of the internet, cloud computing and internet TV? Well no, it isn't, for three reasons.

  • First, consumers want it; 73% want the same level of regulation and labelling in place for online audio visual material as exists in the physical world and 89% of parents are checking classifications for films they and their children download, even though this isn't always easy to do.

  • Second, there's a vast stock of decisions which the BBFC has already taken which can be re-used highly effectively when existing content is distributed again via download.

  • Third, the home entertainment industry wants it. The BBFC has developed a number of partnerships where rapid, low-cost, non-traditional methods of classification can be applied to completely new, or otherwise previously unclassified, material, including web-pages as well as more traditional linear content. We have no statutory monopoly of regulation in this area, but we can still provide a cost-effective, high quality service kite marked by our uniquely trusted brand.

...Read the full article

 

16th December   

Comment: Worthless Kitemarks...

PCC to suggest that bloggers should buy into press accuracy standards
Link Here  full story: Leveson Inquiry...Considering UK press censorship and regulation

David Hunt The new PCC chairman Lord Hunt has told journalist David Hencke in an interview: At the moment, it is like the Wild West out there. We need to appoint a sheriff.

He's referring to bloggers. His plan is to invite political bloggers to volunteer for regulation by the PCC's replacement. Blogs who promise to abide by the new code will get a kitemark of approval.

The PCC will be replaced with a body more independent of newspapers, David Hencke is told, and the plans will be presented to the Leveson Inquiry.

Lord Hunt tells him:

I want accuracy to be the new gold standard for blogs. Once they have agreed to be accurate, everything would follow from that. I would like to see a Kitemark on the best blogs so the public can trust what they read in them.

And there's a catch, bloggers will have to pay to be regulated, like newspapers, reports Jon Slattery.

So is the current press 'accurate'? They just add a final paragraph to a piece saying something like the government refutes all accusations. The PCC kitemark doesn't seem to stop newspapers from claiming 40,000 trafficked sex workers turn up at world sports events, or that computer games are the root of all evil, or that sexy adverts undermine civilisation, or that a couple of tweets represent an 'outraged' nation.

Perhaps I should add that all so important balancing paragraph...

Mr Man-in-the-Street says that the British press accuracy i s the best in the world and is 2nd to none.

 

16th December   

Joke of the Year...

As judged by the amount of easily offended whingers that wrote to Ofcom
Link Here

The Wright Stuff logo The top comedian of the year is Matthew Wright of the The Wright Stuff. He triumphed with a cracking gag during a TV debate about the murder of Liam Aitchison, the first murder in Scotland's Western Isles in 43 years.

He put on a mock Scottish accent and quipped there's been anudder moider , copying a catchphrase from the detective show Taggart.

The complaint-o-meter registered a top notch score of 2,200 complaints to Ofcom.

In second place is the perennial favourite, Jeremy Clarkson. His jolly jape, live on The One Show, joked that public sector workers out on strike should be executed in front of their families. This scored a healthy 763 on the Ofcom complaint-o-meter and thousands more complained direct to the BBC too.

In third place was Jason Gardiner, a talent show judge appearing in Dancing on Ice.

Following a performance by the celebrity Jeff Brazier and his professional partner Isabelle Gauthier, Gardiner quipped:

The Jackson 5 are very tight and you aren't. You're choreography, especially in your arms, is still very, very sloppy and messy and it almost looks like you're weak and there's moments especially in your facial expressions as well with everything, it's almost like you're missing a couple of chromosomes.

This scored a respectable 253 on the complaint-o-meter.  The reference to missing a couple of chromosome ', which complainants considered was highly offensive, particularly to those with chromosomal disorders , discriminatory and completely inappropriate .

 

16th December   

A Political Whinge Object...

Diane Abbott blames porn culture for an increase in young sex
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

diane abbott London MP Diane Abbott has attacked the pornification of popular culture which she says is to blame for high rates of under-age sex among girls.

More than one in four young women first have sex below the age of 16, a greater proportion than previous generations, according to a NHS health survey.

Abbott said.

The rising numbers of girls having under-age sex is alarming. It is not a cost-free phenomenon. It poses public health policy challenges and social challenges.

The underlying cause must be the 'pornification' of the culture and the increasing sexualisation of pre-adolescent girls. Too many young girls are absorbing from the popular culture around them that they only have value as sex objects. Inevitably they act this notion out.

Government must improve education in schools for both girls and boys, the shadow health minister insisted. But she dismissed as pointless abstinence drives similar to that mooted by Tory MP Nadine Dorris.

 

16th December   

Updated: Another Block in the Wall...

Sky blocks Newzbin website in response to court order
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

Sky TV Sky Broadband has begun blocking Newzbin2 after receiving a court order telling it to do so.

The ISP is the second major internet provider to block access to the Usenet indexing website, after BT started doing so around the end of October. However, major rivals TalkTalk and Virgin Media said that they have received no such court order themselves, and are not blocking the site.

We have received a court order requiring us to block access to this illegal website, which we did on 13 December, Sky said in a statement: Moving forward, as and when clear and legally robust evidence of copyright theft is presented, we will take appropriate action in respect to site blocking, which will include complying with court orders.

The European branch of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) representing Walt Disney, Paramount, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Brothers won a court order in July that forced BT to block access to Newzbin2. In early November, shortly after BT began blocking Newzbin, the MPA sent letters to all the major ISPs, saying the organisation intended to seek similar court orders and asking whether the ISPs intended to fight against this move.

The MPA has also gone to BT to seek a block of the Pirate Bay file-sharing website, but BT has said it will not institute further blocks without a court order for each case.

 

16th December   

Fine Words...

EU looks to assist internet users to evade repressive state control of the internet
Link Here

EU flag The European Union should help teach bloggers living under oppressive regimes how to communicate freely and avoid detection, and develop technology to help them, the bloc's digital affairs commissioner has said.

Speaking at an online free speech conference, Neelie Kroes said digital dissidents need tools that are simple and ready-made. I want the EU to help develop and distribute these tools .

Governments, companies and civil liberties groups are meeting at the Freedom Online conference at the Dutch Foreign Ministry in hopes of creating a coalition of like-minded groups to promote Internet freedoms.

In an emotional speech, Syrian blogger Amjad Baiazy said his country's surveillance system was built by Western countries. He said he was arrested and tortured in May for expressing his opinion online, and a friend was arrested as recently as this week for a Facebook posting. He called on governments to fight for security of citizens, not corporations or governments. Sometimes there's a big gap between the security of governments and the security of citizens.

Dutch member of parliament Marietje Schaake pointed out the Intelligence Support Systems conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is essentially a marketplace for governments and others interested in surveillance technology.

Schaake also slammed the U.S. for its proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, which would require U.S. telecommunications companies to block access to foreign-based websites for infringing on U.S. copyrights. This will give great incentives to governments like China to do the same, she said, blocking political speech they don't approve and arguing that their censorship practices are no different than those in the West.

The Dutch government pledged euro1 million ($1.3 million) to develop mesh networks that use multiple local connections to eliminate the need for state controlled internet pinch points such as ISPs and the DNS system.

 

15th December   

Wish Denied...

Death Wish II cuts continue for the 2012 UK DVD release
Link Here

Death Wish 2 Death Wish II is 1982 US vigilante film by Michael Winner. With Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland and Vincent Gardenia. See IMDb

Presumably the cut US R Rated Version has just been passed 18 for strong sexual violence without further BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2012 Medis Sales/Final Cut R2 DVD

The BBFC commented:

  • This is a pre-cut US version of the film. Both rape scenes have been substantially reduced and re-edited prior to submission to the BBFC.

The R-rated US version has cut both the rape scenes:

  • While only the more violent aspects of the maid's rape scene were cut,
  • the daughter's rape scene (where she did not resist) was almost entirely cut except for the last few seconds.
  • Also the daughter afterwards is shown jumping out the window but the US version cuts out the part where she gets impaled on a fence.

2006 Release

This may be a 27s improvement on the previous UK releases.

The cut US R Rated Version was passed 18 after 27s of further BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2006 MGM R2 DVD

The BBFC commented:

  • Cuts were required to remove scenes of sexual and sexualised violence.

The overall cut is still a heavily cut version similar to all UK releases to date where the BBFC cut 3:42s from the uncut version without the interim intervention of the MPAA.

 

15th December   

Update: Dangerous Songs...

SNP push their football sectarianism bill through parliament
Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

The Scottish Parliament Repressive laws against religious insult at football matches in Scotland have been passed after the Scottish government rejected complaints the rules were unworkable.

The offensive behaviour bill was pushed through Holyrood using the Scottish National party's overall majority. The bill was opposed by all other parties and attracted widespread criticism from fans, clubs and the Church of Scotland.

Holyrood's four opposition parties, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Tories and the Scottish Green party, backed by the independent MSP Margo Macdonald, issued a joint statement accusing ministers of railroading the Scottish parliament:

It is of real regret that the first piece of legislation passed by this new parliament has been railroaded through by the SNP. The SNP has used its majority to force through a bad law that risks doing more harm than good. It sets a worrying precedent for this parliament.

The new measures introduce two new offences of inciting religious, racial or other forms of hatred in public or on the internet, which will be punishable by up to five years in jail. The offences will cover football grounds, public places and pubs and clubs.

Allison McInnes, the Scottish Liberal Democrats' justice spokeswoman, said the government was creating two new criminal offences without any kind of consensus :

They are unable to answer basic questions about how the law will be enforced or present evidence as to why it is needed. They can provide only the vaguest assurances that it will not impact people's freedom of speech.

 

15th December   

A Weekend in Amsterdam...

Christy Moore song winds up the easily offended in Ulster
Link Here

Weekend In Amsterdam The BBC have apologised over a song aired by Radio Ulster in a late morning slot.

Veteran broadcaster Gerry Anderson played a song about a lads mini-break in Amsterdam, which featured drunken escapades, rolling joints , bar brawls and dancing with transvestites.

Listeners to Radio Ulster were reported to be 'shocked' by the language in the song, which included the 'uncensored swear word' 'shite' and plain English references to sex toys and drug taking.

The song, Weekend in Amsterdam by folk musician Christy Moore, led to complaints after Anderson played it on his show before lunchtime.

An angry Belfast Telegraph reader said they were outraged after hearing the song on a morning programme at a time when young children could have been listening: Surely this must be the most obscene song ever broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster. No bleeps either, mind.

The song details a madcap weekend in the Dutch capital, which begins in a cafe where they smoke hashish and go to a bar to listen to a band they criticise as being shite . They then go to the red light district, where one of them dances with a transvestite before getting into a fight and running from the local police.

One verse goes:

Macker sez while we're here we'll go and have a look at the kinky gear
I said a quiet prayer I wouldn't bump into anyone from Kildare
Big dildos, blow-up dolls, snap-on tools and hairy balls
Vibrators, whips and chains, zips and fanny ticklers
God between us and all harm
0 The Weekend that we spent in Amsterdam

East Londonderry MP, Gregory Campbell. said such lyrics should not be aired before the 9pm watershed. Given that this was a morning listening audience, hopefully the BBC will take fairly stringent action to put in place procedures to make sure that similar types of lyrics aren't broadcast at that time of the day again.

A spokesperson for Radio Ulster said the song has now been removed from the playlist. We apologise for any offence caused, she said.

 

15th December   

Update: Opportunism...

Russian proposal to set up widely defined internet censorship in the name of blocking child porn
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag Russia's industry organisation, League of Internet Security, has proposed creating a blacklist of websites containing child pornography and other prohibited information and oblige internet providers to block such sites.

The League's proposal followed its announcement that it had broken up an international ring of 130 alleged pedophiles circulating material via the internet.

Denis Davydov, the League's executive director, said the proposed bills also provide for tracking down extremist materials on the web, raising fears among the Russian media and internet community that they could make it easier for the authorities to crack down on dissent under the guise of fighting child abuse.

The League, whose board of trustees is headed by Communications Minister Igor Shchyogolev, proposed creating a special public organization involving experts, representatives of internet providers and search engines to monitor the web in search of suspicious content.

In line with the amendments, which have yet to be submitted to parliament, websites containing child porn are to be blocked as soon as they are identified, while those containing other prohibited information can only be closed following a court ruling.

Another proposal regarding internet security has been put forward by senior Interior Ministry official Alexei Moshkov, who said anonymous accounts should be outlawed on social networks and online forums to prevent internet fraud, blackmailing and child abuse.

 

15th December   

Offsite: Celebrity Nutter...

Jennifer Saunders whinges at the supposed proliferation of pornography in pop culture
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Girls Top Ruby Wax Jennifer Saunders has criticised the sexualisation of pop music and the proliferation of pornography on the Internet.

Miss Saunders, 53, a mother of three daughters, told how she believed there had been no positive steps forward for women in the last 20 years.

She cited the sleazy nature of modern music as well as the ease with which males can view pornography on the Internet for the amount of disrespect towards women.

...Read the full article

 

15th December   

Update: Regressing...

Turkey quick to include the religious censorship of evolution in its new web blocking programme
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Evolution Human Story Alice Roberts Evolution, apparently, ranks alongside pornography and terrorism as topics that the Turkish government's controversial new Internet filtering scheme keeps out of the hands of children.

Internet users in Turkey were surprised yesterday to find that several educational Web sites about evolution were inaccessible. After Hurriyet Daily News reported the censorship, the government reversed the block. But science advocates and Internet freedom activists say it's a worrying sign of the government's attitude toward evolution.

Turkey's filtering program, which was launched at the end of November, has drawn broad criticism because it filters sites about political opposition to the government and blocks sites that go against conveniently undefined Turkish values .

Internet users have the option to select either a family, or child, or standard level of censorship. The Turkish Information Technologies and Communication Authority sets the content of each of these options.

Aykut Kence, a biologist at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, told ScienceInsider in an e-mail that antievolution Web sites developed by Harun Yahya remained accessible without any restriction. Yahya is the pen name of Adnan Oktar, a religious activist who writes creationist textbooks for children and sends them to schools across Europe.

 

15th December   

Gravity...

Council of Europe make vague statement against internet censorship
Link Here

Council of Europe flag Foreign ministers from around Europe have come out against online censorship and political pressure on providers of social networks and other communication tools.

In a statement, the Council of Europe's decision-making body, the Committee of Ministers, said new media tools had become crucial to civil society representatives, whistleblowers and human rights defenders. The committee said such facilities had become a significant part of the public sphere , despite being privately operated.

The committee particularly warned of the dangers of political influence and politically motivated economic compulsion on those operating such services, or those hosting websites with sensitive content:

Direct or indirect political influence or pressure on new media actors may lead to interference with the exercise of freedom of expression, access to information and transparency, not only at a national level but, given their global reach, also in a broader international context. Decisions concerning content can also impinge on the right to freedom of assembly and association.

The purpose of the statement, the committee said, was to underline the gravity of the situation and the need for people to comply with articles in the European Convention on Human Rights that back freedom of expression and information.

 

14th December   

Updated: Distributors Chop a Few Legs Off and Try Again...

The Australian ban on Human Centipede 2 was inspired by the earlier BBFC ban. It has now been resubmitted after cuts
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede Full Sequence DVD The brief life of Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) began in Australia at a midnight screening at the Brisbane Film Festival in early November and ended three weeks later.

The film's distributor, Neil Foley of Monster Films, says: We played to a couple of hundred people in Brisbane over a couple of screenings; 500 or so people in Perth; something similar in Melbourne; and then in Sydney another 150 or 200. He puts the total audience in those weeks at less than 1500.

A story on Fairfax websites alerted the film's adversaries to its existence in late August. Monster Films was doing itself no good by reminding everyone of the scathing commentary of the BBFC and stamping its trailer with the slogan Banned in Britain. Unleashed in Australia .

Christian lobbyists following the usual game plan sought an attorney-general willing to demand the film's review.

The NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith was the ideal choice. Smith is well connected with nutter causes. For instance he assured the Herald newspaper that his chief of staff, Damien Tudehope, played no role in the banning of the horror film. Tudehope just happens to sit on the advisory board of arch nutters. FamilyVoice Australia.

Smith told the Herald he decided to seek its review in October:

because of the decision taken by the British Board of Film Classification to refuse classification of the movie. In addition, the synopsis of the movie depicted scenes of extreme sexual violence.

Human Centipede 2 distributor Foley argues gamely:

What these people are responding to is not the film. They are responding to our hype around the film. It is us telling the world this is the most disgusting film ever made. In actual fact it's just another movie.

The banning of Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) exposes a strange rift among censors. Twice this year a horror movie has been passed by the Classification Board and then banned on appeal by the Review Board.

We can no longer trust in the framework and the guidelines, says Peter Campbell of Accent Films who submitted A Serbian Film . He says cuts were made to the film in collaboration with the Classification Board so it could be screened in Australia. Even so, it was banned. Campbell says: It's getting out of hand.

A fresh cut of Human Centipede 2 has now been examined by the Classification Board. Gone, we are told, are the penis wrapped in barbed wire, close-ups of the rape and the newborn baby squashed to death under the accelerator pedal. Foley will learn the board's verdict next week.

...Read the full article

Update: Cuts made

14th December 2011. See  article from  canberratimes.com.au

Human Centipede 2 will be allowed back on screens this week after the distributors cut 30 seconds from it.

The amended version will screen at the National Film and Sound Archive's ARC Cinema on Friday night, as originally scheduled.

The Australian distributor, Monster Pictures, had to submit a cut version for reclassification - to the same body that had originally allowed it.

Monster Pictures manager Neil Foley said while he was delighted with the decision, it highlighted the problems of the film classification system in Australia. He said the distributors had been faced with an absurd situation whereby they were told they had to recut the film, but were not given specifics of the complaints made against it. He said the film had received its original classification in the spirit of what extreme horror movies are about and who they're aimed at:

The Australian Government Classification Board are doing this every day of the week and they're very versed in film in general, as far as the time and place. They understand the context of the genre, they understand the genre and they see something like Human Centipede and they know where it fits in. They can see that there's probably nothing in this film that makes it obscene.

Update: Release schedules

23rd December 2011. See  article from  sexparty.org.au

Monster Pictures said in a press release that the film has been modified by thirty seconds, these modifications were done with the utmost care so as to not damage the integrity of the film - we are absolutely confident that this is the case.

Monster Pictures feels that this decision highlights the absurdity of Classification Review Board's decision to ban the film in the first place.

Melbourne's Cinema Nova will begin screening the modified version of the film beginning Boxing Day 2011.

The DVD and Blu-Ray of the film will be released late February 2012.

 

14th December   

Update: Ryanair Should Charge a Whinge Processing Fee...

Ryanair rightly not bothered by miserable complaints from Sweden about 2012 bikini calendar
Link Here  full story: Ryanair Adverts...Ryanair wind up advert censors

ryanair calendar 2012 In about a month after the release of the 2012 edition of Ryanair's Cabin Crew Charity Calendar, the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen-RO) has received 33 complaints about adverts promoting the calendar.

[Thirty Three] People think the advertisment is sexist and that it doesn't belong on a website meant to sell plane tickets, Advertising Ombudsman Elisabeth Trotzig told The Local.

33 complaints lands the Ryanair calendar campaign second only to an ad campaign for the Victoria Milan dating service, which supposedly encouraged marital infidelity, in terms of the number of complaints filed with the Ombudsman.

Ryanair now has two weeks to respond to the Ombudsman about the complaints, after which the watchdog will decide how to proceed with the case.

Ryanair's spokesperson Stephen McNamara rightly didn't seem bothered by Swedish complaints over the calendar, a project the airline has carried out annually since 2008.

Ryanair's cabin crew calendar has raised EUR500,000 ($672,000) for charity in just five years and we will continue to support the right of our crew to take their clothes off to raise money for those who need it most, he told The Local.

In line with previous years, all 10,000 copies of the 2012 edition of the Ryanair swimsuit calendar have been sold.

Update: Now miserable Brits have a whinge at a Ryanair advert

14th December 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

ryanair red hot fares advert The advertising watchdog is to launch an investigation into an ad campaign by Ryanair featuring a flight attendant in modest lingerie after whinges that it made it cabin crew look like glamour models .

The slightly pulled down bikini bottom is sure to offend that advert censors of ASA. After all they do have a reputation to uphold as the Daily Mail of media censors.

The Irish budget airline ran a newspaper ad featuring a lingerie-clad flight attendant called Ornella, who appears as the model for the month of February in the Ryanair charity calendar, with the strapline red hot fares & crew .

Ryanair has now been targeted by an online nutter campaign backed by more than 7,000 people.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received 10 complaints from nutters who claim that the ads are sexist and objectify women, particularly female cabin crew . The complainants allege that they are offensive and unsuitable for display in a national newspaper .

 

14th December   

Update: Committee of Miserable Culture...

BBC director general defends Jeremy Clarkson from parliamentary calls for his sacking
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

mark thompson BBC director general Mark Thompson defended Jeremy Clarkson to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee. He said that Clarkson's comments were said entirely in jest and were not intended to be taken seriously and that he would not be sacked.

Challenged by committee member Jim Sheridan to sack Clarkson, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten said: Were we to sack him for saying something pretty stupid that would set precedents that mean a lot of people would never get to broadcast.

Thompson said: Although clearly he's a polarising figure for the BBC, there are many millions of people who enjoy and support Jeremy Clarkson. That has to be balanced against a couple of flippant remarks in one programme.

 

14th December   

Fucking Fantastic...

Australian minister swears on daytime TV
Link Here
Stephen Conroy

   Fucking Fantastic!

The Australian government takes swearing very seriously, even going so far as to propose a fine for anyone heard saying a rude word in the street.

And of course Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy is one of Australia's arch censors, with his long running plan to block anything even slightly risque on the internet

So of course he deserves everything he gets when he is caught swearing on daytime TV. Speaking on live TV at National Press Club in Canberra about foreign investors putting their money into Australia, he said:

I love the debate about sovereign risk, he said. If a tax goes up, God, that is sovereign risk. But if a tax goes down, fucking fantastic.

In fact his fun with rhetoric appeared just before a kids' show . He quickly dropped in an excuse me , but the damage was done and there were many a red face in Australia's ruling Labor party.

 

14th December   

Shoot View...

Ad agency generates hype with a 'game' allowing players to stroll round Google Street View with an assault rifle firing at whatever takes their fancy
Link Here

shoot view A Dutch advertising firm Pool has unveiled a nutter baiting game that allow you to wander the streets of London with an assault rifle.

The concept behind Google Shoot View is pretty simple: wander around any city in the world that already uses Google Maps' Street View and pretend to use a M4A1 assault rifle to shoot anything and everything you see.

Apart from the sound effects the game is barely interactive and you can't really shoot people or cause any damage.

It seems that Google has already cut the game's connection to Google Maps. The Google Shoot View website currently threatens that, We'll be back! Only the YouTube video is left showing what the game looked like.

Perhaps there's not enough left to wind up Keith Vaz, but you never know.

 

14th December   

The Silly Isles...

Campaign to report Matthew Wright to Ofcom over tasteless TV joke
Link Here  full story: The Wright Stuff...Matthew Wright's TV show is the traget of many a whinge

The Wright Stuff logo TV presenter Matthew Wright has apologised for making jokes while discussing the first murder on the Western Isles in 43 years.

During Tuesday's The Wright Stuff , he did a mock Scottish accent and said there's been another murder , copying a phrase from detective show Taggart.

The murder of Liam Aitchison was discussed during a newspaper review. Panel member Charlie Baker described the probe as the longest episode of Taggart of all time .

Liam's family have issued a statement through the police criticising the programme. They said:

We are very disappointed at the insensitive and offensive nature of the comments made on the Channel 5 programme, The Wright Stuff.

This is very upsetting and insulting for, not just the family, but for the whole community of the Western Isles.

In his apology, Wright, who presents the Channel 5 morning discussion show, said it had not been his intention to belittle Liam's death. He added that those campaigning for people to complain to TV watchdog Ofcom should grow up .

A campaign, called Report The Wright Stuff to Ofcom, has been launched by islanders on Facebook urging complaints to be made to television regulator.

Update: Ofcom Investogation

14th December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Ofcom logo TV censor Ofcom has launched an investigation into a trivial joke made by presenter Matthew Wright about the police probe of a murder on Lewis.

Ofcom, which has received about 2,220 complaints, confirmed the launch of an investigation into the programme.

When the launch of a murder inquiry was reported in the newspapers last week, Wright put on a Scottish accent and said "there's been another murder", copying a phrase from detective show Taggart.

Angus MacNeil, SNP MP for the Western Isles, raised a complaint with the watchdog saying making jokes about the tragedy ... is beyond belief .

 

14th December   

Beirut Spring...

Maybe a fight back against the authorities who banned the Lebanese film Beirut Hotel
Link Here
beirut hotel When reports emerged last week that Danielle Arbid's noir film Beirut Hotel had been banned by Lebanese film censors from General Security, some were skeptical as to why. While the film features sexual content, an anonymous General Security source said the film was banned because it mentions the 2005 assassination of ex-Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.

Mustapha Hamoui, author of the blog Beirut Spring , wrote: It seems to me that the film was banned from Lebanese movie theaters...because it features a double-whammy of a taboo: Explicit sex between a Lebanese woman and a foreign man.

According to a blog entry on the Tajaddod Youth website , which allegedly summarized a study on how censorship in Lebanon is conducted, General Security almost always complies with the wishes of religious institutions and political figures with regard to film censorship. The study, conducted by human rights lawyer Nizar Saghieh, will be released on December 15 alongside a draft bill to reform cinema censorship, according to one Tajaddod Youth member who wished to remain anonymous.

The very fact that film censorship is still rampant has caused stern criticism from free speech advocates, including Beirut Hotel director Arbid who is threatening to take legal action against General Security.

Arbid told NOW Lebanon that she is working with Human Rights lawyer Saghieh, who is offering legal representation for free, to take legal action against General Security for what she describes as an issue of freedom.

It seems Arbid is not the only one who is disenchanted with the system in place. Lea Baroudi, who is part of a group of activists behind the Facebook page Stop Cultural Terrorism in Lebanon, said that she and her peers are frustrated with two main issues relating to the practice of censorship in place. The first is the lack of transparency surrounding the process as it involves numerous state institutions with the capacity to censor and the criteria for censorship are not clearly defined. Secondly, censors are patronizing the Lebanese people. Let them make their own decisions [whether or not they want watch a specific film], she added.

Update: Government Reasons

24th December 2011. See  article from  dailystar.com.lb

The Directorate General of General Security wishes to clarify the following:

On Sept. 1, 2010, Sabine Sidawi applied for permission to film a movie, entitled Hotel Room , and she submitted along with the request a copy of the screenplay, on the basis of which she had applied for a permit for filming.

The screenplay's content was reviewed by the relevant department, and Sidawi was asked to make some alterations as the film is centered on a real crime, the assassination of late former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and is based on a fictional screenplay that involves the intelligence agency of a friendly Western state and a Lebanese security apparatus, in such as way as to suggest that the latter is indifferent to an opportunity to find the the truth about the Hariri assassination; in fact, the film shows that the Lebanese security apparatus liquidated the person who could provide such information.

It was agreed with Sabine Sidawi to delete the name of the crime, especially as the case is still being investigated by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and thus one cannot suggest incorrect hypotheses that affect foreign states or official institutions, regarding a real crime about which no verdicts have yet been issued.

Based on this, Sidawi submitted an altered text, as was agreed, and she received permission to film the movie on Sept., 25, 2010. She also changed the name of the film to Beirut Hotel instead of Hotel Room.

On Oct., 25, 2011, Italia Film Company applied for permission to show the film in question and it was discovered that it [the film] was based on the original screenplay without any alterations.

 

14th December   

Whingers Told to Fuck Off...

Swedish advert censors for once don't take easy offence at the pun milfshake
Link Here

milfshake advert The Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen -- RO) has ruled that a campaign which referred to the Friggs-brand Naturdiet Shake as a Milfshake wasn't offensive, sexist, stereotying, or in any other way degrading toward women.

The case was referred to the watchdog's jury following several complaints which pointed out that the term milf is a common slang abbreviation for mother/mom I'd like to fuck .

According to one complaint, the advert was deliberately playing on the term and was therefore degrading to women .

Another complainant wrote that the ad was offensive because milf is used as a collective term for women who, despite having had children and no longer being young, are still attractive and, in a younger man's eyes, sexy .

A third complaint argued that the Friggs ad was sexist because it implied that women who have had children should care for their bodies in a manner that keeps them sexually attractive .

The Advertising Ombudsman jury ruled that the ad didn't violate the Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

The jury finds that the expression milf in connection with the image of the product indicates that this is a product for women who want to be considered sexually attractive. However, the jury doesn't believe the presentation gives an impression which can be considered offensive to the average consumer to an extent that violates the ICC's rules, the jury wrote in its findings.

In addition, the ad lacks any other material which could be considered offensive. The jury also argued that the use of the term milfshake was likely considered as humourous .

Because no women is portrayed in the advert, the jury doesn't find that the advert portrays women as pure sex objects in a way that can be considered offensive, the jury wrote.

 

13th December   

Blu Intruder...

New US release of Scott Spiegel's Intruder on all-region Blu-ray
Link Here

Intruder Blu ray US David Byrnes Intruder is a 1988 US crime film by Scott Spiegel with Elizabeth Cox and Renée Estevez. See IMDb

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

Meanwhile in the UK

In the UK the Director's Cut was passed 18 with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

  • UK 2003 International Trading/Screen Entertainment R2 DVD via UK Amazon

The film was previously cut in the UK. The Director's Cut was passed 18 after 1:53s of BBFC cuts for

  • UK 1989 Colorbox VHS

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com :

  • The murder of Danny is missing a shot of a skewer in his eye and his quivering impaled body.
  • The murder of Tim is missing shots of a knife in his gut, his pain wracked face and shots of blood splattering onto beer cans.
  • Bob's murder is totally cut. His head being squashed in a machine press was way too much for the censor.
  • Randy's murder is missing a shot of him hanging by a hook through his neck.
  • Dave's murder was totally cut. Again his heady being cut in half by a machine saw was too much for the censor at the time.
  • Further shots of Randy's hanging body were cut
  • Dave's messed up head in a fridge was reduced to a brief shot
  • Several hits are missing when Craig uses a cleaver on Bill, slicing into his hand and head.

Summary Review: Surprisingly good

Surprisingly good stalk 'n' slash movie from Scott Speigel (long time associate of director Sam Raimi) was probably the last true slasher flick of the '80's.

Grocery store workers are set to do the night shift when an uninvited guest drops in and the employees begin to be butchered.

An effective dark sense of humor, stylish camera work, and eye-popping gore FX uplifts this movie above the normal slasher fair. The cast isn't half bad, some even make for some quirky characters.

All around Intruder makes for great fun for the slasher fans, exactly how this gem managed to escape me for so long I don't know! Not for the faint of heart.

 

13th December   

Update: Playing Shuffleboard...

Australia appoints a new minister of censorship
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

jason clare Former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor, a staunch supporter of R18+ for games in Australia has been replaced by Jason Clare.

Australia's adoption of computer gaming for adults is very much still in play and open to new directions.

Last month, O'Connor released the final guidelines on R18+ for games, and said that he planned to introduce the R18+ legislation in the February 2012 parliament session.

So no doubt Australian gamers will be keen to find out of Clare will continue O'Connor's good work.

But gaming is not the only censorship issue debated at this level of government. O'Connor had put his name to the request for censorship reviews that led to the banning of A Serbian Film and Human Centipede 2 .

 

13th December   

Update: Academic Researchers Sound Just Like Nutter Campaigners...

Researchers claim that lads' mags use the same language as convicted sex offenders
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

aded lucy pinder logo Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey claim that, far from being harmless or ironic fun, lads' mags could be legitimising hostile sexist attitudes.

The researchers claim that when presented with [out of context, carefully selected, and nebulous] descriptions of women taken from lads' mags, and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not distinguish the source of the quotes.

The research due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.

Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists in the study, and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes. Men identified more with the comments made by rapists more than the quotes made in lads' mags, but men identified more with quotes said to have been drawn from lads' mags more than those said to have been comments by convicted rapists.

The researchers also asked a separate group of women and men aged between 19 and 30 to rank the quotes on how derogatory they were, and to try to identify the source of the quotes. Men and women rated the quotes from lads' mags as somewhat more derogatory, and could categorize the quotes by source little better than chance.

Dr Miranda Horvath and Dr Peter Hegarty argue that the findings are consistent with the possibility that lads' mags normalise hostile sexism, by making it seem more acceptable when its source is a popular magazine.

Horvath, lead researcher from Middlesex University, said: We were surprised that participants identified more with the rapists' quotes, and we are concerned that the legitimisation strategies that rapists deploy when they talk about women are more familiar to these young men than we had anticipated.

Horvath, is concerned that lads' magazine editors are not working hard enough to moderate the content of their magazines: A lot of debate around the regulation of lads' mags has been to do with how they affect children but less has been said about the influence they have on their intended audience of young men and the women with whom those men socialise.

These magazines support the legitimisation of sexist attitudes and behaviours and need to be more responsible about their portrayal of women, both in words and images. They give the appearance that sexism is acceptable and normal - when really it should be rejected and challenged. Rapists try to justify their actions, suggesting that women lead men on, or want sex even when they say no, and there is clearly something wrong when people feel the sort of language used in a lads' mag could have come from a convicted rapist.

Hegarty, of the University of Surrey's Psychology Department, added: There is a fundamental concern that the content of such magazines normalises the treatment of women as sexual objects. We are not killjoys or prudes who think that there should be no sexual information and media for young people. But are teenage boys and young men best prepared for fulfilling love and sex when they normalise views about women that are disturbingly close to those mirrored in the language of sexual offenders? He added that young men should be given credible sex education and not have to rely on lads' mags as a source of information as they grow up.

 

13th December   

Update: Rumours of Repression...

China jails man for uploading video of massive police operation claiming rumour spreading
Link Here  full story: Blogging in China...Bloggers under duress

a different massive police convoy Police in China have detained two men for supposedly spreading a rumour online that thousands of police were called out to guard a wedding, state media reported.

Police in the city of Changsha in Hunan province detained the two men after they said 5,000 police and 100 police vehicles had been seen guarding a wedding convoy, the state news agency Xinhua said. The two men had uploaded a video clip showing crowds of police and the wedding convoy, Xinhua said, adding that the rumour had spread quickly, with the video clip receiving large numbers of hits .

Police have detained the two men for a total of five days so far.

 

12th December   

Series: Censor Cuts 007...

Moaning Censors: Die Another Day at the MPAA
Link Here

Die Another Full Screen Special Gavin Salkeld presents In a turnaround for the Bond movies, 2002's Die Another Day was passed '12A' uncut (and later '12' uncut on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray) in the UK, whilst a slightly edited version went out in the US, courtesy of the MPAA.

Shortly after it's release, producer Michael G. Wilson -- perhaps aware of Bond's tough censorship history in the UK -- laughed and remarked, People have to buy the British version to see the whole thing!

See article: Die Another Day at the MPAA

 

12th December   

The Appeal of Razzle...

Irish book censors formally unban men's glamour mags
Link Here

ireland dept jutsice equality logo As of last week the following publications are freely and legally available in Ireland: Razzle, Mayfair, Men Only, Escort and Club International.

You may have assumed that such publications are already available in Ireland, since the general lifting of the ban on high-street pornography in the mid-Nineties. However, these have all been hit with specific bans going right back to 1935 when Razzle first started publishing.

Anyway, as of last week, these publications will be available here. They may have been sold anyway, but the publishers decided to regularise the whole thing and appealed to the Censorship of Publications Appeals Board (CPAB). This is a five-person State body, chaired by solicitor Paula Mullooly, and whose members (four women and one man) go unpaid for their curious task. This is the first time the CPAB has met since 2005.

Irish Book Censorship

See article from justice.ie

Censorship of publications is governed by legislation and administered by two voluntary boards appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality:

  • the Censorship of Publications Board, which was established under the Censorship of Publications Act 1929

  • the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board, which was established under the Censorship of Publications Act 1946

Any person may make a complaint to the Censorship of Publications Board.

A prohibition order may be appealed to the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board by

  • the author, editor or publisher of the publication or

  • any five members of the Oireachtas acting jointly

The appeal board may affirm, revoke or vary a prohibition.

Register of Prohibited Publications [pdf]  is maintained by the Censorship of Publications Board.

 

12th December   

Updated: Protesting Christianophobia...

Christians feeling a bit insecure and under the cosh in France
Link Here  full story: Religious Censors...Nutters get wound up by religious themed plays

golgota picnic The Theatre du Rond-Point's staging of Golgota Picnic is the latest target in a wave of demonstrations across France One of Paris's most prestigious theatres was being protected by riot police and guard-dog patrols after it became the latest target in a wave of Catholic protests across France against so-called blasphemous plays.

The head of the the Champs-Elysees theatre complained of death threats in the run up to the premiere of the play by Rodrigo Garcia. Two men reported to have links to fundamentalist Catholic groups were arrested at the weekend while attempting to disable the theatre's security system. Civitas, a lobby group that says it aims to re-Christianise France, has called for a large, peaceful street demonstration against Christianophobia this weekend. The archbishop of Paris will lead protest prayers against the play at Notre Dame Cathedral.

Golgota Picnic, which takes place on a stage strewn with burger buns, has several religious references including readings and a crucifixion scene. But Paris theatre critics said it was absurd to call it anti-Catholic or blasphemous and questioned whether its religious critics had actually seen it.

Paris city hall's art supremos defended the theatre community against what it said was fundamentalists holding art to ransom, saying a silent minority of Catholics did not share the notion of making threats or stifling freedom of expression.

Update: Judge refuses to censor theatre performance of Golgota Picnic

10th December 2011. See  article from  lifesitenews.com

lagrif logo One day before the opening night Golgota Picnic , a Paris judge has refused to sign an interim ruling prohibiting the opening of the show. Judge Magali Bouvier decided not to destroy a work of art which, she writes, will only be seen by a few hundred spectators, regardless of its offensive content and messages of hate against all Christians.

An emergency proceeding was introduced on these grounds a few weeks ago by the French and Christian rights defense group, AGRIF (Alliance generale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l'identite francaise et chretienne).

In French law, emergency proceedings are intended to put a stop to situations which disrupt the public order . AGRIF's counsel argued that the showing of Golgota Picnic would do that on several counts.

The play's Hispano-Argentian author, Rodrigo Garcia, expresses hatred towards Christ throughout the play, accusing centuries of Christian art of being directly responsible for sex abuse of minors by priests and religious, violence, and more generally all that is wrong with the world. Christ Himself is portrayed as a selfish, antisocial fraud and covered with verbal abuse calling him a devil whore or the messiah of AIDS .

The play visually attacks Christians' central, treasured beliefs about all things related to the Crucifixion. Hundreds of bread burgers cover the scene in a parody of the Multiplication of the Loaves; the actors, five male, one female, repeatedly mock the Crucifixion while endlessly reciting rambling prose, then sing and dance the last words of Christ to strident guitar music.

Another scene showed three actors, two male and one female, scantily covered and soaked with blue and red paint to evoke classical paintings of Golgotha, entwining in sexual positions. After this they all undressed completely, facing the public or moving about the stage for at least five minutes. AGRIF argued that this scene, among several others, constitutes sexual exhibition which is prohibited by law, and should at the very least justify banning Golgota Picnic from being shown to minors under eighteen.

All the demands of the AGRIF were rejected by judge Magali Bouvier. The judge went on to charge AGRIF for court costs of 3,500 euro (over 4,600 USD) legal expenses incurred by the Theatre du Rond-Point for its defense.

French law does not prohibit blasphemy, but it does affirm all believers' right to freedom of religion and to the respect of their beliefs.

Update: Picnic Protest

12th December 2011. See  article from  monstersandcritics.com

theatre du rond point Around 2,000 Roman Catholic traditionalists demonstrated Sunday in Paris over the staging of what they consider a blasphemous play depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Holding banners with slogans such as France is Christian and must remain so, and That's enough Christianophobia, the demonstrators marched on the Theatre du Rond-Point to denounce Golgota Picnic , a play by Argentinian playwright Rodrigo Garcia that premiered last week.

Police estimated around 2,000 people took part in the demonstration. The organizers estimated there were double that number.

As they marched, a few hundred people on the other side of the Seine River held a counterdemonstration against what they called an attempt by Christian traditionalists to impose a moral order. No to censorship, all for culture, and Our freedom against their moral order, they chanted.

Reacting to Sunday's protests, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand said that while he was very attached to the Christian tradition in France, the right to freedom of thought and the separation of church and state needed to be protected at all costs.

 

12th December   

News Media Meets New Media...

New Zealand Law Commission proposes super censor for the news industry
Link Here

news media meets new media A New Zealand Law Commission review proposes a super watchdog for the news industry, to police the wild west of the internet .

The proposal would involve a single censor for print, broadcasting and online media, independent of the government and the industry and part-funded by the taxpayer. It would publish different codes for each medium.

The commission says neither the current broadcasting censor nor the press censor is well suited to respond to the rapidly evolving new media.

Privileges should be extended to online media such as public affairs bloggers if they adhere to journalistic standards, be subject to a complaints process and publish regularly, it says.

David Farrar, publisher of Kiwiblog, welcomed the report and said bloggers should develop their own code. Some sort of code for accuracy is not a bad thing. What will be interesting is if you need a formal complaints process.

 

12th December   

Update: Dangerous Translations...

American Thai jailed for 2.5 years for posting translations from banned book whilst living in the US
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flag Thailand has jailed a US citizen for two and a half years after he admitted posting web links to a banned biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Joe Gordon, a used car salesman from Colorado who was born in Thailand, pleaded guilty to the charge of criticising the Thai monarchy, at an earlier hearing. He was sentenced to five years in jail, but the judges halved the term because of his guilty plea.

The US has expressed concern over the use of Thailand's lese-majeste law. US officials have repeatedly urged the Thai authorities to ensure freedom of expression, and said the decision to prosecute Gordon was disappointing.

Gordon reportedly translated parts of the widely available biography, The King Never Smiles by Paul Handley, several years ago and posted them on a blog while he was living in the US.

He was arrested in May when he visited Thailand for medical treatment. He initially denied the charges, but said he changed his plea to guilty after being repeatedly refused bail.

Activists say the lese-majeste law has become increasingly politicised, and is used as a tool of repression rather than as a way of protecting the monarchy.

Update: Thailand criticised by the UN

9th December 2011. See  article from  bangkokpost.com

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on Thailand to amend the laws on lese majeste.

We are concerned about the ongoing trials and harsh sentencing of people convicted of lese majeste and the chilling effect this is having on freedom of expression, said Ravina Shamdasani, the agency's acting spokesperson: Such harsh criminal sanctions are neither necessary nor proportionate and violate Thai human rights obligations.

 

11th December   

One Last Flamboyant Musical...

Ken Russell co-scripted the remake for Bill Osco's great X Rated Alice in Wonderland
Link Here

Alice Wonderland DVD Region NTSC A remake of the 1970s cult classic Bill Osco's Alice in Wonderland written by Osco and Ken Russell will go ahead as a posthumous tribute to the controversial British film maker.

Russell, who died suddenly in his sleep on November 28th, was in the process of making final revisions to the script for the film, an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic tale, which he was to direct in 2012... and it may be in 3D, although that part's not confirmed yet.

The original picture, released in 1976, and made on a budget of $500,000, went on to gross over $100 million. Bill Osco's Alice remains today one of the most successful, highest grossing, adult musical comedies in motion picture history.

The movie's producers, Renaissance Media Entertainment, have announced that Russell's wife, Elize Tribble, will participate and assist the team in bringing forward the production of this musical remake of Bill Osco's groundbreaking feature.

We are delighted that his wife Elize is coming on board and providing access to all of Ken's notes and other materials he kept on the project, said Stuart Young, a founding member of Renaissance Media Entertainment. Ken Russell collaborated with us for over six months, and he brought an incredible creative intensity and passion to Alice. We want to make a film that keeps true to Ken's unique perspective for the project.

Shooting is expected to begin early in 2012, after the company secures the services of a suitable director.

 

10th December   

Update: Pandering to Nutters...

BBC postpones Stephen Fry's QI lest nutters are offended by the rapid reappearance of Jeremy Clarkson
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

qi panel The BBC has postponed an episode of QI featuring Jeremy Clarkson to avoid being criticised for putting him back on air so soon after his joke unappreciated joke about shooting striking public employees.

The programme was filmed over the summer but the channel said, in light of the recent events, some of his comments might be taken out of context. The BBC said:

It is not unusual for the running order of programmes to change. The billed episode of QI will be shown at a later date.

Yahoo! reports incorrectly that Two days after his rant about the protesters, the 51-year-old became embroiled in further controversy after calling people who throw themselves under trains selfish .

 

10th December   

Offsite: A Century of Film Censorship...

On the cutting room floor:
Link Here

David Cooke When it was first set up in 1912, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) -- or Film Censors, as it was known then -- concerned itself with the unnecessary exhibition of under-clothing or scenes calculated to afford information to the enemy . Now, as it heads towards its centenary, it finds itself more likely to be fending off Hollywood studios attempting to shoehorn too much violence into films aimed at 12-year-olds.

...Read the full article

 

10th December   

Update: Out of Sight Out of Mind...

Germany strikes off unused law enabling website blocking for child abuse images
Link Here

berlin reichstag Germany's lower house of Parliament has repealed a law enabling website blocking iof websites containing child pornography.

The Bundestag's 2009 law enabled a list of sites compiled by Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office to be blocked by ISPs.

However the law was denounced as soon as it was passed and the repeal process was put into effect.

The criticism was that internet blocks are easy to work round via proxies and that putting them on a blocked list rather lets such websites off the hook, as they have seemingly been dealt with. And of course the websites are effectively vanished to decent folks, so there will be no further complaints for the authorities to act upon.

The only way to prevent such sites from being viewed is to delete them, Internet expert Jimmy Schulz said, by alerting the individual Internet service providers.

 

10th December   

Update: Bloggers Aren't Journalists in Oregon...

US blogger doesn't qualify for shield law legal defence designed to protect journalists and their sources
Link Here  full story: Shield Laws...US protects journalists but not bloggers

Oregon An Oregon court has denied a blogger protection under that state's shield laws because she isn't employed by a media organization,

Blogger Crystal Cox was accused of defaming Obsidian Finance Group in blog posts critical of the company's founder Kevin Padrick. The accusation was based on writings Cox had based on information she said was leaked from a company insider. Cox lost the defamation case and had to pay out $2.5 million.

According to Seattle Weekly. While defending her posts as factual, Cox also declined to reveal her source, claiming protection under Oregon's shield laws. Her bind was that concealing her source weakened her defense that her posts were factual and the court decided that Cox wasn't eligible for the shield law defense.

The judge wrote:

Although defendant is a self-proclaimed investigative blogger and defines herself as media, the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law

 

9th December   

So What Will Ofcom be up to in the Coming Year?...

Ofcom will be working to hard to assure nutters that their miserable standards will be inflicted on everybody else
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom have just published their draft annual plan and here are some of the paragraphs that may be of interest to Melon Farmers.

Provide appropriate assurance to audiences on standards

4.38 While the media landscape continues to evolve, providing appropriate assurances to audiences on standards remains an essential part of our role. We are considering the current framework for this and future requirements for content regulation.

Consider approaches to future content regulation, including a review of regulation of video on demand Provide appropriate assurance to audiences on standards

4.39 We will continue to review our wider regulatory approach to content regulation, to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, continues to serve the interests of citizens and consumers, and is clear for stakeholders.

4.40 There will be a number of challenges in this area. Changes in technology, including the emergence of mass-market IPTV services in the UK, will challenge the existing regulatory structures, which were designed predominantly for linear broadcasting. We will continue to work with our co-regulators, such as ATVOD, to develop these regulatory structures. We will consider how regulatory approaches to content regulation might further evolve to remain fit for purpose and proportionate.

4.41 In March 2012, two years will have passed since the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) was designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator of editorial content in on-demand services. In accordance with the terms of the Designation, Ofcom is required to carry out a review of ATVOD. We will conduct this review during 2012/13; it will assess the overall effectiveness of the co-regulatory arrangements for on- demand services

Play an active role in UKCCIS and contribute to European debates in relation to the protection of minors

5.44 We will continue to play an active role in supporting the Government's UK Council for Child Internet Safety. We are able to inform the work of UKCCIS through our market research into awareness and use of online media, particularly through our media literacy reports. In addition, we will support government and industry in their efforts to secure an effective self-regulatory regime in relation to child safety online. Finally, we will continue to contribute to European debates on the protection of minors, as appropriate

We have revised the procedures for handling broadcasting complaints, investigations and sanctions

7.24 We have revised our procedures for broadcasting investigations and sanctions as we believed that they could be further improved for the benefit of all of our stakeholders. We proposed a number of changes that would:

  • streamline our processes and procedures;

  • improve the speed with which we carry out investigations;

  • allow more responsive decision making;

  • simplify stakeholders interactions with us on a day-to-day basis; and

  • deliver greater value for our stakeholders.

7.25 We publicly consulted on these changes to gather stakeholders' views. The consultation closed in February 2011 and the new procedures were published in June 2011.The key changes to the new procedures include:

  • A move to an issues-based model for ensuring compliance with relevant requirements: Ofcom will continue to acknowledge all complaints, but will no longer reply to every individual complaint with a tailored response. Instead, we will investigate where necessary and prioritise our investigations according to a number of factors.

  • The introduction of a preliminary view : This will be made early in the process and will enable broadcasters (and complainants in fairness and privacy cases) to prepare their representations, having already been informed of the preliminary view.

  • The removal of the internal review mechanism: Stakeholders no longer have the opportunity to request an internal review of all of our decisions on breaches of broadcast licence requirements. As a result, we have removed the Broadcasting Review Committee.

  • The removal of the Broadcasting Sanctions Committee: The consideration and determination of statutory sanctions will now normally be carried out by two members of the Ofcom Executive with relevant expertise and seniority and one non-Executive member of Ofcom's Content Board.

  • Clarity of Ofcom's approach to the disclosure of information it gathers during investigations.

 

9th December   

More Magic...

The Extended Version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is released on UK DVD
Link Here

Harry Potter Philosophers Stone Ultimate Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is a 2001 US/UK fantasy film by Chris Columbus with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Richard Harris. See IMDb

The Extended Version/Extended Cut was passed PG uncut for mild scary scenes, violence and language for:

  • UK 2011 Warner Online
  • UK 2011 Warner Ultimate Edition (Theatrical+Extended on DVD, Theatrical on Blu-ray) R0 DVD/Blu-ray Combo at UK Amazon recently released on 21st November 2011

The Extended Version has an additional 7 minutes of deleted scenes reinserted originally for a US TV showing. See pictorial version details from movie-censorship.com

 

9th December   

A Poor Excuse for Censorship...

Now the South African advert censor bans sexy adverts
Link Here  full story: Advert Censors in South Africa...ASA vetting of advertising

alibis my car broke down advert Two billboards promoting fragrances by a strip club in Cape Town will have to be taken down after a recent ruling by the South African Advertising Standards Authority.

The billboards, by Mavericks, featured a woman in a sexually suggestive pose next to the slogans I was working late or My car broke down . The adverts were for the club's new fragrance line, Alibis.

Complainants claimed that the adverts demeaned and objectified women by portraying them as sexual objects. They said the wording encouraged thought patterns that justified cheating and extramarital affairs.

The ASA said:

It becomes clear that it is not the depiction of a woman's body per se that is problematic. What is of relevance is the reason for the depiction.

The ASA ruled that a woman's body was being used to tantalise the club's male customers into buying a new product, by presenting the fragrance as an extension of its services. The wording of the advert also had no relationship to the female model within the context of the business and the advertised product.

Mavericks, in its submission, said it would paint clothes onto the billboard but ASA ruled that both the original and amended adverts unduly objectified women. The club will now have to take down the billboards within two weeks.

 

9th December   

Update: Dangerous Speculation...

Egyptian authorities ban newspaper speculating about the future of the country's military leader
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Egypt...Press under duress in Egypt
egypt independent Egypt's newest newspaper has become the victim of state censorship after staff were ordered to shelve an entire print run of 20,000 copies over an article that suggested the leader of the governing Military Council could go to prison.

Employees at the Egypt Independent, an English-language weekly, were told the latest edition could not be distributed because of the final two paragraphs of an opinion piece about Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the de facto president.

It is another blow for those who have raised concerns about the direction of Egypt's revolution, with critics alleging that the country's top brass appear intent on undermining the popular uprising to preserve their decades-old networks of power.

The offending article, headlined, Is Tantawi reading the public pulse correctly? , had suggested that many in the military believed their reputation was being abused. The military institution could remove him to save itself, argued the opinion piece, by American historian Dr Robert Springborg. It concluded that a group of discontented officers might decide that a coup within the coup was the best way to deal with Tantawi, and mentioned a possible contender for the Field Marshal's post.

 

8th December   

Behind the Times...

Prohibitively expensive internet access in Turkmenistan
Link Here

m central asia internet report The International Partnership for Human Rights, a coalition of European and Central Asian human rights groups, has released a new report this month, Central Asia: Censorship and Control of the Internet and Other New Media.

President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has been praised by Western leaders for increasing Internet access, but it turns out that with the average monthly salary only $285 in Turkmenistan, the $215 monthly Internet fee or even the dollar-an-hour Internet cafe are beyond most people's budgets.

In any event, the Internet is heavily regulated, and there is only one state-run provider, Turkmentelecom, which blocks independents sites like gundogar.org and chrono-tm.org as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Live Journal.

Although the report is quite bleak describing heavy police control of the Internet and the cancellation of cell phone service for 2.4 million people when the contract of Russia's mobile company MTS was not extended, there are some glimmers of hope. Last July, some citizen journalists came forward to try to cover the explosion in Abadan when the authorities tried to cover it up. While a stringer for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty was jailed for his coverage of Abadan, after a worldwide outcry he was released.

 

7th December   

ASA's Brain Explodes...

Advert censor whinges at poster for Final Destination 5
Link Here

Final Destination DVD Emma Bell Two ads seen on 12 August: a poster in the Underground and another on the side of buses, for a cinema film release. Both ads showed a skull being shattered by steel rods being driven through its mouth and eye sockets. Text stated IT'S NOT IF, IT'S WHEN FINAL DESTINATION 5 .

Thirteen complainants objected that the ads, particularly the depiction of violence, were distressing and unsuitable to be seen by children. Three complainants pointed out that the bus ad had upset their children (aged between 1 and 3 years).

Warner Bros stated that they believed the poster accurately reflected the content of the film in an appropriate manner without causing excessive fear or distress. They said the image of a shattered skull and steel bars was a fantasy image and would be recognised as such by those who saw it. They said the ad was surreal and did not feature people, blood or display any real life or interpersonal violence. It was designed to appeal to the typical audience for supernatural horror movies rather than merely attract attention.

They stated that the dark grey and black colours of the advert were unlikely to engage the attention of young children and they believed young children would not recognise the image to be that of a skull and, consequently, the ad would not unduly distress such children.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that the image on the poster reflected the content of the film and that the image was animated and for a fictional movie. We acknowledged that the image was intended to give the public an idea of what to expect from the movie, and that the image was surreal and did not feature people, blood or display any real life interpersonal violence. We considered the image of the skull being shattered by steel rods being driven through its mouth and eye sockets was likely to catch the attention of children, especially because it was shown on a poster on the underground, where it was an untargeted medium.

Nevertheless, because very young children might view this ad depicting violence, it was likely to cause fear and undue distress to children.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

 

7th December   

Update: Police Take the Law into their Own Hands...

Authorities persuade Nominet to consider taking down websites without judicial oversight
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

Open Rights Group logo Nominet has been suspending domain names at the mere request of law enforcement agencies, without a fair trial. While most of these sites have been dodgy, some should not have been removed. This loophole in the justice system could be exploited and mistakes are inevitable, leading to deliberate or accidental censorship.

Despite ORG's demands that transparency and evidence remain the foundation of any policy, law enforcement agencies have refused to budge. They say they lack the resources and powers to use the courts.

ORG, ISPA and LINX all announced that they were unable to support the initial Nominet Issue Group statement. It is incredibly important for justice to be transparent and open to all.

Nominet have asked the Issue group for a further meeting, where ORG will explain why using the courts is a vital safeguard.

Search engines asked to help with copyright censorship

In addition to the discussions about a new, faster website censorship plan, Ed Vaizey is now also hosting roundtables between copyright owners and search engines. The aim is to tell search engines to do more to stop infringement by blocking, promoting or demoting certain sites.

Just like previous discussions about website censorship, these proposals have no basis in evidence, come seemingly at the say so of rights-holders, with no involvement from civil society. We're urgently looking to tell DCMS why private policing of the Internet is a bad idea.

We have been invited to the next round of discussions: tomorrow, with minister Ed Vaizey. This is a big win for you and ORG. Now we can try to open the process up to everyone.

 

7th December   

Unconvinced by Research...

The Swedish Media Council finds no evidence that computer games cause aggressive behaviour
Link Here

statens medierad logo A new report from the Swedish Media Council comes to the conclusion that there's no conclusive evidence that there is no evidence that violent computer games cause aggressive behavior .

The Media Council is a Swedish government agency in charge of film and media classification and whose mission statement is to reduce the risk of harmful media influences among minors and to empower minors as conscious media users.

The findings are based on a review of more than 100 articles about violent games and aggression which have been published in international scientific journals since 2000. The review found that there is a clear and statistically significant link between violent games and aggressive behavior. But the review also found that many of those same studies use different methods to measure aggression, and few produced a clear connection to violent behavior. Many of those same studies suffered from serious methodological deficiencies and didn't provide sufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship.

The studies that did attempt to examine other causes of aggression found that factors such as poor physical health or family problems were factors that lead to violent behavior and a propensity to play violent games.

If research can't provide any simple answers about how games make children aggressive, perhaps we adults should stop judging the games children play based on whether they are violent or not, Media Council researcher Ulf Dalquist said in a statement.

 

7th December   

Update: XXX = 3 Times as Expensive?...

.XXX website domains now available to all
Link Here  full story: ICANN XXX Domain...Long debate about allowing .xxx domain

.XXX .xxx domains are now openly available to anyone that wants them. They are available at $60 each.

The ICM Registry says creating a .xxx domain is better for those who don't like porn, since it provides an easy way to filter out adult-entertainment sites. After all, if a site has the .xxx suffix, it's clear before you even go there what kind of content will be there, and telling software to simply filter those sites out is an easy thing to do.

At the same time, .xxx domains provide better protections than other porn sites, and that benefits people who do want access to adult material. Since anyone who runs a .xxx site agrees to certain conditions --- among them a daily scan for malware, dedicated servers for search, and access to a new micropayment system --- the sites will theoretically be safer and easier to use than other adult sites, which are sometimes breeding grounds for malware.

 

7th December   

Update: Reviewers or Censors?...

South Korea plans to step up censorship of social networks and apps
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in South Korea...Repressive new internet censorship law

kcsc warning South Korea plans to step up its censorship of its social networking sites and smart phone applications.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission said it will reshuffle departments to make way for a 'review' team that will oversee new media content.

The censorship of traditional Internet content has been in place since 2008.

Social media users and civic groups decried the announcement, saying it clamps down on freedom of expression.

This is an authoritarian and anachronistic abuse of power that strips people of their freedom of expression and political freedom by blocking their eyes and ears, one of South Korea's largest civic organizations, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, said in a news release.

So far internet censorship has been minimal with 45 cases deemed illegal for obscenity this year, along with 159 deemed to have breached national security.

 

7th December   

Banned at the Savoy...

Supporting the hype for Duran Duran's Girl Panic
Link Here

girls panic video Duran Duran's Girl Panic video featuring some of the world's most famous supermodels has been banned by MTV and VH1. The video features supermodels Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova, Helena Christensen and Yasmin Le Bon posing as the band.

The video will not be aired by networks MTV and VH1 as it has been deemed too sexual and having blatant product placement . Presumably referring to the prominence of the Savoy Hotel on the Strand.

A source said: MTV are simply overreacting to this video, it's not like this is anything new in pop videos, which have always been controversial. Compared to some pop videos this is all rather tame. The video was also banned for its blatant product placement, yet this is how videos are made today. MTV are now demanding director Jonas Akerlund re-edit the 'Girl Panic' video before it will agree to screen it.

 

6th December   

Update: A Top Notch Performance...

Clarkson successfully winds up 31,000 easily offended whingers
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Clarkson Powered Up DVD Jeremy Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's appearance on The One Show is set to be one of the most complained-about TV shows of all time after the number of complaints made topped 31,000.

As of this morning, the tally complaints morning had reached 31,057, more than 10,000 up on the last published figure from Friday morning of 21,000.

Ofcom also received hundreds of complaints about the interview. The media regulator is not set to publish an update until Wednesday, but reports suggest there have been an additional 500 to 1,000 complaints, taking the total number of complaints close to 32,000.

Clarkson Powered Up

See article from guardian.co.uk

HMV says sales of Clarkson's Powered Up DVD have soared after he said public sector strikers should be shot

Powered Up , in which Clarkson relocates with the Stig to the south of France to find his favourite car of the Year , doubled on Thursday and saw a similar jump on Friday.

The retailer would have expected sales of the title, along with man other DVDs, to spike in the runup to Christmas. But industry sources suggested that the Clarkson controversy and ensuing media coverage would have been responsible for as much as a 25% to 50% increase across high street and online sales.

An HMV spokesman said:

We've found in the past that controversy involving artists, with all the media coverage this generates, can often boost sales of their products.

Clarkson is one of those 'Marmite' personalities that you probably either love or hate, and the chances are that many of the public he upset weren't likely to be among his fans in the first place, while people who do appreciate his sense of humour and follow him on TV may have felt prompted to go out and buy his Powered Up DVD over the weekend.

 

6th December   

Who'd be a Santa, what with CRB Vetting and Marauding Maniacs...

A new US DVD release of the slasher Don't Open Till Christmas
Link Here

Dont Open Till Christmas DVD Don't Open Till Christmas is a 1985 UK slasher by Edmund Purdom with Edmund Purdom and Alan Lake. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Slashed in the UK

In the UK the film was suitable slashed by the censors when it was passed 18 after 2:13s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1985 Vestron VHS

The following scenes were cut:

  • the killer running a cut throat razor over Pat Astley's naked body twice to establish she is a girl;
  • the peep show santa being stabbed, spitting blood and shots of blood splashing on the peep show girl's window;
  • in the London dungeon scene a doomed Santa originally came across a blood splattered body (possibly a mannequin). His subsequent death by stabbing has been reduced as well;
  • the undercover cop Santa's death is now totally incoherent: in the full version the killer (who has a spike in his shoe) kicks him in the groin, punches him in the face with a spiked glove then punches his throat with the glove. A second Santa (played by screenwriter Derek Ford) comes to his aid and loses an eyeball in the process. All that remains of this sequence in the British version is a shot of the spiked shoe and brief shots of the first punch and the cop Santa on the floor
  • due to an editing fault, in the UK video shots of a dead body on a trapdoor are missing replaced by a brief moment from the next scene;
  • the infamous scene where Santa is castrated in a public toilet is missing several shots of blood spurting in the urinal;
  • the scene where the killer kidnaps the peep show girl (Kelly Baker) is missing shots of her being tied up with chains
  • Belinda Mayne's character being stabbed twice has been deleted

The film did get a better release when a re-edited Version passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2003 Film 2000 R2 DVD

However this "re-edited version" was missing a violent scene at 14m 42s showing a "drunken" Santa having his brains blown out. This 23s scene has now been replaced by a completely different scene showing a Santa being castrated. This 85s scene which takes place in a shopping centre should have appeared in the film at 61m 31s.

Summary Review: A certain charm

It's Christmas-time in London, and someone is killing people dressed as Santa Claus. The murderer is a plainclothes sicky who hunts down St. Nick impersonators, bumping them off in grizzly ways including impalement and urinal-side castration! 

The film has a certain charm.... and some beautiful naked women. It's a fantastic 80's slasher film

 

6th December   

Update: Important News Rightly Uncensored...

Ofcom decide that complaints about news coverage of Gaddafi's capture and killing do not warrant investigation
Link Here

gaddafi captured video Footage of the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi badly injured shortly before his death was not too graphic to broadcast.

TV censor Ofcom complaints about the bloody news coverage but has decided not to proceed with an investigation.

The BBC received 473 complaints after the images were broadcast on its rolling news channel and main BBC1 bulletins in the week after Gaddafi's death, of which 197 were in the first 24 hours. A further 136 complaints were made to Ofcom about coverage on Sky News, ITV News, Channel 4 News and al-Jazeera.

A spokeswoman for Ofcom said the regulator had decided not to investigate after it found that the broadcasts of Gaddafi's final minutes were appropriately limited both pre- and post-watershed .

 

6th December   

Virtual War Crimes...

The Red Cross discusses whether computer games should be subject to the Geneva Convention
Link Here

Geneva Convention Hidden Origins Cross One of the world's largest and most respected humanitarian groups in the world is showing it has a nutter side. The International Committee of the Red Cross is investigating whether the Geneva and Hague conventions should be applied to the fictional recreation of war in video games.

If they agree those standards should be applied they may ask developers to adhere to the rules themselves or encourage governments to adopt laws to regulate the video game industry.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is mandated under the Geneva Conventions to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. That includes war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants. The question they debated this week is whether their mandate should be extended to the virtual victims of video game wars.

While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating international humanitarian law, according to the event's description. Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of international humanitarian law in video games.

The outcome of the discussion though has not actually been published as yet.

 

6th December   

Update: Korean Copyright War...

US seizes domains of websites offering movie downloads to Korean speakers
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

homeland security logo Operation In Our Sites, launched by the US Department of Homeland Security's ICE unit, continues with the seizure of 11 Korean domain names that were allegedly related to movie piracy.

Since Korean websites are becoming likely targets for the operations launched by US authorities, the well-known banner that declares a site illegal, alerting its visitors that it has been shut down by law enforcement agencies, now has a Korean translation of the warning.

007disk.com, 007disk.net, 82movie.com, 82movie.net, 82us.com, bzserv.info, itvwmg.com, ktvwmg.com ,wmgitv.com, wmgus.com and wmgus.net were domains that offered download links to the latest movies in return for a small fee.

Many of the seized domains belong to a US company, even if they were clearly designed to target Korean speakers.

So far, 350 domains have been taken into custody by the US federal government and these operations will not stop too soon.

 

5th December   

Update: Striking Back...

BBC issues a response to complaints about Jeremy Clarkson's strike joke and a nutter MP tries to invoke a parliamentary rebuke
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

BBC logo The BBC has published a response to complaints about Jeremy Clarkson's jolly gape that strikers should be shot. The BBC said:

As has now been widely reported, we had many complaints about a number of Jeremy Clarkson's comments on the show. The One Show is a live topical programme which often reflects the day's talking points. Usually we get it right, but on this occasion we feel the item wasn't perfectly judged.

The presenters apologised at the end of the programme to viewers who were offended by his comments and the BBC and Jeremy would like to apologise for any offence caused. Jeremy has said: I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously -- as I believe is clear if they're seen in context. If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I'm quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.

Meanwhile the Labour MP of Kingston Upon Hull East, Karl Turner, has proposed an early day motion whingeing about Clarkson as follows:

That this House condemns the disgraceful and disgusting remarks made by Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC; notes that his comments have been criticised by thousands of licence payers, hon. Members and unions; believes that his remarks were inflammatory and have left workers and their children shocked and upset; further believes that high profile TV presenters have influence on their audience and should act with responsibility at all times; calls on the Government to give a full response; and urges the BBC Director General to commence disciplinary proceedings.

 

5th December   

Parents TV Council Recommend...

Allen Gregory
Link Here

Pilot The US nutter campaign group have written a glowing report about the animated TV show Allen Gregory:

The Parents Television Council celebrated the removal of Allen Gregory from Fox's upcoming broadcast schedule and thanked advertisers who responded to its concerns over the program's graphic content.

Fox announced that beginning January 15, the Sunday evening program will be replaced by Napoleon Dynamite.

The title character in Fox's animated Allen Gregory is a pushy, egotistical seven-year-old boy who drinks alcohol, engages in graphic sexual fantasies centered on his school principal, boasts about a sex tape, and uses harsh profanity. Following the show's premiere episode, PTC executed a behind-the-scenes advertiser campaign to communicate the deplorable content that the sponsors were supporting. The program also earned PTC's worst TV show of the week label twice.

With so many horrific news reports of children allegedly being sexually exploited by teachers and school administrators, we roundly condemn a television program like 'Allen Gregory' that makes light of a seven-year-old child's aggressive sexual pursuit of his school principal. We are thrilled that this program does not appear on the Fox midseason schedule, and we applaud all the sponsors who shared our concern and chose to shift their media dollars elsewhere. We hope the economic pressure led Fox to a quicker replacement of the program, which never should have graced the public airwaves, said PTC President Tim Winter.

 

5th December   

Personality Clash...

BBC answers criticism that its shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011 features only men
Link Here

sports personality of the year Complaint

We received complaints about the lack of women nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2011.

BBC response

We recognise that the all-male line-up has created much debate amongst viewers of the programme, sports-lovers in general and those that champion the cause of Women's sport in this country. We have had many different points made in the reaction we receive which informs our editorial discussions and we do value it. We have reported all this feedback widely across the BBC and in order to ensure we use the licence fee as efficiently as possible we are sending this response to the issues from our Director of Sport, Barbara Slater to everyone who has contacted us which addresses as many of the detailed points raised by everyone as we are able to:

The shortlist comprises some of the finest sports stars on the planet. Everyone is rightly proud of their achievements over the last year, the role they play in inspiring younger generations and the credit they deliver back for the UK. I share the disappointment that the independently determined shortlist does not include any British Sportswomen. There were some worthy female candidates and I should recap how the selection process works.

The shortlist of the ten British sports stars is determined by the combined votes of a panel of industry experts based on their assessment of relative sporting achievements during the year. The panel consists of the sport editors of the national newspapers, selected regionals and magazines. These are chosen because of their expertise in the area, their coverage of a wide range of sports throughout the year and the extent of their readership. In total, we received 27 responses from the 35 invitations that were issued this year. The panel included publications such as the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Irish News, the Mirror, the Daily Telegraph, Sport Magazine and the Herald. It is worth noting that most of the publications did include at least one sportswoman in their shortlist.

The inclusion of publications such as Nuts and Zoo in the shortlisting panel is for a variety of reasons. These magazines have a dedicated sports section which every week covers a range of sports including Women's sport and minority sports. They also have a readership profile which reaches younger audiences and helps contribute to a balanced panel which is representative of all the BBC's audiences. There are very few other widely-read publications that cover such a breadth of sporting news, features and reports on a regular basis. We do not include specialist sporting publications given their potential inherent bias to one particular sport nor do we canvas the views of non-sporting publications.

The current system was introduced in 2006 and at least two women have always previously been shortlisted for the main award. Having considered a wide range of alternative mechanisms, we remain convinced that the current system is fair, independent and robust. Previous top 10 candidates included in 2010 Jessica Ennis (3rd) and Amy Williams whilst 2009 saw Jessica Ennis (3rd) and Beth Tweddle. In 2008 Rebecca Adlington (3rd), Nicole Cooke, Christine Ohuruogu and Rebecca Romero all made the Top 10 as did Paula Radcliffe and Christine Ohuruogu in 2007. In 2006 Nicole Cooke, Beth Tweddle and Zara Phillips were nominated with Zara winning the award. This is therefore the first time there has been no female representation since the current system was put in place five years ago. The ultimate winner of the award is determined solely by a public telephone vote during the show itself.

We stand by the current voting process but have committed to take on board what has happened this year and we will review the shortlisting process for next year's show. It is too early to say what, if any changes will be made to the process but please rest assured that we will seek the opinions of people both within and outside of the BBC before deciding on the appropriate methodology for 2012.

The current focus on the shortlist for the Sports Personality of the Year Award has shone a bright light on the wider issues surrounding the media coverage and profile of Women's sport in the UK. As I'm sure you are aware, the BBC is committed to covering a broad range of sports and events and this includes a significant commitment to Women's sport. The BBC is proud to have followed the achievements of many successful sportswomen through our coverage of events such as the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, Wimbledon and the Women's Football World Cup.

I trust that I have addressed your questions satisfactorily and made clear the BBC's commitment to a fair selection process. This year's shortlist for the main award represents six very different sports and has candidates from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is disappointing that the independent process did not result in the shortlisting of a female candidate; but we believe it does not detract from the incredible array of British talent that will compete for the 58th Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Barbara Slater, Director of Sport

 

5th December   

Offsite: Stagnation into Regression...

Media freedom in Macedonia is sliding backwards
Link Here

Macedonia flag In his third term, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is turning stagnation into regression according to the 2011 EU Progress Report on media freedom and the report of the OSCE Special Representative on Freedom of the Media. On 17 -- 18 November, Index on Censorship joined an International Partnership Group on Macedonia to investigate these concerns.

Straight after the election, a new broadcasting law was rushed through that added 6 new members to the broadcasting council. There was no consultation. The president of the council, Zoran Stefanovski, only found out when the bill was in parliament. In all it took 70 hours for the law to pass. Every single one of the new members of the council were selected by the ruling coalition group in Parliament (VMRO-DPMNE). We spoke to the president of the broadcasting council in Skopje. He is furious and thinks the new members were added to block any decisions adverse to the government. Since these changes were made, the council is in deadlock.

...Read the full article

 

4th December   

A Cacophony of Squealing Box Tickers...

Council music censors whinge at the loss of their powers to suffocate the live music scene
Link Here

local government association logo In the dying days of the Thatcher government illegal raves attracted thousands of revellers to tranquil rural areas, where they enjoyed dancing the night away.

In a desperate bit to retain censorship control of live music, councils are trying to invoke public fears about raves a shock tactic to defend their licensing powers that have been used to suffocate the British live music scene.

Councils have cynically warned that plans to lift regulations on live entertainments will leave local residents powerless to silence raves and other music events, leading to a noise nuisance free-for-all . A London local authority has even warned the reforms will make it harder to silence the Notting Hill carnival.

Under current rules anyone holding an event judged to be a live entertainment is obliged to apply and even pay hundreds of pounds for a license from their local authority.

But John Penrose, the tourism minister, has realised that these rules are pointless bureaucracy , especially as the rules are even applied to school plays, folk duos and even Punch and Judy shows.

Ministers are consulting on plans to free any event with an attendance of less than 5,000 people from needing a license. They hope this will make it easier for local communities to hold fetes and street parties.

But local authorities have written to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport warning that the change will lead to a noise nuisance free-for-all .

Councillor Chris White of the Local Government Box Tickers Association, which represent 350 councils, said:

These proposals go too far.

In its intention to cut red tape and box-ticking for village fetes, school concerts and amateur plays, this will inadvertently be giving carte blanche for noisy parties, concerts and all night raves attended by thousands.

 

4th December   

Silly Tweets...

Hard nosed politicians suddenly get all easily offended by insults on Twitter
Link Here

waveney council logo A Labour councillor is under investigation after posting a string of silly comments on Twitter, including remarks about the attractiveness of his female opponents.

In one silly tweet, Julian Swainson, the Labour group leader on Waveney District Council in Suffolk, said: It reminds me of the council chamber game "Who would you shag if you had to?" looking at the opposing benches.

Another warned David Cameron that he might want to be careful in case he became the victim of a lynch mob like former Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi.

Last night, the Tories sent a formal letter of complaint to Labour leader Ed Miliband, ludicrously arguing that the communications were so grossly offensive that Swainson could have broken the law.

Swainson's messages on the social networking site included attacks on Tory MP Nadine Dorries, a description of the Tories as evil bastards, the Dark Ages party and a semi-pornographic reference to Santa Claus. He also described Tory MP Robert Halfon as the Halfwit for Harlow , made baseless innuendos about the Prime Minister and littered tweets with expletives.

 

4th December   

Free Speech Proves Too Expensive...

Economic censorship of micro market films
Link Here

celia video A film maker has been assisted by her local council so as to get her movie shown to audiences at village halls and community centres in Northumberland. In rare move, licensing councillors will sit down to watch the 15-minute film next week, and decide what classification it should be given for public screenings.

The 15-minute webdrama Celia was written and directed by Rachel Cochrane and is the pilot for what is intended to be a six-episode monologue-style drama about a respectable middle-aged woman suffering a mid-life crisis.

It was initially made to be viewed via the internet only (of course that would have invoked ruinous ATVOD censorship fees), but then Rachel decided she would like to be able to show at film clubs in community buildings across the county.

Rachel said:

I made Celia as a webdrama but then felt I would also like to take it out to film clubs for older people who are not necessarily big on the internet or social media. I did some research and realised it needed a classification to be screened publicly at places like village halls. It would cost quite a lot to take it to the BBFC and they advised me that the county council could do it.

 

4th December   

Update: Effin' Censors...

Facebook bans the Irish village of Effin claiming that it is an offensive word
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

Facebook logo A Limerick woman is leading the battle to have her home village of Effin recognized by social network site Facebook.

Ann Marie Kennedy is taking on the giant corporation which has deemed the village name of Effin to be offensive.

She has also failed in an attempt to launch a Facebook campaign based on a Please get my hometown Effin recognised page on the website. It came back with an error message saying 'offensive,' Kennedy told the Irish Independent.

I would like to be able to put Effin on my profile page and so would many other Effin people around the world to proudly say that they are from Effin, Co Limerick, but it won't recognize that. It keeps coming up as Effingham, Illinois; Effingham, New Hampshire; and it gives suggestions of other places.

Kennedy has vowed to carry on her battle until Effin gains official status on Facebook.

...Read the full article

 

4th December   

Offsite: Spirit of the Age...

Outrage! Outrage! Oh, Let Me Be Outraged!
Link Here

outraged I gave a talk on Wednesday night to the Studienbibliothek in Hamburg. Entitled Left, Right and Islamism the talk explored the ways in which the responses of both left and right to Islamism have betrayed of basic principles of freedom and liberty. One of the key themes in the discussion afterwards was about how the liberal fear of giving offence has helped created the space for Islamists to take offence. The more that we worry that people will be offended by a book or a play or a cartoon or an idea or a thought, the more we give licence for people to be so offended, and the more that people will seize the opportunity to feel offended.

It is not just Islamists who live by outrage. Returning to Britain, I discover in the three days I've been away three incidents that perfectly illustrate how everyone now wants to feel offended -- or rather how the authorities, from the police to trade union bureaucrats, seem to want everyone to feel offended.

...Read the full article

 

4th December   

Fifteen Years Behind the Times...

German censors pass the video game Quake
Link Here

Namco Replay Quake Jewel Case Quake , id Software's 1996 classic, has been removed from Germany's list of 'indexed' titles, a category created by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) which makes games commercially unmarketable.

The decision follows in the footsteps of the recently rated DOOM and DOOM 2.

Bethesda Softworks told joystiq.com that the censors at BPjM allow appeals against 'indexing' after 10 years.

 

4th December   

Brains that Could Pass Through the Eye of a Needle...

Spanish Customs ban rugby biography over the word 'needle' in the title
Link Here

Fred Needle Untold Story Allen A book about legendary All Black coach Sir Fred Allen has been seized by Spanish customs apparently due to the dumb assumption that the word 'needle' in the title is related to illicit drugs.

Les Watkins, who co-wrote the biography Fred The Needle , sent two copies of the book to Benidorm in Spain. He explained:

Apparently, the authorities there have clamped down on books believed to contain pornography or other undesirable material.

As far as we can work out, they pounced on the word 'needle' in the title, assuming it must be somehow linked to drugs being injected.

The books were first returned to New Zealand in early November with a bill for return postage.

On November 10 Watkins tried again, spending another $70 to resend the books.  By November 28 the books still had not arrived, but NZ Post had picked up the story and tracked the books to the Spanish customs department, where they had been impounded.

Pesumably hoping that press interest would make bring Spanish Customs to their senses, Watkins said: With any luck, he might get the books by Christmas.

 

3rd December   

Unfair TV Censorship...

Softcore Playboy TV unable to compete with hardcore on the internet
Link Here

playboy tv logo Playboy TV UK managing director Jeremy Yates has said that the TV watershed is a nonsense and called for a change in the way adult broadcasting is regulated. Speaking at an industry event he said that it will be a bit odd to regulate TV when the open internet comes to the small screen.

Earlier in the month, Playboy TV was fined £ 110,000 by Ofcom for airing adult sex chat advertisements that were slightly too sexy for Ofcom's prudish view on what should be allowed on free to air TV.

Playboy currently operates a number of video on-demand services, but the broadcaster still relies heavily on its portfolio of softcore TV channels to reach the audience.

UK adult TV is censored down to naff softcore, but it has still found a valuable niche. It is now more or less glorified advertising for either premium rate phone chat, or else hardcore services on the internet.

Yates feels that because adult broadcasters such as Playboy are so tightly regulated, they are losing ground to the internet, where there is an anything goes mentality. He said that the TV watershed at 9pm is a nonsense , largely because there is no watershed on the internet . I'd like to see a change that allows us to compete with the internet . If someone who is a responsible adult who wants to watch our content at 5pm in the afternoon, why shouldn't they?

He suggested adult content shown during the day could be given a second PIN number on digital TV to increase security, but accepted that gaining approval for such a scheme will be hard. I'll keep banging the drum anyway, Yates added.

 

3rd December   

Cover Up...

Italian state broadcasters ban the use of the word condom during World Aids Day
Link Here

condoms Italy's state TV and radio network is at the centre of a censorship row after a manager instructed staff not to mention the word condom during programmes about World Aids Day on Thursday.

In an email to staff, reported by Italian daily Corriere della Sera, manager Laura De Pasquale wrote that Italy's health ministry had requested that in no broadcast should the word condom be explicitly mentioned. We must limit ourselves to the generic concept of prevention in sexual behaviour and the need to undergo HIV testing in the case of potential risk.

The leaked email brought outrage from gay rights groups and a prompt denial from the network, which claimed it had never given such indications , while the health ministry, which backed a series of radio programmes on the RAI network on Aids, said it had nothing to do with the alleged ban either.

However one of the experts for the day, Rosaria Iardino, did in fact discuss condoms on air, but said:

When I asked RAI if I could speak about condoms they told me the programmes were only about testing and that I could only mention condoms in a strictly personal capacity, not as a member of a ministry committee.

I ignored them, started talking about it, and they quickly said my time had run out.

 

3rd December   

Update: First Impressions...

Banning websites by keywords makes for an arbitrary new system of website blocking for families in Turkey
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey flag An Internet content filtering system that Turkey's Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) introduced on 22 November is proving controversial.

Although use of the filtering system is optional, it is misleading. It is supposed to protect Internet users, especially minors from objectionable content by censoring certain keywords. But tests of the new system have established that access to websites is being blocked arbitrarily.

The BTK wants us to believe that, by giving Internet users a choice, it is not practicing censorship, Reporters Without Borders said:

Claiming that use of this filtering system makes an Internet connection secure is disgraceful. Some websites may be inaccessible but that does not make the Internet connection any safer.

The proposed solution is not fit for purpose and threatens online free expression, as the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled a week ago, above all because of the risk of overblocking. If only porn is supposed to be blocked, why are terms related to Kurdish separatist movements, for example, on the list of censored keywords?

We condemn a policy of backdoor censorship. The BTK must abandon this system, which is reinforcing Internet censorship in Turkey.

Anyone can sign up for the filtering system, which comes in a family version and a child version. So far only 22,000 of the country's 11.5 million Internet users have signed up.

The filtering criteria are defined by a commission consisting of 11 members. As most of them are government officials, the commission's independence and impartiality are questionable. It has so far drawn up a list of 130 harmful keywords in Turkish, English and German. The list includes pornography, sex, and Verbot (the German word for ban ). It also includes such words as mother-in-law, incest and even gay.

This eclectic and often discriminatory list will extend the censorship to ordinary news websites and prevention campaign sites, while encouraging homophobia. Keywords related to separatist political groups such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are also filtered, which clearly shows that the BTK is not just targeting online porn.

Yaman Akdeniz, deputy head of the law faculty at Istanbul's Bilgi University and founder of Cyber-Rights, said that the child version blocks access to Facebook and the online video-sharing website YouTube. Facebook cannot be accessed with the family version either, unless the user specifically requests access. Akdeniz said blocking a five-year-old child's access to YouTube is understandable, but denying access for adolescents over 14 is exaggerated.

 

3rd December   

Update: Banging On...

Keith Vaz calls for a debate on violent computer game censorship
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

House of Commons logo Business of the House
House of Commons
1st December 2011

Keith Vaz (Leicester East, Labour)

Could we have a debate next week about the harmful effects of violent video games? Last week, the university of Indiana published research that showed that regularly playing those games resulted in physical changes in the brain. At a time when parents are thinking of purchasing video games for Christmas, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it is important to hold a debate on this matter? This is not about censorship---it is about protecting our children.

George Young (Leader of the House of Commons, House of Commons; North West Hampshire, Conservative)

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, and I know that this is an issue that he has pursued with vigour for some time. I cannot promise a debate next week. Home Office questions, I think, will be held on 12 December, but in the meantime I will draw his concern to the attention of the Home Secretary.

Last week Game Politics pointed out that the research cited was in fact supported by the Center for Successful Parenting, Indiana. This is in fact a nutter group with a website that is designed for parents to learn about the negative side effects of violent video. See article about the cited research from melonfarmers.co.uk .

 

3rd December   

Update: Banging On...

Nutter MP presents a petition backing her call to appoint the BBFC as book censors for sex education material
Link Here  full story: Sex Education at the BBFC...Andrea Leadsom with a bee in her bonnet about a BBFC censored sex education

andrea leadsom Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom has presented a 45,000 signature petition to Schools Minister Nick Gibb.

Leadsom is campaigning against explicit sex education in primary schools and feels that the BBFC are ideally placed to provide their censorship expertise to sex education materials. She said:

The Department for Education is currently drafting new guidelines for schools on sex and relationship education (SRE) and I would like to see a form of independent classification of the material used. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has been rating films for 99 years and seems to be well placed to assess material, and I am sure that this would give worried parents some peace of mind in knowing what their children were seeing.

To see some of the images being shown to very young children in our primary schools was genuinely shocking.

After presenting the petition, Leadsom had a meeting with Gibb and a number of Northamptonshire parents. I know the Minister takes this matter very seriously and I hope he will take on board my idea of allowing the BBFC to age rate material , she said.

 

3rd December   

Lethal Ladies...

A new US triple bill DVD with the exploitation films, Firecracker, TNT Jackson and Too Hot To Handle
Link Here

Lethal Ladies Collection Region NTSC Two of the films have previously been cut by the BBFC

Roger Corman's Cult Classics Triple Feature, Lethal Ladies Collection is uncut and MPAA R rated for:

Firecracker doesn't seem to have had any form of UK release.

TNT Jackson is a 1974 US/Philippines action film by Cirio H Santiago with Jeannie Bell, Chiquito and Stan Shaw. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for strong violence and nudity after BBFC cuts were waived for:

  • UK 2007 Pickwick/Elstree Hill R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2004 Waterfall R2 DVD
Previously it was passed 18 after 30s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1996 RTM/Superfly VHS

Presumably the butterfly knife sequence was the casualty of the BBFC.

Summary Review: Topless kung-fu

Jeannie Bell is TNT Jackson! She's on the trail of the scum-suckin' pigs who killed her brother! Watch out! TNT's not just beautiful, she's a martial arts master with vengeance on her mind!

Yes, this movie does contain our heroine's topless kung-fu battle! There is a nice butterfly-knife sequence that was presumably cut by UK censor and enough nudity and charm to make things bearable. Not bad...

Too Hot to Handle is a 1977 US/Philippines action drama by Don Schain with Cheri Caffaro, Aharon Ipalé and Vic Diaz. See IMDb

It was last seen in the UK when it was passed X (18) after substantial BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1977 cinema release titled Too Hot to Handle
  • UK 1977 cinema release titled She's Too Hot to Handle

Summary Review: Sexy Adventure

Sexy adventure film has international hit lady Cheri Caffaro involved in James Bondish escapades in Manila. She accepts a mission to kill a group of gangsters in the Philippines, but problems arise when she falls for the detective investigating the murders.

Caffaro is very sexy in an aggressive sort of way, and the director eroticizes the violence (Caffaro is virtually turned on by pain and death). That is quite a daring thing for a movie to do, and the people here deserve some credit for even attempting it. The climax of the film is surprisingly suspenseful.

 

3rd December   

Jesus Stag Night Club...

Nutters kindly hype Johnny Depp's Christmas song
Link Here

Pleasures Self Destruction Babybird Johnny Depp's bid for Christmas chart success has caused a religious 'storm'.

Depp has teamed up with band Babybird to record the song Jesus Stag Night Club .

It tells the tale of a boozing, stolen car-driving Jesus look-alike who gets his kicks at lap-dancing clubs.

'Furious' religious groups have demanded the song be banned. Lee Douglas, spokesman for the religious pressure group The Christian Coalition via a spokesman said:

I'm sure he thinks he's being very funny but he's simply a disgrace.

One day, Johnny Depp and his cronies will face the judgment of our Lord and they will burn in hell for this filth. The Focus on the Family campaign group also ripped into Depp over the appalling song.

We are sickened by Mr Depp's behaviour. Why did he need to record this song?

It is a slap in the face to Christians all over the world.

Babybird frontman Stephen Jones said: Some people have no sense of humour.

 

3rd December   

Updated: The Dirty Picture...

Court attempt to ban biopic of the deceased actress Silk Smitha
Link Here  full story: The Dirty Picture...Bollywood movie under censorship duress

dirty picture An Andhra Pradesh High Court judge has directed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to state its stand regarding stalling the release of Ekta Kapoor's The Dirty Picture.

The film is about Silk Smitha, an actress who became popular for playing sleazy roles, and who allegedly committed suicide a few years ago.

The film makers have been served notices by the court for a case to be heard this Wednesday.

The petitioner, Vadlapatla Naga Vara Prasad, said he is the brother of the deceased actress and charged the filmmakers with filling the film with unrealistic and obscene scenes rather than trying to portray the true picture. He said that none of the filmmakers had talked to him. Prasad contented that her private life was different to that portayed.

Although the petitioner claimed that he had served a notice on the censor board asking it to not certify the film at all, counsel for the censor board, told the court that they had not received any such notice.

Update: Uncut A

22nd November 2011. See  article from  apunkachoice.com

The Dirty Picture has now received an adults-only uncut A certificate from the Censor Board.

Update: At the BBFC

3rd December 2011. See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

The UK film censors at the BBFC passed The Dirty Picture 15 uncut for moderate sex and sex references

Update: Day in Court

3rd December 2011. See  article from  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Justice Vilas Afzalpurkar of the High Court reserved his decision on a petition that wanted the release of the film, Dirty Picture, to be stayed

The judge heard the petition from Vadlapatla Naga Vara Prasada Rao, brother of Silk Smitha, the Telugu actress who committed suicide a few years ago. Rao contended that the film was made based on the life of his sister without obtaining the consent of her family. He also charged the filmmakers with making the film with unrealistic and obscene shots.

Later the Andhra court ruled against Rao permitting the film to be released in the original version of the film without any edits.

Update: Banned in Pakistan

3rd December 2011. See article from zimbio.com

The censor board of Pakistan has banned The Dirty Picture from being screened in their country . The reason behind this is not clear yet .

Background: Sexy Theatres

4th December 2011. See  article from  news.asiaone.com

It's shortly after 9:00 am in Mumbai's red light district and about 100 men are jostling at the box office window of the New Roshan Talkies cinema to buy tickets for 15 rupees each for a so-called morning show .

Indian cinema's sub-culture of titillating morning shows , which are often seen as soft pornography but are mostly no more explicit than an average Hollywood film, have attracted a lot of mainstream interest in recent weeks.

These theatres are called sexy theatres where we show these morning shows for a certain class of audience, said Raju Singh, manager of the Silver Cinema on nearby Grant Road. In the days before the Internet and cheap blackmarket X-rated DVDs, erotic films were hugely popular in the area, he said. So-called English movies - an illicit montage of censor's cuts - were also shown during intervals at the travelling cinemas that tour the Indian countryside, bringing films to the rural population.

Now the government and censors are very strict, Singh told AFP. They want to see every film that we screen and they do come for surprise checks. So, we don't show them any more. As a result, audiences for morning shows are dwindling, adding to the decline of single-screen cinemas in the face of competition from new, glitzy multiplexes run by big film studios, bootleg DVDs and cable television.

The interest in the decline of sexy theatres comes ahead of Friday's release of a new Bollywood film, The Dirty Picture , inspired by the actress Silk Smitha, who was a favourite among the erotic movie-going crowd in the 1980s. Her sexually suggestive outfits, dancing and brazen attitude shocked straight-laced audiences used to Hindi-language Bollywood's traditional portrayal of chaste, romantic love.

Update: Indecent Poster

30th December 2011. See  article from  khaleejtimes.com

Actress Vidya Balan has got a reprieve with the Andhra Pradesh High Court granting interim stay on a city court's order directing the police to investigate charges of obscenity and vulgarity relating to the film posters for The dirty Picture .

The petition, filed by the actress and the film's producer Ekta Kapoor, seeks to quash the criminal case filed by the police. The proceedings turned lively with the judge's remarks on the case while hearing the arguments of the counsels of the petitioner and respondents. There is no photo (poster) before me to judge whether it is indecent or not. To see a film which has been given an 'A' certificate, there is an age limit of 18 years, but there is no age limit to see a poster, the judge observed.

Petitioner's counsel contended that the registration of a First Information Report (FIR) against Vidya Balan was an abuse of process of law. The allegations made in respect of the film would not attract the sections of law referred to and would result in unnecessary harassment of the petitioner, he noted.

The public prosecutor, however, contended that the actress was liable for punishment under Section 292 and 294 of the IPC with Section 3, 4 and 6 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.

 

3rd December   

Offsite: US Internet Censorship without Adequate Judicial Oversight...

Judge orders hundreds of sites de-indexed from Google, Facebook
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

doj logo After a series of one-sided hearings, luxury goods maker Chanel has won recent court orders against hundreds of websites trafficking in counterfeit luxury goods. A federal judge in Nevada has agreed that Chanel can seize the domain names in question and transfer them all to US-based registrar GoDaddy. The judge also ordered all Internet search engines and all social media websites ---explicitly naming Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Bing, Yahoo, and Google---to de-index the domain names and to remove them from any search results.

The case has been a remarkable one. Concerned about counterfeiting, Chanel has filed a joint suit in Nevada against nearly 700 domain names that appear to have nothing in common. When Chanel finds more names, it simply uses the same case and files new requests for more seizures. (A recent November 14 order went after an additional 228 sites; none had a chance to contest the request until after it was approved and the names had been seized.)

How were the sites investigated? For the most recent batch of names, Chanel hired a Nevada investigator to order from three of the 228 sites in question. When the orders arrived, they were reviewed by a Chanel official and declared counterfeit. The other 225 sites were seized based on a Chanel anti-counterfeiting specialist browsing the Web.

...Read the full article

 

2nd December   

Out of Context...

Journalists warned not to assume that reporting parliamentary proceedings is protected by the 1840 Parliamentary Papers Act
Link Here

dominic grieve The Government's chief legal officer has warned the Press against reporting speeches in Parliament out of context .

Journalists could face jail or fines if their accounts of what MPs say in the Commons are not considered fair and accurate, Attorney General Dominic Grieve suggested.

Grieve's caution to the Press is the first time in more than 170 years that the free reporting and discussion of debates in the House of Commons and Lords has come under threat from a Government.

The right of the public to know what is said in Parliament was enshrined in the 1840 Parliamentary Papers Act. This gives legal privileges to the parliamentary report, Hansard. The privilege has always been assumed to extend to newspapers and broadcasters who report Parliament, but no test case has even been heard by the courts.

The Attorney General's intervention follows a row earlier this year over privacy injunctions and the way MPs and peers used parliamentary legal privilege to name individuals who had been promised by the courts that their sexual adventures would remain secret. A report on privacy by senior judges then suggested that there was no firm legal protection for the reporting of Parliament and that journalists who stepped out of line might face punishment.

Grieve added: This question has yet to be authoritatively decided but will shortly be considered further by Parliament. But in the interim -- writer beware!

 

2nd December   

Updated: Jeremy Clarkson Causes 'Outrage' Again...

Well... at least a couple of tweets anyway
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Round Bend Jeremy Clarkson UK's favourite loud mouth had a bit of a rant at the strike by public sector workers.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson said live on The One Show that public sector workers out on strike should be executed in front of their families

He prefaced the remarks, however, by asserting that he liked the strikers as the industrial action meant there was no traffic on the roads. Adding that he had to be balanced as he worked for the BBC, he then joked: I would have them taken outside and executed them in front of their families

Clarkson went on to 'shock' viewers by saying trains should not stop for people who have committed suicide by throwing themselves onto the rails.

The comments sparked the inevitable 'storm of outrage' on Twitter.

The BBC said in a statement: The One Show apologised at the end of the show to viewers who may have been offended by Jeremy Clarkson's comments.

Update: Well...Perhaps a few thousand or so whinges

2nd December 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Jeremy Clarkson's remarks on Wednesday night's One Show prompted more than 5,000 complaints to the BBC -- and a political 'storm' in which Ed Miliband said his remarks were absolutely disgraceful and disgusting . It fell to his friend and Boxing Day dining companion David Cameron to provide crucial, if lighthearted support to the presenter.

The prime minister, in a TV interview, played down the incident: That's obviously a silly thing to say and I'm sure he didn't mean that. I didn't see the remark but I'm sure it's a silly thing to say.

Shortly after, as the BBC feared a repeat of the Sachsgate affair which led to the resignations of Ross and Brand, Clarkson issued an apology and the BBC deployed one of its most senior executives, George Entwistle, to sort out matters behind the scenes.

The presenter's apology said: I didn't for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously -- as I believe is clear if they're seen in context. If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I'm quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.

Humour challenged Dave Prentis of Unison said the unions were consulting on taking Clarkson to court and called on the BBC to sack him.

The TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said the jibe was more than silly : If it was intended as a joke it was in pretty awful taste. If he wanted to confirm his caricature as an outlandishly rightwing figure, he has managed to do that.

Update: Well...the odd 20,000 or so

2nd December 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk

The BBC has received more than 21,000 complaints over Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson's remarks that striking public sector workers should be shot.

BBC Audience Services said the Corporation had received 21,335 complaints as of 09:30 GMT.

The deputy general secretary of Unison, the UK's largest union, Karen Jennings, told the BBC:

We've accepted the apology.

He's recognised that he went too far in saying what he said and what we're doing now is extending our hand to him to come and work with a healthcare assistant to see just how they work and the healthcare they deliver.

I think he would enjoy that.

 

2nd December   

Updated: Monster Disappointment...

Distributor Monster Pictures responds to Australian ban of Human Centipede 2
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede Full Sequence DVD On Tuesday morning Monster Pictures received a phone call from a spokesperson from the Classification Review Board alerting us to the fact that THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE had been refused classification in Australia. This came less than twenty-four hours after a two and a half hour Classification Review Board hearing in Sydney. The hearing was convened by Victoria Rubensohn, and was attended by Ann Stark and Melissa De Zwark representing the Classification Review Board, and Tony Romeo, Neil Foley, Jack Sargeant and Laura Crawford representing Monster Pictures Australia, the Australian distributors of the film.

Monster Pictures would like to express our disappointment at this decision.

We presented a great deal of evidence, including the submissions of two highly regarded film experts (Jack Sargeant and Laura Crawford) to support our notion that this film was produced with significant artistic credentials, and with its contentious elements justified within the context of story and genre.

Unfortunately this was rejected by the Classification Review Board, whose subjective opinion it is that the film lacks artistic merit, and must be refused classification on the grounds that it contains gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact and cruelty which has a high impact .

Monster Pictures rejects this notion outright.

Monster Pictures also rejects the notion that three middle-class women -- two lawyers and a family therapist -- who supposedly broadly represent the Australian community , have the ability or credentials to read or understand a film such as THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE.

Indeed much of our discussion around this black and white film, with its casting, sound and production design steeped in the traditions of underground, horror and avant-garde cinema, was on whether or not the film was highly stylised or realistic . In the opinion of the Convenor of the Review Board, this cinematic depiction is presented to the viewer as realistic , which therefore escalates the violence in the film from high impact, to very high impact, therefore making it eligible for a Refusal of Classification.

To Monster Pictures and its representatives this would suggest not only a total and ludicrous misunderstanding of cinematic conventions but also a blatant refusal to accept the evidence that was presented during the hearing. It is our belief that the review hearing was little more than an expensive waste of time, and that the Classification Review Board had already made up their mind about the film prior to our submission.

Monster Pictures would also like to draw attention to the fact that two ultra conservative Christian groups, Collective Shout and Family Voice Australia, are both claiming victory for the banning on their websites. We reject the notion that fringe groups -- that are amongst many other things, anti-homosexual, anti-Islamic and anti-choice -- can have this level of influence over what the adult public of this country can or cannot view in a cinema or in the privacy of their own homes.

To Monster Pictures this represents a growing and alarming trend of fundamentalism pervading the public arena.

To us this is a far broader issue than just THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE.

It is our opinion that every free-thinking adult in this country, whether they intend to view the film or not, should be alarmed by the increasing influence of the Christian right in such matters.

Monster Pictures believe that the original R 18 + Classification of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE received in May 2011 was absolutely correct, and was arrived upon by a board who read the content and context of the film in a fair, unbiased and informed manner.

We believe the current ratings system to be a system that works well to identify the contentious points within a film, and to alert people to the nature of the viewing material.

Monster Pictures would also like to express our disapproval of the fact that the original assessment and subsequent rating provided by the Classification Board in May 2011 could not be used as evidence in our hearing to support our notion that the film contained no material that was unlawful or obscene in any way. We are outraged by the notion that two bodies working within the same system could apply the very same legislation to the very same material yet arrive at diametrically opposed conclusions -- to us this would suggest a fundamental and very worrying bias by the Review Board, a bias that we believe to be highly influenced by political agenda.

In the end the fate of our investment comes down to the subjective opinions of three women -- two lawyers and a family therapist -- ignoring the opinions of film professionals and a Government appointed Classification Board, to reinterpret the material and to arrive at the conclusion that the film should be refused classification. In our opinion this is absolutely wrong.

Monster Pictures premiered the uncut version of the film at this year's Brisbane International Film Festival. In addition we have just completed a national tour of the film, accompanied by Q&A sessions with the films lead actor Laurence R. Harvey.

The film has screened to sell out audiences in almost every capital city in the country, and has been unanimously well received. To the best of our knowledge the film has received no complaints as a result of these screenings -- to the contrary we have been inundated with emails of support from people around the country outraged at this decision.

To Monster Pictures this only serves to highlight how out of touch the Classification Review Board is with the current standards of the Australian cinema going public, and how wrong they are in their interpretation of the material.

Monster Pictures is fundamentally opposed to any form of censorship of legally produced adult material.

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2: FULL SEQUENCE was produced in the UK with full respect to the laws of that country. These laws are also in line with those of this country. There was no one harmed in any way in the production of this film. We reject any notion that any harm can be done to adults who view this material. We believe that the film's director Tom Six has produced one of the most significant genre films in recent history -- one that deserves to be seen in its original form by interested and consenting adults in this country.

Monster Pictures intends to resubmit a modified version of the film to the Classification Board. Once rated, we intend to continue our theatrical exhibition, which will lead to a DVD release early in the New Year. We also undertake to explore every option available to have this film released in full in this country.

Neil Foley Monster Pictures

 

2nd December   

Seeing the Funny Side...

BBC boss enjoys a little strong language in her comedy
Link Here

caroline thomson One of the BBC's most senior executives, Caroline Thomson, has reportedly said it is acceptable to feature strong language in television comedies.

The BBC's chief operating officer suggested one of the main criteria for comedy shows was to cause offence and to make her flinch . But I think sometimes that is one of the points of comedy. It is very tricky because language that will give you offence, won't give me offence. And language which gives me serious offence won't give my son offence.

Speaking at the annual Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference, she explained that there was an enormous intergenerational difference about what is acceptable .

Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch UK, claimed the comments were out of step with her audience .

Ofcom do research every year asking if there is too much swearing on TV. And every year, more than 50 per cent of the viewers say there is too much, she told the newspaper.

The idea that bad language in comedy is good -- it's not big, it's not clever and it's not funny.

 

2nd December   

Comment: Self Misleading Regulators...

Time for the PCC to consult the public
Link Here  full story: Leveson Inquiry...Considering UK press censorship and regulation

PCC logo If the press and the Press Complaints Commission want to regain the public's confidence, they need to stop claiming they know their readers' minds better than the readers themselves - and start listening .

That is the conclusion of writer and sexual rights campaigner, Jane Fae, in a written submission to the Leveson Inquiry, looking at the way in which the press deal with complaints about inaccuracy and misleading copy.

On the basis of complaints submitted over the last two years, Ms Fae provides an analysis of clause 1 of the PCC's editorial code of conduct, which requires media not to publish inaccurate or misleading material and to rectify inaccuracies as these are drawn to their attention.

She concludes that despite an ability to publish stories with remarkable speed, once they have published, the UK press is exceedingly reluctant to correct any aspect of a story: responses to any questioning tend to be slow and exceedingly defensive.

Ms Fae also notes a carelessness in respect of sources used to stand up stories, with comment regularly sought from individuals whose knowledge of an area is slight or non-existent and reliance on secondary sources (so once a story has appeared in one newspaper, it will be repeated very closely by others, with little checking carried out)

There also appears to be a reluctance to take correction from individuals better qualified to provide fact or opinion in an area.

Above all, however, she is highly critical of the PCC approach that suggests that it is capable of determining whether or not the public has been misled by an item with reference only to editorial opinion on the matter.

She said: The PCC have in the past treated with utter incredulity the idea that they should survey public opinion in respect of stories claimed as misleading. Yet it is the PCC's view that lacks credibility.

Other regulatory bodies -- such as the Internet Watch Foundation and the British Board of Film Classification go out of their way to involve independent and expert views in moderating their decision: yet when it comes to determining what the public have understood from a story, the PCC wholly refuse to hear anything from the experts on this matter -- the public themselves.

 

1st December   

Update: Unbelievable...

Ofcom's unenviable job of being a political censor of a foreign propaganda channel whilst not being able to admit to diplomatic input
Link Here  full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

Ofcom logo Ofcom has reversed its unpublished decision to revoke the broadcasting licence of Press TV, the Iranian state broadcaster's English-language outlet, as tensions rise between Britain and the Islamic republic.

Ofcom had apparently told Press TV last month that it was minded to ban it from broadcasting in the UK after the channel aired an interview with Maziar Bahari, an imprisoned Newsweek journalist, taking his words seriously when in fact the interview had been conducted under duress.

However, after hearing final submissions from the broadcaster, and amidst a crisis in bilateral relations that has seen Britain withdraw members of its diplomatic mission from its Tehran embassy after the building was stormed by protesters, Ofcom is understood to have downgraded the sanction to a fine of £ 100,000. Details of the sanction are expected to be published this week.

According to the WikiLeaks cables, the Foreign Office told a US diplomat in 2010 that the UK government was exploring ways to limit the operations of ... Press TV. At the time, the department warned the US that UK law sets a very high standard for denying licences to broadcasters. Licences can only be denied in cases where national security is threatened, or if granting a licence would be contrary to Britain's obligations under international law. Currently neither of these standards can be met with respect to Press TV, but if further sanctions are imposed on Iran in the coming months a case may be able to be made on the second criterion .

A Foreign Office spokesman said that there had been no government intervention in the process.

 

1st December   

Updated: Secret Pakistan...

BBC World News taken off Pakistani cable systems after showing documentary deemed critical of the state
Link Here  full story: BBC Censored in Pakistan...BBC news banned after disputed documentary

bbc world news logo BBC world news Pakistan's cable TV association has taken BBC World News off air after screening of a documentary that it deemed anti-Pakistan.

The BBC's World News has been taken off the air in Pakistan after broadcasting a documentary that was deemed to be critical of the country. Secret Pakistan explored accusations by CIA officials and western diplomats that Pakistan was failing to meet its commitments in the war on terror .

Khalid Arain, president of the country's cable TV association, said operators had blocked the BBC service as a result.

The BBC condemned the decision. A spokesman said:

We are deeply concerned that BBC World News has been taken off air by the Cable Association of Pakistan.

We condemn any action that threatens our editorial independence and prevents audiences from accessing our impartial international news service. We would urge that BBC World News and other international news services are reinstated as soon as possible.

Update: Summoned

1st December 2011. See  article from  google.com

Pakistan has said that it was looking at summoning the BBC to demand an explanation over a documentary about the Taliban that has left the BBC World News channel blocked nationwide. Cable operators pulled the channel late Tuesday amid anger over NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Khalid Arain, chairman of the Cable Operators Association of Pakistan, confirmed that BBC World News was off-air nationwide and that other Western news channels had been ordered not to indulge in anti-Pakistan propaganda . [That's ok ,there's easily enough anti-Pakistan truth to fill the schedules].

Pakistan's media regulator, PEMRA, said via a spokesman: The authorities can summon BBC representatives and seek an explanation from them. Pakistan was not legally bound to show any foreign channels and was also monitoring Britain's Sky News for any objectionable content.

Update: BBC Called in from the Cold

3rd February 2012.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk

The Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has said he wants to see BBC World News back on cable television in his country after the recent ban.

He told the BBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he was absolutely in favour of giving more freedom to the media. We definitely... want the BBC to be operating in Pakistan.

 

1st December   

Update: Propaganda Battle...

Iran bans computer game Battlefield 3 that depicts a military assault on Tehran
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Battlefield 3 Limited PC DVD Iran has banned the computer game Battlefield 3 because it depicts a U.S. military assault against the city of Tehran using tanks and aircraft.

All computer stores are prohibited from selling this illegal game, said an unnamed deputy with the security and intelligence division of Iran's police in a statement carried by the Asr-e Ertebat weekly.

An unnamed shop owner told the Associated Press. that Iranian police have raided (shops) and arrested owners for selling the game secretly even before the ban became public.

The Fars news agency reports on an online petition with 5000 signatures which claims a US conspiracy. The petition reads

We understand that the story of a videogame is hypothetical ... (but) we believe the game is purposely released at a time when the US is pushing the international community into fearing Iran.

 

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