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Censor Watch

2024: March

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Categorised as a mountain of suffocating censorial red tape...

Ofcom proposes definitions for which websites will be subjected to the most onerous censorship rules defined in the Online Safety Act

Link Here 31st March 2024
Full story: Online Safety Act...UK Government legislates to censor social media
Ofcom writes:

Ofcom is seeking evidence to inform our codes of practice and guidance on the additional duties that will apply to some of the most widely used online sites and apps -- designated as categorised services - under the Online Safety Act.

Under the new laws, all in-scope tech firms must put in place appropriate safety measures to protect users from online harms. In addition, some online services will have to comply with extra requirements if they fall into one of three categories, known as Category 1, 2A or 2B.

These extra duties include giving users more tools to control what content they see, ensuring protections for news publisher and journalistic content, preventing fraudulent advertising and producing transparency reports. Different duties apply, depending on which category a service falls into.

The Act requires us to produce codes of practice and guidance outlining the steps that companies can take to comply with these additional duties. We are inviting evidence from industry, expert groups and other organisations to help inform and shape our approach. A formal consultation on the draft codes and guidance will follow in 2025, taking account of responses to today's call for evidence. Advice to Government on categorisation thresholds

Alongside this, we have also today published our advice to Government on the thresholds which would determine whether or not a service falls into Category 1, 2A or 2B. We advise that:

Category 1 (most onerous): should apply to services which meet either of the following conditions:

  • Condition 1 - uses a content recommender system; and has more than 34 million UK users on the user-to-user part of its service, representing around 50% of the UK population;

  • Condition 2 - allows users to forward or reshare user-generated content; and uses a content recommender system; and has more than 7 million UK users on the user-to-user part of its service, representing circa 10% of the UK population.

Category 2A: should apply to services which meet both of the following criteria:

  • is a search service, but not vertical search service

  • has more than 7 million UK users on the search engine part of its service, representing circa 10% of the UK population.

Category 2B: should apply to services which meet both of the following criteria:

  • allows users to send direct messages;

  • and has more than 3 million UK users on the user-to-user part of the service, representing circa 5% of the UK population.

Taking our advice into consideration, the Secretary of State must set the threshold conditions in secondary legislation. Once passed, we will then gather information, as needed, from regulated services and produce a published register of categorised services.




Remarkable cult movie with bizarre real sex passed 18 uncut by the BBFC

Link Here31st March 2024

Thundercrack! is a 1975 US adult comedy by Curt McDowell
Starring Marion Eaton, George Kuchar and Melinda McDowell BBFC link 2020 IMDb

A cult film that was notably unreleased in the UK for many years except on the cinema club circuit. The film was finally BBFC 18 rated without cuts for 2024 release. The BBFC noted that it contains strong real sex. Uncut and MPAA Unrated in the US.

Summary Review

With a killer gorilla on the loose, a group of strangers find themselves stranded at a remote mansion of a grieving madwoman one dark and stormy night. They indulge in swapping bizarre personal backstories - and bodily fluids.

Imagine yourself a typical low-budget horror opening, in which random people gather around an old dark mansion during a nightly thunderstorm. They're all slightly eccentric characters with unusual backgrounds and/or odd personalities and, naturally, the female owner of the mansion is the queen of all madness.

Her guests soon begin to physically experiment with themselves and each other and these sexual outbursts become gradually odder. Masturbation and ordinary hetero-sex at first, but before you properly realize it; you're up to your neck in gay sex, voyeurism, sex with peculiar attributes and even bestiality.

This movie is available in two versions, but I can safely say already that even the cut Theatrical Version (120 minutes instead of 150) is more than weird enough for every avid fan of offbeat cinema on this planet.


BBFC uncut
run: 159:27s
pal: 153:04s

MPAA Unrated

UK: Uncut and BBFC 18 rated for strong real sex, nudity:
  • 2024 BFI VoD (rated 05/02/2024) titled Thundercrack!

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • 2015 Synapse Films 40th Anniversary Edition R0 Blu-ray at US Amazon
  • 2015 Synapse Films 40th Anniversary Edition R0 DVD at US Amazon
run: 125:30s
pal: 120:29s
  Sweden: There is a cut version running about 120m



Primed for profit...

US Amazon throws its hat in the ring as an age/ID verification service

Link Here30th March 2024
Full story: Age Verification in USA...Requiring age verification for porn and social media

US Amazon has just launched an app that lets people sign up for its palm recognition service. The Amazon One app uses a smartphone's camera to take a photo of a palm print to set up an account. Once signed up, you can pay for stuff by using your hand.

The tech uses generative AI to analyze a palm's vein structure, turning the data into a unique numerical, vector representation which is recognized by scanning machines at retail locations. You'll have to add a payment method within the app to get started and upload a photo of your ID for the purpose of age verification.

Beyond payments, the tech is also used as an age verification tool and as a way to enter concerts and sporting events without having to bring along a ticket.

There are obvious privacy concerns here, as passwords can change but palms cannot. Amazon says that all uploaded palm images are encrypted and sent to a secure Amazon One domain in the Amazon Web Service cloud. The company also says the app includes additional layers of spoof detection, noting that it's not possible to save or download palm images to the phone itself.



Robot Dreams...

Children's cartoon cut for a BBFC PG rated cinema release

Link Here28th March 2024
Robot Dreams is a 2023 Spain/France animation drama by Pablo Berger
Starring Ivan Labanda, Tito Trifol and Rafa Calvo BBFC link 2020 IMDb
BBFC category cuts were required for a BBFC PG rated cinema release in 2024.

Summary Notes

Based on the popular graphic novel by the North American writer Sara Varon, ROBOT DREAMS tells the adventures and misfortunes of Dog and Robot in NYC during the '80s.


BBFC cut
run: 102:29s
pal: 98:23s
PGUK: BBFC PG rated for mild rude humour for mild rude humour after BBFC cuts:
  • 2024 Artificial Eye Film Co. cinema release (rated 30/01/2024)

The BBFC commented:

The company obscured rude gestures in order to achieve their preferred category of PG. An uncut 12A classification was available.

BBFC uncut
run: 102:46s
pal: 98:39s
IFCO cinema GIreland: Uncut and IFCO G rated for consumer advice: explores themes of friendship and loss with positive resolution:
  • 2024 Curzon cinema release (rated 16/01/2024)



The New Boy...

The BBFC caught hearing things with a mistaken 15 rating for strong language

Link Here20th March 2024

The New Boy is a 2023 Australia historical fantasy drama by Warwick Thornton
Starring Cate Blanchett, Aswan Reid and Deborah Mailman BBFC link 2020 IMDb

There are no censorship issues beyond noting that the BBFC made a mistake in noting the occurrence of the word 'cunt' requiring a 15 rating. When asked to listen again the BBFC changed its mind and noted just moderate language for a 12A rating.

Summary Notes

A nine-year-old Aboriginal Australian orphan boy arrives in the dead of night at a remote monastery run by a renegade nun.


BBFC uncut
run: 96:03s
pal: 92:12s


IFCO cinema 12A

UK: Uncut and BBFC 12A rated with a trigger warning for moderate violence, language, bloody images, discrimination:
  • 2024 Signature Entertainment cinema release (rated 23/02/2024)

UK: Uncut and BBFC 15 rated for infrequent very strong language:

  • 2024 Signature Entertainment cinema release (rated 23/02/2024)

Thanks to Scott:

This Australian film originally appeared on the BBFC's website last month as a 15 for infrequent very strong language. I noticed that it was only a 12A in Ireland and an M (completely unrestricted) in Aus, with no mention of anything higher than moderate language from either, so emailed the BBFC to let them know they'd probably misheard a c-word. Sure enough, a week or two later, the cert was revised to 12A for moderate violence, language, bloody images, discrimination. They subsequently replied to my email: With regard to New Boy, we have already been in conversation with the producers and have since revised the age rating to 12A.

Ireland: Uncut and IFCO 12A rated for an aboriginal boy is taken to a christian monastery in 1940`s australia - contains moderate violence with brief injury detail, moderate language:
  • 2024 Signature cinema release (rated 14/02/2024)



The Jungle Bunch World Tour...

Censorship is an ass as the latest children's cartoon is cut for a lower rating

Link Here20th March 2024
The Jungle Bunch World Tour is a 2023 France animation comedy by Laurent Bru, Yannick Moulin, Benoît Somville
Starring Gauthier Battoue, Paul Borne and Wyatt Bowen BBFC link 2020 IMDb
BBFC category cuts were required for U rated cinema and VoD release in 2024.

Summary Notes

Sequel to the film The Jungle Bunch (2017).


BBFC cut
category cuts
run: 88:49s
pal: 85:16s
UUK: BBFC U rated for very mild threat, violence, rude humour:
  • 2024 Signature Entertainment cinema release (rated 25/01/2024)
UK: BBFC U rated for very mild threat, violence, rude humour after BBFC cuts:
  • 2024 Signature Entertainment VoD (rated 12/01/2024)

The BBFC commented:

The distributor chose to make cuts to bad language ('ass') in order to achieve a U rating. An uncut PG rating was available.



BBFC Guidelines 2024...

The BBFC announces it will increase age ratings for sex, violence and strong language

Link Here19th March 2024
The BBFC press release reads:

BBFC launches new Classification Guidelines reflecting shifts in public opinion towards violence, drug use, sex and use of language

Today, the BBFC publishes its new Classification Guidelines, informed by its largest-ever public consultation. Throughout 2023, the BBFC spoke to 12,000 people across the UK to explore what matters most to audiences when it comes to classification.

The research found people are now more concerned about depictions of violence on screen in content across all age ratings. The findings demonstrated broad support for how the BBFC currently classifies violence, but audiences expressed concerns about how distressing or disturbing some forms of violence can be. Going forward, a higher rating may be required for violence across all age-rating categories, especially when particularly intense or impactful scenes occur.

The last time the BBFC conducted this research was in 2019. Then, as now, sexual violence was the biggest area of concern for UK audiences. Since 2019, however, suicide and self-harm has risen to the second biggest area of concern - ahead of sex, violence and drugs. People expressed a clear desire to be warned about this type of content, and the BBFC will continue to highlight suicide and self-harm in its content advice.

Although people are largely in agreement with the BBFC's current approach towards classifying drug content across all age categories, audiences have become more relaxed about cannabis use and solvent misuse than they were in 2019.

The research revealed that people are now slightly more accepting of cannabis misuse at 12A/12, so long as it is not detailed, glamorised or frequent. The BBFC will therefore take a less restrictive approach to such material, but maintain its current standards on other drugs. People also felt the BBFC's current policy towards classifying solvent misuse was overly cautious, and this finding has been supported by expert advice. Such content will now be treated less restrictively.

People are calling for a more cautious approach to classifying sex scenes at the border of 12A/12 and 15. Participants were concerned by the level of sexual detail, nudity and the duration of the sex scenes rated 12A/12 under the 2019 guidelines. Similar content is now more likely to be rated 15. However, the research also indicates that audiences are happy for classification to be more lenient towards some sex references at the 15/18 borderline, especially in comic contexts.

The new research also offers valuable insights into the evolving perspectives and expectations of parents and caregivers, grandparents, educators, and young people.

Parents are concerned about the normalisation of bad language, especially terms with sexual or misogynistic connotations. For example, terms such as son of a bitch, bitch, dick. The worry is that young viewers may hear and repeat such language. Language such as this may now require a higher age rating.

Audiences are comfortable with the relaxation of standards across most areas when it comes to trailers, especially in the junior categories (U, PG and 12A/12). For example, in some cases, this may include isolated use of strong language in trailers at 12A/12.

More than eight in ten (81%) people want a consistent age rating system across cinema, physical media and Video on Demand (VoD)/streaming services. Netflix, which carries BBFC age ratings across its entire UK platform, is now the third most popular source of recognition for BBFC age rating symbols (behind cinema and physical media) and the second most recognised source for content advice (behind cinema).

The findings support that the BBFC and its iconic age rating symbols are highly trusted, well recognised and valued by audiences across the UK.

99% of respondents recognise at least one BBFC age rating symbol, with 78% recognising them all 97% of people see a benefit to age ratings for some or all audiences 90% of parents/caregivers (a 7% increase in the last five years), 91% of teachers, and 88% of teens aged 16-19 trust BBFC age ratings all or most of the time 87% of parents/caregivers agree with BBFC age ratings all or most of the time 85% of respondents trust BBFC age ratings to accurately reflect the nature of the content they consume

To help parents facilitate important conversations and help increase awareness, the BBFC has created a collection of BBFC Guides that focus on various classification areas such as discrimination, drugs, and sex. Each bite-sized guide provides an overview of how the BBFC classifies different issues, what they mean at each age rating, and a collection of film case studies.

President, Natasha Kaplinsky OBE stated:

At the BBFC, we're dedicated to ensuring what we do is responsive to the ever evolving world around us. Since we last asked people across the country what they thought about our standards, society has changed, and opinions have followed 203 it's fascinating how this vast body of new research reflects this.

This is the first Classification Guidelines update I have overseen as President. Not only am I proud and thrilled to launch these findings, but as someone who has always looked to the BBFC for guidance for myself and my family, seeing first-hand the level of dedication and insight that went into this process has been eye-opening and inspiring. Without a doubt, we are truly shaped by you.

Chief Executive, David Austin OBE stated:

The effectiveness of what we do relies entirely on trust. To ensure we have that trust, and to get to the heart of what audiences think and feel, we go directly to them. Only by doing this can we ensure we are classifying content in line with the expectations of families across the UK. This is essential to maintaining the extraordinarily high levels of public trust that the BBFC is privileged to enjoy.



The Ice Pirates...

Old BBFC cuts list added for category cuts for the 1984 cinema release of a US action comedy by Stewart Raffill

Link Here19th March 2024

The Ice Pirates is a 1984 US action comedy by Stewart Raffill
Starring Robert Urich, Mary Crosby and Michael D. Roberts BBFC link 2020 IMDb

BBFC category cuts were required for a PG rated cinema release in 1984. UK home video releases are uncut and 15 rated. The film is uncut and MPAA PG rated in the US.

Summary Notes

In a distant future scarce of water, space pirates get caught after stealing ice from a spaceship. They are sold to a princess looking for her dad. He might have found a planet abundant with water.


BBFC uncut
run: 93:44s
pal: 89:59s

BBFC 15 1982


UK: Uncut and BBFC 15 rated for strong injury detail, sex:
  • 2024 Warner Bros Entertainment UK Blu-ray (rated 11/03/2024)
UK: Uncut and BBFC 15 rated:
  • 1987 MGM Home VHS (rated 12/01/1987)

US: Uncut and MPAA PG rated

BBFC cut
cut: 2:11s
run: 91:38s
pal: 87:58s
BBFC PG 1982UK: Cut and PG rated after 2:11s of BBFC category cuts:
  • 1984 U.I.P. cinema release (rated 02/07/1984)

Thanks to Scott. The BBFC cuts list reads:

  • Reel 2 a) During discussion in prison on space ship and in cage after landing remove references to men being castrated.
  • Reel 2 b) When heroes are on conveyor belt remove threats of castration and repeated sight of snapping jaws.
  • Reel 3 a) After Alien creature bites heroes, remove reference to it as Space Herpe - when Jason reads cargo manifest.
  • Reel 3 b) Remove sight of man's head falling off after woman slices sword across man's neck in fight in bar.
  • Reel 4 a) Remove reference to Space Herpe after it emerges from hunk of meat.
  • Reel 4 b) After talking head delivers up ring on tongue, remove head's dialogue want to make a deposit? .
  • Reel 5 Establish only lovemaking between Jason and Princess after they go to the passion chamber with back projection, removing all sex double entendres in their dialogue and implication of oral sex.




Ofcom political censors...

Ofcom twists its rules to censor right leaning comment programmes on GB News

Link Here19th March 2024

Ofcom has tried to explain how it twists its rules to try and claim that politicians commenting on news are somehow 'newsreaders'. Ofcom writes:

This document sets out Ofcom's Decisions on five cases involving politicians acting as newsreaders, news interviewers or news reporters on television.

Our Broadcasting Code requires that broadcast news, in whatever form, must be presented with due impartiality, and that a politician cannot be a newsreader, news interviewer or news reporter unless, exceptionally, there is editorial justification.

Ofcom recognises that, in accordance with the right to freedom of expression, broadcasters have editorial freedom and can offer audiences a wide range of programme formats, including using politicians as presenters. Politicians can present current affairs programmes and they may appear in broadcast news content as an interviewee or any other type of guest, provided they are not used as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter (unless there is exceptional editorial justification), and the programme otherwise complies with the Code.

Ofcom considered that five programmes raised issues warranting investigation under our due impartiality rules. These were two editions of Jacob Rees-Mogg's State of the Nation and Friday Morning with Esther and Phil, and one edition of Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil, broadcast on GB News in May and June 2023.

Ofcom found that these five programmes breached the Code for the reasons set out in full in each corresponding Decision. Politicians acted as a newsreader, news interviewer or news reporter in sequences which constituted news for the purposes of Section Five of the Code, without exceptional justification, and news was therefore not presented with due impartiality.

Ofcom considered that the programmes in question were both news and current affairs programmes. Programmes can feature a mix of news and non-news content and move between the two. However, if a licensee chooses to use a politician as a presenter, it must take steps to ensure they do not act as a newsreader, news interviewer or news reporter.

We are also publishing our reasons for deciding that a sixth programme, a separate edition of Jacob Rees-Mogg's State of the Nation, did not raise issues warranting investigation under these rules, in order to provide broadcasters with an example of what constitutes exceptional editorial justification as allowed by Rule 5.3.

The rationale for the restriction on politicians acting as newsreaders, news interviewers or news reporters is clear 203 politicians represent a political party or position and are therefore inherently partial on topical issues. Ofcom's Decisions also recognise the special status of broadcast news, which is afforded additional statutory protections because of its fundamental importance in a democratic society.

GB News has not previously breached Rules 5.1 or 5.3. These five programmes were broadcast in May and June 2023 and we have only had reason to open one further investigation into GB News' programming under these rules since we opened these investigations1. GB News is on notice that any repeated breaches of Rules 5.1 and 5.3 may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction.


Offsite Comment: Ofcom's patrician war on GB News

See article from by Andrew Tettenborn

The Ofcom ruling is perplexing, not least as the shows in question actually tried very carefully to separate their news and current-affairs output. News bulletins were delivered by a news anchor, always deadpan, at fixed intervals and in a dedicated studio. This was then followed by free-wheeling discussions of the day's stories, led by the politician presenters.

This didn't matter, according to Ofcom. A presenter repeating the facts of the news or mentioning a breaking story was apparently enough to make him or her a newsreader. What's more, whether these politicians actually expressed biased views on air or not was deemed immaterial. As politicians, they would have been perceived as biased, and that's what counts, says Ofcom.

This ruling will have profound repercussions for broadcasting, well beyond GB News. Ofcom won't admit it, but any shows about current affairs that tend to be heavy on opinion will in practice now count as news and hence be liable to vetting for their perceived partiality.

See full article from



Monkey Man...

Cut in the US to remove MPA consumer advice noting rape

Link Here6th March 2024

Monkey Man is a 2023 US/Canada action thriller by Dev Patel
Starring Dev Patel, Sharlto Copley and Sobhita Dhulipala IMDb

MPA rated R for strong bloody violence throughout, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use after cuts to remove 'rape' from the consumer advice.

Summary Notes

A recently released ex-felon living in India struggles to adjust to a world of corporate greed and eroding spiritual values.


mpaa cut
US: cut and MPA R rated for strong bloody violence throughout, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use after cuts to remove 'rape' from the MPA consumer advice.
  • 2024 theatrical release
BBFC uncut
US: Uncut and MPA R rated for strong bloody violence throughout, rape, language throughout, sexual content/nudity and drug use.
  • 2024 theatrical release unreleased in favour of a cut version

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