The European Council has firmly rejected the negotiating mandate that was supposed to set out Member States' position ahead of what was supposed to be the final negotiation round with the European Parliament. National governments failed to
agree on a common position on the two most controversial articles, Article 11, also known as the Link Tax, and Article 13, which would require online platforms to use upload filters in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement before it
A total of 11 countries voted against the compromise text proposed by the Romanian Council presidency earlier this week: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia, who already opposed a previous version of the directive, as well as
Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg and Portugal. With the exception of Portugal and Croatia, all of these governments are known for thinking that either Article 11 or Article 13, respectively, are insufficiently protective of users'
rights. At the same time, some rightsholder groups who are supposed to benefit from the Directive are also turning their backs on Article 13.
This surprising turn of events does not mean the end of Link Tax or censorship machines, but it does make an adoption of the copyright directive before the European elections in May less likely. The Romanian Council presidency will have the
chance to come up with a new text to try to find a qualified majority, but with opposition mounting on both sides of the debate, this is going to be a difficult task indeed.
The outcome of today's Council vote also shows that public attention to the copyright reform is having an effect. Keeping up the pressure in the coming weeks will be more important than ever to make sure that the most dangerous elements of the
new copyright proposal will be rejected.
Two men who breached an injunction banning them from making drill music have been given suspended jail sentences of nine months each.
The ruling comes as Scotland Yard continues its controversial crackdown on the rap genre, a strategy which has attracted significant criticism from drill fans.
The Metropolitan Police have repeatedly blamed the music genre for rising knife crime in London and has launched a wide ranging crackdown on drill music videos. Detective Inspector Luke Williams of Lambeth and Southwark Gangs Unit said:
I am pleased with the sentences passed in these cases which reflect that the police and courts are unwilling to accept behaviour leading to serious violence.
This year's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here has been criticised by animal rights' activists as beyond shameful after Ofcom confirmed 80 releated complaintshave been binned.
The TV cesnor said it would not be taking action over viewer complaints about the use of live animals in Bushtucker Trials.
Animal rights campaigners at PETA were not impressed, director Elisa Allen told the Mirror:
After nearly two decades, during which thousands of complaints have been logged with Ofcom, it's beyond shameful that I'm a Celeb is still allowed to roll out the same tired, tacky, moronic, and - worse - cruel 'challenges' year after year.
PETA is now calling for the ITV show to be axed, saying:
People are no longer wondering whether a celebrity will win plastic stars but rather whether the show will ever try something original, witty, or smart and lay off the animals who are terrified, abused, and even killed for a cheap, immature
An Arizona legislator has proposed a one off $20 fee to access porn sites, with funds going to Donald Trump's border wall.
According to a report by The Arizona Republic, state rep Gail Griffin has introduced a new bill that would force internet users to cough up $20 just for the ability to access adult sites online. The money would go into a newly created account
called the John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Fund, with the proceeds to be used for one of 10 things, and the top item on the list of 10 is: Build a border wall between Mexico and this state or fund border security .
A similar tax has been proposed in several other states but has not yet come to fruition. Lawmakers have not made it clear how the tax will actually be implemented but perhaps it would be along the line of ISPs blocking porn sites until the tax
Reports from the launch meeting for the recent publication of updated BBFC guidelines reveals some of the politically correct nonsense underpinning the changes.
thetelegraphandargus.co.uk reports that film censors have hit back at what has been deemed the pornification of culture. The BBFC has announced that the creeping-in of pornographic themes to popular culture is of major concern to the British
The animated comedy Sausage Party was singled out as an example of where cinema has borrowed from the world of porn. The new guidelines prescribe higher age ratings for works with sexual violence, darkly realistic themes, and films steeped
in the language of pornography.
Speaking at their launch in London, BBFC head of compliance Craig Lapper said:
I think there's a tendency for people to assume that everything must be increasingly more liberal. It always has that possibility of reaching a point and going the other way.
Public views are changing. This partly comes from the pornification of culture and whether almost borrowing from porn, cruder, stronger and harder sexual references are making their way into mainstream entertainment.
I think it's about the borrowing of themes and images from porn, and the visuals of pornography. It's all more available than it used to be when you had to go into a sex shop.
One film was Sausage Party. We had a lot of feedback. We heard from all sort of people about that, including teenagers. Of course they had watched it.
There is a scene in the film where animated vegetables engage in an orgy. It's crude.
Actually perhaps they (the public) feel that we need to rein it in. I think it's just the because it's so widespread and available.
Theatre-goers have been warned about particularity graphic and violent scenes in Cate Blanchett s new West End play. When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other is currently a sell out at the National Theatre.
An email has been sent to ticket holders, warning them to be aware of 'distressing adult themes and violent scenes of a sexual nature.
Cate is starring alongside Game Of Thrones' Stephen Dillane in the production, which features explicit simulations (eh??) of sexual acts including an orgy in a car. The play, which sees six characters acting out a dangerous game of sexual
domination and resistance, also features graphic violence against women.
An elderly woman was taken to hospital after fainting during the show on Wednesday night. While it remains unclear what caused her to pass out, the theatre subsequently sent an warning to email to other ticket holders about the graphic nature of
the production, according to The Times.
India's Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has proposed new social media censorship rules.
Open for public comment through 31 January 2019, the new rules would compel platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter to remove, within 24 hours, any unlawful content that affects the sovereignty and integrity of India.
According to a definition posted online by the Indian government last week, unlawful material includes anything that could be seen as grossly harmful, harassing, blasphemous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, pedophilic, libelous, invasive of
another's privacy, hateful, or racially, ethnically objectionable, disparaging, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever.
The definition also covers political speech, including any content that threatens the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign states, or public order, or causes incitement to the commission of
any cognisable offense or prevents investigation of any offense or is insulting any other nation.
office available for 24/7 cooperation with law enforcement.
Industry experts and civil rights activists are concerned that the new rules are veering dangerously close to censorship, and lobbyists have already started drafting objections to file with the ministry.
Internet company Mozilla Corp came out strongly against the guidelines, stating that the proposal was a blunt and disproportionate solution to the problem of harmful content online. Industry executives note that the guidelines would put the
privacy of users at risk and would raise costs, as it would necessitate round-the-clock monitoring of content.
WhatsApp is gearing up to fight the Indian government's proposals to force tech companies to hand over the personal data and encrypted messages of Indian users.
India's internet censor and IT ministry have both proposed laws that would allow authorities to trace the origins of encrypted messages. The legislation would also compel tech companies including Facebook, Twitter and Apple to proactively monitor
and remove objectionable content posted on their platforms.
The new rules essentially mean breaking encryption and collecting much more data than WhatsApp currently do, which amounts to mass surveillance.
A WhatsApp expert said that the app is designed to not collect or store a record of who wrote and sent every message on the platform. The company would have to redesign its systems and revise its privacy policies in order to comply with the
And of course if WhatsApp continues to operate in repressive regimes like India and Australia then worldwide users will be able to infer that all their messages can also be decrypted at the behest of the authorities in any country.
The Indian government's effort to block citizens from watching pornography hasn't quite worked, according to website analytics data. On the contrary, overall consumption of internet porn may have increased over the past few months with traffic
shifting to other sites and the use of proxy servers.
Fifty-nine of the banned websites, data of which was shared by SimilarWeb, a web analytics company, received an average of 1.7 billion monthly visits before the ban and the figure dropped to 0.8 billion visits after the ban. However this drop has
been more than compensated for by visits to at least 441 other websites that are not banned. These websites together received an average of 0.6 billion monthly visits before the ban and two billion after the ban. Adding these together reveals
that monthly porn site visits increased from 2.3 billion to 2.8 billion as a result of the ban.
There are other factors also contributing to why the ban is not working.
First, at least 42% of the websites in the banned list (345 of the total 827) are still accessible on the internet if users write https instead of http in the web address. These accessible websites include the top three porn websites in India --
Xnxx, Xvideos and Pornhub.
Second, Indians are also accessing the banned porn websites through easily available proxy networks or virtual private networks (VPN) that hide their identity and location, and in turn let users bypass any such ban. A sudden surge in the number
of visits to some of the most popular proxy service websites makes this fact evident.
For instance, proxy site kproxy.com received 2.3 million visits from India in November, according to ComScore. This was more than twice its average of 0.9 million visits in the previous three months. The increased use of proxy services by porn
consumers in India is also evident from data on Google Trends, a tool that quantifies the popularity of search queries over time. The popularity of search terms like porn proxy, porn site proxy and porn vpn in India rose seven to 10 times in the
week the ban was announced.
Third, the list of the 827 websites that were banned does not cover a wide enough range of such sites. Among the 500 most visited porn websites in India, according to ComScore data, only 59 websites have been banned. Among the top 10, only five
have been blocked.
There were relatively few changes in the 2019 BBFC Guidelines updated. The one's I spotted were:
Dangerous Behaviour at U
Previously potentially dangerous or anti-social behaviour which young children may copy can only appear in U rated film if it is clearly disapproved. Now such behaviour can also be included if it is presented
Nudity at 15
The BBFC is now allowing 'strong nudity' at 15, presumably referring to erections, is allowed if brief or presented in a comic context.
Sex references at 15
The BBFC has upgraded dirty talk to 18. A new rule has appeared stating:
Repeated very strong references, particularly those using pornographic language, are unlikely to be acceptable.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Threat at 12
A new section has appeared which builds on rules previously in the violence section. The 2014 rules included the following
Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and its depiction must be justified by context.
The new section reads:
There may be verbal references to sexual violence provided they are not graphic.
The stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, may only be implied and any sexual threat or abusive behaviour must be brief and negatively presented.
Sexual Violence and Sexual Threat at 15
A new section has appeared which builds on rules previously in the violence section. The 2014 rules included the following:
There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but the depiction of sexual violence must be discreet and justified by context.
The new section reads:
There may be strong verbal references to sexual violence but any depiction of the stronger forms of sexual violence, including rape, must not be detailed or prolonged.
A strong and sustained focus on sexual threat is unacceptable.
The BBFC has deleted its prohibition on penetration with items associated with violence although it retains the prohibition of items that may cause physical harm.
gaystarnews.com has published an article outlining the dangers of porn viewers submitting their identity data and browsing history to age verifiers and their websites. The article explains that the dangers for gay porn viewers are even mor
pronounced that for straight viewers. The artisle illustrates this with an example:
David Bridle, the publisher of Dirty Boyz , announced in October that last month's issue of the magazine would be its last. He said:
Following the Conservative government's decision ... to press ahead with new regulations forcing websites which make money from adult content to carry an age verification system ... Dirtyboyz and its website dirtyboyz.xxx have made the decision
The new age verification system will be mostly run by large adult content companies which themselves host major "Tube" style porn sites. 'It would force online readers of Dirtyboyz to publicly declare themselves.
Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, told GSN the privacy of users needs protecting:
The issue with age verification systems is that they need to know it's you. This means there's a strong likelihood that it will basically track you and know what you're watching. And that's data that could be very harmful to people.
It could cause issues in relationships. Or it could see children outed to their parents. It could mean people are subjected to scams and blackmail if that data falls into criminal hands. Government response
A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) told Gay Star News:
Pornographic websites and age verification services will be subject to the UK's existing high standard of data protection legislation. The Data Protection Act 2018 provides a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection, with strong
sanctions for malpractice and enforced by the Information Commissioner's Office.
But this is bollox, the likes of Facebook and Google are allowed to sell browsing data for eg targeted advertising within the remit of GDPR. And targeted advertising could be enough in itself to out porn viewers.
C apcom's 2019 remastering of the 2001 action adventure game, Onimusha: Warlords has led to the revisiting of a censorship issue resulting from the original release.
Onimusha: Warlords was originally released uncut in Japan but was censored for the international version. A cutscene involving one of the bosses, Hecuba, was cut down from its original form. The scene was briefly snipped in the overseas release
to avoid the slightly suggestive splaying of Hecuba's legs as she readies for transformation to a giant insect like demon. The abdomen of the insect then seems to emerge from between her legs.
It has been noted that the 2019 re-release contains both the censored and uncensored version. However the uncut version only appears if the selected language is Japanese.
The Russian propaganda channel RT has informed Ofcom that it will be seeking a Judicial Review of Ofcom's decisions and process in its breach findings of 20th December. Ofcom had investigated 10 RT programmes, and decided that 7 were in breach of
its censorship rules.
We firmly believe that none were in breach. RT is left with no choice other than to seek Judicial Review of the matter.
RT determinedly adheres to the Ofcom Code. Ofcom itself has recognised that RT's compliance record 'has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.'
None of the 7 in-breach decisions against RT concluded that we had disseminated inaccurate information. Ofcom's own analysis acknowledged that the network presented multiple sides in its news coverage and discussion. However, Ofcom proceeded to
make adverse findings in a manner contrary to the law.
Just before Christmas last year, one person complained that a South African TV commercial for Chicken Licken was offensive and the ad was duly banned.
The advert was quite witty and made for a good news story which was picked up by major newswire services such as the Associated Press and AFP. News that SA's new regulator, the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) had deemed the ad offensive
popped up in New Zealand, Australia, America, India, and the UK. In South Africa, of course, social media homed in on the ad and it went ballistically viral.
So, if the ARB had thought about the implication of their ban and just ignored that one complaint the ad campaign would have run for a few more weeks and given the declining number of viewers who actually watch commercial breaks on TV these days,
perhaps a few hundred thousand viewers would have seen it. Instead, in South Africa alone the ad was viewed by millions of people. Quite possibly hundreds times more than would have seen the ad on television.
So, instead of protecting the sensitivities of those few people who might have found the ad offensive, banning it simply compounded the very problem the ARB was trying to solve.
Fearful of state censorship being imposed on internet TV, several internet TV companies that operate in India have collaborated on a set of self censorship rules.
Netflix and Indian rival Hotstar plan to adopt these rules whilst noting that the country's laws currently do not mandate any censorship of content on online streaming platforms.
A draft of the censorship rules state that the platforms would prohibit content that shows a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activities, is disrespectful of India's national flag or encourages terrorism. The rules also ban content
which deliberately and maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community.
Amazon Prime Video will not sign the code, though it helped draft it, as the company does not want to act in the absence of government-mandated regulation, a source said.
Participating companies will appoint a person, team or department to receive and address any consumer-related complaints.
BBFC launches new Classification Guidelines and calls for greater age rating consistency across online channels
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has published new Classification Guidelines, and in response to public demand is calling for greater consistency for age ratings across different platforms.
The BBFC's public consultation - involving more than 10,000 people -- showed that young people and parents want to see an increase in classification guidance, particularly around online content, as well as more consistency across all platforms.
Demand for age classification has never been higher, with 97% of people saying they benefit from age ratings being in place. 91% of people (and 95% of teenagers) want consistent age ratings that they recognise from the cinema and DVD to apply to
content accessed through streaming services.
David Austin, Chief Executive Officer at the BBFC, said: Over the last five years the way we consume film and video has changed beyond all recognition. That's why it's so important that there is consistency between what people watch on and
offline. The research shows that parents and teenagers want us to give them the information and guidance that they need to view what's right for them.
The BBFC's consultation confirms that people feel a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to depictions of real world scenarios, in which audiences -- especially young people -- are likely to be concerned that it could happen to them. For
example, realistic contemporary scenarios showing terrorism, self-harm, suicide and discriminatory behaviour. This research confirms that the BBFC's current category standards are reflecting the public mood.
The large scale research also found that attitudes towards sexual threat and sexual violence have moved on since 2013/14. Although the BBFC already classifies such content restrictively, people told us that certain depictions of rape in
particular should receive a higher rating. The BBFC has therefore adjusted its Classification Guidelines in these areas.
People also told us that they expect the strongest sex references, in particular those that use the language of pornography, to be classified at 18. The new guidelines reflect this demand.
David Austin added:
We're here to listen to what people want, which is why they trust our age ratings. So it's encouraging to know that we've been classifying content in line with what people want and expect when it comes to difficult themes around credible real
life scenarios. We also know that people are more comfortable with issues such as action violence, if it's in a way that they are expecting -- such as a Bond or Bourne film. We are updating our standards around depictions of sexual violence and
very strong sex references to reflect changes in public attitudes.
The BBFC found film classification checking is most evident among parents of children under the age of 12, finding that 87% check all or most of the time, and a further 9% check occasionally. Interestingly, there has been a marked increase in the
level of claimed classification checking by parents of children aged 12-14 years -- up from 90% ever checking in 2013 to 97% in 2018.
The new guidelines will come into effect on 28 February 2019.
Index on Censorship shares the widespread concerns about the proposed EU regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. The regulation would endanger freedom of expression and would create huge practical challenges for
companies and member states. Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index, said We urge members of the European Parliament and representatives of EU member states to consider if the regulation is needed at all. It risks creating far more problems than it solves.
At a minimum the regulation should be completely revised.
Following the recent agreement by the European Council on a draft position for the proposed regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, which adopted the initial draft presented by the European Commission with some
changes, the Global Network Initiative (GNI) is concerned about the potential unintended effects of the proposal and would therefore like to put forward a number of issues we urge the European Parliament to address as it considers it further.
GNI members recognize and appreciate the European Union (EU) and member states' legitimate roles in providing security, and share the aim of tackling the dissemination of terrorist content online. However, we believe that, as drafted, this
proposal could unintentionally undermine that shared objective by putting too much emphasis on technical measures to remove content, while simultaneously making it more difficult to challenge terrorist rhetoric with counter-narratives. In
addition, the regulation as drafted may place significant pressure on a range of information and communications technology (ICT) companies to monitor users' activities and remove content in ways that pose risks for users' freedom of expression
and privacy. We respectfully ask that EU officials, Parliamentarians, and member states take the time necessary to understand these and other significant risks that have been identified, by consulting openly and in good faith with affected
companies, civil society, and other experts.
YouTube has announced new censorship rules for videos featuring pranks and challenges. Google writes in a blog post:
YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel's Terrible Christmas Presents prank or the water bottle flip challenge. That said, we've always had policies to make sure what's funny doesn't cross the line into also
being harmful or dangerous. Our Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that are likely to result in serious harm, and today clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks.
Q: What exactly are you clarifying related to challenges?
We've updated our external guidelines to make it clear that challenges like the Tide pod challenge or the Fire challenge, that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances, have no place on YouTube.
Q: What exactly are you clarifying related to pranks?
We've made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury. We don't allow pranks that make victims believe they're in serious physical danger 203 for
example, a home invasion prank or a drive-by shooting prank. We also don't allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life.
Q: What are examples of pranks that cause children severe emotional distress?
We've worked directly with child psychologists to develop guidelines around the types of pranks that cross this line. Examples include, the fake death of a parent or severe abandonment or shaming for mistakes.
Q: Can I appeal strikes related to dangerous challenges and pranks?
Yes, you can appeal the strike if you think the video content doesn't violate Community Guidelines.
Q: How long is the grace period for me to review and clean up content?
The next two months -- during this time challenges and pranks that violate Community Guidelines will be removed but the channel will not receive a strike. Additionally, content posted prior to these enforcement updates may be removed, but will
not receive a strike.
Family Guy is known for its politically incorrect humour, but now the team behind the show are making some changes. It appears that the jokes targeted at the LGBT community are on the way out.
In Sunday's episode, Peter Griffin, who is voiced by the show's creator Seth MacFarlane, was seen telling a cartoon President Trump that the show was trying to phase out gay jokes.
In fairness, we've been trying to phase out the gay stuff, Peter replies. But you know what? We're a cartoon. You're the president.
The change in direction has been confirmed by the show's executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel, who told TV Line that they want to better reflect the current climate in the show.
One of the defences of the show's controversial storylines is that they make fun of all minority groups equally and some have argued that there's no reason one particular minority group should be exempt.
If Family Guy is gonna be mainstream and not edgy, what's the point? asked one fan of the show on Twitter. And some in the LGBT community argued the show does not offend them.
The Internet is Facing a Catastrophe For Free Expression and Competition But You Could Still Tip The Balance. By Cory Doctorow
The new EU Copyright Directive is progressing at an alarming rate. This week, the EU is asking its member-states to approve new negotiating positions for the final language. Once they get it, they're planning to hold a final vote before pushing
this drastic, radical new law into 28 countries and 500,000,000 people.
While the majority of the rules in the new Directive are inoffensive updates to European copyright law, two parts of the Directive represent pose a dire threat to the global Internet:
Article 11: A proposal to make platforms pay for linking to news sites by creating a non-waivable right to license any links from for-profit services (where those links include more than a word or two from the story or its headline). Article 11
fails to define "news sites," "commercial platforms" and "links," which invites 28 European nations to create 28 mutually exclusive, contradictory licensing regimes. Additionally, the fact that the "linking
right" can't be waived means that open-access, public-interest, nonprofit and Creative Commons news sites can't opt out of the system.
Article 13: A proposal to end the appearance of unlicensed copyrighted works on big user-generated content platforms, even for an instant. Initially, this included an explicit mandate to develop "filters" that would examine every
social media posting by everyone in the world and check whether it matched entries in an open, crowdsourced database of supposedly copyrighted materials. In its current form, the rule says that filters "should be avoided" but does not
explain how billions of social media posts, videos, audio files, and blog posts should be monitored for infringement without automated filtering systems.
Taken together, these two rules will subject huge swaths of online expression to interception and arbitrary censorship, and give the largest news companies in Europe the power to decide who can discuss and criticise their reporting, and
undermining public-interest, open-access journalism.
The Directive is now in the hands of the European member-states. National ministers are going to decide whether or not Europe becomes a global exporter of censorship and surveillance. Your voice counts : when you contact your ministers,
you are speaking as one citizen to another, in a national context, about issues of import to you and your neighbours. Your national government depends on your goodwill to win the votes to continue its mandate. This is a rare moment in European
lawmaking when local connections from citizens matter more than well-funded, international corporations.
If you live in Sweden, Germany, Luxembourg, or Poland:
Please contact your ministers to convey your concern about Article 13 and 11.
We've set up action pages to reach the right people, but you should tailor your message to describe who you are, and your worries. Your country has previously expressed concerns about Article 13 and 11, and may still oppose it.
Britain's oldest porn novel which dates back to 1740s and was still banned in 1960s has made the news
A copy of John Cleland 's Fanny Hill or The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure first published in 1748 is to go under the hammer after being found in an old cigarette box.
It is one of the most prosecuted and banned novels in history and tells the story of a prostitute's life. It was banned soon after publication when it was denounced by the Bishop of London as an open insult upon Religion and good manners. The ban
was only lifted in 1970.
A copy of The Memoirs of the Life of Fanny Hill, The Career of a Woman of Pleasure from 1880 has been unearthed. The book will be sold on Tuesday next week at the auction house of the BBC's Bargain Hunt star Charles Hanson in Etwall,
The auction lot includes a newspaper cutting from the 1960s about a police raid in which 20,000 copies of the book were seized from Mayflower Books.
The TV censor Ofcom has announced that it is investigating Peace TV over a programme with an islamic preacher saying that fathers should push daughter's into marriage.
During an interview on religious discussion show Marriage and Divorce, Haitham al-Haddad, a Saudi-born Islamic preacher, said fathers should push and convince their daughters to get married. He also suggested women who were unmarried in
their thirties would not receive good proposals in the amount and qualities. (Of course people have been citing the traditional adage for a long while before Peace TV turned up: And while ye may, go marry: For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry).
Haddad has previously been widely criticised for calling homosexuality an evil crime - and showing his apparent support for female genital mutilation.
68 complaints to TV censor Ofcom have been binned. A few viewers felt that a lesbian character seducing a straight guy with the aim of becoming pregnant was somehow not representative of what gay women should do,
The controversial scene, which saw Kate Connor attempt to seduce Adam Barlow in the hopes of becoming pregnant, was deemed unfair by some viewers as they believed it was unrepresentative of gay women.
After the episode aired, 68 people filed complaints to Ofcom. The TV censor told Digital Spy that the complaints were not upheld as they didn't believe that the storyline reflected their sexual orientation in a derogatory manner.
A McJesus Sculpture Has Provoked Violent Protests in Israel. The gallery is now fending off government censorship as well as the artist's own request to remove the work in solidarity with a pro-Palestinian boycott of Israel.
Jani Leinonen's McJesus (2015) has become the subject of violent protests at Israel's Haifa Museum of Art. the Rev. Archimandrite Agapious Abu Sa'ada of the Greek Melkite Catholic Archeparchy of Acre told Haaretz:
We denounce the exhibition and the injury to the holiest symbol of Christianity by an institution that is supposed to serve citizens of all religions,
Hundreds of Arab Christians were on hand Friday to protest the controversial work, while police mobilized to prevent them from entering the museum and removing the work by force. Three policemen were injured by protesters throwing stones, while
officers Officers, meanwhile, used tear gas and stun grenades to clear the crowd, according to the Independent .
The demonstration followed a letter on Thursday from Israeli culture minister Miri Regev calling for the work to be removed and threatening to revoke the museum's government funding.
McJesus was installed in September as part of the exhibition Sacred Good, which looks at religion and faith through the lens of consumerism. The museum describes the piece as a way to address the collaboration between religious systems and the
So far, the museum has refused to take the work off display, instead meeting with church leaders and officials from the Haifa Municipality and determining that the most appropriate response to is to hang a sign at the exhibition entrance warning
visitors of potentially offensive content.
The French Internet censor CNIL some time ago insisted that censorship required under the 'right to be forgotten' should be applied worldwide rather than limited to the EU. Google appealed against the court order leading to the case being sent to
the European Court of Justice.
Now opinions from the court's advocate general suggest that court will determine that the right to be forgotten does not apply worldwide. The opinions are not final but the court often follows them when it hands down its ruling, which is expected
CNIL wanted Google to remove links from Google.com instead of just removing links from European versions of the site, like Google.de and Google.fr. However Maciej Szpunar warned that going further would be risky because the right to be forgotten
always has to be balanced against other rights, including legitimate public interest in accessing the information sought.
Szpunar said if worldwide de-referencing was allowed, European Union authorities would not be able to determine a right to receive information or balance it against other fundamental rights to data protection and to privacy.
And of course if France were allowed to censor information from the entire worldwide internet then why not China, Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia?
The India ISP Jio has upped the ante in internet porn censorship as it has decided to block the websites of VPN providers.
Following a court decision in India requiring that the country ban access to online porn, reports began to emerge in October that internet access providers had begun blocking as many as 827 adult sites.
But now the Indian telecom firm may be going a step further, thwarting attempts by users in its 250-million strong subscriber base to find workarounds to the ban using Virtual Private Network (VPN) software.
Jio appears to have blocked access to proxy sites where the VPN software can be downloaded, according to the report.
Africa's landscape of online free speech and dissent has gradually, but consistently, been tightened in recent years. In 2018 in particular, the cost of speaking out -- both legally and economically -- was on the rise across the continent.
This past year, the imposition of taxes and licensing fees on social media use and blogging in countries like Tanzania and Uganda made it more costly for Africans -- especially those living in poverty -- to communicate, seek information and
conduct business online.
Internet shutdowns remained a threat in times of public unrest or political transition, like elections. Chad , the Democratic Republic of Congo , Ethiopia and Mali all experienced government-ordered internet shutdowns in 2018 that ran for several
hours or a few days. And the now infamous shutdown in Cameroon claimed the world record for the longest known internet shutdown, after running discontinuously for a cumulative total of 230 days from January 2017 until March 2018.
And the arrest of journalists persists. In recent years, media workers have been jailed on charges ranging from publishing false information to exposing state secrets to terrorism .
Taken together, these three types of state control over internet access and use have made sub-Saharan Africa a place where the cost of using the internet -- and the political risks of using it to speak out -- have become too high for many
citizens to undertake. Promises of intellectual and economic empowerment heavily touted by international and intergovernmental organizations are becoming a pipe dream for too many people on the continent.
In 2018, the governments of Uganda , Zambia and Benin imposed new taxes on social media users, leaving them struggling to pay new fees on top of already-costly internet service. Alongside an apparent desire of government leaders like Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni to quell online gossip , these tax policies stem from a long-standing frustration with Internet-based communication applications, such as WhatsApp. Typically foreign-owned and free of charge for anyone with internet
access, government actors long argued that these apps cause revenue losses for national telecom operators who were once the primary providers (and cost beneficiaries) of these services.
At this stage in sub-Saharan Africa's telecommunications development, tools like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have become the dominant applications for person-to-person communication for families and businesses and distributing public alerts
during emergencies. Making them more expensive may drastically reduce citizens' ability to communicate with one another, affecting many facets of social interaction and productivity. For some citizens, the tax will cut off access entirely.
When I interviewed women living in Bwaise, a slum in Kampala, I learned that for them, WhatsApp and Facebook are the internet. These are the only platforms they know how to use. So with the new tax, they will be cut off altogether.
Meanwhile, in Tanzania and Mozambique , new taxes have been introduced for bloggers and small publishers that could drive many of them out of business. Tanzania's so-called blogger tax requires bloggers and independent website owners to register
and pay roughly $900 USD per year to publish online. Mozambique's new scheme will assign licensing fees of up to $3300 USD for Mozambican journalists working independently.
Tanzania's new policy led to the temporary closure of Jamii Forums , which has been dubbed both the Tanzanian Reddit and Swahili Wikileaks -- creating big waves on the Tanzanian social media scene.
All told, these licensing and taxation schemes create economic and civic barriers that will have significant consequences for journalism, communication, commerce and free speech in the region.