East Europe Censorship News

 2006

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22nd December  Good God...
 

   
Agcom logoItalian Big Brother done for Blasphemy

Based on an article from Variety

Italian broadcasters RAI and Mediaset have been fined by the country's media regulator for airing blasphemous expletives during Celebrity Survivor and Big Brother.

Italy's regulator, Agcom,  has slapped sanctions of E100,000 apiece for violating norms on respect of religious sentiment and protection of minors.

Contestants on both shows were sacked on the spot after uttering strong swear words, directed at God, live in primetime. The incidents, which took place in October and November, were the first two of the type in this Catholic nation.

They caused quite a stir, drawing fire from nutters at Moige and Codacons, as well as the Vatican.

The fines, thought not that heavy monetarily, are considered a regulatory milestone.

 

7th December   Update: Blame War

  Counter Strike gameBavaria and Lower Saxony propose draconian games ban

From Gamasutra

In the blame aftermath of a recent school shooting in Germany, the regional governments of Bavaria and Lower Saxony have proposed new legislation that could punish those who make, distribute, or even play video games featuring cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters with a fine and up to a year in prison. The newly drafted bill is scheduled to go before the upper house of parliament next year.

The 18-year old shooter was reportedly an avid player of the popular first-person shooter Counter Strike, attacked the Scholl secondary school on November 20 in the western German town of Emsdetten, and wounded as many as 37 people before killing himself.

Frank Sliwka, the head of the Deutsche E-Sport Bund, a German online gaming organization, commented: We have among the most drastic censorship rules for games. Now we are being labeled as a breeding ground for unstable, dysfunctional and violent youngsters.

An MSNBC report also highlights the fact that Sony could also find itself on the receiving end of this new legislation, should it pass, with its PlayStation 3 console set to debut in the region in March 2007. Activision's Call of Duty 3 and Sony's Insomniac developed Resistance: Fall of Man continue to be the biggest selling titles for the platform, and both would be subject to the law's stringent violent game penalty.

Germany has one of the strictest controls on video games content, with a long history of banning or forcing alterations in games. Previously titles banned in their original form in Germany include Doom 1 and 2, as well as Manhunt and Command & Conquer. More recently, the Xbox 360 releases Dead Rising and Gears of War were both denied an age rating in Germany as well, thus making it possible for the games to be deemed illegal to sell by the German government.

 

5th December   Viva Zapatero!

  Viva Zapatero! DVD coverUK release of film about Italian censorship

Thanks to Alan

Sabina Guzzanti's documentary Viva Zapatero! is now on sale in the UK, partly in English and with the Italian stuff subtitled. It's a remarkable indictment of the way in which Berlusconi tried to shut her up, largely with the compliance of RAI bigwigs and the Italian press. There's a guest appearance of Rory Bremner (as himself and as Tony Blair). Sabina Guzzanti herself is marvellous, especially when she appears as Berlusconi, a masterpiece of make-up since she's actually a rather attractive woman in her early forties.

From Wikepedia

The TV broadcasting of the satirical program RAIot was censored in November 2003 after the comedienne, Sabina Guzzanti, made outspoken criticism of the Berlusconi media empire. Mediaset, one of Berlusconi's companies, sued the Italian state broadcasting company RAI because of the Guzzanti show asking for 20 million Euro for "damages" and from November 2003 she was forced to appear only in theatres around Italy.

After the show was cancelled, Guzzanti tried fruitlessly to get it reinstated, in spite of the fact that a judge dismissed the case that initially resulted in the termination of the show. Her struggle however, did result in the film, Viva Zapatero! . The documentary openly reveals censorship laws that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is presently imposing on the country's freedom of speech. Viva Zapatero!  is seen by some as Italy's Fahrenheit 9/11.

In August, 2005, it was the sleeper hit of the Venice International Film Festival, receiving a 15-minute standing ovation after its premiere screening. When it opened in Italian theaters, over 200,000 people went to see it in the first week, probably a record. Its success resulted in an invitation to the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

 

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