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 2000: Jan-March

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27th March  The Proscribed Date

The Government have apparently sent all the required letters to the various parties involved in the proscription of AdultX with view to enacting a proscription order on April 26th.

20th March   Censorship by Libel

The TV News company, ITN, this week won a libel case againt the small circulation magazine, Living Marxism (LM). The magazine that doesn't really get many more readers than the Melon Farmers was stung for damages of getting on for £400,000.

LM had written that ITN's effective and well circulated picture of starving prisoners behind barbed wire in Serbian prison was in fact posed. ITN contended that this was a slur on their reputation and demanded punitive damages.

It is very serious form of censorship in the UK when one is not able to speak one's mind about story's in the press and on TV. It is practically impossible to expect totally perfect reporting, even when political bias etc is removed there will always be a temptation to emphasise the most 'interesting' bits of a story. Surely we should be able to challenge the media without fear of bullying and intimidation from some very rich organisations.

13th March   Human Rights Abuse at the ITC

The ITC has decided that they are above the law and can get Adult X, a satellite porn channel, banned on grounds of taste and decency. Human Rights legislation says that material can only be banned on grounds of harm and that claim of harm  must be justified. Of course we will now have to see if the Government colludes with this corruption of our rights and implements the ban.

Their press release reads as follows:

The ITC has decided that the foreign satellite channel, Adult X, is an unacceptable service under the terms of the Broadcasting Act 1990. The Commission has recommended that the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport make a proscription order to ban the marketing and sale of the service in the UK.

Commission members concluded that Adult X (also known as Adult+), which appears to be based in France, is unacceptable on the grounds that it repeatedly contains material which offends against good taste and decency. The output of the channel consists almost entirely of unacceptable pornography.

To recommend a proscription order, the ITC has to be persuaded that such an order would be effective, i.e. that trade for the service exists within the UK and that an order would prevent such trade. The ITC is aware of active steps to make the service available to viewers in the United Kingdom, with smart cards and subscriptions being advertised for sale and revenue being generated.

Section 177 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 allows for the Secretary of State to make a proscription order for a foreign satellite service, the effect of which is to make it a criminal offence to supply any equipment for use in connection with the operation of the service; to supply programme material or arrange for its supply; to place advertisements in the service; to publish any programme details of the service; and to supply or offer to supply any decoding equipment enabling the programmes to be received.

The ITC sent a letter notifying the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport of its recommendation that the Adult X Channel should be the subject of a proscription order on 6 March 2000


28th February   Expressing Outrage

The Express recently published a predictably ludicrous response to a BSkyB offer. They propose to bundle Playboy TV and the Adult Channel free with Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 for a commercial service to hotels.

BSkyB hope that many hotels will take the offer, their spokesman commented No one is obliged to take the service and the hotelier will be in control of the technology. They can decide themselves when to allow access to the material and even choose which rooms in which it will be available.

The Express gathered up the usual outrage from the usual sources:

BSkyB's plan to offer free pornographic films to hotels and B&Bs has been condemned by the hotel industry, political representatives and church leaders. The offer to broadcast Playboy TV and the Adult Channel has been dubbed "worrying and unpleasant".

Valerie Riches, director of Family and Youth Concern, commented B&Bs and small hotels are mainly used by families, particularly those with young children. To have them exposed to this kind of gross material is distressing and disturbing.

A Bournemouth hotel owner commented This offer is a disgrace. This isn't the view of England we want visitors to see from their rooms.

(You would think that these people would be happy that hotels are limited to softcore drivel. I for one certainly don't rely on overpriced and undersexed rubbish on hotel TV, I have a nice laptop with a DVD drive!)


16th February   Home Office Response to the BBFC Judicial Review

The Home Office continually deny that they pull the levers at the BBFC. However  some of the current enforcement practises have been circulated, discussed and presumably agreed at meetings between the Home Office, police, customs, BBFC  and IWF. For instance, where convictions for adult consensual porn are difficult under obscenity law , the suppliers would be prosecuted due to the lack of BBFC certificate.

It is therefore interesting to note how much is riding on the outcome of the Judicial Review. A Home Office spokesman said that customs were all ready to change their prohibition if the BBFC were not granted the judicial review. He continued to say that nothing further would now occur until the review has been completed.

The current ludicrous prohibition of adult consensual porn is under real duress particularly from human rights legislation and is probably illegal for the following reasons:

  • Only material that causes measurable harm can be banned yet the authorities seem unwilling and unable to prove any harm from explicit adult material
  • People cannot exactly be sure what they can and cannot import. Surely you can't have a law so obscure that the people being prosecuted don't know wether they are breaking the law or not.

A similar waiting situation is happening on the subject of satellite porn. The Home Office are  waiting for the human rights test, from Rendez-Vous/Eurotica before they proscribe any more adult channels.

9th February   Nutters on the March

Muslim and Christian groups are uniting to march in protest about the harm they say is caused to children by explicit sex and violence on television. The "For the Sake of Our Children" march will take place next Saturday when more than 200 protesters will deliver a letter of protest to Home Secretary Jack Straw and Culture Secretary Chris Smith.

The National Viewers' and Listeners' Association organised the march along with Families Involved in Raising Media Awareness to bring the Government's attention to what they describe as the "moral and cultural meltdown" caused by teenage magazines and TV programmes. We have warned that explicit violence, sex and bad language in the media are not only offending many people but more importantly contributing to the breadkown of our family life, including the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe.

The article goes on to quote organizers as accusing TV companies of using sex and bad language to juice up the ratings. (Yes, wouldn't it be terrible if TV companies were trying to give the public things they want to watch?) C4 is singled out as a particular offender for Queer as Folk, which as you know encourages all sorts of heterosexual reproductive activity. Their letter describes gay sex in the series as an 'explicit perversion' which it links with sado-masochism and bestiality.


26th January   Crown Persecution Service

I recently reported on an obscenity trial that was abandoned after the jury failed to reach the required majority. Our repressive state has decided to have another crack at the case and have ordered a retrial. (It is ludicrous that the state still believes that consenual adult porn can somehow 'deprave and corrupt'. The only corruption I can see is that the authorities continue to persecute these people over a non-crime).

9th January   A Nasty German Perspective

Just in case you think that the UK is the only scrotty country in Europe, spare a thought for the Germans who also suffer from authoritarian and heavy handed policing.

German video traders, Videodrom, suffered an  appalling raid last November. Around 50 police raided their 4 shops and seized just about everything they had, including computers and everything else they needed. The shop was roped off as you would a crime scene. It's very serious - take a look at their (German language) website at:

Graf Haufen who ran the shop, faces huge penalties. Basically, many of the films that he was selling were on the German 'index' list (where many thousands of films banned in Germany currently reside!) - honestly, if you though we had it bad here, it's much worse over there. They may have legal porn films but most films aimed at adults (action etc) are mainly cut or banned outright.

9th January   Censorship Backdoor Comes Ajar

Thanks to Simon for pointing out some excellent news on the decline of censorship in the printed world.

As I have reported earlier, licensed sex shops  have been selling hardcore magazines for sometime now. Mostly they are British editions of European magazines such as Rodox and Private. There are even a few titles now produced in the UK. For some unexplicable reasons of compromise, these have been shorn of all depictions of anal sex and ejaculation. This has meant that some magazines particularly from the Private stable are still shadows of the their continental versions.

Anyway things are progressing nicely. The recent British Hardcore 5 contains one clear shot of anal penetration (not a close-up) and several shots of ejaculation on the face, some of which are quite close-up. There are also several shots of semen on the face after the cum shots.

I have also noticed that at least one licensed sex shop in London is openly selling the original European editions of the magazines albeit at inflated prices.

If this kind of material is selling in licensed sex shops without prosecution then surely customs can no longer justify the confiscation of imported magazines (such as Private) containing the same material. It would be interesting to hear if any readers have recently had similar material seized.

7th January   Justified Contempt of Court
Old news I missed but I have added it for completeness as it details the nasty  attitude to power frequently demonstrated by New Censorial Labour.

A website run by James Hulbert details the injustice that Hulbert claims to have suffered at the hands of five judges who ruled over a series of his cases. Hulbert's accusations range from conspiracy, to falsifying evidence, to corruption.

In November, the Lord Chancellor's department asked Kingston Internet, Hulbert's ISP, to pull the site. The Lord Chancellor's department said the site was "offensive" and should be pulled in accordance with Kingston Internet's own terms and conditions.

"What this amounts to is censorship," said Yaman Akdeniz, director of Internet watchdog Cyber Rights UK. Shutting down a Web site is not the way the government should be dealing with criticism. Saying a Web site is offensive means nothing to me. I am not offended or shocked by what I read on these pages. The term is so subjective. Akdeniz continued to say that  Cyber Rights is most disturbed by the government's ability to pressure ISPs into shutting down Web sites.

Akdeniz argued that ISPs were not in the position to judge which pages were defamatory. Why should ISPs challenge a case like Mr. Hulbert's when a customer is only paying you £10 a month for your services? It's a financial choice. ISPs are not worried about protecting individual rights or privacy. It's the users who are really affected. The government should simply have gone to Mr. Hulbert, the individual involved.

And why didn't the government go to Hulbert? Peter Farr, a spokesperson for the Lord Chancellor's Department, would not say why Hulbert was not approached directly. We believe [going to Kingston Internet] was the most appropriate action as Kingston is an objective third party and [they] are assessing the site according to their own criteria, Farr said.

He also denied that approaching Kingston was the speediest way of getting the site pulled and that any government pressure was exerted. I would hope Kingston does not feel they were pressured. It was a request and not an instruction. (yeah!!)


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