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20th January

 Update: Love at 16...


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France's Culture Minister seeks to change film censorship rules so that the 18 rating is reserved for out and out pornography
Link Here  full story: Film Censorship in France...French age ratings are generally lower than most
Love DVD Young people in France will soon be allowed to watch real sex scenes at the cinema, as the government relaxes its film classification laws.

Culture minister Audrey Azoulay is set to announce that under-18s will no longer be automatically blocked from seeing a film that contains non-simulated sex. The 18 certificate will now only be automatically applied to films that include sex or violence that could seriously hurt the sensitivity of minors , the ministry of culture said.

It's believed Ms Azoulay will bring in the change, which overturns a decree from 2003, by early February before she leaves office.

France's cinema classification board was last summer forced to slap an over 18 rating on the 2015 film Love after a lawsuit from a far-right group, which complained about its 3D-animated non-simulated sex scenes in Gaspar Noe's Love .

Presumably films such as Love and Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac will now be 16 rated. The French 18 rating has, before this hiccup been reserved for hardcore pornography.


9th January

 Update: Defence Centre against Misinformation...

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German government plans revealed to set up a propaganda and internet censorship office
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering
government germany press office logoFor weeks, the German and international public sphere has been bombarded with a campaign against so-called fake news. Now Der Spiegel is reporting that the government now wants to establish a Defence Centre against Misinformation , a type of censorship and propaganda agency.

The Defence Centre will be set up in the Federal Press Office under Steffen Seibert. The new centre is supposed to strengthen the political power of defence of the population and force social networks such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to censor content posted by users.

The acceptance of a post-factual age would amount to political capitulation, an internal paper quoted by Der Spiegel said. The paper insisted that authentic political communication remains crucial for the 21 century as well. Accordingly, wide-reaching measures would have to be formulated to deal with the disinformation campaign, fake news and the manipulation of public opinion.

The World Socialist Web Site notes:

In reality the plans for an Orwellian Truth Ministry have nothing to do with concerns about false news reports. Instead, the established parties, the state media and private media corporations fear that they are losing their monopoly on public opinion. The Internet has provided millions of people with the possibility, for the first time, of obtaining access to information that has not been selected and filtered by the official media. This has been behind the fear in the media and political parties.

The ruling class is reacting to growing social tensions and political discontent in the same way it has in the past: with police, prosecution and the suppression of free speech.

Maybe German politicians are just panicking about the unpopularity of their free-for-all immigration and refugee policy.


6th January

  Political agitation...

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Finnish MP fined for voicing popular sentiments about terrorists
Link Here
Finland flagA Finnish MP has been fined for a Facebook post calling for a muslim-free Finland. Teuvo Hakkarainen from the nationalist Finns party was fined 1,160 euro for 'agitation against an ethnic group'.

Hakkarainen, whose party is part of the country's coalition government, made the call in a comment on the terrorist truck attack in France last July that killed 86 people. He said in the post:

All Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims.

The Finns party said it would next month discuss possible political sanctions for him.


4th January

 Update: No struggle with the sales figures...

Mein Kampf, German edition sells well after years of being banned
Link Here  full story: Mein Kampf...Censorship issues with Hitler's book
Mein Kampf: Zwei Bande in einem Band Ungekurzte Ausgabe The German publisher of a special annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf says sales have soared since its launch a year ago.

About 85,000 German-language copies have been sold. Publisher Andreas Wirsching said the figures overwhelmed us .  At the end of January the publisher will launch a sixth print run.

Unlike the Nazi-era editions, this edition of  Mein Kampf (My Struggle) has a plain white cover - without a picture of Hitler, and includes copious notes by scholars.

The BBC adds the 'balance' that 85,00 copies does not make the book a runaway hit . The BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin writes:

The fact that the Nazi manifesto reached number one in Der Spiegel's non-fiction charts in April is cited as evidence that Adolf Hitler's propaganda is making a comeback in Germany.

For a German non-fiction book sales of 85,000 are not bad. But the figures don't indicate a runaway hit. The current biggest non-fiction seller is The Hidden Life of Trees, a book about the ecosystem of woodland, which has sold half a million copies so far.


1st January

  Unconvincing fake justification...

The Czech Republic launches a news censor targetting fake news and Russian propaganda that may effect upcoming elections
Link Here
Czech Republic flagA Czech unit set up to censor 'fake news' ahead of the country's two elections starts operations on Sunday.

The Center Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats, a department of the Interior Ministry, plans to rebut disinformation supposedly produced to manipulate elections by what the counter-intelligence community believes are Russian-backed websites.

President Milos Zeman likened the ministry's efforts to censorship in his annual Christmas speech.

However the Interior Ministry says that the news censor has neither a button to turn off the internet nor the right to remove content.


30th December

  Russia recommends...

Charlie Hebdo's Russian plane crash edition
Link Here
hebdo on russian plane crashRussia has accused Charlie Hebdo of mocking the Black Sea plane crash after publishing inhuman cartoons about the disaster.

In one reference to the crash, the French magazine depicted a jet hurtling downwards along with words translated as: Bad news... Putin wasn't on board .

The magazine also published a cartoon showing a choir member from the ensemble making a wailing sound aaaaaa . One caption reads: The repertoire of the army choir is expanding.   A third cartoon shows bodies sinking in the sea with the caption: The Red Army conquers a new public .

The Russian Defence Ministry's spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov complained:

It is degrading for any human being to even pay attention to such a poorly-created abomination. If such, dare I say, "artistry" is the real manifestation of "Western values", then those who hold and support them are doomed - at least to loneliness in the future.


30th December

  Something to hide?...

Irish national archives reveal a long struggle to open historical files from the film censor's office
Link Here  full story: Hardcore in Ireland...Censor ban on hardcore porn in Irish Courts
Irish Film Censorship: A Cultural Journey from Silent Cinema to Internet PornographyNational Archives show minister for justice Alan Dukes clashed with attorney general John Rodgers over access to the film censor's historical files.

In 1986 Kevin Rockett, then academic and chairman of the Irish Film Institute , wrote to attorney general John Rogers to say he had been refused access to the film censor's files, even for films of the 1920s, by then minister for justice Alan Dukes .

Rogers wrote to Dukes saying that he did not see the legal basis on which access to the files, especially for films made 30 years or more previously, could be resisted or refused.

A month later, Dukes responded that over the years, censors and ministers for justice had always considered themselves precluded , on the basis of breach of confidence, from disclosure of information on films.

Further letters ensued and eventually the files were opened following a long struggle. Rockett told The Irish Times that a fter a long and frustrating campaign he eventually convinced the Official Film Censor in 1998 to transfer the more than 100 volumes of film censorship material to the National Archives.

Rockett wrote Irish Film Censorship: A Cultural Journey from Silent Cinema to Internet Pornography in 2004, with the help of those files.