Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2010: Oct-Dec



31st December   

Update: Cheap Shots at Skype...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

China bans Skype in favour of a local telecoms monopoly
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Skype logo China has announced that it had made illegal the use of Skype, the popular internet telephony service.

It was announced that all internet phone calls were to be banned apart from those made over two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom.

China is now the world's largest market for internet phone calls, which are far cheaper than landline calls and are cutting into the market of China's state telecommunications giants.

Skype has offered Chinese users a joint service with Hong Kong-based Tom since September 2007. The service has been widely criticised for monitoring messages on the network, especially those which mention sensitive subjects such as Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement, and Tibet.

According to the new regulations, phone calls from computers to land lines on Skype will be banned, but it may still be legal to make calls from computers to other computers.

It is very unlikely that they will manage to shut Skype down, said Professor Kan Kaili at Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications. Skype is the market leader, but there is also MSN and Gmail Talk. The children of Chinese government officials, who are studying abroad, use these services to call home, so I do not think anyone is going to cut the lines. Even if they take a strict approach, such as getting local operators to block the broadband services of people who use Skype, people will still find a way around it .

 

30th December   

Update: Battle Lines Drawn...

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Producers to boycott Tokyo anime fair over newly enacted sales restrictions
Link Here  full story: Manga in Tokyo...Tokyo considers age restrictions on comic books

taf 2011 logo Eight animation companies are planning to boycott the Tokyo International Anime Fair in March to protest at Tokyo's tightening of sexual expression in manga and anime will stage a competing event to run at the same time.

The companies, including Kadokawa Shoten, publishers of the Haruhi Suzumiya teen novel series, will hold the Anime Content Expo on March 26 and 27 at the Makuhari Messe convention center in Chiba, they said.

The eight companies in the event's organizing committee include the producers of such popular animation series as Naruto , Neon Genesis Evangelion and Pocket Monsters .

The organizing committee will ask other companies boycotting the Tokyo fair to take part in their event.

The Tokyo fair, whose organizing committee is chaired by the censorial Governor Shintaro Ishihara, will be held March 24 to 27. Ishihara has said the boycott doesn't matter and the event will go ahead with whoever shows up. But others report that the boycott could put the event in jeopardy.

Update: Boycott Progress

6th February 2011. See  article from  digitalspy.co.uk

A third of the scheduled exhibitors have withdrawn from the Tokyo International Anime Fair.

The Independent reports that 91 of the companies who were to participate in the event have pulled out in protest over a new law imposing stricter censorship on manga.

 

27th December   

The Language of Censorship...

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Chinese censors ban the use of English from books, newspapers and websites...Apart from their own
Link Here

china press censor logo According to a report from the Voice of America, Chinese censors of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) have significantly expanded restrictions against the use of English:

Chinese authorities have banned the use of foreign words and phrases — especially English — in Chinese newspapers, books and websites.

The ban was issued by GAPP, the censor for written publications. It says the increasing use of English and half-English phrases is damaging the purity of the Chinese language and disrupting the nation's harmonious and healthy cultural environment.

Those who violate the decree will be punished as provided for by the law.

The GAPP has the legal authority to screen, censor, and ban any print, electronic, or Internet publication in China. Because all publishers (including Internet publishers) in China are required to be licensed by the GAPP, that censor also has the power to deny people the right to publish, and completely shut down any publisher who fails to follow its dictates.

 

26th December   

Updated: Banned Film Laid to Rest...

Director holds mock funeral for movie banned by the Thai film censor
Link Here

insects in the backyard A Thai director has staged a mock funeral of a recently banned film, complete with a mournful speech about the deceased and guests placing sandalwood flowers at a miniature crematorium.

Director Tanwarin Sukkapisit conducted a mock funeral at the Thai Film Archive for the recently banned film Insects in the Backyard.

Tanwarin, wearing a black dress, dark shades and make-up, gave a short speech before leading about 30 guests, most of them also wearing black. There was a funeral wreath and framed photograph of the director from a scene in the film.

At 2.30pm, Songyos Sukmakanant, president of the Thai Film Directors Association, lit a small funeral pyre containing a DVD of Tanwarin's film. Guests then took turns to place sandalwood flowers in the pyre.

It was just a movie, said Tanwarin: It shouldn't have had to come to this. At first I thought it would be a fun event . But it turned out to be really sad because I've been working on the film for two years. It was like raising a baby and now the baby is gone.

Insects in the Backyard was banned by the Thai censors two weeks ago for supposedly being against public morals.

The film tells the story of a cross-dressing father, played by katoey Tanwarin, and his dysfunctional family. It has a masturbation scene and scenes of students engaged in prostitution.

The Thai Film Foundation and Thai Film Archive had planned to screen the film on 10th December to mark Constitution Day. They hoped that would be possible if the film was shown for educational purposes with no commercial gain. They also planned to hold an academic seminar featuring legal experts.

But the Office of Cultural 'Promotion', which oversees the censorship of all films, sent an urgent letter to organisers reminding them that they would break the law if they screened the film. Even the film's trailer wasn't allowed to be shown.

The punishment for screening a film without permission is a maximum one-year jail term and a fine of 200,000 baht to one million baht. Organisers decided to cancel the screening but hold the seminar.

In my view, the law must stipulate clearly what's allowed and what's not, said Sawitree Srisuk, a law lecturer from Thammasat University who spoke at the seminar. To use a broad term such as 'public morals' is not sufficient.

Jetsada Anujaree, a representative from the Lawyers Council of Thailand, said the selection of the censorship committee members should be changed to allow more participation from industry people and less control by state officers [mainly police].

Tanwarin has appealed to the National Film and Video Board about the ban.

Update: Appealing

20th December 2010. See  article from  nationmultimedia.com

There was no final decision last night after the Culture Ministry's National Film Board viewed the censored gay-themed movie Insects in the Backyard.

I'm glad, we still have another chance, director Tanwarin Sukkhapisit told The Nation.

Chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwankiri, the National Film Board screened the film and Cultural Minister Pinit Intarasombut said the board had not made a final decision regarding the controversial film and it would meet again by December 23.

The board's members include director Prachya Pinkaew and film critic Kittisak Suwanpokin. Tanwarin said there was support for the film to be released under the 20- rating, which restricts it from viewers under age 20 and requires ID checks at the cinema.

Update: Appeal rejected on morality grounds

26th December 2010.See  article from  filmbiz.asia

Thai censors have confirmed the ban on the release of the gay-themed film Insects In The Backyard.

The National Film Board ruled that the film was deeply Immoral and could not be allowed even a limited release in specialist theatres. In November the censor board ruled that the film's content goes against public order or morality.

Directed by Tanwarin Sukkhapisit, it is the story of a transvestite father's  upbringing of two teenagers. The film includes scenes of masturbation and fetish sex between the teenagers and their paying clients.

Tanwarin said that the scenes the censors objected to were crucial to the film and cannot be cut. She told news agencies: the problem with my film wasn't that it was a gay-themed movie _ because there are many gay comedies allowed in Thailand. My movie was banned because it was a serious movie. It showed there can be real problems when society cannot accept sexual differences.

 

24th December   

Offsite: Thailand's Oceania moment...

Internet censorship under state of emergency
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

Thailand flag The government has promised to lift the state of emergency before year's end, but it's not known if that will reverse its Orwellian attack on freedom of expression online

In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Ministry of Truth , or minitrue , freely rewrites history to satisfy the Party doctrine and propaganda. It exercises strict control over the media, all forms of entertainment, education, literature and anything else that might present an alternative viewpoint.

In 2010 in Thailand, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, in conjunction with the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), has been enforcing the 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA) to block thousands of websites.

The CRES, which came into being after the 2005 state of emergency decree was put into effect throughout most of the country in early April in response to the red shirt demonstrations in Bangkok, also exercises its power to control media such as community radio, newspapers and television.

According to a study from the iLaw Project titled, Situation Report on Control and Censorship of Online Media, through the Use of Laws and the Imposition of Thai State Policies , the ICT ministry has filed charges against 185 individuals in relation to the CCA and there have been 117 court orders to block access to 74,686 URLs. On average, 690 URLs are blocked daily.

...Read the full article

 

23rd December   

Rumours of War...

South Korea considers internet censorship in light of times of crisis
Link Here

South Korea flag South Korea's government is moving to extend its online censorship by allowing messages deemed to contain false information to be deleted without a review process during a national emergency, such as the sinking of the frigate Cheonan and North Korea's artillery bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island.

An official at the Korea Communications Commission has said that it is drawing up a manual, which includes measures to require web portals to beef up the monitoring of comments posted on blogs, Internet cafes and other sites in case of a national emergency: We will also make it possible for messages containing bogus information to be removed immediately without a review process. These steps will only be taken in a state of emergency .

Following the sinking of the naval ship Cheonan on March 26 and the North's shelling on Nov. 23, tens of thousands of messages were uploaded on Internet cafes, blogs and other sites operated by web portals, some of which was said to have included false data and unfounded rumors.

Under the current mechanism, on request, the commission sets up a review committee that deliberates whether online messages contain false information or not. For instance, a man in his 20s spread false rumors by sending cell phone text messages that the government would mobilize reserve forces in the wake of North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island. It caused grave social unrest. To cope with something like this in a timely manner, we will make it possible for misleading messages to be erased immediately, the official stressed.

However, civic groups are protesting the move, saying the government is trying to restrict the freedom of expression among those disapproving of the Lee administration's policies. There is no clear and objective standard for which comments contain incorrect information and which ones don't. It means the government will be able to do whatever it wants to at its discretion, strengthening state censorship in cyberspace, a Seoul-based civic group member said.

 

23rd December   

Clumsy Censorship...

Communion wafer gags are cut from Philippines comedy
Link Here

father jejemon After a second review, the Philippines MTRCB (Movies and Television Review and Classification Board) gave Father Jejemon a G rating (for General Patronage).

That was after the two controversial scenes, shown in the trailer, were cut, one showing the Holy Eucharist accidentally dropping into the cleavage of a woman communicant and the other with the Holy Eucharist caught in the dentures of another woman communicant.

Some sectors, including priests, denounced the scenes as sacrilegious and called on the public to boycott the movie.

I meant no harm nor malice with those scenes, said Dolphy actor Dolphy.

 

22nd December   

Police Censor...

Customs and police legal adviser becomes New Zealand's Chief Censor
Link Here

OFLC logo Andrew Jack is New Zealand's new Chief Censor. His appointment follows the resignation in July of Bill Hastings.

Previously Dr Jack was Customs' legal and advisory services group manager. He is also New Zealand Police's chief legal adviser.

Dr Jack has a strong legal background and experience in dealing with law enforcement, Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy said in announcing the appointment: The role of Chief Censor is a difficult and demanding role with responsibility for classifying publications that may need to be restricted or banned. It involves balancing the freedom of expression with potential harm caused to the community.

He will start a three-year term on 7th March 2011.

 

22nd December   

Update: Aggressive Tweets...

Father of the Great Firewall of China comes in for a bit of stick
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

weibo logo The twitter-like microblogging site, Weibo, has deleted the account of a Chinese bigwig in the sphere of censorship

Fang Binxing, is president of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. He has been tagged by establishment as the father of the Great Firewall of China for his role in building the mainland's sophisticated system of blocking free internet access to its 420 million users.

However it clear that Chinese netizens are less flattering.

When Binxing starting posting on Weibo he had posted just three times when internet users reacted strongly to his efforts, with comments pouring in minutes after he posted to the site - most of them ridiculing or criticising him for being the person behind the mainland's internet firewall.

Some internet users said it was a targeted campaign by activists, while others believed it was a spontaneous outpouring of anger.

Editors of the microblog were quick to remove the comments, but many harshly worded postings still made their way through. Internet analysts said thousands of negative comments had been posted on Fang's site before they were censored at about 1pm.

But internet users continued their assault on other platforms. A posting on other mainland bulletins calling for internet users to besiege Fang's microblog had more than 4,000 followers .

 

20th December   

Children Own the Night...

15 rated film shown too soon after New Zealand's TV watershed
Link Here

Own Night DVD Joaquin Phoenix A supposedly graphic, raunchy and prolonged sex scene on New Zealand's TV3 was shown too soon after the 8.30pm watershed and breached the standards protecting children's interests, the Broadcasting Authority claims.

The sex scene opened the [UK 15 rated] movie, We Own the Night , an adults only (AO) film which was shown at 8.30pm. The scene lasted four minutes and showed a woman lying on a couch masturbating as a man kissed her and exposed her breast.

A viewer complained to the BSA saying that 8.30pm was still family viewing time and the material was not in good taste .

The Broadcasting Act states that AO material is not to be shown too soon after the watershed time of 8.30pm.

In its defence, broadcaster TV3, said while the scene was at the edge of what was considered acceptable, it did not stray beyond the current norms of good taste and decency.

The BSA found the broadcaster did not consider the interests of children when showing the scene just two minutes after the watershed. While there was no genitalia visible, the sexual content in the scene was graphic, raunchy and prolonged, according to the decision.

But the broadcast was not found to breach standards of good taste and decency since the film was correctly classified, aimed at adult audiences and preceded by a warning.

 

20th December   

Offsite: Playing Chief Censor...

New Zealand's acting chief censor talks about games
Link Here

OFLC logo NZGamer.com recently got the chance to sit down with Deputy Chief Censor Nic McCully for an in-depth discussion on the classification of videogames in New Zealand.

Nic is far from an ultra-conservative old man who has never touched a console in his life. She owns a Nintendo, has attended E3 and reads NZGamer.com.

Taking over from her predecessor, Bill Hastings (who just got a new job as a District Court judge), Nic is now the Acting Chief Censor and is in charge of the classification of all books, games, videos, movies and published material that is shown and sold in New Zealand.

NZGamer: Could you briefly run us through the process of how you would rate a game, as opposed to a movie?

Nic: There is a bit of a difference. Ratings are generally done by the labelling body – what we do is we classify. So, games that are unrestricted overseas (games that are G's PG's or M's) don't go to the labelling body. You don't need a label in New Zealand for those games, its only the restricted games that have been restricted overseas. But the labelling body rates product, and they rate the product by saying so, this game got an M in Australia, lets give it an M here . What we do is we classify – so a game will be sent to us as being MA15+ or whatever, but we will get it – then I schedule it to a classification officer and I also have an expert games player who comes in and sits beside my classification officer and he will play the game for however long we need to, to see what we need to see. So once examination takes place, the Classification Officer would apply the criteria of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. But the criteria to be applied are the same ones we use for films or books – there is no difference, it's the same set of criteria.

NZGamer: New Zealand has only banned a very small number of games, I think it's four? Manhunt, Reservoir Dogs, Manhunt 2 and Postal. How high is the ban standard here? Especially as there seems to be quite a high standard in other countries.

Nic: Well everything is a bit different, take Australia – it bans things because they don't have an R18 rating. In New Zealand we are banning games because we say they are injurious to the public good. In Australia they are banning games because its above the MA15 guidelines and once they are above that there is nowhere to go.

NZGamer: Injurious to the Public Good - what does that mean?

Nic: It means that we have deemed the level of violence or cruelty in those games to be at such a high extent or strong degree and in such a manner that it would be injurious. The Act itself works in a number of tiers. The first one when a publication tends to promote or support various things it's automatically out – we have very little say over that. So, things in section 3(2) – the exploitation of children, the use of violence to compel a person into sexual conduct, the use of excrement or urine – which is what Postal 2 had problems with – acts of torture or the infliction of extreme violence or extreme cruelty – Manhunt fell into this category. Once we decided it promoted and supported that, the Act says that's it, it's banned. Kate: It's the promotion and support of these activities that is problematic. So if you can say, well OK, it's got these activities but its saying they are bad, then it's OK. Nic: You could argue that a lot of games have extreme violence in them, but they don't necessarily support it. Manhunt was different because not only were the clips videoed, like little snuff films, but there was an escalation – it was getting you to perpetrate those acts.

...Read the full interview

 

19th December   

Update: Malaysia Says No to Internet Blocking...

But they will study China's filtering operation, just in case
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia flag Malaysia does not intend implement an internet filter similar to China's Green Dam project, the Deputy Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum told the Dewan Rakyat.

Salang said the government will leave it to the discretion of internet users to practice good usage, rather than use censorship to cull abuse of the internet.

He also clarified that a survey by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to study on China's internet filter operation was simply, a study .

The study on China does not mean that we want to impose internet censorship like them. We just wanted to see how effective their programme is, and what we can learn from it. But it does not mean we want to impose the same thing, said Salang.

But...

The deputy minister also urged bloggers to exercise caution in their blog entries, and to refrain from insulting the country as well as its rulers.

The alternative media is no longer alternative , in fact it has become the preferred media among the public now. Since the government does not intend to censor internet content, bloggers and internet users must exercise caution, said Salang.

 

19th December   

Cinderella Gaming...

South Korean PC online game companies believe that a midnight ban will push gamers to other platforms
Link Here

South Korea flag Games companies in South Korea are scrambling to adjust to the new online gaming restrictions soon to be imposed on young hardcore gamers. And it appears that many of them are putting more focus on games played on mobile phones to compensate for the expected loss in revenue from their PC games.

Despite fierce resistance from the games industry, the government has been moving to introduce strict limits on how much time youngsters can spend playing online computer games supposedly to combat addiction.

The measures, which are subject to approval by lawmakers prevent gamers under the age of 16 from playing between midnight and 6 a.m. Games providers will also be required to block underage users above 16 after midnight upon request by their parents.

Government officials expect the bill, along with a draft version on a renewed law on gaming, to be approved within the current session of the National Assembly.

Online games companies are livid about the so-called 'Cinderella rules,' which they claim target them unfairly and are unlikely to have a meaningful effect on improving gaming habits.

The government can only control the playing time of games played on PCs, not the ones played on consoles or mobile phones, and young users can easily switch to games provided on foreign servers after the Korean companies cut them off after midnight.

 

16th December   

Update: Unhealthy Books...

Tokyo enacts local law to require age restrictions on sales of extreme sex in manga comic books
Link Here  full story: Manga in Tokyo...Tokyo considers age restrictions on comic books

Adult Manga Contemporary Japanese ConsumAsian The Tokyo metropolitan assembly has enacted an ordinance to restrict the sale of manga comic books and anime containing extreme depictions of sexual acts, despite claims from writers and publishers that it could breach freedom of expression and stifle creativity.

The ordinance calls on the industry to impose self-regulation to prevent those under 18 from purchasing or accessing comics and anime containing depictions of rape and other sex crimes and those unduly lauding or exaggerating incest.

Comics that the metropolitan government determines as particularly malicious will be designated under the ordinance as unhealthy books and publishers will be banned from selling them to young people.

But the metropolitan government also added a clause stating it will give consideration to artistic and social expression and apply the ordinance carefully, although the clause is not legally binding.

The requirement for self-regulation and restrictions on sales will take effect on April 1 and July 1 next year, respectively.

In an assembly plenary session Wednesday, the ordinance gained approval from members of the Democratic Party of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and the New Komeito party.

 

15th December   

Updated: The Powerful Symbol of an Empty Chair...

China censors Liu Xiaobo's Nobel Prize being awarded to an empty chair
Link Here

liu xiaobo honored with empty chair China has taken its suffocating censorship to a new level by erasing from an internet blog an image of the empty chair that highlighted the absence of Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel laureate, from the peace prize ceremony in Oslo.

The image was removed only a few minutes after a lone Chinese blogger posted it on a popular website in defiance of the authorities.

Buoyed by Liu's award, Chinese dissidents will no doubt be keeping censors busy in the coming days — the blue and white empty chair is set to become a powerful symbol and rallying point for resistance to the regime.

I think that they will remember the empty chair, said Geir Lundestad, the Nobel committee secretary, after the Nobel medal was placed on the chair under a portrait of Liu at Friday's ceremony in Oslo.

Update: News Unblocked

15th December 2010. Based on article from  one.com

BBC logo The BBC has reported its website has been unblocked in China, after access had been denied to Chinese internet users for several days.

The website was first blocked around the time of the award ceremony for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the prize in absentia, as the activist is currently incarcerated in China.

According to the BBC, its website was not the only international news website blocked in China in the days following the award ceremony.

 

13th December   

A Bit Precious...

Air New Zealand cut light hearted safety video over bollox claims that a refused peck on the cheek could lead to suicide
Link Here

crazy about rugby video Air New Zealand has said it was cutting an in-flight safety video showing an All Black rugby player jokily refusing to kiss a male flight attendant after ludicrous complaints it could spur gay suicides.

The airline said it had agreed to remove a scene from the video featuring All Black centre Richard Kahui politely turning down a request to give gay flight attendant Will Coxhead a peck on the cheek.

The move comes after complaints from members of the gay and lesbian community in the past week, Air New Zealand said in a statement. It said an unnamed university professor had raised concerns the homosexual rejection could lead to gay male suicides.

The light-hearted video called Crazy About Rugby shows All Blacks running through safety procedures for passengers boarding Air New Zealand flights.

The offending scene had All Black pin-up Kahui posing for photographs with female flight attendants then shaking his head, holding up his hands and refusing to pucker up when Coxhead points to his cheek hoping for a kiss.

Coxhead, a real-life flight attendant with the airline, said he was absolutely gutted at the complaints over a scene he described as a bit of fun. I'm proud to be gay, proud to be an Air New Zealander and extremely proud of my role in the safety video . Obviously there are some people in the gay community that can be a little precious and need to lighten up.

 

12th December   

Five Years in Jail is Not Enough...

Malaysia gets more mean minded about porn DVDs
Link Here

Malaysia flag Malaysia's Home Ministry will carry out a study to impose heavier penalty on VCD and DVD distributors and traders who break the Film Censorship Act 2002.

Its deputy minister, Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, said the ministry, through its Control and Film Censorship Division, found that the current sentence of a fine of up to RM50,000 or five years' jail or both on distributors and traders of pornographic VCDs and DVDs did not commensurate with the offence committed and not keeping up with time.

The ministry is in the process of evaluating provisions in the existing Film Censorship Act to make the law more effective. He said the study would be carried out with a view of amending the law to provide for a heavier sentence on offenders.

Abu Seman said that the ministry's Control and Film Censorship Division had conducted 12,509 operations since 2005, involving seizure of about 2.8 million films in the form of VCDs and DVDs, and the arrest of 3,326 people.

 

6th December   

Update: On the Brink of Destruction...

Doom mongers target porn actresses making non-porn horror movies in Indonesia
Link Here

hantu tanah kusir Dozens of members of the militant group of Islamic Defenders Front staged a noisy protest in front of an Indonesian film company that just released a horror movie starring Japanese adult movie actress Maria Ozawa, who is known as Miyabi.

Reject Miyabi, the mother of all sinners, who propagates immoral behavior in this country, group leader Salim Alatas shouted in front of the Maxima Pictures office in West Jakarta.

After an emotional dialogue with a company executive, the protesters grabbed all the movie posters plastered on the office walls, and ripped them up and burned them.

Two days before the same group went to Soekarno-Hatta international airport in Jakarta and threatened to capture Ozawa upon her arrival and send her home.

Police forced the crowd to a parking area in front of the airport office, far from the terminal.

Well-known in Indonesia as Miyabi, which Ozawa used early in her career as an adult video actress, she was to attend the premiere of her second Indonesian movie Hantu Tanah Kusir, (The Ghost of Tanah Kusir Cemetery) .

The film followed the success of Menculik Miyabi, (Kidnapping Miyabi) , a teen comedy released last May after heated controversy delayed filming and forced scenes featuring her to be made in Tokyo instead of Jakarta.

The movies contain no sex-scenes and have been passed by the Indonesian censor.

The nutter cause has been supported up by some newspapers. Republika daily has dedicated front-page stories opposing Ozawa and other adult movie actress in Indonesian horror movies, including Japanese actresses Rin Sakuragi and Leah Yuzuki and U.S. actress Tera Patrick, although the latter three have not stirred much controversy as they are not as popular as Ozawa. It carried large sketches of the faces of foreign porn actresses that have appeared in Indonesian movies headlined National films on the brink of destruction.

 

6th December   

Revenge...

Burma bans performers who supported the opposition
Link Here

Burma flag 2010 The Burmese junta banned eight FM radio stations from featuring interviews or the works of more than 11 performers in the final week of last month.

Observers said the artists had been cut from the airwaves because of their support for National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and their satirical works on Burma's ruling military junta.

The move appears part of a programme by Burma's ruling military regime to pay back artists who have satirised the junta or shown support for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi through further muzzling of the Burmese media.

The ministry sent letters to the stations call a halt to broadcasts of singers Saung Oo Hlaing, Anaggha, Thanthawin and Kyarpauk; bass guitarist Ye Lwin; film directors Myo Min, Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi and Cho Too Zaw; actor Kyaw Thu and his wife Shwe Zigwet; and writer Than Myint Aung, the station employee said.

The Ministry of Information ordered us to stop broadcasting their interviews and performances, the employee said on condition of anonymity. The letters gave no reason for the ban and failed to say when the ban would expire, the employee said.

 

29th November   

Update: Non-Existent Youth Bill 2...

Another Tokyo attempt to censor manga and anime
Link Here  full story: Manga in Tokyo...Tokyo considers age restrictions on comic books

Monster Book Manga Estudio Joso The Tokyo metropolitan government's bungled proposal earlier in the year to broaden its powers of censorship over manga and anime it deemed harmful to minors is set to return for another attemmpt.

The fuss started back in March, when a formal protest by manga artist luminaries was followed by similar objections from IT giants Google, Rakuten and others. By June, the legislation was flatly rejected, but not without a vow from Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara to revamp and try to push it through again this autumn.

So now we have Version 2 of the nonexistent youth bill, so-called because of its opaque language promising to monitor depictions of fictional characters government officials decide are too young to be engaging in the fictional activities government officials decide are too harmful to real youth that government officials decide are too youthful to view or read about them.

The metropolitan government's latest efforts are being tracked by the indefatigable Tokyo-based translator Dan Kanemitsu, a half-Japanese writer whose blog, Dan Kanemitsu's Paper Trail (http://dankanemitsu.wordpress.com/) is a font of cranky observation and excellent insight. According to him, Ishihara and Co. are trying to sneak the legislation into approval by making its language vaguer, its goals sanitized.

The metropolitan government now aims to control what Kanemitsu calls the danger posed by fiction that is not obscene, not extremely sexually stimulating, and not strongly prone to compel youth to conduct criminal acts, but is still harmful to youth because it deals with the subject of minors and sexuality in a realm of fiction, especially if presented in an 'anti-social' manner.

 

29th November   

Crushing Inhumanity...

Crush videos appear online in China
Link Here

China flag A group of Chinese fetishists who produced graphic videos of live animals apparently being crushed to death and then posted them online, has caused outrage in China.

The videos, one of which appeared to show an attractive young woman squashing a small rabbit under a sheet of glass as other giggling girls looked on, led to widespread condemnation and a public call to find those responsible.

Chinese media reports sourced the videos to a group of fetishists that were offering money to the women to perform in the videos, with payments from as little as £10 for crushing fruit rising to £40 for animals, according to a report on China Radio International.

It is unclear if the latest videos – which were screened late at night for two to three hours to avoid detection by the authorities – are genuine or the product of video software.

 

28th November   

Update: Miserable China...

60,000 websites closed for porn content
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Great Firewall of China China has shut down over 60,000 websites for their pornographic content since the government launched its repressive campaign in December 2009, an official statement has said.

The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said some 1.7 million websites have also been checked since the launch of the campaign, according to the China Daily.

Around 2,200 cases of dissemination of online pornography were registered during this period, said the statement that added the office received over 160,000 porn-related tip-offs from the public.

Update: 350 million pages

7th January 2011. See  article from  eweek.com

China's Great Firewall deleted 350 million pieces of harmful information as part of what government's 2010 campaign to clean up the internet by shutting what it judged to be harmful sites.

Chinese government officials touted the success of its extensive system of filtering and blocking Internet content in 2010, saying the Internet is cleaner than before.

Over 350 million pages, or pieces of harmful information, which includes text, pictures and videos, have been deleted, and 60,000 adult content Web sites shut down, said Wang Chen, head of the State Council Information Office, during a press conference on Dec. 30, according to Reuters.

 

27th November   

Updated: Slipper Censors...

Thai police to censor red shirt souvenirs
Link Here

red shirts The Thai authorities of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation has banned souvenirs and other materials considered as opposing the monarchy or government which were available at the red shirt rally in Bangkok on Friday.

Thousands of red shirt supporters converged at the rally marking six months since the military's May 19 crackdown on their protracted rally in Bangkok.

The CRES on Friday issued a number of orders to prohibit the sale or free distribution of rally materials including shirts, photographs, illustrations and printed texts.

People found guilty of breaching the ban could face up to two years in jail and a maximum fine of 40,000 baht.

However, CRES spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd conceded it may be difficult to determine what items should be banned, so it would be up to the police to judge what rally items would 'cause disunity'. Sansern said feet-shaped plastic clappers should be fine, but not a pair of sandals with the faces of government politicians printed on them.

To enforce the ban, police would first give a violator a verbal warning. If he or she did not stop, legal action would then be taken, Sansern said.

An army source said General Prayuth was upset when he came across T-shirts and sandals carrying photos mocking important figures.

Update: Slippers Unbanned

27th November 2010. Based on article from  nationmultimedia.com

The Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) has agreed to lift ban of political sarcastic items created by protesters to insult elite as the spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the centre found nobody violated the regulation.

The authority earlier prohibited distribution of any political material such as the flipflops with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's image as the times might create division in the society.

Civic groups had criticised that the order saying that it violated basic rights of the people and that such satire would never cause social divide.

 

26th November   

Thai Web Blocking...

Minister in charge of web blocking says that it doesn't work
Link Here

thongchai sangsiri Thongchai Sangsiri, director of computer forensics within Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), and charged with overseeing the Web blocking regime, told a an audience at a recent gathering at the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity cybersecurity forum that blacklists are too lengthy and have proved quite difficult for ISPs to properly handle.

He said that Web filtering was a job best left up to parents: We would like [to] leave parents and teachers to decide what to filter … because [the current system] is too much to handle . The blacklists grow with many, many websites to become a burden on ISPs. Blacklisting doesn't work.

Sangrisi added that he thought the whole Web blocking plan was simply a way to make the majority of the public think the government was actually doing something about perceived 'problems' on the Internet: The majority of the public will think the government is doing something; for public image it is good .

 

25th November   

Update: Don't Over Celebrate...

Burma bans newspapers for featuring Suu Kyi news too prominently
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

aung san suu kyi The Burmese censorship board, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division under the Ministry of Information, suspended nine private journals on Sunday for publishing news of Aung San Suu Kyi too prominently.

The censorship board also banned news about Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), in Burma's press.

The censorship suspended publication of the top sports journal, First Eleven and the Hot News journal for two weeks while other journals such as 7 Days News, The Voice, Venus News, Pyithu Khit, Myanmar Post, The Snap Shot and Myanmar Newsweek were suspended for only one week.

The censorship board, headed by Major Tint Swe, said the suspensions were given for use of photos and reporting that exceeded the prescribed limits of one picture and one report that must not be on the front page.

The two-week suspensions were for putting in information that it had not approved, while one week suspensions were given to journals covering the Suu Kyi news with an extra full-page report, some using more than one photo in their most recent editions.

Distributors across the country put the extra page at the front to attract readers, leading to editions being rapidly sold out, according to a journal distributor in Mandalay, who added that Suu Kyi's popularity was undiminished.

Other journals were also given serious warnings but not suspensions.

 

25th November   

Blogged Off...

China bans blogger conference
Link Here  full story: Blogging in China...Bloggers under duress

China flag A meeting of Chinese bloggers due to take place in Shanghai last weekend has been cancelled, after authorities put pressure on the venue for the event.

The annual Chinese Blogger Conference, which has played host to a number of leading online commentators since it began in Shanghai in 2005, had become a forum for criticism of China's government.

Fearing attempts by the authorities to sabotage proceedings, conference organisers this year waited until just four days before the two-day event was due to start before announcing its venue.

But late last week, the venue's owners caved in to government pressure and withdrew their invitation to the conference.

Isaac Mao, co-founder of the conference, said that although Chinese authorities had upset the original scheme of this year's conference, local bloggers would still find ways to gather in smaller groups .

 

24th November   

So Much Censorship, So Few Complaints...

New Zealand TV censor reports record complaints of 210
Link Here

bsa nz logo Nutter complaints about New Zealand broadcasters reached record levels in the year to June 2010.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) said it received 210 complaints in the year to June 30 this year.

This is nearly 30% higher than the 162 complaints received for the previous year, and just ahead of the record of 206 in 1996-97 and 1999-2000.

BSA chief executive Dominic Sheehan said it was a colourful year, with decisions issued on everything from immigration policy to someone groping David Beckham's genitals .

The most complained about programmes were One News (25 complaints with six upheld), 3 News (18 with four upheld), Close Up (16 with six upheld), Breakfast (13 with one upheld) and Sunday (10 with four upheld).

BSA chairman Peter Radich said it was becoming more challenging for broadcasters to observe standards of good taste and decency while similar standards did not apply to internet broadcasting. He said it was time the Broadcasting Act, which governs the BSA, was reviewed: Our time has not passed but rather the time has come for our purpose and functions and the way in which we operate to be comprehensively reassessed .

 

22nd November   

Update: Freedom in Re-tweet...

China follows Britain's lead in persecuting Twitter jokers
Link Here

Twitter logo A woman in China has been sentenced to a year of hard labour after posting a message on the social networking website Twitter.

The fiancee of human rights activist Cheng Jianping told the BBC she had been accused of disrupting social order, but her message had been a joke.

She had repeated a Twitter comment urging nationalist protesters to smash Japan's pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, adding the words Charge, angry youth .

At the time, China and Japan were embroiled in their worst diplomatic row in recent years over a group of uninhabited, but disputed, islands in the East China Sea. Groups of young Chinese had been demonstrating against Japan, publicly smashing Japanese products.

Cheng Jianping's fiance, Hua Chunhui, told the BBC he first posted the short message on Twitter, ridiculing the demonstrators, saying their actions were nothing new and if they really wanted to make an impact they should smash the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo. Ms Cheng then retweeted the mocking message, he said, forwarding it and adding the words charge, angry youth .

Ten days later she was detained by police for disrupting social order and has now been sent to the Shibali River women's labour camp.

 

20th November   

Update: Wracked with Remorse...

Malaysia's first gay film is a depressing affair
Link Here  full story: Dalam Botol...Malaysia's first gay movie

dal botol Malaysia's first gay romance movie opens with playful scenes of a bare-chested male couple massaging each other on a beach at night — but their euphoria soon evaporates in a story that seeks to placate both conservative government censors and contemporary audiences hungry for edgy material.

Dalam Botol , or In A Bottle , is a Malay-language film about a man who gets a sex change operation because he thought it would satisfy his male lover, but ends up regretting it.

The film earned applause from movie bloggers invited to its first public screening, three months before its scheduled nationwide release.

Even five years ago, we wouldn't have been able to make it, Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, the film's producer and writer, said after the screening: I'm glad that at this time, at this moment, we can show it.

Censors now say depictions of homosexuality like those in Dalam Botol are no longer barred — as long as being gay isn't condoned.

If the movie had tried to glamorize the lifestyle of a gay person, it would be against our current standard guidelines, censorship board chief Mohamad Hussain Shafie told The Associated Press this week: But the character repents in the end. We can say it is in line with our social values.

But the film takes few risks — its heterosexual male leads never kiss. The most explicit acknowledgment that the characters have sex is when one gets out of bed in his underwear while the other sleeps, presumably naked, beneath a blanket.

Nevertheless, there are raw, poignant scenes that capture the realities of being gay in a country where homosexuality is effectively outlawed.

In Dalam Botol, the main character is wracked with remorse after his operation prompts his partner to abandon him.

It's not an anti-gay movie. I believe it's not wrong to be gay, but it's wrong to have a sex change, Raja Azmi said.

Some gay men have mixed feelings about the film. I want to see gay characters in local movies, but it's wrong to make it seem like we're all so tragic and depressed, said a 30-year-old financial analyst who asked to be identified only as Mark. Of course, I hope that someday, our society will be open enough to have a Malaysian movie about two gay men who meet, fall in love and live happily ever after.

The film — which has been approved for a February 2011 release to audiences older than 18 — was carefully vetted by censors from the start. Raja Azmi submitted her script to the board before filming it. She was told to change the original title — Anu Dalam Botol, or Penis in a Bottle — and remove an intimate bedroom conversation between the male characters.

 

16th November   

Updated: Not So Jolly...

British author convicted of offending Singapore judges over a lack of impartiality when using the death penalty
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Singapore...Singapore takes offence and puts author on trial

once a jolly hangman A Singapore court has found the UK author Alan Shadrake guilty of insulting the Singapore judiciary in a book he wrote about the death penalty.

The 75-year-old will be sentenced for contempt next week; he also faces trial on defamation charges.

In his book, Once a Jolly Hangman - Singapore Justice in the Dock, he criticised how the death penalty is used, alleging a lack of impartiality.

The Malaysia-based Shadrake was arrested in July when he visited Singapore to launch his book.

This is a case about someone who says among other things the judges in Singapore are not impartial... (and are) influenced by political and economic situations and biased against the weak and the poor, Justice Quentin Loh said.

The book contains interviews with human rights activists, lawyers and former police officers, as well as a profile of Darshan Singh, the former chief executioner at Singapore's Changi Prison. It claims he executed around 1,000 men and women from 1959 until he retired in 2006.

Separately, Shadrake is being investigated by the police for criminal defamation; his passport is being held by the police.

The BBC's Vaudine England says few critics of Singapore manage to avoid censure in the city-state's courts.

Update: Sentenced

16th November 2010. Based on article from  google.com

Singapore flag A Singapore court jailed the 75-year-old British author for six weeks on Tuesday for publishing a book critical of executions in the city-state.

Alan Shadrake was handed the prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 Singapore dollars (15,000 US) for contempt of court over the book, which features an interview with a former chief executioner.

High Court Judge Quentin Loh dismissed a last-minute apology by Shadrake as nothing more than a tactical ploy in court to obtain a reduced sentence and ruled that the freelance journalist will have to serve two extra weeks in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

A fine should be imposed to prevent Mr Shadrake from profiting from his contempt (of court), the judge said.

The ruling said the sentence was the stiffest ever imposed for contempt of court in Singapore. The previous longest jail term was 15 days.

Update: Offered a Way Out

23rd November 2010. Based on article from  indexoncensorship.org

Singapore flag The Attorney General's Office made an unprecedented application for the court to remind Alan Shadrake of his right to seek leave of the court if he wants to leave Singapore.

This implies that if his defence team applies for Shadrake to leave the jurisdiction, the prosecution would not contest it.

Shadrake, who appealed the sentence last week, has said that he will consider the offer.

 

7th November   

Update: Loose Tackle...

Family First complaints about naked rugby thrown out
Link Here  full story: Family First...New Zealand TV nutters

naked rugby Nutters of Family First has criticised the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority for not upholding its complaint about a Nightline story featuring full frontal nudity.

In June, 3 News reporter Dave Goosselink reported on the closing down of Dunedin student pub The Gardies. To celebrate, a group of students held a game of nude rugby.

Footage from the match was included in the story, which drew a complaint from Family First director Bob McCoskrie.

The morally dysfunctional BSA has given the green light to full frontal nudity in our current events and news programmes and has no problem with sexual innuendo and offensive comments, says McCoskrie.

The BSA said the item was broadcast well after the 8:30pm watershed, preceded by a clear warning and that Nightline viewers were unlikely to have been offended.

The incoming tide of sexual content disguised as news is a disturbing trend, says MrCoskrie. The TV channels are trying to mask sexual innuendo and pornographic material as news and current events.

McCoskrie also filed a complaint against another item broadcast in June, where humorous potential porn film titles starring MP Shane Jones, collected from Twitter, were read out, on air. This complaint was also not upheld.

 

5th November   

Update: Kind Kindle...

3G Kindle offers unblocked web browsing to Chinese users
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Kindle Wireless Reading Display Generation People in China have found that Amazon's Kindle e-reader allows them to bypass the country's Great Firewall , according to a report.

An article in the South China Morning Post suggested that the 3G-capable device's browser was able to access sites such as Facebook and Twitter, which are banned in China and blocked at a national level. The access is made possible by Amazon's own Whispernet virtual mobile network, the article stated.

According to the piece, engineering professor Lawrence Yeung Kwan speculates that Amazon and its Chinese Whispernet partner — the virtual network is based on the real networks of operators around the world — might have agreed to transfer the connection to Amazon's station, presumably in the US, once the mainland gatekeeper sees the signal comes from a Kindle... The signal, which may be encrypted, then returns to the partner network in China so the internet patrols cannot see what is accessed .

Amazon does not sell the Kindle in China, so the devices referred to in the South China Morning Post article are grey-market imports.

 

5th November   

Update: Blocking Creep...

New Zealand's internet filter widens reach to more ISPs
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in New Zealand...New Zealand considers internet blocking

NZ Internal Affairs Vodafone says it is working closely with New Zealand's Internal Affairs on implementing the internet filter and is behind the concept.

A spokesman said the company was testing the filter to ensure it actually worked correctly and it doesn't negatively impact other services. Once those boxes are ticked, Vodafone expects to turn it on.

Tech Liberty spokesman Thomas Beagle said Telecom's involvement in the kiddy porn filter is a slippery slope: This is just a government censorship scheme for the internet. Once a system is in place, what can be added to it?

He pointed out that already there were calls for sites that infringed copyright to be censored and just today Commerce Minister Simon Power welcomed the next step in developing new illegal file sharing rules that requires internet service provider co-operation.

Department of Internal Affairs spokesman Trevor Henry advised that other ISPs are being brought on progressively and discussions with Vodafone/iHug, Woosh, Orcon and 2degrees are underway. In addition, design changes are being investigated to adapt the system for performance on mobile devices.

So far about 500 websites are on the filter list and several thousands more are to be examined.

 

3rd November   

Update: More Blocked Sites...

Thailand website blocking hits a quarter million
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

Thailand flag Thailand's Technology ministry, MICT, is to close 46,000 more websites for being critical of Thailand's political setup.

This is the first government announcement of further Internet censorship since July.

The new Army commander has signed a memorandum of understanding specifying 43,000 websites to be blocked immediately and 3,000 pending.

Relying solely upon previous government media releases totaling 210,110 websites, Thailand is now blocking 256,110 websites.

 

30th October   

Repent or Suffer...

Malaysian film censor demands comeuppance for gays
Link Here  full story: Dalam Botol...Malaysia's first gay movie

dal botolThe Malaysian Film Censorship Board has approved one of the country's first explicitly gay films — but has insisted on an unusual catch in order for it to get to theaters.

Dalam Botol (In A Bottle) is one of the first Malay-language films to overtly tackle the issue of homosexuality. As the extremely conservative Muslim-majority country very rarely lets films dealing with sexuality, religion, or politics past the censors, some were surprised to hear that the film would hit theater screens. However, in order to get to the public, the film — which contains absolutely no nudity, sex, or even kissing — had one hoop that other Malaysian films do not have to jump through: censors insisted that the gay characters must either repent or come to a bad end during the course of the film.

The movie has been described by producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman as a tragic love story between two men, one of whom undergoes a sex change operation in order to allow them to have a public relationship. The story is based off the real-life experience of a man the producer knew.

When asked about the requirement that gay characters must repent or be shown in a negative light, Raja Azmi would only say that the characters indirectly express remorse.

Mohammad Hussain, chairman of the Film Censorship Board, said in an interview that, under new guidelines released in March, films dealing with homosexuality would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, although the theme was not encouraged. Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia.

Mohammad said there must be some good intention on the part of the filmmaker to show people that homosexuality is something that's not normal — at least in our culture.

Dalam Botol will be released in Malay-language markets next February.

 

28th October   

Flagging Sensitivities...

Burma censors news about its new flag
Link Here

Burma flag 2010Burma ruling military junta's censorship board, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) has restricted reporting about Burma's new flag in the country's private journals, Rangoon sources said.

Journalists in Rangoon said the PSRD only allowed private journals to make similar reports as those in the state-run newspapers, preventing them from providing any further information.

The Weekly Eleven, The Voice, Flower News and True News were among journals that the PSRD prevented from publishing photos of the new flag being raised and the old flag being lowered.

The new flag has already been raised around the country, taking over from the previous flag that was introduced by the former ruling Burmese Socialist Programme Party in 1974, itself replacing the original independence-era flag of 1947.

Rangoon sources say many people do not like the colors of the new flag, which represents the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma) under the junta-written 2008 Constitution.

The PSRD does not usually allow private journals to publish news about sensitive issues such as the new national flag, which many people see as representing the unpopular military government.

 

22nd October   

End of Term...

A new film and TV censor takes over in the Philippines
Link Here

MTRCB logoA melancholic Consoliza Laguardia has said her goodbyes to her 8-year stint as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

It's hard to say goodbye but then again I leave with a happy heart... because I know I've done my job and what I was tasked to do here. And I also felt the love and concern of the entertainment industry, Laguardia said at the MTRCB office in Timog, Quezon City.

Laguardia had already packed her things as Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of the late movie king Fernando Poe Jr. and movie queen Susan Roces, is set to take over.

It was a reign fraught with controversies, sparked by disputes with sectors like independent filmmakers, television producers and other groups that opposed the board's alleged moralistic code and political bias.

Her term was one of the longest in the history of the agency. She had consistently argued that young impressionable viewers should be protected from indecent exposure and language.

Offsite: Mention of balance usually means stacked in favour of the state

26th October 2010. See article from  minivannews.com

Grace Poe-Llamanzares doesn't want to be limited by labels like liberal or conservative.

It's all a matter of semantics, she said.

Instead, she vowed to strive to be more progressive and proactive in balancing the right to self-expression of artists, while keeping in mind the rights of the viewers, especially the parents, to be guided by a fair rating system.

 

19th October   

Update: Vo Van Ai Visa Veto...

Thailand again blocks Vietnam dissident from attending human rights event in Bangkok
Link Here  full story: Human Rights Events in Thailand...Human Rights Critics Banned from Thailand

seahrn logoThailand has drawn fire by again preventing a prominent Vietnamese dissident from speaking at a conference in Bangkok.

The president of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Vo Van Ai, was refused a visa by the Thai Embassy in Paris, the second time that he has been prevented from travelling to Bangkok in recent weeks.

His previous visa was cancelled in the run-up to a stillborn September launch of a critical report on human rights in Vietnam, a move which brought international criticism upon Thailand.

An empty chair marked the place where Vo Van Ai was to have delivered a lecture titled Universality and Particularity in Human Rights: A Vietnamese Buddhist Viewpoint at the First International Conference on Human Rights in Asia. The event drew scholars and activists from across southeast Asia and beyond and was held by the Southeast Asia Human Rights Network (SEAHRN) and Bangkok's Mahidon University.

Dr. Srirapha Petcharamasree read letter from Vo Van Ai to SEAHRN, in which he said that the attitude of the Thai government is particularly shocking given that Thailand holds the presidency of the UN Human Rights Council. Dr. Srirapha called on the Thai Government to be faithful to the commitment made to the UN when it made its candidacy to the presidency.

 

18th October   

Update: Unprovocative Show Provokes A Protest...

Malaysians protest against a toned down Adam Lambert gig
Link Here  full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars

Your Entertainment Tour CD DVD The openly gay, flamboyant rocker Adam Lambert kept his promise to Malaysia’s government and steered clear of sexually provocative moves at a concert that was protested by dozens of Islamic activists.

Last week, Lambert wrote on Twitter that while he did not believe his shows were in any way offensive I have agreed to make a few minor adjustments out of respect for the Malaysian government. Looking forward to a fun show.

Lambert, an American Idol runner-up, is well-known for racy performances. At the American Music Awards last year, he kissed a male keyboard player.

 

17th October   

Government Book Banners Banned...

Indonesian court says book bans should be administered by the courts, not the government
Link Here

Indonesia flagIn a landmark verdict, Indonesia's  Constitutional Court struck out a law that gave the Attorney General's Office the power to ban books, saying such power should rest with a judicial court.

The 1963 Law on Securing Printed Materials whose content could disrupt public order is against the Constitution, court chief Mahfud MD said: The law is no longer legally binding.

Muhammad Alim, another justice, said that in a state governed by law, confiscating or banning publications and books should be done through the process of law: If an action is categorized as being against the law, the process should be through the courts. Therefore, [authority to] ban goods such as printed materials considered liable to disrupt public order cannot be given to an institution without a court ruling, Alim said. The authority of the AG to ban printed material or books without a court process is the approach of an authoritarian state, not one based on law like Indonesia.

Speaking after the court verdict, Mahfud said that in an emergency, when printed material was deemed dangerous, the AGO could still seek court permission to temporarily ban or confiscate the material pending the court process: If it is urgent, before a verdict the AGO can ask permission of the court, but there should be certainty that it [the book] is dangerous .

Government representative Mualimin Abdi welcomed the ruling as it still provided an avenue to deal with printed material considered dangerous.

In the past six years, the repealed law has been used by the governement to ban 22 books, most of them dealing with the murky coup attempt in 1965.

Theodora Erlijna, a historian from the Institute of Indonesian Social History, one of the parties who filed for the review, warned that there is still a long way to go.

Theodora pointed out that there were other laws that could be used to ban books, such as the Criminal Code, the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law and the 1965 Blasphemy Law.

 

16th October   

Red Letter...

Influential Chinese elders call for an end to state censorship
Link Here

China flagA former secretary to Mao Tse-tung as well as an ex-publisher of the People's Daily are among retired Communist Party heavyweights who have published a toughly worded open letter calling on the Chinese government to abolish censorship.

The letter began circulating Oct. 1, but the campaign has gained traction since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned for his role in drafting a similar pro-democracy letter called Charter 08 two years ago.

This latest call for freedom will not be so easily suppressed because of the Communist Party bona fides of the people who signed.

These are important people who signed the letter with their names, titles and locations, requesting freedom of expression, Li Datong, a former editor at the China Youth Daily who is friends with the organizers, said this week. Clearly, they are not afraid. The trend cannot be stopped.

Sort of a cross between a chain letter and a petition, this latest missive has been popping up — and then disappearing as it is removed by censors — on various Chinese bulletin boards and blogs over the last few days.

It calls for the uncensored circulation of books, newspapers and magazines and the lifting of restrictions on the Internet. It demands the dismantling of the Central Propaganda Department, the powerful body that reports directly to the Politburo and which the letter's drafters refer to as an invisible black hand.

When our country was founded in 1949, our people cried out that they had been liberated, that they were now their own masters, the letter states. But even today, 61 years after the founding of our nation, after 30 years of opening and reform, we have not yet attained the freedom of speech and press to the degree enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong under colonial rule.

 

14th October   

Censors on Dope...

Ban stands on TV documentary showing Rastafarians enjoying cannabis
Link Here

MTRCB logoThe Philippines Court of Appeals has affirmed a 2006 decision of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) suspending the showing of The Correspondents for 3 consecutive episodes for airing scenes that project smoking marijuana is an enjoyable activity.

In its decision, the appellate court said the Office of the President did not commit any error of fact or law when it upheld an MTRCB decision in 2006 against the Pinoy Rasta episode of The Correspondents.

In that episode, a man was shown preparing and smoking marijuana in the presence of his father, which the MTRCB ruled as violation of Presidential Decree 1986 against the airing of scenes that tend to abet the use of prohibited drugs.

ABS-CBN had argued that the scenes should be taken in the proper context, saying the core issue of the episode is whether Filipinos who practice raftafarianism truly practice it as a religion, or they embrace it as an excuse to smoke marijuana.

 

13th October   

Dangerous Slippers...

Thai red shirt slipper seller arrested
Link Here

dangerous slippersThai newspaper Prachatai has reported that, a woman was arrested on October 3 at a freedom bike ride by Red Shirts in Ayutthaya for selling slippers with Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's face on them.

The slippers were printed with the message, People died at Ratchaprasong — referring to the May 19 military massacre against the Red Shirts' mass protest camp in Bangkok.

Amornwan Charoenkij was arrested under the regime's ongoing state of emergency. It prohibits any means of communication … which may instigate fear amongst the people or is intended to distort information which leads to a misunderstanding of the emergency situation to the extent of affecting the security of the state or public order …

Police confiscated about 40 of the offending slippers from Amornwan.

But it is only some political merchandise that is considered subversive. Regime supporters are allowed to sell sandals, socks, doormats and even underwear printed with the face of military-deposed former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

A parliamentarian from the opposition Phue Thai Party posted bail Amornwan at her court hearing.

 

11th October   

Updated: Ignoble Censors...

China tries to censor news that jailed human rights activist has won the Nobel Peace Prize
Link Here

liu xiaoboThe Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Chinese government to end its pointless attempts to block the news by blacking out domestic and foreign media coverage of the Norwegian Nobel Committee's announcement awarding jailed human rights activist Liu Xiaobo the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

According to foreign news agencies' reports from China, news of the award is almost non-existent in China's media and has been blacked out from international news broadcasts on the BBC and CNN. Researchers at Hong Kong University's China Media Project say the official Xinhua News Agency story on the Foreign Ministry response was not put on the front page of Xinhuanet, the news agency's official website, and the news appeared at none of China's major commercial Internet news portals.

Despite such efforts to suppress the news, social media websites and telephone texting have spread the story widely.

China has not learned from past experience that blacking out news coverage of international events is a denial of reality that just does not work, said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. Today's blackout has accomplished one thing only: reminding the world how far China will go to suppress the news. Chinese officials should not try to conceal from its own citizens what the entire world knows.

In announcing the award, the Nobel Committee said, The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Liu, 54, was sentenced to an 11-year term on subversion charges on December 25, 2009.

Update: Liu's wife under house arrest

11th October 2010. Based on article from  nytimes.com

The wife of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, was allowed to meet with her husband on Sunday at the prison in northeastern China where he is serving an 11-year sentence, but she was then escorted back to Beijing and placed under house arrest, a human rights group said.

Prison officials had informed Liu that he won the award — a decision vehemently condemned by the Chinese government — the day before. In their hourlong visit, Liu's wife, Liu Xia, said her husband had told her, This is for the lost souls of June 4th, and then was moved to tears.

Hundreds died June 4, 1989, when Chinese troops and tanks crushed pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Mr. Liu told his wife the award commemorates the nonviolent spirit in which those who died fought for peace, freedom and democracy, the group, Human Rights in China, said in a statement.

In Beijing, Ms. Liu's telephone and Internet communication has been cut off and state security officers are not allowing her to contact friends or the media, the statement said. Nor can she leave her house except in a police car, according to the group. Her brother's phone has also been interfered with, the statement said.

 

10th October   

Updated: Centrefold Extremists...

Indonesian Playboy editor on the run
Link Here  full story: Playboy in Indonesia...Non-nudity playboy offends the extremists

playboy indonesiaIndonesia has launched a manhunt for a former editor of the local edition of Playboy magazine, who has been sentenced to jail for indecency even though the publication did not contain nudity.

An arrest warrant was issued after Erwin Arnada ignored three orders to surrender to prosecutors and serve a two-year jail sentence ordered in August by the Supreme Court, prosecutors said.

The case has highlighted the growing power of Islamist extremists who launched violent protests against the magazine when it appeared in 2006, and pushed the Supreme Court to overturn the editor's earlier acquittal.

South Jakarta chief prosecutor Mohammed Yusuf said: We are being forced to act by the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) as the plaintiff in this case, referring to a violent Islamist vigilante group that enjoys the support of top police officers.

Update: Authorities apprehend their victim

10th October 2010. Based on article from  thejakartapost.com

The former editor of the now-defunct Indonesian version of Playboy magazine, Erwin Arnada, turned himself in on Saturday. He faces a two-year prison term, which was appealed but upheld by the Supreme Court.

As a law-abiding citizen, I am going to turn myself in to the prosecutors' office to undergo processing, Erwin said as he arrived at the South Jakarta prosecutors' office.

Erwin was apprehended by prosecutors and police upon his arrival from Bali at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Saturday afternoon. Police demonstrated their prowess at the airport with a large entourage of officers brandishing assault rifles.

Erwin's attorney, Todung Mulya Lubis, said he was disappointed with the way prosecutors and police had treated his client: Why they should treat my client like a terrorist? he said, stressing that Erwin had met the authorities' requests to surrender voluntarily.

A request for a case review would be filed with the Supreme Court while his client serves his sentence, Todung said: We expect that the Supreme Court will re-examine the ruling soon, so that my client will not have to serve the entire term, he said.

We want to question the panel's reasons for ruling in favor of the prosecutors' opinion that the magazine constituted an act of public indecency, Todung said, adding that even the Press Council stated that the Indonesian version of Playboy did not contain pornography, was in line with the press code of ethics and therefore had not violated the press law.

 

7th October   

Update: Marching Orders...

Malaysia bans political book
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books

march to putrajayaMalaysia's Home Ministry has banned author Kim Quek's book The March To Putrajaya- Malaysia's New Era Is At Hand under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 as it may incite public hatred and anger .

The Malaysian Insider reported that the Home Ministry Secretary General Mahmood Adam said that the book was banned because of its baseless accusations against national leaders, among others. He also went on to add that the printing, importing, publishing, reprint, sell, distribute or offer to sell or in possession of such books is an offence punishable under the law .

Kim Quek has subsequently released a press statement denying that the book is not suitable for the public.

Throughout my book, one consistent theme is my appeal to everyone to be faithful and to defend the Constitution. Even on the much politicized Article 153, which has been deliberately and dishonestly misinterpreted to carry out all sorts of racist agenda and therefore has attracted much misgivings, I have only words of praise for it.

I welcome any criticism and open dialogue over any part of my book, as it is through honest discourse that we will bring benefit to the nation.

As for the Ministry's ban over my book, I reserve my right to take the necessary legal recourse to protect my constitutional rights.

 

4th October   

Reputation for Oppression...

Chinese novelist arrested over book set in the adult industry of Dongguan
Link Here

dongguan sauna girls The arrest of a high school teacher and blogger who wrote a popular internet novel documenting the hidden pornographic world in Dongguan, an industrial city, has galvanized the country's literary class, according to an article from EpochTimes.com.

Yuan Lei, who wrote In Dongguan , was released by police after protests by fellow writers and others, but the fallout left some feeling insecure, especially since Yuan had committed no crime other than to write about an aspect of the city that the authorities would prefer were not publicized.

A reported quoted a local police official as saying: Dongguan police concluded the novel is pornographic. The judgment was recognised by the provincial public security department. But we faced great pressure from the media, especially the internet.

The novel, said the site, described Dongguan City's hidden world, around the life of the younger generation and the local sauna and porn industry. China's popular Tianya.cn forum saw 2.6 million web clicks since the novel was first serially published in June 2009. More than a dozen publishers have approached Yuan, though the novel has not yet passed official scrutiny.

On Sept. 28, the police caught up with Yuan at his school and arrested him, charging him with the damaging the city's reputation.

Following Yuan's arrest, many web users commented that this novel merely reflects reality and should not be called disseminating pornography, reported The EpochTimes.com. Some were shocked to discover that writing a novel could even be cause for arrest.

 

3rd October   

Updated: Milk for the Old Aged...

Singapore government partially implement recommendations from recent censorship review
Link Here  full story: Censorship in Singapore...Singapore consults in censorship law review

singapore ministry of censorship logoThe Singapore government has partially relaxed television broadcast guidelines allowing cable operators to screen movies containing nude scenes or explicit violence.

By the end of next year, cable operators will be able to offer Restricted 21 (R21) movies to pay-to-view subscribers, the ministry for information, communications and the arts (MICA) said in its 2010 censorship review.

Under the new guidelines, cinemas located in downtown Singapore can continue to screen R21-rated movies such as Hollywood's gay biopic Milk [rated 15 in the UK] .

But a ban on showing R21 movies remains in suburban cinemas, the ministry said.

Lui Tuck Yew, MICA's acting minister, said the new guidelines will offer more choices to adults while allowing parents more control to protect their children from explicit violence and sex: We decided that we ought to be governed by the principle that you make it available in a way where the adult, and especially the parent, will be in a position to exercise greatest control. And so the home environment was the one that we picked. And for those who want to watch it in cinema... it is only a 30-minute bus ride away or less.

There will be the necessary parental locks and other safeguards in place to restrict access to children and television viewers aged 20 or younger, Lui said.

Update: PG-13 accepted but not an end to internet blocking

3rd October 2010. Based on article from  online.wsj.com

Singapore flagSingapore has resisted calls from a government-appointed panel to liberalize the symbolic 100-website ban, a government minister said.

The government wants to increase content choices for adults ... BUT ... prevailing societal values need to be upheld, said Lui Tuck Yew, acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.

That means the government will still block access to 100 pornographic and extremist websites, Lui said at a news conference.

We should move with, rather than ahead of, society, he said, adding that the panel's public survey found that 67% of respondents wanted to keep or expand the website ban.

The website ban will be kept as a symbolic statement of our society's values, Lui said, adding that internet service providers will be asked to actively market content filters to users.

Asked if the retention of certain bans reflected the continuation of government paternalism, Lui said it didn't: I don't believe that retaining (a ban on) 100 websites shows that we are nannified . He noted that Australia is proposing a wider ban on undesirable websites: Nobody calls them a nanny state. [The Melon Farmers Do!].

The government accepted the new PG13 movie rating though.

 

1st October   

Update: Snitch Line...

Indonesia minister to reward reports of websites to block
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Indonesia...Indonesia passes internet porn bill

tifatul sembiringThe Indonesian Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring's new internet censorship strategy calls for rewarding citizens who report porn sites.

We will keep on blocking pornographic contents with various innovations, such as giving special rewards to members of the public who report porn sites to us, Sembiring said.

The anti-porn official did not say what rewards would be offered and didn't comment as to whether the campaign could backfire by having more people surf for porn in an effort to weed out what the country describes as offensive material.

The latest salvo launched against online porn asks the public to report the sites via a telephone hot-line.

Sembiring claimed that his ministry's efforts have successfully blocked 90% of porn sites. But reports say that most of the Ministry's previously targeted sites are still operating.