Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2013: Jan-March



 Update: Shown the Autobahn Out of Town...

Kraftwerk banned from performing in China


Link Here 30th March 2013

Minimum Maximum Kraftwerk Electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk have been denied visas necessary to perform in China because the group was once billed to be part of a Tibetan Freedom Concert in Washington, D.C. 15 years ago.

Ironically, bad weather forced promoters to scrap the benefit concert and Kraftwerk never played, but Chinese Ministry of Culture censors are still upset the German act was among those set to hit the stage.

The ban means the band cannot perform at this year's Strawberry Festival at the end of April.

 

 Update: Dangerous Documentary...

Thai man jailed for 40 months for selling CD copies of Australian TV documentary about the Thai royal family


Link Here 29th March 2013  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

  abcs foreign correspondent logoA Thai court has sentenced Ekkachai Hongkangwan to five years in prison term and fine of 100,000 baht for selling documentary CDs produced by Australian Broadcasting Corporation and copies of wikileaks documents claimed to be defaming to Thailand's Queen and Crown Prince.

Later the court reduced sentence by a third stating that defendant's testimony benefitted the court.

The police arrested Ekkachai on March 10, 2011 after enticing him to sell a CD for 20 baht, and seized over 100 CDs, a CD burner and 10 copies of WikiLeaks materials. The police charged him for violating lese majeste and Film and Video Act.

The CDs contained a documentary aired on ABC's Foreign Correspondent program in 2010 which critically discussed Thailand's monarchy and Maha Vajiralongkorn as the King's successor.

The alleged wikileaks documents are US embassy cables from 2008 which indicated that the Queen supported the 2006 coup. Others contained high ranking discussions about the royal succession.

The judges deemed the content of the materials misleading and defamatory to the monarchy.

 

  Carrots Not Sticks...

News Zealand proposes a voluntary news censor without feeling the need to deny fair justice to organisations that don't opt in


Link Here 27th March 2013

news media New Zealand Law Commission has published a report about news censorship titled: The New Media Meets New Media: Rights, Responsibilities and Regulation in the Digital Age.

The most important recommendation in the report is for the existing news media regulatory bodies to be replaced with an umbrella body to be known as the News Media Standards Authority , described in a media briefing as a one-stop-shop for adjudicating complaints across all news media, irrespective of the format or delivery channel.

The New Zealand Press Council, the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Online Media Standards Authority would be replaced with a single independent standards body with jurisdiction over all news media broadcasters, newspapers, and online providers.

It would be a non-state body, with membership voluntary and available to all including bloggers, but privileges accorded to media, including many by law, would only be available to those who signed up.

This body would not be established by statute but it would be indirectly recognised in statutory provisions that create the various news media privileges. It should have a separate legal existence independent of the industry. It should preferably be an incorporated society.

 

 Offsite Article: Why China's Real Name Internet Policy Doesn't Work...


Link Here 27th March 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logo The government's latest attempt to limit speech online faces serious roadblocks

See article from theatlantic.com

 

  Sex.Violence.FamilyValues...

Malaysia bans film previously banned in Singapore


Link Here 22nd March 2013

sexviolencefamilyvalues The Singapore film Sex.Violence.FamilyValues, already banned for a while in its home country, has now been banned in Malaysia.

The 47-minute film written, directed and co-produced by Ken Kwek has been pulled out of the Asean International Film Festival (AIFFA) following a ban by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF).

According to a statement released by the censorship board, the anthology of three short films :

contains strong and obscene language as well as scenes that show obscene actions that is insulting to local cultures.

Kwek told Yahoo! Singapore:

I'm not surprised, despite the AIFFA's earlier assurances that the film would not be banned. I'm a bit disappointed, but not surprised.

Now set for US distribution

22nd March 2013. See article from deadline.com

Sex.Violence.FamilyValues producers have now sold the 47-minute pastiche of three comedies to a U.S. distributor and are close to finalizing a deal with iTunes.

The film was banned in Singapore last October when censors deemed one segment in which a Chinese porn director played by Adrian Pang rants against an Indian actor racially offensive . After the scenes in question were deleted the film was allowed to open.

The full, unedited version has been acquired by U.S. distributor Virgil Films and Entertainment, which will release it VOD and online.

 

  Playing Safe...

Singapore introduces self censorship for theatres but threatens yearly checks to make sure that they are toeing the line


Link Here 16th March 2013

mda singapore logoA new theatre censorship scheme has been announced by Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim. It is expected to take effect early next year, following amendments to the Public Entertainment and Meetings Act.

The Media Development Authority said that devolving the regulatory function to arts groups was in line with its principle of co-regulation and greater partnership with industry players.

The new term licence scheme will give out yearly licences to stage performances, instead of on a per-event basis, and allow arts groups to classify some or virtually all of their own performances without the need to submit scripts to the authority.

The yearly licensing scheme divides arts groups into two tiers. Tier1 groups can self-classify performances with a General rating and without racial, religious or political content. Groups with a good track record selected for Tier 2 can self-classify all scripted performances.

But their licence to do so is subject to an annual review, in which the authority will evaluate whether licensees have complied with regulations and classified performances 'accurately'.

The three types of ratings for theatre remain: General, Advisory and R18, restricted to audiences aged 18 and above. For works containing racial, religious or political content, an advisory of mature content or a rating of R18 may apply. An advisory attached to a performance is meant as a guide to help audience members make an informed choice when buying tickets and does not restrict admission.

Based on this framework, arts groups will have to send a representative to undergo a training programme on how to classify performances.

Most theatre practitioners say this additional layer of checks, instead of liberalising the current system of regulation, betrays the lack of trust in artists, and as Theatre Practice's artistic director Kuo Jian Hong puts it, amounts to regulating how we regulate .

One practitioner who took issue with the yearly-licensing and annual review is Chong Tze Chien, company director of the puppet theatre group The Finger Players. He said:

Why only a year? And who is it reviewed by? Essentially, the MDA is saying that it is still putting terms and conditions to whatever it is that we are doing. They don't trust the artist, at the end of the day, to be responsible.

He suggested that the review panel be an independent one comprising artists and audience members, instead of an authority panel acting on behalf of a group of conservatives who may or may not exist in reality .

 

  Festival of Censorship...

Rangoon authorities to censor folk songs at the upcoming water festival


Link Here 16th March 2013

songkranRangoon authorities have announced that Thangyat songs and performances in the upcoming Burmese water festival, which is called Thingyan and starts on April 12, can only be performed with permission from its Thingyan Songs and Thangyat Scrutiny Committee.

The Mirror, a state-run Burmese language newspaper, reported that lyrics for all Thingyan songs and Thangyat must be submitted to the committee by March 22.

Thangyat is one of the oldest examples of Burmese folk art. Usually amusing and satirical, Thangyat combines poetry, dance and music and is sung to the beat of a traditional drum. It is frequently used to express public grievances.

 

 Offsite Article: A Time for War...


Link Here 5th March 2013  full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Time War Thriller ebook Author Michael Savage says the marketing campaign for his new novel depicting China at war with the U.S. has been sabotaged by advertisers who fear the China lobby.

See article from wnd.com

 

 Update: A New Censor...

Burma hasn't given up on repression of the press yet


Link Here 2nd March 2013

Burma flag 2010Draft legislation designed to control the media in Burma threatens to reverse fragile press freedom gains recently achieved under President Thein Sein's democratic reform program, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said.

The draft Press Law Bill (2013) bans reporting on several vague topics, including any news or commentary critical of the military-drafted 2008 constitution, and allows for six-month prison sentences for failing to register news publications with the government, according to a copy of the legislation published on Wednesday in the daily government-owned newspaper New Light of Myanmar. The law's proposed guidelines prohibit the publication of any news that could disturb the rule of law, incite unrest, or violate the constitution and other existing laws.

The draft law also calls for the appointment of a new registration official, who will be charged with issuing publishing licenses and monitoring the media for violations of new censorship guidelines.

If passed in its current form, the draft law will essentially replace Burma's old censorship regime with a similarly repressive new one, said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative: Banning news topics and legalizing the jailing of journalists is utterly inconsistent with the press freedom guarantees that authorities vowed the new law would promote. We urge lawmakers to amend this draft in a way that protects, and not restricts, press freedom.

The draft bill will soon be deliberated by the country's military-influenced parliament. It was drawn up by the Ministry of Information without input from independent press groups, according to news reports.

 

 Update: Filth in Shanghai...

Cradle of Filth banned from mainland China


Link Here 27th February 2013  full story: Performers Censored in China...Quick to ban and censor star performers from the west

Nymphetamine Cradle Of Filth The heavy metal band, Cradle of Filth , has cancelled an upcoming gig in Shanghai after learning that the band has been banned from mainland China. A statement from the group reads:

Unfortunately, at this time, the cultural section of the Chinese government have decided that Cradle of Filth are unsuitable to play in mainland China and so we are currently banned from playing there.

Therefore, the show on Tuesday 30 April in Shanghai has had to be moved to Hong Kong. The new venue is Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre (Kitec) in Hong Kong on April 30th.

No official reason was given for the ban.

 

 Update: In a Stew...

MP calls for a Chinese film rating system after parents whinge at Hong Kong film


Link Here 26th February 2013  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

journey to the west A Shanghai People's Congress delegate called on the local government to institute a film ratings system after complaints arose about a popular Chinese movie released earlier this month.

The Hong Kong-directed film Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons , has drawn the ire of parents and media critics due to several scenes, including one in which humans were roasted alive in a cooking pot.

Some children complained about feeling sick to the stomach after watching the scenes, according to a news report on Shanghai Television Station.

Delegate Li Ming submitted a proposal last year suggesting that the local government create a ratings system that could serve as a model for the rest of the country. However, authorities did not directly reply to his proposal.

Local authorities could create a rating system based on those in Hong Kong or the US, said Shi Chuan, a professor of film studies at Shanghai University:

Along with ratings for violent and pornographic content, the system should also define other issues such as ethnic jokes, which might spark disputes over ethnic discrimination in China.

Chinese national film censors at SARFT turned down the idea of rating films in 2010.

 

  Hacked Off...

China blocks BBC World Service seemingly after BBC films near military hackers headquarters


Link Here 26th February 2013

BBC Workd Service logo The BBC may have discovered a new red line for the Chinese government: don't bring reporters near the Shanghai complex where China's suspected military hacking team is thought to be located.

The BBC says its World Service broadcast is being jammed inside China, preventing people there from hearing the program:

The jamming of shortwave transmissions is being timed to cause maximum disruption to BBC World Service English broadcasts in China.

The move is attributed to an incident when members of the Chinese military detained some BBC journalists who were trying to film outside the Shanghai complex where China's elite military hacker team is thought to work. The BBC journalists were held inside the building until they surrendered their footage.

The Shanghai-based Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army, as it is named in a report by the cyber security company Mandiant, is thought to be behind Chinese cyber-attacks on just about every federal agency and major institution in Washington.

 

  Distorted History...

Iranian newspapers cover up Michelle Obama's Oscar appearance


Link Here 26th February 2013

michelle obama photoshopped for iran An Iranian news agency has digitally altered an image of Michelle Obama announcing the Oscar for Best Picture last night, in order to make her dress appear more modest.

The State-controlled Fars News Agency added a high neckline and cap sleeves to the silver Naeem Khan gown worn by the U.S. First Lady, who remotely presented the award from the White House, to Ben Affleck for his film Argo .

It was Photoshopped in order that the garment would be in keeping with the country's Islamic dress codes that require women not to expose too much skin.

And of the film Argo, Mohammed Hosseini, Iran's Culture Minister, said that the film distorted history for propaganda purposes.

Argo has been banned from Iranian cinemas, but on the streets of Tehran there is a healthy trade in bootlegged copies, with DVDs selling for less than a dollar each.

 

 Update: Documenting Chinese Censorship...

China extends TV censorship with the requirement to pre-vet documentaries


Link Here 23rd February 2013

sarft logo China's top media censor will expand pre-broadcast vetting to cover television documentaries, in a further extension of TV censorship.

China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) told TV stations and producers that all documentaries would have to be approved in advance of being shown, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

The notice would bring censorship of TV documentaries into line with requirements on non-fiction films, it said. A notice posted on SARFT's website said that TV production companies including joint Chinese-foreign co-productions should report documentary topics in advance.

 

 Update: Muted Baddiness...

Vishwaroopam gets the go ahead in Malaysia after 16 dialogue cuts


Link Here 22nd February 2013  full story: Vishwaroopam...Indian spy thriller attracts protest for depicting muslims as the baddies

Malaysia flag Kamal Haasan's Vishwaroopam is returning to cinemas in Malaysia, but only after 16 dialogue cuts were made to avoid offence to muslim viewers.

The film was yanked from Malaysian theaters the day after it opened on January 25, even though it had been approved by the Film Censorship Board (LPF). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the LPF acted in response to letters of protest filed by the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress and the Federation of Malaysian Indian Muslim Associations complaining of religious insensitivity,

Film Business Asia reports that the distributor has not yet announced when the film would return to theaters. In the meantime, pirated DVD copies have circulated widely in Malaysia.

 

  Embarrassing Police...

Japanese police arrest noted photographer over gallery sales of books with male nudes


Link Here 22nd February 2013

leslie kee Following the news about the arrest of Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee, the fashionistas of Japan have begun to speak out against the charges of selling a book that contained obscene pictures.

The Tokyo-based artist, who has snapped pictures of a number of Japanese pop stars, as well as international celebrities like Lady Gaga and Beyonce, is facing up to two years in jail and/or fines as high as 2.5 million yen (approx. $27,000) for selling seven copies of a book at his gallery that had uncensored photos of male nudes.

Yamamuro Kazz, a Japanese magazine editor and fashion journalist, wrote on his website that he was surprised by Kee's arrest, questioning the police motivation as the books were only sold at the 41 year old's gallery event, a place only really known by people who are familiar with the artist and his works. The books, which are a part of the Photographer's Super series, and have roughly 50 pages each of pictures with nude males, were only sold to two different customers. In addition to Kee, two employees of the book's publisher were also arrested. Officials say the book was in violation of Japan's laws that require any pictures of male or female genitalia to be censored, which is most often done by pixellation, and frequently seen in the country's pornography. The police apparently found out about Kee's gallery showing and plans to sell the books from posts on his Facebook page.

Update: Printers Arrested

22nd February 2013. See review from  japandailypress.com

The ongoing police persecution of photographer Leslie Kee and his art book that contained uncensored images of male nudity has led to two arrests at the Tokyo printing company that printed the books. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police revealed that they took Hakkou Art's president Koichi Kodama, along with his son Takeshi, a sales department chief, into custody for printing 4,000 copies of Kee's Super series, where each book had roughly 50 pages of uncensored photos that supposedly violate Japan's repressive laws against nudity.

Hakkou Art is said to have received 17 million yen ($183,000) since December 2011 for printing 20,000 copies of the books. Both Kodama and his son have admitted to the charges, with Takeshi stating that they didn't want to publish photographs with nudity, however since Kee is such a big name, he couldn't refuse, also believing it would be beneficial for the company's future.

Kee's arrest sparked protest from Japan's fashion industry and internet users alike, with many calling the charges unnecessary and unjust.

Update: Shop staff arrested in continuing police persecution

18th March 2013. See article from gaystarnews.com

Tokyo's metropolitan police announced that it arrested staff of a gay store in the Shinjuku district for selling a book by photographer Leslie Kee that included images of full male nudity, which they ludicrously claimed to be obscene .

Policemen took into custody the 61-year-old manager of Lumiere, a shop located in Tokyo's gay quarter that sells DVDs and magazines, and one other employee.

The manager of Lumiere told officers that the editor of Japan's gay magazine Badi said that selling Kee's books is not illegal as they are considered artistic.

Article 175 of Japan's Penal Code prohibits the distribution, sale, or public display of obscene writings, pictures, or other materials. The law, however, does not define what specifically constitutes as being obscene, which as a result, the definition of obscenity is open to interpretation.

 

 Offsite Article: Where criticism of the monarchy will put you in jail...


Link Here 22nd February 2013  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thailand flag An editor was last month sentenced to 11 years in prison, for defaming the country's king. Geoffrey Cain reports on how Thailand's lese majeste laws have chilled free speech

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Update: Degrees of Repression...

China upset by Elton John after he dedicates his show to Ai Weiwei


Link Here 11th February 2013

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton Chinese authorities have hardened their line on foreign musicians, after Elton John infuriated them by dedicating a performance to outspoken artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Police arrived to interview the singer shortly after he announced that the performance, which took place in Beijing last November, was dedicated to the spirit and talent of Ai Weiwei .

The English language edition of state-run newspaper Global Times attacked John. It said the singer was disrespectful when he forcibly added political content to the concert , adding:

If they had known that this concert would be dedicated to Ai Weiwei, many in the audience would not have come.

John's action will also make the relevant agencies further hesitate in future when they invite foreign artists ... [He] has raised difficulties for future arts exchanges between China and other countries.

The singer's remarks even prompted the culture minister, Cai Wu, to demand that only stars with university degrees be allowed to play in China in future, but this way later played down.

 

  Crabby Censorship...

Hong Kong man imprisoned for flag burning


Link Here 11th February 2013

chinese flag crabs A human-rights activist has said that he feels honoured to have been sentenced to nine months in prison after he desecrated Chinese and Hong Kong flags.

It is the third time that Koo Sze-yiu, a Hong Kong citizen has been jailed for protesting against the mainland government. In court he labelled the Hong Kong government a stooge of the mainland, and told the magistrate that When I am released, I will do this again.

He was sentenced for desecrating flags on two occasions. In the summer of last year he burned the Chinese flag outside of the liaison office, China's office in Hong Kong. Then he waived Chinese and Hong Kong flags with holes cut in them at rallies in Hong Kong.

The South China Morning Post quotes the Hong Kong magistrate as saying:

Every country has her national flag ... and it is the symbol of the country and represents its dignity....No matter how lofty the purposes are, violation of laws will not be accepted by the public.

The citizen journalism website Global Voices detailed netizens support of Koo. Some users posted images of their own desecration of a Chinese flag in protest at his heavy sentence. inmediahk.net displayed this crab version of the flag on its facebook page. Crabs are a symbol of censorship in China because the word for river crab has a similar pronunciation to the word for harmony which is often used to justify censorship.

 

  Embarrassing Pants...

Japanese nutters whinge at statues of Michelangelo's David


Link Here 7th February 2013

Canvas Print 40 Michelangelos available Nutters in a Japanese town are whineing about a replica of Michelangelo's Renaissance sculpture, asking for it to be donned with underwear.

Okuizumo has 16-foot replicas of the sculpture which they installed in parks last summer, thanks to donations from a local businessman.

Residents who object to the statues claim they are concerned about their children seeing it.  Yoji Morinaga, a town official said:

Some people have told the town's legislators that toddlers are afraid of the statues because they are so big and they appeared unexpectedly over the summer.

They are statues of unclothed humans, and such pieces of art work are very rare in our area. Some people apparently said the statues might not be good for their children.

Though most of the town's 15,000 residents have expressed approval of the statues, some have asked that he wear underwear.

There are no plans to put underwear on the David replicas at the moment, as the town believes residents will learn to appreciate them as they are if given enough time.

 

  Long Distance Bus Journeys Now Seem a Bit Longer...

Philippines film censors decide that bus videos must be suitable for children


Link Here 7th February 2013

MTRCB logo The Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has announced that it is extending its remit to buses.

MTRCB chairman Eugenio Villareal said that the agency now restricts movies and programming shown in public transportation, particularly in buses. He said that the board only allows the showing of G-rated or general patronage movies in public places. Local and foreign films that have been rated R or restricted should not be shown in public transportation.

Villareal said that the viewing of Rated R movies having violent, sexual or sensual content had been particularly frequent in provincial-bound transportation the past years.

 

  Tarnishing Thailand's Image for Fun...

Thai culture minister attempts to censor US comedy skit alluding to the Thai sex industry


Link Here 6th February 2013

saturday night live thai joke video The Thai government plans to ask Youtube to remove a video clip joking about the sex industry in Thailand.

The clip is a parody of a commercial for the Rosetta Stone foreign language learning programme. The spoof was produced by popular American late-night television show Saturday Night Live .

In the video, foreigners are interested in learning the Thai language so they know how to say things like, How much? , Is that for the whole night? or How can I take off your clothes? in Thai.

Culture Minister Sonthaya Khunploem said that the Culture Watch Centre is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an effort to have the video removed from Youtube.

The government will also claim to the United States embassy that the commercial spoof is tarnishing Thailand's image and will ask the embassy to explain the situation to the producer of Saturday Night Live, Sonthaya said.

Rather ironically the Thai culture minister is the brother of the Mayor of Pattaya which is very much the capital of the tourist sector of the sex industry. Perhaps the minister should consider that his actions are contributing to an image of hypocrisy and internet censorship.

One Thai commenter kindly translated the culture ministers diplomacy speak:

Even though it might be true, the producers should not offend Thailand this way.

Update: Censored?

5th February 2013.  See  article from  nationmultimedia.com

YouTube has removed the Rosetta Stone Thai spoof video clip produced by US late-night TV show's Saturday Night Live that portrays Thailand in a negative light, mocking the country as a destination for sex tourists. Well at least according to Apinand Poshaya-nond, deputy permanent secretary for culture, who 'confirmed' the removal yesterday.

Apinand said yesterday that the ministry would explain the situation later to the producer of Saturday Night Live .

Meanwhile you can watch the 'offending' video on...you've guessed it... YouTube !

Comment: What a proper minister of fun would have said

6th February 2013.  See  article from  notthenation.com

This video is neither accurate nor humorous, and relies on outdated stereotypes to make fun of our nation and culture, said Thailand's minister of fun: The truth is that Thai prostitutes and those who provide sex services are fluent in English.

The minister blasted the video's ignorant suggestion that foreign tourists who wished to experience the unique pleasures of Thailand's extensive commercial sex services needed to undergo expensive and difficult language training.

Our sex tourism industry is one of the world leaders in the field, and we have serviced millions of satisfied customers -- male and female -- for decades. English, Chinese, German, Japanese, Russian, French, and Arabic-speaking sex tourists from around the world know that you don't need to speak a word of Thai to enjoy sex in Thailand. We are proud of this and will fight to maintain our image.

 

  Tarnishing Thailand's Image for Fun...

Thai culture minister attempts to censor US comedy skit alluding to the Thai sex industry


Link Here 5th February 2013

saturday night live thai joke video The Thai government plans to ask Youtube to remove a video clip joking about the sex industry in Thailand.

The clip is a parody of a commercial for the Rosetta Stone foreign language learning programme. The spoof was produced by popular American late-night television show Saturday Night Live .

In the video, foreigners are interested in learning the Thai language so they know how to say things like, How much? , Is that for the whole night? or How can I take off your clothes? in Thai.

Culture Minister Sonthaya Khunploem said that the Culture Watch Centre is working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an effort to have the video removed from Youtube.

The government will also claim to the United States embassy that the commercial spoof is tarnishing Thailand's image and will ask the embassy to explain the situation to the producer of Saturday Night Live, Sonthaya said.

Rather ironically the Thai culture minister is the brother of the Mayor of Pattaya which is very much the capital of the tourist sector of the sex industry. Perhaps the minister should consider that his actions are contributing to an image of hypocrisy and internet censorship.

One Thai commenter kindly translated the culture ministers diplomacy speak:

Even though it might be true, the producers should not offend Thailand this way.

Update: Censored?

5th February 2013.  See  article from  nationmultimedia.com

YouTube has removed the Rosetta Stone Thai spoof video clip produced by US late-night TV show's Saturday Night Live that portrays Thailand in a negative light, mocking the country as a destination for sex tourists. Well at least according to Apinand Poshaya-nond, deputy permanent secretary for culture, who 'confirmed' the removal yesterday.

Apinand said yesterday that the ministry would explain the situation later to the producer of Saturday Night Live .

Meanwhile you can watch the 'offending' video on...you've guessed it... YouTube !

 

 Updated: Goodies and Baddies...

Malaysia joins Indian states in banning the Tamil spy thriller Vishwaroopam


Link Here 30th January 2013  full story: Vishwaroopam...Indian spy thriller attracts protest for depicting muslims as the baddies

vishwaroopam Vishwaroopam is a 2013 India crime action thriller by Kamal Hassan.
With Kamal Hassan, Pooja Kumar and Andrea Jeremiah. YouTube icon IMDb

Kamal Haasan's controversial film Vishwaroopam has been banned from local cinemas in Malaysia a day after its release following a directive from the Home Ministry, much to the disappointment ethnic Indians in Kuala Lumpur.

Film distribution company Lotus Fivestar AV's director R Ramalingam said the ministry told him to stop screening the movie on Friday. The film, which opened in Malaysia on Thursday, had played to full cinemas before being removed from the theatres.

Vishwaroopam has been passed by the Central Board of Film Censors but has been temporarily banned in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu for two weeks amid allegations by the Muslim community that they have been depicted negatively in the movie. Haasan has taken the matter to the Madras High Court and a decision is pending.

The film is playing in the state of Kerala but cinema goers are having to brave muslim protests.

Sri Lanka has ordered a delay in the release in favour of a review by censors.

In the UK the film has been passed 12A for cinema release after 11s of category cuts. The BBFC commented:

Company chose to remove two moments of bloody violence in order to obtain a 12A rating. An uncut 15 rating was available.

VISHWAROOPAM is a thriller in the Hindi and Tamil languages about a woman unsuspectingly married to one of India's top secret agents. It is rated 12A for moderate violence.

There are a number of fast-paced fights and shoot-outs. Although there are some heavy blows and bullet impacts, little is shown in terms of injury detail, with the focus instead placed on the spectacular and generally unrealistic fight choreography. For example, in one scene the hero uses a Japanese sword to defeat his attackers, cutting off one of their hands. There is no detail of this but the hand is briefly seen flying through the air.

VISHWAROOPAM also contains infrequent mild bad language and mild sex references. There is also some sight of hard drugs, but this occurs within a clear anti drug context.

Presumably the baddies are muslim terrorists and hence the complaints about negative depictions from the muslim community.

Update: Unbanned by the Madras High Court

30th January 2013. See  article from  thehindubusinessline.com

madras highcourt In a major relief to film makers, the Madras High Court has lifted the ban imposed on the movie Vishwaroopam by the Tamil Nadu government after it courted controversy over its supposedly anti-Muslim content.

The judgement paves the way for the screening of the movie however there are indications that the state government may prefer an appeal.

The court reviewed and accepted the film censorship procedures resulting in the UA certificate (PG) issued after 1:08s of censor cuts. The state's case seemed to be that the decision was taken by an examining committee rather than the full board.

The Tamil Nadu government had banned the screening of the film in the face of opposition by some Muslim outfits, who claimed that the movie portrayed their community in a negative light. It seems that this claim is due to the spy thriller baddies being fictional muslim terrorists.

Update: Meanwhile in Milton Keynes

30th January 2013. See article from miltonkeynes.co.uk

vishwaroopam-1 Angry Muslims staged a protest against a supposedly Islamophobic film outside Milton Keynes' Cineworld cinema.

The group were protesting the UK release of the controversial Indian film Vishwaroopam , which is currently showing in British cinemas. Campaigner Mustapha Zamaan felt the film fuelled negative views against Muslim people and should be banned from British cinemas. He said:

We know there's a number of American films against Muslims but it's a lot different in Indian culture, where they trust film actors like gods. This worship leads to films like this creating racial tension and that's why it's been banned in India. Ideally we want it pulled here too, but we might be a bit late.

We respect freedom of expression... BUT ...this film is hate speech that portrays Muslims negatively.

Update: Unbanned in Malaysia

21st February 2013. See  article from  jagranjosh.com

The Malaysian Authorities on 19 February 2013 lifted the ban imposed on the screening of the Tamil movie Vishwaroopam , directed and produced by Kamal Haasan for public screening.

Earlier on 24 January 2013 the authorities approved the screening of the movie in Malaysia but following the directives released by the Home Ministry that the content of the movie portrayed Islam in a negative light, the approval was withdrawn.

The movie received a go-ahead in Malaysia after the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) and the National Censorship Board studied the movie from all aspects including religious and security fronts and gave a green signal to its screening.

 

 Update: Uncensored News...

Burma official dissolves its press censorship board


Link Here 26th January 2013  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

Burma flag 2010 Myanmar's notorious press censorship board was officially dissolved on Thursday in another nod towards press freedom since the government began to make democratic reforms two years ago.

The Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) had not been in operation since August last year, when Myanmar announced it would lift its policy of prior censorship of all publications, which had been in place in the country since 1964. The state-run New Light of Myanmar reported:

The division under the Printing and Publishing Enterprise has stopped functioning since 20 August, 2012, to pave ways for freedom of press. Copyrights and Registration Division will be formed under Information and Public Relations Departmentr.

 

 Update: Silenced Voice...

Thai magazine editor gets 10 years in jail for lese majeste after calling for the repeal of the same law


Link Here 24th January 2013  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flag A magazine editor sentenced to ten years in prison for publishing two negative articles about Thailand's monarchy. Somyot Pruksakasemsuk published the articles in Voice of Taksin .

The verdict came despite repeated calls by rights groups to free Somyot, who has been jailed since 2011. They condemned his imprisonment as the latest affront to freedom of expression in the Southeast Asian country.

The articles were published under a pseudonym in Somyot's now-defunct Voice of Taksin magazine, which he launched in 2009 to compile political news and anti-establishment articles from writers and contributors.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, explained that the case appears to be more about Somyot's strong support for amending the lese majeste law than about any harm incurred by the monarchy. Although the articles were published in 2010, Somyot was not arrested until the following year, five days after launching a petition drive to revoke Article 112 of the nation's criminal code. The author of the articles has never been charged with any crimes and is reported to be living in Cambodia.

Judges found both articles included content that criticised the royal family and argued that Somyot, as a veteran editor, was aware of that. The court handed down two five-year jail terms - one for each story.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said:

The harsh sentence sends the wrong signals on freedom of expression in Thailand. The court's decision is the latest indication of a disturbing trend in which lese majesty charges are used for political purposes. People exercising freedom of expression should not be punished in the first place.

The European Union said:

The verdict seriously undermines the right to freedom of expression and press freedom and affects Thailand's image as a free and democratic society.

Somyot said he would appeal the verdict but would not seek a royal pardon.

 

  Obscured by Clouds...

Chinese film censors cut 40 minutes from Cloud Atlas


Link Here 23rd January 2013

Cloud Atlas DVD Tom Hanks Movie censors in China have slashed 40 minutes from Tom Hanks and Halle Berry's epic Cloud Atlas .

The film opened with a 130-minute running time, cut down from 169-minute version that was released worldwide. The film is R Rated in the US (which would be 17A in the UK).

A report in the Shanghai-based Dongfang Daily said expository sequences and passionate love scenes were cut from the film, while gory sequences depicting a character being shot in the head or another having his throat slit remained.

The Hollywood Reporter speculates that a romantic relationship between budding composer Robert Frobisher (Ben Whishaw) and his Cambridge schoolmate Rufus Sixsmith (James D'Arcy) is highly likely to have been dropped from the Chinese version of the film. Same-sex romances remain a taboo for Chinese censors.

In another scene, set in a 22nd century Korean city called Neo-Seoul, a human-replicant waitress is shown having sex with her foreman. This was probably censored too.

 

  Pakistan Recommends...

Video games Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops II


Link Here 23rd January 2013

Medal of Honor Warfighter PS3 Pakistani shopkeepers are boycotting two new video games which they say portray the country as a failed state, riddled with terrorism and where security forces are in league with al-Qaeda.

Both Medal of Honor: Warfighter and Call of Duty: Black Ops II are first-person shooter games, where players take on the persona of an American special forces agent and feature ultra realistic graphics.

Saleem Memon, president of the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Casette Traders and Manufacturers Association, said he had written to members ordering them not to stock the controversial games after receiving dozens of complaints. He said:

The problem is that there are things that are against Pakistan and they have included criticism of our army.

They show the country in a very poor light.

These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto.

Although shops in all of Pakistan's major cities have been told of the boycott, the game was still available in shops. One shopkeeper said:

These sorts of games are my most popular. The nationalists and the religious ones don't like them but I'm not going to stop selling them.

 

  Propaganda Trolls...

Vietnam admits to employing bloggers to support the Communist Party line


Link Here 21st January 2013

Vietnam flag Vietnamese propaganda chiefs have admitted deploying people to subvert online discussions and post comments supporting the Communist Party's policies. The party has also confirmed that it operates a network of nearly 1,000 public opinion shapers .

The tactic is similar to China's model of internet moderators who aim to control news and manipulate opinion.

Hanoi Propaganda and Education Department head Ho Quang Loi said that the authorities had hired hundreds of so-called internet polemists in the fight against online hostile forces . Loi revealed that his organisation is running at least 400 online accounts and 20 microblogs.

The propaganda bloggers take part in online discussions, where they fiercely attack anybody who they see as critical of the regime.

The authorities also employ a force of 900 public opinion shapers who help talk up government policies and promote the party line across the country. It is not clear whether these operatives, and the bloggers, are on official payrolls.

 

  Holding Internet Companies Responsible...

Thailand's repressive internet law holds back digital enterprise


Link Here 21st January 2013

Thailand flag Thailand's Computer Crime Act (CCA) has become a hindrance not only to free expression but also to business innovation and entrepreneurship, say academics and computer experts.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been closely monitoring the way the CCA is being applied, particularly in conjunction with lese majeste laws. A Bangkok-based UN official said:

It's not only the issue of freedom of expression that is undermined or compromised by the two laws, but the problematic application and their ambiguous, if not vague, procedures have already led people to self-censorship and/or to jail.

The application of the CCA, enacted in 2007 by the Surayud Chulanont government following the 2006 coup, has also scared off businesses, according to Ann Lavin, director of public policy and government relations with Google:

The point is that foreign investors will not invest here because the law says the intermediary (such as a webmaster) is liable.

She said Article 15 of the CCA had cost Thailand a business fortune:

Only 1% of the web content is in Thai, there should definitely be more, but people are afraid of the laws so they don't want to create websites.

Article 15 stipulates that any service provider who intentionally supports or consents to commission of an offence under Article 14 in the computer system under his control shall receive the same punishment as prescribed in Article 14 (the same as the offender).

 

  Appeasing the Baddies...

Skyfall cut for its Chinese release


Link Here 18th January 2013

Skyfall DVD Daniel Craig_updated The new Bond film will be released in China but with key scenes removed and alternative translations written into the subtitles to appease the country's film censors.

Sam Mendes' Skyfall Chinese release has been hampered by the inclusion of politically and culturally controversial narrative events which take place in Shanghai and Macau.

The cut version omits a scene set in Shanghai where a French hitman (Ola Rapace) shoots a Chinese security guard. References to prostitution and corruption in China have either been edited out or obscured in the subtitle translations.

In particular the backstory to villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) who was tortured by the Chinese government after working for MI6 in Hong Kong has had all references to China removed.

The scene where Daniel Craig's Bond and the character Severine (Berenice Marlohe) are at a Macau casino and he enquires if her tattoo is the mark of an infamous prostitution ring remains intact but the subtitles have been changed to refer to a gang.

 

 Update: Political Prisoner...

Prominent Thai political leader jailed for comments about the monarchy


Link Here 18th January 2013  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flag A prominent member of Thailand's red-shirt political movement has been jailed for two years for comments relating to the monarchy in a 2010 speech.

Activist and comedian Yossawaris Chuklom, who uses the stage name Jeng Dokchik, made the speech at a rally in Bangkok during political protests.

People found guilty under Thailand's strict lese majeste laws can face up to 15 years in prison.

Critics of the law say it has been used to suppress free speech. For example, calling for the abolition of the monarchy is considered an insult to the royal family.

A lawyer for Yossawaris said he had originally been sentenced to three years but that the judge reduced it to two because he had given useful evidence. He added that his client intended to appeal against the verdict, and would apply for bail.

 

  Exporting Internet Repression...

Chinese chat app caught out censoring messages of international users


Link Here 15th January 2013

tencent logo A Chinese web giant Tencent has been caught red-handed applying Chinese style internet censorship to users outside of the country.

Tencent's WeChat is one of China's rare social media apps that has gained popularity overseas. The company boasts nearly 300 million users in 100 countries and regions.

Tech blogs Tech in Asia and The Next Web both reported receiving messages saying their chat entries contained restricted words .

The Next Web tried to write the words Falun Gong , a group banned in China, and Tech in Asia attempted to send Southern Weekend , the name of a newspaper in the south of the country that is at the moment the subject of a controversy surrounding censorship. The blogs said their entries were blocked.

Tencent ludicrously claimed that the censorship was just a glitch but the explanation was widely considered to be untruthful bollox.

Tom Rafferty of the Economist Intelligence Unit told the BBC:

The latest incident... is representative of the 'growing pains' that China's internet and social media companies are likely to experience as they expand globally.

The servers of such companies are typically based in China, which means the traffic they process will always potentially be vulnerable to monitoring.

It goes against the grain of domestic censorship regulations, which show no clear signs of being loosened.

Domestic users, many of whom already baulk at the level of censorship imposed on them, would react unfavourably if Tencent were to offer unfiltered content to overseas users.

 

 Update: Un.Banned...

Sex.Violence.FamilyValues unbanned in Singapore


Link Here 12th January 2013  full story: Film Censorship in Singapore...Media Development Authority

sexviolencefamilyvalues Sex.Violence.FamilyValues. is a 2012 Singapore short comedy drama family by Ken Kwek.
With Adrian Pang, Vadi Pvss and Pamela Oei. YouTube icon IMDb

The film features 3 vignettes:

  • A kindergarten principal finds a series of morbid cartoons drawn by a child.
  • Porn Masala. A porn actor struggles to rise to the occasion while filming a romantic cumedy .
  • A middle-aged nightclub bouncer faces off with a rebellious teenage stripper.

It was banned last year by Singapore film censors because of its racial humour and political incorrectness.

It has now just been given a rating of R21 after cuts following an appeal by the film's makers. This means it can be screened in cinemas to audience members aged 21 or older.

A statement by the Media Development Authority (MDA) says that the film may be screened under an Restricted 21 (R21) rating with edits , without describing what the cuts were.

The statement also mentioned that the Films Appeal Committee (FAC) took account of the public complaints arising from an online trailer containing the more controversial segments of the film, especially in regard to racial references in Porn Masala .

 

 Updated: A Few Steps Forward, Then a Step Back...

Burma bans a slightly sexy fashion magazine


Link Here 12th January 2013  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

Burma flag 2010 Burma's new reformist government has backtracked on the freeing up the press and banned a magazine covering fashion.

The Information Ministry claimed on its website that the monthly magazine Nhyot deviated from its charter as a fashion magazine by publishing sexually arousing photos and articles.

The December issue of the magazine carried several pictures of scantily clad Burmese women in provocative poses and articles that the editor said constituted sex education. The content appears tame by the standards of similar publications in the West or in neighboring Thailand, but Burma's authorities have a string legacy of censorial attitudes.

Nhyot editor Ko Oo Swe told The Associated Press that whether the photos were sexually arousing depended on the eyes of the beholder. He said other magazines have also published material that differs from their charter but have not been shut down.

Update: Another 6 publications put on the naughty step

12th January 2013. See  article from  dvb.no

Perhaps hiding behind the news that a fashion magazine has been banned for being too sexy lurks news of continuing Burmese press censorship.

A further six publications: Media One, The Farmer, Ad World, Myanandar, High Speed Car, New Blood and Aesthetics, were told they would be monitored for one month after publishing supposedly irrelevant content.

An interim press council, led by retired Supreme Court Judge Khin Maung Aye, was formed the following month with a mandate to promote media freedom. Press council member, Zaw Thet Htway, told DVB he is hopeful that Burma's repressive media laws will gradually be abolished:

The draft [media law] will be presented to the media later this month -- after their feedback and legal experts' opinion, a final, strong law will be presented to the parliament. We are optimistic that once the parliament approves the new law, all other oppressive media laws will gradually fade away.

 

  Protecting the Innocent...

Far Cry 3 censored for its Japanese release


Link Here 12th January 2013

Far Cry 3 Xbox 360 Far Cry 3 is suffering censor cuts for its Japanese release.

According to Ubisoft (via website 4Gamer) the cuts for the Japanese language version are:

  • Wounded corpses have been censored
  • A sex scene has been edited
  • Depictions of open wounds have been edited
  • Killing 3 civilians in succession now results in a game over penalty, compared with about 5 in western versions

 

 Updated: A Brave Protest...

Chinese newspaper staff write open letters protesting against an editorial being censored


Link Here 10th January 2013  full story: Press Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news

southern weekly Journalists at a leading Chinese newspaper have called for a chief newspaper censor to resign, in a rare protest against censorship.

Prominent former staff and interns at the Southern Weekly urged the official to quit after he changed an editorial into a Communist Party tribute. They accused him of being dictatorial in an era of growing openness .

The row at the Southern Weekly - known for hard-hitting investigations and testing the limits of censorship - erupted after a new year editorial calling for guaranteed constitutional rights was changed at the last minute to one extolling the virtues of the Communist Party.

In two open letters, 35 prominent former staff and 50 interns at the paper have demanded the resignation of the provincial propaganda chief in Guangdong, Tuo Zhen.

BBCChinese.com editor Zhuang Chen says it is thought to be the first time there has been a direct showdown between newspaper staff and party officials.

The row comes as the website of another liberal journal was closed after it ran an essay urging political reform. The influential online magazine, Yanhuang Chunqiu (or China Through the Ages), had called on China's leaders to guarantee constitutional rights such as freedom of speech and assembly.

Update: Street Protest

8th January 2013. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the headquarters of a southern newspaper on Monday in a rare display of public anger over China's draconian censorship regulations. Many held signs calling for greater press freedom and expressing support for the newspaper's editorial employees, some of whom have gone on strike against the provincial propaganda authority's interference with a recent editorial.

Widely circulated pictures on microblogs show large groups of young people holding up handwritten anti-censorship messages and grappling with police.

This incident could mark the first time in more than two decades that the editorial staff of a major newspaper have openly staged a strike against government censorship, reported the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

Update: Truce

10th January 2013. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Reports from China suggest journalists at a newspaper embroiled in a censorship row are returning to work after an agreement was reached.

Staff at Southern Weekly had demanded that a top censor and propaganda chief step down after a New Year message was changed.

On Tuesday, editorial propaganda from the state-run Global Times blamed the incident on activists outside the media industry was republished on multiple news sites - the result, according to reports, of a government directive. But several major news portals carried a disclaimer saying they did not endorse the piece and a number of newspapers did not run it, in an apparent show of solidarity.

Reports citing sources both from the paper's staff and people close them said a deal to end the dispute was agreed on Tuesday evening. Thursday's edition would be published as normal and most staff would not be punished, Reuters reported.

However, online reports citing microblogs suggest the row may have widened to include a well-known daily, Beijing News.

Unconfirmed reports said its chief editor, Dai Zigeng, had resigned over pressure to publish the Global Times editorial.

Update: Jailed

27th November 2015. See  article from voanews.com

China has sentenced three human rights activists to harsh prison terms for participating in an anti-censorship protest in 2013. The attorney for the three, Zhang Lei, told VOA that he is shocked and angered by the verdict, which gave a sentence of six years to activist Guo Feixiong.

Activists Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng were sentenced to three years and 2 years, respectively, for participating in the same demonstration.

The three were charged with gathering crowds to disturb social order and Guo received the additional charge of picking quarrels and provoking trouble. Both charges are often used broadly against dissidents.

The protest they took part in was a weeklong peaceful demonstration in 2013 outside the headquarters of the Southern Weekly newspaper. The demonstrators called on Beijing to give up censorship practices that affected the paper.

Zhang said he will be filing appeals for all three of his clients.

 

 Update: That Network Moment...

One of China's army of self censorers reveals all


Link Here 10th January 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Weibo logo In the past few days, China's most influential microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, has been deleting posts related to a controversial editorial, known as the Southern Weekly's New Year Greeting incident . All the related keywords, and even terms like the South (??), the first part of the newspaper's name, are unsearchable. Outraged micro-bloggers keep yelling and cursing at Sina Weibo's managers.

However, a Sina Weibo's manager, @geniune_Yu_Yang, frustrated by the pressure the Propaganda Department imposed upon him and his colleagues, came out and wrote an inside story to explain Sina's difficult position. Below is a quick translation of what he wrote:

Last night in [Sina] Weibo, apart from the Propaganda Department, my work unit was the second most popular target of netizens' verbal attack. The screen was full of the terrifying note: The micro-blog has been deleted. The platform looked like a sinking ship with thousands of holes on it. My boss, Lao Shen's [Sina] Weibo's page is full of cursing. In particular, after the Southern Weekly incident had been reported by Netease [a popular web portal] extensively yesterday, attacks on Sina's cowardice and its role as the running dog [of the Propaganda Department] reached a climax. I was so frustrated and finally fought with a famous online script-writer. After I cooled down, I reflected upon the whole thing, feeling the urge to write a long micro-blog to explain the situation in detail.

Very often, you can't see the truth when you just see the phenomena and when you are overwhelmed with anger.

1. If we don't delete your post, the alternative is that your account will be banned. This platform belongs to the public. It has changed our life and can exercise influence on the society and government through the spread of opinion. On the one hand, we have millions of netizens, on the other hand, we have, not Sina [Weibo, but the government and the authorities]. Since the day [around the end of March 2012] when Sina Weibo suspended its comments function for three days, a special group of people have the authority to decide on the criteria for giving out alert signals, and can make [Sina] Weibo go game-over as simply as treading on some ants without giving a damn about people's needs. When they issue urgent orders (like the Emperor's 18 golden orders in ancient time), you have to execute them.

We need [Sina] Weibo to deliver voices. But a hand is manipulating behind us. Someone is doomed to be sacrifice in this game. We live in a country full of special and sensitive barriers and we have to operate within a set of rules.

2. With such background, we have the second thesis: The strategy on deletion and distribution. Please think about this: You guys keep posting messages like machines, and the micro-blog secretaries keep deleting them. If we don't delete messages one by one and suspend accounts, we could have saved more time and energy. We could have served better as the running dog. You can see the messages before they are deleted, right? You still have your account functioning, right? You are all experienced netizens, you know that the technology allows us to delete messages in a second. Please think carefully on this.

3. In some cases, other platforms have more space than Sina. Sina is the biggest tree and everyone is using the platform. Classmate Xuan [, nickname for the Propaganda Department,] will watch every single act. Once the leaves of the tree move, the bell rings. The way we receive orders is similar to the way the Catholic Father in the movie Cinema Paradiso rings his hand bell whenever there is a kissing scene. We have to take orders whenever we hear the ringing bell.

Before this incident occurred, and at its very early stages, we were under a lot of pressure. We tried to resist and let the messages spread. This is our accomplishment already. Our official account @Sina_Media reported on the suspension of the Southern Weekly instantly, and the news was retweeted by @headline_news, which was again retweeted again 30,000 times in 10 mins. Then we got the order from Classmate Xuan and we had to delete it. Fortunately, the message had been distributed. A friend from Penguin website left a warm message in my microblog: This is a battle. Sina [Weibo] is a human flesh shield. It is a courageous act.

4. Expectedly, my bosses have to go through tea session [euphemism for police interview] again. I have to stop here.

 

  In the Absence of Gun Licensing We'll Censor Video Games...

Philippines MP looks to impose video game censorship in a bid to end gun crime


Link Here 7th January 2013

Philippines flag A Philippines MP has urged local executives to immediately enforce classifications for video games that are sold in stores or played in gaming arcades as she claims many of them promote violence or sexual promiscuity.

Bernadette Herrera-Dy said that currently there is no specific government agency that classifies video games. She said the age and content ratings being set by the US Entertainment Software Rating Board on video games are not legally binding in the Philippines.

Herrera-Dy issued the call in the wake of gun-related violence in the country with the Caloocan City and Cavite shootings resulting in the death of nine persons, including two children. She warned that violent video games are readily available to minors in their homes and in gaming arcades, and are easily accessed from various websites.

Herrera-Dy said that under her proposal, local governments must impose a classification system for access to video game CDs sold in stores or those played in mall fun centres and Internet shops. She said the classification ratings used by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board could be re-used for video and Internet games.

She vowed to file several anti-gun control and violence prevention measures such as the video game classification standards, believing that strong public support may give these proposals a good chance of being passed into law before the closing of the 15th Congress in June. she spouted further:

In the absence of national laws that would ensure stringent gun licensing regulations and violence prevention measures, local government units may step in because they are capable of taking quick and determined steps to protect their constituents from a culture of violence that has slowly crept into our communities.

Herrera-Dy admitted that there is no direct connection between video games and the incidence of firearm violence :

..BUT.. this should not deter local and national legislative bodies to pass laws against video game violence, most of which are even more brutal and ruthless than those committed in real life.

 

 Update: For Reasons We Know Not What...

Google ends a feature informing Chinese search users that they were being censored


Link Here 5th January 2013  full story: Censored Search...Western companies assist Chinese repression

Google China logo Google has conceded defeat in its latest effort to combat online censorship in China, after a year of behind-the-scenes brinkmanship over sensitive search terms banned by authorities.

The search company has quietly dropped a warning message shown to Chinese users when they search for politically sensitive phrases, after Beijing found new ways to cut them off from the web.

Google decided to drop the feature in December. A source in China said Google decided it was counterproductive to continue the technical dispute.

A Google spokesman confirmed it removed the notification features in December, but declined to comment further due to the sensitivity of the situation in China.

 

 Update: Magically Censored...

Thai TV series featuring a sorcerer who performs black magic to manipulate politics hits too close to home


Link Here 5th January 2013  full story: Thai TV Soaps...Kissing and catfights make the news

nua mek 2 logo Thai Government figures have denied any political intervention in the abrupt termination of a controversial TV series on Channel 3, which was unexpectedly replaced last night with a new drama series.

Channel 3 announced in an onscreen message last night that Nua Mek 2 (Above the Clouds 2) had been replaced earlier than scheduled because of supposedly  inappropriate content.

The storyline focuses on a corrupt politician keen on profiteering on a satellite launch and a sorcerer who performs black magic to manipulate politics, and of course lots of soapy romance.

Comments on social media, have it the series was cut short at the orders of people in power who were stung by its content.

Suranand Vejjajiva, the prime minister's secretary-general, claimed that the government had never interfered with any TV drama or news report. The prime minister has nothing to do with the abrupt end of the drama, he said in a phone interview with The Nation.

The original schedule for Nua Mek 2 called for 12 episodes. Episode Nine aired last Sunday. As controversy mounted the producers hastily edited the last 3 episodes into a single episode to at least provide a presumably uncontroversial end to the series. However even that edited last episode was cancelled, leaving the show's story unfinished.

 

 Update: At least China is Uncompetitive in one Market...

Extreme film censorship puts a dampener on local production


Link Here 1st January 2013  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

Inseparable Daniel Beibi Kevin Spacey China is wrestling with how to reconcile its extreme censorship system with the need to create films the world will want to watch.

Xie Fei, a professor at the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, recently sparked a debate on government control over the film industry when he called for replacing the country's censorship procedures by a movie rating system with ratings similar to those used in the United States. Xie wrote in an open letter:

In the past few years, there were so many unwritten laws when censoring movies. Unwritten laws such as: 'ghosts are not allowed in contemporary settings,' 'extramarital affairs are not allowed,' 'certain political incidents are not allowed,' etc. The censorship system [in China] is not defined by law, but done according to individuals.

Such rules are killing artistic exploration.

Beijing-based filmmaker Dayyan Eng responded saying that with more foreign films entering the domestic market, local directors struggle to compete. He blames it partly on the censorship system.

It's [Censorship] restricting what we can make. And I think that everyone has been finding out, especially this year, because the local films have been killed by Hollywood.

If Hollywood is allowed to make whatever they want, and actually most of them, the big budget ones anyway, are being shown in China, we are at a disadvantage because the system that's in place to regulate or censor this things is not the same for Chinese films and for Hollywood films.

Eng's latest film, Inseparable , was the first wholly local production to feature a Hollywood star, Kevin Spacey. Eng says the censorship system influenced the way he wrote his movie.

When I first started out doing the story and writing the script and even up to shooting and editing it, in a way I have to censor myself a little bit. For example, there would be certain scenes I want to do, but I would think 'Maybe it is not going to pass the censorship if I do it this way, if I go too far' so I tend to pull myself back little bit.

Although Chinese lawmakers recognize that domestic films are facing increasing pressure to compete with foreign films, they did not directly respond to Xie Fei's suggestions that a US-style rating system was better than China's censorship rules.

Similar proposals surfaced in 2007, after nude scenes in the Ang Lee film Lust Caution were cut before the film's release in China. But censors put an end to the idea when a senior official from SARFT said that such a system would not be appropriate for China.

But now, with a growing number of actors, directors and producers sharing their views online, it has become easier for critical voices to contribute to the national discussion. Film producer Robert Cain has consulted Hollywood and Chinese studios on co-productions since 1987. He says that by not establishing a rating system, the Chinese government is patronizing its public:

There is no need to treat everyone in China like a child or an infant that can be hurt by certain topics in movies. Everyone knows that people have sex, everyone knows that crime takes place and it seems very hypocritical to me that the government wants to pretend, at least in films, that these things don't happen in China.

 

 Offsite Article: Love Hunter...


Link Here 1st January 2013
40 years pass since the Nikkatsu flick, Love Hunter, was deemed obscene in Japan

See article from tokyoreporter.com