Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2013: Oct-Dec

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 Updated: Propaganda Battle...

China Recommends...The computer game Battlefield 4


Link Here 28th December 2013
Electronic Arts Battlefield 4 PS4 A Chinese newspaper has accused the US makers of computer game Battlefield 4 of demonising their country with cultural aggression .

The article, which appeared in military paper Zhongguo Guofangbao last week, also accuses American company Electronic Arts of discrediting China with cultural aggression .

It is a first person shooter game with players taking control of an American soldier in a conflict against a rogue Chinese general and missions include an attack on Beijing.

According a comment piece in the South China Morning Post:

When western countries would make war games in the past, they would settle on Russia if they needed an imaginary enemy.

But in recent years, with the boosting of China's national strength, China threat theories run rampant, and foreign companies are increasingly keen to put the Sino-US conflict in their games as a gimmick to attract attention.

The use of video games...to discredit one country's image in the eyes of other countries is a new form of cultural penetration and aggression.

Update: Duly banned

28th December 2013. See  article from  slashgear.com

China flag Due to the supposed discrediting of China's national image in the futuristic plot line of the game, Battlefield 4 has been banned from sale as of this week. The Chinese Ministry of Culture said the game is to be removed from physical shelves as well as all China-based online sales channels.

Those that've already downloaded the game in China will be unable to access any online content and are encouraged to delete the game from their consoles and PCs. The Chinese Ministry of Culture suggests that Battlefield 4:

Is an illegal game, with content that endangers national security, and is all about a cultural invasion.

Battlefield 4 relevant available downloads, patches, news, and other requirements [shall be] deleted within 24 hours.

Apparently the bit in the game where American soldiers must march into China to help in a state of social instability is not entirely welcome as a possible futuristic outcome in the country at the moment.

 

  Confidential Report: An Australian Transgression...

Documentary finds it is effectively banned as too sexy for R18+, and too violent for X18+


Link Here 26th December 2013
Confidential Report Australian Transgression Recyclopath Confidential Report: An Australian Transgression is a 2010 Australia documentary by Robert Cettl.
With Mel Kelly, Teri Louise Kelly and Desiree Laz. IMDb

A politically charged documentary film, deemed suitable for inclusion in Australia's national film archive, which examines the ethics of censorship has found itself unable to be shown publicly after seemingly falling foul of the very laws it explores. Unable to obtain a rating or certification, the film is now effectively banned by the very censorship it sought to expose.

Since the early 2000s limited scenes of actual sex are allowed in Australia under an R18+ rating. Films like Michael Winterbottom's 9 Songs , John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus , Lars Von Trier's Anti-Christ , Gaspar Noe's Irreversible , Nagisa Oshima's In the Realm of the Senses can be shown.

However, while the X18+ rating prohibits any violence, sexual violence or assaultive language in a film with actual sex, the presence of limited actual sex within the R18+ rating allows for an aesthetic combination of hardcore sex, violence and sexual violence, subject to the impact test. [meaningless bollox where by the censors claim to have some objective scale of censorability. Anything they want to ban or cut they describe it as a high impact, and then say it is banned because it is high impact, as if this was some sort of justification].

The intent of Confidential Report: an Australian Transgression is an exploration of these aesthetics and the censorship agenda that supports them, in the context of the specific underground Adelaide, South Australian community that deploys them as artistic tropes and is not in any way offended by them.

The film thus deliberately includes examples of all prohibited content -- actual sex, assaultive language, violence, sexual violence, blasphemy -- but staged in such a matter as to be constantly self-referential and, in terms of the impact test, comparatively mild and as aesthetics, unpolished, raw, home movie and social media inspired.

In so doing, the film depicts (interpretively) exactly the offensive aesthetics that straddle the R18+, X18+ and RC classifications.

As Confidential Report film includes sexually explicit scenes as well as both violence and sexual violence (and sexually assaultive language in performance), it deliberately includes taboo aesthetics as delineated in the Australian Film Classification Board Guidelines as prohibited. It arguably falls between Australia's two adults-only ratings R and X (for non-violent erotica).

 

 Update: 'Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow'...

Russian church whinges at a version of Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband


Link Here 26th December 2013  full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols
Ideal Husband Dover Thrift Editions Russian police have opened a probe into a play based on Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband staged by Moscow's MKhT theater, which the Russian Orthodox church claimed to be "blasphemous."

The probe into Idealny Muzh. Komediya (An Ideal Husband. A Comedy) , written and directed by Konstantin Bogomolov , was opened in response to complaints by four members of the public.

The complaints may be linked to comments by the Russian Orthodox church which earlier criticized the performance. Perennial whinger, and Russian Orthodox Church spokesman, Vsevolod Chaplin was quoted as saying:

From my point of view, [the performance] contained the profanation of the crucifix symbol, as an almost totally naked woman imitated it.

In late November, a performance of the play was disrupted by Orthodox activists, who went onstage, shouting blasphemy accusations.

 

 Offsite Article: Freedom on the Line...


Link Here 26th December 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
line blocked How China snoops on the Line messaging app

See article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

 

  Large-scale public executions in North Korea for watching foreign films or possessing a Bible...


Link Here 26th December 2013
North Korea flag Approximately 80 people have been publicly executed in the despotic country of North Korea, some for minor offences such as watching foreign films or being found in possession of a Bible.

The large-scale public executions, reported by South Korean media, took place in seven cities across the impoverished country.

In one such mass execution, 10,000 people were herded into a stadium and forced to watch as a number of people were shot with machine guns. The condemned men were reportedly lashed with poles, hooded, and then sprayed with machine-gun fire.

South Korean media reported some of the men were put to death for minor crimes such as distributing pornography, watching South Korean films and using prostitutes.

None of those put to death in the recent executions had committed capital crimes such as treason or terrorism but mass executions are sometimes used to deter interest in foreign influence in the reclusive state.

The regime is obviously afraid of potential changes in people's mind-sets and is preemptively trying to scare people off, said an official of the defector-run North Korea Intellectual Solidarity website, Agence France-Presse reported.

 

 Update: Kitchen Closed...

Singapore's heavy handed registration requirements for news websites silences Breakfast Network


Link Here 24th December 2013
kicthen closed A Singaporean news site known as Breakfast Network was forced to close down after it rejected onerous new government registration requirements. Founded by former Straits Times journalist and blogger Bertha Henson, the site features social and political news and commentary. Henson elected to cease website operations after failing to submit documents demanded by the Media Development Authority (MDA). Despite warnings from the MDA, Breakfast Network is maintaining an online presence through its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Under a section of the Broadcasting (Class License) Act introduced last June , a corporate entity or website providing political commentary must register with the MDA to ensure that it does not receive foreign funding. Aside from revealing its funding source, the website must submit the personal information of its editors and staff.

Breakfast Network was ordered by the MDA to register on or before December 17 but the website editor said the government's technical requirements and registration forms contained too many vague provisions .

For its part, the MDA directed Breakfast Network to cease its online service, including its Facebook and Twitter publications:

Since Breakfast Network has decided not to submit the registration form, and will therefore not be complying with the registration notification, MDA will require that Breakfast Network cease its online service.

Netizens and media groups quickly denounced the overly-intrusive requirements imposed by the government and warned against excessive media regulation. Cherian George described the site's closure as death by red tape . Braema Mathi of the human rights group Maruah worried that the registration requirement has chilled and reduced the space for free expression in Singapore. She continued:

As a regulator tasked with developing the media landscape in Singapore, MDA should consider the substantive impact of its decisions, not just its own subjective intent. Registration requirements can operate to censor free expression as effectively as, and more insidiously than, outright demands to remove content.

The closure of a leading socio-political website has put a spotlight on what the Singaporean government calls a light touch approach Internet regulation. Many groups believe this and other new policies are undermining media freedom in the country.

 

  Internet Cleansing...

North Korea expunges the internet memory of executed politician, Jang Song Thaek


Link Here 17th December 2013
jang sung-thaek A computer programmer in Christchurch is creating headlines around the world after discovering that North Korea has deleted thousands of news articles mentioning Jang Song Thaek, the former top government and party official, who was executed Thursday.

The discovery was made by Frank Feinstein who tracks North Korea's media output for a Washington website, NK News . NK News says that the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) has deleted more than 35,000 articles from its on-line archives.

The deletion, the biggest ever article removal in KCNA's history, means that with the exception of a small number of articles about Kim Jong Un, the digital record of state-approved news about him reaches back only to October 2013.

In addition to the 35,000 original Korean language articles, translations in English, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese were all removed from the archives, bringing the total to nearly 100,000 deleted articles.

 

 Extract: The Best Job in the World...

The New Zealand chief film censor speaks of his work in a lengthy interview


Link Here 14th December 2013

andrew jack The head of the Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC), Andrew Jack has been in the job just over two years. Charged with trimming the naughty and nasty bits from films, books and computer games, he and his staff of 28 haven't been idle: since 2011 they've assessed more than 4000 items.

Most films have passed muster. On Jack's watch, only two cinematic releases have been banned: A Serbian Film which featured graphic depictions of rape, necrophilia and child abuse, and Human Centipede 2 , in which the central character tries to sew 12 people together.

Seemingly random items such as drink cans and clothing are also required to jump through the classification hoops, the most memorable being the so-called Invercargill Hoodie, a sweatshirt from British metal band, Cradle of Filth, which bears the phrase 'Jesus is a Cunt'.

About 15 per cent of videos and films - for both general release and film festivals - that enter New Zealand generally arrive at the censor's office if they carry an age restriction from either Australian or British censors or they are unclassified. They're screened at the office's eight viewing booths or, for mainstream releases, at early-morning private screenings at Wellington cinemas. There will be two of us in a 300-person cinema, Jack says.

The other 85 per cent - films with G, PG and M stickers - come to the office's attention only following a complaint. This is unusual, but not unheard of: in 2007, for example, the office was forced to take action after receiving a number of complaints about the animated film Happy Feet .

In Australia, it had a G rating but we received complaints that 7-year-olds were having nightmares because of a frightening scene featuring a sea lion. If we get enough complaints we'll reclassify the film. We watched it and didn't think it had been properly classified for a New Zealand audience so gave it a PG rating.

The fact that our decisions are robust and balanced is reflected in the small number of complaints we receive. Probably the most complaints we've ever had was last year for the film Ted . It was R13 at the movies and out of 500,000 Kiwis that went to see it only 20 complained to us. So that tells me we're in touch with the public attitude.

...Read the full article

 

 Update: Free Weibo...

App that worked around Chinese internet censorship soon blocked by Apple


Link Here 14th December 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
freeweibo logo GreatFire.org's Free Weibo, a tool that allows you to search and find censored tweets on China's popular microblogging platform, Sina Weibo, was temporarily made available in the Apple apps store in China after being previously blocked.

Charlie Smith, who along with Martin Johnson created Great Fire, a website that monitor's censorship in China explained that Great Fire had recently updated the app, which threw the Apple censors off for a short period of time. But only a day later, the app was blocked again.

The app is only blocked in the Chinese Apple store but it can be downloaded everywhere else. Furthermore, says Smith, those who were able to download Free Weibo before it was blocked are still able to use the app, problem-free.

Apple has censored a number of applications before, most recently a popular censorship circumvention tool called OpenDoor, usually pulling them quietly without much warning. With Open Door, the developers learned about the censorship only after users brought it to their attention.

 

 Update: New Offences...

More internet repression in Vietnam


Link Here 30th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Vietnam...New law requiring websites to delete content
Vietnam flag Vietnam's internet is changing fast. This week two new offences with large fines have been introduced as part of decree 174.
  • If a site does not have a proper e-commerce license, does not report changes, and does not report service changes on their site it will be liable to fines of $200 to $1,000
     
  • If a site reports incorrect information, and/or falsified information (the 'correctness' of information being decided by the authorities): $1,000 to $1,400. If any of these violations are intentional, the fine is doubled.

This follows up on Decree 72, which restricted the posting of news onto social media. The law states that it will fine people who post propaganda against the state or reactionary ideology on social media channels like Facebook.

 

 Update: Sending a Message to China...

Microsoft announces anti snooping measures for Skype services in China


Link Here 28th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
skype logo Microsoft has made it harder to snoop on calls and chats over its Skype phone service in China.

Skype said it had ended an eight-year joint-venture with Hong Kong-based TOM Group and has found a new partner in China:

All user calls, chats and login information are encrypted and being communicated directly to Microsoft via HTTPS. This is a complete about-face for Microsoft from the TOM-Skype era, when all information was processed by TOM and stored by TOM on servers located in China with absolutely no privacy controls in place.

Outside China, Skype's security and privacy protection have been under the spotlight following revelations, disclosed by Edward Snowden in his leaks of U.S. National Security Agency documents, that the online communication service was part of the NSA's PRISM program to monitor communications through some of America's biggest Internet companies.

 

 Update: Web of Fear...

Official Malaysian islamic group calls for the censorship of the internet to protect the religion


Link Here 17th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

department of islamic development malaysi logo Malaysia's Federal Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) has urged the government to consider internet censorship to stop supposed attacks against Islam.

The call delivered in a sermon stated that given the challenges posed by anti-Islam groups through information technology, it was important that the Muslim community used whatever reasonable strategy available including social media to counter, answer and ward off the propaganda of the enemies of Islam.

Muslims must be kept updated on current developments so that we get accurate information and not be influenced by enemy propaganda.

You all can also use new media such as YouTube, Twitter and blogs as mediums to send out the right message and spread the teachings of Islam.

While Muslims are working at strengthening the economy and the Malay race, the enemies have not slackened for a minute to run their mission to destroy Islam by using whatever strategy possible, including cyber troopers.

The Islamic body said it was required of Muslims to identify the agenda designed to erode the sanctity of Islam and to also identify those who attempted to do so. Jakim warned that the international line of thinking, such as liberalism and pluralism, seems to be spreading fast via the internet and influencing the younger generation.

From our observations, many symbols and hundreds of websites on the internet are being used to confuse and weaken those of the Islamic faith.

 

  Laos Recommends...

Kim Mordaunt's The Rocket about Laos villagers displaced due to dams


Link Here 14th November 2013
the rocket The Rocket is a 2013 Australia drama by Kim Mordaunt.
With Sitthiphon Disamoe, Loungnam Kaosainam and Thep Phongam. YouTube icon IMDb

As The Rocket's campaign for an Oscar nomination gets under way, the Australian film has been banned in the country in which it is set, Laos.

Director Kim Mordaunt's drama, about an apparently cursed 10-year-old boy who wants to help his struggling family, was invited to the Luang Prabang Film Festival next month.

But the Laos censors  have stopped the Lao-language film from screening because it deals with the touchy issue of relocating villagers for the construction of hydro-electric dams in the country. The Lao government wants to transform the country into the battery of South-east Asia by exporting power to Thailand and Vietnam.

Producer Sylvia Wilcyzski said concerns about the impact of dam construction on villagers was one of the reasons she and Mordaunt made the film.

While a record 76 films are competing for the foreign-language Oscar, many Hollywood pundits consider The Rocket a solid chance, given the acclaim it has received in the US, including three awards at the New York's Tribeca Film Festival, selection for Sundance's touring program and a warm reception at AFI Fest in Los Angeles.

 

 Updated: Singapore Recommends...

Dating website AshleyMadison.com


Link Here 11th November 2013
ashley madison Singapore's internet censor will block access to infidelity website AshleyMadison.com following a public 'uproar' over the Canada-based site's plan to offer a local service.

Censors from the Media Development Authority (MDA) said in a statement:.

The Ashley Madison website, however, stands out. It aggressively promotes and facilitates extramarital affairs and has declared that it will specifically target Singaporeans.

Tens of thousands of Singaporeans signed petitions urging the government to block access to Ashley Madison and Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing wrote on his Facebook page that he did not welcome the site to Singapore.

AshleyMadison.com is an online dating and social networking service marketed to people who are already in a relationship. It had planned to launch in Singapore on November 17.

Update: Blocked  by the internet censor

11th November 2013. See  article from  lubbockonline.com

mda singapore logo Singapore's government has blocked access to the popular adultery website Ashley Madison amid a public 'outcry' ahead of the company's planned launch.

The Media Development Authority, which censors the Internet, said in a statement that it has blocked access to the Canada-based website because it is in:

Flagrant disregard of our family values and public morality. We will therefore not allow Ashley Madison to operate in Singapore and have worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site.

 

 Update: Unwarranted Power to Censor...

Thai Media Groups Reject Internet Censorship Bill


Link Here 9th November 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
anti amnesty process Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) wants to revise the Computer Crime Act of 2007 but several media groups in the country are opposing changes to the law.

The ICT claims that reforming the law is necessary to curb the growing menace of cybercrime but critics fear it would lead to greater online censorship .

On October 24, five media groups in Bangkok issued a joint statement rejecting the amendments drafted by the Ministry. They include the Thai Journalists Association, Thai Broadcasting Journalists Association, Online News Providers Association, Information Technology Reporters and Academic Specialists on Computer Law Group.

The amendments would further tighten the Computer Crime Act (CCA), a law that has been widely criticized for its harsh penalties for various kinds of online speech. It includes the lese majeste law under which several netizens have been imprisoned for criticizing the king online.

Among proposed amendments to the CCA is a measure that would allow authorities to block websites without seeking prior approval from a court and the ICT Minister. Under the current law, authorities cannot have sites blocked without a court order.

Media groups speaking out against the amendments to the CCA are particularly opposed to this amendment, calling it a violation of the people's right to information. Further, they have demanded that the government drop the draft proposal as it:

Lacks standards of training for responsible officials and grants excessive power to the authorities. The groups added that the bill goes against Internet communication infrastructure and places disproportionate burdens on website operators, Internet and mobile phone service providers, and Internet users.

An editorial in the Bangkok Post derided the 2007 law, arguing that it has become a tool for harassing government critics and must be scaled back:

The CCA is the basis for massive internet censorship, sometimes compared with that of China. It has imprisoned people to longer terms than parallel, non-computer laws allow. And it has almost never been used for the purpose it was supposedly introduced for.

...

There is no longer even an estimate of the number of websites and pages closed or blocked by (the ICT) ministry. Certainly it is well into six figures. The ICT minister, using opaque and unaccountable appeals to a court, can effectively block any website from standard online access, without accountability, appeal or even the knowledge of those involved.

The editorial argued that the government should shift its focus back to the original intent of the law, which was to prevent online financial crimes such as phishing and identity theft.

Supporting the five Thai media groups is Reporters Without Borders , which cautioned the government not to approve the amendments and to withdraw the legislation in its entirety:

The bill -- in addition to eliminating a requirement for a judicial warrant to block a website -- would allow that action without approval from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, thereby distancing the law even more from international standards.

In response, the ICT claims that because the proposed amendments have gone through public consultations, there should be no controversy over their passage.

 

 Offsite Article: A Fine Tradition of Censorship...


Link Here 5th November 2013
Vietnam flag Vietnam's government keeps cultural activities from web comics to concerts under its watchful eye, for sex as much as sedition

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Update: Repression in Print...

Malaysian court rejects government request to ban a critical website from starting a print edition


Link Here 3rd November 2013  full story: Press Censorship in Malaysia...Newspapers forced to toe the government line
malaysiakini logo Reporters Without Borders welcomes a Kuala Lumpur appeal court decision rejecting an appeal by the government and interior ministry against a court ruling in favour of allowing the Malaysiakini news website to publish a print version:

Yesterday's ruling is encouraging for freedom of information in Malaysia.

The government's behaviour is clearly indicative of a desire to control the media, while the judicial system seems opposed to this. But caution is needed. The government will probably challenge this latest decision and Malaysiakini has yet to obtain a licence to print, which only the interior ministry can issue.

As we pointed out in an open letter to the prime minister in May 2012, real progress is still needed for freedom of information in Malaysia. We offer our full support for independent media and Malaysiakini in their efforts to resist government harassment.

 

 Offsite Article: Within Censorship...


Link Here 1st November 2013
burma cartoons Burmese exhibition shows how cartoonists discreetly hid political jokes to allude the press censors

See article from irrawaddy.org

 

 Offsite Article: Art Thieves...


Link Here 1st November 2013
ben clarkson China confiscates artist's exhibition in the name of censorship

See article from news.nationalpost.com

 

  Tip Toeing Over Chinese Sensitivities...

Ballet censored for its run in Hong Kong


Link Here 31st October 2013
dream of the red chamber Hong Kong Ballet censored its latest show by cutting a section of the performance about China's Cultural Revolution.

The censorship was noted after the local premiere of The Dream of the Red Chamber , a collaboration between the Hong Kong Ballet and Germany's Ballett Dortmund, at the Cultural Centre's Grand Theatre.

At the end of the ballet, a 12-minute projection sequence depicted different stages in China's history including the Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty, the provisional Republic of China and the Cultural Revolution. In the part depicting the Cultural Revolution, dancers in Red Guards uniforms waved copies of Mao Zedong's little red book , both historic icons of the turbulent period. Following the premiere, the projection sequence was cut from the show.

Some media reported that senior management from Hong Kong Ballet met their German counterparts and decided to self censor the section because of Chinese sensitivities.

Madeleine Onne, Hong Kong Ballet's Artistic Director, told a press conference that the projection sequence will be reinstated after it was improved in technical ways .

 

 Update: Censors Confess Under Torture...

Japanese cuts to Grand Theft Auto 5 revealed


Link Here 30th October 2013  full story: Grand Theft Worldwide...International certificates for GTA IV game
gta5 cut scene video Grand Theft Auto 5 has been censored in Japan.

The games has been shorn of its sexual content, and its infamous playable torture sequence has been cut entirely.

Kotaku has compared the Western and Japanese editions of the game alongside one another, concluding that the latter contains less violence and sexual content.

The cuts include:

  • Trevor revealing a bare butt when discussing his penis
  • Trevor humping a clothed girl on a kitchen table
  • Franklyn observing a clothed teen idol having sex in a garden
  • The torture scene has been deleted

 

  The Post Censor Period...

Nude art makes an appearance in Burma


Link Here 30th October 2013
burma nude Dozens of female nude paintings are on display in a three-day art exhibition, S + Z II, at Lokanat art gallery in Rangoon.

With the absence of art censors, the artists say they had a chance to push boundaries.

This is the first big exhibition that I have done to show my nude paintings locally, Sandar Khaing said. Her nude paintings were previously featured in a solo exhibition in the north Thai city of Chiang Mai in 2009. A series of 51 of her paintings are on display now at the Lokanat exhibition. She explained:

In the past, even the backside of the female nude body was not permitted because of censorship. I was only able to show one or two nude paintings in other group exhibitions, and I would put my paintings in the corner on the top floor of the exhibition so they could not easily be seen by everyone.

There are no painters who don't produce nude paintings at least once. There are a lot of nude paintings, but they have not been permitted to show. Through this exhibition, other artists will know nude paintings are allowed to be shown now.

 

 Update: Cultural Sensitivities...

Ke$ha banned from performing in Malaysia


Link Here 27th October 2013  full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars
Die Young Kesha Malaysia has banned the Ke$ha from performing in Kuaka Lumpur.

The singer claims that authorities in the country banned her because of fears her explicit lyrics would upset muslim cultural sensitivities.

Ke$ha tweeted to her fans:

to be clear. I did NOT cancel. I was not allowed to play. and then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment.

A Ministry of Communications and Multimedia spokesman said it was a unanimous decision to cancel the gig because it touched on religious sensitivities and Malaysian values but did not elaborate further.

 

  Taking Advice from Experts in Repression...

Laos announces internet censorship laws based on those in China and Vietnam


Link Here 25th October 2013  full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship
Laos flag Laos authorities are preparing to introduce unprecedented social media censorship possibly modeled on Chinese and Vietnamese censorship laws, officials announced this week.

The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications is currently drawing up the censorship laws which are expected to take effect by the end of the year, the ministry's E-Government Centre Director General Phonpasit Phissamay said.

The rules are aimed at ensuring social networking sites are used in a manner supportive of the government Users may be prosecuted for posting  information the authorities don't like.

Amid the rapidly growing social media, Facebook users have been anticipating an online clampdown by the Lao Communist Party leadership, which has ruled the country with an iron fist since 1975.

I expected this would happen someday, even though government says we have a democracy, one Facebook user posted on the Laos News Update Facebook page. We won't be able to say anything [online] now. It's because the government can't stand criticism from people, another user said.

 

 Update: Love your neighbour...unless he does something you don't like...

Philippines police arrests adult magazine editors after whinges from baptist preachers


Link Here 25th October 2013  full story: Playboy in Philippines...Launch of Philippines edition of Playboy
playboy philippines Several men's magazines including Playboy have been busted for supposed obscenity in the Philippines.

Editors for Playboy, Maxim, FHM, and others were dragged into the Manila Regional Trial Court for printing supposedly lewd photos. They were later released on bail.

The action stemmed from joint complaints filed by pastors and preachers of Bible Baptist Churches in Metro Manila, led by Manila District Representative Bienvenido Abante, and a senior pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church.

According to the complaint, the publications contained pornographic, erotic or indecent pictures that exhibited nude or semi-nude bodies, sexual acts and private parts of male and female bodies with no educational, artistic, cultural or scientific value from September 2007 to July 2008.

The complainants reportedly said that the magazines' photos were clearly and purely intended or calculated to draw lust, stimulate sexual drive, excite impure imagination or arouse prurient interest .

Playboy and FHM, disputed the charges and said the complainants made a sweeping statement of culpability based only portions of publications without directly pointing to the acts of each of those charged. Playhouse also argued and said it has never published nudity, private parts of men and women, and cannot be considered obscene. Maxim futher stated that scantily clad photos of actresses were tastefully done and did not depict any sexual act or nudity.

 

 Offsite Article: Chinese Censorship Expanding Abroad...


Link Here 23rd October 2013
China flag Report on how China is using its economic might to bully other countries into accepting censorship

See article from blogs.wsj.com

 

 Offsite Article: China challenged over human rights record at United Nations...


Link Here 23rd October 2013
UN logo Activists say despite Beijing's claims of improvements, dissenters, minorities and the disabled still face state brutality

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Fairy Tale Villains...

New Zealand National Library bans the very influential graphic novel, Lost Girls


Link Here 20th October 2013
Lost Girls Alan Moore A renown graphic novel that depicts the sexual encounters of fairytale heroines has made history as the first book pulled from the New Zealand National Library catalogue for being too explicit.

The book has never been classified by the official book censor and the decision of the library to self-censor has angered those who say libraries should be champions of literary freedom.

Lost Girls, by English graphic novel writer Alan Moore and his wife, artist Melinda Gebbie, was originally purchased in 2008 for the library's collection at the request of a member. The three-volume book has Wendy, from Peter Pan, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz and Alice from Alice in Wonderland meeting by chance as adults on the eve of World War I. They talk through their sexual experiences, and also violence and drug use.

Louise LaHatte, regional collections manager for Auckland City Libraries, claims that the library was worried if the book was referred to the censor it would be found objectionable - meaning the library had broken the law. Unlike films, books get classified only if someone thinks they are offensive and demands they be checked.

Frustrated local comic fans say the library has missed the artistic and literary significance of Lost Girls. Auckland cartoonist Dylan Horrocks said:

I don't know if they were aware of its significance in the graphic novel world. They [author and artist] are two very significant creators doing a very personal work that they took very seriously as a personal and creative and political statement.

The library should be a champion of freedom of information

The library is now discussing whether to put the book back into the collection. It is seeking advice from the Department of Internal Affairs

 

 Offsite Article: A Matter, of Principle or Principal?...


Link Here 20th October 2013  full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship
Deng Xiaoping Transformation China Vogel Many but not all, western authors line up to get their books censored for the Chinese market

See article from nytimes.com

 

 Update: Pleasant Goat and the Big Bad Propaganda State...

Chinese cartoon censors roll out more propaganda requirements


Link Here 15th October 2013  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT
ani5 g 20110302053202 Chinese cartoon Pleasant Goat and the Big Big Wolf has kicked off another round of ever more repressive censorship.

China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television called out the popular cartoon , which made headlines earlier this year for episodes containing supposedly violent scenes, and the regulator said in a statement that it plans to outline new content standards for TV animation to address violent programming content.

According to China's official Xinhua news agency, under the proposal, cartoons should promote good and lash out at evil, advocate social morality and family virtues, and resist egoism, money worship, hedonism, superstition, pseudoscience and contents containing harmful thoughts and bad habits. It also said cartoons should avoid violent scenes, including depictions of attacks that children could easily imitate, and should not use daily necessities for dangerous purposes. More In Animation

 

 Update: Negatively Stimulated Old Minds...

Malaysian politicians, who don't believe in censorship, line up to propose internet censorship


Link Here 10th October 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet
mahathir mohamad Malaysia's former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants the authorities to impose internet censorship of pornography.

Once an advocate of non-censorship of the internet, Mahathir lamented that the easy access to sexually graphic sex sites are negatively stimulating the minds of the young.

He claims without evidence that online pornography has led to a rise in violent sexual crimes and a supposed decline in morals.

There must be some form of code of ethics to prevent such sites from being accessed. The governments of the respective countries should take action against those responsible for polluting the minds of young children with pornography.

He admitted that there was opposition towards censoring the internet when he launched the Multimedia Super Corridor over a decade ago. However, he said the recent rise in violent sexual crimes and declining morals due to exposure to online pornography was alarming.

Mahathir then claimed that such censorship would somehow not curb freedom of expression.

Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) corporate communications head Sheikh Abdul Rafie Sheikh Abd Rahman previously made similar claims that while pornography sites were usually censored, it somehow did not amount to censorship.

 

  Too Blue for TV...

Taiwan TV leaves nothing to chance in censoring cartoon nipples


Link Here 8th October 2013
magic anime on taiwan tv When Japanese anime Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic was broadcast late last year and earlier this year, one of its characters, a magical being named Paimon , had exposed breasts and pierced nipples.

The somewhat surprising thing is that this appeared in a show that was broadcast in Japan at 5pm

The same anime is apparently now being shown in Taiwan, but according to Twitter user Noku13456 , when Paimon appears on screen, there's a huge sign that reads censored or banned .

Perhaps a bit of an overkill.

 

 Update: Internet Opinion Analysts...

Chinese newspaper reports on the country's army of internet censors


Link Here 5th October 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
  great wall construction More than two million people in China are employed by the government as internet censors or propagandaists.

The Beijing News says the censors, described as internet opinion analysts , are on state and commercial payrolls.

The report by the Beijing News said that these monitors were not required to delete postings. They are strictly to gather and analyse public opinions on microblog sites and compile reports for decision-makers .

Tang Xiaotao has been working as a monitor for less than six months, the report says, without revealing where he works.

He sits in front of a PC every day, and opening up an application, he types in key words which are specified by clients.

He then monitors negative opinions related to the clients, and gathers (them) and compile reports and send them to the clients.

China rarely reveals any details concerning the scale and sophistication of its internet police force. It is believed that the two million internet monitors are part of a huge army which the government relies on to control the internet.

 

  Dangerous Criticism...

Two more Thais jailed under lese majeste laws


Link Here 3rd October 2013  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Prachatai logo A Thai court has sentenced a woman to five years in jail for criticising the royal family or Thailand's monarchy system. It is the the second such conviction in recent days.

Under repressive lese majeste rules, anyone convicted of insulting the Thai king, queen, heir or regent faces up to 15 years in prison on each count. However criticism is considered an insult, as is debate about the monarchy system.

Nopawan Tangudomsuk was found guilty of lese majeste and breaking computer crime laws with comments posted on a popular website in 2008, an official from Bangkok's court of appeal told AFP, without giving further details. She was initially acquitted in a 2011 trial when prosecutors failed to prove she was behind the posting on the Prachatai site, whose editor has been convicted in a separate case of failing to remove a comment critical of the monarchy.

The appeal court decided to reverse the ruling in Nopawan's case, a court official said, without giving details.

The ruling comes a day after the founder of the royalist Yellow Shirts was sentenced to two years in prison by the same appeal court under lese majeste laws. Sondhi Limthongkul, one of Thailand's most controversial political figures, was convicted after prosecutors appealed an earlier acquittal over remarks quoting a speech by a political rival in 2008.

 

  Politically Correct Morality? Avoiding Offence Trumps Saving Lives...

New Zealand PC censors ban life saving breast cancer advert on TV


Link Here 3rd October 2013

tv advert breast cancer video The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF) had wanted to show the images of breasts from a Scottish advert as part of a television campaign.

But the country's Commercial Approval Bureau (CAB) advised the health campaigners that nipples were not permitted in TV adverts in New Zealand. As a result, the NZBCF was forced to use strategically placed pot plants, balloons and cupcakes in its Naked Truth campaign.

The advert, first screened in Scotland last September, showed C Elaine Smith holding a series of placards with images of breasts affected by cancer.

In the three months between September and November, 21,000 women contacted their GP about breast cancer symptoms - 50% more than the 13,900 who did so in the same period of 2011. The advert stressed that lumps are not the only sign that someone may be suffering from breast cancer, with women being urged to check for signs such as a change in breast shape or size, an unusual pain in their breast, a change in the skin such as dimpling, puckering or reddening, and any changes to their nipples.

 

 Update: App Attack...

Chinese internet censors target mobile apps that publish news and information not sanctioned by the state


Link Here 2nd October 2013  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
zaker logo A Chinese media censor has threatened to shut down mobile apps that don't comply with repressive government restrictions.

The State Internet Information Office claimed that some mobile apps were vehicles for pornography and obscene information, and harm the physical and mental health of youngsters .

The censorship will also affect apps that provide access to foreign news outlets blocked by Chinese authorities.

Under fire are apps like Zaker, China's most popular news aggregator with 17.5 million users, and Chouti, whose slogan is Publish what shouldn't be published . While the government has previously urged service providers to self-regulate to avoid the spreading of rumours , this latest more hard-line approach is a sign of diminishing patience.

From today, the government will shut down and ban any apps that fail to maintain order in news dissemination on the mobile Internet .

In the last two months, over 1,000 people have been arrested in China for crimes related to internet use. [ This equates to 4.4 arrests per million population per year. This compares with 28.3 arrests per million population per year in the UK (for just malicious communications)].

[I guess that if the size of the population is taken into account, this could be less than number of internet arrests in Britain].

Apple Duly Purges Anti-Censorship Browser from China App Store

See  article from  theepochtimes.com

opendoor The strict regime of Internet censorship and surveillance enforced by the Chinese authorities drives many Internet users to seek out tools they can use to get around the restrictions, programs like OpenDoor, a browser that was available recently from the App Store in China.

Until Apple removed it.The removal of OpenDoor follows a pattern of Apple bowing to pressure from Chinese authorities, removing content from the Chinese version of its App Store to conform to the regime's demands for censorship. The removal took place in July of this year, according to the Chinese edition of Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

OpenDoor has 800,000 users on Apple devices; one third of them were or are from China, according to OpenDoor developers. Users from Iran and Pakistan, states that also practice Internet censorship, give the app high praise on its Facebook page.

 

  Pointing Fingers at the Easily Offended...

New Zealand advert censors whinges at poster for radio channel


Link Here 1st October 2013
radio hauraki advert For the second time in a year, Auckland rock station Radio Hauraki has been told to remove an advertisement featuring host Matt Heath, because it supposedly could offend children.

The billboard shows five of the station's hosts posing, including controversial Heath, with both middle fingers raised.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received several complaints about the billboard, one labelling it:

Offensive to say the least. Although it hasn't happened yet I imagine my children will have all sorts of questions about what the gesture means.

I can stop them listening to the radio station, but can't stop them looking at the billboard.

In a majority decision, the ASA upheld the complaint, claiming it was likely to cause serious offence.

The ASA found that although the gesture was relatively innocuous for the station's target audience, because the billboard was highly visible in a central city location to children and people who might be offended, the station was asked to remove it.

 

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