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27th July

  Watchdogs Watch Watch Dogs...


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Australian advert censor dismisses whinge about poster for computer game Watch Dogs
Link Here
UBI Soft Watch Dogs PS4 Australia's Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has dismissed a complaint against an outdoor ad for controversial Ubisoft video game Watch Dogs which claimed it was intimidating and normalised guns.

The poster depicted the game's character Aiden Pierce standing in the street of Chicago wearing mask and holding a mobile phone in one hand and a gun in the other.

The complaint to the ASB said the ad was displayed on a bus shelter outside a high school, adding it prompted their own children to ask about guns:

Why is an R rated game advertised in bus shelters, particularly around schools? I can monitor and restrict where my children go in a store, what advertising they see on TV or what magazines they read, but public space advertising like this should always be suitable for all audiences that see it.

In its ruling, the board noted that while the man is pointing a gun he does not look menacing and there is a clear association being made with the television series being promoted (sic) .

It was the board's view that most members of the community would be unlikely to interpret the image as a real life situation and while it was a billboard and could potentially be seen by children, the board considered that the image does not portray explicit violence and was relevant to the advertised product.

The board ruled that the image is not so strong as to be inappropriate for general viewing , dismissing the complaint.

 

24th July

 Update: Blocking Inquiry...


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Australia forms group to investigate a secretive avenue of state internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
australian government logo The Australian federal government has founded a committee to inquire into law enforcement's use of the Telecommunications Act. The inquiry will specifically look into the Australian Securities and and Investments Commission (ASIC) alongside the Australian Federal Police (AFS). The groups had initiated website blocking that was revealed in 2013 after a clumsy implementation blocked 250,000 other websites in the process.

Australian tech news site IT News first suggested federal agencies may be taking advantage of Section 313 after a third unnamed agency was found making similar website blocking demands. The federal government refers to the third organization only as a national security agency and has repeatedly declined to disclose any further information regarding the identity or motives behind its behavior.

Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam issued a public statement on his website accusing the government of a secret Internet filter, referring to an unpopular government proposal earlier that year to establish a mandatory Internet filter. Ludlam asserted that ASIC and AFP activities amounted to a filter by stealth whereby law enforcement agencies disrupted access to online content without transparency or public statements of explanation.

After more than a year of public statements from corporations and politicians, the federal government is opening a parliamentary committee to undertake an inquiry into ASIC and AFP behavior.

The investigation will address whether these agencies' uses of Section 313 have been appropriate or abusive. The current law does not explicitly require transparency, but the inquiry will review whether legal adjustments are necessary, with the committee calling it an important public policy question. Other questions will include the authority of who can use Section 313 to block websites, circumstances in which it is appropriate, and accountability procedures.

 

21st July

  Horseplay...


Nice 'n' Naughty

The Australian Advertising Standards Board dismisses whinge about mooning and horse sex
Link Here
sidney film festival advert video A TV advert for the 2014 Sydney Film Festival offended an easily offended viewer. The advert featured a series of short film clips is shown with a fake animated audience reacting to the clips. The complainant wrote:

Near the end of the advertisement, they show two horses having sex with a man on top of one of the horses and a bus going by with a whole heap of people showing their bums and pressing them to the windows of the bus. This advertisement should not have been on at this hour because of those two clips. I often babysit my little cousins and they like the show Who's Line Is It Anyway and if that add had come on while they were watching it, there would be a lot of questions and it is just simply not appropriate. If the ad had come on later at night (say 10:00 pm onwards) it would not be as much of a problem.

Sydney Film Festival organisers responded:

There are two short clips approximately 24 seconds into the commercial that are the subject of this complaint, each less than one second long: 1 - the first is of horse mounting another horse that is being ridden by a man 2 - the second is of a group of men pressing their buttocks against a window of a bus as it drives past

The first clip is from the Icelandic feature film Of Horses and Men that is being played at Sydney Film Festival in June. The film was selected as the Icelandic entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. It has won 16 awards at major international film festivals from Tokyo to Tallin. There is no genitalia visible in the clip, it is very brief in duration, and is less graphic than something you would see in most nature documentaries.

The second clip is from the Italian feature Film The Referee that is also being played at Sydney Film Festival in June. The brief clip is of a group of adult male soccer players letting off steam on the bus home from a match. It is not sexual or sexualised in any way, shape or form, and it comes across as mere exuberant male horseplay.

Australia's Advertising Standards Board turned down the complaints:

The Board considered whether the advertisement was in breach of Section 2.4 of the Code:

Advertising or Marketing Communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience .

The Board noted that the scene showing the horses having sex was very fleeting. The Board noted that two horses having sex is a scenario that would likely be viewed in a documentary. The Board agreed that it was unusual to include a man still on the back of a horse while the horse was engaged in a sexual encounter however based on the advertiser's response that the scene was taken from a film, the Board considered that it was not inappropriate in the context of a brief scene in a PG rated advertisement.

The Board noted the scene with the bottoms against the bus windows and considered that this is not behaviour that would be encouraged or condoned by the Board. The Board considered however, that the type of behaviour shown would likely be behaviour conducted by a sporting team or similar and that the use of this scene from a film, in the context of a brief scene in a PG rated advertisement was not inappropriate for the relevant audience.

 

20th July

  Well knock me down with a feather!...

Australia's advert censor claims brothel advert is exploitative an degrading
Link Here
mackenzies-of perth advert Outdoor ads for escort company Mackenzies of Perth have fallen foul of Australia's advert censor over the positioning of a feather boa between the woman's legs in one of the ads which the board ruled was exploitative and degrading .

The outdoor ads featured two different images of women in lingerie placed in upper windows of a building. In one of the images the woman is on all fours looking at the camera with her head titled to one side while the other is of a woman on her back with her bottom raised and a feather boa between her legs.

A complaint to the Ad Standards Board (ASB) described the ads as pornography displayed so publicly on the major highway adding they could be seen by children and: I wholeheartedly object to the message of woman as sex objects.

In its decision the board noted that in order to be a breach of this section of the Code the image would need to use sexual appeal in a manner which is both exploitative and degrading and while some members of the community would consider the use of a woman in lingerie to be exploitative it was the board's view that the image does have relevance to the product advertised and the pose of the first woman is not degrading.

However, in assessing the 2md image, the majority of the board considered the use of the feather boa between the woman's legs was clearly intended to draw the viewer's attention to this part of the woman's body in a manner which is both exploitative and degrading . Consequently, the board ruled the ad did employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative and degrading , upholding the complaint.

Australian Film Classification Board

Australia

The Film Classification Board

The Australian state censor has responsibility for cinema, home video, video games, books and magazines.

Appeals about censorship decisions are heard by the Classification Review Board.

Film & Game Classifications

- G: (General Exhibition) These films and computer games are for general viewing.

- PG: (Parental Guidance) Contains material which some children find confusing or upsetting, and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. It is not recommended for viewing or playing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

- M:  (Recommended for mature audiences) Contains material that is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age.

- MA15+ (Mature Accompanied) The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under this age may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian.

- R18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films

- X18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films. This rating applies to real sex content only

- RC (Refused Classification)Banned

Note that there is no R18+ X18+ available for games so adult games often end up getting banned much to the annoyance of gamers.

Note also that films classified as X18+ (Restricted) are banned from sale or rent in most of Australia. They can only be sold from Northern Territory and ACT (Canberra). Mail order and imports are allowed though and possession of X18+ material is legal

Publication Classifications

 - Unrestricted

- Unrestricted Mature: Not recommended for readers under 15.

- Restricted Category 1: Not available to persons under 18 years. Softcore

- Restricted Category 2 : Not available to persons under 18 years. Only to be sold in adults only shops: Hardcore

- RC: Refused Classification. Banned

Only publications that would be restricted 1 & 2 need to be submitted for censorship. There is also a scheme that magazines only need to be submitted once. Subsequent issues inherit the same rating. However later issues can be 'called in' for reassessment if anything crops up to alert the censors of changes.

Websites:
Classification Board

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