A 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.
Newspapers could have critical protections from privacy laws ripped away by a Government-appointed official under new media laws mooted by the Federal Government. The proposed changes met with widespread criticism.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy unveiled his long-awaited package of media reforms, demanding the creation of a public interest test for major media mergers and the appointment of a bureaucrat to certify independent press regulatory
bodies. Conroy gave little information on how the public interest test would work and said the measures must pass Parliament inside two weeks or be junked.
Shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed that the Opposition would oppose the public interest test and the creation of the regulator:
Any attempt to regulate or further circumscribe the media has got to be viewed with the greatest of suspicion. Particularly from a Government that seems determined to cowl the media, to bully the media into not criticising it.
Under Senator Conroy's plan, an office called the Public Interest Media Advocate would be created that would apply the public interest test to mergers and give the tick to independent regulators such as the Australian Press Council or the
Independent Media Council.
The Media Advocate would have the power to revoke certification for either body should it judge it was not living up to its promised standards. Without certification, newspapers would lose protection from privacy laws and their ability to publish
controversial and legally risky stories would be compromised.
I Want Your Love is a 2012 USA drama by Travis Mathews.
With Jesse Metzger, Brontez Purnell, Ben Jasper.
A feature film that includes explicit scenes of gay male sex has been banned by the Australian Film Censorship Board. I Want Your Love , written and directed by young American filmmaker Travis Mathews, was due to screen at queer film
festivals around Australia.
Festival films are generally granted exemptions from the censorship process. Festivals provide synopses of the works they are screening but the board can then ask to see individual films.
Melbourne Queer Film Festival director Lisa Daniel says that in her 15 years at the festival, I Want Your Love is the first film that has been refused an exemption. It has been seen in many festivals around the world, and its distributors have
told her this is the first time it has been banned. Mathews is a well-known filmmaker, and the decision is an embarrassment for Australia, she says.
The film focuses on a young gay man who is preparing to leave San Francisco after living there for 10 years. The film shows his last 36 hours in the city, and a party thrown for him by his friends, in which his ambivalent feelings about departure
The film was also on the program at Sydney's Queer Screen and the Brisbane Queer Film Festival.
Jain Moralee, director of Queer Screen, said she was very disappointed that she would be unable to show the work. The sex scene, she says, is a six-minute montage of friends, housemates and partygoers that is part of the narrative context of the
film. She describes Mathews as a filmmaker who explores the line between narrative and documentary.
Update: Petition to Overturn the refused exemption status of the film I Want Your Love
There is no reason why this film should not be shown to a paying adult audience within the context of curated film festivals. I Want Your Love has screened at every major queer film festival in the world and is getting a DVD release in the United
States this month. Why are we the only country in the world to refuse its citizens the right to see it?
To: Ms Lesley O'Brien - director, Australian Classification Board
We the undersigned believe that your decision to refuse exemption to Australian queer film festivals to screen Travis Mathew's film I Want Your Love is wrong.
I Want Your Love shows us the modern gay experience with intimacy and frankness. It has a level of reality that is refreshing and reflects what life is really like for many gay men. Honest, intimate depictions of gay love and sex do not harm us
I Want Your Love shows love and sex between happy, healthy and consenting gay men. While it contains actual sex, it is shown within a non-violent, intelligent and artistic narrative. This element is therefore not gratuitous and should not form a
reason why it should be refused exemption.
We believe there is no reason why this film should not be shown to a paying adult audience within the context of curated film festivals. I Want Your Love has screened at every major queer film festival in the world and is getting a DVD release
in the United States this month. We ask you to reflect on why we are the only country in the world to refuse its citizens the right to see it?
In light of this, we ask you to overturn the refused exemption status of the film I Want Your Love.
The Oscar-nominated star James Franco has weighed into the censorship debate via a Youtube message, in which he speaks directly to the Australian Classification Board.
Franco describes the banning of I Want Your Love as hypocritical and disappointing :
Travis is making this film, including sex, because he wants to explore story and character and the nuances that sex contains.
Because films have been banned because of sex, sex and films hasn't had a chance to grow and become a sophisticated storytelling device. And frankly adults should be able to choose. They're not going in blind. I don't know why in this day and
age, something like this --- a film that is using sex not for titillation but to talk about being human --- is being banned. It's just embarrassing.
The Australian Classification Board not just embarrasses by the films it chooses to ban and the inconsistencies in its approach --- it also embarrasses by the films it allows to screen, or simply doesn't bother to review.
Australian Customs has been forced to return a private collection of Japanese manga comics. The case has set a new benchmark for the importation of manga and also questions the ability of Customs to properly evaluate adult material.
Australia's Classification Board has announced the first video game to receive the new R18+ classification which came into effect at the start of 2013. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge , developed by Team Ninja, is published by Nintendo
for the company's new Wii U console.
Lesley O'Brien, director of the Classification Board, said:
Under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games, R 18+ computer games will have a high impact and it is for this reason that these games are not suitable for under 18s.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge contains violence that is high in impact because of its frequency, high definition graphics, and emphasis on blood effects.
The Interactive Games & Entertainment Association welcomed the Classification Board's announcement. CEO, Ron Curry said:
The classification guidelines for video games are now more closely aligned with the guidelines for film and TV which makes it easier for parents to make informed decisions about the interactive content they choose to buy and play.
In the US the game is classified as Mature (a 17 rating) and in Europe it is rated as PEGI 18.