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21st September   Police Grime . ..

Channel U logo Police whinge at music video web sites

From the Independent

Senior members of the Metropolitan Police have laid the blame for a surge in violence in recent years outside club nights – particularly East London events associated with grime, the British rap genre – on videos showcasing violence and thuggery.

Police are concerned that the internet is not subject to the same stringent broadcasting regulations as other forms of media. Their anger has forced commercial operators such as Channel U to defend themselves from the charge that they are exploiting lax regulation on the internet to show videos that are a vehicle for violence.

Superintendent Leroy Logan of Hackney Police is clear on the role videos play. The essence of grime is simply a reflection of these kids's experiences. But there are those out there who are keen on hijacking the scene, and using these videos to spread negativity, anger, and aggression. And whether the messages are coded or explicit, they often play themselves out on the street.

The regulation of websites that are offshoots of other media is contradictory. For example, when appearing on Sky, Channel U is subject to the Broadcasting Code. But when Channel U gives airplay to material on its website, it is not subject to the same guidelines.

Ofcom's broadcasting remit does not extend to regulating the internet. If it looks and feels like TV, then we have a role to play, says Simon Bates, a spokesman for Ofcom: But with videos on the internet, there isn't the same expectation of reasonable protection, and we have no powers to control output. This means that in the case of Channel U, material that could only be broadcast on TV illegally can be broadcast on the internet without fear of the same laws. The same is true of YouTube, and indeed of any other site.

As Bates says: the internet does not respect national borders. If it seems unsatisfactory that material that cannot be broadcast on television at any time can be broadcast on the internet 24 hours a day, and that the regulation of websites like Channel U's is left to the discretion of the owners, then that may be the price of innovation.

If we did have stricter laws governing the internet, it's unlikely fantastic sites such as YouTube or Google Video would exist at all, says Bates.


21st September   Blogs Hammered . ..

Muder in Samarkand Legal censorship silences blogs

From AOL Sports see full article
See the detailed story at
See also Bloggers unite against intimidation

Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads has been shut down by his hosting company after legal letters from Uzbeki prospective owner of Arsenal, Alisher Usmanov.

The legal company sending out the letters is Schillings. Craig Murray’s blog, linked to the fracas, is on the same server, and was also shut down, as was Boris Johnson’s and Bob Piper’s. Craig Murray's book, Murder at Samarkand , seems to be at the centre of the legal battle but this book has now been published for sometime without being contested.

Several dozen sites are now screaming censorship at Usmanov and Schillings for their actions.


8th September   Update: Scottish Contempt of Justice ...

Naked Rambler at John O'Groats
Naked Rambler on a 3 year jail sentence

It is the contemptible sheriffs that should be locked up.

From The Scotsman see full article

The Naked Rambler has been ordered to serve a further 83 days in prison after picking up his 11th conviction for breach of the peace.

Stephen Gough, 48, was picked up by police officers on July 31 on his release from Saughton prison wearing only a pair of boots.

A number of pedestrians and motorists witnessed Gough, and one driver even tooted his car horn at him. He denied his nudity amounted to a breach of the peace at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

But Sheriff Kathrine Mackie disagreed and ordered him back to prison - where he has been almost continuously for the last 16 months.

His solicitor, John Good, pointed out that the jail time he had served was the equivalent of a three-year term, but said his client still refused to wear clothes and planned to continue his solitary confinement at Saughton. He told the court: It is Mr Gough's position that people should not be afraid of the human state.


9th September

    Premium Rates for New Logo ...


Phone regulator ICSTIS renames as PhonepayPlus

From a press release by ICSTIS

The premium rate telephone regulator, ICSTIS, will become PhonepayPlus on 15 October 2007.

We believe that PhonepayPlus will give consumers a much better understanding of the help and advice we can provide. PhonepayPlus will continue where ICSTIS left off. We will continue to regulate the promotion, content and overall operation of all services that are subject to our Code of Practice, and we will continue to take action against those companies who break our rules.

From early 2008, we will also start regulating all services offered on 0871 numbers.

PhonepayPlus will focus on pre-empting and preventing problems – the key, we believe, to effective long-term consumer protection and a dynamic, growing industry. We will be working closely with a number of organisations over the coming months on a range of new consumer protection, youth education and industry 'prevention rather than cure' initiatives. We want to have the right measures in place to engender an industry-wide culture of compliance where services are offered responsibly and consumers get a fair deal.

Other than our change of name, our postal and Freepost addresses, as well as our switchboard, fax, Contact Centre and Media Office numbers, will be unaffected. Our new website address will be


6th September   Illiberal Combatant . ..

Jesus: The Guantanamo Years poster
Belittling the call for a boycott of Guantanamo play

From News Letter see full article

THE comedian whose controversial play about Jesus will open in Belfast this week has hit back at DUP calls for Ulster theatre-goers to boycott the production.

Abie Philbin Bowman is the writer and star of Jesus: the Guantanamo Years – a satirical take on US government anti-terror legislation depicting Jesus as an inmate at the US detention centre.

The play, which has already had runs in America, London's West End and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, will be staged in Belfast's Blackbox Theatre on Thursday and Friday of this week.

DUP councillor Christopher Stalford said the comparison between Jesus and terror suspects being held at Guantanamo was in "bad taste" and he urged people not to attend.

Philbin Bowman has now responded to his remarks: Councillor Stalford has got the wrong end of the stick. I'm not suggesting that Jesus was a terrorist – I'm suggesting that we have become so paranoid that we would treat Him as one, even though He's obviously innocent. My real target is the hypocrisy of the Bush administration. Guantanamo Bay is profoundly unchristian. Jesus Himself said, 'what you do to the least of these, you do also to me'. In that sense, He is in Guantanamo.

The premise of the play is that as a Middle Eastern man with a beard, Jesus would automatically be considered a terror suspect if he entered modern-day America.


30th August

  The Many Orifices of George Bush . ..


Yeo's porn collage of Bush Collage made from porn pictures

From Metro

When a British artist was denied US backing to paint a portrait of President George Bush he decided to make an 'alternative' version - from images of porn.

Now Jonathan Yeo has caued a stir in the US, where Republicans have attacked the work for being in poor taste.

A Republican spokesman said: This picture is very distasteful. Why would anyone want to make a picture of our President from pornographic material?

But Jonathan, son of former Tory backbencher Tim Yeo, told Metro: I did it for fun. I was mildly irritated after the commission was cancelled and just went with this idea which initially I thought would not end up in a gallery.

I suppose it was a bit of amusement for myself, poking fun at this unpopular man and for the majority of those who have seen it it has struck a chord. Essentially it makes people smile and it's an interesting new medium for me.

Although it hasn't gone down too well with some sections of America, Jonathan's work has caught the attention of the art fraternity this side of the Pond.

It has been unveiled at the Lazarides Gallery in London's Soho and is set to be a star attraction.


26th August

  Game for a Laugh ...


David Cameron David Cameron goes on the rant

From Game Politics

Conservative Party leader David Cameron said:

What has become of our society when we have this spate of children killing children?

It means understanding and acting on that age-old maxim that it takes a village to raise a child. It means retailers stopping the sale of alcohol to young teenagers. It means music companies, media companies, games manufacturers, not just thinking, ‘What is my social responsibility as a company in terms of the projects I support and the charities I back, good and important as they are’, but asking, ‘What is the effect of the music I produce, the games I market and the programmes I broadcast?’

He previously said in an interview with MCV. Another article attributes this to Jeremy Hunt Shadow Secretary of State for Culture. So perhaps it is just a case of the Tories singing from the same hymn sheet.

Issues involving content have largely focused on the negative aspects associated with games. The arguments around Resistance: Fall of Man and Manchester Cathedral being the most recent example. The industry needs to accept it has a duty to act responsibly when it comes to appropriate content and politicians and the media needs to realise that the industry can have a positive impact on young people’s lives…

I believe that it is time for the games industry to act in a responsible and sensitive way and play their part in the prevention of unsuitable material falling into the hands of children. It is essential that manufacturers take seriously the messages sent out by violent and increasingly life-like video games and I believe that most currently do so.

And courtesy of Mediawatch-UK they point out a Tory press release:

In a speech at Brize Norton, Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron outlined his concerns about our broken society. He said:

The brutal and callous murder of Rhys Jones has shocked us all. It must not be allowed to become just another testimony of despair that shocks a nation one night and is then forgotten … no child in this country should be riding around on a BMX bike with a gun shooting at other children ... it’s not just about parents. It’s about our culture too.

Magazines that see the glorification of ‘getting wasted’ as a circulation boost. Music businesses that grow fat on the profits of exploiting black youth. Movie and video game directors who push the boundaries of acceptable violence, and the regulators who meekly give in to them, you all have a responsibility. We can’t change our society unless you change you ways.’

And from the Daily Mail

Cameron blamed the rise in gang culture and yobbish behaviour on ministers, feckless parents, a tax and benefit system that punishes stable families, human rights laws that defy common sense, retailers that sell alcohol to youngsters, and music and film bosses who celebrate violence.

29th August

  Update: Cameron Jerks his Knee ...


David Cameron More blame, more censorship and less human rights

From Dan

Cameron blasts Labour's knee jerk soloutions to violent crime. If his proposals arn't knee jerk then I dunno what is.

This should go down with John Beyer who will be saying: This is what we've said all along.

From The Telegraph see full article
See also How a Conservative Government will Tackle Britain's Crime Crisis.

David Cameron geared up for a potential autumn election yesterday by putting measures to end Britain's "crime crisis" and heal its "broken society" at the heart of a possible Autumn election campaign.

The relevant sections of his latest policy document are:

Section 2.8 Abolish the Human Rights Act:

In Britain today, people rightly sense that the criminal justice system is too often tilted in favour of the criminal and away from the victim.

This is partly the consequence of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act has created a culture of risk aversion on the part of public bodies, an excessive sensitivity to the demands of criminals, and difficulties in the fight against terrorism.

Meanwhile, even on its own terms the Human Rights Act has not proved to be effective in protecting fundamental rights in Britain. It has not protected the right to trial by jury and it did not prevent the right to free speech from being undermined in the Government’s legislation on religious hatred.

A Conservative Government will repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a modern British Bill of Rights. This will spell out the duties and responsibilities of people living in this country both as citizens and foreign nationals. It will enshrine and protect fundamental liberties such as jury trial, equality under the law and civil rights. And it will guide the judiciary and the Government in applying human rights law when the lack of responsibility of some individuals threatens the rights of others.

Section 3.2 Popular Culture

Parents need the support of wider society. Too often, the positive lessons learnt by children at home are undermined by negative lessons taught by popular culture. Two examples stand out.

First, the music industry, and in particular the lyrics and videos of rap, hip-hop and R&B. These often explicitly popularise gangs, guns, a culture of unconstrained acquisition, and the degradation of women. In 2006 the Conservative Party called for the music industry to show a greater sense of social responsibility. A Conservative Government will establish a regular process of consultation with music producers to ensure a constructive dialogue on social responsibility.

The second aspect of popular culture which causes concern is the content of films and video games which are marketed at children and young people, or accessible to them. Extreme, casual and callous violence in a context of social indifference and moral ambiguity – and in the absence of positive, counterbalancing influences from family, community and the wider culture – has a coarsening effect on the ethical sensibility of young people.

We all have a responsibility to ensure a healthy culture for our children to grow up in. This includes not just the producers of films and video games, but the manufacturers of relevant hardware, and the regulators who determine age-related classifications.

A Conservative Government will review the regulatory framework relating to films and video games to ensure that violence and misogyny are not directly promoted to young people. This should include the role of the British Board of Film Classification. Regulatory authorities must be on the side of parents, building classifications that are trustworthy. Our review will consider what regulation is practical given the wide availability of content through a variety of modern media.

1st September

  Update: Fighting Back Against Cameron ...


David Cameron BBFC respond to Cameron's Fight Back plans

From MCV see full article

The BBFC has refuted David Cameron’s call for a review of its guidelines – and has been backed by the Government.

The Conservative Party leader this week revealed the Tories’ new ‘mini-manifesto’ on ‘Britain’s crisis’, entitled: It’s Time to Fight Back.

The dossier calls for an examination of the BBFC’s ‘regulatory framework’, in order to ensure that violence and misogyny are not directly promoted to young people.

But BBFC spokesperson Sue Clark told MCV: BBFC classification is based on what the public deems acceptable. We feel confident that we have public consent on how we deal with issues such as gun and knife crime.

And the Labour Government has also come out in defence of the BBFC. A DCMS spokesman told MCV: We have a strict enforcement code for people who supply ‘18’ or ‘15’ rated games to children. Adults can make their own decisions which games to play, as they can which films to watch.


26th August

  Ganging up on YouTube . ..


YouTube logo
Calls to ban gang videos

YouTube has been banned for months in Thailand, and guess what, gun crimes are still amongst the highest in the world.

It seems that what all these calls to ban YouTube are really targeting is for people to be banned from communicating amongst themselves.

From the Guardian see full article

Video clips glamorising gang culture posted on popular internet sites such as YouTube should be blocked, a government minister and a leading children's charity said.

The calls come amid growing fears about the glorification of violence among young people sparked by the fatal shooting of 11 year old Rhys Jones.

Two local gangs, the Croxteth Crew and the Norris Green Strand Gang - also known as the Nogzy - have posted online video of members touting guns. Clips from other gangs, such as the MI6 from Manchester and Soi from Birmingham also feature prominently.

These videos are clearly an extremely malign and dangerous influence on young people, said Ivan Lewis, the Health Minister, who has responsibility for intergenerational issues and was the victim of a young gang recently when he tried to stop a crime in his constituency: The companies have a responsibility to do everything in their power to prevent young people from being exposed to such imagery and glorification of violence.

John Carr, an internet expert with the children's charity NCH, last night backed his comments: It's very worrying that these sites offer these children their 15 minutes of fame. They are making things worse not better. There must be a rapid way of removing these things.

Carr said companies such as Google, which owns YouTube, were aware of public concern over the way their sites were providing a forum for gang culture to flourish: The political pressure is really ratcheting up. There is going to have to be some movement by the companies on this. Otherwise we'll get kneejerk legislation.

The refusal of YouTube to take action may be investigated by the Commons select committee on the media. One of its members, Labour MP Paul Farrelly, said: For me, the same editorial controls should apply to sites like YouTube as they do to newspapers and television. It is irresponsible, and simply not acceptable, for the site to disown its responsibility. It is something that may merit a future investigation by the committee.

31st August

  New Society Problems . ..


YouTube logo Gangs of politicians posturing on YouTube

Based on an article from The Times see full article

Three Scottish teenagers from Glasgow’s Xcross gang put a video on YouTube in which they gloated over the killing of a 21-year-old father.

Caught by the police, the three stars of the disturbing internet movie pleaded guilty to culpable homicide last week, allowing the story of their online bragging to be told. Plastered all over the Scottish newspapers last week, it is hardly surprising that the shock that such videos exist have begun to lead to calls for more regulation of the video-sharing website.

In the past fortnight MPs have queued up to criticise YouTube in an attempt to look tough on law and order, in response to the spate of gun crime. As a result, John Whittingdale, who chairs UK's Commons Culture Select Committee, is considering a public enquiry into the topic.

What we’re seeing is the emergence of this, and a whole series of undesirable things emerging from new media,   Whittingdale said. There are also concerns about cyber-bullying and about the use by some Islamic fundamentalist groups of some pretty appalling websites.

Ivan Lewis, a health minister, who has some responsiblity for “inter-generational issues”, delivered a warning in Sunday’s Observer that companies should “do everything in their power” to prevent such material appearing online - a clear hint of how far concerns have reached at the political level. On the other side of the fence, David Cameron called for curbs on violent music and games, as the Tory leader strayed close to the issue of online regulation.

The storm is an indication of how the “you can’t regulate the internet” debate is shifting. Two years ago, Lord Currie of Marylebone, Ofcom’s chairman, argued that there was no need for any specific internet regulation, because existing laws, such as those covering incitment to racial hatred, made illegal anything that was likely to provoke the most offense.

Yet there is a recognition privately in regulatory circles that the debate is being reopened - although there are no plans as yet for a formal Ofcom consultation - and acknowledgement that this is an issue that the Government may force the communications authority to consider.

I’m not sure there is currently the case for any statutory intervention, Whittingdale said,“ but we want to see Google and the internet service providers getting together and focusing on what might be done. An inquiry from Whittingdale’s committee is likely in the next few months.

It is unlikely that a solution lies with the expansion of Ofcom’s caller centre, which handles viewer complaints about television - “Who would pay for it?” one insider asks - but there is some interest, particularly among Conservatives, in trying to extend the familiar film rating system used by the BBFC.

For the moment, YouTube is resistant, although it does restrict some content to the over18s, but that is unlikely to satisfy the growing band of political critics; if the issues of children and gangs remains in the public eye for much longer - and it probably will - the prospect of tightening internet regulation becomes more and more likely.


19th August   Would You Credit It? . ..

Wired Plastic Visa Card Cash like transactions no longer acceptable to control freaks

From The Guardian see full article

Children are using new pre-paid 'credit cards' to buy alcohol and pornography and gamble online, The Observer has learnt. Children's charities and politicians claim that the cash cards are being used by under-18s to buy age-restricted goods and services over the web.

An investigation by the children's charity NCH found that it was easy for children to obtain pre-paid cards from corner shops without having to prove their age - breaching card issuers' guidelines.

Pre-paid cards, new to the UK, were originally aimed at people such as migrant workers who don't have bank accounts, but they are now being offered to children.

Children can now access and buy the most disturbing things, from explicit DVDs to entry to gambling sites, said Labour MP Margaret Moran.

The Children's Charities' Coalition for Internet Safety - which includes the NSPCC, Barnardo's and NCH - has written to Apacs, the trade association for payments, warning that the cards: provide a new vehicle for the trade in child pornography over the internet ... in a way that essentially eliminates the possibility of the purchaser being caught.


19th August   The Tube of All Evils . ..

YouTube logo
Calls to ban animal cruelty videos from YouTube

From The Times see full article

YouTube has become a forum for animal cruelty, with viewers flocking to watch clips such as one of a tethered goat being fed to a python by laughing onlookers.

Animal welfare groups have attacked YouTube for hosting the footage, which also includes live mice and chicks being fed to piranha fish, and pets being thrown from tall buildings.

In many of the videos, spectators are heard laughing as the animals are made to suffer before, often, being fed to a larger and more valuable pet. A search on the site for “python” and “chick” turns up more than 30 videos of snakes being fed live chicks.

The RSPCA described the videos showing animals suffering as “sickening” and said the cruelty found on YouTube went far beyond simply feeding one animal to another.

We’ve seen every kind of animal abuse on YouTube, from clips of dogs fighting to one of a kitten being thrown off a fifth floor balcony for fun. It’s definitely not a joke; really it’s a sad reflection on our society, a spokesman said.

The anonymity that YouTube users enjoy impedes efforts to prosecute, according to the RSPCA spokesman, who said: To prosecute successfully we need to know not just who is responsible but also where and when the incident took place, and that’s almost impossible.

In one clip a goat is seen sniffing and scratching at the floor of its cage as a trapdoor opens and the head of a python emerges. The snake then begins to coil itself slowly around the goat.

As the python strengthens its grip and the goat fights for its life, a man’s voice is heard shouting: “Come here, bitch!” A girl laughs while another man, clearly excited by the demise of the goat, says: “It can’t breathe.” According to the video time counter, it’s all over in 2min 42sec.

The scene has been viewed more than 5,000 times and has been awarded three out of five stars by viewers, with more than 30 people listing it as a “favourite” clip.

In another sequence, set to a gentle musical soundtrack, a mouse is released from a small box. It runs around the carpet for a few moments until a hand lifts it up by the tail and drops it into a tank containing piranha fish. Within seconds the water has turned red with blood as the piranhas rip the mouse to shreds.

Many of the videos showing cruelty emanate from America, where the vast majority of YouTube subscribers live. However, some appear to be made in Britain.


14th August   Pissed Off . ..

Don't Piss Me Off t-shirt Incompetent street censorship in Peterborough

Based on an article from the BBC see full article

A man spotted wearing a T-shirt bearing a supposedly "offensive" slogan in a city centre has been warned he risks an £80 fine if he is caught again.

Forklift driver David Pratt was told by street wardens in Peterborough he could cause offence or incite violence.

The slogan on the garment read: Don't piss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies.

Peterborough City Council said using insulting or offensive language was an offence, even if it appeared in print.

Mr Pratt, an American living in Peterborough, was approached by the wardens as he waited for a bus with his wife.

It is insane. I have worn it in the city centre hundreds of times", said Mr Pratt, whose wife bought him the T-shirt in Venice Beach, California: Most people who see it just chuckle. Some people have even stopped me to tell me they like my T-shirt.

Asked whether he would wear the T-shirt again, Mr Pratt replied: "I am wearing it now. If I get a written apology I will wear it in the city centre again. He continued: It's a bummer because I like the shirt, but I am trying to get citizenship but if I get a fine I can kiss citizenship goodbye.

He added: I really don't see how the wording on my T-shirt could incite violence - it's humour, that's all it is.

In a statement, Peterborough City Council said: The incident is the subject of an official complaint to the council and is currently under investigation.


10th August   The Bare Bones of Censorship . ..

YouTube logo
Calls to ban anorexia videos from YouTube

It seems that the establishment simply does not trust people to communicate amongst themselves.

From The Times see full article

Charities involved with eating disorders have called for tighter controls on the internet after it emerged that popular social networking sites such as MySpace and YouTube were being used to promote anorexia.

Pro-anorexia websites, on which girls exchange extreme dieting tips and view “thinspiration” videos featuring alarmingly thin women, have existed for some years. But they have always been difficult to find and the people posting on them have remained anonymous. Now pictures and footage of underweight teenagers are emerging on more mainstream sites, reaching a potential audience of tens of millions.

On Facebook, some groups extol the virtues of anorexia as a lifestyle choice. MySpace’s groups include one that has more than 1,000 members. Its rules state: No people trying to recover. It ruins our motivation.

Thousands of people have viewed film clips of emaciated looking teens and twentysomething women on YouTube which, along with the other networking sites, has rules against posting harmful content. The two to ten-minute videos often feature the more slender celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss, neither of whom is anorexic. They also show images of underweight women in their underwear.

Eating disorder charities have called on social websites to look closely at their online material. Susan Ringwood, chief executive of the charity Beat, said: Pro-anorexic sites weren’t easy to find and most responsible internet providers would cut them out. But on the networking sites there isn’t the same control over them at the moment. Some of the more hardcore stuff does seem to be getting on to these sites. We are concerned that this is a trend.

However, support groups claim that making and discussing videos are the only forms of help available to some young women who are afraid to talk openly about their concerns.

Deanne Jade, principal of the National Centre for Eating Disorders, said: I have no firm view that YouTube should ban them, they only pop up again in a different guise. There is no proof that they cause anorexia and although many are firmly helping helping people to stay anorexic, they also support people who decide to get well.

MySpace said: Rather than censor these groups, we are working to create partnerships with organisations that provide resources and advice to people suffering from such problems. We will target those groups with messages of support.


6th August   Nutters Come Out Fighting . ..

King of the Cage DVDs Cage Wars event fends off the flak

Based on an article from The Herald see full article

Organisers of the controversial Cage Wars say they will return to Scotland after their successful first event in the country on Saturday.

More than 4000 people attended the event, where bouts - a cross between boxing, wrestling and martial arts - are held in large octagonal cages.

There has been widespread criticism of the contests, in which competitors can punch, kick, wrestle, knee and elbow their opponents until submission, with brutal force not uncommon - only head butting, eye gouging and fish-hooking are not permitted.

A licence was granted to Cage Wars organisers to host the event in Braehead Arena, near Glasgow, by Renfrewshire Council, who said the event met the "public entertainment" criterion.

The decision was met with dismay by Glasgow list MSP Sandra White who last month said: This is going back to the days of gladiators. I don't find it acceptable in this day and age and certainly don't see it as entertainment.

The violence of the fights was also condemned by police and religious leaders.

Det Ch Supt John Carnochan, head of the Violence Reduction Unit based at Strathclyde Police, said he had concerns about the event: While I do not claim to have a clear understanding of what is involved in cage fighting, I do know there is a fine line between what some people would describe as sport and others would describe as violence. The idea that people are prepared to pay to see this kind of activity is concerning. More concerning is why any parent would take their child to witness such a thing.

Morag Mylne, the convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, said: From what I know about cage fighting, it does appear to be a fairly grotesque and unsporting spectacle.

Tickets cost up to £45, and children were admitted in the company of adults.

The sport has been growing in popularity and in America supports an industry with a turnover of $5bn (£2.5bn). Top competitors may be paid $1m (£500,000) per fight. Promoters claim the sport has an audience of 300 million viewers in 130 countries and has a better safety record than boxing and rugby.


22nd July   School Fights YouTube . ..

YouTube logo A fight impeded by their own internet filters

If all nutters would use internet filters then it would leave the rest of the internet free for normal people.

From The Telegraph see full article

A head teacher has criticised YouTube after footage of two girls fighting at his school was posted on the video-sharing website.

The clip, which was filmed on a mobile phone, shows the two teenagers wrestling on the ground and exchanging blows. One of the girls is seen having her head banged on to the concrete as crowds of children cheer them on. The fight was allegedly filmed by a boy on his mobile and posted on YouTube.

Max Bullough, the head teacher of Hayling College, near Portsmouth, Hants, said the website was "completely unregulated". He said it was difficult for the school to have the footage removed and in the end the police had to be called.

We are a county school, and the county council firewall prevented us from looking at YouTube, because it is a banned site, so we had to ask someone to look on their home computer to establish that the clip was there.

The problem then was getting it removed. If you are not registered you can see the clip, but you have no access to the flag symbol that you can click on to suggest that material is unsuitable. So we could see it, but could do nothing about it. If you look on the 'contact us' connection it does not offer you a telephone number or an email address to log a complaint. In the end we had to call in the police and they got it removed.

We had no sooner got the clip removed than it was placed back on there from a different source. So we had to go back to the police to have it removed a second time.

The 49-second clip was watched by 1,159 people after being uploaded on Tuesday.

29th July   Update: Police and Panorama Join the Fray...

YouTube logo Fighting school children on YouTube

From the BBC see full article

Police chiefs have urged websites to remove violent video footage of children fighting, following an investigation by the BBC. Police say the companies should monitor what is posted on their sites and remove any violent or criminal content.

Panorama found that films showing brutal fights between children are regularly uploaded to sharing websites. The investigation found films showing children as young as 11 and 12 punching and kicking other youngsters.

But YouTube, one of the sites found with footage, says it relies on users to "flag up" inappropriate films.

Deputy Chief Constable Brian Moore, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said it was the responsibility of internet companies to search their sites for videos of violence and crime. They should then pass the details to police.

He said: They are responsible for what is on their products - they are making a profit from this. We would question who is in a financially better position to police the likes of YouTube - those in the private sector, who are earning huge amounts of money, or police forces which are currently having to stretch budgets.

But YouTube, said it did not employ anyone to police what is posted. The site, which is owned by Google, claims pre-screening content is a form of censorship which is not the role of a private company. A spokesman said the website takes down videos but only if they are flagged by users and subsequently found to breach their guidelines.

The YouTube spokesman added the website would help police if they were approached for information.

Panorama: Children's Fight Club will be shown on BBC One on Monday, 30 July at 2030 BST.

From the Observer see full article

Teachers are demanding that YouTube be closed down for refusing to remove violent, threatening and sexual content involving children and staff.

Members of the Professional Association of Teachers have accused the company of encouraging cyber-bullying by ignoring their pleas to take down inappropriate clips.

In one case in Scotland, pupils filmed a teacher in the classroom and then posted it on the website alongside the caption 'you are dead'. Teachers claim that YouTube repeatedly ignored complaints about the footage, although it was eventually taken down.

On Tuesday delegates at the PAT annual conference will call for YouTube and similar sites featuring user-generated video content to be shut down and subjected to an investigation.

Many parents have also expressed concern. Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, said: Unless YouTube can assure parents as well as schools that if anything goes up of this nature it will be immediately removed, the PAT will get a lot of support from parents for this motion.

1st August   Update: Live Now Die Later ...

YouTube logo
Police shut down stunt website

Based on an article from ic Liverpool

Lancashire police have shut down a website called Live Now Die Later run by 18-year-old Michael Davies, which hosted scenes of youngsters performing violent and dangerous stunts, amid fears they could influence other children to film copycat stunts.

Last night Lancashire Police revealed it had had a further five videos which it says Davies posted, removed from the video sharing website YouTube.

LNDL logo But last night similar videos bearing the Live Now Die Later (LNDL) label were still available on the website, including footage filmed on mobile phones of teenagers setting each other on fire and jumping off garage roofs into conifer trees.

Others show children throwing themselves down stairs, stapling their skin, slapping each other across the face, and apparently forcing a homeless man to drink alcohol. In one, a teenager appears to break his arm after jumping from a high wall, in another a youngster poses with a defibrillator which he mimics delivering an electric shock, beside a hospital bed.

The Home Office states it can be illegal to upload violent footage on to the internet, but to date no-one has been prosecuted for such an offence.

Police said currently no criminal charges were to be brought against Davies, YouTube must now comply with their request to remove the footage which they say is not only having a negative influence on society but is also breaching the company’s own code of conduct.

Inspector Andrea Bradbury, of Lancashire Police, was responsible for the closure of the LNDL website, which was blamed for a number of incidents in the North West, including one where 11-year-old Joe Armstrong suffered horrendous burns after being set on fire during a filmed stunt. Insp Bradbury has liaised with Lancashire police’s Computer Crime Unit and has written to the legal compliance team at Google,owners of YouTube, about the clips.

She said: Footage like this just encourages children to get involved in violent and inappropriate behaviour. It doesn’t show young people in a good light and is having such a negative influence on society.


29th July   PC Game Censorship . ..

Mario Party 8 game Mario Party 8 withdrawn

Based on an article from The Times

Nintendo has withdrawn a computer game from sale in the UK because it contains the word 'spastic' in its script.

Mario Party 8 , a multi-player game for the Wii console, went on sale in the UK on Friday but was taken off the shelves after the mistake was discovered.

In the game, designed to be played by groups at parties, a blue wizard called Kamek appears on screen and intones: Magikoopa Magic! Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic!

Nintendo said in a statement: Unfortunately we have discovered that a small number of games contain the wrong version of the disk due to an assembly error. We have therefore decided to recall all copies of the game from UK retailers so that this mistake can be corrected.

Games experts said that computer game translation – like film dubbing – was prone to errors because translation services often did not take account of the meaning of words in particular cultures.

Nintendo said that Mario Party 8 was developed in the US, where the word does not have the same offensive connotations as in the UK. The inconsistency was not identified early enough when the title was produced for the UK, the company said, and as a result, 2% of the first batch shipped to the UK contained the American wording.

Andrew Rickell, executive director of Scope, the disability charity, praised Nintendo for withdrawing the game, but said that games manufacturers needed to do more testing locally to weed out similar errors: Spastic' is an extremely offensive word. It is a medical term which refers to the inability – or limited ability – to control muscle movement, typically among people who have cerebral palsy, but the wider meaning is of someone who is incapable of doing something, either physically or mentally. It is simply not allowable in the UK.

Nintendo would not say when Mario Party 8 would be re-released.


24th July   Comment: Troubled Times ...

Sunday Times logo Naked pregnant 15 year old on the magazine cover

From Paul

It was interesting to note that every newsagent in the country was possibly supplying an indecent image of a child this week, specifically a naked, pregnant 15 year old girl on the front cover of the Sunday Times magazine.

No doubt if you or I had taken such a photograph, let alone had it published, we would very soon be checking our soap for razor blades and trying to dodge the boiling cocoa as a valued guest of Her Majesty.


22nd July   Clean Rooms . ..

Travelodge logo
Travelodge to eject adult pay channels

From The Telegraph see full article

Budget hotel chain Travelodge is expected to announce the removal of all pornographic pay-per-view TV channels from its 20,000 bedrooms, in an effort to become more family-friendly.

The plans - likely to cost Travelodge millions of pounds per year in lost revenues - were revealed by a senior management source last night.

Travelodge's pay-per-view televisions will be replaced by a £10m roll-out of new flat-screen, digital TVs with 18 free, family-friendly channels such as CBeebies and Film Four.

Travelodge has doubled the number of families staying in its hotels since 2003. Leisure breaks account for 70% of sales with the rest generated by business customers - thought to form the main market for television pornography in hotel rooms.

A hotel industry source said UK hotel guests spend hundreds of millions of pounds every year on adult television services in their rooms.

The company is expected to claim that the loss of income from removing the porn channel will be compensated for by the attraction of more customers in the long term.


18th July   Losing Face . ..

Oxford colleges
University morality police snoop on Facebook

From The Guardian see full article

The Oxford University staff are logging on to Facebook and using evidence they find on student profiles to discipline students.

Photos on the social networking website of undergraduates celebrating the end of their exams have been emailed to students by the proctors, Oxford's disciplinary body, as evidence of breaches of the University's code of conduct.

Students now face fines of up to £100 after proctors collected evidence of students celebrating the end of exams by "trashing" their friends, covering them with champagne, confetti, flour, and even foodstuffs including raw meat and octopus. Students may be unable to graduate until the disciplinary hearings are resolved.

Proctors emailed third-year mathematics and philosophy student Alex Hill with links to photographs of her on Facebook on Friday: I have been charged by the proctors for breaching rules and being 'disorderly', on the basis of photographic evidence from Facebook, she said.

Oxford University Student Union has advised students to limit their Facebook privacy settings to "friends only" to prevent proctors viewing their accounts.

A spokesman for Oxford University said University proctors had warned students that students indulging in antisocial behaviour would be disciplined: The proctors wish to take the steps available to them to identify and discipline the culprits.


17th July   Faultless Reasoning . ..

Manhunt game Mother instinctively deflects blame from murderous son and herself

Based on an article from News of the World.

The parents of Britain's most violent teenage murderer claimed that violent computer games turned their son into a twisted killer.

Stuart Harling got life for stabbing nurse Cheryl Moss to death while she was on a cigarette break.

Now, two weeks after he was convicted at the Old Bailey, his mother Lorraine Harling has confessed she and husband David had no idea of the well of savagery that had quietly built up in their son: I knew he was playing the video games but we didn't really know what went on in them, how brutal and graphic they were.

One of Harling's favourite games was the notorious Manhunt. Lorraine, said: I know these games are played by kids across the world, but some are truly horrific. And if they can cause a trigger to be pulled in someone's head they should be banned.

The trial was told how police discovered that, before the murder, Harling spent days on the internet talking to paedophiles and researching serial killers such as the infamous Dennis Nielsen.

Lorraine said: Stuart was 11 or 12 when I bought him the PlayStation. For a long time I didn't even realise games had age limits on them. We'd just buy him the game that all the other kids had. I didn't really know what they were about. I think most parents are the same. I was his mother, but I'd no idea what was happening.


5th July   Taking the Rap . ..

Gold Digger CD David Cameron asks for more positive lyrics in return for extra royalties

From the BBC see full article

David Cameron has pledged to extend copyright on music to 70 years - in exchange for an effort by music bosses to curb violent music and imagery.

The Tory leader told record industry chiefs they had a responsibility to help fix Britain's "broken society".

He said censorship was not the answer - but neither was just investing in youth projects when it was the "content" of music that was often the problem. Music did not just "reflect" culture but also created it, he added.

Cameron was addressing the annual general meeting of music industry trade body The BPI in central London.

Referring to a recent Unicef report on childhood, Cameron said the "single biggest challenge facing this country is that of the broken society".

He acknowledged his own favourite artists, such as Morrissey, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, had not shied away from violence in their lyrics . And that video games, films and other forms of entertainment must also take their share of the blame for fuelling violence.

But he added: Is some music, are some lyrics, are some videos and are some artists, helping to create a culture in which an anti-learning culture, truancy, knives, violence, guns, misogyny are glorified? Yes. Can we see the effects of this on our young people, in our schools and on our streets? Yes. Do we think we can combat this culture by government policies, policing and criminal justice alone? No."

Cameron added: When it comes to helping fix our broken society, it is not enough for the music industry to sponsor community projects. You can make a difference by providing positive role models for young kids to look up to, draw inspiration from and aspire to be.

In exchange, he said the next Tory government would extend copyright to prevent musicians missing out on royalties in later life.

Thanks to Phantom on The Melon Farmers Forum :

And is if show willing for this new breed of 'responsible rappers' Kanye West self censored his rap at the Princess Di memorial concert at Wembley:

I ain't saying she's no gold digger, but she ain't messing with no quote! quote!

In fact the meter rather gave the game away that he meant:

I ain't sayin she a gold digger, but she ain't messin wit no broke niggaz

Perhaps the line may also indicate an answer to the call for responsibility in return for extra royalties!


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