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26th September   

Offsite: No End in Sight...

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Net Suicide Bill would breathe life into government censorship
Link Here

Maria Eagle Government moves to reduce the availability of suicide sites on the internet may herald a new era of online censorship in the UK.

Last week, Justice Minister Maria Eagle announced a review of the law on suicide. Citing the usual suspect – public concern – she said: Protecting vulnerable and young people must be a priority and a responsibility for us all.

There is no magic solution to protecting vulnerable people online. Updating the language of the Suicide Act, however, should help to reassure people that the internet is not a lawless environment and that we can meet the challenges of the digital world.

It is important, particularly in an area of such wide public interest and concern, for the law to be expressed in terms that everyone can understand.

We continue to work with the internet industry to look at long-term ways to keep people safe and without jeopardising our freedom of speech.


Or in plain English: We are finally going to do something about people who have the temerity to use the internet to talk openly about this subject. Freedom of speech is optional.

...Read full article

 

25th September   

Well Roger Me!...

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Life returns to Torbay after 30 years of censorship
Link Here

Life of Brian DVD Monty Python fans in the Devon resort of Torbay will be able to publicly watch The Life Of Brian for the first time after a 30-year-old ban on the film was lifted.

When the comedy was released in 1979, the local authority said its 15 rating should be upped to an 18. The film's distributors refused and the movie was effectively banned and never shown in the resort, reports The South Devon Herald Express.

The film recently won a vote to be shown at the English Riviera International Comedy Film Festival, forcing Torbay Council to seek legal advice on the ruling made three decades ago. It was subsequently decided that the 1979 decision is now redundant.

Torbay mayor Nick Bye said: The world has moved on. I haven't seen the film but I welcome its showing on Sunday.

 

21st September   

Taking Offence at Insulting Football Songs...

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Rangers v Celtic, Ireland v Scotland, Censorship v Free Speech
Link Here  full story: Football Sectarianism...Sectarian Rangers football song wind up

Rangers vs Celtic When Glasgow Rangers fans sang the Famine Song at an Old Firm derby they never thought it would cause so much trouble:

I often wonder where they would have been
If we hadn't have taken them in
Fed them and washed them
Thousands in Glasgow alone
From Ireland they came
Brought us nothing but trouble and shame
Well the famine is over
Why don't they go home?
Now Athenry Mike was a thief
And Large John he was fully briefed
And that wee traitor from Castlemilk
Turned his back on his own
They've all their Papists in Rome
They have U2 and Bono
Well the famine is over
Why don't they go home?
Now they raped and fondled their kids
That's what those perverts from the dark side did
And they swept it under the carpet
And Large John he hid
Their evils seeds have been sown
Cause they're not of our own
Well the famine is over
Why don't you go home?
Now Timmy don't take it from me
Cause if you know your history
You've persecuted thousands of people
In Ireland alone
You turned on the lights
Fuelled U boats by night
That's how you repay us
It's time to go home.

But the song angered one fan so much he put in a complaint that led Irish diplomats to raise the concerns with the Scottish government.

Now anti-censorship campaigners have stepped into the row, claiming this weekend that any attempt to curb the fans from singing the lyrics would be a dangerous assault on freedom of speech. It is the Rangers fans' right, they say, to insult the Irish over the Great Famine if they choose.

Index on Censorship's Irish-born spokesperson, Padraig Reidy, said he was concerned about the state intervening: Considering we all know that there have been nasty, offensive songs at Old Firm games for years, making it into a national issue seems absurd and dangerous. It's trying to set a legal limit on speech that isn't incitement to violence. Rangers and Celtic have an agreement between themselves to sing what they want.

Reidy said that, while the song about the Famine is undoubtedly offensive, behaviour should be controlled by the two clubs rather than the state: It's different to anti-discrimination laws, which are a very good thing, but seeking to outlaw any kind of insulting or offensive speech/songs does become very problematic, because someone will always take offence .

Rangers FC said it has approached Strathclyde Police for guidance, a spokesman for the club said, adding fans had been actively discouraged from singing the song at games.

 

21st September   

Offsite: A Disgusting Feast of Filth?...

The history of British theatre censorship
Link Here

Theatre Censorship book The theatre is a watchword for unfettered artistic licence. Or is it? Dramatists and producers still engage in battles with state censors — who can still determine what is fitting for public consumption. The official role of state censor, given to the Lord Chamberlain under the Licensing Act 1737, may well be dead — but censorship is alive and well in other guises.

...Read full article

 

19th September   

Offsite: Stepping on Toes...

Operation Ore campaigner has collar felt
Link Here

Police raid house Early last Thursday, police in Market Harborough and Rugby arrested two forensics experts, Jim Bates and Chris Magee, on charges of conspiracy to possess indecent images of children . Jim Bates has frequently given testimony in computer forensic and child pornography cases, and had been working on a case along with Magee, who is a director of Cyber Forensics.

The arresting officers also seized large quantities of material, both hard copy and digital, from the two men. This included material that is claimed to be privileged within the meaning of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

Jim Bates is controversial. He has testified extensively and often in criminal cases, but is best known for his role in defending individuals accused of downloading child porn, and for his criticism of Operation Ore, which resulted in thousands of child pornography arrests in the UK.

Talking to The Register he made it clear that he sees the official investigation of many such cases as systematically flawed. He is scathing of police 'experts' in this area, arguing that most lack the expertise to carry out all but the most basic of analyses.

...Read full article

Update: Raid Declared Unlawful by the High Court

9th May 2009. See article from teletext.co.uk

A porn raid on the home of a leading forensic computer analyst who was helping police in Bristol has been declared unlawful by the High Court.

Two judges quashed a warrant under which Avon and Somerset Police entered the home of Jim and Joan Bates.

The damages to be paid to the couple, of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, will be assessed at a later date.

Update: Who really defines 'public interest'?

19th May 2009. See article from theregister.co.uk by John Ozimek

A police chief would rather face the prospect of jail than obey a court order requiring his force to return computer hard drives to their owner. At issue is the big question of who ultimately makes the law in the UK: the police or the courts.

Update: Jim Bates Speaks Out

1st June 2009. See article from inquisition21.com

 

18th September   

Update: Gangs of Censors...

YouTube implement UK specific censorship of violent videos
Link Here  full story: Violence on YouTube...YouTube target violent videos from the UK

YouTube logo The Google-owned video sharing website YouTube has moved to counter criticism that it helps fuel gang violence by introducing new rules to ban submissions that glamorise guns and knives.

The UK-specific rule will ban videos showing weapons with the aim of intimidation after criticism that fierce battles were being fuelled by rival members posting videos.

A Google spokesman said: There has been particular concern over videos in the UK that involve showing weapons with the aim of intimidation, and this is one of the areas we are addressing.

The move comes days after YouTube also introduced new global guidelines to outlaw content that directly incites violence .

But the new rules will not change the internet giant's stance on the way content is regulated. It is committed to a policy of user-moderation, arguing it is impractical for it to vet every video before it is posted. Once a video is flagged up as potentially inappropriate YouTube's staff examine it and remove it if it breaks the guidelines.

 

17th September   

Top Yourself Tourism...

PCC censures Daily Star for glamourising suicide
Link Here

Daily Star cover The Press Complaints Commission has censured the Daily Sport for a gratuitous article that glamourised suicide after the tabloid published a Top yourself tourism list.

The Daily Sport published a list of the UK's top 10 suicide hotspots using information released by the British transport police that showed 25 people had died on one stretch of railway line over three years.

Choose Life, a government-backed education project working to reduce the numbers of suicides in Scotland, complained to the PCC that the piece had provided unnecessary detail which might encourage vulnerable people to visit the places shown and take their own lives and said the piece was highly irresponsible.

The PCC upheld the complaint and said it breached clause 5 its code of practice, introduced in 2006 following discussions with the Samaritans to try and reduce the risk of imitative suicide. It was the watchdog's second censure of a complaint under the new rules.

Clause 5 states that care should be taken to avoid excessive details about the method used when reporting suicides.

The PCC ruled that the article was simply a gratuitous guide to how and where individuals have killed themselves. It treated a serious subject in a light-hearted manner and may have glamorised suicide in the eyes of some readers.

 

17th September   

Offsite: Notes from Another Country...

Personal Reflections on a Modern Witch Hunt
Link Here

Police raid house Notes from Another Country - the book about the fascism behind Operation Ore is to published on the Inquisition 21st Century website

The Introduction and Chapters 1-3 have already been posted, the remainder will follow.

Notes from Another Country is a book by a suppressed author, which may be amongst the most important works of our times.

...Read full article from inquisition21.com

 

10th September   

Comment: Grand Credibility Theft...

Grand Theft Auto blame cited in trial of violent attacker
Link Here  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Grand Theft Auto IV game A teen has attacked four women supposedly in an imitation of violent computer game Grand Theft Auto , a court heard.

Ryan Chinnery, 19, prowled streets in his car targeting females he thought were prostitutes after 'becoming obsessed' with the game.

He assaulted his victims, none of them hookers, by night in a two-month period.

And the court was told he may have been influenced by the virtual reality game, in which a character drives around on “missions” — including approaching prostitutes who can be beaten up.
Dragged

A copy of Grand Theft Auto was found at his home by police. Yesterday Chinnery was told he faces a long prison sentence after he admitted two sex attacks. Two similar offences were left on file.

Prosecutor Eleanor Laws said Chinnery's love of Grand Theft Auto may go some way to explaining his attitude towards women. Prostitutes in it can be subjected to violence. There may be some connection with the defendant admitting spending a lot of time playing that game.

Judge Philip Statman adjourned sentencing until October 22 pending probation and psychiatric reports. The case will fuel debate on the effects on youngsters of violent computer games.

 

4th September   

Education Cuts...

Exam board censors poem with references to knife crime
Link Here

Carol Ann Duffy poems Britain's biggest exam board has been accused of censorship after it removed a poem containing references to knife crime from the GCSE syllabus.

Officials at the AQA board said their request that schools destroy the anthology containing the Carol Ann Duffy poem Education for Leisure had been triggered by concerns in two schools about references to knives. A spokeswoman confirmed the decision had been made in the context of the current spate of knife-related murders.

But poets yesterday condemned the move, saying such "censorship" fundamentally missed the point of the poem, which they said could help children debate the causes of street violence.

The poem starts:

Today I am going to kill something.
Anything.
I have had enough of being ignored and today
I am going to play God.

It describes a youth's yearning for attention and a journey to sign on for the dole, and makes references to the killing of a goldfish. It ends ominously with the youth walking the streets armed with a bread knife.

Duffy's literary agent, Peter Strauss, said: It's a pro-education, anti-violence poem written in the mid-1980s when Thatcher was in power and there were rising social problems and crime. It was written as a plea for education. How, 20 years later, it had been turned on itself and presented to mean the opposite I don't know. You can't say that it celebrates knife crime. What it does is the opposite.

A spokeswoman for AQA confirmed there had been three complaints, two referring to knife crime and a third about the description of a goldfish being flushed down the toilet.

The AQA spokeswoman said: The decision to withdraw the poem was not taken lightly and only after due consideration of the issues involved. We believe the decision underlines the often difficult balance that exists between encouraging and facilitating young people to think critically about difficult but important topics and the need to do this in a way which is sensitive to social issues and public concern.

 

4th September   

Saturday Nights Alright for Banning...

YouTube bans singers music video
Link Here

YouTube logo Singer Sandi Thom has had the video for her latest single banned from YouTube because of scenes of drug-taking.

The Scottish singer-songwriter told The Scotsman that the video, which featured a compilation of images sent in by fans of their Saturday nights, was discovered to have contained inappropriate scenes, including one of a man with what appeared to be four lines of cocaine in front of him. The images also featured a man with his hands down his trousers, she said.

I thought it was hilarious in a way when I found out they'd banned it, but I also felt bad for my fans who had sent in their pictures in good faith who won't get to see them now, said Thom.

 

26th August   

Offsite: Moor Censorship...

Censoring provocative art is the worst advert for 2012 Olympics
Link Here

Myra Hindley in hand prints Unless you tell me it's withdrawn, I'm coming round to the academy and I'm going to stab the first person I see, was one of the threats received by the Royal Academy during the 1997 Sensation exhibition. The reason? Marcus Harvey's portrait of Myra Hindley, made from multiple copies of children's handprints.

Inevitably, the picture succumbed to vandalism and was removed from the show for repair, but the marks from the canvas remained on the wall, along with a plaque detailing the work. That void seemed to speak volumes about our relationship with contemporary art in this country.

Eleven years on, the picture has lost none of its power to shock - a fresh burst of outrage has followed a fleeting glimpse of the artwork in a Visit London video screened in Beijing to promote the 2012 Olympics. The picture appears in a montage of images highlighting London's thriving cultural scene.

...Read article from guardian.co.uk

 

22nd August   

Censorial Twats...

Prude objects to the word 'twat' in a children's book
Link Here  full story: Age Ratings for Books...Publishers propsose age ratings for books

My Sister Jodie A housewife has taken on one of Britain's best-selling children's authors and a leading publishing house to censor the word 'twat'.

Random House Children's Books has agreed to remove 'twat' from a popular book by Dame Jacqueline Wilson, after complaints from Anne Dixon, who insists she is standing up for values of common decency.

She claimed she was 'horrified' when she came across the expletive in the best-selling book My Sister Jodie - a gift for her nine-year-old great-niece.

She complained to Asda, in Stanley, County Durham, where she bought the book, and the store initially removed it from sale.

Now the publishers said they will – by altering one letter – substitute the word with “twit” when the book is reprinted.

On the publisher's website, My Sister Jodie is recommended for children aged from nine to 11.

Mrs Dixon said: I am not a prude. In fact, I am quite broad-minded, ...BUT... this is completely inappropriate for children. 

The book has an attractive cover and is clearly for children. They should not have to be subjected to trash and vulgarity. I did not expect this from a well-respected author and do not want my young niece to have to see this obscene slang.


I got to the page where reference was made to a 'toffeenosed twit'. On the next page the word changed. I thought I was mistaken, but then I saw to my shock it had been repeated twice again.

A spokesman for Random House Children's Books said: In the context of the character, we felt it was used in a way that accurately portrayed how children like Jodie would speak to each other. The term had been included "on purpose" because it was uttered by "a nasty character".

The book is aimed at children aged ten and over, and we felt it was acceptable for that age range. However, in light of this response we have decided to amend the word when we reprint the book.

A spokesman for Asda said: "Since the book was launched in March this year, we have sold over 28,000 copies and this is the first complaint we have had. The spokesman said that Asda had reviewed the matter and would continue stocking My Sister Jodie in all its UK outlets.

Comment: (Hate) Mail

From David

Driven, as usual, by one person's determination to dictate to everyone else for the sake of the children and supported, as usual, by the (Hate) Mail

Random House: The book is aimed at children aged ten and over, and we felt it was acceptable for that age range. However, in light of this response we have decided to amend the word when we reprint the book.

Asda: Since the book was launched in March this year, we have sold over 28,000 copies and this is the first complaint we have had.

So the publishers thought it was appropriate, Asda alone have sold over 23,000 copies since March so I would guess the total sales must be at least near the half-million mark, there has only been one complaint and so they're going to the expense of changing the book?

I'd have told the twat to fuck off and get a life if this had been about one of my books....

 

22nd August   

Update: Harry Potter and the Disputed Age Ratings...

Children's books to be age rated from the autumn
Link Here  full story: Age Ratings for Books...Publishers propsose age ratings for books

Harry Potter book, adult edition From this autumn, a number of publishing houses will "age band" their children's books.

Each book will carry a specific marking indicating they are suitable for readers aged 5+, 7+, 9+, 11+ and 13+/teen.

Books will also carry a recommendation for where they should be placed in book shops or libraries.

Research within the book industry suggests people buying books for children would welcome the guidance.

But it is a scheme which has already enraged a number of writers, among them former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo: There's no such thing as an average seven-year-old. They could be four or 10, or like me, 65 - it's just nonsense. If you say a book is for a seven-year-old, the nine-year-old is going to be trying to cover it up at the back of the class.

The scheme followed research by the Publishers' Association, which suggested standardising age recommendations might help boost reading.

The interesting thing about children's books is that it's not the readers who are buying them - it is parents and grandparents and libraries and schools, said Sarah Grady, the children and education programme director for the Edinburgh International Book Festival: I think that's what the publishers were trying to address. As a reader, you drop a book if you don't like it so children will self censor, but it's knowing what to buy them in the first place.

JK Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury and about eight other major publishers have said they would not take part in the scheme. The rest of the industry - including Puffin, Orion and MacMillan - are in favour of age banding unless individual authors object.

And writers have been vocal in their criticism - more than 750 authors have already signed an online petition set up by Philip Pullman, best selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy. They include JK Rowling, Anthony Horowitz, Terry Pratchett, Alan Garner and the four writers who have held the Children's Laureate title - Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen.

 

18th August   

Offsite: No Glory in Britain...

Britain's terror laws have left me and my family shattered
Link Here

Free Hich placard The UN's committee on human rights has just published a report criticising Britain's anti-terror laws and the resulting curbs on civil liberties. For many commentators the issues raised are mostly a matter of academic abstractions and speculative meanderings. For me, it is anything but. These laws have destroyed my life.

On May 14 I was arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act - on suspicion of the instigation, preparation and commission of acts of terrorism : an absurdly nebulous formulation that told me nothing about the sin I had apparently committed. Once in custody, almost 48 hours passed before it was confirmed that the entire operation (involving dozens of officers, police cars, vans, and scientific support agents) was triggered by the presence on my University of Nottingham office computer of an equally absurd document called the al-Qaida Training Manual , a declassified open-source document that I had never read and had completely forgotten about since it had been sent to me months before.

...Read full article from guardian.co.uk

Hicham Yezza, an activist and writer, was released without charge after six days in custody, immediately rearrested on immigration charges and issued with a removal order to Algeria, after which he was held for a further 27 days; he is still awaiting a conclusion to his deportation case

Update: Jailed for Immigration Overstay

15th March 2009 See article from news.bbc.co.uk

A university administrator from Nottingham who falsely claimed he was entitled to be in the UK has been jailed for nine months.

Hitcham Yezza was originally arrested under the Terrorism Act after he printed off a copy of an al Qaida manual for a friend.

Both men were released without charge but Yezza, of Barker Gate, Nottingham, was rearrested.

He was found guilty of offences under the Immigration Act last month.

The jury at Northampton Crown Court heard the Algerian national was rearrested after police found the passport he claimed had been stolen.

He had told officials that the travel documents were stamped by immigration officials, extending his stay in Britain until December 2007, before they went missing.

In fact, Yezza had failed to get them stamped since 2003 and his stay in the UK was now illegal. He was found guilty last month of securing avoidance of enforcement action by deceptive means.

Sentencing him, Judge Charles Wide QC told him: The public is entitled to have confidence in the system of immigration control, but it makes it much more difficult for truthful applicants if some applicants tell lies, as you did.

Update: Police made up evidence against muslim student

16th July 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

A Muslim university student was held for seven days without charge as a suspected terrorist after police made up evidence against him. Documents from the professional standards unit of West Midlands police reveal that officers fabricated key elements of the case against former University of Nottingham student, Rizwaan Sabir.

Sabir was researching terrorist tactics for a master's at the University of Nottingham in 2008 when he was detained under the Terrorism Act and accused by police of downloading an al-Qaida training manual for terrorist purposes. The 27-year-old, however, had downloaded a manual from a US government website for his research which could be bought at WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon as well as the university's own library. After seven days and six nights in police custody, Sabir was released without charge or apology.

The incident so incensed the university's sole terrorism expert Dr Rod Thornton, a lecturer at its department of Politics and International Relations that he published an article condemning the University's handling of the arrest and treatment of Sabir. In a paper prepared for the British International Studies Association, he alleged the university attempted to smear the student.

Now, however, the results of the internal West Midlands police professional standards investigation into the affair following complaints by Thornton over the police's handing of the case is complete. It found that officers effectively invented what Thornton, the university's sole terrorism expert, told them about the al-Qaida training manual in a police interview. The findings of the force's standard's inquiry upheld Thornton's claim that officers made up what he said about the al-Qaida manual.

Thornton has now referred the police treatment of him to the IPCC. The standards board, however, says that no officers will be investigated for misconduct.

 

17th August   

Update: Big Nipples in Lyme Regis...

Small town prudes whinge at nude painting
Link Here

Possession by Maxime Xavier A celebrated artist's nude self-portrait has been banned from an art competition. Maxime Xavier was told that her nipples were too big in the picture and that it was therefore too risque for public viewing.

Maxime insists that her picture is no more explicit than nudes by artists such as Rubens exhibited in galleries worldwide.

But organisers of the art competition show in Lyme Regis, Dorset, insisted that she remove it.

Maxime branded the decision "crazy". She said: It is ludicrous to say that the good people of Lyme Regis need to be protected from seeing my nipples. A few people on the organising committee told me that my painting could not be shown because my nipples were too erect.

The painting is called Possession . It is a serious work and shows a man holding his lover tightly as if he owns her while she appears lovey-dovey.

Mike Cawte, manager of the Town Mill gallery, said the painting had been deemed unsuitable. He said: This might be small town prudery but it is just a storm in a teacup. Various people were unhappy with Maxime's painting. At this time of year the majority of our visitors are not artists. They are holidaymakers, families with young children who come off the beach and see the gallery.

 

16th August   

Update: Rushdie Locked in a Cupboard...

Defending censorship of one book whilst taking legal action against another
Link Here  full story: Jewel of Medina...Publishers run scared over book

On Her Majesty's Service book by Ron Evans Sir Salman Rushdie has accused his publisher of censorship at the same time as trying to prevent the release of a book that criticises him.

The novelist, who spent nearly a decade under a fatwa from the Iranian government after the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988, attacked Random House for pulping a historical novel about the Prophet Mohamed for fear of offending Muslims.

Sherry Jones's debut novel, The Jewel Of Medina , about the Prophet Mohamed and his child bride, was due for release this month. But Random House said credible and unrelated sources had warned that the book could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.

Rushdie's very public intervention comes at a time when he is engaged in a legal battle to amend the content of a book that criticised him.

On Her Majesty's Service by Ron Evans, who was part of Rushdie's police protection team, makes claims – all of which are denied by the author – that he was imprisoned by guards who got so fed up with his attitude that they locked him in a cupboard under the stairs and all went to the local pub for a pint or two. When they were suitably refreshed, they came back and let him out. Evans, who contends that police nicknamed Sir Salman "Scruffy" because of his unkempt appearance, also makes several other allegations.

Rushdie denied there was any contradiction in his actions, saying: [Sherry Jones's book] is a work of fiction. Ron Evans's book is not, and it contains a very large number of provable lies and complete absurdities which were defamatory not just about me but my son's mother, Elizabeth West, the Metropolitan Police and people including John Major and Norman Tebbit.

Under pressure from Sir Salman's lawyer, Evans is believed to have amended his most contentious chapters.

 

16th August   

Dive In!...

Knickers promoting High School Musical 2 withdrawn
Link Here

High School Musical 2 DVD Knickers for young girls made to promote the film High School Musical 2 are being withdrawn after a complaint that they were sexually suggestive.

Sue Relf bought the underwear for her seven-year-old granddaughter at Asda in Broadstairs, Kent, and took them home to find the words Dive in! on them.

Disney issued a statement which said: We are very sorry to hear that a customer is unhappy with one of our High School Musical products and apologise for any offence caused.

The knickers in question were designed using our High School Musical 2 artwork, which uses the creative theme of a swimming pool, as this is a key part of the film's storyline. Unfortunately a genuine oversight was made and the text on this product was used outside the context of the swimming pool.

This product will not be part of any forthcoming collections.


An Asda spokesperson said: There is very limited stock available of this particular line still remaining in Asda stores. It was completely innocent and certainly not meant to cause any offence to customers. However, we will now withdraw the product from all stores.

 

16th August   

Freedom of Speech Chilled in Britain...

UN criticises UK over glorification of terror, official secrets and libel tourism
Link Here

UN logo British libel laws are stifling free speech around the world as wealthy businessmen and celebrities increasingly turn to UK courts to silence their critics abroad, the United Nations has warned.

In a report published yesterday, the UN's Committee on Human Rights criticises the phenomenon of "libel tourism", where foreign businessmen and millionaires use the High Court in London to sue foreign publishers under claimant-friendly defamation laws.

It said that UK defamation law had discouraged critical media reporting on serious public interest matters, affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work.

The report cites the case of Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American researcher who was sued in London by a Saudi businessman and his two sons over a book which was not published in the UK, although 23 copies were sold into the jurisdiction via the internet and one chapter was available online.

The committee also criticised the way the British Official Secrets Act 1989 had been used to stop former Crown employees from bringing issues of public interest into the public domain and said that provisions in the Terrorism Act 2006 regarding encouragement of terrorism were vague and could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

The committee said it was concerned that the Official Secrets Act had been used to frustrate former employees of the Crown from bringing into the public domain issues of genuine public interest, and can be exercised to prevent the media from publishing such matters . It noted that disclosures of information were penalised even when they did not harm national security.

The State party should ensure that its powers to protect information genuinely related to matters of national security are narrowly utilised and limited to instances where the release of such information would be harmful to national security, the report says.

The committee was concerned about the "broad and vague" definition of the offence of "encouragement of terrorism" in section 1 of the Terrorism Act.

In particular, a person can commit the offence even when he or she did not intend members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged by his or her statement to commit acts of terrorism, but where his or her statement was understood by some members of the public as encouragement to commit such acts, the report says.

The committee called on the Government to consider amending the part of section 1 which deals with encouragement of terrorism so that its application does not lead to a disproportionate interference with freedom of expression.

 

16th August   

Fringe Censorship...

Edinburgh festival stewards acting as press censors
Link Here

Edinburgh Fringe logo Edinburgh Fringe organisers were accused of censorship last night after it emerged that non-accredited journalists have been prevented from doing interviews on the Royal Mile, one of Edinburgh's main thoroughfares.

Colin Macnab, a freelance sound recordist, said he had been stopped from doing his job on several occasions by members of the Fringe Office staff who believed they could control any media activity on the Royal Mile.

He said he had been stopped from working, told to move and warned that only accredited journalists could work on the street. Macnab said he had been stopped from working with a German producer last week by one official who told him he was not on the High Street but on a Fringe venue.

He said he was appalled that he was being treated that way on a public street. He added: This is hindering my work. My concern at the end of the day is that this is censorship. It's not on for someone other than an editor to decide what goes on TV.

Duncan Fraser, a spokesman for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, admitted that stewards did patrol the area and members of the media were asked to make sure they were accredited. He justified this with some worthless bollox about it being only done to make sure that events ran smoothly.

 

13th August   

Googling for Over Reaction...

Knee jerk blog host blocks blog over tasteless quip
Link Here

Blogger logo Google has unblocked Scamp, the UK's most popular advertising industry blog, following the removal of comments containing "hate speech".

Scamp, which is run by advertising executive Simon Veksner, had been blocked since Friday by Google-owned blogging platform Blogger. Visitors to Scamp had been blocked, until today, from accessing posts and were instead shown the message that it was in violation of Blogger's terms of service.

It has emerged that Google moved to cut access after the blog was flagged for use of hate speech" , according to an official message posted by administrators of the blogging platform.

Veksner speculated that the post that triggered the complaints was called Sauce Poll on the subject of who in an ad agency you would prefer to date?. He said he assumed that it was an offensive comment, which has now been deleted, along the lines of how they would rather have sex with someone with Down's syndrome than an advertising professional.

Veksner said that while the post, made on Friday, did draw a backlash from the online community he at first left it on the blog. A lot of people were offended, but I decided not to delete the comment, he told MediaGuardian.co.uk: My policy is I do delete comments where the commenter is intending to be offensive, but I don't delete comments where the commenter's primary intention is to be witty, even if what they say ends up offending people.

 

12th August   

Police Playing Games...

Police seize War On Terror boardgame
Link Here

War on Terror: The Boardgame It is rare for a board game to be seized by the police. This week that distinction befell War on Terror: The Boardgame ; a set was confiscated from climate protesters in Kent.

Following a series of raids on the climate change camp near Kingsnorth power station, officers displayed an array of supposed weapons snatched from demonstrators: knives, chisels, bolt cutters, a throwing star – and a copy of the satirical game, which lampoons Washington's "war on terror".

For the game's creators, Andrew Sheerin and Andy Tompkins, web designers from Cambridge, the inclusion of their toy was a shock: When I saw the pictures in the papers I was absolutely baffled. I thought: surely no member of the public is going to believe that a board game could be used as a weapon?

You won't find the game in high street stores; retailers have all declined to stock it. The high street chain Zavvi bought 5,000 sets but strangely withdrew them for sale after one day, citing "poor sales". But since its low-key launch two years ago, War on Terror: The Boardgame has sold 12,000 copies online and through independent stockists, prominently featuring in student bedsits.

Much like games such as Risk or Diplomacy, War on Terror revolves around players creating empires that compete and wage war against each other for resources and land. The controversial twist allows them to "train" terrorist cells that either attack your enemies or, if you're unlucky, turn against you – like some anti-Western terror groups have done.

There is an Axis of Evil spinner intended to parody international diplomacy by randomly deciding which player is designated a terrorist state. That person then has to wear a balaclava (included in the box set) with the word "Evil" stitched on to it.

Kent police said they had confiscated the game because the balaclava could be used to conceal someone's identity or could be used in the course of a criminal act.

 

11th August   

Salter Gets On Our Wik...

And so does the Martin Salter Wikipedia entry
Link Here

Martin Salter I’ve just come across this nonsense on Martin Salter’s entry in Wikipedia:

Salter has promoted legislation proposing to criminalise possession of so-called "extreme pornography" [2]. His campaign came about after the conviction at Lewes Crown Court of Graham Coutts, a self confessed addict of violent internet pornography, for the murder of Brighton schoolteacher Jane Longhurst. A petition, objecting to "the presence of extreme internet sites promoting violence against women in the name of sexual gratification", gained 50,000 signatures. This prohibition was incorporated into the Immigration and Criminal Justice Act 2008.

The last sentence is manifestly untrue. How it should read is: thanks to a remorseless campaign against internet pornography in general, fuelled by a great deal of disinformation and greatly facilitated by a government terrified of being painted as ‘soft’ on porn by the Tories and the press, Salter managed to bounce onto the statute book a thoroughly ill-conceived and draconian measure which will criminalise the possession of a wide range of material, and not simply that cited in the original petition.

 

6th August   

Offsite: The Music the BBC Banned...

Radio DJ Spencer Leigh has made a CD of banned tracks
Link Here

The Record is Not to be Broadcast CD It's difficult to remember the last time the BBC banned a record. What was once an event to mark the official changing of a generation seems to have vanished along with Top of the Pops. No wonder that the youth of Britain has become depoliticised.

Not so long ago, mysterious men would dictate whether certain records were suitable for Britain's pop diet.

At the BBC's Written Archives Centre in Caversham the files of the Dance Music Policy Committee have been preserved for public inspection. This was pop's equivalent of the Bilderberg Group. It was a shadowy unit set up in the Thirties that took the role of Britain's cultural guardian very seriously. When one member said that he felt like “a crazy weather vane in a storm” the controller of sound broadcasting replied: No one is more alive than I to the need to buttress the forces of virtue against the unprincipled elements of the jungle.

...Read full article

Update: The Committee

12th October 2008. See article from liverpooldailypost.co.uk

Although names of the watchdogs have not yet been disclosed, they were first known in the British Broadcasting Corporation as the Dance Music Policy Committee – or simply the “Committee”, surely one of the most chilling words in our language.

The Committee finally buckled in 1964 before the permissive mood sweeping the country, though, from time to time, records are still banned – either by the Corporation itself or individual DJs.

After meticulous research, Spencer has produced an informative booklet on some of his findings. This accompanies a box-set of three CDs, containing full versions of 75 records banned between 1931 and 1957. Spencer writes about why each record was banned.

 

5th August   

Comment: No Glory at Nottingham University...

No right for researchers to hold terrorist material
Link Here

Free Hich placard The University of Nottingham has decided that its students and staff have no right to possess terrorism-related materials for the purposes of research, such as al-Qaeda training manuals freely available for download from US Government websites.

One Nottingham postgrad student and a clerk were held under the Terrorism Act for doing just this earlier this year, before being released without charge (though the clerk now faces deportation), the university has now made it clear that it fully supports these actions, and says that the student has no reason to possess such material. He's researching Islamic terrorism.

The student, Rizwaan Sabir, who is studying Islamic terrorism, said he had downloaded a copy of an al-Qaeda training manual for use in his MA dissertation and PhD application and had forwarded it to the administrator, Hicham Yezza, for printing. After six days in detention, neither was charged.

A police letter warned Sabir that he risked re-arrest if found with the manual again and added: The university authorities have now made clear that possession of this material is not required for the purpose of your course of study nor do they consider it legitimate for you to possess it for research purposes.

Comment: Plods on doctoral research

From Alan

The letter from Mr Plod to Rizwaan Sabir is amazing: "The university authorities have now made clear that possession of this material is not required for the purpose of your course of study nor do they consider it legitimate for you to possess it for research purposes."

The thing which immediately leaps off the screen is that the peak-capped jobsworth who produced this nonsense doesn't have the first idea of what Ph.D. research is. The reference to a "course of study" might be appropriate to a an undergraduate. A person researching for a doctorate is engaged in original research which will add to knowledge. When I defended my thesis, and when Mr Sabir eventually defends his, we have to convince senior academics, often internationally acclaimed experts in their field, that they have learned something new.

There can be no concept of "required" reading in doctoral research. The researcher doesn't know what he will find, or where he will find it. In Mr Sabir's case, he might find relevant material in a body of Arabic literature in the field of Muslim theology which has extended over a millennium and a half.

Nor do the "university authorities" emerge with any credit, since Mr Sabir was recommended to read the controversial document by his supervisor. Perhaps the best way for him to stuff it to Plod and the university's pusillanimous bosses would be to cite the document extensively in his thesis.

 

2nd August   

Offsite: The End of Morality as we Know It...

Who really deserves public humiliation?
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

News of teh World Max Mosley issue Since Mr Justice Eady in the High Court found in favour of car-racing mogul Max Mosley against a Sunday paper there has been much hyper-ventilated outrage on the issue of the wigged wonder having created a new so-called “privacy law”.

There has even been a retired Archbishop of Canterbury wailing about the end of national morality as we know it.

...read full article

 

1st August   

Offsite: The Dark Knight vs Halo 3...

Videogames: Why the Government should be educating, not 'protecting'
Link Here  full story: Knife Blame...Media predictably blamed for increased knife crime

Dark Knight The Dark Knight is rated 12a. Which, by the BBFC's reckoning, makes it more suitable for youngsters than videogames given the '15' sticker. Which is fair enough for a psychological horror such as Siren: Blood Curse , but not so much for the colourful, nigh-on cartoonish alien warfare of Halo 3 . So, here's the crux: how can these forms of media, with varying degrees of violence and gore fall under the same bracket of classification? As was proposed this week by government ministers.

...Read full article

 

31st July   

Update: Watershed Inanity...

Harmful committee recommend more internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Harmful Content...Parliament Inquiry: Internet And In Video Games:

Culture Media Sport Committee The internet industry must take more responsibility for protecting young people from the "dark side" of digital content relating to abuse, violence and suicide, according to a committee of MPs.

The investigation recommended the establishment of a self-regulatory body to create better online safeguards to protect children from being exposed to unsuitable material. The body would police websites, adjudicate on complaints and could help crack down on piracy and illegal file-sharing in Britain.

The culture, media and sport committee report, on harmful content on the internet and video games, said that leaving individual companies to introduce their own measures to protect users had resulted in an unsatisfactory piecemeal approach which lacks consistency and transparency.

The committee chairman, John Whittingdale, criticised YouTube for not going far enough with proactive measures, beyond a pledge to take down material when it is "flagged" up by users: We had a lively debate with YouTube [who said they have] millions of users who act as regulators. They understandably say they can't look at all the material uploaded.

The report recommends a "proactive review of content" as standard practice for sites hosting user-generated content. The idea would be to introduce technological tools to "quarantine" material which potentially violates terms and conditions of use until ... reviewed by staff.

The report recommended a host of measures including improving the "shocking" industry-accepted standard takedown time of 24 hours for the removal of child abuse content. Whittingdale said a key concern was that many young people did not realise when they are putting information on social networking websites such as Bebo and Facebook it was being "made available to the world".

The report recommends a default setting for social networking website user profiles with heavily restricted access that would require a "deliberate decision" to display personal information. The increasingly worrying role of the influence of suicide websites was also highlighted in the report. It said that it could be possible to look at blocking such websites on a voluntary basis, in the same way that ISPs already do for child sex abuse websites with the Internet Watch Foundation.

The report also agrees that parents need to take on a greater responsibility to protect their children. The report also recommended introducing the rating system used by the BBFC for computer games.

Based on article from mirror.co.uk

Internet sites such as YouTube should adopt TV-style watersheds to protect youngsters from porn and violence, MPs said today.

Users posting home-made films would have to give them a cinema-style age rating under the proposals. Those containing sex, bad language or violence could be blocked before 9pm.

The move is among curbs proposed by the Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee.

 

30th July   

Update: Shanked...

Nutters stick the knife into a Facebook application
Link Here  full story: Knife Blame...Media predictably blamed for increased knife crime

Facebook logo A Facebook game that lets users 'shank' each other - street slang for stabbing - has been removed following complaints from anti-knife crime nutters.

The virtual "shank" appears as an icon within the Facebook Superpoke! application. Superpoke! allows users to send virtual actions to other users such as smile, wink, take part in the Tour de France or send a bouquet.

Although the application consists of mostly humorous actions, some of the options, such as smack, slap and shank, have darker connotations.

When the knife icon is sent to a Facebook friend they receive a message saying that they have been "shanked".

Superpoke! and Facebook came in for criticism in the Sun. The uncle of Rob Knox, the Harry Potter actor who died after being stabbed in May, told the paper that the application "incited violence".

Slide, who make the Facebook application, have now removed the 'shank' option from Superpoke!.

 

30th July   

Comment: Lord Carey Deserves a Damn Good Spanking...

Nutter speaks out against immorality in the private bedroom
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex
Lord Carey preaching

Lord & 'Master' Carey
looking severe in a frock.
Inflicting extreme
sexual discipline.
with a veritable orgy of
tongue lashing!

Lord Carey of Clifton, previously Archbishop of Canterbury, said the recent Max Mosley rulng created a wholly new privacy law which would allow public figures to engage in unspeakable and indecent behaviour without fear of exposure.

In the past a public figure has known that scandalous and immoral behaviour carries serious consequences for his or her public profile, reputation and job. Today it is possible to both have your cake and eat it.

He said a case could be made for “direct link” between depraved, brutal and repugnant behaviour in private and conduct in public life: If a politician, a judge, a bishop, or any public figure cannot keep their promises to a wife, husband, etc, how can they be trusted to honour pledges to their constituencies and people they serve?

Lord Carey said creating a distinction between private and public behaviour was a deeply-flawed 'anything goes' philosophy. It is also dangerous and socially undermining, devoid of the basic, decent moral standards that form the very fabric of our society.

Meanwhile Simon Calvert, of the Christian Institute said: There is a growing culture of shamelessness which can be reversed only if Christian leaders speak out for what is right. That is what most people expect and hope Christian leaders will do.

Comment: Theological Pillock

Thanks to the 'Archdeacon of Barchester' (and nuffin' to do with Alan, honest)

Fascinating to see Carey jumping into the fray. This individual, technically described by the theological term bloody pillock , has a strong case to be the worst Archbishop of Canterbury since Saint Augustine arrived in about A.D. 600. During the nineties, he ran a decade of evangelism meant to have churches bursting at the seams. Instead, he delivered the worst decrease in the number of worshippers since the Black Death.

Since retiring, he has persistently crapped the nest of his unfortunate successor. Poor old Rowan Williams, a highly intelligent, sensitive and devout man, is trying to keep the Anglican show on the road, with Nigerian fundamentalists and American new-agers both baying for his blood, and Carey just cannot keep his gob shut.

His interest in morality and his inability to close his cake-hole neatly came together when he went public on his advice to Prince Charles. Chazza must have longed for the days when a man in his position could have an awkward bishop shortened by a head. The prosing about morality is particularly nasty in the case, where a poor sod completely unconnected with Mosley's fun and games was sacked from his job when the gutter press outed him when he and his wife refused to provide a nice juicy story about women A-D.

 

27th July   

Offsite: The Max Effect...

Max Mosley's victory has a hollow ring for the rest of us
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

News of the World Max Mosley Max Mosley's victory in the High Court should be celebrated because it exposed the hypocrisy of the News of the World: its mean and suicidal decision to reduce payment to the call girl and main witness, Woman E, by more than half; the pomposity of editor Colin Myler, who insisted that he was motivated by public interest; and the blackmail, unreliability and inconsistencies of its reporter, Neville Thurlbeck.

Since the judgment, there has been much hand-wringing about the freedom of the press. Most of it is self-serving. The damage to the press has not been done by Mosley, or the law, but by the practices of the News of the World. The public-interest defence still remains, but because of the Mosley case, newspapers are now going to have to justify such exposés under the chilly gaze of Mr Justice Eady and the accumulation of privacy law.

That's no bad thing, but my joy at the vanquishing of the News of the World is tempered by the knowledge that while our society haphazardly builds the law to protect privacy in this one limited sphere, we are busily destroying it in almost every other area.

...Read full article

The latest high-profile, UK privacy case raises critical questions for press freedom

See article from indexoncensorship.org by Jo Glanville

The ruling on the Max Mosley case has turned out to be less chilling for free speech than originally feared. Mosley, the president of FIA, Formula One's governing body, has successfully sued the News of the World for invading his privacy, but he was not awarded the ‘exemplary damages' he was seeking. So while the damages he will receive of £60,000 may be the highest award yet in a privacy case, it is not the kind of sum that will deter the press from reporting similar cases in the future.

...Read full article

 

25th July   

Update: Shock Horror: News of World Editor Spanked by Judge...

Max Mosely wins privacy case against the News of the World
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

News of the World Max Mosley Max Mosley won his case against the News of the World over the newspaper's allegations he had engaged in "Nazi style orgy" with five prostitutes.

In a powerful judgement, Mr Justice Eady, declared that however morally distasteful the public might find such activities, the press had no right to publish them as they did not constitute a 'significant' crime.

In his ruling the judge acknowledged the growing influence in British national life of the European Court of Human Rights, which gives people's privacy precedence over the right of the media to investigate them.

Lawyers claimed that the judgement effectively introduced a privacy law into Britain, even though Parliament has never passed one.

Mosley, the President of motor sport's governing body, was secretly filmed conducting a five hour sado-masochistic session at his Chelsea flat with the women, one of whom was the wife of an MI5 agent. As well as being published in the newspaper, video footage of the session was then posted on the paper's internet site and viewed by 3.5m people

Mosley, the son of fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley, sued the paper claiming they had breached his privacy.

The judge, in a passage which was seen by lawyers as a serious breach of press freedom, stated: It is not for the state or for the media to expose sexual conduct which does not involve any significant breach of the criminal law.

The fact that a particular relationship happens to be adulterous, or that someone's tastes are unconventional or "perverted" does not give the media carte blanche.

Mr Justice Eady also suggested that journalists would not be entitled to secretly film someone in order to catch them committing a crime.

The question has to be asked whether it will always be an automatic defence to intrusive journalism that a crime was being committed on a private property, however technical or trivial.

Would it justify installing a camera in someone's home, for example, in order to catch him or her smoking a spliff? Surely not.


Mosley won £60,000 damages - a record for a privacy case - with the judge ruling the paper had produced no evidence of a Nazi link. The newspaper now faces costs of £850,000.

 

25th July   

Update: Fag End Censorship...

Manchester council pushes for adults only certificates for movies with smoking
Link Here

Humphrey Bogart smoking Council leaders in Manchester will discuss the proposals, which have been backed by health officials.

They are asking for special powers to put "restrictive" ratings on films that they believe encourage smoking.

This could mean films that have PG ratings elsewhere in Britain are rated 18 in Greater Manchester's cinemas. Children could even be banned from watching cartoons such as 101 Dalmations because it shows people smoking cigarettes.

Local councils have the power to overrule BBFC cinema certificates.

A report by the Greater Manchester Health Commission, to be discussed by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), says town halls should take into account smoking when giving a classification to film.

 

Clint Eastwood smking in a Fistful of Dollars
Very talented, rich,
world renowned and a smoker...

Thanks to DavidT

The region's 10 councils may also cut funding to theatres that put on plays involving smoking.

The GMHC's report also urges the Government to ban drivers from smoking, to reclassify all films featuring smoking to be rated 18 and to ban smoking in television programmes.

Neil Rafferty, of pro-smoking lobby group Forest, said: It is nannyism of the worst kind.

The BBFC insisted there was no need to classify all films as 18 just because they showed characters smoking. A spokesman said: If we see smoking in films which is actively promoting smoking to young people we would take action against them, give them a higher rating if necessary. But there is less and less smoking in films these days simply because people are unable to smoke in public locations.

 

25th July   

Offsite: Glorification of Censorship...

Glorification of terrorism means artists and academics must watch their words
Link Here

Free Hich placard The glorification clause of the Terrorism Act has created a climate where artists and academics must watch their words

A student downloads an al-Qaida document from a US government website and is held in custody for six days. A shop assistant writes poems about cutting people's heads off and is tried for being a terrorist. An opera composer is accused of promoting terrorism, objects, and is bankrupted by a national newspaper.

What do these cases have in common? First, none of these people was successfully convicted of any crime. Second, none of them faced charges under the glorification clause of the Terrorism Act 2006. Third, they would not have been arrested and/or tried and/or bankrupted had it not been a climate of opinion created by that clause.

...Read full article

 

20th July   

Update: The Welsh People's Affront of Judea...

Lifting the ban on Life of Brian in Aberystwyth
Link Here  full story: Monty Python...Monty Python winds up the nutters

One of the stars of Monty Python's Life of Brian is to look into lifting a long-standing ban on it in the town she presides in as mayor.

Sue Jones-Davies, the mayor of Aberystwyth, rose to fame when she played the part of Judith, Brian's girlfriend.

The film caused outrage among Christian nutters all over the world who complained its content was blasphemous. As a result some areas, including Aberystwyth, prevented the film from being shown in cinemas.

The ban in Aberystwyth still stands to this day, nearly 30 years after the film's release.

Sue Jones-Davies, who is now a Plaid Cymru town councillor and yoga teacher, said she is going to investigate the possibility of lifting the ban: I didn't even know the ban was in existence until Friday. It isn't something I have been worrying about. It is intriguing to think it is banned but I suppose these things come into place and, unless they are revoked, the ban remains. Maybe you can still get prosecuted for showing it. I think it has been shown in the town before but it was shown quietly.

I don't think it would harm the religious faith. I'm going to talk to my town clerk Jim Griffiths and we will be investigating.

Update: Local Nutter Weighs In

27th July 2008

Reverend Nutter Stuart Bell said: If it was an unpleasant film 30 years ago, then it remains an unpleasant film 30 years later. I have not seen the film, nor have I any wish to do so. And I would have thought there are many issues of more importance to the people of Aberystwyth for the mayor to consider than having a ban on this film removed.

 

20th July   

The Great Unblocked...

Charities write to Coaker about Cleanfeed refuseniks
Link Here

Vernon Coaker, minister of crime creation Around 5% of consumer broadband connections are via ISPs who chose not to subscribe to the Cleanfeed internet filter used to block child porn websites.

A coalition of leading children's charities, including Barnardo's, the NSPCC and National Children's Homes, described the situation as 'completely unacceptable'. They have written to the Home Office minister in charge of crime creation, Vernon Coaker, urging him to take immediate steps to ensure all telecom companies offering internet access block customers from being able to see images of child abuse.

The list of blocked websites is available to all ISPs and companies such as BT and Vodafone have signed up to take it. Updated twice daily, it contains between 800 and 1,200 live child-abuse websites at any one time.

In May 2006, Coaker said he hoped all internet companies would sign up to the scheme and that, if there was not 100% take-up by the end of last year, the government would look to compel the industry to 'face up to its responsibilities'.

In their letter to Coaker, the children's charities said it was now time for the government 'to draw a line under this issue' by getting 100% compliance from the industry.

 

15th July   

Offsite: Ooze of the World...

Taking News of the World to task over their reprehensible Max Mosley expose
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

Dances with Werewolves book cover There's something so Dickensian about that word. Prostitute. And I just love the way it's being bandied about in the press these days, along with "orgy". Sells more papers, to be sure.

Max Mosley never wanted to be a crusader for the rights of fellow "perverts" or he'd have outed himself. But Ooze of the World decided to expose his private life and now the journalistic Eye of Sauron is turned on all of us.

...Read full article

 

13th July   

Update: Harry Potter and the Disputed Age Ratings...

Authors write of their opposition to age banding for books
Link Here  full story: Age Ratings for Books...Publishers propsose age ratings for books

Harry Potter book, adult edition A dispute between publishers and authors over controversial plans to introduce age bands for books remained unresolved last night.

J K Rowling and Philip Pullman, two of the biggest names in children's literature, are leading a revolt by thousands of people across the country who are furious at plans by publishers to categorise books by the age at which they should be read.

An emergency summit between the Society of Authors and the Publishers Association this month failed to resolve the standoff. The SoA claims that 77% of children's authors are opposed to having age guidance on books. But publishers maintain that three-quarters of authors have agreed to it.

Pullman, the best-selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, has galvanised protests through his website www.notoagebanding. org, which condemns the proposals as ill-conceived and damaging to the interests of young readers.

Rowling has joined his campaign, alongside other well-known children's writers such as Anthony Horowitz and Terry Pratchett. It is also being backed by the Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen.

Pullman dismissed industry assurances that books would not be age-banded without consultation. Every author... knows what 'consultation' means. It means the publishers saying, 'This is the cover of your new book', and our saying, 'Well, it's horrible', and their replying: 'Well, tough'.

While writers are presenting a united front, publishers are divided. Walker Books, opposed to the move from the start, has now been joined by Rowling's publisher, Bloomsbury. But other publishers, such as Random House, Puffin and Macmillan, remain in favour of age banding.

 

12th July   

Offsite: Civilised Values...

A million miles from the values of the News of the World
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

Dances with Werewolves book cover From Alan:

I don't know how closely you've been following Max Mosley's case against the News of the World.

I suppose it creates a bit of a dilemma for Melon Farmers. For once,

I find myself in favour of censorship, because the rag had no business sticking its nose into Mosley's private life with its sanctimonious finger-wagging. There's a brilliant piece about this on Niki Flynn's site.

See full article from Niki Flynn

Have you been following the Max Mosley Affair? Shame on you if not, as it potentially affects all of us) into "sadomasochistic cruelty" (ie, consensual private CP play). This is UK gutter journalism at its absolute slimiest - an unconscionable invasion of privacy and public humiliation by the Screws News of the World.

According to NotW's counsel, Sadomasochistic cruelty is contrary to civilised values and is corrupting of those involved. That's rich coming from the same rag that stalks celebrities and taps the phones of the Royal Family.

...Read full article

 

11th July   

Pressed Out...

Christopher Meyer resigns from the Press Complaints Commission
Link Here

Press Complaints Commission logo Sir Christopher Meyer will stand down as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission next March.

The press watchdog will now search for a new chairman to replace Meyer after his second three-year term expires.

His replacement will be recruited by the Press Standards Board of Finance, the industry body that funds the PCC, which will advertise for a new chairman.
 

I have found the challenge of strengthening the independence, effectiveness and credibility of self-regulation as stimulating and demanding as any job I did as a diplomat, said Meyer: Thanks to the dedication and professionalism of all at Halton House, the PCC has made a lot of progress in the last few years and today provides a service to record numbers of the public.

But more remains to be done - especially in the digital age - and it is right that, after six years as chairman, I should pass the baton to a successor. I came into this job convinced that self-regulation administered by an independent PCC was the only system of regulation compatible with a free press in a democratic society. I will leave the PCC reinforced in that belief."

 

7th July   

Losing Credibility...

British Medical Association want smoking rated adults only
Link Here

BMA logo Film stars who smoke on screen should attract the attention of the censor in the same way as they would if they were engaged in extreme sex or violence, doctors say.

Films that show smoking in a way that condones, encourages or glamorises the activity should be considered for reclassification – restricting them to an older audience, the British Medical Association said.

More than one in five adults smokes and most start before they are 18 when they are most vulnerable to images that "increase the allure of the habit", the BMA said in a report from its board of science.

The portrayal of smoking in films declined from 1950 to 1990, but has since increased. The poster for the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction, showing a sultry Uma Thurman smoking, was a gift to the tobacco industry and an example of the sort of image the BMA wants to outlaw. In the US, smoking has increased in films targeted at teenagers since 2002, the report says.

The BMA says films showing smoking in a positive light should also be preceded by an anti-smoking advert. A similar strategy to curb the promotion of cigarettes on television led to the voluntary withdrawal of tobacco advertising in the 1970s.

 

6th July   

Offsite: Holylands Warzone...

Blogger cleared of internet intimidation
Link Here

Holylands Warzone logo A blogger who faced charges of intimidation in cyberspace has won a legal judgment that anti-censorship campaigners claimed this weekend will protect freedom of expression across the worldwide web.

Alan Murray's blog highlighting violence, vandalism and creeping sectarian division in a part of Belfast's university district landed him in court on Friday.

He was charged with three counts of intimidating a member of a local residents' committee, which included intimidation on the internet. The judge, however, found Murray not guilty on all counts at Belfast's Magistrates' Court.

Index on Censorship - a global campaign group that defends free speech - welcomed the judge's ruling this weekend.

...Read full article

 

5th July   

Update: Oasis Dries Up...

Pop music to blame for sad deterioration of performers minds
Link Here  full story: Knife Blame...Media predictably blamed for increased knife crime
Dont Believe the Truth CD

Don't Believe the Truth...
Believe the Daily Mail
By Oasis

Noel Gallagher has waded into the debate over youth knife crime..

The Oasis guitarist said it was a "pity scumbags are taking over our streets", and claimed video games were partly to blame for violence.


Gallagher revealed that he and partner Sarah McDonald were worried about their children growing up and said they talked about knife crime in bed at night: People say it's through violent video games and I guess that's got something to do with it.

If kids are sitting up all night smoking super skunk [cannabis]and they come so desensitised to crime because they're playing these video games, it's really, really scary.

Eighteen teenagers have been murdered in London so far this year.

 

4th July   

Offsite: Tartan ReFolded...

More on the sad demise of British film distributor Tartan Films
Link Here  full story: Tartan Film Distributors...Important UK film distributor folds

Tartan Films Last Thursday, Tartan staff turned up at its central London offices to discover that the doors were locked and that the company had ceased trading. By the beginning of this week, administrators Chantrey Vellacott DFK were already scrambling to find buyers for the company's vast back catalogue. There was no shortage of interest.

...Read full article

 

3rd July   

Tartan Folds...

The sad demise of British film distributor Tartan Films
Link Here  full story: Tartan Film Distributors...Important UK film distributor folds

Tartan Films Patchy, eccentric and very prolific, Tartan was one of the most recognisable and risk-taking British film distributors. We wave them a fond farewell

It wasn't entirely unexpected, but the sudden slide into administration of independent distributor Tartan Films is still a moment to give the British cinema world chills.

Fronted by the enthusiastically eccentric Hamish McAlpine, Tartan had been going in one form or another since 1984, but began its run as a major art-film player when it merged with another distributor, Metro, in 1991.

Tartan had been haemorrhaging top staff for some time, and been the subject of tentative takeover talk - but industry talk suggests that the outfit was undone when it set up its US arm (which itself closed its doors and auctioned off its catalogue on June 1 this year). Tartan USA went big on Red Road to launch itself - a film not likely to sustain any commercial ambitions in America.

Whatever repercussions develop from all this messiness, McAlpine and Tartan deserve our gratitude for identifying and capitalising on specific trends in international cinema - most notably as pioneers, in this country at least, of J-horror and Korean body-shock cinema, as well as pushing the envelope in all sorts of ways.

 

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