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 2013: Oct-Dec

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  A Danger to Democracy...

David Blunkett calls for libel censorship to prevent people mocking politicians


Link Here 28th December 2013
Mock Week Too Hot Box David Blunkett has called for satirical TV shows such as Mock the Week to be liable for censorship by those they mock.

The former Labour Home Secretary claimed that the line between comedy and politically-motivated abuse was increasingly being crossed on programmes such as the BBC series Mock The Week , which may require tighter censorship as a consequence. Blunkett spewed:

The protection that broadcasters in particular have is 'well, everybody knows this is comedy don't they?' So it's not libellous, it's not dangerous in the sense that it's targeted and therefore vicious towards an individual. And I think we need to watch that.

Sometimes actually it isn't comedy, it's comment and current affairs in the middle of what is supposed to be a comedy programme. There's a bit more of that going on at the moment.

But of course the whinge is personal as Blunkett's blindness has been the target of Mock The Week' s panel of stand-up comics. A joke in a 2010 episode ran: Sometimes Ministers would break up boring Cabinet meetings by convincing David Blunkett he was black.

Dan Patterson, Mock The Week producer and co-creator, expressed his apologies to Blunkett if he was offended by the blindness gag, which had not prompted any complaints at the time of broadcast. The show has since softened under a different line-up.

 

 Offsite Article: Keir Starmer advocates for cultural guidelines for police...


Link Here 25th December 2013  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Keir Starmer The former director Director of Public Prosecutions for the Crown Prosecution Service, has been active in drawing up guidelines for sensitive areas of criminal law. [But these still allowed the persecutions to continue]

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Offsite Article: Free Speech and Religion...


Link Here 24th December 2013
index logo Defending the right to be offended by Index on Censorship

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Update: Green Light for The Sun...

Lincoln University students vote down proposed campus ban on Page 3


Link Here 22nd December 2013  full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun
lincoln university logo University of Lincoln students have voted to allow The Sun to remain on sale on campus following a referendum of the student body.

A motion had been proposed following objections to the newspaper's regular page 3 feature. Proposers claimed that the topless model shots printed by the tabloid were objectifying women and undermining equality. Others argued that it was a woman's choice to take part in glamour modelling.

Several other British universities have banned the red-top from campus shops, including Leeds, Birmingham City, Bradford, Essex, Kingston, Manchester and East Anglia.

A total of 1,310 students cast their vote and 52% supported the sale of The Sun at the University of Lincoln.

 

 Offsite Article: Twitter trolls are not 'normal' guys...


Link Here 22nd December 2013  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Spiked logo The fact that just two loners are being done for the trolling of Caroline Criado-Perez explodes the myth of endemic misogyny online. By Rosa Minogue

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: Modern slavery: an invented crime...


Link Here 22nd December 2013  full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated
Spiked logo The myth of modern slavery is built on dodgy stats and political opportunism. By Frank Furedi

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Update: Government Gagging for Repression...

Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement suggest that the government should rewrite its Lobbying Bill which will be used to censor campaigners in the year before a general election


Link Here 11th December 2013  full story: Election Censorship in the UK...Government proposes widespread censorship a year before election
commission civil society The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement has published its action plan to protect democracy from the chilling effect of the Lobbying Bill which is seeking to censor campaigners on political issues.

The Commission warns that Part 2 of the Bill is so broadly drafted it would restrict campaigning in the whole year before an election. Parliamentary candidates only have to account for their spending in the few months before an election.

The report recommends that Ministers should urgently rewrite the Lobbying Bill to prevent significant damage to legitimate campaigning. It also sets out a twelve point action plan to ensure transparent and proportionate regulation in election periods. It warns urgent action is needed to improve a Bill that the Electoral Commission has described as unenforceable in parts and which legal advice has warned will have a chilling effect on campaigners.

The Commission's recommendations include:

  • Treating campaigners in the same way as political parties by excluding staff costs from spending limits
  • Reducing the period covered by the legislation to six months ahead of an election instead of a year
  • Dropping the proposed tightening of spending caps for campaigners
  • Doubling the current spending levels at which campaigners have to register with the Electoral Commission
  • Scrapping the proposed constituency spending limit which the regulator warned may be unenforceable

 

 Update: Britain Needs a Nelson Mandela...

To fight against PC extremists and to restore our freedom of speech


Link Here 10th December 2013  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
nelson mandela A man was subjected to eight hours of questioning by police and had his computer seized for three weeks just for making a few tasteless Nelson Mandela jokes on the internet.

Neil Phillips says he was also finger-printed and DNA-swabbed after officers received complaints about what he insists were harmless gags, eg:

My PC takes so long to shut down I've decided to call it Nelson Mandela.

He explained:

You can question the taste, but they're not hateful. I told the police they got plenty of likes . What happened to freedom of speech?

The disgraceful Liberal Democrat Councillor Tim Jones was so 'outraged' by the one-liners, aired at a time when Mandela was critically ill, that he made an official complaint. He claimed:

They are vile and deeply offensive, anti-Muslim, anti-disabled.

Staffordshire Police declined to go into detail about the nature of their over the top actions against Phillips. But a spokesman confirmed the arrest and said:

When he answered bail on September 30, he was informed that there would be no further action based on CPS decision of there being insufficient evidence to support a prosecution.

 

 Update: A hell of a job to search for, track down, and get removed information that might be prejudicial...

Law Commission proposes new power to demand that bloggers, websites or internet companies temporarily take down or block archived information that could prejudice jurors


Link Here 10th December 2013
contempt of court Jurors should face up to two years in prison if they search the internet for information about cases beyond the facts revealed in court, the Law Commission has recommended.

Judges should also be given powers to remove jurors' mobile phones, and all internet-enabled devices must be confiscated during jury room deliberations, according to the commission's proposals for reforming contempt of court regulations.

The report suggests that the attorney general ought to take on responsibility for ordering the media to remove previously published stories from websites if they are deemed to jeopardise a fair trial.

The Law Commission believes its proposals on removing stories from websites will not require media organisations to monitor every trial in the country to ensure that archived stories, still available online, pose a risk to a fair trial.

By requiring the attorney general to make a formal approach to the media when it is feared there is a significant risk that previously published material could undermine justice, the commission intends that interventions will be rare.

 

 Offsite Article: It makes you wonder how they can do their job...


Link Here 10th December 2013  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
Birmingham Council Birmingham Council blocks emails which include the word commie, but fascist and Nazi are fine

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 Update: The Age of Easy Offence...

120 hours of community service for inane Facebook comments about April Jones murder


Link Here 8th December 2013  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
HM Courts Service An internet user who used Facebook posts to mock the search for murdered schoolgirl April Jones has been branded absolutely appalling by a judge.

Gordon Mullen was condemned by Scots Sheriff Iona McDonald for his remarks on Facebook two days after the five-year-old went missing near her home in Machynlleth in October 2012.

He made a series of posts in a three-way conversation:

His first post said: Hopefully the search for the missing girl doesn't go on like the Madeleine McCann saga and she just turns up dead.

Mullen then made a comment regarding Jimmy Savile, adding LMAO (laughing my arse off).

He also made a remark involving April Jones and Austrian sex criminal Josef Fritzel.

Mullen admitted breaching the Communications Act after his earlier arrest for failing to appear in court. Mullen was given 120 hours unpaid work.

 

 Updated: A police team is homing in on bad taste jokers...

But the tweeters aren't worried, it's the Flying Squad!


Link Here 5th December 2013  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Twitter logo A spate of supposedly 'offensive' Twitter remarks on the Glasgow helicopter tragedy has sparked a public 'outcry' as it emerged a teenager was arrested for posting sectarian and racist comments about the disaster.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 16-year-old had been detained for posting 'sickening' jibes in the wake of the Clutha pub catastrophe. The teenager was arrested on Sunday and held in custody in connection with remarks made on a social networking site following Friday's tragedy, police said.

Update: Katie Hopkins under fire for throwaway joke

5th December 2013. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk . Thanks to Phantom

katie hopkins Katie hopkins has built a career on brash utterances and saying what everyone else is thinking . But now, more than 44,000 easily offended people have signed a petition calling for former Apprentice contestant to be banned from any future TV appearances.

The former reality TV star turned professional contrarian and HuffPost blogger issued an apology after cracking a joke on Twitter about life expectancy in Scotland following the fatal helicopter crash on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow. She had joked on Twitter:

Life expectancy in Scotland is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement.

She later apologised:

My tweet on Scotland was directly related to this article: https://t.co/yijMFVbJp7 . I aologise to those I offended. It was poor timing.

 

 Update: A police team is homing in on bad taste jokers...

But the tweeters aren't worried, it's the Flying Squad!


Link Here 4th December 2013  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Twitter logo A spate of supposedly 'offensive' Twitter remarks on the Glasgow helicopter tragedy has sparked a public 'outcry' as it emerged a teenager was arrested for posting sectarian and racist comments about the disaster.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 16-year-old had been detained for posting 'sickening' jibes in the wake of the Clutha pub catastrophe. The teenager was arrested on Sunday and held in custody in connection with remarks made on a social networking site following Friday's tragedy, police said.

 

 Offsite Article: Universities should be the last place to ban free speech...


Link Here 24th November 2013
lse logo The censorship of an atheist bookstall at freshers' week is just another example of heavy-handed repression in our universities by Nick Cohen

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Commented: PC Vandalism...

1936 Alice in Wonderland mural comes under attack over golliwog image


Link Here 23rd November 2013
Wardle Mural An Edinburgh school that has a mural in its assembly hall featuring a golliwog is to hold extra anti-racism lessons in political correctness after a woman protested about the supposedly racist and offensive nature of the picture.

Mary Rocha complained to the police, City of Edinburgh council and MSPs after spotting the image when she visited Wardie primary school as a possible choice for her son. Rocha said she was astonished to find that the mural with the golliwog, painted in 1936 and featuring scenes from Alice in Wonderland, had been restored in 2011 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Rocha said:

It goes back to the American black sambo, the blacked-up face. It's offensive to me: I find it racially offensive.

The golliwog is sitting on an alcove ledge above the Alice in Wonderland figure in the mural's central panel. The mural and Wardie school's distinctive architecture are well known in academic circles. They are part of the international Decorated School project , which is studying art and school buildings with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Jeremy Howard, a co-ordinator of the Decorated School project said:

This is history: if you start painting it out or get rid of it you're deceiving people about what views were prevalent in the 1930s.

Edinburgh council refused to consider covering up the image but said it would now use additional teaching packs from Show Racism the Red Card at the school. A spokeswoman said:

The mural is of both historical and artistic importance. While we understand the offensiveness of the image, it is in no way indicative of the attitudes of either the school or the council.

Rocha said she would find some other school for her son.

Offsite Coment: Racist murals won't warp children's minds

Spiked logo 23rd November 2013. See  article from  spiked-online.com

In these strange times, certain events in real life now take on a dreamlike quality. One such example is a police investigation into a so-called racist mural at Wardie Primary School in Edinburgh.

...Read the full article

 

 Offsite Article: Even Quacks Must Have Free Speech...


Link Here 23rd November 2013
what doctors dont tell you Science campaigners are demanding a ban of alternative-health magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You because of misleading articles. But any attempt to censor this fundamentally silly magazine is misguided and unjustified

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: UK defamation law reforms take effect from start of 2014...


Link Here 22nd November 2013  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth
Law Your Rights For Dummies Anything your commenters say can be held against you, unless...

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: There should be no restrictions on dangerous ideas...


Link Here 17th November 2013
Spiked logo Nadine Strossen explains why nothing, not even rape porn, should be banned. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Fearful Censorship...

Tower Hamlets Council censors art exhibition for fear that works could 'trigger hardliners'


Link Here 14th November 2013
saif osmani A Bangladeshi artist has criticised the Tower Hamlets Council after it banned some of his work from public display.

Saif Osmani was invited to show his work at the Brady Arts Centre in Hanbury Street as part of a season of Bangladeshi drama and art.

But when Osmani arrived on November 2 he says he was told by a council worker with the responsibility for art that four of his pieces, which combine the Pakistani and Bangladeshi flags, might anger hardliners and would not be shown. Osmani said:

I was told that due to the political situation in Bangladesh I was unaware of what this series of paintings could trigger with the 'hardliners'.

Osmani said the rest of his work was moved to a corner of the room near the toilet and was later hidden by a pull-up banner.

Akhtar Hussain, of art group Avid Art Agency, said:

It is an absolute disgrace that this level of censoring is taking place in the name of political correctness at an event which was supposed to celebrated British and Bangladeshi arts, but instead curtails the content of the art on display.

 

  Artists with a Passion For Freedom...

But this is not shared by many as banned art exhibition goes unreported


Link Here 11th November 2013
passion for freedom logo Firoozeh Bazrafkan has the courage to be a truly radical artist and challenge those who might hurt her. She fights for women's rights and intellectual freedom, and her background means her fight has to be directed against radical Islam.

In Denmark Danes reported her to the police for writing that Muslim men abuse and murder their daughters, and adding for good measure that the Koran is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined .

Liberal principles once held that the Danish state should only punish Bazrafkan if her words provoked violence. As it was, the court asked for no proof of actual incitement. (There was none to be had.) Instead, it acted as if criticism of religion was identical to racial prejudice. The white liberal judges therefore ruled that the Iranian-born artist was a racist and gave her a criminal record for condemning honour killings and clerical misogyny.

The indomitable Bazrafkan headed for Passion for Freedom. The annual exhibition is as close as London gets to underground art. The exhibition was to open at London's Unit 24 gallery but the venue pulled out with only days to go. In emails to the organisers, Unit 24 offered various justifications for wrecking a show that had taken months to arrange. Enemies of the exhibition had made threats, and it was worried about a potential terrorist attack . Unit 24 told The Spectator it pulled the show because Passion for Freedom could not provide insurance and security.

There was no secret about its decision. But not one of the arts correspondents for the broadsheets or BBC covered the threat to an international exhibition featuring the work of dozens of artists.

Fortunately, the truly radical owners of the Embassy Tea Gallery allowed the rebellious show to take over their space in Southwark, where it will run until Friday. The large crowd on the opening night cheered Firoozeh Bazrafkan.

...Read the full article

 

  No Better than a Lynch Mob...

Another disgraceful CPS persecution of an innocent man who watched 'twink' porn. The victim was saved when the defence was able to follow up the 2257 proof of age records mandated for US websites


Link Here 3rd November 2013
Crown Prosecution Service A man whose life was ruined when he was charged with child sex offences after looking at legal gay pornography in a hotel room has accused the police and Crown Prosecution Service of a homophobic witch-hunt after his case was finally thrown out.

The defendant endured a two-year nightmare after being arrested in front of his family, charged with 10 offences almost a year later and repeatedly bailed, before every charge was dropped.

The CPS, which spent tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money pursuing the case, offered no evidence in court -- in effect conceding there was no case to answer. His lawyers say they gave the CPS conclusive documentary evidence three months ago that all models featured in the pornography were of legal age.

The defendant's nightmare began during a business trip in September 2011 when he viewed images on a website specialising in twink pornography. Twink is a well-known term in gay slang for small or young-looking men who are aged 18 or over. Perhaps a male equivalent to 'barely legal'

When a female guest who stayed in the same room the following week saw the computer's browsing history she complained to the hotel and staff called the police. Six months later, in March 2012, the man was arrested at his father's home.

Speaking after the trial closed the man said:

I can only conclude that the police officers and the CPS showed institutional homophobia throughout this case. I doubt I would have been treated the same way if heterosexual pornography was involved. Police... were obviously clueless about pornography -- as were the CPS.

In January this year the CPS charged the man with nine counts of making indecent images and one count of possessing indecent images.

He was represented by Myles Jackman, the leading obscenity lawyer who has won several victories in so-called porn trial cases. Mr Jackman obtained signed USC 2257 documents, required by adult websites to prove models they use are not underage, and photographs of all the men involved in the website holding up their passports, which clearly show their dates of birth.

Mr Jackman told The Independent: The CPS has at best showed an ignorance of gay culture and at worst showed itself to be institutionally homophobic. USC 2257 is extremely stringent US federal legislation which the defendant said the police were completely unaware of.

Mr Jackman said he had complained to Keir Starmer, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions, about the CPS's conduct in what he called the Twink Trial but is yet to receive a reply.

Comment: The CPS clearly didn't bother trying to investigate whether the pictures were actually underage

See  The evidence is mounting. Is the CPS institutionally homophobic? from  independent.co.uk by Myles Jackman

2257 statement Throughout these aborted proceedings, we repeatedly stated that all the performers in question were over the age of 18. Despite this, the prosecution has always maintained that it was a matter for a jury to decide the age of the performers. However, we were able to prove how old the performers were. In spite of this the police and prosecution consistently failed to make further inquiries regarding the source and context of the images.

In June, our IT expert Paul Vella contacted the website directly. It confirmed it complied with USC Title 2257 legislation, which requires adult websites to keep records verifying a performer's age against their passport details, as well as keeping signed model release forms .

It supplied us with all these details for all the performers on the entire website. We presented these details to the prosecution immediately. It was possible to compare the passport photos of the performers in question with their pictures on the website.

Unfortunately, the prosecution in this case refused meaningfully to engage with the evidence we supplied. As a final resort, we complained to Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC's office. We failed to receive the reply we were promised.

 

  Maybe Just Style Police...

The government calls off its witch hunt against Private Eye vendors


Link Here 30th October 2013
private eye special A news vendor was told by police to remove copies of Private Eye featuring Rebekah Brooks on the day her phone hacking trial started. Surrounding the front page picture of ex-News of the World editor Brooks were the words Halloween Special and Horror witch costume withdrawn from shops .

Tony McCarthy said two officers asked him to take down the magazine outside Farringdon station in central London. McCarthy told the Metro:

The officers wanted to know about the distribution company I use and how many copies were out on the street. They said it could be some kind of contempt of court.

I said up until the point the judge orders me to take them down, I'll keep selling them. 'They said, "No problem" and didn't pursue it aggressively at all.

The attorney-general's office said later it would not pursue a contempt of court case against Private Eye.

 

 Update: Ticked Off Like a Third World Despot...

CPJ rebukes Cameron for seeking to silence the Guardian and seeking a newspaper censor for the British press


Link Here 30th October 2013  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
CPJ logo The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by threats against the press made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in parliament.

Cameron said, It would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act against the press if newspapers don't demonstrate some social responsibility and stop reporting on National Security Agency files leaked by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. Cameron singled out the Guardian, saying that the paper had gone on and printed further material which is damaging after having already been accused of harming national security.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said:

If David Cameron has evidence that the Guardian or other publications have damaged U.K. national security, he should share this evidence instead of issuing vague threats about taking action.  Governments around the world look to the U.K. as a model for media policies, but in this case, Cameron seems to be taking a page from the book of less enlightened governments that invoke 'social responsibility' to ward off valid criticism.

Cameron mentioned the possibility of resorting to news censorship, through high court injunctions and Defence Advisory notices or through other tougher measures, the Guardian reported .

 

 Offsite Article: We should all stand with the Yid Army...


Link Here 12th October 2013
Tottenham Hotspur F C Spurs T Shirt Some proud Yiddos tell spiked why they'll continue using the Y-word. By Rob Lyons

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Extract: The Guardian Doesn't Believe in Blanket Censorship...BUT...

Applauds pro-censorship campaigners and believes that the censorship debate should be initiated and led by women


Link Here 7th October 2013
The Guardian A Guardian editorial prompted by whinges at Miley Cyrus, concludes:

...We applaud Ms O'Connor, the No More Page Three campaigners and Mr Cameron for at least questioning the values of organised religion and commercial entertainment: but no blanket prohibitions, please. Rather, let us have an open discussion -- initiated and led by the UK's female citizens, and not merely prompted by some Las Vegas shock merchant making shareable pop videos.

...Read the full editorial

I think I prefer the Daily Mail

 

 Update: 'Racist' Police insult British Tradition of Free Speech...

Ludicrous police investigation of Alan Sugar joke about child labour


Link Here 6th October 2013  full story: Twitter Twits...Police overreact to trivial insults via Twitter and Facebook
alan sguar tweet Celebrity business man Alan Sugar has been investigated by police after being ludicrously accused of posting a 'racist' Twitter message.

He posted a photograph of a crying Chinese child to 3.2 million Twitter followers, joking that the youngster was upset after being told off for leaving Apple's iPhone production line, a reference to child labour in Asian factories where the phones are made. He tweeted:

The kid in the middle is upset because he was told off for leaving the production line of the iPhone 5.

The tweet prompted a single complaint to the Metropolitan Police from an easily offended Twitter user, who referred to Sugar as a vile racist .

No matter how ridiculous, and much police action infringes on free speech the police always consider that the complainer is always right. Police contacted the complainant twice, urging her to make a statement at a police station, which she eventually did. The police confirmed that police from Merseyside's Hate Crime Investigation Unit took several days to decide whether a crime had been committed by Sugar's joke.

In the end the trivial tweet was somehow classed as a hate incident -- which means no further action will be taken, but details will be kept on file.

The TaxPayers' Alliance condemned the police investigation, insisting police should not waste time and money chasing ill-thought-out tweets .

 

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