Not sure if you were aware of this, but Tuesday 18th's premiere of Season 2, Episode 9 (Sic Transit Imperium) of Sky Atlantic's imported US Showtime drama BILLIONS , had a heavily censored subtitle track for Deaf/Hard of Hearing viewers added to
it. Every single swear-word was edited.
Fuck became heck, frick, frig, screw, freak, crap Fucking became sucking, fricking, frigging, freaking, freaky, fracking Shit became stuff, hell, crap Pussy became punk Bullshit became bullspit Goddam became gosh-darn, full-blown (yes, really!)
Motherfucker became money-grabber Fuck this became forget this
The only rude words that survived intact were crap and ass .
Whoever did that episode's subtitling clearly had an issue with all the adult language. I've never seen anything like this, since the 1980's/90's days of films on ITV (like ALIENS or DIE HARD).
The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reflects a world in which attacks on the media have become
commonplace and strongmen are on the rise. We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, and suppression of freedoms 203 especially in democracies.
RSF's latest World Press Freedom Index highlights the danger of a tipping point in the state of media freedom, especially in leading democratic countries. (Read our analysis entitled Journalism weakened by democracy's erosion.) Democracies began falling
in the Index in preceding years and now, more than ever, nothing seems to be checking that fall.
The obsession with surveillance and violations of the right to the confidentiality of sources have contributed to the continuing decline of many countries previously regarded as virtuous. This includes the United States (down 2 places at 43rd), the
United Kingdom (down 2 at 40th), Chile (down 2 at 33rd), and New Zealand (down 8 at 13th).
Donald Trump's rise to power in the United States and the Brexit campaign in the United Kingdom were marked by high-profile media bashing, a highly toxic anti-media discourse that drove the world into a new era of post-truth, disinformation, and fake
New Zealand's outgoing chief censor has urged the Government to hurry up and deliver the law change it proposed on
streaming services like Netflix.
Eight months since the Government announced a plan to update broadcasting rules, including making online streaming services subject to classification and content standards, chief censor Andrew Jack has revealed his frustration at what he says has been a
total lack of progress.
Jack spoke to the Herald on Sunday in the final week of his six-year tenure at the top of the classification office and cited concerns around pornography as well as how issues like suicide, rape and sexual violence are being used by entertainment
companies for commercial gain - beyond the reach of regulation. He whinged:
Nothing has actually happened, just nothing. And I have to say that is a source of significant frustration. We know some of this material is causing harm, we know the measures which can improve the situation, but nothing has actually happened.
The only entities winning out of the current situation are the entities selling depictions of sexual violence as entertainment.
In my view, you can't just announce you're going to do something, and not do it.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry said the Government intends to refer the bill to a select committee this year. She said:
Work on the bill has been fairly complex. It needs to be future-proofed in an era of rapid technological change, as well as being practical for existing providers and not putting barriers to the entry of new services.
In his final days as chief censor, a role he wanted to continue but was unsuccessful in seeking a third term, Jack said there were other aspects to consider, specifically around pornography and depictions of suicide and sexual violence. Jack said there
was absolutely a concern over pornography becoming an unwelcome form of sex education in young generations, though more research needed to be done to understand what exactly young Kiwis are consuming online.
Jack spoke of complains about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why:
I can't talk specifically about the series you talked about because the classification office has called that in and is in the process of deciding whether that needs to be subject to a restriction or a warning on it.
Historically as a country we've tried the 'let's not talk about it' approach [to suicide] which has not been successful. We've an appalling rate of youth suicide.
Where those issues are dealt with in a positive way, it's a really good thing. But it's where you get depictions of suicide which are instructional, or two-dimensional or suggest it's a viable option for dealing with some of the tribulations life
sometimes deals at you.
The Annual Report 2016
reveals how our work has changed and how ASA adapted to a fast changing advertising landscape where nearly half of the work now involves regulating online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads , material that just five years ago wasn’t covered by
2016 marked the five year anniversary of the ASA and CAP extending the advertising rules to cover companies’ and other organisations’ own ad claims on their own websites and social media spaces, for example on You Tube, Facebook and
Twitter. The Annual Report reveals the impact of that change. In the last five years:
The ASA has resolved 41,383 complaints about 36,872 online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads
Those ads accounted for 1 in 3 complained about to the ASA
88% of complaints about online ‘advertiser-owned’ ads were about misleadingness, compared to 73% for complaints across all media.
The report highlights the regulatory challenges the changing advertising landscape poses, with the lines between offline and online and between paid-for, ‘owned’ and ‘earned’ advertising becoming increasingly blurred. And the
report shows how technological change has influenced the ASA’s strategy to have more impact and be more proactive.
Key figures for 2016 included:
The ASA resolved 28,521 complaints about 16,999 ads
4,824 ads were changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA and CAP action (a record year and a 5% increase on 2015)
CAP delivered 281,061 pieces of training and advice to industry to help companies and organisations get their ads right (another record year and a 10% increase on 2015)
The ASA and CAP delivered strong enforcement, with 8 websites taken down, one successful prosecution of an alternative therapy provider following referral to our legal backstop, Trading Standards, and two arrests pending prosecution
The Russian government is preparing to scale-up its war on people accessing blocked webssites by hitting services that provide workarounds. A new bill
developed by the government requires VPNs and other anonymizing services to stop providing access to blocked domains. If they do not, they themselves will also be blocked. Search engines also face sanctions for linking to banned sites.
When it comes to blocking websites, Russia is quickly emerging as a world leader. Tens of thousands of sites are now blocked in the country on copyright infringement and a wide range of other censorship grounds.
Of course, Russian citizens are not always prepared to be constrained by their government, so large numbers of people regularly find ways to circumvent ISP blockades. The tools and methods deployed are largely the same as those used in the West,
including VPNs, proxies, mirror sites and dedicated services such as Tor.
To counter this defiance, the Russian government has been considering legislation to tackle sites, tools and services that provide Internet users with ways to circumvent blockades. According to local news outlet Vedomosti , that has now resulted in a
tough new bill.
Russia's plan is to issue a nationwide ban on systems and software that allow Internet users to bypass website blockades previously approved by telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor. This means that if a VPN, proxy or similar tool unblocks torrent site
RuTracker, for example, it will be breaking the law. As a result, it too will find itself on Russia's banned site list.
The publication says it has confirmed the bill's existence with a federal official and several Internet service provider sources.
As previously reported , Russia also has search engines in its sights. It wants to prevent links to banned sites appearing in search results, claiming that these encourage people to access banned material. The new bill reportedly lays out a new framework
which will force search engines to remove such links. Failing to do so could result in fines of up to $12,400 per breach, clearly a significant issue for companies such as Google and local search giant Yandex.
The Portnam Group is a drinks industry panel which investigates complaints about the marketing of alcoholic drinks. The latest
A complaint about the packaging of Old English Gin promoting excessive drinking has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel).
The complainant believed that due to the fact that the product is sealed with a wine-style cork it is less practical than a more usual spirit closure --.and will encourage purchasers to drink the bottle more quickly than they would otherwise
The Panel were presented with the bottle of Old English Gin sealed to gauge if it could be opened easily. The Panel proceeded to open the bottle and reseal it with the cork. Whilst disappointed with the Company's short response, the Panel found that the
bottle was straightforward to reseal; with the brand name etched upside down on the cork so that when it was inserted into the neck the writing on the cork was the right-way up. The Panel noted this design feature and that the product was unlikely to
deteriorate quickly and therefore would not encourage consumers to drink the product more quickly. The Panel therefore concluded that the product did not breach the Code.
New Zealand film censor surveys feminists, anti-sex work campaigners, police and academics to find that child protection issues re sexual violence in the media can be mitigated by extending film censorship to the internet
New Zealand's film censors of the OFLC are calling for the extension of their remit to internet streaming services such as Lightbox and Netflix.
Currently, apart from some one-off cases, the New Zealand censor has no influence over the labelling and warnings that come with streamed content.
Deputy chief censor Jared Mullen claimed that the public wanted such services too be censored by the OFLC:
Forty-seven percent of New Zealanders are now accessing streaming services regularly - that's at least weekly. So I think it is becoming more a part of New Zealanders lives and parents and young people are telling us the same thing. Their expectations
for content labelling are high, they want more specific information and they want that before they watch the show.
Ninety-two percent of Kiwis who are responsible for choosing entertainment for children actually use the classification and labels, which is an extraordinary number.
Mullen said the participants involved in new research generally agreed that content regulation laws should be extended to cover increasingly popular streaming services. However this is hardly surprising when noting that the surveyed group were feminist
campaigners, anti-sex work campaigners, police and feminist dominated academia.
Mullen noted that the groups were canvassed:
On their views of firstly what they're seeing in terms of sexual violence portrayal in entertainment media, and how they are seeing it effect young people. The concern across all of those groups is the portrayal of sexual violence... is often
unrealistic, it can be sensationalised and is often portraying some really harmful myths about sexual violence which don't accord with reality.
Asked about the legal practicalities of extending film censorship to the internet, Mullen said there were half a dozen pieces of legislation that would need changing:
Relatively easy amendments - there's a range of regulations that would need to change, but other than that, no - it's not difficult.
The German broadcasting authority, the Landesmedienanstalt , has issued a temporary ruling requiring streamers using services such as Twitch and YouTube
to obtain a broadcasting license to avoid penalties. This license, known in German as the Rundfunklizenz , can cost anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 euro to obtain.
The news comes after popular Twitch streaming channel PietSmiet said it was told it will need a license by April 30 if it wants to continue streaming. The changes apply to all online streamers with a very low threshold of 500 or more followers.
More than a dozen state legislatures are considering a bill called the " Human Trafficking Prevention Act
," which has nothing to do with human trafficking and all to do with one man's crusade against pornography at the expense of free speech.
At its heart, the model bill would require device manufacturers to pre-install "obscenity" filters on devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers. Consumers would be forced to pony up $20 per device in order to surf the Internet without
state censorship. The legislation is not only technologically unworkable, it violates the First Amendment and significantly burdens consumers and businesses.
Perhaps more shocking is the bill's provenance. The driving force behind the legislation is a man named Mark Sevier, who has been using the alias "Chris Severe" to contact legislators.
According to the Daily Beast
, Sevier is a disbarred attorney who has sued major tech companies, blaming them for his pornography addiction, and sued states for the right to marry his laptop. Reporters Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny uncovered a lengthy legal history for Sevier,
including an open arrest warrant and stalking convictions, as well as evidence that Sevier misrepresented his own experience working with anti-trafficking non-profits.
The bill has been introduced in some form Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming. We recommend that any legislator who has to consider this bill read the Daily
But that's not why they should vote against the Human Trafficking Prevention Act. They should kill this legislation because it's just plain, awful policy. Obviously, each version of the legislation varies, but here is the general gist.
Manufacturers of Internet-connected devices would have to pre-install filters to block pornography, including "revenge porn." Companies would also have to ensure that all child pornography, "revenge pornography," and "any hub
that facilitates prostitution" are rendered inaccessible. Most iterations of the bill require this filtering technology to be turned on and locked in the on position, by default.
This is terrible for consumer choice because it forces people to purchase a software product they don't necessarily want. It's also terrible for free speech because it restrains what you can see. Because of the risk of legal liability, companies are more
likely to over-censor, blocking content by default rather than giving websites the benefit of the doubt. The proscriptions are also technologically unworkable: for example, an algorithm can hardly determine whether an item of pornography is
"revenge" or consensual or whether a site is a hub for prostitution.
To be clear, unlocking such filters would not just be about accessing pornography. A user could be seeking to improve the performance of their computer by deleting unnecessary software. A parent may want to install premium child safety software, which
may not play well with the default software. And, of course, many users will simply want to freely surf the Internet without repeatedly being denied access to sites mistakenly swept up in the censorship net.
A Censorship Tax
The model bills would require consumers to pay a $20 fee to unlock each of their devices to exercise their First Amendment rights to look at legal content. Consumers could end up paying a small fortune to unlock their routers, smartphones, tablets, and
Anyone who wants to unlock the filters on their devices would have to put their request in writing. Then they'd be required to show ID, be subjected to a "written warning regarding the potential dangers" of removing the obscenity filter, and
then would have to sign a form acknowledging they were shown that warning. That means stores would be maintaining private records on everyone who wanted their "Human Trafficking" filters removed.
The Censorship Machine
The bill would force the companies we rely upon to ensure open access to the Internet to create a massive censorship apparatus that is easily abused.
Under the bill, tech companies would be required to operate call centers or online reporting centers to monitor complaints that a particular site isn't included in the filter or complaints that a site isn't being properly filtered. Not only that, but the
bill specifically says they must "ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible on the product" putting immense pressure on companies to aggressively and preemptively block websites to avoid legal liability out of
fear of just one illegal or forbidden image making it past their filters. Social media sites would only be immune if they also create a reporting center and "remain reasonably proactive in removing reported obscene content."
It's unfortunate that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act has gained traction in so many states, but we're pleased to see that some, such as Wyoming, have already rejected it. Legislators should do the right thing: uphold the Constitution, protect
consumers, and not use the problem of human trafficking as an excuse to promote this individual's agenda against pornography.