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19th January

  Everybody demands Facebook be their best friend...


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Political campaigners call on Facebook to censor their own activists less and to censor their opponents more
Link Here
center for media justice logoLast year, a coalition of over 70 social justice groups and individuals released a list of demands to Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to address their concerns over Facebook's use of censorship in compliance with law enforcement.

Several organizations reported on activists whose facebook accounts were censored while covering the civilian uprisings in Charlotte, NC. Other incidents include the removal of live footage from anti Dakota Access Pipeline protests, the temporary disabling of Palestinian journalists' accounts, and reports that Facebook sent data to help police track and surveil protesters in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. , Reem Suleiman, campaigner at SumOfUs said:

We're still in the dark about how Facebook censors users and collaborates voluntarily with law enforcement. Facebook needs to come clean with the hundreds of thousands of people asking for transparency and public accountability.

Brandi Collins, Campaign Director for Color Of Change said:

Social media platforms like Facebook are a powerful tool for Black people to draw attention to injustices our community faces That's why we're so concerned that a powerful company like Facebook has been quick to silence Black voices by censoring individual Facebook users at the request of law enforcement. We recognize Facebook is under pressure from law enforcement and the company has a responsibility to protect its users' freedom of expression. Unfortunately, each time we've tried to engage Facebook around these issues, our suggestions have been dismissed or ignored. We will continue to publicly call for an overhaul of Facebook's current policies and practices until the company refuses to enable the censorship of Black communities.

Although the group is calling on Facebook to censor its own activists less, the coalition wrote to Facebook to ask for its opponents to be censored more:

At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based ont heir race, religion, and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook. Many of thesea ctivists have reported such harassment and threats by users and pages on Facebook only to be told that they don't violate Facebook's Community Standards. Similar experiences have been reported by Facebook users from a variety of communities, yet your recent response indicates you are adequately addressing the problem. We disagree.

 

14th January

  A pale imitation...


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Sky pulls Michael Jackson episode from satirical series, Urban Myths
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urban mythsSky have pulled the broadcast of an episode of their satirical series Urban Myths after Michael Jackson's children said they were 'sickened' and 'offended' by the portrayal of their father, played by Joseph Fiennes.

The episode is a tongue-in-cheek dramatisation of a rumoured road trip taken by Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in 2001, after 9/11.

The casting of a white actor as Jackson had already proved contentious, prompting accusations of whitewashing, though many pointed out that the singer's skin had been considerably lighter by this point and he had undergone cosmetic surgery.

However, Jackson's children were 'enraged'. Paris- Michael said:

It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother, Liz, as well. Where is the respect? They worked through blood, sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.

Speaking to the Guardian this week, Ben Palmer, the series director, said people should not jump to conclusions and described Fiennes's performance of Jackson as a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance .

 

14th January

 Commented: Short sighted...


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Oxford physicist abuses hate crime legislation in an attempt to censor government politician speaking about rules for foreign labour
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joshua silver In 2016, Professor Joshua Silver complained to West Midlands Police that British Home Secretary Amber Rudd had committed a hate crime while giving a political speech at the Conservative Party conference.

During an interview with Andrew Neil on BBC2's Daily Politics, Prof Silver said:

I didn't actually see the speech but I've read the draft. And I've looked at all the feedback that there was to the speech. I've read the speech carefully and I've looked at all the feedback. It's discriminating against foreigners, you pick on them and say we want to give jobs to British people and not to foreigners. It was interpreted that way..

During the subsequent discussion on the programme, former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard responded by stating:

Of course it wasn't a hate incident... What Amber Rudd said was no different from Gordon Brown when he said there should be British jobs for British workers. I think Mr Silver should be thoroughly ashamed of himself because what he's doing is to bring a well-intentioned piece of legislation into disrepute.

The BBC subsequently reported that West Midlands Police had not formally investigated the speech, but had recorded it as a non-crime hate incident in accordance with national police guidelines

Offsite Comment: Hate crime reporting risks becoming a tool for censorship

14th January 2017 See leader from telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph logoMr Silver's complaint is vexatious. It reveals the tyranny of elite liberal thinking which labels anything that contradicts political correctness as wicked and wrong -- perhaps actionable. Of course actual hate speech is thoroughly iniquitous. But there is a difference between saying something bigoted with the intention of causing distress, and voicing an entirely legitimate opinion.

The police are not investigating Ms Rudd, but this incident will be recorded in the hate crime figures. Hopefully Ms Rudd will now see the error of her department's approach towards hate . If a crime has been reported, it should be investigated. If something is not a crime then why is data on it being gathered? Hate crime rules risk -- as Mr Silver showed us -- becoming a tool for censorship, a way of threatening people with the law simply for their opinions. That cannot be tolerated.

Offsite Comment: We're all haters now

14th January 2017 See article from spiked-online.com by Tom Slater

Spiked logoIf a middle-of-the-road speech now counts as a hate incident , we're all screwed.

Amber Rudd's notorious party conference speech 203 in which she floated the idea of employers reporting on the number of foreign and British-born people they employ 203 has been recorded by the police as a hate incident , a new lesser category of hate crime that Rudd herself helped to introduce in July last year. In her desperation to prove she was taking post-Brexit hate crime seriously, she has effectively criminalised herself.

 

13th January

 Update: Low self esteem...

Fearing that the feminist movie Embrace will be unattractive to young people, distributors commission a little BBFC cosmetic surgery to improve its appeal
Link Here  full story: Embrace...Feminist movie subject of a ratings review in Australia
Poster Embrace 2016 Taryn Brumfitt Embrace is a 2016 Australia / Canada / Dominican Republic / Germany / USA / UK feminist documentary by Taryn Brumfitt.
Starring Renee Airya, Jade Beall and Taryn Brumfitt. BBFC link IMDb

When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn's crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.

The BBFC rating for Embrace has been changed. The film has now been passed 12A for infrequent strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail after 9s of BBFC category cuts for 2017 cinema release.
The BBFC commented:
  • Company chose to reduce the number of uses of strong language (by bleeping spoken uses and blurring written uses) in order to obtain a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available.

The BBFC Insight reveals a few more details about the content after cuts:

Infrequent strong language ('fuck') is seen on a website page. There is also milder bad language, including uses of shit , arse and God , and some bleeped and visually obscured additional uses of stronger language.

There is brief sexualised nudity, including a shot of pole dancing. Several scenes feature non sexual nudity, including female genital nudity.

Images of cosmetic surgery feature brief sight of scalpels cutting into flesh and brief bloody detail during Botox injections.

The BBFC originally passed the film 15 uncut for strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail for cinema release. A few days later the consumer advice was changed to remove the reference to nudity and surgical images. The original advice was restored after the rating was reduced to 12A.

Never cut by Australian and New Zealand censors but the film made the news after the director successfully appealed against an Australian MA 15+ rating and won an M rating instead. In New Zealand the film censor exceptionally overruled the Australian decision.

 

6th January

  Bristol Women's Voice recommends...

CityFox Taxis
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city fox flyer with ugly ladyA Bristol taxi firm has generated a little outrage by resurrecting a previously controversial advert campaign suggesting that if beer goggles are kicking in then perhaps it's time to call a cab.

The campaign for CityFox taxis features male and female adverts of overweight people next to the slogan: if I start to look sexy book a taxi .

City Fox flyer with ugly manInevitably the advert featuring the woman has 'outraged' local feminists. Bristol Women's Voice said it was appalled by the ad as it reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and sends the message that women are to be judged by their physical appearance .

However there are no reports of the feminists being concerned about men being judged by their appearance.

The same theme was previously used by West Quay Cars of Southampton in 2015, and on that occasion, advert censors of the ASA dismissed complaints saying that the adverts were light hearted and would not cause widespread offence.

CityFox has now decided to scrap the campaign anyway. However CityFox told the Bristol Post that it would not apologise for the campaign which also featured a dishevelled male on a flyer aimed at female passengers.

 

31st December

  No worries, displaced majority folks will qualify as a lower socio-economic group, ie the unemployed...

Bafta, the BBC and Channel 4 have al adopted diversity requirements for film/TV production. But will the rules have any censorship impact?
Link Here
bafta logoThe British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) has adopted new diversity rules for films qualifying for consideration for awards.

In order to compete for the awards, productions will, from 2019, have to demonstrate that they have made effort to boost diversity in two of the four following areas:

  • On screen representation, themes and narratives
  • Project leadership and creative practitioners
  • Industry access and opportunities
  • Opportunities for diversity in audience development

BAFTA added.

Under-represented groups in the film industry include people from minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people, women and LGBT. It also includes people from lower socio-economic groups.

In certain categories productions based or set outside London can also count towards achieving the standards.

Film4 and BBC films have already agreed to adopt the standards.

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: The Sky is Falling

31st December 2016 See  article from spiked-online.com by Christian Butler

A number of articles about BAFTA's new rules single out Skyfall, the 2012 James Bond film, as an example of a previous winner that wouldn't be nominated under the new guidelines.

Offsite Video Comment: Diversity: Do as we tell you - and be diverse

the britisher video31st December 2016 See video from YouTube by the Britisher

The Britisher wonders whether the rules will restrict the BBC from producing programmes in settings where a diverse cast would be a distraction, think Jane Austen or King Arthu.r

 

27th December

 Offsite Comment: 2016: a war of words against the people...

Link Here
Spiked logo Inappropriately aggressive political correctness. The anti-populist rhetoric of the elite is now off the scale. By Frank Furedi

See article from spiked-online.com

 

24th December

 Update: Embracing Political Correctness...

Why has the BBFC deleted 'nudity' from the consumer advice for the feminist documentary, Embrace?
Link Here  full story: Embrace...Feminist movie subject of a ratings review in Australia
Poster Embrace 2016 Taryn BrumfittEmbrace is a 2016 Australia / Canada / Dominican Republic / Germany / USA / UK documentary by Taryn Brumfitt.
Starring Renee Airya, Jade Beall and Taryn Brumfitt. BBFC link IMDb

When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn's crusade as she explores the global issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.

A few days ago the BBFC entry for the film read:

UK: Passed 15 uncut for strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail for:

  • 2016 cinema release

The entry has now been updated to:

UK: Passed 15 uncut for strong language for:

  • 2016 cinema release

There is no mention of cuts and the running times remains the same. The nudity and surgical detail could have been pixellated out. But it seems more likely that feminists have dreamt up a new rule of political correctness that nudity does not count in the context of a feminist film.

Perhaps the BBFC advice should read, strong language, positive body image, negative surgical body image augmentation