British made online music videos are to being given age ratings. The BBFC, which is running the initiative, has estimated that one in five videos released will be deemed unfit for those under 12. Video sharing sites YouTube and Vevo have signed up to the
scheme and pledged to include the warnings on clips uploaded to their sites. Vevo puts the rating in the top corner of the video, while YouTube includes it in the information beneath.
However some of the world's raunchiest performers, such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, are not covered by the scheme and there are no measures in place to enforce the guidelines. A spokesman for Vevo said:
There is no signing in as such or filters -- although this is a next step that may be added in time. At the moment this is about giving parents and users the information they need to make a more informed viewing choice and decision. To be effective it
requires that parents also take an active interest in what their children are watching.
Rapper Dizzee Rascal has scored a first, his video Couple of Stacks is the first and so far the only 18 rating under the initiative for strong bloody violence, gore, very strong language . The three and a half minute clip contains extreme
violence with the rapper ripping the heart out of a stripping woman, brandishing a knife while covered in blood and decapitating a woman whose body then stumbles around the room. He also holds a family hostage and serves a cake with severed fingers
instead of candles. He is shown pulling out a person's eyeball, slitting one woman's throat and cutting another's head in half.
Vivienne Pattison, a moralist campaigner from Media Watch-UK, said:
When parents are surveyed, the two areas that came up as being particularly problematic were soap operas and music videos, those are the two areas that come up again and again as the issue. One in five, that's a huge number of videos.
What happens is one video pushes the boundaries and the next artists is under pressure to do the same in order to get people talking about it. It becomes a great merry-go-round and I think that is a fantastic illustration of exactly where this is gone,
it's quite extraordinary.
It's not a magic bullet but it's a fantastic step and I think it will really make a difference. I don't know where we will end up down the line but I would like this to act as a kite mark for music videos. This is not a move about censorship, the videos
will all still be there, but I think artists and record companies need to take seriously that if they are targeting young fans they have got to do it responsibly.
On the lack of enforcement of the ratings, she said: You can't go into a shop and buy a 15 rated film without ID and we need to see about extending those protections online.
The BPI and BBFC, in partnership with Vevo and You Tube, and UK record companies Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK, can announce that age ratings are now being displayed on the music videos they upload to digital service providers
Vevo and YouTube.
The age ratings are part of a government-backed pilot by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and digital service providers designed to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences can make
more informed viewing decisions.
The pilot has been running since 3 October 2014. The first phase, which has been successful, saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for release
online in the UK for which they would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*).
If appropriate, the BBFC then issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating -- in line with the BBFC Classification Guidelines. As part of the ratings process the BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail why an
age rating has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers. Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the two digital
service providers -- Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, will display it when the videos are broadcast online.
The pilot will be evaluated later this year based on consumer research, when consideration will also be given to how the scheme can be applied more widely.
Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, comments:
We want to empower consumers by giving them useful, advance guidance as to the suitability of the music videos they watch, whilst leaving artists the freedom to fully express themselves. The introduction of age ratings on top of the existing parental
advisory warnings is a key next step by the UK's record labels, working with BBFC, Vevo and YouTube, that will enable families to make more informed viewing decisions.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC comments:
We are very pleased to see YouTube and Vevo displaying BBFC age ratings and BBFC insight for online music videos submitted to the BBFC for classification as part of this pilot. Parents taking part in our most recent review of the BBFC Classification
Guidelines in 2013, expressed their concerns about the content of music videos online, in particular their role in the sexualisation of girls and portrayals of self-harm, drug use and violence in some music video content. We hope this pilot will provide
consumers with information to help guide them and their families when accessing music videos online.
Nic Jones, EVP International, Vevo, comments:
Music videos give bands and artists their best opportunity to express personality and individuality to their fans. At Vevo we fully support their right to freedom of expression in the videos they create. We also recognise our role in being able to assist
music fans, and their families in particular, to be comfortable with their choice of viewing material and its suitability. In turn age ratings will help Vevo become even more valuable to brands, helping them to connect to their desired audience.
Candice Morrissey, Music Partnerships, YouTube EMEA, comments:
Over the last few months, we have been working with the UK's music industry to help them display the BBFC's age ratings on their music videos on YouTube. These are in addition to the controls we already provide on YouTube including the ability for
uploaders to add age warnings to videos and a safety mode to help parents screen out content they do not feel is suitable for their children.
* It is estimated that around 20% of music videos released within the pilot are likely to be subject to a rating -- the large majority are unlikely to contain content that would be rated 12 or greater. This estimate is based on a previous video catalogue
audit of one of the companies taking part in the pilot.
The BBFC is introducing a new Classification Framework for film and video, to filter video and website content available to customers under the age of 12 via mobile networks. The change on the EE networks will take effect from 16th March 2015.
EE restricts access to content classified as 18 and over on its mobile network as default for all customers, but offers three types of settings Off , Moderate and Strict giving customers the option to choose what content lock is
right for them. The new Classification Framework is based on the BBFC's PG standard and will be added to EE's Strict content setting which can be changed on the device at any time.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said:
We first provided a framework for Mobile Operators to restrict access to content via mobile networks by customers aged under 18, in September 2013. We are pleased to be able to provide an additional Classification Framework for EE, to allow them to
restrict content unsuitable for users under the age of 12. The Framework takes into account the same issues the BBFC considers when age rating a film or DVD and defines content which meets the BBFC's PG Guidelines and is therefore suitable for those
The Classification Framework is a living document and will be updated regularly to reflect evolving public attitudes and societal concerns. It has been developed using the BBFC's Classification Guidelines, these are based on large scale public
consultations involving around 10,000 people, and are revised every 4-5 years.
And indeed the rules are strict
sexualised posing, dancing or gestures
sight of sexual activity unless discreet, infrequent and implied only
sight of sex toys and paraphernalia
moderate or crude sex references
nudity in a sexual context
sight of genitals in a work with no apparent educational purpose
sex education and advice which is inappropriate for children aged under 12 (this will include detailed discussion of topics such as abortion or sexual positions and performance)
verbal or visual references to bondage and other BDSM activities
Violence and Threat
moderate or strong violence
emphasis on injuries or blood, gory moments, which may be animated
prolonged or intense frightening sequences
moderate physical and psychological threat and horror
visual or verbal references to sexual violence
Surely a rule such as the clause that bans 'verbal references to sexual violence' would mean that all newspaper websites and perhaps all news site in general would have to be blocked along with daytime TV. The rules don't seem very will adapted to
website usage. There doesn't seem to be any sense of practicality in applying the rules to large websites. Does a single use of strong language in a 12 thousand page website generally useful to kids, mean that the entire site has to be blocked?
This was published some time ago but now just catching up. These are the R18 Guidelines as presented to producers in November 2014.
A BBFC/ATVOD seminar was held just before the guidelines were extended to internet Video on Demand published on UK websites.
The BBFC presented their current guidelines as outlined below The guidelines have been produced from notes created by producer Nikki Whiplash and published in an
Watersports and Squirting
Peeing and squirting are acceptable if not performed onto another person and/or then consumed.
Squirting during sex or masturbation is acceptable if fairly brief, isolated and not deliberately consumed or put onto a body. It would be acceptable to imply that it was licked up if could be deemed as to be simulated.
Fisting is not acceptable. Penetration with all five digits beyond last knuckle is not acceptable; but all five digits of two or more hands would be acceptable as long as not past last knuckle.
Ofcom have sought medical guidance on fisting and don't believe it to be a dangerous act to perform. However, as the CPS' Guidelines specifically cite fisting as obscene the BBFC can't pass fisting for classification. The BBFC acknowledge that they are
well aware of the decision in R v Peacock but are obliged to have regard to CPS' OPA Guidelines.
Since the BBFC haven't ever needed to consider amputee insertion, they reserve their position on the matter.
Enemas are acceptable if once they are squirted out they don't hit anyone else and does not contain feces. It is not acceptable to subsequently lick up what has been expelled; unless this is simulated (for example switched for another substance).
Catheterisation is acceptable, even if catheter connected to mouth; presuming that the tube is not transparent so that the liquid moving through cannot be seen.
Any form of consumption of (male) ejaculate is acceptable.
Vomiting may be acceptable if it is not performed as part of a sexual act; and is not visibly enjoyed by the participants.
Should the content features any nudity or other activity which might outrage the public decency, then the BBFC must be assured that the material in question was shot on private land with no public access or shot abroad. However, simulating the impression
that it is in public is acceptable, fir example a vehicle with tinted windows. The key consideration that the material has not been created in the public eye.
Anything which might 'encourage' incest or sex with children under the age of eighteen is absolutely unacceptable.
However school uniforms are acceptable presuming that there are no references to the performer pretending to be under eighteen; and participants clearly 'of legal age' and participating in a consensual adult role play
Sexual activities performed at gunpoint are unacceptable if it is "believable". This will depend on tone and believability. Basically if it looks like it could be a non-consensual activity then it is not acceptable.
Bondage and Restraint
Full bondage in conjunction with a gag is unacceptable, since there needs to be an obvious (to the viewer) means to signal to stop. Hence it is acceptable if not all four limbs are tied. Thus a means to indicate the withdrawal of consent must be visible
to the viewer. For example full bondage and gagging would be acceptable if there is a safe signal which is defined as part of the scene.
Thus elements like artistic license, storyline and context become important. Hence a straightforward bondage scenario with no surrounding context is less likely to be acceptable than something with features a clearly signaled role play component.
BDSM Pain play
Acts which if copied by the uninitiated have the potential to cause injuries more than transient and trifling are extremely unlikely to be acceptable.
Only "moderate" pain play is acceptable. Thus reddening of the skin acceptable but no raised welts, blood and bruising are not.
Needles are more likely to be considered acceptable as they only cause transient and trifling injury similar to legal tattooing.
Facesitting as Breathing Restriction
Facesitting employed as a breathing restriction or any other form of smothering is unacceptable. However, facesitting without breathing restriction is acceptable. There is no flexibility on this. The airways must remain open. Apparently the rationale for
this distinction is that men trying this at home might die.
Ballbusting may be acceptable, depending on the level. OFCOM recommend submitting clips in question for review. It will come down to definition of moderate pain and whether viewers at home are likely to sustain serious injury if they try it at home.
Hence ball-yanking is not acceptable; whereas controlled ball stretching is acceptable.
This will depend on the surface upon which the person is being trampled on.
The insertion of urethral sounds is acceptable presuming that they are not inserted so far in as to enter the bladder; and that appropriate sterile and safety considerations are taken such as the use of lubricant and gloves.
Insertion of objects like buttplugs
The insertion of other objects is acceptable presuming that it is clear that they couldn't get stuck. Hence the use of buttplugs is acceptable. Hence a clip of a mobile phone vanishing up an anus would not be acceptable, despite being a spoof, on the
basis that people might try it at home.
The use of power tools is unacceptable, since most people have one lying around at home. However purpose designed "fucking-machines" are acceptable. The test in question is the 'association with violence'.
Head-scissoring is acceptable, presuming that it is gentle. However, if it is seen to be pushing on the carotid restricting blood flow then it is not acceptable. Hence, choking sounds or reddening of face as a result are not acceptable. As soon as any
pressure is exerted it would be considered a choke hold and therefore not acceptable.
Wrestling is acceptable only if knockout moves are not deployed. Facesitting and seemingly non gentle scissoring are not acceptable.
Gagging on cock and deep throat are acceptable if not for the whole scene. However, language of the 'gag on my cock' variety is unacceptable due to the reference to choking.
India's Central Board of Film 'Classification' (CBFC) has decided to ban the screening of Fifty Shades of Grey.
The distributors had submitted a pre-cut version with all the nudity missing but this was not enough for the censors. One of the chief executive of the CBFC, Shravan Kumar declined to divulge details as to why the panel refused to approve the movie.
Previous reports suggest that the sexy dialogue was also too much for the censors to bear, particularly as the loony new chief censor is trying to ban strong language in all films.
A source from Universal Pictures talked about how filmmakers tried their best to tone down movie's sex scenes and remove all nudity in direction with the review process in India.
The announcement shouldn't shock Indian movie buffs, as CBFC's latest changing guidelines are all over the news with board posing issues to cuss words, sexually explicit content and words.
Update: Because the appeal options are not yet exhausted the CBFC bizarrely contend that the banned movie is not officially 'banned'
The Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) has refuted news that the film adaptation of the erotic novel, Fifty Shades Of Grey , has been banned in
Reportedly, the examining committee of the Censor Board recently watched the pre-cut version and claimed it to be too provocative for Indian audiences. Shravan Kumar, CEO, CBFC pedantically tried to explain that this was not an 'official' ban:
Many mainstream films don't get clearance in the first step. The producers can appeal against the decision and go for the revising committee's opinion. Even if the revising committee gives a verdict refusing certification, an appeal can be made to Film
Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). The film is in the process of certification and they have to revert to us,
Gordon Hessler directs this 1960s horror starring Vincent Price. Lord of the manor Julian Markham (Price) is ashamed of his mutilated brother Edward (Alistair Williamson) and keeps him hidden away from public view in the tower of
his vast house. However, when Edward escapes he attempts to get his revenge on his overbearing brother. The cast also includes Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies and Sally Geeson.
University professor notes: 'There is no evidence that today's generation of young people are behaving any differently in relation to sex, marriage, pregnancy, children or STDs than previous generations'
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Professor Brian McNair is one of the world's foremost academic experts on pornography.
The subject matter of his work is often seen as peculiar or taboo, yet he believes pornography should be studied in the same way as Hollywood movies and the pop industry. Professor McNair told ABC Brisbane's Spencer Howson that the growing acceptance of
pornography had made it a fascinating subject of academia:
Since the 1990s many scholars have taken the topic of pornography seriously and tried to apply to it the same methods that we use for mainstream cinema, advertising and so on, he said. There is a growing acceptance and tolerance of pornography as
something ordinary people do or use.
There is no evidence that today's generation of young people are behaving any differently in relation to sex, marriage, pregnancy, children or STDs. Professor Brian Mc Nair. He said the ease and degree of access had led to more people viewing
Children as young as 8, 9 or 10 have access to pornography, hard-core explicit images of a type that could not be purchased legally, or even in sex shops in Sydney, he said.
That is a qualitatively different environment than existed pre-internet, so it creates justified anxieties amongst parents about what their children are watching in their bedrooms at night.
That said, there is no evidence that today's generation of young people are behaving any differently in relation to sex, marriage, pregnancy, children or STDs than previous generations.
The statistics in all of these elements are improving.
He believes parents must take responsibility for policing the media consumption of their children. He said:
Apart from the very clear and unambiguously bad forms of pornography, I do not think it is helpful for the state to intervene and try to censor the internet for everyone
Whether or not you attribute broader social harms to pornography, there is no evidence that increasing access to pornography is somehow generating more sexual abuse or violence ... or the other things that sometimes pornography is accused of.
There is evidence of greater tolerance of gay marriage, reduced tolerance of domestic violence and sexism. All of this has happened despite the face that we have this hugely sexualised culture.
A can't image mainstream video on demand companies are very happy about having to fund ATVOD's
expensive moral campaign against the adult trade. But it looks like they will have to stump up more cash as porn companies have been closed or forced to move abroad and hence no longer contribute to the costs.
ATVOD have written in its board meeting minutes for November 2014:
The high number of Super A [top tier of fees] debtors at 60 days or more was noted.
The Board DISCUSSED at length the potential increase in fees in 2015-16, which was likely to be necessary as a result of a shrinking fee base as consolidation took place in a maturing VOD market. It was acknowledged that ATVOD had achieved a good working
relationship with industry, and had established collaboration and built trust. The Board DISCUSSED cost reduction options and the paramount need to ensure that ATVOD had sufficient resources effectively to undertake its functions as a co-regulatory body.
The merits of maintaining a research budget were underlined. It was considered important that ATVOD should be open, honest and transparent about the cost of providing a high quality regulatory service for stakeholders.
The Board CONSIDERED that it was appropriate for stakeholders to be aware of the volatility of fee income from ODPS, and the impact on ATVOD. The Fees Consultation document would continue to provide additional detail about the specific activities that
ATVOD undertakes and the resources required.
Update: A high price to pay for ATVOD's censorship campaign
ATVOD are estimating that as well as suffocating all the small players in the VoD industry that the larger players will merge and consolidate and hence reduce in numbers. This decrease in 'Super A' players is having a deep impact at ATVOD, and to
maintain the lifestyle that they have grown accustomed to, they are proposing a large fee increase.
These Super A companies will be 'asked' to pay up an extra 14.9% whilst the smaller players will be 'asked' for an extra 5.7%.
'Justice' Secretary Chris Grayling has been speaking of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill, which was expected to get Royal Assent today,
This bill extends the definition of extreme pornography to include the depiction of rape with vague definitions that will surely see hundreds of people likely to become victims when police make commonplace and routine computer searches.
The government has also increased the maximum penalty to 2 years for those who send internet insults that the authorities deem to be abusive.
John Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice has claimed to MPs that extreme internet pornography is causing
rapists and murderers to commit worse crimes than before the time when such horrific material was available online,
However his claim appears to be on rather shaky grounds being based on just two cases. The most senior judge in England and Wales said he had dealt with two deeply disturbing criminal cases which had been influenced and intensified by shocking
He told MPs of the House of Commons' justice select committee:
The first of the two cases has left me in no doubt that the peddling of pornography on the internet has a tremendous effect on that individual.
What's available now to download and to see is simply horrific and it played a real part in ... the way in which this particularly horrible murder was carried out.
The first case referred to by Lord Williams concerned Jamie Reynolds , a sexual deviant who killed 17-year-old Georgia Williams by hanging her at his parents' house in 2013. In the second case, former soldier Anwar Rosser murdered
four-year-old Riley Turner in a savage and gratuitous attack.
Nick Cowen, an academic and researcher at the campaign group Backlash, responded to Thomas's claims saying it was impossible to suggest that porn was making men more likely to rape and murder.
In fact, he suggested that the arrival of hardcore pornography may have even made society LESS violent:
You cannot establish a strong relationship between images someone looks at and what crimes they commit. Violent crime is actually on the decline for all manner of reasons. Some recent evidence suggests pornography may be contributing to that,
although the effect is small.
He pointed to a Home Office graph which shows the UK has become less violent since the 1990s, when internet pornography first became available.
And Some Unsubstantiated Claptrap from Safermedia
Pippa Smith, chair of the religious campaign group SaferMedia told Mirror Online about a number of cases described to her by colleagues and
psychotherapists. She told of a 18-year-old boy who had watched so much porn that he developed fantasies about punching women in the face and even began to follow strangers late at night.
Today's men are part of a guinea pig generation for porn exposure, she spouted, and the consequences could be dire:
Pornography has become much more violent and abusive and it can lead some to view ever more perverse material and even act it out. So for those who say porn is harmless, it is just not true.
Pandora Blake runs a very popular website on the theme of Spanking. She has taken a prominent role in opposing the Government's discriminatory new law censoring British porn, and particularly targeting kinks focusing on women's enjoyment of sex.
She has recently posted 3 articles on the topic:
Channel 4 debate on UK porn protest
You have all probably seen this already, but I haven't mentioned it here yet, on 12th December after the facesitting protest outside Parliament against the new UK porn laws, I was invited to debate the issue on Newsnight.
I finally got round to making a video blog about the new UK porn censorship laws. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations (AVMS) 2014 impose dramatic restrictions on the sort of online porn that can be published in the UK, disproportionately
targeting fetish, queer and feminist porn with no reference to whether the content was ethically and consensually produced. These laws criminalise me and my site Dreams of Spanking, and put me and other independent UK porn producers in a very
precarious position. If you want to know more detail about the laws, exactly what is restricted, and how they affect me, watch this.
The best chance for me and every other producer affected by this is to join forces and support Backlash, the campaign group who are lobbying against these regulations, as well as defending freedom of sexual expression on many other fronts. The
best way to support them, if you can, is by donating hard cash. They explain on their website:
The majority of our income is spent on legal support for people who fall foul of laws and practises that criminalise, or discriminate against, their consensual and victimless sexual practises. We also endeavour to advocate our beliefs in such
freedoms and make challenges to the legislative process where we can.
Any producer who refuses to comply with these regulations and ends up in court will need every bit of support Backlash has to offer.
Report on Internet Safety Measures [pdf]
has just been published and reveals that about 21% of parents now use website blocking systems made available by ISPs. Presumably the government would like to see this increased. And as if by magic, Sky has announced that they will be a bit more
aggressive about forcing existing subscribers to make a choice about using the ISP's censorship options.
Sky Broadband have announced they will force web-filters on all customers , starting this week, unless the account-holder opts out.
When trying to visit a website deemed unsuitable for children under the age of 13 during the day, customers will see a page reminding them to make a choice about filtering. At this point, they can accept the current setting, change their
protection levels or simply turn Sky Broadband Shield off.
It's better for people to make their own choice, but until they do, we believe this process to be the safest one. Meanwhile we can ensure that they're protected from phishing, malware and sites unsuitable for young children.
The Open Rights Group comments:
This approach will increase harm for websites and web surfers, and there is still little evidence of the benefit to children, so why are they doing it?
All ISPs promised David Cameron they would make all customers choose whether to use filters or not. Sky is not offering a choice however - they are imposing filtering unless customers opt out - an approach that the government rejected after
running their own consultation. In addition, most households do not contain children so, Sky's default-on approach seems over-reaching.
Could Sky Broadband be seeking to increase adoption of web filters through "nudge" tactics in order to avoid Government criticism for a lack of uptake? Public interest in activating filters has been low since the Government started
pressuring ISPs to introduce them in summer 2013. Ofcom said in July 2014 that just 8% of Sky Broadband subscribers had switched them on. The same report showed a 34% adoption-rate for competitor TalkTalk, who promote filters aggressively, and
have made them the default option for new subscribers for a long time. Nudge tactics rely on the principle that most people don't bother changing defaults.
If Sky's agenda were neutral, they would block all web-access for an account until the account-holder had stated their preference about filters: on or off. Instead they intend to block only those sites "deemed unsuitable for under 13s."
If people are inconvenienced by Sky Broadband filters only as much as they are on their mobiles, many won't bother to change the defaults, as it may feel like a lot of hassle if your surfing habits fall foul of overblocking infrequently.
Meanwhile others might suffer disproportionately more overblocking depending on the information they seek. We suspect resources on sexual health and sexual orientation for instance are blocked in error more often than other types of site. If you
are not the account holder, and you can't get to a site you need, your only recourse would be to discuss it with the person controlling the account. That could be a parent, partner, landlord, room-mate, fellow student, etc.
Sky Broadband may claim increased popularity for filters when in reality the figures would be inflated artificially. People who don't want or need them might be too apathetic, or too reluctant to be on a list of "people who requested the bad
sites", to switch them off.
Sky Broadband are asking their customers to choose but they are not giving them the information they need to make an informed choice. Their explanations about filters mention none of their disadvantages or limitations. Far from being perfect, web
filters block sites nobody could object to, while failing to block others that are unquestionably adult in nature. If Sky Broadband are confused about this they could consult the
Department of Dirty
Filters are not a parenting panacea and do not substitute for responsible supervision of children online. At ORG we believe parents need help understanding the web, advice on how to talk to their children about online risks, and support to be
able to supervise their children effectively. Some may choose filtering as part of their solution - but the rest of us shouldn't be forced to have it just in case.
We also need more transparency about how filters work, what they block, and means of redress for website owners when things go wrong. That's why we built our checking tool at blocked.org.uk
- though we would prefer ISPs to take responsibility for this themselves.
Internet provider TalkTalk is to become the latest to censor pornographic websites by default.
Any customer who has so far ignored online prompts from the company will find adult material automatically blocked under a scheme being rolled out next month.
The move follows Sky's decision to default to a censored internet unless households specifically ask for it to be turned off. Pressure was last night building on BT and Virgin Media to introduce a similar approach to censorship.
Furthermore all TalkTalk customers will be hassled every 12 months to re-affirm their decision to allow or block websites.
Nick Clegg has spoken of the irony of politicians who defend free speech and press freedom yet advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of
all British citizens.
In a key passage from his speech at the Journalists' Charity, Clegg said:
The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then in the next advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens.
Let me be really clear , we have every right to invade the privacy of terrorists and those we think want to do us harm, but we should not equate that with invading the privacy of every single person in the UK. They are not the same thing.
The so-called snoopers' charter is not targeted. It's not proportionate. It's not harmless. It would be a new and dramatic shift in the relationship between the state and the individual.
People who blithely say they are happy for their communications to be open to scrutiny because they have 'nothing to hide' have failed to grasp something fundamental about open democratic societies:
We do not make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free. Free speech means bad ideas can be exposed and good ones promoted.
But how is the marketplace of ideas supposed to work if law-abiding people can't communicate freely about our ideas with others, free from surveillance?
How can we test our assumptions about the world and discover new ideas if our web browsing is being monitored? Free speech and privacy therefore go hand in hand.
Roy Greenslade of the Guardian noted: I am surprised that this speech has not been given greater media coverage and I'm grateful to the report on the News Media Association for bringing it to my attention.
And right on cue, David Cameron has spouted off about the right for British people to offend religions.
This is the same politician that has presided over a police regime where people are regularly being jailed for trivial bad jokes on twitter.
This is the same politician that has championed the PC lynch mob in its crusade to destroy people's lives over minor PC transgressions.
This is the same politician that has brought in new censorship decrees without consulting the people or parliament that has destroyed the British adult internet industry.
This is the same politician that has championed shoddy internet filtering that simply isn't fit for purpose.
This the same politician that wants to strip away every last vestige of people's privacy and to leave them prey to hackers, scammers and criminals.
Cameron has been speaking to CBS News about the right to publish material that was offensive to some. He rightfully disagreed with a comment made by Pope Francis, who warned that people who mock religion are asking for a punch. He said:
I think in a free society, there is a right to cause offence about someone's religion. I'm a Christian - if someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don't have a right to, sort of, wreak
my vengeance on them.
All would have been well and good if he hadn't already created/interpreted laws that have seen people jailed and punished for offending religions.
He also said as long as publications acted within the law, they had the right to publish any material, even if it was offensive to some. But then again the leaders of Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea could all make the same
statement. It all rather depends on how repressive the law is.
David Cameron's repressive and ludicrous porn censorship law draws US comments. New pornography regulations in the UK seem to be the latest in a series of campaigns against female sexuality. By Chris Chafin