World Censors

 2008: Jan-March

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Jan-March   April-June   July-Sept   Oct-Dec  


31st March   

Update: Nutters Label Censors as Morally Bankrupt...

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New Zealand TV censor clears Californication
Link Here  full story: Californication...US TV show picks up whinges around the world

Californication ad Nutters have called the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority "morally bankrupt" after it failed to uphold complaints about TV3 drama Californication .

Family First New Zealand laid one of five complaints with the authority which alleged the first episode broadcast in November breached standards of good taste and decency.

Complaints related to a dream sequence where a nun performed oral sex on lead character Hank Moody, constant strong language, teenage drug use and sex scenes.

National director Bob McCoskrie argued that broadcasters are consistently pushing the boundaries of what is normal and acceptable, glorifying and normalising drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, offensive language, violence and degrading treatment of women.

But in a decision released today the BSA said its decision not to uphold the complaint was based on factors such as the programme being preceded by a verbal and written warning, the Adults Only rating, a 9.30pm broadcast time, audience expectations as a result of prior publicity and the title which indicated it was likely to contain "challenging content."

 

31st March   

Update: Welcome in Pakistan...

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Long standing Pakistan ban on Indian films is being relaxed
Link Here  full story: Bollywood Banned...India films banned in Pakistan and Bangladesh

Taare Zameen Par poster Bollywood filmmakers have a reason to celebrate for it looks like a new territory is opening doors for them, Pakistan.

With comedy flick Welcome getting a positive response, now more and more distributors are releasing Hindi films in Pakistan.

The release of films like Awarapan , Goal and Welcome has shown that Pakistan may be finally working to lift its 1965 ban on Indian films.

After releasing the John Abraham and Arshad Warsi-starrer Goal in Pakistan, UTV is all set to release multi-starrer Race and Aamir Khan's Taare Zameen Par on march 28. Taare Zameen Par will be released without changes while Race will be edited slightly to make it acceptable for the Pakistan Censor Board.

If Pakistan opens as a free-flowing market for Bollywood films, it will open another big territory for the Hindi film industry. Right now, the two major overseas markets are only the UK and the US.

Update: On Par

12th April 2008

Taare Zameen Par has now opened in Pakistan

 

19th March   

Old Wars...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Pakistan censor bans Taare Zameen Par
Link Here  full story: Bollywood Banned...India films banned in Pakistan and Bangladesh

Taare Zameen Par poster The Pakistan Censor Board has banded the screening of Aamir Khan’s Taare Zameen Par in the country’s cinema halls. The movie has been banned under a regulation that says it cannot be shown as it has been shot entirely in India. Besides, no Pakistani actor is starring in the film.

The premiere of the movie in Pakistan was scheduled for April.

Besides winning seven awards in India, the movie also won the prestigious Gollapudi Srinivas National award.

 

17th March   

Update: Blanking the Censor...

Thai director to present censored film with blanks
Link Here  full story: Censored Films in Thailand...Thai censors hack away

Syndromes and a Century poster After dealing with the censorship of his film for nearly a year, Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul will finally screen his acclaimed Sang Sattawat (Syndromes and a Century), with silent, black frames to replace six scenes the Board of Censors found objectionable.

It's cynical, but actually it's a statement for the audience to make them aware that they are being blinded from getting information in this society, says the director.

Apichatpong first planned to show Syndromes last April in a limited release in Bangkok cinemas, but he cancelled the screenings when the censors said four scenes had to go. A petition against the action was started, and the director formed the Free Thai Cinema Movement to call for better treatment for filmmakers.

With the election of a new government and a new film law on the books, Apichatpong said he submitted his film to the censors again, hoping they would view it differently. The censors asked that two more scenes be excised.

I was wrong. It's worse than the first time, but it was still worth the effort. I learned that the problem with the new film law is not the law itself, but the people who will be enforcing it, he says.

For a limited-release screening by the Thai Film Foundation, Syndromes will have the six censored scenes replaced by silent, scratched black frames - the longest of which runs for seven minutes.

 

16th March   

Update: Historically Accurate Intolerance...

Jodhaa Akbar continues to wind up India
Link Here

Jodhaa Akbar The Indian Supreme Court has extended its stay on the orders passed by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand banning the screening of Jodhaa Akbar .

The stay extension came on a petition filed by the producer, UTV Software Communication who alleged that the film was banned by Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand governments after a section of the people objected to the alleged wrong depiction of some historical characters in the film. The ban in Madhya Pradesh was lifted by the High Court.

The petitioner said, the fundamental right to speech and expression is being trampled upon by various State governments with the sole objective of gaining political mileage by banning the film. All approvals were obtained from the authorities, including the Censor Board, before releasing the film.

Offsite: Against Street Censorship

See full article from the Hindu by Rishi Vohra

Sword bearing bloodied censor The recent violence in some States over Jodhaa Akbar raises the question: Should public intolerance be allowed to hijack a medium that is exclusively the director’s space?

In his latest offering Jodhaa Akbar , director Ashutosh Gowarikar made a savvy decision in focusing on the religious tensions between Akbar’s court, full of traditional Islamists, and the Hindu Rajput c ulture of Jodhaa. Without taking sides, the maverick filmmaker wisely portrays Akbar as a secular force who wants to see “Hindustan’s” great religions coexist side by side. However, despite Gowarikar’s effective efforts in maintaining that balance, there was seen a streak of intolerance towards what some claim to be an inaccurate, rehashed version of historical facts.

Even before its release, the film invited the ire of certain groups and was subsequently banned in several States. Noted historians have claimed that the basis of the movie, the relationship between Jodhaa and Akbar, is completely faulty and incorrect. The Rajput groups of India are arguing that the name Jodhaa was the name of Jehangir’s wife.

Considering that Indian films are X-rayed by the stringent Indian Censor Board, is it appropriate for films to be subjected to further censorship demands and bans based on public intolerance? After all, should not the Censors be the ultimate authority in deciding what content is suitable for public viewing?

...Read the full article

 

12th March   

Censorship Syndrome...

Thai Appeal over art house cuts rejected
Link Here  full story: Censored Films in Thailand...Thai censors hack away

Syndromes and a Century poster The Thai censorship appeals committee has upheld the decision to cut four scenes from the art-house movie Saeng Satawat (Syndromes and a Century) and ordered the director to cut an additional scene as well. We upheld the verdict because the movie contains inappropriate images of doctors and monks, said Police Major-General Somdej Khaokam of the Central Investigation Bureau, who chaired the hearing yesterday.

The film's director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, appealed after the Censorship Board ordered him to cut four scenes from Saeng Satawat last April.

These scenes featured a monk playing a guitar, doctors drinking whisky, doctors kissing and two monks playing with a radio-controlled toy.

The appeal committee ordered him to also cut a scene showing statues of Prince Mahidol of Songkhla and the late Princess Mother.

Apichatpong, who defended his case before the committee, expressed his extreme disappointmentL It was like I was on trial for being a communist . But he said he would cut the film as instructed: I will release the mutilated version as a statement and as a historical record of Thailand.

 

9th March   

Update: Terrifying Censors...

Chinese censors publish some of their guidelines
Link Here  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

SARFT logo Censors reiterated the criteria for censorship saying that films with explicit sex and fear-provoking elements must be cut or revised before release.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a notice on its website that the move was intended to purify screen entertainment and create a more harmonious and "green" film environment for the public, especially children.

The censor asked nationwide studios not to produce films that depict hardcore sexual activity, rape, prostitution, nudity and the like. Vulgar dialogue or music and sound effects that had a sexual connotation were also restricted.

Content involving murder, violence, horror, evil spirits and devils and excessively terrifying scenes, conversations, background music and sound effects were on the list as well.

Other films that would be banned include those that:

  • Distort the civilization and history of China or other nations
  • Tarnish the image of revolutionary leaders, heroes, important historic characters, members of the armed forces, police and judicial bodies
  • Reconstruct crimes or reveal police investigatory techniques
  • Advocate nihilism, environmental damage, animal abuse and the capture or killing of rare animals.

 

6th March   

China Not Rated...

Censor rates all film viewers as kids
Link Here  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

China flag Hopes for film ratings in China took a step back as a senior government official here equated the creation of such a system with legalizing the production of pornography.

Liu Binjie, director of China's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), said film ratings are "too sensitive" for the general public, and no such measures could be undertaken currently because China had yet to build a mature and orderly film market, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Under the current circumstances, a film rating system equals legalizing the mass production of pornographic publications, he said.

Currently, films seeking cinematic release in China must be approved as suitable for all audiences, with cuts requested of scenes deemed too sexual, violent, or related to horror, magic and superstition.

The ultimate authority on a film rating system will likely be the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which regulates the production and distribution of film and television, although GAPP may have some say over whether products would be re-rated for home video release.

 

6th March   

Upsetting the Censors...

Supporting the hype for Pulanvisaranai 2
Link Here

Pulanvisaranai 2 poster Selvamani, who is known for controversial films based on the current affairs of our nation, is ready with Pulanvisaranai 2 . As expected, the movie has met with a lot of problems when it was sent for censorship.

The movie is based on petrol issue and the director is believed to have made many sensational and controversial observations on the issue. Censor board members keenly watched each and every scene keeping the track record of the director in mind and they found many scenes objectionable. When they said they wanted many scenes and dialogues removed or changed, Selvamani got upset and argued with the members.

Now the tug of war between censor board and Selvamani over Pulanvisaranai 2 has begun.

 

28th February   

Update: Epic Court Case Concludes...

Jodhaa Akbar unbanned in Pradesh
Link Here

Jodhaa AkbarAshutosh Gowariker's epic picture Jodhaa Akbar is free to be screened in Madhya Pradesh after UTV Motion Pictures, the producers of the film won a case against a court order in the state's high court.

The CEO of UTV Ronnie Screwvala said that they had started screening the film from yesterday night, and that it was very unfortunate that he had to go to the court for getting it done.

The existing BJP government in the state had stopped the screening of the Ashutosh Gowarikar flamboyance Jodhaa Akbar hardly a week after this film hit the theatres. The reason they had given was that they feared that the screening of this film would cause a law and order situation in the state.

The film received a ban in Rajastan because a part of the community claimed that the facts mentioned in the film were twisted.

The community claimed that, Jodha Bai was not the daughter of Raja Bharmal of Amber as portrayed in the film, but the daughter of Motaraja Udai Singh of Marwar. And she was married to Akbar's son Salim a.k.a. Jehangir. The theatre owners of Rajastan had feared to screen the film suspecting problem to the ordinary film goers from the miscreants.

 

26th February   

Books Unbanned...

Human rights tomes return to Tunisia's book shops
Link Here

Tunisia flagIn a decision welcomed by Tunisian researchers and novelists, the Ministry of Culture announced that several works previously banned by the Censorship Department will be freed for publication.

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to mark the twentieth anniversary of his ascension to the presidency, announced the cancellation of administrative censorship on books and publications three months ago. Ben Ali's measure granted the right to deny publication of books to the Tunisian judiciary, where previously that censorship power had been vested in the Ministry of Culture. The decision also enabled publishers to withdraw their books from printing houses directly without obtaining a license from the ministry.

Most of the just-released titles deal with human rights in the Arab region, such as Human Rights in Arab Educational Institutions and Right to a Fair Trial in Arab World . Another book, Analysis of Discourse on Human Rights in Maghreb Countries , has been waiting for distribution approval since 1999. Other studies, such as the 2003 Political Participation Guide for Democratic Women , focus exclusively on issues in Tunisia.

Historian Abdejlil Temimi, who had been waiting to obtain distribution approval for five books from the Censorship Department, said the Ministry of Culture advised him that the works would be released. One of Temimi's studies is titled Intellectual Censorship in Arab Countries.

Academic and researcher Saloua Charfi confirmed to Magharebia that the release decision included some of her own works. Finally, they released my book entitled Islamists and Democracy , which has been banned since 2000. However, there is now only one copy of that book. As to the remaining copies, they have been damaged in warehouses as a result of floods and rat bites, she said.

The Censorship Department released three additional studies conducted by Charfi: Human Rights in Tunisian Press , Monograph of the Tunisian Association for the Defence of Human Rights , and the Discourse of Tunisian Association for the Defence of Human Rights . Charfi said she would rush to distribute them to the public.

 

24th February   

Update: Going to Court Over Emperor's Court...

Jodhaa Akbar banned in Pradesh
Link Here

Jodhaa AkbarUTV Motion Pictures, producers of Jodhaa Akbar , said they have moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court to lift the ban on screening of the film in the state.

We will take the matter to the Supreme Court if need be, a UTV official said in a statement.

The entire film industry, including producers, distributors and exhibitors are up in arms against the state government's order for suspension of the screening of the film, it said.

In fact, the MP exhibitors association has threatened to go on an indefinite strike if this arbitrary ruling is not reversed, it added.

The authorities cannot let a small group of individuals dictate what is or is not acceptable for the consumption of the general public, the official said: If we allow our creative freedom to be dictated by every potentially aggrieved party, then I am afraid we will not have as vibrant and creative industry in the future. We will fight till the end.

The film was banned in Madhya Pradesh on February 22 after demonstrations against it by the Rajput community. The film relates the tale of a Rajput princess converting to Islam to marry Mughal emperor Akbar.

Meanwhile, the film was banned in Sonepat city and elsewhere in the district on Saturday after demonstrations against it by the workers of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) at cinema theatres. Earlier the Ambala district administration had banned the screening of the movie.

 

19th February   

Indian Censor Taken to Court...

For not censoring religiously sensitive film
Link Here

Jodhaa AkbarCritics of Jodha Akbar believe the Congress government's Islamist political ideology drove its appointed chairman of the Censor Board, Sharmila [Khan], to clear the highly controversial film Jodha Akbar without cuts. And as such, they believe they need to be targetted also.

On Monday in Chandigarh, a lawsuit was filed in the district court by combined Rajput and Hindu organisations against this government's Board, Ronnie Screwvala, Ashutosh Gowarikar and UTV, for manipulating history on behalf of Islamists and 'waging war against the state' using cinema.

Among the things they are pointing to is the depiction of Hemu and the subsequent beheading. The film centers around the romance between the Muslim Mughal Emperor Akbar, played by Hrithik Roshan and his Hindu wife,

 

18th February   

Rambo vs Burma Censors...

Burma military doesn't like being portrayed as the bad guys
Link Here  full story: Rambo 4...Rambo 4 vs world censors

Rambo (4) posterPolice in military-run Myanmar have banned DVD vendors from selling the new Rambo film about a Vietnam war veteran fighting the junta's soldiers, but that hasn't stopped people from trying to buy it.

Many customers keep asking about Rambo 4 but I dare not to sell it. Police have warned me I could go to jail for up to seven years if I sell the latest Rambo film, said one vendor.

Starring Sylvester Stallone, the blood-splattering follow-up to the classic 1980s film trilogy sees war veteran John Rambo fighting Myanmar forces to rescue captured Christian missionaries helping ethnic Karen villagers.

The film, which portrays Myanmar's military as sadistic and depraved, opened recently in the United States and Singapore against a backdrop of the junta's ongoing persecution of Karen minorities.

Vendors said there were some Rambo copies smuggled from Singapore, but said the audio and video quality was not good. They advise eager Myanmar customers to wait for pirated DVDs from China. Once this movie hits China, I think there will be a way for us to see it with much better quality, one vendor said.

 

15th February   

A Chinese Ghoul Story...

Censors feed on the carcass of Chinese media freedom
Link Here

A Chinese Ghost Story DVD In a new twist in the Chinese censors' campaign to clean up the country's viewing habits, aliens, ghosts and all other aspects of horror and the supernatural are to be banned from videos.

Video and audio products often involve alien-looking characters and fictional storytelling, both specifically plotted for the sole purpose of terror, the General Administration of Press and Publications, one of two main censorship bodies, said.

According to a statement, offending content includes, wronged spirits and violent ghosts, monsters, demons, and other inhuman portrayals, strange and supernatural storytelling for the sole purpose of seeking terror and horror.

The purpose of the new regulations is to control and cleanse the negative effect these items have on society, and to prevent horror, violent, cruel publications from entering the market through official channels and to protect adolescents' psychological health.

The move seems largely aimed at a wave of Korean and Japanese horror movies that are sweeping the countries voluminous pirate DVD shops and stalls.

But it also covers any films currently under production in China itself. It follows a much-mocked sensitivity by GAPP's sister organisation, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, over the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The first film was not shown in Chinese cinemas, because it contained ghosts, and while the third was shown, scenes involving the Chinese actor Chow Yun-fat were cut.

 

5th February   

Cut to Ribbons...

Thai censors render Sweeny Todd unwatchable
Link Here

Sweeny Todd bookJust went to see Sweeney Todd, Demon barber of fleet street at Big C in Pattaya last night. The movie was very well done but I recommend that everyone save there money and not see this movie in a Thailand Theatre as the Thai censors have pixellated out all the scenes of graphic violence.

They censored out many of the highlighted scenes of the movie. It was irritating and would give a second thought to seeing another movie in a Thailand Theatre before putting down my ever weakening dollar for a ticket. The censorship blotting really ruined the movie!

What was even better they censored the label from the drink the boy had when he was drinking then in the following two scenes where the bottle was on the table next to him they showed it. It said Gin. The woman had already said it was gin, the bottle said it was gin; did they think that when he put it into his mouth we wouldn't guess he was drinking Gin?

...I walked out after half an hour, completely unacceptable censorship...

...I just saw the movie, with the censored throat slashings. It is an insult to the movie makers and the audience. Either allow the film or ban it. I think I might have turned my eyes away at the raw film, but that is part of the authentic experience of watching a movie. My reaction to the frequent pixilation was WTF!

 

31st January   

Two Faces of Malaysia...

Malaysian book censors ban 11 books about islam
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books

The Two Faces of Islam book Malaysia has banned 11 books for allegedly giving a false portrayal of Islam, such as by linking the religion to terrorism and the mistreatment of women.

The government ordered the books, most of them released by U.S. publishers, to be blacklisted earlier this month because they are not in line with what we call the Malaysian version of Islam, said Che Din Yusoh, an official with the Internal Security Ministry's publications control unit.

Some of them ridicule Islam as a religion, or the facts are wrong about Islam, like associating Islam with terrorism ... or saying Islam mistreats women, he said. Once you mention something which is not correct, it's not proper.

The banned books include eight English-language ones, such as The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and its Role in Terrorism, Secrets of the Quran: Revealing Insights Into Islam's Holy Book and Women in Islam. There are also three books written in the local Malay language.

Government authorities regularly review the contents of books and publications that could have sensitive material, mostly regarding religion and sex, Che Din said.

 

27th January   

Becalmed...

The Kite Runner banned in Afghanistan
Link Here

The Kite Runner DVD Afghanistan has banned the import and exhibition of The Kite Runner , a film about the troubled friendship of two Afghan boys, on the grounds that it could incite violence.

The U.S. studio behind The Kite Runner , based on the 2003 best-selling novel by U.S.-based Afghan author Khaled Hosseini, last year had to get its three young stars out of their homeland before the movie debut to protect them from a possible backlash.

Paramount Vantage released the film last month after delays due to the extraordinary precautions taken to address concerns about the film’s depiction of one boy’s rape and other scenes of conflict between members of Pashtun and Hazara tribes.

On the basis of the instruction of the Information and Culture Ministry, The Kite Runner film’s depiction and import has been banned, Latif Ahmadi, the head of state-run Afghan Film told Reuters: Because some of its scenes are questionable and unacceptable for some people and would cause sensitiveness and would cause trouble for the government and people.

In one controversial scene, Hassan is raped in an alley by a Pashtun bully. The rape scene is considered inflammatory and anti-Islamic in Afghan society.

 

21st January   

Censors or Spellcheckers?...

Nigerian censors correct grammar and spelling
Link Here

nfvcb logoAccording to the South South Zonal Coordinator of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVC), Ceaser Kagho, who spoke with The Tide, 2007 has been an encouraging year for the movie industry in Nigeria.

He said the movie industry has come a long way and stressed that in 2007 movie production was inconsistent compared to the previous years, the quality of movies, have improved in terms of cinematography, costume, acting etc, but there are still rooms for improvement in the areas of technicalities such as light recording, lighting, graphics, wrong grammar and spellings etc, he said.

The Coordinator stated that it is based on these flaws that the censors board insists on censorship of all movies and musicals in order to correct these mistakes before they are released to the public.

 

19th January   

Empire Building...

Indian film censor angles for extension to TV (and games)
Link Here

CBFC logoWith increasing demand from social activists and 'moral police' to regulate television content, the Censor Board says that TV should be regulated as much as films.

Reach of TV is more dangerous. It is a fact that the small screen has a wider reach. 75 per cent of the viewers are women and children. So the impact of TV is more than the films, Chairperson of Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), Sharmaila Tagoresaid.

Ruing that the TV is not under the jurisdiction of the Censor Board, Tagore adds, More vigilance is needed for TV shows, as so far they have been self-regulating.

Talking about the promiscuous depiction of the fair sex in films and the small screen, Tagore says it is an issue of commerce versus ethics.

 

17th January   

A Fatwa against the Film Censor...

Pakistan film censor faces the sack
Link Here

Goal film posterPakistan's film censor board chief Azfar Shafqat, against whom complaints have been filed for clearing "objectionable" movies made with Indian collaboration, is likely to be removed.

The Establishment Division has moved a "summary" for terminating the services of Federal Film Censor Board chairman Shafqat. The step was taken on the direction of Culture Minister Sikander Hayat Jogezai.

Jogezai is also said to have given verbal orders that vacancies in the censor board should not be filled without his orders, the media reported.

Culture ministry officials said there were complaints against Shafqat from the public and members of the film fraternity for allegedly clearing certain films that are against the national spirit of the country.

The films listed as "objectionable" include Gangster and Goal , both made with Indian collaboration, and Khuda Key Liye , a Pakistani film that was a huge hit and was hailed for furthering President Pervez Musharraf's concept of "enlightened moderation".

Sources also said that there were fatwas against Shafqat.

 

14th January   

Award for the Banned...

Indian award for documentary banned by Indian censor
Link Here

Final Siolution posterAs they received awards for their films from President Pratibha Patil at the Indian National Films Awards function over the weekend, three documentary filmmakers also handed across a petition to Patil.

The three filmmakers, Rakesh Sharma, Gaurav Jani and Praveen Kumar were protesting the “growing harassment” of documentary filmmakers by the police and the Central Board for Film Certification.

Sharma, recipient of the Special Jury award for his internationally acclaimed film Final Solution said they were forced to take the unprecedented step as the government had failed to address their concerns.

The censor board had declined to clear the film on Gujarat riots in 2004 on the ground that it may arouse communal feelings. It is ironic that the President of India is recognising the technical and artistic merit of my film Final Solution by giving it an award while the government’s own censor Board saw it fit to ‘ban’ the film, Sharma said, urging Patil to turn her attention to antiquated censor laws and order a thorough review.

 

13th January   

Offsite: Melancholy Whores...

Iranian literary censors
Link Here  full story: Book Censors in Iran...Iranian literary censors

Memories of my Meloncholy Whores book As a literary journalist in Iran, I have often wondered why the country's greed for literature abruptly ended when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office in 2005.

Now books scarcely figure in a country once recognised by its literature. Today, you are unlikely to see signs of literary life in Iran. Writers face immense challenges in getting their works read. Crackdowns imposed by Ahmadinejad's government have plunged publishing into crisis.

They [the governmental authorities] have not only made the publishers stop working, but also have put writers in a situation in which they have no inclination to write, says Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, author of the Persian 10-volume bestseller Kelydar , who refuses to give his next book to a publisher as a protest against the government's clampdown.

After the 1979 Islamic revolution, the government imposed strict rules on book publishing. Since then, the Ministry of Culture has been charged to vet all books before publication, mainly for erotic and religious transgressions. All books, including fiction, are required to conform to Islamic law.

A new regime of censorship began when Ahmadinejad took office. The cultural ministry imposed rules requiring renewed permits for previously published books. As a result, many books have been deemed unsuitable for publication or reprinting.

Many world classics, contemporary novels and dozens of international bestsellers have been banned, including a Farsi translation of Dostoevsky's masterpiece The Gambler , Tracy Chevalier's bestseller Girl With a Pearl Earring , William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and books by Virginia Woolf, Marguerite Duras, Dan Brown and Woody Allen.

Recently, when the conservative website Tabnak drew attention to the plot of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Memories of My Melancholy Whores , the Farsi translation of the book was banned, despite having gained permission from Ahmadinejad's cultural ministry some months earlier.

'The novelist Yaghoub Yadali was recently illegally imprisoned for 40 days by the government for several passages from his novel Mores of Unrest, a book which had ministry permission. He was eventually charged with dissemination of falsehood and sentenced to three months' imprisonment.

Read the full article

 

12th January   

Undemocratic Ban...

Censor ban on Indian film overturned by court
Link Here

CBFC logoThe Indian Censor Board on Friday justified its decision of denying clearance to Marathi movie Mumbai Aamchi which was subsequently granted permission for screening by a court order.

We did not certify the film as in our perception, it went against the guidelines of the Board, Board chairperson Sharmila Tagore told reporters.

Tagore said the contents of the movie were found to be in violation of the spirit of secular democracy in the country where every individual was free to go anywhere to earn a living and settle.

It needs to be appreciated that along with the Marathi population, those who came from outside too have contributed to the economic growth and culture of the metropolis. With this view the Censor Board denied certification of the film for public screening, Tagore said.

Asked about the court order granting clearance to the film, she said the nod came only after the judicial authorities effected necessary cuttings in the footage considered incongruous with the Board guidelines.

The film is slated for release on January 18.

 

5th January   

Update: Lost in Beijing Lost...

Chinese film ban down to uncut pirated version
Link Here  full story: Lost in Beijing...Banned in China

Lost in Beijing (Ping Guo posterAuthorities in China have banned a film set in a Beijing massage parlour that had already been heavily censored for its sexual content.

Lost In Beijing (Ping Guo) was released in Chinese cinemas on 30 November after scenes showing dirty streets, prostitutes and gambling were removed from the movie.

According to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, however, the film still violated regulations.

Its producers have been banned from making films in China for two years.

The drama - which involves the rape of a masseuse and her subsequent pregnancy - was screened at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2007. It went on to win a jury prize at the Bangkok International Film Festival last July.

According to the Chinese authorities, the film broke regulations by using unhealthy and inappropriate promotional materials in its marketing.

Its producer, Fang Li, has attributed the decision to the widespread availability of uncut, pirated versions of the movie he did not sanction.

Previously, Fang said he had edited the film for Chinese distribution to remove sex scenes and a side character - a fired foot masseuse who becomes a prostitute. Scenes set in Tiananmen Square, the site of pro-democracy protests that prompted a bloody military crackdown in 1989, were also removed.

 

5th January   

Bag of Worms...

Philippines TV censors on the whinge
Link Here

Eating live wormsThe Philippines Move and Television Review and Classification Board has reprimanded the Kapamilya and Kapuso networks for airing materials that “offended some viewers,” said MTRCB chair Marissa Laguardia.

It was reported that viewers had been upset by an episode of GMA 7’s game show, Tok! Tok! Tok! Isang Milyon Pasok where the contestants were made to eat live worms.

In response to the MTRCB memo, GMA 7 vice president for program management Jose Mari Abacan said the program would take steps to ensure that on-screen presentation of graphic scenes ... [would] not offend ... the viewing public [in the future].

Meanwhile, Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition 2 ... Uber, was also chastised by the censor

Laguardia told Inquirer: Ethel Booba uttered the p-cuss word twice. She also wore an outfit with a really low-cut neck line and a fabric that was too thin. It looked like she wore nothing but her bra.

In her letter to Laguardia, production manager Rowena Benitez argued that Ethel’s utterances were made during a live broadcast and were completely unexpected. Just the same, Benitez said, the network had undertaken some measures in ... self-regulation.

 

4th January   

Travel Lust...

Mainland Chinese travel to Hong Kong to watch Lust, Caution
Link Here  full story: Lust Caution...Ang Lee's Lust, Caution gets worldwide attention

Lust Caution poster Ang Lee's Lust, Caution has had several of its most explicit scenes removed by the Chinese censors.

Increasingly affluent Chinese movie-goers are however no longer content to accept their government's views on morality. For weeks now, the ranks of Chinese visitors to Hong Kong have swelled with a brand-new category of film-loving tourists.

Mainland movie fans are flocking in their thousands to the former British colony to see the full, uncut version of the Taiwan-born director's Lust, Caution.

The phenomenon of so many people voting, as it were, with their feet has highlighted the public's rapidly changing attitudes toward the long unquestioned practice of government censorship of the arts, and prompted debate about the way films are regulated in China.

Travellers have made their way to Hong Kong to see movies before, of course, but always in much smaller numbers. Critics and commentators attribute the interest in Lee's movie to a variety of factors, from word of mouth about risque sexual content stripped from the censored version, to a sensitive political subtext rarely seen in mainland cinema, to the fame of the Academy Award-winning director.

At least one Chinese movie fan has tried to sue the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which regulates the industry, for deleting some of the film's content. The director, Lee, has said the censored material was regarded as politically unacceptable in Beijing because it reinforced the notion of sympathy between a young Chinese woman and a collaborator with the Japanese occupiers.

Many in the Chinese film industry support the idea of introducing a ratings system like those used in Britain and the United States, which advocates say would lessen the need for outright censorship. The state film administration, however, has so far resisted.

 

1st January   

Caution, No Permit for Lust...

Filming permits to be revoked from Chinese erotic film producers
Link Here

SARFT logoChinese censors have banned producers of erotic movies and from competing for any film awards.

The ban, recently issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), also prohibits directors and leading actors from taking part in such any awards, the Beijing News reported on Monday.

The heaviest punishment for such violation would lead to a five-year ban of perpetrators from the movie industry, the newly-issued ordinance was quoted by the newspaper.

The SARFT asked nationwide studios not to produce films with footage of hardcore activities, rape, whoring, obscene sex exposing human genitals, or sex freaks, the newspaper said. Vulgar conversations, nasty songs and sound effects with sexual connotation were also restricted.

The SARFT warned all major studios and local regulators to bear their own responsibility in correcting the wrong deeds of producing erotic movies. Violating studios might face the harshest punishment of revoking permits for shooting films .

 

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