World Censors

2008: July-Sept

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30th September   

Update: Nutter Credibility Theft...

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New Zealand Board of Review clear Grand Theft Auto IV
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Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

New Zealand's Film and Literature Board of Review has reconfirmed the earlier decision of the Office of Film and Literature Classification to grant the "uncut" version of GTA IV an R18 classification in New Zealand.

The nutters of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards had applied for a review of the classification and claimed:

  • that players are encouraged to commit wantonly breach the criminal law and commit acts that are crimes against persons and property
  • that the constant stream of obscenities in the game advances misogyny, and demeans, degrades, and dehumanises women in particular
  • that the dominant effect of the game is to titillate, entertain and engage players within the mindset of an action drama that glamorises: criminal activities, the infliction of extreme violence or extreme cruelty, drug-taking, the killing of law enforcement officers and innocent members of the public etc.

In upholding the R18 rating for the game, the Review Board considered a submission from Stan Calif, director of First Games. The Board accepted Stan's point that committing acts of crime in the game are not without consequence - such acts always draw a rapid Police response - and found that the game does not promote or encourage criminal acts. The satirical nature of the game also helped lessen the impact of violent acts in the game.


28th September   

Update: The Censored Pill...

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

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Video Universe

Peaceful Pill Handbook to be resubmitted to the Australian censor
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Full story: Euthanasia...Euthenasia campaigns wind up the censors

A censored version of The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Dr Philip Nitschke was awarded an adults only R18 certificate in May 2008.

It has just had the R18 reconfirmed by the Review Board, who dismissed a challenge brought by the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards and Right to Life New Zealand.

The author Dr Philip Nitschke has said the decision clears the way for a fresh attempt to get the book classified so it may be published in Australia where it is currently banned outright: We are talking to our Australian lawyers about lodging a copy of the New Zealand edition of the Handbook with the Australia Office of Film and Literature Classification, making use of the detailed the arguments outlined by the New Zealand Board of Review to justify re-classification here.


21st September   

Update: Censorship Gurus...

CD Universe

Hindus whinge about lack of representation at the Malaysian censors
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Full story: Love Guru Nonsense...Love Guru Mike Myers movie winds up hindus

The Malaysia Hindu ruling body, the Sangam, wants to be included on the Film Censorship Board panel to have a say on the screening of movies which are deemed insensitive and offensive to Hindus.

It's Sensitive Issues Sub-Committee chairman P. Murugiah said the board must respect the sentiments of Hindus when approving the screening of movies in theatres.

He expressed regret that the movie Love Guru was still being screened in theatres nationwide despite the organisation's call for the movie to be banned two weeks ago: But despite the objection, the board approved the movie for screening without even removing the sensitive scenes such as the picture of Lord Ganesha on a chastity belt, obscene yoga postures, elephants copulating in front of a crowd and a lavish ashram staffed with scantily clad women .

Murugiah said the Hollywood movie clearly poked fun at the Hindu religion and culture through actor Mike Myer's portrayal of a spiritual advisor or guru.

He said he was puzzled that the movie was not banned here as it clearly breached the Penal Code, the Film Censorship Act 2002 and the Sedition Act 1948.

Murugiah said protests held in India and Singapore had resulted in the movie not being screened there.


17th September   

Model Censors...

Indian censors finds a bare breast objectionable
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Ketan Mehta's film Rang Rasiya has run into trouble at the Indian Censor Board because of a frontal nudity scene shot on Nandana Sen .

The movie, starring Randeep Hooda and Nandana, is based on the life of famous painter Raja Ravi Varma who painted nude women way back in late 19th century and early 20th century despite strong opposition from some groups.

While Randeep plays the painter, Nandana plays his muse Sugunabai who posed nude for him. One such scene is a wide angle shot that shows a bare breast of the skimpily clad Nandana Sen.

Though the scene is aesthetically shot, certain members of the Censor Board have found it objectionable and send it to the Revising Committee for a wider consensus. A final decision is likely to come within days.


15th September   

Update: Classified as Late...

Thailand film classification due next month
Link Here

The Thai Culture Ministry has finally finished drafting film rating regulations for all movies before they are released in theatres. The regulations will be forwarded to the National Film and Video Committee and the cabinet for approval. They are expected to be put into force next month.

Under the proposed film rating system, movies will be grouped by age. Classifying audiences will give film directors the opportunity to fully express their creativity, said Somchai Seanglai, ministry deputy permanent secretary.

Since films will only be screened before the appropriate age group, movies will no longer be cut or censored, he added.

Once the regulations come into effect, movie theatre operators will have to inform their customers about a film's rating, Somchai said: And if staff allow in people who are not supposed to see a movie, the operator will face at least a one-year jail term or be fined up to 100,000 baht [£1650], or both.

The ratings regulation will also be applied to DVDs and VCDs, which will display the rating on their packaging.

The draft of the film rating regulation divides movies into seven categories, including violence-free movies, movies that should be promoted to all audiences, movies for people with a minimum age of 13, 15, 18 or 20, and films that are banned for containing content deemed insulting to the monarchy, national security and moral decency.


6th September   

Dead Wrong...

Dead Space game banned in China, Japan and soon Germany?
Link Here

Citing comments made by a Dead Space community manager, Destructoid reports that EA's upcoming sci-fi horror game has been banned in China, Japan and Germany:

We've also been told by Dead Space community manager Andrew Green that the title has been completely banned from the following countries: Germany, Japan, and China. That's right, there's just too much survival and way too much horror in Dead Space for these countries to handle. No word on whether EA has any plans to alter the game for a future release in those territories.

Based on article from

Update: EA told Eurogamer de that their community manager doesn't have a clue what he's talking about and that the game isn't banned in Germany. In fact, Dead Space hasn't gone through the German classification process yet. So in short: Andrew is jumping the beans at the moment, Dead Space will be banned in Germany.

Australia has awarded the game MA15+ whilst the BBFC has rated it uncut at 18

See decision from the BBFC :

DEAD SPACE is a horror shoot-‘em-up for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Set aboard a deep space mining ship, the player controls Isaac, an engineer, who discovers that the ship's crew has been ravaged by a vicious alien infestation, and that he must fight to stay alive. It has been classified ‘18' for strong bloody violence and horror.

The player uses a variety of sci-fi weapons to battle numerous surreal and vicious monsters, some of which are mutated crew members. He can also employ melee moves of punching and stamping. There is quite a high ratio of puzzle solving to violence - but the bloody violence is still very frequent. Strong horror includes sight of human corpses scattered around the blood-drenched environment, in various states of injury and dismemberment. Strong, bloody violence is seen during attacks, as Isaac can shoot limbs off both live aliens and human corpses, with plenty of blood spurts and gore. He can also stomp a corpse to pieces, including stamping off its head, with quite realistic and grisly sound effects. Some human-on-human violence is seen in the cutscenes, and includes violence such as a mad woman slicing in half an eviscerated man on a surgical table, then cutting her own throat, and a crazed doctor driving a large spike into a restrained man's forehead. It was considered that the focus on strong bloody violence, gore and horror, and ability to inflict sadist post-mortem damage, exceeded the BBFC Guidelines at '15', which direct that 'Violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury ... strong threat and menace are permitted. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable'. This is an adult game, similar to other video games such as F.E.A.R or BIOSHOCK.

Update: Hype

18th December 2008. See article from

From an interview

Game Informer: You had some problems with the game being banned in Germany, Japan and Korea.

Glen Schofield (general manager of EA Redwood Shores): Germany finally came around, because the bottom line is that the take it into a whole context... At the end of the day, Germany said they would take the game untouched, which is fantastic.

In fact Dead Space went on sale in Japan without a fuss. 


5th September   

Negative Censorial Image of Vietnam...

Vietnam censors ban film festival showing of When I Am 20
Link Here

A Vietnamese short film scheduled to screen at the Venice Film Festival was banned by Vietnamese censors for being a little bit too sexy , a Vietnamese film official said.

The film, When I Am 20 , by director Pham Dang Di, was accepted by the biennial Venice Film Festival. But Vietnamese authorities in August blocked the director from exporting the 35-mm print of his film, saying censors had refused to grant it a licence for public showing.

Earlier, the department watched the film to see if it could be shown publicly, perhaps after cutting some sensitive scenes, said Nguyen Thi Hong Thai, deputy head of the Vietnam Cinematography Department: But after watching it, we thought it was hard to just cut a few scenes. In general, the film is a little bit too sexy.

The Venice Film Festival issued a press release Monday saying it planned to screen the movie Wednesday as scheduled, using a lower-quality DVD version: The 65th Venice Film Festival has decided not to exclude the film from the competition, believing that every form of freedom of expression has to be guaranteed and defended .

The film contains sex scenes explicit enough to earn an X rating in the US, and Vietnamese officials worried it would present a negative image of the country abroad.


20th August   

Don't Mess with Arab Censors...

Adam Sandler comedy banned in the Middle East
Link Here

Arab audiences won't be seeing Adam Sandler's comedy about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as You Don't Mess With The Zohan is being blocked by regional film censors. The film has been banned in Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE.

Sandler plays a former Mossad agent who escapes to New York and ends up working in a Palestinian-American woman's hair salon,

It is 99% likely that the film will be banned in all Arab countries, says Bassam Eid of the film's distributor.

Zohan has already been released in Israel where it has been one of the year's biggest hits bringing in over 200,000 admissions. There wasn't any controversy over the subject matter, says distributor Amnon Matalon: Israelis like to laugh at themselves.

Morgan Spurlock's documentary Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? has also been banned in the UAE. It will surely have a very hard time in the rest of the Middle East too.


18th August   

Update: Book Banners...

Malaysian book censors ban 2 more books about islam
Link Here
Full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books

Malaysia's state censors have banned two books on Islam saying they gave a misleading view of the religion.

The Home Ministry banned the English-language Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism and the Malay-language Strange but True in Prayers.

An official with the ministry's publishing unit confirmed that the books had been banned but did not elaborate.

The activist group Sisters in Islam, which published the book on Muslim women, criticized the ban. Norhayati Kaprawi, an official with the group, said the book was an academic work in which female activists and scholars studied the impact of extremism on Muslim women's lives: For me, it's very ironic that the book itself is a victim of extremism. Does that mean women cannot even discuss extremism? What do they want us to do? Lie down and shut up?


4th August   

Offsite: Celebrating 50 Years of TV Censorship...

CCTV's gatekeepers discuss Chinese TV drama censorship
Link Here

Chinese television drama turns 50 this year. To mark the occasion, a feature in the current issue of Oriental Outlook magazine takes a look at the history of TV drama and how programs make it to air. This includes an interesting article on the workings of CCTV's censors.

Much of the time, it seems like SARFT is to blame whenever people are upset with film and TV censorship. But television stations are ultimately responsible for what they broadcast, so they too employ censors to eliminate objectionable content.

The definition of objectionable content varies: CCTV has strict standards, but local TV stations often get away with airing envelope-pushing content and borderline-scam infomercials until there are enough complaints to draw a smackdown from the central authorities.

The two censors interviewed for the Oriental Outlook article provide a number of entertaining examples of things that displeased CCTV, including:

  • A ribald folk tune had to be removed from a period piece
  • The mother of a Japanese soldier in a war drama expected him to fight to his death in China, implying that the Japanese people fully supported the war
  • None of the four main characters in a drama about car racing was motivated by the love of the race
  • A series in which a party secretary was accused of rape only to be cleared in the final episode could mislead viewers who didn't watch the show all the way through to the end.

...Read full article


22nd July   

Update: Credibility Theft...

New Zealand nutters granted leave to appeal against certificate for GTA IV
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Worldwide...International certificates for GTA IV game

The Nutter Society for the Promotion of Community Standards was today granted leave to appeal against the classification of the Grand Theft Auto video game.

The society wants to appeal the R18 classification given to Grand Theft Auto IV (unedited US version) by the Chief Censor's Office.

It will apply to the Film and Literature Board of Review to review the classification.

The action driving game which features beatings, drugs and prostitutes has drawn fire from nutters and politicians.


21st July   

Kissing Kissing Good-bye...

Cuts to Indian film, Suttapazham
Link Here

Subha Punja who ruled the roost in Tamil films for most part of the eighties is on a comeback mode with Suttapazham .

Recently, the Censor Board is said to have objected to some 'objectionable' scenes in the movie and has reportedly cut those scenes, measuring around 60 feet.

The director  said that there was indeed some cuts by the Censor Board of scenes involving the lead pair in a bedroom scene and a kissing scene.

The film hits the screens on the 18th of July 2008.


19th July   

Mummified Chinese Censors...

Minor cuts to Mummy 3
Link Here

After some 11th-hour suspense, China is ready to unwrap Universal's The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.

We now have a certificate giving us permission to release the film in China and outside, said Bill Kong, producer and Universal's distributor in Hong Kong and China.

Last week, China's State Administration for Radio, Film & Television told Daily Variety that it was seeking unspecified changes before giving the pic a release permit for the mainland.

Kong said the changes demanded by Chinese authorities were so minor that they scarcely amounted to a cut. Remember, China doesn't have a rating system; films have to be passed so they are suitable for children, he said.

Indeed, it was a coup that the film was approved as a Chinese co-production in the first place since themes involving ghosts are usually taboo in China.


7th July   

Update: Objectional Censors...

Manhunt 2 banned in New Zealand
Link Here

Manhunt 2 game cover The computer game Manhunt 2 was classified on 12 June 2008 by the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification as objectionable due to the manner in which it depicts and deals with matters of sex, horror, cruelty and violence. This classification means that it is illegal to import, sell, supply or possess this game in New Zealand.

Manhunt 2 was not submitted by the game's producers. A pirated copy of the game was seized by Customs, and submitted for classification under section 13(1)(a) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

The game was examined under the criteria set out in the Act and was classified as objectionable. In its classification decision the Office noted that the game is constructed around fatality moves which involve vicious and bloody action, with a more gory death resulting in a higher score.

This classification means that it is an offence to import, sell, distribute, supply or possess this game . The penalty for doing so is, in the case of an individual, a fine not exceeding $10,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, and in the case of a body corporate a fine not exceeding $200,000.


5th July   

Update: Rating Gurus...

Singapore nutters whinge that The Love Guru should be rated 21
Link Here
Full story: Love Guru Nonsense...Love Guru Mike Myers movie winds up hindus

Rated as 12A in the UK

Hindus do not seem to be pleased with Singapore Board of Film Censors classifying Hollywood movie The Love Guru with “NC16” [16+] rating. They are demanding this be raised to R21 [21+].

Bhavna Shinde, who represents Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha, has appealed to Singapore Censor Board to assign The Love Guru its highest “R21” rating. She said that the film blatantly ridicules and denigrates Hinduism and Hindu concepts.

While writing to Singapore Media Development authority, she wrote: Cinema is a powerful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially in the minds of younger audiences, who are passing through an impressionable phase. We do not want the next generation of Singapore growing up with a distorted view of Hinduism and Hindus.

The Love Guru is reportedly scheduled to be released in Singapore on September 4, 2008.


4th July   

Offsite: T-Shirt Banners...

Arguing that the New Zealand censor over stepped his authority
Link Here
Full story: Cradle of Filth...Cradle of Filth t-shirt winds up the nutters

A lot of the New Zealand censor's reasoning just doesn't stand up. Does the image demean the woman depicted? Looks like she posed for it to me. Does it demean women generally? I don't read the T-shirt to suggest that all women are sexually insatiable. Anyway, this interpretation goes against the recent attitude of the Film and Literature Board of Review. Does it denigrate the Virgin Mary? Um, I'm not sure that the Virgin Mary was the sort of “person” Parliament had in mind when it passed the statutory criteria. Does it use a term for a woman's vagina as a derogatory slur? Yep. Like calling someone a prick or a cock. (Okay, but worse).

The office really has no place deciding that something is “blasphemous”, and using that to support a ban. That's not part of its statutory criteria. It should also be careful about how it throws around the word “offensive” except in the context of the provision dealing with swearing, which does use the word “offensive”. So the T-shirt is “crude” and “vulgar”. What of it?

...Read the full article


2nd July   

Censor to a T...

New Zealand censor bans Cradle of Filth t-shirt
Link Here
Full story: Cradle of Filth...Cradle of Filth t-shirt winds up the nutters

The New Zealand chief censor has banned a T-shirt that shows a sexually degrading image of a Roman Catholic nun and blasphemous language directed at Jesus Christ.

The top, advertising an album for British extreme metal group Cradle of Filth, also used Satanic images.

I have to say, I can't remember seeing a stronger T-shirt than this one, chief censor Bill Hastings said.

Hastings said the office had banned other T-shirts, but the issue did not come up often.

It's hard to know what to do with them, to be honest. If we were to make them R18, for example, does that mean you have to be 18 to wear it or do you have to be 18 to see it coming down the street? So generally with T-shirts it's all or nothing, it's unrestricted or banned, so the medium just doesn't lend itself to an intermediate restriction.

In its decision, the censor's office said a fair interpretation of the message on the T-shirt was that Christians should be vilified for their religious beliefs, and that women, including chaste and celibate women, could not stop themselves engaging in sexual activity.

The Society for Promotion of Community Standards president John Mills praised the decision as bold, morally courageous and legally sound.


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