World Censors

2008: Oct-Dec

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28th December   

Crimes Against Chastity...

Politicians move to ban the Philippines censors and replace them with something worse
Link Here
Full story: Political Censorship in Philippines...Putting an end to political censorship

Two House panels have formed a technical working group that will review proposals to abolish the Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

A statement posted on the House of Representatives Web site said Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante. Jr will chair the group, which was created by the committees on Public information and Government Reorganization. The group will reconcile provisions in House Bills 2294 and 3584, which propose to do away with the MTRCB and amend Presidential Decree 1986, which created the body.

Abante, author of HB 2294, said his bill aims to replace the 30-member MTRCB board with a 30-member committee that will review and classify motion picture, television and cable television materials. Policy-making, meanwhile, will be done by another 10-member Commission, he said.

The MTRCB has not shown a determined, positive and sustained effort to exercise and uphold its powers, and it is of public knowledge that programs which are considered immoral, indecent, contrary to law and/or good customs continued unabated to the detriment of the people, Abante said.

Citing surveys, Abante said many crimes against chastity, persons and property have been committed due to the influence of certain media continuously being shown and sold in the country.


19th December   

Acting as Terrorists...

Pakistan bans Indian film with Pakistani actor playing a terrorist
Link Here

TPakistan has banned screening of the film Shoot On Sight , an Indian production in which a Pakistani portrays a terrorist.

Meanwhile attendance in Pakistani cinemas screening Bollywood movies has dropped by almost 75% in the wake of tensions between the countries post Mumbai terror attacks.

Acing on a directive from the culture ministry, Pakistan's censor board banned the screening of director Jag Mundhra's film, which is based on the impact of the July 7, 2005 London bombings on Muslims.

The censor board has cancelled the certificate it issued on November 11 for the screening of Shoot On Sight , in which Pakistani actor Mikaal Zulifqar plays a terrorist. The film's release was delayed for several weeks because a Pakistani actor plays a terrorist in it.

The film revolves around Tariq Ali, a Muslim police officer at Scotland Yard who is tasked to investigate the police shooting of a suspected Muslim terrorist in London. Ali is distrusted by his superiors and by fellow Muslims. Shot entirely in London, the movie also stars Gulshan Grover, Laila Rouass and Greta Scacchi.


18th December   

My Magic Stick...

South Korea's music censors
Link Here

South Korean record shops have had a special section since 1997, in accordance with the Youth Protection Law. This section contains music that Cannot Be Purchased by Those Under 19.

Korean authorities categorize albums that contain songs with what they consider sensational or lewd material as albums that shouldn't be sold to people under 19.

Record companies are obliged to attach special labels, and record shops have to set up a separate area for those records.

Just last month, the Commission on Youth Protection, under the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, categorized TVXQ's Mirotic and Rain's Rainism as harmful material for youths, along with 108 other recent songs.

Rainism , a song by influential pop star Rain was rated harmful to youths for its alleged reference to a penis. The lyrics that troubled the commission's radar were my magic stick that is rolling in your trembling body. The members of the commission reckon the magic stick symbolizes a penis.

Since its launch in November 2006, the commission has passed the same verdict on 926 Korean songs, 529 so far this year, which is 50 percent more than last year.

The Korea Media Rating Board began to rate songs in 1999 in line with the revised Youth Protection Law. The job was transferred to the Commission on Youth Protection in 2006.

The songs categorized as harmful materials for young people cannot be broadcast before 10 p.m. If they are not labelled according to the law, the record producers or music shop owners face fines or even imprisonment.


16th December   

Baddies and Censors...

Indian censors cut Ghajini for a U/A certificate
Link Here
Full story: Ghajini...Ghajini and Indian film censorship

India's Censor Board passed Ghajini but not before making three cuts. The film got a U/A Certificate.

The film's director, A R Murugadoss was quite upset with the Censor Board's decision. He kept arguing that they were being too harsh on his film.

The key reason why the Censor Board made the three cuts was because they thought that the film was too violent.

The Censors objected to three scenes:

  1. A man hits Asin with a rod twice, this was cut by 50%
  2. Aamir Khan breaks a baddie's neck, the scene was cut by 50%
  3. Aamir hits a villain with a tap and when the knob of the tap pierces the baddie's stomach, blood starts dripping from the tap.

The censors said that: Murugadoss wanted to know why we couldn't let those scenes remain as they were since he has simply made a remake and the original version had all these scenes. Murugadoss was especially particular about retaining the tap scene. We explained that we wouldn't let it go in its original state unless he was okay with an A certificate.


8th December   

Update: Single Shot Pill...

New Zealand censor bans suicide video
Link Here
Full story: Euthanasia...Euthenasia campaigns wind up the censors

New Zealand's Office of Film & Literature Classification have banned Dr Nitschke's suicide video.

The decision was made on 24 November 2008. The decision followed a written complaint against the video by Right to Life New Zealand made on 26 June 2008 and by nutters of The Society for the Protection of Community Standards.

The video was titled The Peaceful Pill: Single Shot. The video described how to manufacture the drug Nembutal. The Censor stated in his judgment; that the film promotes and encourages criminal acts by making them seem a completely normal and positive part of everyday life. Any use of the film as a basis on which to manufacture a drug said to induce a peaceful death is more likely to cause a violent injury or death by accident.

Right to Life is disappointed that the Chief Censor has rejected a similar complaint against the suicide video, Doing it with Betty . The decision states that the film is classified as unrestricted. This video demonstrates how a person may commit suicide with a plastic bag. The Censor in his decision stated that; The innocuous nature of this film's content is unlikely to make its unrestricted availability injurious to the public good.

Right to Life challenges this decision and will seek permission to have the decision reviewed by the Classification Review Office. It is understood that Dr Nitschke proposes to produce a further 14 suicide promotional videos. It is the intention of Right to Life to challenge these videos at the appropriate time by presenting a written complaint with the Office of Film and Literature Classification.


5th December   

Yeah right Bill!...

New Zealand nutters whinge about child viewing research
Link Here

Nutters of the Society for Promotion of Community Standards are calling on the new government to dismiss Chief Censor, Bill Hastings and the Chief Executive of the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA), Dominic Sheehan, for their role in commissioning a market researcher, Colmar Brunton, to pay children as young as 14 [to be] subjected to footage of rape, sadism and domestic violence as part of research directed by [these] two broadcasting watchdogs .

In a newspaper report Hastings admitted that the teens had indeed viewed attempted rape and graphic violence, but that much of it went over their head as they practiced a type of self-censor.

Society President John Mills responds Yeah right Bill! and asks: So if children are so skilled at self-censorship and are so oblivious of objectionable content and so unaffected by it, then why are you paid from the public purse over $220,000 per year to censor such material and demand that no adult allow it to be screened to kids, when these same kids can self-censor effectively - so you claim?

Hastings told the Dominion Post that he believed the research on child viewing of rape etc. had proved that parents paid attention to film classifications and were trusting us [the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the BSA] to make a sound call.

Kids under 18 were shown scenes of attempted rape, graphic assaults and domestic violence in the movies Sin City (R18) and 8 Mile (R13), as well as television show Heroes . Violent scenes from episodes of R16-rated Mafia Show The Sopranos, the Adults Only TV Programme Crime Scene Investigation and the R18 Brad Pitt film Fight Club were also shown to the 14 year olds.


29th November   

Import Bill...

New Zealand censor wants to rate game imports
Link Here

The New Zealand Chief Censor wants the Government to change the law to make it mandatory for all imported computer games to have a New Zealand rating.

At the moment, only games known to have restricted content need to be assessed.

Chief Censor Bill Hastings says foreign labelling is too varied to be helpful to New Zealand audiences.

He wants the Government to repeal the law, which exempts unrestricted computer games from a local rating.


28th November   

Peaceful at the Censors...

New Zealand censor publishes annual report
Link Here

The 2008 Annual Report of the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification was released today.

Each year the Office deals with publications that generate public and media interest. 2007/08 was no exception. During the past year, the Office examined and classified 2,821 publications, a 9% increase on the previous year. The Office banned 16% of the publications it classified, restricted 72%, and classified 12% as unrestricted. The largest proportion of banned material, 49%, dealt with the sexual exploitation of children.

Chief Censor Bill Hastings said the year was notable for the large increase in
submissions from the police of computer moving and non-moving images. Twice as many publications of this nature were classified objectionable as last year
. As noted, the majority of these publications dealt with the sexual exploitation of children.

The publications of most interest to members of the public and the media during the year were the feature film Hostel II , the digital game Grand Theft Auto IV , and book The Peaceful Pill Handbook (New Revised International Edition).

The Office also carries out research. This year, in a joint project with the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Office published a study of audience perceptions of violent content in films, DVDS, TV, and on the newer entertainment platforms offered by the internet and mobile phones.

The research findings underlined the importance of the present classification system in assisting the public to make informed viewing choices. The research demonstrates the desire of most adults to protect children and young people from exposure to material that could frighten, disturb or adversely influence their attitudes or behaviour, and that's encouraging, Hastings said.

The 2008 Annual Report can be downloaded from


26th November   

Kiss and Wage War...

Incitement to war and a lesbian kiss windup Philippines TV censor
Link Here

The Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) admonished the ABS-CBN flagship newscast TV Patrol and its cable channel Velvet.

A TV Patrol episode aired October 21 included a news report about utterances made by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Kumander Bravo which were deemed objectionable by the board.

According to the board's monitoring report, Bravo said: let's wage war and commit genocide.

Velvet also got in trouble with the board for airing an episode of the US series The L Word , which showed kissing between two women in its 9 p.m. time slot on October 30.

Velvet representatives led by head Ronald Arguelles agreed to air the show late (11 p.m.) and to delete and/or shorten delicate scenes before airing.


21st November   

Local Repression...

Belarus censor bans TV play, The Locals
Link Here

The Belarus Ministry of Culture's Cinema and video production registration and classification directorate has banned the television drama shot to the order of Belsat TV channel.

Besides, the sense and the artistic purpose of the work of art by the Belarusian people's poet Yanka Kupala is distorted in this film, which creates a wrong impression of the creative works of the Belarusian literature classic writer, injures his dignity. In the final part of the film chauvinism and national exceptionality are found, which is intolerable, writes V, Kurlovich, the director of the Cinema and video production registration and classification directorate.

According to Belasat TV channel, the reasons for the ban are deeper and the play itself was prohibited over the whole Soviet period. The television drama The Locals made by Mazynski and Bazaszkowski has almost exact text of Kupala's tragicomedy.

Belarus remains the last country in Europe where political censorship in the sphere of culture persists.


19th November   

Artless Censors...

Vietnam cuts 28 minutes from Sex and the City
Link Here

Vietnam audiences are becoming increasingly proficient in detecting which movies are cut artlessly by censors, and increasingly irritated as a result.

The list of movies which audiences recently have complained were cut unconvincingly include Sex and the City, Wanted and previously Shoot' Em up, Knocked Up, L'amant, and The Piano.

Most recently, audiences jumped on the case of Painted Skin , a Chinese movie. This film has some scenes that depict sexual relations between the lead actor and actress. These scenes are said to be “hot” but nice, not vulgar at all. In Vietnam, these scenes are heavily edited – perhaps more than in China.

However, Chau Quang Phuoc, in charge of public relations of BHD, a film reporting company, said Painted Skin was bought from a Chinese partner and that the version had been censored already by Chinese agencies. Phuoc said the Vietnam Cinema Agency didn't cut any more scenes.

He refused to say whether the removal of a lot of scenes had affected the movie or not.

Phuong Ha, from HCM City, said censors should respect movie works because each detail has its own value. If the movie is allowed in Vietnam, censors should let the audiences enjoy the entire, completed work: It is necessary to have a system to classify films based on audience members' ages and give warnings to audiences; it is not necessary to cut films.

This summer, Sex and the City was introduced in Vietnam, for adults only, but some scenes were still cut. Many viewers complained that it is absurd to cut a movie for adults. The original film is 148 minutes long but in Vietnam it is only 120 minutes. All scenes and words involving sexuality by female characters around the age of 40 were cut.


18th November   

Updated: Censorship of an Unsound Nature...

Dostana banned in Pakistan for objectional gay content
Link Here

The Lahore high court has banned the screening of Bollywood flick Dostana across Pakistan, saying it has some highly objectionable gay content.

The court held that the movie propagates homosexuality, which is not only illegal in Islamic Republic of Pakistan but also considered a crime punishable by whipping, imprisonment, or even death.

The petitioner maintained that Dostana promotes gay marriage which is prohibited in Islam and all other religions. Gay marriage is an atrocious and obscene act, more likely to be performed by someone of unsound nature, the petitioner said.

The Lahore high court subsequently directed the chairman of Pakistan Film Censor Board not to allow screening of the film and furnish the transcript of Dostana before the court at the next hearing of the case.

Update: Passed

18th November. See article from

The Lahore High Court has stated that the film can be released if it is certified by Pakistan censor board.

Today after the private screening, the officials of Censor Board signaled green lights for release of film in 4 cinema halls of Lahore…


3rd November   

Long Time Censors...

Korean censors stripped of power to ban films by indefinite delay of rating decision
Link Here

The South Korean Constitutional Court announced that it was unconstitutional for a state agency to defer rating video films due to their lewdness or violence.

The court said it concluded that the law allowing the Korea Media Rating Board to delay rating video films, music albums and games was against the Constitution.

In October 2002, the board decided to put off rating a movie for 10 days, citing the film's obscenity. At a review in March 2003, it again decided to delay rating the movie for three months, leading the director to file a petition with the court.

According to law, the rating board can suspend the rating of video films, albums and games for up to three months if it needs to thoroughly examine those which are considered to be violent or obscene. The delay consequently forces the producers of the video and audio products to suspend sales until a rating is given.

The Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and publication and bans their censorship. Censorship here means a system in which an administrative power screens opinions before they are expressed, the court said in its ruling: The board can delay its rating indefinitely. It is virtually censorship by an administrative body, so it is against the Constitution.


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