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31st December

Pent Up Demand ...


Penthouse re-launches in the UK

From X Biz

Penthouse Media Group announced plans to relaunch its magazine in the UK and Ireland as part of a licensing partnership with Trojan Publishing, a publisher of pulp fiction magazines.

Penthouse magazine is slated to make a reappearance on magazine shelves Dec. 28, after a 12-month absence.

The UK relaunch issue will feature Lauren Pope as the UK's Pet of the Month.

Update: Penthouse Goes soft

There will be nudity but the softcore kind, and less of it. It shouldn't be the creepy, seedy side of pornography, says editor Stu Messham. Some 70% of the editorial will be lifestyle coverage, including articles on gadgets, interviews with movie and music stars, product reviews, plus stories on politics and popular culture.


13th December

Un-European Prosecution ...


Obscenity Charges May Land Gay Turkish Editor in Prison

Based on an article from Sunday Mail

Umut Guner, the editor and owner of Turkey's only gay magazine, Kaos GL, has been charged under a Turkish Penal Code which prohibits the publication of obscene images and may face three years in prison:

Turkish Penal Code, Article 226 says: A person who broadcasts or publishes obscene images, printed or audio material or who acts as an intermediary for this purpose shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of six months to three years.   Kaos GL's requested during the Penal Code review in 2005 to amend the "obscenity" article in the Turkish Penal Code by clearly defining what constitutes 'obscenity'.

An appeal to the Turkish Supreme Court by the magazine's editor was turned down and no further appeals will be allowed, so he's turning to the European Court of Human Rights.


28th December

Update: Freedom in Kaos ...


Turkey tries editor of gay magazine

From adnki

Umut Guner, the editor in chief of Turkey's first and only lesbian and gay magazine, Kaos-GL, will be tried Thursday in the Turkish capital Ankara. Guner is charged with violating morality laws in a special edition of the magazine on pornography published in July. The prosecution seeks up to three years in prison for Guner, who is also the owner of the publication representing the Ankara-based Kaos Gay-Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association (Kaos-GL).

In July, a judge in Ankara ordered the confiscation of the Kaos-GL's edition, following the prosecution's immorality charges. Kaos-LG was notified of the decision on 24 July, when Turkey celebrates 'Press Freedom Day' and also the 98th anniversary of the official end of censorship. Later in August, the court in Ankara rejected an appeal against the confiscation order.

It is obvious that the Kaos-GL journal has nothing to do with those dozens of 'erotic' or 'pornographic' journals being published in our country, said the magazine in a statement: As the Kaos-GL, since the beginning in 1994, we have been struggling against associating homosexuality solely with sexuality and sexuality solely with pornography.

Kaos-GL was created over a decade ago as a civil society initiative promoting gay rights in Turkey through the publication of the Kaos-GL journal. In July 2005,the authorities gave Kaos-GL the status of a non-governmental organisation under the name of the Kaos Gay-Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association.

However, in September, the deputy governor of Ankara demanded that a court shut the association down, claiming it violated morality laws. The Ankara prosecutor's office however decided not to take action, noting that there was nothing immoral in the name or regulations of the organisation.


11th December

Erotic Review Returns

Will now be available in WH Smiths

From the BBC

The Erotic Review celebrates over ten years of publishing this year and returns according to its website: leaner and meaner than ever before!

The sexy British monthly explores everything that is delicious, lascivious and gorgeous about lust, sex, passion and the erotic. This month has none other than the exquisite Dita von Teese as its cover-girl and an exclusive interview within.

For the first time in its history The Erotic Review is available monthly and on the shelves at WHSmiths. This re-vamped magazine has a new Editor-in-Chief at its helm, Jan Birks who has over 15 years experience in journalism, from erotica and vintage fashion to women and sex.


21st November

Desperate Dan to Eat Only Humble Pie

From The Guardian

Advertisements for junk food will be banned from children's magazines as part of a drive to reduce young people's exposure to products containing unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

The Advertising Standards Authority plans to restrict the way fast food and snack companies promote their brands in such publications to boost the government-led push for health.

Officials at the authority are finalising details of a scheme to scale down such advertising in the print media. This will be presented to the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

Jowell, the Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt and other ministers see the move as important to complement to the broadcasting regulator Ofcom's decision last week to outlaw junk food advertisements from being shown during children's television programmes and on dedicated children's channels.

The advertising industry watchdog is expected to follow the lead set by Ofcom of helping to protect children from being influenced by such promotions in its new rules for children's magazines.

Similar restrictions on junk food advertisements on billboards, radio and the internet are also being considered by a group of Department of Health civil servants.


10th October

Height of Inanity

From Press Gazette

Fresh calls for sexually explicit magazines to be consigned to newsagents' top shelves met with a sympathetic response from the Government today.

Shaun Woodward, the culture minister responsible for censorship, agreed that the current height barrier for displaying such publications was "clearly preposterous" given their content.

However, he insisted that industry self-regulation was preferable to legislation. Woodward was responding to concerns about the material in some "lads' mags" and tabloid newspapers.

Labour's Claire Curtis-Thomas (Crosby) reignited the issue at Commons question time, she protested: Despite huge public support for such a request, the response from WH Smith is to issue a notice that this material can still be displayed at 1.2 metres in height.

She added that 1.2 metres relates to the size of an average seven-year-old. and Woodward agreed Having seen now some of this content, the idea that a barrier of 1.20 metres in a shop is adequate is clearly preposterous.


7th September

Grow Up America


Sandra, 16, looks coyly up from the magazine, wearing a black choker and nothing else. Boyfriend Elias, 18, grins from the opposite page, also pictured fully in his natural state.

"Tell me, why do you love each other?" reads the headline. And the young couple tells why - and, explicitly, how.

Sell this in America, and risk a long sentence for child pornography.

But this is nothing illicit. It's Bravo , the most popular teenage magazine in Germany and one of the most widely read general-interest youth publications in Europe. Target reader age: 10 and up.

Sandra's parents gave permission for her to pose nude. Her spread comes in the same issue as a free sheet of fake tattoos, a feature about Harry Potter, and an exclusive report on the German boy band currently making girls swoon.

Bravo 's editors say the full-frontal pictures are intended not to be lewd, but to be instructive and reassuring to teenagers just learning about the birds and the bees.

We take this very seriously, said Bravo 's deputy editor-in-chief, Alex Gernandt. It is not pornography. It deals with naked people, but in a very sensitive way. We try to portray young people to tell readers, 'You are not too fat, not too thin. You are OK the way you are.'

The column highlights a basic cultural divide between much of Europe and the United States when it comes to sex. And Gernandt points to Germany's lower teenage pregnancy rate as proof of which approach is better: We are more liberated. We try to deal with [sex] as something normal.

Each weekly issue of Bravo now features photos of two nude teenagers - male and female, generally between the ages of 16 and 20. The feature is called "That's Me," and the pictured teenagers talk about their bodies and their experiences with love and sex.

Unlike the United States, there seems to be a consensus in a lot of Europe, including Germany, that older teenagers are going to have sex, it's part of life, it's a healthy aspect of growing up and you need to have info about it - the more the better, said Vanderbilt University sociology professor Laura Carpenter.

Any attempts to try similar things in the States, she said, would surely be stymied by advertising boycotts by conservative groups. Even Bravo 's editions in Eastern Europe are published with little or no nudity.

But in Germany, teachers and church groups approve. Von Arx has spoken in schools, and last year was invited as a youth expert to a large evangelical Christian conference.


6th August

Limp Sales at Playboy

From XBiz

Playboy Enterprises was hurt by revenue drops in two of its business areas — publishing and TV — according to a conference call with company CEO Christie Hefner, who cited a burgeoning video-on-demand market as the reason for the decline in the company's TV sector.

Hefner reported: On the magazine side we are seeing lower revenues stemming from shifts in advertising spending to other media and a difficult newsstand market combined with higher paper and postage expenses.

Publishing revenue dropped by 7% to $23.8 million. The entertainment division, which includes TV, saw a 3% decline in revenue to $47.5 million.

According to Hefner, the emergence of VOD distribution for adult content has eroded the company's TV earnings, as consumers switch to an alternative model. The VOD model increases the field of competition and lowers the barrier to entry, Hefner said, adding that the company expects to improve revenues in the near future as it continues to develop its VOD business and educate consumers on how to use the new model.

While Hefner cited the overall decline in the publishing sector as the main force driving the drop in Playboy magazine revenue, she stressed that the company is committed to maintaining its flagship publication. Hefner told the conference call that Playboy had instituted cost cutting measures — including the elimination of 30 jobs, raised the cover price and developed marketing strategies to leverage the brand into various multimedia ventures, particularly mobile and online.


6th August
updated to
13th August

Grand Central Station Boobs

Based on an article from The Observer

The July issue of US FHM was banned at New York's Grand Central Station due to its depiction of what is apparently known as an underboob.

For it appears that the breast has now been 'bitted'. Grand Central Station apparently will happily accept sideboob on to its newsstands, and positively welcome cleavage, that classic old-school erogenous zone, which in fact is not breast at all, but the space between breasts. But underboobs are considered a discrete and separate element to the remainder of the breast.

13th August

Update: Grand Central Station Censors

From Media Post

The powers that be at Grand Central Station have decided again to shield New York's naïve commuters from the cover of FHM--this time covering up the physical attributes of World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) Torrie Wilson, who appears on the September issue wearing a black bikini bottom and some coiled lengths of rope. The September issue, which went on sale in early August, is partially obscured by white sheets of paper in both the window display and the sales racks.

This is the third month in a row that Grand Central Station's management has deemed FHM's cover too hot for full display. The July issue, featuring porn actress Tera Patrick, and the August issue, featuring swimmer Amanda Beard, were both partially obscured with white sheets of paper as well.


29th July

    Turkey Out of Order

From Pink News

Turkey's only gay magazine, Kaos GL, has been banned.

The Kaos GL Gay and Lesbian Cultural Research and Solidarity Association claim that the latest issue has been confiscated by Ankara 12th Justice Court because it has been deemed "pornographic." The issue contained a feature in which pornography is questioned and contributed by the figures who are experts in their fields.

Judge Tekman Savas Nemli decided on the confiscation and seizure of Kaos GL after Republican Prosecutor Metin Sezgin claimed the content breached "general morality."

The decision of the Ankara Chief Republican Prosecutor's Office Press Crimes Investigation Bureau uses the expression that some texts and pictures are against "protection of general morality". But this expression does not state which pictures and texts should be banned on which grounds. Turkey's gay and lesbian magazine has been published regularly since September 1994.

A statement from the publication said: It is the first time that our magazine has been banned on the same day it was delivered from the printing house, even before it was distributed to bookstores.

As part of its application for membership of the European Union, Turkey is expected to allow greater rights including freedom of speech and press and greater rights for the gay community.


15th July

    Selling Out to Supermarket Censorship

From Press Gazette

The editor of lads' monthly Front has said he is relaunching the magazine after being made a "scapegoat" for bigger titles by supermarkets.

Johnny Sharp said the title would tone down its covers, remove references to pornography and group all its female photoshoots in a central section. But he complained that market-leading magazines get away with raunchier covers.

Sharp said: I think to a certain extent it is one rule for magazines such as Front, because we are not the market leader, and another for the likes of Zoo and Nuts. They sell so many copies that they can literally do what they want.

The latest Front is sealed and themed "the porn issue". The title has, for the past year, had to show its copies to supermarkets for approval prior to publication, after some pulled an issue last summer because the cover was deemed too explicit.

Sharp continued: In the past year we had problems with the supermarkets, and obviously they are increasingly big players when it comes to [magazine] retailing. We came to an agreement with them that we need to make the covers more suggestive rather than salacious. If we are going to be sold in a more family environment we can't really expect to have the same kind of covers that we did before.


14th July
updated to
21st August

    Prize Nutter

Based on an article from  Hackney Gazette

A stoke Newington-based censorial newsagent has been voted the best in the capital. Hamdy's News, in Stoke Newington High Street, was awarded the gold medal for being the Best Neighbourhood Newsagent at the Living London Awards ceremony.

Hamdy Shahein was shamefully quoted in the Guardian: I believe in freedom of choice, and my choice is not to sell this material, [... BUT ... his petition shown left shows that he certainly DOES NOT believe in freedom of choice, only for himself]

Shahein has been locked in a battle with wholesaler, WH Smith News, for the past 17 years in a bid to stop the company from sending him adult material in pre-packaged deliveries.

The shopkeeper refuses to stock pornography in his shop and his bid to get lads mags and racy tabloids on to top shelves in other newsagents has been championed in the House of Commons by Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, and Claire Curtis-Thomas, MP for Crosby in north Merseyside.

His window display is dominated by a sign declaring the shop "Porn Free".

Shahein was also made an ambassador for peace by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, a United Nations-backed, worldwide, multi-faith organisation, at an event last month in Wembley,

From Petition Them, by Hamdy Shahein


The Network for Porn-Free Newsagents and Convenience Stores are a group of 500+ Newsagents who object to pornographic publications containing degrading and harmful images of women being sold in high street Newsagents and Convenience Stores which are frequented by children. They believe that there should be greater regulation to take these titles out of our family frequented high street stores.


Newsagents and other high street stores to stop selling pornography.

21st August


Compensating the Easily Offended

Based on an article from The Independent

The London newsagent who for 17 years has fought to keep his shop pornography-free has won an apology and offer of compensation from WH Smith News, which he says wrongly sent him hundreds of top-shelf magazines.

Hamdy Shahein, an Egyptian-born Muslim, claimed that the "bombardment" of "offensive" material amounted to a breach of his human rights and began legal action against the wholesale distributor. Over five years, the newsagent collected around 1,800 magazines and newspapers sent by the company that he considered to be pornographic.

After meetings with Shahein and his MP, Diane Abbott, the company offered to settle the case with a payment of £5,500. The sum is to cover the cost of material he has been charged for but did not want and includes an additional amount as a "gesture of goodwill" as well as £1,500 for his legal fees.

But Shahein said that he would reject the offer, which he described as "derisory", and pursue the human rights case. He said: This is not really about money but about a principle. I still want them to guarantee that they won't keep sending me any more material. They can't simply make me go away me with this derisory sum. For the sake of what I have been fighting for over the last 17 years I have to make my point.

Shahein began his campaign in 1989 and challenged the company over its policy of distributing pornography under a system known as "box-out", under which a pre-packed selection of titles was packed off to retailers. n 1996, partly as a result of the campaign, W H Smith News changed the system to one where retailers could opt out of selling porn. For five years all was quiet and Shahein received no more unwanted titles. But then in 2001 he once again began receiving unsolicited magazines. This time I decided to take legal action, he said. He accused W H Smith News of breaching his human rights, specifically articles 8 and 9, to a private life and to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

But W H Smith News, which distributes 3,000 titles to 22,000 retailers, says that Mr Shahein has not been deliberately targeted or bombarded with offensive material. Nevertheless, a spokesman conceded that "mistakes" had been made in Shahein's case and that was why the company had offered him compensation.


23rd May

    Straightlaced Gay Newspaper

Based on an article from Pink News

Two gay media companies are combining forces to produce a gay newspaper. The PinkNews will be produced by in association with 3SIXTY. Both companies are relatively new in the market place but both have already made their mark. is the website behind most of the gay news stories that have reached national attention over the past year. Launched last July, it has  attained a loyal on-line reader base of 350,000 unique users per month.

It has been responsible for a number of exclusives, most recently the Ruth Kelly/Opus Dei story. Others include an exclusive interview with Conservative party chairman Francis Maude where he condemned the policies he once voted for and blamed Tory homophobia for the death of his brother. The website was the first publication to name Ashley Cole as the player at the centre of an alleged "gay orgy".

With the advent of The PinkNews many of these great stories will reach a bigger audience as The PinkNews will piggy back on 3SIXTY from July 1st (it will hit the streets on Thursday 29th June). 3SIXTY is the fastest growing gay glossy delivered free across the South of the UK and Wales. It has more than quadrupled its reader base to at least 40,000 in last eighteen months.

Both publications are said to be accessible to both the gay and straight communities and rather straightlaced in that they refuse to carry pornography both in terms of content and advertising.


27th April

    Gold Stars for Teen Mags

From Press Gazette

The Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel received only one complaint about the content of teen mags last year, according to its latest report.

The one complaint received last year related to Hachette Filipacchi's Sugar magazine, which published an article about a 13-year-old Zambian girl who was forced into prostitution by her family, but did not explicitly state that underage prostitution was illegal in the UK.

The watchdog, a self-policing organisation run by the PPA, said the magazine had breached its code, but added that the general tone of the article warned of the emotional and physical horrors of prostitution; the article clearly set out the dangers of unprotected sex; and also the positive impact of charities which enable people to regain control of their lives.

In the past year, TMAP has also fended off legislation in Scotland that could have led to the imprisonment of agony aunts, and teen mags have been recommended as teaching aids within lessons on sex and relationships by the Government's curriculum authority.


16th April
Updated to
21st April


Modestly Concealing Prudery

From The Telegraph

Sainsbury's is to conceal "lad mags" behind specially designed covers.

The supermarket said the covers would hide the images of naked and semi-naked women but leave the titles fully visible. Modesty covers are normally reserved for more explicit top shelf magazines.

Sainsbury's said it would use the covers for Loaded, Maxim, FHM, Zoo and Nuts, and other titles if necessary.

A spokesman for Emap, which publishes FHM and Zoo, said: It's always been our position that it is for the retailers to use their judgment and discretion as they see fit in displaying and selling across all the markets we publish in.

21st April


Opinion: Modestly Concealing Women's Magazines

Thanks to Dan

Dear Melon Farmers,

On balance I think the decision by Sainsbury's to cover men's magazines like FHM and Loaded with "modesty covers" is a good idea. It preserves free choice for consumers whilst protecting children's eyes from things some parents might not want them to see.

However, perhaps Sainbury's should also cover women's magazines which openly display stories condoning and glamourising violence against men.

Surely these are far more harmful to children than seeing a woman in a bikini.


17th January
Updated to
30th June

    How Many Times can a Country's Morals Be Ruined?

From Web India 123

Playboy Indonesia coverA reported plan to publish and distribute an Indonesian version of the American adult magazine Playboy sparked debate Friday in the world's most populous Muslim country. We totally reject the Indonesian version of Playboy because it will ruin the country's morals, Fauzan al-Anshari, a senior official of the Indonesian Mujahiddin Council, an organisation led by jailed cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, said.

According to a report by the online news service, the Indonesian version of the magazine, which features photographs of nude women, is to be launched in March.

Al-Anshari cited illegal pornography DVDs and tabloids that can be found throughout the country as evidence of Indonesian authorities' failure to restrict the distribution of adult media.

It will only exploit women's bodies, al-Anshari said, adding that the council will lead a protest if the magazine is published. It is OK for Western countries but not here, where most of the people are Muslim.

Almost 90 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people are Muslim, but the majority of the population practices a moderate form of Islam, and some defended the magazine's right to publish. Media observer Veven S.P. Wardhana said the publisher had a right to produce and distribute Indonesian Playboy and added that Indonesians will criticize but still buy the magazine: Indonesian people are hypocrites. They will verbally reject it, but they will silently buy it.

27th January

  Updated Oppression to Pin Up

Playboy Indonesia coverJoining the angry chorus against a local edition of Playboy, chairman of the Indonesian Journalists Association Tarman Azzam has called for taking the producers and sellers of the pornographic magazine to court if it reaches children: If the magazine publication comes into being and their circulation reaches the children, the producers as well as the sellers should be arrested and taken to court. Every effort should be exerted to prevent the publication of the magazine

So far many magazines and tabloids have been categorized as pornographic, Azzam said, adding that such publications have negative impact in the society. The law on pornography in Indonesia remains unclear, according to Antara.

Parliament is studying the issue and drafting a new legislation to guide authorities on what publications can and cannot be allowed in the country, it added.

Rejections for the planned publication came also from Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Adhyaksa Dault and the biggest two Muslim organizations in the country.

Dault said recently that he would try hard to prevent the publication of the Indonesian version of Playboy: The magazine can destroy younger generation's morals. This is very dangerous and we must prevent its circulation.

The Association of Muhammadiyah Students (IMM) also voiced strong rejection to the planned publication of the magazine for a concern that it might destroy the morality of the nation. Despite the publisher's promises that the magazine's contents would be on lifestyle, conventional issues, culture and politics, and there would be no nude pictures, we just don't believe him, Ahmad Rofiq, IMM chairman said

Ponti Carrolus, director of PT Velvet Silver Media, which holds the Indonesian license from the US-based magazine, said that Playboy Indonesia would not publish nude pictures, the magazine's trademark.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, threatened to launch anti-pornography movement in response to the planned publication. Hasyim Muzadi, NU chairman, called on the Indonesian authority to revoke the license of the magazine: I ask those initiating the magazine publication to cancel the plan, because the publication will damage morality. Pornography can ruin the nation's character as well as encourage free sex and hedonistic way of life which is unproductive to the nation's future.

The Indonesian version of Playboy has obtained a publication license in November 2005 and is planned to publish starting March.

Meanwhile, Indonesian Ulamas Council (MUI) asked the government to forbid all pornographic magazines, including the planned local edition of Playboy. MUI Chairman Ma'ruf Amin said the MUI had issued a "fatwa" (binding Islamic rule) which condemned the circulation of pornographic media.
23rd March

  Update: Play On

From China View

Playboy Indonesia coverU.S. adult magazine Playboy is still on to publish its first issue of down-toned Indonesia version on April 7 despite the rush to legislate against it.

Detikcom news website said local publisher PT Velvet Silver Media has informed subscribers about the April edition. Playboy staff (in Jakarta) said subscribers will receive the first issue on April 7, an unnamed subscriber was quoted as saying.

The company's director Ponti Carolus has earlier said the local version would focus more on articles and not show nudity.

Top Indonesian officials, including Vice President Jusuf Kalla, have urged the publisher to drop its plan. The government cannot ban the publishing of Playboy until it adopts the anti-pornography law, now is being cooked in the parliament.


7th April

    Daring to Face the Opposition of Society

From the BBC

Playboy Indonesia coverAn Indonesian version of Playboy has gone on sale in the world's most populous Muslim nation. A spokesman for the magazine, which has promised to tone down its erotic photographs, said copies would be available in major cities on Friday.

Earlier this year there were street protests in many towns when the magazine announced its plans to launch.

The magazine has no photographs of naked women and its pictures are less racy than those in similar magazines already on sale in the country, said a photographer from the Associated Press news agency, who saw an early copy.

But the country's highest Islamic body, the Indonesia Council of Clerics, was unmoved. We reject Playboy magazine because it is an icon of pornography, council official Maruf Amin said. By insisting to publish, they are daring to face the opposition of society.

10th April

  Update: Playing Hard to Get

From the Jakarta Post

Playboy Indonesia coverThousands of Muslims staged a rally in Malang, East Java, strongly opposing the publication of the Indonesian edition of Playboy on the grounds that it would promote pornography in Indonesia.

The rally in Malang was conducted in the city square in front of the office of the mayor and legislative council, where protesters gave speeches condemning the magazine's publication.

The rally was attended by representatives of at least 11 Muslim organizations, including MMI, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama, Muhammadiyah and the Indonesian Ulema Council. They also marched the streets, crying out, "Allahu Akbar (God is Great)."

Besides condemning the publication of Playboy, the protesters also urged the government to pass the pornography bill, currently being deliberated at the House of Representatives, into law as soon as possible.

A rally spokesman, Mus'ab, said he did not believe that the Indonesian version of Playboy would not publish indecent pictures, even though its maiden edition had none.

In a related development at least 30 members of the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) launched an operation against Playboy in a number of bookstores in Surakarta, Central Java, Saturday, even though they did not find a single copy of the magazine there.

In Surakarta, six to eight protesters were assigned to enter bookstores in search of Playboy magazines, while dozens of others demonstrated amid heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, Eko Bimo Sutopo, a manager of Gramedia bookstore in Surakarta, said that it was already the policy of Gramedia management not to sell the magazines.

However, he admitted that he could not prevent any tenants from selling them in their store: We rent part of the store so it is not within our authority to prohibit the tenants from selling the magazines,

13th April

  Update: Images of Underwear Clad Girls vs Thuggish Intimidation

From Aljazeera

Playboy Indonesia coverHundreds of Muslim protesters have attacked the offices of the newly-published Indonesian edition of Playboy magazine.

On Wednesday, about 300 activists from the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) rallied outside the building to demand that the local version of the magazine, which carries no nude photos, cease publication.

They tore up copies of the magazine and threw stones at the building, shattering windows.

One of about 90 policemen guarding the building was injured, but most of the magazine's employees had left the offices before the attack happened.

Salim Ali Hamid, one of the leaders of the group, told a local radio: We will carry out more attacks if Playboy refuses to stop publishing.

Playboy's Indonesian edition hit the newsstands last Friday for the first time and was quickly sold out. Copies later changed hands at more than three times the cover price of 39,000 rupiah ($4.33).

The magazine featured pictures of underwear-clad women, but also carried an interview with Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia's most famous author.

14th April

  Update: Thuggish Intimidation Victorious Over Images of Underwear Clad Girls

From The Telegraph

Playboy Indonesia coverThe publisher of Playboy's Indonesian edition was asked by police yesterday to suspend its second issue after a mob attacked its offices.

Ponti Carolus, the director of its publishing company, met Jakarta police at their headquarters after members of the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI) stoned its offices.

FPI mounted another protest rally outside the Playboy office during the day. Mohamad Jamil, one of the nutters said: This is all part of a conspiracy aimed at destroying Islam through the moral corruption of its younger generation. Therefore, there is no other choice but to destroy Playboy.

22nd April

  Update: Fire Sale on eBay

From People

Playboy Indonesia coverThe Indonesian version of Playboy magazine has decided to delay publishing a second edition, citing security concerns after continued threats from Muslim hardliners, a local media report said on Friday.

Erwin Arnada, chief editor of the toned-down local version of the US-based magazine, was questioned for 4 hours at city police headquarters before announcing the decision to hold off on publishing another edition.

For the moment, we will not publish the magazine, Arnada was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post. We are very concerned about the security and safety of our employees and the public.

The chief editor was being questioned by authorities over a lawsuit filed by the Indonesian Anti-Piracy and Pornography Society (MAPPI) alleging the magazine had violated articles of the criminal code on indecency.

Arnada said that he and 10 other members of the editorial team were to be questioned in response to charges by Islamic groups that the magazine violates articles of the criminal code regulating distribution of materials that "violate morality."

Publication of such articles could lead to a maximum penalty of 16 months in jail, although whether that punishment would apply to the writers, editors or publishers is not clear.

Previously, police and government ministers have said the country has no laws to ban the magazine, the first edition of which featured no nudes and was less risque than other local and international magazines already for sale in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, at least one seller was offering copies of the first edition over Web auctioneer e-Bay for a starting bid of US$75. The issue's original price in Indonesian rupiah was equivalent to about US$4 a copy. Since many of the issues were burned in protests, this copy is sure to be a collector's item in limited supply, the e-Bay posting said.

25th April

  Update: Ethical Bollox

Based on an article from Antara News

Playboy Indonesia coverIndonesia's press council has ruled that Indonesian Playboy has violated journalism's code of ethics.

The publishers of the magazine, which contains no nudes and is no more
risque than other glossies on sale, suspended operations last week following protests by nutters.

Now the independent press council has condemned Playboy for selling its
inaugural April edition through newspaper boys and at streetside newsstands, despite earlier promising not to do so.

Council member Leo Batubara said: Because it's distributed (this way) and gets in the hands of children,
that's against the code of ethics,
he said.

After meeting last Friday, the council issued a statement saying that Playboy had violated the codes, but as an independent body, it was not able to comment on whether the girlie magazine had violated media laws. But Leo Batubara said in his opinion, Playboy's first edition did not flout the law.

Indonesia's media laws and criminal code are notoriously vague, only banning publications deemed to "corrupt morals", Batubara said, adding however that it would be easy to build a case against Playboy. It depends on the courts and who are the experts invited by police. If they invite... conservatives, then everything will be pornography.

8th June

  Update: Play On Part 2

Based on an article from The Star

Playboy Indonesia June 2007 coverA defiant but demure second issue of the Indonesian edition of the adult glossy Playboy hit Jakarta's streets today, weeks after publishers halted operations following violent protests by Muslim nutters.

The local publishers shut their office in the capital in April, after it was attacked by enraged protesters and have now shifted operation to the mainly Hindu resort island of Bali.

Like the first edition, it was a dramatically toned down version of the original raunchy magazine, setting pulses racing only with a French centrefold showing ample cleavage and no nudes. The centrefold, a blonde named Doriane, was draped in a lacy negligee over black underwear.

Several pages in the magazine were left mostly blank, inscribed only with the famous Playboy bunny logo and the words: This blank page is dedicated to our loyal clients who have been threatened for having put an advertisement in this magazine.

Indonesia's hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), which instigated the earlier protests, said that the group was still opposed to Playboy being sold despite its no-nudes pledge. We will never cease to reject the existence of Playboy because it is an American product that advertises subliminal pornography, " said Abdul Kohar, a leader of FPI. Whether it's based in Bali or in the forest, when a picture shows revealing body parts, it is pornography and is unacceptable under Islamic law , Kohar said.

But copies of the magazine were being widely sold by street sellers and roadside vendors today.

10th June

  Update: The Usual Protests

Based on an article from The Star

Playboy Indonesia June 2007 coverMuslim groups in Indonesia vowed to take to the streets to protest the second edition of the Indonesian Playboy magazine, local media reports said Friday.

We will take to the streets soon to protest the publication , Habib Riziq Shihab, leader of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), was quoted by Antara as saying. The hardline Muslim group is notorious for its attacks on nightclubs and other establishments seen as 'un-Islamic'.

Shihab said that by continuing to publish, Playboy was challenging the Muslim majority in Indonesia, the country with the world's largest Muslim population, and that Muslim activists would 'accept the challenge'.

Other hardline Muslim groups, such as the Indonesian Mujahidin Council and Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia said they also plan to hold street protests soon.

Erwin Arnada, publisher and editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia, said the third edition would only be sold at some bookstores in major cities in the country.

30th June

  Update: Naked Repression

Based on an article from The Star

Playboy Indonesia June 2007 coverPolice charged Kartika Oktavina Gunawan, the centerfold from April's first edition of Playboy Indonesia, with alleged indecency Thursday.

She has been named a suspect and charged with violating the Criminal Code on indecency, with a maximum punishment of two years in prison, Kartika's lawyer Sinarta Bangun told reporters at Jakarta Police Headquarters.

Under Indonesian law, being named a suspect means charges have been filed.

The model and sometime soap actress said she did not regret her decision to pose for the men's magazine because it was a legal publication. Kartika's three-page pictorial showed her in midriff-baring outfits as well as a see-through lace dress in her centerfold. However, in keeping with Playboy Indonesia's policy, there was no nudity.

City police spokesman Senior Commander. I Ketut Untung Yoga Ana said Playboy chief editor Erwin Arnada also was named a suspect in the same case after being questioned at police headquarters.

Police launched an investigation into the magazine in response to a lawsuit filed by a group called Indonesian Anti-Piracy and Pornography (MAPPI). The group reported Erwin, Kartika, photographer Oke Gani and model-cum-presenter Andara Early, who appeared on the magazine's cover on April 7, for allegedly violating the Criminal Code on indecency. Although many people considered the content tame, even by the standards of cheesecake tabloids here, MAPPI contended it was pornographic and would contribute to the moral debauchery of the younger generation.

Police said they consulted experts on language, religion, culture and journalism before opening the probe into the magazine.


30th March

    Rolling Stone Gathering Moss

Based on an article from The Independent

The Chinese edition of Rolling Stone magazine ground to a halt after China's censors stopped publication of the recently launched Mandarin version, blaming a supposed legal technicality.

The ban came three weeks after the first copies hit the newsstands to widespread acclaim. An initial print run of 125,000 quickly sold out.

The Shanghai bureau of the Government Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP), which keeps a close eye on new magazines for signs of dissent, said Rolling Stone had not fulfilled all the procedures to publish.

In recent months, government censors have clamped down on free expression in newspapers, magazines, websites and weblogs. Without being explicit, the watchdog hinted there was more to the decision to stop publication than a technicality. It's not simply a matter of procedure because, even if they handed in the right application, whether we would approve it remains a question, said Liu Jianquan, a spokesman for GAPP. So we have issued them a warning and told them to stop their illegal action.


26th March
updated to
22nd July

    Loaded with Inanity

Excellent! customers will no longer need to feel embarrassed when looking up at the top shelf. There will now be plenty of popular mainstream titles to disguise one's gaze. Perhaps this will result in more people being able to buy real porn.

From The Independent

Loaded and the other magazines such as Nuts and FHM that flourished with it after the "lads' culture" explosion of the Nineties are to be placed out of reach of children, and displayed next to old-fashioned porn.

The Home Office has agreed new guidelines with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents. The deal was welcomed as a "step in the right direction" by MPs and campaigners, who have been calling for legislation. The guidelines are not legally binding but trading standards will be able to reprimand offending outlets.

The new guidelines will also affect the Daily and Sunday Sport. They will be able to remain on the bottom shelf if they are folded in such a way that the sexually explicit images are hidden.

The feminist Beatrix Campbell called the move "very positive": For the overwhelming majority of women it is a horrid feeling to see these images, possibly every day. Given the prevalence of crimes of oppression against women, like rape and domestic violence, this is a very positive cultural intervention by the Home Office.

The Labour MP Diane Abbott said: Some of the stuff now available in news-agents should be out of the reach of children. This is a step in the right direction.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: We are aware of concern that has been expressed about sexually provocative material which is commonly available on the lower shelves of newsagents' shops. We are determined to ensure that the interests of children are appropriately safeguarded in this regard."

22nd June

  Update: Juvenile Protest

Based on an article from Press Gazette

The feminist fight against lads' mags culture is set to reach Parliament this month with a Ten-Minute Rule Bill and demonstration. The action on 26 June will be led by Labour MP Claire Curtis Thomas and is the culmination of six months of political lobbying by campaigning group Object, which challenges what it sees as the sexual objectification of women in media coverage.

It is expected that the campaign will be focused on the introduction of an age restriction on who can buy the titles. Currently, under National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) guidelines issued earlier this year, newsagents are "urged to be sensitive to the concerns of consumers" in keeping the titles away from children's eye level, but these are not defined as the top shelf, a crucial distinction for companies like IPC, which publishes Loaded and Nuts, and Emap, whose titles include Zoo and FHM.

The action in Parliament is said by the group to be inspired by the work of activists including bloggers — such as Charlie_grrl — who encourage readers to complain direct to editors of Nuts and Zoo, and who snitch on newsagents selling the titles to younger teens.

A spokeswoman for Object said: Groups like Charlie_grrl are a huge source of encouragement to the many women, and indeed many men, who are insulted, if not actually harassed, by the 'wall to wall' porn now on display in most sweet shops, petrol stations and a great many supermarkets. There are an increasing number of members of the public challenging the 'normalising of pornography' across the country as an issue of sexual discrimination and indeed harassment."

An IPC spokeswoman said: These are the most popular magazines for young men in the country. It seems Object has a problem with young men.

23rd June

  Opinion: Object's Real Objectives

From Dan

Regarding Object's campaign against lads magazines.

They strike me as a nasty organisation of anti-sex feminists who believe any attempt by men to get gratification from sex entertainment is an affront to womankind.

They appear on the surface to limit their protest to campaigns for adult magazines to be put on the top shelves but dig below the surface and you will see that they are for the phasing out of all men's titles (regardless of the explicitness of their content) from newsgaents and supermarkets.

Either they want men's titles to be only stocked in sex shops or they want them to be banned completely. I would say their ideal goal is the latter.

It seems they cannot contain their objections to lads magazines showing women in skimpy clothing (forgetting of course that the majority of these woman are ADULTS who have CONSENTED and CHOSEN to appear in these magazines) to themselves, they wish for everybody else to be offended and to be denied the freedom to purchase and read such magazines.

This campaign isn't just about protecting people from being offended but about forcing the opinions and tastes of a few feminists on everybody else.

Object say on their site that they are not anti-sex and have no problem with nudity or sexual explicitness. They really couldn't have a more contradictory campaign. Perhaps they only want to see sexual imagery where women are dominating men.

24th June

  Opinion: Repressive Rubbish from Object

Letter from Shaun to Object

With reference to your stupid and inane crusade against so called "Lad's Mags" on your site:

This is a free country. If the ladies and gentlemen who appear in these magazines, are happy to be in them, and the people who read them want to read them, then what on earth has it got to do with you ?

What you obviously want to do is impose unjustified censorship on free people.

You have no respect for the male gender or their sexuality.

You appear to belittle men, and this is shameful. You also INSULT MEN and this is diabolical.

Not only that, your attitude and crusades are completely OFFENSIVE to anyone who believes in freedom of expression, and fights for it. Without such freedom you wouldn't be able to go on such crusades with your repressive rubbish.

I hope your "Claire Curtis-Thomas" MP gets lauged out of the house for the plain daft person she obviously is.

You should learn to put up with a few things in your life.

We men do. We have to. All the time. Including the sillyness of people like you.

27th June

  Update: More Regulators

Maybe could be snappily named: OfSaleOfSexuallyExplicitMagazinesWhichAreNotTopShelf

From the BBC

Claire Curtis-Thomas wants to restrict the display of such magazines in shops across the UK.

She argues some of these magazines - the display of which is regulated by a voluntary agreement - are "repulsive" and "degrading to women".

She will present her Regulation of Sale and Display of Sexually Explicit Material Bill in the Commons later.  Curtis-Thomas will call for a new regulatory body to oversee the sale of those sexually explicit magazines which are not "top shelf".

She has said descriptions of sexual acts in the Dictionary of Porn in an April edition of Zoo magazine are "so graphic and repulsive I am prevented from quoting it on the floor of the House of Commons." [yeah yeah...]. While such magazines were aimed at men in their 20s she fears they are available to children as young as eight. Whilst I am not advocating the censorship and prohibition of such literature for adults, there must be safeguards in place to protect minors from this obscene material.

Playboy is tame by comparison - it has some photographs of women in the nude, they are beautifully shot, they don't demean or objectify women, they are quite glamorous in their own way and there are articles about safe sex. But when you get to the lads' mags, which are on sale next to the Beano and the Dandy, you are in the land of hardcore porn.

A ten minute rule bill allows an MP to draw attention to an issue, but it rarely makes progress in the Commons. Pressure group Object are expected to stage a demonstration in Parliament Square regarding the issue later.

1st July

  Update: A Zoo of Nutters

Thanks to Dan. I wonder if John, Concentration Camp, Beyer wants to add readers of Nuts & Zoo to those he would like to see imprisoned for possession of pornography

Message of support sent to Claire Curtis-Thomas MP by John Beyer:

We at mediawatch-uk would like to express our support for the measure that you are discussing in Parliament today under the Ten Minute Rule. We fought a long campaign in the 1970s that resulted in the Indecent Displays Act but over time this has proved to be inadequate. Our concern has always been the poorly defined Obscene Publocations Act and we are glad that your measure has given rise to debate and discussion about this. We continue to press the Home Office for action on the 'extreme pornography' consultation but the Home Secretary seems to be on no hurry to bring forward legislation. Perhaps you could mention this today?

7th July

  Update: Naked Hypocrisy

Thanks to Mick who spotted this in The Champion

Also the parliamentary debate is transcribed here: Sexually Explicit Material (Regulation of Sale and Display)

Hightown Councillor Martyn Barbar has blasted Formby MP, Claire Curtis-'Thomas' bill to curb the open sale of lads' mags, branding it "hypocrisy"

He told the Champion: She is complaining about young women on the front of magazines yet she was more than happy to have one hundred from statues of naked men placed along the Crosby shoreline. No doubt had they been naked women she would have protested vehemently. For goodness sake, get a grip. You're an MP not Mary Whitehouse

21st July

  Update: Wills Nuts

From the Swindon Advertiser

North Swindon MP Michael Wills has written to every newsagent in his constituency after concerns from residents that front covers of lads' mags are pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable.

Government ministers recently met the National Federation Of Retail Newsagents to discuss the problem. And the federation has issued advice to newsagents reminding them they are able to exercise discretion about which publications to stock and how to display them.

Wills said: I do not feel my constituents should be given any cause to be concerned about what their children might see in their local newsagents and I hope newsagents will reflect these concerns by moving potentially offensive magazines to the top shelf.

The material should be available and there is a market for the magazines, but young, impressionable children should not be exposed to the material, according to the MP. The magazines are not porn but they have suggestive material on the covers with suggestive wording,

Greenmeadow Stores owner John Killingback said he had received Wills' letter but he would not be moving any magazines: We've had no complaints from customers,   I think it's a lot of fuss about nothing. Nobody forces them to buy it or to open the pages. There's nothing in there that's going to disgust.

22nd July


Catholic Ladies Intolerant of the Lads

From Total Catholic

A Catholic women's group joins calls banish "lad's
mags" to the top shelves

The National Board of Catholic Women (NBCW), who have just set up an interfaith campaign to raise awareness of the portrayal of women, called on the Catholic MPs to join their campaign.

NBCW chairperson Angela Perkins said that "enough is enough" and something must be done to tackle some of the explicit pictures and material on show in magazines. We have just been awarded £25,000 from the First Communities Fund to run our interfaith media literacy campaign. The media is an area of great concern particularly because of the early sexualisation of children and the continued exploitation of women. But this is not just a Catholic or Christian issue, it is an interfaith issue.

She shamefully added: Whilst freedom of speech and expression are rightly defended foundations of our society... [ BUT ]. .. it is frankly disgusting that these liberties can be exploited to the extent where children have free access to such degrading explicit material.


8th March

    Serious about SEx

From Press Gazette

The team behind new "serious" sex journal SEx said they hope to see it on sale in mainstream newsagents, but insist that it won't be a Scarlet magazine for men.

The magazine aims to give sex "the appreciation it deserves" and believes there is a gap in the market for intelligent discourse about the topic. Editor Chris Peachment said it would begin as a subscription-only quarterly, but would aim to go monthly by the end of the year. The first issue is priced £2.

Peachment said: It won't be like Scarlet, it's not sex tips for men. It's more serious. It won't pull its punches — it's more of an investigative thing.

He claimed Scarlet was "not terribly good" at the moment. He told Press Gazette: It's a bit of a mish-mash. It's seems that the women's market is covered pretty well by things like Cosmo, which offers them how to have 60 great orgasms a night and how to get the best from your man and that sort of thing. I think Scarlet is covering the same territory without offering them fashion shoots and all the rest of it."

According to publisher Jamie Maclean, who also founded and edited The Erotic Review, SEx aims to be "somewhere between Zoo and Prospect". The team said they didn't want SEx to be seen as top shelf.

Among the writers in the first issue of the magazine is former Daily Mail crime correspondent John Gibb, who contributed a piece on mini-brothels.

The first issue of SEx, which is aimed at 35- to 60-year-old men, is currently being sent to subscribers of the Erotic Print Society, a niche publishing house.


30th January

    A New Maxim: Even the Suggestion of Sex Sells

From The Observer

In the new basement offices of Maxim , the British lads' magazine launched in India this month, Sunil Mehra, the editor, sets out his policy: We don't do breasts. We don't do nipples. We do cleavage - that's our cultural template.

Mehra is navigating new terrain, trying to identify the boundaries of sexual acceptability in an increasingly permissive India. For the first issue he erred on the side of lewdness, superimposing the head of a famous actress on the body of a woman wearing transparent knickers, and ended up fighting off legal proceedings. Now he is veering towards caution. February's cover girl is Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor and the strapline promises: Eye-frying pics: More Kareena - Less Clothes . On the cover Kapoor displays maybe an inch of midriff, but otherwise looks as if she could be on the way to meet her grandmother. Inside, pictures show her draped across a sofa, wearing a sensible T-shirt and a skirt which is only a tiny bit short. Readers' eyes will remain unfried.

Gentle titillation appears to be a winning formula. I have to walk a razor- fine line, Mehra said: This is India, after all. I don't think Indian men are comfortable with total nudity.

Maxim's arrival is the first attempt to export lad culture to India, but publishers of other men's titles have also expressed interest in targeting its growing population of rich young male consumers. The rival Condé Nast group is looking at bringing GQ to India and Playboy's chief executive, Christie Hefner, daughter of the magazine's founder, Hugh, said her company was aiming at a launch, though its magazine would not have nudity and I don't think it would be called Playboy.

Most media analysts agree India has no lad culture of the sort that fuelled Maxim's success when it launched in Britain in 1995, but 80,000 copies of the first Indian edition sold out in 10 days. Suhel Seth, a Delhi-based advertising executive said: There have always been flesh magazines in India, but until recently you wouldn't want to be seen carrying them, so they were sold in paper bags. That paper bag culture has been dispensed with.


13th January

    Penthouse Softens Up

From Media Life

If you can't beat 'em, take their publisher. That's what a reviving Penthouse Magazine is doing as it once again challenges Playboy for title of America's leading girlie magazine.

Penthouse Media Group has lured away Diane Silberstein, publisher of Playboy, to join Penthouse as its publisher. The aim is pretty evident: to give Penthouse, now cleaned up under new owners, a bit more cachet as it struggles to shed it harder image from the years of ownership by Bob Guccione.

While Silberstein's departure must surely come as a surprise, Playboy is wishing her well. A company spokesperson tells Media Life that the magazine will hire a search firm to find a replacement. The magazine wants a new publisher as soon as possible but no timeframe has been set.

Entrepreneur Marc Bell bought the struggling Penthouse from legendary founder Guccione in 2004, and since then he has sought to goose up the magazine's circulation and advertising revenue by making it more mainstream. Bringing in Silberstein certainly lends credence to that mission.

Penthouse photos of nude women now more resemble the photos of Playboy than the more explicit photos championed by Guccione. And the new Penthouse has fewer articles about sex and more about computer gaming, cars, sports, men's health and technology.

Yet Penthouse has a ways go in its quest to catch up with Playboy. Playboy's circulation is almost 10 times that of its competitor.

Playboy's paid circulation averaged 3.11 million in the first half of last year, the most recent numbers available from the Audit Bureau of Circulation, down 1.9 percent from a year earlier. Penthouse's circulation averaged 355,698 in the first half of last year, down 11.1 percent from 400,229 a year earlier. Penthouse circulation topped 5 million at its peak.

Both magazines have suffered from the rise of pornography on the internet and cable TV and the growth in recent years of laddie magazines such as Maxim. Bell is seeking to cut down Penthouse's sleaze factor to appeal to consumer brand advertisers. He is targeting men 18-34 for the magazine, an older demographic than Maxim but younger than Playboy. In an interview last year, Bell told Media Life, Years ago, people used to buy the thing to read it. We want that again. We want a beautiful magazine. Advertisers will feel more comfortable with this magazine.


8th January

    Nutter Baiting in the Daily Sport

From ic Liverpool

A Merseyside MP bids to forcibly consign the Daily Sport to the top shelf.

You could argue that the Daily Sport has something for everyone - well,, everyone who likes busty babes, horny housewives, desperate divorcees, gregarious grannies, tall women, small women, fat women and thin women. If you look hard enough, there's even a bit of news.

But shameful Crosby MP Claire Curtis-Thomas feels so strongly about the Sport she is urging parents to boycott WH Smith as part of her campaign to get the newsagent to recognise it as pornography.

Curtis-Thomas wants the paper, together with men's magazines like Zoo and Nuts, to be put on the top shelf, out of reach of children. Next week, she will hand out copies of the Sport at Parliament as she bids to introduce a new Bill.


6th January

    Top Shelf to be Hustled

From the Press Gazette

The first UK version of infamous American porn magazine Hustler has just hit the newsstands. The title offers a free porn DVD every issue — also in common with many British men's glossies.

But cynics may say the title does differ from the likes of Loaded, Maxim and FHM in one key area — according to publisher Larry Flynt it contains "thought-provoking articles and comment", with issue one featuring writing by US academic Noam Chomsky and a retrospective on the work of photographer Clive McClean, as well as a thorough survey of "coversluts"

In a statement, Flynt's spokesman said: This is a package that will have other top-shelf magazines quaking in their thigh-length boots. Plus, Hustler UK Edition will contain its fair share of thought-provoking articles and comment, so politicians, lords, stars and starlets beware.

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