Melon Farmers Original Version

EU Censorship News

2011: Jan-March

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25th February   

Hooligan Villages...

Cartoon likening party policies to concentration camps causes trouble in the Netherlands
Link Here

The Dutch public broadcaster VARA published a website cartoon which took a pot shot at Geert Wilder's far right PVV party.

The cartoon by Adriaan Soeterbroek likened a policy to create hooligan villages to Nazi concentration camps.

Wilders was not impressed and said: it was a disgusting cartoon. It must be removed from that website immediately, or the PVV will not attend the VARA provincial elections debate .

The cartoon has now been removed following death threats to staff.

The VARA says it removed the cartoon after careful consideration, saying that while freedom of expression is a key right some of its staff felt too threatened to continue working. The broadcaster has reported the incident to the police.


24th February   

Betting on Censorship...

Norway considers state internet censorship in the name of protecting its monopoly on betting
Link Here

Norway is deciding whether to start ISP blocking of online gambling sites that allow players from their country to gamble on the internet within Norway's borders.

The reason for this extreme censorship measure is that it has become apparent that even though legislation was passed in July of 2010 to block all financial transactions to all offshore gambling sites, players that gamble at these online gaming websites have increased despite the new ban.

A survey was taken and the results showed that about 4% of Norwegians over the age of 18 years old are still gambling at offshore gaming sites.

Besides the suggestion to block IP addresses, Norway is also considering taking legal action against operators that still accept players from Norway. The Culture of Censorship Minister has said that the need to consider filtering IP addresses of online gambling sites may be necessary.


17th February   

Update: Hypnotised by an Alien...

Italian police take down satirical blog about Berlusconi
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

Italian Postal Police have closed an internet blog after an article was posted on February 4 that stated I want to kill Berlusconi and described the Italian prime minister as a hypnotizing alien.

The web master, Valieria Rossi was questioned by police at the central police station in Savona. The site,, was blocked and Rossi's computers were confiscated by police.

The Bologna public prosecutor ordered the action taken under slander, threats and instigation to criminal association laws.


16th February   

Update: Necessary and Proportionate...

EU Parliament committee backs EU wide website blocking proposal
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The EU has taken a step towards common rules against those who sexually abuse children and post images of the abuse on the internet.

A committee of Euro MPs backed an EU draft directive calling for child abuse images to be removed at source.

Where removal is impossible - for example, because web pages are hosted outside the EU - then the abuse images may be blocked by national authorities.

MEPs aim to adopt the new rules later this year, after further negotiations.

MEPs insisted that any moves to block access to images on the web must be accompanied by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards so that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate .

The safeguards would include informing users of the reason for the block and informing content providers and users of their right to appeal.


15th February   

Update: Pressing the Case...

Major newspaper takes government to court over unconstitutional media repression
Link Here
Full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Hungary's largest-circulation national daily has turned to the Constitutional Court over the new media package, the paper said.

Editor-in-Chief Karoly T Voros submitted complaints that the legislation curbed press freedom and freedom of opinion in 16 areas, the paper said.

Among the complains listed, were the new media authority's supervision over print media, powers to impose fines, regulatory powers over new media, and the requirement that reporting must be balanced in the printed media.


15th February   

Update: No Pride in Hungary...

Budapest Gay Pride banned over media law protest
Link Here
Full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Hungarian police have blocked this year's annual Budapest Gay Pride parade with organisers claiming that it was a politically motivated ban.

The Budapest police chief has withdrawn the permission that was granted earlier to the organisers of the 2011 gay pride march, Sandor Steigler, head of the organising Rainbow Mission Foundation, told AFP.

The organisation was preparing a court appeal, he added.

Last week, the organisers of the march applied for an extension to their usual downtown route, which police had earlier accepted. The extension would have taken the march in front of parliament, where marchers planned to protest against Hungary's controversial media law and the upcoming new constitution, both perceived as detrimental to the cause of gay rights, Steigler said.

It was this protest against the repressive new media law that seems to have triggered the Gay Pride ban.


15th February   

Update: Every Which Way But Lose...

Court case against Geert Wilders has no tenable outcome
Link Here
Full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has been granted the right to challenge the charges against him of inciting hatred.

The ruling was made by a new panel of judges appointed after the initial trial collapsed in October when Wilders complained of bias against him.

One of the judges told the court that if the objections were successful, the case will be closed .

The charges against him of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, Moroccans and other groups date back to remarks he made in 2006 and 2008. He called Islam fascist and compared the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

The prosecution told his initial trial last year that the comments were not criminal.

The first trial eventually fell apart when a separate panel decided that the judges' decision not to allow expert witnesses to provide evidence that Islam is in fact a violent religion. This decision was found to be biased against Wilders and a retrial was ordered.

Update: Trial Date

16th February 2011. See  article from

The trial of PVV leader Geert Wilders on discrimination and inciting hatred charges will resume on March 14 when his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz will restate his opening remarks to the Amsterdam court, news agency ANP reports.

The public prosecutor will respond two days later.

The court is expected to decide whether the case should continue or be abandoned on March 30.


13th February   

Update: Unappealing Children's Charities...

Nutters rant against right of appeal for websites blocked under new EU proposed law
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The European parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee (LIBE) will meet in Strasbourg tomorrow, when it is expected to approve a controversial measure that would compel EU member states to inform internet publishers that their images are to be deleted from the internet or blocked for reasons of child pornography.

Publishers will also have to be informed of their right to appeal against any removal or blocking.

The measure would make the UK's system for blocking and removing child pornography without informing the publisher illegal.

MEPs seem more concerned with the rights of child pornographers than they do with the rights of children who have been sexually abused to make their foul, illegal images, said John Carr, the secretary of the Children's Charities Coalition on Internet Safety (And an adviser to the UK government on child internet safety!)


Surely it is non-child porn publishers that can appeal. If they can show that their sites are legal then it is absolutely correct that they should be able to prove their point.

On the other hand, child pornographers would simply have no case on which to make an appeal, their material is illegal, and will stay removed or blocked.


11th February   

Update: Hammering in the Wedge in the EU...

European Parliament set for first vote on mandatory website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for home affairs, is worried that MEPs' amendments to a draft directive on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children would make it more difficult for EU member states to block access to websites carrying child pornography.

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee is to vote on the European Commission's proposal and MEPs' amendments on 14th February.

At present, it is up to member states whether they want to block websites such content. The Commission is seeking to introduce an obligation on all member states to block access in cases where their removal is impossible.

A majority of member states back the mandatory blocking of internet sites but the measure has run into trouble with MEPs. Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg have also openly rejected the measure.

Some of the hundreds of amendments to the draft regulation put forward by MEPs would introduce EU-wide rules that would make it more difficult for member states to continue blocking websites. Many MEPs are concerned about the implications of website blocking for freedom of speech.

I am a liberal, I consider free speech as a fundamental value and I have fought for that all my life, so accusations that I'm trying to censor the internet and limit freedom of speech really go to my heart because that is absolutely not what I'm trying to do, Malmstro m said. But I have seen those pictures; they have nothing to do with freedom of speech. This is a horrible violation.

She also rejected the slippery-slope argument -- the notion that once the EU imposed rules on blocking access to one type of website, it could do so for other types in the future. I intend in no way to propose any other type of blocking for any other thing, but this particular crime demands particular attention.


10th February   

Update Censorstorm...

Bulletstorm cut in Germany
Link Here

The nutter hyped Bulletstorm has been given a USK 18+ rating by the German Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Even with an 18+ rating, the game had to be significantly cut by removing ragdoll physics effects, blood, blood splatter, and dismemberment.

The game was rated M (mature 17+) by the ESRB, the US game ratings organisation.

In the UK. the BBFC rated the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains frequent strong bloody violence and strong language


4th February   

Update: Premier League Doesn't Understand EU Offside Rules...

European Court suggestion that free trade law allows subscription to mainland European TV services
Link Here
Full story: No Free Trade for Satellite TV...Subscription to EU channels whilst in the UK

Pub landlord Karen Murphy is defending her right to show English Premier League matches in her pub using a fully paid up subscription to Greek satellite TV.

In a decision that could change the way sports rights are sold across the continent, the European court of justice was advised that forbidding pubs from buying in cheap football coverage from overseas operators was incompatible with European free trade laws.

Murphy was taken to court by a company representing the league over her decision to import a Greek decoder to show the games rather than paying Sky, which holds the rights in the UK. She has fought the case all the way to the highest European court.

Juliane Kokott, one of the eight advocate generals of the European court of justice, advised that selling on a territory-by-territory basis represented a serious impairment of freedom to provide services , adding that the economic exploitation of the [TV] rights is  not undermined by the use of foreign decoder cards as the corresponding charges have been paid for those cards .

Because Murphy had paid the legitimate rights holder in Greece, she was entitled to receive its satellite broadcasts. Whilst those charges are not as high as the charges imposed in the UK there is ... no specific right to charge different prices for a work in each member state, Kokott said. Selling on a basis of territorial exclusivity was tantamount to profiting from the elimination of the internal market .

Kokott's opinion is not binding, but the Luxembourg court usually follows the advice of advocate generals. The court is expected to deliver its verdict later this year. As well as the criminal case against Murphy, civil cases against two importers of the decoder cards are being considered in parallel.


2nd February   

Free Speech Show Trial Defused...

Lars Hedegaard acquitted of hate speech after over generalising about honour crime
Link Here

The president of the Danish Free Press Society has been acquitted on racism charges in something of a show trial.

Lars Hedegaard was accused over a statement which was made to a blogger: Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins, or their fathers.

The court ruled that it does not constitute racism or hate speech explaining that although it found Hedegaard's comments to be insulting, the acquittal was handed down due to the fact that Hedegaard did not know that his controversial comments would be published.

Hedegaard had previously expressed regret for the statements, which were made during a 35-minute interview at a Christmas party with the author of the blog However, he had maintained that what he said did not constitute racism under the Danish penal code.

Hedegaard released a statement following his acquittal.

My detractors – the foes of free speech and the enablers of an Islamic ascendancy in the West – will claim that I was acquitted on a technicality, the statement read. That is absolutely true. However, the public prosecutor has been privy to the circumstances surrounding my case for a year – and yet he chose to prosecute me. Obviously in the hope that he could secure a conviction given the Islamophile sentiment among our ruling classes. My acquittal is therefore a major victory for free speech.


31st January   

Peeping into the Ministry of Vague Laws...

Sweden proposes law against unauthorised photography
Link Here

The Swedish Ministry of Injustice wants to add unauthorised photographing to the Swedish criminal code.

What we're trying to do is come up with laws that make it illegal to take pictures that are clearly meant to be insulting and violate a person's privacy without criminalizing pictures taken around the table at a dinner party, for example, injustice ministry spokesman Martin Valfridsson told The Local.

Injustice ministry officials have been wrestling with a workable formulation for legislation to prohibit the practice since 2008. The original proposal only covered pictures taken in people's homes, and after a flood of negative comments, the ministry decided to rework the proposal entirely.

Under the latest proposal, people would be punished with fines or up to a year in prison for taking pictures that constitute an intrusion in the private sphere which individuals ought to be guaranteed against other individuals. Furthermore, the new statute would outlaw picture taking that irrespective of place, occurs in a way which is obtrusive, intrusive, or hidden and that is meant to be a serious violation of a person's privacy as an individual.

The proposal also tries to take the work of journalists into account, providing an exception to the prohibition of photographing people in sensitive situations if a reporter is trying to show that a public figure is doing something inappropriate.

Despite the exemption, the chair of Sweden's main journalists union, Journalistförbundet, slammed the new proposal, arguing it risked putting restrictions on working journalists. The proposal is sloppy and poorly defined, which is bad when it actually deals with freedom of speech, which is one of our core values, Agneta Lindblom Hulthén told the TT news agency.


29th January   

Dangerous Drawings...

Swedish fine reduced for possession of manga images of children
Link Here

A Swedish appeals court has ruled that a translator of Japanese cartoons had violated a ban against possession of child pornography, upholding a previous conviction.

The translator had appealed a district court ruling from June that his collection, included images that violated a 1999 law.

The law that bans possession or production of child pornography covers all images, including drawings, the appeals court said. The law was tightened last year making it an offence to view child pornographic images for instance on the internet.

However, the court lowered the fines issued by a district court from 25,000 kronor (£2,400) to 5,600 kronor (£540) .

The case has generated debate on social media sites and among fans of the Japanese cartoon-style who argued that freedom of speech protected the man's right to keep the images.

Meanwhile the National Library Considers its Collection

See  article from

Sweden's National Library has sought guidance from the government after determining that 21 magazines in its collection feature child pornography.

We want to know if we should allow them to be available for viewing for research purposes, and if so, how we should determine who should be allowed to see them, Communications Director Urban Rybrink told The Local. At the moment these are locked up and inaccessible pending guidance from the government.

The collection at the library was built up in the years between 1971, when the possession, distribution and display of child pornography was legalized in Sweden, until 1980, when the law was repealed. Rybrink explained that the library is tasked with maintaining a copy of all printed material published in Sweden.


28th January   

Updated: Valley of the Wolves Palestine...

Political pressures lead to a German block on a Turkish film said to show Israel in a bad light
Link Here

The Turkish film series Valley of the Wolves is not known for its delicacy. Now, distribution of the most recent movie in the series has been blocked in Germany.

The Valley of the Wolves formula is simple: Turks are honorable and courageous; action hero Polat Alemdar, played by Turkish movie star Necati Amazbased, can do no wrong; Americans are suspect; and Israelis are inhuman and brutal.

The newest installment,  Valley of the Wolves Palestine, is based on the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish aid ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza in May 2010, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turks on board the ship.

Of particular political concern are allegations that Israel and Israelis are portrayed negatively in the film. Furthermore, the planned release date of Jan. 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is seen as insensitive.

To release a film like this on such an important day of remembrance is beyond tasteless and insensitive to the feelings of the victims, said German parliamentarian Philipp Missfelder, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

Kerstin Griese, a German parliamentarian with the center-left Social Democrats, called the movie problematic, because it glorifies violence and anti-Israeli sentiment.

This has proven too much for Germany's film censorship board, the FSK which has so far refused to grant the film an age rating certificate, which automatically places it in the adult category. German law forbids adult-rated films from being marketed using posters and other forms of public advertising.

The film board will meet again on Thursday to review the decision.

Update: Passed 18

28th January 2011. Based on article from

Germany's FSK film censors passed Turkish film Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin (Valley of the Wolves: Palestine) with an adults only rating.

The distribuotrs, Pera, said that it can be shown immediately but it wasn't immediately clear that it was shown on Thursday – International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Austrian cinemas did show show it on the day as planned with a self imposed 18 rating..

FSK issued a statement saying that children under the age of 18 are not permitted to see the film. They added that Valley of the Wolves contains propaganda tendencies and repetitive violence.

The film cost $10 million to make, making it the most expensive in Turkish cinematic history.

Politicians from the Green Party and the Christian Social Union criticized the film this week. Philipp Missfelder, a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Party, said it disrespects victims of the Holocaust, and Jerzy Montag of the Green Party called the movie irresponsible.


27th January   

PC Morality...

Sex education under the cosh in Sweden because one person complained to the police about the morality of animated teen sex
Link Here

Animated teen sex scenes in a sex education film has led to the film being reported to the police for violating laws against endangering the moral upbringing of young people.

The film, Sex on the map (Sex på kartan) , was co-produced by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) and the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company (UR) and broadcast last week on Sveriges Television (SVT).

One individual then reported the public broadcaster to the police. According to the complaintant, the film depicts minors having sex and is directed toward Swedish high school students and thus qualifies as the crime of leading youth astray.

According to the statute, someone can be convicted of the crime for distributing pictures or images featuring content which can be dehumanising or otherwise cause serious danger for the moral upbringing of young people.

Cecilia Bäcklander, the programme director rejected the claims: This is a very well thought out film that has been planned for several years with RFSU. We're not guilty of endangering young people or leading them astray. This is an educational film . We've consulted our lawyers throughout the production .

The complaint, which was filed with the police in Stockholm, has been forwarded to Sweden's Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern), who is charged with assessing whether or not the matter falls within the framework of Sweden's laws governing freedom of expression.


21st January   

Monsieur Hulot's Law...

France to excuse 'cultural heritage' from ban on the promotion of smoking
Link Here

French MPs have voted to overturn rules that resulted in legendary comedian Jacques Tati losing his beloved pipe and existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre ditching his trademark cigarette.

A parliamentary commission voted for a bill that would exclude cultural heritage from the stringent health legislation passed in 1991 that forbids direct or indirect promotion of smoking.

Last year posters for a Tati retrospective in Paris showed the late actor and director with his pipe replaced by a yellow toy windmill. Critics slammed the poster as an overdose of political correctness.

The cultural affairs committee almost unanimously backed the bill, which must now go before parliament, that would exclude cultural heritage from the anti-smoking law.


19th January   

Update: Less Dead Space in Germany...

Dead Space 2 game cut for a delayed German release
Link Here
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games

The German release of Dead Space 2 has been delayed until February. The delay was caused by censorship issues as the game had to be cut to keep the German authorities happy.

The friendly fire option has been  removed from the multiplayer portion of the game.

Apparently, the German government was uneasy with a player killing their own teammates.

Thankfully the single player portion of the title will remain unaltered.

Producers Electronic Arts said in a translated press release that the game will be released on 03:02:11 for PS3 and Xbox 360 only. The Wii release still seems mired in censorship difficulties and will not get released at this time.


19th January   

Update: In the EU Sin Bin...

Hungary's immoral media law is unbalancing the EU
Link Here
Full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

The EU''s Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes told an Extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee that the EU had been in touch with the Hungarian government and had deep concerns about the nature of a new media law, which came into force on 1 January 2011.

The law made those responsible for material published in Hungary - both through traditional channels and online - subject to heavy fines and sanctions if their coverage is deemed to be unbalanced or immoral .

Kroes said that in addition to writing to the Hungarian authorities in December, raising specific concerns regarding their compliance with the EU AVMS Directive, she has also visited Budapest to discuss the matter. She believes that the Media Law may risk jeopardising fundamental rights in a number of ways, including its requirement that all media - including online media such as forums and blogs - be registered, and by making the Media Authority subject to political control through the appointment process.

The Media Law seems to raise a problem under the AVMS Directive because its provisions appear to apply also to media firms established in other Member States, which would be contrary to the country of origin principle, she said.

...Read the full article

Update: Promises

6th February 2011. See  article from

The European Union said on Tuesday that Hungary had given a clear indication it could change a hotly-contested media law that is embarrassing the bloc as it seeks to promote democratic standards elsewhere.

A spokesman for Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the executive European Commission charged with defusing a row that has overshadowed Budapest's six-month chairmanship of the 27-state grouping, said she had received a reply to queries raised with the Hungarian government.

Jonathan Todd said she had detected a clear indication in today's letter that they are prepared to modify the law if need be and that her staff were eager to quickly discuss technical aspects... as soon as possible.


18th January   

Police Pissed...

Sculpture depicting pissing policewoman winds up the German authorities
Link Here

Marcel Walldorf's life-size sculpture of a policewoman in full riot gear pissing on the floor has some Germans pissed .

The sculpture, entitled Petra , which has already captured the prestigious Leinemann Foundation Award for fine arts, was put on display in Dresden last week.

Local security officials were not amused. The artist has received letters of condemnation from state security services and local officials.

The gallery however, told AFP news service that despite official outrage, response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive .


18th January   

Chilling Demands...

Google resist Spanish demand to censor specified newspaper articles from search listings
Link Here

Google has said it will challenge Spain's data protection authority Agencia Española de Protección de Datos demand to remove 100 defamatory articles in newspapers and official gazettes from its search listings.

The search engine has been quoted in a Guardian story arguing that it acts only as an intermediary and therefore it cannot be held responsible for all content on the internet. Google's director of external relations for Europe Peter Barron said: Requiring intermediaries like search engines to censor material published by others would have a profound, chilling effect on free expression without protecting people's privacy.

The data regulator said the only way to block access to sensitive material published by some sites is by doing so in the search engine listings.


17th January   

Update: Orbanistan...

Hungarians take the street to demonstrate against repressive new media law
Link Here
Full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

An estimated 10,000 Hungarians have demonstrated Friday against what critics describe as Europe's most restrictive media law. Under the legislation, media in Hungary can face heavy fines and sanctions if authorities deem their coverage unbalanced or immoral.

Thousands of Hungarians sang Friday that if they would be a flag they wouldn't wave, or if they would be a rose, they wouldn't flourish.

Hungarian journalists aren't the only people concerned about what critics call Europe's most restrictive media law. Activist Sonja Andrassew of environmental group Greenpeace says she fears the legislation will make it more difficult to criticize environmental policies. We think that the environmental protection is also [about] free press. So if we want to say our opinion about the environment, the global warming or anything we need the press to be free to write down our opinion, she said.

Critics say that with the media law the center-right government is turning Hungary into Orbanistan , a reference to Prime minister Viktor Orban and autocratic Central Asian nations.


16th January   

Damned by the Church...

Italian Big Brother ejects 3 contestants over religious cussing
Link Here

Grande Fratello , the Italian version of Big Brother , has disqualified three contestants after the Catholic Church complained about blasphemy.

Big Brother, a flag ship programme on Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset network, has been forced into a humiliating climb down after the Church objected to contestants on the reality television show uttering blasphemous insults.

The swearing by three male contestants infuriated the Catholic Church, with the attack led by Avvenire , an influential daily newspaper owned by the Catholic Bishops' Conference.

The offending remarks were bleeped when they were broadcast, but according to media insiders included Mannaggia la Madonna – Damn the Virgin Mary – and Dio maiale , which literally translates as God pig and is considered highly offensive by Italians.

The show's presenter, Alessia Marcuzzi, read out a statement saying the programme would not tolerate language that offends the sensitivity of the public .

For the powerful Catholic lobby, the matter was made worse by the fact that one of the offending contestants, Massimo Scattarella, had been kicked out of the previous Big Brother series for blasphemy, but had been readmitted by public vote for the 11th season.


15th January   

Blocking New Laws...

Euro ISPs unimpressed by EU proposed mandate of ISP website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU introduces swathes of internet censorship law

The European Commission has drafted new laws to force ISPs to block child porn. The measure will be voted on by the European Parliament next month. The technical solutions envisaged are broadly based on arrangements in the UK, where all major ISPs block access to child abuse websites named on a list maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

If the laws are passed as proposed, the UK government will get powers to force the small ISPs who do not use the IWF blocklist – who serve less than 2% of British internet users – to fall into line. Last year the Home Office abandoned a pledge to enforce 100% compliance.

Although voluntary, the British system is not without controversy, and EuroISPA, the European ISP trade association, is lobbying MEPs to reject the move to enforce it across the bloc.

Malcolm Hutty, the President of EuroISPA, said: In order to make the Directive on child sexual exploitation as strong as possible, emphasis must be placed on making swift notice and takedown of child sexual abuse material focused and effective. Blocking, as an inefficient measure, should be avoided. Law enforcement authorities' procedures for rapid communication to internet hosting providers of such illegal material must be reviewed and bottlenecks eliminated.


13th January   

Update: Spanking Brand New Law...

Max Mosley petitions European court for privacy protection from the press
Link Here
Full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

Max Mosley, the former president of Formula One, was in a European court on 10 January hoping to secure a new law barring newspapers from publishing details of people's private lives without forewarning.

Mosley is asking the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to make it illegal for a newspaper to publish intrusive material without prior notification. He claimed that it was a great fallacy to think this would inhibit press freedom.

But campaigners have warned that a prior notification rule could damage valid investigative journalism as well as suppressing kiss and tell journalism, by giving anyone who does not like what is about to appear about them in the press time to seek an injunction to prevent publication.

The UK Government opposes Mosley's application.

It's really a very simple thing that if a newspaper is going to write something about your private life, or something you might reasonably wish to keep reasonably private, that they should tell you beforehand, Mosley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: The fact of the matter is, in 99 cases out of 100, if they are going to write something about someone of any real interest, they will approach the person.

But Geoffrey Robinson QC warned: The vast scope of the new law which is contended for is so vague as to be unworkable.


12th January   

Update: Conducting the Opposition...

Hungarian writers and musician campaign against new media censorship law
Link Here
Full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Hungarian writers and musicians have descended on Brussels to add their voices to the chorus of criticism aimed at censorship being introduced by Prime Minister Victor Orban.

The criticism centres on a new media law which came into force on 1 January. Opponents say it will muzzle press freedom and endanger independent media.

Adam Fischer, one of the world's leading conductors, stood down at the end of last year as music director at the Hungarian State Opera in protest at the increasingly heavy and restrictive hand of government: A lot of the attention has focussed on the new law but the problems run far deeper . Even more worrying are changes to the national constitution that are being drafted and the rise of anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia in Hungarian society,

Fischer pointed to the latest attack in which Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff became the butt of anti-Semitic remarks in a national newspaper after he wrote a column criticising new government measures.

Neelie Kroes, the EU's Digital Communications Commissioner, reminded Orban of his pledges to make adjustments if EU experts find the law falling short of full respect of the European values on media freedom . The European Commission is currently examining the text.


10th January   

Throwing Shoes...

Maltese TV show suspended over throwing shoes at photos of president
Link Here

Malta's satirical television programme VIP Xow has been suspended by the national broadcaster after the station editor found a clip aired in last Monday's show to be illegal and in bad taste.

The offensive part involved a game in which contestants were asked to hurl shoes at three tins featuring photos of President George Abela, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Labour leader Joseph Muscat. According to law it is illegal to ridicule the President.

Following a meeting of the Public Broadcasting Services' editorial board, the VIP Xow producers were informed their programme was being suspended with immediate effect. The decision was taken on grounds that the board had to ensure laws were respected and that the station's reputation was not prejudiced.

On last Monday's show,  Prof. Arnold Cassola was one of four guests. When it was his turn to play the shoe-throwing game, the tins were brought very close to him so he could hit them easily, knock them down and finally win something – a play on his party's lack of electoral success.

The decision taken by PBS to black out the game was criticised by the Front Against Censorship. Despite not being aired on TVM, the clip was uploaded onto Facebook and the video-sharing website You Tube. It was then removed from circulation after the VIP Xow team were advised to withdraw it by their lawyer.


9th January   

Update: Warning It's On...

Hungarian media censor moves into rapid action
Link Here
Full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Hungary's newly established media censor has opened an inquiry into a small private radio station, Tilos, for broadcasting the song Warning, it's on by US rapper Ice-T, Agence France-Presse reported. 

Hungary's new legislation came into force on 1 January 2011.

A letter from the new media authority, published on the radio station's website, said Ice-T's song was gangster-rap and could influence the development of minors in a negative way because it was broadcasted in the afternoon hours. Tilos should have broadcast it after 21:00, it said.

Hungarian websites said the letter recalled the Communist days of the 1960s and 1970s when censors warned against the destructive potential of punk music.

Update: Censors back down

17th January 2011. See  article from

After a public outcry, the Council backed down this week, but radio announcers are concerned that the media authority now watches over their shoulders.


4th January   

Booked for Dissent...

Swedish hockey referee suspended over Mohammed cartoon on his Facebook page
Link Here

A referee has been suspended by the Swedish Hockey Association over a cartoon of Mohammed on his Facebook page

According to sources, SÄPO [the Swedish security police] were contacted.

We had a meeting with this person and we agree that he should take a time out, said Swedish Hockey Association's security chief censor Peter Anderson.

According to Sportbladet the referee was confronted with information that he published a cartoon of Mohammed on his Facebook page. The Security manager also had a transcript of the page

The referee admitted that he posted the picture and referred to the right to freedom of expression, said a source.

Peter Anderson would not comment, but later gave a brief comment: We had a meeting with a person who is a district referee. During the meeting, we agreed he should take time out the rest of the season. For reasons which I definitely do not want to go into, says Peter Anderson.

According to Sportbladet, the Hockey Association has had contact with the Security Police concerning the potential threat that publishing the cartoon can bring.

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