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EU Censorship News

2013: Oct-Dec

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Update: Saluting Censorship...

France is considering banning the performances of Dieudonne M'bala M'bala

Link Here29th December 2013
Full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
France is considering banning performances by a comedian for insulting the memory of Holocaust victims and whose shows could threaten public order, the interior minister, Manuel Valls, has said.

The interior ministry is exploring legal ways to ban Dieudonne' M'bala M'bala, who has been fined repeatedly for hate speech.

Jewish groups have complained to the president, Francois Hollande, about Dieudonne's trademark straight-arm gesture, which they call a Nazi salute in reverse and a claimed link to a growing frequency of  anti-jewish remarks and acts in France.

Update: Salutations

2nd January 2013. See  article from

The San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker has apologised after being photographed giving a salute considered to be antisemitic. In his apology, he said the photograph had been taken three years ago, and added that he had not known at the time that the gesture could be in any way offensive or harmful .

The French NBA star was pictured giving the quenelle , which has been described as a reverse Nazi salute , with its originator, the French comedian Dieudonne M'bala M'bala. Dieudonne, a controversial figure whose film The Anti-Semite was banned from the 2012 Cannes festival, maintains that it is intended as an anti-establishment gesture.

Update: Calling for a ban

6th January 2013. From

The mayor of Paris has joined France's interior minister in calling for comedian Dieudonne, whose vitriolic brand of humour has outraged jews, to be banned from the stage.

Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe, a socialist, on Sunday likened Dieudonne to a criminal who defends crimes against humanity . We must ban the performances (of Dieudonne), he said, echoing recent comments made by Interior Minister Manuel Valls.

Outraged by Dieudonne's latest jibe against Jewish radio presenter Patrick Cohen, Valls said he was examining options to ban performances by a man he brands as a little trader of hate .

Officials in several cities where Dieudonne is set to perform during a nationwide tour this month have also said they are trying to ban his show.



A Reputation for Bullying and Censorship...

Sepp Blatter is attempting to censor book of satirical cartoons

Link Here17th December 2013

Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa has won an injunction in Switzerland, his native country, in order to ban the publication of a book of amusing satirical cartoons. The book, by Danish cartoonist (and former footballer) Ole' Andersen, features a Blatter lookalike.

Blatter's lawyers claim that Blatter has a good reputation and if the cartoons were published he would never be able to repair the damage.

But Blatter's attempt to ban the book, The Platter Cartoons, has only served to draw attention to it. The story of his legal action is being mocked in Switzerland and across Europe.



Still Struggling with Mein Kampf...

Germany reconsiders re-printing Hitler's book when copyright lapses in 2015

Link Here12th December 2013
Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf is unpublished in Germany as its copyright is owned by the state of Bavaria which has decided not to allow its publication. However 70 years after Hitler's death, in late 2015, the copyright lapses and the book goes public domain.

Bavaria has now announced that it has scrapped its own plans to publish the book. The state had been planning to then publish a new edition with critical commentary from the Munich-based Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ). Bavarian science minister Ludwig Spaenle announced:

Many conversations with Holocaust victims and their families have shown us that any sort of reprint of the disgraceful writings would cause enormous pain.

Spaenle said in a statement on the state government website that Bavaria would continue to take legal action against anyone who tries to publish even excerpts of Mein Kampf . He said Bavaria would ask the new German government to help it find a solution to the looming expiration of the copyright.

The state had invested some 500,000 euros in preparing the academic reprint, officials from the IfZ were quoted as saying in German media reports. The institute would nevertheless continue working on the edition with critical commentary.



Offsite Article: Insulting Free Speech...

Link Here12th December 2013
The Romanian government is reported to have reintroduced criminal sentences for libel and insult cases

See article from



Update: You Couldn't Make It Up...

Ireland set to appoint 5 temporary book censors to handle a whinge about politician's novel that has got absolutely no chance of being censored

Link Here6th December 2013
Irish arts minister Jimmy Deenihan is somehow 'being forced' to appoint five book censors to deal with a complaint about Alan Shatter' s racy novel, Laura .

The positions are unpaid but members can qualify for limited travel and subsistence expenses for meeting to decide on the complaint about the novel.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Deenihan signalled that the Censorship of Publications Board is still facing the axe.

A government spokesman said it would be inappropriate to abolish the board at this time when a complaint still had to be dealt with.

The Censorship of Publications Board has not banned any works since 2003 and has had no board members in place for the past two years.



The Times They Are A-Changin'...

French authorities investigate Bob Dylan who is accused of 'offending' Croats

Link Here5th December 2013
US singer and song writer Bob Dylan has been placed under judicial investigation in France for offending Croats.

It follows a legal complaint lodged by a Croat association in France over a 2012 interview Dylan gave to Rolling Stone magazine.

In the interview he compared the relationship between Jews and Nazis to that of Serbs and Croats. He is reported to have said:

Blacks know that some whites didn't want to give up slavery - that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can't pretend they don't know that.

If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.

After the interview was published, the Council of Croats in France (CRICCF) filed a complaint. Being placed under judicial investigation means that authorities are taking the complaint seriously but that it won't necessarily go further, the BBC's Hugh Schofield in Paris says.



I'll Name that Tune in 1...

German authorities create a phone app to rapidly identify banned neo-Nazi songs

Link Here4th December 2013

Police in Germany have developed a smartphone app that helps them to identify right-wing extremist music from just a short clip.

The app, which has been dubbed a Nazi Shazam , in reference to the popular music-identification app, allows German authorities to recognise neo-Nazi music at far-right rallies in just seconds through its audio fingerprints . Ministers are set to meet this week to discuss implementation of the new piece of software.

According to Der Spiegel, the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors has collated a list of 79 pieces of music it considers to have racist lyrics or that promotes neo-Nazi ideology.



Update: Blasphemy is Dead Long Live Blasphemy...

Dutch upper house votes to end blasphemy but also to replace it with something similar

Link Here4th December 2013
Full story: Blasphemy in the Netherlands...Netherlands considersl blasphemy laws
Blasphemy will be removed from the Dutch statute books following a majority vote in the upper house of parliament on Tuesday.

However, a second motion was voted through which allows for another law to be found which can be adjusted to protect people from serious insult to their religion.

Last week, the coalition partners Labour and Liberal VVD said they had doubts about plans to scrap the blasphemy law. During last week's debate in the upper house of parliament, Labour senator Nico Schrijver questioned whether scrapping the blasphemy laws would offer minorities sufficient protection against their religious sensibilities being hurt.

Blasphemy has been on the statute books since 1932.



Update: Judgement Sharing...

French court demands that search engines delist file sharing sites entirely

Link Here30th November 2013
A French court case dating back to 2011 has concluded that three of the largest search engines in the world must ensure certain piracy websites are removed entirely from their search results. Media industry trade groups appealed for the complete removal of 16 domains from Google, Bing and Yahoo. All of the domains were variations of video streaming websites Allostreaming, Fifostreaming and Dpstream.

The search engines in question have been ordered to implement all appropriate measures to prevent access... by any effective means, including by blocking domain names , according to a statement released by the High Court. Additionally, specific ISPs, including Orange, Free, Bouygues Telecom, SFR, Numericable and Darty Telecom have been told to block the websites locally.

The industry groups also pushed for the ISPs and search engines to pay for all of the censorship and blocking methods that will now need to be implemented, however the court refused, stating: The cost of the measures ordered can not be charged to the defendants who are required to implement them.

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been given two weeks to meet the court's demands.



Update: As Dictated by Religious Minority Parties...

Dutch lawmakers may backtrack on plans to scrap blasphemy law

Link Here28th November 2013
Full story: Blasphemy in the Netherlands...Netherlands considersl blasphemy laws
Dutch lawmakers appear to be having second thoughts about scrapping the nation's blasphemy laws.

Despite a majority of parties in parliament agreeing in 2012 that the law should be scrapped, there now seems to be a rethink in order to placate minority religions . The blasphemy law makes it a crime to insult God, the monarch or to be disrespectful to a policeman. The legislation was introduced in the 1930s and has not been invoked for the past fifty years.

The Dutch parliament originally concluded that it was a threat to the nation's much-cherished freedom of speech, but now political necessity may change all that.

Now the Nos Television channel reports that doubts are creeping in among leaders of both main political parties. In a debate on Tuesday in the upper house of parliament, or senate, Labour senator Nico Schrijver said that repealing blasphemy laws would result in minorities feeling insufficiently protected against their religious sensibilities being hurt.

Some suspect that the real reason the coalition Government is backtracking is because it recently agreed to work more closely with the minor religious parties ChristenUnie and SGP to ensure majority support for its economic policies. Both these religious parties strongly oppose ending the ban on blasphemy.

The senate will vote on the plan next Tuesday. The motion was passed by a large majority in the lower house of parliament.



Update: Free Perfomances...

Maltese culture secretary proposes to exempt art and performance from morality and blasphemy laws

Link Here21st November 2013
Full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded
Theatrical and artistic performances In Malta look set to be exempted from morality and blasphemy laws under amendments soon to be discussed in Cabinet.

Culture Parliamentary Secretary Jose' Herrera said that he expected to receive Cabinet backing for the proposals because the removal of censorship was one of our [electoral] pledges .

Asked to explain what amendments were being proposed, Dr Herrera said artistic and theatrical performances would be made exempt from ordinary crimes related to morality in the Criminal Code. This included blasphemy laws, he confirmed.

The amendments were necessary because currently the police could impede any performance deemed to be in breach of the Criminal Code, Dr Herrera pointed out: The people should be the judge of artistic merit, not the police.

Age classification rules will remain in place. Exemptions will only apply to performances in designated spaces , such as art galleries. However pornographic cinemas will not be covered by the changes, Dr Herrera said.

Last year the official theatre censors were disbanded but theatre producer Adrian Buckle said those changes did not go far enough as performances could still fall foul of morality laws in the Criminal Code.



The Art of Political Correctness...

Censoring nude art citing muslim sensitivity is not PC as it stereotypes muslims as overly sensitive

Link Here14th November 2013
An adult education centre in Berlin has re-hung a collection of nude paintings days after censoring them out of deference to Muslims in what critics called an overzealous bid at cultural sensitivity.

The six nude portraits now hang near the public toilets in a second-floor hallway at the Volkshochschule Marzahn-Hellersdorf.

A local politician received more than 300 comments about the initial banning of the nudes. Facebook and text messages and emails ranged from insults to allegations that the neighbourhood was buckling before Islam and needed to be freed from the religion, according to the daily Berliner Zeitung.

District council member Juliane Witt, who received the messages, overrode the centre's leadership to re-hang the paintings, saying the attempt at religious sensitivity was well-intentioned but infringed on artistic freedom.

The centre's deputy head, Gotthard Haenisch, originally barred the paintings with consideration for Muslim students who might feel uncomfortable with the nudity and be discouraged from coming to class, according to the Berliner Zeitung.

But Ms Witt countered that the move, because it was not requested by students, in itself could be seen as discriminatory.

If you do something to protect someone, then you are defining them, and that can be stigmatising.

Sabine Achour, a professor who focuses on Islam and integration in education at the Free University of Berlin, argues the debate is not one of artistic freedom versus cultural sensitivity, but:

Rather shows how narrow and prejudiced our understanding of Islam is, though Muslims have lived here for decades and have long been active in the art world. It is naive to believe that Muslims have no appreciation for art, or can't distinguish between art and pornography.



Update: Admitting Guilt...

The spymasters of Europe seek to derail inquiry asking if mass internet snooping is compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights

Link Here9th November 2013
Britain is holding up an agreement on internet freedom among the 47 members of Europe's human rights watchdog after objecting to a probe into the gathering of vast amounts of electronic data by intelligence agencies.

The government is declining to endorse a political declaration by the Council of Europe that could conclude that Britain's mass snooping regime is illegal.

Britain intervened during a Council of Europe ministerial conference on Friday in Belgrade, Freedom of Expression and Democracy in the Digital Age , where a document was due to be signed by the 47 members of the body. The document, entitled Political Declaration and Resolutions , says that the Council of Europe should examine whether the gathering of data by intelligence agencies is consistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Shami Chakrabarti , the director of Liberty, said:

Bad enough that our authorities engaged in blanket surveillance without democratic mandate or legal authority; worse still when they attacked the ethical journalists who exposed that scandal. Now they delay the Council of Europe's action on the issue and risk turning Britain into an arrogant bad boy on the world stage. The nation that led the establishment of post-war European human rights now jeers at the Strasbourg court and tolerates no scrutiny for spooks or privacy for ordinary people. Churchill must be spinning in his grave.



Update: An Orgy of Censorship...

Max Mosley persuades French court to ban Google from linking to his pictures he doesn't like

Link Here7th November 2013
Full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex
Google has been ordered by a French court to remove links to images of Max Mosley with prostitutes.

Google said the ruling should worry all those who defend freedom of expression on the internet . It intends to appeal.

Mosley successfully sued the UK's now-defunct News of the World after it ran a story in 2008 claiming he had organised an orgy with Nazi overtones. He won damages for breach of privacy. The News of the World secretly filmed the former Formula One chief with five prostitutes and published a front-page story.

Mosley said Google had agreed to remove links to material from the story on a case-by-case basis. But he claimed that when he had asked the firm to re-programme its technology to ensure it did not show up at all in searches about him it had refused as a matter of principle even though it was technically feasible .



Updated: Blasphemy: Ridiculing the Ridiculous...

Ireland considers repealing its blasphemy law

Link Here4th November 2013
Full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law
Removing the offence of blasphemy from Irish law will be discussed by the Convention on the Constitution this weekend.

Academics and legal experts will give presentations at the two day event, with members of Atheist Ireland, the Humanist Association of Ireland, the Irish Council of Civil Liberties and the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland due to give their views.

The Convention will then make a recommendation to Government, which will have four months to respond with a debate in the Oireachtas.

Update: Blasphemy or Hate?

4th November 2013. See  article from

The constitutional offence of blasphemy should be replaced with a new general provision to include incitement to religious hatred, the constitutional convention has recommended. A series of votes were taken:

Whether the reference to the offence of blasphemy should be kept as it is in the Constitution:

  • 38% said Yes,
  • 61% said No
  • 1% undecided or had no opinion.

In a follow-up question about replacing the provision with something else:

  • 53% said it should be replaced with a new general provision to include incitement to religious hatred
  • 38% said the offence should be removed from the Constitution altogether
  • 9% undecided or had no opinion.

Asked whether there should be a legislative provision (presumably outside of the constitution) for the offence of blasphemy:

  • 50% said No
  • 49% said Yes,
  • 1% undecided or had no opinion.

The 100-member forum comprises of 33 politicians and 66 members of the public.

[Of course religious people shouldn't be get too enthusiastic about hate crimes that supposedly protect their views, more often than not it is religious people who fall foul of the very same provisions that they championed].



Update: Putting a Dead Parrot out of its Misery...

Ireland's Fianna Fail party introduces a bill to end book censorship

Link Here27th October 2013
  Irish opposition party, Fianna Fail is seeking to disband the country's book censors.

The party's justice spokesperson, Niall Collins, has laid a bill before the Dail calling for the abolition of the Censorship of Publications Board.

The board has been more or less dormant of late but returned to public attention earlier this year when Justice Minister Alan Shatter's novel Laura was referred to it after a ludicrous complaint by a member of the public that the novel's contents were somehow "obscene and contravened laws on procurement of an abortion or miscarriage".

However, no decision on the salaciousness or otherwise of Shatter's novel has been made, because the board currently does not have any members.

Collins said he had tabled the motion in order to put the board out of its misery. He said such a level of inactivity indicates the board is essentially defunct; it is as dead as the parrot in Monty Python .



An Insult to the People of Europe...

European Court of Human Rights decides that innocent webmasters must carry the can for insulting posts on forums

Link Here11th October 2013
An alarming judgment has been issued by the European Court of Human Rights that could seriously affect online comment threads.

The judgment in the case Delfi AS v Estonia suggests that if a commercial site allows anonymous comments, it is both practical and reasonable to hold the site responsible for content of the comments.

In 2006, Delfi ran a story about a ferry operator's changing of routes. This story lead to some heated debate in the comments thread, with, according to the judgment highly offensive or threatening posts about the ferry operator and its owner .

The ferry owner sued Delfi responsible for defamation and won. Delfi appealed on the grounds the the European eCommerce Directive suggested it should be regarded as a passive and neutral host.

The ruling stated:

Given the nature of the article, the company should have expected offensive posts, and exercised an extra degree of caution so as to avoid being held liable for damage to an individual's reputation.

The article's webpage did state that the authors of comments would be liable for their content, and that threatening or insulting comments were not allowed. The webpage also automatically deleted posts that contained a series of vulgar words, and users could tell administrators about offensive comments by clicking a single button, which would then lead to the posts being removed.

However none of the mechanisms prevented a large number of insulting comments from being published on the website.

The judgment also threatens online anonymity:

However, the identity of the authors would have been extremely difficult to establish, as readers were allowed to make comments without registering their names. Therefore many of the posts were anonymous. Making Delfi legally responsible for the comments was therefore practical; but it was also reasonable, because the news portal received commercial benefit from comments being made.

The ruling is not yet final and may be subject to further review.



The Dead Stay Dead in Germany...

Dead Rising 3 banned

Link Here11th October 2013
Xbox One zombie game Dead Rising 3 will not be released in Germany, a Microsoft representative told GameSpot:

Dead Rising 3 will not be released in Germany as part of the Xbox One launch lineup on Nov. 22 having been unable to attain an age-rating upon review by BPjM (Bundeprufstelle fur jugendgefahrende Medien), the country's entertainment software self-regulation body,

It is not clear what specific content in Dead Rising 3 caused the ban or if Microsoft plans to submit an cut version of the game. The original Dead Rising and its sequel are also banned in Germany.

Since Xbox One titles are region free, gamers in Germany can still play the game by importing it from another country, probably Austria.



Update: Pot Unable to Call the Kettle Black...

David Cameron failed to challenge the Prime Minister of Hungary over his country's draconian press laws.

Link Here10th October 2013
Victor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, has been condemned by world leaders for introducing the most terrifying press laws since the Cold War . But not a mention by David Cameron

The prime minister's failure to confront Orban is the first evidence of warnings by William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, that introducing statutory regulation in Britain will undermine Britain's ability to promote free speech.

Cameron and his government are now at loggerheads with the British newspapers over plans to impose a press censorship regime.

Earlier this week Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, rejected proposals by newspapers to establish a system of self-regulation backed by fines of up to £ 1million for those who breach the code.

Index on Censorship, which campaigns for greater press freedom, described Cameron's failure to confront Mr Orban as a great shame . A spokesman said:

They have introduced some of the most terrifying press and media ownership laws since the Cold War. It is really at the front line of censorship in Europe at the moment. It seems a great shame that the Prime Minister would not even raise this.



Soulless Censorship...

Beyond: Two Souls video game cut for a PEGI 16 rating

Link Here2nd October 2013
Sony has confirmed that the European release of Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls has been censored.

Sony says that around 5-10 seconds of footage has been edited in the European release so that the game could get a PEGI 16 rating. Sony did not say just what exactly censors in Europe found so offensive. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Ross Alexander on the PlayStation EU Blog:

There are only two amends between the EU and US versions of the game, amounting to about 5-10 seconds of gameplay that's not been removed, just edited slightly to be in line with a PEGI 16 rating.

For Beyond we wanted to make the game available to as many people as possible, hence applying for a PEGI 16 rating. The 5-10 seconds I mention above would have upped our rating to a PEGI 18, so it made perfect sense to make these two VERY minimal changes to get our planned 16 rating.

I can assure you that this does not affect the game's story at all, and that if you didn't know these scenes had been amended, you wouldn't even notice.

Beyond: Two Souls is set for release on October 11 in Europe and is exclusive to Playstation consoles.

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