Melon Farmers Original Version

Asia Pacific Censorship News

2010: April-June

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30th June   

Silent Hoards...

Chinese soldiers banned from blogging
Link Here

China has issued regulations banning its 2.3 million soldiers from creating web sites or writing web blogs, adding to the nation's existing Internet curbs, state press said.

Soldiers cannot open blogs on the Internet no matter (whether) he or she does it in the capacity of a soldier or not, Xinhua news agency quoted Wan Long, a political commissar of the Chinese Army, as saying.

The Internet is complicated and we should guard against online traps, it said, citing concerns about military confidentiality .


27th June   

Updated: The Cove...

Anti-dolphin hunting film causes controversy in Japan
Link Here

Tokyo screenings of The Cove , an Oscar-winning documentary about a grisly annual dolphin hunt have been canceled over planned protests by conservatives who say the film is anti-Japanese, the distributor said.

The film, which picked up an Oscar for best documentary feature this year, follows a group of activists who struggle with Japanese police and fishermen to gain access to a secluded cove in Taiji, southern Japan, where dolphins are hunted.

Directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and featuring Ric O'Barry, a former dolphin trainer from the Flipper television series, The Cove has prompted activists to threaten street demonstrations.

Planned showings of the film at two cinemas in Tokyo this month have been canceled because of fears the protests might inconvenience movie-goers and others, according to Unplugged, the Japan distributor.

Screenings at one Osaka theater have also been called off, but Unplugged is still in negotiations to show the movie at 23 venues around the country this summer, said a spokeswoman for the company.

Update: A Screening for The Cove

11th June 2010. From

Controversy over The Cove , an Oscar-winning documentary about the annual dolphin hunt in a Japanese village, has widened into a debate over free speech in the country.

On Wednesday, over 600 people crammed into a civic hall in Tokyo for a rare chance to see The Cove , with lines forming hours before the doors opened and viewers spilling out into the lobby to watch via a video feed. Outside of small private showings, it was the first time the movie has been screened in Japan since October, when it was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

The event had originally been planned to discuss the movie, which shows bloody scenes of a dolphin slaughter filmed by hidden cameras and portrays local fishermen as rough goons. But instead the event focused on the theater cancellations, reflecting the changing debate around the film.

Ric O'Barry, a former trainer for the Flipper TV show who is the central character of The Cove , made a surprise appearance at the screening. He is now a dolphin activist, but talked instead about freedom of speech and the large number of awards the movie has won: Those awards are given for entertainment value, and for that reason alone the Japanese people should be able to see it and make up their own mind.

Various right-wing groups consider the movie to be anti-Japanese, saying that dolphin hunts occur in other parts of the world and that any portrayal of animals being slaughtered for food would be bloody and unpleasant to watch.

In the version of The Cove shown and intended for release in Japan, disclaimers have been added saying those interviewed in the movie are not protesting or supporting dolphin issues. Unlike the U.S. version, the faces of most Japanese are blurred out.

Update: Protestors Banned

27th June 2010. Based on article from

A Japanese court has issued a rare ban against demonstrators who have hounded screenings of an Oscar-winning documentary exposing the country's infamous annual dolphin cull.

Yokohama regional court ordered members of a right-wing protest group to stay away from a theatre showing The Cove , which depicts the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins every year.

Bullhorn-wielding ultra-nationalists have repeatedly descended on theatres that plan to screen movie, denouncing it as anti-Japanese. They say the documentary is a front for the direct-action conservationists, Sea Shepherd, which they denounce as a terrorist group.

A general Japanese release of The Cove has been stalled for over a year amid fears of protests and even violent retribution against cinemas.

But film distributor Unplugged decided to take on the protesters on condition that the movie's makers block the faces of the local people it depicts. Over 20 theatres have agreed to screen it after a group of directors and publishers stood up to defend it, turning the controversy into a free-speech debate.

Last night an ultra-nationalist, Makoto Sakurai, promised no let up in his group's campaign. It's full of lies and distortion of our culture by Westerners who hate Japan, he said. We are right and we will continue.


26th June   

Updated: Feverish with Censorship Lust...

Indonesian minister speaks about celebrity sex video
Link Here

Indonesia's communications and information technology minister said sex videos allegedly featuring celebrities made him feverish , adding that the country needed a rule to ban negative content on the web.

In the absence of such a ban, Mi-nister Tifatul Sembiring said he would summon ISPs to help stop the spread of the clips, Antara news agency reported.

He said he hadn't seen the video but a report on them from his subordinates made him feverish . Why would anyone tape such a private thing?

Following the passage of the controversial 2008 Information and Electronic Transaction Law, the ministry had proposed a regulation that would justify government control of multimedia content. The plan was dropped following uproar and a rebuke from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Police have summoned the celebrities suspected of being featured in the videos vocalist Nazril Ariel Ilham, Luna Maya and Cut Tari for questioning next week. All three have denied appearing in the videos, while police have said it was possible that the suspect would be one of the people featured in the clips.

The police added that they were hunting those suspected of producing and distributing the videos. Tifatul said under the pornography law, anyone making sex tapes even for private purposes could be guilty of violating the law.

Maya is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and has appeared in advertisements with Ariel for a soap made by Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever. A spokesman for Unilever said the soap ads had been cancelled this week.

Update: Calls for the celebrities to be stoned to death

24th June 2010. Based on article from

Singer Nazril Ariel has been at the centre of the Peterporn controversy, named after his band Peterpan, since the two grainy but explicit videos went viral on Indonesian websites earlier this month.

Ariel surrendered today after police named him a suspect for breaching the anti-pornography law. If he hadn't surrendered we would have arrested him, police deputy spokesman Zainuri Lubis said.

As the videos continued to circulate online, hundreds of radical Islamists rallied in Jakarta to demand adulterers be put to death by stoning.

As a divorcee, Ariel should be stoned along with married television celebrity, Cut Tari, who allegedly appears with him in one of the X-rated videos, a muslim spokesman said.

Those people who have sex before marriage should be caned with a stick 100 times in public. Adulterers should be half-buried and stoned to death, said protest coordinator Fadilah Karimah" The more people who see it the better.

The celebrities deny uploading the clips but could still face up to 12 years in jail for breaches of the country's 2008 anti-pornography law. Tari and Ariel could also face up to nine months in prison for adultery.

Update: Charged

26th June 2010. Based on article from

One of Indonesia's top celebrities has been charged under an anti-pornography law for his alleged role in sex videos which have appeared on the internet.

Pop star Nazril Ariel Irham and two other celebrities, TV presenter Luna Maya and soapstar Cut Tari, have denied involvement in the sex tapes.

Zainuri Lubis, deputy spokesman of the National Police, told the BBC that Ariel had been charged with the making and distribution of the sex tapes under the controversial anti-pornography law.

He is the first high-profile person to be charged under the law, which came into effect in 2008 despite strong opposition from the public and members of government.

Local reports have quoted Indonesian police saying they have plans to detain the two female celebrities who are also allegedly featured in the sex tapes for their own protection.

Update: Luna Maya Arrested

18th July 2010. From

Actress Luna Maya was arrested in the National Police Headquarters here Wednesday evening for being considered not cooperative in the porn video case.

Luna is arrested because she is strongly suspected being involved in the making of porn video recordings with Ariel, Senior Police Commissioner Marwoto Seoto said.

The police earlier named actresses Luna Maya and Cut Tari suspects in the sensational porn video case.

The police had also carried out a scientific crime investigation on the three celebrities in which their physical characteristics were compared with those of the actors in the porn video scenes.

Update: Still in Custody

23rd October 2010.

An Indonesian rock star held for more than four months over a homemade sex video that found its way online has finally been charged and could face up to 16 years in jail, reports said.

Nazril Ariel has been charged with distributing pornography under several articles of the criminal code including the 2008 anti-pornography law, The Jakarta Globe reported.

A lawyer for the singer said no charges had been laid but that their client would be held in custody beyond, when many had expected him to be released due to a lack of evidence to warrant a trial.

Update: On Trial

24th November 2010. See  article from

One of Indonesia's top celebrities has gone on trial for his alleged role in sex videos which appeared on the internet.

Pop star Nazril Ariel Irham has been charged under Indonesia's controversial anti-pornography law. He could face 12 years in jail for the two home-made films, which are said to feature him and two female companions.

The scandal has attracted huge attention in Indonesia. About 500 people nonetheless gathered outside the court as proceedings were held behind closed doors, AFP news agency reported.

The singer was accompanied by his girlfriend, TV presenter Luna Maya, who is said to be the woman in one of the two videos. The woman alleged to appear in the other, Cut Tari, is a soap opera star previously linked to the singer. The two women are not facing charges. All three deny involvement in the sex tapes.


22nd June   

A Significant Contribution to Censorship...

New Zealand's chief censor resigns
Link Here

New Zealand's chief censor, Bill Hastings, has resigned to take a new job as a District Court Judge and Chair of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

Labour's Internal Affairs spokesperson Chris Hipkins said: Bill Hastings' 12 years of service have made a significant contribution to censorship in New Zealand. This is a controversial area and often presents significant challenges. Bill has handled these complex situations with intellect, judgment and decorum.

Leading the Office of Film and Literature Classification can be demanding and controversial. Bill has encouraged debate and always been willing to front on the tricky issues. He has generally been able to guide decisions that have been reflective of general public opinion.


21st June   

Updated: Crime Prevention and Eradication...

Thailand approves creation of a new body of internet censors
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

The Thai cabinet has approved the creation of a new cyber crime agency to stamp out online criticism of the revered monarchy.

The government, which has blocked tens of thousands of web pages in recent years for insulting the royal family, said the main task of the Bureau of Prevention and Eradication of Computer Crime would be to prevent criticism of the monarchy.

Under the kingdom's strict lese majeste rules, insulting the monarchy or a member of the royal family can result in jail terms of up to 15 years. Anyone can file a lese majeste complaint, and police are duty-bound to investigate it.

And under Thailand's computer crime law, introduced in 2007, acts of defamation and posting false rumours online are punishable by five years in jail and a fine of 100,000 baht.

Thai authorities had already been closely scrutinising online comments about the monarchy since the Red Shirt campaign. Campaigning for changes in Thai democracy is seen by the Thai authorities as very close to criticism of the monarchy.

Update: Blocking list now 113,000 websites!

21st June 2010. Based on article from

On May 9, Thai Information Ministry MICT and the Thai emergency law enforcers CRES admitted to blocking at least 50,000 websites and adding 500 more per day. Thai anti-censorship campaigners, FACT's, extensive testing across Thai ISPs has revealed that ISPs are blocking at least a further 15,000 bringing the total to more than 65,000. In the second week of May, CRES announced blocking of 770 new websites; on May 26, CRES announced blocking of 1,150 more. If we add these new figures to 46,000 websites, Thailand is blocking at least 113,000 websites!

On June 17, Thailand's new ICT minister announced a blacklist of 200 persons banned from posting to the Internet. This restriction was undefined but presumably all sites bearing these names will be blocked. Although the names of former PM office minister Jakrapob Penkair and Chulalongkorn University professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn, both in exile over lèse majesté charges, are known to be on the blacklist, the rest of the list is secret.

Included in the announcement of the blacklist on June 17, government is threatening to take charge of websites it doesn't like!


18th June   

Update: Norml Police Censorship...

New Zealand police attempt ban on pro-cannabis magazine
Link Here
Full story: Norml News...New Zealand police try to ban pro-cannabis mag

A cannabis law reform magazine has been told it could be restricted to adults only unless it changes its content.

Three past issues of the pro-cannabis magazine Norml News were referred to the Censor by police and the Department of Internal Affairs after they were seized in a national operation against gardening stores in April.

Chief Censor Bill Hastings has ruled that those three issues should be given R18 status so they're not sold to children.

Hastings says that the chief aim of the magazine is to advocate law reform in regard to a currently illegal drug, but that people under 18 years are not mature enough to make the distinction. He says the whole magazine could be made R18 in future if it continues the way it has been.

Norml News editor Chris Fowlie says the Censor's decision is wrong and patronising to young people. It shows, he says, that the authorities are trying to shut down free speech.

Police try to ban the magazine entirely

Based on article from

A request by NORML under the Official Information Act has revealed police had a secret meeting with Internal Affairs departmental heads, and asked them to try to get marijuana law reform magazine Norml News completely banned.

The documents reveal Police hope to have Norml News completely banned, as well as High Times and Cannabis Culture magazines.

Police had previously denied being involved with sending the publication to the censors, and a spokesperson for the Censorship unit told media at the time that there was nothing to suggest the request for a ban had come from the police. The Secretary of Internal Affairs said he was just seeking guidance .

Suspecting there was more to it, NORML News editor Chris Fowlie wrote to the Secretary of Internal Affairs under the Official Information Act, requesting any documents he held on the magazine.

The documents reveal two police officers arranged a meeting with Internal Affairs department heads on 31 May 2010 during which the existence of several publications dealing with the cultivation of cannabis and other illegal activity was discussed.

Police also asked the Secretary of Internal Affairs to pursue a Serial Publication Order - which would mean all existing and future copies of the magazine would be prohibited - for Norml News, High Times and Cannabis Culture magazines.

A serial publication order would mean all existing issues would be banned and the magazine would be prohibited from publishing any more issues.

We are outraged at this blatant political interference in our campaign for sensible drug laws, said editor Chris Fowlie. Police are lying to the media and misleading the public. They should admit they are behind this censorship, rather than hiding behind the faceless grey suits of Wellington.

If the police succeed in banning Norml News, this could criminalise thousands of people who have an old copy somewhere, said Fowlie. We have printed more than one million copies which all found happy homes and a recall would be impossible.


16th June   

Censorship by Greed...

Millions of Thai viewers lose their TV after action by World Cup rights holders
Link Here

Some 5 million Thais have lost their standard TV channels.

Thai viewers with C-band satellite dishes installed in their homes were left angry and confused yesterday after the screens of free television channels airing live World Cup matches went black without prior notice.

This is the Thai equivalent to UK's FreeSat and is particularly popular in areas of the country where broadcast reception is weak or non-existent.  The outage is to all programmes, not just the football.

World Cup Copyright-owner RS Promotion later explained the blackout was mandated by Fifa for non-encrypted broadcast in Thailand.

In its statement, RS explained that the free to air C band satellite broadcasts are receivable in other countries in the region. A complaint was lodged with Fifa from the copyright-owner in India, which said local viewers were able watch live matches free of charge by receiving signals from Thaicom 5.


14th June   

Guilt by Censorship...

Cambodia bans film investigating assassination of union leader
Link Here

Six years after an outspoken trade union leader was assassinated in daylight on the streets of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian authorities have banned a new documentary that asks probing questions about his murder and the role played by the highest levels of the country's political establishment.

The charismatic Chea Vichea, who campaigned for better wages and conditions for Cambodia's 300,000 garment workers, was shot in the head and chest at a newspaper kiosk that he visited every day in the country's capital. Amid an international outcry, two men, widely believed to have played no role in his death, were charged with his killing. They have since been freed on bail.

American journalist and activist Bradley Cox, who was living in Phnom Penh and who had previously met the union leader, rushed to the scene of the murder. In the subsequent years he carried out his own investigation into the assassination and concluded the two men charged were innocent. He also decided that Vichea's killing could not have been carried out without the knowledge of the highest levels of the political establishment.

Unsurprisingly, the Cambodian authorities have not welcomed Cox's film, Who Killed Chea Vichea? which was premiered last month at the Cannes Film Festival. When trade union members last month tried to show the film in Phnom Penh, riot police arrived and tore down the screen. The government has since cited a series of bollox reasons why the film has been banned.


12th June

 Offsite: Japanese Cartoon Sex...

Link Here
Full story: Manga in Tokyo...Tokyo considers age restrictions on comic books
Art or Obscenity?

See article from


7th June   

Censorship Tanks On...

Tank Man cartoon gets taken down from Chinese newspaper website
Link Here

21 years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, China's censors are still working to purge public discourse about the tragic events of June 4, 1989.

A cartoon that alludes to the anniversary of the crackdown on student-led protests around Beijing's Tiananmen Square has been circulating on overseas Web sites after it was deleted from the Chinese Internet, according to international news reports.

The Guangzhou-based Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily published the image of a boy drawing a soldier and a row of tanks on a blackboard as one of a series of cartoons marking International Children's Day on June 1. It appeared in print as well as online, according to the BBC, but was later removed.

The blackboard has the headline, School Newspaper. The cartoon is credited to Xiang Ma and alludes to the iconic Tank Man photograph showing a protestor holding up a line of tanks.


3rd June   

Update: A Breach in the Wall...

Unfiltered porn sites reported in China
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Until now, all pornographic content has been blocked by the censors inside of China.

But it turns out that you can now search on Google any sexual activity you like inside China and access it without censorship. Some, but not all, Chinese pornographic websites are also available.

No one knows why there has been a sudden change of heart. The friends who first told me the news speculated that with the recent spate of extreme violence carried out by middle-aged men (the kindergarten stabbings, today's shoot-out in a court in Hunan), the government might be allowing pornography in order to vent some pent-up testosterone.

Perhaps also, with the closure of hundreds of brothels and saunas, the authorities have deemed the pornography a consolation.

Or perhaps there is a more pragmatic explanation. It would not be a wild assumption to guess that this is a technical issue with the capacity of the Great Firewall [China's censorship system], said Wen Yunchao, an activist in Guangdong: The unblocking has been going on for weeks, so we can conclude that either the system has a limited capacity and wants to focus on other things, or this could be a long-lasting change .


2nd June   

Update: The Voice Silenced...

Burma bans journals for reporting actress tiff and the Thai unrest
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

Burma's press censor, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) has suspended two local journals, The Voice and First Music .

Before printing, they have to send the draft articles and photos to the division and only the permitted articles can be printed. But [in this case] they published articles that we didn't give them permission to publish, said PSRD director U Tint Swe, adding that the suspension would not last more than two weeks.

Both journals published articles about a recent incident involving actress Htet Htet Moe Oo without permission.

U Kyaw Min Swe, chief editor of The Voice , said he accepted the suspension but believed the journal did the right thing publishing three articles without permission in its May 24 edition.

U Kyaw Min Swe said the articles published without permission concerned local alarm about storms and cyclones, the Thai riots and a clash between Htet Htet Moe Oo and a journalist from 7-Day News.


24th May   

Updated: Ghostly Parable...

Director criticises censorship restraints on Thai film makers
Link Here

Thai arthouse director Apichatpong Weerasethakul slammed the country's tough censorship rules as his latest movie entered the race for the top Cannes film festival award.

Acclaimed by many Western film critics for his auteur offerings, his latest movie Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives is a parable on a cinema that's also dying or dead , he said: But you cannot blame Thai film-makers. They cannot do anything because of these censorship laws.

We cannot make a movie on the current situation, he added, due to laws that ban threats to national security. Anything can be thrown into that.

The film-maker, who said he flew out of Bangkok as the city was burning , expressed hoped that something will change for the best from the current chaos. Thailand is a violent country, he said. It's controlled by a group of mafia.

In his movie, Uncle Boonmee is sufffering from acute kidney failure and has decided to spend his last days in the jungle, where the ghost of his dead wife returns along with his missing son, turned into a hairy monkey ghost.

Update: Palme d'Or

24th May 2010. Based on article from

Asian cinema tonight emerged as the surprise winner of this year's Cannes film festival when a lyrically beautiful and often surreal Thai movie took the Palme d'Or.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives , directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, already had the best title of the 19 films in competition. Jury chairman Tim Burton named it best film, seeing off films from an impressive roster of film makers that included Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Abbas Kiarostami.

Burton said deciding the Palme d'Or had felt like an easy choice. The jury saw the film early and it stayed in their heads throughout the festival, he said. The world is getting smaller and more westernised, more Hollywoodised and this is a film where I felt I was watching from another country. It was using fantasy elements but in a way I'd never seen before so I just felt it was like a beautiful, strange dream.

Accepting the award, Weerasethakul, the first Thai winner of the Palme d'Or, said: I would like to thank all the spirits and all the ghosts in Thailand who made it possible for me to be here.


21st May   

One Way Trade Filter...

EU complains that Chinese internet censorship is used as a tool for protectionism
Link Here

EU digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes has hit out at Chinese online censorship, saying the government process constitutes an unfair trade barrier that may require World Trade Organisation (WTO) action.

It is one of those issues that needs to be tackled in the WTO and I'm aware it is at stake, Kroes said in Shanghai.

Analysts suggest the Chinese practice of blocking online content, ranging from pornography to political dissent, is likely to become an issue of increasing concern for European firms.

Dubbed the Great Firewall of China, they say Beijing uses the practice as a means of restricting foreign firms in favour of domestic companies.

Google became the highest profile example this year, with the company announcing it would no longer comply with Beijing's censorship requirements, subsequently rerouting its server to Hong Kong.


18th May   

Perils of the Media...

Taiwan minister talks about imposing video game censorship
Link Here

Taiwan is considering revisions to its Children and Youth Welfare Act that could result in the introduction of a videogame rating system.

Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah hopes to 'protect' youngsters from the 'perils' of media and the Internet, telling lawmakers that With handsets, palm games and video games becoming ever more popular among teenagers, it is necessary to revise the welfare law to authorize stricter management of video game software, reports Focus Taiwan.


13th May   

Norml News...

New Zealand pro-cannabis magazine reported to the censor
Link Here
Full story: Norml News...New Zealand police try to ban pro-cannabis mag

New Zealand authorities want the Censor's office to look at a national pro-cannabis magazine which even sells in some branches of Whitcoulls.

 But their move, which could result in the censor banning Norml News is outraging politicians and cannabis law reformers who say it's undemocratic.

Norml News is the voice of New Zealand's dope smokers and since 1990 it's been calling for the reform of the country's cannabis laws.

The magazine carries pro-cannabis articles, gardening supply advertisements, and the latest issue even has a message from Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.

Now Internal affairs has sent it to the Censor's office, Ms Turei says she's horrified and it's an attack on democracy the magazine's editor is livid. Internal Affairs says it's just seeking guidance.

No member of the public has ever complained about any marijuana publication it's always coming from the authorities who are trying to be thought police and tell us what we can think and what we can read, Chris Fowlie says.

It will be at least six weeks before the Censor's office announces its decision on any possible ban.


12th May   

It's All Russian to Me...

Chinese censors cut references to Russia in Iron Man 2
Link Here

The Chinese censors have made all spoken references to Russia or Russian in Iron Man 2 inaudible.

The Russian references were not political in nature. They were innocuous nods to the nationality and spoken language of Ivan Vanko, aka Whiplash, the villain portrayed by Mickey Rourke.

While most of the censorship consisted of altering the audio track, one scene during a dinner in a hangar, Vanko asks Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) to fetch his pet cockatoo appeared to be cut short.

Another viewer noted that the censorship, not surprisingly, also carried over to the Chinese subtitles:

In one specific scene I recall, the dialogue was between Hammer and the Russian guy, and he says You do realise that I don't speak Russian? The word was distorted enough to make me think something was briefly wrong with the audio, but the Chinese subtitles also said You know I don't speak your mother language?

Chinese censorship is nothing new, but this latest edition really has me confused. It had nothing to do with China. Nothing to do with politics. Nothing to do with violence. And, as far as I know, Russia is not a dirty word here at least officially. So what's going on?


12th May   

Authorities Infected by Internet Fear...

Hanoi to install spyware in internet cafes
Link Here

The Hanoi People's Committee on April 26 issued a new decision to regulate Internet cafes.

Pham Quoc Ban, director of the Hanoi Department of Information and Communications explained the oppressive new laws to VNExpress:

The first new point in this decision is that responsibility for controlling Internet shops is assigned to district governments. Accordingly, the Culture and Information Divisions of districts must regulate Internet agents. Previously, only the police had this duty.

The second new point is that we will use technology to manage Internet shops. Specifically, competent agencies will install specialized software designed by National University. This software will oversee the activities of users and the owners of Internet shops to know whether or not they are obeying the law.

According to the new decision, Internet shops must have at least one employee with an A-grade IT certificate and they are allowed to open from 6am to 11pm.

Internet shops must be at least 200m from the gates of schools (from kindergartens to high schools) and be equipped with anti-fire equipment, audio and lighting, etc. to protect the health of all users.

At present, control of users at Internet shops is very poor. People of less than 18 years old can freely visit websites with bad content. If we continue the loose management of these shops, Vietnam will have corrupted youth infected with bad thoughts. Their personalities will be harmed because they easily see porn and violent materials. Security also worsens because some people become addicted to online games and, to have money for games, they become robbers. This is a pressing matter for society and citizens have asked the People's Council several times to crackdown on this situation. Therefore, controlling the behaviour of users at internet shops is a popular move.


9th May   

Update: Detrimental to Society...

Thai Big Brother posters warn of dangerous websites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

George Orwell's 1984 had its Big Brother, and Thailand has Ranongrak Suwanchawee.

The country's information minister stares down from billboards along Bangkok's expressways, warning that bad websites are detrimental to society and should be reported to a special hotline.

Anti-censorship campaigners yesterday warned that Thailand was now following regimes like neighbouring China and Myanmar in shutting down access to opposition internet sites and seriously restricting press freedom.

The government of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is fighting a battle on at least two major fronts against protesters seeking to oust it. On the streets, a massive force of soldiers and police has only managed to battle them to a standstill.

In cyberspace, the authorities have fared little better, despite efforts to block dissenting voices with the threat of lengthy prison terms.

The often broad-brush approach to blocking websites even affects surfers just out for some video fun. Live streaming services, and have also been blocked, apparently because they host transmissions by the so-called Red Shirt protesters.

Thailand is getting increasingly like China when it comes to internet censorship, said Poomjit Sirawongprasert, president of the Thai Hosting Service Providers Club.


7th May   

Propaganda TV...

Malaysian TV producer resigns over pro government censorship
Link Here

A political talk show producer has resigned from one of Malaysia's main television stations, claiming his superiors censored him in an apparent attempt to favor the government.

The resignation bolsters demands by social activists for more freedom of reporting in the mainstream media, which are often perceived to be biased against opposition groups because most newspapers and TV stations are owned or closely linked to parties in the ruling coalition.

Joshua Wong, a producer who has worked at the private station NTV7 for seven years, said he quit in late April after his managers repeatedly imposed restrictions on his Chinese-language talk show.

Wong claimed he was barred from inviting an opposition member of Parliament to speak on the government's current economic reforms. He said he was also instructed not to include any discussion of campaigning for a recent legislature election that was intensely fought between Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition and an opposition alliance.

It's very difficult to compromise this time, Wong told The Associated Press. If we continue to keep silent ... this thing (will) happen again and again.

Wong's one-hour weekly show caters to the ethnic Chinese minority, who make up about a quarter of Malaysia's 28 million people. Najib's administration has suffered a slide in support among Chinese because of complaints that the ethnic Malay Muslim-dominated government discriminates against minorities by maintaining an affirmative action program for Malays.

TV2 Too

Based on article from

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is troubled to hear of another alleged self- censorship by a TV station.

This time round, it is in one of the television stations, TV2, of state-owned broadcaster Radio and Talivisyen Malaysia (RTM), which axed a current affairs series after screening the first couple of episodes on April 26 and 27.

The programme's producer, Chow Z-Lam, alleged in an April 27 press statement that his 10-episode daily programme about the social and economic plight of the indigenous people displaced by the Bakun Dam project in Sarawak was shelved after just two episodes on air because of the impending Sibu by-election.

He said he was told this by his superior, director of news Jumat Engson, who said that the series is better postponed to after the by-election due to the content's sensitive element . Chow said that although Jumat claimed responsibility for the decision, he had reason to believe the instruction came from someone higher, director of broadcasting Ibrahim Yahaya.

Chow's exposé, if true, paints another stark picture of the media being complicit in depriving the public of their right to be heard in the case of the subject of his programme and the right to information in the case of the larger audience. It is distressing to note that in both the NTV7 and RTM cases, the by-election was cited as the excuse for abandoning discussion of current affairs.


6th May   

Update: A Burkha for TV...

Draft proposal to ban everything on Aceh TV except islamic programming
Link Here
Full story: Sharia in Aceh...Inhuman sharia punishments in Aceh

The Aceh Provincial office of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission said it has proposed a draft regulation to ban non-islamic contents of broadcasting in the province. journalists.

In a discussion held by the Alliance of Independent Journalists a member of the Provincial Broadcasting Commission Muhammad Yusuf said the specific law or Qanun will authorize the regional authorities to impose further censorship on all film or television and radio production despite having past the National Censorship Body.

The draft regulation will also allow regional government to ban all forms of show of programs ranging from fund-raising, educational, documentaries, films, soap operas, dramas, features and investigative news, songs, music, advertising, health service messages, quizzes, and religious programs which do not serve the interests of Islam.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists, organizer of the discussion said it rejected the regulation and will file a judiciary review to the legal basis of the regulation.


4th May   

Update: No ID No Comment...

China bans anonymous comment on news websites
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China will push to end anonymous online comments, according to Wang Chen, director of the State Council Information Office, who recently reiterated the need for more restrictions in cyberspace.

The news regulator said that China would strengthen its monitoring on harmful information on the Internet, in an attempt to block bad overseas information from spreading into the country via the Internet and prevent overseas hostile forces from infiltrating through the Internet, according to his full speech published by the People's Daily.

In the speech, Wang confirmed, for the first time, that major news websites and business portals in China have already complied with the no-anonymity comment rule; a trend that Wang said will be pushed through the Internet, including the populous online bulletin boards.


1st May   

Viet Ban...

Vietnam considers restrictions for online gaming
Link Here

The Vietnam government's Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) has drafted legislation that could significantly restrict online gaming.

The proposals include limiting users to three hours of playtime for particular games, imposing licensing restrictions on the purveyors of online games and labelling that in-game assets are not convertible to real-world money.

The three-hour restriction on playtime would also be increased to four to five hours per day for games that are cultural or education-based.

For protectionism reasons the draft also would require foreign game makers to register titles earmarked for Vietnam one year before their debut.

The draft will be published in the next few months and there will be a supposed public consultation.


17th April   

Update: Foreign Correspondent Under Fire...

Thailand complains about Australian programme
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand has protested to the Australian government over the airing of a documentary critical of the Thai royal family and warned that the broadcast could affect ties between the nations.

A senior representative from the Thai embassy met with officials from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs o express his concern at the programme, Foreign Correspondent , aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The concern is that it might affect the good relations between Thailand and Australia, especially the people to people relations, Saksee Phromyothi, minister-counsellor at the Royal Thai Embassy, told AFP: We consider this an issue matter of national security... because the royal family, the monarchy, in our constitution is above politics.

Thailand's ambassador designate Kriangsak Kittichaisaree has also written to ABC managing director Mark Scott to complain about the programme which could breach Thailand's lese-majeste laws which prohibit criticism of the royals: I regret that an organisation of the ABC's stature has lowered its own standard by airing the said documentary which is presented in a manner no different from tabloid journalism .

A spokesman for Australia's Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that Thai embassy officials had complained about the ABC programme but said: The Australian government does not and cannot control content run by Australian media organisation .


17th April   

China Needs More Censors...

China establishes social networking censor
Link Here

China has quietly formed a new censor expected to police social networking sites and other user-driven forums on the Internet, which are proving harder for the government to monitor and control than ordinary news portals.

The new censor, officially called the Internet news coordination bureau, is part of this effort to monitor the communications of Chinese Web users.

Chinese officials consider tools like social networking, microblogging and video-sharing sites a major vulnerability. In the past year, they have blocked access in China of overseas video and networking giants like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, and suspend several upstart Chinese look-alikes, over information they deem subversive.

Both the new and pre-existing censors are under the auspices of the State Council Information Office, which acts as a leading daily enforcer over news-related content on the Web.

Public acknowledgment of the addition came last week, after The New York Times submitted a question about the overhaul. The next day, the Information Office altered a page on its Web site to reflect the new Internet censor. It also unveiled another new censor, devoted to regulating foreign news and information outlets that conduct business in China.


16th April   

Serious Threat...

Thailand warns about internet postings about the protests
Link Here

The Thailand has issued  rather severe warning about internet postings about the red shirt protests:

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has now been strictly curbing all defamatory internet contents that likely pose serious threat to national security with an aim of preventing further division in the society.

Permanent Secretary for Information and Communication Technology Sue Loruthai said that the Ministry had been instructed to take a close watch and curb all allegedly defamatory internet contents which possibly instigate the hatred of the people and might cause further conflict in society.

Meanwhile, the internet users have been warned to use the internet in the right way or with appropriate purpose and avoid disseminating information that could create misunderstanding or instigate violent actions among the public. Also, all popular websites and social networks such as facebook, twitter, hi5 and my space will be under thorough watch.

Violators will be prosecuted by law with no compromise.


15th April   

Burning the Midnight Oil...

South Korea asks online games to restrict children's playing time
Link Here

The South Korean government is introducing policies aimed at curbing the amount of time children spend playing online games.

The first involves barring online gaming access to young people of school age between midnight and 8am.

The other policy suggests slowing down people's internet connections after they have been logged on to certain games for a certain period of time.

The Culture Ministry is calling on games providers to implement the plans. It is asking the companies to monitor the national identity numbers of their players, which includes the age of the individual. Parents can also choose to be notified if their identity number is used online.

The Korea Herald reports that Barameui Nara , Maple Story and Mabinogi , three popular virtual worlds, will introduce the blackout later this year. Meanwhile role playing games Dungeon and Fighter and Dragon Nest will pilot the connection slowing scheme.


10th April   

Updated: Censors See Red...

Thailand bans and blocks red shirt TV and websites
Link Here

Thailand's Government has taken decisive action to close down media supportive of the anti-government protesters, but an official spokesman has continued to insist that force would not be used to disperse the crowds now besieging the nation's capital in their thousands.

In a move that has been compared with Thailand's restrictive bans on reporting news concerning the royal family, the protesters' People satellite television and 36 internet networks were suddenly blocked.

The closure was precipitated by the state of emergency declared by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday, Government minister Sathit Wongnongtoey told reporters, and it was part of the plan to return Thailand to normalcy .

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protesters, widely known as red-shirts, have been broadcasting on the People Channel from an intersection in Bangkok's prime retail shopping strip.

Camped out at the Ratchaprasong intersection since the weekend, the red-shirts have blocked traffic and effectively forced the closure of as many as six large shopping malls and hampered the trade of two five-star hotels.

Thailand's tourism and commercial operators want action to disperse the red-shirt protesters who have been demonstrating in Bangkok since early last month, but they are concerned that a show of force will deter tourists and visitors and damage the nation's already battered reputation.

So far, there has been little outright violence, although grenade attacks by unknown marauders have injured a few and rattled Bangkok's residents.

The red-shirts, representing the rural poor of Thailand's north and northeast, want Abhisit ousted and his Government dissolved. They say the ruling coalition won power illegitimately, has never won a mandate from the Thai people, and is in thrall to the nation's military and urban power elites.

Update: PTV re-banned soon after being unbanned by protesters storming satellite uplink station

10th April 2010. Based on article from

The government yanked the red shirts' TV station off the air again after earlier agreeing to the protest group's demands to reinstate the service.

The government was forced to reinstate broadcasts of the People Channel (PTV) after a clash between red shirts and troops at the Thaicom satellite ground station in Pathum Thani resulted in the red shirts taking control of the station.

However, by last night troops had regained control after many of the red shirts returned to their main base in Bangkok.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, acting government spokesman, said the government would keep PTV off the air.

The red shirts stormed the telecom company compound after authorities shut down their TV channel in line with the state of emergency declared by the government on Wednesday.

But after soldiers failed to hold them back, the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) negotiated with police to return the People Channel to the air.

Meanwhile, a source from the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said staff are seeking cooperation from all internet service providers, including TOT Plc and CAT Telecom, to block websites supporting the red shirt movement. He admitted it would be a tough task, as red shirt backers could always open new sites again.


5th April   

Update: The Times They Ain't a-Changin'...

China bans Bob Dylan concerts
Link Here

The Chinese Ministry of Culture has refused permission for Bob Dylan to play his scheduled dates in Shanghai and Beijing this month, the Guardian reports.

This has led to the cancelling of shows in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

According to promoter Jeffrey Wu, Chinese officials have become more cautious since Bjork, the Icelandic singer, chanted 'Tibet! Tibet!' after performing a song called Declare Independence in Shanghai in 2008.

Jeffrey Wu, of Taiwanese promoters Brokers Brothers Herald, said that What Bjork did definitely made life very difficult for other performers. They are very wary of what will be said by performers on stage now.

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