Nikon pull out of photography exhibition after threats from those preferring to keep the plight of Japanese 'comfort women' concealed
|28th June 2012
13th June 2012. See article
Hundreds of photographers have accused Nikon of censorship after it pulled an exhibition in Japan about the lives of women who worked as wartime sex slaves .
The show, by South Korean photographer Ahn Sehong, was due to depict the lives of
Comfort Women who were kidnapped and forced to work as sex slaves by Japanese soldiers during World War Two.
Sehong, who has been working on the project since 1996, said Nikon pulled the show amid political protests in Japan.
photographer said he has since been bombarded by crank phone calls and threats to his family over the exhibition, due to be shown at the Nikon Salon in Tokyo. Sehong said:
Everything was prepared, printed and framed,
ready for the opening on 26 June..
It was due to show the efforts of 15 years of work. Suddenly, it was cancelled by the sponsor Nikon who apologised to us but did not offer any reasonable explanation.
added: Since then I have found my personal information being posted on the internet, and I and my family have been intimidated by some anonymous calls.
Nikon had reportedly received complaints about the exhibition, but has refused to
give a reason for axing the show.
Update: Nikon Focus in on Censorship
28th June 2012. From bjp-online.com
A Japanese judge has
found in favour of the photographer and has forced Nikon to honour its contract and reopen the exhibition. While Nikon can still appeal the court ruling, Ahn has been allowed to show his images.
However, Nikon is being accused of preventing
journalists from visiting the exhibition. At first, Nikon told us it will provide the venue, but won't do anything else to help, says Ahn. However, Nikon is preventing the foreign press from entering the venue and blocking people from taking
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a Nikon spokesman said the company would not do things that would go against the court decision but would suspend the exhibit if it received a favourable ruling any time before the
show's scheduled end on 09 July.
New Zealand is set to benefit from Australia's introduction of an adult games rating
|26th June 2012
See article from
Australia has just passed a law allowing an R18 rating for its video games and according to Tom Pullar-Strecker's story on Stuff, the introduction of the new classification could mean games with strong violent or sexual content are likely to be
more readily available in New Zealand from next year too.
While New Zealand has had an R18 rating for years, most of the disc-based games we get are distributed through Australia, and the Australian-based Interactive Games and Entertainment
Association says often games with adult content bound for New Zealand have been censored so they can meet Australia's current MA15+ rating.
The article quotes IGEA's chief executive, Ron Curry saying:
have seen is New Zealand getting modified product that was going on sale in Australia as opposed to the full versions of games. The advantage for New Zealanders now is they will more than likely get products as they were released, he said.
Chinese censors block Lu Chuan's The Last Supper
|24th June 2012 |
See article from
Chinese film censors have blocked the latest film by Lu Chuan, one of China's rising directors.
Lu was hoping to release The Last Supper , a costume drama about two warring generals starring Liu Ye, Daniel Wu and Taiwanese thesp
Chang Chen, next month. He told a forum at the Shanghai Film Festival the project had been delayed by the Film Bureau:
We need a fair, relaxed and comfortable environment to be creative, like Hollywood. Their movies
can have aliens attacking Los Angeles, even flooding the White House. Film should not just be a propaganda tool.
Other directors joined the compaint about how censorship was making it difficult to make movies. Producer Qin Hong said
he hoped the forum would encourage the Film Bureau to change its mind.
Thailand's culture minister easily offended by blurred out breasts on Thailand's Got Talent
|21st June 2012 |
19th June 2012. See article from
See trailer from
Thailand's Culture Ministry will call a meeting with organisers of Thailand's Got Talent after the popular programme aired a female contestant painting on a canvas with her bare breasts blurred out on national television on Sunday.
Minister of Miserable Culture, Sukumol Khunploem, said that the programme had high ratings and people of all ages watched it. She said that he programme was televised when children were likely to be watching:
There must be limits on artistic expression. I was shocked when I saw the clip. The ministry will meet the organisers of Thailand's Got Talent to get an explanation.
However the show was a recording
and not a live broadcast and the organisers edited out inappropriate content, she added.
Family values campaigner Rabiabrat Pongpanich said Thailand's Got Talent focused too much on business and the broadcaster should censor the act before
the actual audition. She seems to have mixed up her tenses when she spouted:
The Thai society does not accept this. The police will consider whether this is obscene. This also shows that the Thai society is ailing and
it's becoming a sex-consuming society.
One of the three judges claimed the act was inappropriate to the country's culture and expressed her disappointment with many of the audience who voiced their support for the 23-year-old
contestant. But the other two judges said the woman passed the audition, saying the act was another type of artistic expression.
Update: A Talent for Publicity
20th June 2012. See
article from news.asiaone.com
The art or
obscenity scandal over the latest episode of Thailand's Got Talent television show now threatens to expose grave violations of media ethics as allegations came out that the contestant in question had been hired to go on stage.
Following strong criticism of the show's Sunday episode showing a female contestant paint on canvas with her bare breasts, Thai Rath newspaper reported yesterday that Duangjai Jansaunoi had been hired by the show's producers - Workpoint Entertainment.
The news report quoted a close friend of the contestant as saying that Duangjai had been paid Bt10,000 (S$403) to help boost the show's ratings, but she did not know what she had to do until just before the show was recorded. The friend went on to
say that Duangjai was not an independent artist as claimed but a nude model in real life.
Meanwhile, Workpoint Entertainment CEO Panya Nirankul dismissed the allegations in an interview on the Reung Den Yenni TV show , saying that he had
asked around and concluded that Thailand's Got Talent producers had nothing to do with it. He explained that agents hunted down many of the contestants, which might be the reason behind this controversy.
Update: A Cacophony
of Miserable Moralists and Censors
21st June 2012. See article from
Channel 3 operator Bangkok Entertainment Company (BEC) has been fined Bt500,000 ( £ 10,000) by Thailand's TV censors of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission (NBTC) for allowing a female contestant
to paint on canvas with blurred bare breasts on the prime-time show Thailand's Got Talent.
Perapong Manakij, chairman of NBTC's subcommittee on programming and content, said that the TV station had failed to cut inappropriate content in its
prime-time programme, so a high fine had to be levied under the 2008 Broadcasting Act.
Pravit Maleenont, the boss at BEC, said that he was sincerely sorry for this mistake and promised it would not be repeated. The company was implementing all
measures needed to prevent such problems in the future, he added.
The ever whingeing Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome called on the show's producers and the television station to take responsibility for allowing the contestant to go bare breasted
on television (albeit all blurred out).
The police are also investigating whether the incident falls under the frame of lewd acts. Police spokesman Piya Utayo said Metropolitan Police that if it is deemed a lewd act, the police would punish those
who had supported the contestant to behave in this way.
Narathip Phumsab, member of the Moral Promotion Centre's board, said this was a major concern and it should not just be blamed on the media - organisers and everybody involved should take
Malaysian Borders bookstore manager is arrested for stocking banned book
|20th June 2012
See article from
See also Malaysia defends raid
on Borders over Canada Muslim author book ban from bikyamasr.com
A Borders bookstore manager in Malaysia has been charged with distributing a Canadian writer's book that was banned as being against Islam.
Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz could face a two-year prison sentence and fine if convicted of the charge. A
hearing was set for 19th September.
Allah, Liberty and Love , written by Irshad Manji, was banned in late May. Manji's website says book is about how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas. She said
of the ban:
[It] is an insult to a new generation of Malaysians. Censorship treats citizens like children. Censorship denies human beings their free will to think for themselves.
The irony is
that this book makes the case for faith. It empowers readers to reconcile Allah and freedom, showing that Muslims can be independent thinkers and profound believers in a loving God.
New Zealand chief censor wonders whether censorship fees are stifling the distribution of niche market films
|18th June 2012
See article [pdf] from
New Zealand's chief censor says that number of DVDs and games being released in New Zealand has significantly declined. He is wondering if censorship fees are making it unprofitable for small market distribution.
In a document entitled Statement
of intent for the Office of Film and Literature Classification, he says:
The market has become increasingly price sensitive, with a greater demand for the Office to exercise its limited discretionary power in applying
the fees regulations. These powers are set in regulation, which establish what and how criteria are to be applied when considering waiving fees. As the profit margin for product diminishes, the risk increases that distributors will no longer import
material for the New Zealand marketplace, potentially creating a situation of economic censorship. This suggests a fee structure more sensitive to the commercial value of publications submitted for classification would impact positively on submission
volumes and voluntary compliance.
The current fee structure is unfair, inequitable and inconsistent with the state sector fee setting principles established by the Auditor- General and State Services Commission. Again this
suggests that a fair, equitable and principled fee structure may positively impact on submission volumes.
But the censor is not solely concerned with New Zealanders missing out on films, he has other concerns too:
Staff numbers have been reduced in response to falling submission levels, and to process improvements introduced by the CDA. As a result of reduced staff numbers, the Office no longer needs the floor space currently leased.
Priority work is therefore required to determine what drives the volume of commercial submissions. Based on this work, changes to the Office's cost/revenue model can then be developed to ensure the Office's funding model is fair and
principled, and a range of strategies can be developed to better manage submission volumes.
In recognition of the financial position of the Office, the PSA and the Office agreed a collective agreement in 2010 with no general
increase in salaries between September 2009 and September 2011. Following discussions with the PSA and staff during September 2011, agreement was reached that there would again be no general increase in salaries. As a result, salaries for management
positions have not increased since January 2009 and staff positions have not increased since September 2009. This is not a sustainable strategy if the Office is to retain quality, experienced staff.
The number of commercial items
classified had dropped from 2276 in 2009/10 to the maximum estimate of 1822 in the 2011/12 year. The minimum estimate is just 1329. Note that films at the lower age ratings with Australian or UK censorship certificates do not need a review by the New
Zealand censor, so the actual amount of releases is much higher than these figures indicate.
Jack has proposed changing the flat $1124 fee his office charged to classify material so that it was cheaper for products which were less likely to make a
Perhaps an issue that the BBFC should consider too, given Third Window's withdrawal from UK cinema distribution last week citing similar concerns about BBFC censorship fees.
Thailand's Culture Ministry has a nonsense whinge about Lady Gaga
|16th June 2012 |
See article from
First she made a joke about
buying a fake Rolex. Now Thailand's culture ministry has filed a complaint to police against Lady Gaga for misuse of the Thai flag during her show last month.
The ministry claimed the part of Lady Gaga's performance when she wore a traditional
headdress and sat on a motorcycle in a skimpy outfit with a Thai flag trailing behind was inappropriate and hurt Thai people's sentiment .
We are not asking police to prosecute her but it's our normal procedure to file complaints to
concerned agencies when we receive them, a senior ministry official, who declined to be named, said.
An atheist page on Facebook gets an Indonesian 30 months in jail
|15th June 2012
An Indonesian man has been jailed for 30 months after writing God doesn't exist on his Facebook page. Alexander Aan was imprisoned for sharing atheist material about the religious character Mohammed online.
He started an atheist group on
Facebook on which he shared comic strips of the prophet having sex with his servant, a court in western Sumatra heard.
He was found guilty of deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity .
Aan was beaten
by an angry mob and arrested by police in his hometown of Pulau Punjung in western Sumatra in January after posting the material online and declaring himself an atheist.
The court had earlier indicted Aan with two other charges, persuading others
to embrace atheism and blasphemy. But the court convicted him of the most serious charge and dropped the other two.
Aan's arrest sparked outrage among Indonesians and international activists, who showed their support on his Facebook group and
circulated petitions to have his charges dropped.
Belatedly banned by the New Zealand film censor
|10th June 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:
- US 2012 Invincible Pictures R1 DVD at US Amazon recently released uncut on 22nd May 2012
It's taken a while but the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC have just banned the DVD release of A Serbian Film as 'objectionable'.
The submitted running time of 95:23s suggests that the New Zealand distributors had submitted the cut
UK DVD version (95:20s) which had already lost 4:12s of footage.
The OFLC summarised its reasons for the ban:
The feature is an example of extreme cinema from Serbia. The film is about a retired porn star who
accepts a role starring in an "art-porn" film. Once shooting begins he is tricked, manipulated and finally drugged into taking part in a catalogue of atrocities which include extreme and brutal acts of sexual violence and violence in
association with sexual conduct. Other atrocities he witnesses or takes part in include cruelty, torture, sexual conduct with children and young persons, necrophilia and bestiality.
There is a high likelihood that viewers would be
greatly shocked and disturbed by the extreme sexual violence and violence in association with sexual conduct, along with sexual conduct with children and young persons, regardless of age. The publication's sexual violence and violence in association with
sexual conduct is concerning in a different way. Research has repeatedly shown that such depictions are likely to reinforce negative attitudes towards women in a number of ways. They have been shown to desensitise viewers to real-life violence, to reduce
empathy with victims of sexual violence amongst both men and women, to increase rape myth acceptance, and to increase women's fear of sexual assault. In the current publication this material is so extensive and extreme that these injuries to the public
good are likely to occur regardless of the age of the viewer. The publication is characterised by a significant level of dispute over its claims to merit, value and importance.
While the classification places a restriction on the
freedom of expression as contained in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, it is a restriction consistent with Parliament's intention that publications containing such a high extent and degree of sexual violence and violence in association with
sexual conduct, along with sexual conduct with children and young persons, be classified as "objectionable" to prevent the likelihood of injury to the public good.
Philippines health freaks call on film censors to ban smoking
|10th June 2012 |
See article from
The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has urged the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to ban cigarette-smoking scenes in television and in films.
Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag announced calls to prohibit
showing images of actors smoking in TV and film. Citing health hazards caused by smoking, Tayag said the move will help in preventing Filipino audiences, especially the youth, from being encouraged to smoke, and from emulating the same act as they see it
being done by popular celebrities.
Tayag also said he hopes the MTRCB will release a memorandum addressing the issue, such that portrayals of cigarette or tobacco-smoking will be regulated in television and in films.
Malaysia enacts technical law that holds websites responsible for user posts
|4th June 2012 |
See article from
Malaysia's Evidence (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2012 came into operation on June 1. The impact of this hastily and stealthily rushed legislation could be devastating.
De facto law minister Nazri Abdul Aziz denies that amendments to the Evidence Act
were a means for the government to curb online dissent by making Internet anonymity more difficult to maintain or ignorance to be used as an excuse.
However opposition leaders such as DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng are unconvinced. Lim said
that the amendment which was passed during the last sitting of the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara will make it easier for the government to launch selective prosecutions of members of the opposition and civil society .
According to him,
a person is traditionally presumed innocent until proven guilty but the Evidence Act 2012 reverses this truism. Lim illustrates with a personal example: In other words, I am responsible for anything posted on my website and the burden is on me to
prove my innocence, not on the prosecution to prove my guilt .
Centre for Independent Journalism executive officer Masjaliza Hamzah has termed the amendments as a threat to freedom of expression and media freedom.
The amendments are clearly an indirect way to control online content as it makes online sites responsible for comments posted by readers; forget about disclaimers on the comment section.
This may force some
sites to stop the comment feature because having to vet comments themselves may become untenable, and if this happens, it has a huge impact on the interactive nature of online media favoured by readers, she is reported to have said.
The bottom line is that any repressive piece of legislation which can be misused by the powers-that-be to prohibit or curtail legitimate freedom of expression by its opponents is, in essence, a bad law.
Chinese film censors removed 13 minutes from Men in Black 3
|1st June 2012 |
See article from
The makers of Men in Black 3 might not have realised that setting parts of the film in New York's Chinatown would cause offence in China
But the Chinese government apparently saw plenty of political resonance in one scene where Will
Smith, playing a US secret agent, erases the memories of a group of Chinese bystanders.
This could have been a hint on the use of internet censorship to maintain social stability, commented China's Southern Daily newspaper.
two other scenes, where unsavoury aliens disguise themselves as Chinese restaurant workers, were also judged to have cast China in a bad light.
In all the Chinese film censors have removed 13 minutes of footage for the Chinese release.
A Thai whinge about Lady Gaga tweeting about fake Rolexes for sale is escalated to diplomatic levels
|29th May 2012
See article from
Fake Lady Gagas
for sale in Thailand?
The Thai Intellectual Property Department will submit a letter to the US ambassador in Bangkok voicing its concern over pop princess Lady Gaga's tweet about buying a fake Rolex in the city.
Shortly after her private jet arrived in Bangkok, Lady
I just landed in Bangkok baby! Ready for 50,000 screaming Thai monsters. I wanna get lost in a lady market and buy fake Rolex.
Department director-general Pachima Thanasanti said she
was very disappointed with the singer's comment because Lady Gaga herself was the owner of intellectual property as a songwriter and singer.
Lady Gaga should have been a better role model for youngsters. The department will send a letter to
express what she claims to be public concern over her conduct, which was seen as disrespectful.
Perhaps Thailand would be better advised to stop selling fake Rolexes in the first place.
Hong Kong artists see new copyright law as stifling free speech
|26th May 2012 |
See article from
A plan for more restrictive copyright law in Hong Kong has sparked protests from artists, who say it will stifle free speech, criminalise satire and hurt the arts.
More than 1,700 artists have signed a petition urging the government to shelve
proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, while pro-democracy lawmakers have launched a filibuster campaign to delay its passage into law.
The proposed law will create an environment of fear and will lead artists to self-censor themselves,
performance artist and graphic designer Ger Choi, one of the organisers of the petition, told AFP.
Some petitioners claim the amendments are politically motivated, and stem from candidates in a March leadership poll being viciously and
humorously parodied on Facebook and blogs.
At present, copyright infringement occurs when the work causes significant damage to the copyright holder, but the government wants to broaden the rules to cover any re-use that could affect
prejudicially the owner. It also updates pre-internet law by criminalising any unauthorised communication of copyright works on the Internet.
The current Copyright Act already allows for fair dealing with a protected work
for education purpose or criticism, review and news reporting , as long as sufficient acknowledgement is made of the original material.
Malaysian minister for religious affairs attempts to ban book launch party
A Canadian Muslim gay activist launched her controversial new book in Malaysia despite a government minister's attempts to shut down the event.
Irshad Manji launched Allah, Liberty and Love at a hastily arranged event in the capital
Kuala Lumpur after two other venues pulled out of hosting her, according to local publisher ZI Publications.
Jamil Khir Baharom, minister in charge of Islamic affairs, had said Islamic officials and the Home Ministry would not allow the author's
roadshow in the country following complaints. He was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying that the book was offensive to Muslims as was Manji's ideology and openly gay lifestyle, which was deemed to be against Islam.
Manji's website, the book, now available in the local Malay language:
Shows all of us how to reconcile faith and freedom in a world seething with repressive dogmas... This book is the ultimate guide to becoming a gutsy
The book has not been officially banned in Malaysia, thou Manji's previous internationally acclaimed book, The Trouble with Islam Today , is banned.
Manji also faced problems while touring Indonesia
before coming to Malaysia. Police shut down several events after the Islamic Defenders Front group held violent protests condemning her liberal views on Islam and her homosexuality.
|20th May |
Philippines censor proposes a new 16 rating
Philippine's Movie and Television Review and Classification Board may revise its classification system for movies to include an R-16 rating, according to chairperson Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
There are currently five ratings for movies:
- General Audience (G), which means all ages are admitted;
- PG-13, children below 13 years old should be accompanied by an adult;
- R-13, strictly for 13 years and older;
- R-18, strictly for 18 years and older
- X, banned
from public viewing.
The gap between 13 and 18 is very wide and the awareness of a 16-year-old is different from a 13-year-old, Llamanzares pointed out. She cited the case of the Darren Aronofsky psychological thriller Black Swan, which got an R-13 rating
from the board, a decision that resulted in numerous complaints from parents.
Many mothers thought it was just about ballet. They were shocked when they discovered that it also tackled lesbianism, self-gratification and other adult topics, Llamanzares told Inquirer Entertainment.
However, the board thought it was a good movie and that the public also needed to be educated with such kinds of films. We felt that an R-18 would be too restricting because then some movie theaters would not screen it. As a matter of policy, SM
prohibits the showing of R-18 movies in its cinemas.
The MTRCB chief reported that the board had initiated consultations with producers and film distributors about the proposed amendment. Some of them were apprehensive, and we understand. This
would mean a smaller audience would get to see their films.
She said the board would conduct public consultations to orient people about the situation and take their suggestions into consideration.
|17th May |
Recommended by the New Zealand book censor
See Censorship Decisions
April 2012 [pdf] from censorship.govt.nz
The New Zealand book censor has banned issue 163 of the UK magazine, Front, from sale in New Zealand claiming that it is 'objectionable'.
The censor explained:
The magazine is classified as objectionable because
it tends to promote and support the exploitation of young persons for sexual purposes.
The magazine is a glossy, sexually orientated British periodical targeted at young adult men. It features photo-spreads of young, scantily clad
women with their buttocks and breasts visible, interspersed with interviews and satire, and sections on drinking, fashion, consumer electronics and music. There are two pages of explicit phone sex advertisements, most of which depict young female models
in sexualized poses. Many of these models present as younger teenagers or are accessorised to look like adolescents, and the accompanying text reinforces their youthfulness with multiple references to virginity, innocence, naiveté, and being under home
supervision. Statements that the girls are "18+" do little to counter the effect. The advertisments encourage sexual interest in young persons and promote them as sexually available and appropriate objects of adult sexual fantasy.
|16th May |
Vietnam bans local horror film
article from english.vietnamnet.vn
The producer of the Vietnamese movie Bay Cap 3 also announced its release on May 18 complete with a prominent publicity campaign. However, information about this film on websites of big cinemas like MegaStar, Galaxy and BHD Star were removed on
A member of the National Movie Censorship Council said that movie was not approved because its content is illogical, non-educational and its technical quality is unqualified.
The official decision is going to be announced this week.
The movie producer, Tran Trong Dan, told VNExpress newswire that violence and sex in Bay Cap 3 does not exceed many Vietnamese and American movies that were released in Vietnam before. It is a horror movie about a group of high-school
students who experience a nightmare during their tour to Da Lat city. Each of them is gradually killed by a mysterious killer. They are trapped by unexpected and dangerous methods.
|13th May |
New Zealand ISP stamped upon by control freaks for offering work around to location based internet restrictions
See article from
On the 9th May, webpronews.com wrote:
Living in a country that is not the U.S., Canada or the UK can be a pain sometimes, especially when it
comes to accessing online content. Many online services like Netflix geo-lock their Web site to only certain countries. People in, say New Zealand, can access these sites via proxy, but not everybody is tech savvy enough to take advantage of such
Enter FYX, a new ISP start up in New Zealand that's offering users the chance to access these geo-locked sites through their service as part of their basic service. It's a subsidiary of New Zealand ISP Maxnet, but
it's differentiated itself to perhaps keep its parent company out of legal trouble.
The new ISP's focus is on offering a much bigger Internet to New Zealanders -- the type of Internet the rest of the world have had access to
for years, said Chief Internet FYX-er Andrew Schick speaking to New Zealand's National Business Review.
NBR points out that Sky TV currently holds the rights to downloadable media like TV, film, etc in the country. It's not
only damaging the growth of local services, but it keeps out other services from competing against their monopoly. It's these kind of monopolies that users could get around with FYX.
But by the 11th May from
article from voxy.co.nz :
Statement from to Chief FYX-er, Andrew Schick:
New ISP FYX has made a decision to withdraw its popular global mode service from the market for the time being.
apologises to our customers and the New Zealand internet community for putting a halt to global mode, which will happen tonight at 11.59pm.
While legal opinions have supported FYX's global mode under New Zealand law, there
are matters that require further consideration before continuing the service.
|12th May |
New Zealand belatedly bans Human Centipede 2
Thanks to refused-classification.com
article [pdf] from censorship.govt.nz
The New Zealand film censor at the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC). Has banned Tom Six's Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).
The film was banned as 'objectionable' on 4th April 2012.
The OFLC summarised its
reasons for the ban:
The publication is a DVD containing a sequel to a well-known horror film and a number of extra components relating to its development and marketing.
The availability of the publication
is likely to he injurious to the public good.
The feature is an unsubtle portrait of a sexually deranged man who tortures a group of largely anonymous victims in extreme, unflinching detail. Despite the occasional flashes of
humour and a degree of sub-textural irony, these elements are overwhelmed by the feature's sustained, gratuitous focus on victims' torture, mutilation, forced defecation, rape and murder. These images are linked by a threadbare plot that provides limited
While the feature does not promote or support this material, the likely injury to the public good is one of inuring people more generally to cruel, violent and degrading material through its presentation
as entertaining, and of eroding the viewer's ability to empathise with others. This material would disturb and shock most people.
Consideration was given to offering excisions in order to remove the strongest images, however due
to the pervasiveness of this material excisions were not deemed practical.
While the classification is an absolute restriction on the freedom of expression as contained in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, it is a
restriction consistent with Parliament's intention that publications containing such a high extent and degree of torture, violence, cruelty, sexual violence and strongly degrading, dehumanising and demeaning material can be classified as objectionable
to prevent the likelihood of injury to the public good.
|7th May |
Burmese filmmaker has fun satirising the country's censor board
Thanks to Sergio
See film on
When Burmese filmmaker Htun Zaw Win decided to make a short comedy about the tragically bizarre process of getting movies made in his oppressed homeland.
Ban That Scene! makes a daring mockery of Myanmar's dreaded film censorship board,
whose members are cast as comical guardians of a tyrannical state's idealized image of itself.
Sunk into the faux-leather chairs of a government screening theater. The officials are offended at everything that appears on screen, beggars,
corruption, power outages, even a street fight, because they all allegedly make the state look undignified.
Beyond its highly satirical take on modern day filmmaking in Myanmar, what's most striking about the movie by Htun Zaw Win, who goes
by the name Wyne, is that it was made at all. Wyne says he never submitted Ban That Scene! to the government's Film and Video Censor Board for approval because they would almost certainly have, well, banned the entire thing.
mandate is limited to screening films made for sale, and Wyne says he chose to forgo all profit to ensure it would be produced uncut. The sacrifice was essential, he said, to show the public both at home and abroad what barriers filmmakers are facing.
The 18-minute short was first shown in the former capital Yangon in January during a film festival dubbed Art of Freedom . It has been posted on YouTube and Wyne has so far distributed about 10,000 copies on DVD for free.
|6th May |
Voice of America asks Indonesia to ease up on their censorial ban of live broadcasts by foreign media
The US government's broadcast arm has called on the Indonesian House of Representatives to amend several broadcast regulations to make it easier for foreign media to operate in the country, a legislator has said.
Eva Kusuma Sundari, an opposition
legislator, said the request was made by Norman G. Goodman, chief of the Voice of America's Indonesian service.
Eva, who took part in the visit, said the contingent's discussions with Goodman and other stakeholders focused on scrapping an article
from the Broadcast Law that prohibits foreign media from carrying out live broadcasts.
The VOA officials argued the prohibition prevented most of its viewers and listeners from getting information but is irrelevant today because anyone with
Internet access can watch live news streams online, Eva said.
We advised VOA to submit their proposals in writing so the House can formally follow up on them later, she said in Jakarta.
|2nd May |
Malaysian satellite TV censors BBC news report
See article from
Malaysian satellite service, Astro, has admitted to censoring BBC news coverage of police action at an opposition rally.
Astro broadcast operations senior vice-president Rohaizad Mohamed explained to The Malaysian Insider that the 2:16-minute clip
was cut in accordance with national censorship regulations. Rohaizad said that Astro reserved the right to edit content from international providers and channels as it sees fit.
In fact Astro broadcasts foreign channels with a two and a
half minute delay so as to give TV censors time to cut content that they do not like.
And like a true natural born censor, Mohamed whinged that it was somehow the BBC's fault for broadcasting material that needs to be censored. He whinged:
We are surprised and somewhat disappointed that our long-standing partner, the BBC, when, issuing its statement, did not take cognisance of the duty of Astro to comply with local content regulations.
The disputed clip contained shots where Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim spoke to reporters. The rally, which saw local police fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters.
According to the YouTube link available in the
statement, BBC's coverage of Bersih 3.0 had been shortened by several seconds to exclude clips of short interviews with two protesters. In the first censored interview, a man, believed to be Chinese, had told the BBC that the police took unprovoked
action at protesters despite efforts to negotiate. In the next interview, an Indian man had explained his reason for joining the rally for free and fair elections, which had turned violent at nearly 3pm on Saturday.
|29th April |
Philippines tabloid on charges of indecency and using vulgar language
See article from
A criminal complaint was filed against two editors and several other persons for publishing supposedly lewd photos and columns in a Manila-based tabloid.
The Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board (CCAIB) claimed that the tabloid Bomba Balita Saski sa
Katotohanan violated an Anti-Indecency Ordinance.
The tabloid was also accused of violating a Philippines law which prohibits obscene publications, exhibitions and indecent shows.
In its complaint, the board said they received
information about Bomba's content being obscene, indecent and contained language or words that are totally vulgar. After verfication, the board said it found the columns and pictures of naked men and women in Bomba were sexually suggestive. In
page 4 of one issue, five columns used words that are totally vulgar with details of sexual intercourse.
Other confiscated tabloids include Toro, Bagong Toro, Remate and Hataw . These tabloids are published in Manila and sent
|29th April |
Indonesian radio ban for Justin Bieber after fans wound up by throwaway remark about their country
See article from thejakartapost.com
Maybe a bit worried that
no-one will notice him?
A local Indonesian radio station in Medan, Kiss 105 FM, banned Justin Bieber's songs as a protest against the teenage pop sensation's remarks on Indonesia that sparked strong reactions from his local fans.
During a promotional event n London
for his new album, Believe , Bieber told an interviewer about the creative process for one of his new tracks, saying it was recorded in some random country . His manager, Scott Scooter Braun, interrupted and informed him it was
produced in Indonesia.
Kiss FM executive producer Anggi Simanjuntak told The Jakarta Post that his ban on Bieber was apparently supported by heartbroken radio listeners. Some of them unfollowed or even blocked Bieber's twitter account from
their timelines, she said.
A Kiss FM announcer, Bea Lubis, said that she would probably cancel the ban if Bieber apologized in a sweet manner and promised not to say such things about Indonesia again .
|26th April |
Steve McQueen film banned in Singapore
Director Steve McQueen has stopped his film on sex addiction Shame being shown in Singapore after a row over censorship.
Singapore censors ordered a threesome between the main character and two women to be shortened, and even then,
rated it suitable only for viewers over 21 years old.
However a spokeswoman for distributor Cathay-Keris Films told AFP:
Mr McQueen feels that it is important for his work to be seen in the way it was intended
and hence was... not agreeable to have his film be cut in any way. We respect his decision and as such this film will not be able to be released in Singapore theatrically.
Censors of the Media Development Authority told Straits Times
We are of the view that the prolonged and explicit threesome sex sequence has exceeded our classification guidelines.
|18th April |
Thailand's film censors ban Shakespeare Must Die based on Macbeth
4th April 2012. See article from
A new Thai film based on William Shakespeare's, Macbeth , has been banned by censors on the grounds that its content may cause disunity among the people.
Shakespeare Tong Tai , or Shakespeare Must Die , is directed by Ing K
and Manit Sriwanichpoom.
The film is the first Thai rendition of Macbeth, a bloodstained tragedy in which a Scottish general, with the help of his insidious wife, assassinates a king to pave his way to the throne.
The film includes a
contemporary allegory about a fictitious nation where a popular politician rises up the echelons of power.
A document from the Ministry of Culture's Office of Film and Video says that since the film undermines the unity of people in the country
, the censorship committee refuses to give permission to screen it in Thailand. The committee that banned the film was chaired by Police Major General Anek Samplang.
The film-makers will appeal against the decision.
Shakespeare Must Die
runs for 178 minutes and was partly funded by the Ministry of Culture under the 2010 Thai Khem Khaeng stimulus scheme.
Update: Macbeth not quite historical enough
6th April 2012. See
Thailand's film censors have banned an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, claiming it could inflame political passions in the country where it is taboo to criticize the monarchy.
One of the film's main characters is a dictator named Dear Leader,
who resembles former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose ouster in a 2006 coup sparked years of political turmoil between his supporters and critics.
Ing K., the film's director, said the censorship committee objected to
anti-monarchy overtones in the film as well as politically charged content, including a scene based on an iconic photo from Bangkok's 1976 student uprising showing a demonstrator being lynched.
The committee questioned why we wanted to bring
back violent pain from the past to make people angry, Ing K. said in an interview. The censors also disliked the attire of a murderer in the film, who wore a bright red hooded cloak, the same color worn by the pro-Thaksin demonstrators known as the
The director called the ruling absurd and a reflection of the fear in Thai society. She said the character resembling Thaksin could represent any leader accused of corruption and abuse of power: When Cambodians watch
this they'll think it's Hun Sen. When Libyans watch it they would think it's Gadhafi.
Ing K. said she plans to appeal the ban.
Offsite: An interview with the director
18th April 2012. See
article from bangkokpost.com
Why do you think the film has been banned?
It's the climate of fear. Most of us are not fanatics, but we're trapped between fanatics of all stripes and we live in fear. That's why we were banned.
...Read the full article
|18th April |
Vietnam proposes extensive and vague internet censorship rules
See article from
Google, Facebook, and other Internet companies may be required to censor their content in Vietnam, an overseas group said based on draft regulations that have been released. The new rules will be considered for approval in June.
If adopted, the draft
decree, released by the Ministry of Disinformation and Blocked Communications, would require foreign businesses to cooperate with Vietnamese authorities in removing information from their sites.
U.S.-based Viet Tan Reform Party said that the
rules, which are the latest in a pattern of sweeping Internet restrictions that are difficult to implement in practice, and harm both technology providers as well as end users:
Like many government directives in
Vietnam, the language in this document is vague and ill-defined, leading to multiple interpretations and possible arbitrary implementation by authorities.
Under the rules, foreign companies that provide online social networking
platforms in Vietnam must make pledges in writing to follow local censorship laws and remove information, including those that is against the Vietnamese government, damage[s] social and national security [or] promote[s] violence, the
Foreign companies may also have to house data centers in Vietnam, according to Viet Tan, in a move that would force them to obey domestic rules.
The new rules also address individual Internet users, who will be required to
use their real names online. Internet companies will be compelled to help the government enforce restrictions like these on individual users, according to Viet Tan.
Bloggers are restricted from engaging in any prohibited online activities and will be held personally liable for all the published content on their blogs.
The new rules further stipulate that news websites must be approved by authorities and adhere to existing local press law, or else risk being shut down, and website administrators must report instances of prohibited online activity to authorities.
|17th April |
Free China: The Courage to Believe. China tries diplomatic pressure to get film banned from the Palm Beach International Film Festival
article from theepochtimes.com
See trailer from youtube.com
A Chinese consulate in the U.S. has contacted the Palm Beach International Film Festival to warn them about a harmful movie they will screen that documents the violent persecution of a Chinese spiritual practice by communist authorities.
The consulate in Houston repeatedly called an organizer of the film festival making
inquiries about the film, according to a spokesperson who did not want to be named, in a telephone interview with The Epoch Times: They called asking questions, telling us that they thought it would be potentially harmful to them,
The consular official was told that
We're in America, according to the individual, and that the film would be shown nevertheless.
Michael Perlman, the filmmaker, understood the calls from the consulate to be an attempt at censorship:
brazen attempt to silence free speech and expression of an American citizen in the United States by the Chinese government is dangerous and must be exposed so that these actions will not be repeated.
The documentary that aroused the
phone calls is titled Free China: The Courage to Believe , and was directed by artist and activist Michael Perlman. It will be screened publicly for the first time at the Palm Beach International Film Festival on April 14 and 16.
China documents the persecution of Falun Gong, a popular Chinese spiritual practice, through the stories of two adherents who have been incarcerated and tortured by Chinese authorities because of their beliefs.
|17th April |
Hong Kong state censors to continue to act as judge and jury for obscenity prosecutions. However they will be split into 2 teams, the judges and the jurors.
article from thestandard.com.hk
Retired judges and legal professionals are to be recruited for the Obscene Articles Tribunal panel as authorities seek to inflict higher fines and jail terms on victims of state prosecution.
The second round of a three-month public consultation has
been launched to review the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said one of the proposals includes doubling the fine for obscene article violations to HK$2
million but keeping the maximum jail term unchanged at three years.
Those guilty of indecent article violations may also face stiffer fines of HK$800,000, up from HK$400,000, while a one-year term may await first offenders.
The maximum fine
for subsequent convictions will be increased to HK$1.6 million, up from HK$800,000, and the jail term will be raised to two years.
To try and ease justified public fears that freedom of expression may be undermined, retired judges, or those with
legal or professional backgrounds, along with adjudicators from different social backgrounds, would be appointed to the statutory classification board.
He said the Judiciary had earlier noted that the set-up of the current tribunal was
unsatisfactory as it performed both an administrative function, in classifying articles, and a judicial function, in determining whether an article is obscene or not, in court.
To address the issue, a first option is proposed whereby the
administrative and judicial functions performed by the tribunal will be segregated. A statutory classification and appeals board will be established to handle the administrative work of classifying articles while the tribunal itself will focus on its
The government also proposed a second option - abolishing the tribunal's administrative function while it continues its judicial role.
|16th April |
Reporting on the first 2 years of blocking child abuse websites in New Zealand
article from gizmodo.com.au
New Zealand has had an internet blocking system running since March of 2010. New Zealand laudably limits the scope of the blocking to child abuse websites, so is proving uncontroversial and enjoys public support.
Mauricio Freitas of NZ's Geekzone
recently trawled through various reports and briefings from the Department of Internal Affairs, the government body responsible for administering the filter. In December 2011, the system had clocked the following stats:
- Seven ISPs 16.1 million requests blocked (there are multiple requests per page)
- 415 records in the block list covering 368 unique web sites
- 25 appeals presumably claiming unfair blocks
A survey by InternetNZ of 877 Kiwis recently released suggests 66% were in favour of extending the current blocking to include other material . However, the report does not indicate what other material might be.
Almost half were
unaware NZ even had internet blocking, while just 19% knew for certain their ISP was applying the blocks. 56% felt the decision to be individually blocked should be voluntary.
Andrew Bowater, Head of Government Relations at Telecom NZ, asked
whether the Censorship Compliance Unit can identify whether a person who is being prosecuted has been blocked by the filtering system. Using the hash value of the filtering system's blocking page, Inspectors of Publications now check seized computers to
see if it has been blocked by the filtering system. The Department has yet to come across an offender that has been blocked by the filter.
|14th April |
Should a state that bans and censors books and imprisons writers be guest of honour at the
2012 London Book Fair?
See article from
guardian.co.uk by Richard Lea
Next week the London Book Fair welcomes China, the world's largest publisher by volume, as the 2012 market focus and has teamed up with the British Council to invite around 20 Chinese writers to west London for a series of readings, discussions
and talks celebrating the best in Chinese literature. But the writers who make up the delegation and the events at which they'll be speaking have been chosen in consultation with partners including China's General Administration of Press and Publishing
(Gapp), whose responsibilities include the censorship of newspapers and publishers. According to writer Ma Jian this makes true cultural exchange impossible, and puts freedom of expression in China under yet more pressure:
For China to be named guest of honour. for the British cultural establishment to be shaking hands with the Chinese head of propaganda, a man responsible for the banning and censoring of books and the imprisonment of writers, is
...Read the full article
|14th April |
KFC apologises after suggesting going home for a bucket of chicken rather than escaping to the high ground
KFC Thailand has apologisesd for a Facebook Gaffe during the recent tsunami warning.
While millions of people evacuated the Indian Ocean coastline for higher ground, KFC Thailand suggested that they rush home and order a bucket of chicken.
According to the Associated Press, in an inopportune moment KFC posted on its Facebook page:
Let's hurry home and follow the earthquake news. And don't forget to order your favorite KFC menu.
the time tsunami warnings subsided, hundreds of people began lambasting the company on Thai web pages, prompting the immediate removal of the message. An apology replaced the post, asking for forgiveness for the error.
|12th April |
China censors Kate Winslet's nude scene in Titanic 3D
See article from
Chinese film censors have been spouting about ludicrous reasons for cutting Titanic 3D.
Kate Winslet's famous bare-breasted life drawing scene has been censored in a bid to supposedly promote a harmonious ethical social environment
, according to China's State of Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) classification board. A SARFT official told Offbeat China:
Considering the vivid 3D effects, we fear that viewers may reach out
their hands for a touch and thus interrupt other people's viewing. To avoid potential conflicts between viewers and out of consideration of building a harmonious ethical social environment, we've decided to cut off the nudity scenes.
The nude scene was fully intact in the original Chinese screenings of the film in 1998.
|8th April |
Malaysia bans all gay characters from state TV
7th April 2012. See
Malaysia has issued a directive to state-owned TV stations ordering them to ban and remove LGBT characters, and says it will expand the order to privately owned stations,
The Information Department has banned shows featuring gay characters, Deputy
Information, Communications and Homophobic Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D'Cruz confirmed. He said the ban was effective immediately but would only start with state-owned TV and radio stations.
If it means cancelling some of the shows,
so be it, he told The Star, adding that the decision was to curb the influence of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.
He also said the decision will be expanded to cover privately-owned stations as well as satellite TV
providers. As for foreign productions, he said the Censorship Board will remove episodes from running TV shows and bar movies with gay characters from being screened locally.
The directive appeared on the Information Department Facebook page:
Effective immediately, radio and TV stations are asked to stop screening shows which feature gay, effeminate men as well as characters that go against the norm of a religious society because this encourages and promotes
8th April 2012. See article
In the face of justified criticism of Malaysia's homophobic ban an gays on TV, officials have been blathering about the ban, simultaneously both denying and confirming it.
Malaysia has no plan to ban state media programmes featuring LGBT
characters ...BUT... retains the right to select suitable content for the public, officials have 'clarified'.
With the message stirring up a hot debate online, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yaim and his deputy sought
to explain the official stance only to cause much more confusion.
There is no ban on any artistic performance by any segment of society, including those acronymed as soft men, Rais wrote on Twitter. The ministry ...HOWEVER... reserves the right to select contents suitable to the general public since the country is a multi-racial, religious and cultural one, he added.
Rais's deputy Maglin Dennis D'Cruz added to the contradictory government bollox. Whilst onfirming the ban as a mistake, he noted there is indeed a directive and a guideline will be produced to avoid putting LGBT characters on screen or the
|7th April |
Google auto-complete feature under duress from a Japanese court
See article from
Google searches on most browsers and devices automatically suggest search terms as you type, based on the search terms popularity.
Numerous outlets reported that a court in Japan had asked Google to suspend the autocomplete function entirely,
after a Japanese man claimed his certain criminal acts appeared as a suggestion next to his name when Googled. The man claims he was fired from one job, and missed out on being hired from others, because of the association.
The court ruled that
certain terms must be deleted from searches, Google says, rather than a blanket ban on autocomplete. Google said:
A Japanese court issued a provisional order requesting Google to delete specific terms from
autocomplete. The judge did not require Google to completely suspend the autocomplete function. Google is currently reviewing the order.
The Google spokesperson wouldn't speculate as to whether or not Google autocomplete could be
turned-off entirely in Japan.
|6th April |
Thailand bans mixed martial arts, perhaps as protectionism for Muay Thai
See article from
The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) has confirmed that it has banned mixed martial arts (MMA).
It is brutal and it is not boxing, said SAT deputy governor Sakol Wannapong who oversees professional sports: It is against the 1999
boxing law. Organising a MMA event here would hurt the image of Muay Thai,
SAT officials met last week to discuss whether holding an MMA event was lawful or not following a request from a private company and they finally agreed that under the
1999 boxing law, it is unlawful to stage an MMA event in Thailand.
There have been two MMA events held in Bangkok and neither were approved by the SAT, according to Sakol.
If you want to do this kind of business, you should do it in
another country, Sakol said, and with some unfathomable Thai logic added: Organising MMA here could mislead the public into believing that Muay Thai is brutal.
MMA is a full contact combat sport that allows the use of both striking and
grappling techniques, while standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, kickboxing, taekwondo, karate, judo and other styles.
|5th April |
Men in tights all too much for Malaysia's theatre censors
See article from
Malaysia has banned a Singaporean dance company from performing ballet in Kuala Lumpur because of their indecent tutus and tights, The Malaysian Insider reported.
The censors from Puspal or the Central Agency for the Application for Filming
and Performance by Foreign Artists work for Malaysia's Information Communication and Culture Ministry.
Bilqis Hijjas, president of a Malaysian dance group called MyDance Alliance, said the decision by Puspal against the Singapore Dance Theatre was
deplorable and would hurt Malaysia's reputation as a reliable host for cultural shows, The Malaysian Insider stated. She said:
KLPac is a private business on private ground with paying audiences who were well
aware of what they were coming to see and not one of whom would have been distressed by the costumes.
She noted that the women's costumes featured long skirts except for dancers in The Nutcracker who would have worn the same short
classical tutus and tights that have been used since ballet dancers performed before the Russian tsars in the 1870s.
Bilqis pointed out that the arts were also a business and that Puspal's decision would create enormous doubt among
international investors causing them to bypass Malaysia as a venue for world-class performers.
Bilqis said she hoped the show would be allowed to go on with better leadership from the ministry as it was an act that would raise its prestige
as an open and consistent incubator of the arts.
|1st April |
China suspends Twitter-like sites for allowing rumours, no doubt caused by China's own repression of news
31st March 2012. See
article from forbes.com
China has suspended comments on two popular Twitter-like microblogs until April 3.
The state-run Xinhua news service in a report said the two were being punished for allowing rumors to spread.
Some 16 websites have been closed and
six people have detained for supposedly fabricated rumors about military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing. .
A spokesman for the censors at the State Internet Information Office said the two big microblogs
have been criticized and punished accordingly.
Update: Rumours of Coup
1st April 2012. See
article from guardian.co.uk
China has intensified online censorship by closing 16 websites and detaining six people for spreading rumours of a coup amid Beijing's most serious political crisis for years.
The moves underline official anxieties ahead of this year's leadership
transition, particularly since the sacking of Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai led to widespread speculation about infighting at the top.
As the mood on microblogs grew increasingly febrile, there were even claims of an attempted coup in the
Chinese capital, complete with photographs of military vehicles that turned out to be from a parade three years ago.
Property tycoon Zhang Xin, who has more than 3 million microblog followers, wrote: What is the best way to stop 'rumours'? It
is transparency and openness. The more speech is discouraged, the more rumours there will be.
The underlying problem is that you can't get the truth out of the government, so you might as well believe stuff flying around on the internet,
agreed Jeremy Goldkorn, who runs the Danwei website on Chinese media.