In light of numerous warning letters sent to national television stations, which it says have fallen on deaf ears, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has requested that the House of Representatives amend the Broadcasting Law to give the body
authority to censor TV programs.
KPI commissioner Amiruddin said the KPI wanted the authority to oversee the content of all television programs, including the power to censor content before it was aired. He added that the House of Representatives was
enthusiastic about strengthening the KPI. He said:
With the authority to supervise the content of programs, KPI will be able to monitor programs before they are aired to prevent any inappropriate content.
Under the current Broadcasting Law, the KPI does not have the authority to monitor television programs before they are aired.
The editor of a prominent Chinese newspaper has published a resignation letter denouncing the country's media censorship, the latest in a series of public outbursts criticising tightening media controls under President Xi Jinping.
Yu Shaolei, a
culture editor at the Southern Metropolis Daily , posted a photo of his resignation form on his Weibo social media account. In seven large Chinese characters, the resigning journalist simply said he could no longer follow your surname in a box
asking his reasons for leaving.
The phrase is a clear reference to Mr Xi's high-profile visit of the country's top-level state-run news outlets last month, where he sought to remind staff members that the country's media must be surnamed party
and lived to serve the government. Yu said in a Weibo post accompanying the photo of his resignation form:
This spring, let's make a clean break, I'm getting old; after bowing for so long, I can't stand it anymore.
I want to see if I can adopt a new posture.
The post was swiftly deleted by internet censors.
Yu's resignation is the latest in a series of public criticism of Mr Xi's tightening media controls, highlighting the central
government's evolving challenges to keep public opinion online and on social media in check.
An irreverant comedy from the Malaysian director Namewee was banned by government film censors for promoting homosexual lifestyles, mocking troops and ridiculing national
Namewee's film Banglasia, which centres on a group of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds who find themselves forced to accept each other's differences, was banned from cinemas last year after 31 scenes were deemed
inappropriate by local censors.
The Malay Mail reports that the Malaysian home ministry has published its official reasons for refusing the film a licence, in response to a written request from MP and human-rights activist Sivarasa Rasiah:
This film has a title, theme, storyline, scenes and double-meaning dialogue with implicit messages that were feared could raise controversy and public doubt, the response reads, adding that it mocked national security
issues, specifically the Lahad Datu intrusion ... ridiculed the capacity and role of security troops in maintaining peace as well as national security ... includes allegations and negative perceptions towards government agencies related to citizenship
... and accentuates negative sociocultural lifestyles such as lesbian gay bisexual transgender (LGBT).
Ten Years is a 2015 Hong Kong drama by Jevons Au, Chow Kwun-Wai... Starring Peter Chan, Lau Ho-Chi and Kin-Ping Leung.
Five thought-provoking shorts imagine what Hong Kong
will be like ten years from now. In Extras, two genial low-level gangsters are hired to stage an attack, but they're mere sacrificial lambs in a political conspiracy. Rebels strive to preserve destroyed homes and objects as specimens in the mesmerizing
Season of the End. In Dialect, a taxi driver struggles to adjust after Putonghua displaces Cantonese as Hong Kong's only official language. Following the death of a leading independence activist, an act of self-immolation outside the British consulate
triggers questions and protests in the searing yet moving Self-Immolator. In Local Egg, a grocery shop owner worries about his son's youth guard activities and where to buy eggs after Hong Kong's last chicken farm closes down.
the Hong Kong movie that Beijing doesn't want people to see. Made on a shoestring budget, Ten Years became a surprise hit with local audiences for its dystopian view of the former British colony's future under Beijing's rule.
imagine a Hong Kong in which protesters set themselves on fire, political assassinations are used to scare the population into supporting repressive laws and children are enlisted as neighborhood political watchdogs reminiscent of Mao's Red Guards.
The film, an anthology of five short stories, each by a different director, has provoked widespread discussion and raised the ire of Beijing, with China's Communist Party newspaper Global Times denouncing the film as absurd.
It was a hit
at the box office, earning more than 6 million Hong Kong dollars ($770,000), or more than 10 times its budget. But it abruptly disappeared from cinemas in January after an eight-week run, leading many to wonder whether pressure from Beijing was
responsible. Now the only way to see it is at private screenings at universities and community centers, where it's often followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
The film is up for the Best Picture award at the Hong Kong Film Awards.
However, the organizers have reportedly indicated the ceremony likely won't be broadcast this year to mainland Chinese audiences by online company Tencent and state-owned China Central Television.
New Zealand police have asked New Zealand censors to consider the unpolitically correct advertising slogans painted on rental vans from the company Wicked Campervans.
Chief Censor Andrew Jack said:
I can confirm
that we have received a submission in respect of some of the Wicked campervans from the police, and we'll be working through the classification process and testing those publications against the criteria in the Films, Videos, and Publications Act to
determine whether or not they need to be age restricted or might be objectionable.
This is the first time a publication, in respect of Wicked Campers, has been submitted to us.
We have to make sure that if
something is going to be restricted or banned, you have to try to take into account the fact that people do have a right to freedom of expression, and it is a big deal to ban or restrict something.
Jack said the censorship process
would take about a month.
Associate Minister of Tourism Paula Bennett told Morning Report she would not rule out legislating against the company, but would rather the Chief Censor dealt with the problem. She whinged:
I'm pretty determined to find an avenue to close these slogans down.
Saturday was World Day Against Cyber Censorship and in a unique partnership Amnesty International and AdBlock combined to deliver 156,789,119 impressions of messages by prominent privacy and free speech advocates Edward Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and Pussy
Riot in a campaign conceptualized and brokered by advertising agency ColensoBBDO.
Amnesty International experienced their highest ever daily web traffic.
For 24 hours AdBlock served banners with messages from these three influential
individuals where they would normally remove banners altogether. During this period it's estimated that over 50 million internet users were reached with these thought provoking messages speaking out against the dangers of cyber censorship.
heart of ad block usage is the users desire to tailor their online experience, but for many people around the world, their online experiences are tailored by what their governments are willing to let them see. This made this channel the perfect way to
share quotes and information from Snowden, Ai Wei Wei, and Pussy Riot, who are heavily censored themselves, to be broadcast across the internet whilst creatively bypassing a number of current censorship restrictions.
Gabriel Cubbage, CEO of
AdBlock, explained why Adblock got behind this campaign.
People use Adblock for a number of reasons but ultimately no one except you has the right to control what shows up on your screen, or who has access to the contents of your hard
drive. Not the websites, not the advertisers, not the ad blockers. And not your government, either.
This is a view, which is shared by Salil Shetty, International Secretary General at Amnesty International:
states are engaged in Orwellian levels of surveillance, particularly targeting the lives and work of the people who defend our human rights -- lawyers, journalists and peaceful activists. This continuing development of new methods of repression in
reaction to increased connectivity is a major threat to our freedom of expression,.
Following our previous articles about increasing political censorship of the Internet in Malaysia, things have
quickly gone from bad to worse. In fact since July 2015, the Malaysian government has blocked at least ten websites, including online news portals and private blogs, for reporting about the scandal surrounding Malaysian Prime Minister Najib tun Razak
over his mysterious private dealings with $700 million in funds.
And the Malaysian government still clamors for more censorship authority, adding to
its existing broad powers under the Penal Code and the Sedition Act. Currently, the government is planning to table the amendments to both the Official Secret Act (OSA) and the Communication & Multimedia Act (CMA) during its upcoming March or May
Parliamentary sessions, to strengthen its control over content providers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and end users.
As it stands, the CMA is already very expansive (although,
we argue , not expansive enough to make current acts of Internet censorship lawful). In its present form, section 211 of
the CMA addresses intermediaries such as ISPs, and section 233 addresses users, both in somewhat similar terms. In both cases, criminal penalties are imposed for any "comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent,
false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person."
As concerns ISPs, proposed changes would remove the intention requirement of that provision, making it much easier for
ISPs to be held liable for content of their users, regardless of their complicity or knowledge of the motivations with which it was posted. Fines for breaching this provision would increase twenty-fold, with an additional daily fine to increase one
hundred-fold, potentially putting intermediaries out of business for a single infringement.
For the users who post such content, penalties would also increase: fines would double and and prison terms triple. Not only this, but
ISPs would be placed under new data retention obligations, allowing users' activities to be tracked online--perhaps to the level of granularity of recording their Web browsing history, although this remains unclear.
also aims to add the power to immediately require the removal or blocking of offending content merely on the basis of a complaint, and unwarranted complaints would be penalized with merely a $50 slap-on-the-wrist. In "serious" casesincluding
those that fall within sections 211 or 233, as well as terrorism, pornography, and phishing, these blocks are permanent. In other cases, such as copyright infringement, the block would last for 5 days before they can be renewed by court order. Blocking
by court order is actually an improvement, if you can call it that, from the present situation in which such blocks are being made illegally in response to mere requests from government agencies.
Finally, foreign websites will be
deemed to be subject to local laws, including Malaysia's restrictive content rules--amongst the films that Malaysia has banned is Zoolander. Any foreign websites that do not comply with Malaysia's demands could be legally blocked, thereby consigning
Malaysian Internet users to a government-approved walled garden of sanitized content.
What can Malaysians and their friends around the world do about these new censorship moves by the increasingly repressive Malaysian regime? One
simple step that you can take now is to click below to join a Change.org petition to unblock Medium, which was blocked in its entirety because, amongst its millions of pages, it also
mirrored the content of the banned Sarawak Report . Unfortunately Malaysia is not the only country
within its region whose residents are suffering online censorship--read more about the state of free expression online in
Southeast Asia .
Homosexuality and other abnormal sexual relationships have been banned from Chinese TV dramas.
The China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television
recently released a new set of TV content production guidelines , which detail plans to censor all dramas that feature inappropriate sexual behavior, such as incest, sexual assault, adultery, one-night-stands and homosexuality.
Indonesia's Ministry of Communications and Informatics spokesperson Ismail Cawidu told Reuters that in March, the Ministry aims to issue a new law to streaming and messaging providers, as well as social media websites. He cited national interests on
taxes as well as controlling terrorism and pornography-related content as the main reasons for the proposal. He added:
If they do not comply, Indonesia will reduce their bandwidth or block them entirely..
Meanwhile, Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara said that the Ministry estimated that the country's digital advertising sector was worth about US$800 million in 2015, but the business was left untaxed because of loopholes in
regulations. He noted:
Google has an office in Indonesia, but digital age transactions do not go through that office. That is what we're looking to straighten out.
Chinese censors at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) have banned a popular gay-themed online drama titled Addiction from the streaming sites this week after 12 episodes. Audiences, who will now
miss the last three episodes of the drama involving a gay relationship between two Chinese teenage boys, are enraged over the censorship.
Addiction had, became hugely popular garnering over 10 million viewers. However, the show, involving the lives of
four high school students portrayed by new actors, stopped streaming on various sites including v.qq.com and iqiyi.com on Monday, reported Global Times , a media outlet closely associated with the country's Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily.
Madonna has been banned from performing the track Holy Water , taken from last year's album Rebel Heart , at her live show at Singapore's National Stadium on 28 February. The show has also been labelled with an adults only R18 rating.
spokesperson for the music censors at the Media Development Authority stated:
In determining the rating, MDA had carefully reviewed the proposed setlist and consulted the Arts Consultative Panel. Religiously sensitive
content which breached our guidelines, such as the song 'Holy Water', will thus not be performed in Singapore.
Update: Recommended by the Archbishop of Singapore
A Chinese ministry has issued new rules that ban any foreign-invested company from publishing anything online in China, effective next month.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's new rules could, if they were enforced as written,
essentially shut down China as a market for foreign news outlets, publishers, gaming companies, information providers, and entertainment companies starting on March 10.
Issued in conjunction with the State Administration of Press, Publication,
Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), they set strict new guidelines for what can be published online, and how that publisher should conduct business in China. The rules state"
Sino-foreign joint ventures,
Sino-foreign cooperative ventures, and foreign business units shall not engage in online publishing services.
Any publisher of online content, including texts, pictures, maps, games, animations, audios, and videos, will also be
required to store their necessary technical equipment, related servers, and storage devices in China.
Foreign media companies including the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the New York
Times have invested millions of dollars--maybe even hundreds of millions collectively--in building up China-based news organizations in recent years, and publishing news reports in Chinese, for a Chinese audience.
But the new rules would allow
only 100% Chinese companies to produce any content that goes online, and then only after approval from Chinese authorities and the acquisition of an online publishing license. Companies will then be expected to self-censor, and not publish any
information at all that falls into several broad categories, including:
harming national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity disclosing state secrets, endangering national security, or harming national honor
and interests inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity, or going against ethnic customs and habits spreading rumors, disturbing social order, or undermining social stability insulting or slandering others, infringing
upon the legitimate rights of others endangering social morality or national cultural tradition
Thailand's military dictators are moving to heighten its online censorship by persuading social media networks Facebook and Line to comply with court orders to remove content the government doesn't like.
The junta-appointed National Steering Reform
Assembly (NSRA) will meet executives in the coming three months, council member Major General Pisit Paoin told Reuters.
A similar request was made last month to Google over content on YouTube. .
Thailand's military dictators have turned their attention to the censorship of the Line messaging app. They have arranged a meeting with managers from Line to be held at the Thai parliament.
The Thai government will call on Line to censor content
that the government does not like.
Line said earlier in a statement:
The privacy of Line users is our top priority. Once we have been officially contacted, we will conduct due diligence of the related parties
and consider an appropriate solution that does not conflict with our company's global standards, or the laws of Thailand.
The Thai government also commented on three meetings with Google executives. The first was held unofficially in
December 2015, while the second and third were official meetings in January. As a result, the government said it received good cooperation from Google to reduce processing and take-down time for inappropriate [video] content from YouTube.
Deadpool is a 2016 Canada / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller. Starring Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Ryan Reynolds.
Based upon Marvel Comics most unconventional anti-hero,
DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities
and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.
An R rated film is not really suitable for the Chinese market, and so Deadppol was duly banned by Chinese film censors at SAPPRFT due to
its violence, nudity and graphic language.
China's censorship authorities often work with Hollywood studios to create special cleaned-up cuts of R-rated movies, but sources close to the Deadpool decision say it wasn't possible to excise the
offending material without causing plot problems.
Another associate of a Hong Kong bookshop specialising in titles critical of the Chinese government appears to have disappeared.
Last month four other employees of the same bookshop and publishing house, including its owner, went missing.
colleagues believe they have been detained because of their work.
The latest associate to be reported missing is the man who raised the alarm when his colleagues disappeared in October. Mr Lee spoke to the BBC when his colleagues disappeared but
did not want to disclose his full name at the time fearing reprisals.
He failed to arrive home on Wednesday evening and his wife has been unable to reach him. She told the BBC she is deeply afraid. One of his colleagues said Mr Lee was taken away
by unknown men and the fear is that Chinese officials have reached beyond mainland China to punish them for their work, our correspondent Juliana Liu in Hong Kong reports.
Two of the previous four men who disappeared were last seen in Shenzhen,
mainland China, where their wives live; one was last seen in Hong Kong; and the other, the owner of the publishing house, was last heard from by email from Pattaya, Thailand, where he owns a holiday home.
The Causeway Bay Bookstore sells gossipy
paperbacks that are highly critical of the Chinese leadership and are said to be popular among mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong.
Update: Abductions of book sellers by Chinese police achieves its aims
Hong Kong book stores have understandably
pulled titles that are critical of the Chinese government after presumed police abduction of book sellers.
Reading material banned on the Chinese mainland has been pulled from the shelves of at least one Hong Kong bookstore in response
to the disappearance of bookseller Lee Bo.
English-language-focused Page One, which has a total of eight outlets in the city -- six of them at Hong Kong International Airport -- is understood to have begun withdrawing material banned by
China from sale in late November, around the time the first of five men linked to Causeway Bay Books went missing.
When a South China Morning Post reporter posing as a customer approached Page One's Tsim Sha Tsui store and asked for a book called
The Secret Deals Between Xi Jinping and Bo Xilai, the salesman said the retailer had stopped selling banned books more than a month ago. the reporter said:
We were told to take all politically sensitive books off the
shelves in late November. The manager did not tell us the reason, but said Page One would no longer sell banned books ever again.
Banned books were often among the top selling items in Page One's Hong Kong outlets and were placed in
prominent areas at airport stores, from where mainland tourists would buy and smuggle them to elsewhere in the country. The publishing of sensational books on the inner workings of the Communist Party and the private lives of government officials has
brought good returns for a number of booksellers.
Update: Chinese authorities parade censored bookseller on TV
A Hong Kong publisher reported missing last October has appeared on Chinese state TV. The
Chinese police spun the unlikely sounding an explanation that the incarceration was somehow about a hit and run prosecution 10 years earlier.
Public confessions have long been a part of China's criminal law, but experts say many confessions are
Beijing has strongly criticised Britain for
suggesting that a Hong Kong bookseller detained by China was involuntarily removed to the mainland , accusing Britain of interfering in Chinese domestic affairs.
Britain on Friday released a report describing the disappearance of Lee Bo,
who holds a British passport and published books critical of Chinese politics, as a serious breach of an agreement signed with Beijing before Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997. They were Britain's strongest comments yet on the case that
has rocked Hong Kong , adding to growing fears that freedoms are being eroded in the semi-autonomous city.
Beijing hit back, claiming London was making groundless accusations against China . Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a
Hong Kong affairs are China's domestic affairs. We ask the British side to mind its words and actions and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs.
Thailand's military dictators are rewriting the country's constitution to give the government greater powers to censor the media.
In addition to the ability to censor the press during times of war - a power granted in the 2007 constitution - the
military rulers now plans to give the state the ability to block news during political crises and other unusual situations , such as during the mass street protests that lead to 2014's military coup.
A Constitution Drafting Committee
spokesman Udom Rathamarit said that the committee agreed that the government should have such censorship powers following the imposition of an emergency decree or under martial law:
When the country is facing an abnormal situation, the
mass media should be cooperative. Otherwise, it can be difficult to set rules and disorder can break out. In normal times, we protect (the media's) work.
Acknowledging the potential for abuse of the new censorship powers, the CDC
spokesman claimed that the panel will set good criteria to ensure that doesn't happen.
Update: Military dictators realise that they have the censorship power already
Constitutional drafters have dropped a plan to give the government
additional powers to censor the media during political crises following an outcry from the press.
Constitution Drafting Committee spokesman Chartchai Na Chiang Mai said that the panel backed off its intention to add language to new charter
allowing authorities to block during unusual situations , such as during the mass street protests that led to 2014's military coup.
Chartchai said panellists decided that the executive or emergency decrees issued during such times generally
have included provisions allowing for government media censorship. The military also has the same power under martial law, he added.
As such, including the censorship language in the new constitution would be redundant.
An exhibition about gender inequality in China has been shut down by the authorities. The show, entitled Jian, Rape: Gender Violence Cultural Codes , was booked to open at Ginkgo Space, a commercial gallery in Beijing. Artist Cui Guangxia had
organised the exhibition as a response to the United Nations call for men to engage with the issue of women's rights.
The closure by local officials could be a result of sensitivity to any open discussion of human rights in China, says Cui, or to the
directness of the show's title, and the explicit nature of many of the works it contained. Or it could be because Cui is one of more than a dozen Chinese artists arrested last year for voicing support for the democracy protests in Hong Kong. Or it could
be a combination of all these factors.
The leading Chinese feminist artist Xiao Lu says the censored exhibition, which was to include the work of 32 female and 32 male artists, would have been the first show in China to address the issue of gender
Mor Thengari (My Bicycle) is the first feature film made entirely in Chakma, an indigenous language spoken by the Chakma ethnic minority in Bangladesh. Directed by Aung Rakhine, the film centers around indigenous people, particularly the Chakma
community. However, My Bicycle will not see a commercial release inside Bangladesh because it did not make it past the country's film censor.
In part, this is because the country's film industry is regulated by a censor board that only seems to have
the capacity to review Bangla and English films.
However, it is likely that language was not the only barrier. Blogger Marzia Prova writes that censor certificates are only granted if the director is a member of the directors association and the
producer a member of the producers association--requirements that may not have been met because membership is often prohibitively expensive.
Still others speculate that My Bicycle was censored due to its unfavourable portrayal of the army. After
the film was shown in several festivals, the armed forces took notice and lodged a 14 page long complaint that the film showed the activities of the army:
The issue of armed forces rule in the hill tracts is a
sensitive issue, people may know the truth. People may discover a lot of things. It is a big problem, so stop the film.
My Bicycle was conceived of 10 years ago and finally produced by Pandolipi Karkhana, who managed to find 30
financiers. Filming began in 2012. The film tells the story of an indigenous man named Komol who is fired from a job in a city and returns to his native village with only a bicycle. Komol tries to make a living by using the bicycle to ferry passengers
and goods, but runs into trouble with others in the village.
Almost 300,000 people speak Chakma language in Bangladesh. But the language is dying because it is not being used.