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Asia Pacific Censorship News


2020: April-June

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Filtered out...

New Zealand minister fails to attarct support for her porn censorship measure


Link Here24th June 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in New Zealand...New Zealand considers internet blocking
Momentum had been building in New Zealand over recent months for a nationwide law blocking internet porn, but the effort spearheaded by Interior Affairs Minister Tracey Martin appears to have hit a roadblock. Martin said late last year that she planned to bring her porn ban bill before New Zealand's parliament prior to the 2020 elections, which are scheduled for September.

Martin created a draft proposal to require blocking of porn sites by internet service providers for anyone under 18 years of age. But when she circulated the paper among members of the governing coalition including her own centrist New Zealand First Party, as well as the liberal-progressive Labor and Green Parties, she found a lack of interest. She now says she will not attempt to push the porn-blocking plan any further.

Despite her inability to win support for her porn-blocking proposal, Martin still says that she favors an age-verification system for online porn, according to the Herald report.

 

 

Offsite Article: On the trail of more examples of automated Netflix age rating discrepencies...


Link Here 14th June 2020
Why Did Netflix Raise the Rating for Moonlight from M to MA15+ in Australia?

See article from studentedge.org

 

 

Devotion...

Video game banned for offending Chinese president over a Wonnie the Pook meme reappears in Taiwan


Link Here9th June 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Taiwanese horror game Devotion is available for purchase again -- but only in its home country. A Resetera gaming forum poster has discovered that physical copies of the game are up for sale on its developer's online shop and can be purchased in Taiwan. Devotion was only available for a week early last year before its developer, Red Candle, pulled it from Steam . The game suffered from a review bombing campaign after players had discovered the presence of the Winnie the Pooh meme referencing Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Red Candle quickly released a patch and apologized a handful of times for the incident, but that wasn't enough. Chinese authorities stripped Indievent, the China-based company that published Devotion in the country, of its business license a few months after the game was pulled. Red Candle then issued a statement, saying that the game won't be back anytime soon.

Those in Taiwan can now preorder either of two physical versions of the game with different soundtracks. It's available for pre-order until June 15th, but delivery is limited to Taiwanese addresses.

 

 

Playing a rating game...

South Korea to demand that video games sold via Steam are censored by the country's game censor


Link Here5th June 2020
In May, Korea's Culture Ministry announced a plan to require all foreign games sold in the country through Steam to secure a rating from the Korean ratings board.

Now, a new report by Inven Global indicates foreign publishers may be facing new requirements to sell their games in Korea through Steam. A provision in the Game Industry Promotion Act requires all games sold in Korea to secure a classification from the national Game Rating Board, but Valve has until now has been exempt from Korea's ratings requirements due to not having an office in the country.

The problem for Valve, in addition to obtaining local rating for major games is that the company will need to secure Culture Ministry-approved ratings for vast numers of minor games that normally get distributed without official ratings.

Previously Korea accepted rating from various other international games rating agencies. However, developers and publishers outside Korea can now apply to Korea's games censor, and it seems as though this will be a requirement going forward.

Failure to attain a classification from the Korean ratings body could lead to charges or fines for distributing illegal game materials under Korea's Game Industry Law, Inven reports.

 

 

Belfast stands alone against Chinese heavy artillery...

China pressured Belfast council to censor photo referencing iconic protest photo at Tiananmen Square


Link Here 27th May 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
A Chinese Consulate put pressure on Belfast Council to remove an image of Tiananmen Square from a public art exhibition.

A photo from the Double Take exhibition, by Zurich-based artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger, displayed images of Airfix like model kits recreating globally significant events. In this case depicting an iconic image of a lone protester in front of a convoy of military tanks in Beijing.

The photograph was not removed, although it is understood the exhibition was scheduled to end a short time after the matter was raised. A council spokesman said:

We received a complaint in June 2019 in relation to a photograph in the Double Take exhibition, part of the Belfast Photographic Festival, on the front lawns of Belfast City Hall. The photograph was not removed.

Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said:

It is outrageous that the Chinese Consulate apparently sought to have the photograph, commemorating the brave students of 1989, removed from the grounds of Belfast City Hall. The state censorship of Beijing cannot be extended to Belfast.

 

 

Ofcom fires some pepper pellets...

TV censor finds that Chinese propaganda news channel CGTN broadcast biased news about Hong Kong protests


Link Here27th May 2020
It seems strange that a TV censor should get involved in a very tense global situation with China vs the western world. One would have thought that this should be better handled by diplomats and the Foreign Office. Perhaps Ofcom have been working with the government behind the scenes.

Anyway Ofcom has published a series of decisions against news reports from China's propaganda channel CGTN. Ofcom said that news reports broke thier rules with biased coverage of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Ofcom said it was minded to formally sanction CGTN, the English-language rolling news channel owned by the Chinese government, for a serious failure of compliance after it failed to represent anti-Beijing viewpoints as protests raged across Hong Kong in late 2019.

Ofcom noted that CGTN often focused on violence by protesters against police officers, while downplaying attacks by the authorities on the public. Its output also parroted the views of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong government without giving sufficient airtime to people with alternative views, while focusing on economic disruption to businesses rather than the reason they were being disrupted.

It remains to be seen how China will respond to the sanctions. In March, Beijing revoked the visas of many American journalists after Donald Trump restricted the activities of CGTN and other Chinese outlets in the US.

CGTN said viewers understood it was representing a different view and the channel was simply serving its purpose to inform our international audiences of the Chinese perspective, which is often alternative to the mainstream western media.

 

 

Live censorship...

New Zealand government introduces a bill to empower the country's chief censor to take emergency decisions to ban content pending a full consideration later


Link Here26th May 2020
The New Zealand government has introduced a Bill that proposes to empower the country's chief censor to make immediate decisions about 'objectionable' material that should be banned or blocked.

The objective of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill is to update the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to allow for urgent prevention and mitigation of harms caused by objectionable publications.

The Bill is responding to the live streaming of mosque murders in Christchurch. It is primarily aimed at such live streaming but also applies to offline media.

Once legislated, the live-streaming of objectionable content will be a criminal offence. As any digital reproduction of a livestream is considered a recording, publications hosting a non-real-time video are already subject to existing provisions in the Act. The criminal offence of livestreaming objectionable content only applies to the individual or group livestreaming the content. The Bill notes it does not apply to the online content hosts that provide the online infrastructure or platform for the livestream.

Under the Bill, a chief censor will be given powers to make immediate interim classification assessments of any publication in situations where the sudden appearance and viral distribution of objectionable content is injurious to the public good. The interim decision will be in place for a maximum of 20 business days, allowing the chief censor to roll the classification back.

The Bill also authorises an Inspector of Publications to issue a take-down notice for objectionable online content. They will be issued to an online content host and will direct the removal of a specific link to make it no longer viewable in New Zealand. Failure to comply could see an online content host subject to civil pecuniary penalties.

 

 

Mounting hostility...

China threatens sanctions against US lawmakers who promote laws to sue China for losses incurred over coronavirus


Link Here17th May 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
China has reportedly threatened to sanction a Houston congressman, Dan Crenshaw, who has promoted legislation allow let U.S. citizens to China for costs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Crenshaw is one of at least four U.S. politicians identified by China for abusing litigation against China.

Now China's Global Times has reported that China is threatening that the four lawmakers should expect Chinese sanctions that will make them feel the pain,

The Global Times named Crenshaw and three other Republicans as targets: Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. All have called for legislation allowing Americans to sue China over the outbreak. Two state attorneys general, also Republicans -- Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Lynn Fitch of Mississippi -- who have sued China to recover costs from the outbreak were also named.

 

 

Censors unlocked...

Japanese games censors to return to work after lockdown


Link Here10th May 2020

Japan's games censors of the Consumer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) are set to resume after having closed down last month to comply with Tokyo's lockdown. The board plans to resume business on May 7.

The censors did not work from home during the closed period, so it will be a relief to games producers and distributors as ratings are mandatory in Japan before a game can be sold.

 

 

Coronavirus Attack...

Game protesting against Chinese government is unsurprisingly banned from Steam in China


Link Here29th April 2020
Full story: Coronavirus...Internet censorship and surveillance
China, the creator of covid-19 has banned the virus themed video game, Coronavirus Attack, from the localised Steam games distribution platform.

In order to win Coronavirus Attack, players have to stop selfish zombies from escaping a country infected with the virus.

The ban is hardly surprising as China is the butt of several humorous references. The game uses the same colour scheme as the Chinese flag, with virus-shaped animations in place of its stars. Players can also collect badges that include Liberate Honk Kong and Taiwan is not in China.

The creator behind the game, MythZ, told news site Abacus he had developed the project as a protest against the Chinese government .He said he was unhappy with how it had handled the pandemic.

 

 

True censorship...

Thailand advertises for the job of international news censor for cable and satellite TV


Link Here27th April 2020
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
TrueVisions is the dominant pay TV provider for Thai cable and satellite TV. The company broadcasts all foreign news channels with an annoying 5 minute delay so that a Thai news censor can hit the 'censor' button should the channel report about a sensitive news topic.

Now the True company seems to have got in a spot of bother by openly posting a job listing for an international news censor on the nation's biggest job site.

TrueVisions has been criticized for its post on JobsDB for an employee to monitor inappropriate news from 17 foreign news channels and talk shows and report them to superiors.

According to the job post, any content deemed to violate Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the section known as lese majeste, which makes criticism of the royal family punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The job listing did not indicate salary or other information about the job. Today, it had been replaced by a message reading , We're very sorry. This job no longer exists.

 

 

EU bows to China...

EU pressurised by China into censoring report about Chinese disinformation about coronavirus


Link Here26th April 2020
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
An EU report about Chinese and Russian disinformation on coronavirus was watered down after pressure from Beijing.

Chinese diplomats exerted pressure on the EU to change the wording of the report. The report -- on narratives and disinformation around the coronavirus pandemic -- was finally published with heavily toned-down language on China.

Most strikingly, references to China running a global disinformation campaign and Chinese criticism of France's reaction to the pandemic were erased.

 

 

Growing up with porn...

New Zealand film censor publishes another report about young people watching porn


Link Here18th April 2020
Full story: Film censorship in New Zealand...At the Office of Film and Literature Classification
New Zealand's Classification Office has released new research into New Zealand youth and pornography as the nation's lockdown sees our young people spend more time online than usual.

Chief Censor David Shanks said the new qualitative research report Growing up with porn - Insights from young New Zealanders provided useful findings that were even more relevant during a lockdown.

"This report and the resources we are launching alongside it will support parents and whanau to help their children and teens during the lockdown," David Shanks said.

The report, based on in-depth interviews with more than 50 diverse young people from across the country, is the culmination of three years' work for the Classification Office. It follows the nationally representative survey NZ Youth and Porn (2018) and an analysis of the content of mainstream porn -- Breaking Down Porn (2019).

David Shanks said:

"It will be a surprise to no one that young people use porn for sexual arousal, but it may be news for some that they also commonly use it to learn about sex, sexuality and gender - even when they know it presents an unrealistic and at times unhealthy view of all those things,"

"The young people told us that when it came to porn, issues around consent, body image, gender and sex education were what mattered most to them. They were less concerned about issues that are often raised like addiction or aggression."

Key findings were:

  • Porn is normalised for young people, whether they watch it or not.
  • Young people are curious about sex and porn is a default learning tool.
  • Girls watch porn too, for similar reasons as boys, but see a double standard.
  • Porn can have a negative impact on body image/confidence.
  • They think it can negatively influence sex.
  • Young people and adults are not talking about porn.
  • Young people want comprehensive sexuality education which includes information about porn.
  • Young people had varying views about filters or age verification, but agreed that children shouldn't have access to porn.

 David Shanks said:

"The clear takeaway from this research is that young people need the adult in their lives to be able to talk with them, rather than take a blanket negative approach to the topic. Extreme negative attitudes makes it harder to have open conversations about their concerns, and contributes to feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety around porn use,"

"Easy online access has, to a certain extent, 'normalised' porn for our young people - regardless of whether or not they watch it, it's a part of their world. Despite their diverse backgrounds and beliefs, participants overwhelmingly supported more and better education about porn within a context of comprehensive sexuality education.

"Young people are saying that good, clear and honest discussion and education will provide them with a counter-balance for the stories around sex and consent that porn is telling them.

"They've shown us the way forward, when it comes to equipping them with the twenty first century life skills necessary for navigating their digital lives, healthily and safely. It's up to us to listen, and to act on it."

 

 

Offsite Article: China gets a taste of its own bat shit...


Link Here17th April 2020
Full story: Coronavirus...Internet censorship and surveillance
redacted chinese propagandaChina tries to pressurise Australia's Daily Telegraph as part of its propaganda campaign to deflect blame for covid-19, but the paper publishes a humorous response

See article from dailytelegraph.com.au

 

 

Lest they speak of 'wrong truth' about the birthplace of covid-19...

China looks set to ban online video games that allow Chinese players to chat with foreign players


Link Here 15th April 2020
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is taking its political censorship to the extreme by disconnecting Chinese online gamers from those outside of China.

The communist regime is said to have noticed an authority hole in online multiplayer games, which enables people to freely socialize without monitoring. Local cities are scrambling to draft laws to expand the scope of online censorship in video games and even prohibit gamers from meeting and chatting with people on the other side of the Great Firewall.

As the CCP's audacious global propaganda campaign to silence critics abroad and to defend its infallibility fails to work out, the new law is expected to block Chinese people from learning how the world is reacting to Beijing's handling of the outbreak and subsequent cover-ups.

Other rules under the new law are less political. They include an online gaming curfew (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) for gamers aged under 18 and a maximum amount of money they are allowed to spend on games to combat internet addiction.

 

 

Socially distanced protests...

China bans Animal Crossing game after it was used for messages supporting Hong Kong democracy protests


Link Here13th April 2020
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
In respect of social distancing, Hong Kong democracy protestors have moved online. And one avenue of protest was via the popular Nintendo Switchgame Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The game allows players to customise their own island with political messages, and then invite others to visit. Examples of customisation include banners that read: Free Hong Kong - Revolution Now. There are also disparaging posts featuring images of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam.

China has inevitably now banned the game and it has been expunged from online market places.

Even Hong Kong sites, which had previously advertised imported copies have now removed those listings. It is not clear, however, whether this is because there has been an intervention by the authorities or whether the sites are self censoring in fear of Chinese reprisals.

Players in mainland China have also customised the game with coronavirus-related content, including face masks for the characters, and islands with temperature checkpoints.

 

 

Offsite Article: Violence, gore, porn and boredom...


Link Here12th April 2020
Full story: Film censorship in New Zealand...At the Office of Film and Literature Classification
A day in the life of a New Zealand censor during lockdown

See article from stuff.co.nz

 

 

Paused...

Japanese game censors don't seem to be able to work from home as the censorship office is closed by lockdown


Link Here8th April 2020
Japan's game censors of the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO) has announced that it is shutting don for a month as part of a SARS 2 lockdown.

The censors stated that working from home is not possible so there will now be difficulties for games publishers. CERO said that since reviewers must-visit CERO's office to conduct a review, it's not possible for the company's staff and reviewers to work from home.


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