Film-makers including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh and Peter Kosminsky have called on the Curzon and Odeon cinema chains and Bafta to drop screenings for an Israeli film festival opening this week.
Seret 2015 , the London Israeli film and television
festival opens at Bafta followed by screenings at cinemas including Curzon Soho and Odeon Swiss Cottage in London.
In a letter to the Guardian, more than 40 artists and film-makers express sadness and disappointment that the festival has been
given a berth. It says the Israeli state is promoting this festival and supporting it financially.
By hosting it, these cinemas are ignoring the 2004 call by Palestinian civil society for sanctions against Israel until Israel abides by
international law and ends its illegal displacement of Palestinians, discrimination against them, and occupation of their land.
So in a week where the police ARE threatening to jail innocent kids for sexting, they are asking parents not to teach their kids that the police will take them away if they are naughty.
Many an exasperated parent has told their misbehaving child to be
good or the police will put them in prison. But now one police force has issued a poster urging adults not to use this common threat. The poster from Durham Constabulary reads:
Parents. Please don't tell your children
that we will take them off to jail if they are bad. We want them to run to us if they are scared, not be scared of us. Thank You.
However the kids would be better advised to keep clear of the police lest they get locked up for
sexting, bad taste jokes, or even just insulting posts on Twitter or Facebook.
The number of prosecutions of internet trolls has soared eightfold in the last 10 years, according to new figures. More than 1,200 people were found guilty of offences under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 last year compared with
143 in 2004.
The law states it is illegal to send by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other material that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character .
released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that 1,501 defendants were prosecuted under the law last year - including 70 juveniles - while another 685 were cautioned.
Of those convicted, 155 were jailed - compared with just seven a decade
before- and the average custodial sentence was 2.2 months.
In 2013, Newport City Council, faced with the problem of an indoor market which has been central to Newport life for nearly 150 years, with traders leaving due to lack of trade, decided to allow artists free use of the upstairs space for studio,
gallery and workshop space on the proviso that they do not sell from there. Now known as the UpMarket Galleries , it has been popular and successful, increasing footfall in Newport City Indoor Market and helping traders downstairs, as well as
providing valuable studio space to those who cannot afford to rent spaces elsewhere.
Local artist Jonathan Sherwood (better known as Jonny), chair of Artopsy (a not-for-profit organisation aiming to provide artists with free/affordable spaces in which
to produce and display their work, to engage with the community as a whole and to encourage upcycling/environmental issues) has been working there since the onset of the project. He has rarely taken a day off apart from when he has been ill. He is
friendly and out-going and has many visitors regularly dropping by to see what he is working on. Jonny is one of Newport's most well-known artists locally and a documentary film entitled Jonny: Shaman of Rust has been made about him by Italian film-maker
and director Massimo Salvato.
Jonny was invited by the committee running the UpMarket Galleries to exhibit a series of paintings in the central space. They are life-sized paintings on large sheets of paper depicting mainly nude people. The artist
used nude images to show vulnerability. Indeed, one of the paintings depicts a man cleaning his disabled wife because she can't do it herself. The paintings deal with sensitive subjects and are not in any way sexual.
Jonathan's work was judged by
the Market Manager to be obscene , which it certainly is not. It was forcibly removed and suffered damage and he has subsequently received a letter telling him that he has to vacate his space by 30th May. What qualifies the Market Manager to
censor art? Simple signs at the bottom of the stairs and in the lift saying that if images of nudity offend you, then don't come up while this exhibition is on would have sufficed and there would not have been a problem.
We cannot allow
unqualified people to censor our art.
Please sign the petition and
share with your friends!
A concert pianist has won a legal battle to publish an autobiographical book giving details of sexual abuse he experienced as a child.
James Rhodes, persuaded Supreme Court justices to lift an injunction that had barred its publication.
Court of Appeal granted a temporary injunction in October, blocking parts of the memoir, entitled Instrumental. This was after Mr Rhodes's ex-wife raised fears it would cause their 12-year-old son serious harm .
The judgement was given
jointly by Lady Hale and Lord Toulson, in which they said:
The only proper conclusion is that there is every justification for the publication.
A person who has suffered in the way that the
appellant has suffered, and has struggled to cope with the consequences of his suffering in the way that he has struggled, has the right to tell the world about it.
And there is a corresponding public interest in others being able
to listen to his life story in all its searing detail.
Rhodes' book, titled Instrumental, is now due to be released next week. It includes accounts of physical and sexual abuse and rape inflicted on him from the age of six by the
boxing coach at his school. The alleged abuser was prosecuted but died before he could face trial.
Speaking outside the court, Rhodes said the ruling was a victory for freedom of speech :
If this had been
allowed to continue anyone could have used this to ban any book. We do not ban books in this country.
A senior UKIP member in Bristol who has a sideline as a porn movie producer has been suspended from his post in the party amid a row over the morality of one of his adult films.
John Langley, stage name Johnny Rockard, was asked to resign as vice
chairman of the Bristol party after committee members were told of a video posted on the internet in which he is involved in a porn scene filmed in Castle Park.
Langley, who stood as a UKIP candidate for Stockwood in the local elections, refused
to resign which has led to him being suspended. A report is now being sent to the UKIP's head office which will decide whether to expel Langley from the party. Langley said in a blog post:
Such is the fast pace and
reality of politics that the excrement has yet again hit the fan in Bristol UKIP because I refuse point blank to resign from my post of branch VC, and as a result of my refusal I have now been suspended.
Let's be very clear on
where the law stands in this instance. No criminal act was committed because no criminal act was reported, and furthermore I have neither been arrested or charged with a criminal act. So therefore no criminal act has taken place. It was accepted both
locally and nationally by UKIP that I make adult movies when I joined the party and therefore taken as read that I would continue to do so. Which I have, and totally within the framework of the law.
Steve Wood, chairman of Bristol
UKIP told the Post:
You have to bear in mind that we always knew what John was doing and he was completely upfront about it and we stood by him ...BUT... there is a big difference between what somebody does in
the privacy of their own home or even a studio and what they do in public.
Mr Wood said he believed that what Mr Langley did was an indecent act and therefore liable to criminal proceedings: We cannot have that kind of thing in the
party and therefore we asked him to resign.
A politically charged moral panic over young people's attitudes to sexuality is leading to Internet censorship and the labelling of ordinary young people as sex offenders, civil liberties campaign Backlash warns today.
Backlash will campaign for a change in the law so that prosecutions intended to halt child abuse are not used to instigate the abuse of children through the criminal justice system.
Backlash is extending its remit to provide legal advice for young people who are threatened with criminal prosecution for possessing sexually explicit images of themselves and shared
consensually on digital media.
The campaign will help fund effective defences when support available under legal aid is inadequate, and develop arguments for a judicial review of existing legislation.
Backlash will also disseminate a growing body of robust academic research evidence to policymakers, challenging the current legislative process, which is dominated by a climate of ignorance and hysteria regarding young people's attitudes to sexual relationships.
This campaign is spearheaded by obscenity law expert and Backlash's legal adviser, Myles Jackman.
Sexting -- criminalising ordinary young people
Millions of young
people exchange explicit texts and images with each other over the Internet. For the most part this is equivalent to the flirting and sexual exploration typical of adolescence in the pre-digital age. There is no evidence that these activities are
intrinsically harmful. However, a flaw in existing legislation means that possession of all sexually explicit images of people under 18 is classified as indecent . This means that people from the age of 16 to 18 are able to consent to sex, but are
unable to possess images of their own lawful sexual activities.
A 16 to 18 year old that creates a nude picture of themselves using a camera-phone is, under current law, guilty of the serious offence of creating child
pornography , even though their actions do not plausibly justify such a label.
When the authorities detect these images, teenagers themselves become subject to laws originally aimed at stopping child abuse, even though no
abuse has taken place. These prosecutions cause immense mental distress and disruption to education. A prosecution, regardless of the sentencing outcome, severely harms the future life prospects of young people. For example, ordinary teenagers, who pose
no harm to those around them, can still be forced to sign the sex offenders' register and prevented from participating in a broad range of employment, civic and personal activities years after the offence has been recorded.
Inappropriate criminalisation is a significant danger for ordinary young people growing up in the digital age, made worse by the fact that the source of the danger is the criminal justice system.
Porn panic -- a cross-party delusion
Instead of tackling this flawed legislation to focus on acts of abuse, major political parties have been caught in an arms race towards more criminalisation and
censorship of people's sexuality. This process has been fostered by knee-jerk responses to pressure groups that ignore academic research evidence into young people's sexuality and use of sexually explicit media.
An NSPCC survey
claimed, earlier this month, that a tenth of twelve to thirteen year olds had reported the fear that they were addicted to pornography. The survey has since been exposed as unreliable, as it was a developed by a marketing company that
offers to produce survey outcomes based on pre-defined conclusions.
Nevertheless, the Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, pronounced that the Conservatives would impose age-restrictions to protect our children from harmful material
. This pledge was almost immediately matched by the Labour Party. Such an approach ignores alternative approaches, including providing effective sex education to young people.
Myles Jackman commented:
By criminalising young people between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, our political and justice systems show how disconnected they are from technological change and social values, which is especially worrying so close to an election
where politicians have been exploiting selfie culture.
Nanak Shah Fakir is a 2015 drama by Harinder Singh Sikka. Starring Tanmay Bhat, Gurmeet Choudhary and Amyra Dastur.
Police were called and a cinema cleared and closed after protestors pushed through the main entrance and
headed for the screen showing Bollywood blockbuster, Nanak Shah Fakir.
Once inside the Cineworld multiplex at Bentley Bridge in Wednesfield., the Sikh protestors sat down on the floor and began to shout, refusing to move until cinema bosses
met their demands and stopped the screening.
Nanak Shah Fakir, which is directed by Sartaj Singh Pannu, has been mired in a blasphemy controversy since its release last week. Apparently the depiction of the religious figures in human form is
considered to be a blasphemy by many Sikhs.
It has been banned in many parts of India and attracted mass protests, while some UK cinemas have refused to show it through fear of religious strife. Cineworld said it has no plans to show the film in
future following the incident. Odeon also confirmed it would also cancel planned screenings following the protest.
One cinema goer said he was among dozens of customers asked to leave the multiplex when the commotion ensued. He said:
It was extremely intimidating. For a group of people to be able to get a film stopped and then banned is just ridiculous. It's an attack on freedom of speech. The atmosphere was quite aggressive in there and it's not what
you expect to face when you go and watch a film.
Cineworld spokeswoman Liz Larvin, said:
We have taken the decision to cancel screenings of Nanak Shah Fakir because we want our customers to enjoy
visiting our cinemas and experience a wide range of films without disruption from others. We apologise to anyone disappointed by this decision and to those customers impacted on Sunday.
The film was passed PG uncut by the BBFC for
mild violence. For some reason the film was submitted twice in versions running 138:18s and 146:35s. The BBFC commented:
NANAK SHAH FAKIR is a Hindi language historical drama about the life and teachings of Sikhism
founder, Guru Nanak, as he embarks on a spiritual journey during the reign of the Mughal empire.
There is mild violence in a scene in which a yak stamps on a man, who is out to fetch some water in the snow. There are also some
images of battle and some rifle gunshots from soldiers, although there is no detail of injury shown.
We remain strongly committed to the implementation of the recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry. We
expect the industry to establish a mechanism for independent self-regulation, which delivers proper redress for individuals, as set out in the Royal Charter, and agreed by all parties in Parliament. We made a promise to victims of the phone hacking
scandal. We stand by that promise and will keep it.
We will defend press freedom We will continue to defend hard-won liberties and the operation of a free press. But alongside the media's rights comes a clear responsibility, which is why we set up the public, judge-led Leveson Inquiry in response to the
phone-hacking scandal, created a new watchdog by Royal Charter and legislated to toughen media libel laws.
Because the work of the free press is so important we will offer explicit protection for the role of journalists via the
British Bill of Rights and we will ban the police from accessing journalists' phone records to identify whistle-blowers and other sources without prior judicial approval.
We will protect intellectual property by continuing to
require internet service providers to block sites that carry large amounts of illegal content, including their proxies. And we will build on progress made under our voluntary anti-piracy projects to warn internet users when they are breaching copyright.
We will stop children's exposure to harmful sexualised content online, by requiring age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material and age-rating for all music videos.
work to ensure that search engines do not link to the worst-offending sites.
The culture of everyday sexism will be declining, with young people taught in school about respect in relationships and sexual consent.
Online, people will no longer be worried that the government is monitoring their every
keystroke, a Digital Bill of Rights will have enshrined enduring principles of privacy and helped keep the internet open.
We share the hope of Lord Justice Leveson that the incentives for the press to sign up to genuinely
independent self-regulation will succeed. But if, in the judgment of the Press Recognition Panel, after 12 months of operation, there is significant non-cooperation by newspaper publishers, then -- as Leveson himself concluded -- Parliament will need to
act, drawing on a range of options including the legislative steps necessary to ensure that independent self-regulation is delivered. Where possible, we would seek to do this on the same cross-party basis that achieved the construction of the Leveson
scheme by the Royal Charter.
Securing liberty online
Safeguard the essential freedom of the internet and back net neutrality, the principle that internet service providers should enable access to all lawful content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or
blocking particular products or websites.
Make it clear that online services have a duty to provide age-appropriate policies, guidance and support to the children and young people who use their services.
The Green Party supports a world of open, freely flowing information. We don't want disproportionate or unaccountable surveillance or censorship. We want a transparent state but we want control over the data that our digital lives create. We need
copyright laws that reward creators but that are consistent with digital technologies. Above all we want democratic political control of this technology. We would:
Support and protect internet freedeom
Limit the censoring or takedown of content or activity to exceptional circumstances, clearly set out within a comprehensive legal framework.
Introduce more satisfactory law on so-called malicious comments made on social media than the blanket and crude section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.
Support the recommendations of the Leveson
Inquiry into press ethics and for the cross-party Royal charter. But if this is to supported by all the major newspapers we will support legislation to implement the Leveson system of independent press self-regulation.
Strengthen controls on advertising directed at children.
We will need to update our investigative laws to keep up with changing technology, strengthening both the powers available, and the safeguards that protect people's privacy. This is why Labour argued for an independent review, currently being undertaken
by David Anderson. We will strengthen the oversight of our intelligence agencies to make sure the public can continue to have confidence in the vital work that they do to keep us safe.
Labour have provided a rather vague statement on their plans. They call for "strengthening the powers available" but it isn't
clear which powers they think need strengthening. We are also unclear on which safeguards they think need to be put into place to protect people's privacy. Improving oversight of the intelligence agencies is an important area to reform. In our view
though, it is also important that the powers and capabilities of the intelligence agencies, as revealed by Edward Snowden, are limited to targeted surveillance on people suspected of crimes. Labour have not committed to any change to the bulk collection
of our internet use that GCHQ currently undertakes. It is disappointing that a party which makes so much of its support for the Human Rights Act elsewhere in its manifesto does not see the human rights of privacy, freedom of speech and association as
important enough to change its approach to state surveillance.
We will keep up to date the ability of the police and security services to access communications data -- the 'who, where, when and how' of a communication, but not its content. Our new communications data legislation will strengthen our ability to
disrupt terrorist plots, criminal networks and organised child grooming gangs, even as technology develops. We will maintain the ability of the authorities to intercept the content of suspects' communications, while continuing to strengthen oversight of
the use of these powers.
We will ban the police from accessing journalists' phone records to identify whistle-blowers and other sources without prior judicial approval.
The Conservatives want to increase the surveillance powers available to the police and intelligence agencies. Like Labour, there is no
detail on which powers they would strengthen in particular. They say they will introduce "new communications data legislation" which we can only assume is a revamped Communications Data Bill - commonly known as the Snoopers' Charter. The bulk
collection of the content of our communications revealed in the documents released by Edward Snowden is not addressed. It is right that police should need judicial approval before they can access journalists' phone records but judicial authorisation for
surveillance should be sought before surveillance on all of us, not just journalists. There is no explicit mention of David Cameron's previously stated principle that all communications should be accessible by the state even when they have been
Ensure judicial authorisation is required for the acquisition of communications data which might reveal journalists' sources or other privileged communications, for any of the purposes allowed under RIPA; and allow journalists
the opportunity to address the court before authorisation is granted, where this would not jeopardise the investigation. ...
Ensure proper oversight of the security services.
Establish in legislation that the police and intelligence agencies should not obtain data on UK residents from foreign governments that it would not be legal to obtain in the UK under UK law. ...
introduction of the so-called Snooper's Charter. We blocked the draft Communications Data Bill and would do so again. Requiring companies to store a record of everyone's internet activities for a year or to collect third-party communications data for
non-business purposes is disproportionate and unacceptable, as is the blanket surveillance of our paper post.
Set stricter limits on surveillance and consider carefully the outcomes of the reviews we initiated on
surveillance legislation by the Royal United Services Institute and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson QC. We are opposed to the blanket collection of UK residents' personal communications by the police or the intelligence
agencies. Access to metadata, live content, or the stored content of personal communications must only take place without consent where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity or to prevent threats to life. ...
Uphold the right of individuals, businesses and public bodies to use strong encryption to protect their privacy and security online.
The Liberal Democrats give much greater detail on what they would like to see on the issue of surveillance than Labour or
the Conservatives. This should be welcomed. We are happy to see that they oppose the blanket collection of UK residents' personal communications by the police or intelligence agencies. It will be interesting to see whether they retain their opposition to
blanket collection if the reports mentioned above in their manifesto do not share their position. There is also a good commitment to the right to use strong encryption online. We welcome the Liberal Democrat's call for judicial authorisation before
journalists' communications data is accessed but we think this should be necessary before bulk collection of our communications is carried out.
Oppose any case for secret unaccountable mass surveillance of the type exposed by Edward Snowden. We do accept that government law enforcement agencies may occasionally need to intercept communications in specific circumstances.
Such specific surveillance should be proportionate, necessary, effective and within the rule of law, with independent judicial approval and genuine parliamentary oversight.
Replace the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, which has failed
to regulate the deployment of undercover police;
to support the confidentiality of journalistic sources;
to support legal confidentiality; and
to enshrine an open and effective right of redress.
The Green Party have released a manifesto with very strong commitments on surveillance reform in line with the calls of
the Don't Spy On Us campaign. They are the only party to mention Edward Snowden in their manifesto! Their calls for targeted surveillance that is proportionate and with independent judicial authorisation are very welcome. They also note the problem that
victims of inappropriate surveillance do not currently have a right of redress; another of the Don't Spy On Us principles.
Currently, British intelligence is fragmented between a number of agencies, including
MI5, MI6, GCHQ and BBC Monitoring. All have different funding streams and report to different government departments. This generates a significant overlap in work and resources and risks exposing gaps in the system.
create a new over-arching role of Director of National Intelligence (subject to confirmation hearing by the relevant Commons Select Committee), who will be charged with reviewing UK intelligence and security, in order to ensure threats are identified,
monitored and dealt with by the swiftest, most appropriate and legal means available. He or she will be responsible for bringing all intelligence services together; developing cyber security measures; cutting down on waste and encouraging information and
At our recent civil liberties hustings in Brighton Pavilion, the UKIP candidate said that his party
opposes "all general surveillance". There is no sign of that in their manifesto. They say nothing about which surveillance powers GCHQ should have, how they should be overseen and how they should get oversight. There are currently two reviews
of surveillance being carried out and their manifesto mentions neither of them. It is surprising, to say the least, that after nearly two years of news about GCHQ surveillance, UKIP's only response is that there are too many intelligence agencies and
that too many resources are being wasted.