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2021: Jan-March

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Escalation...

Ofcom escalates censorship of China's propaganda channel CGTN by adding 225k fine to the previously announced ban


Link Here12th March 2021
Full story: Diplomatic Censorship at Ofcom...Ofcom get caught up in international relations

Ofcom has fined China's propaganda channel CGTN 225k for biased news reports about the Hong Kong democracy protests. Two fines were levied with one being explained as follows:

Ofcom has imposed a financial penalty of 125,000 on Star China Media Limited in relation to its service CGTN for failing to comply with our broadcasting rules.

Between 11 August 2019 and 21 November 2019, CGTN broadcast the following five programmes:

  • The World Today, 11 August 2019, 17:00

  • The World Today, 26 August 2019, 08:00

  • The World Today, 31 August 2019, 07:00

  • The World Today, 2 September 2019, 16:00

  • China 24, 21 November 2019, 12:15

Each programme was concerned with the protests which were ongoing in Hong Kong during this period. These protests were initially in response to the Hong Kong Government's Extradition Law Amendment Bill that would have allowed criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for trial.

In Ofcom's Decisions published on 26 May 2020, in Issue 403 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin (PDF, 706.0 KB), Ofcom found that each of the five programmes had failed to maintain due impartiality and had breached Rules 5.1, 5.11 and 5.12 of the Broadcasting Code.

 

 

Talk to strangers...

Omegle app comes under fire as children aren't adequately blocked from taking part


Link Here20th February 2021

A website that matches people to talk to strangers should be banned in the UK according to the pro-censorship campaigner John Carr.

The Omegle site, which randomly pairs strangers to talk over web cameras, has come under fire this week after reports of children being paired with adults in inappropriate conversations. A BBC investigation also found numerous adult men naked or performing sexual acts on camera on the site.

Carr who has advised the Government on child online safety, said the site's continued lack of meaningful age checks meant it should be blocked to prevent UK children wandering onto it.

Omegle, which has the advertising catchline talk to strangers and has exploded in popularity during lockdown, says its services are for over-18s or over-13s with parental permission.

The website's founder, Leif K-Brooks responded to the BBC:

While perfection may not be possible, Omegle's moderation makes the site significantly cleaner and has also generated reports that have led to the arrest and prosecution of numerous predators.

Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, said he was considering the situation as his department draws up Duty of Care legislation. He said:

[The] allegations here are very serious. We are looking into this as we develop ... new laws to tackle harmful online content.

 

 

Updated: An independent view...

Scottish police arrest a man for insulting Sir Tom Moore on Twitter


Link Here20th February 2021
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
Captain Sir Tom Moore is a retired British soldier who has been canonised by the British media for good work in fundraising for the NHS' coronavirus campaign.

Of course the over the top praise has led to the occasion ironic comment, joke or even the occasional insult. But be warned contrary views do not go down well with the police.

Now a man has been charged in Lanarkshire in connection with an offensive social media tweet about Captain Sir Tom Moore. A Police Scotland spokeswoman said:

On Friday 5 February 2021, we received a report of an offensive tweet about Captain Sir Tom Moore who died on Tuesday 2 February. A 35-year-old man has subsequently been arrested and charged in connection with communication offences and is due to appear at Lanark Sheriff Court on Wednesday 17 February.

And BoingBoing notes the irony. Of course the police boasted about their arrest to the press, so now millions of people worldwide have read the illegal tweet:

The only good Brit soldier is a deed one, burn auld fella, buuuuurn.

Update: Charged

20th February 2021. See article from reclaimthenet.org

A Scottish man from Glasgow has been charged over a tweet against Sir Tom Moore. The man pleaded not guilty in court.

On February 3, a day after Moore's death, the man tweeted:

The only good Brit soldier is a deed one, burn auld fella, buuuuurn.

A few days later, Kelly was charged under the Communications Act of 2003 , which prohibits the sending of electronic communications that could be deemed grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing, nature.

The decision to charge Kelly caused a stir on social media. Actor and political activist Laurence Fox tweeted:

The police should do their jobs, which is to investigate actual crime, not arresting idiots who tweet idiotic things. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of any open society. Protect it, even if you don't like or agree with it.

 

 

Scottish government continues to stir up religious hatred...

Proposals to protect free speech in Scottish hate crimes bill do not appear to have gained traction


Link Here 18th February 2021
Full story: Scotland stifles free speech...Hate Crime & Public Order (Scot) Bill Hate Crime & Public Order (Scot) Bill
The Scottish government is struggling to find  way of protecting free speech in a disgraceful blasphemy/hate crimes bill.

An amendment was recently proposed to tone down the destruction of free speech The Scottish government is now seeking further suggestions.

Earlier this week the Scottish parliament's Justice Committee approved several amendments to the bill, one of which would provide greater protection for freedom of expression on religion. But these proposals seem to have stalled due to parliamentary/party resistance.

Now the committee issued a call for views on four new options for freedom of expression protections, which have been proposed by the justice secretary who clearly has little interest in free speech. Only two of the options contain the agreed amendment on free speech on religion. The other two substantially dilute protection for freedom of expression on religion in comparison.

The committee has requested that views on the proposals be submitted by 10:00 this coming Monday (22 February).

The original amendment proposed that a conviction for stirring up hatred on religious grounds would require the prosecution to demonstrate that the accused had behaved in a manner which is threatening or abusive and intended to stir up hatred.

One of the new amendments would have provided greater protection to expressions of antipathy, ridicule, dislike or insult of religion or belief. But two of the four options now proposed only say behaviour would not reach the threshold for prosecution solely on the basis that it involves or includes discussion or criticism of religion.

National Secular Society chief executive Stephen Evans said the Scottish government's position was perplexing and farcical. He commented:

The level of protection for freedom of expression on religion in this bill appeared settled. The agreed amendment was a significant step in the right direction and the Scottish government shouldn't be reopening this.

This episode simply reinforces legitimate concerns that the bill will unacceptably intrude on freedom of speech. With this in mind, and amid a deeply confused and rushed process, MSPs should press pause on the relevant section of this bill.

 

 

The Dinner Table Test...

The Law Commission drops its disgraceful idea to criminalise private comments made in your own house


Link Here13th February 2021
Dinner table comments made in private that are deemed offensive by the easily offended will not now be classed as hate crimes, with law reform chiefs abandoning disgraceful plans to extend the offence into homes.

The Law Commission had proposed that the crime of stirring up division over race, religion or sexual orientation should extend to private dwellings. That would have meant controversial dinner table conversations could have led to the hosts or guests facing a police probe and a potential prison sentence.

Lord Injustice Green, the commission's chairman, acknowledged critics' concerns that the original plan to ditch the hate crime exemption for private dwellings could lead to people being prosecuted for comments made in the home for the mere giving of offence.

The criminal team is looking at alternative ways in which the law might be reformed, seemingly to pander to the easily offended.

 

Offsite Comment: The Law Commission is watching you

13th February 2021. See article from spiked-online.com by Joanna Williams

That it even considered criminalising dinner-table conversations is remarkable.

 

 

Fake news...

Ofcom bans the Chinese propaganda news channel CGTN


Link Here4th February 2021
Full story: Diplomatic Censorship at Ofcom...Ofcom get caught up in international relations

Ofcom has banned the Chinese propaganda news channel CGTN. The channel came into the focus of the tV censor for blatant propaganda and also for unacceptable reporting methods. However Ofcom has explained the ban in terms of a licence technicality, presumably for diplomatic reasons. Ofcom wrote:

Ofcom has withdrawn the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK after its investigation concluded that the licence is wrongfully held by Star China Media Limited.

China Global Television Network (CGTN) is an international English-language satellite news channel. In the UK, broadcasting laws state that broadcast licensees must have control over the licensed service - including editorial oversight over the programmes they show. In addition, under these laws, licence holders cannot be controlled by political bodies.

Our investigation concluded that Star China Media Limited (SCML), the licence-holder for the CGTN service, did not have editorial responsibility for CGTN's output. As such, SCML does not meet the legal requirement of having control over the licensed service, and so is not a lawful broadcast licensee.

In addition, we have been unable to grant an application to transfer the licence to an entity called China Global Television Network Corporation (CGTNC). This is because crucial information was missing from the application, and because we consider that CGTNC would be disqualified from holding a licence, as it is controlled by a body which is ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

We have given CGTN significant time to come into compliance with the statutory rules. Those efforts have now been exhausted.

Following careful consideration, taking account of all the facts and the broadcaster's and audience's rights to freedom of expression, we have decided it is appropriate to revoke the licence for CGTN to broadcast in the UK.

 

 

Scottish Injustice...

Free speech protection clause fails to convince the youngsters of the SNP


Link Here2nd February 2021
Full story: Scotland stifles free speech...Hate Crime & Public Order (Scot) Bill Hate Crime & Public Order (Scot) Bill
A free speech protection amendment to Scotland's disgraceful hate crime bill that would have allowed some discussion or criticism of matters relating to transgender identity has been withdrawn after members of the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) threatened to resign in protest.

People can be convicted of an offense under this bill if they're deemed to have shown malice and ill-will towards protected groups via blogs, emails, podcasts, social media posts, websites, and more. Even people who forward or repeat offending material can be convicted.

Under this amendment, which was proposed last week by Humza Yousaf, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Injustice, there would have been a freedom of expression protection where behaviours and materials are not to be taken as threatening or abusive solely on the basis that it involves or includes discussion or criticism of matters relating to transgender identity.

But after Yousaf proposed the amendment, many younger and LGBT+ SNP members threatened to resign their party membership. This prompted SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon to step in and plead for them to remain party members. This ultimately resulted in Yousaf withdrawing his amendment and meeting with opposition parties in another attempt to write a new amendment that would give freedom of expression protection for all categories.

 

 

Suffocating free speech...

Policeman is charged with making a joke about George Floyd on a WhatsApp group


Link Here21st January 2021
Full story: Trivial Insults and Jokes...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
A policeman has been charged with a criminal offence after allegedly sending a supposedly grossly offensive image of the arrest of George Floyd to colleagues.

He will appear in court charged with sending the image by means of a public electronic communications network, contrary to the Communications Act 2003, on May 30 last year.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the charge against the Devon and Cornwall Police sergeant came after an altered image of George Floyd's arrest in the US was shared within a WhatsApp group that included a number of other police officers and staff.

An IOPC spokesman added that they had investigated the image after it was brought to their attention by Devon and Cornwall Police. The officer is due to appear before Newton Abbot Magistrates' Court on January 28, the IOPC said.

Of course the public aren't being allowed to judge for themselves, and the joke has been kept secret.

 

 

Offsite Article: Woke law...


Link Here7th January 2021
Full story: UK government on hate crime...Which group can command the most advantageous anti-discrimination law?
Law Commission proposals will chill free speech, the National Secular Society warns

See article from secularism.org.uk


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