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2015: Jan-March

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Fun Loving Daily Star Brightens up Miserable Britain...

Whilst offensive censor objects ban competition to win meeting with Page 3 girls

Link Here 28th March 2015

An ad for a competition on the Daily Star's website and in the newspaper:

a. The website ad, headed Win a date with a Daily Star Page 3 babe! It's a cold miserable winter out there - but as ever your fun-loving Daily Star knows just how to brighten up your lives . The ad featured three photographs, including one photograph showing three women from the waist up, wearing bras and holding champagne flutes, and another photograph showing three women wearing burlesque-style knickers standing close together with their hands on each others' shoulders and waists, their breasts partially covered by their arms. The photographs were captioned WIN: Enter the competition to have a chance of spending a day with a page 3 babe! , DATE: The girls are desperate to meet you! and IRRESISTABLE: Who could turn down the chance to meet one of our babes?! .

b. The newspaper ad featured, on the front page, an image of two women in bikinis under the heading WIN a chance to meet our fab Page 3 girls . On page 3, underneath an image of three women wearing only bikini bottoms, the same text as in ad (a) was headed SPEND A DAY WITH A P3 BABE .

The ASA received 31 complaints, including one from the campaign group Object. Thirty complaints were from members of the public, many of whom had become aware of the promotion through social media.

The complainants, who believed that to offer a date with a page-3 girl as a prize was sexist and objectified women, challenged whether the ad was offensive and socially irresponsible.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA noted the demographic information about the Daily Star's readership and website users, and that the image of three topless women in ad (b) appeared on page 3 of the paper, where similar images routinely appeared. We noted the Daily Star's view that the models were promoted as individuals and were seen as celebrities by some of their readers. We acknowledged that it was not unusual for competition prizes to involve meeting, or having a date , with a celebrity.

We noted the ads referred to the Star Babes as a sizzling prize , and suggested that their visit to the winner's workplace would bring the approval of their colleagues for bagging them this prize and would invoke jealousy in their friends. In the context of a competition in which the prize involved a visit from page 3 glamour models, a job which was based on a woman's attractiveness and in which women posed nude or semi-nude and which therefore inherently involved the objectification of their bodies, we considered the implication was that the prize would be enjoyed or envied on the basis of the women's attractiveness rather than because of their personality or other non-physical qualities. We also noted that the competition prize was described as involving a visit from one of our babes! and two of our top Page 3 girls rather than from specific individuals. We considered the implication was therefore that it did not matter which individual models would be visiting the winner and that the women were presented as interchangeable. In that context, whilst we noted the ads were targeted at Daily Star readers and website users, many of whom would likely have no objection to page 3 itself, we considered it likely that some would nonetheless find the notion of offering women as a prize to be sexist, offensive and socially irresponsible.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told the Daily Star to ensure that their future advertising contained nothing that was socially irresponsible or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.



A cunning plan...

Northamptonshire police commissioner has a plan to cure society's ills by renaming the '18' rating for games to 'adults only'

Link Here25th March 2015
A new report into online safety from Northamptonshire Police & Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds comes to some bizarre conclusions about video games playing by youngsters.

In particular he reports that video games that ask players to participate in extreme acts of violence such as massacring civilians and torturing people should be labelled AO (Adult Only) to warn parents they are not suitable for children.

The press release for the report acknowledges that an 18 rating already exists but loses the plot a bit when starting to explain the difference:

While an 18 + certificate already exists warning parents and children of explicit content, there have been a number of recent controversies surrounding the release of high profile video games. Grand Theft Auto V, one of the most expensive computer games ever made, has caused outrage for including a torture scene in which the player must pull teeth and electrocute an unarmed man. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, players are asked if they wish to play a proactive part in an airport civilian massacre. The report found that 26% of children had accessed games that they knew they were underage for with over one in 10 children aged 11 saying they had downloaded Call of Duty.

The press release also includes some unexplained, maybe fanciful ideas about providing ' a parental lock as standard'. Presumably he has picked up something from default on internet website blocking system recently introduced by ISPs. The press release blathers on:

The report also suggests the video games industry provides a parental lock as standard to help parents protect their children from extremely violent and explicit images. If the industry fails to take greater responsibility, then the Government should consider banning certain games altogether.

One assumes that his selling technique of quoting a few shocking stats about children's media usage and then waving his arms a bit, and offering some ill defined censorial solution is a hangover from working for Christian advocacy group CARE and for the religious campaigning MP, Gary Streeter. (See article from )



Update: Committing an abomination...

Justice not seen to be done when a judge with a conflict of interests, (also being a sharia court judge), fines street preacher for unpleasant Bible quotes

Link Here24th March 2015
Street preacher Michael Overd has been found guilty of using threatening or abusive words after making homophobic remarks during a sermon delivered in Taunton High Street.

Overd was ordered to pay 250 to a passer-by who had been 'offended' by the preacher's comments, and he initially refused, at which point judge Shamim Qureshi threatened the preacher with a prison sentence. He has been ordered to pay total costs of 1200.

Overd intends to appeal his conviction and said I follow my Lord and leader, so I won't tone down.

The street preacher was charged with a public order offence, after complaints were made by members of the public that he had made homophobic and Islamophobic remarks. In particular he quoted Leviticus 20:13 :

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. (English Standard Bible)

The BBC reports that the judge told the preacher he seemed to enjoy testing the laws on free speech to their limits . Overd was also told that he should not have quoted from Leviticus 20:13 when speaking about homosexuality , according to Christian Today, who also report that the judge suggested that there were other verses he could have chosen if he wanted to talk about what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Judge Qureshi also works as a judge for the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, which aims to help Muslims resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic Sacred Law.

Overd was found not guilty on two other charges, which included causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress after he made critical remarks about the Muslim religious character Mohammed.

The National Secular Society has previously raised concerns about the trial's implications for free speech. Terry Sanderson, NSS president, said the ruling appeared to make the quoting of certain passages of the Bible illegal:

Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake. As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.



Justifying Criticism...

Muslim group campaigns for a new UK twist to the Public Order Act to ban the insult and criticism of religion

Link Here9th March 2015

The Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which staged a protest outside Downing Street against Charlie Hebdo in February, has launched a legal strategy to stop insults against the religious character Mohammed. The organisation is also asking supporters to lobby your MP to make Islamophobia a criminal offence.

They state that they intend to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system because depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of 'Hate Crime' that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide.

The group says that they have devised a legal strategy to prevent the continuous insulting and derogatory publications depicting and abusing the personality of our Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him.

In a press release published shortly after the demonstration in February 2015, the MAF set out details of their plan to outlaw depicting Mohammed in the UK, through amendment of some existing legislation and the presentation of a Private Members Bill that promotes the idea of Global Civility.

They describe Global Civility as a new direction and argue that the desecration of collective human dignity , through insult, denigration or humiliation is morally and ethically wrong . Their website rails against reckless and malicious expressions .

They urge the 100,000 Muslims who they claim signed their petition to lobby their MPs and all candidates standing in the General Election. The MAF makes a number of suggestions including three specific questions which they ask supporters to direct to their MPs.

The MAF suggests that petitioners ask their MPs if they think the the Public Order Act 1986 should be amended to include under 'hate crime' any malicious depiction of images and use of malevolent language against revered personalities of all religions?

They also suggest asking if Islamophobia should be a culpable offence?

Stephen Evans, National Secular Society campaigns manager, commented:

We trust all prospective MPs will appreciate that there is no homogeneous 'Muslim community' and reject such unreasonable demands to undermine everybody's fundamental rights and freedoms. Free speech is the bedrock of liberty and a free society -- and integral to combating the spectre of Islamism. Now more than ever we need to preserve and strengthen freedom of expression, not capitulate to extremist demands.



Offsite Article: Over a quarter of British Muslims have sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo terrorists...

Link Here4th March 2015
Full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
That is far too many Just because you wouldn't personally go out and murder people, it doesn't make you moderate. We cannot turn a blind eye to the fair-weather supporters of terrorism

See article from



Fifty Shades of Domestic Abuse...

Campaign group gushes praise about Fifty Shades of Grey

Link Here11th February 2015
Natalie Collins, who runs campaign group Fifty Shades Is Domestic Abuse , claims that the story of Fifty Shades of Grey portrays an abusive relationship. She said:

The thing that I would say to people who are reading the books, who are going to see it, is, if he wasn't rich and very attractive, would this behaviour be normal?

Is it romantic when somebody tracks your phone, when somebody knows where you live before you tell them, sells your only means of transport, or buys the company you work for?

How can you marry that with being romantic?

We are not against BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism), it is the other issues in the books and films which we say glamorise domestic violence.

It is not about censorship, people have the absolute right to go and watch it ...BUT... there is something about the credibility that is given by the number of people who go and watch it.

Collins also criticised what she called exploitative retailers who had taken advantage of the franchise's popularity and created branded merchandising to cash in on the publicity.

Fifty Shades Is Domestic Abuse campaigners are planning to hold a protest at the film's UK premiere in London's Leicester Square on Thursday.



MPs call for ASBOs for people who insult religion by criticising acts of war...

Protesting against free speech at Westminster

Link Here 9th February 2015
The All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism wants prosecutors to examine whether prevention orders like those used to restrict sex offenders' internet access could be used against people who make remarks taken as insulting about religion. The cross-party group highlighted in particular the use of anti-Semitic terms online.

The Parliamentary inquiry was set up following an unsurprising rise in incidents in July and August last year during Israel's onslaught against Gaza. The hashtags Hitler and genocide featured with high frequency , during the period.

The MPs said social media platforms had increasingly been used for the spread of anti-Semitism . Their report said the terms Hitler and Holocaust were among the top 35 phrases relating to Jews during the conflict.

Although the primary focus of the inquiry was anti-Semitism, one recommendation it made was that those who carry out any kind of hate crime should be prevented from using social media.



Update: A little 'interfaith' wit...

Protesting against free speech at Downing Street

Link Here9th February 2015
Full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
About a thousand Muslim protesters gathered outside the gates of Downing Street to protest against free speech and the depictions of the religious character Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine.

The protestors, many of whom were segregated into groups of men and women, gathered near the Cenotaph.

The protest was organised by the Muslim Action Forum, which said that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons had helped sow the seeds of hatred and had damaged community relations. Strangely not mentioning the fully grown hatred demonstrated by the muslim murderers in Paris that has damaged community relations far more than a few cartoons.

A welcome new direction of the protest were the appearance of some witty placards. One young child stood next to a placard displaying the message: Charlie and the abuse factory . Another clever 'interfaith' message said: Insult my mum and I will punch you (Pope Francis)



Update: Churches call on Scottish first minister to criminalise buying sex...

Churches and religions should put their own houses in order before presuming to lecture decent folk about sexual offences

Link Here 6th February 2015
Full story: Sex Work in Scotland...Bills to ban and to decriminalise sex work
Churches and other religious organisations have written to the Scottish first minister calling for the criminalisation of those who pay for sex.

The letter was written by Professor Hazel Watson, convener of the Scottish Churches' anti-human trafficking group, and signed by senior figures from a variety of other faith groups, including Muslims and Sikhs She claims:

Sex trafficking does not just exist because its victims are vulnerable - it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from

Watson praised the Scottish government for introducing the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill. But she said:

We believe that there is an important element missing from the Bill and would urge you to consider supporting an amendment.

It would be good to see Scotland incorporating the Nordic model, with a funding package supporting women to leave prostitution, into its anti-trafficking legislation.

Sex trafficking does not just exist because its victims are vulnerable - it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from.

The Nordic model effectively curbs demand and consequently reduces the trafficking for sexual exploitation into the countries that adopt it.

The Scottish government said in a statement:

Clearly this is a complex issue which requires careful consideration to ensure that any additional measures which may be required are necessary, practicable and sustainable.

Any further proposed changes to the law in this area would need to be considered carefully to ensure they are practical in terms of enforcement and whether there is robust evidence to suggest that such proposals would reduce incidents of prostitution or trafficking.



Drunk on Self Importance...

Alcohol Concern ludicrously thinks David Beckham should be banned from advertising adult products because he was once popular with kids

Link Here29th January 2015

A TV ad and an online video for Haig Club whisky:

The ad featured David Beckham, who was riding a motorcycle, and others travelling through a craggy landscape to meet each other. The actors were all shown congregating in smart attire, with Beckham carrying a bottle of Haig Club. He poured the drink into tumblers for them and they were then shown posing for photographs while, initially, holding their tumblers. The background changed to show different countries and settings, and the arrangement of the group also changed, with the characters no longer holding their glasses, before returning to the original group photograph. The ad ended with a shot of the product and the caption Haig Club single grain scotch whisky Welcome.

The ASA received two complaints.

Alcohol Concern, who considered that David Beckham would have strong appeal to those under 18 years of age, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it:

1. featured David Beckham promoting an alcoholic beverage; and

2. implied that drinking was a key component of social success or acceptance, and that refusal was a sign of weakness.

3. Alcohol Concern and one other complainant challenged whether the ad implied that drinking was a key component to the success of a personal relationship or social event.

ASA Assessment: Not in breach

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that, as a recently-retired footballer, David Beckham would be likely to hold general appeal for some children. Nonetheless, we noted that he had not played for a UK club in the last decade and was therefore unlikely to have particular resonance for children on the basis of his sporting career alone, or have strong appeal on that basis. We understood that Alcohol Concern specifically noted that Beckham had won a Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Sports Legend award earlier this year, and that they felt this demonstrated a strong appeal to children. However, we also understood that the award's recipient was chosen by Nickelodeon, rather than being voted on by children, and that the award was primarily an American one. We considered that, although it suggested the potential for some appeal to children, the opinion of the largely-American Nickelodeon channel was insufficient to demonstrate that Beckham held strong appeal to children in the UK.

We also noted that Beckham had been prominently involved in promoting Sainsbury's Active Kids and UNICEF campaigns, but considered that these were unlikely to contribute particularly to his appeal to children or to indicate that he had a strong appeal to them. We noted that Beckham was widely known for his commercial and ambassadorial roles, as well as his family, albeit with football as the reason for his initial fame. We considered that, although Beckham's early career would have meant that he held strong appeal to children at that time, the shift from football to commercial ventures, as well as his move to play in foreign leagues and subsequent retirement from football, meant that he was no longer likely to hold such appeal to children in 2014. Because we considered that David Beckham did not have strong appeal to children and was not likely to be a figure whose example children would follow, we concluded that the ad had not breached the Code.

2 & 3. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the whisky was shown as part of a social occasion and was one aspect of the theme of the ad. However, we considered that the preamble to the photograph scene demonstrated a well-established friendship and sense of ease between the characters that was already present before the drink was poured. We also noted that the only photograph in which the drink was shown was the present-day image and that the other scenes showed the history of the group's friendship without the presence or consumption of alcohol. We understood that one of the complainants had concerns about the use of the word Club in the brand name as depicted in the ad. Although we noted that the end frame of the ad also included the word welcome and that this carried an allusion to social activity, we considered that consumers would recognise the use of the word Club as a reference to the name of the brand rather than a suggestion that purchasing or consuming the product would lead to social success or belonging. In light of these elements we concluded that the ad did not imply that drinking was a key component of social success or acceptance, the success of a personal relationship or social event, or that refusal was a sign of weakness.

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