February 18, 2006

Rolling Stones Deny That They Agreed to Censorship of Super Bowl Halftime Songs

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 8, 2006 @ 6:40 am
Filed under: General, CensorWorld, TV

From the Internet Movie Database:

Veteran rockers The Rolling Stones have blasted the censorship of sexually suggestive lyrics during their Super Bowl half-time show on Sunday night as “absolutely ridiculous” - despite claims from the National Football League the band consented to the move beforehand. Editors turned down Sir Mick Jagger’s microphone for risqué lines in hits “Start Me Up” and “Rough Justice” amid fears a repeat of Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction at the American football event two years ago would prompt another backlash from family TV audiences. But a spokeswoman for the “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” hitmakers revealed yesterday that the band deemed the measure “absolutely ridiculous and completely unnecessary” and had voiced their opinions to NFL bosses before their three-song set. She added, “The band did the songs they were supposed to do and they sang all the words. There were many, many conversations back and forth and the band clearly was not happy about it.” On Monday an NFL spokesman claimed, “We agreed upon it earlier this week. The band were fine with it.”

The Rolling Stones sang all the words, but viewers at home didn’t hear certain words because the NFL silenced those words.

As previously mentioned at SpeakSpeak, an AP article describing the Super Bowl Halftime Show suggested that during the Rolling Stone’s song, “Start Me Up,” instead of hearing Mick Jagger sing “You make a dead man come,” viewers of the Halftime Show heard, “You make a dead man.” Also, that the word “cocks” was censored from the Rolling Stone song, “Rough Justice.”


No Free Speech on the Senate Floor

Posted by Eric Jaffa
February 7, 2006 @ 12:50 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Government, Free Speech Hero, Courts

Senators should be able to discuss important issues on the Senate floor.

That includes how the bills they’re debating came before them.

But Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) discovered yesterday: Talk about how lobbyists got a bill into the Senate, get accused of breaking a Senate rule.

Reid was criticizing a bill which hurts workers trying to get compensation from injuries caused by asbestos (tort reform). Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) responded by accusing Reid of breaking a Senate rule against imputing motives.

From Roll Call reporter John Stanton via Raw Story:

During a floor speech Monday afternoon, [Democratic Senator Hary] Reid vowed to defeat the asbestos legislation and, in an effort to tie it to the current lobbying and ethics scandals, argued that the Senate was considering the bill only because 13 “companies spent $144.5 million in two years lobbying to get it here.”

…A clearly agitated [Republican Senator Arlen] Specter came to the floor to confront Reid, accusing the Minority Leader of slandering himself and Leahy in violation of Senate Rule 19 which bars personal attacks against fellow Senators.

“To say that this bill, which Sen. Leahy and I have led for the better part of the last three years, is the result of lobbyists, quote, ‘buying their way into the Senate’ is slanderous. It is a violation of Rule 19,” Specter shot back angrily.

Senate Rule 19.2 states:

No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.

This rule has got to go.

The notion that Senators can’t speak about the impact of lobbyists on legislation is atrocious; to discuss the effect of lobbyists, one has to “impute…motive.”


Borat Banned in Native Kazakhstan

Posted by Amanda Toering
December 15, 2005 @ 2:01 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld

Borat, the fictional Kazakh gadabout and Kazakh’s purported “sixth-most famous man” portrayed by British satirist Sacha Baron Cohen, has been banned from the webspace of his native country.

Free speech group Reporters without Borders said yesterday that the Kazakh government shutdown the character’s website, Borat.kz.

From Chortle UK:

The site was closed earlier this week after Cohen mocked the nation’s threat of legal action over boorish Kazakh reporter Borat, who depicts the county as a backwater where wine is brewed from horse urine, punching cows is a national pastime and women are kept in cages.

‘We’ve done this so he can’t badmouth Kazakhstan under the .kz domain name,’ said Nurlan Isin, President of the Association of Kazakh IT Companies at the time. ‘He can go and do whatever he wants at other domains.’

Reporters Without Borders said the move raised fears about politicians interfering with free speech on the internet.


In November, Reporters Without Borders put Kazakhstan on a list of “countries to watch” because of repeated violations of free expression on the internet.


Lawsuit Over “The Simpsons”

Posted by Eric Jaffa
November 26, 2005 @ 12:37 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Ban It!

A Russian man says “The Simpsons” hurts morals.

From the UPI:

The Moscow City Court Monday agreed to consider the appeal of a Russian man’s lawsuit that said “The Simpsons” was a bad influence on his son.

Igor Smykov filed suit three years ago claiming the independent Moscow station, RenTV, promoted drug use, violence and homosexuality with its programming, including the U.S. Fox TV hit, “The Simpsons,” Ria Novosti reported.

His suit seeking $10,000 in moral damages and the cancellation of “The Simpsons” was tossed out by a lower court judge, but the decision was overturned by a higher court on the basis of a technical error. Now, the suit will again be considered in the Moscow City Court Dec. 1, Smykov said.


Germany Seeks to Further Limit Access to Video Games

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 18, 2005 @ 11:05 am
Filed under: CensorWorld, Video Games

From the GamesIndustry website:

A coalition comprised of members of Germany’s main political parties has proposed an extension to the country’s already strict rules on videogame violence which would mean that all games which depict lethal violence would be banned outright.

The coalition argues that the country’s child protection laws should be revised to include violent games as part of plans to reduce the amount of violent media which children are exposed to.

Speaking to Der Spiegel magazine, Andreas Scheuer of the Christian Social Union said that “killing games” have “no place in Germany’s bedrooms.”

Scheuer added that while parents must take responsibility for the games their children play, the government should help less media-competent adults by bringing in a complete ban.

“Help less media-competent adults”??

I can think of a few other helper laws, and I hereby submit them. First, how about a law that bans cell phones outright? Such a law would “help” those with a tendency towards assholery.

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to institute a national dress code. This would “help” folks (and I must admit I’m one of them) with a fashion sense that may be offensive to others.

While we’re at it, how about a law that restricts television broadcasts to all Davy & Goliath, all the time. I mean, what better parent’s helper is there than Davy & Goliath?

Yeah, that oughta take care of it.

1 Comment

Human Rights Watch on Tunisian Censorship

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 17, 2005 @ 11:46 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

Human Rights Watch has released a report on the censor-happy Tunisian government. Ironically, the UN is currently holding a summit on web censorship in sunny Tunis, Tunisia’s capital.

From the HRW report:

In Tunisia, the government has detained critical online writers and has blocked Web sites that publish reports of human rights abuses in the country. “When I first heard that the summit was to be held here, I viewed it as a humiliation that the dictatorship should have this chance to present a modern mask to hide its face,” Mokhtar Yahyaoui, of the Tunis Center for the Independence of the Judiciary, told Human Rights Watch.

Tunisian police in plainclothes arrested online Tunisian journalist Muhammad Abou on March 1. The night before, Abou had published an article on a banned Web site comparing President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Abou is now serving a three-year prison term in Le Kef, roughly 200 km (105 miles) southwest of Tunis.

The ever-optimistic UN has claimed that the decision to hold the summit in restrictive Tunisia will force the country’s government to re-examine its censorship practices. President of Switzerland Samuel Shmid opened the summit with a criticism of the Tunisian government’s heavy-handed censorship:

“It is, quite frankly, unacceptable for the United Nations to continue to include among its members states which imprison citizens for the sole reason that they have criticised their government on the internet or in the media,” Schmid said in his opening speech.

“As far as I’m concerned, it goes without saying that here in Tunis… everyone can express themselves freely. It is one of the conditions sine qua non for the success of this international conference.”

His speech was censored by Tunisian TV.

Fun Tunisian fact: Until 1993, Tunisian law stated that “a woman must obey her husband.” Also in 1993, mothers were given the right to “participate in the management of their children’s affairs.” More Tunisian fun facts at the country’s official web page.

Much more about Tunisia’s censorship at Human Rights Watch.


British Pols Fail to Quash Bad-Mouthing Books

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 17, 2005 @ 11:05 am
Filed under: CensorWorld, Free Speech

In the wake of former US Ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer’s scathing DC Confidential, some British politicians have attempted to block the publication of books critical of the UK’s government.

The attempt didn’t fly — disappointed bureaucrats have found no legal way to block the release of such books.

From The Times of London:

“There have been many books by diplomats in the past, submitted in the usual way, cleared and so on, and I am sure that will continue,” said Sir Michael Jay, the Permanent Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“But it is not so much the question of book or no book. It is a question of the kind of book that can damage the relationship between ministers and officials and therefore the conduct of business.”

DC Confidential, Sir Christopher’s account of his time as Britain’s envoy to Washington, upset the Government with embarrassing details about the Prime Minister and the shortcomings of several of his ministers, whom Sir Christopher dismissed as political “pygmies”.

After publication of the book Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, criticised Sir Christopher and said that he should consider his position as head of Press Complaints Commission.

A legal loophole seems to have allowed Sir Christopher to publish and others may follow. A book called The Cost of War, which is about the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former British envoy to the United Nations and Tony Blair’s representative to Baghdad, is currently with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Sir Michael suggested that it could eventually be cleared for publication if some changes were agreed.

Sir Michael wrote to all Britain’s ambassadors and high commissioners abroad last week, emphasising the importance of “trust and confidence” between ministers and diplomats. “If we don’t do that, then everybody loses,” he said. “We lose as diplomats because ministers do not consult us and involve us. Ministers lose because they do not get the advice that they need and, I believe, we should give them.

“And the conduct of foreign policy loses because you do not have that relationship between ministers, diplomats and ambassadors that I believe is crucially important for our interests.”

Rather than dwelling on the shortcomings of British diplomacy, Sir Michael said that we should be encouraged by the successes of Britain’s dual presidency of the G8 group of wealthy nations and the European Union.

In other words: Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between.

1 Comment

Teacher Forced to Resign Over R-Rated Film

Posted by Chris Zammarelli
November 17, 2005 @ 9:46 am
Filed under: CensorWorld, Free Speech, Schools

The Gwinnett County (GA) Public Schools forced Ed Youngblood, a teacher for 37 years at South Gwinnett High School, to resign after he showed the movie Elizabeth without permission. (Elizabeth starred Cate Blanchett as Queen Liz the First; her performance won her an Oscar nomination.)

According to the November 16 edition of Studio Briefing, the R-rated movie was shown in an advanced British literature class for seniors. Youngblood said he was given just five minutes to decide whether to resign or face being fired by the school board.

Youngblood’s students and parents in the community are organizing support for the instructor, who was teaching part-time at the school this year. Senior Kyle Tait told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (sub req’d), “Our motto at South Gwinnett High School is ‘First comes learning.’ If ‘First comes learning’ is true, why do you get rid of the guy who holds that motto the best?”

School board spokesperson Sloan Roach said (sub req’d) the school had received complaints about the film being shown in class. She told the Gwinnett Daily Post, “Mr. Youngblood did not ask for a local review of the film prior to showing it, nor did he allow parents the option of opting their students out of the viewing.”

Previously, the school board forced out two special-ed teachers for showing History of the World, Part 1 in class.

Youngblood noted that this was the second time he’s shown his students Elizabeth, which was nominated for seven Oscars. He said, “I didn’t think about it being R-rated. It’s such a good movie.”


Howard Stern and Oprah Winfrey

Posted by Eric Jaffa
November 15, 2005 @ 6:44 pm
Filed under: FCC, CensorWorld, Free Speech, Government, Indecency, Howard

From a live chat with Washington Post reporter Frank Ahrens:

Wheaton, MD: Why would the FCC attack Howard Stern but not Oprah, for having the exact same content?

Frank Ahrens: It’s about context AND content.

If Oprah says, “today, parents, we’re going to talk about what your kids are doing sexually so you will know what’s going on,” the FCC says that’s different from Howard Stern saying, “today, we’re going to talk about what kids are doing sexually so lots of people will listen to my show.”

For instance, if a local morning deejay drops the f-bomb on his show in a joke, that’s likely going to get an indecency fine. If an NPR station plays an FBI wiretap of a mobster cursing, that probably will not get an FCC fine.

The answer was challenged later in the chat, sarcastically:

Columbia, MD: This is why my generation doesn’t take the FCC seriously:

The holy Oprah talks about tossed salads on her talk show. She’s only doing it to inform, to educate. What a saint. Thank you, Oprah, for giving an explicit, graphic definition of a rainbow party during the day in front of my children so that I may educate them never to do that.

The evil Howard Stern is only doing it for ratings. Of course everyone knows this, so we don’t allow our children to listen to his show. But let’s fine him for doing what we already know he does.

Oprah is an educator. Howard Stern is a scumbag. You’re all a bunch of hypocrites.

Frank Ahrens: Passionately stated. Thanks.

This questioner may be implying that comedians (George Carlin, Howard Stern) deserve as much freedom of speech as people who aren’t funny.

For anyone who wants a definition of those sexual terms: tossed salad, rainbow party.


UN Summit Examines Net Censorship

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 15, 2005 @ 11:50 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

The United Nations will hold a conference on the question of Internet censorship, which is becoming almost as popular around the world as the Internet itself. Some free speech advocates, however, question the decision to hold the summit in Tunisia — considered by many to have one of the most censor-happy governments in the world.

From the Associated Press:

Already, rights watchdogs say, Tunisian and foreign reporters on hand for the summit have been harassed and beaten. Reporters Without Borders says its secretary-general, Robert Menard, has been banned from attending.

These groups — including a coalition of 14 freedom-of-expression organizations — argue that such practices makes Tunisia unfit to host an event whose goals include promoting free expression and bringing Internet access to as much of the world as possible.

The United Nations, however, claims the summit will shine a spotlight on Tunisia’s repressive tactics — and possibly lead it to reform.

“On the one hand, these are important, critical issues for the future of democracy in the world, and on the other, they’re thorny and unpleasant to talk about,” said John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. “It’s a massive brewing dispute.”

The debate over who controls the Internet — an issue raised in the summit’s first half in Geneva two years ago — will be a central sticking point for the 12,000-15,000 delegates gathering Wednesday in Tunis for the three-day World Summit on the Information Society. Organizers expect 40 and 50 world leaders to attend, along with Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Yet some fear that what is being billed as a “summit of solutions” also could lead to new problems — by creating threats for governments that have long known the Internet to be a powerful tool in the hands of dissidents and ordinary people hungry for knowledge beyond what the government gives them.


Nepal Court Ruling Means Press Restrictions May Become Permanent

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 15, 2005 @ 11:26 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

The press crackdown in Nepal, engineered by coup-happy King Gyanendra early this year, looks like it may be on its way to permanence. A special attachment to the country’s Supreme Court refused to block press restrictions late last week.

From Asia Media:

“King Gyanendra promised that his draconian measures against the press would be temporary. But this latest decision opens the door to permanent censorship,” said Ann Cooper, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “If the Supreme Court does not protect the basic right to freedom of expression enshrined in Nepal’s constitution, then journalists are at the mercy of the King,” she said.

The press has been under attack from the government since King Gyanendra seized absolute power in on February 1. Emergency measures instituted at the time shut down the independent press and stopped private FM radio stations from broadcasting news, a primary source of information for many Nepalese. At the time, the king promised international allies and donors that actions against the press were temporary measures intended to aid in the fight against a Maoist insurgency, the statement said.


Besides the news broadcast ban, the ordinance limits the print media’s ability to report critically on government, the royal family, and security forces. It codifies a prohibition on news content that “causes hatred or disrespect” to the king and members of the royal family. It also bans news “promoting terrorists, terrorism and destructive activities” and increases the penalty for defamation. Journalists can now be jailed for up to two years on defamation cases.


More News from Down Under: Government Beefs Up TV Punishment Powers

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 15, 2005 @ 11:04 am
Filed under: CensorWorld, TV, Indecency

More deja vu all over again from that big island down there.

Says Variety:

Pols plan to beef up the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority to censure broadcasters.

ACMA’s limits came under scrutiny this year when Network Ten’s raunchy latenight “Big Brother Uncut” program breached the ethics code. Free-to-air broadcaster received a slap on the wrist but under the expanded power could be forced to apologize on air or be fined.

ACMA could also force broadcasters to make on-air announcements when they breach the TV code of practice.

Minister for Communications Helen Coonan said the changes are needed to give the regulator more flexibility.

“ACMA’s powers are generally concentrated at the higher end of the scale and the imposition of a criminal penalty, or the draconian punishment of license cancellation, is rarely appropriate,” Coonan said.

Julie Flynn, toppertopper of Free TV Australia, said the industry is “examining the proposal and will make a submission in due course.”


Pick a Bale of Controversy

Posted by Eric Jaffa
November 14, 2005 @ 4:27 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Schools

Pick a Bale of Cotton is a folk-song I learned as a child. I never found it offensive.

But a mostly white middle-school in Michigan has pulled it from the list of songs for students to perform in concert, following the objections of a black father (of a girl in the school choir) and the NAACP. They say it glorifies slavery.

Black folk-singer Leadbelly recorded the song, and I doubt that he intended to glorify slavery. You can listen to an excerpt of his version of the song here (disc 1.)

« Update: Nov. 15, 2005 »

The blog Mia Culpa has posted disapprovingly a version of the song with the n-word. This isn’t the version I was taught, and it’s not the version they were planning to sing at the school in Michigan.

1 Comment

All the Ads Not Fit to Print

Posted by Amanda Toering
November 4, 2005 @ 1:36 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Ban It!, AdWatch

The aptly named BestRejectedAdvertising.com features banned and rejected advertisements from around the world.

Says the website:

These examples from the forthcoming book, Best Rejected Advertising Volume Three, are print ads, TV and radio commercials that prompted consumer complaints.
All campaigns are published alongside the rulings or adjudications from national advertising standard authorities or comparable self-regulating organizations.

By presenting the material from European and Overseas countries we hope to offer a view of the process of self-regulation practiced by national Advertising Standard Authorities in each country, as well as of national standards of “taste & decency” in those countries.

Banned print ads in the collection include several that feature implied (i.e., not depicted) violence or sex; an ad featuring a chubby Barbie-like doll — which supposedly traumatized a young girl; a Russian ad that apparently catches two currency symbols in flagrante delicto; a British anti-smoking ad that was offensive to dwarfs; an Italian fashion ad that “trivialized the intense and dramatic moment during the Last Supper”; and a poster for the 2002 US release of Roger Avary’s “Rules of Attraction” (it featured a kind of teddy bear Kama Sutra).

The ads will also be collected in an upcoming book.

See the ads at Best Rejected Advertising.

1 Comment

Nepalese Journalists Continue to Fight for Free Press

Posted by Amanda Toering
October 31, 2005 @ 12:11 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Free Press

Journalists in Kathmandu, Nepal, are continuing their struggle to wriggle out from increasingly restrictive laws governing the press. The King of Nepal virtually silenced the press earlier this year after seizing control of the entire government.

From Nepal’s Kantipur Online:

Police today detained at least a dozen journalists while staging a protest rally demanding withdrawal of the recently promulgated media ordinance at Ratnapark-the area prohibited by the government for holding demonstrations in the capital.

The journalists also burned copies of the ‘black ordinance’ while chanting slogans against it.

Bal Krishna Chapagain, chairman of the Press Council and other journalists were held after police intervened to break up the rally this afternoon.

Separately, another group of journalists organized a corner meeting at Bhotahity and slammed the ordinance.

General Secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalist Mahendra Bista, President of South Asia Free Media Association Gopal Thapalia and General Secretary Shambhu Shrestha among others addressed the meeting.

Meanwhile, journalists in Pokhara also demonstrated against the anti-press law this morning.

Various professional bodies including human rights organizations, lawyers and members of civil society joined the protest that started from Pirthvi Chowk and converged into a corner meeting at Chipledhunga.

There have been no reports of arrests.


Yahoo! Helps Chinese Prosecute Journalist for Free Speech

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 7:02 am
Filed under: CensorWorld, Government, Free Press

From an editorial in the Washington Post:

IN THIS COUNTRY it is not a crime for a journalist to complain — even to complain loudly — about the government’s attempts to manipulate the media. But it is a crime in China, as Shi Tao, a journalist in Hunan, recently discovered. At a meeting in April 2004, a local communist party boss gave Shi Tao and his colleagues verbal orders on how they were to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Shi Tao took notes at the meeting and, using his private e-mail account, sent off a description of what he’d been told to a pro-democracy Web site run by a Chinese emigre in New York. A few weeks ago, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for doing so.

Though Shi Tao’s “crime” would not have been considered illegal in America, an American company was directly responsible for his conviction. Unfortunately, Shi Tao had a Yahoo e-mail address, and when the Chinese government asked, Yahoo Inc. complied with its request to hunt him down.

…Over the past two decades, many have argued — ourselves included — that despite China’s authoritarian and sometimes openly hostile government, it is nevertheless right to encourage American companies to work there. Their very presence has been thought to make the society more open, if not necessarily more democratic.

If that is no longer the case — if, in fact, American companies are helping China become more authoritarian, more hostile and more of an obstacle to U.S. goals of democracy promotion around the world — then it is time to rethink the rules under which they operate.


Poverty “Too Political” for Brit TV

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 13, 2005 @ 11:41 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

A public service campaign asking Brits to “Make Poverty History” is, well, history.

Britain’s communications regulatory agency, Ofcom, has banned the campaign from TV and radio, saying it’s too political for the airwaves.

Make Poverty History is a conglomeration of 530 charities and aid groups that is part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty.

The campaign, which includes an array of stars snapping their fingers to underscore the fact that a child dies of preventable poverty every three seconds and a signature white bracelet, was created with the goal of persuading the governments of the Group of Eight industrialized countries to write off billions of dollars in debt owed by the poorest of the world’s countries. British Prime Minister Tony Blair praised the campaign, saying it was successful in convincing the G8 to write off more than $40 billion in debt.

But advertising watchdog Ofcom said the goals of the campaign were political and therefore outlawed.

Good news for the comfortable: Poverty and its icky political component will be kept in the shadows. You get another reprieve from dealing with it.

From Media Planner Buyer, et al.

1 Comment

EBay Censorship?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 9, 2005 @ 4:56 pm
Filed under: CensorWorld, Government, Free Speech Hero

About Dr. Ben Marble from Raw Story:

The emergency room physician who told Vice President Dick Cheney to “fuck yourself” was selling a video of the incident on eBay, and the price rose to nearly $700 before it was removed by administrators…

“I then took a picture of him and then yelled ‘Go Fu* Yourself Mr. Cheney ….Go Fu* YOURSELF….Go Fu* Yourself…you asshole.’ I had/have no intention of harming anyone but merely wanted to echo Mr. Cheney’s infamous words back at him. At that moment I noticed the Secret Service guys with a panic stricken look on their faces like they were about to tackle me so I calmly walked away back to my former house.”

Marble said he was later detained.

eBay was not available for comment.

EBay lets people sell Hollywood movies with the word “fuck” in them.

This seems like pro-Republican censorship by eBay.


The video is selling on eBay again.

The issue seems to be that the title of the original eBay ad contained the word “fuck.”

The title has been changed from
DVD of me saying “GO **** YOURSELF” to DICK CHENEY.

Anyway, the auction continues here.

Update 2

The second ad is now down (2:26 PM Eastern time.)

There were no curses in the title of the second ad. Is this pro-Bush censoship?

Update 3

Third ad is at eBay (as of 10:35 PM Eastern Time.)

The seller explains:

primarily i had to change FU** (to) **** throughout the entire text and i went ahead and changed “asshole” to ******* just to be safe….also i had to remove the url to www.hurricanekatrinasucked.com as they said that was a violation of their terms…

However, the third ad includes:

“Mr. Cheney Go F**** Yourself….Go F**** YOURSELF….Go F**** Yourself…you *******”.

and so he didn’t really completely asterisk each “fuck.”

I’m glad that this apparently isn’t pro-Bush censorhsip, but I’m sure visitors to eBay can handle seeing “FU**” in the description of an appropriate item.

Each time Dr. Ben Marble starts a new ad, the bidding starts over, and so these rules may cost him. The second ad had gone up to over $2,0000.

Update 4

EBay took down the third ad, but a fourth ad is here.

1 Comment

As the World Turns: Bollywood Hijinks

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 1, 2005 @ 11:32 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

The long-running (and intensifying) battle between India’s film directors and India’s censorship board brings us yet another melodramatic offering.

This, from the New Kerala:

Controversial Tamil film “New” continues to be mired in problems over charges of obscenity that have caused a sensation in the Tamil film industry.

Actor-director S.J. Suryah and his film earned some respite from the Supreme Court that Tuesday stayed a Madras High Court order to revoke the censor board approval for the film.

But the outcome of the case is being eagerly awaited by an industry that has often toed the thin line between art and obscenity on celluloid.

Released in July 2004, the film was a hit with campus audiences of both sexes.

Women’s groups here protested against the film and the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) took the matter to the high court demanding that the Central Board of Film Certification (censor board) clearance to the movie be revoked.

The high court agreed. On Aug 5, it directed the board to revoke certification for “New” after expressing concern over “vulgarity” in the film about an eight-year-old boy who in his dreams at night is transformed into a 28-year-old young man.

Suryah was arrested last week for misbehaving with a woman official of the censor board and released on bail. He was accused of throwing a mobile phone at Vanathy Srinivasan after she refused to allow an objectionable song in his film.

Srinivasan lodged a police complaint and a court issued a non-bailable warrant against the director. Suryah has been asked by the court to appear before the police daily at 10 a.m. until the next hearing on Sep 6.

In the Supreme Court, the petitioners contended that the film was in the realm of fantasy and should not be construed as obscene.

The apex court, staying the high court order of Aug 5, said the board certification could not be revoked. At best, the high court could order deletion of certain objectionable portions, he said.


ABC Banned in Russia

Posted by Amanda Toering
August 4, 2005 @ 11:40 am
Filed under: General, CensorWorld

The Russian government has revoked the accreditation of all of ABC’s journalists. The move comes after ABC broadcast an interview with a Chechen rebel wanted by the Russians. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been steadily tightening his grip on the Russian media.

More at Radio Netherlands.


China Closing Market to Foreign Broadcasters

Posted by Amanda Toering
August 4, 2005 @ 10:43 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

The ever censorship-happy Chinese government is limiting foreigners’ access to the Chinese airwaves.

Here’s the story from Science Daily:

People’s Daily, voice of the ruling Communist party, announced rules on “cultural imports,” forbidding “in principle” permission for any more foreign television channels.

The new regulations add weight to Beijing’s recent conservative line on further media opening, the Financial Times said Thursday.

In recent years, China sought to encourage foreign and private investment in the domestic media industry, including joint venture investments for the first time last year.

But, this year Beijing has tightened its limits on such ventures and officials are widely seen as moving more slowly to approve investments.

International media groups such as Viacom and News Corp., working for years to cultivate China’s favor, have only limited operating room.

The renewed caution comes against a backdrop of increased efforts to crack down on political dissidents, rein in Chinese journalists and strengthen censorship of the Internet.


China Bans “Unhealthy” Performances

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 20, 2005 @ 11:13 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

Chinese government officials have banned “unhealthy” artistic performances in an effort to ” make the art performance market develop in a healthy and orderly way.”

New rules state that performances “must not disrupt social order and stability, ruin the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation, spread pornography, superstition or violence, or infringe upon people’s legitimate rights,” nor are they allowed to be “cruel and harmful to actors both physically and mentally.”

Coming soon to a theatre near you (if you’re in China):

Well… nothing.

From the Xinhua news agency.


Banned In Brisbane

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 19, 2005 @ 11:41 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

A US film dealing with pedophilia is facing a ban in Australia.

Mysterious Skin,” currently in limited release in the US, is scheduled to open down under in August. However, some Australian family advocates want the film chucked in to the Indian Ocean.

A spokesman for the Australian Family Association, Richard Egan, said he was concerned after reading the film’s synopsis. Mr Egan thought the film could be used by pedophiles for their own satisfaction or to help them groom children they were planning to abuse.

“Being able to get hold legally of a DVD where they can play the scene over and over again, showing the adult baseball coach fellating an eight-year-old boy … could prove very helpful to some pedophiles.”

The president of the lobby group Watch on Censorship, Margaret Pomeranz, described Mysterious Skin as a mature and moving film.

“This is a film about the damage that pedophilia creates. It’s been so carefully filmed, the impact is on the audience …

“Pedophiles could watch this film and be stricken by remorse. It could be a pedophile-curing film because they’re confronted by the damage they do.”

From the Sydney Morning Herald.


British Diplomat’s Iraq Book Censored

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 19, 2005 @ 11:15 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

A former diplomat to Iraq has been told by British officials that he cannot publish a book that criticizes the US-led invasion of that country.

(He called the war “politically illegitimate.”)

From the Scotsman:

Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who has retired as a diplomat but is still bound by Civil Service rules, has been told by his former employers at the Foreign Office that The Price of War will have to be substantially edited before they will allow it to be published.

The book is also understood to criticise the United States over the post-war occupation.

Sir Jeremy had hoped to publish the book later this year, but he must now remove sections that draw on his private conversations with Tony Blair, the Prime Minister.

Separately, it emerged yesterday that similar Whitehall confidentiality rules are being used to block publication of the diaries of Lance Price, a former Downing Street communications adviser.


Bangladesh to Ban On-Screen Smoking

Posted by Amanda Toering
July 13, 2005 @ 9:58 am
Filed under: CensorWorld

Following in the footsteps of neighboring India, the Bangladeshi government plans to ban smoking on screen or on stage.

The ban — which will come close on the heels of a bar on smoking in public places — will encompass cinema, television and theatrical performances, the New Age daily reported on Tuesday quoting officials of the information ministry.

“We will send letters requesting filmmakers, producers, and the authorities concerned not to allow scenes of smoking in films and stage shows,” said a senior official of the ministry.

“Many non-smokers become smokers to emulate heroes or actors. We want to stop this,” said the official, also a member of the Bangladesh Film Censor Board. The move will discourage young people from smoking, he said.

Filmmakers are divided over the issue of the possible ban, as many seem to think that smoking is often a part of the character of a hero or a villain.

Khurshid Alam Khashru, a filmmaker, “The move is unfair as it is a ban on artistic expression; films are a wrong target in the drive to curb smoking.”

From the New India Press.

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