SpeakSpeak News

9/1/2005

As the World Turns: Bollywood Hijinks

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 09/01/2005 @ 11:32 am

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.

8/4/2005

ABC Banned in Russia

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 08/04/2005 @ 11:40 am

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

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 08/04/2005 @ 10:43 am

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.

7/20/2005

China Bans “Unhealthy” Performances

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/20/2005 @ 11:13 am

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.

7/19/2005

Banned In Brisbane

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/19/2005 @ 11:41 am

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

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/19/2005 @ 11:15 am

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.

7/13/2005

Bangladesh to Ban On-Screen Smoking

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/13/2005 @ 9:58 am

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.

EU Looks at Regulating WebTV

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/13/2005 @ 9:21 am

European Union “Eurocrats” are beginning to seriously think about regulating internet TV in the same way that it regulates traditional broadcasters. Britain’s Ofcom, however, opposes the move. “Whatever happens, it is not appropriate to take the set of rules that apply to television and apply them to other media,” said Ofcom’s Tim Suter.

From the Inquirer:

Internet TV is, at the moment, unregulated in Europe — which means there’s nobody who can shut down or pressure an internet broadcaster for not respecting traditional broadcasting standards such as taste or decency rules. The proposal includes extending certain rules designed to protect children from offensive or obscene material.

Broadcasters will be able to voice their opinions on the paper up until September 5. A draft directive is expended towards the end of 2005.

7/7/2005

Bush Administration Invites Journalists to Gitmo, Censors Journalists

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/07/2005 @ 10:39 am

In an effort to prove that the goings-on at Guantanamo Bay are really out in the open, the Bush Administration invited reporters down to Cuba for a friendly visit, and maybe some good cigars.

CNN took the bait, thrilled to learn that news from Guantanamo wasn’t being censored after all.

Their footage was promptly censored.

Taking up U.S. President George Bush’s challenge for reporters to visit the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, CNN did, but its video was censored.

In response to allegations of prisoner abuse at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, Bush made the challenge in June, and again Wednesday while in Denmark

However, a CNN crew that toured the facility was not allowed to see the worst-behaved inmates, who are kept in a block behind a mesh fence.

The prison holds about 520 prisoners from 44 countries, most of them captured during the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

CNN employees were not allowed to speak to the prisoners, and military censors demanded the crew erase video footage they said would allow viewers to identify a prisoner.

In the hospital wing, one prisoner shouted in English, We take the torture in here, but it was not possible to talk to the prisoner about his allegation, the network said.

From a UPI (!) wire report, reprinted at WebIndia.

Indian Filmmakers to Self-Censor

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 07/07/2005 @ 9:56 am

After years of round-and-round battles with the country’s censorship board, India’s filmmakers have decided to create their own self-regulatory body to review films for content that could get them in trouble.

Indian officials have been cracking down on “obscenity” in films and on film posters. Strangely, the most pressing issue for censors seems to be on-screen smoking. The censorship board recently prohibited the depiction of smoking in films, except in certain situations. (Smoking by historical figures in period pieces is apparently okay, as is smoking in public service announcements decrying tobacco use.)

The self-regulatory panel created by Bollywood denizens will largely be devoted to whether smoking scenes in movies are necessary.

From the Deccan Herald:

“There will be self regulation by the industry itself, and that means writers, directors and producers must review the need for smoking scenes,” said Information and Broadcasting Minister S. Jaipal Reddy.

“It was also unanimously agreed that there is a need for the film and television industry to have a self regulatory body to review issues of social responsibility before submission of films to the Central Board of Film Certification,” Reddy said.

The government would also set up a steering committee comprising representatives from itself, the industry and consumer and social activist groups to take forward the process of consultations on depiction of all issues of societal concerns, he announced.

The industry also suggested that top film stars would give public service advertisements on all issues of societal concern discussed in the workshop, while all films will give disclaimers on smoking scenes before the screening in case there are any under the exceptions permitted.

There’s no question that tobacco-related disease is a serious health problem in India, and health officials should be commended for addressing the issue.

Let’s put it in perspective, though. In that country of over 1 billion people, only 84% have access to safe drinking water. Only 42% of all childbirths take place in the presence of medical staff. And the only thing that keeps HIV/AIDS from being considered a raging epidemic is the fact that no reliable statistics exist; the government claims that new infections have declined by over 90% — NGOs who follow this stuff would be laughing if they weren’t crying. (Sources: NationMaster, OneWorld SouthAsia.)

Censorship of smoking in movies — it’s all smoke and mirrors.

6/29/2005

Tongue Thai’d

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/29/2005 @ 9:54 am

The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international NGO dedicated to worldwide freedom of the press, is shaking its finger at the government of Thailand for censoring politically unpopular websites. The CPJ also says the government is harassing outspoken radio host Anchalee Paireerak.

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MICT) issued an order on June 18 to shut down www.thai-insider.com and www.fm9225.com for allegedly threatening national security and disturbing public order, and for allegedly failing to register the owners’ names properly, according to local and international news reports.

FM 92.25 began streaming programming on its Web site after authorities warned the station in April that its broadcast tower was too high and interfered with aviation communications. After complying with government orders to lower its transmission tower, the station had only limited range on the airwaves.

On June 20, the site’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) refused to carry the Web site, citing the MICT order. One day later, the site found another ISP, which also received the order to discontinue the FM92.25 site. Anchalee, program director and former host of some of its most critical shows, told CPJ today that FM92.25 was streaming its programs through a third ISP.

The government said its attempts to restrict this and other community radio stations were not politically motivated, according to news reports.

More at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Take Care Not to Offend — It’s Offensive!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/29/2005 @ 9:42 am

Australian columnist (and Australian columnist) Janet Albrechsten has brilliantly called for an end to prudery in all its forms.

A current hot topic down under is the reality show Big Brother, which has raised the ire of some primmer Aussies by featuring nudity, hot tub scenes, and some very heavy petting. Albrechsten concurs that the vapid show is stupidly offensive, but says that the censorious, metaphorical Big Brother is much, much worse.

We live in a pusillanimous age where we lack the courage to be censorious over things that matter. Instead, we overdose on censoring things that don’t. For those who haven’t caught up with news in sin city, while the New South Wales Government hands out needles so drug addicts can continue an illegal activity that kills, the same Government is planning to ban a legal beer because of its name.

The beer is called Shag. And NSW Gaming and Racing Minister Grant McBride, says the Government doesn’t want to stop people having a good time, but “to name the product Shag links it directly with sexual intercourse — and that’s not on".

Sound familiar?

Albrechsten argues that the most effective way to prevent sensitive sensibilities from being offended is for the owners of those sensibilities to simply walk away.

Better to let society impose its own form of condemnation by simply turning away (Big Brother viewers have been doing that in droves) or choosing not to buy the beer. If we want to be offended, let us. Governments who presume to be offended on our behalf will invariably get it wrong….

At every turn, there are those who would put the metaphorical Bromide in our tea. They need reminding that offence is a good thing. Society needs to make judgments on a daily basis about everything from distasteful TV shows to tacky slogans. Disapproval should not lead straight to censorship….

It hardly needs saying that just because you fall outside the authoritarian camp, that does not make you a libertine. The trick is to let individuals manoeuvre the middle ground and limit government interference to the extremes, where there is obvious and genuine harm to others, such as snuff movies and child pornography. Being offended by words is not enough to warrant the strong arm of Big Brother.

Brilliant.

From the Australian.

6/27/2005

US Companies Help Iran’s Censors

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/27/2005 @ 11:23 am

Even before last week’s election of hard-liner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran was considered to have some of the most restrictive web censorship in the world.

Iranian citizens are routinely blocked from sites about women’s rights, gay issues, sites with offensive political content, and Western ‘blogs’. This profound anti-freedom is no doubt one of the issues that gets the Bush administration’s sabers rattling.

But before condemning the Iranian censorship (or, for that matter, China’s), the US needs to take a look under its own rug. Much of the “filtering” technology used in Iran has been developed by American companies, reports the New Scientist.

The information was uncovered by an organization called the OpenNet Initiative, whose stated mission is to “investigate and challenge state filtration and surveillance practices.”

The New Scientist reports that OpenNet researchers “remotely accessed computers within Iran’s internet borders to test the restrictions imposed by the government.”

The team used a variety of methods to test the filters — dialling into Iranian ISPs from outside the country, connecting to desktop machines using remote-control software, and routing traffic through dedicated servers within the country.

They found that 34% of the 1465 URLs they tested were blocked, including 100% of the pornographic websites tested. Many gay and lesbian web pages were blocked, as were those hosting politically sensitive content — 15% of blogs and 30% of news sites were inaccessible. Sites providing tools and information for circumventing filtering technology were also blocked in 95% of cases.

OpenNet found that Iran ISPs extensively employ Smart Filter, made by San Jose company Secure Computing.

Secure Computing sheepishly told the New Scientist that Iran was using the software without permission. “Secure Computing has sold no licenses to any entity in Iran,” says spokesman David Burt. “We have been made aware of ISPs in Iran making illegal and unauthorised attempts to use of our software.”

May be true, but Secure Computing’s implication that it has nothing to do with the worldwide business of censorship is a little disingenuous. The company’s website boasts a worldwide presence. And its sales pitch for Smart Filter is the stuff of every cube worker’s nightmares:

SmartFilter® products, including the leading Bess® filtering solution for education, and Sentian™ allow you to control outbound employee access to Web applications, thereby preserving performance so employees can use them productively and efficiently.

6/22/2005

Sixty Years Later, the Story of the Bomb Is Told

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/22/2005 @ 10:03 am

In 1945, reporter George Weller snuck into Japan, despite a nationwide ban on journalism. He wrote about the devestation he found in Nagasaki in the weeks after it was obliterated by US nukes.

His 75-page report so angered Douglas MacArthur that the General ordered the pages destroyed.

Weller died several years ago. His son has recently discovered carbon copies of Weller’s work and has released them for the first time.

It’s a story that should have been told decades ago.

Though thousands of burn victims had died within a week after the attack, doctors were stumped by “this mysterious disease X” which was still killing many Japanese people and also Allied soldiers freed from prison camps a month later.

“In flattened skeletons of the Mitsubishi arms plants is revealed what the atomic bomb can do to steel and stone, but what the riven atom can do against human flesh and bone lies hidden in two hospitals of downtown Nagasaki,” he wrote.

One woman at a hospital “lies moaning with a blackish mouth stiff as though with lockjaw and unable to utter clear words", her legs and arms covered with red spots.

Others suffered from a dangerously high fever, a drop in white and red blood cells, swelling in the throat, sores, vomiting, diarrhoea, internal bleeding or loss of hair, Mr Weller wrote.

The next day, he met a Japanese doctor and X-ray specialist who thought the bomb had showered the population with harmfully high levels of beta and gamma radiation. But nobody could say for sure.

From the Scotsman.

Banned in Ballarat

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/22/2005 @ 9:43 am

The Age, an Austrailian daily, compiles a list of tunes once considered too hot for the down-under airwaves.

It may be no surprise that the squeam-inducing Sex Pistols and Frank Zappa made the list, or that there’s a category for “Rap (various).” But the list is also populated by Billie Holliday; Peter, Paul and Mary; and the Beatles.

Take a peek, then play yourself a dirty song in tribute.

6/16/2005

ABC News Tries to Hide Thimerosal-Autism Link

Filed under  by Eric Jaffa — 06/16/2005 @ 2:27 pm

A story that involves

  • The connection between vaccines and autism
  • The suppression of information by the Bush Administration
  • Bill Frist protecting drug companies from lawsuits, and
  • ABC News cancelling an interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who planned to discuss these things

From the Huffington Post (anonymous, article has been updated since the quote below):

ABC corporate executives at the network’s highest levels ordered three interviews with Robert Kennedy Jr. pulled from ABC News programming.

The interviews all centered around Mr. Kennedy’s investigation of thimerosal, a mercury based preservative, used in vaccines given to children and believed to be responsible for increasing cases of neurological diseases including autism.

Mr. Kennedy’s interviews were slated for prime shows ABC World News Tonight, 20/20, and Good Morning America. Salon.com and Rolling Stone Magazine have exclusive rights to Mr. Kennedy’s article and they embargoed his story on other networks because of his arrangement with ABC.

Mr. Kennedy’s article was published today only in Rolling Stone and on Salon.com. The article links the CDC, FDA and Bill Frist to major drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Wyeth, and Aventis Pasteur that continued to include thimerosal in their vaccines despite studies showing the damage – and death – it caused in humans. In the 1990s the CDC and FDA recommended three additional children’s vaccines laced with thimerosal, totaling twenty two federally recommended immunizations.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has received $873,000 from pharmaceutical companies, tacked on the “Eli Lilly Protection Act” as a rider to a 2002 homeland security bill.

The protection act was later repealed by Congress after a public outcry.

Senator Frist is making another attempt to harbor big pharmaceuticals from families with infected children. He is appropriating the war on terror again by attaching a provision to the “Protecting America in the War On Terror” bill introduced to Congress this past January.

A 2001 Emory University Study watched ABC, CBS, and NBC in the Atlanta area for one week and found 907 advertisements for over-the-counter drugs and 428 advertisements for prescription drugs.

This story shows a CCCP: Corporate Controlled Conservative Press.

ABC is more interested in protecting their sponsors and/or the Bush Administration and/or Senator Bill Frist than in helping prevent autism.

More on vaccines and autism and cover-ups at This Modern World.

UPDATE: ABC News responded to the Huffington Post article by saying, “ABC News is hard at work on that report. We will air when and if we deem it ready.”

So while ABC cancelled three interviews with RFK, Jr., maybe they will air at least one. Or maybe not.

Japanese Artist Fined for Comic Porn

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/16/2005 @ 1:13 pm

Tokyo’s high court has upheld the obscenity conviction of manga artist Motonori Kishi. A lower court had sentenced Kishi to a year in jail, but the high court judge found that penalty too harsh and fined him 1.5m yen instead.

Presiding Justice Kenjiro Tao, while finding the comic book obscene, said the content was not as explicit as photographs and that “a prison term is too severe,” according to Jiji Press.

The case is the first in 20 years to focus on pornography in Japan and no case before had dealt with manga, the popular comic books that often feature lurid sexual themes, Kyodo News said.

While sexually explicit books and magazines are easily available in Japan, a lower court last year found the manga “Misshitsu,” which means “Honey Room,” to be obscene, saying the drawings were too lifelike and did not hide genitalia.

From the Hindustan Times.

6/13/2005

Nepal’s Jails Filling Up with Journalists

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/13/2005 @ 9:42 am

Police in Nepal have arrested another bevy of protesting journalists — this time, 100. Reports Outlook India:

In defiance of a government ban on demonstrations, over 500 scribes under the banner of Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) tried to march towards a restricted area carrying placards which read restore press freedom,” “end press censorship", “restore democratic freedom,” “scrap restrictive press laws", “allow FM radios to broadcast news” etc.

Police intercepted the slogan shouting demonstrators and bundled them into buses, including the President of FNJ Bishnu Nishthuri.

The agitating journalists briefly scuffled with police before being taken away.

“The government not only deployed a large number of riot police but also used civil dressed people and unidentified hooligans to suppress the journalists’ agitation,” said Mahendra Bista, general secretary of FNJ.

“They even misbehaved and attacked us using people in plainclothes,” he claimed.

6/8/2005

Nepalese Journalists Arrested

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/08/2005 @ 11:18 am

In their ongoing protest against King Gyanendra’s shutdown of the press in Nepal, a group of journalists marched on the royal palace this week.

Forty of them were arrested and jailed for advocating for a free press.

From the BBC.

6/7/2005

American Imprisoned in Zimbabwe Released

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/07/2005 @ 11:26 am

An American who was detained in Zimbabwe for violating censorship laws when he filmed the actions of local police has been released.

Chinese Government Orders Websites to Register

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/07/2005 @ 10:34 am

Chinese authorities have ordered all websites and blogs to register with the government, and have imposed stiff fines for those who fail to do so. The new rule requires the creators of private, noncommercial sites to “register the complete identity of the person responsible for the site.”

Reports the Washington Post:

The government has long required all major commercial Web sites to register and take responsibility for Internet content _ at least 54 people have been jailed for posting essays or other content deemed subversive online.

But blogs, online diaries, muckraking Web sites and dissident publishing have been harder to police. According to cnblog.org, a Chinese Web log host company, the country has about 700,000 such sites.

Now, however, the government has developed a new system to track down and close those caught violating the rules, the ministry said.

Think back to the recent New York Times story of a Chinese investigative journalist who could only print his findings of corruption on his own website. He uncovered the story of a local official involved in embezzlement, harassment, and kidnapping.

This is the citizen journalism that China apparently fears.

6/6/2005

Nepalese Journalists Protest Media Gag

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/06/2005 @ 10:03 am

From the AP:

About 200 journalists demonstrated in the Nepalese capital Sunday in the continuing campaign to force the royal government to lift restrictions on the media.

The journalists marched for three kilometers (two miles) waving banners demanding the reinstatement of press freedoms.

King Gyanendra seized absolute power on Feb. 1, declared a state of emergency, and imposed restrictions on the media.

Several newspapers and radio stations have been shut down, hundreds of journalists have lost their jobs, and some were arrested for violating the government’s ban.

Though the emergency measures were lifted in April, the clampdown on the media remains.

At News from Bangladesh, via MediaSavvy.

6/3/2005

Greek Museum Curator in Dutch

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/03/2005 @ 11:40 am

The curator of an Athens art gallery is going on trial for displaying artwork that was “insulting” to the Greek Orthodox church. The painting that landed the Greek in hot water contained religious and sexual imagery.

He faces up to five years in jail for literally hanging a painting on the wall.

From the BBC.

Indonesia Launches “National Movement for Porn-Free Families”

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/03/2005 @ 10:56 am

Apparently spurred by rape and sexual abuse statistics, the Indonesian government is launching a campaign against “pornography and indecency.”

“What we will do is warn families of the dangers of pornography, and educate youth so as improve and strengthen their behavior,” says State Minister of Youth and Sports Affairs Adhyaksa Dault.

[…]

“Our goal is to target children and youth who are still in school, not adult celebrities or others,” the minister said.

People need to be protected from the negative influences of outside cultures, he argued.

The “National Movement for Porn-Free Families” is slated to start by the end of June to fight the rising trend of sexual misconduct. Students in elementary and high schools are the targets.

[…]

State Minister for Women’s Empowerment Meutia Hatta said the campaign would make people aware that pornography could destroy the nation, and that children should understand that pornography was not created for them.

Every mother, she added, should warn her children against any type of pornography or lewdness, such as through short massaging [sic!] services (SMS), the Internet and VCDs.

From the Jakarta Post.

6/2/2005

An American in Zimbabwe

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/02/2005 @ 10:46 am

An American man has been arrested in Zimbabwe for filming the police as they tore down residents’ shacks in informal settlements.

The man was charged with violations of immigration and censorship laws. He faces up to four years in prison.

He was apparently arrested previously for “practicing journalism without a license.”

China Tightens Restrictions on Online Games

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/02/2005 @ 10:40 am

From Reuters:

China is stepping up censorship of online gaming to root out pornography, eliminate threats to state security and to stop youths becoming addicted, Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

Online gaming has exploded in China in recent years, with an estimated 13.8 million people taking part. Chinese media have expressed concern that more and more young people are becoming hooked, taking a heavy toll on their studies.

New industry standards would require developers to amend games that can cause addiction and a group of “quality games” would be recommended, Xinhua said without elaborating. New censorship of online games started in April and would last until September, targeting pornography, gambling, violence and games “threatening state security", Xinhua reported.

See also…

6/1/2005

Freedom of Speech “More Precious” Than Offended Sensibilities, UK Actors’ Union Says

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/01/2005 @ 9:57 am

Branches of the UK Equity actors’ union are telling their parent body to do more about curbing the growing threat of censorship. Locals want the union to set up a committee “to monitor censorship and formulate a response that would defend members and a tradition of freedom of speech.”

Freedom of speech, one delegate pointed out, is “more precious than people being offended.”

While media attention has been focused on high-profile incidents of religious pressure groups attacking shows such as Sikh rape play Behzti in Birmingham and “Jerry Springer: the Opera,” which uses Biblical figures satirically, delegates were warned that family productions such as the Harry Potter movies and BBC ratings winner Doctor Who had also been targeted by clean-up campaigners.

Said one member: “It’s about the small stuff as well. The BBC was criticised for inappropriate words in Doctor Who. Harry Potter employs half the A-list in Equity and yet they get accused of promoting witchcraft and Satanism.”

From The Stage Online.

Ontario Court Says Film Ban Unconstitutional

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/01/2005 @ 9:15 am

The Supreme Court of Ontario has ruled that the province’s practice of banning films is unconstitutional and uncool. The provincial government previously practiced censorship by refusing to allow certain films — the French film “Fat Girl,” for example — to be shown in Ontario.

Ontario will now employ a rating system instead of an outright ban.

From the CBC.

Up In Smoke: India Bans Puff Pics

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 06/01/2005 @ 8:49 am

The Indian government has banned on-screen images of people smoking, saying depiction of smokers glamorizes tobacco use.

The health ministry said distributors and directors would have to show health warnings on screens in old movies and TV shows, whether Indian or foreign, that showed actors smoking.

“(There would have to be a) mandatory display of a prominent scroll containing a health warning in programmes containing scenes with smoking situations that have been produced before this notification,” a ministry statement said on Wednesday.

The new rules also mean names or logos of tobacco products would have to be cut or masked.

Bollywood directors, constantly at war with India’s censorship board, are steamed once again.

“It is an absurd regulation…to ban smoking on screen is ridiculous. It’s a joke taken too far,” filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was quoted in The Times of India as saying on Monday.

Another director, Shyam Benegal, told the newspaper the move would interfere with artistic expression.

“The smoking act comes in handy when you want to develop a character. The ban does not make sense,” Benegal said.

“It is an absurd regulation…to ban smoking on screen is ridiculous. It’s a joke taken too far,” filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was quoted in The Times of India as saying on Monday.

From Reuters.

5/19/2005

Warsaw Mayor Says ‘Nein’ to Gay Pride Parade

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/19/2005 @ 12:16 pm

The mayor of Warsaw has prohibited the city’s annual gay pride parade from taking place for the second year in a row. Among other things, the mayor objects to the date on which the parade was to be held — the day on which he plans to unveil a WWII monument.

“Organising a gay parade on that day is a joke,” Mayor Lech Kaczynski was quoted as saying by the news agency PAP.

The mayor also stated “"I am for tolerance, but am against propagating gay orientation.”

Poland: The country where gayness is sown like a vegetable.

From the Sydney Morning Herald.

5/13/2005

Mumbai Cracks Down on Naughty Movie Posters

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/13/2005 @ 11:05 am

Mumbai (India) officials have long been at odds with the city’s most recognizable industry. (Mumbai is the Hollywood of Bollywood.)

Their newest claim is that racy film posters have been causing traffic jams and fender benders.

They have vowed, again, to take a hard line against movie producers.

5/9/2005

Meet the Filipino Brent Bozell

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/09/2005 @ 12:23 pm

Roberto Lazaro, a columnist for one of Asia’s largest media corporations, is appealing to Filipino TV networks to self-censor. He cleverly couches his appeal in a tribute to mothers. Very Bozellian indeed.

Motherhood means caring for the needs of the physiological needs of the children and of the family. It means nurturing their physical, mental and moral well-being. It means concern for their present and their future. Motherhood is all these and something else besides. That is why we celebrate Mother’s Day to pay tribute to their role in the life of our society and of the whole world.

[…]

These motherhood instincts are to be found in the media’s self-regulating, self-policing principles inherent in the media’s essence of bringing news to the public the way news should be—with a deep sense of media responsibility. And media maturity is—or should be—found in the voluntary creation of control agencies and control measures to which members of the media should also voluntarily submit in the spirit of justice and the common good.

[…]

It is about time that stronger measures were taken by our society beyond what the media can impose on themselves. For if the media could not, who else could?

If the media would not be truly hot on the trail of pornography, then indecency in media entertainment will continue unabated. The moral values of people will continue to deteriorate in the face of the more aggressive promoters of such indecencies. And the irresponsible entertainers will continue making a mockery of the journalistic imperatives of professionalism and integrity.

Read more at ABS-CBN.

4/28/2005

In Sadaam-Free Iraq, On-Screen Sex Popular

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/28/2005 @ 9:50 am

Now that Sadaam’s gone, sexy films are enjoying increasing popularity in Iraq’s cinemas. (And, in turn, Iraqis are enjoying the increasing popularity of sexy films.)

Noori Jameel al-Madfa’i, general manager of the al-Rasheed cinema, said his most popular films are those with sex scenes. He shows these titles three to four days a week, with 150-200 people turning up for each viewing. He said his customers are men between the ages of 17 and 45.

“We can show any film in the hall, as there is no censorship of films from any government parties,” he said.

Ahmed Abdul-Hussein, a Baghdad resident, is in Sulaimaniyah looking for work in construction. In his free time, he sometimes goes to see movies featuring sex scenes.

“I’m here for 15 days, away from my wife,” said Abdul-Hussein, 40, who has four children. “I come to the cinema to see these films to satisfy a few of my sexual desires.”

In the Kurdish Media News.

4/27/2005

Religion’s Renaissance

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/27/2005 @ 9:08 am

The Index on Censorship explores religion’s worldwide rebirth in public life:

Since the Enlightenment, the seemingly relentless march of secular modernism had squeezed religion out of public life and left it, if not dead, then hidden in the private realm. It did not seem too fantastical then to argue, as Nietzsche was doing, that God had ceased to be a reckoning force in the lives of most people.

Two centuries on, and it seems that rumours of the death of God were exaggerated. The recent furores over the broadcasting of Jerry Springer: the Opera and the cancellation of the play Behzti suggest that God, or more accurately religious belief, has made an unexpected return into the public sphere. This is not an exclusively British phenomenon as the murder last year of a Dutch film-maker for producing a film that was considered offensive to Islam vividly demonstrated.

Just as the re-emergence of religion has been pan-national there is a similarly global challenge to the Enlightenment values of rationalism, tolerance and freedom of expression. To try to explore possible strategies for responding to this challenge it is important to explore the origins and characteristics of this new religious revivalism.

Sarfaz Manzoor’s exploration is fascinating stuff: Thou Shalt Not Offend.

4/26/2005

Same Shit, Different Country (Part 47)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/26/2005 @ 10:04 am

The Asian country of Brunei is also grappling with DVD censorship. Some parent groups there are pushing for the censorship of imported videos and DVDs, similar to sanitized versions of films that have recently become a hot topic in the US.

“Uncensored scenes can have a potential snowball effect that will ultimately result in the decay of our society values and cultures,” they said.

They said uncensored sexual scenes could lead to violence against the gentler sex like domestic violence, sexual assaults and rape as a result of such exposure.

Unless censorship can be done, they said the social fabric of the communities will not be rebuilt because of the sexual scenes that had gone into the home.

They said control is very important, as it is the best form of prevention.

“For as long as we have a kind of wrongful exposure in our homes, it’ll weaken our homes, weaken our economies, weaken our countries,” they said.

When it happens there, it’s “censorship.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

From BruneiDirect.com.

4/15/2005

In Some Countries, ‘Censorship by the Bullet’ on the Rise

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/15/2005 @ 9:03 am

‘Censorship by the bullet’ – the murder of journalists or writers whose published works strike a nerve – is becoming increasingly common in some countries.

According to Larry Siems, director of the Pen American Center’s Freedom to Write Program, 245 journalists have been murdered around the world in the past 10 years. Only 35 of those cases have been prosecuted.

More at AllAfrica.com.

4/11/2005

Surgeon/Cop Seeks Cure for ‘Obscenity Virus’

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/11/2005 @ 8:56 am

Mr. Mumbai is at it again.

The Mumbai (India) police commissioner Sanjay Aparanti is ramping up his attempts to cleanse his city of obscenity, including racy ads and movie posters. “I am determined to stop any further spread of the obscenity virus in the city,” said Dr. Aparanti, a trained surgeon at the J.J. Hospital before he joined the police service.

From Cybernoon.com.


4/5/2005

China Bans Pope Talk

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/05/2005 @ 8:53 am

The Chinese government has banned internet discussion of the Pope’s passing.

From the Inquirer (UK).

4/3/2005

Police Commissioner to Rid City of Obscenity

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/03/2005 @ 7:36 am

The deputy police commissioner of one major city (population 13 million) has decided to clean up.

“I have decided [the city] must be rid of obscenity in all walks of life,” declares the commissioner, who then says this exercise will restore respect to women. “It is like my moral responsibility.”

The commissioner explains that every week he gets dozens of calls from parents angry about television reruns and racy billboards. Asked to define “obscenity,” the commissioner reels off a list:

Advertisements that show female models with scanty clothes; film previews full of vulgarity; music albums and remix videos full of vulgarity; film posters full of obscenity; some newspapers regularly carry porn material.

Children are getting badly affected, they believe what’s shown on TV and cinema is normal. Organizations that spot annoying, obscene posters should contact us immediately.

Too close to home?

Don’t worry. We’re not talking about the land of the free (yet). This obscenity crusader is in Mumbai, India.

When it happens in Mumbai, it’s “repression.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

“I have decided to rid Mumbai of all obscenity,” Mumbai Newsline

4/2/2005

More Indian Film Producers Arrested for ‘Obscenity’

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 04/02/2005 @ 10:30 am

In a growing trend, the producers of the Indian film “Zeher” have been charged with obscenity. Their crime? The following image:

Zeher poster

The designer of the poster is also likely to be questioned.

When it happens in India, it’s “repression.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

3/31/2005

Egypt Bans Racy Music Videos

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/31/2005 @ 6:46 am

In a parallel to the Parents Television Council’s attack on MTV’s juvenile taste, Egypt has initiated its own crack down on music videos.

The state censorship committee has banned “music videos that featured sexual connotations and females barely dressed, stressing that that even the words sung by the singers held no meaning and were basically gibberish. The committee refused requests by producers to eliminate some of the inappropriate scenes and allow the clips to be aired, stressing that if singers wanted their songs aired they must reproduce the entire clip in a suitable matter fit to be aired and watched.”

When it happens in Egypt, it’s “repression.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

In Al Bawaba.

3/29/2005

Nepalese Journalists Fight for Free Press

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/29/2005 @ 8:27 am

Journalists in Nepal are rallying in the streets, demanding an end to press censorship and the release of imprisoned journalists. The Nepalese press has been in a state of turmoil since the King deposed his government and claimed absolute power in early February.

The state-run newspaper called the protests “unjustifiable journalistic perversion.”

In the Hindustan Times.

3/28/2005

Russian Art Curators Fined for “Insulting and Blasphemous” Exhibit

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/28/2005 @ 12:55 pm

The New York Times Reports that a Russian court has ruled against a museum director and curator for an art exhibit that some felt was critical of the Russian Orthodox Church. After the installation opened, six men from the Orthodox church stormed the museum and ransacked the exhibit.

Criminal charges against those men were dropped; the issue was tried based on case law that set the foundations for prosecuting artists who “offend the faithful.”

From the New York Times.

India May Okay Foreign Papers

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/28/2005 @ 9:35 am

The Indian government is considering lifting a 50-year ban on the publication of foreign newspapers. While India has not historically banned the sale of foreign news media, it has forbidden foreign papers to be printed in India. Papers printed in neighboring countries are typically delivered during the next day’s news cycle.

“Our mind is now not as closed to the publication of foreign newspapers as it has been,” said S. Jaipal Reddy, minister for information, broadcasting and culture, at a seminar on the newspaper industry on Thursday. “We have not yet taken a view, but the uncertainty should lift within a month or so.”

Lifting the ban on foreign newspapers – will India cross the bridge? (via I Want Media)

3/27/2005

Kiwis Debate Slippery Slope of Free Speech

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/27/2005 @ 11:33 am

No, not that kiwi, or this kiwi.

These Kiwis.

Their government has just passed a law that would ostensibly stiffen child porn laws, but would also place age restrictions on certain material that might be harmful to minors – even if the “harm” only consists of foul language. (See also, Utah.)

Some New Zealanders applaud the law as an effort to protect children. Others worry that the law, as written, could put limits on mere mentions of such controversial topics as homosexuality.

From the New Zealand Herald.

India Revokes TV License for Obscenity

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/27/2005 @ 10:04 am

The Indian government has revoked the license of a television station accused of airing “obscene movies.” Descriptions of the offending content are notable absent from news reports, although a wire service points out that a station was criticized last week for airing footage of a popular actor demanding sex from a TV reporter (who was pretending to be an aspiring starlet).

Meanwhile, India is in the process of creating a government agency to monitor and regulate television content – thus protecting India’s traditionally conservative culture from offensive broadcasts.

When it happens there, it’s “repression.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

From various wire reports.

3/26/2005

Filipino Journalist Killed for Scandalous Articles

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/26/2005 @ 2:57 pm

Marlene Garcia, a columnist for a weekly newspaper in the Phillipines, was at home with her children when a man entered her house, said “Good evening, ma’am,” and shot her.

Her husband told a radio station that Mrs. Garcia had many enemies because of exposés she had written regarding government corruption.

Last year, 13 journalists were killed in the Phillipines.

From the AP. (via MediaDrop)

3/24/2005

China Tightens Grip on Student Forums

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/24/2005 @ 7:03 am

The Chinese government has instituted new restrictions on university student websites as part of a Communist Party campaign to strengthen what it calls “ideological education” on campuses.

The new rules require students to register for forums with their real names and block off-campus users.

A spokesman for one university said that his employer “was adopting measures to clean the Web.”

When it happens there, it’s “repression.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

In the Washington Post.

3/23/2005

Same Shit, Different Country, continued

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/23/2005 @ 9:03 am

Russian conservatives are fighting to prevent the production of an opera at the Bolshoi. The convervatives have not reviewed the libretto of the opera, “Rosenthal’s Children,” but they object to a novel written by the opera’s composer.

Composer Vladimir Sorokin’s novel “Blue Lard” (1999) featured sex scenes starring the clones of Khrushchev and Stalin. Conservatives have made the logical leap that the opera – featuring clones of famous composers – is therefore unfit for the Bolshoi.

“It is offensive. Five great composers are presented as tramps … they play music in underground passageways … they drink vodka. The 16-year-old Mozart is befriending prostitutes,” Russian parliamentarian Sergei Neverov told Reuters.

“The Bolshoi theater is a symbol of Russia – these symbols of Russia should not be defiled by such productions.”

The composer had this to say: “In Russia there are forces that want to return to the past … where culture was like a castrated cat.”

From Reuters.

3/18/2005

Indian Film Producers Arrested for Obscenity

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/18/2005 @ 8:32 am

Three movie producers in India were arrested on obscenity charges this week – because “posters of the movie splashed all over the city are obscene and the catch-line on husband swapping is quite vulgar.”

In the Times of India.

3/16/2005

Report Regarding Presidential Phobia Lands African Reporters in Jail

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/16/2005 @ 7:50 am

In the African nation of Malawi, two journalists have been arrested for reporting on the Malawi president’s fear of ghosts.

They are being held apparently without charge.

From IFEX.

3/14/2005

Romanian Media Mogul De-Secularizes the Airwaves

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/14/2005 @ 7:53 am

Tudor Petan, the head of a Christian broadcasting network in Romania, has some thoughts on how to use television to get through to the heathens.

“God has granted us favor with so many different producers all over the world, and I think this has created a big resurgence for Romania…During this period, I believe God’s strategy for Romania has been promoting Christian values through secular media. Until recently, we didn’t have a Christian channel in Romania. The most effective way to spread the Gospel is through media channel-local TV stations. There are many that we work with, and one channel we work with has national coverage. On an average, in Romania, we now have Christian programming on for a three-hour period per day on a channel that has national coverage.”


More…

India Proposes TV Censorship

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/14/2005 @ 7:33 am

A member of India’s Parliament plans to introduct legislation that would create an autonomous censorship board for private (i.e., not state-owned) television broadcasters.

From Sify News.

3/11/2005

PM Pissed at Kitten Portrayal

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/11/2005 @ 7:28 am

The Prime Minister of Turkey is suing a cartoonist – and the newspaper who publishes him – over a cartoon that portrayed the PM as a kitten tangled up in a ball of yarn. The PM portrays himself as an advocate of free speech, and was once arrested for reading a poem that was deemed “anti-state.”

In The Independent.

3/10/2005

Human Rights Watch Calls on Chilean Govt. to Repeal ‘Disrespectful Speech’ Laws

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/10/2005 @ 3:25 pm

Two-and-a-half years ago, the Chilean legislature introduced legislation to repeal the country’s laws prohibiting speech that “disrespects” the government. The legislation was prompted by the incarceration of Eduardo Yanez, who made the mistake of somehow insulting the Supreme Court.

During the 2+ years of debate, the legislation has been watered down, but it appears to be headed for a vote in the Chilean Senate.

The international organization Human Rights Watch has called on Chilean Senators to start a trend for Latin American countries and get rid of the disrespectful disrespect provisions.

Algerian Rocker: Western Media Are the Worst Censors

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/10/2005 @ 1:07 pm

Algerian pop star Taha has lashed out at Western claims that the Middle East is a wasteland when it comes to free expression.

“Censorship is actually stronger in the West,” he said. “Western leaders lead us to believe we are free to express our views - when actually we’re not. You hear no political songs on the radio in Europe - just Britney Spears and that sort of thing.”

Algerian Star Slams ‘Censorship’

3/8/2005

“Impotency!” Cried the Artiste

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/08/2005 @ 8:47 am

An Indian actor-director has called for the makeover of India’s state censorship board. “The Censor Board should be rid of all the political elements,” he said, “especially from opposition parties who are placed there to be placated. I cannot make a film on a dam site or on a riot. They water it down and make me ineffectual. What I say politically is also shut down in the pretext of protecting the viewer from sex. We have to say what we have to, even if it is a political statement, a viewpoint of a Muslim or a Hindu.

“Compromises,” he said, lead to “the impotency of an artiste.”

When it happens in India, it’s “repression.” When it happens at home, it’s “family values.”

Kamal Haasan Calls Censor Laws ‘Rusty’

3/7/2005

Same Shit, Different Country (Pt. 2)

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/07/2005 @ 1:27 pm

A seminar was held in New Delhi yesterday to discuss how obscenity in the media affects crime. In short, they decided that it does.

One actress/censor board member noted that although ‘obscenity’ is hard to define, “the thumb rule should be that whatever one cannot see with the family can be considered obscene or adult material.”

At WebIndia and Delhi Newsline.

3/5/2005

Bolshoi Opera’s “Morality” Must Be Verified Before Production

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/05/2005 @ 10:18 am

The Russian Government has decided to pre-emptively “verify the morality” of an avant-garde opera to be performed at Moscow’s famed Bolshoi Theatre. The lower house of parliament has voted for a resolution requiring the legislative “culture committee” to fully review the opera before it opens later this month.

According to the legislation’s sponsor, “The Bolshoi should produce the great classic shows such as Giselle or Swan Lake. If it stages modern works, they must be acceptable from a public morality point of view.”

He also stated that the legislation is intended to “send a message.”

When it happens there, it’s “repression.” When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

Agence France-Presse.

3/4/2005

Deja Vu All Over Again

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/04/2005 @ 9:42 am

The debate: Is the movie obscene? Some say “ban it.” Others say “show it.”

Says one observer: “There is an increase in religiosity and evangelism. An inability to distinguish between religion and culture has become the norm.”

Says another: “The church has always supported artistic expression. But when a movie tries to denigrate a community, poison the minds of people, then the church has to step in. It’s not a fight of the clergy. It reflects the sentiments of the community as a whole.”

Sound familiar?

It should. But this one’s from India.

When it happens across the globe, it’s “repression.” When it happens at home, it’s “family values.”

Read “Freeing Speech of Its Sins” in The Times of India.

Tunisia Prepares for Free Speech Conference by Limiting Free Speech

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/04/2005 @ 9:30 am

Tunisia, this year’s host of World Summit on the Information Society, is practicing its censorship skills in preparation of the November conference.

The government has blocked internet access to the opposition Progressive Democratic Party, as well as to Radio Non Grata, a website set up to report on the summit.

The conference is to address, among other things, freedom of expression on the Internet.

When it happens across the globe, it’s repression. When it happens here, it’s “family values.”

Via the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

3/1/2005

No Bull in China’s Shop

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/01/2005 @ 8:13 pm

China plans to toughen its rigorous Internet censorship, filtering all messages sent to chat rooms because “some messages on the Internet are sent by those with ulterior motives".

When it happens across the globe, it’s repression. When it happens here, it’s family values.

Read the whole story.

Banned in Kampala

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 03/01/2005 @ 4:24 pm

The Ugandan government has banned production “The Vagina Monologues,” saying that the hit play promotes illegal, unnatural sexual acts, homosexuality and prostitution.

“It should be, and is hereby, banned,” said the Uganda Media Council.

Uganda, by the way, is considered among the most liberal of the African nations when it comes to matters of sex.

Read more from allAfrica.

And remember: when it happens across the globe, it’s repression. When it happens here, it’s “family values” at its finest!

2/27/2005

India’s Censorship Chairman on Censorship’s Benefits

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/27/2005 @ 10:29 am

Malaysia News Online

2/25/2005

Self-Censorship in Cambodia

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/25/2005 @ 9:19 am

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the editor says his station has reduced its coverage of oppositionists and has been more receptive to official releases from government. He added that the Ministry of Information now wants the station to record all its newscasts and to submit the same to the ministry every month… Meanwhile, the broadcast media is still strictly under government control or influence.

When it’s across the globe, it’s “repression.”

When it’s at home, it’s “family values.”

At International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

India Censor Board Cuts “Harmful” Scenes

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/25/2005 @ 9:07 am

The Film Censor Board of India has scrubbed scenes from the Hindi film “Shabd” because of complaints from the Sikh community that those scenes were “ridiculous and offended the Sikh sentiments.”

The Times of India.

2/24/2005

Big Budget Egyptian Movie Highlights a Changing Society

Filed under  by John Torrey — 02/24/2005 @ 11:22 am

“The controversial, best-selling Egyptian novel The Yacoubian Building describes a country that is corrupt, unfair and thuggish.” NPR’s Robert Siegel reports on how this movie made it past Egyptian censors and becomes the first to portray a gay relationship between two Egyptian men – in this case one of them is a police officer. Although the movie is being made, it may not be a signal that the Egyptian government is shifting to allow more freedom of speech… just freedom of talk, as explained by the book’s author Alaa Al Aswany.

Read and hear the whole story from All Things Considered.

India Proposes Official TV Watchdogs

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/24/2005 @ 9:14 am

“If Information and Broadcasting Minister Jaipal Reddy has his way, television censorship will pass into the hands of an independent Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India… That will mean the panel comprising specialists will have to sift through 15,070 hours of feature films and 20,881 hours of news.”

In the Indian Express.

If it happens across the globe, it’s repression. If it happens at home, it’s “family values.”

How to Speak Up in Nepalese

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/24/2005 @ 9:05 am

After a recent government takeover in Nepal, King Gyandendra shut down the free press and severed telephone communications.

But Nepalese journalists are finding ways around the censorship – through their blogs.

Same Shit, Different Country

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 02/24/2005 @ 8:39 am

Other countries, particularly in Asia, are having censorship battles of their own. Today we bring you a new news category: CensorWorld.

When it’s across the globe, it’s “repression.”

When it’s at home, it’s “family values.”

What’s the difference? You be the judge.

Here’s a report from India:

“Films corrupt, but television corrupts absolutely!” Be it 18-year-old Sangeeta Mohanty from SNDT women’s college or 40 plus housewife Pushpa from Vile-Parle, the blaring depiction of obscenity on the idiot box has become a major cause of societal or behavioural upheaval. “The police should look into the menace as part of the social responsibility,” said Sangeeta Mohanty as more and more womenfolk are worried about the effect of the ‘western disturbance in the name of techno-logical advancement.’ “I call it abuse of technology,” asserted Additional CP Hemant Nagrale who came down heavily on the ‘amount of vulgarity and obscenity being doled on television’ which is having a negative impact on young impressionable minds.

Police role sought to curb obscenity on TV

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