EU Censorship News

 2011: Oct-Dec

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29th December   

Offsite: What the Public Didn't Need to Know...

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Italian journalist whistleblower spotlights RAI news censorship
Link Here  full story: Media Control in Italy...Silvio Berlusconi's media empire under fire

italian journalist spotlights censorship Censorship at RAI is commonplace, says Alberico Giostra, radio newsreader at Italy's public service broadcaster.

Giostra had had his buttons pushed just once too often and decided to post changes made by the editorial desk to one of his news bulletin texts on Facebook.

Now he's facing the consequences.

About two months ago, during former prime minister and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi's final days of rule, Giostra published a photograph of one his radio scripts on his Facebook profile page. A section of the text, written for a news bulletin for Radio Rai 1, was crossed out.

It was about doubts prime minister Berlusconi had expressed to the president concerning the economic crisis and the strength of his government. The bulletin item was based on news from various sources -- two news agencies and two national newspapers. But it contradicted the words Berlusconi fed to the public -- that only his government was capable of leading the country through the crisis. The editor-in-chief didn't think the public needed to know about that.

...Read the full article

 

23rd December   

Toppling PC Towers...

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The Lacoste art prize cancelled over political sensitivities
Link Here

nation estate larissa sansour The Swiss Lacoste art prize worth 25,000 euros has been cancelled amid controversy that the organisers censored one of the nominees.

Jerusalem-born artist Larissa Sansour claims she was taken off the shortlist for being too pro-Palestinian .

The Elysee Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland said it was the prize's sponsors, clothing company Lacoste, who decided to exclude Sansour.

Lacoste denied the accusation and withdrew their sponsorship.

Sansour was among eight finalists shortlisted for the photography prize for her Nation Estate project. Her trio of images was inspired by Palestine's attempt to gain UN recognition and depicts a skyscraper housing the entire Palestinian population.

The news of her removal earlier this week came as a complete surprise, she said. Sansour told The Independent she had been told by senior staff at the museum that the reason for her removal was allegedly because her work was considered by Lacoste to be too pro-Palestinian .

Organisers released a statement saying her work had been deemed inappropriate for the prize, which had a Joie de Vivre (joy of life) theme.

 

23rd December   

Updated: Denied by Turkey...

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France debates bill to criminalise the denial of the Armenian Massacre
Link Here

Armenian Massacres 1894 1896 Media Testimony Turkish President Abdullah Gul has called on France to halt plans for a law criminalising the denial of the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I as genocide.

The French lower house of parliament is due to consider a bill that proposes a one-year prison term and a heavy fine.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million people died during mass deportations. Turkey puts the figure at closer to 300,000.

In a statement, President Gul said the proposed legislation, set to go before the National Assembly on Thursday, denied Turkey the freedom to reject unfair and groundless accusations . He also suggested that France was jeopardising centuries of friendship because of small political calculations .

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote to French President Nicolas Sarkozy warning him that bill was hostile and directly targeted Turkey and Turks living in France. Such steps will have grave consequences for future relations between Turkey and France in political, economic, cultural and all areas, and the responsibility will rest with those behind this initiative, the Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

A delegation of Turkish MPs and businessmen has travelled to Paris to lobby against the bill and was due to meet Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser, Jean-David Levitte, and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

Update: Passed

23rd December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Turkey flag The Turkish prime minister has announced measures against France after MPs passed a bill criminalising denial of the 1915-16 Armenian genocide .

Ankara is recalling its ambassador and freezing political visits as well as joint military projects, including exercises, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The bill was passed by the French National Assembly on Thursday and is due to go before the Senate next year.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe has publicly opposed it.

Under the bill, those publicly denying genocide would face a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros.

 

18th December   

For Old Times' Sake...

Czech public TV broadcaster under the spotlight for political censorship
Link Here

Czech Republic flag Controversy has not been far away from the new director of the Czech public TV broadcaster Czech Television (CT), Petr Dvorak, since his appointment at the end of September.

First it emerged he had lied about not ever being a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC), then he visited his former boss and friend Czech oligarch, Petr Kellner, just days after appointment, and now he faces allegations by CT reporters that there have been several cases of interference by the management into investigative reports into sensitive political cases.

In recent days we here [in CT] have witnessed the termination or shortening of several sensitive reports, a CT editor, who did not want to be named for fear of dismissal, told the daily Mlada fronta dnes (MfD).

According to CT staff, the management also blocked the news team from reporting that President V'clav Klaus pres officers refused to allow CT journalist Jan Molacek to pose a question to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at the press conference during his visit to Prague on November 8, because he refused to guarantee that he would not ask about the disputed Russian parliamentary elections held on December 4.

 

16th December   

Fine Words...

EU looks to assist internet users to evade repressive state control of the internet
Link Here

EU flag The European Union should help teach bloggers living under oppressive regimes how to communicate freely and avoid detection, and develop technology to help them, the bloc's digital affairs commissioner has said.

Speaking at an online free speech conference, Neelie Kroes said digital dissidents need tools that are simple and ready-made. I want the EU to help develop and distribute these tools .

Governments, companies and civil liberties groups are meeting at the Freedom Online conference at the Dutch Foreign Ministry in hopes of creating a coalition of like-minded groups to promote Internet freedoms.

In an emotional speech, Syrian blogger Amjad Baiazy said his country's surveillance system was built by Western countries. He said he was arrested and tortured in May for expressing his opinion online, and a friend was arrested as recently as this week for a Facebook posting. He called on governments to fight for security of citizens, not corporations or governments. Sometimes there's a big gap between the security of governments and the security of citizens.

Dutch member of parliament Marietje Schaake pointed out the Intelligence Support Systems conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is essentially a marketplace for governments and others interested in surveillance technology.

Schaake also slammed the U.S. for its proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, which would require U.S. telecommunications companies to block access to foreign-based websites for infringing on U.S. copyrights. This will give great incentives to governments like China to do the same, she said, blocking political speech they don't approve and arguing that their censorship practices are no different than those in the West.

The Dutch government pledged euro1 million ($1.3 million) to develop mesh networks that use multiple local connections to eliminate the need for state controlled internet pinch points such as ISPs and the DNS system.

 

15th December   

Gravity...

Council of Europe make vague statement against internet censorship
Link Here

Council of Europe flag Foreign ministers from around Europe have come out against online censorship and political pressure on providers of social networks and other communication tools.

In a statement, the Council of Europe's decision-making body, the Committee of Ministers, said new media tools had become crucial to civil society representatives, whistleblowers and human rights defenders. The committee said such facilities had become a significant part of the public sphere , despite being privately operated.

The committee particularly warned of the dangers of political influence and politically motivated economic compulsion on those operating such services, or those hosting websites with sensitive content:

Direct or indirect political influence or pressure on new media actors may lead to interference with the exercise of freedom of expression, access to information and transparency, not only at a national level but, given their global reach, also in a broader international context. Decisions concerning content can also impinge on the right to freedom of assembly and association.

The purpose of the statement, the committee said, was to underline the gravity of the situation and the need for people to comply with articles in the European Convention on Human Rights that back freedom of expression and information.

 

13th December   

Gambler Tries his Luck for a Bumper Payout...

Poker addict sues French Government for not blocking him from gambling websites
Link Here

Strike it Lucky in court A French gambling addict is suing the government for 100,000 euros because it failed to prevent him from accessing online poker sites, his lawyer said.

Under French law people can register with the ministry to be banned from casinos and from being allowed access to Internet gambling sites, which must consult the ban list before allowing players to sign up.

The man registered with the interior ministry last year to be voluntarily banned from casinos and online gambling sites, but was still able to access them, lawyer Emmanuel Ludot told AFP.

 

12th December   

The Appeal of Razzle...

Irish book censors formally unban men's glamour mags
Link Here

ireland dept jutsice equality logo As of last week the following publications are freely and legally available in Ireland: Razzle, Mayfair, Men Only, Escort and Club International.

You may have assumed that such publications are already available in Ireland, since the general lifting of the ban on high-street pornography in the mid-Nineties. However, these have all been hit with specific bans going right back to 1935 when Razzle first started publishing.

Anyway, as of last week, these publications will be available here. They may have been sold anyway, but the publishers decided to regularise the whole thing and appealed to the Censorship of Publications Appeals Board (CPAB). This is a five-person State body, chaired by solicitor Paula Mullooly, and whose members (four women and one man) go unpaid for their curious task. This is the first time the CPAB has met since 2005.

Irish Book Censorship

See article from justice.ie

Censorship of publications is governed by legislation and administered by two voluntary boards appointed by the Minister for Justice and Equality:

  • the Censorship of Publications Board, which was established under the Censorship of Publications Act 1929

  • the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board, which was established under the Censorship of Publications Act 1946

Any person may make a complaint to the Censorship of Publications Board.

A prohibition order may be appealed to the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board by

  • the author, editor or publisher of the publication or

  • any five members of the Oireachtas acting jointly

The appeal board may affirm, revoke or vary a prohibition.

Register of Prohibited Publications [pdf]  is maintained by the Censorship of Publications Board.

 

10th December   

Update: Out of Sight Out of Mind...

Germany strikes off unused law enabling website blocking for child abuse images
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

berlin reichstag Germany's lower house of Parliament has repealed a law enabling website blocking iof websites containing child pornography.

The Bundestag's 2009 law enabled a list of sites compiled by Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office to be blocked by ISPs.

However the law was denounced as soon as it was passed and the repeal process was put into effect.

The criticism was that internet blocks are easy to work round via proxies and that putting them on a blocked list rather lets such websites off the hook, as they have seemingly been dealt with. And of course the websites are effectively vanished to decent folks, so there will be no further complaints for the authorities to act upon.

The only way to prevent such sites from being viewed is to delete them, Internet expert Jimmy Schulz said, by alerting the individual Internet service providers.

 

7th December   

Unconvinced by Research...

The Swedish Media Council finds no evidence that computer games cause aggressive behaviour
Link Here

statens medierad logo A new report from the Swedish Media Council comes to the conclusion that there's no conclusive evidence that there is no evidence that violent computer games cause aggressive behavior .

The Media Council is a Swedish government agency in charge of film and media classification and whose mission statement is to reduce the risk of harmful media influences among minors and to empower minors as conscious media users.

The findings are based on a review of more than 100 articles about violent games and aggression which have been published in international scientific journals since 2000. The review found that there is a clear and statistically significant link between violent games and aggressive behavior. But the review also found that many of those same studies use different methods to measure aggression, and few produced a clear connection to violent behavior. Many of those same studies suffered from serious methodological deficiencies and didn't provide sufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship.

The studies that did attempt to examine other causes of aggression found that factors such as poor physical health or family problems were factors that lead to violent behavior and a propensity to play violent games.

If research can't provide any simple answers about how games make children aggressive, perhaps we adults should stop judging the games children play based on whether they are violent or not, Media Council researcher Ulf Dalquist said in a statement.

 

4th December   

Fifteen Years Behind the Times...

German censors pass the video game Quake
Link Here

Namco Replay Quake Jewel Case Quake , id Software's 1996 classic, has been removed from Germany's list of 'indexed' titles, a category created by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM) which makes games commercially unmarketable.

The decision follows in the footsteps of the recently rated DOOM and DOOM 2.

Bethesda Softworks told joystiq.com that the censors at BPjM allow appeals against 'indexing' after 10 years.

 

4th December   

Brains that Could Pass Through the Eye of a Needle...

Spanish Customs ban rugby biography over the word 'needle' in the title
Link Here

Fred Needle Untold Story Allen A book about legendary All Black coach Sir Fred Allen has been seized by Spanish customs apparently due to the dumb assumption that the word 'needle' in the title is related to illicit drugs.

Les Watkins, who co-wrote the biography Fred The Needle , sent two copies of the book to Benidorm in Spain. He explained:

Apparently, the authorities there have clamped down on books believed to contain pornography or other undesirable material.

As far as we can work out, they pounced on the word 'needle' in the title, assuming it must be somehow linked to drugs being injected.

The books were first returned to New Zealand in early November with a bill for return postage.

On November 10 Watkins tried again, spending another $70 to resend the books.  By November 28 the books still had not arrived, but NZ Post had picked up the story and tracked the books to the Spanish customs department, where they had been impounded.

Pesumably hoping that press interest would make bring Spanish Customs to their senses, Watkins said: With any luck, he might get the books by Christmas.

 

3rd December   

Cover Up...

Italian state broadcasters ban the use of the word condom during World Aids Day
Link Here

condoms Italy's state TV and radio network is at the centre of a censorship row after a manager instructed staff not to mention the word condom during programmes about World Aids Day on Thursday.

In an email to staff, reported by Italian daily Corriere della Sera, manager Laura De Pasquale wrote that Italy's health ministry had requested that in no broadcast should the word condom be explicitly mentioned. We must limit ourselves to the generic concept of prevention in sexual behaviour and the need to undergo HIV testing in the case of potential risk.

The leaked email brought outrage from gay rights groups and a prompt denial from the network, which claimed it had never given such indications , while the health ministry, which backed a series of radio programmes on the RAI network on Aids, said it had nothing to do with the alleged ban either.

However one of the experts for the day, Rosaria Iardino, did in fact discuss condoms on air, but said:

When I asked RAI if I could speak about condoms they told me the programmes were only about testing and that I could only mention condoms in a strictly personal capacity, not as a member of a ministry committee.

I ignored them, started talking about it, and they quickly said my time had run out.

 

30th November   

Update: Censor Island...

German games censors ban Dead Island
Link Here  full story: Killergames...German politicians target video games

Deep Silver Dead Island DVD The computer game Dead Island has been banned in Germany.

Speaking to GameIndustry.biz Germany, a Techland spokesperson said that they expected this to happen:

This isn't unexpected. Germany has its unique regulations regarding video games and violence and the industry can only comply.

Germany's Federal Department of Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPJM) classified Dead Island as List B. Such games cannot be sold anywhere in Germany, and anyone caught doing so can face legal action. Importing retailers run the risk of cargo being seized at German customs if they attempt to bring the game into the country.

The BPJM also didn't explain why Dead Island was banned in the country, but that is the norm for most bans.

Publisher Koch Media avoided German restrictions to some extent by distributing the German language version of the game in Austria.

 

26th November   

War on Google...

Max Mosley demands Google censorship in support of his war on newspaper exposes
Link Here

Google logoMax Mosley's legal attempt to force Google in France and Germany to act as a self-appointed censor and remove controversial material ahead of any formal court order, would fundamentally alter the web , according to a leading free-speech pressure group.

Mosley won a 60,000 privacy action against the News of the World following a libellous story that wrongly alleged a Nazi-themed orgy with five prostitutes, is suing the leading internet search company in Germany and France, and is legally active in 20 other jurisdictions. All actions aim to remove any link to the NOTW article and video.

The Index on Censorship claimed the legal action by Mosley showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of search engines. Padraig O'Reilly, news editor, said: Search engines are not publishers and cannot be held responsible for everything on the web.

Google has already delisted hundreds of links to the NOTW article.

 

22nd November   

Rihanna Spanked by French TV Censors...

Supporting the hype for Rihanna's We Found Love
Link Here

we found love video Rihanna's latest music video, We Found Love , has been banned by French censors after they ruled that it contained images of self-destructive behaviour.

The video, which stars British boxer/model Dudley O'Shaughnessy details the story of a couple's troubled relationship and features Rihanna smoking cigarettes, shoplifting and being slapped on the bottom.

According to WENN.com, officials at the Supreme Audiovisual Council of France have decided that the video is too explicit to be shown on daytime television and can only be shown after 10pm.

The video also features scenes shot in the Northern Ireland when the landowner recently got heated up about the sexy content.

No doubt the video will also get tagged in the UK as post watershed only. probably most other countries too.

 

22nd November   

Offsite: Hungary...

How not to regulate the press
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Index on Censorship logoAt the heart of the new media law is a requirement to protect the audience from insult, threats to public morality, and hatred whether against a minority, or the majority. Its terms are broad and the grounds for investigation by the Media Authority uncertain.

As Dr Judit Bayer points out, the law may restrict any critical statement about any person or organisation . Even defamation of religions is now an actionable offence.The media code embodies a wide set of protections for the audience.

This includes an obligation for broadcasters to warn viewers before the transmission of any image or sound effects in media services that may hurt a person's religious, faith-related or other ideological convictions or which are violent or otherwise disturbing .

...Read the full article

 

18th November   

The World has a Seizure...

The EU comes out against new SOPA law enabling the US to seize domain names worldwide
Link Here

eff The European Parliament has adopted a resolution which criticizes domain name seizures of infringing websites by US authorities.

According to the resolution these measures need to be countered as they endanger the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication. With this stance the European Parliament joins an ever-growing list of opposition to the proposed US law called Stop Online Piracy Act .

Starting in 2010, US authorities have used domain name seizures as a standard tool to take down websites that are deemed to facilitate copyright infringement.

Despite fierce criticism from the public, legal experts and civil liberties groups, taking control of domain names is now one of the measures included in the pending Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), legislation designed to give copyright holders more tools to protect their rights against foreign sites.

Opposition to SOPA has been swelling in recent days, and today the European Parliament adds its voice by heavily criticizing the domain seizures that are part of it. A resolution on the EU-US Summit that will be held later this month stresses the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names.

If SOPA does indeed become law the US would be able to shut down domains worldwide, as long as they are somehow managed by US companies. This includes the popular .com, .org and .net domains, and thus has the potential to affect many large websites belonging to companies in EU member states.

 

16th November   

Update: Take Downs, Blocking and Prison...

The Council of the EU accepts directive with various measures for the protection of children
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

consilium logo logoThe Council of the EU has adopted a directive aimed at combating sexual abuse and exploitation of children as well as child pornography.

The directive will harmonise around twenty relevant criminal offences, at the same time setting high level of penalties.

The new rules which have to be transposed into national law within two years also include provisions to fight against online child pornography and sex tourism. They also aim to prevent convicted paedophiles moving to another EU member state from exercising professional activities involving regular contacts with children. Finally, the directive introduces measures to protect the child victim during investigations and legal proceedings.

Concerning online child pornography, the text obliges member states to ensure the prompt removal of such websites hosted in their territory and to endeavour to obtain their removal if hosted outside of their territory.

In addition, member states may block access to such web pages, but must follow transparent procedures and provide safeguards if they make use of this possibility.

Job vetting will also extend to a European wide level with a reliable check for EU nationals when applying for jobs related to the care of children.  In addition, within the EU, higher protection of children will be achieved once member states implement the directive and fully commit themselves to circulate data on disqualifications from their criminal records. It is currently very difficult to clear foreign EU nationals when applying for jobs related to the care of children.

 

16th November   

Moral Crime...

EU ban a film they commissioned to highlight injustice of an Afghan woman imprisoned for being raped
Link Here

Loves Crimes Kabul Tanaz Eshaghian The European Union has blocked the release of a documentary titled: In-Justice: The Story of Afghan Women in Jail directed by Clementine Malpas. The film highlights the plight of women who are in jail for so-called moral crimes .

The EU says it decided to withdraw the film - which it commissioned and paid for - because of very real concerns for the safety of the women portrayed .

Half of Afghanistan's women prisoners are inmates for zina or moral crimes. Some of the women convicted of zina are guilty of nothing more than running away from forced marriages or violent husbands. Human rights activists say hundreds of those behind bars are victims of domestic violence.

Amnesty International says it is important to lift the lid on one of Afghanistan's most shameful judicial practices .

The documentary told the story of a 19-year-old prisoner called Gulnaz. After she was raped, she was charged with adultery. Her baby girl, born following the rape, is serving her sentence with her.

At first my sentence was two years, Gulnaz said, as her baby coughed in her arms. When I appealed it became 12 years. I didn't do anything. Why should I be sentenced for so long?

But for Gulnaz there is now the hope of freedom. Her name is on a list of women to be pardoned, according to a prison official, but as she has no lawyer, the paperwork has yet to be processed. Gulnaz's pardon may be in the works because she has agreed - after 18 months of resisting - to marry her rapist.

Banned on grounds of danger for those that contributed

See article from google.com

Associated Press throw some light on the humanitarian reasons for the ban. AP obtained transcripts of the interviews in which the women gave consent to take part if the film were only shown outside the country. The EU maintained there was still a risk the film could end up on the Internet, making it available inside Afghanistan.

The filmmakers argue the matter should be left to the women to decide. Any potential risk to the women must be balanced against their clear and express wish to tell their stories, and we have obtained their informed consent to do so, said the director, Clementine Malpas ... Ultimately, it is their decision, and we admire their clear-eyed courage to speak out. It is not for us to veto their voices.

HBO have aired a similar film

See article from icplaces.com

HBO aired Love Crimes of Kabul in July. It tells the story of an Afghan women's prison and the 50% of inmates who are held there for moral crimes .

Love Crimes of Kabul deals directly with Badam Bagh Women's Prison and the ladies that are imprisoned for defying the moral codes of a region. It is directed by Iranian-American Tanaz Eshaghian.

Eshaghian found three particular subjects that provide intimate looks into the moral struggle that wages on in Afghanistan and elsewhere in that part of the world. Each of the ladies faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted and all are currently awaiting trial.

Marriage in the country is still mostly an arranged affair and thus all three circumstances revolve around that practice.

Kareema, Aleema, and Sabereh are all under the age of 22. Kareema's boyfriend got her pregnant, Aleema ran away from an abusive home and was accidently sold to an undercover cop by the women she was staying with, and Sabereh was found in the closet with a boy by her father.

  • Rape Victim released after 'agreeing' to marry the rapist

  • 4th December 2011. See  article from  rferl.org

    Aghan President Hamid Karzai has pardoned an Afghan woman serving a 12-year prison sentence for adultery after being a victim of rape.

    Karzai's office released a statement saying the woman and her attacker agreed to marry.

  • Maybe not agreeing to marry the rapist

  • 5th December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    An Afghan rape victim who was jailed for adultery does not have to marry her attacker to be freed, her lawyer has told the BBC.

    Lawyer Kimberly Motley says this was clarified personally to her by President Hamid Karzai's office.

    Karzai pardoned the woman, named as Gulnaz, earlier this week, but some reports had said this was on condition that she married her attacker.

    On Friday, Ms Kimberly said that 21-year-old Gulnaz would be released with no pre-conditions and would then be free to marry whomever she chooses.

    Update: Freed

    18th December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    An Afghan woman jailed for adultery after a relative raped her has been freed, her lawyer has told the BBC.

    The woman, known only as Gulnaz, was released on the orders of President Hamid Karzai, who pardoned her earlier this month.

    Her lawyer told the BBC that she was released without precondition, dispelling fears that she may have to marry her attacker.

     

    6th November   

    Patterns of Force...

    German TV finally shows the Nazi episode of the original Star Trek
    Link Here

    Star Trek Original Episode Patterns More than 40 years after it was filmed, an episode of Star Trek in which Spock and Captain Kirk dress up as Nazis has been shown in Germany for the first time.

    The Patterns of Force episode was never screened over sensitivities to anything Nazi.

    Broadcaster ZDF chose to schedule it after 10pm and warned viewers that no-one under the age of 16 should see it. In Britain the video is rated 'U'. Suitable for all.

    In the episode the Starship Enterprise visits planet Ekon where the citizens have begun behaving like Nazis. The swastika is displayed throughout the episode. The people of Ekon attempt to wipe out the nearby planet Zeon suspiciously sounding like 'Zion'. The people of Zeon are also referred to as Zeonist pigs in the controversial episode.

    Spock and Kirk steal uniforms to infiltrate the regime. The characters are surprised that such a culture could have developed on the planet. No doubt Kirk put the world to rights with a rousing speech or two. Pity he wasn't around 75 years ago.

     

    2nd November   

    Offsite: Maniacs at the FSK...

    Director Tim Sullivan comments on his trouble at the German film censor
    Link Here

    2001 Maniacs Field Screams Extreme Tim Sullivan, director of  2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams was sent the official cuts list with 15 edits and the following explanation from the German film censors of FSK:

    (Comments by Tim Sullivan)

    This film is a mix of Trash, Splatter und Slasher-Horror-Comedy . (EXACTLY!) The comical intention to show everything as a sharp satire and the breaking of every single taboo is quickly recognizable. (Wait a minute, you DO know what we're up too!) All sequences follow this principle, even with the consequence to show every action or character in a sexual way. (Um, sex and horror kinda go hand in hand, Herr Censor. Or didn't you know that?) .

    The sequences are filled with racist commentaries while references to the civil war are made. There are jokes about Jews as well as degrading and cynical comments about races and minorities to emphasize the slaughterings. (DUH!!!! This is a SATIRE about racism and the way the conservative factions stereotype the liberal factions- and vice versa!)

    There are human body parts for dinner and lots of sex. (Always a good combo!) The road trip is an orgy of terror in which sex and violence are directly connected. The killings are celebrated in epic proportions as one huge party. (That would actually make a great tagline!)

    The style of the film celebrates violence as lustful. Revenge is the primary motive as well as raping the innocent for pure self satisfaction. The film goes beyond any taboos and connects sex directly with violence. (That's the point, for God's sake! That's what the Maniacs are all about! That's why they are called, well... MANIACS!) The destruction of human life and bodies is shown just for the sake of it.

    In this movie all borders are crossed and this might cause desensitizing and brutalizing of the youth.

    ...Read the full article

    The UK release was uncut by the BBFC for:

     

    2nd November   

    EU Controls...

    EU Commissioner looks for all internet devices to have installed parental controls
    Link Here

    EU flagThe EU Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has called for all Internet-connected devices to be produced with parental controls installed by default.

    In a speech to the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg, Kroes praised existing self-regulation initiatives but put forward a list of measures for industry to implement in the next 18 months:

    • children should be able to easily report abusive content, cyber-bullying or grooming using a single-click system;
    • children's profiles on services like social networking sites should be set to privacy by default;
    • Internet-connected devices should have parental controls installed also by default;
    • age-rating and content classification systems need expansion and improvement

    It is not yet clear whether installed by default is intended to mean installed and activated by default . It is also unclear what sort of parental controls Kroes has in mind, whether parental control software installed on home computers and under the complete control of the user, or internet blocking implemented at the network level.

     

    30th October   

    Update: Culturally Backward Malta...

    A country who can't even stage well respected plays without censor hassle, seeks to become the European Capital of Culture 2018
    Link Here  full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded

    Snake Fridge Play Brad Fraser Internationally acclaimed playwright Brad Fraser has joined local artists in questioning whether a country that bans plays and prosecutes writers for obscene literature deserves consideration for European Capital of Culture 2018.

    Fraser, whose critically acclaimed works include Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love , argues that countries which actively censor plays and other works of art or literature should be disqualified from such accolades.

    There is no place for artistic censorship in a civilized society. Any country that stifles the alternative ways of looking at the world is undeserving of any creative recognition at all. Adults are completely capable of deciding for themselves what they do or don't want to see. Censorship is the first sign of a corrupt regime.

    Fraser's objections are largely connected to the controversial ban on Andrew Nielson's play Stitching in 2009: deemed too offensive to be staged locally by Malta's Stage and Film Classification Board (though less than a year later, the same play was staged with a 14+ age certificate at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival).

    Other recent examples include productions like Christopher Durang's Laughing Wild , Howard Brenton's Paul , The Reduced Shakespeare's Company's The Abridged Bible , Patrick Marber's Closer and A Day In the Death of Joe Egg by Peter Nichols, all of which have suffered at the hands of the national censors.

     

    29th October   

    Update: Take Downs, Blocking and Prison...

    European Parliament approves new measures against online child porn
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

    European Parliament logo The European Parliament has approved new rules that will implement tough penalties for offences related to child porn online. The resolution was adopted by the European Parliament with 541 votes in favor and two against.

    The directive will require EU countries to remove child porn websites or allow them to block access to those pages. EU member states will have two years to make the rules into national law.

    The new rules will outline requirements on prevention, prosecution of offenders and protection of victims and

    Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection Executive Director Tim Henning said:

    It covers all the major bases and will make it less difficult for EU authorities to prosecute these heinous crimes against children. It will also help to reduce the proliferation and consumption of child pornography content.

    But he noted one troubling aspect of blocking suspected website pages:

    This needs to be completely transparent in order to prevent EU territories from blocking legal adult entertainment that may be mistaken for illegal child porn. The directive has stated this will be the case.

    The rules set out penalties for about 20 criminal offenses. For instance, coercing a child into sexual actions or forcing a child into prostitution will be punishable by at least 10 years in prison. Child pornography producers will face at least 3 years, and viewers of online child pornography will face at least 1 year.

     

    27th October   

    Update: Outrageous but not Hateful...

    French appeals court confirms the acquittal of a man charged with inciting racial hatred over a Koran burning video
    Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

    France flag A French appeals court has confirmed the acquittal of a man accused of inciting racial hatred after posting an Internet video of himself burning a Koran and then urinating on it.

    Ernesto Rojas Abbate was arrested in October 2010 after posting footage of himself wearing a devil mask and tearing pages from the Islamic holy book before setting it on fire and later urinating on it to extinguish the flames.

    Prosecutors, who had been seeking a three-month suspended sentence and 1,000 euro ($1,400) fine, appealed after a court acquitted him in May on charges of inciting racial hatred.

    The appeals court ruled that, while the video was wilfully outrageous and deliberately provocative , there was no evidence Rojas Abbate had intended to arouse feelings of hostility... aimed at provoking discrimination, hate, or violence towards Muslims.

    His lawyer, Renaud Bettcher, hailed the ruling, saying: In a secular and republican society, it is incomprehensible that my client was prosecuted. Blasphemy does not exist in France.

     

    27th October   

    Update: A Picture Paints a Poignant Word...

    Frenchman sues Facebook for taking down his account over a classic nude art posting
    Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

    lorigine du monde by gustav courbet A Frenchman is suing Facebook under human rights laws for deleting his account after he posted a famous painting of nude woman as his profile picture.

    The father-of-three used an image of an explicit 19th century oil by Gustave Courbet called l'Origine du Monde (The Origin Of The World) on the social networking site.

    But he claims he missed messages and social contact from his 800 Facebook friends when the page was taken down.

    He has now launched legal action in a Paris court demanding the site pay him £ 18,000 in damages for barring his access.

     

    27th October   

    So What Would Ofcom Have Made of This?...

    Government hate speech censor considers religious call to murder on Swedish Radio
    Link Here

    swedish chancellor of justice logo Sweden's government hate speech censor has been adjudicating on religious nastiness.

    The case was about the Swedish public service broadcaster Sveriges Radio featuring a programme in which a Somali imam called for all converts from Islam to be killed.

    The Swedish Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern) cleared the programme of hate speech after the presenter mildly reminded the imam that they were in Sweden. To which the imam had replied that the same rules apply here.

    The decision said that the programme features opinions that could be taken as a threat against those who have converted from Islam . However, due to the responses from the presenter, the Chancellor has decided not to investigate the matter further.

    The programme in question was a panel discussion and was broadcast live by SR International's Somali service.

    The initial police report was filed by Erik Johansson, at the Swedish Evangelical Mission about words underlining every Muslim's responsibility to kill anyone who leaves Islam. Johansson also contacted Sveriges Radio complaining that the item was left available on their website for more than two weeks. Soon after his telephone call the programme was removed from the website.

     

    26th October   

    Sickly Skinny...

    Super thin doll catches the eye in Sweden
    Link Here

    defa lucy mermaid princess A Swedish toy shop has pulled a sickly skinny doll from store shelves following Facebook complaints from 'shocked' parents concerned over the supposed effect the doll might have on children.

    When Marja-Liisa Luther took her daughters to Swedish toy chain Barnens Hus last week she was 'shocked' to find a doll skinny enough to make Barbie look overweigh.

    Luther grabbed hold of some of the other parents nearby asking them for their opinion and then picked up her phone and snapped a picture of the emaciated doll. When she got home Luther uploaded the image to Facebook and caught press attention with her postings.

    I am really pleased people have reacted. It shows that they care about these things, Luther said. She is convinced that children are influenced by the toys they play with: Kids who play with the doll will identify with it. They might feel that it is natural to be super-skinny and think 'Well, maybe this is the way I should look too' .

    The doll in question is called Defa Lucy Mermaid Princess and was being retailed in six of the Barnens Hus stores in Sweden. However, after the media 'storm' the doll was removed from the shelves .

     

    25th October   

    Without Balls...

    Spanish distributors cut key lesbian scenes from Without Men
    Link Here

    Without Men DVD Region NTSC Without Men is an R Rated comedy about a remote Latin American village that is left without men after all the male folk were press ganged into a civil war. It stars Eva Longoria and Christian Slater.

    According to a film festival director, the lesbian love scenes have been cut by the film's Spanish distributor.

    Xavier Daniel, the director of the Barcelona International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival told AFP:

    We received a statement from the distributor in Spain saying that when the film premieres it will have the lesbian scenes removed.

    We are very angry that a distributor can modify the content of a film. The audience will not understand the film, because all the lesbian scenes are cut out... It is unbelievable in the year 2011.

    As a result of the censorship, the film festival has decided to cancel its screening of the film.

     

    22nd October   

    Updated: Small Beer...

    Dutch crime boss wants movie ban for The Heineken Kidnapping
    Link Here

    heineken kidnallping A Dutch crime boss, Willem Holleeder, wants The Heineken Kidnapping film banned.

    A court in Amsterdam has heard from lawyers for the convicted kidnapper, who wants to use the legal system to protect his reputation from a new film.

    The film portrays the 1983 kidnapping of brewing executive Freddy Heineken. Holleeder was among those convicted of the crime, and is unhappy with the portrayal of his character in the film.

    The new film stars Rutger Hauer who plays the kidnapping victim Freddy.

    Update: Not Banned

    22nd October 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    A Dutch court has rejected a gangster's bid to block the release of a film about his infamous 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken.

    Judge Wil Tonkens rejected the suit without comment. She said she would publish her reasoning on 28 October.

     

    21st October   

    Update: Undercover Copwatch...

    Court orders French ISPs to block Paris Copwatch website
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection

    copwatch nord paris logo A French court has ruled that local ISPs must block access to the website, Copwatch Nord Paris I-D-F , that shows pictures and videos of police officers arresting suspects, taunting protesters and allegedly committing acts of violence against members of ethnic minorities.

    Law enforcement officials, who had denounced the site as an incitement to violence against the police, welcomed the decision.

    But free speech advocates reacted with alarm, saying the ruling reflected a French tendency to restrict Internet freedoms.

    This court order illustrates an obvious will by the French government to control and censor citizens' new online public sphere, said Je're'mie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based organization that campaigns against restrictions on the Internet.

    The police had said they were particularly concerned about portions of the site showing identifiable photos of police officers, along with personal data, including some cases in which officers are said to express far-right sympathies on social networks.

    The case was then taken up by Claude Gue'ant, the French interior minister. He had asked the court to issue an order blocking only certain pages of the site, those showing the most sensitive personal information. But ISps argued that this would be impossible,.

    The court ordered that the site be blocked immediately.

     

    14th October   

    Update: Good Point...

    Malta claims high morals in an ongoing call for continued theatre censorship
    Link Here  full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded

    7dalrdotl. sl500 aa300 Malta cannot be compared to other European Union members states like the UK, Germany and Italy, because our country has sound values and high morals which should not be lost.

    So argued representatives of the Attorney General's office during the penultimate hearing in the appeal against a ban on Stitching , Anthony Nielsen's award-winning drama, given a 14 certificate in the UK, but deemed too immoral and obscene to be staged in Malta by the Film and Stage Classification Board.

    But Prof. Kenneth Wain, who lectures ethics at the University of Malta argues that censorship laws like Malta's are an indication of moral weakness rather than strength.

    The AG's remark is unfortunate. It is both offensive to the other countries mentioned, as well as contradictory. If our society has such 'sound values and high morals', we don't need draconian laws to protect it with.

    The fact that we have these laws means that the AG and others who sustain them have no confidence in the values and morality of the people.

     

    11th October   

    Updated: Press Freedom in Italy...

    Related to the wrongful murder prosecution of Amanda Knox
    Link Here

    giuliano mignin You may find it interesting to go to the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists and do a search for Giuliano Mignini. This is the idiot who made such a pig's ear of prosecuting Amanda Knox and the Monster of Florence serial killer hunt.

    Among his stunts are arresting the American journalist Douglas Preston and an Italian colleague when he didn't like what they said about him, prosecuting Knox for slander of the police in attempting to defend herself, prosecuting her parents for saying they believed the the alleged slander in - wait for it! - an interview given to the Sunday Times in Seattle. (Yeah, I can really see the Yanks, with their First Amendment, extraditing them.) He has also attempted to clap a civil writ for libel on a journalist on the West Seattle Herald whose support for the hometown girl he found a bit irksome.

    Hardly the sort of open minded person that you would want as a state prosecutor.

    Comment: Bulgari Acquitted

    11th October 2011. Thanks to Alan

    brigitta bulgari Recently read on Perugia Shock website that Giuliano Mignin's other young woman victim, the stripper Brigitta Kocsis (aka Brigitta Bulgari) has also been acquitted. [She had been in trouble for doing a striptease show where an underage spectator was found, but this was nothing to do with the performer].

    This guy is a complete nutcase. He was also reported to have prosecuted an English couple who let wild poppies grow in their garden, accusing them of cultivating heroin!

     

    9th October   

    Offsite: Mark Kermode: Triers of a Clown...

    Lars Von Trier in DogsHouseVille
    Link Here

    lars von trier Lars von Trier has issued a statement saying that he will never speak in public again after it was revealed that he may face prosecution for the comments mentioning Nazis that he made at a press conference in Cannes this year. Is his threat real and should he really be prosecuted for what he said?

    ...See the video

     

    8th October   

    Updated: Protecting Berlusconi...

    Italy's bloggers protest over right to reply bill that will throttle freedom of expression
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Italy...Censorship affecting bloogers and the press in Italy

    Italy flag Italy's Internet activists gathered in front of Rome's ancient Pantheon Thursday to protest a new law they say will throttle freedom of expression on the Web.

    The new rule, due to be presented in parliament next week, would oblige all online publications to publish a correction within 48 hours of receiving a request or risk a EUR12,000 ( £ 10,400) fine.

    Critics say the law would have a particularly devastating effect on citizen bloggers and is intended to protect the interests of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose image has been severely battered by the publication of police telephone taps that have cast an embarrassing light on his unorthodox private life.

    Luca Nicotra, secretary of the activist association Agora Digitale, said his organization was calling on all lawmakers to support amendments to the bill that would limit its effects to professional news organizations only.

    A newspaper has the ability to respond to requests that may be illegitimate. The ordinary citizen does not, Nicotra told a crowd of around 100 people gathered in front of the massive Roman temple.

    It's easy to imagine this instrument being used in an intimidating way, said a leaflet distributed by Agora Digitale at the rally. Any citizen writing on the web, who doesn't have a newspaper's legal department to defend him, will be induced to accept requests for corrections even when convinced that he has written the truth, causing people to censor themselves in order to avoid the risk of a fine.

    Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition lawmaker and founder of Articolo 21 , said he would appeal against the law to the European Court of Human Rights if it was passed in its present form by the Italian parliament.

    Opponents of the law were setting up a committee of media law specialists to assist bloggers and anyone else who ran into difficulty because of it, Giulietti said. If there is a democratic emergency we will be present to support you, wherever you are, he said.

    Update: Wikipedia Protest

    6th October 2011. Based on See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    Wikipedia logo Wikipedia's Italian edition has taken all entries but one offline in protest at a draft privacy law restricting the publication of police wiretaps. Transcripts of his telephone calls have embarrassed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on trial for corruption and using underage prostitutes.

    MPs have begun debating an amendment which would limit the right of newspapers and other websites to publish wiretaps during a police investigation.

    Wikipedia says it may take down its Italian site, www.wikipedia.it, permanently if the law is passed. Amendments would have to be published within 48 hours at the request of the person making the complaint, without any recourse to a court or independent adjudicator. In an open letter to its Italian readers, Wikipedia said:

    The obligation to publish on our site the correction... without even the right to discuss and verify the claim, is an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia.

    Update: Amateur bloggers excused from repressive take down requirements

    8th October 2011. See  article from  en.rsf.org

    Reporters without Borders logo Reporters Without Borders has strongly condemned the resumption of parliamentary discussion of a government bill that would curb the publication of police wiretaps in the news media and would force websites to publish corrections automatically.

    The bill had been approved by the senate in June 2010, but had been shelved because of an outcry from civil society. Conveniently for the embattled prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, the bill's adoption was added to the agenda of the chamber of deputies. With a few cosmetic changes that were approved by a legislative committee on 5 October, the final version was due to be voted on next week.

    Reporters Without Borders said.

    Restricting the publication of tapped phone conversations in the media to this degree would gravely impede investigative journalism. It has all the hallmarks of a crude and dishonest device for gagging the media. It also has a distinctly political dimension. The government is trying to cover up the prime minister's sex scandals, many of which have been exposed by the publication of phone transcripts.

    Although bloggers are omitted from the bill's latest version, online journalists are facing the possibility of having to censor themselves or comply with every request for a correction in order to avoid a 12,000 euro fine. By ignoring the right to information and by making corrections automatic, allowing no possibility of challenging them, the bill is totally out of step with international principles and European legal precedents.

    As a democracy and European Union member, Italy has a duty to defend civil liberties. Italy's parliamentarians must consider the international impact of their actions and abandon this bill.

    The bill would also allow any individuals who deem themselves to have been defamed by online content to demand the publication of a statement or correction within 48 hours. The demand could be sent by email and failure to comply could result in a 12,000 euro fine. The bill's original version concerned anyone posting online, including bloggers, but this caused such an outcry that the amended version concerns only professional websites.

    The vagueness of this clause continues to be very worrying. Worse still, the measure is automatic. Websites are given no opportunity to dispute the demand for a correction before a judge on the grounds of accuracy or bad faith on the plaintiff's part.

     

    8th October   

    Comment: High Stakes...

    Slovakia proposes to introduce internet censorship in the name of banning online gambling
    Link Here

    Slovakia flag The Slovak Ministry of Finance has published a draft law that would require the blocking of websites that provide online gambling without a Slovak license.

    ISPs would have to block web sites from a list updated twice a month - not by the court, but by the Tax Office.

    Opposition to the law is  being led by the Society for Open Information Technologies (SOIT) and the Slovak IT Association

    SOIT warns that this way Facebook should also be blocked completely, because it allows users to play online roulette and poker.

    According to SOIT consumer protection, crime prevention or reduction of tax burden are not sufficient arguments for establishing of Internet censorship: We believe that the promotion of purely economic interests at the expense of personal freedoms of citizens is particularly dangerous and unconstitutional. Their online petition [Slovak language] has been signed by thousands of citizens.

    The Ministry of Finance have now asked the European Commission for their opinion about the law

     

    6th October   

    Updated: Protecting Berlusconi...

    Italy's bloggers protest over right to reply bill that will throttle freedom of expression
    Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Italy...Censorship affecting bloogers and the press in Italy

    Italy flag Italy's Internet activists gathered in front of Rome's ancient Pantheon Thursday to protest a new law they say will throttle freedom of expression on the Web.

    The new rule, due to be presented in parliament next week, would oblige all online publications to publish a correction within 48 hours of receiving a request or risk a EUR12,000 ( £ 10,400) fine.

    Critics say the law would have a particularly devastating effect on citizen bloggers and is intended to protect the interests of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, whose image has been severely battered by the publication of police telephone taps that have cast an embarrassing light on his unorthodox private life.

    Luca Nicotra, secretary of the activist association Agora Digitale, said his organization was calling on all lawmakers to support amendments to the bill that would limit its effects to professional news organizations only.

    A newspaper has the ability to respond to requests that may be illegitimate. The ordinary citizen does not, Nicotra told a crowd of around 100 people gathered in front of the massive Roman temple.

    It's easy to imagine this instrument being used in an intimidating way, said a leaflet distributed by Agora Digitale at the rally. Any citizen writing on the web, who doesn't have a newspaper's legal department to defend him, will be induced to accept requests for corrections even when convinced that he has written the truth, causing people to censor themselves in order to avoid the risk of a fine.

    Giuseppe Giulietti, an opposition lawmaker and founder of Articolo 21 , said he would appeal against the law to the European Court of Human Rights if it was passed in its present form by the Italian parliament.

    Opponents of the law were setting up a committee of media law specialists to assist bloggers and anyone else who ran into difficulty because of it, Giulietti said. If there is a democratic emergency we will be present to support you, wherever you are, he said.

    Update: Wikipedia Protest

    6th October 2011. Based on See  article from  bbc.co.uk

    Wikipedia logo Wikipedia's Italian edition has taken all entries but one offline in protest at a draft privacy law restricting the publication of police wiretaps. Transcripts of his telephone calls have embarrassed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on trial for corruption and using underage prostitutes.

    MPs have begun debating an amendment which would limit the right of newspapers and other websites to publish wiretaps during a police investigation.

    Wikipedia says it may take down its Italian site, www.wikipedia.it, permanently if the law is passed. Amendments would have to be published within 48 hours at the request of the person making the complaint, without any recourse to a court or independent adjudicator. In an open letter to its Italian readers, Wikipedia said:

    The obligation to publish on our site the correction... without even the right to discuss and verify the claim, is an unacceptable restriction of the freedom and independence of Wikipedia.

     

    6th October   

    Politically Incorrect...

    In light of the Norwegian massacre, Germany considers whether to keep anti-islam blogs and websites under surveillance
    Link Here

    Germany flag The most intense public reaction the July 22 Oslo atrocities outside of Scandinavia has been in Germany. The German authorities are now reportedly considering monitoring and controlling Islamophobic blogs and websites to prevent another Breivik.

    The Islam-critical site Politically Incorrect (PI) is the most popular blog in Germany, and perhaps in Europe, so it's no surprise that it has been a major focus of media and governmental scrutiny.

    PI commented on September 27, that after a campaign by reporters of the Frankfurter Rundschau and Der Spiegel to have PI investigated, the federal constitutional protection i.e., intelligence/security service will meet to consider the issue.

    PI wrote an Open Letter  to the Intelligence Service:

    As we have learned from pertinent media reports, Islam-critical internet blogs, first and foremost PI, are to be the subject, on Thursday in Berlin, of discussions by the heads of German security services. There will be discussion of whether we will be declared a future target of surveillance by the intelligence service.

    We make no secret of our astonishment and anger at this development. PI was founded seven years ago by concerned citizens for whom our constitutional system is deeply important. Under the impression of an ever constricting corridor of allowable opinions and reportage in the established media, it was our wish to use the internet as a compensation in this regard. Specifically, what has been established in recent years by the large news operations as so-called media responsibility and voluntary self-control is for us truly nothing other than a ban on thought and discussion about the central, fateful questions of Europe.

    Beyond that, we would like to emphasize: We not only have a claim to provide equality of information, above all, we have a right to do so! In our publications, we lay claim to no more nor less than one of the highest legal rights of our land, the basic right of freedom of opinion and information. The Enlightenment figure Voltaire aptly described its essence: I may condemn what you say, but I will give my life for your right to say it.

    ...Read the full article

     

    1st October   

    Update: PC Superiority...

    Court hears case to ban a 1931 TinTin book
    Link Here

    Tintin Au Congo Aventures A Congolese-born campaigner has finally stated his case in court in a 4-year bid to ban a Tintin book. He is claiming that its cartoon depections of Africans are racist.

    Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu launched a legal case in 2007 against the book Tintin in the Congo .  The book was published in 1931 and he is taking action against a modern version of the original. Openly racist language was removed in subsequent editions.

    What poses a problem today is not Herge, it's the commercialisation of a cartoon book which manifestly diffuses ideas based on racial superiority, his lawyer Ahmed L'Hedim told the court.

    The English language version carries a warning to readers that its contents could be offensive and that it should be seen in the context of its time. If the court decides against an outright ban, the complainant wants a similar warning placed on the editions in French and Dutch sold in Belgium.

    Moulinsart, the foundation which holds the Tintin copyright, has refused to attach a warning. It says many works could be accused of discrimination.

    Mbutu Mondondo initially brought criminal charges over the book created by Belgian author and illustrator Georges Remi, better known as Herge'. However, after lengthy delays, his legal team started a civil case last year.

    Publisher Casterman and Moulinsart will present their counter-arguments at a hearing in Brussels on 14 October, with a ruling expected in about two months.

     

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