Asia Pacific Censorship News

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  High hopes...

Burma lawmakers are preparing an update to film censorship law


Link Here 6th November 2017
Burma flag 2010Burmese filmmakers, supported by those from Southeast Asian countries, on Saturday pitched for classification, rather than censorship in the days ahead.

Joining a debate on film censorship in Myanmar and rest of Southeast Asia as part of the Memory! Festival 2017, they said that when the 1996 Motion Picture Law is replaced by a new law now in the drafting process, it should have very moderate censorship to control extreme cases of religious incitement, hate speech and obscenity.

Film maker Shin Daewe explained that the 1996 law is outdated and anachronistic and has high hopes for the new law and said:

We have high hopes because our lawmaker Phyu Phyu Tin who provides leadership to the drafting of the new law is a liberal. We hope the new law will reflect the spirit of emerging democracy in Myanmar. We want a transparent classification system, not censorship that belongs to a world gone by and is unsuited to our times marked by liberalisation and globalisation.

 

  Remember the Golden Age of Porn?...

New Zealand's chief censor notes that decline in porn and mainstream DVDs in the country has led to revenue dropping by half and therefore redundancies


Link Here 2nd November 2017

OFLC New Zealand logoDavid Shanks responded to a local press article noting declining revenues for the film censors as people watch movies and porn online rather than DVDs and Blu-rays which require a classification certificate. Shanks writes:

Most people don't realise that we are both government and industry funded. The Classification Office has received just under $2M in government funding since it was established in 1994. This reflects the work we do for government officials -- examining and classifying material that has been seized by the Police, Customs or other authorities.

This material is often extreme. Child rape, animal mutilation and graphic executions are the start of it. Nobody in their right mind wants to see this stuff but someone has to make an official assessment of it in order to prosecute. We do that.

The other side of our operation is classifying commercial film and DVD releases. This is funded through industry. The film and DVD industry pays less than half of one percent of its revenue to have their product classified in order for it to be exhibited or sold in New Zealand.

Back in the 1990's and up until around 2010 a lot of material was being sold in NZ direct to DVD -- yes, including a fair amount of adult entertainment. Porn. It seems quaint to think it now, but back in those days the Classification Office would routinely review porn DVDs to make sure they weren't too abusive. As everyone knows this has changed and increasingly people obtain porn - and a lot more besides! - online. Accordingly, commercial revenue has dropped from around $1.3 million in 2009 to around $600-700k today.

It is this decline in commercial revenue that we highlighted in our most recent Statement of Intent. When we drafted this Statement we could see that our expenditure was going to exceed income to the point where we would have used up all our reserves by 2020.

We have restructured to address this, and we are now in a stable financial position.

During the restructure, I wanted to provide my classification staff with as much choice as possible in the process, and met with all of them individually. In the end, we had no forced redundancy, everyone who left chose redundancy freely. Many of these people had put in many years of service doing a tough job that many people could not handle. At least one person expressed relief to me that they would no longer have to view prosecution material.

I salute them.

Now as an office we are in a position to recruit some new people with fresh talent, skills and perspectives. This is vital because in truth the future of censorship and classification is not murky -- as described in the article -- but is highly changeable and dynamic.

The old approaches to regulation will not work in this environment. The future involves parents, children and young people who are better informed and equipped to deal with the digital environment. It involves an industry taking greater responsibility themselves, using digital tools to efficiently inform the public. I have been talking to my counterparts in Australia and the UK who are doing some very innovative things in this area, presenting ideas that could improve the picture for both industry and all New Zealanders.

The opportunity to make a change is now.

 

  Huge disappointment...

Thai king's cremation finale blocked from being shown on local TV


Link Here 27th October 2017
thai cremationyAfter a huge build up and a year long construction of a magnificent funeral pyre for the cremation of Thailand's beloved King Bhumipol, the event was an anti-climax, as the burning of the king was not actually shown on TV, or even mentioned.

After hours of traditional ceremonies on TV, building up to the finale, there was a huge anti-climax as about 15 minutes before the big event, all Thai TV channels switched to other events of music, ballet and puppetry. Nothing was said about the big event which took place at 10pm, leaving mystified viewers wondering what happened.

Interestingly nothing seems to be mentioned in press reports from the event. Jonathan Head, the Thai correspondent tweeted:

After a huge build-up, Thai authorities decided not to broadcast the cremation of King Bhumibol. So people had no idea when it happened.

But this did not get mentioned by the BBC in news reports.

 

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