Asia Pacific Censorship News


 Update: Blocking criticism...

Thai military government tries to get heavy with Facebook over users' criticism of the monarchy

Link Here 11th May 2017  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Facebook logoMilitary authorities in Thailand have warned Facebook to take down content criticising the monarchy, or face legal action.

Facebook has been given until next Tuesday to remove about 130 items from pages viewable in Thailand. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission told the BBC that Facebook had already co-operated in blocking some pages, but that more than 130 judged to be illegal by the authorities remained visible in Thailand.

Facebook says it does consider requests from governments to block material, and will comply if it breaks local laws.

Any comment critical of the monarchy can result in prosecution under Thailand's strict lese-majeste law, even if the criticism is justified. Those convicted face extreme prison sentences.

Thailand's military government that seized power in Thailand in 2014 has made great efforts to suppress any criticism of the monarchy. Thousands of websites have been blocked, and people caught sharing, or even liking Facebook posts deemed unflattering to the monarchy have been prosecuted.


 Update: Blog Off!...

China extends repressive online news censorship to smaller entities

Link Here 4th May 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

cac china internet censor logoThe Chinese government has issued new censorship rules extending its repressive control over online news content.

Companies that publish, share or edit news will need a government licence, and senior editors must be approved by the authorities. Other staff will be required to undergo government training and assessment, and receive official accreditation.

The legislation will bring online news providers into line with traditional news media operating in the country.

From 1 June, when the rules come into force, they will be expected to follow information security protocols , including emergency response measures such as increased vetting following disasters.

The list of providers and platforms covered includes websites, applications, forums, blogs, microblogs, public accounts, instant messaging tools and internet broadcasts .

Organisations that do not have a licence will not be allowed to post news or commentary about the government, economy, military, foreign affairs, or other areas of public interest .



New Zealand introduces new certificate specifically for the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why

Link Here 29th April 2017

newzealand rp16 13 Reasons Why is a USA Netflix mystery drama
Starring Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford and Christian Navarro. IMDb

Thirteen Reasons Why, based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) -his classmate and crush-who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, Thirteen Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect viewers.

In the US the show is rated as TV-MA, an advisory 14 rating.

In the UK the series was rated 18 for sexual violence, strong bloody images, suicide scene.

The New Zealand film censors of the OFLC have now introduced an RP18 certificate just for this show. RP18 means that the content is restricted to adults or to under 18's accompanied by their parents or guardians. It is not clear how this relates to home viewing. The New censor already has RP13 and RP16 rage ratings with the same accompaniment exclusions.

The OFLC explains their new certificate in a press release:

The New Zealand Classification Office has created a new RP18 rating specifically for the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. The classification recognises that teens are watching and will continue to watch the series, while signalling the strong content and emphasising the essential role of parents and caregivers in discussing this material with young people in their care.

The show 13 Reasons Why has caused controversy worldwide mainly for its treatment of teen suicide. The show -- aimed at a teen and young adult audience -- also includes bullying and intense violence, and strong scenes of sexual violence. Due to concerns about the show, the Chief Censor made use of his power to 'call in' and require classification of the series.

Some aspects of the show have received praise from groups such as the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, who have highlighted some positive messaging around consent and sexual violence in the show. The Mental Health Foundation New Zealand also identifies the series as an opportunity to raise awareness around youth suicide and mental health.

The Classification Office also discussed the series with teens aged 14-18. Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen says that:

All the teens we spoke to felt the show addressed issues that were relevant to them, and that the series overall had positive messages relating to social awareness: treating others with respect and compassion, and raising awareness about suicide, sexual violence, bullying, and other issues.

Nevertheless, there are real risks created by the portrayal of suicide in 13 Reasons Why . The suicide method is clearly shown -- contravening established health guidelines and creating the potential for copycat behaviour. The real links between mental health and suicide are not discussed at all in the series. The choice of the lead character to kill herself is also portrayed quite fatalistically. In real life, most of those with suicidal thoughts recover, and do not go on to end their lives.

Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen:

These issues need to be talked about in a way that is informed and safe -- parents, guardians and other adults need to have open conversations with teens about the issues raised by the show. Parents should use their judgement about whether their teen is ready to watch this show and then watch it with them. The series raises a lot of issues but often fails to fully address them, and it's really important that trusted adults can step in at that point.

13 Reasons Why is classified RP18 with the following warning note: "Series deals with suicide, bullying and depression. Episodes may contain violence, sexual material, drug use, and frequent offensive language. Some episodes contain graphic depictions of suicide and rape".

The RP18 classification recognises that 16 and 17 year olds continue to be at high risk of suicidal thoughts, but also recognises that teens should continue to have access to the show with the support of the adults in their lives.