The human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the secret trial in Thailand of a woman charged with insulting the royal family.
The woman was arrested a year ago after giving a speech in Bangkok in which she attacked the monarchy. People in Thailand who have listened to the speech say they have never heard anything like it. Daranee Charncherngsilpakul took to the stage at
a protest in central Bangkok in June last year and sharply criticised the monarchy. She even made personal attacks on the country's revered King Bhumipol Adulyadej, warning him that the monarchy would be overthrown by a popular revolution.
Given the severe penalties for insulting the monarchy in Thailand, no-one was surprised when Ms Daranee was arrested shortly afterwards.
Her trial, however, which started this week, has alarmed human rights groups.
Red-shirt protesters in Bangkok on 12 April 2009. The presiding judge ordered hearings to be held in secret, citing national security concerns. Her lawyer is appealing, on the grounds that Thailand's constitution guarantees defendants the right
to a public trial.
Sam Zarifi from Amnesty International has warned that when a judge closes the doors on a trial it significantly raises the risk of injustice taking place. The Thai government will have a very difficult time explaining why the trial of someone
charged with making an insulting remark could compromise Thailand's national security.
Ms Daranee faces between nine and 45 years in prison if she is convicted.
Erotic Game Developer
Minori , developer of adult PC titles like Bittersweet Fools and Angel Type , has blocked website access outside Japan.
While accessing the Minori site from Japan poses no problems, those outside the country have been greeted with this message:
This website cannot be browsed excluding Japan.
Some foreigners seem to be having an antipathy against EROGE (Erotic Games).
Therefore, We prohibited the access from foreign countries, to defend our culture. Sorry for you of the fan that lives in a foreign country.
As we previously mentioned, these recent defensive measures from erotic game makers come in the wake of the Rapelay controversy and subsequent rape game banning.
Currently, The bill that allows to limiting the content (It is censorship. Isn't it?) to all EROGEs is being discussed in the Diet because intellectuals and politicians said Japanese EROGE were being problem and troubled
with the foreign country. Therefore we should make EROGE hidden away from foreign country, and also its content should be limited and censored.
Otherwise, you just can talk your idea about this issue at your blog or other media to inform the existence of this problem to the public. It would be very helpful for us.
If you do so, we might be able to recover the "Freedom of speech" and the barricade lying in between us would be taken away.
Please help us.
We hope this separation would be only for short moment.
Since April Chinese authorities have been removing satellite TV antennas in Tibetan regions to prevent access to foreign broadcasts.
Local sources indicate that for months now, teams of technicians are working to install cable lines for television and to remove the satellite dishes. Only government approved programs are broadcast on cable TV, while the satellite antennas make
it possible to receive foreign programs such as RFA or Voice of America.
Faced with protests by residents, the television technicians respond that the order comes directly from the central authorities.
Google suffered intensive disruption in China after it was warned by the authorities to scale back its search operations.
Search functions and Gmail were inaccessible for more than an hour in a move seen by web watchers as a warning shot across the bows by China's censors.
This is definitely a warning to Google, as well as other foreign companies, said Xiao Qiang, the founder of China Digital Times. It is also a strong warning to Chinese netizens. The government is showing its determination to keep the
internet under control.
Earlier in the day, the main state and communist party media - Xinhua and People's Daily - condemned Google for providing links to pornographic websites through its search engine. Last week, the government ordered the US company to halt foreign
website searches as a punishment.
In a rare move, the US has lodged a complaint over the tightening of censorship rules. Google agreed to self-censor in compliance with requests by local officials after setting up a China subsidiary and locally hosted website in 2005. One reason
for this controversial decision was that its services were frequently being disrupted or slowed. That has been rare since.
Blogger dancing with G, quoted from a Google.cn source, reported that the company had spent a big sum of money to buy the Green Dam service for bettering the detection of obscene content. According to the blogger, google.cn's move is to make
peace with the Chinese authority.
Moreover, Google.cn has also removed some of its search functions, including searching for overseas content and searching with associated terms.
In reaction to a series of internet censorship policy, in particular the introduction of Green Dam, a declaration has been circulated on the net in the past two days calling netizens to express and protect their rights to anonymity on July 1st.
Below are the declaration posters and English translation of the declaration.
2009 Declaration of the Anonymous Netizens
To the Internet censors of China,
We are the Anonymous Netizens. We have seen your moves on the Internet. You have deprived your netizens of the freedom of speech. You have come to see technology as your mortal enemy. You have clouded and distorted the
truth in collaboration with Party mouthpieces. You have hired commentators to create the “public opinion” you wanted to see. All these are etched into our collective memory. More recently, you forced the installation of Green Dam on the entire
population and smothered Google with vicious slander. It is now clear as day: what you want is the complete control and censorship of the Internet. We hereby declare that we, the Anonymous Netizens, are going to launch our attack worldwide on
your censorship system starting on July 1st, 2009.
For the freedom of the Internet, for the advancement of Internetization, and for our rights, we are going to acquaint your censorship machine with systematic sabotage and show you just how weak the claws of your censorship
really are. We are going to mark you as the First Enemy of the Internet. This is not a single battle; it is but the beginning of a war. Play with your artificial public opinion to your heart's content, for you will soon be submerged in the sea
of warring netizens. Your archaic means of propaganda, your epithets borrowed straight from the Cultural Revolution era, your utter ignorance of the Internet itself - these are the tolls of your death bell. You cannot evade us, for we are
everywhere. Violence of the state cannot save you - for every one of us that falls, another ten rises. We are familiar with your intrigues. You label some of us as the “vicious few” and dismiss the rest of us as unknowing accomplices; that way
you can divide and rule. Go ahead and do that. In fact, we encourage you to do that; the more accustomed you are to viewing your netizens this way, the deeper your self-deception.
Google has been ordered to put a halt allowing pornographic and vulgar content from being accessed through its Chinese-language search engine, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center has told Google to make immediate changes and clean up the content available at Google.cn.
Google said it met with government officials to discuss the problem of pornographic content and material that is harmful to children on the web in China and that it is taking all necessary steps to fix any problems with our results.
The order came one day after Chinese state television chastised Google and the center denounced it for allowing foreign Internet pornographic information.
Chinese PC Company Lenovo is set to be among the first PC Companies to bow to Chinese Government pressure that all PC's being made for the Chinese market after July 1, must be shipped with software that blocks access to certain Web sites.
Chinese PC Company Lenovo is set to be among the first PC Companies to bow to Chinese Government pressure that all PC's being made for the Chinese market after July 1, must be shipped with software that blocks access to certain Web sites.
The censorship move will give the Chinese Government unprecedented control over how Chinese users access the Internet. The software must be pre installed claims Chinese Government officials who have also said the move is aimed at cutting out
access to pornography web sites.
According to the wall Street Journal the Chinese government's history of censoring a broad range of Web content has raised concern among some foreign industry officials and the U.S. government that the new effort could significantly increase the
government's control over Internet access in China.
It is expected that US manufacturers like HP and Dell who have around 22% of the Chinese PC market will bow to the demands of the Chinese Government and install the new software which was developed by Jinhui Computer System's with input from
Beijing Dazheng Human Language Technology Academy. Both companies have ties to China's military and its security ministry.
It seems China is stepping back from its new censorship policy for computers. They have recently proposed that the internet filter Green Dam Youth Escort, should be installed on all new PCs sold in China
As TelecomAsia's Robert Clark writes, the Chinese government has retreated on its controversial new web filtering plan. I'm not sure it's a full-fledged retreat yet, but there are certainly signs that the worldwide outcry is having an
impact. For instance, Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, does seem a bit embarrassed about the whole thing. According to the government mouthpiece, China's Ministry of Industry and IT on Wednesday insisted that its notice to the PC
makers and sellers does not mean the software's installation to user's operating system is mandatory, instead, the software package should be installed on either the hard drives or a compact disc with the computers.
This is a typical pattern with off-the-wall new requirements from the Chinese bureaucracy: Outlandish policy gets announced, outcry begins, outlandish policy gets ignored.
Update: Propaganda department orders positive comment about Green Dam
On June 10th, the Chinese central propaganda department issued a notice reminding all the media to report positively on Green Dam, Youth Escort, the filter and spyware to be installed in all PCs sold in China.
Meanwhile, netizens continue to dig out all the flaws in the software and the company's background; Information activists and various organizations on the other hand, have compiled a number of
documents and reports on Green Dam. .
Given the propaganda department's notice, people were surprised to see that the government's mouthpiece people.com.cn's nationalistic “strong country” forum had created a special page (now removed) and criticized the Ministry of Information
Industry and Technology for taking the decision without consulting the public. Moreover, a poll in the forum showed that more than 80% of the netizens are against the introduction of the compulsory filter on their PCs.
Li Dunyong, one of several lawyers involved in the defense of Uyghur house church Christian Alimjan Yimit was effectively disbarred at the end of May when Chinese authorities turned down an annual application to renew his law license.
Zhang Kai, another Beijing lawyer who had defended Alimjan, suffered the same fate.
Authorities failed to renew licenses for at least 15 other lawyers who had defended civil rights cases, religious and ethnic minorities and political dissidents, according to watch group Human Rights in China (HRIC).
During a process of Annual Inspection and Registration for all lawyers and law firms, with a closing date of May 31 for renewal applications, authorities also denied three law firms the necessary approval to practice. Officials harassed
and physically abused several of the affected lawyers in the months prior to the loss of their licenses.
The process of building a country ruled by law has suffered a serious setback, HRIC claimed in a statement on June 4.
The rejection of applications followed the Feb. 4 disappearance of Gao Zhisheng, a high-profile Christian human rights activist who once said that every human rights lawyer would eventually become a human rights case. Gao's whereabouts remained
unknown at press time.
A Singapore court has sentenced a Christian couple to eight weeks in jail each for distributing seditious or objectionable publications to Muslims, a media report said.
Ong Kian Cheong and his wife, Dorothy Chan Hien Leng had distributed two booklets by US publisher and comic author Jack Chick, which, according to the judge, could spark ill-will or hostility between Christians and Muslims in Singapore.
The pair claimed ignorance in their defence, saying they did not know the contents of the booklets and had no reason to believe they had a seditious tendency.
In 2007, the Protestant couple mailed Jack Chick's controversial booklets titled The Little Bride and Who is Allah? to three Muslims who complained to the police. Both publications are supposedly critical of Islam. When the couple were arrested
in January last year, police seized more than 400 copies of 11 reportedly seditious comics from their home, the report said.
As a multi-racial city state, Singapore clamps down on anyone who is seen to incite tensions in the community.
A New Zealand film and television classification laws are being brought into question with many businesses calling them outdated and prohibitive.
Every film or television show that comes to New Zealand cinemas, video stores or retail outlets has to be rated. New Zealand adopts or cross-rates G, PG and M ratings from Australia and Britain but 15 and 18 rated films must be classified by New
Video store owner Andrew Armitage says businesses just want fairness with classification laws: We're not asking for a relaxation of classification or censorship we just want fairness restored because it is too often prohibitive . Armitage
wants to see the threshold raised for the 15 plus age group.
Chief Censor Bill Hastings says they have been warned against such a move. The Australian New Zealand trans-Tasman Recognition Committee has decided that there are sufficient differences between Australia and New Zealand culture and law, that
they recommended against creating a single market.
For example five seasons of the television show The L Word would have cost distributors $17,600 to be processed. Armitage says such price tags are a huge deterrent: Anything that has this red sticker on it has to go through the
classification process, so that's $1100 worth of classification costs right there .
Hastings says the fees have remained the same for 13 years despite inflation, making them a bargain: Our classification fees are extremely competitive with Australia classification fees which range from $500 AUD to $5000 AUD. The Chief
Censor can also grant fee waivers dropping that cost to $275 each, a reduction automatically given to film festival movies.
International film festival director Bill Gosden says costs are still high despite the waiver: Although we do receive a concession rate, a fee waiver from the classification office, we still spent in excess of $30,000 last year in film
censorship . Because so many titles are unavailable locally and legitimately consumers are finding other ways to access them, which retailers say not only affects business, but can also lead to illegal purchase and distribution.
A Beijing court has found Christian bookstore owner Shi Weihan guilty of illegal business operation and sentenced him to three years in prison and a 150,000 yuan (US$21,975) fine.
Sources said Shi's store operated legally and sold only books for which he had obtained government permission, and that his Holy Spirit Trading Co. printed Bibles and Christian literature without authorization but only for free distribution to
local house churches.
Others in a printing company who stood trial with Shi appeared to have received similar sentences. A written judgment is expected within 15 days to allow time for an appeal to be filed, said Ray Sharpe, a friend of Shi.
Chinese officials claim that the Nanjing Amity Printing Co. (Amity Press), the only government-approved Bible publisher, produces enough Bibles to meet the needs of the Chinese church, which various religious freedom organizations dispute. The
groups complain that Amity prints a large share of its Bibles for export, and those sold domestically are not available to many Christians.
Chinese officials are taking steps to censor parts of China's first Gay Pride, the BBC reported.
Shanghai Pride is mainland China's first large-scale Gay Pride celebration but it does not include a march or parade. Instead organizers are holding a series of cultural events to take place at privately-owned venues.
But that's not stopping the Chinese government from banning certain events. Officials have ordered certain owners to cancel events or face severe consequences.
At ShanghaiPride.com, the event's official website, a blog post simply titled Sorry alerts readers that the film screening of the lesbian-themed Lost in You has been canceled.
The BBC reports that a second event appears to be in trouble. Officials have targeted the staging of T he Laramie Project for closure. The play reconstructs the gruesome 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student
beaten, shackled to a post and left to die in a field by two men he had met in a gay bar.
Other events to be held throughout the week, art exhibits, food events and panel discussions, appear to remain on track. The official Gay Pride party takes place Saturday, June 13.
The French Film Festival in Manila, now in its 14th year, has hit a snag with the local censors.
One of the films, Benoit Jacquot's À Tout de Suite (Right Now), was banned (rated X) by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
Martin Macalintal, audio-visual attaché of the French Embassy, said A Tout de Suite —an entry in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival in 2004—was thus rated because of frontal nudity and sex scenes.
Another French film that almost got banned was Michael Haneke's Le Pianiste . The censors passed it, Macalintal said, on condition that it will be screened only once (June 11).
Macalintal noted that the concept of this year's fest, currently running at the Shangri-La Plaza mall, is to bring Cannes to Manila.
Macalintal said organizers had planned to premiere Kinatay , which won the Best Director prize for Brillante Mendoza in Cannes last month, but they were sure it would encounter problems with the MTRCB. Mendoza earlier told the Philippine
Daily Inquirer that he would allow a local screening only if the censors didn't touch his movie.
The Centre for Independent Journalism strongly disagrees with calls to suspend Malay daily Utusan Malaysia for publishing commentary with racial undertone and to penalise its author, who writes under the pseudonym Awang Selamat, with
the Sedition Act.
On 3 June, the Malaysian Indian Congress president, S. Samy Vellu urged the authorities to charge Awang Selamat, under the Sedition Act. This followed the publication of an article Malays betrayed? published in the daily's column on
31 May, in which non-Malays were said to have over demanded their rights.
Open and civil discussions on race and religion are instrumental for nation-building. Through such discussion, the norms and mores of free expression, such as the ethical boundaries would evolve. But to ban certain views, especially by giving
absolute powers to the state to censor, is a grave violation of freedom of expression for the individual and the community.
We call on all political leaders and opinion leaders to emphasize the importance of dialogue and debates and refrain from demanding for the use of undemocratic laws. We also urge the editors of Utusan Malaysia to create spaces in the
newspaper for those with differing views and opinions on the issue and show that it is interested in constructive engagement.
An Indonesian woman who complained about her hospital treatment in an email to friends has been charged with defamation and could face a jail term.
Prita Mulyasari has already been found guilty and fined $30,000 in a civil case. She faces six years in jail and a $100,000 (£62,000) fine if convicted on criminal charges.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - in the middle of an election campaign - has urged the courts to be lenient, while his predecessor and election rival, Megawati Sukarnoputri, has visited Prita Mulyasari in jail.
The case centres on emails Prita Mulyasari sent detailing her experience as a patient at Omni hospital to 10 friends. According to the Jakarta Globe, she said staff initially diagnosed her with dengue fever, but later said she had a virus and
gave her an injection. She said her conditioned worsened and she began to feel numbness so decided to switch hospitals. But when she asked for her medical notes with the initial diagnosis, the hospital refused to give them to her, she alleged.
The emails were widely circulated on internet mailing lists and the Facebook social networking site.
Omni hospital said her allegations had caused the firm substantial financial losses from patient boycotts and frozen business deals.
But her supporters - nearly 100,000 of whom have signed a Facebook appeal for her release - say it could set a dangerous precedent for freedom of speech in the country.
The growing outrage over the case led to Prita Mulyasari's release from custody on Wednesday, where she had spent three weeks without charge after losing the civil case in mid-May.
Two days after her release from jail, the first court session for Prita Mulyasari, an Indonesian housewife who was arrested and jailed since mid May for “defaming” an international hospital by writing an online complaint letter took place in
Tangerang, one of Jakarta's suburban.
Her arrest had the entire Indonesian blogosphere boggling, as many believes that by jailing her could indicate a weak freedom of speech in the country.
With citizens heading for the ballot next month, Prita's case has been as a matter of urgency by three presidential hopefuls.
Poster by Paman Tyo, posted on “
The case is now under many Indonesians' watchful eyes. Facebookers shows support for Prita through several Groups and Support for Prita Mulyasari Cause has reached 316.448 supporters, while Twitterers write updates about press conferences and
Indonesia's mainly Hindu island of Bali has no intention of enforcing a controversial anti-porn law passed last year because it conflicts with local culture and tradition, the provincial governor said in an email interview.
The new law, which created much confusion over what would be considered pornographic, was slammed by religious minorities but backed by the Islamic and Islamist political parties allied to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon.
As long as I am the governor of Bali, I, along with the head of the provincial government in Bali, have stated that we will not enforce this law in Bali, Governor I Made Mangku Pastika told Reuters, adding that the law is not
appropriate for the people of Bali.
He said the most serious effect of the law would be its impact on Bali's culture and traditional art, which includes nude statues and often sexually explicit imagery.
Centuries-old traditions including outdoor bathing would also have to be banned if the law was properly enforced, added the governor.
Pastika said that he had not yet been reprimanded by the central government, despite his stated aim to disobey the law.
JThe digital age has been weighing heavily on former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad's mind.
He broached the subject in two separate talks. On 16 May, he spoke about Internet porn at Bloggers Universe Malaysia 2009. In his speech he said he regretted the pledge he made not to regulate the Internet when he was prime minister.
I wish we can control... When we started the Multimedia Super Corridor, we promised the people that we will not censor the Internet. But at times, I regretted this. Dr Mahathir said he had surfed porn sites just to see how easy it is
for a child to do so. My God, it was so easy. All you've got to do is to put 'SEX' and you get everything, all the filth in the world would be shown to you - in motion.
But Internet censorship is out, he said: While in the past, we can close down the printing shops, we can seize their papers, we can do a lot of things, today, it is just impossible.
Japan's Ethics Organization of Computer Software have now held an emergency meeting in which nearly 100 representatives from various erotic game companies concluded that the manufacturer and sale of rape-type games should cease. This was not a
government decision or even a legal one, but instead a self-policing policy on the part of the EOCS.
None of the representatives thought it was out of line to ban these types of games, and many felt this was the only way to rectify any problems caused by these types of games.
Future regulations regarding games will be worked out in the future. Until then, the EOCS will work with individual erotic game companies to help ease the transition.
China is blocking access to Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, and its Hotmail email service, the company said ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.
These are among several Internet services that have been blocked for customers in China, Microsoft director of public affairs Kevin Kutz said in a statement received by AFP.
Microsoft did not say when China began blocking the sites, but Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it had been notified by Chinese Web users that access to the websites began being blocked inside China on Tuesday.
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the blockage of a dozen websites such as Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Flickr, Opera, Live, Wordpress and Blogger in China, the media rights group said in a statement: The Chinese government stops at
nothing to silence what happened 20 years ago in Tiananmen Square. By blocking access to a dozen websites used daily by millions of Chinese citizens, the authorities have opted for censorship at any price rather than accept a debate about this
Asked to comment on the Chinese moves, a US State Department spokesman said there would be a more expansive US response on Wednesday, but underscored that US policy supports freedom of expression. [Except of
course for the countries where the US itself blocks the use of Microsoft services such as Messenger in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea].
Rights group Freedom House, which is funded by the US government and private groups, condemned the Chinese government?s blocking of the websites. China's decision to block these sites today represents the latest salvo in a relentless campaign
to erase the past," executive director Jennifer Windsor said in a statement: China is blocking sites like Twitter and Flickr because they provide a means for people to circumvent government control and mobilize dissent.
The Catholic Church in Malaysia has lost its latest bid to use 'Allah' as a translation for 'God' in its newspaper pending a further court case now set for 7th July 2009.
High Court judge Lau Bee Lan made the decision after hearing submissions from two counsels for the applicant, Archbishop Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, and two counsels for the respondent, the Home Ministry, according to Bernama, Malaysian
National News Agency.
A spokesmand for the Home Ministry told reporters outside the chambers that if the High Court allowed the church to use ‘Allah' in a non-Muslim context, it would be helping the church to commit an offense under state laws. This means that the
church's weekly news publication, The Herald, cannot use the word until the court decides.
The Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, who edits the Catholic weekly, was disappointed with the outcome: We had asked them to lift the ban so that we can use the word until the court decides. We are innocent until proven guilty, so why shouldn't we
use it, Father Andrew told AFP: The court is going to hear our case on July 7 so that's an opening in the dark tunnel.
Under the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of non-Islamic Religious Enactment passed into law by 10 states in 1988, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah' to refer to any God other than the Muslim God.
The controversial right of reply bill will not only affect print and broadcast media, but could lead to Internet censorship since it also covers bloggers, “texters” and even iPod users, a party-list lawmaker warned Saturday.
Rep. Mong Palatino said the bill's sponsor in the House, Bienvenido Abante, admitted during interpellation that House Bill No. 3306 also covers websites, e-mails, Internet social networking sites and other electronic devices in its scope.
Palatino noted that Section 1 of HB 3306 states, All persons, natural or judicial, who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed, or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public
or private life shall have the right to reply to charges or criticisms published in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites or through any
The bill, therefore, would not only affect media outfits and journalists but also all website owners, website masters, e-mail account holders and other netizens who are not necessarily media practitioners, said Palatino who has been a
blogger since 2004. He said the bill would affect: the more than five million bloggers and millions more of Internet users in the country.
My fear is that when this bill comes to law, it will be used to regulate the content of the Internet, when we are checking our e-mails, when we open our Friendster or Facebook accounts, when we are checking our websites. Does this mean that we
will be compelled to moderate, modify or edit our personal websites? Is this not Internet censorship and suppression of freedom of speech and expression? Palatino said.
In reply, Abante said the bill would be defined more clearly through its implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
But Palatino said that Congress should just remove the line any electronic device in the bill's first section. The bill is still up for amendments in the House. He also encouraged bloggers, netizens, texters and concerned youth to register
their opposition to the apparent railroading of the bill in Congress.
Senior editors and staff of the True News Journal in Rangoon were summoned to appear before the censor board of Burma's military regime on Monday following the distribution of the publication at Insein Prison, the location of Aung San Suu
The Press Scrutiny and Registration Board told the publication that it objected to the headline on a story written by Ludu Sein Win, an outspoken, veteran journalist, which said: Newsmen dare express the truth and risk arrest.
An unidentified staff of the journal apparently sold copies of the journal to people in the crowd outside the prison last week and displayed a small sign saying, The True Journal which dares to report the truth, according to sources.
The staff who sold the journal in front of the prison was arrested in the journal's office on May 28, sources said, and later released.
Internationally-renowned director Lav Diaz has joined other committed local filmmakers in calling for the scrapping of the repressive Presidential Decree No. 1986 created by the late Philippins dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which is still in effect
through the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
House Bill No. 6425, introduced recently in the lower House seeks to transform the current MTRCB into a film and classification body.
The bill is twenty two years overdue, said Diaz, citing the 1987 Constitution which enshrined freedom of expression in the Bill of Rights.
Under the proposed bill, the ominous “X” rating ban, which stifles freedom of expression, will be replaced by a Certified Not For Regular Theatrical Release classification.
TBS news reports that all rape games will be banned from sale or production in Japan.
It is estimated that this particular genre takes up about 10% to 20% of the entire industry but the PC software independent review committee has made the decision to ban all these games.
The PC games review committee had originally not seen it as a problem, but now it has come to the point where the entire game software industry has to comply to the new restrictions.
The committee will change their censorship guidelines starting from the 2nd of June, and the approximately 200 member companies will be restricted from the production and sale of rape games.
The news article reports that the reason for doing so started with the campaigning efforts of the International woman’s rights organization Equality Now which had started due to the problems found with the sale of Rapelay in other countries.
The embers of the RapeLay controversy were stirred a bit yesterday with a report that the game - and others of its ilk - had been banned in Japan. Not by the government, mind you, but by an industry standards organization.
As it turned out, the
report was false: The news source TBS jumped the gun and exaggerated everything. If it is really decided that rape games will be regulated we’ll definitely at least have till past July to comply. The used game market will probably still
A Christian Singaporean couple were found guilty of sedition for distributing evangelical publications that cast Islam in a negative light.
Ong Kian Cheong and his wife Dorothy Chan had been charged with distributing a seditious publication to two Muslims in October and March 2007 and sending a second such booklet to another Muslim in December that same year, a district court
official told AFP.
The publications were found to have promoted feelings of ill-will and hostility between Christians and Muslims, the Straits Times said.
A hearing was set for June 4 for mitigation pleas and sentencing.
Vietnam is banning websites that post articles on how to give birth to children of a particular sex, a government official said.
The articles, including some on leading Vietnamese news websites, offer advice on sexual techniques, food and drink and timing intercourse so as to purportedly determine the sex of one's baby.
A study just released by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) found the gender ratio among newborns in Vietnam last year rose to 112 boys for every 100 girls, up from 110 to 100 in 2005.
Tran Van Trung, chief investigator of Vietnam's Ministry of Health said inspectors were checking websites hosted throughout the country in preparation for a report to the Health Ministry at the end of May. I think the information is
obviously not accurate, but people still want to try, Trung said. [then why would they want to ban it?]
One popular news website, VietBao.vn, advised couples to make love at exactly 3 am on the day after ovulation and to eat a low-calcium diet. The website, registered to Vietnam's Ministry of Information and Communication, promised a success
rate of 96%.
Trung said after the inspection of internet sites was complete, inspectors would move on to checking hospitals and clinics that have ultrasound machines which can detect a fetus's sex.
Sons are considered more desirable than daughters in traditional Vietnamese culture. Sons are necessary to continue the family line, and firstborn sons are assigned to carry out duties of ancestor worship which daughters cannot assume.
Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' Battle in Heaven has been given a restricted rating by a local censorship body for the third time, virtually banning the film from release.
Last week, the Korea Media Rating Board categorized the film's obscenity level as very high, explaining in a jury statement that the film's sexual depiction is too extreme and therefore could challenge the general sentiment of an
The film, which tells of a working-class couple kidnapping an infant for ransom, had been first submitted to the board in 2005. Citing the film's supposedly overt sexual content, the board gave the film restricted rating, which limits the
screening to adult cinemas only. However, no such cinema exists in the country.
World Cinema, the film's local importer, proposed the board for a second review. It received the same rating, and the case eventually went to the Constitutional Court, which in July ruled against the vague standards of the censorship
regulations stipulated by the board.
In the ruling for Battle in Heaven , the board pointed to the film's problematic close-up scenes of the male lead's erect genitalia.
Byun Seok-jong, the representative of World Cinema, refuses to blur out scenes for the film's release. He said: What's the point of going to a theater and see the censored version of a film if you can download the film at home and see the
director's version? This is already a losing game.
A Chinese academic has successfully sued an internet company for closing his website after he posted articles on subjects including corruption and environmental issues.
Hu Xingdou, professor of economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said he hoped his case would encourage other users to protect their rights and internet censors to make decisions more responsibly.
I was surprised when I won. In the past, there have been people suing like me, but either the court did not take the case or they failed. This is the first successful case in China of a netizen or internet user suing their internet service
provider, Prof Hu said.
He now plans to sue the authorities who ordered the internet service provider to act, but predicts his case will be thrown out. It is a shame that the supervisor can currently define any information as illegal as there are not developed laws
Hu believes the censors stepped in because he posted an article about media coverage of algae in a lake in Jiangsu province.
China's authorities have long censored information on the internet. But now officials in some areas take online policing even further.
China's Hubei Province has put in place a Real Name System. It requires that people use their real names—not aliases or other screennames—when accessing web sites, blogs, podcasts, and mobile networks.
Officially the rules are supposed to deter users from writing, quote, vulgarities and malicious comments .
Recent news reports state that Information, Malaysia's Communications and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, announced that bloggers using locally hosted websites may be required to register with the authorities.
According to Rais, registration was one of the measures the government was considering to prevent the spread of negative or malicious content on the Internet.
Respected Malaysian blogger, Ahirudin Attan of Rocky's Bru, was reported to have said that the proposal was effectively the government's bid to control what Malaysians were writing online.
Ahirudin said the move would merely encourage bloggers to host their blogs overseas. Blogger and activisit, Marina Mahathir, was reported to have said that the Government really should “get real”, as the move “is just going to make Malaysia look
ridiculous in the eyes of the world.”
The Pacific island state of Samoa has banned the movie Angels and Demons , Radio New Zealand International reported.
It quoted censor Lei'ataua Olo'apu, who is Roman Catholic, as saying that the film is critical of the Catholic Church and the ban will avoid any religious discrimination by other denominations and faiths against the church.
Japan’s Koumeito party, long a member of the ruling coalition, has condemned adult games featuring sexual coercion and violence as being a highly negative influence on Japan’s tiny rates of sex crimes. They are calling for a ban or further
restrictions on their sale.
As part of the deliberations of its Project Team for Creating a Protective Rearing Environment for Children offered a variety of baseless claims, such as: There is a very good chance that the influence of violent sex games far exceeds
that of regular pornography.
Their (foregone) conclusion was that the government must consider a ban or further restrictions on eroge in order to protect the children from their pernicious influence. No evidence, scientific or otherwise, was presented in support of any of
Just three people decide what Malaysians can or cannot see on our screens.
They are the three panel members of the National Censorship Board.
Is it right to have only three authorised persons, representing the country’s 26 million people, to watch and suppress anything considered unacceptable for public viewing? said Senator and veteran artiste Tan Sri Jins Shamsuddin.
He said the board needed more panel members, adding that many films needed to be screened and that there was a dire need for more people to perform the job: We need more panel members including intellectuals and religious scholars to be part
of the team. Credible Media, Ethical Masses.
A Thai Criminal Court has ordered the closure of 72 websites offering access to online gambling and games.
The court order follows the death of a 12-year-old boy who jumped from the sixth-floor balcony of his school building after he was banned from playing computer games by his father.
Department of Special Investigation (DSI) deputy chief Suchart Wong-anandchai said under a May 19 order issued by the Criminal Court to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry, the agency was told to shut down 72 websites
seen as encouraging people to place online bets or hooking them on computer games.
Pol Col Suchart, who also sits on the ICT's subcommittee on internet safety, said it was the first time that a court order had been issued in the country to close websites offering online gambling opportunities.
From now on any provider found to encourage or provide online gambling will not only face a jail term and a fine, but also have his/her ISP licence revoked by the ICT, he said.
Among the 72 websites facing closure are 368sb.com and 88suncity.com, both based in the Cagayan Special Economic Zone of the Philippines.
Thai people had little need for multiple media outlets such as cable TV and websites since most spread misinformation, which caused bigger social division, Bangkok Senator Rosana Tositakul claimed.
Do we really need so many media channels? And how could we control a large number of media channels, anyway? Rosana asked at a seminar entitled How to Reform the New Media , held by Thammasat University's Faculty of
Journalism and Communications.
Rosana said media reports about misinformation incited hatred, so the media should report with more conscience.
Misinformation is like toxic food that causes damage to the viewer's brain, Rosana said.
However, Adisak Limparungpattanakit, who heads the Satellite Television Association of Thailand, said a new national broadcasting and telecommunications commission should not only try to control the media, but help people across the country get
access. It should also encourage outlets to produce more good content instead of only blocking 'bad' content.
An independent Censorship Review Committee will be appointed to conduct a mid-term review of content issues across the spectrum of broadcast, films, videos, publications, audio materials, the arts and new media. Content issues on the Internet and
new media are likely to feature prominently.
If filmmaker Tan Pin Pin could have her way, she would like the ban on the use of dialects to be lifted or reviewed.
And the re-classification of film and video content by age, instead of genre like political, nudity, violence and homosexual themes.
Choo Zheng Xi, editor, The Online Citizen, said: Something I hope the review commission keeps in mind is whether censorship and filtration is practical in the age of the Internet. I hope they take into consideration the Advisory Council on the
Impact of New Media, or AIMS' request that the symbolic ban on the 100 websites is abolished.
So in my opinion the best way forward is repealing Section 33 of the Films Act on political films and fundamentally reconsidering the Class Licence Scheme which deems all local websites to be automatically licensed and requires content
providers of political and religious websites to register with the Media Development Authority of Singapore.
The new Censorship Review Committee will also look at the implication of the convergence of multiple media platforms. The new committee starts work by the third quarter of this year and will complete its work by the middle of 2010.
Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by a government announcement on 14 May that it will introduce new regulations for community radio stations and cable and satellite TV stations aimed at controlling programme content. Broadcasters would be
required to seek permission for each programme being aired, the government said.
The adoption of these regulations would deal a fatal blow to free expression in Thailand, which is already heavily restricted on the Internet, Reporters Without Borders said. The government will have the power to ban programmes that
question their policies and legitimacy. We urge the authorities to scrap this plan.
Sathit Wongnongtoey, the minister in charge of the prime minister’s office, said: Once the regulations take effect, any broadcast station airing content deemed to be politically incendiary will not be allowed to operate.
Officials in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, are demanding that the city government draft legislation requiring retailers and cyber-cafe operators to adhere to game content ratings.
As reported by the Taipei Times, Chinese Nationalist Party councilors Lee Yen-hsiu and Chin Li-fan led the call for rating enforcement. Lee commented:
Chin told the newspaper that an amendment expected to pass later this year would ban sales of mature-themed online and single-player games to younger players:
The amendment would require Internet cafes and shops that sell computer software to stop selling restricted online games to teenagers, but it does not stipulate any fine for businesses that refuse to cooperate. This is a passive regulation.
The controversial Japanese game RapeLay was cleared by a software industry screening board, reports The Yomiuri Shimbun.
According to the newspaper, the Tokyo-based Ethics Organization of Computer Software screened RapeLay without advising its publisher, Illusion, to make any edits. 235 computer game firms belong to the supposedly self-regulating organization.
While an unnamed official of the group would not reveal its screening standards, he told the newspaper:
[The organization] follows the Penal Code and the law, which bans child prostitution and child pornography. Also, we ask for self-regulation of games, to ensure stories depicted stay at a permissible level from a social
[Given the RapeLay controversy the organization] should discuss what kind of self-imposed regulations are required to ensure [games] are acceptable to society.
Political content on community radio and satellite TV stations will be banned under proposed regulations issued by Thailand's National Telecommunications Commission.
The government said it would enforce the changes evenly against any broadcaster which offends, including the red shirt-run DStation and yellow shirt-owned ASTV satellite TV stations.
Prime Minister's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said the regulations would allow the NTC to take action against community radio and satellite TV stations which air content deemed to undermine democracy.
The regulations require cable TV and satellite TV channels to seek permission for each programme being aired, Sathit said: Once the regulations take effect, any broadcast station airing content deemed to be politically incendiary won't be
allowed to operate.'
Chinese director Lou Ye has defied a five-year state ban on making films by premiering a new movie at the Cannes Film Festival.
Ye was banned in 2006 for screening epic love story Summer Palace at that year's Cannes festival without Chinese government permission.
Now Spring Fever , a story about love and homosexuality, is among 20 films competing for this year's Palme d'Or. It was shot secretly with a handheld camera in China using five actors.
It could be his most controversial film yet because it deals with homosexuality in China - still a taboo subject in the country.
Producer Nai An, who is also subject to the five-year ban, told the AFP news agency she feared the new film would provoke more trouble.
Actor Chen Sicheng, who appears in Spring Fever, also said he feared he would be in trouble in China over his involvement. He told AFP that Ye was a pioneer who had the courage not to give way to society.
Two journalists have been released after spending two nights in police cells when they reported how the Fiji military dictatorship had freed soldiers jailed for killing civilians.
Dionisia Turagabeci and Shelvin Chand, of the website Fijilive, were released on Monday, Radio New Zealand has reported. It is likely the two journalists will be taken before the Magistrates Court and charged with breaking the emergency
Earlier this year a soldier was convicted of murdering a civilian. In a separate case nine soldiers and three policemen were convicted of the manslaughter of a civilian. They were sent to jail for terms ranging from eight years to life, but last
week all were released on parole. They had been convicted of manslaughter after graphic evidence of how they tortured 19-year-old Sakiusa Rabaka to death a month after the 2006 coup.
Fijilive reported this on Friday and on Saturday Turagabeci and Chand were picked up and taken to Suva Central Police Station.
Last week military spokesman Neumi Leweni hailed the effect of martial law censorship: The people of Fiji are now experiencing a remarkable change from what used to be highly negative and sensationalised news to a more positive, balanced and
responsible reporting by the media.
Dictator Voreqe Bainimarama imposed martial law on Fiji last month and has extended it another month, imposing censorship on all media.
Malaysian authorities have arrested 80 writers, activists, members of opposition during protests.
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is deeply worried that the new administration under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has begun a swoop of those publicly opposed to the takeover of the northern state of Perak by the ruling Federal
government Barisan Nasional.
According to report, the government has so far arrested close to 80 people involved in organising and participating in a protest campaign, which includes writers, opposition members of Parliament and activists. Among the 80, 60 were arrested on 6
May in Ipoh, capital of the Perak state where a protest gathering was held. The sequence of actions betrays premeditation on the side of the powers-that-be and this raises worry that the clampdown will be the first of more to come.
The slew of arrests started on 5 May when police first targeted Wong Chin Huat, an academic and writer. Wong is the spokesperson for the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH), which initiated a campaign dubbed '1BlackMalaysia' calling
Malaysians to wear black on the day the Perak State Legislative Assembly was to reconvene on 7 May.
The frenetically paced, ultra-violent Hollywood action comedy Crank: High Voltage has been snipped by Thai censors, who objected to a sex scene that takes place in view of a crowded grandstand at a horse-racing track.
In this sequel, hitman Chev Chelios' (Jason Statham) heart has been stolen and replaced with a battery-powered ticker, so he needs to generate electricity from friction to keep pumping.
In the censored version, the sex scene at the race track simply cuts to the crowd's excited reaction of seeing the couple copulate in the dirt. And then Chev and the dishevelled Eve are on the run from the police.
Earlier in the film, Chev meets his girlfriend at a go-go bar, where other dancers are topless, and naked breasts are clearly seen. But Smart's character, who has become a go-go dancer since the first film, has black electrical-tape X's over her
In the US, Crank: High Voltage is rated R (admission to viewers under 17 only with a parent or guardian) for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.
The UK's film censor, the BBFC, explains its 18 uncut rating more fully
CRANK 2 is the sequel to an American action film about a man involved with a crime syndicate who has an artificial heart that requires regular doses of electricity to keep working. It was passed '18' for strong
and brutal violence, gory moments, sex and very strong language.
Violent scenes include a man having the barrel of a rifle pushed into his anus as a means of interrogation; and frequent shoot-outs with generous spurts of blood. Violent and gory scenes include partially graphic sight of a man slicing off his
own nipples and a man having the skin on his elbow sliced off. Such scenes go comfortably beyond what can be accepted at '15' under BBFC Guidelines which state, 'Violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction off pain or injury'.
However, the exaggerated and rather unrealistic treatment of the violence, coupled with the intended black humour, mean this does not raise harm concerns which might have prevented it being passed for an adult audience.
Very strong language is used clearly at least four times and this also requires restriction to an adult audience.
There are also scenes showing sexual activity, the strongest of which is a sex scene at a race-track which features full body shots of various sexual positions with naked buttocks. Pixelation masks the strongest detail.
Philippine's Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has asked the director of the film, Aurora , to explain why the uncut version of the movie was shown at the University of the Philippines without the permission from
The independent movie was banned as unfit for public viewing by the MTRCB but it was shown just the same at the UP Film Institute (UPFI) Cine Adarna in January.
The MTRCB said the film was screened for commercial gain and without the corresponding permit to exhibit from the body. The MTRCB has already instructed director Adolf Alix Jr. to submit his counter-affidavit to explain his side.
Filmmaker Sean Lim, the representative of Oxin Entertainment, had already submitted his counter-affidavit to the MTRCB. Oxin Entertainment is the company that released Aurora. Lim, in his written testimony, said the film was part of an
educational screening at the UPFI and the scheduled showing was under the pretext of the state university’s aim in promoting academic freedom.
Philipppine's Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to suspend TV program Ang Dating Daan for three months.
The MTRCB imposed a three-month suspension of the religious show on UNTV 37 after its host, petitioner Eliseo S. Soriano, was found to have uttered supposedly offensive and obscene remarks during its August 10, 2004 broadcast.
In an 11-4 vote, the High court, through Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, said the suspension is not a prior restraint but rather a form of permissible administrative sanction or subsequent punishment.
In affirming the power of the MTRCB to issue an order of suspension, the High court said that it is a sanction that the MTRCB may validly impose under its charter without running afoul of the free speech clause.
A dissenting view from Justice Carpio called the suspension an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression which should not have been allowed. According to Justice Carpio, prior restraints may only be justified if they are
either pornography, false or misleading advertisement, advocacy of imminent lawless action, and [or] danger to national security, and obviously, what petitioner uttered does not fall under any of the four.
The Supreme Court en banc has upheld with finality its decision which declared legal the three-month suspension imposed by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on the television program Ang Dating Daan owing to
the use of supposedly offensive and obscene language by its host, Eliseo Brother Eli Soriano, during its August 10, 2004, broadcast.
In a vote of 11-4, the Court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Soriano seeking the reversal of its April 29, 2009, decision which upheld MTRCB's three-month suspension of Ang Dating Daan , a televised Bible exposition program.
I posted a video of the king on the Internet, Suwicha Thakor told Reporters Without Borders from behind a plexiglas screen in Bangkok’s Klong Prem prison on 20 April. The police should have told me what I was doing was wrong. It is not
right to be sentenced to 10 years in prison for this. I am not a problem for the country or its security. I am in prison for nothing.
Suwicha was given the 10-year sentence on 3 April on a charge of lese majeste. Reporters Without Borders wrote to the king yesterday asking him to grant Suwicha a royal pardon.
Reporters Without Borders and 31 other human rights, press freedom and journalists organisations have issued a joint appeal to the Thai government for a revision of article 112 of the Thai criminal code on lese majeste.
Since a new government took over last December, the authorities have stepped up enforcement of the lese majeste law and the Internet has been one of the leading victims. Access to more than 50,000 websites is currently blocked because of content
critical of the monarchy. Around ten people are being prosecuted (or have been prosecuted) for lese majeste and two of them have been convicted. The crime of lese majeste is punishable by three to 15 years in prison.
Call to the Prime Minister to review the lese majeste law:
We, human rights groups, journalists and the victims of arbitrary lese majeste prosecutions appeal to Thai authorities to review criminal code article 112 on national security offences, under which any defamatory, insulting
or threatening comments about the king, queen, crown prince or regent is deemed to be a crime of lese majeste punishable by three to 15 years in prison.
Access to more than 50,000 webpages has been blocked because of content critical of the monarchy, some 10 people are currently being prosecuted on lese majeste charges, at least two are in prison, and more held without bail.
On Apr 24, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology sent an e-mail to inform internet service providers (ISPs) of its unblocking of red-shirted websites, noting the situation has returned to normal.
Aree Jiworarak, the Director of MICT's Information Technology Supervision Office, said in the e-mail that the Emergency Decree had now been lifted, and the situation had returned to normal, so ISPs and concerned persons could lift the blocking of
However, he said that ISPs should advise their clients that there were still other laws in place, and they should take into consideration good conscience and social responsibility in doing their jobs. He thanked ISPs and concerned persons for
having cooperated or attempting to cooperate when unable to do so for business reasons. He hoped that in future difficult times, they would cooperate and serve the country yet again.
The Thai internet censors at MICT are currently blocking 6,218 websites 'affecting national security' which includes lese majeste, 2,307 pornographic websites and 430 gambling websites, admitting to 8,955 blocked websites.
Singapore's reviled censors call themselves the Board of Film Censors (BFC). At the Media Development Authority I spoke with film classifier Dinesh Pasrasurum.
Movie ratings — which range from G (for general entertainment) to R21 (restricted to those 21 years and above) — that has put the censors in the line of fire of everyone from irate cineastes who discover they’re literally not getting the complete
picture to conservative moralists who kick up a fuss about movies with questionable themes.
While you don’t really need the entire group to give a stamp of approval for Finding Nemo, in cases dealing with touchy subjects such as race, religion, sex, homosexuality and vicious violence, it seems like there’s an awful lot of bureaucratic
consultation going on.
For potentially tricky flicks, the BFC asks the opinions of the Films Consultative Panel, a 60-member group of folks ranging from housewives to lawyers and doctors. They may also decide to consult certain focus groups or ethnic groups. There’s
also a Films Appeal Committee, should a distributor feel unhappy about the rating they end up with.
But there’s a difference between commercial films and ones slated for festivals. Take the case of the on-going Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF). Its history is chockfull of some of the region’s best directors is also dotted with
clashes with censors. This year is no exception. The BFC has banned two films: The Berlin Festival-awarded Shahida , a documentary about female suicide bombers by Natalie Asouline, and the gay coming-of-age story Boy by Filipino
Aureaus Solito, whose film The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros was released commercially here. Four other films garnered an R21 rating with proposed cuts, but because the festival has a (justified) policy of showing only uncut films,
organisers have also pulled them.
According to the BFC, only four films (or 0.5 per cent) were banned in Singapore last year. Compared to the United Kingdom rating of 18, the SIFF film Klass was given an NC16.
The Passion of the Christ got an 18 rating both here and in the UK. Milk , however, was rated R21 in Singapore, R (those under 17 require an accompanying parent or adult guardian) in the United States, and only 15 in the UK.
When asked why violence seems to be more acceptable than sexual issues (both hetero and homosexual ones) in movies, Dinesh said: The cue we’re getting from the community is that in terms of sexuality — or homosexuality, for that matter — the
community is very conservative at the moment. You could say society’s tolerance for violence and coarse language (is higher). But as society progresses and becomes more relaxed with regards to (the former), so will we.
A South Korean blogger accused of spreading false information on the internet has walked free from court.
Park Dae-sung, better known as Minerva, built up a huge online following by making largely negative - and accurate - predictions on the economy.
Prosecutors said his brand of financial journalism was damaging to the public interest - but a Seoul court ruled there was no proof of malicious intent. He is now free to continue his blog.
Minerva served up some uncannily accurate online predictions, including the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers. He became a blogging sensation, with intense speculation about his true identity - a learned professor perhaps, or
maybe an experienced market trader? The authorities were less impressed, arguing that much of what he wrote was misleading and beginning to affect the money markets.
When they finally tracked him down in January they found the unemployed man picking up his financial know-how by surfing the web and reading mail-order text books.
Following the anti-government protests, the Thai government has begun to crack down on the opposition media. Will the heavy-handed tactics will incite further chaos?
Radio and television stations in Thailand have been warned by authorities against airing anti-government criticism that could cause civil unrest. Satit Wonghnongtaey, who is in charge of government’s media policy, told reporters that the
government needed to shut down these media, suggesting they had been used to incite unrest in the country.
Opposition websites have also become a target. Thai Netizen Network (TNN), an Internet freedom campaign group, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has blocked 66 ‘political websites that
aired views different from those in power’ since 18 April.
Thai Netizen Network (TNN) would like to express our deepest regret with regard to the political conflict that intensified until it led to the loss of lives and properties, and the government's enforcement of the Emergency Decree on Government
Administration In States of Emergency B.E. 2548, which infringes upon citizens' rights and freedoms by controlling Internet media.
The government has blocked numerous websites that offer viewpoints that differ from those in power, pursuant to news report that the ICT Ministry has ordered censorship of over 60 websites.
China has detained or sentenced nearly 30 people in recent months after seizing hundreds of thousands of audiovisual discs, some containing pornography, a government censorship agency has said.
The crackdown appeared aimed at eradicating porn more than copyright infringement, though pirated DVDs, software and books are sold at many stalls and street corners around China. It follows a government campaign against online pornography
launched in January that has seen dozens of arrests and over 2,000 Web sites closed.
Thirteen people have been sentenced this year on charges of copyright violations or selling obscene materials, according to a statement on the Web site of China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP). The people were given
prison terms of up to seven years and fined as much as 105,000 yuan (US$15,400) each, the GAPP said.
GAPP suggested the agency's goal was to target porn rather than intellectual property violations. The agency urged following through on such cases to deter the spread of porn in China.
A newspaper in Vietnam has been banned for three months for publishing controversial articles on China.
The Ministry of Information and Communication decided to suspend the Du lich (Tourism) bi-weekly for serious violations of Vietnamese Press Law.
Du lich ran a number of articles criticising China over territorial disputes between Vietnam and China. A story written by Trung Bao praised the courageous spirit of those who participated in anti-China demonstrations in Hanoi and Ho Chi
Minh last year. Thousands of people joined the protests against the Chinese government's policies in the South China Sea.
The paper was accused of writing untruthful information and inciting violence, causing hatred between nations - charges that Du lich's deputy editor-in-chief denied.
The Ministry of Information said it would consider reshuffling the paper's editorial leadership in order to improve its management.
The Samoa Censor Board has banned the movie Milk from playing in Samoa
The movie is based on the life of gay activist Harvey Milk, and was rejected by the Censor Board after it was presented by one of the local movie stores for approval.
Principal Censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui confirmed the board had rejected the application, and the movie would not be distributed in movie stores in Samoa. He declined to give a reason.
Eteuati Junior Esau, General Manager of Movies4U, the largest chain of movie stores in the country said: I really just want a reason why, because my customers are demanding this movie.
Esau says he does not understand why the movie has been banned, since it had great reviews, won numerous awards and is based on a true story.
Ken Moala, a well known Human Rights Activist in Samoa, says banning the movie is uncalled for: I do not think it should be banned. It is basically a documentary about the human endeavour to conquer something that people tend to discriminate
The Thai government has begun forcibly dismantling red shirt networks by raiding and closing down community radio stations.
Police raided the pro-Thaksin DStation in Bangkok and, in central Chiang Mai, police raided a community radio station operated by the anti-government Rak Chiang Mai 51, which is known to support former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Police seized transmission equipment against a backdrop of angry protests by more than 200 red shirts who gathered outside the hotel. Chiang Mai provincial police chief Sommai Kongwisaisuk said the station was told to stop broadcasting after 6pm
Provincial branches of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) also asked community radio operators not to use their stations to incite unrest.
In Udon Thani, police raided a pro-Thaksin community radio station run by the Khon Rak Udon group. Police seized transmission equipment. Wachira Khamsueb, a radio host, was charged with operating radio equipment without a licence and released on
bail. More than 100 members of the Khon Rak Udon group turned up at the police station to protest the police action.
A team of 30 police officers raided DStation, the satellite TV station run by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, based in Bangkok. The UDD used DStation to broadcast protest activities and air Thaksin's speeches.
Troops seized control of the Thaicom satellite station in Lat Lum Kaew, Pathum Thani, used by DStation to broadcast reports to UDD supporters in Bangkok and around the country.
The Economist has again decided not to distribute its magazine in Thailand this week because of coverage of the Thai monarchy.
In an email to subscribers the magazine confirmed: Due to the sensitive nature of our coverage on the Thai monarchy, we decided not to distribute the April 18th 2009 issue of The Economist in Thailand.
This week's magazine appears to have two Thailand related articles although the sensitive article is entitled The trouble with Thailand's King . It is sure to thrust Thailand's lese majeste laws into the global spotlight once again.
This is the third edition of the magazine this year to suffer distribution problems this year.
Authorities in Vietnam have refused to allow an exhibition of nude paintings because they are inappropriate for the society.
The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the central city of Hue refused a licence for painter Nguyen Kim Dinh to exhibit 12 nude paintings, the VietNamNet news website said.
His exhibit was approved by the Thua Thien-Hue provincial art association but Hue's culture department then ruled that some of the paintings don't meet artistic standards and are inappropriate to Vietnamese habits and custom.
Pakistan Film and Censor Board Chairman Barrister Shahnawaz Noon has sealed two cinemas supposedly showing vulgar movies.
A seven-member team of the board, assisted by local police, raided Shabistan and Motti Mehal Cinemas and found that they were showing vulgar English movies.
Shahnawaz Noon said: The team found that Shabistan and Motti Mehal Cinemas were showing vulgar movies. Hence, their machinery was taken into board’s custody and they were sealed till next order. He said administration of the cinemas
managed to escape and investigations are underway.
Police officers raided the newsrooms of several publications in Fiji on Saturday to censor current and past news reporting, BNO News has learned. The move comes just hours after the president imposed an emergency rule which limits freedom of
speech and gave police expanded powers.
Police officers [are] here at our newsroom, checking what we have reported and what we [are] yet to report on, a journalist for a publication in Fiji told BNO News on Saturday: Police officers in Fiji have been dispatched in teams to
various local newsrooms to censor items that have been published and yet to be published, particularly by newspapers.
A local television [station] got two news items pulled out of their news segment, a local newspaper we understand had 56 pulled out, the journalist said. The emergency regulation decree, which was announced by President Iloilo on Saturday,
states, among other rules, that media organizations must submit any material to the government before it is allowed to be published.
One of the last foreign journalists left in Fiji is facing deportation as the military regime there tightens its control. Australian Broadcasting Corporation Pacific correspondent Sean Dorney told Stuff that he had been called to the Ministry of
Information and told they did not like his reporting. He was asked to voluntarily leave Suva but declined, saying he had a valid visa.
He returned to his hotel and while he was talking to Stuff he received a phone call from the Ministry asking him report to them: I've no idea what they're doing now, it looks like deportation .
Dorney believes he is being deported because he reported on how the local media responded to the censorship. Fiji TV has refused to air a censored bulletin and newspaper the Fiji Times has run blanks where stories had been censored.
The authorities called in Fiji Sun publisher Peter Lomas and senior journalist Maika Bolatiki. It is believed the meeting was to do with the newspaper's extraordinary front page statement, We ban politics in which Lomas announced that the paper
would no longer publish political stories of any kind.
The Fiji Times has also refused to publish any political stories, and the national television station Fiji One has reportedly done the same.
Three senior News Ltd executives were also summoned to the information ministry - managing director Anne Fussell, editor-in-chief Netani Rika and company lawyer Richard Naidu - to explain why the papers ran blanks on their pages (to show that
stories have been spiked due to censorship).
Chiranuch Premchaiporn, webmaster of independent Thai online news portal Prachatai, was arrested March 6 under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act. Her charges resulted from allowing comments posted by readers of Prachatai’s online discussion fora
alleged to be lèse majesté.
On April 7, Chiranuch was called to Royal Thai Police headquarters for further investigation. Thai police laid nine new charges against Chiranuch resulting from the information she herself gave them after her arrest.
Police claim the alleged illegal postings were allowed to remain on Prachatai for periods of one to fifteen days. Police consider each posting to be a separate violation of the computer law even though these were removed promptly after
notification by Thailand’s ICT ministry.
None of the webboard posters have been arrested possibly as it is beyond the data retention period when IP addresses can be traced.
Additional charges under the cybercrime law mean that Chiranuch is facing 50 years in prison for comments she did not create and not self-censoring webboard posts fast enough for government censors.
Police also told Chiranuch that six more persons will be charged later this month under the computer act.
Google has disabled user uploads and comments on the Korean version of its YouTube video portal in reaction to a new law that requires the real name of a contributor be listed along each contribution they make.
The rules, part of a Cyber Defamation Law, came into effect on April 1 for all sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day. It requires that users provide their real name and national ID card number.
In response to the requirements Google has stopped users from uploading via its Korean portal rather than start a new registration system.
We have a bias in favor of freedom of expression and are committed to openness, said Lucinda Barlow, a spokeswoman for YouTube in Asia: It's very important that if users want to be anonymous that they have that chance.
But while the move obeys the letter of the law it skirts around the spirit of it by allowing users based in South Korea to continue uploading and commenting on YouTube by switching their preference setting to a country other than Korea.
YouTube noted this work-around on its Korean Web site and any videos and comments contributed this way will still be seen by Internet users in the country.
The new law was rushed into force after the suicide of a popular actress in October focused attention on the problem of online bullying in the highly-connected country.
Already many major Korean portals and Web sites require users to provide their national ID card number when registering accounts.
According to chinaz.com's webmaster report, one of the most famous animation website kaicn.com had recently been shut down. Kai.com had been well known for its rich Japanese animation contents.
Coincidentally, a few days later (early April), Premier Wen Jiaobo visited an animation production lab in Wubei province and made a comment that my grandson loves animation, but his selection is usually Ultraman (Japanese animation), he should
watch more of Chinese animation production.
According to Chinese news agency report, Wen's comment quickly echoed by netizens over the country, many supported banning and boycotting of Japanese animation Ultraman.
The Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has made public a program to promote a safe Internet environment. It lists measures the central and local governments and enterprises must carry out by the end of fiscal 2011.
Among other things, they must effectively cope with information on the Internet that is harmful to children and intrudes on individual privacy.
On April 1, the law to restrict the Internet environment for users under the age of 18 went into effect. In principle, Web sites deemed harmful or inappropriate to children will be filtered. But parents can use their judgment to remove the
In preparation for the law's enforcement, the government program called for promotion of the use of filters to block children's access via mobile phones and personal computers to Web sites that are deemed harmful or inappropriate. It also called
for development of filtering services aimed at different age groups and development of functions parents can use to decide which Web sites or categories of Web sites should be filtered. It also called for examining the effectiveness of Internet
service providers' blocking access to Web sites featuring child pornography.
Third-party organizations will certify Web sites as harmless or "R18" indicating the Web site is harmful to children under 18.
Access to pornographic and other unhealthy websites at public places such as cyber cafes and premises with WiFi should be banned, said MCA treasurer-general Senator Tan Sri Tee Hock Seng.
The Federal Territory MCA chairman suggested that enforcement authorities be empowered to impose punitive measures on operators of these places: For instance, fine them if their customers are found surfing banned sites.
Tee also urged parents to monitor their children’s use of computers: Many children have computers in their room. Parents should check what sites their children are surfing.
A Thai internet user has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating strict laws against insulting the monarchy.
A court in Bangkok said Suwicha Thakho digitally altered images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family and posted them on the internet.
The court did not say how the pictures were changed or where they appeared, but local media cited YouTube.
Thailand's royal family is sheltered from public debate by some of the world's most stringent lese-majeste laws, as the police and army try to suppress what they fear is a rising tide of anti-monarchy sentiment.
On April 1st, Aree Jiworarak, of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, said the Ministry's recently established Internet Security Operations Centre (ISOC) had blocked over 7,000 improper URLs or web pages, which included 1,403
culturally and morally offensive pornographic pages.
Now the Ministry is investigating the case of the pornographic animation clip Ninja Love which was posted at mthai website, and is trying to find the poster for prosecution.
Although Youtube has been unblocked, the China administration is determined to control audio and video content circulated in the Internet.
On March 30, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) issued an administrative notice, Concerning the tightening of management on Internet audio-visual content, In the notice that the following content should be banned
from the Internet:
against constitutional principle
damaging to national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity
disclosure of state secret, harmful to state security, national honor and interest
inducing underage youth to commit crime; rendering violence, pornography, gambling and terrorist activities
humiliating and slandering contents that violate citizen's privacy and rights
harmful to social morale and national culture and tradition
other contents that prohibited by other laws and regulations.
Internet audio-visual content providers have to edit and delete the following content:
maliciously distorting Chinese culture, history and historical fact; maliciously distorting other countries' history and disrespectful to human civilization and other countries' civilization and customs
deliberately ridiculing revolution leaders, heroic figures, significant historical figures, prominent figures inside and outside China
maliciously ridiculing people's army, armed police, police, and judicial bodies; contents that show physical abuse and torturing of prisoners and criminals
showing the arrogant and heroic side of criminal acts, details of crimes and investigation, image and voice of witnesses and whistle blowers
advocating religious extremism, creating conflicts among different religions, sects, believers and non-believers that hurt people's feeling
promoting fortune telling, fung-shui, exorcism treatment and other superstitious acts
depicting nature disasters, accidents, terrorist acts, wars and disasters in a spoofing manner
explicitly presenting promiscuity, rape, incest, necrophilia, prostitution, sexual perversion, masturbation and other similar acts
showing or implicitly presenting sexual behavior and bodily intimacy
deliberately exhibiting private parts of human bodies that covered up by body parts or small objects
inducing sexual fantasy
advocating unhealthy acts of extra marital sex, polygamy, one night stand, SM, exchanging partners, and etc
titled and tagged with seductive words or pictures that associated with adult films, pornographic movies, AV, hidden video, nipple slip, and etc
agitating content related with homicide, extreme violence, abduction, drug, gambling, and supernatural phenomena
excessive horrible image, subtitle, background music and sound effects
demonstrating slaughtering of animals, and human consumption (eating) of protected animal species
violating individual privacy
positive presentation or presentation that encourage fight, humiliation and vulgar languages
advocating negative and decadent life style, world view and value; exaggerating national backwardness and dark side of the society
video clips that have been banned by SARFT
violating the principle of relevant laws and regulations.
Boy , the new film of Aureaus Solito, the famed director of the critically-acclaimed indie films Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and Pisay , was banned by the censors of Singapore.
In his Facebook notes, Solito said the Singapore censors would not allow his new film to be screened.
Solito said Boy is his ode to a phenomenon in Filipino movies, the macho dancer genre. In the film, an unnamed boy is smitten by a macho dancer—or male stripper—and decides to bring him home for the New Year.
It's like a cross between a coming-of-age film and an erotic one and it was supposed to have its premiere in competition at the Singapore International film Festival, which opens on April 14. A week ago, I was so happy to see the Festival had
put the film on their website. And now suddenly it has been banned, said the filmmaker.
He continued: I am still waiting for the censor's statement on my film, but I predict it will have something to do with its gay erotic nature. Zhang Wenjie proposed that it remain in competition, just the jury to watch it. I replied that I
make my films for my audience, not for a jury, and withdrew it from the Festival.
After his film Boy was banned by the censors in Singapore, Solito decided not to go through the MTRCB here at home. Boy will be screened for a public audience in the censorship-free UP Film Institute and the Cultural Center of the
I have had enough of being censored, ended Solito.
Suwicha Thakhor has spent two months in a Thai prison, accused by police of insulting the royal family. He says he should be allowed to express an opinion.
Arrested Jan. 14 and charged in connection with material posted on the Internet, the 34-year-old oil engineer said: We have to be able to think freely. They cannot stop ideas by sending people to jail.
More than a dozen similar cases are pending under Thai law as a widening political divide prompts discussion on the future role of the monarchy.
The lese-majeste law is no different from contempt-of- court laws where you protect institutions that are neutral, that have no self-defense mechanism, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva claimed, he told reporters the law would be reviewed
to make it clearer.
Suwicha, wearing a prison-issued yellow shirt emblazoned with a royal insignia, said his views on the monarchy changed after the coup that deposed Thaksin. Police tracked his Web postings, which he wouldn’t discuss, and read his e-mails, he said.
He was arrested after dropping his kids off at school.
In the past, people fled to the jungle to share their political beliefs, Suwicha said, referring to a Communist insurgency in the 1970s that was suppressed by the government: Now we have Web sites. If they want to stop it, they must
stop the technology itself.
Suwicha, who has twice been denied bail, said he’s hoping for a miracle. If freed, he plans to work on a farm and live a private life. Still, he makes no apologies for his beliefs.
Malaysian police have seized DVDs used by the opposition to campaign for upcoming special elections, heightening fears of a crackdown on political dissent.
The April 7 balloting to fill three legislative seats is being fiercely contested because the results will be considered a barometer of public support for the incoming prime minister and other newly elected ruling party leaders.
Police seized 30 DVDs at an opposition campaign rally and briefly detained an opposition official late Sunday in northern Perak state, said Ngeh Koo Ham, a Perak opposition lawmaker.
Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the action was the latest example of the increasing intolerance toward fundamental liberties like freedom of speech, thought and expression in Najib's Malaysia.
The DVD showed clips of opposition lawmakers being barred from holding a meeting at the Perak state legislature after the National Front wrested control of the state administration from the People's Alliance.
District police chief Azisman Alias denied any political motivation, saying the government's film censorship board has not approved the DVDs for public distribution.