Malaysia has banned Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy Bruno because it contains a lot of sex, a senior official said .
The movie has been banned in Malaysia because of the sexual content. It was decided by a three-man committee.
(There is) a lot of sex in it, an official with the National Film Censorship Board told AFP.
He said the panel judges movies based on whether they feature violence, horror, sex or counter-cultural themes. In the case of Bruno , the
ban is based on its sex and counter-culture content, he said on condition of anonymity.
Borat was also banned in Malaysia. Since last year alone, Malaysia has banned five movies, the most recent being US horror film Halloween II , written and directed by Rob Zombie.
Singapore's government has appointed 17 people from various fields to sit on a committee that has been tasked with updating policies on censorship of the media and the arts.
Goh Yew Lin, chairman of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music is the
chairman of the Censorship Review Committee (CRC).
Sixteen others representing a cross-section of the society have been appointed as members of the committee. They include people from the arts and media sector; the community and social sector; and
various professions, said a statement from the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts.
The independent committee has been set up to conduct a mid-term review of content issues across the spectrum of broadcast, films, videos,
publications, audio materials, the arts and new media.
It will look largely at issues that have been raised by the industry players during their regular dialogues with the Media Development Authority and from community feedback. These include the
fine-tuning of current film and video classifications; sale and distribution of videos; and content issues related to entertainment and lifestyle publications.
The review will also examine how media convergence is testing traditional content
regulation concepts and whether new content codes are necessary to guide the emergence of new technologies and new media platforms.
The terms of reference of the committee are:
To recommend refinements to existing content standards and guidelines to reflect societal and technological changes since the last CRC, while recognising the need to protect the young and respect racial, religious and social sensitivities.
To study whether there is a need to introduce additional content standards and guidelines that would be relevant to the emergence of new technologies and new media platforms.
To recommend ways to encourage industry players,
community and artists to be involved in co-regulation of media content and classification.
To recommend avenues to improve community engagement and public education in content standards and guidelines.
The committee will target to complete the review and submit its report and recommendations to the Government by mid-2010.
A Malaysian state government searched for a new site for a Hindu temple, bowing to pressure from Muslim residents who staged a gruesome protest against its planned construction that triggered debate about religious intolerance.
central Selangor state tried to reach a compromise in talks with residents of the Muslim-majority neighborhood in the state capital, Shah Alam, where the temple was to be built. The meeting descended into chaos when protesters shouted insults at Selangor
Chief Minister Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and other lawmakers, according to a video of the meeting posted on Malaysiakini, an independent news Web site.
The protesters insist the temple would be too close to their homes and could generate excessive
noise and traffic, which would disrupt their concentration during Muslim prayers they ludicrously claimed.
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) has criticised
the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) over its request to online news portal, Malaysiakini to take down videos related to a controversial protest against the relocation of a temple in Shah Alam, close to the capital city of Kuala
CIJ executive director Gayathry Venkiteswaran said the request was unwarranted as it is an attempt by the government body to silence the messenger, in this case the media, from reporting news.
She was referring to the letter sent
to Malaysiakini by the MCMC requesting it to remove two videos from its website. One of the videos was a footage from the protest where a group of residents, mainly Malay Muslim dragged a severed cow head to the premise of the state government office to
protest the relocation of a Hindu temple to their residential area on 28 August. Cows are generally regarded with respect by most Hindu devotees.
Despite the action, there was no immediate police investigation into the protest, which civil
society groups condemned as legitimising violence and hatred. In the last week, the Home Minister has come out in defense of the protestors and even described them as victims in the issue. The Prime Minister has come out more strongly against the actions
of the protestors and the authorities have promised to investigate the matter. The Home Minister's statement was made in an environment where activists, critics and opposition political parties have very little space for expression as the media is
overwhelmingly controlled by the ruling government and where their public demonstrations have been met with heavy-handed tactics by the state.
Six Malaysian Muslims have been charged with sedition for parading the severed head of a cow through the streets of Shah Alam in Selangor state last month. The men were protesting against the building of a Hindu temple near a mosque in the area.
Some of the demonstrators stamped and spat on the cow's head.
The case has stoked tensions between Malaysia's Muslim majority and the Indian, mainly Hindu, minority to whom cows are considered sacred.
Twelve of the protesters were charged
with illegal assembly, which could see them fined and jailed for up to a year.
Six were also charged with sedition - for promoting hostility between different groups - and could face an additional three years in jail.
Salehuddin Saidin said his clients were carrying the cow head to illustrate the state government's stupidity - and did not intend to offend local Hindus: For Malays, the cow symbolises stupidity, not an insult to any other religion, Salehuddin
The authorities in Selangor have now found an alternative site for the Hindu temple, further away from the mosque.
Update: Reporters without Borders supports
Reporters Without Borders has pledged its backing to independent news website Malaysiakini which has decided to resist an order to remove two news videos judged to be offensive by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.
commission told the website in a letter on 3 September that it considered the two film clips offensive and intended to upset people, and particularly the Indians . The penalty for refusing to comply is a fine of 50,000 ringgit (14,325
dollars) and one year in prison.
The website www.malaysiakini.com had posted two video clips accessible only to subscribers to the site, the first on 28 August showing demonstrations by Malay Muslims against the building of a Hindu temple in their
neighbourhood, in which they spat on and trampled the bloodied head of a cow, an animal sacred to Hindus. The second, on 2 September 2009, featured interior minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, speaking at a press conference at which he urged
demonstrators not to use violence, while defending their right to protest.
But in a change of stance, on 3 September, the minister ordered proceedings against the demonstrators. The removal order was made under the Communications and Multimedia
Act of 1988 banning all content that is indecent, obscene, false, threatening or offensive with the intention or harming, abusing, threatening or harassing a third party .
The Malaysiakini website is right to resist the censorship
the government is trying to impose on it. The authorities should understand that it is footage that shows something that happened, which may indeed be embarrassing for some authorities but does not constitute an offence , the worldwide press freedom
A British producer cameraman has had to flee Thailand after filming a sequence in which British Royal Marines were held at gunpoint by Thai mafia after hiring a Jet Ski on a Phuket beach.
The cameraman Gavin Hill was today back in London,
after fleeing Bangkok, as his Thai crew faced up to a year in jail. They stand accused of assisting in the filming of a sequence which could damage the country's image .
A battle with the Thai authorities has raged for two weeks. Hill said
: I've made a tactical withdrawal and am in London to discuss how we can help our Thai colleagues. But yes, I did not wish to argue my case from prison.
We filmed the mafia but suddenly we are the criminals apparently. The atmosphere is a
little bit hysterical. The Marines are behind me thank god.
A scene showing the picture of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the wall of a military office nearly earned a ban for an upcoming film about forced disappearances and human rights violations in the Philippines.
The Movie and Television Review
and Classification Board (MTRCB) approved the commercial run of Dukot, giving it an R-18 rating, after director Joel Lamangan agreed to cover Ms Arroyo's portrait, the Inquirer reported.
It was a struggle, Lamangan said in a
phone interview: Both the MTRCB and the producers came up with a compromise that was acceptable to both parties. We only removed the close-up shot of President Macapagal-Arroyo's photo, but we retained her photos in the other shots.
it was covered using special effects, the President's picture could be seen mounted on the wall behind the desk of a military commander who was dealing with families looking for missing relatives.
The movie can still deliver its message even
without the picture. The time frame is still clear that it's current, Dukot producer Dennis Evangelista said. There's also a [caption] showing that the story happened in 2005 (or during the Arroyo administration).
In a text
message to the Inquirer, MTRCB Chair Consoliza Laguardia relayed what she said was a statement by one of the reviewers of the film: There was a compromise with the producer and the director because they agreed to cover the photo of President Arroyo in
a close-up scene [where] parents of missing students were appealing to [an] Army colonel.
A documentary about exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer is to be shown in Taiwan's second city, despite opposition from China.
A spokesman from Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office said it opposed the screening and urged the city not to stir up
trouble in cross-strait ties, Xinhua news agency reported.
Businesses had urged the city to cancel the screening, fearing repercussions. Local tourism officials had spoken out against the move, Taiwanese media reported, fearing it would drive
Chinese tourist numbers down.
But local officials said the film would be shown this week, not during a festival next month as originally planned. Officials in Kaohsiung said that they would show the documentary, The 10 Conditions of Love ,
four times in the coming week.
To draw the curtains over this controversy as soon as possible, the film will be screened ahead of schedule, the city said in a statement.
The Thai television company responsible for producing the Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand series, which featured footage of an alleged jet-ski scam on Phuket, is to be prosecuted, the Bangkok Post has reported.
The managers of Black
Sheep Productions, which produced the show, could face 12 months in jail and fines of up to a million baht (£18,000), the report said.
The first episode of the series showed a Patong jet-ski operator, Winai ‘JJ' Naiman, extracting 35,000
baht (£630) from a group of British Royal Navy Marines in compensation for ‘damage' to one of his vehicles. At one point, Winai was shown holding an air rifle as he argued aggressively with the men, who denied damaging the jet-ski.
as being broadcast on British TV, the show has been uploaded to YouTube, causing uproar among those who say jet-ski scamming is rife on Phuket's beaches.
In today's Bangkok Post report, Wanasiri Morakul, director of the Thailand Film Office, is
quoted as saying those responsible for the show had violated Article 34 of the motion picture law by failing to submit the footage to the Tourism and Sports Ministry for approval before its broadcast abroad.
Director-general of the Office of
Tourism Development, Seksan Nakawong, reportedly said the film-makers had violated Article 23 of the same law for making a film damaging to Thailand's reputation.
Gavin Hill, the British producer of the series, denies the allegations, saying the
show was neither fake nor stage-managed.
Meetings at Patong Municipality offices are ongoing with the aim to hammer out details of a compulsory insurance scheme for the island's jet-ski industry. It is hoped such a scheme will put a stop to
rip-offs and disputes on the island's beaches.
The second episode in the controversial Big Trouble in Tourist Thailan d television series has just been broadcast in Britain on Bravo - but Thai authorities are now trying to prevent the rest of the eight-part series from being
Producer-director Gavin Hill says the Thailand Film Office has sent a letter asking the British production company, Bravo, not to screen any more episodes.
Episode Three, being edited in Britain, is in rough-cut form. The show
can only go on with permission from all the people shown on-screen. That includes Winai ''JJ'' Naiman, the now-notorious Phuket jet-ski operator, who signed a release form so that his actions could be displayed to viewers with his approval.
said tonight's second episode does not reflect badly on Thailand. That was never the intention of Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand, he added.
I don't know what's going to happen now with the series, he said. The Thailand Film Office
has 'pulled all the releases and permissions that are required to complete the series. He has been told there is the likelihood of a complaint being made to the British embassy. At least one volunteer expat tourist policeman in Pattaya had also
In some ways, it's very positive for Thailand, he said: The young lady who was in trouble on Koh Phangan in the first episode is fined 50 pounds, she gets her bail money back, and she is allowed to go, with the only
real penalty being an extra three weeks in Thailand.
By coincidence, authorities on Koh Phangan have announced a plan to make the island, noted for expat full moon rave parties, drug-free as fast as possible.
Episode One of Big
Trouble screened last week, revealing footage of what appeared to be an extortion bid by ''JJ'' with a gun in hand, and it came just before a planned summit on jet-ski scams on Phuket. The Jet Ski operators demand enormous compensation for unlikely
damage to the jetski.
Nationwide, crackdowns are underway on crimes against tourists at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok as part of a push against corruption by the Prime Minister.
The jet-ski crackdown on Phuket came after the Deputy PM
met with the Australian ambassador. Other ambassadors later echoed their increasing concerns about jet-ski scams to the Phuket Governor, Wichai Praisa-nob.
New guidelines by Malaysian film censors will supposedly allow movie producers more flexibility and freedom, without having to compromise on issues related to security, racial and religious harmony and socio-cultural values.
secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said a draft has been prepared and was being studied by film producers and script writers for their views and suggestions on how the new guidelines should be shaped: What is special is that the guidelines are
drawn with the participation of industry players, authorities and other interested parties. However, we expect them to abide by the rules, because they are the ones who had a hand in laying them down.
He said the guidelines revolved around
security and public order, religion, and socio-cultural and ethics values. For example, Mahmood said, while it would not be an outright no-no for film producers to have a story-line based on religion, it should not portray one religion as better
than the other.
Crime and criminals can be highlighted, but not in a way that will encourage the audience to consider committing a crime. Likewise, some harsh language may help enhance the dialogue of a film, but not extreme profanity and
Mahmood added that the film producers and script writers had about a month to study the draft guidelines, after which another meeting would be convened for their feedback and ideas.
The Beijing government has recently required all ISPs and data centers to install a software called Blue Dam in all their servers.
According to today's Taiwan Apple Daily News, the Blue Dam has to be activated by September 13 or the companies will
be subject to punishment.
The Blue Dam is developed by Shanghai Andatong Information Safety Technology Company and according to a report back in July 2009, the Blue Dam is 20 times more effective than the Green Dam as it is a combination of
software and hardware.
The Blue Dam system is consisted of the following features: a graphic-filtering system, administrative-management system, internet-behavior manager, VPN client. The developer said that the business version of the Blue Dam
can help company to stop their workers from visiting websites or hanging around in the Internet on non work related activities.
Two Chinese dissidents caused a furore when they addressed a symposium ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair, causing much of the Chinese delegation to walk out. The Chinese delegates only returned after the book fair's director Juergen Boos apologized.
Bei Ling and Dai Qing travelled to Frankfurt although their invitations to the China Symposium as guests of the book fair had been revoked after pressure from Beijing.
China's former ambassador to Germany, Mei Zhaorong, said they felt
unfairly treated: We didn't come for a lesson on democracy, these times are over, Mei said from the podium, adding that Dai Qing and Bei Ling were welcome to participate in the discussion but did not represent China's 1.3 billion citizens.
Beijing had objected to the pair being invited to the forum, being held in the run-up to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where China is guest of honour. The revocation of the dissidents' invitations triggered fierce criticism in Germany, where the organizers
were accused of bowing to China's censorship.
The Indonesian Government says it finds the new Australian film about the Balibo Five newsmen offensive but it's up to the country's censors to decide if it should be banned.
Indonesia's military has urged the country's censorship board,
the LSF, to ban Balibo , which depicts Indonesian soldiers brutally murdering five Australia-based newsmen in the East Timor border town in 1975.
Foreign affairs ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah today said he believed the film, which is
in the running to be shown at the next Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF), was offensive: I don't think rational people would like to see such an offensive movie shown in our country, because it only opens the old wounds. And it won't be good
for the interests of the Indonesian people.
Faizasyah said the film, which contradicts the official Indonesian explanation that the journalists were accidentally killed in crossfire, could spark confusion.
Indonesian debate about the
film follows the Australian Federal Police's (AFP) announcement this week that it will conduct a formal war crimes investigation into the Balibo killings. The decision has reignited diplomatic tensions between Australia and Indonesia, which believes the
case should remain closed. The AFP probe comes almost two years after a coronial inquest concluded Indonesian forces deliberately killed the journalists to cover up their invasion of East Timor.
Indonesian censors have formed a special team to decide whether to allow the politically sensitive Australian movie about the Balibo Five to be shown in the country.
The Indonesian government has declared Robert Connolly's Balibo offensive and the Indonesian military has urged the country's censorship board, the LSF, to ban it.
The movie depicts Indonesian soldiers brutally murdering five
Australia-based newsmen in the East Timor border town in 1975. It contradicts the official Indonesian explanation they were killed in crossfire.
The organisers of the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF), which kicks off next month, want to
show the movie despite the possible controversy it could generate. They have submitted the movie to the LSF, which has formed a special team to decide whether the thriller is too politically sensitive for Indonesian audiences.
In response to the fast growing citizen journalist movement, the Vietnamese government launched a new entity (Administration Agency for Radio, Television and Electronics Information) and decree to restrict Internet freedom, censor private blogs, and
compel information technology companies to cooperate with authorities.
Since the end of last year, authorities in Vietnam have taken further steps to restrict freedom of expression by unleashing a systematic campaign against bloggers and internet
activists. At least 15 bloggers have been arrested and harassed since September 2008.
Indonesia's House of Representatives passed a film bill on Sept. 8. This came as a surprise to many in the film industry, since the Film Law was drafted without any prior consultation with active producers, directors and other relevant parties.
The film bill will do the same for movies that the Pornography Law has done for culture in general: delegitimize diversity and liberalism and give legal ammunition to moral conservatives. Unspecified restrictions will be placed on the depiction of drug use, sexual content and other controversial topics.
The use of a media influence model, which treats the audience as cultural dupes in need of protection from unsavory images, remains the central paradigm of this new bill. It seeks to control film making so as to limit its scope of creative
inquiry and representation. It is patronizing to both filmmakers and audiences and assumes they have no moral responsibility in what they make or watch.
This law gives greater legal authority to those who find content objectionable. It seeks to
circumscribe the limits of what can and cannot be filmed in order to preempt potential protest and thus avoid situations in which the state would have to deliberate. Instead of protecting film and the dialogue it can open, it seeks to limit what a
filmmaker can imagine on screen.
The draft contains some progressive articles on film censorship (that the Censorship Board will no longer cut films but provide recommendations to filmmakers to cut the film themselves and the implementation of a
film classification system) but the regulations governing the film business read as they did under the New Order. A dangerous re-bureaucratization of film making is proposed, stipulating prior approval for films titles and scripts, permission for
importing and exporting film, and the compulsory registration of all film making activities. Compulsory written contracts will formalize the relationship between the film industry and the Ministry.
Import quotas and minimum screen time allocation
for local productions (50%; Article 32) seem good on paper, but the lesson of this flawed policy should have been learnt long ago. Local productions have achieved a 55% market share without the help of a screen time obligation. Any system of quotas,
either on imports or screen time, will adversely affect audiences, who will have less choice at the cinema and will logically turn to other sources of entertainment.
The most glaring absence from this law is the lack of state support for the film
industry. Provisions are provided for compulsory archiving of material, and the government would continue to promote Indonesian films overseas. But there is no concrete institutional support that would strengthen or even sustain the film industry, either
in terms of reaching audiences who do not have access to Indonesian films, subsidizing film production, establishing facilities that would help the industry or promoting film literacy. The only institution that is strengthened is the censorship board.
The government cannot have it both ways. It cannot hope that film will become a vital and productive cultural domain while at the time treating it as a cultural threat and thus subjecting it to a disproportionate amount of control. If this law is
pushed through it will be a victory for reactionary politics and a severe defeat to a film industry that has worked so hard to recover from financial and cultural restraints.
A promotional poster for Bruno has been deemed too risque by an advertising agency that banned the ads from the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway system.
The comedy and all its promotional material had been approved by the Television and
Entertainment Licensing Authority, Hong Kong's ratings administrator, with the film rated Category III (restricted to people over 18) and the advertising material rated Category I, suitable for all ages.
The ad agency has taken offense at a term
in the film's translated Chinese title, a pun that means both definitely deceive and make hard in Chinese.
It's standard practice for us to censor the advertising materials when we receive them, even after they've been approved
by TELA. We're uncomfortable with the wordings, and are concerned that it might affect the passengers, so we decided to reject the ad, Amy Chan, deputy managing director of JCDecaux told The Hollywood Reporter. The admittedly conservative agency has asked the film's distributor, Panorama, to change the wording, a request the distributor refused to accept.
The Malaysian government claimed that it efforts to enhance legal provisions and policies to deal with illegal and immoral activities on the Internet will not lead to the removal of provisions under laws ensuring no censorship of the Web.
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Internet had given rise to cyber-threats which were a real concern to the nation due to the illegal and immoral activities in cyberspace and the Government was forced to look at ways to curb such activities:
Nevertheless, as we know freedom of speech is not absolute, it must come with responsibility, (because) what is illegal and immoral should be the same for both the online and offline environment, he told reporters.
He said the Bill of
guarantees and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 provide for no censorship of the Internet and this would be maintained.
Thailand's Ministry of Information and Censorship Technology (MICT) is seeking more cooperation from relevant agencies and business groups to prevent supposedly inappropriate content on the internet.
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI)
says the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) is authorized to withdraw or suspend the licenses of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who do not cooperate in blocking inappropriate web pages.
On 3 Sept, Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee,
spoke at a seminar on blocking inappropriate and illegal websites, saying that the Ministry would work more closely with the NTC which has the authority to provide licenses to ISPs and providers of internet gateway service.
The MICT alone
cannot handle the blocking of the websites, because there must be various agencies working together and inappropriate websites, including those which are subversive to national security or the Nation, Religion and King, quickly spread on the internet.
the Minister said.
According to Ranongrak, the MICT has set up the Operations Centre to Monitor the Threat of IT Crimes. The MICT is also seeking cooperation from about 100 companies which provide internet-related services, the Thai Internet
Association, the Thai Webmasters Association, the NTC, the police and the DSI to monitor and block supposedly inappropriate or illegal websites.
The seminar was attended by about 180 representatives of these companies and agencies.
Col Suchart Wonganantachai, Deputy Director-General of the DSI and chair of the committee overseeing the blocking of websites, said that currently the most dangerous were gambling websites which were the most easily accessible. He called for cooperation
from all parties, especially the NTC which he said is authorized to revoke or suspend the licenses of internet-related service providers.
Pol Col Suchart said that to deal with inappropriate websites a filtering system must be in place, which
required a budget of about 100 million baht. The filtering system is already in place in the US and Israel. The DSI is now developing such a device, but the details cannot be revealed for now. He believed that the device would improve the effectiveness
of the blocking by 90%.
So far the MICT has blocked 18,390 web pages of which 10,578 are considered as affecting national security, 7,690 contain pornographic content, 50 advertise drugs, and 72 offer gambling services.
The National Commission for Child Protection said that politicians had to ban the advertising of cigarette in movies in Indonesia
We demand that the House of Representatives insert an article in the bill on films banning cigarette promotions
in movies, said Muhammad Joni, the vice chairman of the Commission. The Commission said the bill must forbid cigarette companies from sponsoring the production of films, ban scenes where actors are shown smoking and prevent companies from marketing
tobacco brands in the film.
Observers have speculated that the reason Indonesia has not devised a law banning cigarette ads or promotions could be that tobacco companies pay millions of rupiah in tax every year. The government has issued a
regulation banning cigarette ads at sporting events and during certain hours in electronic media, like television.
The Malaysian government has reversed a ban on Muslims attending a concert by the Black Eyed Peas in Kuala Lumpur.
Officials had imposed the ban because the show is being sponsored by Irish beer giant Guinness.
A culture ministry
official said the ban was lifted late last week but did not give any further details as to why.
Government regulations forbid alcohol firms from organising public concerts, but the Black Eyed Peas gig had been allowed in order to boost tourism.
Muslims account for nearly 60% of Malaysia's 27 million people and they are barred from consuming alcohol under threat of a jail, a fine and a caning. This applies also to muslim visitors from other countries.
Malaysian Muslims will not be allowed to attend a concert in Kuala Lumpur next month by US hip-hop stars the Black Eyed Peas , officials say.
The ban is over the show's sponsorship by Irish beer giant Guinness, as part of its 250th
Guinness will not be allowed to sell its famous black stout at the event or use its logo in publicity material.
Malaysia's majority Malays are subject to Islamic laws, while the large Chinese and Indian
minorities are not.
The website for the Black Eyed Peas' event asks: Are you a non-Muslim aged 18 years and above? , and bars access if the answer is no.
Previous pop concerts, including one by the Black Eyed Peas in 2007, have
been open to Muslims.
Officials at the Culture Ministry said the show would not normally have been approved because of the connection with alcohol, but ministers let it go ahead in the hope that it would boost tourism, says the BBC's Robin Brant
in Kuala Lumpur.
The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) and Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI) are concerned about the confiscation of hundreds of copies of a cartoon magazine on current issues edited by prominent cartoonist Zunar. The confiscation
smacks of harassment and censorship of discussion of current issues.
On 25 August 2009, officials from the Control of Publication Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs seized copies of the inaugural issues of Gedung Kartun (Cartoon
Store) from the publisher's office in Kuala Lumpur. According to the magazine's editor-in-chief, Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, better known as Zunar, more than 400 copies were seized.
When contacted by CIJ, the department's assistant secretary, Abdul
Razak Abdul Latif, said the magazine was confiscated primarily due to the lack of a publication permit as well as for content checking.
The confiscation is a form of harassment against those who publish alternative interpretations of
current events. Zunar is a long time contributor to the online news site malaysiakini.com and is well-known for his political cartoons.
The government's decision to prosecute the company that published the new cartoon magazine Gedung Kartun for not having a permit is a setback for press
freedom in Malaysia. The decision was announced by Jamilah Taib, the head of the interior ministry's communication unit. The company insists it did get a verbal go-ahead.
We urge the interior ministry to reverse its ban on Gedung Kartun, Reporters Without Borders said.
It is regrettable that the authorities reacted to its appearance by confiscating copies and threatening the publishers with prosecution. The government should allow cartoonists to express themselves freely on social and political issues. This ban is a
grave act of censorship.
Gedung Kartun's publisher and editor, known as Zunar, told Reporters Without Borders: I did not get a reply from the ministry about the licence. I want to continue publishing this cartoon magazine even if we have to
change its name. I want to promote a cartoon culture, which is new in Malaysia. Zunar added: People continue to come to me to buy the magazine. We printed 15,000 copies? [The authorities] are afraid of cartoons because they are independent and
reach out to all generations. As we are not an opposition publication, it scares them.
The interior ministry said Zunar's company, Sepakat Efektif, would be prosecuted under the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 for publication without a licence.
As its owner, Zunar faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 20 million rupees.
Sounds as if New Zealand have been learning from the appalling censorial prevarication and nonsense from neighbouring Australia. New Zealand may have
found a solution that more or less everyone will support.
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs is inviting public input on its draft code of practice for blocking objectionable websites that host child sexual abuse images. The code is now available on the Department's website and will be open to
public comment until 28 September 2009.
The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System will be available voluntarily to Internet service providers (ISPs) in the next two months. It will focus solely on websites offering clearly objectionable
images of child sexual abuse, which is a serious offence for anyone in New Zealand to access.
Internal Affairs, Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said the filter will be operated by the Department in partnership with ISPs: The code of practice
provides assurance that only website pages containing images of child sexual abuse will be filtered and the privacy of ISP customers is maintained. The filter will not cover e-mail, file sharing or borderline material.
The filtering list
of over 7000 objectionable websites will be retained at the Department of Internal Affairs. The list will be reviewed manually monthly to ensure that it is up to date and that the possibility of false positives is removed.
The Department is
committed to transparency and considers that continued public support for the filtering system requires the operation to be as open to scrutiny as possible. An independent reference group will also be established to ensure the system is operated with
integrity and adheres to the principles set down in the code of practice.
Joining the filtering programme is voluntary and if any ISP subsequently is unhappy it will be able to withdraw.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) have released to me
their report [PDF] on the testing of the Internet Filtering system.
In summary, it's already nearing capacity in testing, and it's
filtering 39.9 million requests per month that don't need blocking. This, on top of the fact that it doesn't stop any of the real traffic anyway. Smells like success to me :(
Vietnamese National Assembly representatives blasted a minister for poor management of online gaming regulations.
Minister of Information and Communications, Le Doan Hop, said the ministry was preparing a document to update circular 60, which was
issued in 2006 to manage online gaming.
But representative Nguyen Ngoc Dao said the measures would be insufficient to tackle the moral and mental erosion he said could be attributed to youngsters' online gaming addictions.
Hop said that
online games could not be banned but should be regulated properly. He also began speaking about the advantages and disadvantages of online games and the internet before being interrupted by representative Nguyen Van Thuan, who said the representatives
were not asking about the pros and cons of online games but they wanted to know if the ministry was responsible for the current situation.
Hop admitted that online gaming had not been managed properly but said the ministry would commit to
better management in the future.
Malaysian bloggers who incite hatred or harp on sensitive issues like race and religion in their postings can be prosecuted for sedition, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
He said the Government would put in
place a mechanism to monitor and prevent seditious content from being displayed on blogs: The proposed mechanism will not only protect Islam or the Malays but all Malaysians.
Hishammuddin said issues relating to the monarchy, race or
religion were sensitive in a plural society like Malaysia and there must be some laws to prevent seditious postings on the Internet: In the past we didn't have such problems but with the advent of cyberspace, such seditious postings could probably
hurt the feelings of certain communities.
Hishammuddin said the proposed move was not meant to clamp down or censor the Internet ...BUT... to maintain the peace and harmony among the people in the country: There are a few
irresponsible bloggers; I'm not saying all have the tendency to post sensitive issues. There should be some boundaries when posting in blogs. Irresponsible bloggers can cause disunity and derail the 1Malaysia concept.
Hishammuddin said the
Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, the Prime Minister's Department, the Attorney-General's Chambers, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and police will discuss the issue and come out with proposals for the monitoring
Jiangsu province authorities have shut down one of the largest online adult companies in the country in its ongoing obscenity crackdown.
The Dikamin “league” has 13 adult websites that service more than 12 million registered members, with an
additional 10,000 “VIP” recurring memberships.
A league is known as a version of an affiliate program, relying on paid membership for bulletin boards that include content, as well as the ability to share it.
Police said Dikamin and two
other Chinese-language online adult programs have servers located in the U.S.
Chinese Authorities also said that it is the first time that a government agency has managed to shut down overseas adult websites. They also arrested 12 employees on
Wednesday, as well as the owner — known as Mr. Shen. At one point in time Shen had 300 marketers tending to the websites in China.
The Chinese government is scaling back plans for compulsory net filtering for all citizens.
China's minister of industry, information and technology said Green Dam Filtering software would be compulsory for all computers in schools and public
internet cafes, but not for individual PCs.
The government originally demanded that all machines should have the software either pre-loaded or at least included in the bundle of software discs included with new PCs. This was meant to start from
July but was delayed.
Minister Li Yizhong said it was up to consumers whether or not they installed the software, but it would be required for PCs in public places.
Dismissing a news report that the government was designing software to block websites, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said that three ministries have been tasked to look into ways to curb the spread of lies and
seditious materials on the Internet.
He said that the ministries involved would look at instances of sedition, fraud and child pornography on the Internet to provide law enforcement agencies with the necessary information.
involved are the Home Minister, Information Communication and Culture Minister and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.
A year after the new film-censor law came into effect, ten movies were banned from theatres, including Frontiere , Halloween , Funny Games , Zack and Miri Make a Porno and All the Boys Love Mandy Lane , as they were
deemed violent and against good virtue, a senior official at the Culture Ministry revealed.
Director of the misleadingly named Film and Video Classification Office Pradit Prosil also urged movie theatres to apply for operation licences by
September or face up to 1 million Baht in fines.
Pradit said that the new Film and Video Act 2008 has been in effect since June 2008 but its five subordinate laws were delayed and had just been all approved by the Cabinet, leading to many
problems. However, since it came into effect, ten mostly foreign films were banned from being screened in Thailand because most of them had violent and amoral content, he said. He cited a film about a male house guest who later killed the homeowner as an
example that went against the Thai value of gratitude.
Pradit also said the 2008-issued ministerial regulations on theatre licences came into effect from July 27 this year, so operators must apply for a license within 60 days. He warned that
those who failed to meet the deadline might be subjected to a fine ranking from Bt200,000 to Bt1 million and a Bt10,000 daily fine until the theatre obtains a licence.
There is no need to censor political content on the Internet, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said during his tenure as prime minister, he did not censure information from the Internet and hoped the present Government would keep the status quo.
Dr Mahathir did acknowledge, however, that there is too much filth and violence on the Internet and that it should be vetted by the Government.
But if people are not instigating violence, then it should not be censored, he said,
adding that political content, such as blogs and online news portal should not be restricted.
Yesterday, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim confirmed that there were plans to develop an Internet filtering
system, although only for pornography.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-president Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye welcomed the Government's decision to filter pornography on the Internet, saying that pornography could lead to crime and
social problems. Lee said if the Government had decided to filter the content on the Internet, it would have received a negative response from the public: Any form of censorship, in this ICT era, will be unpopular as it is contrary to the need for
transparency, accountability and the free flow of information .
China's State Council has formally appointed the censor and producer Zhang Pimin as deputy director of the country's powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT). He replaces Lei Yuanliang as deputy director of SARFT, who is
Zhang moves from a deputy directorship at the Film Bureau where he was known for cutting plenty. He joins Zhao Shi and Tong Gang in senior positions at the censorial body, which is assuming increased importance in China.
The Malaysian government have stepped in quickly to deny a plan to impose sate internet filtering.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said there was too much going against filtering, making it ineffective. He said with the ease of information
flowing globally, any move to filter Internet access here would only breed public discontent: In this borderless and IT age, information flows freely... the government has no desire to implement Internet filtering.
Najib was commenting on
a statement by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim, who said they were looking at blocking access to pornographic websites.
It had been earlier reported that Rais' ministry was evaluating the possibility of
an Internet filter similar to China's Green Dam Youth Escort software.
Catholic sites uncovering the persecution against Catholics in Vietnam have become the latest casualties of government censorship.
It has been known that VietCatholic News has long been on top of the list for being blocked from domestic viewers,
but recently readers from Vietnam have reported that as of now, the leading sites of Catholics around the world including Asia-News, Catholic Online, Catholic News Agency, Catholic World News and Independent Catholic News all have become the latest
victims of Vietnam government's censorship.
Vietnam strictly regulates Internet access to its citizens, using both legal and technical means. The collaborative project OpenNet Initiative classifies Vietnam's level of online political censorship
to be pervasive while Reporters without Borders considers Vietnam one of 15 internet enemies.
Initially, the majority of blocked websites are specific to Vietnam: those written in Vietnamese or dealing with issues related to Vietnam.
Sites not specifically related to Vietnam or only written in English are rarely blocked. However, recently popular Catholic sites in English which with high rate of readership have also been added to the black list along with websites of human rights
organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Writers Without Borders, Amnesty International and other right groups to name a few.
Despite a guarantee of no censorship in Malaysia's 'Multimedia Super Corridor', Datuk Seri Rais Yatim's ministry is evaluating the feasibility of putting an Internet filter blocking undesirable websites — similar to China's aborted Green Dam
software. [although that's not really described in the rest of the article]
The study is to be completed by this December and the results will be handed to a shadowy unit monitoring blogs and websites although the decision on implementation
will lie with the National Security Council headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Critics say any move to filter the Internet is against the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees apart from being largely ineffective as
most Internet surfers can circumvent filters through proxy servers.
The move comes on the back of proposals to register bloggers, most of whom are said to be anti-government, and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition parties to have a larger
According to tender documents seen by The Malaysian Insider, the study will
evaluate the readiness and feasibility for the implementation of Internet filter at Internet gateway level, through assessments on the existing infrastructure and existing products in the market.
evaluate and estimate costs for the
investigate the existing legal framework in addressing content filtering and no censorship issue, including the impacts that are caused by the implementation to Internet users and the Malaysian economy.
The New Zealand Deputy Chief Censor of Film and Literature Nicola McCully has been reappointed to the role, the Minister of Internal Affairs Nathan Guy has announced.
The reappointment of Ms McCully will retain her significant expertise in the
area of censorship and will ensure the continued solid performance of the Office of Film and Literature Classification, said Guy.
McCully was originally appointed as Deputy Chief Censor in 2002. The Office of Film and Literature
Classification is an independent Crown entity that examines and classifies publications, including films, videos, books, magazines, sound recordings and computer files.
The Deputy Chief Censor is appointed by the Governor-General on the
recommendation of the Minister of Internal Affairs. The term of appointment is three years commencing 1 August 2009.
Mounting political pressure has forced the creators of the satirical Maakana show to remove a caricature of the president, according to the show's producer.
Yamin Rasheed, also managing director of Cellmin animation studio, said only the
removal of the president's caricature was requested by VTV, the private broadcaster, which airs the programme. Yamin said he was informed it was to protect the interests of the government.
But, Mohamed Zuhair, press secretary at the
president's office, denied the allegation today, saying the president did not support the character's removal: In fact, he told me this morning that he does not have any problem with the show.
The 25-minute animation, which has been
broadcast by VTV every Friday at 10pm since 2007, parodies the Maldivian political landscape, comparing the country to a land of birds. It includes caricatures of both incumbent President Mohamed Nasheed and the former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom as
two birds named Ayya and Zaki respectively.
Jia Pingwa's controversial novel Feidu (often translated as Abandoned Capital ), which caused a sensation upon its Chinese publication in 1993 and was banned the same year, has returned to print after sixteen years during which it was
only available in pirated editions.
The official launch, which is technically for a trilogy that includes both Turbulence (1987) and Qin Qiang (2005), will take place in Xi'an on August 8, but the book slipped quietly into stores
last week without any advance notice.
The restraint is understandable given the book's troubled history. Its initial publication in 1993 by the Beijing Publishing House was accompanied by a media frenzy that sensationalized the book as a modern
Jin Ping Mei, the classic Ming Dynasty novel famed for its explicit sexual passages, and hype ranged from the author's rumored million-yuan advance to a million-copy print run, and from speculation about the nature of the book's deleted passages to the
avalanche of bootleg versions that soon appeared in streetside book stalls. Feidu was banned before the year was out.
A group of 40 Chinese film and TV actors have endorsed a move to ban scenes featuring smoking and tobacco products from film and TV programs
The anti-smoking campaign, which would mean any scenes including tobacco consumption would have to be
cleared, is being led by the non-governmental Chinese Association on Tobacco Control (CATC) and governmental Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Tobacco Control Office.
CATC's research shows that about one third to half of
the smoking youth in China began smoking after seeing their idols smoking in films or on TV. The more smoking scenes showed in a program, young people feel more motivated and encouraged to smoke, the research said.
The campaign calls for the
authority to strengthen the censorship of smoking scenes and asks actors and celebrities to reject smoking scenes on film or TV.
At present, China's Regulation on Film Management and Script Registration stipulates that scenes excessively showing
bad habits such as alcoholism and smoking should be deleted or edited.
Philippines censors get wound up by university showing of banned films
The move by the Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to stop Thursday's scheduled screening of Kinatay at the UP Film Institute was "not a personal attack" on its director, Brillante Mendoza, said
censor chair Marissa Laguardia.
She said it was meant to check the state-run institution's practice of holding public screenings of banned "X"-rated films.
During a press conference on Tuesday night, Laguardia referred to an ongoing case
between the board and the UP Film Institute that stemmed from the latter's showing of previously disapproved films like Adolf Alix Jr.'s Aurora , Lav Diaz's Death in the Land of the Encantos and Alejandro Bong Ramos' Butas
Are they really showing ' Kinatay ' just to professors and critics? How many persons are expected to attend? The UP Film Institute representative we spoke with on Monday failed to answer these questions, Laguardia told Inquirer
She stressed that a film screening attended by at least 50 people is already considered a public exhibition-which makes the movie to be shown subject to classification. Citing the board's rules and regulations, Laguardia added that
a movie slapped with an "X" rating is banned from public and commercial exhibition.
As late as Tuesday night, the chief censor noted, Centerstage/Swift Productions, the producers of Kinatay , had not filed a request for review.
Mendoza's movie debuted at the last Cannes International Film Festival in France, where he won the Best Director trophy. The UP screening was to be its local premiere.
Kinatay Passed Uncut
11th August 2009. From philstar.com
Cannes Film Festival Best Director for 2009 Brillante “Dante” Mendoza received an unexpected bonanza — a regular permit to show his Cannes film
Kinatay without cuts in all venues from the MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board). Ironically, the controversial film may just have served as catalyst for the board to rethink its policies.
During the open forum that
followed the UP screening, director Dante revealed that during the meeting he requested with MTRCB, he made it clear that he would have his film reviewed but would not allow any cuts on his film and would simply cancel the premiere screening should that
be the case. After the MTRCB review, interestingly, he was given the green light. Kinatay is a dark grim look at the underworld where a drug dealer-prostitute is butchered by corrupt cops.
Kinatay . Filipino director Brilliante Mendoza delivered
what could be read as a searing indictment of his country's attitude towards women – or you could also see it as an ultra-violent film in which a woman is kidnapped, beaten, tortured, graphically dismembered, her body parts put into plastic bags and
shoved on rubbish heaps outside Manila.
An institution promoting the adoption of orphaned children has asked the Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to stop the public showing of Warner Bros.' Orphan because of the film's detrimental message.
The movie Orphan delivers a detrimental message about 'waiting' children in need of a 'forever family'. The trailer was deemed so offensive to some communities in America that the line 'It must be hard to love an adopted child as much as
your own' was removed, the group said in a statement.
Adoptions advocate Kim Michelle Richardson (USA) said the movie's tagline, There is Something Wrong With Esther, should be applied to the production company: There Is Something
Wrong With Warner Bros.
Lawyer Gwen Pimentel-Gana, president of the Association of Child Caring Agencies of the Philippines (Accap), said the group's member- agencies are terribly offended and appalled by the movie's negative story line
featuring an orphan little girl character as the villain. Maybe the MTRCB, before allowing movies like these, should be more sensitive to issues that affect the plight of orphaned, abandoned, neglected and dependent children.
Banned films get a film festival showing in the Philippines
Controversial and X-rated (banned) films were given a public exhibition because of the Netpac competition of the Cinemalaya film festiva at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac) is
composed of film critics from all over the world. Among the films vying for the Netpac prize are Paolo Villaluna and Ellen Ramos' Walang Hanggang Paalam and Adolfo Alix Jr.'s Aurora , both rated X by the Movie and Television Review and
Classification Board (MTRCB).
Meanwhile, a third entry, Bayaw , created a buzz because of its full-frontal male nudity. A fourth Netpac film, Auraeus Solito's Boy , was banned in Singapore because of a long gay love scene as
Villaluna said that the film's journey from censorship to the CCP was long and arduous. It makes you realize that filmmaking has become a struggle in this country. It's frustrating ... but we are totally relieved to premiere at the CCP.
The indie film Bayaw
, was banned (Rated X) when the Movie and Television Review & Classification Board (MTRCB) reviewed it on August 27.
Bayaw will be submitted again to the MTRCB for a second review on September 1. The people behind this production are all
hoping that it will be approved for exhibition, with minimal cuts or no cuts at all, in time for its showing. The film, produced by Climax Films and directed by Monti Parungao (Sagwan), is scheduled to open on September 2 in selected theaters nationwide.
The Chinese Government has stirred more controversy in Australia by demanding that a film about a Chinese Uighur Muslim activist be dropped from the country's largest film festival.
The Cultural Attache at China's Consulate in Melbourne
contacted the organisers of the Melbourne Film Festival, and insisted that they drop the documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled businesswoman and activist whom the Chinese Government blame for last week's riots in restive Xinjiang province.
Richard Moore, the executive director of the film festival told The Times that the attache, Chunmei Chen, demanded he justify his decision to include the film,
The 10 Conditions of Love , in the festival.
We had a strident conversation, Moore said: Ms Chen urged me to withdraw the film from the festival and told me I had to justify my actions in programming it. I told her that
under no circumstances would I withdraw the film, that I had no reason to do so. I don't need to justify my actions, unless it's in relation to our own sense of morals.
The film tells the story of the relationship between Ms Kadeer, leader of
the World Uigher Congress, and her activist husband Sidik Rouzi and explores the effect on her 11 children of her campaign for autonomy for China's Uigher population. Two of Ms Kadeer's sons have been jailed as a result of her actions.
is due to speak at the Melbourne Film Festival next month after being invited by the film's producer John Lewis.
Ms Chen said the Chinese were also very unhappy that Rebiya is coming here as a guest, said Moore: She proceeded to list
Rebiya's crimes, everything from evading taxes to being a terrorist. It was a real character assassination. To be honest, after a couple of minutes listening to this very detailed list of accusations I phased out. In the end I hung up. I would never
normally do that but when you have someone who isn't listening to you and won't stop talking I just said 'I have nothing else to say, goodbye.'
Update: China pulls 2 films in
response to refusal to ban 10 Conditions of Love
China has withdrawn two films from an Ausrtralian film festival after the event's director refused to ban a documentary about Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
Two weeks before the Melbourne Film Festival was due to open, director Richard Moore received a phone call from Chen Chun Mei at the Chinese consulate, who asked him to withdraw the film. He refused and politely hung up . Then, on Tuesday,
he was notified that two Chinese films were being pulled out of the festival.
Moore claimed the film-makers withdrew their movies after he ignored pressure from Beijing to drop the documentary about Ms Kadeer. He said he believed Beijing had
ordered the withdrawal of films Perfect Life and Cry Me a River in an attempt at political intimidation ahead of the August 8 screening: It's hard to draw any other conclusion .
Chow Keung, the Hong Kong-based head of Xstream
Pictures, which produced both films, said he had no problem with the screening of 10 Conditions of Love . However, the film-makers had an issue with Ms Kadeer appearing as a festival guest. The group had no links with the Chinese authorities, he
told the Australian: We are independent filmmakers. This response is by consensus, and it is very personal. He said he did not blame the Melbourne festival organisers: We respect their programming freedom. But hundreds of ordinary people
have just been killed in the conflict in Xinjiang. I know the families of two of the victims, and it offends my sense of morality to appear there alongside (Kadeer) as a guest. I would not be comfortable.
Tickets to 10 Conditions have
since sold out and a second screening is being scheduled.
Update: Chinese Hackers Attack Film Festival Website
have attacked the website of Australia's biggest film festival over its decision to screen a documentary about the exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer.
Two days after the Melbourne international festival opened, hackers replaced programme
information with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans and sent spam emails in an attempt to crash the site, according to reports in the Australian press.
We like film but we hate Rebiya Kadeer, one message said, demanding an apology to
the Chinese people.
The festival director, Richard Moore, said staff had been bombarded with abusive emails after he rebuffed demands from the Chinese government to drop the film about Kadeer, The 10 Conditions of Love , and cancel her
invitation to the festival.
The language has been vile, Moore told the Melbourne Age: It is obviously a concerted campaign to get us because we've refused to comply with the Chinese government's demands.
He said the festival
had reported the attacks, which appear to be coming from a Chinese internet protocol address, and was discussing security concerns with Victoria's state police. Private security guards are being hired to protect Kadeer and other patrons at the film's
screening on August 8.
The artistic director of Brisbane's International Film Festival (BIFF) says she is horrified by the behaviour of the Chinese consulate and the ensuing cyber attacks on the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF).
I think it is
appalling. It is a really strange, inappropriate kind of tactic in a society that has freedom of speech, Anne Demy-Geroe told The Epoch Times.
Ms Demy-Geroe said she is receiving calls from friends in Europe equally horrified at the bullying
and stands firmly in the belief that international film festivals have a duty to screen controversial films.
Bill to strip Philippines censors of political censorship powers progresses
Philippines House committees on public information and government reorganization has approved a bill stripping the censorship powers of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board and limit its function to simple film classification.
The unnumbered substitute measure to House Bills (HB) 2294 and 3854 also seeks to replace MTRCB with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Commission. The proposal was approved on June 3.
Rufus B. Rodriguez, who is with the political
opposition, said MTRCB's functions should be revised to veer away the agency from censorship and policing: The new agency must be restricted to classification functions. That is why the use of a proper classification system must be employed .
Under the bill, the new body, which remains under the supervision of the Office of the President, will only review and classify materials.
Chinese internet users are being blocked from accessing stories about the son of President Hu Jintao after a company he used to run was reported to be under investigation for corruption.
The latest brick to be built into the Great Firewall of
China came in the form of news that the technology channels of the leading Chinese web portals, Sina and Netease, could not be opened for several hours after they posted reports about the company linked to Hu Haifeng. Articles about an investigation in
Namibia into corruption allegations against Nuctech, a Beijing company that produces scanning equipment for airport security, disappeared quickly, even though they did not mention the former company president by name.
The China Digital Times, a
US-based blog run by Xiao Qiang, of the Berkeley China Internet Project at the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, posted a copy of a notice it said had been issued by the Communist Party's propaganda department. The notice, issued to all search engines,
read: Hu Haifeng, Namibia, Namibia bribery investigation, Nuctech bribery investigation, southern Africa bribery investigation. Please show no search results for all the above keywords.
Distributors blocked the July 4-10 edition of The Economist from entering Thailand for an article that covered the mounting threat of lese majeste complaints to the country's Internet freedom and freedom of expression, according to a local distributor
and international news reports.
This is the third time since December that distributors have opted not to distribute the British weekly newsmagazine because of concerns over its coverage of the monarchy, according to a distributor who spoke
on condition of anonymity with CPJ. The Economist has more than 2,500 paid subscribers in Thailand and is also distributed by various newsstands and book stores.
The one-page article, Treason in cyberspace, noted that the scope of
investigations under the law has recently widened and that Thai authorities have used the law as justification for blocking more than 8,300 Web pages since March 2008. It also referenced the lese majeste case pending against Chiranuch Premchaiporn,
editor of online news site Prachatai, who is charged for allowing a comment critical of Queen Sirikit to be posted by a reader to her site's message board. Because she faces multiple criminal counts for perceived anti-monarchy postings, The Economist
reported, she could face as long as 50 years in prison. The article also discussed the lese majeste complaint, filed by a private citizen, against the entire board of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.
Authorities have not formally
banned The Economist's distribution in Thailand and the following week's edition of the magazine was available on local newsstands, according to CPJ research.
The growing use of lese majeste charges has had an unmistakable chilling effect on
freedom of expression in Thailand, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney: We call on the authorities to amend these laws so that journalists and those who distribute their work are not cowed into self-censorship.
A Hong Kong survey commissioned by censors claims that citizens in Hong Kong 'want' the government to rein in internet porn.
According to The Standard, the survey was conducted through Hong Kong University for a consultants' report commissioned
by the government on the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance.
Of 1,500 people questioned, three-quarters said they want the internet monitored and greater restrictions imposed as well as penalties for violations.
10% of respondents said the Obscene Articles Tribunal wasn't doing its job properly, while 40% want to see the agency shut down, instead establishing classification parameters.
Some 60 percent said they support the creation of a new independent
system, replacing adjudicators with jurors.
One Hong Kong politician, inappropriately named Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, told The Standard she doesn't understand why anyone would protest regulation: Online activities should be supervised like the
real-world activities .
Stressing that it should not be censoring films and TV programs solely because of their critical political or social content, some party-list congressmen are pushing for the abolition of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
In filing House Bill 6425, the lawmakers, led by Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, want the MTRCB to be replaced with the Movie and Television Classification Board (MTCB).
Casiño, the bill's principal author, said the measure
seeks to protect and promote freedom of expression in motion pictures and television programs in the country – which he said the MTRCB often fail to do.
The bill will ensure that the right to freedom of expression would not be abridged
by replacing the existing Movie and Television Review Classification Board (MTRCB), he said in a press statement: The present MTRCB, in the fulfillment of its duties, often violates or curtails this constitutionally guaranteed freedom.
The lawmaker cited the case of some films and television programs, which were censored and rated "X" by the MTRCB due to its critical political or social content.
Casino said the proposed Movie and Television Classification Board Act
of 2009" aims to sanction the eventual self-regulation of motion pictures and television programs to lessen, if not prevent, any abuse or discretion on the part of MTCB in the classification of any material.
I am a member of the InternetNZ and I have just been reading its internal mailing list about the frightening possibility of Internet filtering coming to New Zealand, courtesy of our Department of Internal Affairs.
New Zealand's censorship laws
forbid viewing or owning certain types of material (e.g. depictions of bestiality or sex with children) and this applies to material accessed over the internet too.
At this moment New Zealand does not have Internet filtering. However, the
Department of Internal Affairs ran a trial internet filtering scheme in conjunction with Ihug, Watchdog, Maxnet and TelstraClear in 2007/2008 and is planning to fully implement it in 2009/2010.
There is now a "Internet Filtering Law".
It is being done under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. This gives the responsibility for enforcement to the Department of Internal Affairs.
The scheme is currently voluntary for the ISPs (Internet Service Providers)
as there is no law to force them to use it.
The filter is applied at the level of the IP address but it is common for a web server to host multiple websites on a single IP address. All requests to a website on one of the filtered IP addresses
will be diverted to the DIA's server.
ISPs can choose whether to subscribe to it or not. The only way for a person to opt-out of the filtering is by switching to an ISP that doesn't implement it. ISPs that have implemented it so far have not
provided a way to opt out of it.
The list of sites is manually compiled by DIA officers. They will update the list monthly and only after the review and agreement of a few officers. Initially they plan to filter any website carrying child abuse
The New Zealand government is spending $150,000 on website filtering software, outraging some bloggers who say the move amounts to censorship of the internet.
Since 2007 the Department of Internal Affairs' Censorship Compliance
Unit has worked with a small group of internet service providers on a trial project to block access to websites distributing child pornography.
The project, using hardware and software supplied by a Swedish technology company, thwarts access to
more than 7000 websites known to offer child sexual abuse material.
If computer users subscribed to the ISPs involved in the trial - which now include TelstraClear, ihug, Watchdog and Maxnet - attempt to access sites on the DIA's blacklist they
are re-directed to a message explaining the site has been blocked.
Until now the DIA's filtering project has been run on a shoestring Budget of $2000 or $3000 a year, but the department won $150,000 in this year's Budget to buy software to expand
the system beyond a trial. The money was part of a $661,000 Budget increase for censorship enforcement activity.
In its latest move to crush porn, China has arrested or detained operators of adult sites that use foreign servers.
According to PC World, this latest crackdown follows the arrests of mobile porn website owners in China as well as the
government's plan to have all machines sold in the country pre-installed with the controversial Green Dam Youth Escort software.
Police claimed two Chinese porn sites, May Babe and May Erotica , ran on U.S. servers and were updated
through an encrypted virtual private network (VPN) to avoid detection, according to the state-run Xinhua news service.
Officials said most owners of Chinese porn sites now employ server space abroad to avoid China's web police. It was not stated
how the site owners were tracked down.
Police also arrested staff members of a Chinese company that created more than 40 pornographic WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) sites for mobile users, Xinhua said.
Chinese police have also warned
third-party payment businesses against providing services for those providing pornographic and lewd material online. The ministry statement referred to one case in which people were arrested for selling porn site memberships to Love City through
third-party payments via companies such as AliPay, PayPal and YeePay.
Why is the public so willing to protect the pirates, who may be backed financially and logistically by organised crime? The pertinent short answer is the extremely low cost of acquiring near-flawless digital content but there is a long answer, an
incisive element that enables the pirates to flourish despite being whacked hard by law enforcement raids: censorship.
After drawn out negotiations with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Apple has conceded and filed an application to officially sell its best-selling iPhone without wi-fi connectivity in the mainland.
The Network Access
License will allow the company's iPhone to enter the Chinese market and run only on Chinese cellular networks in Beijing's bid to maintain government censorship.
One of the iPhone's selling features was its wi-fi connectivity that allowed users
to access the internet and other special iPhone applications from any place with a hotspot connection.
Apple was hell bent on having the iPhone be wifi-enabled, says Wedge Partners analyst Matt Mathison told Businessweek: The Chinese
government has been just as adamant that it not be.”
A man has been arrested for attacking the Web site of the Korean video game rating board.
Choi the chief executive of an agency that helps computer game software developers get ratings from the Game Rating Board, is accused of buying a hacking
program from an accomplice, Yoo, 33, an ethnic Korean in China, for 450,000 won ($351).
Choi based the server in Shanghai and used it to paralyze the homepage of the ratings board, according to the police.
Choi is alleged to have received
10 million won in advance from one game developer for a review rating from the government game rating body. When the process took longer than expected, the developer pressed for a faster settlement. That's when Choi decided to attack the site to make an
excuse to his client, according to the police.
Choi procured so-called zombies computers that were then used for a distributed denial-ofservice attack. A DDoS attack generates a large volume of traffic that paralyzes a specific Web site. Choi
managed to freeze the Game Rating Board 10 times between March 4 and 22, mobilizing some 7,400 hijacked computers.
The import of Airtel digital satellite receivers to Maldives has been banned, the Islamic Affairs Ministry has said.
Speaking a news conference held by the Ministry, the Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Baaree said that they had been receiving many
complaints about the receivers from the public: We've even received a CD of a program that was aired on the channel, he said, adding that the program promoted Christianity.
When asked why the Airtel receivers were being banned while
pornography websites and sites that promoted Christianity were still available, the Minister said that dish antennas were different from the internet.
Dish antennas are imported through the Customs, he said: The law prohibits the import
of material that can be used to promote and spread illegal religions in the country. We discussed with the authorities whether there was any way we could switch off certain channels or not but they told us that it was not possible. Then we discussed it
with the Attorney General and came to this decision. Internet is not made available through the Customs.
As you're probably all aware, the mess that slowly started spinning with Rapelay is slowly going out of control recently.
A new fax from the Japanese trade association censors, EOCS, has been sent out and as with previous faxes companies
are still not allowed to release any of the information for some reason.
#New guidelines will start from October, all sales of older rape games will also have to stop, no matter if they're downloadable games or physical package games.
The period from 5th June to 31st September will be the changeover
period where rape games will still be allowed to a certain extent, and the new restrictions will go full force starting from October. Games released sometime by the end of the year will most likely still be okay as games go through the judging process
earlier before the actual release.
Shoujo (girl) and school council keywords managed to escape from the list of NG words.
Normally big decisions like this would need to be done through official meetings where
companies can show their disapproval, but the EOCS is really forcing it in this time, and the person leaking the info suspects the EOCS is under huge pressure for them to be doing something like that. However he does not know if there are any other
entities pressuring the EOCS other than the politicians.
CSA's regulations will be released next week apparently so some are waiting to see how that goes.
5 companies were talking about quitting the industry.
More of the translated information can be found on:
In a rare event for the Chinese capital a group of about a thousand people met for a public but convivial protest against government plans to install the controversial Green Dam filtering software on computers. They were responding to an invitation by
Beijing artist Ai Weiwei who called for a day of boycott of the internet.
Recently Chinese authorities decided that all new computers made and sold in the country must contain this filter, ostensibly to fight pornographic or other dirty websites.
But many in China and abroad believe the real motive behind the move is to establish total control over mainland internet users. For this reason there have been many protests.
However, on the eve of its official starting date, Chinese
authorities put the web filtering software on hold
For those who came out to protest this was but a short term victory, conscious that the battle against internet censorship must continue.
China's Green Dam
internet filtering system will go ahead
China's controversial plan to install Green Dam internet filtering software on all computers will go ahead despite being postponement, a government official told state media today. The official said it was only a matter of time until
the software was installed.
An official, speaking anonymously, told China Daily: The government will definitely carry on the directive on Green Dam. It's just a matter of time.
What will happen is that some PC manufacturers will have
it included with their PC packages sooner than the others. But there is no definite deadline at the moment.
The official said the delay was necessary because some computer manufacturers needed more time to prepare.
The South Korean Wonju city government filed a 123-million-won ($100,000) compensation suit against a cartoonist who inserted abusive words about President Lee Myung-bak in its promotional gazette.
The cartoonist, identified only as Choi caused a
stir after he drew a cartoon containing the offensive remarks in the June edition of the publication.
In the cartoon, which is supposed to be in honor of Korean Vietnam War veterans, a couple of people bow in front of a monument, but behind them
stand two statues with Lee Myung-bak should die , and Lee Myung-bak son of a bitch written on their torsos. The words had been subtly hidden in the form of patterns.
The cartoon somehow passed censorship checks and the magazine was
released to the public. The city government later recalled and discarded all copies of the edition.
The cartoon was drawn in such a manipulative way that not many people could notice what was written in the first place. However, the content
was so humiliating for not only the head of the state, but all public servants. We will fight for the dignity of the city, the office said.
China has backed down from a plan to install censorship software on all computers sold on the mainland.
A law requiring computer manufacturers to include a program called Green Dam on every PC was delayed just hours before it was due to
come into effect.
Green Dam filters the internet and blocks access both to pornography and to politically sensitive content. Researchers also discovered that it is capable of sending reports about an individual's web use back to the authorities.
China retreated in the face of angry and sustained criticism not only from internet users but also from computer manufacturers and trade bodies. In addition, a US company called Solid Oak has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Green Dam,
charging them with having stolen the software that makes up the program.
China will delay the mandatory installation of the software on new computers, said Xinhua, the government newswire. The pre-installation was delayed as some
computer producers said such massive installation demanded extra time, it added.
A trial of the Green Dam program suggested its filters may be of limited use to worried parents.
When the software is installed, and an image
scanner activated, it blocks even harmless images of a film poster for cartoon cat Garfield, dishes of flesh-color cooked pork and on one search engine a close-up of film star Johnny Depp's face.
With the image filter off, even though searches
with words like nude are blocked, a hunt for adult websites throws up links to soft and hardcore sites.
Green Dam has not detailed how it scans images for obscene content, but computer experts have said it likely uses color and form
recognition to zoom in on potential expanses of naked flesh. When too much skin is detected, Green Dam closes all Internet browsers with no warning, sometimes flashing up a notice that the viewer is looking at harmful content.
interpretation of obscene is apparently generous enough to include the orange hue of Garfield's fur and, on the highest security settings, prevent viewers clicking through to any illustrated story on one English language news website.
software also allows users to choose what they want to filter for, and besides adult websites and violence, categories include gay and illegal activities. ay and health activists fear the blanket ban on gay content, in a country
where homosexuality is not criminalized, could damage projects including sexual health and Aids education.
Another setting allows Green Dam to take regular snapshots of a user's screen and store them for up to two weeks - ostensibly so parents
can monitor computer use by minors.