Video games in New Zealand operate under a looser system of classification than the one used for films and videos, but one that can be complex, creating confusion for game sellers and the public alike.
The time may have come to treat games the same as films and DVDs and require them to carry a New Zealand classification label.
At present, games don't need to carry a classification label at all unless they have content that could be restricted under New Zealand classification law, such as depicting strong or explicit sexual or violent content. In
other words, depicting such content in a way that might be injurious to the public good, or to younger people in particular.
To make things more complicated, games can carry another country's label - for example, a label from Australia - even though other countries do not always have the same sensitivities and standards for assessing and labelling
content as we do in New Zealand.
In recent research by the Classification Office, most participants were unaware of the practice of cross- rating and the exemptions for games, and opinions on these practices varied. One participant said: I guess I always
thought that everything got reviewed here, I never realised that we just automatically took other people's classifications.
Participants in this research felt it important that classification decisions for New Zealand were based on New Zealand society's values and law, and made by a group based within New Zealand because they've got more idea
of what is acceptable in our culture . The research also showed that 71% of respondents would like to see the system change so that all games are required to have New Zealand labels.
A change to the classification legislation would be required to ensure that games are treated the same as films and DVDs - whether using another classification system, for example Australia's, or a New Zealand-based
The research, which will be published shortly, indicates that such a change would be welcomed by consumers and enable members of the public to feel confident that games on the New Zealand market have been classified in
accordance with New Zealand law and public expectations. However, the commercial implications for games distributors of such a move are unclear.
Tampering with the perfectly adequate existing system of classifying video games could become problematic for the NZ market place. It could lead to a black market of illicitly-imported games over which there is no censorship, and games
that fail to work with the parental control systems for consoles sold in NZ, says the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA).
iGEA chief executive, Ron Curry, said the current system, whereby New Zealand shares a perfectly adequate Australian labelling system, is working satisfactorily.
He is concerned that moves to introduce specific-to-New Zealand classification labelling for all games will make many games too costly to import into New Zealand.
One result is likely to be that global manufacturers, for whom New Zealand is a tiny market, will opt not to bother sending games to this country because of the greatly increased cost associated with classifying titles and providing New Zealand
That opens the door to black market suppliers who will move quickly to fill the gap. They will bring in games regardless of content, and sell them to any and everyone, regardless of age. Without appropriate labelling the ability for parents to
make informed decisions about their children's entertainment choices is compromised. We are already seeing that in Australia where they have a similar issue with an absence of R18 classifications.
A court in Taiwan this week ruled against a female food-blogger who said a local restaurant's beef noodles were too salty, and that she'd seen cockroaches scurrying around in the restaurant.
She gets 30 days in detention, two years of probation, and must pay 200,000 Taiwanese dollars (about $7K US dollars) in compensation to the restaurant. The court didn't argue she was lying about the bugs, but ruled that Ms. Liu should not have
criticized all the restaurant's food as too salty because she only had one dish on her single visit.
The Taipei Times carried advice from a lawyer. Huang Cheng-lee said that bloggers who post food reviews should remember to be truthful in their commentary and supplement their comments with photographs to protect themselves.
The Taiwanese blogger was sentenced to 30 days in detention and ordered to pay NT$200,000 (about £ 11,000) for allegedly writing a defamatory review about a local restaurant. She blogged that the dish she
had ordered was too salty and that there were cockroaches on the restaurant premises. The restaurant refuted these claims, sued, and won their claim. In Taiwan, defamation is a criminal act.
An international version of the Hong Kong film 3D Sex and Zen , touted as the world's first 3D porn film, has received a R21 (Restricted 21) rating from the Board of Film Censors (BFC), and will be screened uncut in
Singapore, from July 21.
The international version of the film clocks in at 102 minutes, 27 minutes shorter than the 129-minute version shown in Hong Kong, which was again six minutes shorter than the 135-minute version its director Christopher Sun
had originally put together.
The film carries a consumer advisory stating that it contains Nudity, Sexual Scenes and Graphic Violence .
However the very short running time suggests that the SIngapore release might not be se uncut as claimed. From Thailand's Nation newspaper:
The director's cut runs 129 minutes, Hong Kong's version is 118 minutes and the international cut for censorial challenged countries is 113 minutes. Thailand and Singapore have each snipped the film down to 110 minutes but
Thailand's version still allows nude scenes while Singapore's cut has removed some sex scenes and all scenes showing the monk and the woman.
While the Malaysian government has continually ensured that there would be no censorship of the Internet in the country, an alleged leaked memo requesting Malaysian ISPs to block file-hosting sites suggests otherwise.
The memo in question appears to be issued by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on May 30, and was leaked on Facebook, Malaysia-based Lowyat.Net forum, and blogs on June 9.
The MCMC, which is the country's internet censor, has yet to deny or confirm the memo's authenticity.
In the memo, the MCMC requested that Malaysian ISPs block access to ten file-hosting and sharing URLs, including Megaupload, Fileserve, and The Pirate Bay. It cited Section 268 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which states that ISPs
(licensees) must try their best to prevent its network from being used for activities that contravenes with Malaysian law.
International hacktivist group Anonymous has carried through on its threat to attack the Malaysian government's main website www.malaysia.gov.my over the government's proposed censoring of several file sharing websites, including the
Pirate Bay and Megaupload.
A few days ago, the group posted a YouTube video about its intentions to carry out the attacks at 3.30am (local time) on Thursday.
At least 50 other government websites were attacked, including the state of Sabah's tourism website, and the Tourism Malaysia website. The websites of the Royal Malaysian Police, the Malaysian Parliament, the Ministry of Finance as well as the
Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism, which were restored before 9 am (local time).
Thousands of Malaysians took to the roads in protest of the decision made by the regulatory body Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to block 10 file-sharing websites in its effort to combat piracy.
The websites are mostly used to download pirated content including movies, TV shows and music.
The protest could be seen on Facebook as well, with over 6,500 people posting messages against the decision.
An Indonesian tax has already put an end to Hollywood films being shown in Indonesian cinemas.
To fill the void the cinema trade turned to local films, most of which seem to be from the low budget ghost film genre.
Now the Indonesian censors are taking aim at this, already 2nd choice, cinema programming.
Muklis Paimi, head of the board, known as the LSF, appeared to suggest it would consider banning the popular genres for screening.
We want to use the upcoming Ramadan [Muslim fasting month] as the right moment to suggest that filmmakers stop making low-quality movies with a lot of sex scenes in them, Muklis told Metro TV:. We will not pass any movies exploiting
those two things.
He advised filmmakers to make movies with educational values.
He added that the LSF also welcomed any filmmakers wishing to discuss the concepts of their upcoming movies: If they want to make such movies, they have to have a dialog with us first. The current practice is, [filmmakers] only come to us once
their movies are finished .
He said the current situation posed a dilemma for the LSF: It's problematic. If we censor the movies too harshly, the movie producers will hold a rally against us, saying that they will suffer material damages if we do not recommend their
movies. In the end, it will affect the national film industry. But when we are being lenient with our censorship, we will receive protests from the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) .
China has banned 43 recently published online pornographic novels, according to a notice issued by the National Office against Pornographic and Illegal Publications.
The notice states that since October, the General Administration of Press and Publication has issued several orders to investigate a dozen online pornographic novels and the websites that host them.
Beijing Cultural Law Enforcement Agency has punished 24 websites and demanded the deletion of 209 links to illegal content. Eight of the sites were shut down for providing porn.
The notice also warns that it's getting more difficult to detect pornographic websites as they're becoming adept at concealing their content from regulators. Some move their servers to other provinces or abroad, while others find creative ways to
disguise pornographic content.
Technological innovations have enabled publishers of erotic material to disseminate it through smart phones, tablet computers and e-books, according to the notice.
Philippines Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Grace Poe Llamanzares said the Department of Health (DOH) has consulted the agency regarding the guidelines in the possible implementation of a no-smoking
directive on TV shows and films.
Earlier, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino appealed to showbiz industry stakeholders to shun depicting scenes of actors and actresses smoking in their entries in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).
But the majority of showbiz stakeholders frowned on Tolentino's appeal. They warned that Tolentino may be treading on dangerous and questionable legal grounds since filmmaking is covered by the constitutional right of free expression.
Clothing that describes Jesus Christ as a 'cunt' has been seized from an Invercargill store by New Zealand police. Police took away the apparel after being asked to do so by Internal Affairs.
The tops will be further examined to decide whether the owners of theImpuls'd store which sells them would be charged with any criminal offences.
The Southland Times outed the store, owned by Warren and Angela Skill after spotting hooded tops with the words Jesus is a cunt emblazoned on the back. The tops advertise an album for British extreme metal group Cradle of Filth.
People have been seen wearing the tops on city streets in the past week, with a 68-year-old visitor to the city saying she was 'horrified' when she saw a man walking with the offending words emblazoned across his back.
In 2008, T-shirts with the same wording were banned by then chief censor Bill Hastings. The ban made any act of possessing, wearing, distributing or selling the T-shirt, or another top with the same wording and imagery, illegal.
Colin Morrison, the pastor of Edendale Presbyterian Church, wrote that he felt sorry for people who needed to express themselves in such a way and he would be praying for them: Also I am sad at the way they find such language acceptable, just
shows how far we have slipped as a caring and loving society.
Hong Kong's 3D Erotic comedy Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy has opened in Thailand after cuts from the Film Board's censorship committee, even with an age rating of 20+.
With this rating, filmgoers should have their ID cards ready to show in case they're asked. The Thai cut of Sex and Zen runs for 110 minutes, 3 minutes shorter than the original. Three scenes have been cut: a female seducing a monk and two
sadistic rape scenes.
The director's cut runs 129 minutes, Hong Kong's version is 118 minutes and the international cut for censorial challenged countries is 113 minutes. Thailand and Singapore have each snipped the film down to 110 minutes but Thailand's version
still allows nude scenes while Singapore's cut has removed some sex scenes and all scenes showing the monk and the woman.
Thailand has ordered a ban on foreign tourists having religious images tattooed on their bodies while visiting the kingdom, official media reported.
Tattoos with images such as of the Buddha may offend Thai people, Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat was quoted as telling reporters.
He said his ministry had asked regional governors, particularly in tourist hotspots, to inspect tattoo studios and ask them not to use religious patterns, according to the state-run National News Bureau. He said he would push for a law banning
people from etching sacred images onto their skin.
Tattooed foot in mouth
At an interview with Pattaya Daily News reporter, Minister Nipit denied making any statements against tourists with religious tattoos. He clarified that tourists with religious tattoos will not be prohibited from entering Thailand.
[Even though he earlier claimed that such images offended Thai people?]
The warning is directed at those tattoo shops that allow etching sacred images onto tourists' bodies especially on the lower body parts such as ankles, Minister Nipit said. He re-emphasised that it was a misunderstanding by foreign Media that
Thailand would do a body check on tourists while visiting the kingdom.
Opposition is building to the Culture Ministry's plan to impose restrictions on the use of Buddha images and religious motifs for commercial purposes.
Culture Minister Niphit Intharasombat said this week he had instructed provincial governors, especially those in tourist destinations, to crack down on the improper use of Buddha images and religious motifs. Niphit said the ministry would
publish guidelines on the acceptable use of Buddha images and religious items for business operators and tourists.
The guidelines will give advice on how to portray or treat Buddha images, teachings, pictures and photos. They will also urge respectful handling of monks' garb and items and temples' important features. People are discouraged from dressing like
monks, or portraying monks in an unfavourable light.
Tattoo artists, business operators and movie makers are unhappy about the restrictions. Pawat Pawangkasiri, director of Nak Prok (In the Shadow of Naga) , a film about bandits who disguise themselves as monks, said the guidelines seem
vague and could threaten freedom of expression.
The Culture Ministry is asking tattoo artists to stick to offering religious tattoos above the waist, as it believes such sacred imagery, even when displayed on the flesh, should be treated with respect.
The Bangkok Post asked tattoo artists what they think of the proposed ban.
Som, who works at Fine Art and Tattoo, a tattoo parlour off Patpong Road, said she agrees with the proposed ban. Many foreigners don't understand the symbols, and they want a Ganesh below the waist, like on the hip or ankle.
She said tattoo artists feel spirits inhabit them as they work, so at her shop they agreed not to tattoo designs with religious significance, which might skew the symbiosis they need to work. She said they worried about bad karma: The khru,
the protector of your art, will be upset and punish you. Even for Buddhists, sacred images below the waist are really bad. It's the same as putting a Buddha statue in a nightclub or toilet. It's done without thinking.
Thon, a tattoo artist of 14 years whose Y2J parlour lies on Patpong 2 Road, believes a ban on religious imagery would be wrong. While he agrees that religious imagery shouldn't be tattooed below the waist, he doesn't think the government should
have any say in what is ultimately a personal decision. I also worship my khru, and I've never drawn religious tattoos on lower body parts, he said.
The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards is fighting to try and prevent LA Zombie from being shown the Out Takes film festival.
It was given an R18 rating by the Classification Office, with the warning it includes horror, violence, sex scenes and content that may disturb .
The Secretary of Internal Affairs has granted the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards (SPCS) leave to apply for a review of the decision, which will happen on 3 June, three days before the film is due to show at the Auckland leg of
Out Takes at Rialto in Newmarket.
Out Takes says SPCS has also applied for an interim restriction order that would block it from screening LA Zombie, despite the fact the decision to give it an R18 rating is going to be reviewed anyway.
A Thai-born dual Thai-US citizen and passport holder was arrested and detained without bail for allegedly putting up a computer link to the content of the banned book , The King Never Smiles on his blog.
Joe Gordon told a Prachatai online newspaper reporter that he was having difficulties adjusting to Bangkok Remand Prison and that he was worried about the cleanliness of the drinking water. He denied committing lese majeste on the Internet.
Gordon was arrested and taken from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok by the Department of Special Investigation.
Singap[ore's Court of Appeal has affirmed the sentence of six weeks' jail and a $20,000 fine handed down to British author Alan Shadrake by the High Court for contempt of court.
Last year, the Attorney-General had applied to commit Shadrake for contempt of court on the ground that 14 passages in his book, Once A Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock , had scandalised the judiciary.
In November last year, he was found by High Court judge Quentin Loh to have impugned the impartiality, integrity and independence of the courts here in 11 out of the 14 passages. Justice Loh sentenced Shadrake to six weeks' jail and a $20,000
fine - the heaviest punishment handed down here for contempt of court by way of scandalising the judiciary.
Shadrake appealed, a three-judge Court of Appeal, contrary to Justice Loh, found nine of the 14 passages to be in contempt.
Shadrake said he will not be able to pay the fine and will serve the default two-week jail term, making a total of eight weeks.
The use of USB sticks, CDs, floppy disks and other external data storage devices in Burmese internet cafe's has been banned. The new restriction was issued by the Communications Ministry.
The ban on data storage devices comes two months after the Burmese government adopted a law blocking transmission technologies for delivery of voice communication, this according to the Democratic Voice of Burma.
Ostensibly, the measure was designed to cut financial losses by local companies offering overseas calling, but it is also useful in enhancing state censorship since Skype and VoIP are hard to monitor.
Existing legislation is already draconian. Already foreigners are required to hand over passport details, address and phone number before using an internet cafe' computer, whilst cafe' owners must submit monthly records of users' internet usage
data to the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications Ministry.
Police in China say they are seeking a man who allegedly threw an egg and shoes at the designer of the country's Great Firewall of internet censorship.
Fang Binxing was lecturing at Wuhan University, Hubei province, when the alleged protest took place.
Reports of the attack spread quickly on Twitter after a user named Hanunyi posted his account of the incident.
Hanunyi posted a live account of the alleged shoe-throw on his profile page, including a picture of a hand clutching an egg: The egg missed the target. The first shoe hit the target. The second shoe was blocked by a man and a woman .
Fang is reviled by many Chinese web users for overseeing development of China's system of internet censorship.
Eight New York residents have filed a lawsuit against China and Chinese online-search provider Baidu Inc., alleging they violated the plaintiffs' U.S. constitutional rights by blocking prodemocracy speech from Baidu search results. The complaint
seeks damages of $16 million, or $2 million for each plaintiff.
The plaintiffs allege their articles or videos about the Chinese democratic movement are unavailable via searches on Baidu, which the lawsuit calls an agent and enforcer of the anti-democracy policies of China. The censorship violates
their rights under the U.S. Constitution, the New York constitution and New York law, the suit alleged. It didn't elaborate on why Baidu should be punished for actions that Baidu says are required by Chinese law.
Senator Richard Durbin earlier this month wrote a letter to Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li expressing concerns that the company wasn't taking measures to safeguard human rights, including freedom of expression and privacy. Durbin said he
was working on legislation that would require companies to take steps to protect human rights or face liability, and that Baidu would be subject to such legislation because its shares are traded in the U.S.
Philippines Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is now working closely with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to crack down on bus drivers and operators caught playing sex and violence
videos in their vehicles, said LTFRB Chairman Nelson Laluces, in an interview with Radyo Inquirer.
Operators who permit the showing of such films in their bus liners will be slapped a penalty of P3,000 ( £ 43) for the first offense, P6,000 for the second offense, and a possible suspension and
revocation of franchise, said Laluces.
Meanwhile, erring while drivers could also be suspended, and will undergo seminars to be conducted by the LTFRB. The MTRCB will likewise file criminal charges against bus operators for the protection of minors.
Laluces said only motion pictures and television programs that are suited for the viewing of children are allowed in bus liners.
In the first press suspension under the new Burmese government, the Rangoon-based True News newspaper has been suspended for two weeks for reporting controversial information, according to local journalists.
The publication's editors were summoned to the censor board office and ordered to sign a pledge not to violate press regulations, a source close to the editors told Mizzima. It was the first suspension of a newspaper under the new government led
by President Thein Sein.
The cause of the dispute and suspension was information in volume 3, number 34, which reported: Everyone who owns a 1.5 million kyat (US$ 1,660) GSM phone is qualified to buy a 500,000 kyat GSM phone at a price of only 180,000 kyat . Local
journalists said the information had appeared in print in an earlier report.
According to a source close to the journal, the Posts and Telecommunications office reprimanded True News, threatened to sue, and the censorship board stepped in and punished the journal for the report.
Singer Bob Dylan has denied accusations that he had bowed to censorship during his first concerts in China last month. Dylan was criticised by Western media and by Human Rights Watch for not performing some of his best-known protest songs on
his China tour in April.
In a rare online posting, Dylan said Chinese authorities asked for the names of the songs he would play in their country.
Dylan said he sent Chinese officials his set lists from the previous three months of shows. He performed in Beijing on 6 April and Shanghai two days later.
If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended to play, Dylan wrote in the post.
Media commentators cited the absence of songs The Times They Are A-Changin' and Blowin' in the Wind from Dylan's China set list as evidence that the counter- culture hero had caved to pressure.
In March, China's Culture Ministry said in a brief statement that an agreement to have Dylan sing in the country came with the proviso that he perform the approved content .
Chinese internet users suspect that their government is interfering with the method they have been using to tunnel under the Great Firewall to prevent them connecting with the outside world.
Since 6 May, a number of users says that internet connections via China Telecom, the largest telephone company, and China Unicom have become unstable , with intermittent access when trying to access sites in foreign countries using a virtual private network
(VPN). Even Apple's app store has been put off-limits by the new blocks, according to reports.
The disruption has mainly affected corporate connections such as universities while home connections that use standard broadband systems have been unaffected, according to the prominent Chinese technology blogger William Long.
Normally traffic flowing over VPN connections is secure because it is encrypted, meaning that the Chinese authorities were unable to detect what content was flowing back and forth over it. A VPN connection from a location inside China to a site
outside China would effectively give the same access as if the user were outside China.
According to Global Voices Advocacy, a pressure group that defends free speech online, the disruption follows new systems put in place in the Great Firewall -- in fact monitoring software on the routers that direct internet traffic within
and across China's borders. The new software appears to be able to detect large amounts of connections being made to overseas internet locations.
The problem has become so bad that some universities and businesses have told their users not to try to use VPNs, and only to visit work-related sites; to do otherwise could lead to trouble for the company and the users involved.
Popular soap operas on New Zealand television may be rated adults only if Lianne Dalziel has her way.
The Labour MP is calling on the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) to move the adult slot time because programmes like Coronation Street and Shortland Street undermine family values.
The two street soaps are rated PGR (parental guidance recommended) but Dalziel said the content has become increasingly unsuitable for children.
She has asked the BSA to move the 8.30pm watershed time in which television programmes are deemed to have adult content from 8.30pm to 7.30pm.
She is not suggesting that soaps should be programmed later, just that parents should be told that programmes in the 7:30pm - 8:30pm slot are not suitable for children.
Dalziel said content currently screening from 7.30pm has storylines covering complex issues such as prostitution, kidnapping, drug addiction and marital problems.
Dalziel told TV ONE's Breakfast that BSA findings show parents rely on the watershed time as marking the transition from family viewing to more adult themed shows: Surely you want to look at the time when you can guarantee to parents there
won't be any adult themes creeping in .
Dalziel said that the content of Coronation Street, which is rated PGR, has changed markedly since the days of Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell.
The Chinese government has banned all spy dramas and any related programs from being broadcast on major television networks from May to July, according to reports.
The government agency in charge of censoring entertainment programming has not announced a reason for the ban, but observers speculate that it may be an effort to clear the way for official programming in the run-up to the 90th anniversary of the
founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1.
In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court threw out a request for a judicial review of the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law, which sought an amendment to criminalize the filming of sex videos for private use.
Chief Justice Mahfud M.D., in rejecting the request for a review filed by nutter lawyer Farhat Abbas, said: The plaintiffs' argument does not have a legal basis.
Article 4 of the law bans people from producing pornographic material, while Article 6 prohibits people from storing or broadcasting it. However, Farhat's camp has said supplementary explanations of the law exclude materials for personal use
If pornography is for 'personal use,' the actor might be seen as a victim [when material is distributed without consent], when in fact pornography exists because of the actors in the first place, Muhammad Burhanuddin, one of Farhat's
lawyers, had argued.
However, Justice Ahmad Fadlil Sumadi said that while the court agreed with the plaintiffs that pornography violated norms of decency if made public, the point here was that a homemade video for private use was not meant to be made public.
Farhat sought the judicial review in the wake of the celebrity sex video scandal involving Nazril Ariel Irham, the frontman for the band Peterpan. One allegedly showed Ariel with his girlfriend, Luna Maya, while another was said to show
him with TV presenter Cut Tari. Ariel has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison on a charge of distributing pornography, not for making the films, although he insists he did not upload the videos to the Internet.
Anwar Sadat, a representative for the plaintiffs, said that while the request for the judicial review had been rejected, the two women in the Ariel case should still be held accountable: The makers of sex videos must also be punished. We know
that Ariel has been sentenced to prison, but what about Luna Maya and Cut Tari?
China has set up a new censorship body to control information on the internet.
The State Internet Information Office will take over responsibility from a number of lower-ranking directorates.
The new set-up is intended to enable the government to keep a more repressive grip on the content available to internet-users in China.
The newly-created State Internet Information Office brings technical and political control over the internet under one body, with Information Minister Wang Chen in charge. This in effect gives his ministry more power than the other agencies
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak promised Malaysians that his administration would never censor the Internet.
Twice in recent years, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government has explored introducing Internet-filtering software, saying it was necessary to combat child pornography, before backing off after public outcry.
Speaking at the 1st Malaysian-ASEAN Regional Bloggers Conference, Mr Najib said that Malaysia has one of the liveliest and one of the freest, if not most free , blogospheres in the world.
While stressing that it is important for bloggers and Internet users to draw the line , Najib said his administration still welcomed constructive criticism and wanted to work with them as partners: There is a difference between
disagreeing and being disagreeable. But what is important is for us to put forth our view to ... build a better Malaysi a.
Thailand's Election Commission (EC) authorities have banned discussion of the monarchy in campaigning for the first national election since the political violence erupted in 2010.
The poll's body has not revealed the details of the new rules, which were announced at a meeting with political representatives.
The EC will discuss details of the ban later, said Apichart Sukananond, the body's chairman, suggesting that parties who disobey the rules may be dissolved and their leaders may be banned for five years.
Debate about the role of the monarchy is a taboo in Thailand as the country prepares its national election in early July.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva supported the ban stating that the monarchy was above politics and conflicts , while the main opposition party Puea thai pledged to respect the rules.
The popular show Willing Willie has been suspended for one month. It was the subject of complaints after a six-year-old boy was prodded to gyrate like a macho dancer in an episode last March in exchange for a cash prize.
The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) will count the airing days since April 11 that the show has been voluntarily off the air. The program will also be on probation, or on a per-broadcast permit status, until
the MTRCB decides otherwise.
The MTCRB said: The Committee hereby directs the MTRCB Agents to conduct a daily monitoring of the show, and to submit a weekly report to the MTRCB Chief Legal Counsel, with regard to the faithful implementation of the measures committed by
The board found the show's network ABC-5 and network executive Ramon del Rosario guilty of immoral or indecent content.
LA Zombie has been given an R18 rating and will screen in Auckland and Wellington at the glbt film festival. The film was banned by Australian censors.
The film follows an alien zombie who roams the streets of Los Angeles in search of dead bodies and gay sex, an activity that reveals a gift of shagging the deceased back to life. It has full-frontal nude scenes and zombies with prosthetic
cucumber-shaped penises. Starring French porn star Francois Sagat, it features wound penetration and implied sex with corpses.
The Herald on Sunday says The Society for Promotion of Community Standards is shocked at the decision to allow the film to be screened, and has applied to the Film and Literature Board of Review to have the decision re-examined.
David Lane, the society's executive director, claimed the film appeared to breach the law by including acts of torture and extreme violence, and by emphasising sexual conduct with bodies of dead people.
Out Takes Chief Programmer Simon Fulton is confident LA Zombie won't be banned. He says it's definitely for a certain taste: It's grimy and grubby, some people will love it and some won't. It's a silly sort of zombie horror porn thing, but
it's loads of fun to watch.
Fulton says the film's use of an alien sexual technique to turn bodies into zombies is what has worried censors in some countries, but he says it's not necrophilia.
The annual Out Takes film festival opens tonight at Wellington's Paramount Cinema and runs until June 12.
This year it includes one of the most controversial and talked-about films of the past year - LA Zombie.
The film has become notorious after it was banned from screening at the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. Directed by American Bruce LaBruce, it was refused classification by Australia's Classification Board.
Thai Government officers have raided 13 community radio stations in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces which have been accused of broadcasting a speech allegedly containing comments offensive to the monarchy.
A joint task force made up of officers from the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Crime Suppression Division as well as local police carried court
warrants to the community radio stations and seized their equipment.
Police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Prawuth Thawornsiri said Isoc had ordered police to take legal action against community radio stations which had broadcast a controversial April 10 speech made by Puea Thai Party MP Jatuporn Prompan, since he is
facing lese majeste charges as a result.
The raids included two radio stations in Pathum Thani province belonging to the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).
The two were a 105.40 MHz channel in tambon Khu Khot and the 96.35 MHz Red Skills station in tambon Lat Sawai.
Police detained DJ Lucky , chief of the first radio station, and confiscated transmitters, computers and the antennas from both channels.
About 300 red shirts gathered at the Red Skills station in an attempt to prevent the police from taking away the equipment. Police negotiated with the protesters and took DJ Kom , the station head, for questioning at Khu Khot police
Both detainees were later released on bail of 75,000 baht each.
Misreable Bangrak District Office director Surakiat Limcharern has lodged a complaint with police over topless female Songkran revellers whose sexy dancing near Silom Road was recorded and posted on the Internet.
It hurts the image of Thailand, in particular Silom, he ludicrously claimed: It distorts Songkran culture too. Close examination showed the topless revellers were young, so young that it dismissed my initial assumption that they might
have been workers in the redlight zone of Patpong.
Lodging his complaint at the Yannawa Police Station, Surakiat urged police to track down the teenagers who he claimed carried out obscene acts in public places.
Miserable National Police Commissioner General Wichien Pojphosri vowed action against both the topless revellers and their cheering crowds.
Miserable Culture Minister Nipit Intarasombat, meanwhile, wanted action taken against those lending loudspeakers and stereo systems for the topless dancing: Apart from being fined, the topless girls should be required to do some cultural work.
For example, they should be made to read books about the Songkran Festival for young students to listen to as part of the punishment .
Video clips showing the topless Songkran revellers were posted on the Internet on Saturday, provoking a nutter 'outcry'.
Culture Watch Centre director Ladda Tangsupachai has disclosed that Nipit also instructed her to officially ask the National Police Office and the ICT Ministry to ban the video clips on the Internet.
In Phichit, two transvestites were fined yesterday for exposing their breasts during the Songkran celebrations.
In Chon Buri, Pattaya City's councillor Rattanachai Suttidechanai said all entertainment venues were told not to stage pornographic shows.
Update: Oops, Thai Minstry caught 'destroying the image' of Thailand
Image rapidly deleted from the
Thai Ministry of Culture website
lest they 'destroy the image of Thailand' again!
The buzz in Thailand in the past week (before the renewed border fighting with Cambodian troops) was the scandal caused by the topless teen dancers during the Songkran Water Fighting Festival.
The photos and videos of the three girls dancing bare breasted in Silom, Bangkok immediately went viral and generated intense debates on Thai culture and morality. The girls were slapped with a 500 Baht ($17) fine while the person who uploaded
the video received a 100,000 Baht ($3,320) fine and a possible prison term for up to five years in violation of the Computer Crimes Act.
The Thai Ministry of Culture ludicrously condemned the girls for 'destroying the image' of Thailand.
But embarrassingly, netizens spotted that very same accusatory ministry were themselves 'destroying the image' of Thailand.
The image [right] of three topless topless women enjoying Songkran was featured on its website and was mysteriously removed when spotted immediately after the Songkran topless dancing incident.
The censored image was of the Nang Songkran (Thai Goddesses of Songkran) painting by Sompop Budtarad.
Thai Connoisseur observes that the three teenagers were merely embracing the more traditional, and somewhat forgotten aspects of Songkran:
...three young Thai ladies embracing the more traditional, and somewhat forgotten aspects of Songkran, by dancing in much the same way as their great grandmothers would have done back in the days of Siam. In other words,
bare breasted! Who can blame them? I think it is a good thing for the young people to revive forgotten traditions of one's ancestors.
Harrison George, writing for Prachatai, comments on the hypocrisy of the authorities
Where the young women went wrong was doing it for free. Theirs was an economic sin, not a moral one. If they had done the same thing in a bar a few hundred yards away, they would never have been bothered by the law. And got
paid for it.
A bill meant to replace Thailand's repressive Computer Crime Act of 2007 was put on hold by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on 19 April 2011 amidst strong criticism, media reports said.
The Nation quoted the prime minister as saying that the draft law, sponsored by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), needs further review.
Groups such as the Thai Netizen Network, iLaw and the Network of Human Rights Law earlier submitted a letter to Abhisit to express their opposition to the draft law which they claimed is worse than the current one.
The Thai Netizen Network said that the amended law does not address old problems but adds more new ones, which will have a wider impact on civil liberty and press freedom. An Associated Press report quoted Sarinee Achavanunkul, committee member:
If the law is passed, fewer people would want to work as webmasters and administrators due to the high burden of liabilities, and Thailand's information technology industry will suffer.
Paiboon Amornpinyokiat, an IT law expert, added that under this proposed law, more people, besides those working with Internet service providers, web hosting and mobile phone companies, could be easily caught in a dragnet, including ordinary
people who have Facebook and Twitter accounts, owing to vague technical terms.
The Nation said that one of the main concerns is the draft law's provision on the setting up of a new commission, to be called the Committee to Prevent and Suppress Computer Crimes, made up of representatives from security organizations.
According to iLaw manager Orapin Yingyongphatthana, the commission will have the power to request computer data.
Paiboon said that another problematic provision of the draft law is Article 16 which could penalize anyone who downloads audio or video files (songs and films), even for fair use (this right is protected under anti-piracy laws). The article
states anyone who illegally copies other computer information into his or her own system that may cause damage to others faces up to five year's imprisonment or a fine of THB50,000 (USD1,670) and/or both.
Article 24 used the euphemistic sounding: information that is inconsistent with the fact in an offense of undermining national security or causing panic. This charge carries a five-year prison term or a fine of up to THB500,000 (USD16,700)
and/or both. According to IT lawyer Paiboon, any media outlet that posts information such as clips from YouTube or data from Wikileak, which may not yet be 100-percent verified, as part of its news story may be charged under this article.
Article 26 states that anyone who posts online any personal information, or any information that may cause damage to a person or his or her reputation, cause the person to be insulted, hated, or shamed, or cause anyone to believe that such
information is true, is punishable for up to five years of imprisonment or face a fine up to THB500,000 (USD16,700) and/or both.
The gay zombie porn flick that caused so much grief in Australia has been included in the line-up for New Zealand's Out Takes 2011 event.
LA Zombie follows an alien zombie who roams the streets of Los Angeles in search of dead bodies and gay sex, an activity that reveals a gift of shagging the deceased back to life. The work by Canadian provocateur Bruce LaBruce has
full-frontal nude scenes and zombies with prosthetic cucumber-shaped penises. Starring French porn star Francois Sagat, it features wound penetration and implied sex with corpses.
The film was supposed to screen at the Melbourne International Film Festival in Australia last August, but was banned by the Australian Film 'Classification' Board.
At the time the festival's director Richard Moore told The Age that LaBruce's blend of sex and violence can be confronting, but I would argue that within the context of the festival, it is nonsensical and patronising to not allow people to
decide what they want to see.
LA Zombie had its UK premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London in October and it was reported by The Yorker that at least one-third of the audience walked out stupefied .
The film is to screen at Auckland's Rialto Cinemas on Monday 6 June and Wellington's Paramount Theatre on Friday 10 June. The Out Takes programme warns that almost all of the movie's content may offend those of delicate disposition.
Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva wants the Election Commission (EC) to issue regulations banning politicians from mentioning the monarchy in political debates.
Abhisit said: [By law] the monarchy is above politics and no party should bring the royal institution into political conflicts. Those who violate the law must face legal action.
He said some politicians and parties are suspected of being involved in activities deemed as offensive to the monarchy. The EC should step in to look into the matter, he said.
Abhisit made the statement after the army lodged lese majeste charges against Jatuporn Prompan, co-leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship and two other UDD 'red shirt' figures. They are accused of offending the monarchy in
their speeches at a UDD rally.
Surely nothing to do with personal insult, probably just questioning the wider ruling elite that seems to sit above Thailand's elected government. But difficult to tell as Thailand's press wont publish any details of what was said lest they get
accused of lese majeste themselves.
Last November, Alan Shadrake was found guilty of contempt of court over his book, Once A Jolly Hangman, which skewers Singapore's brand of capital punishment. He was fined 20,000 Singapore dollars and sentenced to six weeks in jail.
Human rights groups complained that the verdict was harsh and unnecessary.
Shadrake was back in court this week, this time to appeal the verdict. He vows that he will fight his case and doesn't care if he ends up back in a Singaporean jail.
The British author has become an unlikely symbol of resistance to Singapore's thin-skinned elite. The pros and cons of the death penalty are rarely debated in Singapore. Last year Shadrake told the Monitor that he had discovered serious
mismanagements of justice in his research for the book, which contains interviews with a retired hangman.
Singaporean prosecutors argue that Shadrake's book is libelous and erroneous, and told the court that the author was unrepentant and deserved to be jailed. He should reap the consequences of his contempt, a prosecutor said.
New Zealand singer Tiki Taane has been arrested for singing the rap song Fuck the Police , says he has performed the song many times live and hopes to keep his relationship with police positive .
In a statement Taane, who will appear in court on Friday, said he was arrested at an R18 concert in Tauranga:
I was handcuffed and taken to the cells where I spent the rest of the night.
I have been charged with disorderly behaviour, likely to cause violence, for reciting the lyrics to a song by an American rap group called NWA.
This song is a protest song written by Ice Cube in 1988, and I have often played and sang along to it at my R18 concerts with no trouble at all.
Taane says the concerned promoter and his DJ were taken in but later released uncharged.
Some people at the show said the singer began singing Fuck the Polic e when police carried out an inspection of the club.
A police inspector said because of an incident that happened during the visit, police returned after the bar closed at 3am to speak to staff and entertainers. When they approached Taane afterwards things got out of hand , a witness said.
Taane said his performance was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek kind of thing. Unfortunately I think a certain officer got a little bit upset and wanted to come back and prove a point, I guess, by arresting me and then walking me out in handcuffs in
front of the audience, so I'm a bit bewildered by it.
An Indoesian MP from an Islamic party which promoted anti-pornography legislation has resigned after being caught watching porn in parliament.
Mr Arifinto of the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was photographed looking at the images on Friday. He said he had inadvertently opened an email link which led him to the images.
For the recent developing media coverage, I apologise to all members of the party and parliament, Arifinto told a news conference: I will continue to work for my party. I'm also going to continue to better myself, by repentance, reading
the Koran and asking for guidance.
The BBC's Kate McGeown in Jakarta says the PKS was the driving force behind anti-pornography legislation, so that when one of its lawmakers was caught out, he was shown no mercy. If it is proved that Arifinto was indeed downloading a pornographic
movie, as photography of his behaviour appears to show, he could find himself charged with a law of his own party's making.
A Philippine television game show host and his station have apologised after an uproar over a segment showing a six-year-old boy crying while gyrating and mimicking a striptease dancer.
The boy was a contestant on an episode of Willing Willie , a variety and gameshow that features mostly poor Filipinos who earn cash prizes for singing, dancing, telling their stories or playing games.
Social welfare secretary Corazon Soliman condemned the emotional abuse and humiliation suffered by the boy. Soliman said host Willie Revillame and the audience showed no concern for the boy and that the programme amounted to child abuse.
Station TV5 apologised on behalf of Revillame, saying there had been no intention to humiliate the boy who was with his aunt, who approved his performance. It said the boy appeared to be in tears not because he was forced to dance but because he
was playing a role and got scared. The boy earned a prize of $230 for his dance.
Retired advertising industry leader and now Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) chairperson Emily Abrera encouraged other advertisers to follow the lead of companies that have already pulled out their ads from Willie Revillame's game show,
She said this is a proactive way for companies to encourage quality programming on local television.
Willing Willie has now been pulled following the public uproar over the host letting a crying 6-year-old boy mimic a striptease dancer.
Campaigners launched a campaign on social-networking sites to remove Revillame from the show. The outcry led major sponsors to pull out, including Procter & Gamble, Del Monte, Unilever and Philippine fast-food giant Jollibee.
TV5 network said it wants to improve the program and work with television and advertising industry stakeholders on guidelines for the participation of children in all game and reality TV shows. Host Willie Revillame said he was taking two weeks
of leave after which he will announce if he'll return to television.
The government's Commission on Human Rights and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board said they were investigating.
The Burma junta's censorship board director Tint Swe said that the new parliamentary government would relax the current press censorship policy in accordance with the new Constitution, the Flower News Journal reported.
' The first step will be made on the day the new government takes office. But, as a result of the freedom of the press, the publications need to take responsibility, the journal quoted Tint Swe as saying.
Tint Swe also said that publishers and journalists of most journals and magazines will not need to pass articles through the censor board prior to publication.
... HOWEVER ... the new policy only applies to publications focusing on sport, entertainment, general knowledge, health, children's literature, the supernatural and technology. Publications which print articles about politics, business and
news will still need to pass articles through the censorship board prior to publication.
Books and journals that have already been published will need to go via the censor board after publication. Printing houses and publishers must also be licensed by the state.
Burma's draconian censorship board, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), has issued a warning to several Rangoon-based journals not to try to take advantage of the PSRD's new post-publishing censorship regulation.
Editors at several weekly journals have been ordered to sign statements promising not to violate press regulations either in print or in photography. At least six journal signed the pledge the first day, said a Rangoon-based sports journal
Beginning on June 10, publishers were permitted to run stories on sports, entertainment, technology, health and children's literature without PSRD approval. However, they were instructed that they still have to follow rules protecting the Three National Causes
---the basic principles espoused by Burma's military rulers---and avoid any writing that damages state instability.
Myanmar has loosened press censorship on business and crime publications, local media reported.
A total of 54 journals, magazines and books will no longer have to submit their content to censors before publication, according to a report in the Myanmar Times, after changes introduced on December 9.
News media will continue to be subject to pre-publication censorship.
Does anyone else feel that television censorship has become very annoying these days?
I can understand when they blur the image of a cigarette, a gun or a knife when someone is holding it. But football highlights? Since there is often a beer commercial sign behind the goal, the image is blurred and you can't
see how and when the ball went in, or how the goalkeeper reacted.
In one cooking show they even blurred a knife when the chef was scoring a fish or slicing spare ribs. Cooking wine bottles are also blurred.
In a show about dairy farming, you guessed it, they blurred the cows' nipples!
But when it comes to night-time melodramas, you are allowed to watch eye-gouging, cursing, women pulling each other's hair and slapping each other back and forth. Whack! Whack! Whack! On some evening news programmes, they
don't hesitate to show the corpses of flood victims or a murdered person whose body has been mutilated and beheaded.
Despite being Thai, sometimes I get frustrated trying to make sense out of this stuff.
China won't be getting the new Bill & Ted movie when it comes out, thanks to a decision by the General Bureau of Radio, Film and Television to ban any further movies or TV show about time travel.
Chinese viewers have been enjoying successful TV shows like Shen Hua (Myth) , which involves a teenager travelling back 2,000 years and hooking up with prominent historical figures like Xiang Yu (a Qin Dynasty military general).
However the Chinese censors claim that these types of shows distort history for the sake of entertainment. ChinaHush reports that the decision to ban time-travel as a theme was made rather suspiciously on the 1st April, with the Bureau then
releasing this statement: The time-travel drama is becoming a hot theme for TV and films. But its content and the exaggerated performance style are questionable. Many stories are totally made-up and are made to strain for an effect of novelty.
The producers and writers are treating the serious history in a frivolous way, which should by no means be encouraged anymore.
It may surprise you to know that Japan, home to hentai, tentacle porn and bukakke, has had strict laws censoring its pornographic films for decades. In spite of easy access to uncensored images, thanks to the Internet, usage of the ubiquitous
mosaic to blur images of genitals still persists. Japan is the 5th largest producer of pornography in the world. In 2010, the revenue from the Japanese pornography industry was almost equal to the revenue from the video game industry, no mean
feat for a country that consumes video games at a fantastic rate.
So why is it, then, that Japanese pornography is censored? Surely, all the people paying hard cash for pornography want to see the sexy bits that are covered by mosaic censoring? And if some part of the sexual act is objectionable, why not censor
the whole screen instead of a tiny patch? Why is filmed Japanese pornography censored today, and what brought about the practice of censorship in the first place?