Western video games don't always make it big in China, but there's one developer whose name gets the attention of gamers: Blizzard.
The company is well on the way to release an action role playing game called Diablo III.
Internationally, fans are enjoying the beta, but in China, players are starting to get nervous. The game appears to be quite bloody, and fans are worried that means it will be toned-down for Chinese servers and Chinese fans will end up playing a
watered-down version, just like they did with World of Warcraft .
The Chinese version of World of Warcraft was changed in a number of ways that met with displeasure from Chinese gamers and international critics. Most notably, the skeletons of the original game were covered with skin to make them --- well, not
skeletons. Blood and skeletons were also cut from the Chinese version of Blizzard's latest hit, Starcraft 2 . Given that Diablo 3 is a game that takes place in hell and in which the player's ultimate goal is to kill the devil, many gamers
in China feel it's a foregone conclusion that China's Diablo 3 will be censored too.
A Jewish campaign organization has called for Thailand's Christian leaders to condemn a parade at the Sacred Heart School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in which participating students wearing Nazi uniforms performed Sieg Heil salutes.
Parade participants carried a Swastika flag, performed Nazi salutes and donned SS uniforms, while others dressed as Adolf Hitler complete with moustache.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, based in Los Angeles, denounced the event, claiming it was glorifying Nazis. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the images made it clear that the event could not have
taken place without the knowledge and cooperation of the school administration:
It is difficult to calculate the hurt such a display inflicted on survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and the families of all victims of Nazism. There can be no justification for such an outrage to emanate from place of
The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged those responsible for the school to take immediate action against the individuals who promoted and facilitated the event.
A school director apologised: We, the entire Sacred Heart School [personnel] are deeply saddened by this incident, and explained that the sports day activity involved groups being differentiated by colors, the Red group having used
Nazi Germany is not well covered in the Thai school syllabus and it is very unlikely that any of the participants understood much about the significance of their regalia.
Needled by government warnings to keep more stringent tabs on its users, China's most popular microblog Sina Weibo is taking considerable new measures to censor millions of its posts that it and authorities deem are Internet rumors.
Sina, the Internet company that operates Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog service, plans to form a rumor-busting team of about a dozen editors to sift out posts that may offend the authorities and implement a rating system to assess the
likelihood that users may tweet what they shouldn't.
Sina will create a team consisting of 10 senior editors to monitor, verify, and 'clarify rumors' that may be making their way through Weibo, CEO Charles Chao said according to the state-run China News Service.
All the meddling by Party officials has made investors nervous. Sina's stock has taken a number of hits over concerns about restrictive regulations; on Sept. 20 the stock dropped 15%.
In the two years since its inception, Sina Weibo's userbase has rocketed to 200 million as of June. That number is making Communist Party officials sweat as Sina Weibo has been increasingly used as a soapbox for anti-government sentiment.
This was particularly apparent when Sina Weibo was alight with comments lambasting the government's emergency response to and handling of the recent train crash.
A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children's hair has been submitted to the New Zealand book censor.
The Censorship Compliance Unit assessed the book, written by fundamentalist Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, and decided not to ban or restrict it.
A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, which the office and unit belong to, said while the book was contrary to section 59 of the Crimes Act, which stated a parent or guardian could not use any force on a child for the purpose of
correction , that wasn't sufficient reason to justify restricting or banning the 20-year-old book.
The complainant could, however, ask that the Office of Film and Literature Classification also investigate the book's content.
To Train Up A Child courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed its instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.
A total of 1319 books are banned in New Zealand and a further 728 are age restricted in some way. About one third of these have been listed since 1987.
Many are of a sexual nature, deal with violence, horror and crime and might have only been fully read by one book censor in New Zealand who decided they shouldn't be available to the rest of us.
Some of the titles belonging to 'objectionable' or restricted books included Confessions of a Pimp , Horny Housewife , Inside Linda Lovelace and A Lesbian Happening.
It was up to the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Censorship Compliance Unit to assess books, films, DVDs and even T-shirts and determine whether they should be banned or restricted.
It has to include sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in some way for us to ban or restrict it, the office's advisor Michelle Baker said. Items that include offensive language and self harm, risk taking and suicide issues can't
be banned, but could be restricted.
Baker said the office hardly reviewed its decisions, unless someone requested it to do so. Books published about homosexuality before it was made legal in 1986 could have been banned at that time and remain so, unless someone had requested they
Books are usually brought to the office's attention by police, customs or the public. The author, publisher, complainant and interested parties are given 14 days to make a submission, while one of the office's 15 censors started reading the book.
Book Censorship Penalties
A person found possessing an 'objectionable' book can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, or fined up to $50,000.
A person who exhibited or displayed a banned book can be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.
Someone who made a restricted book available to people under the age of restriction can be fined $10,000 or sentenced to three months' jail, and an organisation could be fined up to $200,000.
Malaysian censors have cleared the hit comedy-horror Hantu Bonceng . They were called on to re-evaluate the film after complaints from the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
The PAS had claimed that the film, which was released in 80 theatres on 31 Aug, contained elements that insulted Islam.
Directed by Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, the film is about a man haunted by the ghost of a woman killed when riding on his motor bike.
The film was approved by the Malaysian Censorship Board without cuts before release, but the PAS complaints caused the Malaysian Islamic Development Board (Jakim) to take another look. After review, the board said that the film's dialogue was not
insulting to islam.
The censor board chairman Raja Azhar Raja Abdul Manap said that censors weigh up all films according to four criteria: public security and order; religion; socio-cultural aspects; ethics and etiquette.
Super Girl, a Chinese TV talent show along the lines of Pop Idol , will not return to the screen in 2012 despite phenomenal ratings and popularity.
China Daily reports that the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) claimed that the show violated a cap on screen time. The premiere in July lasted 182 minutes, while SARFT caps shows at 90.
Instead, the channel will air programs that promote moral ethics and public safety and provide practical information for housework, Li Hao, spokesperson for the channel, told China Daily.
Super Girl , which premiered in 2004, allowed viewers to vote for their favorite singer through text messages and phone polls. Kathrin Hill of the Financial Times reports that this Western-style of voting was seen as subversive
by some officials. Liu Zhongde, an official with the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told Danwei.com in 2006 that the show was poison for the youth :
The 2005 season finale was watched by 400 million. It is also claimed that public votes cast throughout the last season totaled 1.2 billion.
New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority has declined to uphold a complaint by Family First that popular television show Californication breached the standards of good taste and decency.
Family First's complaint claimed the quantity of offensive words in such a short period of programming plus the repetitive use of some of the most offensive words in the episode (on TV3 on April 18 2011) breached standards of good taste
The first 30 minutes of the episode, which was prefaced by an Adults Only warning, contained 45 instances of strong language, including what Family First referred to as the most offensive word, presumably 'cunt'.
However, the BSA declined to uphold the complaint, noting the language used in the episode, which screened an hour after the Adults Only watershed of 8.30pm, was in keeping with the 'narrative context' of the series .
Moreover, the most offensive word had been edited out of the public broadcast, appearing only in the online version of the episode on TV3 on-demand.
Thai webmasters are expected to monitor their sites for illegal or inappropriate content. Most Internet companies have policies for dealing with such content, such as takedowns in response to complaints and other feedback. But this may not be
enough to escape prosecution in Thailand, which is on the warpath against online political speech. A high-profile trial of an Internet webmaster accused of not keeping sufficiently close tabs on her customers has gotten plenty of attention
lately. It has even rung alarm bells among global companies. They worry that Thailand's clampdown on websites is bad for free speech and for e-commerce.
Here's what the Asia Internet Coalition, which includes Yahoo, Google, eBay and other big tech names, said this week:
By holding an intermediary liable for the actions of its users, this case could set a dangerous precedent and have a significant long-term impact on Thailand's economy. It could also end up denying Thai Internet users access to many of the
online services they use everyday.
The intermediary in the dock is Chiranuch Premchaiporn, a Thai who runs Prachatai, a political website that used to host a popular online forum. Prachatai closed its forums last year and other political websites have either closed their online
forums or restricted the use of anonymous comments.
Premchaiporn's alleged crime was to fail to instantly delete anti-monarchy posts. She says that she did remove the comments when asked by authorities. The prosecution has said that she had no connection to the posters. But she is still being held
liable for what they wrote.
Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the embattled director of prachaitai.com, has become the first Thai to win the Hellman/Hammett Grant from Human Rights Watch for her commitment to free expression and her courage in the face of prosecution.
Chiranuch, who might face 20 years in jail under the Computer Crimes Act for not deleting 10 messages that were deemed defamatory to the monarchy quickly enough, said that the award also made her sad .
The significance of me being the first Thai to receive this award is an indicator that freedom of expression in Thailand has declined since the September 2006 coup, she said in a statement.
China's TV censor has banned a municipal TV channel for one month after one of its programs supposedly misrepresented events, magnified family conflict, and depicted disrespect toward an elderly parent.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a circular that the movie channel of Shijiazhuang TV in north Hebei province had magnified distorted ethics and moral values and caused extremely negative social
On June 29, the channel aired the 36-minute talk show Emotional Codes , which purported to depict real-life scenes among a husband, his wife and the man's elderly father. During the segment, the son treated his father
disrespectfully, at one point berating him and threatening to take him to court over money. But in fact, the entire scene was scripted, with all three participants paid for their performances by the show's producer.
The SARFT held Shijiazhuang TV responsible for failing to screen its programs ,misleading the public, and tainting the image of radio and TV in its reckless pursuit of ratings. The channel won't be permitted to resume programming until October
17, and then only if it obtains consent from the SARFT.
A mainland Chinese farmer has been jailed for three weeks after publically burning a Chinese flag in Hong Kong.
Zhu Rongchang from China's southern Jiangxi province pleaded not guilty to flag desecration, arguing that he was exercising his right to free speech.
Magistrate Jason Wan was quoted by the South China Morning Post, as he handed down the judgement:
The court agrees that freedom of speech is a universal value that is respected and pursued by all people, ...BUT... every freedom is restricted in some way. No freedom comes without restrictions. I can appreciate the defendant's trail of
thoughts, but his way of expression breached the Hong Kong laws and therefore he is guilty.
Zhu was charged for publicly and wilfully burning the Chinese flag at Golden Bauhinia Square in central Hong Kong. He reportedly lowered the flag from its pole and lit it with a cigarette lighter, in a protest that his lawyer said was
aimed at criticising authoritarian rule in mainland China.
Censorship of the Burmese media is still needed and freedom should not be granted to newspapers and journals at this time, Information and Culture Minister Kyaw Hsan told the Lower House of Parliament.
The minister made his comments in reply to a motion to enact a law which can protect the rights to freedom of expression and opinion by the media and the right to disseminate and publish the news by Rangoon Region Thingangyun constituency
MP Thein Nyunt during deliberations.
Kyaw Hsan said:
Although laws and courts have come into operation in Myanmar, press scrutiny still plays a role. If media personnel face their problems in court under the law, their losses may be heavier. In its control tasks, the Press
Scrutiny and Registration Division may sometimes issue only warnings to the offenders and negotiate with both sides. Therefore, the division scrutinizes inappropriate writing against the nation and the people under the law for the sake of those
from the literary world and the people.
For the first time in its 14-year history, the Cine Europa film festival in Manila will be showing exceptional films that were exempted from the restrictive rules of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
The (MTRCB) adopted the classification of the EU member states where a film originated, said Lubomir Frebort, chief of the political, press, and information section of the European Union EU Delegation to the Philippines.
Nineteen films from 17 countries will be shown on Sept. 9-18 with genres from family dramas to comedy, suspense thrillers, historical and romantic drama, and even action films.
Martin Macalintal, the audiovisual attache' of the French Embassy in Manila, told GMA News Online that the MTRCB had classified several art films as X-rated in previous festivals sponsored by the local diplomatic community.
An X-rating by the MTRCB meant that a film cannot be shown in public establishments locally. However, we cannot cut films to be shown by the diplomatic community, Macalintal said.
When the MTRCB gave several art films an X-rating, we appealed to them for reconsideration. We always resort to sitting down with them to view the films in question, particularly the scenes they object to, and then we agree to blur the scenes
they find objectionable, he added.
Frebort attributed this year's unprecedented exemptions to the increasing cooperation between the EU and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), an agency under the Office of the President.
He told a press conference that this is a special year for the EU Delegation to the Philippines because it has clinched a partnership with the FDCP that aims to promote a more vigorous exchange of high-quality films between the Philippines
and EU members to increase audience reach on both sides.
Technology company Cisco has been sued by Washington-based Human Rights Law Foundation, reports ANI.
In its complaint, the Law Foundation said that Cisco made a anti-virus software to aid Chinese authorities in monitoring and imprisoning the banned Falun Gong members. The monitoring of Falun Gong members is part of the Golden Shield Project
that has been undertaken by the Chinese government to censor references to politically sensitive issues.
The Law Foundation said that Cisco Chief John Chambers is constantly in touch with torture campaign founder Jiang Zemin regarding the project's implementation. The foundation also alleged that senior executives of the company have participated in
the project despite knowing that a torture campaign has been undertaken against Falun Gong members.
Cisco provided a secure connection to provincial security databases allowing for thorough cross-checking and movement-tracing ... [such that] policemen could remotely access the suspect's work unit, access reports on the individual's political
behaviour ... family history ... fingerprints, photographs and other imaging information, says the complaint quoting an engineer.
Police in Thailand have arrested a man on charges of lese majeste on Facebook. If convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
Surapak Puchaisaeng is a computer programmer from Bangkok. Lawyer Lomrak Meemeuan said his client was accused of creating a Facebook profile with defamatory pictures, audio clips, and messages about the nation's revered monarch, according to CBS
Lomrak said his client insists he is innocent, and denies all allegations of insulting the monarchy. He is now being held in a Bangkok jail. Police have also confiscated his desktop and laptop computers.
Any Thai citizen can make a complaint under the lese majeste law against any Thai or foreign citizen in Thailand. Once the complaint has been made, the police are duty-bound to investigate. Once the process of lese majeste has started, it is
In the last few years, the number of lese majeste cases in Thailand has soared. There had been hopes that a change of government would reverse the trend but the opposite seems to be happening. Human rights groups have criticized the law for being
used by officials to limit freedom of expression.
The Beijing propaganda bureau has taken control of two city newspapers known for bold reporting.
Some journalists blamed the development on official anger at the reporting of the fatal high-speed train crash in Wenzhou in July, although others believe it reflects a broader struggle over control of the media.
It means there will be so much we can't do, an employee of one of the affected titles said. [Before] there was news that other papers couldn't do but we could.
Previously, the papers were overseen by state level propaganda authorities. Journalists fear the switch may also restrict their ability to cover events in the capital and sensitive news from other areas.
It's been a headache for the Beijing propaganda authorities that they didn't directly control the two newspapers, Wen Yunchao, a Hong Kong-based media analyst, told the South China Morning Post: They could only influence editorial
content through the help of the central publicity department.
Censors in China have attempted to purge an essay written by prominent artist and dissident Ai Weiwei by manually tearing the pages of the article from a weekly news magazine.
The essay, which appears in the September 5 issue of Newsweek, urges Chinese citizens to speak out against what he says is the government's denial of basic rights. He also blasts the Chinese judicial system as being untrustworthy.
However, the article was still accessible online to English speakers.
Ai was understood to be barred from speaking to media or leaving Beijing after being released from jail in June. The internationally renowned artist was detained for almost three months after being charged with tax evasion.
A suit was filed on August 24, 2011 against Netfirms Inc., a Canadian web hosting company incorporated in the United States, for releasing personal information to the Thai government.
Netfirms' disclosures allowed Thai officials to identify, detain, and interrogate the plaintiff, Anthony Chai, both in Thailand and on U.S. soil. These disclosures, without which Chai would have remained anonymous, resulted in the Thai government
charging Chai with violating a Thai lese majeste law carrying a sentence of 3 to 15 years in jail. Ironically, the comments that caused the online grief were criticizing that very same law used to restrict free speech in Thailand.
The suit alleges that the company's conduct violated California state law, as well as Constitutional and international human rights law. This case lies at the intersection of privacy guarantees, freedom of expression, international human
rights law and the Internet.
As set out in the complaint, Chai, who owns a computer store in Long Beach, California from which he and his patrons would access and anonymously post comments on a Thai-language pro-democracy website, Manusaya.com, hosted by Netfirms. Many of
the anonymous comments expressed concern with Thailand's lese majeste' laws which prohibit any negative statements about the Thai monarchy and provide for severe punishment.
Chai's privacy rights were violated when, at the request of Thai government officials, Netfirms suspended Manusaya's account and provided Chai's IP address and e-mail address to the Thai officials without notice and without his consent. As a
result of this release of Chai's confidential personal information to Thai government officials, he was subsequently detained at the Bangkok airport, taken to the Department of Special Investigations, and interrogated about his postings on the
website. After finally being released from police custody in Bangkok and returning home to California, Chai was then interrogated by Thai officials over the course of two days on U.S. soil at a hotel in Hollywood, California. Chai was later
informed by Thai officials that if he returns to Thailand, he will be arrested and charged with violating lese majeste' laws.
Theresa Harris, Executive Director of Human Rights USA said, Internet companies need to take great care before releasing confidential information to investigators, especially when those requests come from foreign governments. Information is
power, and these companies have the power to place a person at peril of imprisonment for the equivalent of an anonymous letter to the editor. Companies must be held accountable when they disregard the rights of the people who use their services.
Fiji's Ministry of Information has imposed further pre-publication censorship of the press. The ministry sent a mass e-mail asking media outlets and journalists to send all news headlines to censors half an hour before stories are published,
following soldiers being photographed removing anti-regime graffiti from public property.
Fiji's military-backed regime began requiring daily monitoring of all news stories last April.
A TV2 decision to edit strong language out of the first scenes of a 9pm movie has been labeled unnecessary by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
The authority has told the station to stop blaming it for the decision to censor the film.
Expletives were muted for the first 17 minutes of the movie Zack And Miri Make A Porno on TV2 at 9pm..
Viewers launched into a fiery debate with the broadcaster on Twitter over its decision to censor the movie, which uses the 'fuck' 219 times.
PaMelville said blanking out the expletives had robbed the movie of half its dialogue. Are we not grown up yet in this country? Another Twitter user, hamo_d, said it would have been better not to show the movie than to cut three dozen
swearwords in the first 15 minutes: People love an uncensored piece of work, delivered as intended. Don't play movies you haven't got the balls to show as intended.
TV2 Twitter editor Chris Hooper last night blamed the edit on Broadcasting Standards Authority rules.
The station was required to censor offensive content during the transition between the G-rated My Kitchen Rules and the adults only movie, he said: It's not because we liked the extra editing work - BSA rules about going from a family show
BSA guidelines urge broadcasters to ensure strong adult material is not shown soon after the 8.30pm cut off time for children's programming. But BSA chief executive Dominic Sheehan said there were no rules requiring TV2 to censor a movie with a
9pm start time. He said the station was blaming the BSA for an editorial decision.
China has ordered a widespread crackdown on the internet in attempts to prevent uprisings like those seen in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
The secretary of the Communist Party, Liu Qi has warned ISPs that they must tighten control of online content to prevent the spread of fake and harmful information and that the internet companies should resist such information, the
Associated Press reports.
It's not clear how the Chinese government expects the ISPs to control content online, but it's likely that it wants them to monitor people's online activities and disconnect those participating in the spread of dissenting views. Penalties for
non-compliance could be to shut down the ISP altogether.
The government-approved Beijing Internet Media Association also called on its 104 members to police the internet for rumors or vulgar contents , saying that the public should be led toward a correct direction - the proper direction
being support of the government, of course.
China's equivalent of Twitter, Sina, which has over 140 million users, has been a particular focus of censorship. The company has been forced to monitor users, with over 100 employees checking for dissenting views 24 hours a day. Of course, with
such a large user base it might be impossible to censor everything.
This latest move marks one of the strictest crackdowns on internet freedom so far, which could cause even more upset and dissent amongst its citizens.
Twitter and Facebook to resist government censorship
Facing the first true threats of censorship from the Western world, Facebook and Twitter appear ready for a fight. The major social networks are expected to offer no concessions when they meet the home secretary, Theresa May, at a Home Office
summit on Thursday, the Guardian reports.
In the wake of riots and looting across England, government ministers have called for a ban on social networks during times of civil unrest. Prime Minister David Cameron has also asked that suspected rioters be banned from social networks.
The home secretary is expected to explore what measures the major social networks could take to help contain disorder -- including how law enforcement can more effectively use the sites -- rather than discuss powers to shut them down, according to the Guardian.
Facebook and Twitter are expected to strongly warn the government against introducing emergency measures that could usher in a new form of online censorship, the Guardian reports.
Hits by Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Take That are among 100 songs that have been placed on an internet blacklist by China's culture ministry.
Music websites have been given until 15 September to remove the offending tracks, which officials claim harm national cultural security . Those that fail to do so risk being prosecuted by the Chinese authorities.
A notice posted on the culture ministry's website said the 100 songs had not been submitted for official approval.
A 2009 directive was cited that targets supposed poor taste and vulgar content as well as copyright violations. This directive requires that alll hosted tracks have official sanction.
Most of the banned songs are from Taiwan or Hong Kong, with several from Japan. Among the Western acts:
Lady Gaga has six banned tracks: The Edge of Glory, Hair, Marry the Night, Americano, Judas and Bloody Mary .
A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children's hair could soon be banned in New Zealand following a complaint.
To Train Up a Child has been removed from Whitcoulls' online store but other leading book sites are still selling it.
The book, by fundamentalist United States Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, promotes using a rod, such as a branch or belt, several times on a child as a way of disciplining and training them to obey.
It has courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed the book's instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.
The New Zealand Internal Affairs Department's Censorship Compliance Unit confirmed it was investigating the book after a complaint was made last week.
An American child abuse victim, now living in New Zealand, complained to Whitcoulls, which agreed to remove the book from its website. The victim said he was shocked to find out the book was being sold in New Zealand, despite the country's
anti-smacking law. He said: I'm not one to prevent books from being sold, ...BUT... I think an instruction manual on how to enact violence on your child is a completely different story.
Sue Bradford, who campaigned as a Green Party MP to remove the defence of reasonable force when disciplining a child, said she was concerned parents would buy the book and follow its instructions.
Censorship Compliance Unit manager Stephen OBrien said the book's content would be investigated and, if it was found to be objectionable, it could be either banned, restricted or referred to the human rights or children's commissioners.
There are 1309 books already banned in New Zealand.
The South Korea government will push ahead with plans to scrap the current real-name system for Internet users in the wake of the country's worst online security breach.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security is set to report to ruling party lawmakers about comprehensive measures to protect personal information online, including abolishing the real- name registration system, Yonhap news agency said.
The real-name system, introduced in 2007, requires people to use their real names and resident registration numbers when making online postings on websites with more than 100,000 visitors per day.
The move comes after the personal information of about 35 million users of the country's popular Internet and social media sites Nate and Cyworld was stolen in a hacking attack last month. The stolen data included user IDs, passwords, resident
registration numbers, names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses.
China's microblog sites, which claim 195 million users and allow people to shoot out short bursts of often strongly worded opinion, have put China's Communist rulers in a difficult spot. Fearing an uproar if they block the sites outright, the
censors struggle to keep ahead of the rapid-fire messages that often spread news and opinion the government would like to contain.
Chinese officials, Internet operators, media and citizens are all players in an online contest over how far microblogs will be allowed to challenge the censorship demanded by the Communist Party.
Here's a post from the Chinese News Agency Xinhua:
Apparently rioters used social media, like Twitter, Facebook and the Blackberry messenger system and Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he's looking at banning potential troublemakers from using the online services.
The British government, once an ardent advocate of absolute Internet freedom, has thus made a U-turn over its stance towards web-monitoring.
In a speech delivered in Kuwait in February, the British prime minister, however, argued that freedom of expression should be respected in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.
This is sheer hypocrisy on the UK government's part, and completely undermines its ability to criticise any other country - like China - for blocking access to the Internet or instituting online censorship.
If you take these steps, what separates you from the Saudi government demanding the ability to listen to and restrict its BBM networks? What separates you from Arab tyrannies cutting off social communication via Twitter or
from China banning it?
T here is no shortage of examples that demonstrate how repressive governments have seized on the riots as an opportunity to rebuke Britain. As soon as riots broke out, Iranian officials demanded that the U.K. government
exercise restraint in dealing with rioters, offered to send a delegation to investigate human rights violations, and complained that the U.N. had been silent about the situation. In Russia, there have been comparisons between the riots and
the protests in Libya. An opinion article in China's official People's Daily newspaper referred to the riots as a case in which the West is tasting the bitter fruit after championing Internet freedom. Syria has also accused your government
In light of such defiance of the U.K.'s moral authority on human rights, we urge you to clarify the intent behind your statement, spell out any planned actions you may take, and reaffirm your government's commitment to
protecting free expression. Failure to do so would gravely undermine global efforts to defend human rights and would provide authoritarian regimes with arguments they will use to justify censorship and surveillance.
An art exhibit featuring a Jesus Christ poster with a wooden penis glued to His face has sparked protests in the Philippines.
Bishops and lay groups have demanded the state-run Cultural Center of the Philippines close the exhibit on grounds it is blasphemous, immoral, illegal and offends the country's Catholic majority.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said on its website that Christian lay groups were also preparing a lawsuit: Those responsible for the public exhibit... have a liability because they offended the religious beliefs of a
country that is 85% Christian.
Catholic activist Jo Imbong said the cultural center could be charged with violating a law on immoral exhibitions that normally applies to pornography.
The artwork, a collage by local artist
Mideo Cruz , is part of an exhibit aiming to challenge people's perceptions of figures they idolize.
Cultural Center of the Philippines chairwoman Emily Abrera defended the work, saying: We see nothing wrong with it. It is part of our culture to question, to seek answers, to look behind the surface and try to dig out what our real values are,
she said on ABS-CBN television.
Update: Philippines President doesn't believe in censorship...BUT...
President Aquino has reprimanded the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) board for the controversial art exhibit that supposedly offended Catholic beliefs and directed them to be more circumspect and prevent a repeat of such display.
The President disclosed that he was pleased by the resulting closure of the alleged blasphemous art exhibit.
Aquino claimed he was not after censorship in arts BUT emphasized that freedom of expression is not absolute.
Philippine's Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has created an office that will censor advertising billboard content using new guidelines.
The Billboard Office, which will be headed by Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman, shall exercise appellate or oversight function to review and regulate all advertising signs along major thoroughfares of Metro Manila .
All advertisers, owners and operators of billboards shall, in accordance with self-regulation adhere to their respective group or association's Code of Ethics for advertising and promotions, it added, saying the office may, on its own
accord or upon a filed complaint, review the contents of any billboard advertising signs.
The interest in screening billboard contents came after a complaint from Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos prompted the removal of an underwear ad featuring members of the Philippine Volcanoes, the country's rugby team. This was followed by the
removal of several other outdoor advertising billboards that showed models in skimpy outfits.
Japanese police censors have ordered that Hangover Part II must be censored for general release. Male genital shots must be masked for an R15 certificate release.
However a single cinema will be allowed to show the uncut version with an R18 rating. Tokyo's Metropolitan Police, which monitors 'obscene' content under Japan's legal code, passed the shots for the R18 print saying the aim was to arouse laughs,
The police launched a probe, acting on complaints about nudity, after the comedy was released on nearly 130 screens on July 1. It decided not to prosecute but did ask Warner not to release the R18 version on DVD.
China's government has been the target of a barrage of public invective since the high-speed rail crash at the weekend.
Relatives of the victims and internet users have been angered by the government's apparent unwillingness to answer questions about the fatal collision.
Attempts by the authorities to muzzle the media and censor public reaction have only fuelled this animosity.
Propaganda directives leaked online showed reporters were warned not to run investigative reports or commentary, or to link the incident to the country's high-speed rail development.
Instead the focus should be on stories that are extremely moving, for example people donating blood and taxi drivers not accepting fares . From now on, the Wenzhou train accident should be reported along the theme of 'major love in the
face of major disaster' .
This arrogance , as netizens described it, sparked a furious backlash and allegations of a cover-up. We have the right to know the truth. That's our basic right! wrote one microblogger. Another said: The ministry buried the
locomotives because they wanted to bury the truth.
The creators of Beginning of the Great Revival , a new film about the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, have spared no expense to make it a popular success. Done in a popular Chinese soap opera style, the movie features
more than 100 stars, along with leading directors and producers.
Then, the government enlisted information authorities to wipe out negative news coverage, according to international media reports. The Central Propaganda Department ordered media outlets not to publish negative reviews of the film, the
U.S.-based China Digital Times reported.
The movie review site douban and theater ticketing site Mtime disabled online ratings and reviews for the film after the majority posted were negative, according to PC World.
International news reports said Chinese regulators had even delayed the release of Harry Potter and Transformers , in a bid to drive moviegoers to Revival .
The Singapore government has indicated it has no plans to block access to the .xxx top-level domain, the Straits Times has reported.
As a symbolic statement of our community's stand on harmful and undesirable content on the Internet, the Media Development Authority has mandated that ISPs block 100 sites. The list of banned sites is not limited to porn and will not be
expanded to include .xxx sites. The article also quotes MDA deputy director for regulations. Yuvarani Thangavelu, as saying the MDA will go after locally hosted pornographic .xxx sites, to get these sites taken offline.
Regarding the legality of porn in the country, the Straits Times stated, It is illegal under the Films Act to possess pornographic material, and those found with it can be fined thousands of dollars. However, the Government has said previously
it would not pro-actively hunt down those who download pornographic material.
A new PG13 rating covering films, television programmes and videos has just come into effect. It was one of the recommendations of the Censorship Review Committee that was accepted by the government last year.
The new PG13 rating indicates content that may not be suitable for children under 13, so parental discretion is advised. These shows have dark themes, some violence, realistic and intense horror, sexual humour and coarse language.
Some films previously rated PG (Parental Guidance) such as Dark Knight and IP Man 2 or NC16 such as Meet the Fockers will fall under the new category, but media regulator Media Development Authority said the numbers will
likely be small.
PG13 will also be the maximum rating for films and dramas on free-to-air television channels, but such content will only be allowed after 10pm.
Broadcaster MediaCorp will screen the first PG13 programme on Channel 5 on July 23 on the making of the series The Walking Dead . The series, which has been edited to fit the PG13 rating.
Last year, the government agreed with the Censorship Review Committee to allow R21 films on the Video-on-Demand service on cable. The Media Development Authority said they will be introduced as soon as it has worked out implementation details,
such as designing parental locks to prevent minors from sneaking a peek.
Indonesian officials have signaled that Hollywood blockbusters, including the latest Harry Potter film, could be back on screens within a fortnight.
Djonny Sjafruddin, head of the Indonesian Cinema Companies Union, told the Jakarta Globe that almost all film importation issues were now solved: Particularly the ones related to customs, royalties and income tax . We're now only
dealing with technical issues.
This meant Hollywood films might arrive here in as little as 10 days, he said: It will still take time for the films to go through customs, censors and adding the subtitles, he explained.
A key priority is getting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 , which premiered in London last week and began showing in Asia this week, to the chagrin of Indonesian fans.
The turn of events on Thursday was made possible by the Customs and Excise Office clearing newly registered film importer Omega Film to bring in movies. Omega was given a film import license on May 3, but a freeze was imposed as officials sought
to clarify its relationship with Indonesian film giant Cineplex 21. Cineplex 21 is affiliated with Camila and Satrya, two major film importers banned by the Finance Ministry pending payment of Rp 22 billion ($2.6 million) in back taxes and
The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is monitoring various blog sites and news portals.
Information Communication and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum said, this followed an influx of websites and blogs in the Internet, making it difficult for the authorities to monitor each site.
He said the commission also monitored Internet sites based on public complaints:
We encourage the public to lodge complaints with the MCMC Complaints Bureau (aduan.skmm.gov.my), Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Forum (CMCF-www.cmcf.my) and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Consumer
Forum (CfM-www.cfm.org.my), should they know of any site or blog flouting our laws.
He claimed that this legal action could not be regarded as censorship as it was done to enforce the country's laws: The government will not censor any content on the internet unless it is against our laws . [or
opposes the government's version of the truth].
A picture of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the cover of the Rangoon-based Dharma Yeik Buddhist magazine has been banned, according to the editor of the magazine. The religious magazine carries news, poems, cartoons and articles
In the photo, Suu Kyi is shown donating a robe to a young Buddhist novice. It was to be used as the cover of the magazine's July issue. The magazine has substituted a picture of a flower for Suu Kyi's photo on its front cover.
We submitted the manuscript with the cover featuring Suu Kyi's photo; the censor board told us to use another photo. Suu Kyi's photo was not allowed , the editor, Moe Tun, told Mizzima.
Under Burma's new censorship policy, religious publications still must pass their manuscripts and pictures through the censorship board and also the Directorate of Religious Affairs.
According to Rangoon-based editors, the censorship board has allowed some Suu Kyi photos and news about Suu Kyi, but her photo on a front cover and photographs larger than 3 x 5 inches may not be allowed.
School prefects and class monitors could soon be roped in to act as vigilantes for the Malaysian Home Ministry's Film Censorship Control and Enforcement Unit to curb the storing and possession of supposed smut among schoolchildren.
The unit is working out details of the programme under which student heads would be allowed to conduct random checks on phones and schoolbags to 'eliminate' the problem that is reportedly prevalent among teenagers.
Unit chief Nasruddin Abdullah said there was also a plan to widen the programme to cover primary schools.
Malacca will be the pioneer state to have such vigilante groups, he told reporters. He said that under the programme, the unit would promote awareness, and as such, it would not take punitive action against schoolchildren even if they were
We want the students to realise that it's wrong to view or store pornographic material. For a start, we will encourage the school vigilantes to seize or delete pornographic material found during random checks in schools.
The Indonesian government has succeeded in decimating the local cinema industry by implementing protectionist tax measures against imported films. This resulted in a Hollywood boycott of Indonesia and a devastating halving of cinema takings.
The government has now said that it had asked the Motion Picture Association of America to resume sending films to Indonesia.
I met with US government representatives three days ago to discuss the import of films from MPAA, Finance Minister Agus Martowardojo said: We have clarified that Indonesia has nothing against the American government, exporters or
The MPAA's international counterpart, the MPA, had said the decision to include royalties in its import-tax calculation had a detrimental impact on the cost of bringing a film into Indonesia.
Last month, the Finance Ministry announced a new scheme that would see importers pay only a specific tax on movies, rather than an ad valorem tax, which was based on each film's ticket sales. The measure was meant to resolve the dispute
and head off the drastic slump in ticket sales since the Hollywood film boycott started.