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Asia Pacific Censorship News

2014: Oct-Dec

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Update: Obscene Policing...

Japanese police likened to kayaks after ludicrously arresting artist for supposed obscenity

Link Here27th December 2014
A Japanese woman who makes art based on her vagina has been charged with obscenity. She was arrested in early December and has been held in detention since then.

Megumi Igarashi became a victim of police persecution after displaying a supposedly obscene work at a Tokyo sex shop and sent 3D data of her genitals to other people. She famously used the 3D data to design a kayak.

Ms Igarashi was previously arrested in July, but was later released following a legal appeal and public pressure.

The newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that she read out in court a prepared statement which said:

My works are all meant to induce friendly laughter because they involve cutely decorating sexual organs. The works are not obscene.

Police  also arrested the owner of a Tokyo sex shop for allegedly displaying Ms Igarashi's obscene goods in her shop window from October 2013 until July this year. The woman was later freed after a judge refused to allow prosecutors to question her further.

Authorities however were allowed to continue to detain Ms Igarashi because the judge was concerned that she would destroy evidence or flee , said Asahi Shimbun.

On her website, Ms Igarashi, who has made several items based on her genitals using a silicone mould, said she wanted to make vaginas more casual and pop , much like how penises are regarded as part of pop culture in Japan.

Update: Bail

28th December 2014. Thanks to Alan

Megumi Igarashi's supporters have said that she's out on bail again.



Japanese campaigners recommend...

Angelina Jolie's latest movie, Unbroken

Link Here16th December 2014
Unbroken is a 2014 USA action war biography by Angelina Jolie.
Starring Jack O'Connell, Domhnall Gleeson and Jai Courtney. Youtube link IMDb

A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.

Angelina Jolie's latest war movie, Unbroken , has been facing criticism recently from Japanese conservatives for its portrayals of brutality in World War II prisoner of war camps.

There is a movement among Japanese conservatives to ban the film inside Japan, describing its content as racist, immoral, and fabricated.

Anything to do with the country's wartime legacy still stirs up controversy within Japan and some leading politicians openly deny wartime events such as the Nanjing Massacre and claim that the forced prostitution of Korean women known as comfort women never occurred.

Many Netizens have commented in support Jolie and her vision, saying that she is simply showing the truth and that Japan can't hide from its past. However, there are some who pointed out that history has always written by the victors and details easily altered, and drew attention to the fact that Japan was not the only nation to commit atrocities, adding that it is not fair that their country continues to be singled out for its actions in a war that ended over half a century ago.



Update: Prohibiting Criticism...

Newspaper cartoon criticising Islamic State held as blasphemous in Indonesia

Link Here15th December 2014
The Jakarta Post has defended the publication of a cartoon criticising Islamic State (IS) militants, after its editor was arrested for blasphemy.

The cartoon shows a flag similar to ones used by IS with the words there is no God but Allah , and a skull and crossbones.

The Post, a leading English-language daily, said the cartoon was meant as a critique of the use of religious symbols in acts of violence.

But some Muslim groups said the cartoon was offensive towards Islam. The Post apologised and retracted the cartoon on 8 July, saying it regretted the error in judgement .

But later police named the Jakarta Post's editor-in-chief, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, as a suspect for supposed religious defamation.

Rights group Amnesty International has condemned the move by police. In a statement the group said the incident went against President Joko Widodo's commitment to press freedom in Indonesia.



Update: Dictatorship Report...

Thailand slips from 'partly free' to 'not free' in Freedom House report

Link Here11th December 2014
Full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
Thailand's internet freedom has slipped from partly free last year to not free this year, placing it among the ranks of China, Vietnam, Iran and Libya in that category, according to the latest annual report by Freedom House. The report notes:

After the coup, the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] made dozens of arrests, stepped up digital surveillance, infringed on online privacy and create a climate of fear where Internet users conducted an on and offline witch hunt against fellow citizens.

Freedom House noted that charges of lese majeste and computer-related crimes brought by Internet users against fellow citizens increased along with political detention:

In the month after the coup, there were at least five cases of a lese majeste charge added when an individual was already in detention. Three notable ones involved digital content.

Even those who use the Internet anonymously have come under threat since the May 22 coup, the organisation noted:

In late May, the MICT reportedly proposed to establish a single national gateway to the International Internet to expedite monitoring and censorship online content that is deemed illegal. Reports in June 2014 said MICT officials were consulting with vendors to implement plans, which would require every Thai citizen to authenticate their identity using their smart ID cards before logging onto the Internet.




Update: Japanese police paddle up shit creek...

And continue to harass artist who has designed a kayak based upon her vagina

Link Here6th December 2014

 A Japanese artist who made a kayak modelled on her own vagina has been arrested again in a case of police censorship.

Megumi Igarashi, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko -- offensive slang which loosely translates as reprobate child -- was arrested in July for trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, inspired by her genitals. She was released days later following a legal appeal and after thousands of people signed a petition demanding her freedom.

But she has now been re-arrested. A Tokyo police spokesprat told AFP that she was arrested on suspicion of sending a link:

that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people. She tried to have those people who were willing to finance her plan download the 3D obscene data.

Sex toy shop manager Minori Watanabe was also arrested for displaying obscene goods in her shop window in collusion with Igarashi from around October last year until July, police said.



Recommended by New Zealand's film censor...

House on the Edge of the Park

Link Here2nd December 2014
House on the Edge of the Park is a 1980 Italian horror thriller by Ruggero Deodato
With David Hess and Annie Belle. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

The New Zealand film censor has reported the ban of a proposed re-release in its 2014 Annual Report:

This film is deemed objectionable because it tends to promote and support violence and coercion to compel women to submit to sexual conduct.

The film is dominated by numerous scenes of sexual violence. It opens on a graphic scene of rape that is not supported by context. The narrative then follows two men as they terrorise a group of people, particularly the female members of the group, who they repeatedly subject to sexual violence. Gratuitous lingering shots of nudity and other cinematic effects such as romantic music and lighting during the scenes of assault and rape support this purpose. The sexual violence is not contextualized or explored beyond the superficial presentation of the conduct. The victims appear aroused by, unaffected by and thus collusive in the violence perpetrated against them; this feeds into the intrinsic rape myth dialogue of the publication. Viewers are relentlessly exposed to titillating images that eroticise sexual humiliation and violence.

All of these factors invite viewers to become complicit in events and to take vicarious pleasure in the men's misogyny and the victims' humiliation and dehumanisation. Further, due to the publication's proliferation of rape myths and relentless eroticized presentation of sexual violence, people who have been subjected to any form of sexual abuse will be re-traumatized by the film's depictions of violence and sexual violence. The legitimization of these rape myths also irredeemably serves to validate viewers' misconceptions of sexual violence and thus their real world response to sexual violence.

The Classification Office is aware that cut versions of the feature have been released in the United Kingdom and has considered whether a different classification might be possible if excisions were made. However the distributor has notified the Classification Office that any excisions will not be made, so in this instance they have not been recommended.

For comparison in the UK, the film was once banned, but is now cut

Banned by the BBFC for 1981 cinema release. Banned as a video nasty in 1983. Unbanned after 12 minutes of cuts in 2002. Cuts reduced to 43s in 2011.

And of course in the US the film is uncut and MPAA Unrated for



Recommended by New Zealand's film censor...

High School DxD

Link Here1st December 2014
High School DxD is a Japan action anime comedy
Starring Jamie Marchi, Terri Doty and Kyle Phillips. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

The story follows Issei Hyodo, a dim-witted, lecherous second-year high school student who is killed by a girl on his first date ever. Issei is reincarnated as a devil, and from that day forward, he serves as an underling of Riasu, a high-level devil who is also the prettiest girl on Issei's campus.

The New Zealand film censor has reported the ban in its 2014 Annual Report:

The DVD is classified objectionable. The publication is the first set of episodes of a Japanese anime series set in high school about a sex-obsessed schoolboy who becomes part of the supernatural world. The DVD tends to promote and support the sexual exploitation of young persons. All of the young female characters are highly sexualised and fetishised. They are relentlessly depicted as nude or in limited sexualised clothing. Focus is made on their breasts and youthful bodies in such a way as to titillate and arouse the viewer. Their youthfulness is emphasised by the high school setting, their school uniforms and their engagement in high school activities. Episodes are separated by photo stills of the female characters sexually posing, reminiscent of adult pornographic material. The credits feature these characters performing strip tease. The scenes are constructed wholly for the sexual benefit of the viewer. The main purpose of this treatment is to reinforce the notion that young persons are sexually desirable and available. It encourages and legitimises the pursuit of young persons as viable adult sexual partners.

By way of a comparison, the BBFC passed the DVD 15 uncut for strong sex references, nudity, strong language, violence, sexual threat for:



TV censors tweet new rules...

Chinea issues new rules that internet jargon based on English language terms should be banned

Link Here1st December 2014
Full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT
China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) have issued new censorship rules governing the use of language in China's television shows and advertisements. The new rules require all TV shows and ads to stick to standard Mandarin words and expressions, and forbid them from using internet slang terms.

The new regulations are aimed at stopping the use of internet slang that appropriates or imitates standard colloquial expressions, and particularly the Chinese language's four-character chengyu sayings. The internet has invented or adapted many new chengyu for its own uses, but SAPPRFT's new regulations ban the use of any of that creative language on television.

The regulations order China's television content producers to do a thorough self-investigation and to strengthen oversight and inspection efforts to assure that non-standard language and internet slang doesn't sneak its way into any future television programs.

And before you thinks this is another example of imaginative censorship peculiar to a repressive regimes, I seem to remember a more or less the same edict being issued in France not so long ago, whingeing that English language modern world jargon had become more popular than the French language equivalents.



Extract: Adult films down, VoD movies up...

New Zealand's film censor publishes annual report

Link Here30th November 2014

A total of 2,259 publications were submitted for classification this year, 2,032 publications were examined and 2,060 decisions registered.

Crown submissions increased by 48% from the previous year while commercial work dropped by 8%. This drop was expected to be larger with the main New Zealand distributor of adult DVDs withdrawing from the market. However, during this period local distributors of online movie and TV series began submitting product for classification.

In terms of Crown work a 48% increase from the previous year in Crown submissions was largely driven by Police and the Department of Internal Affairs enforcement activity. As a result, the number of publications banned this year more than doubled from the previous year's result. Of the 320 publications banned, 88% dealt with the sexual exploitation of children and young persons.




A simple idea to work round Chinese internet censorship of BBC news

Link Here28th November 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Transparency group is working with the BBC to deliver the news organization's Chinese-language reporting to people censored by the country's Great Firewall.

The Chinese government has been censoring BBC China content for years and also began blocking most of the English-language version last month during pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong. But working with should increase the availability of BBC content in China. The group uses a method it calls collateral freedom to serve content through a network of mirror sites that the group claims is unblockable.

The idea is to host the mirror sites through services that are so ubiquitous that it would be difficult, even for China to justify blocking the entire domain. uses hosting options like Amazon Web Services to keep its mirror sites going. explained that its partnership with the BBC is specifically pegged to elections in Taiwan on Nov. 29. The goal is to present diverse information that's written in Chinese for Chinese audiences. As points out, a lot of English speakers in China already use VPNs and other workarounds to access foreign media, but if they don't know how to do this or speak only Chinese, these backdoors don't help much.



Playing the Morality Game...

Major New Zealand store bans 18 rated games and DVD

Link Here26th November 2014
New Zealand's Warehouse group of stores won't sell any 18 rated games and DVDs in future, saying it wants to promote family values.

Chief executive Mark Powell says the decision was made to remove such games and DVDs from its 92 Warehouse and 77 Noel Leeming stores after controversy surrounding the recently released Grand Theft Auto V . He claimed it was driven by feedback from customers and the community, and its guiding principles, which include making New Zealand a better place to live. He spouted:

This feedback has formed part of what has been an ongoing internal review, to ensure that the products we range reflect our brand values of family, children, and community,

Bob McCoskrie, director of the moralist campaign group, Family First, spewed:

It is completely unrealistic to believe that young people will not be influenced in their attitudes and behaviours by constant exposure to this type of gaming and DVD material.

So-called 'entertainment' and freedom of expression should never be at the expense of the safety of our community, appropriate emotional and moral development of our children, and promoting acceptable attitudes towards women, violence and law enforcement.



Update: Enforcing Religious Norms...

Malaysia moves to implement widespread website blocking

Link Here26th November 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia has taken the first steps toward censoring the Internet with talks underway between the Home Ministry and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to begin blocking content that doesn't reflect supposed local culture and sensitivity.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the country's firewall would ensure that content on websites, such as YouTube and video-streaming sites, comply with Film Censorship Board rules. He said:

We are working with MCMC on this matter and I urge the commission to implement the system soon.

The minister added that the public needed to understand the government was responsible for ensuring Malays are not influenced by negative elements . He said that content creators would have to ensure their works did not encourage Malaysians to do things against social and religious norms.



Updated" Three Fingered Salute...

Thai cinemas cancel showings of Mockingjay as its symbology chimes with those opposing military dictatorship

Link Here25th November 2014
Managers at Bangkok's Lido and Scala cinemas have decided not to show the movie The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 for fear of a political backlash.

The management of Apex group, which operates the theatres, told the Bangkok Post it had received a phone call asking for 200 tickets for the film's premiere on Thursday noon at Scala theatre, and that they be sent by mail. It found out later the tickets were being given out for free from a Facebook page.

The League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy posted on its Facebook that it would give 160 tickets for the movie premiere at Scala under its Raise Three Fingers, Bring Popcorn and Go to the Theatre campaign. It also asked its friends to comment on How does the Capitol resemble Bangkok? - the winning commentators would get 80 tickets for free. As of 6.46pm on Wednesday there were 241 comments to the post.

Apex said authorities had met with management to talk about the film but claimed its decision to drop the show had nothing to do with what happened to the military ruler Prayut Chan-o-cha in Khon Kaen.

His talk there was interrupted by five students. The five wore anti coup t-shirts and gave the general the three-finger salute from the Hunger Games series of movies before being whiskered away by police and soldiers to a military camp. A security official said they were detained at the camp for attitude adjustment.

Update: UN gives Thailand a 3 fingered salute

25th November 2014.  See  article from

The United Nations has criticised the Thailand's military dictators for arresting students flashing the signature protest gesture from The Hunger Games while the film's makers have said they are concerned for the young activists.

Fallout from the detention of three students outside two Bangkok theatres continued with the military's 'Prime Minister' Prayut Chan-o-cha saying he felt unthreatened by The Hunger Games' three-fingered protest against totalitarian rule, but nonetheless warned people against using it. , Gen Prayut told reporters:

I don't know whether it is illegal or not but it could jeopardise their futures. I appreciate their courage but they should use their courage in the right ways.

His comments came as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Southeast Asia criticised the authorities for a recent spate of instances in which people were led away for questioning after making the salute that has become a symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters. Local OHCHR representative Matilda Bogner told AFP:

This case is the latest illustration of a worrying pattern of human rights violations, which has the effect of suppressing critical and independent voices, l

The three students apprehended for flashing the three-finger salute were released without charges.

Meanwhile the military government announces indefinite martial law

Perhaps while the media are distracted by the Hunger Games story, the country's justice minister announced that martial law is here to stay. Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters:

Martial law is necessary and we cannot lift it because the government and junta need it as the army's tool.  We are not saying that martial law will stay in place for 50 years, no this is not it, we just ask that it remain in place for now, indefinitely.

And meanwhile the lese majeste law is used to outlaw criticism

A military court in Thailand has sentenced a web editor to four and a half years in jail for publishing an article five years ago that it said insulted the nation's king.

Rungwong edited the Thai E-News website, which is now blocked by censors. The article, published in 2009, was written by Giles Ji Ungpakorn, a radical Thai intellectual and former university political scientist who fled to Britain that year.

Thailand's lese-majesty law is considered the harshest in the world, with the accused facing jail terms of three to 15 years if found guilty. And the definition of insult is drawn very widely. Suggesting changes to Thailand's political status quo can readily be considered a criticism of the state and hence an insult to the king's stewardship of Thailand.

Update: And human rights criticisms get blocked

1st December 2014. See  article from

The Thai government has blocked access to the Thailand page of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) website after receiving harsh criticism from the organisation.

In recent weeks HRW have heavily criticised Thailand's military government for its crackdown on dissent.

The fact that the [junta] feels the need to block Human Rights Watch's Thailand webpage means that we must be doing something right, said Brad Adams, HRW's Asia director.



So Last Century...

New Zealand chief censor whinges that he is left out of the loop on computer games distributed online

Link Here17th November 2014
Andrew Jack, New Zealand's chief censor, has spoken against game publishers digitally distributing games that haven't gone through the country's censorship process.

New Zealand law requires games that have been given a restricted rating in Australia or the UK to go be classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification before they can be sold in New Zealand. Games with a G, PG, or M rating in Australia or the UK do not need to be locally rated.

However, the rise of digital game distribution through services like Steam, the iTunes App Store, and Google Play has seen some publishers selling games in New Zealand without first having them classified.  Jack whinged:

As chief censor I have previously expressed the view that games, in the legislation, should be treated the same as films. This would see all games distributed in New Zealand carry New Zealand classification labels, and allow New Zealanders to make informed choices about what they and their children watch and play.

Jack wondered it is perhaps time to consider whether the game industry can continue to be trusted.

However, Ron Curry, chief executive of the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association, said that Jack's idea of classifying every game is crazy, and that government organisations should work with the industry to find a solution.



Update: House of Cards Collapses...

China bans everything from internet TV

Link Here17th November 2014
Full story: Internet TV Censorship in China...Draconian censorship
Film and television programmes featuring one-night stands, adultery, supernatural occurrences and gambling will be banned from Chinese streaming websites in the latest episode of Beijing's continuing moral crackdown.

US streaming sites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are already effectively banned, but local sites such as Sohu, which recently release House of Cards , would be expected to suffer under the effects of the ban.

In a statement to content providers, censors also demanded the removal of content featuring depictions of sexual abuse, rape, polyamorous relationships, necrophilia, prostitution and masturbation. Violent murder, suicides, drug use and gambling were also among the subjects banned via the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) circular, as well as instances of pornography.

Prof Tan Tian of Jinan university told the Times the new regulations would radically reduce the number of movies and television shows that could be legally streamed in China.



An Objectionable Film Censor...

New Zealand film censor threatens and ISPs proxy service claiming it lets people see objectionable uncensored films from the US

Link Here16th November 2014
New Zealand's film censor at the Office of Film and Literature Classification is threatening CallPlus subsidiary Slingshot with prosecution over the access it is providing to blocked overseas internet television services such as Netflix through its free GlobalMode service.

Inevitably, the movie trade group, the Film and Video Labelling Body, an incorporated society whose members include Sony, Universal and Paramount, said it agreed with chief censor Andrew Jack that Slingshot was breaking the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act. That was because GlobalMode provided a gateway to overseas services such as Netflix that showed programmes that had not gone through New Zealand's classification system, some of which it claimed were objectionable.

However the ISP trade group, InternetNZ said that it did not believe internet providers were responsible for what its customers did on the internet and to suggest otherwise creates a bizarre world where internet providers are held up to a different standard to other utility suppliers .

CallPlus chief executive Mark Callander has said GlobalMode is not illegal and the company does not intend to axe it despite the chief censor's legal threat.

Canterbury University law professor Ursula Cheer has said any prosecution of Slingshot would be a test case . The outcome would hinge on whether Slingshot's decision to actively promote GlobalMode as a means to access overseas television programming meant it had lost the safe harbour protections in the Act that usually shield internet providers from prosecution for the content they carry.



Thailand recommends...

The book, A Kingdom in Crisis by Andrew MacGregor Marshall

Link Here14th November 2014
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Thailand's National police chief Police General Somyot Poompanmuang has banned the ordering and importation of the book A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand's Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century , claiming that it contains anti-monarchist sentiments.

The police chief issued the ban under the Printing Act of 2007. The book was written by Scottish journalist Andrew MacGregor Marshall, a former journalist with the Thomson Reuters news agency. The book, which had not gone on sale in Thailand, was released last week by the British publishing house, Zed Books.

Somyot based the decision on articles reviewing the book that were printed in two overseas newspapers in the online edition of the South China Morning Post and the online edition of UK newspaper The Independent.

The police claimed the two articles showed that the book insulted and fomented hatred of Their Majesties the King and the Queen, the heir to the throne, and affected national security, peace and public morality.

Somyot said violators of the ban were liable to a prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 baht (£1200). He also ordered the seizure and destruction of copies of the book.

Formers Reuters correspondent, Andrew MacGregor Marshall, now a freelance journalist and analyst on Thai culture and politics, expressed his delight that his book was banned.  During the last two days, the book has featured in AP , Bangkok Post , Thai PBS (English version), BBC Thai , Prachatai, and other Thai news sites .

The book, which Marshall says was partly based on information from classified US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, as well as contacts from within the royal establishment, was already an Amazon bestseller in the Asian History section. Marshall commented:

I am fundamentally opposed to the banning of books, and I don't see how Thailand can hope to solve its problems peacefully unless Thais are allowed to openly discuss and debate all aspects of their politics and history. Censorship and suppression can only make the crisis worse, and increase the risk that there will be more violence. However, I'm personally delighted that the Thai police have banned my book. I would have been very offended if they hadn't. My book is intended to challenge the myths and fairy tales of the Thai elite, and the ban shows I did my job properly.



Comparably Strict...

The New Zealand film censor compares ratings from 6 countries and finds itself most similar to UK

Link Here26th October 2014
New Zealand film censors at the Office Of Film & Literature Classification have been censor ratings for the major films and games from 2012-13.

Ratings from Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Ontario, New Zealand and Singapore were compared using a scale of age and restrictiveness. The report examined 260 feature films and 112 video games..

According to the report the comparisons for games show that;

  • Overall, game classifications in New Zealand are less restrictive than those of the United Kingdom and Ontario, and more restrictive than those of Singapore, Australia, and the United States. 

  • The average strength of game classifications in different jurisdictions (for 2012/13) is similar to our last report (for 2010/11).

  • There have been changes since our last analysis however: the United Kingdom is included in the games comparison as it began enforcing the European PEGI system in 2012, and Australia began using an R18+ classification for games in 2013.

  • Having adopted the European PEGI system and legally enforced its age ratings, the United Kingdom now has the most restrictive classification system for games of any jurisdiction in our study. Game classifications in the United Kingdom are most consistent with New Zealand's: 89% of titles in our sample received a relatively consistent classification in both jurisdictions. 

  • Game classifications in the United States are the least consistent with New Zealand's, with just 18% of the sample receiving a relatively consistent classification.

  • For games classified in Australia in 2012, only 14% of titles were relatively consistent with New Zealand's, but this rose to 49% in 2013 after the introduction of an Australian R18+ classification for games. The overall impact 

  • of the introduction of R18+ is that games were more restrictively classified in Australia in 2013 than in New Zealand.

  • The ESRB system in the United States is the least restrictive system for game classification because it is not legally enforced. However, when fully enforced in Ontario, the system is more restrictive than New Zealand's.

  • Singapore's game classification system is considerably less restrictive than its system for films, and is one of the least consistent in this regard when compared with other jurisdiction.

Overall the NZOFLC stated that the Restrictiveness of NZ classifications is closest to UK's .



Offsite Article: Japan Is Even Censoring The Evil Within's Uncensored Version...

Link Here 25th October 2014
Pictorial cuts details of video game cut for a 17 rating in Japan

See article from



Belief in Repression...

Burma to re-introduce video censorship as sexy films are offensive to religious beliefs

Link Here23rd October 2014
A censor from Burma's Motion Picture and Video Censor Board, said that video censorship is to be re-introduced in Burma. He claimed that many recent movies have portrayed behaviour that supposedly runs counter to Burmese culture.

The movie censorship board announced earlier this year that, beginning on 1 December, such films will be subject to the old censorship system, whereby they are required to be evaluated and approved by the censor board prior to distribution.

Tin Nyein, a board member, further explained that this was a response to the large number of sexually-explicit films released in recent years that are offensive to certain religious beliefs.



Toeing the Censorship Line...

Citizen Lab reveals a little about keyword censorship used in China to block Line app messages

Link Here23rd October 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Messaging app Line started has increased censorship in China by adding more keywords to its region-based block list.

However researchers have revealed an increased sophistication to the system making it less noticeable to users, as reported. The censorship software now allows users to use these words separately but not in phrases. Similar techniques have also been implemented in social media sites such as Weibo.

Censorship becomes more meticulous and does not block everything completely, said Wu Qianhua, researcher at the university. He said he thinks the new tactic is helping the regime. For example, under the new system, users could send messages that include Xinjiang or independence , but not two at the same time:

If you only hide a small part, instead of everything that is relative to a certain topic, then fewer people would be affected by censorship and more will be interested to talk about topics such as Xinjiang in a 'legal' way, Wu said. But when you hide everything, people will be more curious about how the censorship works and why it exists.

The researchers found out that if users set China as their country, the app's censorship functionality will be triggered and automatically download a bad words list from a website named Naver . However, users could also learn from a post on the lab's website on how to change their location settings and bypass the region-focused system that applies to China.



Update: And politicians don't take criticism well...

Singapore film makers appeal against government ban on To Singapore with Live

Link Here21st October 2014
On 2 October 2014, filmmaker Tan Pin Pin re-submitted her film, To Singapore, With Love , for classification with the film censors at the Media Development Authority (MDA).

The MDA had originally rated her film NAR : Not Allowed for All Rating . This means the film is not allowed to be screened in public or be distributed. The MDA later said the film is allowed to be screened in private and to college students.

Since Ms Tan re-submitted the film for rating, however, several ministers and government departments have castigated the film, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. He said the accounts given in the film by the former members of the Communist Party of Malaya were self-serving and were conveniently inaccurate in places, glossing over facts in others.

The Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, also criticised the film. He told Parliament on 7 October that the film's one-sided portrayals are designed to evoke feelings of sympathy and support for individuals who in reality chose to leave Singapore and remain in self-exile.

And the Government's latest response, the press secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister said allowing the film to be screened in public would be like allowing jihadi terrorist groups today to produce and publicly screen films that glorify their jihadist cause.

It certainly doesn't look good for film makers hoping to overturn the ban!



Update: Banned Books...

China adds to the long list without providing explanations

Link Here17th October 2014
Books by a few best-selling authors were removed from stores in China over the weekend.

Taiwanese author and director Jiubadao is widely known for his novels on romance and Chinese martial art while China-born US-based academic Yu Yingshi has published books on Chinese history and democratic theories.

No reasons for the removals have been revealed but sources say China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television had ordered the ban. Ding Qizhen, a social commentator speculated on the reason for the censorship:

Some speculate that it's related to the Fourth Plenary Session of China's Communist Party. Some say the related department is presenting a gift to the top leaders by eliminating dissenting voices.

Writer Jiubadao had earlier in the year expressed his support for the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan, where students had protested against a trade agreement with China.

Publishers have also been asked to stop printing books by six other prominent Chinese writers. This includes Liang Wendao, and economist Mao Yushi.



Has China been watching Top of the Pops?...

China bans all media, past and present featuring celebrities who have committed misdemeanours

Link Here11th October 2014

Chinese authorities have ordered television stations, cinemas, online entertainment sites and other outlets not to show works by entertainers found to have been involved in vice crimes such as using drugs or visiting prostitutes, state media reported.

The directive cites directors, playwrights and actors whose misdeeds such as using drugs or hiring prostitutes have supposedly hurt the industry and somehow corrupted society's moral standards. It says the rules are aimed at cleansing screens, airwaves and cyberspace to ensure that core socialist values are promoted.

The directive refers to those who have been punished by police, which in the Chinese legal system does not necessarily involve courts or convictions. Police can mete out summary penalties.

The order follows police detentions this year on drug or prostitution charges of celebrities including Jaycee Chan, son of movie superstar Jackie Chan; Taiwanese heartthrob actor Kai Ko; Chinese director Wang Quan'an and popular playwright Ning Caishen.

Under the rules, the offenders' film, television, radio and advertising works -- past and future- are to be banned.

BBC bans all media, past and present featuring celebrities who have committed misdemeanours

11th October 2014. See article from . Thanks to Nick

The BBC has confirmed it will ban editions of Top of the Pops featuring Dave Lee Travis.

The corporation had pulled episodes of the show which he hosted from its schedule of weekly BBC4 repeats following his arrest nearly two years ago and future programmes in which he features will now be dropped following his conviction for indecent assault.

Travis was given a three-month sentence last month, suspended for two years for 'groping' an adult female researcher on set.

A BBC spokeswoman said:

The BBC will not show Top of the Pops repeats fronted by Dave Lee Travis. We will consider any other archive appearances on a case-by-case basis.



Update: China recommends...

The Book of Sins by Chen Xiwo

Link Here10th October 2014
Chen Xiwo has spoken about how he challenged the Chinese government's decision to censor his latest book. The Book of Sins is a collection of seven novellas exploring controversial topics including rape, incest and S&M and examine the links between sexual and political deviance.

Xiwo launched a case to sue China's customs agency in an attempt to find out why his book, which was published in full in Taiwan, had been confiscated when it arrived in China in 2007.

Originally when the court hearings got underway the domestic news outlets were able to report on the progress until the propaganda ministry sent out an order forbidding further coverage.

Eventually the court ruled that Xiwo's case was a matter of national security, which ended further questions on the topic.

A heavily censored version of the book was published in China, in which parts of the text, including an entire novella, were removed. The banned story was I Love My Mum , and is about a disabled man who strikes up an incestuous relationship with his mother which ultimately ends in him murdering her. The novella is metaphorical of Chinese society and so this is presumably the reason for the ban.

Xiwo's book has now been translated into English by Nicky Harman,.



Update: The Worst of the Worst...

Selecting the most repressive neighbours to provide the model for internet censorship in Laos

Link Here3rd October 2014
Laos Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong has signed a new decree imposing stricter Internet control in the country. Signed last September 16, 2014, the new regulation promotes responsible and constructive use of the Internet among Lao netizens.

A few months ago, Lao officials announced that they were studying the experience of other Southeast Asian nations as a guide in drafting an Internet law which they plan to implement this year. They chose the restrictive cyber laws of Myanmar and Vietnam as models in formulating the framework of Laos' Internet law. Laos officials also reportedly looked at the approach used by China in regulating the Web.

As expected, the result is a law that claims to support the growth of the Internet but actually contains numerous contradictory provisions that undermine free speech and other citizen rights.

Provisions that recognize the privacy rights of Internet users, the protection of intellectual property, and prohibitions on pornography may be less controversial for Laotians. But the law also prohibits sharing photos that contradict Lao traditions and culture. The question is this, who will decide whether an obscene image insults Laotian heritage?

The same decree also identified several so-called cybercrimes whose definitions are unclear and very broad. They include:

  • Disseminating false information against the Lao People's Revolutionary Party;
  • Circulating information that encourages citizens to be involved in terrorism, murder, and social disorder;
  • Supporting online campaigns that seek to divide solidarity among ethnic groups and between countries;
  • Spreading information that distorts truth or tarnishes the dignity and rights of individuals, sectors, institutions and organizations;
  • Sharing of comments whose contents are in line with the abovementioned prohibitions.

Internet service providers are ordered not to provide service to individuals, legal entities or organizations whose movement seeks to undermine the Party and government policies.

Based on these guidelines, it seems that legitimate criticism of government programs and policies can be interpreted as a criminal act if it creates division, confusion, or disorder among the public. It is easy to see how authorities could use the law to prosecute journalists, activists, and other critics of the government.

The law also prohibits the creation of anonymous or pseudonymous accounts online, purportedly in an effort to ease the efforts of authorities in regulating the Internet. This is a big blow to citizens who seek to expose wrongdoings in the government through the Internet.

The government believes that this kind of Internet regulation is necessary to prevent abuse and misuse of the Internet as a space for communication and connection. While acknowledging the positive contributions of the Internet to the local economy, Lao officials also warned that it can be used to cause panic in society. They cited the spread of inaccurate information about the Lao Airlines crash and a recently online rumor of human organ trafficking in Attapeu province. In both cases, the Laos government was forced to make official statements to clarify the wrong information.

Despite these excesses, however, the Laos government previously vowed not to block the Internet, believing that it is essential to the modernization and industrialization of the country. But the new Internet law will undermine the commitment of Laos officials to keep the Internet open and free. It will discourage netizens from maximizing online spaces to engage public officials and challenge public policies.

The law could also impede the growth of the IT sector. In 2011 there were only 60,000 Facebook users in Laos. Today, more than half a million Lao citizens use the popular social networking site. According to news reports, there are now five telecommunications companies, seven Internet service providers and about 900 computer shops in the country. At this time, what Laos needs is a law that will boost this industry and not something that will unfairly penalize critics, activists, and even ordinary Internet users.

It is unfortunate that Laos has aligned itself with its neighbors in the region that are implementing repressive Internet laws to stifle dissent, intimidate the opposition, and even punish critical citizens. Laos should strive to distinguish itself in the region by adopting a human rights-based framework in regulating the Internet.



Island Mentality...

East Java sets up its own film censor

Link Here2nd October 2014
The East Java administration will establish its own Film Censorship Board (LSF) to force films produced in the province adhere to the censor's view of cultural values.

National Film Censorship Board chief Mukhlis Paeni said that it was important for East Java to form a censorship board because the region was one of the most prolific film production areas in Indonesia, hosting many production houses, cinemas and local television stations. He said:

Films do not have to be edited by or seek authorization from a censorship body in Jakarta. With a censorship board in East Java, the task can be done there.

He expressed his hope that the censorship board would open by next year.

The Central Film Censorship Board is responsible for editing and approving films that are to be distributed and screened nationwide, and has the final say on whether a film is appropriate for viewing



Update: Trade Barrier...

Chinese internet censorship may be blocking dissent but it also blocking business opportunities too

Link Here2nd October 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China's government has tightened its control over the Internet so much recently that businesses, researchers and ordinary people are finding it hard to complete basic and innocuous tasks, like placing ads on websites, sharing documents and reading technical documents. It seems the government of President Xi Jinping is so determined to crack down on dissent that it is even willing to stifle commerce and scientific research.

The country has imposed burdensome controls on the Internet in recent months by blocking online libraries, text messaging applications and cloud computing services, including those provided by American companies like Google. For example, the government has made it very hard to use web services that were previously available, like Google Drive, which many businesses use to share documents among employees. And virtual private networks that allow employees to log on to their corporate servers remotely have also come under attack.

The tougher line will certainly make it harder for foreign companies to do business in China -- one American executive told The Times the new controls were a frustrating and annoying drain on productivity.

Most Chinese people and businesses, however, cannot easily get around these controls. They will have a harder time getting access to information stored on foreign computer servers or communicating with people outside China.

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