Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2017: July-Sept

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 Update: Stay away culture...

UN report reveals that, as Malaysia moves to more religious extremism, it has become an unattractive place for visiting artists and performers


Link Here 30th September 2017
Malaysia flagOrganizers of pop concerts and some other big events are increasingly wary of including Malaysia on their itineraries due to growing intolerance toward activities regarded as insulting to Islam by some Muslim groups.

The promoters say that international music stars, especially those known for risque lyrics or revealing clothing, are unlikely to be brought to Malaysia as part of regional or global tours. The same goes for any gatherings that could in any way be deemed un-Islamic.

A United Nations cultural rights expert warned in a report last week that there is growing pressure to adopt a more narrow interpretation of the Islamic religion and identity in Malaysia, which excludes the country's cross-cultural history, marginalizes religious minorities, and fails to take account of the diversity of Malay Muslims.

 

 Update: Ruined morality of the older generation...

Indonesian lawmakers agree to ban anything gay from TV


Link Here 29th September 2017  full story: Gay Intolerance in Indonesia...Gay life winds up the intolerants
trans-tv logo
 
Indonesia's Trans TV will surely become a cropper
 

Indonesian lawmakers have agreed a proposed law that would ban anything gay on TV. Among the list of criteria for outlawed content in broadcasts includes programs containing LGBT behaviour.

The law would require the screening of all TV shows, films and adverts by an external censorship body prior to broadcast in order to ensure compliance with the new rules.

The ban has broad support from across the parties in the country. Supiadin Aries Saputra of the NasDem Party said:

We can't allow LGBT behaviour on TV. It is against our culture. We have to ban it early before it becomes a lifestyle. It's dangerous and can ruin the morality of the younger generation.

It is legal to be gay in Indonesia apart from  Aceh province, which implements its own nasty punishments under Islamic law.

 

 Updated: Censorship max...

China's internet censor hands out maximum fine to companies not censoring enough


Link Here 28th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

emblemofchina logoChinese internet censors have handed down maximum fines to the operators of three major social-media platforms in the country for failing to deal with pornography, violence and other banned content on their sites. The affected platforms are Baidu's online forum Tieba, microblogging site Weibo and Tencent's massively popular social app WeChat.

The Cyberspace Administration of China issued a notice saying the companies were fined for failing to fulfill their management duties in dealing with pornographic and violent content, as well as information that promotes ethnic hatred.

Separately, Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp seemed to be functioning properly after it earlier appeared to have been blocked again on the mainland.  However WhatsApp was totally blocked again a few days later.

In recent months, China has raised the pressure on the country's internet space in what some say is an attempt to exert control in the lead up to the Communist Party Congress next month.

Update: Weibo recruits an army of snitches

28th September 2017 See  article from sixthtone.com

Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo has said that it wants to hire a team of social media vigilantes to help identify and stamp out supposedly 'inappropriate' online content. The company said the scheme was designed to strengthen supervision of netizens and to more effectively rid the platform of what it referred to as pornographic, illegal, and harmful information.

Those selected for what appear to be part-time roles will be compensated for their efforts if they achieve certain monthly targets, such as reporting at least 200 valid cases of inappropriate content. These supervisors will be given VIP membership, paid 200 yuan ($30) in online credits, and may qualify to receive a special orange electronic badge displayed on their Weibo accounts.

For social media sleuths whose prowess at sniffing out undesirable content ranks them among the company's top 10 supervisors, the rewards will be even greater, potentially including Apple smartphones and laptops.

Weibo said it was introducing the program in response to guidelines issued by the Beijing office of the Cyberspace Administration of China. On Monday, the same office announced that it had fined Weibo and other online platforms for neglecting to prevent users from spreading pornographic content and ethnic hate speech.

 

 Update: Korean government blasts Tumblr...

Tumblr rejects 22,000 censorship requests from South Korea's internet censor


Link Here 25th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in South Korea...Repressive new internet censorship law
tumblr 2012 logoSouth Korea's internet censor made a large amount of censorship requests to the social network Tumblr but these were turned down on the grounds that the 'offending' posts did not actually violate Tumblr's policies.

Tumblr received 22,468 requests from the Korean government from January to June to delete posts related to prostitution and porn.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), the country's internet censor, sent 30,200 requests to several internet companies to delete posts related to prostitution and porn. Requests to Tumblr accounted for over two-thirds, totalling 22,468. By comparison, Twitter received 1,771, Instagram 12, and Facebook 5.

Tumblr rejected the requests to censor adult content saying that it had no physical presence in South Korea and was not subject to local laws. It also said it allows wide-range freedom of expression on its service. The company also said posts reported by KCSC didn't violate its policy.

 

 Offsite Article: 68 Things You Cannot Say on China's Internet...


Link Here 25th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flag An article outlining many of the new censorship rules restricting internet content creators

See article from nytimes.com

 

 Update: Peaceful religion banned in China...

Euphemisms for criticism of islam are banned by Chinese social media


Link Here 21st September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Weibo logoAllegedly Islamophobic terms used by Chinese Internet users to stigmatize Muslims have been censored by authorities on Chinese social media amid a backlash against national policies considered overly favorable to Muslim minorities.

Searches for green religion and peaceful religion , often used by Internet users to refer to Islam and to circumvent censorship of online speech, showed no results on China's Weibo microblog. Posts containing the phrases cannot be posted for violations of Weibo's complaints related rules. Worse insults against Islam are also blocked in Weibo's search engine.

Discontent and fears of Muslims have been on the rise on China's Internet in recent years. There is unease at Chinese authorities' discrimination policies in favour of ethnic minorities, especially Muslim groups.

To achieve national unity and social stability , ethnic minorities including Hui and Uyghur people enjoy favorable policies including receiving extra points in China's college entrance examinations, more lenient family planning policies and securing a certain ratio of positions in government. The favorable policies are aimed at helping ethnic minorities who lag behind in economic and educational development. They are intended to accelerate development toward greater ethnic unity, Xiong said.

 

 Offsite Article: Ministering social development...


Link Here 17th September 2017
david shanks oflc Interview with a new chief censor: how to ban a video game in New Zealand

See article from thespinoff.co.nz

 

 Offsite Article: But not quite sure if anyone is listening...


Link Here 13th September 2017
david shanks oflc After 90 days in the role of Chief Censor, I have been pausing for a moment to reflect on what the role means, and where it might be headed. By David Shanks, chief censor at New Zealand's OFLC

See article from classificationoffice.govt.nz

 

  Cleansed words...

BBC pulls out of Burmese TV as it is banned from using the word 'Rohingya'


Link Here 6th September 2017
bbc burma logoThe BBC's Burmese language service has said it was pulling a broadcasting deal with a popular Myanmar television channel citing censorship as the two partners clashed over coverage of the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority.

Since April 2014, BBC Burmese broadcast a daily news programme on MNTV with 3.7 million daily viewers. On Monday the BBC said it was ending the deal after MNTV pulled multiple programmes since March this year.

The BBC cannot accept interference or censorship of BBC programs by joint-venture TV broadcasters as that violates the trust between the BBC and its audience, a report on the BBC's Burmese website said.

In a statement MNTV said it began pulling reports to comply with government orders over restricted words. The BBC Burmese program sent news that included wordings that are restricted by the state government, the statement said. A station official said the problematic word was Rohingya.

 

 Update: No comment...

China's real name verification system for comments coupled with its economically unviable fees will spell an end to online comments


Link Here 1st September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

global voices logo As of October 1, 2017, Chinese netizens who have not registered their user accounts with online platforms under a new real name system will not be able to post comments on online content, while bans await trouble-makers.

The Regulation on the Management of Internet Comments was announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China on August 25. The regulation specifies that platforms that provide services for netizens to comment on original content, including films, posts, online games or news, should force users to provide their authentic identity via an individual user account system before posting. Platform operators should not offer such services to those who have not verified their identity.

The regulation will dramatically reduce space for online comments as large number of unauthenticated users will not be able to write original posts and leave comments. Moreover, many platforms will be unable to bear the burden of the identity verification system.

According to Article 2 of the regulation, commenting services refer to websites, mobile applications, interactive platforms, news sites, and other social platforms that allow or facilitate users to create original content, reply to posts, leave comments on news threads or other items in the form of written text, symbols, emojis, images, voice messages or video.

The responsibilities of comment service operators, according to Article 5, include the verification of user identities, the setting up of a comment management system to pre-screen comments on news, preventing the spread of illegal information and reporting comments to the authorities.

Controversially, the regulation also specifies in Article 9 that comment service operators should manage their users by rating their social credit, an algorithm to measure a person's overall 'goodness' as a citizen.

Those with low credit should be blacklisted from posting and prevented from registering new accounts to use the service. At the same time, state, province and city-level cyberspace affairs offices will set up a management system to evaluate the overall social credit of comment service operators on a regular basis.

The Orwellian social credit system for regulating internet users' activities was revealed in 2014 and the Chinese government authorized a number of credit service agencies to collect, evaluate and manage peoples's credit information the following year.

According to the Chinese government's Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System , the system aims to measure and enhance 'trust' between and among government, commercial sectors and citizens and to strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility. However, the allocation of individual credit is not transparent and the current regulation on comment services indicates that individual online speech is a key factor in its calculation.

Thus far only national and large-scale social media and content service operators have implemented real name registration and they have not introduced measures to penalize unauthenticated users beyond limiting the circulation of their posts.

The majority of small-to-medium-size local websites and forums have not implemented real name registration because they simply don't have the capital and infrastructure to do so. The new regulation compels such websites to shut down their interactive features.

Tech-blogger William Long who has discussed the issue with regulators in the past wrote in his blog:

I have discussed with the relevant authorities how small forums and websites can implement real name registration. Their view is, they can either shut the comment section down or ask their users to verify their identity by providing mobile phone verification codes.

Owners of small websites can only afford a few hundred yuan to hire a server. The cost of mobile verification is RMB 6 cents per message. They would have to spend RMB 6 yuan per 100 comments. If their competitors deliberately overload them by posting a few thousand comments a day, they will not be able to afford the cost [of verification]. In the end they will be forced to ban comments.

 

 Update: Dangerous Thailand...

The Vogue for Thailand making commonplace social media postings into a criminal offence


Link Here 19th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
vogue august 2017Vogue fashion magazine has been reporting on the dangers of social media posts that contain images which included alcohol brands. Vogue magazine writes:

Tourists might not realize as they make their guidebook-mandated pilgrimage to nightlife hotspots like Khao San Road, is that despite the country's many Full Moon parties and bar girls, alcohol advertising is illegal. And posting a photo on social media of your beer by the beach could count as advertising.

Recently police have begun to strictly enforce 2008's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bans displaying the names or logos of products in order to induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages, either directly or indirectly.

Last month, police announced their intention to more closely patrol social media and charge those found breaking the law. That means even if your favorite actress wasn't being paid for her endorsement and really was just sharing a photo with a drink by the pool or on a night out, she could find herself facing a 50,000 baht (about $1,500 USD) fine for indirectly inducing drinking.

Earlier this month, eight local celebrities were fined for posting selfies with alcoholic drinks on social media, with Thai Asia Pacific Brewery and Boon Rawd Brewery Co. (the producer of Singha beer) also implicated in the case. But police aren't just monitoring the accounts of the rich and famous -- at the beginning of August, three bar girls found themselves arrested after making a Facebook Live video inviting people to come enjoy a beer promotion.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship Ratchet...


Link Here 19th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logo China launches criminal investigation of major internet companies suspecting that they are not censoring social media users enough

See article from sputniknews.com

 

 Update: No refuge from censorship...

Malaysian film censors target films at refugee festival


Link Here 17th August 2017  full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship
kakuma can dance video Several films about refugees have been censored for showing at a festival in Malaysia.

Activists say the Film Censorship Board (LPF) officials came to the Refugee Festival in Kuala Lumpur late last week, subsequently demanding the partial censorship of Bou , a film about trafficked brides from Burma (Myanmar), and total ban on Kakuma Can Dance about refugee hip hop dancers in Kenya.

Refugee Festival organiser Mahi Ramakrishnan, who directed Bou (bride in the Rohingya language) said Malaysian authorities turned up immediately prior to the opening of the event to force the filmmakers to gain prior clearance from the LPF before screening their work.

Ramakrishnan later showed a cut version of Bou on Aug 13, in which the LPF demanded certain, politically sensitive scenes were muted, played without subtitles or simply removed, including one showing footage of Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. According to campaign group Fortify Rights, another such scene is where a human trafficker explains false passports for Rohingya child brides are made in Bangladesh before the trafficker will pay money to clear [Malaysian] immigration.

 

 Update: Misleading intentions...

Vietnam's government announces an internet censorship systems to identify and block news that it does not like


Link Here 17th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Vietnam...New law requiring websites to delete content
Vietnam flagAn internet censorship system including software that identifies, blocks, collects and processes 'misleading' information on the Internet will soon be launched in Vietnam.

Software that blocks PCs from accessing websites containing 'misleading' information, and an investigation system that analyzes methods used by cyber criminals will also be developed.

The project was recently approved by the Ministry of Information and Communications and will run until 2025.

 

 Update: Political sensitivities...

Thai court confirms the ban on the film Shakespeare Must Die


Link Here 12th August 2017
shakespeare must dieShakespeare Must Die is a 2012 Thailand horror drama by Ing Kanjanavanit.
Starring Pirun Anusuriya, Sudhisak Bamrungtrakun and Minta Bhanaparin. YouTube icon IMDb

Thailand's Administrative Court has rejected a petition by the producer and director of a feature film against a ban imposed by the Film and Video Censorship Committee five years ago.

Shakespeare Must Die was banned from being screened in Thailand on the grounds that the movie's political content might cause divisiveness among people in the country. 

The film, directed by Smanrat Ing K Kanjanavanich and produced by Manit Sriwanichpoom, is an adaptation of Macbeth , a tragedy by English writer William Shakespeare. It depicted both an ambitious general who becomes king through murder, and another world in which the country's leader believes in superstitious, megalomaniac and murderous dictatorship. He is known only as Dear Leader and has a scary, high-society wife. The movie clearly alluded to prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was popular with working people but alienated the Thai elite.

The Administrative Court ruled that even though the story is fictional, the movie's content might cause disunity among people. It contains scenes based on a photograph from Bangkok's 1976 student uprising and violent scenes from red-shirt demonstrations.

Manit said the filmmakers would appeal the court's verdict. I feel like we didn't get justice, he said.

 

 Offsite Article: Voices of Moderation banned...


Link Here 5th August 2017  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books
BREAKING THE SILENCE Malaysian book censors ban 8 books since March

See article from themalaysianinsight.com

 

 Offsite Article: China today, Britain soon...


Link Here 31st July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Apple logo Apply complies with Chinese order to ban unapproved VPNs from the Apple app store

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Update: Snooping and control...

China's Xinjiang Residents Are Being Forced to Install Surveillance Apps on Mobile Phones


Link Here 23rd July 2017  full story: Mass snooping in China...Internet and phone snooping in China
jing wangResidents of Xinjiang, an ethnic minority region of western China, are being forced to install spyware on their mobile phones.

On July 10, mobile phone users in the Tianshan District of Urumqi City received a mobile phone notification from the district government instructing them to install a surveillance application called Jingwang (or Web Cleansing). The message said the app was intended to prevent [them] from accessing terrorist information.

But authorities may be using the app for more than just counter-terrorism. According to an exclusive report from Radio Free Asia, 10 Kazakh women from Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture were arrested for messages sent to a private WeChat group chat soon after they installed the app.

The notification from police said the application would locate and track the sources and distribution paths of terrorists, along with illegal religious activity and harmful information, including videos, images, ebooks and documents.

Jingwang's website describes the application as follows:

Jingwang is a protection service with an adult and child categorization system introduced by Jiangsu Telecom. The main function is to block pornographic websites, online scams, trojan horses, and phishing sites; to alert users of how much time they spend online; and to enable remote control of one's home network. The tool is intended to help kids develop a healthy lifestyle by building a safe web filter for the minors.

Of course, any tool with these capabilities could be used in multiple ways. For example, the app's remote control feature could enable state actors or even hackers to manipulate or steal from a person's home network.

The move is consistent with other measures of control over digital activities in the region. While stories of digital censorship in China often focus on the experiences of users in major cities in the east and south, the reality is often more bleak for those living in remote, embattled ethnic minority regions such as Xinjiang and Tibet. Seeking to contain unrest and discontent in conflict areas, authorities often impose extreme censorship and surveillance measures and routine Internet shutdowns .

Authorities from Xinjiang are checking to make sure that people are using the official Jingwang application. A mobile notification demanded people install the app within 10 days. If they are caught at a checkpoint and their devices do not have the software, they could be detained for 10 days. This is a setback on the development of technology. They forced people to use devices designed for the elderly. It is a form of confinement by through surveillance technology. We are back to Mao's China.

Images from mainland China also posted a product description of Jingwang which explained that the tool can negate the password requirement of a Windows operating system and access the computer hard disk with no restrictions. Once installed with Jingwang, computers and mobiles in Xinjiang, would become electronic handcuffs.

 

 Update: Fingerprints required for a top-up...

Thai government proposes extreme measures to control phone users and social media companies


Link Here 18th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
NBTC logoInternational over-the-top (OTT) content providers have been the bane of Thai regulator National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission's (NBTC) existence over the past few months.

The supposedly independent communications censor seems to be obsessed with finding ways to curb the likes of Facebook, Google, YouTube and Alibaba. In early April it boldly suggested imposing some kind of bandwidth fee on the consumption of OTT services, requiring OTT players to have an operating licence to run a business in Thailand and even making them pay a value-added service tax for transactions by local merchants.

The head of the broadcasting committee, Natee Sukonrat, was quoted as saying users on social media who influence public opinion will have to be reined in.

What on the surface may seem to be an effort to create a more level playing field for the mobile players could also be seen as a thinly disguised attempt to give the regulator the power to more easily monitor and censor content the government is finding difficult to regulate. The widely-criticised proposals are merely a backhanded move to bypass current legal processes and give the regulator the authority to demand the removal of content the military-run government considers illegal without waiting for a court order, which the government has complained is time consuming.

Facebook and co would not play ball with Thai government requests and the government was forced drop the plan to register OTT players for tax purposes. However the government said that it would push ahead to replace several weak points in the censorship process and come up with a revised proposal in 30 days.

And now the junta's ominously named National Reform Steering Assembly this month approved an 84-page social media censorship proposal, which would require such things as fingerprint and facial scanning just to top-up a prepaid plan, all in an effort to be able to identify those posting content to OTT services. The push for fingerprint and facial recognition is in addition to existing requirements for all SIM users to register with their 13-digit national IDs.

Commentators say the stringent rules are similar to those in use in China and Iran.

 

 Offsite Article: Over blocking...


Link Here 16th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
purevpn banner China moves towards banning VPNs use to circumvent internet blocking but say that this is not a total ban on all VPNs

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 Offsite Article: A Korean Punk Band's Struggles with Censorship...


Link Here 12th July 2017
bamseom pirates seoul inferno Jung Yoon-Suk's documentary Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno tells the story of the arrest of the band's producer after posting controversial tweets.

See article from hyperallergic.com

 

  Censorship on demand...

China bans homosexuality, prostitution and drug addiction from online videos


Link Here 4th July 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China flagNew censorship rules issued by Bejing will prohibit portrayals of homosexuality, prostitution and drug addiction in online videos. The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) is targeting what they consider abnormal sexual activity.

The rules which were issued on Friday demand that online video platforms hire at least three professional censors. They were ordered to view entire programmes and take down any considered not sticking to the correct political and aesthetic standards.

Those who don't adhere to the new rules face being reported to the police for further investigation, according to Xhinua state news agency.

 

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