Asia Pacific Censorship News

 2017: Oct-Dec

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  The Sunflower Award...

Katy Perry has been honoured by being banned from performing in China again


Link Here 10th December 2017  full story: Performers Censored in China...Quick to ban and censor star performers from the west
kety perry in sunflower dressUS singer Katy Perry has become the latest artist to be banned from China.

The indefinite ban is apparently due to her wearing a sunflower dress at her 2015 concert in Taiwan capital Taipei. The sunflower has become a symbol of the anti-China movement in Taiwan. At the same concert, the singer also draped a Taiwan flag on herself.

The singer wore the same dress when performing a little later in Shanghai and so has ended up on China's never again list.

 

  More objectionable than anything else...

New Zealand film censor publishes its annual report noting that 'banned' is its most common rating


Link Here 30th November 2017
oflc annual report 2017 The New Zealand media censors at the Office or Film and Literature Classification have just released their annual report. It includes the interesting observation that its 'banned' category is the most common category used in the year under review:

The most common classification in the last financial year was objectionable, meaning banned. This is a result of a large increase in material being submitted by enforcement agencies. This has coincided with a decrease in commercial submissions.

Along with films, DVD/Blu-rays and games, the Classification Office classifies a variety of material, including computer files submitted by enforcement agencies like Customs, Police, and the Department of Internal Affairs. In fact computer files make up the great majority of material banned by the Classification Office. Most of these publications were banned for promoting or supporting the sexual exploitation of children and young people.

Apart from that the New Zealand again has a knock at the government for not giving the censors remit over content streamed online:

It is now more important than ever that New Zealanders have the tools and information to allow everyone to take advantage of the freedom and opportunity the digital revolution represents -- while being smart about managing the downsides.

Regulation is lagging behind -- our system does not recognise the changes in the way New Zealanders now consume media. New Zealanders have increasingly borne the consequences of a confusing and out of date approach. The evidence is mounting about the impacts of consuming violent and graphic media, and technology keeps raising the stakes -- virtual reality and immersive media are now making an impact.

 

  Changing course...

New Zealand Parliament passes law change to prevent books being banned whilst age classifications are reviewed


Link Here 30th November 2017  full story: Book Censorship in New Zealand...Embarassing book bans
Into The River New Zealand was clearly a little embarrassed over the banning of book for young people. Ted Dawe's award-winning novel Into the River , when campaigners called for a review of the book's age classification.

When an interim restriction order was issued in 2015 an anomaly in the law meant there were only two options - leave it unrestricted or ban it entirely until the board of review met. The book was banned for six weeks until the interim order was reviewed and the restriction was lifted.

A new bill has now been passed by the New Zealand parliament that gives the censor board the ability to issue interim orders based on age or specified classes of persons.

National MP Chris Bishop drafted the bill and n the case of Into the River it would have meant the book could have reverted to its R14 status rather than banning it outright. Bishop said after his bill had been passed unanimously. He added:

It is clear that Into the River should not have been banned - this small but useful change will help ensure such a situation doesn't happen again.

 

  High hopes...

Burma lawmakers are preparing an update to film censorship law


Link Here 6th November 2017
Burma flag 2010Burmese filmmakers, supported by those from Southeast Asian countries, on Saturday pitched for classification, rather than censorship in the days ahead.

Joining a debate on film censorship in Myanmar and rest of Southeast Asia as part of the Memory! Festival 2017, they said that when the 1996 Motion Picture Law is replaced by a new law now in the drafting process, it should have very moderate censorship to control extreme cases of religious incitement, hate speech and obscenity.

Film maker Shin Daewe explained that the 1996 law is outdated and anachronistic and has high hopes for the new law and said:

We have high hopes because our lawmaker Phyu Phyu Tin who provides leadership to the drafting of the new law is a liberal. We hope the new law will reflect the spirit of emerging democracy in Myanmar. We want a transparent classification system, not censorship that belongs to a world gone by and is unsuited to our times marked by liberalisation and globalisation.

 

  Remember the Golden Age of Porn?...

New Zealand's chief censor notes that decline in porn and mainstream DVDs in the country has led to revenue dropping by half and therefore redundancies


Link Here 2nd November 2017

OFLC New Zealand logoDavid Shanks responded to a local press article noting declining revenues for the film censors as people watch movies and porn online rather than DVDs and Blu-rays which require a classification certificate. Shanks writes:

Most people don't realise that we are both government and industry funded. The Classification Office has received just under $2M in government funding since it was established in 1994. This reflects the work we do for government officials -- examining and classifying material that has been seized by the Police, Customs or other authorities.

This material is often extreme. Child rape, animal mutilation and graphic executions are the start of it. Nobody in their right mind wants to see this stuff but someone has to make an official assessment of it in order to prosecute. We do that.

The other side of our operation is classifying commercial film and DVD releases. This is funded through industry. The film and DVD industry pays less than half of one percent of its revenue to have their product classified in order for it to be exhibited or sold in New Zealand.

Back in the 1990's and up until around 2010 a lot of material was being sold in NZ direct to DVD -- yes, including a fair amount of adult entertainment. Porn. It seems quaint to think it now, but back in those days the Classification Office would routinely review porn DVDs to make sure they weren't too abusive. As everyone knows this has changed and increasingly people obtain porn - and a lot more besides! - online. Accordingly, commercial revenue has dropped from around $1.3 million in 2009 to around $600-700k today.

It is this decline in commercial revenue that we highlighted in our most recent Statement of Intent. When we drafted this Statement we could see that our expenditure was going to exceed income to the point where we would have used up all our reserves by 2020.

We have restructured to address this, and we are now in a stable financial position.

During the restructure, I wanted to provide my classification staff with as much choice as possible in the process, and met with all of them individually. In the end, we had no forced redundancy, everyone who left chose redundancy freely. Many of these people had put in many years of service doing a tough job that many people could not handle. At least one person expressed relief to me that they would no longer have to view prosecution material.

I salute them.

Now as an office we are in a position to recruit some new people with fresh talent, skills and perspectives. This is vital because in truth the future of censorship and classification is not murky -- as described in the article -- but is highly changeable and dynamic.

The old approaches to regulation will not work in this environment. The future involves parents, children and young people who are better informed and equipped to deal with the digital environment. It involves an industry taking greater responsibility themselves, using digital tools to efficiently inform the public. I have been talking to my counterparts in Australia and the UK who are doing some very innovative things in this area, presenting ideas that could improve the picture for both industry and all New Zealanders.

The opportunity to make a change is now.

 

  Huge disappointment...

Thai king's cremation finale blocked from being shown on local TV


Link Here 27th October 2017
thai cremationyAfter a huge build up and a year long construction of a magnificent funeral pyre for the cremation of Thailand's beloved King Bhumipol, the event was an anti-climax, as the burning of the king was not actually shown on TV, or even mentioned.

After hours of traditional ceremonies on TV, building up to the finale, there was a huge anti-climax as about 15 minutes before the big event, all Thai TV channels switched to other events of music, ballet and puppetry. Nothing was said about the big event which took place at 10pm, leaving mystified viewers wondering what happened.

Interestingly nothing seems to be mentioned in press reports from the event. Jonathan Head, the Thai correspondent tweeted:

After a huge build-up, Thai authorities decided not to broadcast the cremation of King Bhumibol. So people had no idea when it happened.

But this did not get mentioned by the BBC in news reports.

 

  Censorship body...

League of Legends video game censored in South Korea


Link Here 18th October 2017
league of legends
  
 Before and censored
 

The Korean version of the League of Legends has been censored after a software update on the Korean server for the game.

Artwork for the character Evelynn has been changed to cover up her bare midriff and also to reduce her cleavage (in visibility rather than size).

The game is 12 rated in South Korea, and has a Teen T rating from the ESRB in the US.

The South Korean Game Rating & Administration Committee has a recent history of censorship of games in regards to artwork, especially in mobile games.

The change to Evelynn's artwork has sparked another round of debate about game ratings in Korea and what should be deemed appropriate or not.

 

  Subtle progress...

Vietnam's first officially sanctioned nude photography exhibition


Link Here 16th October 2017
hao nhien exhibitVietnam's first ever licensed nude photography exhibition took place last month in Ho Chi Minh City. A collection of portraits was exhibited with the title Tao Tac , which translates loosely to subtle pieces making a whole when put together.

Hosted by the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Association Headquarters, the show collated over four years of shoots, editing and planning by Vietnamese photographer Hao Nhien.

The most difficult step in organizing the exhibition, he says, was the process of preparing the bare content, but for many of his contemporaries the fact that he was able to lift the curtain on such content was an even greater achievement in Vietnam's highly censored context.

This is a sign that the door might be opening wider for similar events to be permitted, Hao Nhien's fellow photographer Nguyen A told local media. What makes me even happier is that Ho Chi Minh City [authorities] have taken the lead with such an open-minded decision.

 

 Update: Nerves of Steal...

Malaysian government bans the 11th political cartoon book by Zunar


Link Here 6th October 2017  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books
zunar sapuman man of stealThe Malaysian political cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, will be filing a legal challenge against the government censorship of his latest book.

This comes after it was announced that his 2015 cartoon book Sapuman - Man of Steal had been banned under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

This is the 11th of his books banned by the government who clearly don't like the mockery.

Zunar is currently being prosecuted on 9 charges based on his criticism of the government.

 

 Offsite Article: An army of at least 2 million internet censors...


Link Here 2nd October 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
chinese armies In a glass tower in a trendy part of China's eastern city of Tianjin, hundreds of young people sit in front of computer screens, scouring the internet for videos and messages that run counter to Communist Party doctrine

See article from japantimes.co.jp

 

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