Australia's advert censors have changed their mind over a lamb marketing advert and have now banned the advert.
The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) has reversed its decision on Meat and Livestock Australia's lamb ad, after an independent review found it had breached the advertising code.
The ad, which featured religious gods and prophets, including Hindu god Ganesha sharing a BBQ lamb meal, received more than 200 complaints, including one from the High Commission of India in Australia, which claimed the ad was offensive and
hurting religious sentiments.
The ASB originally cleared the ad declaring it had not breached its code.
An independent review by the ASB found the original ruling was an error and cited substantial flaws with the initial decision, which found the ad was lighthearted and humorous and did not breach the advertising standards code.
The review claimed Meat and Livestock Australia gave inadequate consideration to how seriously some Australians take their religious views and determined the ad had breached the code, recommending the ad be removed.
The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is a 2017 Canada / USA / South Korea family animation comedy by Cal Brunker.
Starring Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Maya Rudolph.
Surly and his friends, Buddy, Andie and Precious discover that the mayor of Oakton City is cracking one big hustle to build a giant yet quite-shabby amusement park, which in turn will bulldoze their home, which is the city park, and it's up to
them and the rest of the park animals to stop the mayor, along with his daughter and a mad animal control officer from getting away with his scheme, and take back the park.
The Australian Review Board has overturned a PG rating from the Classification Board and replaced it with a general audience G rating (equivalent to a UK U rating). The Review Board explains:
A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is classified G (General) with the consumer advice Some scenes may scare young children.
The Classification Guidelines provide that at the G category, violence and the treatment of themes should have a very low sense of threat or menace, and be justified by context.
In the Classification Review Board's opinion Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature warrants a G classification because its violence and treatment of themes are of a very mild impact. There are numerous scenes of unrealistic, animated violence which are all
resolved with positive outcomes for the animals and are interspersed with humour and are relevant to the context. The theme of the park being destroyed for greed is overall a positive story about animals protecting their habitat and has a very
mild sense of threat which is at all times relevant to the context.
The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from the original applicant, Roadshow Films to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 18 September 2017 to classify Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature PG with
the consumer advice Mild themes and animated violence.
the UK BBFC rated the film as U uncut for mild comic threat, violence
the US MPAA rated the film PG for action and some rude humor.
The leading book publisher in Australia, Allen & Unwin, has dropped a book about the influence of China's Communist Party in Australia's domestic affairs, due to censorship pressure from China, or maybe from the fear of Chinese action
against the publisher..
In a decision likened to the recent decision by Cambridge University Press to restrict access to sensitive China-related articles, the release of the forthcoming book, Clive Hamilton's Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia into a
Puppet State was shelved by the publisher over concerns about potential legal action by China.
The author and a prominent Australian academic, said the decision by Allen & Unwin demonstrated the extent of the shadow cast by Beijing.
It is believed to be the first time that a publisher has suspended publication of a book in a Western market because of fears of potential pressure from Beijing.
We as Australians living in a free society should not allow ourselves to be bullied into silence by an autocratic foreign power, Professor Hamilton told ABC News.
In a statement, Allen & Unwin said it decided to delay publication following extensive legal advice. Clive was unwilling to delay publication and requested the return of his rights, as he is entitled to do, it said. We continue to wish him the
best of luck with the book.
The New York Times reports on an Australian furore following the news that a book has effectively been banned by Chinese
influence. The Times writes:
The decision this month to delay the book, Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State , has set off a national uproar, highlighting the tensions between Australia's growing economic dependence on China and its fears
of falling under the political control of the rising Asian superpower.
The decision by Allen & Unwin to stall publication of this book almost proves the point that there's an undue level of Chinese influence in Australia, said Prof. Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at Australian National
In the yet-unpublished book, the author, Clive Hamilton, a well-known intellectual and professor at Charles Sturt University in Australia, describes what he calls an orchestrated campaign by Beijing to influence Australia and silence China's
In one chapter the book asserts that senior Australian journalists were taken on junkets to China in order to shift their opinions so they would present China in a more positive light. In another chapter, the book details links between Australian
scientists and researchers at Chinese military universities, which he said had led to a transfer of scientific know-how to the People's Liberation Army.
Members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot were arrested for their criticism of Putin while performing in a Moscow cathedral. The performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky once sat naked in front of Lenin's Mausoleum, and nailed his scrotum to the
stone pavement. He was later taken away by the police. The art duo Blue Noses is famous for a photograph of two Russian policemen kissing and embracing each other while in uniform.
They are all, along with other protest artists who work in Russia, part of the Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism exhibit whiched opened on 16th November at London's Saatchi Gallery.
Jigsaw is a 2017 USA / Canada horror thriller by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig.
Starring Laura Vandervoort, Tobin Bell and Callum Keith Rennie.
Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade.
There has been a bit of a buzz that the latest film in the Saw franchise is perhaps not quite so close to the cutting edge of torture porn. And this has now been confirmed by an appeal against an adults-only R18+ rating from the Australian
Censorship Board. The Review Board that heard the appeal have reduced the R18+ rating to MA15+ which would perhaps be called a 15A in the UK system.
The Review Board explained their decision as follows:
[ Spoilers! hover or click text below]
The Review Board considered that the film is a horror movie and as such warrants the MA15+ classification for themes and violence.
The film has a strong theme of a serial killer seeking to get his captives to atone for their crimes that they have not acknowledged. The captives face gruesome, torturous deaths if they do not face their crimes. The Review Board considered that
the theme is strong and impactful but that this is justified by the context and can be accommodated at the MA15+ classification.
The film contains numerous violent scenes which are in the context of a serial killer's treatment of his captives. Most of the scenes focus on the threat of violence, such as being dragged by chains towards circular saws, Ann being dragged
around the post against the barbed wire, the captives being hung by chains and drawn towards the ceiling, and the tightening of the wires around Ryan's legs. The Review Board considered that these scenes created a strong impact that could be
accommodated at the MA15+ classification.
The Review Board particularly noted four violent scenes:
the depiction of 'buckethead' with his bucket removed depicting catastrophic head and face injury resulting from the circular blades as seen in previous scenes and the still shots of his head
as the captives are being hung Ryan stabs Karly in t he neck with the three syringes and this is followed by a depiction of Karly's eyes turning red as the acid enters her body, and close up of her neck bleeding and her body dissolving from
the acid. The Review Board noted that this scene was dimly lit and relatively short -- switching immediately to the setting of the detectives at the mortuary.
Mitch is seen being hung over the vortex machine and then being killed by the machine. The Review Board considered that the violence was implied with no detail of his death. The Review Board noted that Mitch's body falls from the ceiling and
there is a brief shot of his mutilated body. The Review Board noted that this was dimly lit and fleeting scene with immediate cut away to the detectives leaving the building.
Ann is seen to try to shoot Ryan but the gun has been set to fire backwards and Ann is shot. There is a depiction of her lying dead, covered in blood but there is no gunshot wound apparent.
It was the view of the Review Board that these scenes involved horror violence which had a strong impact , but the violent images were justified by the context, fleeting, usually dimly lit and were quickly followed by scenes of the detectives or
Dr Nelson away from the violence. The Review Board considered the violence could be accommodated within the MA15+ classification
For comparison the film is rated 18 for strong bloody violence, injury detail in the UK and rated R for sequences of grisly bloody violence and torture, and for language in the US.
The National Symbols Officer of Australia recently wrote
to Juice Media
, producers of Rap News and Honest Government Adverts , suggesting that its "use" of Australia's coat of arms violated various Australian laws. This threat came despite the fact that Juice Media's videos are clearly satire
and no reasonable viewer could mistake them for official publications. Indeed, the coat of arms that appeared in the Honest Government Adverts
series does not even spell "Australian" correctly.
It is unfortunate that the Australian government cannot distinguish between impersonation and satire . But it is especially worrying because the government has
that would impose jail terms for impersonation of a government agency. Some laws against impersonating government officials can be appropriate (Australia, like the U.S., is seeing telephone scams from fraudsters claiming to be tax officials). But
the proposed legislation in Australia lacks sufficient safeguards. Moreover, the recent letter to Juice Media shows that the government may lack the judgment needed to apply the law fairly.
In a submission
to Parliament, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights explains that the proposed legislation is too broad. For example, the provision that imposes a 2 year sentence for impersonation of a government agency does not require any intent to deceive.
Similarly, it does not require that any actual harm was caused by the impersonation. Thus, the law could sweep in conduct outside the kind of fraud that motivates the bill.
The proposed legislation does include an exemption for "conduct engaged in solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes." But, as critics have
, this gives the government leeway to attack satire that it does not consider "genuine." Similarly, the limitation that conduct be "solely" for the purpose of satire could chill speech. Is a video produced for satirical
purposes unprotected because it was also created for the purpose of supporting advertising revenue?
Call of Duty: WWII is a 2017 US combat simulation game from Activision.
On the first submission to the Australian Censorship Board the game was passed R18 uncut for high impact violence and threat of sexual violence.
The distributors didn't want the reference to sexual violence so made cuts to the game and resubmitted it. The game was then duly passed R18+ this time for high impact violence.
asked the censor board about the original classification and the cuts.
[ Spoilers! hover or click text below]
According to the Classification Board, the original version contained a reference to sexual violence:
In one section of the game, the player controls Rosseau, a female spy, as she infiltrates a German building. While inside, she witnesses a woman as she is dragged by a Nazi soldier into a closet, against her will, screaming, You're all pigs!
Rosseau opes the closet door, as the soldier says, Leave. This is none of your business. The player is then given the option to kill the soldier or leave.
If the player chooses to leave, the player closes the door, as the soldier is heard unziping his fly and viewed advancing towards the woman. She screams, Ah! Get away from me! as Rosseau leaves.
It is implied that the soldier is going to sexually assault the woman, but at no time is the assault depicted.
The board then described how the cuts made a difference:
In the Board's opinion, the modifications to this game - which include the change of dress for the female prisoner (was in a skirt and top, now in a pants and top) and the removal of audio that implies a soldier is unzipping his pants - do not
contain any classifiable elements that alter this classification or exceed a R18+ impact level.
In the Board's opinion, the removal of the audio track means that consumer advice of threat of sexual violence is not required. Therefore, this modified computer game warrants an R18+ classification with consumer advice of high impact violence
[and] online interactivity.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a 2017 UK / USA action comedy adventure by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong.
When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that
tests their agents' strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that's becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy...
Cambodia has banned the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle over its alleged negative portrayal of the country. Bok Borak, from the Ministry of Censorship Culture told The Phnom Penh Post that the film's clear reference to Cambodia as a place
where villains are based and make trouble for the world as a major point of concern.
The film chronicles British and American spy organisations teaming up in search of the secret base of a drug lord. Once they find the base, which is a temple surrounded by jungles in Cambodia, a showdown between the two sides ensues.
The manager of an Australian sex shop was aghast when she received a letter of denial. It's not just her being targeted. In fact, many businesses and employees of the adult sex industry have claimed they are suddenly being barred from banks across
Australia in a case of discrimination gone gaga.
In an eye-opening report released by Australia's adult-only industry body, The Eros Association, 16 out of 24 erotic businesses including sex shops, sex toy manufacturers and brothels reported bank discrimination.
It seems like something has happened for them to all of a sudden consider this industry high risk, Eros' general manager Rachel Payne told news.com.au.