ISPs in Australia have blocked access to dozens of websites, including 4chan and 8chan, in the name of blocking the video of last week's New Zealand mass shooting.
In Australia, ISP Vodafone said that blocking requests generally come from courts or law enforcement agencies but that this time ISPs acted on their own. Telstra and Optus also blocked the sites in Australia. Besides 4chan and 8chan, ISP-level
blocking affected the social network Voat, the blog Zerohedge, video hosting site LiveLeak, and others. The ban on 4chan was lifted a few hours later.
Raising issues of wider censorship, LiveLeak removed the offending videos but was not immediately removed from the list of censored sites.
The ISPs' decision to block access to websites was controversial as they acted to censor content without instruction from either the Australian Communications and Media Authority or the eSafety Commissioner, and most smaller service providers
have decided to keep access open.
The ISPs are facing some government pressure, though. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone to a meeting to discuss ways to prevent distribution and livestreaming of violent videos.
New Zealand ISPs took a similar approach. The country's main iSPs, Spark, Vodafone, Vocus and 2degrees, are blocking any website which has footage of the Friday 15 March Christchurch mosque shootings. The ISPs agreed to work together to identify
and block access at [the] DNS level to such online locations, such as 4chan and 8chan.
New Zealand Telecommunications Forum Chief Executive Geoff Thorn said the industry is working together to ensure this harmful content can't be viewed by New Zealanders. He acknowledged that there is the risk that some sites that have legitimate
content could have been mistakenly blacklisted, but this will be rectified as soon as possible. .
Australia and New Zealand also do not have net neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from blocking websites on their own volition
A Northern Territory mayor has slammed his own council's decision to ban merchandise bearing the witty slogan CU in the NT.
T-shirts, beer stubbies, caps and thongs bearing an allusion to a rude word will banned from being displayed at Darwin's popular Nightcliff and Mindil Beach markets.
Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis actually voted for a motion to pull the merchandise from public display but he did express misgivings about people being too easily offended. He told Daily Mail Australia:
My problem is that we live in a "I find offence society" and there's always a push to remove things from the public Where do we stop?
I'm not going to actively try to find out what's moral, what's offensive or what's not offensive.
Greens councillor Robin Knox moved the motion after receiving complaints about children seeing the CU in the NT stall. She whinged:
The market stall was next to a children's playground - it's a very family friendly market.
Chinese government censors are reading Australian publishers' books and, in some cases, refusing to allow them to be printed in China if they fail to comply with a long list of restrictions.
Publishing industry figures have confirmed that the censors from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China are vetting books sent by Australian publishers to Chinese printing
presses, even though they are written by Australian authors and intended for Australian readers.
Any mention of a list of political dissidents, protests or political figures in China, is entirely prohibited, according to a list circulated to publishers and obtained by The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
The list of prohibitions mentions key political incidents, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the pro-democracy protests in 2011 and the 2014 umbrella revolution in Hong Kong. The Tibetan independence movement, Uighur nationalism and
Falun Gong are also taboo subjects.
Mention of all major Chinese political figures, including Mao Zedong and the current president, Mr Xi, and all current members of the Politburo Standing Committee is ruled out, as is a long list of 118 dissidents who are not allowed to be
Most major religions are also on the sensitive list, as well as a long list of Chinese, or former Chinese locations, most relating to current or former border disputes. The printer's guidance says these things can be published after vetting by
Pornography was ruled out entirely, but artistic nudity or sexual acts could be censored in 10 working days.
Printing books, particularly those with colour illustrations, is significantly cheaper in China, so some publishers have little choice but to put them through the government censorship process.
Sandy Grant, of publisher Hardie Grant, said he had scrapped a proposed children's atlas last year because the censors ruled out a map showing the wrong borders.(probably to do with Chinese claims about Taiwan or Tibet). European alternatives
were considered economically unviable.
A printing industry source who works with Chinese presses confirmed that the rules, in theory, had been in place for a long time, but that, all of a sudden they've decided to up the ante. They're checking every book; they're very, very strict at
the moment. I don't know how they're reading every book, but they definitely are, the printer said. The change had happened in the past few months.
About 100 journalists have been threatened with a charge of contempt of court -- and could face possible jail terms -- over reporting of the Cardinal George Pell trial.
Victoria's director of public prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC, has written to as many as 100 individual publishers, editors, broadcasters, reporters and subeditors at the media giants News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment , the ABC, Crikey and
several smaller publications, accusing them of breaching a nationwide suppression order imposed during the case.
The ones who do not have a strong enough explanation could be prosecuted. The gag order was issued by the chief judge of Melbourne's county court on 25 June 2018 in the matter of DPP v George Pell . The prosecution had applied for the suppression
order to prevent risk of prejudice for a second trial for Pell on separate charges.
The Herald Sun published the most dramatic piece: a black front page with the word CENSORED in large white letters. The world is reading a very important story that is relevant to Victorians, the page one editorial said. The Herald Sun is
prevented from publishing details of this very significant news. But trust us, it's a story you deserve to read.
Judd's letters targeted even oblique references because the gag order banned any information about the case, including that there was a suppression order.
A cartoon of Serena Williams published in an Australian newspaper last year did not breach media standards, a press censor says.
The cartoon depicted Williams jumping above a broken racquet next to a baby's dummy in the US Open final which Williams lost to Naomi Osaka in September. During the match she aggressively accused the umpire of sexism and being a thief.
Critics claimed that the caricature used racist and sexist stereotypes of African-American people.
The Australian Press Council noted that some had found the image offensive, but accepted the publisher's defence. It added that the newspaper had sufficient public interest in commenting on behaviour and sportsmanship.
The cartoon went viral in September. The National Association of Black Journalists in the US denounced it as repugnant on many levels. Public complaints centred around the portrayal of Williams with large lips, a broad flat nose... and [being]
positioned in an ape-like pose.