|28th February |
Egyptian film makers call for age rating to replace the current system of censorship cuts
531 Egyptians from the country's cinema industry are calling for the cancellation of censorship imposed on films. The group includes actors, producers and filmmakers.
They released a statement calling for the dismantling of the institution that
aims at preserving public morality, order and interests of the state.
The world has been changing, but Egypt stood still for a long time, as the sword of censorship was on every neck that wanted to work legitimately in the industry, read the statement.
The statement called for the immediate halting of censorship cuts and asked to wait until the widely anticipated elections to deploy the age-rating system used in most countries.
Egypt's only censorship rating system is declaring a film for adults only,
meaning not for people under 21-years-old. Originally it demanded that filmgoers show some form of identification to see such a film but this has not been followed in recent times.
Most American films that are shown in the country are cut. The
censorship of foreign films includes nudity, however brief and any sexual scenes including kissing. The censorship committee is known to leave bloody and gory scenes in films.
|16th February |
More internet censorship correlating to Middle East unrest
article from google.com
See video from youtube.com
In the midst of protests in Bahrain's capital of Manama that resulted in over 200 arrests and at least one death, evidence suggests that the government has clamped down on the Web, blocking access to specific YouTube pages and videos as well as,
possibly, video live-streaming site Bambuser.com.
In particular the blocked video appears to show police firing at unarmed protesters:
|12th February |
Iran jams BBC Persia
article from google.com
BBC Persia has been working with the BBC's Arabic TV service to broadcast rolling news from Egypt, and the broadcaster news coverage of events in Egypt.
This has prompted Iran to jam the channel since Thursday.
Many Iranian viewers claimed
to have been watching events unfold in Cairo and elsewhere in the region extremely closely, the corporation said, and BBC Persian has vowed to continue its broadcasts to Iran and its coverage of the turmoil in Egypt.
Perhaps the Iranian
authorities have something to fear. On Friday hundreds of thousands of Iranians chanted slogans supporting the Arab uprisings, while denouncing the United States, as they marched to mark the anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Egyptians, Tunisians,
your uprisings are just and we are with you, the crowds chanted.
|11th February |
Reports from Turkey about website blocking creep
See article from theregister.co.uk
|7th February |
Iran TV bans cookery shows featuring foreign food
See article from telegraph.co.uk
Iran has banned TV cooking shows featuring foreign food.
The prohibition was announced by Ali Darabi, the deputy head of Iran's state broadcasting company.
The ban is seen as a part of a nationalism campaign, perhaps reacting to
increasingly popular foreign or American culture being imported into Iran.
|4th February |
Foreign journalists find themselves hounded by mobs
See article from
Dozens of foreign journalists were arrested, attacked and beaten as the Egyptian government and its supporters embarked on what the US state department called a concerted campaign to intimidate the international media.
Human rights workers also
fell victim to crowd violence, while police raided the offices of two groups in Cairo, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre and the Centre for Economic and Social Rights, and arrested observers. Amnesty International said one of its staff was detained at the
law centre, with a Human Rights Watch colleague.
A group of reporters from Daily News Egypt, an independent, English-language paper, were among those targeted. They were set upon by a group of passers-by in Dokki, west of the Nile, that quickly
swelled into a 50-strong crowd after they ventured out of their offices to investigate a story about rising petrol prices.
It was terrifying, said Amira Ahmed, the publication's business editor. They were chanting: 'We've found the
foreigners, don't let them go,' and calling us traitors and spies. Like many who were caught up in similar incidents today, Ahmed said the most chilling part of the encounter was the mob mentality that took hold: t he people who were showing
up had no idea why we were the targets. They just took up the cry of 'foreigners' and 'journalists' and joined in. There was no leader we could appeal to for reason.
The Egyptian interior ministry arrested more than 20 foreign journalists in
Cairo, including the Washington Post's bureau chief and a photographer. Al-Jazeera said three of its journalists were detained.
On the streets, it was impossible to interview protesters without a crowd gathering, shouting accusations and jabbing
fingers. The antipathy to the media appeared to extend to both opponents and supporters of the regime.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the systematic targeting of journalists in Egypt as unacceptable, and called for those
detained to be freed. The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain said in a joint statement that the attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable .
|3rd February |
Egypt restores the internet but only after taking steps to ensure that reporters are properly censored
Based on article from
Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak have begun violently attacking journalists reporting on the streets of Cairo today, a shift in tactics from recent media censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. CPJ calls on the Egyptian military to
provide protection for journalists.
The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. The government has resorted
to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs. The situation is frightening not only because our colleagues are suffering abuse but because when the press is kept from
reporting, we lose an independent source of crucial information.
See article from
Internet access in Egypt appears to have returned to normal, according to firms measuring traffic levels in the country.
Facebook and Twitter are now available
and the four major Egyptian internet service providers are back in business.
|1st February |
Authorities fear that news from Egypt may spark popular uprising in Iran
According to Reuters, many online news sources including Reuters itself and Yahoo News are newly blocked in Iran.
Harder news stories from foreign outlets have been replaced by government-approved suggestions.
With protests in
Egypt gaining momentum, Iran is hedging its bets by limiting the influx of breaking news out of its Middle Eastern neighbor.
In Iran, Political unrest remains from when the country exploded into social media-fuelled 'Green' protests following the
re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June.
|1st February |
Iran inflicts death sentence on two porn site administrators
Thanks to Alan
Based on article
Iranian courts have sentenced two people to death for running porn sites, prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said, quoted on the Islamic republic's official IRNA news agency.
Dolatabadi said that the two unnamed administrators of porn
sites have been sentenced to death in two different courts and the verdicts have been sent to the supreme court for confirmation.
8th February 2011. See
article from guardian.co.uk
Iranian web programmer is facing imminent execution in connection with developing and promoting porn websites, charges that his family insist are trumped up.
Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada who was arrested in October 2008 after
his arrival in Tehran, is convicted of designing and moderating adult content websites, acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam, and agitating the public mind.
Speaking from Toronto, Malekpour's
wife, Fatemeh Eftekhari, said her husband has been informed of the verdict and has been transferred to solitary confinement for the sentence to be administered if the supreme court sanctions it. She says her husband was a web programmer who had written
photo uploading software that was used in a porn website without his knowledge.
Malekpour, who has been kept in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for the past two years, was arrested by plainclothes officers and was initially kept in solitary
confinement for almost a year without access to legal representation.
A year after his arrest Malekpour was put on state television to confess. He later retracted the confessions in a letter sent from inside prison in which he said they were taken
A large portion of my confession was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the
interrogators dictated, he writes in the letter.
Once in October 2008 the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water. He went on to say: While I remained blindfolded and
handcuffed, several individuals armed with cables, batons, and their fists struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck. Such mistreatment was aimed at forcing me to write what the interrogators were dictating, and to compel me to
play a role in front of the camera based on their scenarios.
Malekpour's sentence has prompted reactions from human rights activists and organisations who have launched a campaign to save his life. Lawrence Cannon, the Canadian foreign affairs
minister, has also expressed concerns over his sentence.
|31st January |
Egypt block Twitter in an attempt to keep the numbers of protestors down
26th January 2011. Based on
article from globalvoicesonline.org
Egypt has just upped its war on the Internet, and cut access to mobile phone communications, in areas where thousands of protesters gathered for a Day of Revolution. The aim seemed to be an attempt to control the flood of protesters and strangle the
Demonstrations sprung across the country, with calls for the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, corruption, economic failings as well as other grievances. Word of the protests and gathering points had been announced on social
networking sites, including microblogging site, Twitter, which has been blocked by the authorities.
Such censorship has sparked the anger of activists, especially since it is the first time in Egypt's history that such heavy-handedness is used to
silence people online. The move is a stark reminder of the iron fist with which ousted Tunisian strongman Zeine El Abidine Ben Ali clamped down on the Internet, in neighbouring Tunisia, whose uprising has inspired millions of Arabs.
Update: Internet Blocked
28th January 2011. See article from
It is reported that Egypt is now under an Internet and SMS blackout. The governments appears under siege after a series of major protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Sebone, a major Egyptian service provider based in Italy, is
reporting that no Internet traffic is entering or exiting the country. Reporters and citizens on-the-ground are also reporting that they are experiencing an Internet and SMS outage.
Egypt has been enveloped in unrest over the presidency of Hosni
Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981. The protests have been partly inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia that forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali out of power after 23 years. Facebook, Twitter and social media were key communication
tools used by protesters to organize rallies.
Update: Al-Jazeera Banned
31st January 2011. See
article from cpj.org
Nilesat, the Egyptian state satellite company has stopped transmitting the signal of Al-Jazeera's primary Arabic language channel.
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the actions of Egyptian authorities to disrupt media coverage by
Al-Jazeera and calls on them to reverse the decision immediately.
Both Al-Jazeera and Al-Jazeera English continued to report today on Egypt from other locations. CPJ research shows that viewers outside Egypt can now view the network's Arabic
channel only on the Hotbird satellite or other satellites not controlled by Egyptian authorities.
But at least two individuals in Egypt who spoke to the channel's anchor on air reported that they could not view the channel even on non-state
satellites, an indication that authorities may be jamming those transmissions.
Al-Jazeera English's broadcast remained on Nilesat.
|28th January |
Poetry book banned in Iraqi Kurdistan
Perhaps the Kurdish-English dictionary used for the translation also features the phrase: My hovercraft is full of eels
The latest poetry collection of a well-known Kurdish poet has been banned in Iraqi Kurdistan, after mullahs criticized it for disparaging God.
The book, by Qubad Jalil-Zada, is entitled Stiany Befir Pira Rishole, which Rudaw has
translated as Snowy Bosom Covered in Swallows. The author is now urging Kurdistan's president to free his book from imprisonment.
A thousand copies of the book were printed. However, a sentence in one of the poems, God is resting,
angered several mullahs in the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and they have harshly criticized the collection in their Friday sermons.
The criticism of the Mullahs, one of whom is a lawmaker, put pressure on authorities in the Kurdistan Regional
Government (KRG), who have now banned the book from distribution. Consequently, all of the printed copies have been returned to the publishers.
|24th January |
Iranian newspapers retouch picture of visiting EU dignitary
See article from
See also various retouched Iranian newspapers from
The shirt of EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton at her Istanbul meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili, was apparently too revealing in the eyes of Iranian officials and official media.
Some state-controlled newspapers
decided to redesign her top and make it more Islamic.
See the various retouched Iranian newspapers
|19th January |
Iranian version of the Daily Mail gets 1890 Ibsen play banned
article from latimesblogs.latimes.com
Police descended on a Tehran theater earlier this week and halted performances of the play Hedda Gabler by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen after an Iranian news agency blasted the classic drama in a review.
Ibsen's 1890 drama follows
the complex relationships among the newly married Hedda, her husband and a third man. Some critics consider Hedda's character to be one of the best dramatic roles in theater.
All artistic activities in Iran are controlled and regulated by the
Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, which regulates moral and religious standard, and the Iranian version of Hedda Gabler had apparently passed vetting procedures and censors after its adaption from the original. For example, one of the play's
seven characters is a recovered alcoholic, but in the Iranian production there is no mention of alcoholism and the male and female characters were careful to not get too close to each other on stage.
But the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency
scorned the play in a review accusing it of promoting vulgarity and nihilism. Then the clampdown was imminent.
Since Jan. 5, the Hedda Gabler play has been on stage in the City Theater center to promote normalization of
nihilism, licentiousness and vulgarism, which are the main points of the play, said the review: This play ... has nothing to do with national and Islamic precepts and is based on western nihilistic philosophy.
The review was accompanied
by a series of photos of the production which, among other things, appear to depict a man and woman about to kiss. But critics have claimed, in a bid to upset religious conservatives, that the news agency digitally manipulated the photos so that it would
appear as if the the actors and actresses were closer to each other on stage than they actually were.
|16th January |
Turkey's TV censor whinges at TV depiction of sultan ruling 500 years ago
See article from alarabiya.net
Turkey's television censor has given an official warning to a private channel after thousands complained that it was portraying the country's Ottoman-era sultans as drinkers and womanizers.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) said
in a statement that Show TV had failed to respect the privacy of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566.
The agency said the channel should publicly apologize for having violated the privacy of a
historical person in its program Magnificent Century , a fictional portrayal of the sultan's life and his royal court at the height of Ottoman rule.
The agency's head, Davut Dursun, said 75,000 people had complained to the RTUK over its
portrayal of Ottoman rulers drinking alcohol and chasing after women.
|15th January |
Turkey reports on facility enabling people to report websites to block
See article from
The Telecommunications Directorate (TI.B) has established a website for people to report websites ofr supposedly illegal content. TI.B launched www.ihbarweb.org.tr in November 2007.
TİB President Fethi
Şimşek said they have received more than 220,000 complaints through the website thus far. At least 200 complaints are submitted to the website every day, he said.
He added that most complaints about website contents
submitted to Turkey's internet supervisory body concern obscenity,.
Complaints can be submitted if they follow within the guidelines of the articles specified in law No. 5651, which are encouragement of suicide, sexual abuse of children,
facilitation of drug use, providing unhealthy materials, obscenity, prostitution, gambling and insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk -- the founder of the Turkish Republic
|15th January |
Kuwait bans 2 newspapers and satellite channel
Based on article from
The Kuwaiti government has closed down two newspapers, Al-Mustaqbal, alDar, and the satellite channel Mubasher.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights denounced the closures on fabricated accusations of unspecified irregularities .
group said that the bans were punishments because the outlets were carrying material critical of the country's political situation: Restrictions on the media and press freedom by the Kuwaiti government are on the rise.
|12th January |
Egyptian film censor wound up by the presence of an Israeli actress on the cast list
See article from
Doug Liman's Fair Game – about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame by the George W. Bush Administration – is earning Oscar buzz for stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
But Israeli actress Liraz Charhi also stands out for
her pivotal, heartbreaking turn as Zahraa, an Iraqi expatriate whose fate devastates the tough ex-spy Plame.
However the presence of Liraz Charhi is causing a bit of censor hassle in Egypt.
Egyptian censors have delayed the screening of Fair Game
for at least a week while the consider their stance.
Sayyed Khattab, head of Egypt's censorship board, said that he liked the movie but feared the presence of an Israeli actress.
|6th January |
Dubai bans new movies Black Swan and Love and Other Drugs
See article from
The Dubai film censor has confirmed that Darren Aronofsky's latest movie Black Swan will not be shown in the emirate due to its subject matter.
Movies have to pass through the Censorship Department for approval, editing or banning
before they are released in theatres, and Mohammad Naser, the cinema censor said: When we find that the amount of editing required takes a big part of the movie, we conclude that there is no point in releasing it.
Naser added that Love
and Other Drugs would also not be making it to cinemas: Both these movies have been banned because of excessive sexual content, he said, adding that in one of the two films the viewer would have been left with 25% of the film had it been
released after editing.
Daniela Yordanova of 20th Century Fox for the Middle East said that both films will be released in other Middle Eastern markets such as Lebanon.
Black Swan has been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC noting: Contains strong sex, language and bloody images.
Love and Other Drugs has also been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC noting: Contains strong sex, sex references and language
|4th January |
Saudi to censor websites via oppressive licensing requirements
Thanks to Nick
article from techeye.net
Saudi Arabia Now Forcing News Bloggers to Obtain Licenses, Promote Islam from
Saudi Arabia will censor the internet from next month via oppressive licensing restrictions. This will apply to all blogs, forums, news sites, personal websites, electronic archives, chat rooms and online ads produced in Saudi.
were approved by Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Mohee Al-Dien Khoga, the Minister of Culture and Censorship, which will require licences for the operation of an e-publishing site within the country when the laws come into effect in a month's time,
writes on a blog, online newspaper, or similar form of electronic publishing will be required to meet the following obligations:
- they must be a Saudi national,
- over 20 years old,
- hold a high school or higher qualification,
- be of good conduct and behaviour, and
- hold an appropriate licence given by the Ministry.
All licence holders must publicly display their licence information on their website. The licence will last for three years before renewal is required.
Failure to comply with the new regulations can result in a number of penalties. The user
will be ordered to remove unapproved content. There will also be fines and compensation payments. Websites can be partially or fully blocked, for either a period of time up to two months or indefinitely.
Some established news sites are welcoming
the restrictions, seeing it as a measure against competition and IP infringement. Fahad al-Harithi, an editor-chief from al-Wi'am newspaper said that he was happy for the new regulation to take place as it will protect the newspapers' intellectual
|2nd January |
Iranian news channel Press TV claims that it is being censored by Britain
See article from
The head of an Iran Broadcasting organization has claimed that Britain is censoring Press TV by freezing their bank accounts.
Banks cannot block the accounts of the media which operate within the regulations of the host country without a
reason, head of the IRIB World Service Mohammad Sarafraz said.
Sarafraz who also heads Press TV news channel said Press TV Ltd. in London is a company, which is registered according to Britain's law and operates within that framework. He said
the London-based Press TV Ltd. is not directly affiliated with Press TV news channel based in the Iranian capital of Tehran.
Sarafraz added that British bank managers have never issued an official response as to why they have blocked the
accounts only suggesting that they have been under pressure by those in the positions of authority .
British officials are also said to have tried to block Press TV from broadcasting through pressuring satellite operators especially French
Meanwhile whistle blower website WikiLeaks has recently released documents from secret U.S. Department of State cables which show Britain Foreign Office told the U.S. embassy in London back in February that it is exploring ways to
limit the operations of… Press TV . The disclosures, according to Sarafraz, seemed to be connected to the bank accounts closures by the British government.