South Asia Censorship News


2019: Oct-Dec

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Surely the problem can't be anything to do with the people of Bihar...

Chief Minister of the Indian state of Bihar calls on the Indian prime minister to ban all internet porn


Link Here 17th December 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of the Indian state of Bihar is blaming rising incidents of sexual crime against women in the state on porn. He has written to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to ban all porn sites and inappropriate content available online. He wrote:

It will be my request to take appropriate action to ban all porn sites and inappropriate content available on internet immediately after giving due consideration to the serious issue, he wrote.

The incidents (of gang rape and crime against women) take place in some cases because of the impact of these sites.

People make videos of heinous acts (rape) against girls and women and get them uploaded on social media such as Whatsapp, Facebook etc. Such content, which seriously affect the minds of children and youths, have been found as factors responsible for crimes (against women).

Long-term use of such content negatively affect the mind of some people, which gives rise to social problems and increases the number of cases of crime against women.

 

 

General data appropriation regulation...

India dreams up a GDPR style data 'protection' law that is more of a data 'grab' for the government


Link Here14th December 2019

 

 

 

Where there's a will, there's a way...

Indians take to VPNs to evade their government's internet porn blocking


Link Here2nd December 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

In October last year, an Indian court had ordered the government to reinstate its earlier ban on 827 porn websites including PornHub and xVideos. Porn companies initially put up a fight, launching mirror URLs such as pornhub.net after pornhub.com became inaccessible. But a few months in, major internet service providers Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio also started blocking out the mirror URLs tool.

However Indians haven't been taking the censorship lying down. Mobile downloads of virtual private network (VPN) apps in India grew 405% to 57 million in the 12 months starting October 2018, as analysed by London-based Top10VPN, a website that reviews VPNs.

The vast majority of users in India are using free VPN services, which are in effect not free--they often fund operations by selling user data. But the use of paid VPN services remains limited in India.

But not all Indian users have caught on to VPNs. Nearly half of the visitors of the banned websites have merely shifted to other adult content sites that aren't blocked in the country, such as RedPorn and SexVid, according to research from the analytics firm SimilarWeb.

I always wonder if this response is one of the reasons why age verification for porn was cancelled by the British Government. The security services surely didn't want vast numbers of people to start using VPNs. They needed the AV services to be easy and safe enough for porn users to be willing to use. And in the end most of the methods on offer were anything but.

 

 

Offsite Article: Core censorship...


Link Here30th November 2019
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
Indian subscribers notice that Apple's TV+ service is being censored for India See article from thequint.com

 

 

Cheers...not...

Indian film censors cut Ford v Ferrari


Link Here13th November 2019
Full story: Film cuts in India...Censor cuts for movies released in India
Ford v Ferrari is a 2019 USA / France action sport biography by James Mangold.
Starring Christian Bale, Matt Damon and Caitriona Balfe. BBFC link IMDb

American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

The film was cut by India's Central Board of Film Certification to blur out alcoholic drinks and to mute the phrase son of a bitch.

A source close to the film told timesnownews:

We know we've to blur out the bottles because they carry brand name and CBFC guidelines do not allow that. But a mere glass being blurred out is something I'm hearing for the first time.

Adding that studios are often prepared in advance for such cuts, the person added, You know the committee is going to send the print back with such cuts. Can't do much about it. It's frustrating. .

For comparison the BBFC passed the film 12A uncut for infrequent strong language, moderate threat

Update: CBFC pedantry

17th November 2019. See article from hindustantimes.com

Tushar Karmarkar, Regional Officer, of The Central Board of Film Certication (CBFC) Mumbai has denied blurring the alcohol bottles in Hollywood film Ford v Ferrari.

It seems that in fact the alcohol blurring was pre-cut by the distributor as the CBFC has a rule which bans alcohol from U/A movies, So although the censors are correct in their pedantic denial, the film was cut solely to comply with CBFC rules.

According to a CBFC official document, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times. The specified cuts are:

  • The muting or replacing words such as sons of whore , son of a 'bitch'; an
  • insertion of anti-smoking disclaimers and a static message wherever a smoking scene appears.

But Karmarkar says, It (the blurring) was voluntarily done by teh distributors, as per our records.

 

 

Entirely foreseen consequences...

A year on from a Nepal government porn ban it has little effect beyond an increase in reported rapes


Link Here13th November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Nepal...Nepal gets wound up by porn
Last October, Nepal's government blocked 25,000 porn sites, but a new report shows that the effort was inevitably futile.

A year ago the government introduced stiff fines of approximately $4,200 on ISPs that failed to adequately block porn sites.

But now a new report by the Nepalese news site Annapurna Express shows that little has changed. Nepalese porn surfers have actually been watching even more porn than a year ago, Annapurna Express reported, based on data provided to it by xHamster. In fact, according to research by the Nepalese news site, internet users based in Nepal visit porn sites more often than they visit any of the country's news portals.

In another unsurprising finding, the site found that the porn ban has done nothing to curb rising levels of sexual violence in Nepal. In the year since the ban, reported rape cases in Kathmandu have climbed from 145 to 225.

 

 

The official line...

Pakistan's TV news anchors and presenters are banned from stating opinions lest they distract from the official line


Link Here30th October 2019
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) strongly condemns a draconian new directive from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) that effectively orders TV channels to impose prior censorship on their anchors by ensuring that they express no personal opinions.

Issued on 27 October to all licenced satellite TV broadcasters, the PEMRA directive says journalists who host TV discussions must limit themselves to moderating and must never express an opinion or judgement:

[The] role of anchors is to moderate programmes in an objective, unbiased and impartial manner, excluding themselves from their personal opinions, biases and judgements on any issue. Therefore, anchors hosting exclusive regular shows should not appear in talk shows whether their own or other channels as subject matter expert.

Non-compliance is punishable by a fine of up to 10 million rupees (60,000 euros) and withdrawal of the TV channel's broadcasting licence.

Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk said:

It is not the media regulator's role to dictate who can express opinions during debates, or to decree what can or cannot be said. This grotesque PEMRA directive not only violates journalistic independence and pluralism but even goes so far as to criminalize opinions. We urge PEMRA's members to recover a semblance of credibility by rescinding this order, whose sole aim is to intimidate media outlets and journalists.

 

 

An Iron Curtain for the Internet...

Russia to test cutting off its internet users from the outside world


Link Here26th October 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
The Russian Government is set to begin tests of an internal version of the web -- isolated from the outside world -- in November, local sources claim.

Such a setup is supposedly intended to shield critical Russian systems from cyber-attack, allowing the federation to operate disconnected from the rest of the web.

However, critics have claimed that the tests are part of a wider attempt to isolate its citizens from the surrounding world and its influences.

Previous tests announced in February, for April, did not actually occur, presumably there were technical issues.

According to D-Russia , the tests of the network isolation will begin after November 1, 2019 and will be repeatedly at least annually.

 

 

Updated: Durj...

Movie banned in Pakistan for its sensitive cannibalism theme


Link Here19th October 2019
Full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Durj (The Casket) is a 2019 Pakistan crime mystery thriller by Shamoon Abbasi.
Starring Shamoon Abbasi, Sherry Shah and Maira Khan. IMDb

The reality behind a hideous crime is yet to be unveiled as a reporter's wife dives deep within the depths of despair and darkness to seek the truth of her missing husband.

The film was banned in Pakistan by the film censors of the CBFC.

An anonymous source from censor board said the film has been banned because of it's subject. Given that a sensitive topic, such as cannibalism, should not be propagated so openly.

Durj was premiered on the international film festival circuit and seems to have been well received.

For comparison in the UK the film was passed 15 uncut for disturbing scenes, bloody images:

 

Update: Unbanned

19th October 2019. See article from tribune.com.pk

The film has been cleared after a second viewing by the Pakistan's Central Censor Board, sources informed The Express Tribune.

Some of the really graphic scenes have been removed for obvious reasons, other than that the film is good to go, said a censor board official, requesting anonymity.

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