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2014: July-Sept

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Adverse Effects...

The Maldives is set to introduce book censorship

Link Here29th September 2014
Poetry and literature will have to be approved by the Maldivian government before they are published in the country, according to a new law which have been described as a disaster for freedom of expression by free speech campaigners.

The rules insist that those wishing to publish books in the Maldives must submit a finished copy of their work, along with a form and a MVR50 revenue stamp, to the national bureau of classification for approval, or face fines. This includes poetry, which is defined by the regulations as: w

Words and phrases structured into verses that fit a particular form, expressing thoughts and ideas that are heartfelt.

One strand of publication is exempted from the requirements:

...any writing published to circulate information among its members/employees by a political party, civil society group, company, or specific governmental body.

The book censors will be looking to ensure: That the works published in the Maldives do not contravene Islamic principles, the laws and regulations of the Maldives and societal etiquette , and to reduce adverse effects on society that could be caused by published literature . They will also, according to the translation, respect the constitutional right to freedom of expression and allow novel and constructive ideas .

According to Minivan News, following a social media outcry, the Maldivian youth and sports ministry has stated that the rules would not apply to either social media or news outlets.



Extract: Subterraneanean London...

Book thankfully escapes censorship and persecution at the hands of the British Transport Police

Link Here26th September 2014
Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital by Bradley L. Garrett (Compiler), Stephen Walter (Illustrator), Will Self (Foreword)

Promotional Material

Bradley L. Garrett is researcher at the University of Oxford. His writing and photography has been featured in media around the world. Garrett is the author of Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City. Will Self is a London-based journalist and the author of nine novels. His most recent book, Umbrella, was published in paperback in April 2013. Stephen Walter is an obsessive draftsman educated at the Royal College of Art. His interest in the semiotics and the phenomenon of place often finds form in hand-drawn maps.

See  article from

Bradley L Garrett and his colleagues thought of their explorations and photographs as a form of public service. We were going to take photographs of parts of the city that people don't normally see and share them with the public.

The British Transport Police saw the situation differently.

In August 2012, upon returning to England from Cambodia , Garrett's plane was stopped on the runway at Heathrow. British Transport Police boarded, handcuffed him, and escorted him off the plane. He was taken through passport control, where officials seized his passport and then placed him in custody for 24 hours.

Elsewhere, police took a battering ram to the front door of his London home and confiscated his property, including his phone and the entire contents of his filing cabinet, research notes and all. Authorities also raided the homes of ten other people, identified from reading Garrett's ethnographic Ph.D. thesis on urban exploration.

Over the next two years, the defendants could not leave the country. Relationships fizzled out. Job contracts were cut short. Garrett didn't see his family and was denied permission to attend the funeral of a friend, journalist Matthew Power, who passed away in Uganda in March.

When the case finally came to court this year, it collapsed within two weeks. As The Guardian reported, Garrett pleaded guilty to five counts of criminal damage to railway property and avoided jail.

...Read the full article featuring some excellent photos from the book



Kuwait's book censor recommends...

Abdullah Al Busais' new novel, Stray Memories (Zakriyat Dalla)

Link Here19th September 2014
Kuwaiti government book censors have prevented Abdullah Al Busais's new novel S tray Memories (Zakriyat Dalla) from entering the country.

Most of the annoyed or outraged commentary on Twitter doubted the government's ability to prevent people from seeing new writing and new ideas:

There was no official statement given about the banning, although novelist Abdullah Al Busais said there was some claim that the novel had obscene content. He further suggested that the book was banned because of tweets about the novel, not the novel itself.

The book is set before and after Iraq's invasion of its southern neighbor, and the novel reportedly follows two central characters, a Kuwaiti officer and a bidoon , or stateless person.



Cheapo Book Censor...

Aldi bans Roald Dahl's children's book Revolting Rhymes

Link Here29th August 2014
The supermarket chain Aldi has withdrawn Roald Dahl's classic children's book Revolting Rhymes from its Australian stores following a few whinges on its Facebook page.

An Aldi spokesprat said the book had been pulled after:

Comments by a limited number of concerned customers regarding the language used in this particular book. Aldi Australia would like to inform all of our customers that we take the concerns from the community seriously.

The particular poem that prompted the whinges, reads:

Poor Cindy's heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads!
How could I marry anyone who does that sort of thing for fun?
The Prince cried, 'Who's this dirty slut? Off with her nut! Off with her nut!'



Offsite Article: Super PC...

Link Here22nd August 2014
Cover for a new Spider-Woman comic book series causes a stir

See article from



Offsite Article: No Joy of Sex in Ireland...

Link Here16th August 2014
How the noted sex manual was banned by book censors right up to 1987

See article from



Oompa-Loompa Humpf...

New Penguin cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sends a few whingers into a blueberry coloured rage

Link Here8th August 2014
A new cover for Roald Dahl's beloved children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been branded creepy by a critic.

The Penguin Modern Classics edition - aimed at the adult market - is being released on 4th September to mark the book's 50th anniversary.

Its cover, featuring a photograph of a heavily made up young girl wearing a feather boa and sitting on her mother's knee with a doll-like expression, sparked a few trivial tweets.

Best-selling Chocolat author Joanne Harris tweeted: Seriously, Penguin Books. Why not just get Rolf Harris to design the next one?

Giles Paley-Phillips, an award-winning children's author, said: I'm not liking the new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, looks more Lolita!

Penguin said the girl in the cover photograph was not intended to be either Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt, the spoilt young girls who feature in Dahl's tale, but a representation of the twisted parent-child relationships depicted throughout the book. Penguin said:

This design is in recognition of the book's extraordinary cultural impact and is one of the few children's books to be featured in the Penguin Modern Classics list.

This new image for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks at the children at the centre of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl's writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life.



Offsite Article: The Ban Man...

Link Here20th July 2014
Indian on a censorial crusade against literary criticism of a religion beyond reproach

See article from



Singapore Recommends...

Children's book, And Tango Makes Three. Sentenced to burning but later reprieved

Link Here18th July 2014
Two children's books have been reprieved from burning in Singapore. The Minster of Communications and Book Burning was severely embarrassed on the international stage for targeting books reflecting gay lifestyles. Two of three books he banned a few days ago will now be restored to national libraries. Unfortunately all copies of a 3rd book have already been destroyed.

Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said in a statement:

I understand these reactions, which reflect a deep-seated respect in our culture for the written word

He stood by the decision to remove the books from the children's section of the libraries, but said he instructed libraries to place the books in their adult sections.

The National Library Board (NLB) originally took three titles off the shelves in its children's section following complaints from a few members of the public.

The NLB ban led to two online petitions with thousands of signatures pleading with the library authority to reinstate the books.

Ibrahim then defended the NLB censorship saying that he considered that the books do not promote the notion of conventional families .:

The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about.

Like in other societies, there is considerable effort by some in Singapore to shift these norms, and equally strong pushback by those who don't wish to see change.

Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB's approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them.

The three banned books are:

  • And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson ,  a 2005 illustrated book about the true story of two male penguins which raise a chick together.
  • The White Swan Express: A Story About Adoption is a 2002 book that details the journey of a lesbian couple, a single mother and two married couples which travel to China to meet their adoptive daughters for the first time.
  • Who's In My Family: All About Our Families . This is the title whose copies have already been burnt and so won't get restored to libraries.



Married to Censorship...

Singapore bans Archie: The Married Life Book 3

Link Here16th July 2014
An Archie comic book was banned in Singapore for its depiction of a gay character. Archie: The Married Life Volume Three , part of a five-book series, features a gay character who gets married.

The volume was banned by Singapore's Media Development Authority (MDA), according to the Independent Singapore, a news website.

A spokesperson for Kinokuniya, a major bookseller in Singapore, told the Independent:

We regret that Archie: The Married Life is deemed to breach the content guidelines for imported publications, and removed from sale by notice of MDA. We are not able to sell this title.



Updated: The Little Red Schoolbook Unbanned...

Controversial sex education book was banned in 1969

Link Here14th July 2014
A sex manual for teenagers that was banned in 1969 has just been republished. The Little Red School Book by Soren Hansen, has hit shelves for the first time since its 1969 ban.

According to The Guardian, when the book was published first time round:

Margaret Thatcher was said to have been very worried by it, The Pope denounced it as sacrilegious, and morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse successfully campaigned to have it prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act.

The Little Red School Book, whose title alludes to Chairman Mao's Little Red Book , gives straight-talking sex advice that's largely still relevant to teenagers today:

If anybody tells you it's harmful to masturbate, they're lying. If anybody tells you you mustn't do it too much, they're lying too, because you can't do it too much. Ask them how often you ought to do it. They'll usually shut up then.

The new version of the book contains only one change from the original, the 2014 update no longer encourages teens to stave off boredom at school by reading pornographic magazines under your desk .

The book was also banned in New Zealand, France, Italy, and Queensland Australia.



Offsite Article: Struggling with censorship...

Link Here8th July 2014
Censoring Mein Kampf, or anything, simply makes its ugly ideas more attractive. By Kate Malby

See article from

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