Two concerts in China by rock group Bon Jovi have been cancelled after reports the government discovered they featured images of the Dalai Lama in previous shows.
The American band had been due to play dates in Beijing and Shanghai but the performances were suddenly called off and ticket sales abruptly halted.
According to sources, the Chinese regime had banned the concerts after discovering a picture of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, a man reviled by China, had featured in a video shown at a previous concerts.
Meanwhile they also allegedly found that Bon Jovi's 2009 We Weren't Born To Follow music video features brief images of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Today the BBFC published research into public attitudes toward online age rating labels for music videos. The research evaluates a government-backed pilot, launched in October 2014 by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and
digital service providers Vevo and YouTube, to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences can make more informed viewing decisions. The research shows:
70% of parents of under 12s are concerned about their children being exposed to inappropriate content in music videos
up to 60% of children say they have seen content in online music videos of which their parents would disapprove
78% of parents value age ratings for online music videos
given the choice, 86% of parents would encourage/ensure their children watch online channels with clear age ratings
75% of parents would like online channels to link music video age ratings to parental controls
The online music video age rating pilot saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for release online in the UK for which they
would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*). On 18 August 2015, Government announced that the measures trialled will be made permanent for videos produced
in the UK by artists who are represented by major labels. A new pilot for independent UK music labels to submit online music videos for classification is also underway.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said: "The research shows parents perceive age ratings for online music videos to be almost as important as ratings for film and DVD/Blu-rays. Parents want more nuanced guidance
about the content of the music videos their children are accessing online, with BBFC age rating symbols alongside BBFCinsight content advice being the preferred form of labelling.
"Parents would like to calibrate parental controls to filter out inappropriate music video content for their children and we look forward to working with the Digital Service Providers to incorporate these findings into the way
age ratings and BBFCinsight is presented on their platforms. Non-UK label artists wanting to submit music videos for an age rating and further digital service providers wishing to display them are also welcome to help broaden the coverage of age ratings
for online music video content in the UK."
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI and BRIT Awards, said: "We understand the concerns that many parents have about children viewing age-inappropriate content, we have coordinated an industry response and good progress is
being made. Record labels are working closely with the BBFC, YouTube and Vevo to ensure that music videos produced here in the UK display recommended age ratings when broadcast online so that families can make more informed viewing decisions. The next
step will be for the digital platforms to look more closely at the introduction of parental control filters, so that parents can use the ratings to screen out content they consider unsuitable."
Nic Jones, EVP International at Vevo, said: "At Vevo we support artists and their creativity, however, we understand the importance and value that age ratings provide to parents and music fans to help inform their
viewing. Clearly from the research published today, there is a desire from our audiences to see content rated which enables them to make choices about what music videos they watch. Vevo have been part of the scheme since inception, and will continue to
work with the BBFC and label partners to ensure that our audiences get the best experience when on our platform. "
Just in passing, why is the BBFC so keen on the word 'moderate'?
It is a very loaded word that implies euphemism, eg 'moderate' muslim or saying 'moderate' when you really means censor. In horse racing terms, nags that are the slowest of the slow are politely described as 'moderate'.
The BBFC use comes across as some sort of jargonistic censor speak that is far removed from natual language
he research showed the preferred format for displaying age ratings for online music videos to be the age rating plus BBFCinsight:
54% of adults selected this format as the most likely to be noticed and most helpful to see online, while 53% selected it as the easiest label to understand.
The BBFC issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating to online music videos, in line with BBFC Classification Guidelines. The BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail why an age rating
has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery, violence or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers.@ Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the two digital
service providers -- Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, display it when the videos are broadcast online.
* It is estimated that around 20% of music videos released within the pilot were subject to a rating -- the large majority of music videos are unlikely to contain content that would be rated 12 or greater. @This estimate is based on
a previous video catalogue audit of one of the companies taking part in the pilot.
The US rapper Tyler, the Creator says he has been banned from the UK because of the nature of his lyrics. The Odd Future co-founder recently cancelled four dates including an appearance at Reading/Leeds and tweeted that it was because the authorities
were unhappy with his subject matter.
His manager, Christian Clancy, went into more detail on his Tumblr, saying
Tyler has been banned from entering the UK for somewhere between 3 to 5 years per a letter from the secretary of state for the home department of the UK. The letter specifically cites lyrics he wrote 6-7 years ago for his albums Bastard and Goblin
, the type of lyrics he hasn't written since. Highlights from the letter include that his work encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality and fosters hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts.
Earlier this month Tyler cancelled the Australian leg of his world tour after a feminist group launched a petition to have him denied a visa to enter the country. The group, Collective Shout, cited objections to lyrics that include references to rape and
violence against women, as well as historic behaviour on earlier tours.
Complaints about Tyler seem to stem largely from songs on his self-produced 2009 mixtape Bastard, which includes lines such as you call this shit rape but I think that rape's fun as well as references to raping Goldilocks and committing suicide.
Most of that record was written when Tyler was a teenager and he has since written about how he's moved on from the sentiments expressed on it.
Comment: Once you start banning rappers like Tyler, the Creator, where do you stop
The Government is working with the UK music industry, BBFC and digital service providers like Vevo and YouTube to take further action to protect children from
viewing inappropriate videos on the internet.
Many children have easy access to music videos online and some parents are rightly concerned that some of these contain imagery or lyrics not appropriate for a young audience.
In October 2014 a Government-backed pilot to introduce age ratings for online music videos was launched by the BBFC and BPI in conjunction with Vevo and YouTube, working with major UK music labels to introduce a new ratings system that would allow
digital service providers to clearly display an easily recognisable age rating on videos posted on the web.
UK labels supply videos ahead of release to the BBFC, and then pass on the rating and guidance given by the BBFC when releasing their videos to the two digital service providers involved -- Vevo and YouTube - who display it when the videos are broadcast
Building on the pilot, the Government has now as part of its manifesto commitment agreed with the UK music industry and with the digital service providers that the measures trialled will be now be made permanent for videos produced in the UK by artists
who are represented by major labels.
As well as working with Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK, the Government is also encouraging independent UK music labels to follow suit so that the digital service providers can display appropriate age ratings on their videos too. We
can announce today that independent UK music labels will now take part in a six month pilot phase.
Joanna Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security, said:
Movies in the cinema and music DVDs are age rated to inform the viewer and help parents to make informed choices. We welcome this voluntary step from industry to bring internet services in line with the offline world.
Keeping children safe as they experience and enjoy all the benefits the Internet has to offer is a key priority for this Government's One Nation approach to help families across Britain. We will continue to work with industry to develop ways to help
parents to better protect children online from inappropriate music videos with explicit adult or violent content.
Clear age ratings are the first step but initial findings of independent research commissioned by the BBFC shows that up to 60 per cent of children aged 10 to 17 are watching music videos that they do not think their parents would approve of.
To help address this, Vevo are exploring plans to link these age ratings to additional technology on their platform that can support age controls.
On YouTube, when record labels upload a UK-produced music video rated 18 by the BBFC, they are able to age-gate access to users signed in as over 18. The new age ratings also complement YouTube's existing restricted mode which helps parents screen out
content they may not feel is right for their children. To date 132 music videos have been submitted by UK labels to the BBFC for certification and, of these, only one has been given an 18-rating -- Dizzee Rascal's 'Couple of Stacks'.
Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive, said:
Britain is a world leader in making exciting and original music, in part because our artists have a freedom to express themselves that we rightly cherish. While we must continue to uphold this principle, it is equally important that music videos are
broadcast in a responsible way and that parents are given the tools to make more informed viewing decisions on behalf of their families.
UK record labels value the opportunity to work with Government to build on the pilot and, as a key next step, we encourage Vevo, YouTube and other digital service providers to look at how they can make filters available to parents so they can use age
ratings to screen out any inappropriate content.
David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said:
We welcome this agreement. Parents want to see clear and recognisable age ratings on online music videos and we look forward to building on the success of the pilot, in partnership with the industry, so that the public can have the trusted signposting
which they seek.
Nic Jones, EVP International at Vevo, said:
Vevo have been participating in the BBFC's age ratings pilot since its inception and welcome news that that scheme is to be permanently backed by UK major labels. We are very pleased that the UK independent labels -- such an important part of the UK
music landscape will now be part of this scheme. At Vevo we support artists and their creativity, however, we understand the importance and value that age ratings provide parents and music fans to help inform their viewing, enabling them to make choices
about what content they wish to watch.
Vevo will be working with the BBFC as the scheme rolls out to make sure that age ratings are displayed in the most effective way on our platform, to provide the necessary guidance for audiences in a clear way. We are also committed to making the age
ratings work as effectively as possible and will continue to explore how additional technology on the platform can support age controls to ensure that explicit content is watched only by age appropriate audiences.
Candice Morrissey, Content Partnerships Manager at YouTube EMEA, said:
We have been working with the participants in this pilot to help them display the BBFC's age ratings on their music videos on YouTube. These ratings are in addition to the controls we already provide on YouTube including the ability for uploaders to add
age warnings to videos and a restricted mode.
Government and industry are also working together to look at how lessons learned in the UK could help international partners who share our concerns to adopt a similar approach.
Offsite Article: The Telegraph recommends the top 7 outrage generating music videos
The Telegraph has run a piece that the Daily Mail would be proud of. An article seemingly bemoaning that some of the most outrageous music videos that will escape the BBFC music censors due to them not being British. And of course the Telegraph glories
in its lurid descriptions of the video with lots of illustrations of the best bits.
And for the record, the recommended music videos are:
The Jewish reggae star Matisyahu has been dropped by Spain's Rototom reggae festival after pressure from the boycott Israel campaign group, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). The group uses economic pressure to campaign for Palestinian rights.
Matisyahu reported on his Facebook page that Rototom organizers:
Wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people.
The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they
were trying to coerce me into political statements.
No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art, he continued. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people.
The artist was set to perform on Aug. 22 at the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Benicassim, near Barcelona, before his performance was axed last weekend.
China has ordered 120 songs to be pulled from the Internet, including tracks titled Don't Want to Go to School and All Must Die because they
supposedly promoted sex, violence or incited law-breaking , censor said.
No individual or organisation is allowed to provide the songs, which trumpeted obscenity, violence, crime or harmed social morality , the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.
Most of the blacklisted tunes were by singers or bands unknown in the west but had striking titles, including No Money No Friend , Suicide Diary , Little Girl's First Time, I Want To Make Love, and This Fucking Society. However a few of the songs on the list are relatively mainstream, like rapper MC Hotdog's
Ode to Taiwanese women
Anyone who does not comply with the censorship will be punished severely according to the law , the statement said.
American rapper Chief Keef has had a holographic show halted by police. The holographic projection was part of a Chicago music event called Craze Fest
Now the company behind the presentation is threatening to sue the local mayor.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott said he believed Keef was outlawed in Chicago and so took steps to prevent the performance. He said that he had heard Keef had recorded a lot of songs about gangs and gun violence.
Chief Keef has an outstanding warrant for lapsed child support payments in the state of Illinois,
Keef is reported to be very laid back about the ban with an organiser saying: He's used to the police and city always shutting him down, that's been the case since day one.
North Korea has ordered house-to-house searches to confiscate and burn banned music CDs.
The country's crazed leader Kim Jong-un has also ordered music censorship to be extended, banning not only foreign songs but local tunes too, sources inside North Korea say.
The Korean Workers' Party Propaganda and Agitation Department has begun circulating a new and expanded list of banned songs.
The soundtrack of a North Korean-produced movie, Im Kkeok Jeong , about a Robin Hood-like figure who lived in the 16th century, is listed, including titles such as Take Action Blood Brothers and To Get Revenge.
Sources report that the confiscations of CDs and tapes is stirring discontent and has led to fights between residents and propaganda authorities. Another source suggested that the ban seemed to be reviving interest in older prohibited songs that
had faded from public memory.
Warning Explicit Content: Rihanna fully nude and bloody on quest for revenge in Bitch Better Have My Money music video
The seven-minute video was rated for mature audiences for its language, nudity and violence.
The Mail then continues giving a full illustrated synopsis of the video. And strangely the description is straightforward and totally lacking in the flowery prose of Daily Mail 'outrage'.
The Guardian adds:
Depending on which commentator or social media spat you choose, the video, viewed 12 million times since its release, is either an empowering challenge to music industry stereotypes or a racist and gory piece of misogyny.
Predictably, BBHMM ignited a furious debate. A headline on Refinery29 declared the video Not Safe For Work or Feminists while Twitter accused Rihanna of glorifying violence against women, and condemned the kidnapped female trope.
Rolling Stone was attacked for praising the video and crediting the two minor male roles while not even giving a name to the actress who plays the main role.
In general the newspapers seem disappointingly unoutraged. Rihanna needs to try a bit harder.
Update: Repulsive new video for her repulsive single
Rihanna and a video that should turn all mothers' stomachs: 'Concerned parent', [and wife of the government's chief whip] Sarah Vine, on the star's latest song that glorifies murder, torture, drug-taking, guns and racial stereotyping
When I first watched Rihanna's repulsive new video for her repulsive single, Bitch Better Have My Money , it had only had a couple of million views. It was last Wednesday, in fact, shortly after Nick Grimshaw had mentioned it on his Radio
1 Breakfast Show.
Even Grimshaw seemed a little bit shocked -- and he's not exactly a prude. It had made him feel proper sick, he said. Hmm, I thought to myself. Better check this one out.
A civilised society learns to censor such things for the greater good of all who live in it.
Without such boundaries, we are little more than savages. And Rihanna reminds us just how far we have fallen.