Channel 4 has scrapped a planned drama based in North Korea after Kim Jong-un's regime hacked into its systems
and 'scared investors into withdrawing their funding.
The ten-part thriller, Opposite Number , was to be about a mission to rescue a British nuclear scientist who had been taken prisoner in North Korea.
North Korea's most senior military body, the National Defence Commission, initially said British authorities should punish those behind the project, which they branded a slanderous farce. Shortly afterwards, security agencies discovered that
hackers had breached Channel 4's systems.
They did not manage to inflict any great damage immediately, so David Abraham, Channel 4's chief executive, vowed to keep on filming, according to the New York Times. However, he was forced to backtrack when the full scale of the damage the
hackers could cause became clear.
But while Channel 4 was still willing to run Opposite Number, the Sony scandal made the TV series' other financial backers nervous. International broadcasters that had promised to help pay for the project pulled out -- leaving the project short of
funding. Despite the potential fallout, Channel 4 insiders said yesterday the series could still go ahead if it secured new backing.
Qatar is under the cosh in the Middle East caught in a deadly pincer movement of a Saudi led coalition of Arab countries on one side and
Israel on the other. All these countries object to Qatar's funding of the Al Jazeera news channel which provides seeming well balanced reporting across the region in both Arabic and English. Its seems that Qatar's neighbours would prefer the news
to be dominated by their own, not quite so balanced, news networks, that are a little bit more sycophantic to their own interests.
So perhaps it was hardly surprising that an Al Jazeera documentary investigating the Isreali Embassy in London would be reported to Ofcom for supposed bias.
The UK TV censor Ofcom investigated Al Jazeera after receiving complaints about The Lobby , a four-part documentary investigating the political influence of the Israeli embassy in Britain.
The programme showed Shai Masot, an official in the Israeli embassy in London, saying he would take down MPs including Sir Alan Duncan , the Foreign Office minister who is an outspoken supporter of a Palestinian state. The Israeli ambassador
subsequently apologised for the comments and Masot resigned.
Ofcom cleared al-Jazeera after concluding it did not make allegations in the documentary that were based on the grounds of individuals being Jewish and that it had included the view of the Israeli government in the programme. It ruled that
al-Jazeera had not breached rule 2.3, which relates to offensive matter, and rule 5.5 with regards to impartiality. Ofcom said:
It was the view of some complainants that The Lobby fuelled harmful stereotypes about Jewish people controlling or seeking to control powerful organisations. These complainants considered this was antisemitic and offensive.
We considered that the allegations in the programme were not made on the grounds that any of the particular individuals concerned were Jewish and noted that no claims were made relating to their faith. We did not consider that the programme
portrayed any negative stereotypes of Jewish people as controlling or seeking to control the media or governments. Rather, it was our view that these individuals featured in the programme in the context of its investigation into the alleged
activities of a foreign state -- the state of Israel acting through its UK embassy -- and their association with it.
An al-Jazeera source welcomed the ruling, saying:
This goes to show that no matter what al-Jazeera's critics say, its journalism meets and exceeds the highest standards of objectivity and balance. We feel vindicated by the rulings and ever more committed to exposing human rights violations by
anyone -- regardless of geography, religion, or the power of their lobbies.
Moscow has warning the US that it may restrict US media in Russia. Russian officials have
accused Washington of putting unwarranted pressure on the U.S. operations of Russia Today. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said Russia was within its rights to restrict operations of U.S. media outlets in the country
A foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said the full weight of the U.S. authorities was being brought to bear against RT's operations in the United States, and that Moscow had the right to respond.
She did not identify any specific U.S. media outlets that would be targeted. She said it made no difference from the Russian government's point of view if those outlets were backed by the U.S. state, or privately-funded. However late last
month, Russia's state TV censor accused U.S. TV channel CNN International of violating its license to broadcast in Russia and said it had summoned the broadcaster's representatives in connection with the matter.
The ambassadors to the Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, hardly countries that have any notion of free speech, have said that UK TV
censor, Ofcom, should establish if the services breached British or European directives.
Al Jazeera is based in Doha and the four countries boycotting Qatar accuse the TV station of promoting an extremist agenda. Closing down the station and its affiliates was one of the conditions imposed by the Arab quartet leadership for lifting
the boycott on Qatar.
The five point request from the ambassadors to Ofcom asked for an assessment that Al Jazeera was fit to hold a broadcasting licence when it was a platform for allegedly positive or sympathetic coverage of ISIL. This includes references to it as an
organisation, rather than a terrorist group.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said it had passed this letter of complaint to the media regulator in Italy, where the [Arabic] channel holds its licence, for urgent consideration.
By Nick Robinson of the BBC's Today programme. An interesting article but note how the BBC thinks its news is 'unbiased' when it so actively suppresses aspects which are inconveniently politically incorrect
The BBC's Burmese language service has said it was pulling a broadcasting deal with a popular Myanmar television channel citing
censorship as the two partners clashed over coverage of the ethnic cleansing of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
Since April 2014, BBC Burmese broadcast a daily news programme on MNTV with 3.7 million daily viewers. On Monday the BBC said it was ending the deal after MNTV pulled multiple programmes since March this year.
The BBC cannot accept interference or censorship of BBC programs by joint-venture TV broadcasters as that violates the trust between the BBC and its audience, a report on the BBC's Burmese website said.
In a statement MNTV said it began pulling reports to comply with government orders over restricted words. The BBC Burmese program sent news that included wordings that are restricted by the state government, the statement said. A station
official said the problematic word was Rohingya.
Morality campaigners from Morality in Media (or the National Center on Sexual Exploitation as they like to be called now) are
gushing with praise for a new cable TV programme from HBO. The campaign group writes:
HBO's television series The Deuce continues the premium cable television network's onslaught of programs that glorify and normalize harmful sexual behaviors, particularly acts of sexual exploitation that degrade
women. The show's main themes -- the pornography industry and prostitution -- tee up its producers for gratuitous pornographic scenes and disturbing, graphic sexual content.
Scene where pimps are hanging out on the street getting shoe shines; two little boys are hanging out with them looking at Playboy;
Franco's character is walking down the street, sees a man in a phone booth getting a blow job from a prostitute, you see the man's penis in the scene;
Graphic sex scene between a student and her professor, she's topless throughout;
Franco's character makes the women at the restaurant he manages start wearing black leotards as their "uniform" in order to attract customers;
A group of male teenagers come to Times Square by car to treat their friend (it's his birthday -- presumably his 18 th ) to sex. They are all pooling their funds so that he can have sex.
In another scene, another prostitute appears to be viciously attacked. As she is unlocking the door to her room, a man follows, passes by, but then comes back as she enters the room. He grabs her head and shoves her in the
room, throws her on the bed, slaps her across the face and starts undoing his pants. She's trying to kick him off. It's clear he's going to rape her. The scene ends. Later the show returns to the scene after the attack. He is sitting naked in a
chair, she's on the sitting on the bed, breasts exposed. It becomes clear that the "rape" was a fetishized act that he paid for. Because he was really rough with her, he pays more. He gets up from the chair to get dressed, and his
penis is clearly seen. Also full rear nudity;
Near the end, we see Franco having sex with a woman who works with him from the restaurant. Full rear nudity of Franco. It's a very pornographic scene. When they finish you see the woman's breasts;
An Indian TV show which depicted a bizarre love story between a nine-year-old boy and an 18-year-old woman has been
pulled off air following criticism that it promoted child marriage and was regressive.
In a statement, Sony Entertainment Television said they were cancelling the controversial daily soap Pehredaar Piya Ki (Husband's Guard).
The show which launched in mid-July, had attracted a lot of negative attention right from the beginning for the unusual love story at its centre.
The show's troubles began when Jai Ho Foundation, a Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation, petitioned authorities, demanding an immediate ban on it, describing it as indecent and unfit for children. Jai Ho said in a complaint letter to
India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani:
A child is seen caressing, stalking and having a relationship of a sexual nature with a lady who is more than double his age... This is an indecent and obscene representation of a child for the purpose of representing sexual relationship.
The programme also prompted a lot of social media outrage in a country where child marriage is still rampant. A petition addressed to Ms Irani on change.org gathered more than 100,000 signatures, prompting the minister to write to the Broadcasting
Content Complaints Council (BCCC) to take prompt action against the show.
The BCCC ordered the show timings to be changed from the prime time slot of 8:30pm to 10:30pm and the show also began putting out a disclaimer saying we do not support child marriage.
National broadcaster NRK's P3 channel will be debuting a show in November aimed at giving teenagers a healthier relationship with
their own bodies and sexual desires. The programme, Line fikser kroppen (Line fixes her body), will take on issues like body positivity and unrealistic expectations for sex.
P3's editorial director said the new programme will offer a counter narrative to the way sex and the female body are portrayed in porn. He said that just showing surgically-enhanced bodies and overly-choreagrophed sex creates false hopes and
misperceptions. We hope that by showing sex in its entirety, rather than just merely as penetration, we can provide the target group with the right approach. This will be done in part by showing regular people having actual sex.
P3 has been reaching out to blogs and hanging posters throughout the country in an effort to recruit couples willing to have sex for the show.
Not sure if you were aware of this, but Tuesday 18th's premiere of Season 2, Episode 9 (Sic Transit Imperium) of Sky Atlantic's imported US Showtime drama BILLIONS , had a heavily censored subtitle track for Deaf/Hard of Hearing viewers added to
it. Every single swear-word was edited.
Fuck became heck, frick, frig, screw, freak, crap Fucking became sucking, fricking, frigging, freaking, freaky, fracking Shit became stuff, hell, crap Pussy became punk Bullshit became bullspit Goddam became gosh-darn, full-blown (yes, really!)
Motherfucker became money-grabber Fuck this became forget this
The only rude words that survived intact were crap and ass .
Whoever did that episode's subtitling clearly had an issue with all the adult language. I've never seen anything like this, since the 1980's/90's days of films on ITV (like ALIENS or DIE HARD).
Update: Freaking censors
29th April 2017. Thanks to Jon
Re the censored subtitling on Season 2, episodes 9 and 10 of BILLIONS (currently showing on Sky Atlantic).
Sky has now e-mailed Jon to say that the subtitles they broadcast, are the same ones used by Showtime in the USA.
Here's the video evidence
of what the audio sounds like, and what the subtitles claim are being said. It's funny...
The Danish Girl is a 2015 UK / Germany / USA biography by Tom Hooper.
Starring Amber Heard, Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne.
The remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.
A scheduled TV showing of Hollywood film The Danish Girl has been cancelled on the rders of the Indian film censor.
According to a source the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) objected to the film due to its sensitive storyline. The movie went to CBFC for clearance three months ago and they were sitting on it. And now they have cancelled the
broadcast citing that the issue is very sensitive... CBFC has put a ban across channels, and now no other channel can also show the film.
The film, which released theatrically in India last year with the film censor's blessing, but TV appears to be a small step too far.
Thailand, who have a repressive lese majeste law, which metes out extreme punishments for minor criticisms of royalty, has been
accused of insulting Myanmar's historic royalty.
A Thai soap opera that appears to depict Burmese palace intrigue has angered some in Myanmar including a descendant of Myanmar's last king. Soe Win, the great-grandson of King Thibaw, has called for the show to be cancelled as it is insulting
. He told AFP:
We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country.
But producers of the historical drama, called Plerng Phra Nang (A Lady's Flames) , have insisted it is purely fictional.
The lady in question is Ananthip, a character who schemes to seize control of the kingdom. Some have observed she closely resembles Hsinbyumashin, a real-life Burmese palace consort who orchestrated the massacre of scores of royals so that Thibaw
could ascend the throne. Thibaw abdicated and the Burmese monarchy was abolished in 1885, when British forces defeated and invaded Burma.
A Walking Dead T-shirt has been removed for sale by the British clothing retailer Primark, after a
complaint that the shirt was racist and fantastically offensive.
The shirt in question bore the image of a baseball bat and the message Eeny Meeny Miny Moe , a reference to a scene from the AMC zombie drama in which Negan is deciding who in the protagonist group to kill with his barb wire mace.
In the scene, Negan continues the phrase with, Catch a tiger by his toe .
Ian Lucraft complained to Primark saying:
We were shocked when we came face to face with a new t-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text. It was fantastically offensive and I can only assume that no one in the process of ordering it knew what they were doing or were aware of its
A Primark spokesperson grovelled an apology for the shirt, saying that any offence that the shirt caused was wholly unintentional:
The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, 'The Walking Dead,' and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offense caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely
apologizes for this. Primark has pulled the product from sale.
The t-shirt is widely available with several similar designs also on sale.
Moralist TV campaigners at Parents TV Council have praised a new TV comedy, The Mick . The PTC writes:
The Parents Television Council is urging its members and the public to tell Verizon to stop underwriting graphic content on Fox's new TV show, The Mick, which disturbingly features minor children using explicit language and put into sexualized
situations. Ads for Verizon FiOS and Pixel were aired on The Mick.
In the show, teens are shown smoking, drinking, and swearing, as their alcoholic, drug-using aunt does nothing to set boundaries or stop them. A six- or seven-year-old boy accidentally ingests a balloon filled with drugs; a teenage girl has sex with an
adult man and engages in a drinking contest with her legal guardian, among other egregious examples.
PTC President Tim Winter. said:
Verizon should refuse to be associated with such destructive and harmful TV content on 'The Mick.' Apparently the show's producers and network executives believe such disturbing content is appropriate for the public airwaves, even at times when children
are likely to be watching. Verizon must choose whether it will invest its media dollars to underwrite such content. Child characters should not be used for 'shock value,' and supporting a show that makes children participants in that kind of vulgarity
directly calls into question Verizon's corporate standards
The PTC recently documented that broadcast TV shows are more frequently using children to say explicit language and put them in adult situations, a trend that The Mick continues.
The Walking Dead producers toned down some of the violence in the first half of season seven after a backlash to a gruesome killing scene in the season opener.
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd acknowledged that the negative response to the bludgeon slayings of two key characters in the premiere prompted producers to make adjustments in episodes that were still in production. She said:
We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence. We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.
Hurd made it clear that the response made an impact on the production team. This is not a show that is torture porn, she said. After the response to the finale, she said they gave strong consideration to making sure we don't cross that line.
Researchers from Leicester and Birmingham City University have revealed some of the key concerns audiences have
with television they find offensive .
Dr Ranjana Das from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology and Dr Anne Graefer from the Birmingham School of Media travelled to towns and villages across Britain and Germany and watched daytime TV with audiences, viewing programmes audiences
themselves reported to be offensive or problematic and then conducting interviews with them.
They found that rather than being concerned with swear words, bad language or flashy lighting, audiences' greater concerns were with wider issues -- such as those around the construction of characters, the relative power and positions of the
actors/creators behind characters and the absence and erasure of faces and issues. Dr Das said:
We were keen, in our fieldwork, to probe audiences' expectations of the regulatory process in the context of media content they themselves identified as problematic or outright offensive.
In analysing responses which argued for a clearer role of institutions to better serve the needs of audiences, when it came to the production and regulation of content they found problematic, we found a closer alignment with the democratic ideals behind
the media's and media institutions' responsibilities.
In investigating people's expectations of actors and institutions in their responses to television content that startles, upsets or just offends them, the researchers suggest it is crucial to treat a conversation on free speech and censorship with
caution. Dr Das added:
It is never just about being for one or the other -- as audiences clearly despise totalitarian censorship regimes for right reasons. But equally, they place expectations on producers and regulators to create a media sphere which is engaging, responsible
and which contributes to good outcomes for citizens.
The BBC is to assemble a team to fact check and debunk 'fake' news. News chief James Harding told staff that the BBC would be weighing in on the battle over
lies, distortions and exaggerations . But he didn't mention the BBFC news policy of under exaggerating political motivations when these run counter to political correctness.
The plans will see the BBC's Reality Check series become permanent, backed by a dedicated team targeting false stories or facts being shared widely on social media. Harding said:
The BBC can't edit the internet, but we won't stand aside either. We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.
We are working with Facebook, in particular, to see how we can be most effective. Where we see deliberately misleading stories masquerading as news, we'll publish a Reality Check that says so.
And we want Reality Check to be more than a public service, we want it to be hugely popular. We will aim to use styles and formats -- online, on TV and on radio -- that ensure the facts are more fascinating and grabby than the falsehoods.
The BBC's Reality Check team will focus on content that is clearly fabricated and attempting to mislead the public into thinking it has been produced by a reputable news organisation.
Sky have pulled the broadcast of an episode of their satirical series Urban Myths after Michael Jackson's children said they were
'sickened' and 'offended' by the portrayal of their father, played by Joseph Fiennes.
The episode is a tongue-in-cheek dramatisation of a rumoured road trip taken by Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in 2001, after 9/11.
The casting of a white actor as Jackson had already proved contentious, prompting accusations of whitewashing, though many pointed out that the singer's skin had been considerably lighter by this point and he had undergone cosmetic surgery.
However, Jackson's children were 'enraged'. Paris- Michael said:
It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother, Liz, as well. Where is the respect? They worked through blood, sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and
remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.
Speaking to the Guardian this week, Ben Palmer, the series director, said people should not jump to conclusions and described Fiennes's performance of Jackson as a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance .
A Lithuanian actress and former politician made a Nazi-like gesture on a TV show, which was
subsequently taken off the air.
The actress Asta Baukute was about to win, she jumped off her seat upon recognizing a melody by Lithuanian composer Simonas Donskovas, who is of Jewish heritage. She then made the gestures and yelled Jew, Jew, Jew in Lithuanian.
Neither the show host, the contenders nor anyone in the audience objected to her gesture.
Lithuania's public television, LRT, apologized for a live show called Guess the Melody in which a popular actress made gestures representing Adolf Hitler's moustache while raising her arm in a Nazi-style salute. LRT's deputy manager, Rimvydas
Paleckis, expressed shock on the channel's Facebook page, saying:
This is in no way compatible with our values. The show is closed.
The local Jewish community expressed dismay at the incident.
Fox showed a censored opening episode of season 7 of The Walking Dead at 9pm. The episode showed Negan bludgeoning two
popular characters to death. Fox carried the episode uncut on its on demand service and the original was indeed quite gruesome by TV standards.
Ofcom published its complain bulletin this week and commented that the episode was investigated and found not in breach of its censorship rules.
Ofcom didn't publish further details but the story was followed up by The Sun. An Ofcom spokesperson said:
Our investigation found that Fox took appropriate steps to edit the programme for the 9pm showing.
This is a well-established series, and we believe the scenes would have been consistent with many viewers' expectations.
However, Ofcom confirmed to The Sun that Fox has been warned about how future broadcasts are presented to fans.
Beginning January 15, HBO plans to air in America a European TV series which will culminate with an IMPURE ATTACK on the PAPACY in one of its final episodes.
This program, The Young Pope, offends God, insults and slanders the good reputation of the Papacy, thus doing serious harm to souls, and, using the 'pontiff' in a scene of an adulterous sexual act, implies that holy priestly celibacy is too much of a
struggle to maintain.
For HBO to bring this scandalous and anti-Catholic series, and especially this impure episode, to its nearly 40 million American subscribers is a great offense against God and ruinous to America's soul.
The following are two headlines about the episode:
Actor Jude [Law] grabs Ludivine Sagnier's bare breasts as his character Pius XIII struggles with celibacy in shockingly racy scene from The Young Pope .
LOOK away now if you're easily offended -- as Sky series The Young Pope prepares to broadcast a shocking sex scene involving the pontiff.
Actor Jude Law plays the fictional Pope Pius XIII as he gets to grips with a blonde's breast while in his holy white robes.
An outline of a penis that appeared in a Maya the Bee episode was the result of a very bad joke, the makers of the children's animated series have said. Belgian company Studio 100 said the image was absolutely inappropriate and offered apologies
to everybody who has been offended by it.
Studio 100 told the BBC the penis, etched on a log in the background of a scene, obviously results from a very bad joke from one of the 150 artists working on the production. This is indeed unacceptable to Studio 100 as owner of the brand and all
its affiliates and doesn't reflect the quality of our work and our values, it continued. The Paris-based company said it was very sorry and that it was taking all suitable technical measures to remedy the situation.