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.
South Park's latest episode Band in China mocked Hollywood for shaping its content to please the Chinese government.
Beijing responded by deleting all clips, episodes and discussions of the Comedy Central show from all Chinese streaming services, social media and even fan pages.
On Monday afternoon, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued a statement with a faux apology about the ban:
Like the NBA , we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts, the statement reads. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn't look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at
10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn's sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?
The Band in CHina episode featured a pair of storylines about China. One involves Randy getting caught attempting to sell weed in China and getting sent to a work camp similar to those Beijing has been using in Xinjiang Province to hold up to a
million Chinese Muslims. While he's at the work camp, Randy runs into an imprisoned Winnie the Pooh.
A second plot follows Stan, Jimmy, Kenny and Butters forming a metal band, which becomes popular and attracts the attention of a manager who wants to make a film about them. But then the script keeps changing so that the film can safely be
distributed in China.
The Chinese censorship of South Park seems that the producers will take a big hit in income as Apple pulls out of bidding for South Park streaming rights as it seeks to appease China where Apple has significant sales.
Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central's long-running animated series South Park, is looking to sell the streaming rights to the series. Sources familiar with the bidding told Bloomberg that Apple probably won't extend a bid, due to the show's
recent ban in China after the second episode in season 23, Band in China included a humorous attack on Chinese censorship. China reportedly ceased all streaming and discussion of the show on its state-controlled internet.
Apple relies on Chinese manufacturing for many of its products, and China makes up a great deal of its consumer base. Thus, sources told Bloomberg that it was unlikely that Apple would want to host South Park on Apple TV+.
The articles also notes that Apple appears to be crafting a family-friendly content selection on its streaming service, with relatively non-controversial content in general.
Children's cartoon Spongebob Squarepants has fallen afoul of Indonesia's broadcasting watchdog. Again.
As reported by Kompas, the Indonesian Broadcast Commission (KPI) sent a written warning to local channel GTV for broadcasting scenes that allegedly portrayed violence in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.
In the warning, KPI said that the movie, first broadcasted by GTV on August 6, portrayed scenes of violence that were inappropriate for children, particularly as it was aired during a time slot reserved for content suitable for family viewing.
In addition, [the movie was aired again] on August 22, 2019 starting at 3:06pm, which contained scenes such as throwing pie at someone's face and hitting someone with a block of wood, KPI Deputy Chairman Mulyo Hadi Purnomo said.
At any rate, KPI ruled that GTV violated several articles in the Broadcasting Code of Conduct and Program Standards (P3-SPS), including the prohibition of content that might encourage children to learn about inappropriate behavior. It said the TV
station only received a written warning because this was its first offense of its kind.
The Brazilian secretary of culture, Henrique Pires, has resigned over what he describes as the conservative government's censorship of arts dealing with LGBTQ+ content. He considered that this was the final straw in a series of efforts to censor
On 21 August, the government suspended a competition launched under a federal initiative called the Audiovisual Sector Fund (FSA) that would disperse from 400,000 to 800,000 reais (around $98,000 to $195,000) to five public television productions
across 12 categories such as gender, environment and professional life. In an announcement calling for the cancellation of the competition on 15 August, Bolsonaro specifically targeted four television projects that dealt with gender diversity:
Afronte, Tranversais, Religare Queer and Reverse Sex .
It is very clear that I am out of tune with OsmarTerra [minister of citizenship] and the president on freedom of expression. I don't agree that culture can have filters, so I'm leaving.
New Zealand's Sky News has been fined NZ$4,000 for airing footage from a live stream of the Christchurch massacre.
The country's TV censors of the Broadcasting Standards Authority fined Sky NZ $4,000 (£2,100) for airing extensive and obviously news worthy excerpts from the alleged attacker's live stream video, claiming that the video had the potential to
cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community.
The footage was a retransmission by Sky News New Zealand of a 24-hour feed from Sky News Australia, a separate, independent company.
The chief censor Bill Hastings, said the New Zealand television broadcasters faced unprecedented circumstances in the hours following the attack, and they played a critical role in keeping New Zealanders informed, but they also had to consider
their role in protecting the community from undue harm and trauma and they needed to exercise a high level of care and discretion at all times.
Two complaints were also lodged against state funded broadcaster TVNZ who aired short clips from the live stream video but these complaints were not upheld by the authority.
Ofcom has fined the news channel RT £200,000 for serious failures to comply with our broadcasting rules -- and required the channel to broadcast a summary of our findings to its viewers.
Ofcom has rules in place requiring broadcast news to be presented with due impartiality.
Our investigation found that RT failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes between 17 March and 26 April 2018.
Taken together, these breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules. We were particularly concerned by the frequency of RT's rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time.
The programmes were mostly in relation to major matters of political controversy and current public policy -- namely the UK Government's response to the events in Salisbury, and the Syrian conflict.
Ofcom decided to impose a financial penalty of £200,000; and direct RT to broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings, in a form and on dates to be determined by Ofcom. We consider this sanction to be appropriate and proportionate. It takes into
account the additional steps that RT has taken to ensure its compliance since we launched our investigations; and that we have not recorded any further breaches of our due impartiality rules against RT to date.
Ofcom will await the conclusion of RT's application for judicial review of our breach decisions before enforcing the sanction.
A few people have complained about a segment on the BBC comedy show, Tonight with Vladimir Putin. The segment titled Meghan Markle's Royal Spark'l met with a few angry tweets that Meghan Markle was being portrayed as trailer trash
Complainers accused the BBC of racism after portraying Markle as a foul-mouthed and aggressive puppet living in a caravan who threatened to attack her sister-in-law Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The BBC responded to the criticism, saying:
Viewers will clearly recognise this performance as a spoof and highly satirical, within the context of a programme which lampoons a wide range of public figures and the public's perception of them.
The Australian TV show 20 To One has been forced to apologise to Korean boys band BTS over a segment that's been claimed to be racist and mocking.
It seems that the band has large fanbase dubbed the Army who follow their every move and will defend their greatness to the ends of the earth.
And it seems that the Army didn't much care for the mocking tone of the Australian show.
Co-hosts Erin Molan and Nick Cody began the segment by calling BTS the biggest band you've never heard of BTS at the Grammys.
Irish comedian Jimmy Car was involved in the show and in an interview segment he quipped:
When I first heard something Korean had exploded in America, I got worried. So it could have been worse. But not much worse.
The fans weren't impressed, one wrote
We demand sincere apology for your report full of racist, misogyny, malice on BTS and their fans. Also for the insensitive reference of missile threat.
This forced the show to issue an apology on social media in English and Korean that read: We apologise for any disrespect and offence taken.
Mean while in another incident, Jimmy Car was on far stronger, proper politically incorrect form with his Terribly Funny stand up show currently on tour. He offended with the quip: Is a dwarf an abortion that made it?
Charity Little People UK has asked Carr to drop the joke -- while fellow comedian TanyaLee Davis has also called him out over the gag.
Davis, who makes light about her own 3ft 6in height in her routines, asked Carr on Twitter: You have met me. Am I an abortion who made it?
About 20,000 people in the US have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Good Omens , the television series adapted from Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's 1990 fantasy novel. Unfortunately they addressed their petition to
Netflix when the series is made by Amazon Prime.
The six-part series was released last month, starring David Tennant as the demon Crowley and Michael Sheen as the angel Aziraphale, who collaborate to prevent the coming of the antichrist and an imminent apocalypse.
But Christians marshalled by the Return to Order campaign, an offshoot of the US Foundation for a Christian Civilisation, disagree. More than 20,000 supporters have signed a petition in which they say that Good Omens is another step to make
satanism appear normal, light and acceptable, and mocks God's wisdom. They are calling on Netflix to cancel the show.
The publisher and science fiction critic Cheryl Morgan tweeted:
Miraculously God has already done it. Don't tell them She put it on Amazon instead.
The Parents Television Council has issued an urgent warning to parents ahead of the premiere of HBO's teen-targeted show Euphoria. PTC President Tim Winter said:
Just as MTV did with Skins and as Netflix is doing with 13 Reasons Why , HBO, with its new high school centered show Euphoria , appears to be overtly, intentionally, marketing extremely graphic adult content -- sex,
violence, profanity and drug use -- to teens and preteens.
HBO might attach a content rating suggesting that it is intended for mature audiences, but let's be real here: who watches a show about high school children, except high school and junior high school-aged children?
While HBO is a premium cable network, parents who are HBO subscribers may be blindsided by HBO's new attempt to market such explicit content directly to minors. And the parental blindside is greatly exacerbated by ubiquitous streaming apps that
deliver such explicit content directly to a teen's phone or computer screen. Parents urgently need to be aware of HBO's grossly irresponsible programming decision.
America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a report about the US TV rating classification system.
The familiar TV ratings, TVY, TV7, TVG, TVPG, TV14, TVMA are essentially self administered by the TV companies but there is an overview body called The TV Parental Guidelines (Oversight) Monitoring Board. The board describes itself:
The TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board is responsible for ensuring there is as much uniformity and consistency in applying the Parental Guidelines as possible. The Monitoring Board does this by reviewing complaints and
other public input and by facilitating discussion about the application of ratings among members of the Board and other relevant industry representatives. The Monitoring Board typically meets annually or more often, if necessary, to consider and
review complaints sent to the Board, discuss current research, and review any other relevant issues. The Board also facilitates regular calls among industry standards and practices executives to discuss pending and emerging issues in order to
promote ratings consistency across companies.
In addition to the chairman, the Board includes 18 industry representatives from the broadcast, cable and creative communities appointed by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), NCTA 203 The Internet and
Television Association, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and five public interest members, appointed by the Board chairman.
The chairman id Michael Powell and the board representatives are from
21st Century FOX
American Academy of Pediatrics
Boys and Girls Clubs of America
Call for Action
Entertainment Industries Council
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Turner Broadcasting System
Viacom Media Networks
The TV ratings are frequently criticised, at least by morality campaign groups and recently the FCC responded by undertaking a review of the TV rating system. The FCC has just published its findings and concurs with much of the criticism. The FCC
After reviewing the record as a whole, our primary conclusion is that the Board has been insufficiently accessible and transparent to the public. For example, when the Bureau began its work on this report, the Board's website did not even
include a phone number that someone could call to reach it. We are pleased that this problem was recently fixed. But in our view, additional steps should be taken to increase awareness of the Board's role and the transparency of its operations.
Below are suggestions along those lines that we submit for Board and industry consideration.
First, we urge the Board and the video programming industry to increase their efforts to promote public awareness of the Board and its role in overseeing the rating system. We urge the Board and the industry to increase their outreach efforts
concerning the existence of the rating system and consider additional ways in which they can publicize the ability of the public to file complaints, along with instructions on how complaints can be filed. In this regard, as noted, the Board
recently reactivated a telephone number for use in contacting the Board and also provides a post office box where physical mail can be sent.
Second, we suggest that the Board consider ways to inform the public regarding the number of complaints it receives, the nature of each complaint, the program and network or producer involved, and the action taken, if any, by the
network/producer or the Board in response to the complaint. For instance, the Board could consider issuing an annual report on the complaints it has received about the ratings of programs, how those complaints were adjudicated, and whether
complaints led to the rating of a program being changed in future airings.
Third, we suggest that the Board hold at least one public meeting, that is publicized with adequate notice, each year. This would permit the public to express their views directly to the Board and help the Board better understand public concerns
regarding program ratings.
we suggest that the Board consider doing random audits or spot checks analyzing the accuracy and consistency of the ratings being applied pursuant to the TV Parental Guidelines. This information could be used, in addition to the survey data
already collected by the Board, to help assess, and if necessary, improve ratings accuracy. Such information would also allow the Board and the industry to consider whether any changes are needed to the guidelines themselves to ensure that they
are as helpful as possible to today's viewers, consistent with the Board's commitment.
We note the ratings system has not changed in over 20 years and, despite its longevity, many commenters contend that the rating system is not well-understood or useful to parents.
Alabama Public Television (APT) has banned a TV cartoon which shows a same-sex wedding.
The first episode of the 22nd series of children's programme Arthur features the character Mr Ratburn marrying his aardvark partner, Patrick.
But APT instead ran an old episode, and announced it had no plans to show the premiere. Programming director Mike McKenzie claimed that broadcasting it would break parents' trust in the network. He said in a statement:
Parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision, and that children younger than the 'target' audience might watch without parental knowledge.
Show creator WGBH and broadcaster PBS reportedly alerted local stations in April about the episode, and McKenzie said this was when they decided not to air the show.
APT previously refused to broadcast a 2005 episode of the series which depicted Buster, a rabbit, visiting a girl who had two mothers.
Turkish TV has announced that they would not broadcast the NBA Western Conference Finals on Tuesday night because a Turkish NBA star and fierce critic of Turkish president Erdogan, Enes Kanter, plays for Portland Trailblazers.
The NBA final will also be banned if Portland Trailblazers get through.
Canadian animator Steve Angel recognizes the irony that his cartoon about censorship was, itself, censored.
Angel produced an animated sequence for the US CBS TV series The Good Fight , a legal drama that argue cases about the issues of the day.
The censored episode was based on a criticism of Chinese censorship, including Angel's animated sequence typically of around 90 seconds. The animation was censored and replaced with an 8s screen reading, CBS has censored this content.
In a statement, a CBS All Access spokesperson said after raising concerns about the animated short's subject matter, it had reached this creative solution with the show's producers.
Angel said he was disappointed adding:
There's the obvious irony of it, but at the same time, I think because it's pretty incendiary material, it wasn't a gigantic surprise.
Angel said he couldn't comment on the content of the segment, but The New Yorker reports the animation alludes to several subjects that have been banned online in China, including Winnie-the-Pooh, as the character was used in memes as a way to
poke fun at Chinese President Xi Jinping. The magazine reports the clip featured the leader dressed as the cartoon bear, shaking his exposed bottom.
But according to the Hollywood Reporter , the segment began with a song that referenced China's decision to ban The Good Wife from internet video services in 2014 . It also alluded to how American studios remove content from international
releases to avoid upsetting Chinese censors.
Channel 4 broadcast the show in the UK and have stated that it will show the episode n the same censored form as was shown in the US.
Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt declared that the Russian government-owned propaganda channel RT to be a weapon of disinformation in a speech to mark World Press Freedom Day.
The UK government is particularly annoyed at the channel for repeatedly deflecting blame from Russia for the poisoning attack in Salisbury.
Hunt noted that the Kremlin came up with over 40 separate narratives to explain that incident which RT broadcast to the world.
The foreign secretary said it remained a matter for Ofcom to independently decide whether the station should be closed down. At the end of last year RT was found guilty of seven breaches of the British broadcasting code in relation to programmes
broadcast in the aftermath of the Salisbury novichok poisoning .
TV censor Ofcom has yet to announce sanctions for the breaches of the code.
It seems bizarre that the government should let the TV censor determine sanctions when these could have serious diplomatic consequences. Surely it is the government that should be leading the censorship of interference by a foreign power.
Hunt seems to have been doing a bit of anti-British propaganda himself. In a press release ahead of the speech he seemed to suggest that Britain and the west have fragile democracies. In the news release Hunt states:
Russia in the last decade very disappointingly seemed to have embarked on a foreign policy where their principal aim is to sow confusion and division and destabilise fragile democracies.
Viewers of Channel 4's Naked Beach were treated to a little pre-watershed nudity last Thursday evening at 8pm.
The premise of the show is based on a social experiment, which sees a group of people visit a Greek island retreat to overcome their body image issues over the coming weeks. They are encouraged to feel good within themselves, covering their
modesty with just body paint and glitter.
A few viewers to Twitter eg:
Why have I just turned on my TV and seeing a naked penis before 9pm?
And about 16 complained to TV censor Ofcom. An Ofcom spokesperson told
We are assessing these complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.
This is not quite the stock phrase Ofcom uses when dismissing whinges out of hand, so maybe they will consider this further.
Naked Beach airs again on Channel 4 at 8pm next Thursday.
British-born academic Dr George Sandra Larke-Walsh, of the University of North Texas, has published a paper claiming writers of the TV series Peaky Blinders use the war as an excuse to justify and romanticise violent behaviour.
Larke-Walsh said the show justified the brutal violence by portraying the characters as damaged by World War One. She claims the characters, including Cillian Murphy's gang leader Tommy Shelby, are all shown to be damaged by the war to excuse
their criminal actions.
Larke-Walsh also claims they are made out as Robin Hood-esque characters fighting for survival in a corrupt world while they also use the Shelby family's gypsy heritage as a distraction. She writes:
[Peaky Blinders] utilises nostalgia for nationalism, enacted within displays of extreme aggression as well as promoting regressive masculine ideals ... In the current sociopolitical environment, and associated concerns about the prevalence of
toxic masculinity, such presentations no longer feel safely confined to fantasy.
The paper, titled The King's shilling: How Peaky Blinders also claims the show uses Murphy's naked body to elicit homosexual desire but then asserts heterosexuality through brutal violence. Larke-Walsh added:
There is no doubt that all audiences are meant to find the characters visually attractive. It is a feature of regressive masculinity that homosexuality must be denied.
The drama has won a host of awards and has an average audience of around 4 million per episode.
Burundi has banned the BBC and indefinitely suspended Voice of America. The country's TV censor revoked BBC's licence and accused it of airing a documentary that it said was false and damaged the country's reputation. The censor also banned local
journalists from working for the BBC or Voice of America.
The BBC aired the documentary in May last year about what it said were secret detention and torture sites in Burundi. The BBC stands by the contents of this programme.
Sky New Zealand has pulled fellow broadcaster Sky News Australia off air until the channel stops broadcasting clips from the Christchurch mosque shooter's Facebook live stream.
In a tweet posted on Saturday morning, Sky New Zealand, an independently-owned broadcaster, said it had decided to remove the Australian 24-hour news channel from its platform because of the footage. A channel spokeswoman said:
We stand in support of our fellow New Zealanders and have made the decision to remove Sky News Australia from our platform until we are confident that the distressing footage from yesterday's events will not be shared.
The Russian TV censor has found certain violations in activities of the BBC World News broadcaster in Russia. The probe into the broadcaster's actions was launched in response to the British TV censor Ofcom's ruling against the Russian
propaganda channel RT for biased reporting about the Salisbury poisoning.
Roskomnadzor the Russian TV censor said BBC World News in Russia, has been found in breach of Russian legislation following an unscheduled inspection. It did not elaborate on the nature of the revealed violations but said that it is assessing
their severity. Roskomnadzor will later provide further information about the measures taken.
On a separate occasion, January 10, Roskomnadzor said it found some BBC online reports in breach of Russian anti-extremism laws as they contained some direct quotes of Al-Baghdadi, the head of Islamic State, something that is banned under a
TV programmes streamed on China's Netflix-like iQiyi site appear to be blurring the earlobes of male actors with earrings, according to web users in the country.
Doctored images of male actors on a show called Sisters Flower Shop alongside earlier footage where they were sporting earrings have been posted online. In another show, I, Actor , the earlobes of the lead actor and singer also
appear to have been edited.
Over the past year people have criticised popular Asian culture for encouraging effeminate standards of beauty for men. A 2018 article published by the state news agency Xinhua said China's pop idols were spawning a generation of sissy boys.
Web users criticised the blurred-out earrings, and thousands have commented on social media under the MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings hashtag. One user said:
The whole world is moving forward, while China is moving backward.
The Russian propaganda channel RT has informed Ofcom that it will be seeking a Judicial Review of Ofcom's decisions and process in its breach findings of 20th December. Ofcom had investigated 10 RT programmes, and decided that 7 were in breach of
its censorship rules.
We firmly believe that none were in breach. RT is left with no choice other than to seek Judicial Review of the matter.
RT determinedly adheres to the Ofcom Code. Ofcom itself has recognised that RT's compliance record 'has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.'
None of the 7 in-breach decisions against RT concluded that we had disseminated inaccurate information. Ofcom's own analysis acknowledged that the network presented multiple sides in its news coverage and discussion. However, Ofcom proceeded to
make adverse findings in a manner contrary to the law.
Family Guy is known for its politically incorrect humour, but now the team behind the show are making some changes. It appears that the jokes targeted at the LGBT community are on the way out.
In Sunday's episode, Peter Griffin, who is voiced by the show's creator Seth MacFarlane, was seen telling a cartoon President Trump that the show was trying to phase out gay jokes.
In fairness, we've been trying to phase out the gay stuff, Peter replies. But you know what? We're a cartoon. You're the president.
The change in direction has been confirmed by the show's executive producers Alec Sulkin and Rich Appel, who told TV Line that they want to better reflect the current climate in the show.
One of the defences of the show's controversial storylines is that they make fun of all minority groups equally and some have argued that there's no reason one particular minority group should be exempt.
If Family Guy is gonna be mainstream and not edgy, what's the point? asked one fan of the show on Twitter. And some in the LGBT community argued the show does not offend them.