|27th June |
Rights holders present secret paper to the government proposing website blocking
21st June 2011. Based on article from
The Open Rights Group has learnt that detailed website blocking proposals have been presented by rights holder groups to Ed Vaizey.
The paper was submitted by the Football Association Premier League; the Publishers Association; BPI (British
Recorded Music Industry); the Motion Picture Association; and the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television.
The paper itself has not been published or circulated, despite requests to rights holder groups. The meeting on 15 June, where the
paper was presented, was closed to ORG or any other rights group. Consumer Focus did attend, as the official consumer watchdog.
However, it is unclear if Consumer Focus or anyone else is able to show us the proposal. In essence, we have a
secret website blocking proposal tabled by rights holders, that may become a self-regulatory , privatised, censorship platform for the UK.
It is unacceptable for trade groups and government to conduct policy in this way. Censorship
proposals must be made and discussed in public. Many of us will oppose any censorship that impacts directly and widely on free expression.
UPDATE: Consumer Focus have published a response to the secret paper. This says the core of the proposal is
The trade associations are proposing that the Applications Court of the High Court issues permanent injunctions on the basis that a Council and expert body have come to the view that the
evidence submitted by copyright owners is valid and the blocking access to the website is appropriate.
Update: Secretive Paper Leaked
27th June 2011. From out-law.com
paper [pdf] from publicintelligence.net
The paper has now been leaked.
Under the plans copyright owners would identify websites they believe are infringing their copyright and an expert body would then decide whether to recommend that a court issues an injunction
banning the site from hosting infringing material, according to the documents.
Internet service providers (ISPs) that sign-up to the code will then block access to the sites, the documents said.
Under the new code rights holders should
inform websites that they are taking infringement action against them where possible and website owners should be able to appeal against ISPs blocking access to their sites, the document said.
Details of the proposals were first revealed by
blogger James Firth who posted about the secret meeting on his website. Firth said a Government contact had told him Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, had commented on the proposals, saying if it's a voluntary
scheme, go and do it . This implies that Government does not need to be involved, Firth said in his blog.
|25th June |
Jeremy Hunt bangs the table to demand internet porn blocking and quick
See article from dailymail.co.uk
|24th June |
Police will use crowd surveillance and recording to arrest football fans for offensive speech
18th June 2011. See article from
Police arrests for
insulting behaviour at a football match
Police armed with spy cameras and recording equipment will capture supposedly bigoted speech at Old Firm games as they enforce a new law that will see sectarian fans jailed for up to five years. Strathclyde Police will use the latest surveillance
technology to identify supporters who offend against offensive behaviour laws.
Police will use the information recorded on their equipment to arrest fans after the final whistle, as they enforce a controversial anti-sectarianism law that is to be
rushed through Holyrood before the start of next season.
Alex Salmond's government introduced its bill in the Scottish Parliament, and the legislation is expected to be passed before MSPs rise for the summer recess in two weeks.
which outlaws offensive and threatening behaviour at football matches, and sectarian postings on the internet, was published amid concerns it could be challenged in the courts because it is being forced through too quickly.
legislation has shied away from producing a list of proscribed songs and chants. The law will instead create two new offences - offensive behaviour and threatening communications . Determining whether a football fan has been offensive will
come down to whether the he or she is judged to have indulged in behaviour likely to lead to public disorder. Much will depend on the context of their actions.
Offensive behaviour covers not only football matches but also fans travelling to and
from a game and supporters gathering to watch a match on a big screen or at a pub.
Update: Dangerous Songs
22nd June 2011. See
article from thescotsman.scotsman.com
Football fans could be jailed for singing God Save the Queen or Flower of Scotland under the SNP's new law to crack down on sectarianism. Making the sign of the cross or singing Rule Britannia could also be regarded as an offence
under certain circumstances once the legislation comes into force next football season.
Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham said that such songs and gestures could be regarded as offensive acts when she was questioned about the SNP's
anti-sectarian bill being fast-tracked through parliament with little scrutiny.
She said: A sign of a cross is not in itself offensive, but I suppose in circumstances such as Rangers and Celtic fans meeting each other on a crowded street, it
could be construed as something offensive.
Senior figures in the legal fraternity urged the government to adopt a common sense approach to its Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.
Conservative justice spokesman John Lamont asked the minister if she could envisage the singing of either the National Anthem or Flower of Scotland
becoming offensive behaviour within the act? Ms Cunningham replied: The glib answer to that is 'no, of course not'. But the problem is, for a criminal offence, it is all the facts and circumstances that surround that, that may turn them (sic]
She added: Perhaps it might have been more appropriate to, say, look at Rule Britannia, which I understand is one (song] frequently used on one side of the terraces. Now, I would not regard (that song] as offensive, but it
is exactly why we don't start defining which songs, and listing the songs ... it really is a matter of facts and the circumstances of the case whether something is or is not offensive.
She went on to suggest that Celtic fans making the sign of
the cross could also be judged offensive. I have seen hundreds of Celtic fans (behave] in a manner which I can only describe as aggressive - making signs of the cross, gesticulating across an open area to Rangers fans.
Update: Extra Time
24th June 2011. See article from
Alex Salmond has declared his crackdown on sectarianism will not be made law until the end of the year, less than two hours after the minister in charge of the plans had insisted it needed to be introduced within weeks. The First Minister revealed he had
changed his mind on the timing of the bill and would allow further parliamentary scrutiny after Holyrood rises for its summer recess next week.
Afterwards, aides to the First Minister said he had changed his mind following the debate, and had
agreed to alter the government's stance in a 20-minute meeting with Cunningham after it had finished.
The scope of the bill has come under scrutiny from MSPs this week, with some claiming the new laws were unnecessary, and amid questions over
whether making the sign of the cross or singing God Save the Queen could be deemed an offence.
|22nd June |
Saucy seaside cards reprinted after 56 years on the banned list
See also donaldmcgill.info
Saucy seaside postcards which were banned from resorts around the UK more than 50 years ago have gone on sale for the first time since they were censored.
Five of the obscene comic cards by prolific artist Donald McGill can now be
bought, 56 years after the designs were destroyed because of their bawdy humour.
McGill designed saucy classics from 1904 until 1962. His images featured fat old ladies, drunken middle-aged men, honeymooning couples and prudish vicars. He produced
12,000 designs over his prolific career and more than 200million of his cards were sold.
But in 1954 he became the target of a morality campaign at seaside resorts across the UK,
An Isle of Wight vicar complained to his local paper and the
police raided five seaside shops, confiscating more than 5,000 cards. Other raids took place across the UK and thousands of McGill's cards were ordered to be destroyed under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act.
The following year a show trial
was held in Lincoln where the artist, then aged 79, was persuaded to plead guilty on four cards which were immediately banned. McGill and his publishers also agreed not to republish another 17 cards once existing stocks had been sold.
Now a museum
in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, which houses the largest collection of McGill's work in the world, has re-printed five of the banned cards for the first time in nearly six decades. Although the ban on McGill's cards has never been revoked, the museum
believes it is highly unlikely their publication would be challenged today.
|21st June |
Ofcom censures Takbeer TV for abusive comments about Ahmadis
bulletin [pdf] from stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk
Tafheem Al Masyal
Takbeer TV, 17 October 2010 to 26 March 2011
Takbeer TV broadcasts religious and general entertainment content mainly in Urdu (as spoken by South Asian Muslims), and is available on cable and satellite platforms.
Tafheem al Masyal is a religious discussion programme, during which viewers are invited to call in and put their questions on Islamic religious matters, to a presenter and guest presenter in the studio.
Ofcom received 267 complaints about five editions of Tafheem Al Masyal. We noted that complainants were from the Ahmadiyya religious community. This is a comparatively small Islamic movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani that grew out of
mainstream Islam in the nineteenth century, whose followers believe themselves to be true Muslims. Followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are known as Ahmadis or Qadianis or Ahmadiyya. Complainants considered that the programmes variously: consisted of abusive
content about Ahmadis and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad; or incited hatred and violence towards the Ahmadiyya community.
Ofcom highlighted many examples of abusive comments including:
A presenter: In our last
programme, a Qadiani friend had asked some questions. Though these questions were not related to the nonsense spoken by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, his lies, his cunning and deceit, and his false claim to prophet hood, still I would like to answer these
A presenter: We have been telling about [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?s] lies in the past but today we will focus specially on these. We will tell you about his lies .
presenter: As to what is the punishment of apostasy in Ahmadis, we can discuss it with them only if we have a link with them. Among Muslims, the penalty for apostasy is death. An apostate deserves to be killed but the right to implement this penalty
is the prerogative of an Islamic government. An individual or a party does not have this prerogative. An Islamic court, Islamic government, a Qazi 6 can implement this penalty or make a decision about it .
rules of their programme code:
- 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services .
- 4.2: The religious beliefs of
those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment .
Takbeer TV said that We deeply regret any offence caused to any of our viewers and unreservedly apologise for the same . It also outlined a number of steps it had taken in response to the complaints: relevant channel staff had been severely
reprimanded and formally disciplined and given updated training on the Code; additional training was being given to all presenters and producers on the Code and their obligations under it; and the channel had appointed a bi-lingual Quality
Controller…who will take responsibility to oversee programme quality and output to prevent any such incidences occurring again .
Takbeer TV added: Tafheem Al Masyal had been discontinued indefinitely since early April 2011 ; the lead
presenter of the programme had been suspended and is no longer appearing on our Channel ; and We do not intend to deal with any of the specific issues raised [i.e. relating to the Ahmadiyya community] that have caused controversy in respect of
these complaints in any future programmes and have advised our presenters to avoid the same. The broadcaster added that through the various steps it had taken, it was confident that we will not receive any future complaints of this nature .
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 4.2
In considering Rule 3.1 we are required to address the likelihood of the commission of a crime, in this case a hate crime, against an Ahmadi follower. We recognised that overarching tone
of almost all of the various comments identified above were clearly critical of the Ahmadiyya community, its beliefs and its founder. However, Ofcom believed that these criticisms, in themselves would not, on a reasonable view, have been likely to:
encourage or incite the commission of a crime against any existing or named group (e.g. harm or prejudice against members of the Ahmadiyya community) or an attempt to lead viewers to disorder; or clearly advocate any potentially criminal action.
Notwithstanding the above, we did consider whether the following statement by a presenter during the 29 January programme, could be construed as a form of incitement:
As to what is the punishment of apostasy in Ahmadis, we can discuss it with them only if we have a link with them. Among Muslims, the penalty for apostasy is death. An apostate deserves to be killed but the right
to implement this penalty is the prerogative of an Islamic government. An individual or a party does not have this prerogative. An Islamic court, Islamic government, a Qazi can implement this penalty or make a decision about it.
We considered this statement to have been potentially offensive. However, we considered that the speaker in this case made clear his belief that only an Islamic court, Islamic Government or Islamic judge ( Qazi ) would have the ability to
determine whether someone was an apostate, and not individuals. He also did not openly say that members of the Ahmadiyya community should be subject to the death penalty, but rather was setting out his view about the potential treatment of apostates by
the appropriate Islamic authorities. Given this context, we considered that this particular individual was not advocating that, or inciting, private individuals to kill apostates, but rather was expressing his view that the death penalty could be an
appropriate sanction for apostasy to be carried out by the appropriate governmental or judicial institutions.
Given the above, we considered the programmes were not in breach of Rule 3.1 of the Code.
When considering abusive treatment
in religious programmes under Rule 4.2, we considered that during the programmes, there were a number of statements made by the presenters and by members of the audience that could be classed as being derogatory and abusive references specifically
about the Ahmadiyya community and its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Examples of these references are laid out in the Introduction.
In particular, Ofcom noted that during the programmes, members of the Ahmadiyya community were variously labelled as:
stupid ; non-believers ; illiterate ; and accursed liars . We also noted that many statements were made that were highly critical and derogatory of the Ahmadi founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Given the above, it was Ofcom's view
that the use of such terms and references when taken together amounted to abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of members of the Ahmadiyya community.
Ofcom considers that the broadcaster was clearly and seriously in breach
of Rule 4.2.
Ofcom therefore assessed whether to consider the Licensee for a statutory sanction but we decided on balance not to do so. This decision had regard to all the relevant circumstances of this case, but principally the immediate
acknowledgement that the complaints were justified and the various measures the Licensee took to further improve compliance. The Licensee is put on notice however that any further breaches of the Code in this area will lead to Ofcom considering a
|19th June |
Ofcom to produce more censorial rules for pre-watershed TV
See article from
Sexy performances on shows such as The X Factor will be outlawed by further restrictions to pre-watershed TV.
The TV censor Ofcom will issue new censorship rule to apply to autumn schedules.
The move follows a Government report on the
sexualisation of children and nutter protests.
An Ofcom spokesman said: The guidelines will be there to make sure that broadcasters like ITV don't hover near the boundaries of harmful content to children. This is what happened with Rihanna's
performance on the show last year, where the broadcasting code was almost breached.
|17th June |
Government considers the Press Complaints Commission for a first stage arbitration step before libel cases can go to court
article from dailymail.co.uk
Ken Clarke's Justice Department is considering sending rich and famous claimants to the Press Complaints Commission for arbitration before they are allowed to take their case to court.
Ministers say the system would be cheaper and quicker, and
hope it could deter foreigners from flocking to our courts in so-called libel tourism .
At a meeting of a Parliamentary Committee investigating changes to defamation laws, Justice Minister Lord McNally told MPs that he was tempted to
make complainants go to the PCC first: I do think that a credible Press Complaints Commission -- one that had general respect and could deliver non-legal fast justice in areas where people complained of press abuse -- is preferable to the law. If
complainants want a rapid correction then mediation does offer a cheap and speedy way of addressing that.
Clarke said that the PCC would have to beef itself up to be able to take on the role, and would have to do more to ensure it had the
confidence of the public.
|17th June |
High Court upholds Ofcom's censure of Jon Gaunt's health nazi jibe
Thanks to Nick
See article from
Jon Gaunt has lost his appeal against a high court ruling that media watchdog Ofcom was justified in upholding complaints about a TalkSport interview in which he called a local councillor a Nazi .
Gaunt appealed after last year losing a
high court freedom of expression challenge against Ofcom's ruling that the interview breached its broadcasting code. However, three court of appeal judges have now rejected his appeal against the high court's July 2010 decision.
said it was important to observe that the broadcasting code recognised that offensive material or language will often be justifiable, but justifiability must be assessed by reference to the context .
In summary, when one combines the
extremely aggressive tone of the interview, the constant interruptions, the insults, the ranting, the consequent lack of any substantive content, and the time which the interview was allowed to run on, it seems to me clear that Ofcom was right to
conclude that there had been a breach of ... the code .
It had been suggested that Ofcom attached too much weight and too much offensiveness to the Nazi , health Nazi and ignorant pig insults levied at Stark. But Neuberger
said: In my view, however, Ofcom quite correctly took those insults into account, but only as a factor among others which, when taken together, rendered the interview in breach of ... the code.
An Ofcom spokesman said: The court of
appeal agreed that the interview had an extremely aggressive tone combined with constant interruptions, was full of insults, ranting, and lacked any substantive content and that it was a breach of generally accepted standards.
|15th June |
Bahrain to sue the Independent over a powerful report by Robert Fisk
I saw these brave doctors trying to save
lives – these charges are a pack of lies from independent.co.uk by Robert Fisk
The government of Bahrain claimed yesterday to have commissioned a UK-based law firm to file a case against The Independent for its reporting on the crackdown on protests in the country.
Nawaf al-Mawada, a representative of the Information Affairs
Authority, told Bahrain's state news agency that the action was being taken because The Independent had deliberately published a series of unrealistic and provocative articles targeting Bahrain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .
supposedly offending article is an opinion piece by Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, in which he criticises the Bahraini government for putting 48 surgeons on trial.
|14th June |
Government proposes to simplify the range of age restrictions imposed on the retail trade
See article from telegraph.co.uk
On the roadmap towards our goal
of red tape reduction,
we are introducing a new 15 1/2 rating
as a transitionary step between
the current BBFC 15 rating and
proposed simplified 16 rating.
Some age restrictions of the sale of computer games, weapons and films could be lifted under Government plans to simplify regulations for retailers.
Vince Cable will tell a British Retail Consortium audience that reforms to age restricted
products would be the first concrete measure to come out of the Government's Red Tape Challenge campaign.
The Business Secretary said that retailers and trading standards officers had complained about the confusing array of different age
restrictions, from 12 and 15 for films and computer games to 17 for cross bows and air rifles on top of the more common 16 and 18 age restrictions.
The review could also consider whether restrictions on certain products remain appropriate.
Retailers are banned from selling Christmas crackers, party poppers, liquor chocolates, aerosol paints and petrol to minors.
Local authority guidance can create confusion. Surrey County Council, for instance, says the Fireworks (Safety)
regulations 1997 require retailers not to sell poppers, caps, cracker snaps, novelty matches, serpents and throw-downs to anyone who you feel or looks under the age of 16 years . However, shops must also display signs stating: It is illegal to
sell adult fireworks to anyone under the age of 18 .
A Business Department spokesman said the plans were still being developed, but would tackle the wide range of different age restrictions. It makes compliance difficult and enforcement
difficult too, he said. We are looking to simplify these. It is exactly what we had in mind when we launched the challenge. Something that offers consumers the same protections but reduces the compliance burden on business.
spokesman said one option being considered was to have only two different age restrictions, 16 to 18 for example .
|12th June |
More bollox abuse of the public order act to persecute someone for minor insult
article from dailymail.co.uk
|12th June |
A plumber who revealed his wife's affair investigated by elite serious crime unit
See article from guardian.co.uk
|11th June |
Blogger arrested on bollox charges for filming at council meeting
See article from telegraph.co.uk
See also carmarthenplanning.blogspot.com
A blogger who filmed a meeting of a local council was arrested for supposedly breaching the peace despite insisting that she broke no laws.
Jacqui Thompson, author of the blog Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and More , was using her
phone to record a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council during an angry debate on the closure of a day club for local elderly people.
According to her blog, she was in the public gallery when the row over the day club broke out, and began
filming proceedings. She was asked to leave by the council chairman who called the police when she refused. Ten minutes later, four police officers arrived.
Mrs Thompson said:
I tried to argue my point but
was then arrested in the Public Gallery for 'breaching the peace'. I was taken outside the door, handcuffed, searched, my phone taken and marched out to the waiting police cars.
I was then taken 30 miles to Llanelli
police station where I remained handcuffed for another hour before being 'processed', and put in a cell for another two hours.
Mrs Thompson also claimed that she was threatened with being kept overnight at the station unless
she signed an undertaking not to film any more meetings. She said that the council chairman, Councillor Ivor Jackson, told her that filming was against the council's standing orders. However, according to the standing orders, members of the public
and press may only be excluded if they are making a disturbance.
David Allen Green, lawyer and legal correspondent of New Statesman, said:
The circumstances of the arrest of Mrs Thompson are concerning. In
general terms, it is important that police and local authorities do not use 'breach of the peace' as the basis of arresting at will, especially when there are free expression and public accountability issues at stake. I hope this was not what happened
with Mrs Thompson. On what we know, it seems alarming, illiberal and misconceived.
Update: Ordered to pay £25,000 libel damages to council leader
16th March 2013. See
article from guardian.co.uk
The political blogger who sparked online uproar after being arrested for filming a council hearing has been ordered to pay £25,000 in libel damages to a council's chief executive over what the high court described as an unlawful campaign of
harassment, defamation and intimidation .
Jacqui Thompson was ordered to pay the five-figure sum over a series of defamatory internet posts in which she falsely accused Carmarthenshire county council chief executive, Mark James, and other
council officers of corruption.
Britain's most senior libel judge, Mr Justice Tugendhat, said in his ruling on Friday:
Mrs Thompson conducted her campaign of harassment as publicly as she could, at first copying
her letters and emails to the press and numerous other people and, after she had started her blog, publishing her unfounded allegations to the world at large.
|9th June |
BBFC Publishes its Annual Report for 2010
See press release from
See BBFC Annual Report 2010 [pdf] from
Sexual violence, strong language and the sexualisation of children were the three dominant classification issues for the BBFC in 2010. At the same time the BBFC continued to work with the industry to develop voluntary content labelling strategies for
online and Video On Demand (VOD) content outside the Board's traditional statutory regulatory role. Announcing the publication of the Annual Report for 2010, David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said:
A number of
the BBFC's classification decisions were the subject of public and media debate in 2010. The significant cuts to reduce sexual and sexualised violence in I Spit on Your Grave and A Serbian Film in order to obtain an '18' rating prompted
some commentators to suggest that the BBFC had suddenly tightened its policies. In both instances, the decisions were firmly in line with our published classification Guidelines which result from extensive and regular consultation with the public. The
'15' and '12A' classifications, given respectively, to two highly praised British films, Made in Dagenham and The King's Speech , also prompted lively debate in the media about the Board's language policies. It is clear that the public
still expects us to be vigilant on language issues: the distinction between the two films was that The King's Speech involved an exceptional context, that of speech therapy, for which there was no equivalent in Made in Dagenham.
The third area of debate was the sexualisation of children. As a result of public concern, the Government launched a review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children. The BBFC submitted evidence to the consultation
covering how we deal with the sexualisation of children in works submitted for classification. One area where this is of concern is some music videos. Most music videos are exempt from classification, but some distributors do submit them to us on a
voluntary best practice basis. The well recognised and trusted BBFC symbols and content information on these works mean that parents can make informed decisions about which material is appropriate for their children. We are working with the home
entertainment industry on ways of better informing consumers about the content of such video works.
The fact that our symbols and content advice are well recognised and trusted is proving attractive to companies
providing video content in the online and Video On Demand world. The voluntary BBFC.online service set up in partnership with the home entertainment and film industries in 2008, continues to expand and attract new members. In addition we have also
launched a voluntary scheme we call Watch and Rate for works not covered by statutory regulation, to be distributed as VOD only. Watch and Rate offers robust child protection online and allows the industry to test the market for a particular product by
trialling it online before going to the expense of pressing and distributing DVDs.
We have also begun providing compliance services to companies supplying VOD and other online services. We are able to perform this role
because of the unrivalled expertise we have built up over many years fulfilling the statutory responsibilities accorded to us by Government.
Providing detailed information about the content of works we have classified
is central to the role of the BBFC now and in the future. Our Consumer Advice and Extended Classification Information (ECI) are available on both our main website and our website specifically for parents. We are looking at ways of bringing that
information to even more consumers. One way we are doing that is via the BBFC's free App for iPhones which enables access to ECI wherever you happen to be. This has been very well received and, by popular demand, we will be rolling out an Android version
We are looking forward to our centenary year in 2012 which will see us working even closer with industry customers to make classification (whether statutory, voluntary, physical or digital) easier and
quicker, while maintaining the same rigorous levels of child protection and provision of information and support to a standard and richness which we believe to be a world-leader.
|7th June |
Government threatens legal action against twitter users who break privacy injunctions
See article from
See also The real scandal hidden by gags is what goes on in family courts from telegraph.co.uk
People who use Twitter to breach privacy injunctions may face government legal action.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve said that individuals could be prosecuted for contempt of court for publishing sensitive material. Enforcement was normally a
matter for whoever had taken out a privacy order. But Grieve told the BBC he would take action himself if he thought it necessary to uphold the rule of law.
In an interview with Radio 4's Law in Action programme, the attorney general said
that individuals who used Twitter or other internet sites to undermine the rule of law could face the consequences of their actions. He was referring to court powers to fine or even imprison people who deliberately break court rulings.
explained that enforcement of orders made in civil cases was normally a matter for whoever had taken them out. A claimant could go to court and seek to have people punished if they had broken the terms of an injunction. But when asked if he should
bring contempt proceedings himself for breach of a privacy order, Grieve said he would take action if he thought it necessary.
Law in Action is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 7 June at 1600 BST and Thursday 9 June at 2000 BST, Or via iPlayer
|6th June |
Reg Bailey publishes his whinge at modern society: Letting Children be Children
See Letting Children be
Children [pdf] from education.gov.uk
Rag Bailey has now published his hardly independent review on sexualisation and rather reveals his nutter stance by claiming that the world is a nasty place and that in an ideal world, adult entertainment would be shunned by society. He says:
We believe that a truly family-friendly society would not need to erect barriers between age groups to shield the young: it would, instead, uphold and reinforce healthy norms for adults and children alike, so
that excess is recognised for what it is and there is transparency about its consequences.
Bailey's summary reads:
The Review has encountered two very different approaches towards
helping children deal with the pressures to grow up too quickly. The first approach seems to suggest that we can try to keep children wholly innocent and unknowing until they are adults. The world is a nasty place and children should be unsullied by it
until they are mature enough to deal with it. This is a view that finds its expression in outrage, for example, that childrenswear departments stock clothes for young children that appear to be merely scaled-down versions of clothes with an adult
sexuality, such as padded bras. It depends on an underlying assumption that children can be easily led astray, so that even glimpses of the adult world will hurry them into adulthood. Worse still, this approach argues, what children wear or do or say
could make them vulnerable to predators or paedophiles.
The second approach is that we should accept the world for what it is and simply give children the tools to understand it and navigate their way through it
better. Unlike the first approach, this is coupled with an assumption that children are not passive receivers of these messages or simple imitators of adults; rather they willingly interact with the commercial and sexualised world and consume what it has
to offer. This is a view that says to do anything more than raise the ability of children to understand the commercial and sexual world around them, and especially their view of it through the various media, is to create a moral panic. The argument
suggests that we would infantilise adults if we make the world more benign for children, so we should adultify children.
This Review concludes that neither approach, although each is understandable, can be
effective on its own. We recognise that the issues raised by the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood are rooted in the character of our wider adult culture and that children need both protection from a range of harms, and knowledge of
different kinds, appropriate to their age, understanding and experience. Parents have the primary role here but others have a responsibility to play an active part too, including businesses, the media and their regulators. Above all, however, we believe
that a truly family-friendly society would not need to erect barriers between age groups to shield the young: it would, instead, uphold and reinforce healthy norms for adults and children alike, so that excess is recognised for what it is and there is
transparency about its consequences. The creation of a truly family-friendly society is the aspiration: in the meantime, we need a different approach.
Reg Bailey's recommendations are:
- Ensuring that magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers are not in easy sight of children. Retail associations in the news industry should do more to encourage observance of the voluntary code of practice
on the display of magazines and newspapers with sexualised images on their covers. Publishers and distributors should provide such magazines in modesty sleeves, or make modesty boards available, to all outlets they supply and strongly encourage the
appropriate display of their publications. Retailers should be open and transparent to show that they welcome and will act on customer feedback regarding magazine displays.
- Reducing the amount of on-street
advertising containing sexualised imagery in locations where children are likely to see it. The advertising industry should take into account the social responsibility clause of the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code when considering placement
of advertisements with sexualised imagery near schools, in the same way as they already do for alcohol advertisements. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) should place stronger emphasis on the location of an advertisement, and the number of
children likely to be exposed to it, when considering whether an on-street advertisement is compliant with the CAP code.
- Ensuring the content of pre-watershed television programming better meets parents'
expectations. There are concerns among parents about the content of certain programmes shown before the watershed. The watershed was introduced to protect children, and pre-watershed programming should therefore be developed and regulated with a greater
weight towards the attitudes and views of parents, rather than viewers as a whole. In addition, broadcasters should involve parents on an ongoing basis in testing the standards by which family viewing on television is assessed and the Office of
Communications (Ofcom) should extend its existing research into the views of parents on the watershed. Broadcasters and Ofcom should report annually on how they have specifically engaged parents over the previous year, what they have learnt and what they
are doing differently as a result.
- Introducing Age Rating for Music Videos. Government should consult as a matter of priority on whether music videos should continue to be treated differently from other
genres, and whether the exemption from the Video Recordings Act 1984 and 2010, which allows them to be sold without a rating or certificate, should be removed. As well as ensuring hard copy sales are only made on an age-appropriate basis, removal of the
exemption would assist broadcasters and internet companies in ensuring that the content is made available responsibly.
- Making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material from the
internet: To provide a consistent level of protection across all media, as a matter of urgency, the internet industry should ensure that customers must make an active choice over what sort of content they want to allow their children to access. To
facilitate this, the internet industry must act decisively to develop and introduce effective parental controls, with Government regulation if voluntary action is not forthcoming within a reasonable timescale. In addition, those providing content which
is age-restricted, whether by law or company policy, should seek robust means of age verification as well as making it easy for parents to block underage access.
- Developing a retail code of good practice
on retailing to children. Retailers, alongside their trade associations, should develop and comply with a voluntary code of good practice for all aspects of retailing to children. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) should continue its work in this area
as a matter of urgency and encourage non-BRC members to sign up to its code.
- Ensuring that the regulation of advertising reflects more closely parents' and children's views. The Advertising Standards
Authority (ASA) should conduct research with parents and children on a regular basis in order to gauge their views on the ASA's approach to regulation and on the ASA's decisions, publishing the results and subsequent action taken in their annual report.
- Prohibiting the employment of children as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing. The Committee of Advertising Practice and other advertising and marketing bodies should urgently explore whether,
as many parents believe, the advertising self- regulatory codes should prohibit the employment of children under the age of 16 as brand ambassadors or in peer-to-peer marketing – where people are paid, or paid in kind, to promote products, brands or
- Defining a child as under the age of 16 in all types of advertising regulation. The ASA should conduct research with parents, children and young people to determine whether the ASA should always
define a child as a person under the age of 16, in line with the Committee of Advertising Practice and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice codes.
- Raising parental awareness of marketing and
advertising techniques. Industry and regulators should work together to improve parental awareness of marketing and advertising techniques and of advertising regulation and complaints processes and to promote industry best practice.
- Quality assurance for media and commercial literacy resources and education for children. These resources should always include education to help children develop their emotional resilience to the commercial and sexual
pressures that today's world places on them. Providers should commission independent evaluation of their provision, not solely measuring take-up but, crucially, to assess its effectiveness. Those bodies with responsibilities for promoting media literacy,
including Ofcom and the BBC, should encourage the development of minimum standards guidance for the content of media and commercial literacy education and resources to children.
- Ensuring greater
transparency in the regulatory framework by creating a single website for regulators. There is a variety of co-, self- and statutory regulators across the media, communications and retail industries. Regulators should work together to create a single
website to act as an interface between themselves and parents. This will set out simply and clearly what parents can do if they feel a programme, advertisement, product or service is inappropriate for their children; explain the legislation in simple
terms; and provide links to quick and easy complaints forms on regulators' own individual websites. This single website could also provide a way for parents to provide informal feedback and comments, with an option to do so anonymously, which regulators
can use as an extra gauge of parental views. Results of regulators' decisions, and their reactions to any informal feedback, should be published regularly on the single site.
- Making it easier for parents
to express their views to businesses about goods and services. All businesses that market goods or services to children should have a one-click link to their complaints service from their home page, clearly labelled complaints . Information
provided as part of the complaints and feedback process should state explicitly that the business welcomes comments and complaints from parents about issues affecting children. Businesses should also provide timely feedback to customers in reaction to
customer comment. For retail businesses this should form part of their code of good practice (see Recommendation 6), and should also cover how to make it.
- Ensuring that businesses and others take action on
these recommendations. Government should take stock of progress against the recommendations of this review in 18 months' time. This stocktake should report on the success or otherwise of businesses and others in adopting these recommendations. If it
concludes that insufficient progress has been made, the Government should consider taking the most effective action available, including regulating through legislation if necessary, to achieve the recommended outcome.
|6th June |
Daily Mail details pants code for retailers selling children's wear
4th June 2011. See
article from dailymail.co.uk
High street shops will be told not to sell padded bras and sexually suggestive clothes to children under guidelines to be unveiled on Monday. This will coincide with the publication of a Government-commissioned review into the sexualisation of children
by Reg Bailey, head of the Mothers' Union.
Tesco and Sainsbury's have already signed up to the new deal drawn up by the British Retail Consortium, along with George, the clothing range promoted by Asda. Major high street stores including Marks
& Spencer, Next, John Lewis, Debenhams, Argos and Peacocks have also agreed to comply.
The BRC's guidelines say:
Slogans and imagery including licensed images and brand marks must be age-appropriate and
without undesirable associations or connotations -- for example, sexually suggestive, demeaning, derogative or political material.
Humorous slogans need to be tested against a broad range of views as they can cause
unforeseen and unintended offence.
The guidelines warn that underwear ranges require the utmost care , ruling that knickers and pants must provide modesty. Thongs are not appropriate for children .
And in a
crackdown on products which seek to treat girls like women, they say: Vests and crop tops should also be designed for modesty with no need for structural support. Under-wiring is not necessary or appropriate for the smallest cup sizes. First bras
should be constructed to provide comfort, modesty and support but not enhancement.
No mention should be made of enhancement or under-wiring in any children's ranges.
Comment: False Modesty
2011. Thanks to Angelus
"...knickers and pants must provide modesty."
"Vests and crop tops should also be designed for modesty"
"First bras should be constructed to provide comfort, modesty and support..."
'm not saying I want little girls dressing like whores (a concept wonderfully deconstructed by South Park), but since when has it been so terrible for them to want to dress up like their mothers? And what is it with the
obsession about modesty? Is this supposed to be Afghanistan or something? But actually the most worrying thing is that the guy thinks "first bras" need to support anything - he evidently knows even less about biology than he does anything else.
6th June 2011. See article from
In response to demands for restrictions on inappropriate children's clothing - including lace lingerie and push-up bras - the British Retail Consortium launched stricter guidelines. See
Responsible Retailing [pdf]
The British Retail Consortium's director of public affairs, Jane Bevis, said the guidelines provided
extra reassurance for parents that these companies are just as concerned as they are about what their children wear .
Nine stores - Asda, Debenhams, Argos, John Lewis, Next, Marks & Spencer, Peacocks, Sainsbury's and Tesco - have signed
up, with others being urged to participate.
Children's Minister Sarah Teather said: It is not government's role to interfere in family life ...BUT... parents often tell me that they would like more support so that they can navigate the
rapidly-changing technological and commercial world.
|4th June |
Daily Mail adds details about Reg Bailey's sexualisation report
It seems that all the details are being released in advance presumably to ensure that news is reported as per press releases. By the time we get to read the
full report, any criticisms well get lost as the issue will have already become stale news.
Still suffering from
The Daily Mail adds a few more details (in its typically overwrought style) about Reg Bailey's report:
A report commissioned by the Prime Minister, to be published on Monday, demands an end to the sexualisation
of young children.
It will order the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to consult parents about their concerns and report back every year on how it has reinforced taste guidelines.
Cameron will endorse the proposals of Reg Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union, who found parents are deeply concerned that sexual imagery in television, advertising and pop videos is making children grow up too fast.
Ministers will make clear that they expect changes and the Government is prepared to intervene directly unless the conveyor-belt of smut is toned down.
The report also calls for a hard-hitting
crackdown on internet pornography, demanding tighter parental controls over access to explicit websites.
Under the plans, laptops will be sold with parental controls automatically activated and customers will have to
request specifically to receive porn -- a reversal of the current position.
Bailey is also demanding a crackdown on lewd lads mags such as Nuts and Zoo, urging retailers to sell the magazines in plain wrappers
or put them behind modesty boards which hide their lurid covers from young children.
Ministers will set up a single website which parents can use to report excessive sexual content on screen, in adverts and
where high street stores sell inappropriate clothing to youngsters.
The Bailey Review demands a return to the days when parents could be confident that programmes broadcast before 9pm would be suitable for the whole
The report accuses broadcasters of actively working against parents by peddling sexual content. 'Some parents even questioned whether the watershed still exists.'
The watershed was introduced to protect children and pre-watershed programming should therefore be developed and regulated with a greater weight towards the attitudes and views of parents, rather than viewers as a whole. Broadcasters and Ofcom should
report annually on how they have specifically engaged parents over the previous year, what they have learnt and what they are doing differently as a result. The onus is on broadcasters to show acceptable content in the first place, not to react to
audience complaints after the event.
The report says parents are most concerned by music performances in music and talent shows during family viewing hours which were heavily influenced by the sexualised
and gender-steroetyped content of music videos , making them more raunchy than was appropriate for that type of viewing .
It concludes: The industry needs to act and, in the case of pre-watershed family
viewing, take a slightly more cautious approach than is currently the case.
|3rd June |
Reg Bailey report to call for age classification of music videos and a one stop complaints shop for sufferers of premature sexualisation
The government report into sexualisation of childhood is due to be published on Monday. The press seem to have been briefed with advance details as reported in the Guardian.
The report has been commissioned by David Cameron from the biased Reg
Bailey, the chief executive of the Mothers' Union and long-term campaigner against 'premature sexualisation'.
Bailey is likely to give the retail, advertising and video industry 18 months to improve their act voluntarily or face tougher government
He is also expected to demand some regulatory bodies such as Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority do more to ensure they seek the views of parents on what is acceptable to show to children.
The report is also set to
criticise the growth of peer to peer marketing, where companies hire teenagers to sell or promote products in school.
The review has already led bodies such as the ASA and the BPI, responsible for the music industry, to make pre-emptive efforts to
show they are aware of the criticism of the way they currently operate. The ASA has promised to set up an advisory body, as well as regulate advertising on company websites.
The music industry is expected to be told to put some kind of advisory
age rating such as films have on music videos. Critics are likely to argue that in practice these music videos go out on TV and parents will unable to stand over their children and prevent them watching them. Latest figures sent to the Bailey review
suggest that half of children have access to TV via their computers in their own bedroom.
Senior figures associated with the review are to claim complacency from some industry bodies.
Bailey is likely to be asked by government to follow
through his report to ensure his recommendations are implemented. Ministers are aware that the previous government published three reports into sexualisation of children in various aspects, but little happened. But Helen Goodman, the shadow justice
minister, said: The voluntary approach has been tried and failed. We must have tougher regulations across the media, including social media. Pester power is the pollution of modern advertising and we should follow the polluter pays principle.
See article from dailymail.co.uk
The Daily Mail adds that at the moment advertising rules mean alcohol and fast food adverts are banned from billboards near schools. A source involved in drawing up the plans said that would be extended to cover adverts featuring sexual
|31st May |
Ex BBFC film censor jailed for false expense claims
Thanks to Sergio
Based on article from
Former Conservative peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been jailed for 12 months for falsely claiming £ 11,277 in parliamentary expenses. He claimed for travel between a home he used in Oxford and Westminster, as
well for overnight stays in London.
Taylor listed his main residence as a home in Oxford, which was owned by his nephew, while he actually lived in a flat in Ealing, west London. He said he had made the false claims in lieu of a salary ,
and had been acting on colleagues' advice.
Jailing him, judge Mr Justice Saunders said the expenses scandal had left an indelible stain on Parliament .
Taylor was a former vice-president of the British Board of Film Classification
serving from 1998 until 2000. He was appointed during moral times when the Government were keeping a close eye on BBFC presidential appointments. This was to ensure a bit of Jack Straw imposed morality after James Ferman had started the hardcore
legalisation ball rolling by passing a few hardcore snippets in R18 videos. So much for their selection of moral high grounders.
|31st May |
Shoppers warned to avoid Barnsley town centre lest they get fined for strong language by police abusing the Public Order Act
See article from
Swearing in public could land Barnsley town centre vistors with an £ 80 on-the-spot fine. Police are targeting bad language in the centre of Barnsley supposedly to encourage shoppers to return.
of the public are being urged to report offensive and intimidating language, including swearing, in a bid to clean up the town's bad image.
South Yorkshire Police will abuse existing powers under the 1986 Public Order Act to hand out fines. The
'initiative' comes into force today.
Inspector Julie Mitchell of South Yorkshire Police said: It is important to note that some people feel upset and intimidated from hearing swearing. Therefore, it has been agreed that those found to be
swearing in the town centre will be dealt with appropriately, by either advice or enforcement.
It is not clear how they will decide whether a particular use of language is offensive - both in terms of the words used and the effects on the
person being spoken to. Perhaps they will take inspiration from Judge Dredd
Campaigner Phil Davies, from Barnsley Voice, which represents businesses in the town centre, said: There is nothing wrong with swearing, I do it every day, but it is
when it is targeted at somebody.
|31st May |
Another batch of claimed celebrity injunctions published
See also list of privacy injunctions from
Another twitter user has published details of more purported celebrity gagging orders.
A newly created Twitter account posted details of 13 alleged injunctions early yesterday morning, directing users to a website for further detailed information.
After attracting more than 500 followers within the first 10 hours of publication, the tweets were removed.
Mark Stephens, a media lawyer, said the courts could instruct the Attorney General or solicitors to begin proceedings, at public expense,
to find out who the person behind the breach was. They would then be subject to a contempt of court action: One of the things about this is that it is a cynical snub of the judiciary but a lot of this information has been available for people using
the internet for quite some time.
But Sara Mansoori, a media barrister at Matrix chambers, which represents claimants and defendants including some mentioned in the latest alleged Twitter breach, said a judge had recently rebuffed solicitors'
calls for the court to start contempt proceedings -- instead telling them they could apply to the Attorney General to intervene: The [breaches] are starting to be a head-on collision with the courts, she said. Courts are implementing laws by
Parliament. We have moved away from privacy laws to contempt laws, we are in a very serious situation [but] we have got Parliament, through comments through the Prime Minister saying he is concerned about the courts, and John Hemming [the MP] saying they
are unhappy with the way the courts are applying the law.
The author of the latest alleged Twitter breach used the anonymous mask -- employed by groups and individuals seeking to challenge institutions and whistle blow wrongdoings.
|29th May |
Bahrain gives the BBFC a lesson in 'proper' censorship
President of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA) Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al Khalifa conducted a visit to the BBFC as part of his visit to London.
During his meeting BBFC Assistant Director David Austin presented Shaikh Fawaz with a detailed
briefing on the duties of the BBFC related to regulating and classification of films.
Austin also reviewed with IAA president the independency of the board financially and administratively along with means of monitoring movies and its final
Meanwhile, Shaikh Fawaz reviewed with Austin various means of cooperation between the IAA and the BBFC making use of its expertise in the Kingdom of Bahrain through the study of privatization of film classification.
Bahrain shows off its censorship expertise by destroying 100,000 publications
Following directives of the IAA's President Shaikh Fawaz,
Bahrain's Publication and Publishing Directorate in coordination with the Public Prosecutor destroyed more than 100,000 publications that are contrary to the laws and regulations.
This action is considered the largest of its kind since the past
five years, which included the seizure of large numbers of computer software, CD-ROMs and films in violation of the law regulating the press, printing and publishing and the copyright law and that related to rights and intellectual property laws.
The Director of Publications and Publishing Censorship, Nawaf Mohammed Al Mawadh, said that this process comes in the framework of the keenness of the Kingdom of Bahrain's commitment to international covenants and laws, and to protect the market and society from counterfeit and indecent publications, which are incompatible with the teachings of religion and morals of society.
|26th May |
Scottish government agree proposal to ban threatening communications about football
New laws against soccer sectarianism could be in place by the start of the next football season after proposals won the support of the Scottish cabinet.
The Offensive Behaviour in Football and Threatening Communications Bill would see
football supporters who cause sectarian disruption at matches or online jailed for up to five years.
Currently people who cause disruption at matches can be charged with breach of the peace, with a maximum one-year sentence. Online hate crime,
such as comments posted on Twitter, will be included in the legislation and would carry the same punishment.
A spokesman for Alex Salmond said that the Bill is focused on particular areas of the issue of sectarianism and is part of a much wider
and comprehensive effort to eradicate the problem .
The Bill is expected to be presented to Parliament by the middle of June and completed by the end of the month.
Community safety minister Roseanna Cunningham has been given special
responsibility to tackle the issue.
|25th May |
Ofcom censure Iranian Press TV for interview with arrested journalist
See article from guardian.co.uk
|25th May |
Independent counts 333 gagging orders in the past 5 years
See article from independent.co.uk
|23rd May |
If the Guardian were a film, what BBFC rating would it get?
See article from guardian.co.uk
|21st May |
Up n coming review of superinjunctions
Based on article from
See also Should press be
gagged when reporting parliament? from indexoncensorship.org
Lord Neuberger's soon to be published review is expected to warn spate of restrictive privacy orders pose a grave threat to tradition of open justice Superinjunctions should only be granted in exceptional circumstances because of the threat they pose to
open justice, a report by one of Britain's most senior judges is expected to warn.
Pre-notification ought to be given to third parties, such as the media, of court hearings where celebrities or others are applying for restrictive orders protecting
their anonymity, the study headed by the master of the rolls, Lord Neuberger, is also expected to recommend.
Another issue the report may address is the question of how far parliamentary privilege protects the media in reporting speeches by MPs or
peers that may be in contempt of court orders.
Whether Neuberger's report will add to the argument that the government needs to pass a privacy law is not clear.
The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has ruled it out following a meeting with
the justice secretary, Ken Clarke.
The long-awaited survey of superinjunctions and privacy orders, which runs to around 100 pages, will provide the government with clearer evidence about the need for a privacy law. Established last year in the
wake of the Trafigura affair and the row over the England footballer John Terry's private life, the Neuberger committee of experts was asked to examine the use of injunctions which bind the press and so-called 'superinjunctions' .
|19th May |
Google not impressed by UK website blocking measures in the Digital Economy Act
Thanks to Nick
article from guardian.co.uk
Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has warned that government plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites could set a disastrous precedent for freedom of speech.
Speaking to journalists at Google's Big Tent conference in
London, Schmidt said the online search giant would challenge attempts to restrict access to the Pirate Bay and other so-called cyberlocker sites, part of government plans to fight online piracy through controversial measures included in the
Digital Economy Act.
Schmidt described website blocking as akin to China's restrictive internet regime:
I would be very, very careful if I were a government about arbitrarily [implementing] simple
solutions to complex problems, he said. So, 'let's whack off the DNS'. Okay, that seems like an appealing solution but it sets a very bad precedent because now another country will say 'I don't like free speech so I'll whack off all those DNSs' -- that
country would be China.
It doesn't seem right. I would be very, very careful about that stuff. If [the UK government] do it the wrong way it could have disastrous precedent setting in other areas.
Speaking at the same conference, the culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, said plans to block access to illicit filesharing websites were on schedule. He admitted that a challenge of the controversial measure is deciding which sites get
Ofcom is due to present its report on the practicability of the site-blocking measures included in the DEA to Hunt in the coming weeks.
|18th May |
Justice Secretary indicates that he will introduce a privacy law
See article from telegraph.co.uk
Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, has indicated that a new privacy law will be introduced after warning that the public is not entitled to know about the sex lives of footballers [and politicians?] .
Clarke said there were areas of privacy where Britons could expect to be protected, but added he was uneasy about the use of super-injunctions, which prevent the public from knowing if a gagging order has even been obtained.
The Daily Telegraph disclosed that more than 80 injunctions have been taken out by well-known people, including Premier League footballers, actors and an MP.
Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, will this week present an official report to the
Government on injunctions, which is expected to recommend more public scrutiny of their use.
Plainly, I believe in the freedom of the press and freedom of speech in this country, even
when sometimes it is exercised provocatively ...HOWEVER... I also think there are areas of privacy where an individual is entitled to have it protected.
It is probably right to say that Parliament passing a
privacy act might well be the best way of resolving it. But we need to get somewhat nearer to a consensus, and one needs to know exactly how we are going to strike this balance.
|17th May |
BBC censor a Mic Righteous rap
See article from
The BBC has come under attack after the words free Palestine were edited out of a performance by rapper Mic Righteous on a 1Xtra show. The freestyle rap originally aired in December, but appeared again in a best-of show at the end of
April with the political statement edited out.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign issued a statement last week urging listeners to write to the BBC and Radio Times to complain about what they termed an extraordinary act of censorship .
A BBC spokesman claimed: All BBC programmes have a responsibility to be impartial when dealing with controversial subjects and an edit was made to Mic Righteous' freestyle to ensure that impartiality was maintained .
|17th May |
The film the British won't get to see
7th May 2011. See article
from guardian.co.uk by Keith Allen
See video from
My documentary about the Diana inquest will be shown everywhere but the UK. Here's why
The internet is a global lavatory wall, a Rabelaisian mixture of truth, lies, insanity and humour. I felt
its power and madness this week, when an excerpt from my new film, Unlawful Killing, was leaked on to YouTube and seized on by US conspiracy theorists, who immediately began claiming that the CIA had murdered Princess Diana, thereby allowing others to
dismiss my documentary as mad.
Deriding its critics as mad is an age-old British establishment trick. My inquest of the inquest film contains footage of Diana recalling how the royals wanted her consigned to a
mental institution, and the inquest coroner repeatedly questioning the sanity of anyone who wondered if the crash was more than an accident. His chief target was Mohamed Al Fayed, a man I once profiled for a Channel 4 documentary. Before I met him, I'd
half-believed the media caricature of him as a madman, driven nuts by the death of his son, and wildly accusing the Windsors of having planned the 1997 crash. However, I found a man who was sane and funny but frustrated that Britain wouldn't hold an
inquest into his son's death. Michael Mansfield QC thought it unfair too, and fought for one to be held; which was why the longest inquest in British legal history eventually began in 2007.
Why is the film being premiered next week at Cannes, three years after the inquest ended? Because British lawyers insisted on 87 cuts before any UK release could be contemplated. So rather than butcher the film, or risk legal action,
we're showing it in France, then the US, and everywhere except the UK.
...Read the full article
17th May 2011. See article from
Keith Allen has suggested that his Princess Diana documentary Unlawful Killing may be screened in London.
Speaking at a press conference for
the film in Cannes, Allen said:
I haven't made any cuts of the 87 that were suggested, which is contributing to why the film isn't being shown in England. When you want to screen a film in England you have to have
insurance, and the only way to get insurance is to be lawyer-approved. I could get lawyer approval if I made the 87 cuts, which I wasn't prepared to make.
It's an ongoing process, there's a chance it may be seen in
England. We're in talks with the [BFI] London Film Festival and it could be shown there.
Update: Sydney Film Festival
25th August 2013. See
article from dailyadvertiser.com.au
A controversial documentary alleging dark forces in the British establishment covered up details of Diana, the Princess of Wales' death in 1997 will be screened at a Sydney film festival next month.
The screening of Unlawful
Killing at the Sydney Underground Film Festival on September 7 and 8 is understood to be the only time it has been shown outside a private screening at the 2011 Cannes film festival and at an Irish festival.
It will be screened one day after the
world premiere of Diana , a biopic starring Naomi Watts, in London on September 5.
|16th May |
Blogger has a go at the BBFC over the 12A certificate for Hanna
See article from eatsleeplivefilm.com
|13th May |
Latest privacy injunction specifically bans publication on social networking sites
See article from telegraph.co.uk
The first injunction specifically banning the publication of information on Facebook and Twitter was issued yesterday.
The far-reaching order was issued in the Court of Protection in the case of a mother who wants to withdraw life support from her
brain-damaged daughter. It prevents the identification of the woman, her relatives and those caring for her.
Legal experts said they had never seen an injunction which specifically barred publication of information on social networking websites.
John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP who is campaigning against the excessive use of gagging orders, said: They are like King Canute, the tide will keep coming in no matter what they do. The problem the courts have is Twitter is not registered
in the UK and is therefore outside British jurisdiction. What they are saying is unrealistic. This is about life and death and I don't think it's acceptable, there is a real issue with transparency. The Court of Protection operates in a bubble -- it's
out of touch with the real world.
|10th May |
British ISP starts a website blocking service for children
See article from
One of the UK's largest ISPs has launched network-level website blocking aimed at protecting subscribers' children and their computers. While reports of HomeSafe's ability to block access to viruses, pornography and violent content has been widespread,
it also blocks file-sharing sites and even information about file sharing at torrentfreak.com .
The package offers various services
- Virus Alerts which blocks sites (or sections of sites) known to be infected with malware.
- Homework Time , a feature which allows parents to grant kids access to the Internet for educational purposes, but stops them in their
tracks should they attempt to become distracted by social networking sites such as Facebook.
- KidsSafe, offers parents a set of controls to stop their kids (or indeed anyone else using a TalkTalk Internet connection) from accessing violent,
pornographic or gambling content.
TalkTalk is stressing that HomeSafe is completely optional and is disabled by default. The list of blocked sites will not be made available.
|10th May |
Max Mosley fails bid to force publishers to warn those effected by newspaper exposes
Based on article from
Ex Formula 1 boss Max Mosley has lost his European Court of Human Rights bid to force newspapers to warn people before exposing their private lives.
He said the Strasbourg verdict was disappointing but he may appeal, to keep fighting for
tighter privacy laws: [I'm] obviously disappointed, but it's satisfying that they've been extremely critical of the News of the World.
Mosley won his 2008 High Court battle after a judge ruled there was no justification for the News of the
World's front-page article about him paying five women to take part in a sado-masochistic orgy.
The tabloid reported that the orgy involving Mosley, the son of fascist leader Oswald Mosley, had Nazi overtones, but this was rejected by the judge.
Although he was awarded £ 60,000 damages, everyone had learned the details of his sexual preferences, and he argued money alone could not restore his reputation. He said once a story had been published,
you could not un-publish it, and the damage had been done.
He took his case to the Human Rights Court, challenging UK laws which allow publication without giving targets advanced warning. The court clearly had some sympathy for Mosley's
individual case, but said it had to look more broadly and assess the balance between an individual's right to privacy and the media's right to freedom of expression under the UK's legal system.
The UK, along with other contracting states, has a
margin of appreciation - ie some leeway in the way it protects people's right to privacy. Taking that into account, the court found that the mix of rights and remedies available to people in the UK - which includes actions for damages, injunctions
when the person knows of an imminent story, and regulation of the press through the Press Complaints Commission - sufficiently protected their privacy. It also feared that a general requirement of prior notification risked having a chilling effect on
serious investigative journalism.
|9th May |
Ofcom get excited by Rihanna's S+M
Based on article from
Music Video: Rihanna - S&M
WTF TV, 10 March 2011, 11:25
WTF TV [great name!] is a music channel that primarily broadcasts music videos of mainstream chart music, including pop and R&B/Urban, and
classic music videos from the last 30 years. The channel uses a video jukebox format. The channel is owned and operated by TV Two.
WTF TV broadcast a music video by the R&B/pop singer Rihanna for the song S&M , at 11:25 on 10 March.
The video contained themes of sexual bondage, dominance and sadomasochism, including images of Rihanna: being dragged into a room of press journalists and cameras; her body and face being restrained behind cellophane; walking a man – who is the
well known gossip blogger Perez Hilton - on a leash like a dog and whipping him; whipping a man dressed as a journalist with his hands and feet tied up with gaffer tape; in sexualised positions with blow-up dolls; lying on the floor on her chest with her
hands and feet tied up with rope behind her back in positions of sexualised restraint; dressed up in various rubber and latex fetish outfits; and eating a banana and licking an ice cream encrusted with jewels in a sexually suggestive manner. The video
also included images of people dressed as press journalists with bondage-style „ball gags? in, or gaffer tape across, their mouths. There were very brief images of the word slut written on Rihanna?s dress and a press journalist's notepad.
The song in the music video included the following lyrics:
Feels so good being bad (Oh oh oh oh oh) There's no way I'm turning back (Oh oh oh oh oh) Now the pain is for pleasure cause nothing could measure (Oh oh oh oh oh)…
Cause I may
be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it Sticks and stones may break my bones But chains and whips excite me…
Oh, I love the feeling you bring to me, oh, you turn me on
It's exactly what I've been yearning for, give it to me strong And meet me in my boudoir, make my body say ah ah ah I like it-like it
Ofcom received a complaint that the music video was completely unsuitable for daytime broadcast.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
Ofcom had to consider first
whether this broadcast material was unsuitable for children. We took into consideration that while the video included themes of bondage, sexual dominance and sadomasochism, as described above, such themes and corresponding images were presented in a
surreal, colourful and sometimes humorous manner, rather than representing strong fetish material or depicting real or realistic sadomasochistic practices. We also noted that TV Two argued that the video reflects the real life drama of the artist who
recently experienced well documented domestic violence from a partner , and that the broadcaster considered these images to be cartoon-like, over-the-top sequences which were artistic and not dark or seedy .
considered that some of the images included in the video had a significant sexual fetish, bondage and sadomasochistic nature. The video included images of Rihanna: with her body and face being restrained behind cellophane; walking a man on a leash like a
dog and whipping him; whipping a man dressed as a journalist with his hands and feet tied up with gaffer tape; adopting sexualised positions with blow-up dolls; lying on the floor on her chest with her hands and feet tied up with rope behind her backs in
positions of sexualised restraint; dressed up in various rubber and latex fetish outfits; and eating a banana and licking an ice cream encrusted with jewels in a sexually suggestive manner. The video also included images of people dressed as press
journalists with bondage-style ball gags in, or gaffer tape across, their mouths.
In addition, Ofcom considered that in tandem with the images in this video, the lyrics of the song clearly and repeatedly focused on sex, bondage and sadomasochistic
sexual practices as a theme. For example:
Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it, Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it, Sticks and stones may break my bones, But chains and whips excite
me 2 ;
Oh, I love the feeling you bring to me, oh, you turn me on, It's exactly what I've been yearning for, give it to me strong.
In Ofcom's view, the
cumulative effect of the images described above and the sexual lyrics of the song resulted in the video conveying a powerful, sexualised fetish theme. Further, in Ofcom's view, some of the behaviour in the video (such as images of Rihanna – and in
particular her body and face – being restrained by a large cellophane sheet, and shots of people with their mouths gagged with gaffer tape or ball gags could have potentially dangerous consequences if imitated by children.
Given the above, it is
Ofcom's view that the content of this particular music video was not suitable for children.
Ofcom therefore went on to consider whether this material was appropriately scheduled so as to provide adequate protection to children from viewing this
Ofcom was conscious that WTF TV does not appear to attract a large child audience. However, we also took into account that Rihanna is a very well known and popular singer who has a widespread appeal to children, including
younger children, and this particular music video received a large amount of press attention and interest before being broadcast. Further, we noted that WTF TV did not place a time restriction on this particular music video. Therefore it would have been
broadcast at various times throughout the day (not just at 11:25) when children, especially younger children, are available to watch television, some unaccompanied by an adult. Ofcom noted the fact that, during daytime and before the watershed, other
music channels only broadcast an edited version of this video.
In light of the above factors, it is Ofcom?s view that given the sexualised nature of the content and theme, and the at times inappropriate and potentially dangerous and imitable
behaviour shown in this video, this material exceeded the likely expectations of the audience for this channel during daytime.
We therefore concluded that the material breached Rule 1.3.
Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the
acceptability of material in music videos broadcast before the watershed. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.
|9th May |
Twitter user stirs things up by naming celebrities claimed to have taken out super injunctions
Based on article from
A Twitter user named InjuctionSuper has stirred things up with some celebrities who he claims to have obtained super-injunctions to prevent publication of details of their private lives.
The press say that some of these claims are not true but of
course they cannot say which these are nor can they confirm any false names.
The use of super injunctions seems ever present in the news these days and seems to be causing much disquiet. A report by a committee set up by the Master of the Rolls -
the most senior civil law judge at the Court of Appeal - will report on their use later this month.
BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman said it will have to grapple with the issue of publication online.
If it doesn't the super or
secret-injunction may no longer be an effective tool in the administration of justice, he said.
Media lawyer Charlotte Harris, of Mishcon de Reya, said the stories subject to super-injunctions were quite often cases of nasty blackmail .
She said: You should be allowed to end a relationship with somebody, whether you are married or not, without having that person say 'right, I'm going to go to the paper, I'm going to destroy your life, I'm going to tell everybody every intimate thing
A lawyer who acts for newspapers suggested the viral effect of postings on social media websites could make a mockery of super-injunctions. Niri Shan, head of media law at Taylor Wessing, added: You can get an
allegation that is made but before you know... it goes to potentially millions of people. Although people don't take these allegations as seriously as newspapers they certainly have a detrimental effect.
|9th May |
Newspaper censor set extend its remit to cover tweets from accounts associated with newspapers
Based on article from
Reporter and newspaper Twitter feeds are expected to brought under the censorship of the Press Complaints Commission later this year, the first time the body has sought to consolidate social media messages under its remit.
The PCC believes that
some postings on Twitter are, in effect part of a newspaper's editorial product , writings that its code of practice would otherwise cover if the same text appeared in print or on a newspaper website. Last year the PCC found it was unable to rule
in a complaint made against tweets published by the Brighton Argus.
Its plan, though, is to distinguish between journalists' public and private tweets. Any Twitter feed that has the name of the newspaper and is clearly an official feed -- such as
@telegraphnews or @thesun_bizarre -- will almost certainly be monitored. However, that principle could be further extended to cover a reporter's official work account, whilst leaving personal accounts as outside its ambit.
The PCC wants
each newspaper to develop a Twitter policy , to tell its reporters which accounts are considered part of its editorial product and which are not. But with many newspapers, including the Guardian, republishing tweets on their site, many journalist
musings are likely to be drawn in.
An online working group of the PCC has already recommended that the body undertake a remit extension , after consulting with the newspaper industry as to how Twitter regulation can be implemented. That
consultation is due to finish in the summer and the new rules are likely to be in place by the end of the year.
|6th May |
1/4 men worried about the amount of porn they watch online
article from drpetra.co.uk
|4th May |
All society's ills to be cured by banning gay kisses from pre-watershed TV
1st May 2011. See
article from dailymail.co.uk
Lesbian kisses could be banned from television screens until the watershed under nutter inspired Government plans to stop children being exposed to supposedly indecent images.
A review launched with the backing of David Cameron is expected
to recommend that sexually suggestive scenes currently allowed before the 9pm watershed, such as the famous lesbian embrace on soap opera Brookside, should not be shown until later in the evening.
The inquiry is being led by Mothers' Union chief
executive Reg Bailey.
The Daily Mail said that Bailey is likely to focus on more restrictive watershed rules. A source close to the inquiry said: It is hard to protect children in the internet and mobile-phone age but we have to do something.
Sources also suggested that raunchy dance routines, such as those by pop stars Christina Aguilera and Rihanna on last year's X Factor final, could also fall foul of more censorial watershed rules.
Bailey is also understood to be looking
at a ban on sexy advertisements in public places. The source added: Some of those huge poster advertisements for bras and knickers leave precious little to the imagination and they are there for all our children to see.
Bailey is examining
restricting internet pornography by enabling parents to ask ISPs to block adult websites at source rather than relying on parental controls.
Update: Mothers' Union chief executive Reg Bailey is not speaking for the
4th May 2011. See article from themothersunion.org
Clarification on reports published in print and online 1st and 2nd May 2011.
Mothers' Union explicitly refutes all allegations regarding the banning of lesbian kisses on television before or after
the watershed as claimed by the media this week, including in The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers.
The Bailey Review as conducted by the Department of Education is independent of the Mothers' Union's Bye Buy
Childhood Campaign and therefore, any recourse to statements against Mothers' Union are unfounded and should be directed to the Department of Education.
The Mothers' Union's Campaign is gender inclusive and is
therefore, neither targeted towards or against any type of relationship and should not be expressed as such.
|29th April |
Australian TV show banned from joking about royal wedding
article from csmonitor.com
The Australian TV show The Chaser, which had planned an irreverent commentary to accompany images of the ceremony, has been pulled from ABC2's schedule, after learning that footage of the event is banned from being used in any comedy or satirical
ABC TV director Kim Dalton said he was surprised and disappointed that The Chaser could not be aired, while one of the show's stars, Julian Morrow, described the rule as out of step with a modern democracy.
House, which oversees the affairs of Prince William and drew up the broadcast contract with the BBC, issued a statement saying that it was standard practice for these kinds of religious ceremonies to include a clause which restricts usage in drama,
comedy, satirical, or similar entertainment programs.
Organizations championing freedom of expression have questioned whether the royals should have the right to impose such restrictions, especially given that the taxpayer will pick up most of
the costs involved in organizing the event.
Padraig Reidy, news editor at Britain's Index on Censorship, describes the royal family's control of the coverage as bizarre. He adds that plans for preemptive arrests and restrictions on the
right to protest were even more concerning, branding as unprecedented the police's intended approach.
|24th April |
Dangerous email wipes out 5% from the worth of Greek banks
A London trader will be questioned by police after he was accused by Greek authorities of allegedly sending an email which sent markets crashing.
Paul Moss who works at the London-based Citigroup allegedly sent an email from the Canary Wharf
office and said Greece would restructure its debt as soon as the weekend.
He is now being accused of causing a 4.6% drop in Greek bank shares.
The country has been excluded from financial markets because of the crippling debt crises it
suffered last year. However, authorities have constantly tried to ease investment fears by saying the debt is manageable.
Greek police confirmed they had recovered a computer from the US bank Citigroup and plan to question Moss about the damaging email
|23rd April |
Ofcom begrudgingly accepts mildly sexy X Factor dancer performances
21st April 2011. From stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk
The X Factor Final
ITV1, 11 December 2010, 19:00 (repeated 12 December 2010, 09:30)
The X Factor Final was the climax of the seventh series of this popular talent show.
While viewers waited for the voting to be concluded and the announcement of the name of the act which had made it through to the Sunday final show, the
programme featured two well known singers. One, Rihanna, performed her latest song, What's My Name , at 20:32 in a dress which was removed by a dancer during the performance to reveal a strapless top and high waisted pants. Later at 20:47
Christina Aguilera sang the song Express from the film Burlesque in which she stars. This featured the singer with a number of dancers performing in a burlesque- style of dance and dress.
Ofcom received 2,868 complaints that the
performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too sexually explicit for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed. Some considered that The X Factor was a family show and that the content of both performances was not suitable for children
to view before the watershed. With reference to both performances complainants commented that they [Rihanna and Christina Aguilera] performed in a very sexual manner and the content was too sexually explicit and inappropriate for the young
audience of this show . With specific reference to Christina Aguilera's performance, complainants expressed concern that: the dancing, costumes and tone were sexually explicit and at odds with the watershed which should seek to protect children
from sexualisation and there were extremely revealing background dancers performing indecent dance moves .
Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a
daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances. However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the
photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would
have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast.
- Rule 1.3: Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
- Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is
justified by the context...
Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach...Just...
In considering this case, Ofcom took into account that The X Factor is a Saturday night programme which many families sit down together to watch.
With reference to Rihanna's performance (which commenced at 20:32), Ofcom noted that she began in a long wrap-around dress and approximately half way through the routine the dress was removed by a dancer to reveal a strapless top and high- waisted pants.
Rhianna's dance routine had some mildly sexual overtones and included images of her gyrating and rocking her buttocks. However, it was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance. Where there were close
ups of Rhianna, these focussed on her front or her head and shoulders, not her exposed back. Additionally, the camera panned quickly and continuously throughout the performance, resulting in the shots of the individual dance movements of both Rihanna and
her dancers being very brief.
Ofcom was therefore of the view that, taken as a whole, the performance by Rihanna was presented in a style which would not have exceeded the likely expectations of the audience either on 11 December between 20:30 and
21:00 or the following morning from 09:30. With reference to the content, the performer and the dancers were in Ofcom's opinion adequately dressed with clothing covering their buttocks. The part of the dance routine which featured some gentle thrusting
of the buttocks by Rihanna was in keeping with her performing style, suitably limited and brief in duration, and in Ofcom's view was suitable for a pre-watershed audience.
Ofcom concluded therefore that this material was appropriately scheduled
and the broadcaster complied with Rule 1.3.
Christina Aguilera's performance
Ofcom considered that this performance taken as a whole was sexualised in nature to some extent. The outfits of some of the dancers were revealing, with limited
coverage of the buttocks, and were of a sexualised nature because they were based on lingerie such as basques, stockings and suspenders. The outfits, taken together with dance positions featuring thrusting buttocks and women bent over chairs, resulted in
a routine which aimed to reflect the essence of burlesque but contained sexualised elements. Taken individually, some of these images may not be uncommon in programmes broadcast pre-watershed. The routine however had a number of simultaneous, sexualised
elements concentrated into a relatively short period of time and there was therefore a cumulative effect.
We note the explanation given by Channel TV that its control over the detailed nature of the performance itself was limited in this case. In
such circumstances, broadcasters must take particular care to employ other measures to retain independence of editorial control. In this case, we acknowledge that Channel TV had sought to minimise the potential for offence by taking other measures, such
as particular camera angles. Therefore, while the dancers did adopt some sexualised positions intermittently as described above, Ofcom noted that shots of these poses were fleeting, as is expected in a fast paced routine. Additionally, the performance
was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance – minimising the potential impact.
Importantly, throughout the routine there were no close-up shots of individual dancers so the viewer was not drawn to
any one dancer's clothing or actions in detail. The dancers were in effect a backdrop to Christina Aguilera, who was not wearing similar clothing or following the same dance routine. For all these reasons, the impact of the dancers on-screen was
Ofcom considered that there was editorial justification for the type of costumes that the dancers were wearing, and the style of the dance routine overall. They reflected the burlesque-theme and storyline of the feature
film Burlesque in which Christina Aguilera starred, and which was shortly due to go on general cinematic release at the time of this broadcast. However, the overtly sexual nature of the burlesque-style routine of the dancers was, in Ofcom's view,
nevertheless clearly capable of causing offence to some viewers and we considered that this content was at the very margin of acceptability for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed, and especially when broadcast on 12 December 2011 at 09:30. However, on
balance, and taking all matters into consideration, including the steps taken by Channel TV to minimise the potential for offence, Ofcom was of the view that this performance was not in breach of Rule 1.3 of the Code.
Ofcom concluded however that
the performance was sufficiently justified by the context in which it was presented. In particular the performance was within the likely expectations of the audience for pre-watershed programmes. The broadcaster therefore applied generally accepted
standards and Rule 2.3 was not breached.
Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in pre- watershed programmes that attract large family viewing audiences. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who
transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.
Not in Breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3
Offsite Comment: This is what Ofcom calls 'acceptable'
23rd April 2011.
See article from
One blonde dancer is dressed, if that's the word, in a low-cut basque while striking a lewd pose that leaves nothing to the imagination. Another in skimpy bra, suspenders and stockings leans provocatively over a chair while others leer suggestively into
The scantily-clad women formed part of the sleazy performance by Christina Aguilera during last year's controversial final of ITV's X Factor. Family friendly? A blonde dancer strikes a raunchy pose that leaves little to the imagination
TV watchdog Ofcom this week ruled that explicit routines by Miss Aguilera and fellow pop star Rihanna were at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.
But, to the astonishment of many, the media
regulator said they did not breach broadcasting rules.
Instead, the regulator rebuked the Daily Mail, saying that some 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints it received followed our coverage of the sexual content of a programme which horrified parents and
politicians. Ofcom claimed the Mail used images that suggested the talent show contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast . Now readers can judge for themselves.
...Read the full
2011. From yorkshirepost.co.uk
Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK said:
During the last 10 years, it seems the
watershed has quietly been eroded. So much so, that Christina Aguilera's sexual X Factor routine was recently cleared by the broadcasting watchdog of being inappropriate for a young audience.
Ofcom did say it was 'at
the very margin of acceptability', but it does make you wonder what they would have to do to breach the guidelines. The argument goes that society has changed and, therefore, what's acceptable on television has changed.
However, in recent years, far too much emphasis has been placed on 'freedom of expression' with little or no emphasis on the corresponding responsibilities.
Offsite Comment: An Irish
30th April 2011. See article from
The next time you see Christina Aguilera on The X Factor, she will likely be dressed as a nun (and not the perved-up Lady Gaga variety).
Christina-gate is big news in Britain, where Right-wing commentators are of the view that an entire generation risks being corrupted by the sight of Aguilera slow-grinding up against a chair. Which raises the
question: has anyone in the UK ever heard of the internet?
The notion that the most scandalous image a young person is likely to see today is a semi-clad pop singer is beyond ludicrous. Five minutes trawling the web
will reveal images that make Christina look like a Saturday morning TV presenter from 1979.
...Read the full
|21st April |
Yet another gagging order with an even more far reaching scope
See article from telegraph.co.uk
A High Court judge has issued an unprecedented gagging order in an attempt to prevent details of a television star's private life being published, even on the internet.
Mr Justice Eady, who has been at the centre of most recent controversial libel
and privacy cases, made the injunction against the world rather than just against national newspapers and broadcasters.
His order seeks to prevent the publication of intimate photographs of a married public figure after a woman tried
to sell them for a large sum of money .
The judge said the woman owed the unidentified claimant a duty of confidence and breaching his privacy would damage the health of the man and his family.
His order is intended to
cover discussion of the case online as well as in traditional media, despite the difficulties in enforcing it.
The injunction contra mundum is intended to be never-ending and, as its Latin name suggests, applies to the entire world.
understood that it is the first time that such an order has been granted in a privacy case.
The ruling takes secrecy laws to a new level, marking a further advance in the steps the courts are prepared to take to protect high-profile figures and to
restrict the right to freedom of expression.
|21st April |
Ofcom whinge at buttocks in a Fio Rada music video
Music Video: Flo Rida - Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
4Music, UK Hot 40, daytime
Also MTV Base and MTV Dance, daytime
4Music is a music and general entertainment channel broadcasting mainly
chart music, including pop and R&B/Urban. The channel is owned and operated by Box Television Ltd.
4Music broadcast a music video by the artist Flo Rida for the song Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) . This video was broadcast at various
times before the watershed, including at 14:00 and 18:00.
The video was set in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and included images of female dancers wearing both carnival dress and revealing thong bikinis. The dancers were shown dancing in a carnival
style in the streets and dancing on the beach in their swimwear. While doing so they were shown bending over with their buttocks to camera, and repeatedly shaking and playfully slapping their buttocks.
Ofcom noted that throughout the four minute
video there were almost 20 very close up shots of the dancers? buttocks (both while they were wearing carnival dress and while dancing in their bikinis on the beach). During the video a female dancer, who was wearing a thong bikini (and not carnival
dress), was shown dancing very closely up against Flo Rida and touching his naked upper body. While she danced in this manner, Flo Rida was shown miming repeatedly slapping the female dancer on her buttocks in a playful manner.
three complaints from viewers who were concerned about the broadcast of this music video. One of the complainants described the video as extreme crudeness and filth and another said I was shocked to see women in thongs and bras gyrating and
basically dry humping men in this video . Another complainant said that the video was a sexist and offensive video which mostly comprises women in thong bikini bottoms acting in a pornographic manner . All of the complainants were concerned
that the video was broadcast before the watershed and at the time when children are most likely to watch TV . One complainant said …this objectification of women at such an early time and on a channel that appeals to young people really
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Box Television said that as with many RnB and pop videos, this video could be said to
contain a sexual tone and innuendo. However, whilst the video features female dancers wearing thong bikinis and Carnival attire, synonymous with Brazilian Carnival, there is no nudity, inappropriate touching of the dancers or explicit sexual display .
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
Under the Communications Act 2003 ( the Act ), Ofcom has a statutory duty to require the application, in the case of all television and radio services of standards that provide
adequate protection to members of the public from the inclusion of offensive and harmful material.
Ofcom also has a duty to set such standards for the content of programmes as appear to it best calculated to secure the standards objectives, one of
which is that persons under the age of eighteen are protected .
The video included images of the dancers dancing in a very provocative manner, such as repeatedly shaking their bare buttocks to camera, bending over to camera and playfully
slapping their bare buttocks. In addition the dancers were shown dancing closely up against the rapper Flo Rida and touching his naked chest while he repeatedly mimed slapping one dancer on the buttocks. The video also included around 20 close up and
intrusive shots of the female dancers? buttocks, some of which were when they were bent over or had their legs apart as part of their dancing. Therefore for much of the video the dancers? faces could not be seen. Ofcom also considered that some of the
lyrics of the song Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) contained some sexual innuendo (for example, Oh-oh baby, you want some more baby? I love the way you do it cos you do it so crazy… ).
In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of the
repeated close up images of the female dancers' buttocks, together with some of the provocative dancing and actions in the video, resulted in the video's imagery conveying a highly sexualised theme.
The fact that these images were mainly shown
while the dancers were wearing bikinis on the beach, rather than in traditional carnival dress, increased the sexualised nature of the imagery and detracted from the editorial justification put forward by the broadcaster for the inclusion of these
Given the above, it is Ofcom's view that the content of this particular music video was not suitable for children. While the material did not contain any explicit sexual images, it nevertheless conveyed a highly sexualised theme for the
reasons set out above. Further, it is our view that this particular video contained more sexualised images, and in particular close up and intrusive shots of the dancers' bare buttocks, than would normally be expected in a music video of this genre,
broadcast at a time when children were likely to be watching.
We therefore concluded that the material breached Rule 1.3.
|16th April |
Stephen Fry organises benefit gig to help Paul Chambers appeal his conviction for tweeting a supposedly menacing joke
See article from
Comedian Stephen Fry has said he is prepared to go to prison over the Twitter joke trial. Fry was appearing at a benefit gig for Paul Chambers who is appealing to the High Court against his conviction for sending a supposedly menacing
communication. He had tweeted: Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week... otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!
The benefit gig, at London's Bloomsbury Theatre, aimed to raise funds for Chambers' appeal. Freedom of speech.
Among the other celebrities lending their support to the fundraising evening were Al Murray, Rufus Hound, Katy Brand and Father Ted writer Graham Linehan.
Fry argued that Chambers' tweet was an example of Britain's tradition of self-deprecating
humour and banter. Appeal funds This [verdict] must not be allowed to stand in law, Fry said, adding that he would continue to repeat Chambers' message and face prison if that's what it takes .
Chambers' lawyer, David Allen Green,
also addressed the audience, briefing them on the key details of his case. 'Speak freely' Although he was careful not to criticise the courts, he said the decision to find his client guilty does not make me proud to be an officer of the court .
We should be able to have banter. We should be able to speak freely without the threat of legal coercion.
Chambers' appeal is likely to go before the High Court later this year.
|16th April |
Election candidate gets Koran burning charges dropped
12th April 2011. Based on
article from google.com
See also 'Theatrical bigotry' - judge jails man for burning the Koran from
A British National Party election candidate accused of publicly burning a copy of the Koran has been freed after the charge against him was unexpectedly dropped. He had uploaded a video of his burning a Koran in a private garage saying : I am burning
the Holy Koran and I hope that you Muslims are watching.
Sion Owens was arrested and charged at the weekend under Section 29 (probably meant Section 4A) of the the much abused Public Order Act. The BNP candidate in next month's Welsh Assembly
elections spent the weekend in custody.
He has been warned that police are continuing to investigate the alleged incident and to expect further action. It is understood that his release was due to a technicality regarding the Act under which he
was arrested and charged.
Offsite Update: Koran burning was on a private video and was not made public
16th April 2011. Based on
article from spiked-online.com by Patrick Hayes
Something very odd
happened at the weekend. A 40-year-old member of the far-right British National Party (BNP) was arrested for burning a copy of the Koran in his own back garden. Yes, it is apparently now a crime to express your disdain for a certain religious faith in
the privacy of your own home. But that's not the end of it. What makes this case especially odd is that the man in question - Sion Owens - was reported to the police by a broadsheet newspaper that claims to be liberal: the Observer. Since when has it
been the job of the respectable, left-leaning press to grass people up to the cops for alleged speech crimes?
When spiked looked into this strange story, we discovered that there are some major disagreements at the Observer in relation to it. The
crime correspondent defended the Observer's actions, but one of the paper's top columnists questioned the wisdom of reporting a private expression of ideas to the authorities.
Owens, a senior member of the BNP who lives in south Wales, does seem
to be an odd individual. Going into his garden, placing a Koran in a metal Quality Street box, dousing it with flammable liquid and then setting it alight while a colleague filmed him - it was a stupid and childish act. However, it was done in a private
garden. So regardless of the fact that it was videoed, this was a form of private expression, and therefore none of the state's business.
...Read the full
|11th April |
Preliminary releases from the review, Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood
Based on article from telegraph.co.uk
The review, Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, is due out next month. It claims that nine out of 10 parents think that their children are growing up too quickly because of increasing sexualisation and commercial pressures, mainly
from the internet and television.
The review has found that direct advertising through mobile phones was the marketing tool that most angered parents, with 35% believing it wrong. Products linked to social networking websites which invite children
to click on them were second on the list of features to upset parents.
Although mothers and fathers want their children to have a mobile phone for safety and social reasons, they now realise it leaves them powerless to stop access to inappropriate
internet sites, including pornography, the review claimed.
The review, conducted by Reg Bailey, the chief executive of Mothers' Union, a Christian charity, has also claimed growing concerns about the exposure of children to sex on television.
In a poll of 1,000 parents, the review has found 41% said that in the previous three months they had seen television programmes or advertisements before the 9pm watershed that they considered wrong for their children to view because of their sexual
content. 40% said they had seen window displays or advertising hoardings inappropriate for children.
Bailey is unlikely to call for new legislation, but will argue that the process for parents to lodge complaints should be strengthened and
Parents concerns are said to include:
- Children are growing up to quickly and behaving in an overtly sexual manner before they are old enough to really understand what sexually provocative behaviour means.
- Celebrity culture, adult style clothes and music videos are encouraging
children to act older than they are.
- Lack of responsibility from business and government in allowing advertising to children.
- Too many clothes, toys, games, music videos or other products that are inappropriate for the age group they
were aimed at.
- The use of phone and text adverts when promoting products for children.
- The increasing pressure to buy non-essential items for their children so they don't feel left out.
- Public places (shop window displays,
advertising hoardings) that they felt were inappropriate for children to see because of their sexual content.
- Programmes or adverts on TV before 9pm watershed that they felt were unsuitable or inappropriate for children due to their sexual
|8th April |
Government advertise website to report terrorism and extremism on the internet
The word 'offensive' seems to be sending mixed messages here. Is mere offense now somehow on par with terrorism?
You'd think they could at least
assign it a snappy url. Crappy wording, and an impossible to remember url make this a very slapdash effort.
See article from
See also reporting internet terrorism
website from direct.gov.uk
Information leaflets and posters have been sent to every police force in the UK advising the public on how to identify and report offensive or illegal terrorism related content.
Security minister, Baroness Neville-Jones, said that it's vital that
online extremism is taken seriously: I want to encourage those who come across extremist websites as part of their work to challenge it and report it through the DirectGov webpage.
By forging relationships with the internet industry and
working with the public in this way, we can ensure that terrorist use of the internet does not go unchallenged.
Websites reported to Directgov via its online form are referred to the national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit. The
specialist team of police experts work with industry and partners in the UK and abroad to investigate and take down illegal or offensive material if necessary.
In the last year, reporting through Directgov has led the government to remove content
which has included beheading videos, terrorist training manuals and calls for racial or religious violence.
The Reporting extremism and terrorism online website defines what content is of interest:
makes offensive content illegal
Not all offensive content is illegal.
The Terrorism Acts 2000 and 2006 made it illegal to:
- have or share information that could be useful to terrorists
- share information that urges people to commit or help with acts of terrorism
- glorify or
Examples of what makes terrorist or extremist content illegal are:
- speeches or essays calling for racial or religious violence
- videos of violence with messages of praise for the attackers
- chat forums with postings
calling for people to commit acts of terrorism
- messages intended to stir up hatred against any religious or ethnic group
- instructions on how to make weapons, poisons or bombs
|5th April |
Operation Ore was based on flawed evidence from the start
See article from theregister.co.uk
|4th April |
New gagging orders stretch right into the heart of parliament
See article from guardian.co.uk
|1st April |
Ed Vaizey confirms plans for a website blocking scheme
Based on article
See also ISPs
urged to block filesharing sites from guardian.co.uk
Minister Ed Vaizey has confirmed to Open Rights Group that Government ministers are talking to copyright lobby groups and ISPs about a voluntary “Great Firewall of Britain” website blocking scheme.
need you to act now.
They want to block websites that music and film companies accuse of copyright infringement.
But a 'self regulatory' censorship scheme places decisions about what you can and cannot look at online in the hands
of businesses. It would remove the vital judicial oversight required by existing powers. Inevitable mistakes would lead to the censorship and disruption of legitimate traffic from businesses, publishers and citizens. And there is little evidence it will
have any beneficial effects for the creative economy.
The good news is that the Minister has promised to include civil society groups in future discussions. We need to be there to counter the pressure rights holders are exerting on decision
You can do your bit by letting your MPs know that website blocking is not acceptable and that the voice of civil society needs to be part of the discussions.
Please email them now to tell them to oppose
Read more on the legal and technical background here