UK News

 2014: Jan-March



  Recommended by Tesco and the Gloucester Citizen newspaper...

Tesco bans The Hospital, an 18 rated low budget horror


Link Here 20th March 2014
Hospital DVD Jim ORear The Hospital is a 2013 USA horror by Tommy Golden and Daniel Emery Taylor.
With Jim O'Rear, Daniel Emery Taylor and John Dugan. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for strong violence, sex and sexual violence for:

  • 2014 Point Blank R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 3rd March 2014 (But read the reviews first, some are appalling)

Tesco censors have removed a horror film featuring strong sexual violence from sale in all stores nationwide after being alerted to the content by the Citizen, a local newspaper.

The Hospital is rated 18 by the BBFC and was on sale for £ 8 in a Gloucester Tesco store. The theme of the film was about snuff movies being filmed at the abandoned hospital. It features scenes of rape of both men and women as well as scenes of sexual torture using an electric drill.

Matt Holmes, the easily shocked and rather unobservant Content Editor of the Citizen, said:

I love horror films and I am not easily shocked... BUT ... I wasn't prepared for the graphic sexually violent scenes depicted in this film.

I would have no problem with the film being sold online or available for rent but I didn't expect to see it for sale in Tesco.

I was also surprised having watched it that there was nothing on the cover warning of the extreme nature of the content as you normally see on films like this.

Actually the DVD's cover describes the film as bloody, violent and creepy as hell and said it was the sickest film since Rosemary's baby. (admittedly Rosemary's baby is hardly the 'sickest' film around)

The newspaper adds that the BBFC warning does not make reference to the extreme sexually violent content of the film.

Actually the BBFC consumer advice reads: Contains strong violence, sex and sexual violence :.

A Tesco spokesperson said:

The Hospital is approved for general release and rated 18. However, on this occasion, we've made the judgement to remove it from sale. We are always pleased to listen to feedback and remain focused on offering the most popular titles to our customers.

 

  Music Censorship...

Camden council gets high court approval for restrictions on busking


Link Here 16th March 2014  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors
camden logo New licensing restrictions on buskers in Camden have been declared lawful by the high court.

Busking without a licence is to become a criminal offence in Camden, punishable with fines of up to £ 1,000. As well as implementing a fine, officials can confiscate instruments.

It is proposed that licences can be obtained on standard conditions for a 12-month period at a fee of £ 19. They can only be used by solo or dual performers. The conditions restrict hours of performing from 10am-9pm, and also restrict the use of certain types of instruments, such as drums, wind instruments and the use of sound amplification.

The restrictions were due to be imposed for the first time last month, but the council agreed to await the outcome of the legal challenge before going ahead.

Comedians Mark Thomas and Bill Bailey and musician Billy Bragg are among celebrities who took to the streets to protest over the restrictions being introduced by the council in the north London borough after noise complaints by local residents. Bragg, who spent his early career busking around London, said licensing would hurt a fundamental aspect of UK culture.

But Mrs Justice Patterson, sitting in London, ruled that Camden council had adopted a policy that was both necessary and a proportionate response to the issue of busking .

The ruling was a defeat for the Keeping Streets Live Campaign, which was ordered to pay £ 7,500 in legal costs.

David Wolfe QC, appearing for the campaign group, asked for permission to appeal, arguing that the ruling raised important legal issues and would have an impact on street entertainment across London. The judge refused permission, which means the campaigners will now have to consider asking the court of appeal itself to hear their case.

 

 Updated: Stop UKIP...

UKIP deputy leader tries to censor tour by satirical comedy act


Link Here 15th March 2014
jonny and  the baptists ukip video Jonny and the Baptists have wound up the UKIP political party with their Stop Ukip Comedy Tour.

The comedy duo have come under fire for their song about Ukip that suggests the party believes all Eastern Europeans live off benefits and won't let us watch Jim Davidson and wants the Queen's jubilee [to] be every day.

Despite Nigel Farage insisting politicians should let people tell their jokes, The Stop Ukip Comedy Tour has been inundated with complaints from party supporters targeting venues.

Ukip's deputy leader Paul Nuttal has condemned the distasteful satire , calling on the Arts Council to investigate funding given to theatres hosting the act. He spouted:

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and Ukip is very much the party of free speech ...BUT... I think it is wrong that taxpayers money is being used to back this production.

This blatantly party political rubbish is being staged to coincide with the run-up to the Euro elections in May and I am appalled that one of the venues in the much lauded Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester. I would have hoped they had higher standards than giving this show house room.

I have written to the Arts Council about this matter and also the Royal Exchange expressing my views about this distasteful satire.

The website Chortle has reported that in fact the pair have received no funding for their tour apart from ticket sales.

Update: Thanks UKIP, more gigs added

15th March 2013. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Barbra Streisand Belle 14th Street A campaign by Ukip to stop a comedy tour called Stop Ukip has backfired massively.

After leaders attempted to censor musical comedians Jonny & the Baptists' new satirical show, the group has now proudly announced additional dates to their tour schedule following an outpouring of support from the industry and general public, alongside soaring ticket sales across the country.

The Huffington Post UK reported last week that Ukip suffered a serious sense of humour fail after launching a battle to stop the comedy duo from touring. But contrary to the intentions of Ukip supporters, news of their campaign against the comedy show quickly saw thousands taking to Twitter to express support for the group -- including fellow comedians Marcus Brigstocke, Dara O'Briain and Robin Ince as well as local councillors, MEP Catherine Bearder and members of the public.

In just three days, Jonny & the Baptists' official UKIP comedy music video achieved over 10,000 additional YouTube views

The comedians said:

The only victory to be claimed is for fans of the Streisand Effect, once again showing that an attempt to censor something only ends up publicising it more.

Every ticket sold on this tour goes directly to paying our rent and keeping us off the streets - so if anyone else wants to start a campaign against us, our landlord would be very grateful.

 

 Offsite Article: Britain is treating journalists as terrorists -- believe me, I know...


Link Here 15th March 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
UK Government arms A journalists gives a little insight in the dangers of reporting the NSA/GCHQ revelations

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Campus censorship: the fightback starts here...


Link Here 8th March 2014
right to be offensive It's time for students to throw off the censors' shackles.

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: Where will this one lead?...


Link Here 27th February 2014
no kids zone Campaigns, both in the UK and the US, are trying to put a stop to the use of images of children in tabloids

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Offsite Article: Should meat be displayed in butcher shop windows?...


Link Here 26th February 2014
hanging pheasants A family butchers in Suffolk has been forced to remove the carcasses hanging in its window display after a petition. So what do others make of the decision?

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Extract: Twenty five years on from Rushdie...

And we are too frightened to say we are scared. By Nick Cohen


Link Here 21st February 2014  full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended

ch4 censored jesus and mo In my You Can't Read This Book , I gave 10 rules for fighting back against dictatorial regimes and movements. The simplest, and the most important was:

If you are frightened, at least have the guts to say so. Once one did not write the word liberal and add hypocrite . Since the Rushdie Affair, the reflex has become automatic. The worst aspect of the fear the ayatollahs spread was that Western intellectuals were afraid of admitting that they were afraid. If they had been honest, they would have forced society to confront the fact of censorship. As it was, their silence made the enemies of liberalism stronger.

...Read the full article

 

 Updated: Creation of Easy Offence...

The Flying Spaghetti Monster offends the censors of the London South Bank University


Link Here 13th February 2014
adam spaghetti monster Atheist students at a London South Bank University have had a poster featuring a flying spaghetti monster banned by union officials, out of fear that religious students would be easily offended by it.

The South Bank Atheist Society (SBAS) poster featured the monster in place of God in a mock-up of Michelangelo's famous Creation of Adam fresco from the Sistine Chapel, but it was removed from the freshers' fair last week.

South Bank Atheist Society president Choe Ansari said:

This incident is just one of a catalogue of attempts to censor our society. I never expected to face such blatant censorship and fragile sensibilities at university. I thought this would be an institution where I could challenge beliefs and in turn be challenged.

All I have seen is religious sensibilities trumping all other rights with no space for argument, challenge or reasoned debate. It is not what I expected when I came to university.

Union censors at the London South Bank University removed the posters from the society's stall overnight and then barred representatives from printing off more, ludicrosuly citing the visibility of Adam's genitals as offensive. But when society members offered to blur out the genitals, they were told the problem with the poster concerned religious offence.

Update: Apologies

13th February 2013. See  article from  politics.co.uk

lsbusu logo London Southbank University student union has unreservedly apologised after staff censored an atheist society's Flying Spaghetti Monster poster. The student union said in a statement:

It is not currently nor has it ever been the union policy to censor student groups or the materials they produce and as such this was not an authorised act and we have now ensured that staff know that they should not do this,

In recognising the distress caused to the society by our actions we have met with and apologised to The Atheist Society president and vice president.

The Atheist Society are as welcome at the students' union as any group or society and we completely respect and support their right to freedom of expression and free speech.

 

 Offsite Article: The law isn't there to protect us from Dieudonnes odious views...


Link Here 5th February 2014  full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
Ragged Union Jack Our banning of Dieudonne shows that the UK has grown feeble. A robust society should be able to handle the stresses of pluralism

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: Gesture Politics...

French comedian Dieudonne banned from the UK


Link Here 4th February 2014  full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
Home Offie logo The French comedian at the centre of the quenelle iracism row has been banned from entering the UK, the Home Office has said.

Dieudonne M'bala M'bala had said he would visit the West Bromwich Albion striker, who faces a ban for performing the comic's quenelle gesture. The quenelle involves touching or gripping your shoulder with one hand while holding the palm of your other hand outstretched and pointing to the ground. Some describe it as a combination of the bras d'honneur with a bent arm (which means up yours ) and the Nazi salute.

Dieudonne has been convicted six times of hate speech against Jews.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said:

We can confirm that Mr Dieudonne is subject to an exclusion order.

The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual from the UK if she considers that there are public policy or public security reasons to do so. 'Indecent'

 

 Offsite Article: D notices, the MoD, and the threat to a very British way of keeping secrets...


Link Here 3rd February 2014
The Guardian Mandarins are upset that the venerable story-clearance system failed to operate for the NSA leaks. But they should value any kind of consensual arrangement with a free press. By Peter Preston

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: BBFC Living and Growing...

Sex education videos for schools now have to be submitted to the BBFC


Link Here 1st February 2014

Living Growing VHS Sarah Kennedy Sex education videos used in schools are to be given age ratings for the first time amid evidence that growing numbers of concerned parents are pulling their children out of classes.

From February, the government will scrap a regulation which exempts sex education videos from age classification. So for example, the BBFC will decide whether sex education videos are PG rated and so suitable for primary school. If the depictions of sex in the videos are anything more than implied and the language is goes beyond mild references and innuendo , they will be effectively banned from primary school.  Also schools will be told to send parents letters detailing the content of sexual education videos before they are shown in class.

The new policy follows 'outrage' over a sex education video made by Channel 4 called Living and Growing . The video included a segment for eight year olds showing a naked cartoon couple chasing each other around a bedroom with a feather before having sex. Another segment, aimed at children from five, asked them to name the body parts on a drawing of a naked man and woman.

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, said:

Ensuring children are protected from inappropriate content in the best way possible, is vitally important. The new classifications will mean that children are better protected from harmful content and parents will have the information they need to make confident decisions about whether certain DVDs are suitable for their children to watch.

The BBFC will be given the powers after a consultation found that teachers were concerned that growing numbers of parents, particularly from ethnic minority backgrounds, are pulling their children out of sex education classes. The consultation, conducted by the BBFC, also assessed parent's concerns about Channel 4's controversial Living and Growing DVD, which was shown in thousands of schools. Teachers said that the feather duster scene, in which a cartoon couple chased each other, conveyed a message that sex is fun and something for children and teenagers to be excited by .

David Austin, the head of Policy at the BBFC, said:

We hope to help schools and help parents find out more about the content of sex education videos before their children see them. What we haven't tended to look at [in the past] is sex education videos for younger children.

There was a lot in the [Living and Growing] video that was suitable. There was one with a cartoon with a woman straddling a man having sex, there was another of a man chasing a woman with a French tickler.

Parents didn't like that, and the company has started selling an edited version.

 

 Updated: Gagging for Repression...

Government pushes through disgraceful gagging bill that censors a wide range of campaign groups in the run up to a general election


Link Here 29th January 2014
House of Commons logo The government has secure a victory against freedom of speech campaigners.

The transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill makes it much harder for charities to get their voices heard during election periods, exactly when their contribution is needed most.

The government's aim was to force small-scale charities, community groups and the like on to a complicated regulatory regime. Such would have been the chilling effect of this law that most local-issue campaigning during elections would have been stifled when it came to election time. No surprise the legislation was dubbed the gagging bill .

As it was, bitter opposition to the proposals finally forced ministers to the negotiating table. Instead of lowering the threshold at which charities must begin reporting their activities to the Electoral Commission watchdog, it was increased to £ 20,000. There were other, smaller retreats too, on how long election time actually means, it was reduced from one year to 7.5 months.

...Read the full article

Update: Gagging Bill Passes

29th January 2013.

House of Lords logo Bar formalities, the Gagging Bill has been now been passed.

It was approved in the House of Lords in a very close vote of  245 Lords in favour and 245 against. Unfortunately the government has the casting vote.

 

  Defence Against Snowden...

Government are thought to be considering compulsory censorship of the press


Link Here 27th January 2014

mod logo Government officials are planning to review the historic D-notice system, which warns the media not to publish intelligence that might damage security, in the wake of the Guardian's stories about mass surveillance by the security services based on leaks from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden .

Sources said Jon Thompson, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, was setting up an inquiry into the future of the committee, raising fears that the voluntary censorship system also known as the DA-notice could be made compulsory.

The committee is supposed to be consulted when news organisations are considering publishing material relating to secret intelligence or the military. It is staffed by senior civil servants and media representatives, who give advice on the publication of sensitive stories.  Minutes of a recent meeting reveal the comment: The events of the last few months had undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness.

In his latest report, its secretary, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance, raised concerns about the parallel publication of Snowden's revelations by newspapers around the world, noting that at the outset the Guardian had avoided engaging with the DA-notice system before publishing the first tranche of information .

 

 Extract: The Lot of the Censor...

Andreas, Whittam Smith, Past President of the BBFC, comments on the new guidelines


Link Here 20th January 2014

bbfc guidelines 2014 A storm of protest greeted publication of new guidelines by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). It always does. Children as young as 15 are to be allowed to watch films filled with obscene language, reported one newspaper. As a former chief film censor myself, I don't object to these expressions of outrage, though they are often unfair. For the activity comprises an unarguably good bit -- classifying films on grounds of suitability for different age groups in order to help parents. And also a controversial bit -- preventing people watching what they might otherwise wish to see, indeed interfering with their freedom.

In these circumstances, you should be exposed to vociferous challenge.

...

Another lesson you learn as a censor is that the BBFC must take society as it is, rather than seek to change it, as various pressure groups would wish. I believe this stance to be completely realistic. How could a body employing just 60 people, managed by a handful of executives, have any expectation of holding back movements in social behaviour against which the government itself, the political classes more generally and the major faiths fail to have an impact?

This powerlessness is going to become more acute. Because today's parents, as a result of developments in technology and the social media, are losing control of their children's viewing habits. The plethora of devices means the dynamics of film-viewing -- in terms of frequency, audience and impact -- has greatly changed in the past few years.

...Read the full article

 

 Offsite Article: Free Speech, Rape Threats and the War on Twitter...


Link Here 18th January 2014
moron watch logo Sadly, most British people seem to have a vague understanding of what free speech is, or why it is so important.

See article from moronwatch.net

 

  And if you asked the kids, they'd probably just say: fuck 'em...

Newspapers and moralists respond to the BBFC guidelines update


Link Here 14th January 2014
strange things are happening9 logo A fair amount of column inches have been devoted to the news that the BBFC has tweaked its guidelines a bit.

Easily the most astute was from the excellent Strange Things are Happening website

Extract: Tinkering at the edges and pandering to the paranoid

See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com . By David Flint

Not only is the BBFC press release rather vague, but the consultation report is contradictory. Time and time again, we are told that the majority agreed with the BBFC's classification of certain films, yet the only people quoted most of the time are those who disagree.

One could easily imagine the Board are allowing the vocal but irrational opinions of the minority to hold sway, in search of an easy life -- censoring and classifying according to the delusions of the most censorial. But that would be silly, wouldn't it?

Surely the Board wouldn't survey so many people, be told -- as they continually boast -- that they are getting it right, and then still tighten up restrictions because some people are too dumb to realise that Ted isn't a kid's film, too weak minded to be able to tell their kids that ghosts are not real - When you bring in supernatural, where you can't explain it away, then you have got problems. (Female, with children 6 -- 10) - or so prudish that they are shocked by the use of arse and crap in a U rated film?

...Read the full article

Foul Mouthed: The Daily Mail speaks shite about the classification of strong language

See  Surrender on film swearing: Children can see films full of obscenities as censors relax rules  from  dailymail.co.uk
See  Leader: Censors who refuse to fight for decency  from  dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail picks up on the relaxation of strong language in the 12 and 15 categories. The changes are:

  BBFC Guidelines 2009 BBFC Guidelines 2014
12 cert Strong language at 12/12A
  • Moderate language is allowed.
  • The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent.

(In practice this meant a maximum of 4 or 5 uses of 'fuck' in a 12 rated film)

  • There may be moderate language.
  • Strong language may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification
15 cert Strong language at 15
  • There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’).
  • The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context.
  • Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable.

(In practice there is a limit of 3 or 4 uses of the word 'cunt' assuming them to be non aggressive, non sexual, and not based on power imbalance. In addition these allowed used must be grouped together)

  • There may be strong language. (ie 'fuck')
  • Very strong language (ie 'cunt') may be permitted, depending on the manner in which it is used, who is using the language, its frequency within the work as a whole and any special contextual justification.

The BBFC press release added:

Regarding language, the public wants the BBFC to be more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15. Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public.

Daily Mail logo The Daily Mail article spouted:

Children 'as young as 1'5 (sounds so much more outrageous than 15-17 year olds) are to be allowed to watch films filled with obscene language.

Swear words are now so commonplace among teenagers that age ratings will be relaxed, censors said yesterday.

The British Board of Film Classification claims parents accept it is game over when protecting their children from bad language. Controversy: The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe, received more complaints than any other film in the past four years, according to the British Board of Film Classification

Under the new rules, even 12-year-olds could potentially be exposed to more profanities.

And the Daily Mail rounded up a little outrage from its panel of sound bite campaigners:

Pippa Smith, of the christian moralist campaign, Safermedia said:

It is truly outrageous -- parents and children are being let down by a regulator who is no longer interested in regulating.

Everyone except the BBFC and broadcast media knows children will copy the swearing they hear. Films make it cool. We dread to think what this latest announcement will mean for films deemed acceptable by the BBFC -- an industry-funded body --for our children.

Margaret Morrissey, of the family group Parents Outloud, asked:

If no standards are set by adults, what chance do our children have of being polite and decent grown-ups and parents?

Philip Davies, a Tory MP on the culture, media and sport select committee, said:

This reflects the general decline in good behavioural standards. It makes children think it's perfectly normal and reasonable to use bad language. I would rather they weren't exposed to even worse levels of swearing.

They are still children at 15 and are already exposed to things in films at a younger age than I would care for them to be exposed to. I would like to think that people would want to bring up their children to know that that isn't acceptable.

Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch said:

Swearing is not tolerated anywhere else in life -- kids can't do it at school, you can't do it in public. So it is quite extraordinary that they're just saying "Well, it's a free-for-all in 15-rated films". There is this idea that you just have to accept obscene language because we've got an evolving contemporary society and that's just how it is. But, actually, no we don't.

The Daily Mail leader writer whinged:

In page after page of an exhaustive survey, parents tell the British Board of Film Classification of deep concerns over their children's exposure to obscene language in the playground and online.

The BBFC's response? With the perverse logic of the liberal intelligentsia, it concludes that the fight to protect the young from words that have become part of their vernacular is game over , and no longer worth fighting.

Hence its hugely controversial decision to make films containing foul language accessible to ever-younger audiences.

But then what's new? For decades, the BBFC has brought ever-more graphic obscenities and pornography into mainstream cinema.

Is it any wonder the battle for decency is being lost, when a body set up to defend standards proposes abject surrender?

The BBFC will launch a crackdown on sexual content and swearing in films

See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Telegraph logo The Daily Telegraph featured seemingly contradicted the Daily Mail by saying that the BBFC will launch a crackdown on sexual content and swearing in films. However they were referring to BBFC changes in the children's categories rather than the 12 and 15 categories that were mentioned by the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail also ran big headlines: Film ratings to be toughened up. Apart from a few lines of BBFC political correct vagaries about sexualisation then the toughening up claim seems to based on BBFC comments about horror at 12 an 15.

  BBFC Guidelines 2009 BBFC Guidelines 2014
12 cert Threat/Horror at 12/12A
  • Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained.
  • There may be moderate physical and psychological threat and horror sequences.
  • Although some scenes may be disturbing, the overall tone should not be.
  • Horror sequences should not be frequent or sustained.
15 cert Threat/Horror at 15
  • Strong threat and menace are permitted unless sadistic or sexualised.
  • There may be strong threat and horror.
  • A sustained focus on sadistic or sexual threat is unlikely to be acceptable.

From my reading of the rather subtle rewording it would appear that one borderline 12/15 film every blue moon may be move from 12 under the old guidelines to 15 under the new guidelines. I think the Telegraph will be disappointed if they think Film ratings are to be toughened up.

Maintaining Public Trust in Film Classification

See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk by David Cooke, Director of the BBFC

david cooke Finally David Cooke reiterates most of what was said in yesterday's press release in a Huffington Post article. But he does make the point that if film censors actually censored according to the wishes of the Daily Mail sound bite panel, then they would end up simply being ignored:

Public trust is crucial to an organisation such as the BBFC. It is vital that the public - parents in particular - trust that the classification decisions we make reflect their own sensibilities. If for example, we were to classify depictions of strong, unsimulated sex as suitable for all, or restrict mild language to older teens or adults only, the public would soon start to lose confidence in, and so ignore, the BBFC's classifications.

We therefore go to great lengths to ensure that our decisions are in tune with society's concerns.

But, As David Flint comments, it seems a shame that the BBFC go to the trouble of ascertaining that the majority of the public thought they got it right about, say The Woman in Black, and then somehow give more credence, or at least more column inches of PC pandering propaganda to a handful of whingers and moralists.

 

  15 Year Olds Granted an Angels' Share of Strong Language...

The BBFC publishes new classification guidelines for 2014


Link Here 13th January 2014

bbfc guidelines 2014 The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is publishing new Classification Guidelines today alongside the results of the large-scale public consultation which underpins them. The new Classification Guidelines will come into force on 24 February 2014.

Speaking to more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK from December 2012 and throughout 2013 has highlighted public trust in the film classification system. 95% of parents with children under 15 say they check the BBFC classification before watching a film and 89% of film viewers consider classification as important. 92% of film viewers agreed with the classification of films and videos they had seen recently, with even the most complained about film of the past four years, The Woman in Black, receiving 89% support for its 12A rating. Only 11% thought it should have received a higher rating.

Specific changes to the Classification Guidelines as a result of the public consultation include:

  • Greater weight will be given to the theme and tone of a film or video, particularly around the 12A/12 and 15 level;

  • Particular attention will be given to the psychological impact of horror, as well as strong visual detail such as gore;

  • Regarding language, the public wants the BBFC to be stricter with the language allowed at U and more flexible about allowing very strong language at 15. Context, not just frequency, is the most important factor in how language in films is perceived by the public.

A specific issue highlighted by the consultation is in relation to sexual content, where the public is particularly concerned about the sexualisation of girls, and pornography. The content of music videos and the ease of accessibility of online porn are special worries.

Parents are also concerned about risks to vulnerable adolescents including self-harm, suicide, drug misuse and premature access to sexual content, including what some describe as the normalisation in films and videos of behaviours which parents consider inappropriate.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, says:

Regular public consultation is crucial to continued public trust in what we do. Our new Classification Guidelines reflect explicitly concerns raised by the public during the 2013 consultation and will, I believe, ensure that we continue to be in step with what the public wants and expects in order to make sensible and informed viewing decisions.

There is also room for continued improvement. Although it is 12 years old this year, the 12A rating remains confusing for a significant minority, with up to 27% of consumers unable to describe accurately what 12A means. We and the film industry will work during 2014 to improve understanding of this very important rating as well as raise awareness of BBFCinsight information, which is vital in helping parents decide if a 12A film is suitable for their child.

The new Classification Guidelines are now available online and will come into force in six weeks time, on Monday 24 February 2014. The consultation exercise, which began in December 2012 and was completed in 2013, involved more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK, and for the first time involved teenagers as well as their parents. The consultation process issued hundreds of films and videos to households across the UK and asked for their views on the classification of this material. The research continued through the spring of 2013 with focus groups in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland looking at how the public thinks specific issues, such as sex, violence and language, in films and videos should be handled. Over the summer several thousand members of the public completed questionnaires about classification generally and about 60 specific films and videos, including some of the most controversial films of the past four years.

Large-scale public consultation is used to revise the BBFC Classification Guidelines every four to five years and is supplemented with additional in-depth research on specific issues.

 

 Comment: Much ado about the 'quenelle'...

The fuss sparked by Nicolas Anelka's goal celebration has sweet FA to do with anti-Semitism.


Link Here 4th January 2014  full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
dieudonne mbala mbala reverse salute French soccer star Nicolas Anelka, a friend of Dieudonne, provoked a furious reaction in France after he used the quenelle gesture in a Premier League match on Saturday.
 

Update: Fined and Suspended

28th February 2013. See article from telegraph.co.uk

Nicolas Anelka has been suspended for five matches, fined £ 80,000 and ordered to complete a compulsory education course, despite a three-man panel of consisting of a QC, an FA official and a former player or manager clearing him of any anti-Semitic intent.

The commission said the FA had proven Anelka's conduct was:

Abusive and/or indecent and/or insulting and/or improper and included a reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion or belief.

We did not find that Nicolas Anelka is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle.