BNET are reporting a tiff between The Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU) and the MPAA
CARU has sent out a stream of press releases indicating it believes that sexy, violent movies are being wrongly advertised to kids — and the MPAA, per its agreement with CARU, has done nothing about it.
Often, CARU discovers that the movie studio intentionally placed the ad on kids' TV. That happened recently with an ad for Star Trek . The film is rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, and brief sexual content, but was
advertised during children's programming hours. CARU's rules state that advertisers should take care to assure that only age appropriate videos, films and interactive software are advertised to children.
MPAA tells BNET that it has never found a movie studio in violation of its advertising rules, even though CARU has referred dozens of movies to MPAA over the years for alleged violations just like Paramount's.
It turns out that MPAA's idea of what's appropriate for kids is different from CARU's. MPAA notes that PG-13 is a cautionary rating, not a restrictive one. It suggests 13-year-olds shouldn't see the movie, but 12-year-olds can still buy their own
tickets if they want to. So PG-13 movies can be advertised to under-13s.
Update: Nutters whinge at advertising Transformers to children
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has sent a letter to Chairman Jon Leibowitz of the Federal Trade Commission urging the FTC to stop the marketing of violent PG-13 movies targeted to children. CCFC cited over 2,700 ads shown on
children's television stations for four of this summer's violent PG-13 blockbusters including Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen , Star Trek , Terminator Salvation , and X-Men Origins: Wolverine . The commercials were
shown between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm on children's stations such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, and include ads for the films, as well as movie-related licensed toys and Burger King Kid's Meal promotions.
CCFC's appeal comes two years after the national advocacy organization first urged the FTC to act on the marketing of PG-13 movies. CCFC's initial request was spurred by the 2007 premiere of the first Transformers film which was marketed to
children as young as two through ads, toys, and food promotions.
Because the MPAA continues to ignore the FTC's request, this summer preschoolers are once again being subjected to a barrage of advertising for violent PG-13 blockbusters, said Susan Linn, CCFC's Director and a psychologist at Judge Baker
Children's Center: When it comes to the film industry and children's wellbeing, it's clear that self-regulation has failed.
Added Dr. Linn, It's bad enough that movie companies advertise violent, PG-13 films on children's channels before 8:00 pm. But marketing the films through ads for licensed toys and kid's meals is especially unfair and deceptive. For years, the
FTC has expressed concern about violent, PG-13 movies being promoted to children. Now the Commission needs to act.
Update: Petitioning the FTC
6th August 2009. From examiner.com
Armed with over 3400 signatures, a significant number of statements from parents, educators and citizens nationwide, along with an updated figure of almost 5,000 commercials aired for PG-13 rated movies (March to July 2009), the Campaign for a
Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) have submitted their petition and request to the Federal Trade Commission's Chairman, Jon Leibowitz.
CCFC is asking once again for the FTC's assistance in getting the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to stop the film industry from targeting young children with their advertising for PG-13 films, which includes significant
Nutters are furious over a new Apple application which allows teenagers to access softcore pornography via the popular iPhone.
Dubbed 'iPorn' it is the first time the country's one million iPhone users can view such images with an application approved by the computer company.
The Hottest Girls package, which costs £1.19, is a 17-rated version of an older application that used to offer bikini and lingerie shots.
Previously users have been able to download softcore content from the web on to the iPhone but this is the first time such images have been available with Apple's permission.
The application is rated for those aged 17 and over, although this relies on teenage iPhone users telling the truth about their age when they sign up to the App Store.
Parents in the know can set controls on the new iPhone3GS that will stop the app appearing.
Miranda Suit, co-founder of the nutter group MediaMarch told MailOnline she was appalled : We are very concerned about the mainstreaming of pornography. It is being packaged in a tempting way and will be disastrous for youngsters who
are not equipped to deal with such content. And what about the growing number of sex addicts? I know of cases where they are trying to avoid certain films and magazines, but now even their phone will be a risk for them. We urge the Government to
look at the affect pornography has on children and vulnerable adults.
The application was amongst the first approved for a new 17 rating introduced to the iPhone Store.
However all is not clear as the Hottest Girls app was later removed from the App store sparking off stories that Apple have changed their mind in response to bad press.
Even later it was reported that the developer had asked for the App to be removed due to high demand on servers.
Apple have now come out as he censorial villain of the piece. By yesterday afternoon Apple was telling CNN:
The developer of this application added inappropriate content directly from their server after the application had been approved and distributed ... This was a direct violation of the terms of the iPhone Developer Program.
The application is no longer available on the App Store.
But it's not just Hottest Girls that has disappeared from the Application store - other titles from the same publisher have also been exorcised including Hottest Guys and Send Flowers.
Even the developer's web site (now) contains no reference to any of the applications or the accompanying fuss, so Apple has managed to ensure that iPhone users can download applications freely without fear of encountering a rouged female nipple,
for another day at least.
Antichrist , which includes graphic unsimulated sex and a scene of genital self-mutilation, has been authorised for release with no cuts by the BBFC.
John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch-UK predictably condemned the BBFC's decision to give Antichrist a mainstream rating:
Films of this sort, with such extreme content, should not be classified for public exhibition anywhere. The BBFC should have declined classification and rejected this film.
We all know that youngsters get into films that are not age appropriate and with a 15-rated trailer, it is being deliberately marketed at a younger audience who will inevitably see the film.
When people are being entertained by mutilation, that is beyond the pale.
Philip Knatchbull, the chief executive of Artificial Eye, which is distributing the film, said:
There is no doubt that Antichrist is a controversial film but it's our duty as a distributor to present the works of talented directors such as Lars von Trier in their original form, exactly as the director intended.
We fully support the BBFC's decision to allow people to make up their own minds about this film.
Julian Brazier the Conservative MP for Canterbury and Whitstable who has campaigned for more film censorship, said:
From the accounts I have heard of Antichrist , this does seem to be one more example of how the BBFC has given up on trying to regulate material which the majority of the public feel is offensive.
Brazier said that an R18 certificate, where films can only be shown in specially licensed cinemas or sex shops, would be more appropriate for Antichrist .
Gainsbourg, the daughter of the British actress Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, the late French singer, won best actress at Cannes for her role in the film. She has defended von Trier against accusations that the film exploits women. She said:
He is depicting women of course with violence and very hard sex and pain and suffering, but I don't think that he is judging women in a negative way.
Von Trier, who wrote the film while suffering from depression, has said of Antichrist :
The film does not contain any specific moral code and only has what some might call 'the bare necessities' in the way of a plot.
In any case, I can offer no excuse for Antichrist . Other than my absolute belief in the film.
Last week, Sweden announced that it will disband its Statens Biografbyra censorship board altogether in 2011, 100 years after it was founded. From then on, there will be no restrictions on films released in the country unless they break laws
governing such areas as child pornography, although the current age-related rating system will remain.
John Beyer of Mediawatch, the successor to Mary Whitehouse's National Viewers' and Listeners' Association, suggested the BBFC's increasingly light touch in recent years made it not so very different from the new Swedish organisation.
The BBFC no longer 'cuts bits out of films' but provides information about films so that members of the public can make up their own minds about what films they want to see or avoid. The Swedish government evidently want to
do just what the BBFC has been doing for some years.
In our opinion the BBFC has become far too lax in what it permits for public exhibition and there has been a gradual shift in what they regard as acceptable so that what would have been regarded as 18 a few years ago is now thought suitable for
15. Their 12A certificate allows very young children, accompanied by an adult, to see some very unsuitable material. The board is pretty much unaccountable and for this reason we supported Julian Brazier's private member's bill last year to make
the board accountable to parliament through the select committee system.
Comment: Letting the public make up their own minds
"The BBFC no longer 'cuts bits out of films' but provides information about films so that members of the public can make up their own minds about what films they want to see or avoid."
Oh how disgraceful and disgusting! How dare the BBFC let members of the public make up their own minds about films they want to see?
Instead they should have John Beyer and Mediawatch UK making up the public's minds for them.
"Their 12A certificate allows very young children, accompanied by an adult, to see some very unsuitable material."
Oh yeah very young children, accompanied by an adult are being allowed to see explicit violence and hardcore porn! Yeah right!
"The board is pretty much unaccountable."
Pretty much unaccountable to Mediawatch UK and Tory middle middle England who believe they know what is and is not good for the public to see. Let's keep it that way!
No doubt about it—Sacha Baron Cohen uses every negative gay stereotype you could possibly imagine in his portrayal of Brüno , his Austrian fashion journalist alter ego.
He's a flamboyant limp-wristed queen who has wild sex, dresses in barely-there S&M ensembles and has never met a Swarovski crystal he doesn't like.
Is it any wonder that a big portion of gay Hollywood finds parts of the upcoming Brüno movie more offensive than humorous?
GLAAD, the gay media watchdog group, is so concerned about Cohen's depiction of homosexuality in the flick that it asked Universal Pictures, the studio releasing Brüno , to include a message of support for gay rights and tolerance
from Cohen at the end of the movie. The request was denied.
One scene includes Brüno and a sexual partner tied up in chains in a hotel room, wearing nothing but G-strings. Also in the room? A tarp on the wall is dirtied with fecal stains and there are gerbils in a dresser drawer, according to
Hollywood blog The Wrap.
Robinson said GLAAD is also concerned about a scene in which Brüno appears on a talk show to discuss his adoption of an African baby. They asked that a photo shown during the bit showing a baby sitting in the same hot tub where two men are
having sex be cut.
Universal has promised that GLAAD can see the movie another time before its July 7 debut, Robinson said. A rep for the studio declined to comment about the possibility of a future screening.
12 activist objects and a photographer descended upon the two WH Smiths in London's Liverpool Street station on Friday to celebrate the third national Feminist Friday by covering the entire lads' mags displays with paper bags and slogans
objecting to the sexist portrayal of women as objects.
Object said: The reception we received from customers in the two shops was really supportive, with one woman telling us that seeing younger women actively engaged in feminist activism and not passively accepting the sexist
messages we see all around us had 'made her day'; a group of 14 year old girls really keen to discuss the impact of lads' mags on how girls and women are viewed and treated and wanting to get involved; and many other women and men signing our
petition against lads' mags being sold as part of the mainstream media.
It was good fun and empowering - a great opportunity to take a stand against the pornification of culture and to say - women are human, stop treating us like objects!
Catholics are urging the Polish government and organizers to ban pop star Madonna's concert scheduled for Aug. 15, the Assumption of Mary feast.
Marian Brudzynski, member of the Mazowiecki regional assembly, said Madonna cannot sing on the religious feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary and announced a protest committee is being organized to stop the concert.
Brudzynski, a former member of the conservative League of Polish Families party, said Catholics will do all in their power to prevent the concert from taking place. The protest committee plans to ask Interior Minister Grzegorz Schetyna to cancel
the concert, he said.
Brudzynski said if they fail to stop Madonna's concert they will stage a massive picket outside and added: We want to stifle Madonna.
Krzysztof Zagozda, of the Catholic Society organization, said the concert would hurt Poles' religious sentiment as Madonna's performances are anti-Christian.
Stanislaw Malkowski, former Warsaw Solidarity union's chaplain, said the Catholic church and the Polish nation should protest loudly against the Madonna concert.
After fighting for the removal of the book Baby Be-Bop from a Wisconsin, library, the Christian Civil Liberties Union and three other plaintiffs have sued over the book, seeking the right to publicly burn or destroy by another means
the book and asking for $120,000 in damages because they were exposed to it in a library display.
Accusing the board of submitting to the will of the American Library Association and the American Civil Liberties Union, plaintiff Ginny Maziarka declared, We vehemently reject their standards and their principles, and characterized the
debate as a propaganda battle to maintain access to inappropriate material. She cautioned that her group would let people know that the library was not a safe place unless it segregated and labeled young adult titles with explicit content.
For the immediate future, West Bend officials will be dealing with the CCLU's legal claim. Describing the novel by celebrated author Francesca Lia Block as explicitly vulgar, racial, and anti-Christian, the complaint by Braun, Joseph
Kogelmann, Rev. Cleveland Eden, and Robert Brough explains that the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library, specifically because Baby Be-Bop contains
the word 'nigger' and derogatory sexual and political epithets that can incite violence and put one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike.
Composer Benny Andersson of Abba fame has contributed one million kronor ($128,000) to ensure that Swedish voters have a chance to vote for Gudrun Schyman's Feminist Initiative (Feministiskt initiative - FI) political party in Sunday's EU
Schyman has previously taken offence at the fact that ballots for FI were not available at all polling stations. And she claims that Andersson wants to spend his money to bring attention to the technical issues related to voting: This is not a
contribution to an electoral campaign. It is the question of democracy that is important here.
Anderson confirmed the news in a statement: Because I sympathize with Gudrun Schyman's persistent struggle for equal treatment, I offered to try and help by providing financial support for an advertisement that explains what to do when the
pre-printed ballots are missing.
On Friday, Schyman published full-spread advertisements in several Swedish newspapers. But Andersson also supports Schyman's politics and would like to see her gain a seat in the EU Parliament.
The Catholic Church in Malaysia has lost its latest bid to use 'Allah' as a translation for 'God' in its newspaper pending a further court case now set for 7th July 2009.
High Court judge Lau Bee Lan made the decision after hearing submissions from two counsels for the applicant, Archbishop Datuk Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, and two counsels for the respondent, the Home Ministry, according to Bernama, Malaysian
National News Agency.
A spokesmand for the Home Ministry told reporters outside the chambers that if the High Court allowed the church to use ‘Allah' in a non-Muslim context, it would be helping the church to commit an offense under state laws. This means that the
church's weekly news publication, The Herald, cannot use the word until the court decides.
The Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, who edits the Catholic weekly, was disappointed with the outcome: We had asked them to lift the ban so that we can use the word until the court decides. We are innocent until proven guilty, so why shouldn't we
use it, Father Andrew told AFP: The court is going to hear our case on July 7 so that's an opening in the dark tunnel.
Under the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of non-Islamic Religious Enactment passed into law by 10 states in 1988, it is an offence for non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah' to refer to any God other than the Muslim God.
Amazon.com have removed an interactive DVD from sale called Stockholm: An Exploration of True Love.
This censorship seems to be in response to a posting at feministing.com:
Amazon sells another video game where you "play" sexual abuser
While we haven't been the biggest fans of Amazon as of late and their history of selling a rape simulation game (which they did end up banning), it looks like another game involving violence against women seems to have "slipped" past
their radar. Stockholm: An Exploration of True Love is a game that allows the user to experience,
" ...a terrifyingly vivid exploration of Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition in which a captive falls in love with her kidnapper. And you play the part of the kidnapper. With a limited number of options, you must figure out how
to make her fall in love with you."
This includes using poison gas on the victim, sexually assaulting her and using psychological abuse against her in efforts to make her "love" you. Unbelievable.
An academic book about religious attitudes to women is to be published this week despite concerns it could cause a backlash among Muslims because it criticises the prophet Muhammad for taking a nine-year-old girl as his third wife.
The book, entitled Does God Hate Women? , suggests that Muhammad's marriage to a child called Aisha is not entirely compatible with the idea that he had the best interests of women at heart.
This weekend, the publisher, Continuum, said it had received outside opinion on the book's cultural and religious content following suggestions that it might cause offence. We sought some advice and paused for thought before deciding to
go ahead with publication, said Oliver Gadsby, the firm's chief executive. The book will be released on Thursday.
Continuum's book may cause a backlash because it sets out to be a factual examination of religious attitudes to women. British writer Jeremy Stangroom and his American co-author Ophelia Benson, whose previous books on philosophy and science have
received favourable reviews, cite ancient Islamic scholars to support their case. They roundly attack previous attempts to soft-soap the controversial episode in Muhammad's life. In the aftermath of 9/11, the authors argue, a wave of
political correctness aimed at building bridges with the Muslim world has meant accusations of Islamophobia have been used to silence debate about the morality of social conduct, past and present.
Through a gruesome catalogue of abuses carried out against women in the name of Islam as well as other major religions, including Hinduism and Catholicism, Stangroom and Benson conclude that most of the world's great faiths are essentially
Aren’t you scared? I get asked this question all the time, most recently in the wake of the news that three radical extremist Muslim men conspired to set fire to the home office of Gibson Square, the London publisher that had been set
to publish my novel The Jewel of Medina last October.
Whether or not my book is respectful, however, has little to do with the real issue here. For, although the extremists lost in court, they have apparently won where it really counts — in the UK’s book stores.
After Gibson Square’s publisher announced, a couple of weeks after the arson attempt, that he was indefinitely postponing publication of The Jewel of Medina — following in the footsteps of Random House in the US — I awarded world English
publication rights to Beaufort Books, my US publishing house whose publisher and small staff have supported my book unwaveringly, despite hate mail, lawsuit threats, and Anjem Choudary’s own assertion that not only I, but my publishers, might
deserve to die.
Beaufort publisher Eric Kampmann and associate publisher Margot Atwell headed to the London Book Fair in April with a full display of The Jewel of Medina and confidence that they would find the right distributor to supply stores in the UK with
the book. But — no. Everyone, it seems, is too afraid.
These three Muslim thugs who tried to torch the British people’s right to read a book would be easy to shrug off as isolated cases, as simple bullies. The fact is, though, that soon after that attack, extremist groups in the UK exerted an
organised effort to keep The Jewel of Medina out of British bookstores. Luke Johnson, chairman of Borders UK, wrote in the Financial Times online that his company had
received threats that it would “suffer” if Borders UK sold The Jewel of Medina .
Surely, in a civilised society, we cannot allow thuggish behaviour to intimidate us. Otherwise we could all end up being tyrannised by violent and vocal minorities, cowed into submission in pursuit of a comfortable life. How then would
humanity and invention progress? Mr Johnson wrote.
Whinging about backtracking from a mandatory ban on adult internet porn
Of course Christians are welcome to base their lives on nonsense, but what gives them the right to inflict their nonsense on more rational people? And when non-religious people fight back, the nutters yell foul, claiming that society is somehow
being undermined by aggressive secularists.
The Australian Christian Lobby has accused the Federal Government of breaking its election promise to censor the internet after the policy was softened in the face of relentless criticism.
The lobby's managing director, Jim Wallace, wants the Government to introduce legislation forcing internet providers to block hardcore porn (X18+) on a mandatory basis, in addition to illegal content. Australians would then have to opt in to
receive legal softcore (R18+) adult material.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has long said his policy would introduce compulsory ISP-level filters of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's blacklist of prohibited websites.
But he has since backtracked, saying the mandatory filters would only block content that has been refused classification (RC) - a subset of the ACMA blacklist - amid widespread concerns that ACMA's list contains a slew of R18+ and X18+
sites, such as regular gay and straight pornography and other legal content.
"That doesn't meet the election promise as far as we're concerned at all," Wallace said in a phone interview: The promise was clearly about providing a safer internet environment for children and to do that you need to
mandatorily block in the first instance pornography and R18+, and then provide an opt-in system for those adults who want to access it.
A Scottish art student has come under fire from nutters for exhibiting a granny flat lined with pornographic wallpaper and figurines.
Katie Watters, 23, shocked visitors to her university degree show with explicit images and a video of a harmless wild rabbit interspersed with subliminal flashes of pornography.
The Glaswegian artist has posted a warning sign at the entrance to her room at the Dundee University degree show, which opened last night, stating: This exhibition contains sexually explicit material, suitable only for adults.
Anti-porn lobbyists questioned the morality behind the show and described it as exploitative. Linda Thompson, of Women's Support Project, said: If this show is designed to raise awareness, then we would welcome it, but images of these
women are still pornographic and exploitative. So I would question where the benefit to women is in having a show like this.
Ms Watters claimed feedback to her show had been largely positive and most people saw it as being a bit of fun. I'm very interested in the use of shock as a form of art production.
A spokesman for Dundee University said: We encourage our students to engage in freedom of thought, stimulating debate and examine issues which are prevalent in our society, and Katie Watters' exhibit displays all of these qualities.
Muslim clerics are seeking ways to censor online behaviour in Indonesia, saying the exploding popularity of social networking sites like Facebook could encourage illicit sex.
Around 700 clerics, or imams, gathering in the world's most populous Muslim nation were considering rules forbidding their followers from going online to flirt or engage in practices they believe could encourage extramarital affairs.
The clerics think it is necessary to set an edict on virtual networking, because this online relationship could lead to lust, which is forbidden in Islam, said Nabil Haroen, a spokesman for the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school that is
hosting the event.
Though followers could still be members of the networking site, guidelines dealing with surfing the web and Islamic values are urgently needed, he said.
Muslim clerics on Friday declared the popular social networking site, Facebook, forbidden for students under the age of 17 and banned when used for immoral purposes.
Clerics from across Java and Madura islands said Facebook was haram, or forbidden, when used for flirting or gossiping.
Gus An’im Mahrus, a spokesman for Lirboyo Islamic boarding school said: We decided Facebook is haram when it is used for certain things such as flirting and gossiping between males and females, especially for those who are already married as
it may lead to affairs. And it is forbidden in Islam for its bad impact.
We have decided to ban Facebook among our [10,000] students who are under 17, he said. Teenagers under the age of 17 are considered immature and unable to deal with moral temptations.
An’im said the pesantren clerics did not need the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), the country’s highest authority on Islamic affairs, to declare a fatwa on the issue: We are independent. We have issued this warning to Muslim communities and
all pesantren students across Java and Madura. They can spread this message to people around them.
Update: No communications between the sexes on Mobile Phones and Networking Sites
Many have been shocked to learn that 1,700 Muslim clerics of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) — the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia — have issued an edict banning communication between sexes using mobile phones, and online social networks such as
NU spokesman Abdul Muid Shohib said communication using mobile phones was prone to adultery, especially between the sexes.
Communicating through mobile phones could lead to extramarital affairs, Abdul told The Jakarta Post through his mobile.
The only communication allowed between different sexes is that which spreads Islamic teachings, he said.
A new poll published on 19th May 2009, shows that 73% of people find swearing on TV offensive. The poll, commissioned by mediawatch-uk, was conduced by ComRes who interviewed 1002 GB adults by telephone between 15 and 17 May 2009.
Significantly, the poll also found that 70% believe the regulator, OFCOM, should do more to reduce the amount of swearing on TV. Despite Ofcom's own Communications Market research conducted over recent years, showing that the majority of people
believe there is too much swearing on TV, the regulator very rarely upholds public complaints on this issue.
60% of people believe that swearing on TV encourages swearing in daily life and 53% believe that children are not effectively protected from swearing on TV.
Speaking today, John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, said: The results of this survey show once again that swearing on TV causes widespread offence and that OFCOM really is not doing enough to allay public concern. We certainly welcome
OFCOM's recent criticism of record-breaking programme, Ramsay's Great British Nightmare , but this action is too little too late.
Aware of the latest BBC survey Beyer disputed the finding that people are relaxed about swearing on TV. He said: It may be true that swearing ‘in context' is tolerable but for most people the main concern is with swearing that is
entirely gratuitous and has no dramatic or any other context whatsoever.
Moreover, the BBC's findings seem to contradict research carried out by the BBC for Panorama in February which found that 55% of people thought there was now too much swearing, while 68% thought language had worsened in the past five years.
Beyer said: Rather than wasting licence fee payers money on unnecessary surveys, the BBC should be asking itself how swearing in programmes fulfils its Charter obligation to ‘sustain citizenship and civil society'.
Beyer concluded: The time really has come for broadcasters to act decisively on this matter by strengthening the regulations otherwise they know they risk alienating swathes of viewers. In the Digital Age when broadcasting standards matter
more and more to viewers and listeners it really is no good ignoring public feeling against swearing on TV.
Comment: Attempt at Discrediting BBC Survey
"Rather than wasting licence fee payers money on unnecessary surveys, the BBC should be asking itself how swearing in programmes fulfils its Charter obligation to 'sustain citizenship and civil society'".
The BBC's survey is unnecessary because it doesn't give Beyer what he wants to hear. If the survey had reported the viewers are all up in arms over swearing on TV Beyer would have said that it was very useful and welcomed it.
"We are hopeful that Gordon Brown, who has expressed personal concern about broadcasting standards, will now directly intervene in this situation and call upon broadcasters and film makers to seriously improve
standards of literacy in their media productions."
Why should film makers be included in all this? The issue is over swearing on TV and the offence that it may or may not cause to TV viewers. Films have not been talked about and people who do not wish to hear swearing in films can avoid films
that contain swearing.
But of course Beyer confuses offence with potential harm and believes swearing should be censored out of everything for the own good of viewers.
What Beyer and Mediawatch UK are worried about is that the results of the BBC's survey which shows viewers are relaxed about swearing (and again we don't know how representative of the entire broad spectrum of tastes and views of the British TV
viewing public the survey is) will prevent the regulation to ban swearing on TV completely that he and Mediawatch UK want brought in.
Which is why he is launching into this tirade and why his pressure group have released this press release in order to attempt to discredit the BBC's findings.
At the moment surveys into viewers views on swearing, sex and violence are designed to fit the agendas of those who carry them out and are mainly targetted at certain groups (eg: Mediawatch UK's survey was probably carried out amongst people
living in middle England who share their views).
It's time for a survey which will represent the views of all TV viewers and will take into account the broad tastes and views which TV viewers hold.
A presumably muslim minicab driver has been found guilty of helping try to firebomb the home of a publisher days before the release of a novel about the marital life of the Prophet Mohamed.
Abbas Taj was waiting in his car as two accomplices poured diesel through the letter box of the four-storey home of Martin Rynja, who had vowed to publish The Jewel of Medina after the American-based giant Random House postponed
publication due to concerns that the book would lead to acts of violence by Muslim extremists.
Taj arrived outside the home of the publisher in Islington, at 2am on 27 September last year and watched Abrar Mirza and Ali Beheshti try to set light to the house, which is also the publisher's office.
A Christian group has threatened to protest outside the venue of the lifestyle expo, Sexpo in Cape Town on Friday.
The Christian Action Group says that they are unhappy about the staging of Sexpo in Cape Town... negatively commenting on the nature of the event. We welcome the difference of opinion offered by the Christian Action group, said Sexpo
organiser Silas Howarth.
The Christian group described Sexpo as degrading towards women. The Sexpo showcases perverse sex toys, pole dancing and pornography. This perpetuates a negative and destructive stereotype of women as sexual objects which, in some cases leads
to an increase in the abuse of, and sexual violence against women.
Protesting outside the entrance of the Sexpo venue will be a means of reminding customers that porn degrades, objectifies and exploits women and that women are precious and should be protected, the group said.
The protest according to Howarth was a move every South African had a right to. He urged members of the Christian group to contact Sexpo organisers for a guided tour through Sexpo.
A controversial German anatomy artist is facing protests over his latest plastination exhibition after unveiling a work showing two corpses having sexual intercourse.
Gunther von Hagens, whose latest exhibition, Cycle of Life , has just opened in Berlin, has defended the exhibit saying that it combines the two greatest taboos of sex and death and is a lesson in biology, but is not meant to be
The exhibition has drawn angry protests from German MPs as well as church representatives. They have called for the work to be withdrawn, saying it is pornographic and an insult to the dead.
Alice Ströver, an MP for the Green party, said: This couple is simply over the top, and it shouldn't be shown.
Love and death are obvious topics for art, but I find it quite disgusting to use them in this way, said Fritz Felgentreu an MP for the Social Democrats.
Update: London Dead for Sex
20th June 2009
The Sex Couple was unveiled in Berlin in May, and will now transfer to his Body Worlds & The Mirror Of Time show at London's O2.
There has also been high-level discussion within the Vatican about whether to urge a boycott of the film, according to Italian media reports. It took that step with The Da Vinci Code , but the film enjoyed staggering box office takings
of $758 million and some Vatican insiders fear their high-profile opposition backfired.
Let's be careful not to play their game... by giving them free publicity, said Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the Vatican economics minister, who still made clear his derision for the book as a manipulation in anti-Christian key of
people, events and history.
So in its first pronouncement on the film, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described Angels and Demons as harmless entertainment which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity.
While the gigantic and smart commercial operation is filled with inaccuracies and stereotyped characters, the camera work is splendid , Howard's direction dynamic and alluring and the reconstruction of St Peter's Basilica and
the Sistine Chapel is magnificent.
An editorial in the paper added: It would probably be an exaggeration to consider the books of Dan Brown an alarm bell but maybe they should be a stimulus to rethink and refresh the way the Church uses the media to explain its positions on
today's burning issues.
UK catholic leaders have attacked Angels and Demons , the film adaptation of Dan Brown's book.
The Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, the Bishop of Nottingham, warned that the film could stir up anti-Catholic sentiment.
This is so outlandish, it's total rubbish, said Bishop McMahon, who is one of the Church's most senior bishops: It's mischievous to stir up this kind of anti-Catholic sentiment. It's a gratuitous knocking of the Church and I can't see
any reason for it.
Bishop McMahon said that Catholics were getting tired of the sensational stories and plot lines contained in Brown's novels and subsequent film adaptations: I don't think that Catholics will be interested in seeing this as it's so far
removed from the truth.
Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the US, accused Howard and Brown of smearing the Catholic church with fabulously bogus tales. Donahue is exasperated by the way that he says Brown and Howard
blend fact, fiction and conspiracy theory. I have never dealt with two more disingenuous people, he told The Daily Telegraph: They wouldn't dare treat any other religion like this.
Howard responded in forthright fashion: Let me be clear: neither I nor Angels & Demons are anti-Catholic. And let me be a little controversial: I believe Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for
what it is – an exciting mystery, set in the awe-inspiring beauty of Rome.
There has also been high-level discussion within the Vatican about whether to urge a boycott of the film, according to Italian media reports. It took that step with The Da Vinci Code , but the film enjoyed staggering box office takings of
$758 million and some Vatican insiders fear their high-profile opposition backfired.
Let's be careful not to play their game... by giving them free publicity, said Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the Vatican economics minister, who still made clear his derision for the book as a manipulation in anti-Christian key of
people, events and history.
India's Censor Board Screening Committee has now seen the film Angels and Demons and have not issued sertificate.
They have referred the film to a Revising Committee with the censor Sharmila Tagore and a panel of 4 catholic bishops.
Here is a press statement from Christian Secular Forum:
We have represented to the Censor Board, that in matter pertaining to Catholicism, the opinion of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) should be binding. The Censor Board has therefore asked for 4 representatives
of the Catholic Bishops to see the film. The CBCI has also already written to the Censor Board calling for a ban on Angels & Demons . The ball is now in the Catholic Bishops' court. If after seeing the film, it recommends a ban -
Banned it will it be.
We are also given to understand that the Censor Board wants the Church to settle for a Disclaimer.
In a statement on Saturday, Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Christian Secular Forum (CSF) urged Catholic bishops to call for a boycott of the film.
It also filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, urging him to take action against officials of Sony Pictures on various counts.
The CSF submitted a memorandum to Central Board for Film Certification chairperson Sharmila Tagore, calling for wider consultations to further scan the film and ensure that it did not hurt the sentiments of Christians. Scenes depicting violence
in churches should be removed and care should be taken while dubbing the film in other languages.
The earlier revision committee, which recommended a disclaimer and an A certificate, was based in the capital and not comprehensive enough, said Dias. If the film was not cut adequately to remove the objectionable scenes, the CSF would consider
legal options, he warned.
The Metropolitan Police have received a complaint from George Hargreaves, the leader of The Christian Party over a jest on Have I Got News For You
Openly gay Tory MP Alan Duncan has weighed in on the Miss California gay marriage row.
Miss California Carrie Prejean had been asked by blogger Perez Hilton her thoughts on gay marriage at the Miss America contest last week. She replied: I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman."
Appearing on BBC comedy news quiz, Alan Duncan called her a silly bitch. I don't agree with her at all. A few minutes later he added: If you read that Miss California has been murdered, you will know it was me, won't you?
Fellow guest Katy Brand appeared shocked by the comment, saying: That's a hell of a statement to be making on camera there, Alan.
The complainant George Hargreaves said: How can we stop gun and knife crime when the man who thinks he will be the next Home Secretary makes death threats?
Duncan said yesterday: Of course it was in jest. It is a comedy show after all. I'm sure Miss Prejean's very beautiful and that if we were to meet we would love each other. I have no plans to kill her. I'll send her a box of chocolates -
Nutters are calling for a ban on an online game where holy figures such as Jesus and the prophet Muhammad fight to the death.
Critics say the free Faith Fighter flash game is deeply provocative and disrespectful towards all world religions.
Muslims are particularly outraged because Islamic tradition prohibits drawings of Allah.
Hindus and Buddhists are also upset as the god Ganesha and Buddha are two of the six players .
This game is going out of its way to upset people and I think it should be taken off the internet, said Douglas Miller, pastor of the Link Church in Birmingham: Playing violent video games will ultimately affect your behaviour and this
game is deeply offensive and provocative.
A spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations said: In the current climate, this game can only create fear about religion. 'Having images depicting Muhammad in this way is also very offensive to our faith.
Brian Appleyard, former chairman of the Buddhist Society, called the game an offensive futile project.
The repressive Organisation of the Islamic Conference - representing muslim nations - have released a statement about the Faith Fighter computer game which has led to its replacement on the Molleindustria website.
When his attention was brought to the online game, a spokesman of the OIC Islamophobia Observatory in Jeddah expressed his concern stating that the computer game was incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians.
He said that the game would serve no other purpose than to incite intolerance. He called on the Internet service providers who are hosting the game to take immediate action by withdrawing it from the web.
Molleindustria have now replaced the game with
Faith Fighter 2 a game to show your love and respect for the easily offended deities (complete with a blob over the face of Mohammed).
Christian Concern For Our Nation has spoken out against the UK’s first TV advert for the morning after pill.
The advert for Levonelle One Step was aired for the first time last Thursday night after the 9pm watershed on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. The advert shows a woman waking up next to her partner and going to buy the contraception, which can terminate
pregnancy in the first 72 hours after intercourse.
Manufacturers Bayer Schering Pharma were allowed to run the advert after the recent lifting of bans on TV and radio advertising for pregnancy advisory services and condoms pre-watershed.
CCFON said it was concerned the advert signalled: the further liberation towards abortificients.
It is clear that increased availability of the morning-after pill is a move towards abortion on demand, said a spokesperson for the organisation: It has also clear that such attitudes will not increase responsibility but rather will
encourage promiscuity and irresponsible sexual behaviour, with a consequent risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases.”
The adverts have also been criticised by the ProLife Alliance. The group’s leader, Dominica Roberts, said the advert would have little impact on the numbers of unplanned pregnancies and abortions: It is advertised inaccurately as
emergency contraception, when in fact its major function is to cause the abortion of an embryo that has already been conceived, not as suggested by the name to prevent conception.
Even the good old days of old fashioned morality are just an illusion. Rowan Pelling notes that games were to blame way before the invention of the video game:
I wonder if Joanne and Darren Jones, found guilty this week of snaffling over £60,000 from a faulty cash machine, ever played Monopoly when they were young? For all the modern angst about violent computer games,
this innocent-looking board game has probably had a more corrosive influence on western morals. For starters, Monopoly brazenly encourages players to plunder their savings and put every last penny into property. And just look where that's got us
all: the Joneses were symbolic of our crazy age, owning three properties yet up to their gills in credit-card debt.
Most pernicious of all Monopoly's venal influences, however, is surely the Community Chest card that says, Bank error in your favour, collect £200. There's no suggestion you should alert the bank to its mistake when you can buy a
couple more houses and profit by some idiot's error. This was precisely the kind of thinking that landed the Joneses in court.
The trouble is that the Joneses aren't children, but hulking great adult delinquents. Yet isn't this also true of many of our leading bankers who also behaved like greedy children? Indeed, most of the worst offenders have been rewarded for their
bank errors with vast pensions and bonuses.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of India, the country's top Catholic body, is calling for a ban of the Tom Hanks-starring Angels & Demons set for worldwide release on May 15.
This film could seriously hurt religious sentiments, CBCI spokesperson Father Babu Joseph was quoted as saying in media reports over the weekend: Christianity is not understood by the majority of people in India yet, and many
non-Christians may mistake the content as the truth.
CBCI secretary general Stanislaus Fernandes reportedly has written to the chair of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) asking to stop the film's release.
We are still waiting for a print to arrive from our head offices, after which we will submit the film to the CBFC, Sony Pictures Releasing India managing director Kersy Daruwala said.
Father Anthony Charanghat, a spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese in Mumbai also called for a boycott: We are calling on Christians to adhere to the principle of not supporting anything that goes against our faith. We are asking people not
to watch it.
A Wellington sex shop has upset the Catholic Church with a billboard advertisement showing a praying woman with a smile on her face. The D.Vice store's ad shows four parishioners in a church and three of them have their eyes closed and hands
clasped. But the fourth, a woman, is smiling and below her is a tagline: Anal beads from $55.99.
Wellington's Catholic Archbishop John Dew told the paper it was unnecessary and distasteful to associate a church with a sex shop device, adding: It is an insult to anyone who recognises a church as a sacred gathering place for
believers in God and a place of prayer.
Wendy Lee, a director of D.Vice, said the billboard was meant to make people laugh and not intended to offend.
Update: Family First haven't a prayer of a chance with their whinge
Nutters of Family First NZ are slamming a Wellington sex shop advertisement as highly offensive and tacky and is perfect evidence of the need to have a pre-vetting procedure on public billboards.
Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ said:
It is completely inappropriate for public billboards to have sex toy advertisements which are both offensive and inappropriate, especially for children to be confronted with, and the church setting simply adds to the
offensive nature by offending a sector of our community who would find the ad in particularly bad taste.
A company that associates people praying in church and sex toys is quite simply out to offend.
The only redeeming factor of the Prostitution Reform law was that it dictated the level of advertising that brothels could do, in order to protect children and families from unwanted exposure.
It is time that we applied this principle to all billboards.
Family First NZ will be laying a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority – for what it’s worth.
Television executives are to be urged by schoolteachers to tone down the language and behaviour shown in programmes because pupils are copying what they see and hear in the classroom.
A survey of almost 800 teachers found that the rudest behaviour in the classroom was caused by pupils copying Big Brother and Little Britain .
Two-thirds of teachers said they believed Big Brother had led to bad or inappropriate behaviour in their school – while 61% cited Little Britain .
Other offenders include Waterloo Road – the BBC1 drama about a comprehensive school – which is said to encourage pupils to wear their uniforms in a sloppy fashion and The Catherine Tate Show which has prompted pupils to reply to
teachers with the Lauren Cooper catchphrases Whatev-ah! and Am I Bovvered?
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which conducted the survey, said: School staff believe that television has an even greater influence on the behaviour of young people than computer and video games.
More and more pupils believe the violence depicted on television and computer games is cool, heroic and something they want to emulate. It is not just aggressive behaviour – our members face swearing, inappropriate language and general rudeness
on a daily basis, which is frequently picked up from the TV programmes pupils are watching.
The survey revealed that 88% of teachers believed the level of general rudeness in the classroom had increased as a result of the TV programmes children were watching.
Three out of four believed that TV programmes should be given an age classification in the same way as films at the cinema.
Comment: TV is turning our children into little yobs
Anne Diamond in the Daily Mail is happy to concur and blame pretty much all of the teachers woes on TV:
Kids soak up television faster than kitchen paper absorbs household spills. Any parent knows it, and has seen it in children's behaviour since the days of Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which turned my boys
into hyperactive aliens until I carefully limited their TV time and steered them back towards Postman Pat.
Now, however, the nation's teachers are reporting that too much television is making life unbearable at school - transforming our little Siennas, Chloes, Joshuas and Mohammeds into a generation of foul-mouthed Vicky Pollards and Gordon Ramsays.
I know they're right - because I have heard it, too. Kids do copy swearing from TV and it's not the same sort of swearing you used to overhear several years ago from the kids at the corner shop or the bus stop, who'd let a fourletter word slip
out, have a giggle and then instinctively hush up because adults were within earshot.
A bad influence? Lippy schoolgirl Lauren from the Catherine Tate Show
Nowadays, the swearing, aggressive, defiant behaviour is right in your face. They're proud of it. It defines them. After all, it's on the telly, isn't it?
From explicit articles about masturbation and homosexuality to columns about My First Time, Jasad (Body) is out to shine a spotlight on Arab cultural taboos, and the glossy magazine that is already the focus of
The first issue of this quarterly publication, the brainchild of writer and poet Joumana Haddad, hit Lebanese newsstands last December. Tongues have wagged ever since about a daring venture into uncharted territory in the largely conservative and
Muslim Middle East.
Haddad told AFP: We need to stop treating our bodies, especially we women, as if they're something to be ashamed of. We have so many issues to deal with without having the extra weight of needing to cover our bodies.
The December issue of Jasad, which sold for $10, includes articles on self-mutilation and cannibalism. The cover story of the March issue focuses on the penis.
The magazine has predictably drawn the wrath of religious authorities and women's organizations in Lebanon who are calling for its closure on the grounds that it amounts to pornography.
We are all in favor of modernity, claimed Aman Kabbara Shaarani, head of the Lebanese Council of Women ...BUT... this magazine, under cover of being cultural, appeals to sexual instincts. Subjects that teach our youngsters how to
make love do not fit in with our moral values and civic education.
Shaarani said she had written to the highest religious authorities in the country as well as to Cabinet members and the censorship bureau calling for Jasad to be banned: I will not give up because there needs to be a media watchdog for these
sorts of publications. We are considering taking this before the courts.
For now Lebanese authorities appear content to let publication continue. Haddad, who is also culture editor of the well-known Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, argues that her publication does not target minors and is sold in a sealed plastic envelope
clearly marked for adults only.
The magazine's first issue - all 3,000 copies - sold out within 11 days. Sales of the second issue, printed at 4,000 copies, have so far been brisk, Haddad said. Outside Lebanon the magazine is sold by subscription only as no bookstore in the
Arab world would dare stock it, she said. So far advertisers have shied away for the most part, fearing a backlash.