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belfast council logo Belfast City Councilis set to reject two applications for sex shops in the city centre.A businessman who once took his fight for a sex shop licence to the House of Lords had submitted a fresh application for Miss Behavin’ on Gresham Street. A second application for a shop called Misstique in the same area has also been submitted.

However, Belfast City Council seems likely to reject both applications. A meeting of the council’s morality committee came up with the lame excuse that Gresham Street is supposedly to be regenerated under the Future Belfast plans.

There are a number of unlicensed sex shops currently operating in the Gresham Street area, however committee members were told last week that two on Smithfield Square North have closed recently following council enforcement action.

The final decision will be taken at a meeting of the full council next Monday.

SDLP councillor Pat McCarthy said he believed the committee would be open to hearing an application for such a shop in a different location, one outside the main city centre.

There has only been one sex shop granted a licence in Northern Ireland, in an industrial estate in Mallusk. Newtownabbey Borough Council allowed that licence in 2006.

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DCMS logo Porn websites will be forced to check users are over 18 under a new crackdown to stop children accessing explicit material.

Mobile phone companies and credit card firms will have to ensure that someone proves they are aged 18 or over before being given access to adult websites.

Now it has emerged that plans are being drawn up to force adult websites to carry out checks on the age of users. It would cover pornography sites, as well as those selling guns and other age-restricted material, the Sunday Times reported.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working on the plans with Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom, who oversees regulation of the banking system.

However, the new rules would only cover UK-based websites to begin with.  It is already nearly impossible to run a British adult website due to onerous age verification rules and critics have noted that only one of the 1,266 adult websites visited from the UK in December 2013 was a service that is regulated in this country.

It seems very unlikely that these new rules will have any impact onthe availability of porn to children. Even if new downloadswere stopped tomorrow there’s probably already enough knocking around and hard drives and memory sticks to last several lifetimes of playgroundswopsies. The only effect it will have is to add to the mountain of red tape, administrative costs and restrictive regulations that is impoverishing the west.

Offsite Comment: Why age checks on porn sites will do more harm than good

28th October 2014. See  article from by Martin Daubney

Telegraph logo The Government’s plan to introduce age verification checks only shows that politicians remain too scared to approach the porn problem in a meaningful manner.

…Read the full article

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Old Bailey The law penalising possession of extreme pornography faces judicial review by a defendant previously charged with having a video of woman having sex with a tiger.

It was revealed in Court that the tiger was actually a man in a tiger-skin costume.

Yet the former defendant, Andrew Holland, of Wrexham, North Wales, suffered significant disruption to his life and widespread public ridicule.

Solicitor Myles Jackman at Hodge Jones & Allen LLP acting on behalf of Mr Holland, said:

Mr Holland does not want others to go through the ordeal that he has faced. Mr Holland wants to ensure that others are not prosecuted unnecessarily in the manner that he was. He remains subject to the risk of further criminal charges in the event that he is in possession of similar joke images in the future.

Consequently Backlash have written to the Prime Minister, and HJA have written to Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions asking her to review the implementation of this law: Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

Something has gone badly wrong when Parliament were told there would be thirty cases a year yet there have been thousands of costly prosecutions emphasised Backlash Chair Hazel Eraclaeous.

If this review is not forthcoming, the law will be challenged by way of judicial review in the Administrative Court of the High Court.

Jon Fuller, spokesperson for Backlash, said:

This law threatens anyone with a sex life they want to keep private. It threatens ordinary members of the public who exchange dirty jokes by phone and over the internet. Potentially criminalizing millions of people is a disproportionate consequence of a law not based on harm and with no clear benefit.

Letter to the Prime Minister from Backlash

backlash logo Dear Prime Minister

S63(7) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 Prospective Judicial Review in the Administrative Court of the High Court: Pre-Action Protocol Letter

In the years since S63(7) of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 was enacted there have been over 5,500 prosecutions for possession offences. Prior to the introduction of the legislation Ministers said there would merely be a handful of cases each year, and the Regulatory Impact Assessment predicted just 30 per annum.

Of great concern is that over the five years since enactment of the legislation the public, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary remain either oblivious or uncertain as to the precise meaning of at least two, and possibly all four, categories of the legislation. The Simon Walsh trial showed that CPS had sought to widen the meaning of Section 63(7)(b), seeking to prosecute for possession of images that depicted unconventional but not dangerous behaviour. The Andrew Holland ( Tiger porn ) case (Section 63(7)(d)) showed that harmless but crude jokes could also result in prosecution.

While both of these cases and others resulted in acquittal, it is unacceptable that the legal profession remains uncertain as to what types of material may get members of the public into trouble. There is emphatic evidence that many lawyers have advised people to plead guilty to possession offences to avoid the cost involved in trial, despite subsequent examination of the facts revealing that no offence had been committed.

The brutal reality is that lives are being turned upside down, careers destroyed and worse. In the light of the extreme nature of the penalties upon conviction, inclusion on the sex offenders register, lengthy period of incarceration and a heavy fine, it is wholly unacceptable that the public is denied an unequivocal, precise and detailed statement of that which is legal and that illegal to possess. If it really is impossible for the executive to provide clarity, then legislators must repeal the sections that cause the greatest difficulty (S63(7)(a) and(b).

Today, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, acting on behalf of Andrew Holland, has written to The Director of Public Prosecutions explaining that the case against Mr Holland breached his human rights for three reasons.

1. That the term extreme pornography is insufficiently clearly defined in S63 CJIA 2008. It is not clear from the wording and accompanying case law how a potential defendant would be able to understand its scope and foresee the consequence of his/her actions;

2. There is insufficient guidance from the DPP as to when offences under S63 will be prosecuted; and

3. The offence is a disproportionate means of achieving the legislation’s intended aims.

Hodge Jones & Allen LLP have asked that the Secretary of State for the Home Department carries out a Human Rights Impact Assessment in relation to S63 CJIA 2008. In the event that the section fails the Human Rights Impact Assessment it is requested that this be confirmed in writing so that proceedings can be issued by way of judicial review by the Claimant who can then seek a Declaration of Incompatibility by way of a Consent Order. This will allow the Secretary of State for the Home Department to repeal Section 63 of the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008 by use of the fast-track procedure under Section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

I appeal to you to intervene to ensure that common sense and justice prevail. The harm being caused by S63(7) CJIA 2008 now greatly exceeds any perceived benefits.

Yours faithfully

Hazel Eracleous Chair, Backlash

Are vague laws allowing police to ride roughshod over legal standards?

See  article from by Jane Fae

The extreme porn law has been the government’s preferred means of dealing with online smut for ten years. It was always an accident waiting to happen. For five years, government appears to have gotten away with it, but today’s threat, by solicitors Hodge Allen & Jones to take the law to judicial review if the director of public prosecutions does not explain once and for all what is and is not an offence could be the final straw.

…Read the full article

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worlds craziest fools World’s Craziest Fools
BBC3, 30 June 2014, 19:00

World’s Craziest Fools is a series of programmes presented by actor and professional wrestler Mr T. Video clips of people acting foolishly are shown accompanied by humorous voiceovers from the presenter.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of offensive language during an episode shown on 30 June 2014 at 19:00. About five minutes into the programme the song Move Bitch by the rapper Ludacris was used as background music to accompany a montage of clips showing car drivers behaving in various stupid or dangerous ways.

Ofcom noted 25 instances of bitch which were clearly audible while the song was played. The duration of the montage using the music was about two minutes.

Ofcom consider Rule 1.16:

Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed unless it is justified by the context. In any event, frequent use of such language must be avoided before the watershed .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.16

Ofcom’s guidance on Rule 1.16 makes clear that:

Milder language in the early part of the evening may be acceptable, for example, if mitigated by a humorous context. However, in general, viewers and listeners do not wish to hear frequent or regular use of such language, including profanity, before 2100 .

Our research on offensive language noted that the word bitch is considered by audiences to be offensive language of medium acceptability which they group with other words considered to be stronger swear words. This research said that, although some thought there were contexts where it was acceptable to use this word pre-watershed, audiences considered that care needed to be taken , particularly where children were likely to be listening or watching and where programmes were intended to be family viewing.

Ofcom noted that there were 25 audible uses of the word bitch in this one item in the programme over a period of two minutes. In our view it was therefore clear that in this pre-watershed programme there was frequent use of offensive language.

We took account of the various points made by the BBC which it suggested helped to mitigate the offence caused by this repeated use of offensive language. These included that the use of this song in conjunction with a montage of traffic and parking clips made clear that in this context the song was intended to be comedic, rather than offensive towards women. Nonetheless we noted that the programme was pre-recorded, and there was therefore an opportunity for the producers to research and reflect on this choice of music for a pre-watershed programme.

The BBC also argued that any potential offence was mitigated by the humorous nature of the programme in general, and blunted, rather than intensified by its repetition. However, Rule 1.16 requires that the frequent use of offensive language must be avoided before the watershed. Ofcom’s research on offensive language2 indicates that some audiences feel that the frequent use of a word can increase its offensiveness. In Ofcom’s view, therefore, the repeated use of the word bitch in this song did not blunt the potential offence caused.

Breach of Rule 1.16

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radio 1s big weekend   Radio 1’s Big Weekend
BBC Radio 1, 24 May 2014, 17:15 to 18:45

BBC Radio 1 hosted an annual live music event in Glasgow called Radio 1’s Big Weekend , with segments of the event broadcast across the weekend.

Three complainants alerted Ofcom to the use of offensive language during the event’s live broadcasts. Two of the complaints related specifically to Lily Allen’s set aired between 17:30 and 18:15 on 24 May 2014 and one complaint was made about offensive language across the whole weekend. Ofcom noted that there were six instances of fuck during Lily Allen’s 45 minute performance.

At 17:27, immediately prior to Lily Allen going on stage, the on-air presenter, Scott Mills, broadcast the following warning:

Now don’t forget this set may contain some strong language, it is live on Radio 1’s Big Weekend. We’re about to see Lily Allen. If you’re easily offended please go to the website and check out some other performance.

Lily Allen’s set contained 11 songs in total, three of which included fuck . Following the first instance of fuck in each song the broadcast was immediately interrupted with an apology from the on-air presenter, with these apologies repeated at the end of the tracks.

Ofcom Rule 1.14:

The most offensive language must not be broadcastâ?¦when children are particularly likely to be listening.

The BBC pointed to the warning for strong language before Lily Allen’s set began, and the multiple apologies broadcast during and after songs which included fuck .

The BBC said that at two points during Lily Allen’s performance it considered whether to cut away from her set because of the repeated use of the word fuck . However the senior producer decided on balance to continue for various reasons. These included the producer’s view that few children would be listening, the very clear signposting and apologies already given. However the BBC stated that in retrospect it believed Radio 1 should have stopped broadcasting live Lily Allen’s set after the second song when she used offensive language, and only broadcast the remainder of her performance once it had been edited.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 1.14

In this case the BBC clearly had prior experience with this live event from 2011. It is also important to note that in this case BBC Radio 1 was both the event promoter and broadcaster. It therefore had greater control over this event, and for example the order and content of the performances, than if it was one for which it had negotiated the rights to broadcast. Also as Lily Allen’s material was well known, and her use of strong language in performance well established, it was reasonably predictable that her set could contain the most offensive language during a live broadcast of Radio 1’s Big Weekend.

In light of Ofcom’s decision in 2011, we considered that the BBC should have been more aware of this risk when broadcasting the same event in 2014. We are concerned that it did not take more measures both before and during the broadcast to ensure compliance with Section One of the Code taking into account that the event was to be broadcast at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening. Ofcom noted, for example, that in addition to consideration of the scheduling of the acts, the BBC also had the option of cutting away from Lily Allen’s set after the first occasion when she used the most offensive language but failed to do so.

Therefore, in light of all the above factors, Rule 1.14 of the Code was breached.

Read more Ofcom Watch at

studio 66 logo Studio 66
Studio 66 TV3, 4 June 2014, 22:15
Studio 66 TV1, 6 June 2014, 01:45

Studio 66 Nights was a segment of interactive adult chat advertising content broadcast on the service Studio 66 TV. The service, broadcasting on a digital satellite platform, is freely available without mandatory restricted access and is situated in the adult section of the electronic programme guide (EPG). Viewers are invited to contact on-screen presenters via premium rate telephony services (PRS). The female presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers.

The licence for Studio 66 TV3 is owned and operated by 965 TV Limited.

Ofcom received a complaint that at 22:30 the on-screen female presenter was rubbing her genitals.

We assessed the material between 22:15 and 22:45 and noted the female presenter was wearing a thong and white vest top pulled down to expose her breasts. During the broadcast, the presenter sat for extended periods of time with her legs apart and repeatedly stroked and rubbed her genital area through her thong. On a further two occasions she moved her hand underneath her underwear and appeared to rub her genital area. The presenter’s thong also failed to adequately cover the area around her genitals and this area was exposed on a number of occasions during the broadcast.

Ofcom considered BCAP Code Rule 4.2.This states:

Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards .

Ofcom rules for babe channels include that adult chat broadcasters should:

  • at no time broadcast anal, labial or genital areas or broadcast images of presenters touching their genital or anal areas whether with their hand or an object
  • ensure that presenters’ clothing adequately covers their anal, labial or genital areas.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of BCAP rule 4.2

In this case, the material was clearly at odds with the Guidance. The location of the channel within the adult section of the EPG and the time of broadcast were not sufficient mitigating factors to ensure serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards by the broadcast of this material on an advertising-based service was avoided. Rule 4.2 was therefore breached.

We also noted the Licensee’s assertion that certain non-PRS adult channels (regulated under the Broadcasting Code) broadcast much stronger material by way of free-to-air and unencrypted promotional clips than the Licensee’s channels. Ofcom noted that these kinds of promotions for adult services are typically very short in length, and consist of a rolling series of very brief, tightly cut clips shown on editorial services which are specifically licensed to broadcast adult sex material’, subject to various restrictions.

Ofcom has noted the various measures taken by the Licensee to improve compliance after being alerted by Ofcom to the broadcast of this material. Nonetheless, Ofcom puts 965 TV on notice that should similar breaches of the BCAP Code occur on this Licensee’s chat or adult chat services it will consider further regulatory action.

Ofcom found similarly against the complaint on Studio 66 TV1.

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Burma flag 2010 A censor from Burma’s Motion Picture and Video Censor Board, said that video censorship isto be re-introduced in Burma. He claimed that many recent movies have portrayed behaviour that supposedly runs counter to Burmese culture.The movie censorship board announced earlier this year that, beginning on 1 December, such films will be subject to the old censorship system, whereby they are required to be evaluated and approved by the censor board prior to distribution.

Tin Nyein, a board member, further explained that this was a response to the large number of sexually-explicit films released in recent years that are offensive to certain religious beliefs.