Read more ASA Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

asa annual report 2015 Advert Censor ASA and CAP (who write the rules) have published their Annual Report covering 2015. They issued the following press release:

ASA and CAP Annual Report 2015: The balance is shifting 26 May 2016

Figures published today [Thursday 26 May] show the changing landscape of advertising regulation continues to be dominated by online ads, with the number of internet cases standing at over double those of the second most prolific medium, TV (8,633 compared to 3,920). Meanwhile, the mass-viewing nature of TV ensured that ads on the box generated the greatest number of individual complaints from consumers (11,611), taking back the top spot from the Internet.

The league table was released today as part of our and the Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP’s) annual report. The report also shows how advertising regulation itself is changing, owing to a rebalancing from complaints-led work towards more proactive interventions in markets where consumers are facing harm. Examples include a new approach to broadband pricing, sector-wide advice for osteopaths on how to advertise responsibly, and new guidance for vloggers on the disclosure of paid-for endorsements.

Consequently, while the number of consumer complaints about ads declined by 7.9% to 29,554, 2015 was a record year in terms of the number of ads that were changed or withdrawn as a result of our regulation (4,584). While this figure has risen 32% since 2014, it still represents only a small proportion of the overall advertising landscape — data also published today suggests fewer members of the public saw problem ads in 2015 – 17%, down from 22% in 2013.

The report also shows which sectors and media received the most complaints during 2015. Notably, complaints about ads on public transport increased 153% – primarily owing to the high-profile and controversial Are you beach body ready? ad.

The most complained about sector was Leisure (films, DVDs, computer games, gambling), with 3,932 complaints about 2,530 cases. Meanwhile, the financial sector saw a 78% rise in complaints, driven primarily by the Moneysupermarket.com ad featuring Dancing Dave , which was the most complained about ad of 2015.

Conversely, the alcohol sector saw complaints decline by 37% to just 118 about 90 ads.

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA said:

The ASA’s ambition is to make every UK ad a responsible ad and recent changes show how our regulation is becoming more proactive and having more impact. Alongside our important work resolving consumer complaints, we’ve taken proactive action in areas that make the biggest difference for the public. As well as the record number of ads changed or withdrawn, the volume of our compliance work has trebled to almost 5,500 cases.

The figures we’ve published today also show how protecting consumers, particularly children, online continues to be an urgent priority.

In 2016, we’ll be implementing changes to broadband pricing, as well as examining gender discrimination in ads, and exploring ways to reduce children’s exposure to ads for age-restricted products in social media.

Read more EU Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

european commission logo A new legislative proposal amending the AVMSD has been adopted by the European Commission on 25 May 2016. The reform brings the Directive in line with the new realities. Share A media framework for the 21st century

Viewers, and particularly minors, are moving from traditional TV to the online world, while the regulatory burden is much higher on TV. The Directive therefore introduces flexibility when restrictions only applicable to TV are no longer justified. At the same time, it ensures that consumers will be sufficiently protected in the on-demand and Internet world. This is done while making sure that innovation will not be stifled.

The idea is to achieve a balance between competitiveness and consumer protection.

What’s new?

The main new elements of the proposal are summarised below:

  1. The Country of origin principle (COO)

    COO is a cornerstone of the Directive . It will be maintained and facilitated by:

    • simplifying the rules which determine the country having jurisdiction over a provider,

    • establishing an obligation on Member States to inform about what providers are under their jurisdiction and maintaining an up-to-date database to ensure transparency,

    • clarifying cooperation procedures between Member States regarding permissible limitations to COO.

  2. Commercial Communications

    The proposed modifications aim at reducing the burden of TV broadcasters while maintaining, and even reinforcing those rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable. For example, the revised AVMSD:

    • maintains the strict 20% limit on advertising time, but gives broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown,

    • it allows more flexibility in putting product placement and sponsorship,

    • it encourages the adoption of self- and co-regulation for the existing rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable (alcohol advertising, fatty food, minors, etc.).

  3. Promotion of European works

    The proposed modifications aim at enhancing the promotion of European works by:

    • allowing MS to impose financial contributions to providers of on-demand services established in other MS (but only on the turnover generated in the imposing country),

    • putting on-demand players under the obligation to promote European content to a limited level by imposing a minimum quota obligations (20% share of the audiovisual offer of their catalogues) and an obligation to give prominence to European works in their catalogues,

    • low turnover companies, thematic services and small and micro enterprises are exempted from these requirements.

  4. Prohibition of hate speech

    The grounds for prohibiting hate speech will be aligned to those of the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia ( Decision 2008/913/JHA ). This prohibits incitement to violence and hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to sex, race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.

  5. Protection of Minors

    The proposed modifications aim at simplifying the obligation to protect minors against harmful content. It now says that everything that ‘may be harmful’ should be restricted on all services. The most harmful content shall be subject to the strictest measures, such as PIN codes and encryption. This will apply also to on-demand services.

    Member States shall ensure that audiovisual media service providers provide sufficient information to viewers about harmful content to minors. For this purpose, Member States may use a system of descriptors indicating the nature of the content of an audiovisual media service.

  6. Platforms

    Video-sharing platforms will be included in the scope of the AVMSD only when it comes to combat hate speech and dissemination of harmful content to minors.

    Platforms which organise and tag a large quantity of videos will have to protect minors from harmful content and to protect all citizens from incitement to hatred, based on new EU-specific terms in the revised AVMSD. Fully in line with the ecommerce Directive , this builds on existing efforts by the industry and will be implemented by co-regulation.

  7. The Audiovisual Regulators

    The independence of audiovisual regulators will be enshrined into EU law by ensuring that they are legally distinct and functionally independent from the industry and government (eg they do not seek nor take instructions), operate in a transparent and accountable manner which is set out in a law and have sufficient powers.

  8. ERGA (The European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services)

    ERGA will have a bigger role in shaping and preserving the internal market, for example in assessing EU co-regulatory codes and will take part in the procedures derogating from the country of origin.

    The role of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) will be set out in EU legislation.

What’s next?

Once adopted by the European Commission, the legislative proposal is sent to the European Parliament and to the Council.

Read more Extreme Pornography News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

nothing to hide The Adam Smith Institute has just released a new paper by Nicholas Cowen of Kings College London: Nothing to Hide: The case against the ban on extreme pornography. In it, Cowen makes a robust case against the current prohibition on acts that are legal to perform–and yet not to record–show it to be expensive, dangerous, and illiberal.

The executive summary of the paper reads:

  • The ban on possession of extreme pornography was introduced in 2009 and extended in 2015. The law, as drafted, bans depictions of some sex acts that can be conducted safely and consensually between adults, with a specific risk of prosecution posed to LGBT minorities.
  • The Crown Prosecution Service reports more than a thousand offences prosecuted each year, implying significant enforcement costs that could be deployed effectively elsewhere.
  • A significant minority of the British population enjoy sexually aggressive fantasy scenarios but do not pose a specific risk of committing violent or sexual offences.
  • Access to pornography has increased dramatically in recent years, yet social harms imputed to pornography (especially violence against women) have reduced moderately but significantly.
  • While some survey evidence claims a correlation between individual use of pornography and sexual aggression, econometric evidence suggests this is not a causal relationship and that, if anything, increased access to pornography can reduce measurable social harms.
  • The ban itself represents a potential risk to political integrity. Like the ban on homosexuality in much of the 20th century, prohibitions on private sexual conduct can be used to silence, blackmail and corrupt individuals in positions of authority and responsibility.
  • There are better policies for reducing violence against women in the dimensions of criminal justice, education and economic reform.
  • The prevailing free speech doctrine in the United States shows that it is realistically possible to simultaneously tackle damaging forms of expression and maintain strong protections for innocuous forms.

…Read the full paper Nothing to Hide briefing paper [pdf] from adamsmith-private.squarespace.com

Read more News: Latest Cuts at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Big Mamma's House Big Momma’s House is a 2000 USA / Germany action crime comedy by Raja Gosnell.
Starring Martin Lawrence, Nia Long and Paul Giamatti. BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for a 12 rated cinema release in 2000.

Summary Notes

FBI agent Malcolm Turner is known best for being a brilliant, master of disguise. Malcolm’s latest assignment sends him to small-town Georgia, where he’s assigned to trap a brutal bank robber (and a recent prison escapee) who they suspect will be coming down to visit his ex-girlfriend Sherry and her son. Malcolm sets up a stakeout across from the home of a larger-than-life southern matriarch known as Big Momma, who’s about to be visited by Sherry.

See video from YouTube

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chura dance video Snura Mushi’s latest popular hit Chura has not only led Tanzanian authorities to ban the video and its distribution, but they have also banned the artist from performing until the video is edited,.The information, culture, arts and sports ministry’s head of information and censorship Zawadi Msalla said the government was shocked at the video , and that the ban was enacted due to the immoral acts featured in the video.

Msalla said that Mushi has been instructed not to distribute or release her controversial and immoral video in other social media, such as Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and several others , adding that people who distribute the video will be charged according to the 2014 Cyber Crime Act.

Further, the artist has also been banned from performing publicly until, Msalla notes, the video is changed and then registered at the National Arts Council.

Mushi’s Chura video consists solely of scenes of several women in dresses twerking on a beach and has 640,000 views on YouTube since its release on 25 April 2016.

Read more International Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Google logo Google has appealed to France’s highest court after the country’s internet censor ordered it to delete some of its search results globally.In 2015, the Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) said Google should respect French right to be forgotten rulings worldwide. Companies offering services to European citizens must comply with the ruling, even if their websites are not hosted in Europe.

But Google said the ruling could lead to abuse by less open and democratic countries. The company is now appealing against a 100,000-euro (£76,000) CNIL fine. Google says results can end up removed even when those links point to truthful and lawfully published information like newspaper articles or official government websites .

Google currently blocks all right to be forgotten content from all searches for users with a European IP address. Viewers from outside the EU and Europeans using non European proxies or VPNs can still access that links censored in Europe.

Google argues that a French authority such as the CNIL should not impose measures outside of the nation’s borders . Kent Walker, the company’s general counsel said:

For hundreds of years, it has been an accepted rule of law that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of other countries,

In an open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde, Google said it had already received requests from countries to block content worldwide that was illegal locally. The letter said:

If French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries – perhaps less open and democratic – start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?

This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one’s own country.

This is not just a hypothetical concern. We have received demands from governments to remove content globally on various grounds.

We have resisted, even if that has sometimes led to the blocking of our services.

According to AFP, Google expects the Council of State, France’s highest court, will take at least a year to review its appeal.

Read more UK Internet Censorship at MelonFarmers.co.uk

arms of the british governmentjpg logo The Queen’s Speech contained the following reference to the Digital Economy Bill:

Digital Economy Bill

Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband. Legislation will be introduced to make the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy.

It seems a bit of a contraction that one of the main elements of the bill is designed to make the UK a world straggler in the digital economy when it comes to adult contents,The notes reveal a little more about the internet censorship section of the bill which reads:

Protecting citizens in the digital economy

  • Protection for consumers from spam email and nuisance calls by ensuring consent is obtained for direct marketing, and that the Information Commissioner is empowered to impose fines on those who break the rules.
  • Protection of children from online pornography by requiring age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material.

The government notes that the bill will apply to the entire UK.

For further details about government porn censorship proposals see Consultation document [pdf] from gov.uk and the introductory page from gov.uk

Internet censorship also rears its head in:

Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill

Legislation will be introduced to prevent radicalisation, tackle extremism in all its forms, and promote community integration.

In one of the clauses of the bill the government mentionsas:

We will also close loopholes so that Ofcom can continue to protect consumers who watch internet-streamed television content from outside the EU on Freeview.

The government seems to have scaled back on its widely circulated idea of allowing of Ofcom to pre-censor TV broadcasts of ‘extremist’ content.