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doj logoThe U.S. Department of Justice has indicated it will end Operation Choke Point, the repressive program that discouraged banks from offering financial services to a range of companies it deemed objectionable.

Critics of the program that was initiated during the Obama administration said it was hurting legitimate businesses such. Adult entertainment companies were also affected.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd referred to the program as a misguided initiative in a August 16 letter to House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte. In the DOJ’s letter obtained by Politico, Boyd said, We share your view that law abiding businesses should not be targeted simply for operating in an industry that a particular administration might disfavor.

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britains got talentTV censor Ofcom has provided Trusted Reviews with figures that reveal which television items have received the most viewer complaints over the past year:10. Benidorm (ITV) — 137 complaints

9. Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls (Channel 4) — 153 complaints

8. Good Morning Britain (ITV) — 181 complaints

7. Sky News (Sky News) — 190 complaints

6. Emmerdale (ITV) — 275 complaints

5. Coronation Street (ITV) — 303 complaints

4. Comic Relief (BBC 1) — 340 complaints

3. Emmerdale (ITV) — 448 complaints

2. Coronation Street (ITV) — 473 complaints

1. Britain’s Got Talent (ITV) — 663 complaints

… Read the full article from trustedreviews.com

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alien covenenant advert video Two digital outdoor ads displayed on large screens in two stations in central London, for the film Alien: Covenant, seen in early May 2017:

a. The first ad began with a spacecraft approaching a planet followed by scenes on the planet. In one scene a man in a dark room shined a torch on an alien egg, the top of which began to slowly open. A close-up showed an alien-like mouth suddenly exploding from it, towards the camera. A woman in distress was then shown running down a corridor, being chase by an arachnid-like alien, followed by a close-up of her screaming. An arachnid-like alien was then shown running towards the camera. The final shot showed a woman hiding from an alien which was just on the other side of a door frame.

b. The second ad featured large on-screen text which stated in turn: RUN, HIDE, SCREAM and PRAY. The text appeared next to brief clips from the film, including the scene with the woman in distress running down a corridor being chased by an alien, the alien egg slowly opening, the close-up of the woman screaming, a woman looking panicked and shouting through the glass window in a closed door, the close-up of the alien-like mouth suddenly exploding towards the camera, and the final shot of a woman hiding from an alien which was just on the other side of a door frame.

Three complainants, one of whose children had seen the ads, challenged whether the ads were likely to cause fear or distress, and whether they were suitable to be shown in an untargeted medium.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood the film was rated as a 15 by the BBFC and considered that the advertiser should therefore have taken particular care to ensure that scenes included in the ads would be suitable to be shown in a public space where children were likely to be present.

The ads contained scenes of characters who were clearly in distress, as well as images of an alien mouth suddenly exploding from an egg out towards the viewer, and a woman being chased by an alien. We considered those scenes were likely to frighten and cause distress to some children and that the ads were likely to catch their attention, particularly as they were shown on large screens. We concluded the ads were not suitable to be shown in an untargeted public medium and therefore breached the Code.

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Twentieth Century Fox Film Company Ltd to target their ads more carefully in future to avoid the risk of causing undue fear and distress to children.

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dreamhost logoThe US internet company DreamHost is fighting government demands for it to hand over details of millions of activists.The Department of Justice (DoJ) wants all visitors’ IP addresses – some 1.3 million – to a website that helped organise a protest on the day of President Trump’s inauguration. In addition to the IP addresses, DreamHost said that the DoJ requested the contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors.

DreamHost is currently refusing to comply with the request and is due in court on 18th August,

In a blog post on the issue, DreamHost said that, like many other online service providers, it was regularly approached by law enforcement about customers who may be the subject of criminal investigations. But, it added, it took issue with this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand.

Civil liberties group The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is helping DreamHost fight its case, said: No plausible explanation exists for a search warrant of this breadth, other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible.

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Facebook logoAs queer artists and activists, we’re alarmed by a new trend: Many LGBTQ people’s posts have been blocked recently for using words like dyke, fag, or tranny to describe ourselves and our communities.

While these words are still too-often shouted as slurs, they’re also frequently reclaimed by queer and transgender people as a means of self-expression. However, Facebook’s algorithmic and human reviewers seem unable to accurately parse the context and intent of their usage.

Whether intentional or not, these moderation fails constitute a form of censorship. And just like Facebook’s dangerous and discriminatory real names policy , these examples demonstrate how the company’s own practices often amplify harassment and cause real harm to marginalized groups.

For example, two individuals wrote that they were reported for posting about the return of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel’s celebrated Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip. A gay man posted that he was banned for seven days after sharing a vintage flyer for the 1970s lesbian magazine DYKE , which was recently featured in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. A queer poet of color’s status update was removed for expressing excitement in finding poetry that featured the sex lives of black and brown faggots.

A young trans woman we heard from was banned for a day after referring to herself as a tranny alongside a selfie that proudly showed off her new hair style. After she regained access, she posted about the incident, only to be banned again for three more days.

…Read the full article from wired.com

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BBC logoThe BBC is currently overhauling its complaints system after Ofcom took over censorship duties in April, replacing the BBC Trust. However there is still a part of the process where viewers have to complain to the BBC first before seeking recourse with Ofcom.

The Countryside Alliance has clashed with BBC bosses over the new framework which the group believes does not improve the process and only allows viewers to go to Ofcom after a three stage process. In a letter to the corporation, Tim Bonner, the alliance’s chief executive, said this process could take several months and urged a rethink. He wrote:

Given the timescales for responding, it is likely that it could take several months before a complaint could be seen by Ofcom if the complainant were unhappy with the responses received from the BBC. We are not satisfied that this provides the expected level of oversight which Ofcom was intended to have in the new Charter.

The Countryside Alliance, a group lobbying for hunting and shooting, previously came off worse when complaining that Springwatch presenter Chris Packham referred to them as the ‘Nasty Brigade’ in a BBC magazine article. Presumably they feel that when they did not get what they wanted from the BBC Trust then they would like to give Ofcom a shot.

Bonner said that the alliance had submitted a number of complaints to the BBC and BBC Trust over the past 18 months which have not been upheld.  He added:

We would have welcomed the opportunity to pursue our complaints with Ofcom at the earliest possible opportunity in order for an external regulator to review the complaints independently.

The BBC’s royal charter specifically allows the BBC to try to try to resolve complaints in the first instance before they are passed to Ofcom.

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shakespeare must dieShakespeare Must Die is a 2012 Thailand horror drama by Ing Kanjanavanit.
Starring Pirun Anusuriya, Sudhisak Bamrungtrakun and Minta Bhanaparin. YouTube icon IMDb Thailand’s Administrative Court has rejected a petition by the producer and director of a feature film against a ban imposed by the Film and Video Censorship Committee five years ago.

Shakespeare Must Die was banned from being screened in Thailand on the grounds that the movie’s political content might cause divisiveness among people in the country.

The film, directed by Smanrat Ing K Kanjanavanich and produced by Manit Sriwanichpoom, is an adaptation of Macbeth , a tragedy by English writer William Shakespeare. It depicted both an ambitious general who becomes king through murder, and another world in which the country’s leader believes in superstitious, megalomaniac and murderous dictatorship. He is known only as Dear Leader and has a scary, high-society wife. The movie clearly alluded to prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was popular with working people but alienated the Thai elite.

The Administrative Court ruled that even though the story is fictional, the movie’s content might cause disunity among people. It contains scenes based on a photograph from Bangkok’s 1976 student uprising and violent scenes from red-shirt demonstrations.

Manit said the filmmakers would appeal the court’s verdict. I feel like we didn’t get justice, he said.