Archive for the ‘Council Censorship’ Category

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Roy Chubby Brown: The Second Coming DVD The comedian Roy Chubby Brown has been banned from performing at Sheffield Town Hall

The comic believes he has been stopped from appearing at the new look venue because his act is too saucy. He says he is angry and gutted over the move insisting his publicity material makes the sort of content clear and anyone easily offended can simply stay away.

Middlesbrough Council claimed the decision was simply based on the fact the programme for the recently relaunched theatre was full.

Teesside Live readers have reacted in force to the news – and almost every one backing the local lad. Posting on Teesside Live 14 said:

Most people are able to make up their own minds about whether they want to see Chubby Brown or not. No need for venues to make that decision for them.  Maybe we should all boycott the town hall!

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Roy Chubby Browns Big Fat Hundreds of people have called on Ashfield District Council in Nottinghamshire to lift its ban on the comedian Roy Chubby Brown appearing at one of its venues.The council cancelled the show claiming that the comedian’s material was not appropriate . It said in a statement it did not feel the booking was:

Appropriate for a council venue and not one that it wished to be associated with.

Ricky-Lee Cooke, who started a petition to overturn the decision, said people had the right to make their own choice. Roy Chubby Brown was due to appear at Festival Hall, in Kirkby, in October. Cooke, whose petition has 465 signatures, said:

I’m a big believer in freedom of speech… I do believe it’s censorship. It’s for the people to decide, no one is forcing [them] to go. They know what the show is like.

I do think [the material] is appropriate and I don’t think the council should be making decisions like this.

Steven Lloyd, the comedian’s manager, said:

We do shows for the fans, not for the council. This is purely a vendetta against Roy as they have not banned other comics from the venue.

They booked the show last November and it took them [until] now to cancel it because they didn’t want ‘his type’.

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never secondsArgyll and Bute Council are in the news for falling foul of the Streisand Effect, the act of trying to suppress information but simply making it more widespread as a result.

Martha Payne, from Argyll, was writing about her school dinners on her NeverSeconds blog, taking pictures of them and offering ratings for their nutritional value.

But Argyll and Bute Council banned her from taking photos of her school’s food, saying press coverage of the blog had led catering staff to fear for their jobs.

However, they reckoned without the Streisand Effect, which saw the photo ban make headline news in some of the nation’s biggest media organisations and the story spiral into a much bigger one that it ever was before.

The furore forced the local authority to reverse the ban, with the leader issuing a bollox propaganda statement claiming that there was no place for censorship on the council.

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leafletting reportOver the past few years it has become almost impossible to hand out leaflets in many UK town and city centres.

Using powers contained in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, local authorities have introduced leafleting zones within which people must buy a licence if they want to hand out flyers.

These rules have been catastrophic for village halls, circuses, political campaigners, comedy clubs and nightclubs.

Our new report Leafleting: A Liberty Lost? charts the rapid spread of these unnecessary rules, and finds that 27% of councils now restrict public leafleting.

The report calls for a review of local authorities’ no-tolerance policies, and for a more liberal regime that recognises leafleting as part of a free and vibrant civic life.

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carmarthenshire county council videoA blogger who filmed a meeting of a local council was arrested for supposedly breaching the peace despite insisting that she broke no laws.

Jacqui Thompson, author of the blog Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and More, was using her phone to record a meeting of Carmarthenshire County Council during an angry debate on the closure of a day club for local elderly people.

According to her blog, she was in the public gallery when the row over the day club broke out, and began filming proceedings. She was asked to leave by the council chairman who called the police when she refused. Ten minutes later, four police officers arrived.

Mrs Thompson said:

I tried to argue my point but was then arrested in the Public Gallery for ‘breaching the peace’. I was taken outside the door, handcuffed, searched, my phone taken and marched out to the waiting police cars.

I was then taken 30 miles to Llanelli police station where I remained handcuffed for another hour before being ‘processed’, and put in a cell for another two hours.

Mrs Thompson also claimed that she was threatened with being kept overnight at the station unless she signed an undertaking not to film any more meetings. She said that the council chairman, Councillor Ivor Jackson, told her that filming was against the council’s standing orders. However, according to the standing orders, members of the public and press may only be excluded if they are making a disturbance.

David Allen Green, lawyer and legal correspondent of New Statesman, said:

The circumstances of the arrest of Mrs Thompson are concerning. In general terms, it is important that police and local authorities do not use ‘breach of the peace’ as the basis of arresting at will, especially when there are free expression and public accountability issues at stake. I hope this was not what happened with Mrs Thompson. On what we know, it seems alarming, illiberal and misconceived.

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Bournemouth Council logoLicensing officers will double up as film censors following the row about plans to show A Serbian Film in Bournemouth.

The town’s Pier Theatre is volunteering to have its licence amended so it cannot show films that have not been rated by the BBFC unless they have been shown to the local council.

The decision means licensing officers will have to vet any such films, including the low-budget and student movies that have been the backbone of other festivals at the venue. If officers have concerns about a film, they will refer to councillors on the borough’s licensing board.

The row was sparked after organisers of the British Horror Film Festival planned to screen the movie A Serbian Film in an uncut version which had not been passed by the BBFC. The film was pulled from the event, but officers did vet several unrated short films and succeeded in getting another 17-minute movie dropped.

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grassroots feastival logoYet another independent festival has been cancelled after a concerted campaign by bureaucrats, nimbys and police.

The Grassroots Feastival was a small volunteer-run event due to take place in Cambridgeshire in early September. Organisers had lined up three days of revelry, from poetry to Drum n Bass and culminating in a communal banquet replete with juggling waiters.

The Feastival faced determined opposition from the very start. According to one of the organisers, Mooney, when the application process began in January the council and police made it clear they would do all they could to stop the festival taking place.

Mooney said, They didn’t want it to happen so they played their games. They couldn’t use legislation so instead they used dirty tactics. The now familiar modus operandi involved heaping ludicrous demand after ludicrous demand on organisers and stalling for time to the point that the festival risked financial ruin if they pressed ahead.

After the initial consultation, organisers met monthly with the local authorities and there were six revisions of the festival’s management plan in total. Each time they were presented with ever more unreasonable conditions, ranging from heras-fencing the A11 in case of invasion by wandering partygoers who had strayed three miles over fence and field, to installing security watchtowers.

Each time, organisers either met the conditions or managed to argue their case that what they were being asked was beyond the realms of sanity or reason. However the killer blow came with the final application for a licence. When handing in the application, local authorities clearly told organisers that they only needed to submit one paper copy and that the pack of other relevant licensing bodies, such as traffic management and the fire brigade, would be happy with an emailed copy. At the eleventh hour of the last day they had to submit the application, organisers were then told that the licence would be refused unless all the bodies had paper copies. With no time left to do this, organisers would have had to resubmit and wouldn’t have received a decision until just days before the festival. If the licence had been refused at that point it would have spelled financial disaster for all involved and so organisers were left with no choice but to cancel.