Archive for the ‘world’ Category

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We Happy Few Australia’s Classification Review Board has unanimously overturned the ban on the video game, We Happy Few by the main Classification Board. The appeals boards has now passed the game with the adults-only R18+ for Fantasy violence and interactive drug use. The game’s developer, Compulsion Games, has expressed sympathy for the censor board saying it wasn’t sure the Board could have ruled any other way.

In an email with Kotaku Australia, Compulsion Games chief operating officer and producer Sam Abbott said he wasn’t sure that the Classification Board had any room to move, given the constraints of the rating guidelines:

I think originally the board made the best decision they could given (a) the guidelines they work within, and (b) the information we provided them, Abbott said. I’m not sure I’d make a different original decision given those constraints.

Abbott went on to explain that Compulsion Games could have outlined more information about Joy — the drug that is a centrepiece of the dystopian society in which We Happy Few is set — including the positive and negative aspects of its consumption.

The censor board  banned the game for its use of drugs in-game, under the clause about incentivised drug use including:

New skills or attribute increases, extra points, unlocking achievements, plot animations, scenes and rewards, rare or exclusive loot, or making tasks easier to accomplish,

The latter of which was the reason We Happy Few originally fell foul of in the rule. In the Board’s opinion:

The game’s drug-use mechanic making game progression less difficult constitutes an incentive or reward for drug-use and therefore, the game exceeds the R 18+ classification that states, drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted. Therefore, the game warrants being Refused Classification.

The Classification Review Board will issue details reasons for its decision in due course.

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Uganda flagUganda has just introduced a significant tax on social media usage. It is set at 200 shillings a day which adds up to about 3% of the average annual income if used daily.Use of a long list of websites including Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Tinder triggers the daily taxed through billing by ISPs.

And as you may expect Uganda internet users are turning to VPNs so that ISPs can’t detect access to taxed apps and websites.

In response, the government says it has ordered local ISPs to begin blocking VPNs. In a statement, Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi said that Internet service providers would be ordered to block VPNs to prevent citizens from avoiding the social media tax.

Mutabazi told Dispatch that ISPs are already taking action to prevent VPNs from being accessible but since there are so many, it won’t be possible to block them all. In the meantime, the government is trying to portray VPNs as more expensive to use than the tax. In a post on Facebook this morning, Mutabazi promoted the tax as the sensible economic option.

it appears that many Ugandans are outraged at the prospect of yet another tax and see VPN use as a protest, despite any additional cost. Opposition figures have already called for a boycott with support coming in from all corners of society. The government appears unmoved, however. Frank Tumwebaze, Minister of Information Technology and Communications said:

If we tax essentials like water, why not social media?

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armstrongs war posterNew theatre audience advisories in Canada are warning about specific plot points that could trigger emotional trauma for those of a snowflake disposition.

This spring, Western Canada Theatre attached a warning to Children of God, a musical about residential schools, that indicates the production’s mature and potentially triggering scenes involving residential schools and sexual abuse.

A subsequent production, Armstrong’s War , a play about an Afghan War vet, came with the following advisory:

This hard-hitting yet inspiring drama about bravery and survival contains some potentially triggering content about the horrors of war and mental illness.

And unsurprisingly the trigger warnings have sparked a bit of a debate.

James MacDonald, artistic director of Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, B.C., is in favour of using trigger warnings where the material justifies it.

I think if we inform the audience beforehand, and they’re not blindsided by it, then they don’t have a negative reaction to it.

MacDonald said he saw a need for trigger warnings after his company staged a play that featured a scene of a daughter being sexually abused by her father. He said:

Even though we had put a content warning on the play to say that there was adult content and scenes which may disturb people, that particular scene evoked many reactions and responses from the audience, and they felt like they were blindsided by it.

For other theatre professionals, trigger warnings are the very antithesis of what theatre is designed to do: provoke reactions.

Montreal’s Imago Theatre specializes in English-language plays written from women’s perspectives and often features plays about challenging subject matter, like rape and violence against women. But there isn’t a trigger warning anywhere in sight. Imago’s artistic director Micheline Chevrier explains:

I think we have to be careful with trigger warnings. I’m not a fan of wanting to tell somebody exactly everything they’re about to experience.

She worries trigger warnings are the first step toward avoidance of difficult material altogether, a slide into self-censorship by playwrights and directors afraid of offending patrons.

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the sims freeplayA representative for games developer EA has announced on an online forum that The Sims mobile game The Sims: Freeplay would no longer be available in seven countries: China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Egypt.A spokesperson said that in light of regional standards the game would no longer be updated.?  EA did not confirm the exact nature of these regional standards, prompting many fans to speculate that the ban was caused by the game’s explicit LGBT content. The EA spokesperson wrote:

We’ve always been proud that our in-game experiences embrace values as broad and diverse as our incredible Sims community. This has been important to us, as we know it is to you.

Users who had already downloaded the game would still be able to use it, however, the game will not be updated and may eventually be rendered obsolete. Players will also not be able to make in-game purchases.

The popular EA life simulation video game includes diverse elements such as same-sex weddings and gay adoptions, and male pregnancies. The game let players pick whether the sim had a feminine or masculine frame and allowed players to decide whether their sim stood to use the toilet.

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race 3 salman khan 7Race 3 is a 2018 India action thriller by Remo D’Souza (as Remo).
Starring Anil Kapoor, Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez. BBFC link IMDb

Revolves around a family that deals in borderline crime; ruthless and vindictive to the core.

The BBFC required 1:20s of cuts for a 12A rated cinema release. The BBFC noted that the cut version contained moderate violence, sex references. The BBFC explained the cut saying:

The company has chosen to remove scenes of strong violence in order to achieve a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available

In India the censors have rated the film as U/A uncut. The U/A is equivalent to a 12A rating in that under 12s can only see the film if accompanied by a parent.

The UK cuts have generated interest in India with the perspective that it shows that Indian censors are not strict enough. Free Press Journal reports:

A source from the Indian censor board finds the discrepancy between the Indian and British censor’s perception to be disconcerting. Are we to presume that the Indian censor board is more liberal than its British counterpart?

To be honest we did have reservations about certain shots being suitable for a ‘UA’ certification. But there is a standing instruction from above (meaning the I &B ministry) that nothing should be cut from any film unless absolutely necessary.

We are looking at an era of unstoppable liberalism in the censor board. This is to countermand the sanskari era of Pahlaj Nihalani .

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We Happy Few We Happy Few is a 2018 Canada survival horror from Compulsion Games

We Happy Few is the tale of a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial in the city of Wellington Wells. In this alternative 1960s England, conformity is key. You’ll have to fight or blend in with the drug-addled inhabitants, most of whom don’t take kindly to people who won’t abide by their not-so-normal rules.

In May 2018, the Australian Censorship Board announced that We Happy Few has been banned in Australia.

The censors noted that the game’s depictions of drug use related to incentives and rewards, in this case the beneficial effects of using Joy pills, could not be accommodated within the R 18+ category.

The Soma-like drug Joy is used in the game to detract the citizens of Wellington Wells from the Orwellian reality they live in.

There’s no word yet on if Compulsion Games will make cuts to the game to satisfy the Board, but it s often the case.

The game is set for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC this summer.

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UN logoThe United Nations ironically censored an event marking World ‘Press Freedom’ Day.A U.N. panel discussion on international media freedom and fake news was suddenly postponed because one of the presenters was going to mention by name countries that jail journalists.

Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists commented:

So we have a discussion in the U.N. about battling censorship, being censored, that’s quite ironic, he said. I would call on us all here present to resist the politicization — the increasing politicization of U.N. agencies whose mission is to defend press freedom.

Alan Miller, founder of the News Literacy Project said in a statement that the panel was postponed after his organization refused a request from the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations group to remove references from a video it wanted to present to several countries that restrict press freedom including Turkey, Mexico, Egypt, Russia and Pakistan. Miller said:

I could not permit this censorship of our presentation due to the stated concern that it would offend one or more countries engaged in repression and violence against journalists, adding that the video has since been posted on the project’s website.

Nihal Saad, from Egypt, spokesperson for the Alliance of Civilizations, spouted:

The alliance asked the group to either make a comprehensive presentation of all countries where press freedom is limited, or to remove reference to specific countries that had been singled out in their report, to ensure objectivity and a more comprehensive presentation.