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Ofcom logoEffective from 3 April 2017, Ofcom has become the BBC’s first external TV censor.The BBC Trust has therefore ceased to be. The remaining governance functions carried out by the BBC Trust will move to the new BBC unitary board.

Ofcom’s proposals

Programmes made for UK audiences: The BBC’s spending on brand new UK commissioned programmes fell 30% in real-terms between 2004 and 2015. Therefore, we are proposing quotas for first-run UK originations programmes to be shown on BBC One, BBC Two, CBeebies and CBBC.

Under our plans, three quarters of all programme hours on the BBC’s most popular TV channels should be original productions, commissioned for UK audiences. During peak viewing time 203 from 6pm to 10.30pm 203 at least 90% of programmes on BBC Two should be original, matching the current requirement for BBC One (see table below).

News and current affairs: We plan to increase the previous requirements for news and current affairs 203 including for BBC One and BBC Two 203 where they have been exceeded, to safeguard this important genre. During peak listening periods, Radio 2 would be required, for the first time, to air at least three hours of news and current affairs per week, and Radio 1 to broadcast an extended news bulletin in peak-time listening each weekday. Neither station currently has these obligations during peak listening hours.

Music: The BBC plays a unique role in showcasing musical talent and genres to people across the country. Our rules would mean a significant proportion of the new music played by Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be from new and emerging UK artists. Radio 3 should continue to play a central role in supporting the UK’s classical music scene, commissioning at least 25 new musical works each year, and developing relationships with non-BBC UK orchestras, opera companies and festivals.

Arts and learning: Our plans would mean that BBC One and BBC Two would have tougher requirements for showing arts, music and religious programmes, including new requirements to show some during peak viewing times.

Children: New rules would require CBBC to show at least 400 hours 203 and CBeebies at least 100 hours 203 of brand new UK commissioned programming each year. CBeebies would have to provide content in a number of genres that support pre-school children’s learning.

Sport: The BBC should provide distinctive sports coverage for fans in all the UK’s nations. Ofcom’s research found that people want the BBC to cover a wide range of sports. So we will require Radio 5 Live to provide live commentary, news and programmes covering at least 20 sports, to help support those that are not getting the attention they deserve.

Reflecting the whole UK: Ofcom wants all parts of the UK to be reflected, and invested in, by the BBC. So we are introducing minimum quotas for each UK nation. This means the BBC must spend the same on programmes, per head, in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as ensuring that at least half of all programmes shown nationally and produced in the UK are made outside of London.

Also, we will soon review our guidance on programmes made outside London, to ensure these productions make a genuine contribution to the creative economies of the UK’s nations and regions, which could include greater programme making or investment in these areas.

There would be a new Diversity Code of Practice to set how the BBC will commission programmes that authentically portray the whole UK population. And the BBC will have to report annually on how it has reflected, represented and served the diverse communities of the whole UK 203 focusing on age, gender, disability and race, among other characteristics.

High programme standards: To hold the BBC’s programmes to the highest standards, Ofcom has today published updates to the Broadcasting Code 203 the rulebook for UK broadcasters which sets standards for the content of programmes. Today’s changes will see that, for the first time, the Code applies in full to BBC broadcasting services and the iPlayer.

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Brotherhood of Blades Blu-ray Brotherhood of Blades (Xiu chun dao) is a 2014 China action film by Yang Lu.
Starring Chen Chang, Shih-Chieh Chin and Dong-xue Li. BBFC link IMDb UK: Passed 15 for strong bloody violence after 5s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2017 Second Sight Films (RB) Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 10th April 2017
  • 2017 Second Sight Films R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 10th April 2017

The BBFC commented:

  • Compulsory cut required to remove a scene of animal cruelty (a horse being tripped) in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.

Promotional Material

Described as one of the best martial arts films of the last 30 years (Blood Brothers). Brotherhood of Blades tells an epic tale of power struggles, betrayal and conspiracies during the final years of the Ming Dynasty. When three elite Assassins are tasked by the Emperor to eliminate a powerful enemy and his loyal followers, they find themselves pulled into in a treacherous conspiracy which can only lead to a bloody battle for the Empire.

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flower pot men
  Banned on Twitter

If you’re looking to follow news and advocacy about an anticipated Vermont legislature vote this week on legalizing marijuana, a search for the latest tweets that use the combined terms Vermont and marijuana will for many Twitter users yield zero results.

Same goes for searches for tweets using the terms pot, weed or cannabis. The latest results for jackass and jerk , words generally printed without censorship by news outlets, also yield a blank page with a message claiming: Nothing came up for that search, which is a little weird. Maybe check what you searched for and try again.

The omissions are examples of a new censorship syste introduced by Twitter, with users required to opt out of a filter to see uncensored results.

Top results for restricted terms still appear, but results for the most recent posts and for photos, videos and news content tabs do not.

 

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Cat Sick Blues DVD Cat Sick Blues is a 2015 Australia horror by Dave Jackson.
Starring Matthew C Vaughan, Shian Denovan and Noah Moon. IMDb

When Ted’s beloved cat dies, the trauma triggers a terrible mental breakdown. His broken brain prompts him to bring his feline friend back – all he needs is nine human lives. Ted dons vicious deadly cat claw gloves and a creepy cat mask, and goes on a murderous rampage. As the butchery escalates, a twisted romance blossoms between Ted and Claire, a young woman who has also recently lost her cat in a horrifying incident.

This Australian censorship board classified the film MA 15+ for strong horror violence and coarse language.

However the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC banned the film as objectionable , with the explanation:

The publication is a low-budget horror film from Australia about a demented serial killer who chooses a rape victim as his next target.

Two excisions were required to remove part of a scene (and related content in a behind-the-scenes component) that causes the DVD to tend to promote and support the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the infliction of extreme violence and extreme cruelty under s3(2)(b) and s3(2)(f) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

If the excisions had been made, the DVD would have been classified R18 due to the high extent and degree of gruesome horror, the infliction of serious physical harm and cruelty, and sexual violence.

The distributor declined to make the excisions, so the DVD is classified as objectionable.

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DCMS logoBritain has some ludicrous and dated prohibitions on aspects of porn that are commonplace in international porn sites. For example the government requires that the BBFC cut fisting, squirting, gagging on blow jobs, dialogue references to incest or underage sex.It would be ludicrous to expect all of the worlds websites to remove such commonplace scene from all its films and videos. The originally proposed porn censorship law would require the BBFC to identify sites with this commonplace material, and ISPs would have then been forced to block these sites. Of course this would have meant that more or less all websites would have had to be banned.

Someone has obviously pointed this out to the government, perhaps the Lords had spotted this in their scrutiny.

The Daily Mail is now reporting that this censorship power will be dropped form the Digital Economy Bill. The age verification requirement will stand but foreign websites complying with age verification will not then be blocked for material transgressing some of the stupid UK prohibitions.

A source at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has acknowledged that the proposals were imperfect , but said the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which covers sex shops, was too outdated to be used to regulate the internet.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport actually went further and said extreme material, including violent pornography and cartoons depicting child sex abuse, will be allowed to stay online as long as distributors put in place checks to ensure it cannot be viewed by children. (But note that downloading films including what is defined as extreme pornography and cartoon child porn would still be illegal). There will be no change to the capability of the IWF to block child porn (and occasionally, illegal adult porn).

Of course pro-censorship campaigners are not impressed by the lost opportunity for total porn censorship. Helen Lewington, of the morality campaign group Mediawatch-UK, claimed that the decision to allow extreme sites to operate behind the age verification barrier risked giving them a veneer of respectability .  She called on peers to reject the amendments this evening. She added:

We are deeply concerned by the Government’s apparent change of direction. These proposals will permit some forms of violent pornography to be viewed behind age verification checks.

This will unhelpfully allow what is illegal offline to be legally viewed online, and may in the long term lead to some regarding such material as acceptable.’

Pro censorship campaigner John Carr revealed that the government will now be reviewing the rules on what is currently prohibited from UK adult porn. He set out his pro-censorship stall by claiming that reducing censorship for adults would somehow endanger children. He claimed:

In his speech on the Digital Economy Bill, last Monday night in the House of Lords, Lord Ashton referred to the Secretary of State’s announcement in the context of there being a need for a wider discussion about the effects of pornography in society as a whole, not solely in respect of children. I would hope there will be an opportunity to contribute to that aspect of the review. I accept it was never envisaged that the Digital Economy Bill was to be a trigger for a wider debate about what sorts of pornography are more or less acceptable, whether being viewed by children or not. However, just because children cannot view certain types of material that have been put behind an age verification wall, it does not mean that its continued availability to adults does not constitute a threat to children. Such material might encourage, promote or appear to legitimize or condone harmful behaviours which either directly or indirectly put children at risk.

Offsite Comment: Lib Dems lay into the governments censorship efforts

19th March 2017 See  article from libdemvoice.org by Brian Paddick

Lib Dems logoTo add to the list of obnoxious new laws such as the new offence of driving while being a suspected illegal immigrant and giving the police unfettered access to innocent people’s web histories, the Tories have waded into the swamp of online pornography and they are completely out of their depth.

The Digital Economy Bill, another universal answer to everything they couldn’t get through when we had one hand on the reins of power, professes to protect children from online pornography.

Nonetheless, if we are to prohibit access to online adult material unless there is an age-verification solution in place, the privacy of those who are being forced to part with their sensitive personal information in order to verify their age, must be protected. We have already seen user databases for a couple of major porn sites, containing sensitive personal information, being hacked and the details traded on the dark web. When details of users of the Ashley Madison site were leaked, it reportedly led to two suicides.

…read the full  article from libdemvoice.org

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Outlast Trinity Outlast 2 is a first person survival horror shooter from Warner Brothers. It is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and and M rated in the US.Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been banned in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.

Australia’s Censorship Board provided a detailed explanation of the reasons to Kotaku. The censors identified multiple scenes where sexual violence is implied in hallucinatory scenes involving the main character, Blake.

One particular scene shows a female creature thrusting against the main character while his wife is tied up in chains. The censors explained:

[ Spoilers! ]

In one cut-scene in the game … a female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world. Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face, yelling, Nope! Nope! before he stumbles into a forest clearing.

His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, It hurts! Oh god!, as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures, their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.

One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other pairs of creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.

As Blake yells for the creatures to Get away from her! a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying No! Stop that! the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.

Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake’s objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.

In the Board’s opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.

The Board’s report also notes that the game could be passed R18+ should the offending scene be cut.

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european commission logoSocial media giants Facebook, Google and Twitter will be forced to change their terms of service for EU users within a month, or face hefty fines from European authorities, an official said on Friday.The move was initiated after politicians have decided to blame their unpopularity on ‘fake news’ rather than their own incompetence and their failure to listen to the will of the people.

The EU Commission sent letters to the three companies in December, stating that some terms of service were in breach of EU protection laws and urged them to do more to prevent fraud on their platforms. The EU has also urged social media companies to do more when it comes to assessing the suitability of user generated content.

The letters, seen by Reuters, explained that the EU Commission also wanted clearer signposting for sponsored content, and that mandatory rights, such as cancelling a contract, could not be interfered with.

Germany said this week it is working on a new law that would see social media sites face fines of up to $53 million if they failed to strengthen their efforts to remove material that the EU does not like. German censorship minister Heiko Mass said:

There must be as little space for criminal incitement and slander on social networks as on the streets. Too few criminal comments are deleted and they are not erased quickly enough. The biggest problem is that networks do not take the complaints of their own users seriously enough…it is now clear that we must increase the pressure on social networks.