June 2007

BBFC bans Manhunt 2

Manhunt 2 The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has banned a video game for the first time in a decade. Manhunt 2 was rejected by the censors due its violent content, wich means that the game cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the U.K.

According to BBFC director David Cooke: Rejecting a work is a very serious action and one which we do not take lightly. Manhunt 2 is distinguishable from recent high-end video games by its unremitting bleakness and callousness of tone in an overall game context which constantly encourages visceral killing with exceptionally little alleviation or distancing.

The last video game to be banned in the UK was Carmageddon in 1997. That decision was subsequently overturned on appeal by the Video Appeals Committee.

Shoot Out over censorship

Several Sikh organisations in India are demanding that the Bollywood film, Shoot Out at Lokhandwala be banned.

At issue is a flashback in the film, which claims to be based on true rumours, in which inspector Abhishek Mhatre is shot by a group of Sikh terrorists.

According to Balwinder Singh of the Guru Gobind Singh Study Circle, scenes such as this not only tarnished the image of the community in the world but was also affecting the minds of the Sikh younger generation.

The organisations are calling on the central government to impose a complete ban on the films screening and include one of their own people to join the censor board in order to decide which scenes should are objectionable.

Religious obscenity

What is this fetish religious people have for demanding the death of anyone who disagrees with them?

Not only has the Pakistan religious affairs minister tried to justify suicide bombers, a cleric in the same country has issued a fatwa (via) calling for the killing of the editor and the publisher of a local fashion magazine.

The June issue of Octane carried two photos images of Adam and Eve under the caption Apple: The Bone of Contention (see left) and the head cleric of Lal Masjid, Maulana Abdul Aziz, decided to take offence and issue his demand that people be murdered. Local police have responded by lodging a case against the magazine on the charge of publishing obscene pictures.

Pakistani authorities have banned the sale of the magazine, but you can download it as a PDF and see for yourself what the fuss is about by clicking here.

Pakistan government encourages suicide bombers

After Iran decided that they should have a say in which British citizens the British government decides to award honours to, the Pakistan government has decided (via) to get in on the act.

In a remarkable display of a complete lack of self-awareness, religious affairs minister, Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, told the Pakistani parliament in Islamabad: The west is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologises and withdraws the sir title.

Pakistans minister for parliamentary affairs, Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, who proposed the resolution condemning the honour, branded Rushdie a blasphemer.

She told MPs: The sir title from Britain for blasphemer Salman Rushdie has hurt the sentiments of the Muslims across the world. Every religion should be respected. I demand the British government immediately withdraw the title as it is creating religious hatred.

Meanwhile, across the country, Muslim students burned effigies of the Queen and Rushdie and called for him to be killed.

Maybe people such as Niazi should take a bit more responsibility for their own incitement and stop blaming everyone else.

Iran comes up with another definition of Islamophobia

Iran has criticised the British government for its decision to give a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie.

Apparently, they feel that it is Islamophobic for the British government to award an honour to a British citizen without checking with the Iranians first.

Cut Yun-fat

A number of scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End have been censored for Chinese cinema audiences, according to local media reports.

A number of scenes with Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat, who plays a Singaporean pirate, have been cut. These include his recitation of a poem in Cantonese.

According to a Disney spokesman, audiences would see a Chinese version of the film. He acknowledged there had been cuts, but did not elaborate.

China Film Group, which distributes the film, initially said it had made no cuts, then declined to comment on a Beijing News report that it had cut scenes involving too much violence and horror, Variety said.

The report said the cuts make the film difficult to follow.

The sudden debut of the captain confused the audience at the Beijing screening, the report said.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Mans Chest, the second film in the franchise, was banned outright by the Chinese film bureau.

Limiting academic freedom

Two Australian academics have been suspended without pay after criticising a PhD thesis called Laughing At The Disabled.

Creative industries faculty senior lecturers John Hookham and Gary MacLennan criticised the thesis in a newspaper article in April.

Late Friday afternoon they were suspended, had their work emails disconnected and were barred from the university premises. Six months salary effectively amounts to a fine of $35,000 to $40,000 each.

QUT vice-chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake, said that he was responsible for the penalty after a committee, chaired by the appropriately named Barry Nutter, unanimously upheld complaints made against the two men. The complaints had come from the author of the thesis and two other people.

Professor Coaldrake said controversial research needed to be balanced with legal obligations and ethics. Academic freedom is a great privilege and it should not be used to denigrate or ridicule people with vastly different ideas, he said.

In other words, academic freedom is all well and good as long as you dont actually try to exercise it.

The two academics objected to a film part of the thesis, which put two disabled men in social situations in which they could only appear as inept. UQ disability expert Lisa Bridle also criticised the thesis.

Harry Potter and the Religious Nutter

The Liberty Papers (via) have picked up the story of Laura Mallory, a more-bonkers-than-thou Christian who has tried - and failed - for the fifth time to ban the Harry Potter series of books from local libraries.

Ms Mallory - who admitted that she hadnt actually managed to read a complete Harry Potter novel - claimed that the fact that the stories encourage children to read wasnt sufficient reason to allow the books to remain in libraries. She then goes on to make a bizarre comparison with teenagers reading pornography.

Mallory restated many of her previous complaints about the Harry Potter series. She argued the books lure children into practicing witchcraft. Mallory said the school boards decision to offer the books in taxpayer-funded libraries violates the U.S. Constitution because, she claims, they promote the Wiccan religion.

So is Ms Mallory a courageous defender of church-state seperation?

I have a dream that God will be welcomed back into our schools, Mallory said.

No, shes a hypocrite.

Journalists sacked for saluting he strong mothers of the victims of 64

A Chinese newspaper has fired three editorial staff for failing to censor a one-line classified ad that paid tribute to the mothers of protesters killed during the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

The ad that appeared on page 14 of the Chengdu Evening News on Monday, the 18th anniversary of the bloody crackdown, read Saluting the strong mothers of the victims of 64.

Six-four (June 4th) is a common expression for the massacre on that date in 1989 in which when hundreds, possibly thousands, of pro-democracy demonstrators and their supporters were killed by Peoples Liberation Army tanks and troops.

However, because of the obsessive censorship of the Chinese authorities over the events, the young clerk responsible for vetting ads was unaware of the significance of the number, believing it to be the date of a mining disaster.

Online vigilantism

A right-wing Hindu group is threatening (via) internet cafés to try to force them to block parts of Orkut, the social networking site.

The student wing of the Shiv Sena party is growing band of cultural vigilantes opposed to what they see as increasing mimicry of the West. It often stops St. Valentines Day celebrations, attacks clubs and pubs and prevents screening of sexually bold films. Now they are claiming that many Indians use Orkut to criticise religious groups.

According to Abhijit Phanse, president of Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena, the student group: We are gently telling Internet cafe owners that it is their responsibility to see that surfers do not use their facility to carry out such hate campaigns. Or else, we will have to do that job for them.

Last week, dozens of Shiv Sena workers vandalised some Internet centres, saying they were not stopping their customers from accessing the Orkut groups to which the students objected.