QuickLinks - Content regulation
QuickLinks - Content regulation
Issue no. 346 - 2 October 2005
- CN - China sets new rules on Internet news
China set new regulations on Internet news content, widening a campaign of controls it has imposed on other Web sites, such as discussion groups. "The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest," the official Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules, which took effect immediately. Established news media needed permission to run a news Web site, it said. New operators had to register themselves with government information offices. China has a dedicated band of cyber police who patrol the Internet with the aim of regulating content. Postings that criticize the government or address sensitive topics are quickly removed. Registration was a feature of rules imposed earlier this year aimed at not-for-profit Internet activities, such as personal Web sites and blogs. see also China's leaders launch smokeless war against internet and media dissent (Guardian) and China toughens restrictions on Internet news (NBC News).
- CN - The 11 commandments of the Internet in China
(Reporters sans frontières)
'You shall not spread rumours', 'You shall not damage state security', 'You shall not destroy the country's reputation'. There are just three of the 11 commandments ordered by Beijing, on 25 September, aimed at bloggers and websites managers. Reporters Without Borders expressed concern at this latest turn of the screw in an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression. "The Chinese authorities never seem to let up on their desire to regulate the Web and their determination to control information available on it ever more tightly," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "These new rules, announced with a fanfare by the official media, are certainly more intended to frighten Internet-users than to codify the use of the Net," it said. "In fact there is nothing really new in these 11 commandments, which simply repeat that the party has the monopoly of the dissemination of information and that the media's task is not to be objective but to relay state propaganda."
Issue no. 345 - 25 September 2005
- Blog censorship handbook released
A handbook that offers advice to bloggers who want to protect themselves from recrimination and censors has been released by Reporters Without Borders. The media watchdog said it gives people who want to set up a blog tips on how to do so, how to publicise it, as well as how to establish credibility. It also offers advice about writing blogs from countries with tough media restrictions, such as Iran and China. Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents.
- CN - China sentences online journalist to 7 years
A Chinese court has convicted an online journalist, Zheng Yichun, on subversion charges and sentenced him to seven years in prison - the third such case this year. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Zheng was given a seven-year jail term for "inciting subversion" through his writings published by overseas-based online news sites that are blocked within China. see Reporters sans frontières and CPJ.
- UK - Crazy Frog punished by advertising watchdog
The company behind the Crazy Frog ringtone can only advertise its service in the UK after the 9pm watershed, following a ruling that the ads appeal to children but fail to make clear that customers are signing up to a subscription service.
Issue no. 344 - 18 September 2005
- CN - Comment Yahoo a sacrifié un dissident chinois à ses intérêts
Les blogs éructent, les forums grondent : Yahoo est mis en accusation depuis que Reporters sans frontières (RSF) a révélé que le géant américain de l'Internet a remis à la justice chinoise des informations qui ont permis d'envoyer Shi Tao, un journaliste chinois, en prison pour dix ans. Jerry Yang, le cofondateur de Yahoo, a beau expliquer qu'il n'avait pas le choix et que sa société est contrainte d'obéir aux lois des pays dans lesquels elle opère, rien n'y fait. La réputation de Yahoo risque d'en être durablement entachée et son site est menacé de faire l'objet de campagnes de boycottage.
- CN - Yahoo 'helped jail China writer'
Internet giant Yahoo has been accused of supplying information to China which led to the jailing of a journalist for "divulging state secrets". Reporters Without Borders said Yahoo's Hong Kong arm helped China link Shi Tao's e-mail account and computer to a message containing the information. The media watchdog accused Yahoo of becoming a "police informant" in order to further its business ambitions. A Yahoo spokeswoman said it had to operate within each country's laws.
Issue no. 343 - 4 September 2005
- US - Senators' proposal for web porn to be taxed, filtered
A group of U.S. senators unveiled legislation designed to curb children's access to online pornography. The legislation, introduced by Senator Blanche Lincoln, D-Arkansas, would impose a 25 percent excise tax on all transactions at for-profit adult web sites, including membership fees. The sites typically sell subscriptions to users so they can view pornographic photographs or videos. The bill would mandate that adult web sites use more advanced age verification technology similar to those used by online wine sellers. The legislation was introduced in conjunction with the release of a report by the centrist think thank Third Way. The report examines the access to online pornography by children. The report found that the largest group of consumers of Internet porn are 12 to 17 years old. see also News Release (Third Way).
Issue no. 342 - 31 July 2005
Issue no. 341 - 9 July 2005
- IR - Iran targets dissent on the net
The web in Iran has emerged as a source of information for voters, who are choosing a new president in a run-off election. Blogs, especially those in Farsi, are being targeted But what Iranians can or cannot see online depends largely on their government. And the authorities are increasingly tightening controls over the net, says a study. The report on internet filtering in Iran was written by The OpenNet Initiative, a partnership of researchers in the US, Britain and Canada. The bulk of the study's technical work was done by one of the partners, The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. Since last November, the Lab has been using computers inside and outside of Iran to determine what kind of content the Iranian government is blocking, and how it is blocking that content.
- US - Sex sites win reprieve from new federal rules
Most Internet sex sites won't immediately have to follow expanded federal record-keeping standards, thanks to an 11th-hour deal with the U.S. government. The Free Speech Coalition, an adult-entertainment trade group, and the U.S. Department of Justice reached an agreement that the government will not begin enforcing the regulations until Sept. 7. The rules added Internet sites to the list of adult media subject to record-keeping laws under the Child Protection and Obscenity Enforcement Act of 1988. The rules require both producers and 'secondary producers' - in this case webmasters - of adult content to keep extensive documentation about their performers, including legal name, date of birth and copies of documents bearing a photo ID.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
- CN - Microsoft helps China to censor bloggers
Civil liberties groups have condemned an arrangement between Microsoft and Chinese authorities to censor the internet. The American company is helping censors remove 'freedom' and 'democracy' from the net in China with a software package that prevents bloggers from using these and other politically sensitive words on their websites. The restrictions are built into MSN Spaces, a blog service launched in China last month by Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology, a venture in which Microsoft holds a 50% stake.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- SA - New Saudi law to jail, lash cellphone porn users
Anyone using camera phones to distribute pornography may face up to 1000 lashes, a 12-year jail term and a 100,000 riyal ($26,670) fine under a proposed Saudi law. The proposed law comes after a Saudi court sentenced three men to jail and up to 1,200 lashes each for orchestrating and filming the rape of a teenage girl using telephones equipped with cameras and distributing the footage via the telephones.
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
Issue no. 336 - 3 April 2005
Issue no. 334 - 13 March 2005
- JP - Japanese region bans violent games
A region near Tokyo plans Japan's first ban on selling violent videogames to children, fearing that the bloodshed on the screen can pose a social danger. 'New media such as the internet and games may be wielding a far greater influence than adults imagine in the life of children,' said an official in charge of juvenile affairs at the Kanagawa prefectural government. The prefecture, which is located southwest of the capital, will invite academics, lawyers and others in May to discuss the practicalities of the ban.
- MY - Content Regulation in Malaysia
by Ida Madieha Azmi. A Content Code in Malaysia sets out guidelines, good practice procedures and standards for content disseminated to audiences by service providers in the communications and multimedia industry in Malaysia. It was drafted by the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum under sections 212 and 213 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, an industry body representing relevant sectors of the industry to ensure that the Code reflects the views of the community at large. The Code seeks to identify what is regarded as offensive and objectionable while spelling out the obligations of content providers within the context of social values in this country. The code, which is a blueprint of self regulation, is drafted purely by an industry society with no interference from the government.
- UK - Anger over BBC vice documentary
The BBC has received around 200 complaints after a documentary about pornography was shown at 9.15am. Britain's Streets of Vice, presented by Sally Magnusson, featured interviews with several people who make a living from the UK's porn industry. Media regulator Ofcom said it was looking into the matter after receiving 34 complaints.
- UK - Game given pre-watershed ad ban
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned adverts for a violent computer game, the 18-rated game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, from being shown on television before the watershed of 2100 GMT when children could be watching. see Rockstar Games
Issue no. 333 - 2 March 2005
- DE - Heftige Proteste gegen geplante Jugendschutzrichtlinien
Die Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) stößt mit neue Vorgaben für Rundfunksender und Mediendienste im Internet größtenteils auf Ablehnung bei den Betroffenen. Mit dem Entwurf (PDF) für "gemeinsame Richtlinien der Landesmedienanstalten zur Gewährleistung des Schutzes der Menschenwürde und des Jugendschutzes" schießt das noch junge Aufsichtsgremium nach Ansicht von Kritikern weit über den selbst schon umstrittenen Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (JMStV) hinaus. Dieser soll die Basis für die im Raum stehenden Bestimmungen bilden. Die Folge wäre laut Wirtschaftsverbänden eine enorme Rechtsunsicherheit im Markt sowie die Behinderung zahlreicher Online-Geschäftsmodelle.
- IR - Iran jails blogger for 14 years
An Iranian weblogger has been jailed for 14 years on charges of spying and aiding foreign counter-revolutionaries. Arash Sigarchi was arrested last month after using his blog to criticise the arrest of other online journalists.
- US - Attorney general says he will prosecute obscenity aggressively
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will move aggressively to prosecute obscenity cases, and he laid out a broader agenda much like that of his predecessor, John Ashcroft. In his first lengthy address since becoming attorney general in early February, Gonzales said people who distribute obscene materials do not enjoy constitutional guarantees of free speech.
- US - Senator wants cable, satellite decency standards
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens will push to apply broadcast decency standards to subscription television and radio services like cable and satellite. see also Michael Powell says the government had no interest in censoring satellite radio (CNet News.com).
Issue no. 332 - 22 February 2005
- AU - Review of regulation of Internet content
Review of Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act) investigated the effective operation of the legislation which provides for the regulation of Internet content in Australia, and of the community education initiatives and international liaison under the Online Content Co-Regulatory Scheme - which commenced on 1 January 2000. [Ed: update of a previous item - all links have changed].
- DE - Kriterien für die Aufsicht im Rundfunk und in den Telemedien
Die KJM hat Bewertungskriterien für Rundfunk- und Telemedien-Angebote erarbeitet. Aufgrund der neuen Bestimmungen im JMStV war es notwendig geworden, den ursprünglichen Bewertungsleitfaden für die Programmaufsicht im Rundfunk der Landesmedienanstalten zu überarbeiten, an die neue Rechtslage anzupassen und Bewertungskriterien für Telemedien zu formulieren. Die Kriterien sind der Orientierungsmaßstab für die Prüfung entwicklungsbeeinträchtigender und entwicklungsgefährdender Angebote (z.B. Gewalt- und Sexualdarstellungen ) bzw. unzulässiger Angebote (z.B. Verstoß gegen die Menschenwürde, Pornografie). Die KJM wird die Kriterien für die Aufsicht im Rundfunk und in den Telemedien zunächst mit den Freiwilligen Selbstkontrolleinrichtungen FSF (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen) und FSM diskutieren.
Issue no. 330 - 30 January 2005
- TN - Group expresses concern over free expression in Tunisia
A joint monitoring visit to Tunisia undertaken by members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) has found serious cause for continuing concern about the current state of freedom of expression and of civil liberties in Tunisia, including gross restrictions on freedom of the press, media, publishing and the Internet. The visit, which took place from 14 to 19 January 2005, was the first of the IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group and was organised in preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a United Nations intergovernmental conference to be held in Tunis in November 2005.
Issue no. 328 - 4 January 2005
Issue no. 327 - 16 December 2004
- UK - Parents face video game lessons
Ways of ensuring that parents know which video games are suitable for children are to be considered by the games industry. The issue was discussed at a meeting between UK government officials, industry representatives and the British Board of Film Classification. It follows concerns that children may be playing games aimed at adults which include high levels of violence. see also UK - Age rating under the microscope (BBC) The government is calling for violent video game warnings to be made clearer in a bid to stop adult games falling into children's hands. Trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt believes too many youngsters are playing games aimed at adults which show 'high levels of violence'. The Interactive Software Federation of Europe is responsible for developing the age rating system for most major console manufacturers, including PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo.
Issue no. 325 - 28 November 2004
- US - Bono's New Casualty: 'Private Ryan'
(New York Times)
by Frank Rich. 66 ABC affiliates revolted against their own network and refused to broadcast 'Saving Private Ryan' on Veteran's Day The reason: fear. Not fear of terrorism or fear of low ratings but fear that their own government would punish them for exercising freedom of speech.
Issue no. 324 - 21 November 2004
- DE - Innenminister wollen strengere Prüfung von PC-Spielen
Die Innenminister einiger Bundesländer sind mit der Praxis bei der Prüfung von möglicherweise jugendgefährdenden Computerspielen unzufrieden. Brandenburgs Innenminister Jörg Schönbohm (CDU) etwa spricht von einem "unhaltbaren Zustand" und sieht "schnellen Handlungsbedarf", der bayerische Innenminister Günther Beckstein (CSU) fordert gar ein Herstellungsverbot. Die unabhängige Prüfinstanz Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) weist die Kritik indes zurück.
- The Internet under surveillance 2004
(Reporters sans frontières)
The Internet has a bad reputation. With authoritarian regimes, that's no surprise. It's to be expected the enduring dictatorship in Beijing has set up a big Internet police force. What's more worrying, at first sight anyway, is the distrust of the Internet among the supposedly solid democracies of Europe and North America. Why the United States, France and the United Kingdom take their place in this report alongside the thugs that are quick to lock up the merest opponent calls for an explanation.
- US - Internet Porn: Worse than Crack?
Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee. Witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee's Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee spared no superlative in their description of the negative effects of pornography. Pornography addicts have a more difficult time recovering from their addiction than cocaine addicts, since coke users can get the drug out of their system, but pornographic images stay in the brain forever. Pornography causes masturbation, which causes release of the naturally occurring opioids.
Issue no. 323 - 24 October 2004
- IN - Karnataka to monitor cyber-café users
(Digital Review of Asia Pacific - dirAP)
Karnataka state, which is home to Bangalore, the premier ICT zone of India, is planning to introduce legislation requiring cyber-café operators to keep track of their customers. A law will soon be passed to make it mandatory for users of cyber cafés to produce a photo ID and provide personal contact details before they are permitted to go online. Customers who do not have a photo ID with them will be photographed with a webcam by the café operators and the images stored for a year.
Issue no. 322 - 17 October 2004
- EU - Greece referred to Court over obstacles to importing and marketing games
The European Commission has decided to refer Greece to the European Court of Justice over its ban on the installation and operation of electrical, electromechanical and electronic games, including computer games, in all public and private places - including premises providing Internet services (cyber cafés). The Commission considers that the Greek law in question is incompatible with the provisions of the EC Treaty on the free movement of goods and services and the freedom of establishment. The fact that the law was not notified at the draft stage also constitutes an infringement of Directive 98/34/EC, which provides for prior notification of national regulations laying down technical rules for on-line goods and services. Despite promising to amend its legislation in response to the Commission's reasoned opinion sent in April 2004, Greece has yet to introduce any change. The Commission believes that the Greek legislation is disproportionate, insofar as it applies not only to equipment (slot machines) and games of chance which might give rise to social concerns but also games of an entirely different nature which are not, in themselves, a source of particular disquiet with regard to public order or consumer protection.
Issue no. 321 - 10 October 2004
- US - Woman ticketed for appearing naked on Net fined $150
A Lincoln woman ticketed for posting nude pictures of herself on the Web that were taken in a downtown bar was fined $150. Melissa J. Harrington, 21, was ticketed in December for violating Lincoln's public nudity ordinance by posting pictures on her former Web site "showing her naked at one of our downtown bars and in several other locations around the city".
Issue no. 318 - 5 September 2004
- UK - Ofcom warns ITV for mixing profanity and blasphemy
With the proliferation of live reality shows on mainstream television, profanity abounds to an extent that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. Bravely, the media regulator Ofcom is seeking to draw a line in the sand. Conceding that viewers are used to strong swearwords soon after the watershed, Ofcom said it was unacceptable to combine such language with blasphemy.
Issue no. 317 - 22 August 2004
- AU - Labor bid to block net porn
All Austrakian internet service providers would be forced to block hard-core pornography reaching home computers under a radical plan to protect children being pushed by federal Labor MPs. Mark Latham's office is understood to have shown "strong interests" in controls that would automatically filter out violent pornography such as images of rape, torture, bestiality and coprophilia. A confidential paper from the left-wing think tank the Australia Institute, which is now being considered by the Opposition Leader's office, proposes that ISPs install compulsory filtering programs so only adults who can verify their age could view X-rated material.
- China combats Internet porn
China is working with its top two search engines to crack down on Internet pornography by restricting the use of keywords, Xinhua news agency says. A recent survey of Internet use in China showed that 70 per cent of surfers used Chinese search engines such as Baidu and 3721 and U.S.-based Google Inc to look for information. Baidu has barred 40,000 keywords. China began its crackdown on porn sites in mid-July and closed 700 Web sites in the first 10 days of the campaign.
- Iran - Authorities take tough line on Internet
(Reporters sans frontières)
Reporters Without Borders voiced concern about increased efforts by the Iranian authorities to gag the Internet, including the trial of a theology student at the end of July for a message posted on a news website and a proposed law that would throttle online dissent.
- KJM: Sendungen zu Schönheitsoperationen verstoßen gegen Jugendschutz
(Institut für Urheber- und Medienrecht)
Drei Folgen der MTV-Show »I want a famous face« und eine Ausgabe der RTL II-Sendung »Big Brother« verstoßen nach Ansicht der Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) gegen den Jugendschutz. Die Kommission hat laut Pressemitteilung nach einer Prüfung festgestellt, dass die Sendungen geeignet sind, die Entwicklung von Kindern oder Jugendlichen zu beeinträchtigen. Als Konsequenz legte die KJM Sendezeitbeschränkung von 22.00 Uhr bzw. 23.00 Uhr für den Fall einer Wiederholung fest. Die Entscheidungen beruhen auf dem Grundsatzbeschluss der Kommission vom 27. Juli, wonach TV-Formate, die Schönheitsoperationen zu Unterhaltungszwecken thematisieren, grundsätzlich nicht vor 23.00 Uhr gezeigt werden dürfen. Weiter bemängelte die KJM, dass es trotz der frühen Einbindung der Freiwilligen Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen (FSF) zu der Ausstrahlung derartiger Formate vor 22.00 Uhr gekommen sei. Mit der Freigabe habe die Selbstkontrolleinrichtung die rechtlichen Grenzen des Beurteilungsspielraums überschritten. Die Kommission kündigte ein Gespräch mit der FSF an, in dem die Prüfmaßstäbe für Unterhaltungsformate zum Thema Schönheitsoperationen erörtert werden sollen.
- KR - Comprehensive Measures Set to Protect Teenagers From Lewd Cyber Content
The Korean government will implement a set of comprehensive and systematic measures to prevent illegal harmful information from reaching juveniles. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) plans to further fortify technological power for filtering noxious images and text flowing through Peer-to-peer (P2P) sites. It will also strengthen monitoring of cyber communities, including those for suicide, and P2P sites from next month.
- Vietnam unleashes cyber-police to track Internet
Communist Vietnam, which tightly controls access to the Internet within its borders, has formed a special police unit to investigate online crime and curb distribution of banned publications in cyberspace. The Southeast Asian country jailed three dissidents last month who had distributed criticism of Vietnam's political system on the Internet. Hanoi has formed a police force to combat online fraud, 'cheating or gambling via the Internet, and saving and distributing banned publications on the Internet'.
Issue no. 316 - 1 August 2004
- AU - Watchdog losing fight against extreme web porn
(Sydney Morning Herald)
Controls on extreme pornography and other prohibited content on internet websites in Australia have virtually ceased, a newspaper claims. An investigation by the Daily Telegraph revealed the federal government's watchdog was powerless against offshore operators and that just four Australian-based sites were ordered off the web last year.
- China - Censorship stepped up to target blogging
(Reporters sans frontières)
The Chinese authorities have stepped up Internet censorship to include blogging, closing two sites hosting blogs - personal pages where Internet-users post their own comments on the news.
- China - Yahoo, Google 'irresponsible'
Human rights organisation Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has accused two of the biggest names in search - Yahoo! and Google - of deliberately conspiring to censor the Web. RSF called the pair 'irresponsible' for blocking some content labelled as subversive by the Chinese government - sites relating to Tibet's independence, for example. Such sites disappear from the Chinese language version of Yahoo and a Yahoo-parented search engine, Yisou, while a local search engine that Google now owns a share of, Baidu, also censors its results.
- DE - Das Spiel Manhunt wird beschlagnahmt
Bundesweit wird auf Grund eines Urteils des Amtsgerichts München das Computerspiel Manhunt beschlagnahmt. Das Spiel war schon durch Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien indiziert worden. Dass ein Computerspiel beschlagnahmt wird, ist in Deutschland eher selten der Fall, zuletzt geschehen vor fast 10 Jahren bei dem Spiel "Mortal Combat II". Manhunt hatte schon bei der ersten Publizierung für viele Diskussionen gesorgt, da das Spiel äußerst brutale Gewaltszenen enthält. siehe auch Brutalo-Spiel bundesweit beschlagnahmt (Onlinekosten.de).
- Maldives - Protest at net controls
Telecoms giant Cable & Wireless has been urged to use its influence in the Maldives to help free jailed net users. The press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, has written to the company's boss, asking him to put pressure on the Maldives authorities to end abusive internet censorship. Reporters Without Borders says that the Maldives is one of the world's most repressive in terms of freedom of expression on the internet.
- UK - More Study Needed on Video Games - Expert
More research was needed into how violent video games can influence the behaviour of adolescents, a psychology expert said. Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University, said a link had already been proved between violence and video games in children aged eight years or below. But more study was needed into the long-term impact of blood-thirsty games on the behaviour of older children as they grow up. see also Caution call on video game storm (BBC). UK - Killing 'incited by video game' (Guardian). The parents of a 14-year-old boy who was bludgeoned and stabbed to death by another teenager blamed a video game for his murder. Stefan Pakeerah was stabbed and beaten repeatedly with a hammer in an attack his mother described as mimicking the gameplay in the video game Manhunt. see also Shops withdraw computer game and Don't blame the games (Observer) by Mary Riddell.
- UK - Ofcom rules out ban on child junk food ads
The television watchdog, Ofcom, ruled out a ban on advertising junk foods to children yesterday, saying the role of advertising in obesity was small compared to that of other factors such as exercise and family habits. It said any other action would have to wait for the government's public health white paper in the autumn. The decision to kick the issue into the long grass sets Ofcom on collision course with the growing campaign to curb marketing to children.
Index page see also Internet policy, Protection of minors, Filtering and rating
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