QuickLinks - Content regulation
QuickLinks - Content regulation
Issue no. 361 - 23 May 2006
- CN - Chinese Internet writer sentenced to 12 years
Yang Tianshui, a Chinese Internet writer was sentenced to jail for 12 years for 'subversion of state power' after backing a movement by exiled dissidents to hold free elections. It was one of the heaviest prison terms meted out in recent years to an Internet writer.
- EU regulation attacked as censorship
EU commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding was forced to defend herself against accusations of censorship during a press conference in Brussels, where a meeting of European Union culture ministers had given broad agreement to the commission proposal, the Audio-Visual Media Services Without Frontiers Directive. The proposals had 'nothing to do with free speech', she said. The aim was to protect children and prevent the incitement of hatred.
Issue no. 360 - 14 May 2006
- AU - No certainty for ISPs on filters
The Australian government has given the internet industry mixed signals over the performance of current laws designed to shield consumers from porn and offensive content online. ICT Minister Helen Coonan said that findings of an audit carried out by the communications regulator released today demonstrated the effectiveness of codes of practice under its co-regulatory content regulation scheme. However, a spokeswoman for the Minister said that the federal Government had not ruled out ISP-level content filtering.
AU - ACMA encourages consumers to report on lack of internet safety measures
- CN - China blows a 'civilized wind' over Internet
The New York Times reports on a new censorship force: a cadre of undergraduate researchers who report on 'unhealthy' content on the Web and 'guide' online discussions away from dangerous notions.
- US / CN - Yahoo turns to Washington for help on China
Yahoo is seeking the government's help in urging China to allow more media freedom, after reports linking information it gave to Chinese authorities with the jailing of a dissident.
Issue no. 359 - 9 May 2006
Issue no. 358 - 21 April 2006
- CN - China warns on 'unhealthy' websites
Chinese websites are being urged to suppress material that could harm state interests or damage social morality. Separately, broadcasting authorities in China have told radio, TV and film producers to get clearance for controversial dramas and to avoid using foreign content in news programming. The country's official internet industry association, the Internet Society of China, has called on members to keep a watch on the content appearing on websites.
- CN - Skype says texts are censored by partner in China
Skype, the fast-growing internet communications company that belongs to Ebay, has admitted that its partner in China has censored text messages. It defends this compliance with China's censorship laws as the only way to do business in the country.
- CN - Yahoo accused of helping jail another Chinese writer
Yahoo may have helped Chinese police identify an Internet writer who was subsequently jailed for four years for subversion in the third such case.
- Swedish Foreign Minister resigned following pressure on website
Laila Freivalds, the Swedish Foreign Minister resigned March after having been cornered by the press on her involvement in the closure of a far-right party's website. The Web site was contacted by a top Foreign Ministry official who said it should be closed for security reasons. Sweden's government is forbidden by law to interfere with what is written in newspapers and on the Internet.
Issue no. 357 - 26 March 2006
- AU - Government orders spoof site shut
(Sydney Morning Herald)
A spoof John Howard website that featured a soul searching 'apology' speech for the Iraq war has been shut down under orders from the Australian Government. Richard Neville was "mystified" to discover his satirical website johnhowardpm.org had been blocked. After two days of silence, a customer service representative from Melbourne IT informed him by telephone that the site had "been closed on the advice from the Australian Government". [Ed: Richard Neville was one of the defendants in the OZ Trial at the Old Bailey in 1971].
- AU - Labor wants Net porn, violence blocked
Internet service providers (ISPs) will be forced to block violent and pornographic material before it reaches home computers if Labor wins the next federal election. Under the policy, announced by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley today, international Web sites would be banned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority if they contained graphic sexual or violent material, rated R or higher. see also IIA dismisses Labor's anti-porn plans.
- Google's Schmidt Clears The Air
Stung by recent criticism of the company's actions in recent months, Google CEO Eric Schmidt held a roundtable lunch with a number of journalists in which he talked a lot about the company, how it is perceived, and where it is headed. Schmidt was most animated in discussing the controversy over its deleting some content at the request of the Chinese government. He said the decision of how to act in China was "one of the most controversial decisions the company has ever made," and it took over a year of internal arguments before the company came out with its policies. "It is a hard call, but it is a clear call" to do business in China, he said, and do as the Chinese government requires it to.
- UK - Telco fined for implied child abuse on premium-rate phone line
Premium-rate network and service provider 4D Telecom Ltd has been fined £50,000 and given a formal reprimand by premium-rate watchdog ICSTIS for narratives on three recorded adult entertainment services that seemed to imply child abuse.
Issue no. 356 - 27 February 2006
- AU - Aussies ban graffiti game
Australian censors have banned a game not because it contains sex and violence, but because they fear that it will encourage kids to spray paint graffiti.
- CN - China defends right to police Internet
China defended its right to police the Internet, one day after four American technology giants appeared before Congress on charges they collaborated with Beijing to crush free speech online in return for market access.
- CN - China's top monitor defends Internet censorship
(New York Times)
Chinese authorities are determined to stop 'harmful information' from spreading through the Internet, but the controls it places on Web sites and Internet service providers in mainland China do not differ much from those employed by the United States and European countries, a senior Chinese official responsible for managing the Internet said.
- CN - Wikipedia finds fans, censors
Its on-again, off-again attempts to disrupt access to the Wikipedia site highlight the Communist Party's deep ambivalence toward the Internet: The party appears at once determined not to be left behind by the global information revolution and fearful of being swept away by it.
- EU - Danish cartoon row renews push for EU media code
European Commission vice-president Franco Frattini has said media should sign up to a voluntary code of conduct on reporting on Islam and other religions, in a bid to avoid future Danish cartoon-type disputes. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Frattini argued that the cartoons in Danish paper Jyllands-Posten 'humiliated' millions of Muslims. He said journalists and media chiefs should be aware of their responsibility when exercising their right of freedom of expression, and that they should voluntarily agree to self-regulation in cases where sensitive religious issues are involved. The European Commission is planning to discuss details of such a code of conduct with press organisations and major media outlets in the coming months.
- UK - Radio 1 rapped for 'sex trailers'
BBC Radio 1 has been criticised by media watchdog Ofcom for broadcasting fake adverts for sex chatlines. The adverts, played at 4.20pm, included 'sounds of graphic sexual moans and groans', were trailers for advice show Sunday Surgery. The BBC said the ads formed part of a safe sex campaign on the show. But Ofcom said the trailers, which attracted 14 complaints, were 'totally inappropriate' and found the BBC in breach of its guidelines.
- US - Yahoo! appeals for support in censorship row
The internet company Yahoo! sought to blunt criticism of its business practices in China in advance of what is expected to be a gruelling hearing in Washington. In a 'statement of beliefs' Yahoo! said it was 'deeply concerned' by some governments' efforts to control access to the web. But it said private firms alone could not bring about change and called on the Bush administration to do more.
- US -The worst of the Net
A US Congressional body held a hearing on the involvement of American companies in the controlling of Internet access by Chinese users. But there is a more serious issue that American politicians and industry are not adequately addressing. The UK's Internet Watch Foundation found last year that 40% of all reports of child abuse images on the Net were hosted in the United States.
Issue no. 355 - 5 February 2006
- Microsoft opens up censored blogs
Microsoft has changed how it reacts to government calls to censor blogs. Recently the software giant faced criticism for removing the blog of Chinese journalist Zhao Jing for writing about sensitive topics. Now Microsoft says blogs or journals blocked inside one nation would remain readable outside that country.
- UK - Crazy Frog 'not harmful to children'
Crazy Frog-owner Jamba has forced the advertising watchdog to overturn its ruling that the ringtones could cause 'harm and distress' to children, but the post-9pm restriction on the ads remains in place The ruling was contained in the Advertising Standards Authority's original judgment, released in December, which banned Jamba from advertising its ringtones before 9pm each night.
Issue no. 354 - 31 January 2006
- CN - Google move 'black day' for China
Google's launch of a new, self-censored search engine in China is a 'black day' for freedom of expression, a leading international media watchdog says. Reporters Without Borders joined others in asking how Google could stand up for US users' freedoms while controlling what Chinese users can search for.
- How to Outwit the World's Internet Censors
(New York Times)
The OpenNet Initiative, an international human rights project linking researchers from the University of Toronto, Harvard Law School and Cambridge University, tracks Internet censorship and the techniques used to evade it. To surf the Web in China and elsewhere without censorship and in marginal safety, said John Palfrey, a Harvard law professor and a member of the initiative, the primary tool is an old standby: the proxy server.
- IR - Iran blocks BBC Persian website
The Iranian authorities have started to block the BBC's Persian language internet site, for the first time. The BBC says the level of traffic to the site from within Iran has dropped sharply over the last three days. No official explanation has been given. The BBC has expressed concern at the action, saying it deprives many Iranians of a trusted source of news.
Issue no. 353 - 15 January 2006
- CN - Internet porn: China says it's winning war
China is winning the war on Internet pornography but it will be hard to eradicate entirely as many Web sites are based outside of the country, a senior police official said. China routinely blocks access to Internet sites on sensitive subjects such as self-ruled Taiwan, which China regards as its own, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations, which were crushed by the military with heavy loss of life. Regulations also target sites that publish fabricated information and content deemed to harm national security. Police had detained 221 people and shut down almost 600 domestic pornographic Web sites as of the end of November.
- CN - Microsoft Shuts Blog's Site After Complaints by Beijing
(New York Times)
Microsoft has shut the blog site of a well-known Chinese blogger who uses its MSN online service in China after he discussed a high-profile newspaper strike. The decision is the latest in a series of measures in which some of America's biggest technology companies have cooperated with the Chinese authorities to censor Web sites and curb dissent or free speech online as they seek access to China's booming Internet marketplace. See alos
Microsoft takes down Chinese blogger (Rebecca MacKinnon).
- DE - 15.000 Euro Bußgeld gegen Internet-Anbieter wegen Posenfotos
Ein Internet-Anbieter muss 15.000 Euro wegen unzulässiger und jugendgefährdender Angebote im Netz zahlen. Die Bayerische Landeszentrale für neue Medien (BLM) verhängte ein entsprechendes Bußgeld. Außerdem dürfe der Anbieter die Seiten der insgesamt 15 Angebote nicht weiter im Internet verbreiten. Mittlerweile liefen mehr als 40 Verfahren gegen bayerische Internet-Anbieter, erläuterte BLM-Präsident Wolf-Dieter Ring.
- UK - Company fined £40,000 over Crazy Frog advertisements
mBlox, the company that supplied the Crazy Frog ringtone for mobile phone users has been fined £40,000 by the premium rate telephone services regulator Icstis and told to pay back consumers who were unaware they had signed up for a subscription service. The Crazy Frog phenomenon took the country by storm during summer and spawned a number one hit - a UK-first for a ringtone. Thousands of mobile phone users, particularly children, texted the company to download the catchy tone. Many thought they were buying a one-off product, unaware they were signing up to a subscription service that would cost them up to £5 a week.
Issue no. 350 - 4 December 2005
- DE - Umstrittener Jugendschutz: Experten sind gegen Computerspiel-Verbot
Wenn die Jugendschutzpläne der großen Koalition umgesetzt werden, könnten einige Computerspiele bald vom Markt verschwinden. Unter dem Punkt "Aufwachsen ohne Gewalt" haben Union und SPD im Koalitionsvertrag festgelegt, den Schutz von Kindern und Jugendlichen im Bereich der neuen Medien zu verbessern - unter anderem durch ein "Verbot von "Killerspielen"". Mit diesen Spielen werde Gewalt eingeübt und das Töten simuliert, lautet die Begründung. Doch viele Medienexperten halten Verbote für überflüssig und unwirksam.
Issue no. 349 - 27 November 2005
- CN - Huge new wave of blogging in China
(New York Times)
Chinese blogs have existed since early in the decade, but the form has exploded in recent months in a strong new wave of online activity that is challenging China's ever-vigilant online censors and giving flesh to the kind of free-spoken civil society whose emergence the government has long been determined to prevent, or at least tightly control.
- TN - Hungry for net freedom in Tunisia
Last week's UN-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society put the spotlight on the host country Tunisia. Human rights groups both inside and outside the country intensified their criticism of the Tunisian government's record regarding internet freedom. Some Tunisian dissidents, including blogger Mokhtar Yahyaoui, even staged a hunger strike in protest.
Issue no. 348 - 13 November 2005
- CN - Outspoken Chinese blog 'blocked'
A popular Chinese blog has been blocked by the Chinese authorities, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters Without Borders. Wang Yi's Microphone is run by a teacher in Sichuan province. Reporters Without Borders says the site deals with 'sensitive subjects' - including local officials' corruption.
- IR - Tehran seeking new ways to censor the Internet and track dissidents
(Reporters Without Borders)
The Iranian government isseeking to increase its control of the Internet in recent measures that have included contracting an Iranian company, Delta Global, to set up a new online censorship system. The head of Delta Global, Rahim Moazemi, told the local news agency ISNA that his company had won a government contract for the management of the Internet control and censorship system. He said he wanted to put an end to "the anarchy of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs)" by centralising the filtering system. He also claimed that Delta Global's technology was capable of blocking access to all the tools used to get round censorship.
- KZ - Kazakh websites under pressure ahead of poll
A leading pro-opposition news website in Kazakhstan has been closed by court order and others have experienced technical problems in the run-up to a presidential election in the Central Asian state.
- UK - BBC censured for Pulp Fiction at 9.10pm
The BBC has lost a 14-month tussle with the media regulator Ofcom over its decision to schedule Pulp Fiction 10 minutes after the 9pm watershed. Fans of the Quentin Tarantino film and others of its ilk will have to get used to staying up even later after the corporation was censured for showing the film in August last year at an hour when young people could still have been watching. Despite the widespread proliferation of DVDs, multichannel TV and the growing distribution of video over the internet, Ofcom remains determined to maintain the watershed as a 'signpost' to parents.
Issue no. 347 - 19 October 2005
- CN - China cracksdown on 'dirty' mobile messages
China has ordered telecom operators to clean up the content of spam short messages spread on their mobile phone networks as part of an ongoing fight against 'unhealthy' influences. he situation is serious,' the ministry of information industry said in a notice on its website. Messages containing text or pictures with pornographic or superstitious content such as fortune telling and sex chat are frequently sent to mobile phone users en masse.
- CN - La Chine censure trois sites internet critiques
Les autorités chinoises ont censuré trois sites internet critiques dans le cadre du renforcement par Pékin du contrôle des sites d'information sur fond d'agitation sociale, ont indiqué mardi des organisations de défense des droits de l'Homme. L'un des sites visés, le Forum de Yannan, très populaire parmi les intellectuels et les militants des droits de l'Homme, s'intéresse en particulier aux problèmes sociaux dans une Chine en plein boom économique. In China, a popular Web forum is shuttered (Committee to Protect Journalists).
- CN - Two Inner Mongolian websites closed
(Reporters Without Borders)
The closure of www.ehoron.com and www.monhgal.com, two websites based in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, for allegedly hosting "separatist" content is the result of the Chinese government's determination to gag cultural minorities, Reporters Without Borders said. see also China's Internet Censors Fight a Losing Battle (China Digital Times) by Xiao Qiang and China's Web Watchers (Time Asia).
- CN - Xinhua : the world's biggest propaganda agency
(Reporters Without Borders)
With more than 8,000 employees and 105 branches worldwide, the official news agency, Xinhua, is at the heart of censorship and disinformation put in place by the communist party. To mark the 56th anniversary of the People's Republic of China, Reporters Without Borders releases a report of an investigation into how this highly unusual news agency operates.
- HU - Regulation of the media in Hungary
by Roger Darlington. I participated in a three-day international media conference in Hungary organised by the International Children's Safety Service (NGS) and the National Radio and Television Board (ORTT) and the title was "The Effects Of The Media On Children And Young People".
- TN - Tunisian online protest blocked
(Global Voices Online)
As Tunisia prepares to host the controversial World Summit on the Information Society in November, Tunisian opposition activist Neila Charchour Hachicha informs Global Voices that the online freedom of speech protest site launched by Tunisians on Monday, www.yezzi.org has already been blocked by the Tunisian authorities.
- UK - Clampdown on chatrooms after two strangers die in first internet death pact
Internet companies are being urged by the Home Office to make so-called suicide websites and chatrooms more difficult to access. The move comes after two strangers forged Britain's first internet suicide pact, dying side by side two days after making contact for the first time on a chatroom dedicated to discussions about suicide.
- US - New FCC Web site aims to simplify filing of indecency complaints
The Federal Communications Commission has started a Web site to make it easier for people to file complaints about indecent programming on television and radio. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants to clear up confusion for consumers about exactly how to file a complaint. With the new site, 'the American public can let their voices be heard with the click of a mouse.' The site allows consumers to send an e-mail to the agency about programming they deem indecent". See Obscenity/Indecency/ Profanity Home Page.
- VE - Chávez calls the tune on Venezuela charts
(New York Times)
Deep in Venezuela's new, cumbersome Social Responsibility Law is an item that requires radio stations to play more - much more - Venezuelan music. The idea, the fiercely nationalist government says, is to promote Venezuelan culture over foreign culture, particularly American rock that has dominated radio airplay for years. If the measure seems obscure, its effects have not been. From the techno-pop wizards of cosmopolitan Caracas to the folksy crooners of this cattle town, musicians say they are reaping benefits from President Hugo Chávez's efforts to regulate culture.
Index page see also Internet policy, Protection of minors, Filtering and rating
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