Tag Archives | Censorship

How Censorship In China Allows Criticism But Silences Collective Organizing

censorship in chinaVia the American Political Science Review, Harvard researchers pinpoint the surprising heart of authoritarian state censorship — anti-government criticism is in fact allowed, but not references to collective action of any sort:

We have devised a system to locate, download, and analyze the content of millions of posts from nearly 1,400 different social media services all over China before the Chinese government is able to find, evaluate, and censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) the subset they deem objectionable. We compare posts censored to those not censored.

Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not likely to be censored. Instead the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future—and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.

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Deepak Chopra’s Reply to Chris Anderson, TED and the TED Community: ‘We’re Halfway There, But…’

Chris Anderson. Photo: Pierre Omidyar (CC)

Chris Anderson. Photo: Pierre Omidyar (CC)

At this point, you just know that Chris Anderson and the gang at TED wish that they’d never messed with Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. Following his earlier diatribe against TED for censorship of Messrs. Hancock and Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra assembles a cast of scientists to hammer away again at the TED establishment, at Huffington Post:

Dear Chris,

Thank you for clearing up some issues, particularly the confusion surrounding TEDx’s decision to take down or shift the talks by Sheldrake and Hancock. Actions speak louder than words, and the talks were removed from the website, followed by your letter warning TEDx organizers essentially not to repeat the same mistake again by inviting similar talks. To underline the point, TEDx withdrew its brand name from a West Hollywood event that was by no means filled with “goofballs” or “questionable” figures.

TED has invited religious leaders to speak, but that’s not at issue.

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It’s Official! News Media Can Legally Lie

Most of us know they do it, but did you know it’s openly and perfectly legal? Via Project Censored:

In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.

Back in December of 1996, Jane Akre and her husband, Steve Wilson, were hired by FOX as a part of the Fox “Investigators” team at WTVT in Tampa Bay, Florida. In 1997 the team began work on a story about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a controversial substance manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. The couple produced a four-part series revealing that there were many health risks related to BGH and that Florida supermarket chains did little to avoid selling milk from cows treated with the hormone, despite assuring customers otherwise.

According to Akre and Wilson, the station was initially very excited about the series.

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David Icke Books Are Illegal Contraband In U.S Jails

WeAreChange caught up with Keith Pantaleon, who was recently spent 35 days at the Hudson Country Correctional facility for gun possession. Watch the first video about Keith to learn more about his story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oJfsCMpecU&list=UUhwwoeOZ3EJPobW83dgQfAg In this interview Keith gives us a look into spending time in jail, where he found out that David Icke books are considered illegal contraband. Via WeAreChange
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Apple Blocks Sweatshop-Themed Satirical Games From App Store

Corporate gatekeepers say that provocative ideas don’t belong in video games. Via Pocket Gamer:

According to UK developer Littleloud, Sweatshop HD is an iPad game that “challenged people to think about the origin of the clothes we buy”. But it has now been removed from Apple’s online marketplace because the App Store was “uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop”.

Sweatshop HD wasn’t the first game of its kind to be removed by Apple, either. In Phone Story, Molleindustria depicted the seedy side of smartphone manufacturing, including sweatshop suicides and the harvesting of rare minerals in the war-torn Congo. Apple pulled the game, saying it violated App Store clause 16.1 – “Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.”

There’s also In a Permanent Save State, an artistic game centered on “the spiritual afterlife” of overworked electronics labourers who had committed suicide.

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TED Backs Down: People Power Wins Against Censorship

Following popular outcry in response to TED’s censorship of recent TEDx talks by leading thinkers Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake – and against the accompanying slanders on their reputations – TED is forced to retract its position and put the talks back online in a “reserved” area of their site. By then, however, pirate copies already existed and from these, in an example of guerrilla action on the internet, hundreds of people independently uploaded the talk to their own Youtube channels.  Just one of these many Youtube channels indepently hosting the talk in defiance of TED is here.

This week saw a remarkable victory in the court of human justice with the public climb-down by internet media giant TED in light of their error in censoring last week, the challenging talks by leading thinkers Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake. The much loved TED brand has been called on its trustworthiness for the first time and forced to retract its position.… Read the rest

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TED Talks: Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, a fresh take

For those of you who took TED to task for taking down the Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock TEDx talks, you’ve partially succeeded: TED has at least addressed the censorship issue (below), saying

The goal here is to have an open conversation about:

– the line between science and pseudoscience

– how far TED and TEDx should go in giving exposure to unorthodox ideas

But they haven’t restored the videos themselves. Yet.

The hardest line to draw is science versus pseudoscience. TED is committed to science. But we think of it as a process, not as a locked-in body of truth. The scientific method is a means of advancing understanding. Of asking for evidence. Of testing ideas to see which stack up and which should be abandoned. Over time that process has led to a rich understanding of the world, but one that is constantly being refined and upgraded.

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Graham Hancock Calls Out TED’s Blatant Censorship

Via Graham Hancock’s facebook feed.

In attempt to brush up their severely tarnished image after censoring my presentation“The War on Consciousness” from the TEDx website today (on the grounds that I was “unscientific”) and also censoring the presentation “The Science Delusion” by my colleague Rupert Sheldrake for the same reason, TED have now rushed to create a remote corner of their website, which I imagine they hope no-one will see, where our talks have been put back online and may be debated: http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/14/open-for-discussion-graham-hancock-and-rupert-sheldrake/.This gesture, they claim, is in response to my suggestion that they had censored us and should be taken as evidence of their “spirit of radical openness”.

All I can say is this is extremely devious behavior on TED’s part. On the one hand they take down two videos from Youtube that had generated enormous public interest and traction (mine had received over 130,000 views and Rupert’s over 35,000 views).

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Hollywood Now Needs Censorship Consultants In China

Two of the booming occupations of the future: government mole who weeds out and reports dangerous movies and cultural works, and consultant who helps creators navigate censorship standards. The Atlantic Wire writes:

China’s censorship has become a huge headache for Hollywood lately, as movie studios struggle to break in to the world’s second largest film market. Every single film bound for Chinese theaters has to make it past China’s all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) whose guidelines for what is and isn’t acceptable is more or less subjective and entirely unpredictable. All the studios can do is hire consultants who are familiar with the ins and outs of censorship in China and hope for the best.

Bringing in consultants does help movie studios frame projects in a censor-friendly manner, but after filming begins the filmmakers have to be very careful not to deviate from the plan. SARFT sends spies to the set to make sure everything is going as planned.

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Guy Fawkes Mask Banned in UAE

“Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bullet-proof.” – V for Vendetta (2006)

Via Daily Dot:

Dubai police have declared the Guy Fawkes mask, the disguise most strongly associated with Anonymous, illegal. Police issued a warning was issued to anyone considering wearing the mask ahead of the UAE’s National Day on Dec. 2. They claim it symbolizes resistance to state authority.

“Using any symbol that insults the country or instigates unrest against its system is not allowed,” Gulf News cites an official as saying. “We urge citizens to celebrate using other symbols such as national flags, slogans or photos that are more appropriate to the happy occasion of National Day.”

Read more.

 

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