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Director Andrey Zvyagintsev and actors Vladimir Vdovichenkov and Elena Lyadova at the premier of the controversial film Leviathan. Sebastien Nogier/EPA

Russian film legislation is used to detract from more pressing issues

The Russian film world has been in some turmoil this week. First there was news that the government was to decree that films “defiling the national culture, posing a threat to national unity and undermining…
In Samuel Roth’s time, there was no Constitutional protection for expression deemed subversive, obscene or indecent. Columbia News

An American Charlie Hebdo?

In 1957, publisher Samuel Roth spent his 63rd birthday in federal prison. His appeal denied by the United States Supreme Court, he would end up serving every day of his five year sentence. The crime? He…
See no evil, speak no evil is next year’s Keep Calm and Carry On. Julian Tysoe

Why 2015 is gearing up to be the year of censorship

India’s government has displeased many internet users by blocking access to some major websites at the start of the new year. A total of 32 sites were blocked, although sanctions have been lifted from…
Impossibly racy in 1808 Goya’s La Maja Desnuda is tame by today’s standards - our regulations need to keep in step with the times. Francisco Goya/Museo Nacional del Prado

Policing porn and the new enforcement of moral standards that don’t exist

A legislative provision that has just come into force bans certain acts in online pornography produced in the UK, with the effect of bringing video-on-demand services into line with the British Board of…
Benefits Street is back and it’s ok if you don’t like it. Joe Giddens/PA Archive

Who is censoring who when artists dismiss their critics?

ITV has recently announced that it will not commission a second series of the controversial comedy series Dapper Laughs. The decision comes after a petition to have the programme removed from the air gathered…
Let your local book folks know you have their back. Literature Wales

Gobsmacked by Aldi’s Revolting Rhymes ban? Try this instead

The discount supermarket chain Aldi has come under fire in recent days for removing Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (1982) from its shelves following a complaint from a customer on its Facebook page. The…
Is this magazine cover too racy – or did other factors make newsagents decide not to stock Archer? Archer Magazine

Is Archer magazine really ‘inappropriate for sale’?

When a Google search can summon any image you like online, it seems anachronistic to hear of a print publication supposedly encountering distribution problems on the basis of its content. Yet that’s just…
According to a US court, ‘free speech’ means internet search engines can choose what they allow to show up and filter out. Brian J. Matis/Flickr

Baidu’s perfect paradox: free speech and the right to censor

China’s biggest search engine has a constitutional right to filter its search results, a US court found last month. But that’s just the start of the story. Eight New York-based pro-democracy activists…
Who draws the line on what is and isn’t acceptable for children’s viewing? Karen Eliot

Nudity in kids' books is nothing to worry about

What deadly affront would cause a group of conservative booksellers – and a rather attractive golden retriever – to protest by doffing their duds to pose in the buff? The cause was the savaging of a children’s…
John Jarratt as Mick Taylor in Wolf Creek 2 … so what’s the problem? Courtesy of Roadshow Films

Margaret, David, Wolf Creek 2 and, oh … torture porn

Well, I’m outraged, I tells ya. Outraged! This is such a shameful snub. Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, beloved hosts of ABC’s At the Movies, have apparently refused to review a major new Aussie…
Until Ed, spooks and hacks have always rubbed along well. Shutterstock

Why journalists should rally in defence of the D-notice

In the wake of Edward Snowden affair, the government is holding a review of the operations of the Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee (DPBAC) and what is generally known as the “D-Notice…
Supposed self-censorship by the Queensland Theatre Company over a joke about Campbell Newman has raised few laughs. Dave Hunt/AAP

Arts companies should be able to tell governments to bugger off

The joke was in, then out, then in again. Over the last week a story reminding us of the delicate politics of arts funded by the government and the need for good governance leaked out of the Queensland…

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