Archive for April, 2007
Future’s Official PlayStation Magazine is to run monthly Blu-ray disc cover mounts from June with playable game demos and film clips. The company is touting this as a world first and so puts itself in the front line of the format wars between the Blu-ray (Sony, Philips and the US film studios) and HD-DVD (Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo and Microsoft) formats. The bad news is that HD DVD won a ‘massive vote of confidence’ ahead of Blu-ray in Home Cinema Choice magazine’s best buy awards – another Future title. Things have come a long way since what was probably the world’s first cover disc – in 1982. Future’s early entry into cover mounts were important in triggering the company’s fast growth in computer magazines in the 1990s. Now, with Sony, cinema and Microsoft magazines in its portfolio, it looks like playing out a mini version of the global format wars on the shelves of Britain’s newsagents.
A Jakarta court yesterday cleared the editor of Playboy Indonesia of distributing indecent pictures to the public and making money from them. Erwin Arnada argued that his magazine was good for developing a pluralistic society, while the prosecution and Islamic protestors said he had harmed the nation’s morals. The judge ruled that the prosecution had failed to take account of press freedoms developed since the 1998 downfall of Suharto.
One of the drivers in creating those freedoms was Tempo, when the news weekly continually challenged Suharto’s corrupt regime in 1995. The government took away its licence to publish, so when I visited the magazine in 1996 it had gone online and published its articles in a book instead. (Some of the journalists later launched another title, Gatra.) The final straw for Suharto’s cohorts had been an attack on the president’s son, known as ‘Tommy’, who had broken the country’s laws to set up a company assembling cars. Threats to the editors and the website came to nothing because there was no legal basis to censor a website and supporters in Australia had declared they would host the magazine if there were problems in Jakarta. The September 1999 cover shown here is typical of Tempo‘s style.
I doubt if the journalists on Tempo had a US behometh such as Playboy in mind when they took on Suharto’s bullyboys to fight for the right to speak out, but the fight to establish – and test – the limits of such freedoms is one that never ends.