Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

WikiLeaks and newspaper censorship

November 29, 2010

‘[T]here has been a lot of ill-informed comment (and sometimes downright lies) about the role of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee and the DA notice system which it regulates. Cries of censorship abound.’

So writes Simon Bucks of Sky, and vice-chair of the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, which issues DA notices to the media – commonly referred to as the D notice committee. The WikiLeaks story about the US diplomatic cables has kicked it all off. Guido Fawkes and WikiLeaks itself are cited as misrepresenting the system.

Bucks then goes on to cut through the garbage with a lucid explanation of what the committee does and how the D notice system works. Required reading if you blog on the topic.

Art and the censor

February 10, 2008

Russia! magazine cover of kissing cosmonauts in a snowy birch forest

Censorship tends to generate stacks of publicity, as the Poles are discovering over their Tellytubby scare, and having your work attacked is just the thing for an up-and-coming artist.

Now, there’s a pastiche of ‘An Era of Mercy’ in Russia!, a US magazine. The original photograph (below) – of two Russian policemen kissing in a birch forest – drew opprobrium from politicians when it was shown in Moscow’s gallery. It shot the Blue Noses Group to fame last autumn after a scandal when it was one of 16 images banned.

The photograph is called ‘An Era of Mercy’ or ‘An Epoch of Clemency’ and the Blue Noses Group is made up of Viacheslav Mizin and Alexander Shaburov from Siberia. They were first shown by the Marat Guelman Gallery in Moscow.

The image was pulled from an exhibition of Russian art in Paris, leading the New York Times to run an article entitled ‘ Putin’s last realm to conquer: Russian culture‘.

Era of Mercy Blue Noses Group

See the launch cover for Esquire in Moscow.

Read about the glories of Elle in Russia.

To see almost 500 magazine covers and pages, look out my book, A History of British Magazine Design, from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the world’s leading museum of art and design

Press freedom in Indonesia

April 5, 2007

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. Tempo September 1999 in Indonesia

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.