(HONG KONG) China Security Law Report: Legislature has passed a new law banning films deemed to violate China’s national security interests, the latest blow to freedom of expression in the territory #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Oct.28: Punishment for violating the law includes up to three years imprisonment and $130,000 (£95,000) in fines: Critics say the legislation will stifle the vibrant local film industry....

#AceDailyNews says according to BBC Asia Hong Kong has passed a passes ‘new film censorship law’ that they say violates their ‘security interests’ thus clamping further on ‘Freedom Of Speech’ in the country …..

Customers looking at movies for sale at a store inside a cinema in Hong Kong on 2 September
Getty Images: Critics say the new law will affect Hong Kong’s vibrant film industry

Last year, China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong that effectively outlawed dissent: The legislation, which came after huge pro-democracy protests in 2019, criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. Critics say it is aimed at crushing dissent but China says it is meant to maintain stability.

The film censorship law was approved in the opposition-free Legislative Council. It gives the chief secretary – the second-most powerful figure in the city’s administration – the power to revoke a film’s licence if it is found to “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security”.

Experts and content producers have raised worries about the impact of the legislation, which does not cover films posted online, on creativity and freedom of expression.

Filmmaker Kiwi Chow, whose documentary Revolution of Our Times about the 2019 protests was featured at the Cannes Film Festival this year, told Reuters news agency the law would “worsen self-censorship and fuel fear among filmmakers”.

A speedy job

By Martin Yip, BBC News Chinese, Hong Kong

The bill was passed by a simple showing of hands, at the last meeting of the council’s much extended current term. And despite the lack of opposition in the legislature, lawmakers still debate.

Councillor Luk Chung-hung claimed it was political films that hindered creativity, not the proposed censorship law. Another councillor, Priscilla Leung, who is also a law professor, insisted the bill was in full compliance with human rights laws, and she hoped to stop such films from “brainwashing” young people.

Filmmakers will certainly be concerned. Dr Kenny Ng of the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Film Academy said the new law would see film distributors worrying if their already-approved films would be withdrawn, meaning more uncertainty in the industry. 

As for the lawmakers, it is time to prepare for winning their job back as the election takes place in December – under completely new election laws. 

The arts industry was already being targeted even before the new law. In June, a local theatre pulled the award-winning documentary Inside The Red Brick Wall, also about the 2019 protests, and its distributor lost government funding.

Book publishers have admitted to self-censoring and the largest pro-democracy paper, Apple Daily, closed earlier this year amid a national security investigation.

Meanwhile, many opposition figures are already in prison or in exile.The Hong Kong director standing up to China

#AceNewsDesk report …………….Published: Oct.28: 2021:

Editor says …Sterling Publishing & Media Service Agency is not responsible for the content of external site or from any reports, posts or links, and can also be found here on Telegram: https://t.me/acenewsdaily all of our posts fromTwitter can be found here: https://acetwitternews.wordpress.com/ and all wordpress and live posts and links here: https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#censorship, #china, #films, #hong-kong, #law

(NIGERIA) JUST IN: Censorship Report: Access to Twitter through Nigeria’s main phone providers has been blocked, according to reports from Lagos and the capital, Abuja #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – June.05: By Saturday morning, BBC reporters in Lagos and Abuja said they were unable to connect to Twitter through two of the countries largest phone networks: MTN and Airtel. Others have also been affected:

Twitter Nigeria: Users struggle to access site after government suspension after and the ban was due to “the persistent use of the platform for activities… capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”, a statement said after Twitter deletes Nigerian leader’s ‘civil war’ post

The Twitter application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017
Twitter

It is still accessible on some wi-fi networks.

This comes after the government said it was suspending Twitter operations in the country “indefinitely”.

Twitter said Friday’s announcement from Information Minister Lai Mohammed was “deeply concerning”.

Access was still possible through some wi-fi providers, but this is not a common way to connect to the internet in Nigeria.

Search terms such as “VPN” were popular overnight, according to the search tracking site Trendsmap. 

A VPN – or Virtual Private Network – connection makes it appear as if the user is accessing the internet from another country, and has been a way to get round similar bans in other countries.

Removal of Buhari tweet

The move by the government came just days after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari was removed for breaching the site’s rules, though no mention of this was made in its statement.

Mr Mohammed has previously criticised the US social media giant’s decision to take it down, calling it “double standards”.

The tweet sent by Mr Buhari on 1 June referred to the 1967-70 Nigerian Civil War and to treating “those misbehaving today” in “the language they will understand”.

A Twitter spokesperson said at the time that the post “was in violation of the Twitter Rules”.

And in a statement on Friday, the company – which in April announced its new African headquarters would be based in neighbouring Ghana – said it was “investigating and will provide updates when we know more” about the Nigerian ban. 

The government gave no details on how the ban would work in practice, or any explanation of how Twitter had undermined Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Call for reversal

Its statement, which was released on Twitter, also revealed that the national broadcasting regulator, NBC, has been told to start “the process of licensing all OTT [internet streaming services] and social media operations in Nigeria”.

Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria, condemned the announcement.

“This action is clearly inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria’s international obligations. We are calling on the Nigerian authorities to immediately reverse the unlawful suspension and other plans to gag the media, repress civic space, and undermine Nigerians’ human rights.”

A long time coming

Analysis by Nduka Orjinmo, BBC News, Abuja

The Nigerian government has toyed with the idea of regulating social media in the country, and this administration has been obsessed with the idea since it came into office in 2015. Deleting the president’s tweet, however, was seen as the final straw.

But it was the role Twitter played in the #EndSars anti-police brutality protests which shook Nigeria last year that truly sealed its fate.Kiki, a student from Lagos, Nigeria can’t wait for 2020 to be over

The demonstrations were mostly organised on the platform and the company’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, made donations to one of the leading groups of organisers. A special emoji was also created for the protests.

Twitter helped give Nigeria’s many youths a voice. But in the eyes of the government, the company’s role in galvanising the country’s young population was a line crossed.

Yet the government appears not to have reckoned with the ingenuity of #EndSars protesters. People are already downloading VPNs to bypass the block when it happens. 

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Jun.05: 2021:

Editor says #AceNewsDesk reports by https://t.me/acenewsdaily and all our posts, also links can be found at here for Twitter and Live Feeds https://acenewsroom.wordpress.com/ and thanks for following as always appreciate every like, reblog or retweet and free help and guidance tips on your PC software or need help & guidance from our experts AcePCHelp.WordPress.Com

#censorship, #nigeria, #twitter

” Saudi Arabia has been `Warned’ they could be `Shut-Down’ if they `Break the Law ‘ by offending Isam”

#AceWorldNews says websites in Saudi Arabia have been warned that they could be shut down if they break the law by offending Islam, abusing people or insulting community traditions and culture, the information ministry announced.

Under Saudi internet regulations, censorship is not imposed on on-line news sites, but editors are accountable for the content posted.

It also said that a division has been set to address alleged irregularities and complaints for the posted content.

#censorship, #editors, #information, #internet, #islam, #ministry, #regulators, #saudi-arabia

How to Get Censored on China’s Twitter

How to Get Censored on China’s Twitter

ProPublica,  Nov. 14, 2013, 11:19 a.m.

“Author Name, ProPublica.” not to be resold, reposted or changed without Authors Accreditation   

中文版:新浪微博:遭遇中国式审查

Weibo.com Logo English

Weibo.com Logo English (Photo credit: bfishadow)

The word “tank.” Photos and names of Chinese dissidents. Images of rubber ducks. Any mention of Tibetan protests or Bo Xilai, the disgraced senior member of China’s Communist Party. Political cartoons.

Every day, more than 100 million items are posted to Sina Weibo, the microblogging service sometimes called “China’s Twitter.” And every day, teams of censors comb through the posts in search of anything that challenges what the government likes to call a “harmonious society.”

How Sina Weibo censors its users is as revealing as the content that appears on the site, and for the past five months, we’ve been watching the watchers. We’ve created an interactive feature, launching today, that allows readers to see and understand the images that censors considered too sensitive for Chinese eyes.

Because the Chinese government blocks popular worldwide services like Twitter and Facebook, Sina Weibo has emerged as an influential player in China’s daily life, with some 500 million users. But while the speech on Weibo is equal parts sophisticated and base, considerate and raucous, it is by no means free.

Weibo.com Logo Chinese

Weibo.com Logo Chinese (Photo credit: bfishadow)

Sina’s censors appear to be walking a fine line seen frequently in modern China. If they allow users too much freedom, the government will shut them down. But if they block too much material, the users in this quasi-capitalist economy can go to one of the company’s competitors.

While there are many research projects devoted to identifying posts that are deleted on Sina Weibo, considerably less attention has been focused on censored images and the meaning behind them.

For five months, our software has been quietly checking 100 Weibo accounts, keeping track of every post containing an image and returning repeatedly to see if those posts were deleted. Our collection has grown to nearly 80,000 posts, of which at least 4,200 — more than 5 percent — were deleted by censors.

We also gathered a team of people proficient in Mandarin to read and interpret 527 deleted images collected during a two-week window this summer. Among the key events that occurred in this period: The indictment of Bo Xilai, a disgraced Chinese political leader; a protest by female police officers; and the arrest of Xu Zhiyong, the co-founder of a pro-democracy movement that is still being suppressed.

Sina Weibo has long been eager to stay in the government’s good graces, even before the Chinese government started arresting some of its most popular users this summer for “spreading rumors.”

Users who post forbidden content frequently, or who have a lot of followers, are singled out for threats and can face arrest. One user, whose name is being withheld by ProPublica because of the risk of reprisals against him by the Chinese government, posted on Sina Weibo, accusing a local government official of wrongdoing. Soon after, he received a direct message.

“The message said that they knew everything about me and about my family,” the user said. “That I couldn’t see them, but they could see me, and if I knew what was good for me, I’d delete that post because they will always be watching me.”

The user complied, noting “I had to protect my safety.” Since then, he’s never posted a message naming a specific government official.

By many accounts, the censorship apparatus deployed by Chinese companies is the most sophisticated in the world. Attempts to post a message containing words on the continually updated list of forbidden words on Weibo, such as “坦克” — meaning “tank” — are rejected by the service before the message can even reach a user’s followers.

Still, even the best automatic filtering technology can miss subtleties, and are frequently circumvented by Weibo’s human users, using puns, sarcasm and typographic tricks.

“The Chinese language offers novel evasions, such as substituting characters for those banned with others that have unrelated meanings but sound alike or look similar,” Gary King, a political scientist, said in his 2013 study on Chinese censorship. For example, a nonsensical phrase such as “eye field” looks similar in Chinese to the characters meaning “liberty.”

A political image manipulation can transform innocuous phrases such as “giant yellow duck” into a commonly understood metaphor for the tanks at Tiananmen Square.

Chinese Internet users have mastered the use of irony as protest,” Jason Ng wrote in his book Blocked on Weibo. “Emphatically pro-government comments online such as ‘Socialism is good‘ and ‘I have been represented by my local official’ are often meant to be satirical.”

Censorship

Censorship (Photo credit: IsaacMao)

This is where human censors come in. The company employs hundreds of people to delete posts that have slipped past the filters. Forbidden messages don’t live long after being posted. Researchers have found that nearly 30 percent are gone within 5-30 minutes and 90 percent are gone within 24 hours. The censors take an especially dim view of posts that go viral or promote any type of collective action.

An increasingly sophisticated competition of sorts has arisen, pitting cutting-edge digital censors and clever human ones against users who deploy countermeasures such as typographic tricks and arcane metaphors.

English: A large temporary monument in Tiananm...

English: A large temporary monument in Tiananmen Square marking the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. The Forbidden City can be seen in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of these countermeasures takes advantage of the fact that computers aren’t very good at understanding photographs and other images. Weibo messages with innocuous text but taboo political imagery — the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, for example, or photos of disgraced politicians — pass by the automated algorithms unnoticed, only to be deleted later by the human censors.

We’ve published the deleted images themselves, as well as a translation of some of the text users posted with them. We’ve also tried to convey the meaning behind each picture, explaining Chinese cultural references, identifying public figures and deciphering subtle political points.

In tracking images censored from our sample of 100 Weibo accounts, we found that they fell into roughly 10 conceptual categories representing a wide sample of “unharmonious” culture. They provide a window into the Chinese elite’s self-image and its fears, as well as a lens through which to understand China’s vast system of censorship.

We contacted Sina for a response to our story, but they did not respond to us in time for publication.

Some of the research for this investigation was conducted in collaboration with a team at the Spatial Information Design Lab and the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, at Columbia University. The Columbia project, called “Jumping the Great Firewall,” uses a similar methodology and was pursued in partnership with the Pen American Center and Thomson Reuters.

If you work as a Weibo censor and are willing to speak to ProPublica about your experiences, please contact us at weibo@propublica.org. Here’s our PGP key.

 “Author Name, ProPublica.”

 

#acenewsservices, #bo-xilai, #brown-institute-for-media-innovation, #censorship, #china, #chinese-government, #columbia-university, #propublica, #sina, #sina-weibo, #twitter