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Topic: Department 3 and censorship

With the cancellation of M6 and the disappointment of some people regarding this forum's refusal to take sides a new forum has been set in Germany whose initial aim was to solicit support for the curators. For that, I felt no reason to respond, but this particular web space is now developing into a scatological forum against the Republic of Cyprus. The latest three articles they published have nothing to do with the M6 case but instead discuss the case of Akamas, a film by director Panikos Chrysanthou.

So the forum has now developed into one presenting 'censorship' cases in the Republic of Cyprus.

An interesting comparison can be made in google when searching for the keywords censorship + country
censorship cyprus returns about 447,000 results, censorship egypt returns about 4,300,000 results, censorship germany returns 8,230,000 results whilst censorship "united states" tops the score with about 19,000,000 results.

Admittedly google is not an accurate tool of measuring censorship trends. For example many of the censorship cases in Germany listed in Google happened during the Nazi era and by searching censorship "united states" does not necessarily return all the results in the states as say some of them are listed by searching censorship america which returns an astounding number of 19,800,000 pages in comparison to censorship russia which returns only 5,920,000 results. What is also interesting is that the top results for 'censorship cyprus return cases in the Northern part of the island and not censorship by the Republic of Cyprus.

In response to that forum I would like to provide a series of selected links regarding censorship in the countries where the Manifesta 6 curators come from.

US:
http://www.ncac.org/art/

Egypt:
http://www.wittyworld.com/countries/egypt.html
http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2005/06 … t11096.htm
http://www.subzeroblue.com/archives/200 … _the_.html

Germany:
http://www.thefileroom.org/documents/dy … cfm/id/775
http://www.thefileroom.org/documents/dy … cfm/id/508
http://www.thefileroom.org/documents/dy … cfm/id/906
http://www.thefileroom.org/documents/dy … cfm/id/576

This post is not about supporting censorship but instead to reveal it. My belief is that the Department 3 forum is exercising a form of censorship by choosing not to only publish texts supporting their cause but also texts which are not about investigative journalism but about a sensationalist, media biased version of events.

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Re: Department 3 and censorship

Further to my post above here is the top 10 google results on cencorship cyprus

10. UN charter: Lastly, it was unclear whether film censorship in Cyprus was indeed censorship or simply a means of classifying films.

9. Cyprus Media Landscape: Press Freedom and Press Censorship
In its 2002 World Press Freedom Review, the South East Europe Media Organisation [SEEMO] states that the majority of press freedom violations occurred in the Turkish controlled territory [41 press freedom violations in the Turkish controlled part of Cyprus and two in the Republic of Cyprus].

8. IFEX:
Cyprus - 29 JUL 2005
Turkish journalists barred from covering football match more...
Cyprus/Turkey - 04 APR 2005
European Court of Human Rights cites Turkish authorities' failures in investigation into journalist's murder more...
Cyprus - 28 OCT 2004
Turkish Cypriot editor continues to face legal harassment more...
Cyprus - 07 MAY 2004
Offices of Turkish-Cypriot newspaper targeted in bomb attack more...
Cyprus - 06 NOV 2003
Five journalists face heavy prison sentences for "insulting the army" more...
Note: 4 out of 5 cases occurred in the North, the one case which the Republic of Cyprus is accused of does not mention that the said Turkish journalists have entered the country through ports not recognized by neither the republic of Cyprus nor the UN.

7. Cyprus Forum: It is about censorship on US TV

6. [del]On Censorship, the IMC Mission, and Free Speech[/del]: Returns a 404 error

5. Journalists' Union slams injunction against Politis as censorship

4. [del]Cyprus-L list[/del] (irrelevant)

3. Cyprus: Turkish-Cypriot journalist mistreated... By the TC administration

2. Cyprus: Green lines red lines... By the TC administration

1. Cypriot cartoonist sued and prevented from receiving awards (1989-96)... By the TC administration

Conclusion: Out of the 14 pages listed above,
1 leads to a dead link
1 leads to an irrelevant page
12 are relevant to the query,
1 affects the US,
4 affect the Republic of Cyprus and out of those, only two stand on posible legal ground.
9 of them are censorship cases in the North.

Conclusion 2:  Out of all aleged cases
1 affects the US
4 affect the Republic of Cyprus
48 affect the TC administration

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Re: Department 3 and censorship

On censorship... Here is an article from today's Al Jazeera...
   
Turks ban YouTube over insults

A Turkish court has ordered a block on access to YouTube's website because of videos that allegedly insult Turkish people and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey.

The court ruling on Wednesday comes after news reports claiming a video on YouTube allegedly said Ataturk and Turkish people were homosexuals.
   
Paul Doany, head of Turk Telekom, Turkey's largest telecommunications provider, said his company had immediately begun enforcing the ban.

Doany said in remarks quoted by the state-run Anatolia news agency: "A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says."
   
Turk Telekom, a state-run monopoly until it was privatised in 2005, provides internet services for the vast majority of Turkish internet users.

Court decision

Now, those navigating to YouTube's website from Turkey are greeted with the message: "Access to this site has been blocked by a court decision".

Over the past week, Turkish media has publicised arguments between Greeks and Turks who are using YouTube to post videos belittling and berating each other.

The CNN-Turk Web site featured a link allowing Turks to complain directly by email to YouTube about the "insult".

On its front page on Wednesday, the Hurriyet newspaper said thousands of people had written to YouTube and that the Ataturk videos had been removed from the site.

"YouTube got the message", read the headline.

Doany has said Turk Telekom would allow access to the popular video sharing site again if the court decision were rescinded.

After a petition by Turk Telekom, the court later ruled that it would revoke its ban once it ascertained that the offending videos had been removed from YouTube.

Insulting Ataturk or "Turkishness" is a crime in Turkey punishable by a prison sentence.

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Re: Department 3 and censorship

The Turks haven't learned the British way of denying past atrocities

It is not illegal to discuss the millions who were killed under our empire. So why do so few people know about them?

In reading reports of the trial of the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, you are struck by two things. The first, of course, is the anachronistic brutality of the country's laws. Mr Pamuk, like scores of other writers and journalists, is being prosecuted for "denigrating Turkishness", which means that he dared to mention the Armenian genocide in the first world war and the killing of the Kurds in the past decade. The second is its staggering, blithering stupidity. If there is one course of action that could be calculated to turn these massacres into live issues, it is the trial of the country's foremost novelist for mentioning them.

As it prepares for accession, the Turkish government will discover that the other members of the EU have found a more effective means of suppression. Without legal coercion, without the use of baying mobs to drive writers from their homes, we have developed an almost infinite capacity to forget our own atrocities.

Atrocities? Which atrocities? When a Turkish writer uses that word, everyone in Turkey knows what he is talking about, even if they deny it vehemently. But most British people will stare at you blankly. So let me give you two examples, both of which are as well documented as the Armenian genocide.

In his book Late Victorian Holocausts, published in 2001, Mike Davis tells the story of famines that killed between 12 and 29 million Indians. These people were, he demonstrates, murdered by British state policy. When an El Niño drought destituted the farmers of the Deccan plateau in 1876 there was a net surplus of rice and wheat in India. But the viceroy, Lord Lytton, insisted that nothing should prevent its export to England. In 1877 and 1878, at the height of the famine, grain merchants exported a record 6.4m hundredweight of wheat. As the peasants began to starve, officials were ordered "to discourage relief works in every possible way". The Anti-Charitable Contributions Act of 1877 prohibited "at the pain of imprisonment private relief donations that potentially interfered with the market fixing of grain prices". The only relief permitted in most districts was hard labour, from which anyone in an advanced state of starvation was turned away. In the labour camps, the workers were given less food than inmates of Buchenwald. In 1877, monthly mortality in the camps equated to an annual death rate of 94%.

As millions died, the imperial government launched "a militarised campaign to collect the tax arrears accumulated during the drought". The money, which ruined those who might otherwise have survived the famine, was used by Lytton to fund his war in Afghanistan. Even in places that had produced a crop surplus, the government's export policies, like Stalin's in Ukraine, manufactured hunger. In the north-western provinces, Oud and the Punjab, which had brought in record harvests in the preceeding three years, at least 1.25m died.

Three recent books - Britain's Gulag by Caroline Elkins, Histories of the Hanged by David Anderson, and Web of Deceit by Mark Curtis - show how white settlers and British troops suppressed the Mau Mau revolt in Kenya in the 1950s. Thrown off their best land and deprived of political rights, the Kikuyu started to organise - some of them violently - against colonial rule. The British responded by driving up to 320,000 of them into concentration camps. Most of the remainder - more than a million - were held in "enclosed villages". Prisoners were questioned with the help of "slicing off ears, boring holes in eardrums, flogging until death, pouring paraffin over suspects who were then set alight, and burning eardrums with lit cigarettes". British soldiers used a "metal castrating instrument" to cut off testicles and fingers. "By the time I cut his balls off," one settler boasted, "he had no ears, and his eyeball, the right one, I think, was hanging out of its socket." The soldiers were told they could shoot anyone they liked "provided they were black". Elkins's evidence suggests that more than 100,000 Kikuyu were either killed or died of disease and starvation in the camps. David Anderson documents the hanging of 1,090 suspected rebels: far more than the French executed in Algeria. Thousands more were summarily executed by soldiers, who claimed they had "failed to halt" when challenged.

These are just two examples of at least 20 such atrocities overseen and organised by the British government or British colonial settlers; they include, for example, the Tasmanian genocide, the use of collective punishment in Malaya, the bombing of villages in Oman, the dirty war in North Yemen, the evacuation of Diego Garcia. Some of them might trigger a vague, brainstem memory in a few thousand readers, but most people would have no idea what I'm talking about. Max Hastings, on the opposite page, laments our "relative lack of interest" in Stalin and Mao's crimes. But at least we are aware that they happened.

In the Express we can read the historian Andrew Roberts arguing that for "the vast majority of its half-millennium-long history, the British empire was an exemplary force for good ... the British gave up their empire largely without bloodshed, after having tried to educate their successor governments in the ways of democracy and representative institutions" (presumably by locking up their future leaders). In the Sunday Telegraph, he insists that "the British empire delivered astonishing growth rates, at least in those places fortunate enough to be coloured pink on the globe". (Compare this to Mike Davis's central finding, that "there was no increase in India's per capita income from 1757 to 1947", or to Prasannan Parthasarathi's demonstration that "South Indian labourers had higher earnings than their British counterparts in the 18th century and lived lives of greater financial security.") In the Daily Telegraph, John Keegan asserts that "the empire became in its last years highly benevolent and moralistic". The Victorians "set out to bring civilisation and good government to their colonies and to leave when they were no longer welcome. In almost every country, once coloured red on the map, they stuck to their resolve".

There is one, rightly sacred Holocaust in European history. All the others can be denied, ignored, or belittled. As Mark Curtis points out, the dominant system of thought in Britain "promotes one key concept that underpins everything else - the idea of Britain's basic benevolence ... Criticism of foreign policies is certainly possible, and normal, but within narrow limits which show 'exceptions' to, or 'mistakes' in, promoting the rule of basic benevolence". This idea, I fear, is the true "sense of British cultural identity" whose alleged loss Max laments today. No judge or censor is required to enforce it. The men who own the papers simply commission the stories they want to read.

Turkey's accession to the European Union, now jeopardised by the trial of Orhan Pamuk, requires not that it comes to terms with its atrocities; only that it permits its writers to rage impotently against them. If the government wants the genocide of the Armenians to be forgotten, it should drop its censorship laws and let people say what they want. It needs only allow Richard Desmond and the Barclay brothers to buy up the country's newspapers, and the past will never trouble it again.

George Monbiot
Tuesday December 27, 2005
The Guardian