Stop deleting our media shows – what we watch shouldn’t be heavily restricted (Independent)

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Head of content for Index on Censorship Jemimah Steinfeld writes in the Independent on the trend of policing TV shows, and the debate at the BBC on biases in comedy.

“Great comedy needs free expression. It’s its lifeline. And some of the best comedy offends those on both the left and the right. That doesn’t mean it has to be completely unfiltered; comedy should not incite hatred and violence (which some are definitely guilty of). But there is a gap between this and the more subjective charge of causing offence or being biased.”

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Palestine: Satirical TV show censored

The Palestinian attorney general has ordered a nightly satirical television show to be axed, following complaints from public servants and officials that they were being ridiculed. Watan ala Water (Country on a String) has become popular for its mockery of Palestinian leaders, officials, corruption, nepotism and social norms. Attorney general Ahmad Mughani said the the programme did not “serve the public interest”, was “harmful to Palestinian society” and had crossed “red lines”.

Pakistan: Independent TV station attacked

Paramilitary personnel ransacked the Balochistan offices of private television channel VSH News TV on 4 October. VSH staff were told by members of the Frontier Corps (FC)  to put their hands up, and were then frisked and told to leave the office. Computers and other office equipment were searched and damaged. Reporter for VSH, Jabbar Baloch, was told by an FC spokesman that the raid was carried out due to a misunderstanding. Baloch believes the incident may be in connection to recently aired VSH footage which showed Balochistan journalists’ critical comments about FC activities.

Switzerland: Channel bows to Vatican pressure over offensive cartoons

The publicly-owned television channel TSR last week agreed to remove a series of cartoons which satirised child sex abuse by Catholic priests from its website, after protests from the Vatican. Some of the pictures were broadcast on an edition of TSR’s Infrared programme, which tackled the issue of paedophile priests.  However, a number of the more controversial images – one of which features Jesus Christ having sex with a child – were felt to be too sensitive and published only online.