Censorship to be increased
The country is proposing to ban movie content that it says disturbs social stability and promotes religious fanaticism, the latest attempt by the authoritarian government to tighten control over what people see. According to a draft law posted on the Cabinet’s Web site yesterday, films must not harm national honor and interest, incite ethnic hatred, spread “evil cults” or superstition, or propagate obscenity, gambling, drug abuse, violence or terror. A total of 13 types of banned content are mentioned content are banned in the draft law, but no terms or phrases were defined. The proposal appears to be part of an overall tightening of cultural industries that are fueling more independent viewpoints, particularly social media and hugely popular microblogs, where citizens often vent anger and frustration. Yesterday’s draft law also bans content that harms national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, discloses state secrets and endangers national security, or jeopardizes social ethics.
‘Red Shirt’ jailed for slur
A court sentenced a “Red Shirt” political activist to 15 years in prison yesterday for insulting the monarchy, the latest in a series of convictions under the kingdom’s lese majeste laws. Daranee Charnchoengsilapakul, a hardcore supporter of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was accused of defaming the royals during speeches at political rallies in 2008. “The Criminal Court convicted her on three counts as she committed offenses on three different occasions, and sentenced her to five years for each,” her lawyer Prawais Prapannugool said. “She said she will not appeal her sentence because she lost her faith in the judicial system and she is convinced that she will not receive a fair trial,” he added. The activist — better known as “Da Torpedo” because of her hard-hitting speeches — was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2009, but an appeals court ordered a retrial because the hearings were held behind closed doors.
North Korean guards defect
Six armed North Korean border guards tasked with preventing defections have themselves fled across the frontier into China, sparking a security alert on the Chinese side of the border, a report said. Daily NK, a Seoul-based online newspaper run by North Korean defectors, said in a report posted late on Wednesday that the border patrol agents crossed the Yalu River marking the northwestern border on Nov. 20. Seoul’s intelligence agency is investigating whether the report is correct, its spokesman said. “Eight crossed the river at night, but two of them were shot dead by other [North Korean] border agents and only six managed to run away,” Daily NK quoted a source in the Chinese border city of Dandong as saying.
Chinese carrier photoed
A commercial satellite company said on Wednesday it has captured a photograph of China’s first aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea off the Chinese coast. The aircraft carrier has generated intense international interest because of what it might signal about China’s intentions as a military power. China has said the carrier is intended for research and training, which has led to speculation that it plans to build more. DigitalGlobe Inc said one of its satellites photographed the carrier on Dec. 8. A DigitalGlobe analyst found the image on Tuesday while searching through photos.