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International News - Rex Wockner
International News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Singapore censors Oscars
Singapore's MediaCorp TV censored its replay of the Academy Awards February 23, removing portions of Dustin Lance Black's acceptance speech.

Black won the original screenplay Oscar for Milk, and said: "When I was 13 years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Tex., to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could fall in love and one day get married.

"If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the Gay and Lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are 'less than' by their churches, by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours."

Sean Penn's acceptance speech also was truncated. He won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Harvey Milk.

Penn said: "You commie, homo-loving sons of guns. ... For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against Gay marriage to sit and reflect, and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Subscribers to one of the main Singaporean Gay e-mail lists were outraged at the edits.

"This sort of bigoted, intolerant and ignorant action by a national broadcaster is better suited for Iran or North Korea than a nation that puts itself forward as a modern world-class city," wrote one.

MediaCorp/Channel 5 censorship manager David Christie said the broadcast "would have been in serious breach of the MDA [Media Development Authority] Programme Code if such controversial content was not editorially managed."

"The code explicitly disallows content that sympathizes with, promotes or normalizes such a lifestyle from being broadcast," he said.

Gay sex is illegal in Singapore.

The Asian satellite TV service STAR also censored the two men's speeches, dropping the audio each time the word "Gay" or "Lesbian" was uttered.

STAR beams into more than 50 countries to some 300 million viewers.

Top UK Gay news site blocked by malware cops
The United Kingdom's leading Gay news site, PinkNews.co.uk, became inaccessible on February 24 via Google and for users of the Firefox, Safari and Chrome Web browsers.

According to Google, Pink News had become infested with malware and was infecting visitors' computers. The search giant reported it found eight scripting exploits and four trojans that created an average of 13 new processes on a compromised computer.

In response, Pink News "meticulously searched through every single piece of code on the website" and didn't find anything problematic, it reported.

The block and associated search-result warnings apparently were removed within 48 hours.

Pink News said that if the situation had continued, it would have had "a catastrophic financial impact for us as a small business."

Thai pride parade canceled after protest
The second Gay pride parade in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was called off at the last minute February 21 following virulent on-site protests by 30 members of a group called Rak Chiang Mai 51, The Nation newspaper reported.

Pride organizers said they feared the march would descend into violence, despite the presence of 150 police officers.

Rak Chiang Mai 51 spokesman Petchawat Wattanapongsirikul said pride events should be held in other cities, such as Phuket and Pattaya.

"Chiang Mai people cannot accept this and will stop the parade by all means, even violence," he said.

Belarus Gays sue to hold pride parade
Pride organizers in Gomel, Belarus, filed suit February 17 over the city's ban of a February 12 Gay pride parade.

The complaint says the ban violated organizers' right to freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the Belarusian Constitution.

"The organizers see this denial of permission as part of a pattern of infringement on the rights to assembly and they are concerned that homophobia may be a significant factor in the refusals," they said in a statement. "A similar application was submitted to the authorities in Minsk and this permission was also denied."

Jamaica bans most anti-Gay music
Jamaica's Broadcasting Commission has effectively banned most anti-Gay dancehall songs from being played over the airwaves.

New regulations prohibit broadcast of songs and videos that glorify arson, rape, shooting or murder, as well as depictions of sex acts.

Gay activists, locally and internationally, have campaigned for years against the anti-gay alleged "murder music" of Jamaican artists such as Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, T.O.K. and Capleton.



With assistance from Bill Kelley

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