Mobile Operator Filtering Political Satire

Watch it, Jon Stewart & Co! You guys may be taken down sooner than you think. The fact that political satire is being censored in an increasingly number of countries should not come as a surprise to anyone. But the legal technicalities for doing so may do; political satire is to be treated like porn – as not suitable content for people under 18 years of age. and therefore to be censored in the same way.

“It’s not blocked for just the under-18s. It’s blocked for anyone who hasn’t proven to the operator they are over 18 — and that means you will have to give your full identity to them before they allow you to enter this site.”


As you know, there are more than a few countries in the world where making a pointed political joke can lead to less-than-funny consequences. That number is probably going to rise substantially over the next few years.  Despite the comedians loudly rejection to any statement saying that their satire is undermining the political establishment, and other powerful interest groups, we know that it is not quite how the targets often perceives it. Also, history will prove that humorous writers, singers and troubadours have made significant contributions in forming the public opinion before – it’s a very clever form of communication. And there has been no legal way to stop a crusading-comedian-gone-wild before, up until now, that is…   

JohnStewartHalo4USESome other comedian once said: “If no laws apply, make one.”

The UK mobile operator 3UK seem to have done exactly that:

This peculiar fact was discovered by a blog called “Pride’s Purge” by Tom Pride a couple of weeks ago when he discovered that his website was blocked by his mobile operator’s child protection filter.

Of course, Mr. Pride immediately contacted the mobile operator, 3UK, using Twitter and got the answer: 

“We don’t just block adult websites, websites with mature content may also be censored.”

thumbI didn’t know. but it now seems that there is a category of material called “mature content” that is distinct from adult content, and that is also blocked by child protection filters,(at least on 3UK’s network).

“Pride’s Purge” is a blog who takes “an irrelevant look at UK politics.” (obvious British satire..), and it becomes even more worrying when the mobile company also confirms that political satire is now regarded as “mature content”, not suitable for persons under 18 years of age, and will therefore continue to be censored in the future.

This means that the British company 3UK now officially regard political satire as porn – and are censoring it in exactly the same way.

Tom Pride explains the whole thing here.

jon-stewart-vagina-ideologues-screengrab11Over at they try to explain the big picture:

“Smartphones have some big advantages: they offer considerable computing power in a highly portable form, and are available at prices that allow a broad spectrum of users to get online easily. But as we reported last year, there’s a big downside, too, one that’s all-the-more dangerous for being invisible to most people: overblocking of sites caused by opt-out “child protection filters” applied by some mobile operators to their Internet feed.”

The story with Pride’s Purge is yet another worrying example of that problem, Techdirt writes.

“This very broad, default censorship is disturbing for at least two reasons,” they continue:

r-JON-STEWART-COLBERT-GAY-MARRIAGE-large570“First, because many people will be unaware that this kind of “mature content” censorship is taking place at all, and therefore won’t ask for it to be stopped. And secondly, even if they are aware, the fact that asking for the filter to be lifted could be seen as tantamount to wanting to access porn — something that many will understandably be reluctant to have noted down on their Internet access record — means that they will simply put up with a limited feed. And so the creeping, silent censorship of the mobile Internet not only continues, but probably gets worse in the absence of any significant pushback against it.”


Well, sometimes there really can be a very fine line….

Read also:  “Jon Stewart On Political Satire In A Free And Democratic Society.”

Related by econoTwist’s:


All Human Rights Reserved (h) 2013

7 thoughts on “Mobile Operator Filtering Political Satire

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