Dutch seventeenth century paintings censored by British royal

A Village Fair with a Church Behind, by Isaac van Ostade, censored version

After what happened to Bronzino … after what happened to Nicolas Poussin … after what Silvio Berlusconi did to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Prudish British monarch had Dutch painting painted over

Today, 17:51

A man crouching in a corner of the market, defecating. The British royal family did not like that and had the 1643 Dutch painting painted over. Curators from the private collection of Buckingham Palace have found out, and have restored the painting.

It involves A Village Fair with a Church Behind by Isaac van Ostade. The discovery was made in the preparations for an exhibition of masterpieces from the Dutch Golden Age.


In 1810 the painting was purchased by King George IV. But he is, according to the British curator, not responsible for the censorship of the scene. “He was a man of the world and had no problems with indecent scenes.” One of his successors who appreciated the scene less will have ordered this camouflage.

Quinten Buvelot, curator at the Mauritshuis museum, says it is not clear when the censorship was done, but is not surprised. “In the Victorian era, people were more prudish. This happened at many more times.”

Buvelot is on behalf of the Mauritshuis involved in the exhibition. He calls the find no exception. “The Dutch painters showed many details. Also a different painting from that collection was painted over.”

Jan Steen painting, uncensored version

That is a Jan Steen from 1673. On it, a man peeing was painted over. An X-ray scan discovered that detail earlier, and the work was restored.

The Dutch curator is pleased that the paintings will soon hang in their original state in the The Hague museum. “You want to show them as the artist intended.”

Starting next week, you can see the 27 paintings at Buckingham Palace in London. End of September next year, the exhibition will travel to the Netherlands. Until early 2017 the works will be in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

Queen’s restorers discover man relieving himself in royal collection painting – but can you find him in the picture? Here. See also here.

Stop Turkish government attacks on journalists

This video says about itself:

Why did Turkey arrest Vice News journalists? BBC News

2 September 2015

Media rights groups have condemned Turkey for arresting two British journalists, Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury. The were detained on terror-related charges while on assignment in the country. Head of News Programming for VICE Europe, Kevin Sutcliffe explains what is being done to secure their release.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Journalists back under-fire Turkish colleagues

Friday 23rd October 2015

by Our Foreign Desk

INTERNATIONAL media unions declared their solidarity yesterday with Turkish colleagues under attack from the ruling AKP party.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) along with the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS) adopted a declaration in Istanbul.

Among the demands was that Turkey investigate attacks on journalists and media outlets, including recent incidents targeting newspaper Hurriyet and columnist Ahmet Hakan.

Seven international press freedom organisations were also part of the three-day international mission to Turkey this week that led to the declaration.

The IFJ and EFJ highlighted the pressures faced by Turkish journalists, especially those working in media controlled by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and during the recent election period.

Their representative Patrick Kamenka said: “Our colleagues are under heavy pressures, especially when a group of media is in the hands of the AKP regime, when public TV RTR is not playing the role of pluralism of information.

“The IFJ and EFJ must support our affiliate TGS in its difficult union task as pressures are strong in a context of 30 per cent unemployment and low salaries,” he added.

TGS general secretary Mustafa Kuleli stressed the importance of solidarity with Turkish journalists standing up to intimidation. “It is again up to us to save ourselves,” he said.

Terrorist massacre and government censorship in Turkey

This 10 October 2015 video shows a demonstration in Paris, France, protesting against the terrorist massacre in Ankara, Turkey.

On Sunday afternoon, there will be more solidarity demonstrations in France: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ankara terror attack: Turkey censors media coverage of bombings as Twitter and Facebook ‘blocked’

The government has issued a ban on broadcasting footage of the blast at a peace rally

Lizzie Dearden

Saturday 10 October 2015 15:57 BST

The Turkish government has censored news coverage of the terror attack in Ankara as Twitter and other social media sites went down across the country.

State media watchdog the Turkish Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) imposed a ban on broadcasting images of the blast.

A statement by RTÜK released on its official website said that; “The Turkish Prime Minister has imposed a temporary broadcast ban regarding the terror attack conducted in Ankara this morning.”

A government spokesperson said the order covered images showing the moment of the blast, gruesome or bloody images or those “that create a feeling of panic”.

He warned media organisations they could face a “full blackout” if they did not comply.

Meanwhile, Turks reported that Twitter had been blocked on some of the country’s most popular networks, including Turkcell and TTNET.

Some people also said they were unable to access Facebook in the wake of the blasts.

Social media blackouts have been imposed with increasing frequency in Turkey in recent years, sparking protests and international criticism.

Index on Censorship classes the country as only “partly free” and the British Government has been among those raising concerns about blocks on social media and the treatment of journalists.

An award-winning Turkish journalist is being prosecuted for “insulting” the President and two Britons were among three Vice News journalists charged with “aiding a terrorist organisation” in August, prompting an intervention by the Foreign Secretary.

Anger was mounting at the government’s response to the bombing, which could be the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history.

Selami Altinok, the Interior Minister, refused to resign when questioned by journalists after the bombing and insisted that there were no security flaws.

Hundreds of people were gathering for a peace rally, organised by trade unions and supported by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), when two explosions hit the crowd.

Footage showed a line of men and women holding hands while doing a traditional dance and singing as the explosions started, sending people screaming and running for cover.

They struck 50 metres apart as hundreds of people gathered near Ankara Central Station for a rally denouncing the violence between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants.

In a statement, the HDP said it believed its supporters were the “main target of the attacks” and criticised police for allegedly tear gassing survivors who were trying to help the injured.

The health ministry put the death toll at 86, with at least 186 people wounded, by Saturday afternoon.

Ankara terror attack: Protesters clash with police after ambulances ‘blocked’ following explosions. Protesters claimed police prevented ambulances taking the wounded to hospital in the wake of the bombing: here.

Ankara explosions: Video captures moment bomb goes off as singing protesters call for peace: here.

Ankara attacks: innocent hearts beating for peace are brutally stopped. World must hear call of countless people in Turkey who are determined to defend peace and democracy, says award-winning novelist Elif Shafak: here.

Ankara explosions: Isis emerge as suspects as death toll rises to 95: here.

Ankara explosions: Mourners chant anti-government slogans as death toll rises to 128: here.

Turkey bomb blasts: government blamed as thousands take to streets in Ankara. Mourners and protesters gather in Turkish capital, blaming Erdoġan’s government for twin bomb attacks in which over 100 civilians died: here.

[Kurdish] PKK, not Islamic State, is Erdogan’s real target: here.

John Lydon’s 1978 warnings on Jimmy Savile censored by BBC

This video from Britain says about itself:

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories – Friday 25 September 2015 at 9pm on ITV.

John Lydon discusses what’s in his bag.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

John Lydon says he was ‘banned from BBC’ over Jimmy Savile comments

The former Sex Pistol says he ‘did his bit’ to alert the public to Savile but that his comments made in 1978 were never aired

Thursday 24 September 2015 11.54 BST

John Lydon has claimed he was banned from the BBC after speaking out against Jimmy Savile.

The former Sex Pistol was referring to an interview he’d given in 1978, during which he had said that Savile was “into all sorts of seediness. We all know about it but we’re not allowed to talk about it. I know some rumours.”

Speaking to Piers Morgan for his Life Stories show, he said: “I’m very, very bitter that the likes of Savile and the rest of them were allowed to continue. I did my bit, I said what I had to. But they didn’t air that.”

He continued: “I found myself banned from BBC radio for quite a while, for my contentious behaviour. They wouldn’t state this directly; there’d be other excuses.”

The band were already in the BBC’s bad books before Lydon’s Savile comments: God Save The Queen received a total ban on radio play from the corporation in May 1977. Lydon didn’t go into the specifics of what the ban entailed, although he said: “Weren’t I right? I think most kids wanted to go on Top of the Pops but we all knew what that cigar muncher was up to.”

Thailand dictatorship banned Orwell’s 1984, now New York Times

King of Thailand in Bangkok hospital on 1 September 2015, while employees kneel for him, photo by EPA

After censorship, self-censorship …

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Thai edition of New York Times not published because of article about royal family

Today, 11:42

The publisher of The International New York Times in Thailand did not print today’s edition, because there was an article in it about the future of the Thai royal family. “The article is too sensitive to publish,” said the printer. In Thailand there are strict rules for public discussion about the royal family.

The article discussed the deteriorating health of the 87-year-old King Bhumibol and uncertainty about the survival of the monarchy. It says that the crown prince is known as a playboy and that it will be a chore for him to equal the prestige and status of his father. The newspaper writes that many Thai hope that the daughter of the king, who is much more popular among the population, will succeed the king, but that the law forbids women on the throne.

Lese majeste

Thai subscribers received an email from the newspaper stating that it was the decision of the local publisher to not let the newspaper appear today. “The decision is not supported by The New York Times,” the email says, and readers are refered to the online version of the newspaper.

Overt criticism of the royal family or the monarchy in Thailand can lead to imprisonment up to 15 years for treason. The number of convictions has increased considerably since a military junta in May last year has taken power in Thailand. According to human rights organizations this is part of a larger campaign to silence critics.

Thailand royal insult case: Second suspect dies in as many weeks. Suriyan Sucharitpolwong was admitted to hosital and Thursday and died of natural causes on Saturday, said the Department of Corrections: here.

Fundamentalist religious censorship of novel in New Zealand

This 12 September 2015 video from New Zealand says about itself:

Ted Dawe, author of banned book Into the River, discusses censorship and the inspiration for his work.

His ruling remains in place until the next full meeting of the Review Board, scheduled for October 2.

Into the River, by Aucklander Ted Dawe, centres on a young East Coast Maori boy who wins a scholarship to a boys’ boarding school in Auckland.

In 2013, after it won Book of the Year at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards, Christian lobby group Family First applied for an R18 classification and shrink-wrap covering.

The group said the book dealt with graphic sexual content, paedophilia, and the misuse of adult power. It glorified the taking of drugs and contained “extensive” use of the “c” and “f” words.

For the next two years, the book bounced between the Classifications Office and the Film and Literature Review Board. It was variously classified as being more suitable for audiences over 16; objectionable to anyone under the age of 14 and, most recently last month, an “unrestricted” read.

That decision, by the Classification Office, prompted Family First to request the interim restriction order – which can, under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classifications Act 1993, be granted solely by the Board of Review president.

Mathieson’s order, granted on September 3, means individuals and organisations (including schools and libraries) who knowingly supply the book, are liable for fines of up to $3000 and $10,000 respectively. Into the River was immediately withdrawn from book stores and by mid-week, was no longer available for purchase in New Zealand in electronic form.

But Mathieson says it’s wrong to refer to his decision as a “ban”.

“It’s an interim restriction. Banning is an emotive word.”

Waikanae-based Mathieson is a QC and active Christian. He said detail about his personal background was “irrelevant”. …

He is the editor of the book Faith at Work, described by Castle Publishing as a “thought provoking symposium discussing the relevance of Christianity in the workplace … Faith goes beyond the church on Sunday. It must impact on every area of life”.


In 2013, censors banned The Everything Marijuana Book. In 1997, Hitchhiking Pizza Boy was outlawed. In 1972, A Sea of Thighs and Big Boobs made it to the forbidden list. Records show that since 1963, some 1289 books have been banned for import, distribution, supply or possession – most because of sex or drug references. These are the most recent:

2013: The Everything Marijuana Book

2013: Here’s Steve

2013: Boys Are Boys

2010: Secrets of Methamphetamine Manufacture 8th Edition

2009: Pleasant Dripping with Sweat

2000: Holiday Snapshots

2000: Eros XXX Women

1999: Topping from Below

1999: Indoor Marijuana Horticulture

1999: Marijuana Botany

‘Will I be burnt next?’ – Into the River author Ted Dawe on book banning: here.

By Tom Peters in New Zealand:

Outrage over banning of New Zealand novel Into the River

19 September 2015

On September 7 New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review announced a temporary ban on the sale and distribution of the young adult novel Into the River by Ted Dawe. The board will make a final decision on the book’s classification next month. Until then anyone who sells, lends or displays it can be fined between $3,000 and $10,000. It has been withdrawn from book stores and libraries.

Board president Don Mathieson QC imposed the “interim restriction” in response to an appeal by the fundamentalist Christian group Family First against the unrestricted rating given to the book by the government’s Classification Office. The Board of Review is a government-appointed body with the power to change classification decisions.

Family First has campaigned against Into the River since it won the top prize at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2013. The organisation has called for the book to be restricted to people over 18 years old, a position that Mathieson has said he supports. Family First leader Bob McCoskrie told the New Zealand Herald: “It has sexually explicit material and it’s … got the c-word nine times, the f-word 17 times and s-h-i-t 16 times.” He also objected to the depiction of drug use.

The banning is a blatant attack on artistic freedom. It is the latest indication that the ruling elite is responding to growing social inequality and class tensions with increasingly anti-democratic methods.

Mathieson, a conservative Christian known for his opposition to same-sex marriage, has set a dangerous new precedent and demonstrated that he has the power to remove any book from circulation at the stroke of a pen.

The book ban also illustrates the increasing influence of Family First, which is being politically promoted as a means to foster ignorance and bigotry.

Dawe’s novel is the first to be banned in New Zealand in more than two decades. Previously suppressed books include Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy in 1958 and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, in 1960 (both bans were lifted a few years later). Numerous films have been banned, including recently the horror films I Spit on Your Grave (2010) and Maniac (2013).

The ban has met with shock and outrage from ordinary people. Out of 220 comments on the Herald web site, 185 opposed the ban, with many expressing alarm at the power of the religious right.

One asked: “Have I been transported to 1984? Do we live in a free country or not?”

Another comment declared: “How on earth does a conservative Christian lobby group manage to get books temporarily banned in NZ? Have we gone back into a 1950s time warp and no one has told me?”

A reader on the news web site Stuff.co.nz asked: “Since when does Bob McCoskrie or other religious zealots such as Don Mathieson dictate to the rest of the populace as to what’s good for us based on their own narrow-minded religious views of the world?”

Groups of people protested the ban in Dunedin and Wellington on September 10 by silently reading Into the River in public. Writers have denounced the ban, including Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, New Zealand’s poet laureate C.K. Stead, Elizabeth Knox, Patrick Ness, and John Marsden, to name just a few.

Following the backlash, the National Party government has attempted to distance itself from Mathieson’s decision, despite the fact that it appointed him to the Board of Review in June 2010. Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy said at the time that Mathieson was “well qualified for this role.”

In the lead-up to the 2014 election Prime Minister John Key and New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters both appeared at Family First gatherings and gave interviews to Bob McCoskrie.

The corporate media has largely criticised Mathieson’s decision, yet it presents McCoskrie as a legitimate commentator. McCoskrie is a frequent guest on TV and radio, where he rails against gay rights, sex education, abortion rights, books, films and TV shows.

On June 30, 2013, the Herald joined Family First in denouncing the decision to award Best Book to Into the River. “It contains obscenities and shock references that worthwhile literature does not need,” the editorial declared.

Pointing to the authoritarian character of the ban and the influence of Family First, John Boyne, Irish author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, wrote on Stuff.co.nz: “In 1933, when Joseph Goebbels listed the books that should not be read by the German people, the fires were built and the works of Hemingway, Freud, Jack London and others went up in smoke. This, the Propaganda Minister declared, would lead to ‘a cleansing of the German spirit…’

“[S]somehow this rag-tag group of angry, ill-informed and frightened conservatives has been allowed to follow in the footsteps of Nazis and the Irish Catholic Church.”

This analogy is entirely appropriate. The world is experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In every country the ruling class is responding with an assault on living standards at home and preparations for war abroad. To impose this agenda the governments are carrying out sweeping attacks on civil liberties.

Dawe’s novel has been suppressed amid a campaign by the entire political establishment to glorify militarism and nationalism. This includes the grotesque celebrations surrounding the centenary of World War I and attempts by the opposition Labour, NZ First and the Mana Parties to promote anti-Chinese xenophobia.

Access to socially critical works of art is incompatible with the reactionary climate the ruling class is seeking to create. Into the River has evidently been targeted because it addresses issues facing working class youth in a realistic way that has struck a chord with thousands of people.

Writer Bernard Beckett, who was on the judging panel that awarded Dawe’s novel, described it on the blog the Spinoff as “an important work on a great many levels. Deeply moral, extremely well-written and respectful of its audience …

“The protagonist is a young Maori boy on the East Coast, sharp as pin and filled to the brim with potential. He wins a scholarship to a boarding school in Auckland, and from the moment he arrives, understands that this is not his place. Despite his learning and his aptitude, the school won’t be able to welcome him. It’s a story of alienation and bullying, and a story of the way those not offered a place to stand will attempt to carve out their own.”

Another judge, novelist Barbara Else, told Fairfax Media: “The novel’s a tragedy of a talented Maori youth ripped from his whanau [family] and subjected to snobbery and racism. It’s bleak. It’s hard-hitting. The sex scenes are realistic and saddening.”

Even though Dawe’s first novel, Thunder Road, won Young Adult Book of the Year, he struggled to find a publisher for Into the River and eventually had to self-publish. After that novel also won an award, Family First lobbied the Board of Review, which imposed an R14 rating in December 2013, the first time a book had received such a rating.

Dawe wrote in the Guardian: “Prior to this judgement, Into the River was the most-borrowed NZ-written YA novel in the country. After the ruling, it was removed from libraries’ shelves and either placed behind the desk or in the basement stacks … Borrowing dropped to virtually nil.”

After receiving several complaints from teachers and librarians, the Classification Office removed the R14 rating last month, making the book unrestricted until the Board of Review withdrew it from circulation this month.

Dawe, who is a high school teacher, explained that he was inspired by British novelists Alan Sillitoe and Keith Waterhouse, whose works “carried the sharp stink of authenticity.” He set out to write books that would appeal to the sort of boys he taught, “from working class backgrounds, immigrant boys in Brixton in 1970s London; ‘new Australian’ migrants in Marrickville, Sydney; and Māori and Pasifika boys in Auckland.”

The attacks on Into the River are motivated by the ruling elite’s fear of these young people, who it wants to prevent from reading books that might encourage a class understanding of the brutality of capitalist society.