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Oscars censored in 53 Asian nations

February 25, 2009 |  3:48 pm

The day after the Oscars, Keith Olbermann exulted in the bold expressions of free speech on the kudocast. He said on MSNBC, "If last night had been the 2003 Oscars, Dustin Lance Black, Bill Maher and Sean Penn probably would have spent the day raked over the coals by the yapping toadies of the media-government complex. Screw the toadies. They lost and free speech won!"

Oscars_censor_academy_awards_keith_

But not so on TV seen on the other side of the world.

Much of India was tuned in to the Oscars to see the victories by "Slumdog Millionaire," but they didn't get the whole telecast.

Asian satellite TV network STAR, owned by Rupert Murdoch, admits that it censored the acceptance speeches of "Milk" writer Dustin Lance Black and star Sean Penn in re-broadcasts, eliminating sound when the words "gay" or "lesbian" were spoken, because it had "a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration," spokeswoman Jannie Poon told the Associated Press. STAR reaches more than 300 million viewers in 53 nations.

However, a tipster tells Defamer.com that the words were also edited out of live broadcasts in India, but he doesn't identify the offending TV network.

Pang Khee Teik, a prominent Malaysian arts commentator, wrote a letter of protest to several media organizations, according to the AP. He said the gagging "sent a message ... that gays and lesbians are still shameful things to be censored from the public's ears."

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Comments

whoops... no need to go to the internet to look for the edited remarks. i just saw the msnbc video on your site and now know what was said by penn and dance (spelling?). No blocking of this video in VN. But censored on the taped delay broadcast of the ceremony shown last night in Asia.

Moderator: I have no idea what your policy is, but could you post my second rather than first post (or both) -- if possible. Thanks.. susan

Sorry,
I double-posted. My first post did not appear to be sent so I wrote another one. I suppose you can choose one or the other (or both!).

I'm an American living and working in Vietnam. Last night the taped delay of the A.Awards show was shown on Star network. As I was viewing, I suddenly realised that the speech of the Milk awardee had been edited. I was deeply disappointed. There are indeed cultural sensitivities in Asia (and admittedly there was far more discrimination in the US at one time as well). But while the laws on the books in VN are still restrictive, everyone is aware of the strong gay culture here, and gay issues are now even being reported (albeit scantily) in the press, including several articles in the state media just in the last year. This would have been unheard of a few years ago. The Oscars show was preceded by two half-hour segments. The first was hosted by a lone female Indian star standing stiffly in the studio supposedly interacting live (not! it was edited in later; way too obvious) with the Star network presenter in Hollywood, who was interviewing movie stars as they arrived on the red carpet (at times this was embarrassingly lame: "yo, bro!" etc. I believe this same guy hosts a Star entertainment show called VIP Access. The kissing up and general you-are-so-awesome attitude toward film stars is really a joy to behold). The following segment was hosted by the wonderful (gay! did anyone in Asia know?!) host of Project Runway and another woman I did not know. What a relief, and a stark contrast to the previous segment. At times like this, I miss the US dearly. I'll have to go the internet to find the censored remarks (yes, that can now be done, although the gov't still blocks so-called sensitive sites, including -- the last time I checked about six months ago -- portions of Human Rights Watch devoted to VN).

I live and work in Vietnam. Last night, Star network aired a taped delay of the Oscar ceremony. As I watched, I suddenly realised that the speech of the Milk awardee was being censored. The editing of Sean Penn's speech was less obvious and I did not notice it. However, the earlier edit was transparent and clumsily done. I was deeply disappointed (and I'm a straight woman). It was clear why it was being done. I'm aware of the cultural sensitivities in many countries in Asia but there was no need for this. Although the law is still restrictive, there is a strong gay culture in Vietnam and it, although controversial, is finally being reported in the press, even in state media. This would have been unheard of several years ago. The show was preceded by two half-hour segments hosted by a female Indian star standing stiffly in the studio (obviously recorded later and edited into the broadcast to make it appear that she was interacting live with the male presenter in Hollywood (who at times was embarrassingly lame when he spoke to some of the stars on the red carpet; I believe he hosts a show called VIP Access on Star). This segment was poorly executed; it was then followed by a haf hours of interviews with the wonderful (gay!) host of Project Runway and another woman I did not know. What a relief that was, and quite a contrast to the previous segment. At times like this, i miss the US dearly.


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