Banned in China
Banned media is a curious thing - it's easy to associate the banning of works, be it temporary or otherwise, with overzealous Moral Guardians and the like, but beyond the surface spectacle of public outcries from and against seemingly comical purse-clutchers, there lies a fascinating fabric of what fuels such frantic and flustered fussing. Disagreement is inevitable even in the most "free" of societies, and the freedom to exchange ideas inevitably means subjecting them to scrutiny. Such has been true from the onset of human history - and for every literary trailblazing tour de force meaningfully challenging the status quo and breaking the mold, there have been works who were simply caught in the crossfire of an imagined crusade. Further still, a work that might possess little quality or merits might only be known because of the sensibilities that it offended, justifiably or otherwise.
Panics aside, it is unusual more often than not for media to be Banned in China, let alone banned outright anywhere; this depends on if the government is "nanny-ish" enough to prohibit the sale of games and other media whose subject matter is not to their liking. Note that in many nations, this amounts to a general ban or censorship of most retailers and broadcasters; buying, possessing, or otherwise selling imports from outside one's borders is usually perfectly legal.
As a general rule of thumb, if the fighting or political action takes place in that country or against its government, even when it's a 'proxy' or otherwise clearly not the real deal, they're not going to like it.
The title is a modern play on the older phrase "Banned in Boston." Back in the days when Boston, Massachusetts was a bastion of Puritan and Catholic morality, a local "benevolent" group known as the Watch and Ward Society held immense sway over what plays and films could be presented and what books could be sold or carried by libraries. Boston has been replaced by China, due to the People's Republic's tendency to censor anything they find remotely "harmful for the Chinese youth" (i.e. anything that questions the authority of the government or might inspire new, possibly rebellious ways of thinking).
- The Office of Film and Literature Classification is essentially Australia's version of the MPAA, but unlike its American counterpart, it is a governmental organization, and films must by law be classified by it before they can be sold or exhibited in any form in the country. The OLFC has banned a handful of explicit movies, among them Baise Moi, In a Glass Cage, Ken Park, La Blue Girl, Nekromantik, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (which was eventually passed as of 2010), Vase de Noces, the uncut version of Caligula, and Pink Flamingos.
- The first series of Nine Network's Underbelly was banned by judicial order within the state of Victoria and Melbourne and from the Internet, due to an ongoing trial of one of the show's real-life subjects and concern of jury tampering; even after their conviction, the court forced the network to heavily edit the episodes into an unwatchable mess.
- Cold Chisel's "Khe Sanh" was originally banned from radio in every state except South Australia.
- Originally there was no R-18+ rating for videogames, so anything deemed to go over the MA 15+ rating would mean that the game would get no classification and be banned. This has since changed, with the R-18+ rating implemented in 2013 (it was originally slated to be added by the end of 2011).
- Fallout 3 was the subject of a rumor (since confirmed) that it originally failed to attain a 15+ rating and was thus refused a rating, rendering it banned in Australia before it even came out. It has since been rated and released with a 15+ rating - the reason it hadn't got one previously? Apparently, it was the depiction of a static image of morphine as a type of buff-giving item that ruffled the OFLC so much. The changes themselves were adopted in all versions of the game as well, as Australia's board was not the only one to raise concerns (though other countries would likely have been less trigger-happy about banning the game). ** Ironically, the change ended up being arguably for the better; the article argues that the replacement of morphine with "Med-X" fell more in line with the retro science fiction feel of the series.
- Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was unrated due to its strongly suggestive... everything. It's about an adorable Casanova Wannabe trying to get laid by college coeds.
- Left 4 Dead 2 was added to the list of games refused classification for the amount of violence caused by melee weapons. It was eventually released, heavily censored; the reasoning was that the zombies (which were infected humans) get dismembered or have their organs exposed after a single hit. It's a common belief Australia would have allowed the riot infected, who were not present in this censored version; the explanation is that Valve had used the German cut which already had them censored out (though they were since patched back in), which also censored elements Australia would have allowed (e.g. disappearing bodies).
- Manhunt and Postal are banned too.
- Aliens vs. Predator (2010) was originally banned, but through an appeal it was rerated MA 15+ uncut, which ironically made it the most lenient rating given to the game of any country.
- Mortal Kombat 9 has been banned in Australia, and customs has been ordered to seize copies [dead link].
- Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was banned for supposedly glorifying graffiti.
- The use of prostitutes in Grand Theft Auto was usually censored in some way. Though all games has had at least an uncut version of all the games released (i.e. III, Vic city and IV were uncensored with a 15+ for their PC release with IV getting a patch for consoles)
- Here, play this game.
- Singles: Flirt Up Your Life was banned due to being above MA 15+, with it's high sexual content.
- Silent Hill Homecoming had to have some of the Cruel and Unusual Death scenes toned down to pass OFLC classification. The same censored version was released in Germany.
- Australia's labor party is also taking a cue from the Chinese and attempting to push through a law mandating that ISPs block certain blacklisted sites entirely. Here's a particularly witty response. The Liberal Party had a similar plan when they were in government.
- Australian ISPs in general aren't too timid to say very publically and in details what they think of attempts to push internet censorship, of lobbyists who do it, why, and where they want this to be stuffed. Like iiNet's managing director ("the worst Communications Minister we've had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed") or Exetel's chief executive ("...scheme to purge the Fatherland of the filth emanating from the diseased brains of the untermenscen").
- Any film that depicts Armenians in any positive light is banned. This even includes a film by Azeri director Eldar Guliev entitled "Hostage", a film about the Nagorno-Karabakh war which depicts an Armenian hostage in a human light. This is because since losing the Nagorno-Karabakh war, the Demonization of Armenians has become state policy.
- Anything not in the Azeri language, including Russian and even Turkish programming, was banned from television in 2009.
- In 1999 a judge ordered a ban on Herman Brusselmans' novel "Guggenheimer Wast Witter" in Belgium after fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester took offense on the author's semi-satirical descriptions of her looks and profession. Brusselmans has a reputation for poking fun at Flemish celebrities in his books in a very degrading manner that hardly has anything to do with the public image of these media stars. Yet, the novel was available in the Netherlands where it was mostly bought by Flemings.
- Beyond Citizen Kane, a documentary about Globo, Brazilian's biggest and most powerful TV network, was banned by the government in 1994. The ban was kind of useless, since many universities still screened it, and the popularization of internet allowed many people to watch it.
- Before we begin with video games, it should be pointed out that many of these bans were judicial orders, which are nearly impossible to enforce, have limited jurisdiction, and were in some cases unconstitutional. As such, many of these bans were pretty much ignored.
- In 1997 and 1998, the original Grand Theft Auto and the two Carmageddon games were banned because it glamorized car theft and vehicular homicide, respectively.
- In 1999, a shootout at a São Paulo movie theater closely resembled the first level of Duke Nukem 3D. That game was banned for that reason. Five other games banned as well to prevent widespread violence (Doom, Mortal Kombat, Requiem, Blood, and Postal). (The movie being shown during the shooting, Fight Club, was not banned.)
- Counter-Strike was banned from Brazil since January 2008 because of a popular map mod called “Rio.” The authorities stated that in the game "your objective is to kill the military police of Rio for points as Drug Dealers from the Favelas and keeping members of the UN hostage for execution". It's a bit blown out of proportion, since you can play either side, the drug dealers are supposed to be international terrorists, and the "military police" is a non-specific counter-terrorist initiative. This is also only one of many unofficial maps that were made by modders, and the game itself has no responsibility over it. Pretty much none of this is actually spelled out in the game. The ban has since been lifted.
- Banned at the same time as Counter-Strike was EverQuest because "the player can make morally ambiguous decisions, and thus the game is harmful to the consumer's mental health.”
- Bully has been banned because of depictions of school violence. Amazingly, this one is actually enforced by (of all things) Steam, where the game (and any package that contains it) is unavailable for purchase.
- Brazil also shares Canada's restriction concerning lolicon art.
- The Simpsons season 13 episode "Blame It on Lisa" was only shown three times in Brazil before it garnered complaints and the government decided to ban it due to lots of scenes that mercilessly made fun of the country (including rats being painted beautiful colors as they run through the slum streets, Homer being distracted by an old peddler while her children pickpocket him, and Bart watching a Brazilian kids' show that features a lot of sexual innuendo and scantily-clad actresses). It would take years for FOX to be allowed to—if nothing else—let the episode be released on the season 13 DVD box set. According to DVD commentary, the writers were amazed that this episode caused that level of controversy, while the episode "Weekend At Burnsie's" (in which Homer is prescribed medicinal marijuana) -- which they did expect to rile up complaints (at least in America), got little to no negative feedback (though the censors did ask for some scenes of Homer actually smoking his medicinal marijuana to be shortened or heavily implied rather than directly shown and episode writer, Jon Vitti, had to explain to his nephew that what Homer did in the episode was wrong).
- Burma banned Rambo (the 2008 film). Rebel factions then started watching Rambo. Funny how these things turn out. The ban was not surprising considering that the film portrays the Burmese government as an oppressive dictatorship, which, in real life, it is.
- For starring as Aung San Suu Kyi in a biographical movie, Michelle Yeoh gets banned from entering Burma again.
- U2's album All That You Can't Leave Behind is banned in Burma/Myanmar because the song "Walk On" is dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi.
- Provincial language laws regulate - not prohibit - the use of English-language advertising on billboards or similar surfaces in Quebec. French must be in a position of prominence (which in practice means first and in a larger typeface) but English (or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language) is perfectly legal if it's listed after the French.
- The Doctor Who story "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" is banned from broadcast in Canada (though home video is fine) following the protests from Chinese groups that its Yellow Peril content provoked when it was first shown on TV.[please verify]
- Disney's The Swamp Fox, which aired circa 1968 on 'Walt Disney Presents' was banned because the government didn't like the portrayal of the Tory/Loyalist characters as complete villains.[please verify] Ironically, Canada is the homeland of the series' star, Leslie Nielsen.
- Lolicon art is illegal in Canada.
- Not quite. Written material, visual representations or audio recordings that advocate or counsel sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under the Criminal Code is illegal in Canada. If you draw a pre-teen wearing a sleeveless version of Jessica Rabbit's gown, more power to you. If you draw the same pre-teen wearing jeans and a t-shirt but following an adult into a bedroom, you're breaking the law.
As one of the most authoritarian major countries, China often does this, making it the Trope Namer. Almost anything that goes against Confucian values is banned, as are many medias with a portrayal of a heroic character taking action against authority, any suggestions that authority figures may be corruptible, any negative portrayal of somebody who is Chinese, and of course any references to the more unpleasant events in China's history.
- Death Note was banned in China. Apparently people were making their own death notes and writing people's names down. This was deemed as harmful. Also, Death Note was thought to incite anarchy and insubordination.
- Code Geass was banned in China for its themes of rebellion and the dignity of oppressed minorities. There is a rumor that, partly as backlash against this, several agitators in the western areas have taken to calling themselves "Zero" (see also the Rambo and Voltes V examples). The fact that the second season portrays China as a nation of starving citizens oppressed by a group of power hungry creeps using the twelve year-old heir to the throne as their puppet before a bunch of Japanese guys lead by a white guy incite a revolution and overthrow them probably doesn't help either.
- Boys Love manga, anime, and games have been suppressed, banned and regulated in mainland China and Hong Kong for fear that "[r]eading too much [yaoi] material will change [girls'] sexual orientation somehow"; see this academic paper.
- The movie Temptress Moon was promoted in the United States as "A Seductive New Film So Provocative It Was Banned In Its Own Country." As a writer to Roger Ebert's Movie Answer Man column pointed out, "Considering that its own country is China, that's not such a big deal."
- The Chinese government continues to ban media discussing or depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre. Basically, any form of discussion about the oppression of the Tibetans or the Tiananmen Square massacre (if it is in media or not) will get you arrested and scrutinized by the Chinese government. And the government-approved history textbooks will never mention these atrocities.
- China celebrated Ang Lee's winning of an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain as a triumph for Chinese people. Brokeback Mountain is banned in China for its depictions of homosexuality. Also, Ang Lee's from Taiwan, but that's another discussion.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End can only be shown in China if they take out scenes with Sao Feng in them. Apparently, he is a "negative portrayal" of the Chinese (although honestly, it would not make that much of a difference on the film's plot).
- The Dark Knight was banned for its portrayal of Chinese criminal accountant Lau (who was played by Singaporean Chin Han) and implying that Hong Kong police are corrupt. However, it is apparently one of the most popular bootleg DVD titles in China.
- China automatically "bans" (or, more accurately, puts a quota on) all non-Chinese movies, only giving special permits for a fixed number of foreign films to be shown per year. In theory, this protects their film industry from bigger-budget foreign competition.
- Going with the number-title aversion theme, the disaster-licious 2012 made huge bucks in China because in the end China basically saves the world. The Tibetan tidal wave posters probably helped too.
- Fan Dumb to some degree, as official government stance on Tibet is not quite as a lot of activist groups made it out to be. Destruction in Tibet is likely viewed as a tragedy rather than something that is praised on official and public scale. For the most part the poster probably worked against the movie's favor in the eyes of officials.
- The second Tomb Raider film was banned for depicting China as having "secret societies".
- Martin Scorsese was already banned from entering China after making Kundun, a biography of the Dalai Lama. And then The Departed was banned for having a scene with Chinese authorities buying advanced computer chip technology.
- Mission: Impossible 3 gave the government some cause for concern, as it depicts the Chinese police as incompetent and shows poor living conditions in Chinese villages. There is also one scene where graffiti advertising a document forgery service (which is apparently big business in China) can be glimpsed.
- Raise the Red Lantern was banned in China... until it helped raise their tourism.
- The Red Dawn sequel was considered likely to face legal or financial problems in China due to its portrayal of a Chinese invasion of the US, leading to a change of the villians to North Korean (and so therefore, a possible aversion)
- Any movies pertaining to time travel, such as Back to The Future, are now banned in China.. Great Scott!
- This one has a cultural logic to it though. The ban against time travel is based on the immense respect that Chinese culture has to its ancestors. The Chinese believe that a work of fiction that depicts the ancestors will be necessarily different from what actually happened, which is considered extremely disrespectful.
- There is a preliminary attraction between Marty and his mother, so that might be another reason.
- Because of a dual-suicide that involved one of the girls mentioning time-travel in her suicide note (this troper recalls it as a stretch), all media involving time-travel is now banned.
- Avatar was released in China, but its 2D version was pulled from cinemas very quickly afterwards despite the film being the most popular shown in China ever. It is likely a large part of this was its message, which could be seen as being potentially inspirational to oppressed people within China. Oddly enough, China still allowed the 3D version to be shown even afterwards.
- Surprisingly averted with The Hunger Games.
- David Wingrove's Chung Kuo series, about a future world ruled by Chinese lords.
- Belzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is a book about the Cultural Revolution and how they unjustly persecuted the educated and burned books. No points for guessing why this one’s banned.
- The espionage history Secret War in Shanghai by Bernard Wasserstein was censored in China because one edition had a reference to the Tiananmen Square massacre. A compromise was arranged whereby the publisher clearly said it was an abbreviated version.
- The last episode of the historical series Towards the Republic was censored, as it ends with a speech by Sun Yat-sen about the merits of democracy.
- On the Late Late Show, Craig Ferguson revealed an email he had received claiming that his program's internet broadcasts were banned in China. He jokingly took this as a threat, saying "double entendres and fart jokes are too threatening to the mighty Chinese regime," and lamented that they would therefore miss his guest for the evening, Morgan Freeman.
- Portions of the broadcast of Anderson Cooper 360 that aired from May 2, 2012 onwards on CNN International were blacked out in China when it discussed developments with political activist Chen Guangcheng, particularly when alleged threats made towards Chen and his family by the Chinese government were mentioned.
- Just like with films, everything that depicts supernatural entities, folk myths, ghosts, zombies, and homosexual relationships is usually banned. Which makes things like live-action adaptations of novels with supernatural elements and homosexual romance quite tricky, making such adaptations confined to web platforms, and even there gay romances are toned down to Bromances with unusual amounts of pining when not resorting to Gender Swap the shou into a woman. The adaptation of Guardian transformed all the supernatural elements into Sci-Fi ones (because animal shape-shifting spirits from mythology are a no-go but shape-shifting aliens are allowed), and The Untamed (the Live-action adaptation of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation) did everything in their power to obfuscate that the original story was about a revived necromancer.
- Guns N' Roses have an album entitled Chinese Democracy. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why this is banned, does it?
- The littlest things rile up the censors, apparently. The Pet Shop Boys album Yes was almost banned over the final track "Legacy", due to this verse: "Time will pass/governments fall/Glaciers melt/Hurricanes bawl" (emphasis added). Both parties allowed its release on the condition that the song be left as an instrumental.
- The Chinese government occasionally attempts to ban, water down or censor Chinese things. China-based Visual Kei/gothic rock band Silver Ash, for example, have over the years come up against several tricky bits of legislation. The most recent one[when?] briefly forced them out of rock altogether, causing them to go on a lengthy hiatus.
- Rather confusingly, one of the most popular rock bands in China, Miserable Faith, is famous for its songs about freedom and suppression, but it’s not banned. In fact, they still attend most of the rock festivals in China and "spread freedom".
- Miley Cyrus is banned in China because she mimed an Asian person.
- Björk was deported and is banned from re-entry into the country. Why? During a Chinese tour, she began to chant "Tibet! Tibet!" during a performance of Declare Independence.
- China used to ban depictions of demons and human skeletons, so many Magic: The Gathering cards had their art altered for release there. In 2008, however, this ban was lifted.
- Some were altered, but many were simply not released in China. None of the Chinese finalists during this period made it far in the Pro Tour finals because they simply didn't know how to play with the full collection of cards.
- The opera Turandot was banned for many years for depicting Chinese culture unfavorably. The ban was repealed in the late 1990s and the opera has been since been performed on a Chinese stage on at least one occasion. There is a particularly good DVD of it being performed in the Forbidden City with a large Chinese ensemble, suggesting that they have thoroughly gotten over the ban.
- China banned the strategy game Hearts of Iron and its sequel for depicting China as a fragmented nation split into various warlord factions in the main campaign, which begins on New Year's Day 1936. Also, Tibet is depicted as an independent state. The Chinese censors did approve a Game Mod which features a unified China.
- Command & Conquer: Generals -- Zero Hour has also been banned, allegedly for smearing the image of China and its military, which is shown in the games as being somewhat sympathetic, if a little brutal, nuke-happy, Geneva-prohibited-incendiary-weapons-happy, propaganda-happy, and land-mines-happy, though not suicide-happy and anthrax-happy like the GLA. This may also have to do with the depiction of a GLA nuclear attack in Tiananmen Square in the beginning of the Chinese Campaign in the original game.
- Interestingly, despite the above case, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 is not banned in China and is in fact rather popular there. This may have to do with the fact that China wasn’t big on either the Soviet Union during the Cold War or Japan in various other conflicts.
- I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike has been banned for "defamation of a national character"—in other words, for having an evil Chinese general as a boss monster.
- Some games in the Battlefield series (Battlefield 2 in particular) are banned in China due to having the People's Liberation Army depicted as a belligerent combatant in a fictional war with the US military and NATO.
- Having the North Koreans as bad guys in the FPS Crysis seems like a transparent attempt to avoid being banned in China. Set in the year 2020, they have landed on an island in the South China sea, and possess gear more advanced than they would be likely to have, like a large guided missile cruiser and nanotech suits for their elite guard. Their presence in the region and their capabilities would seem much more plausible if they were Chinese. To add to that, if you look at early concept art and search through the game files, you will find that China was originally going to be the enemy human faction in game.
- The game Home Front does basically the same thing: North Korea seemingly subjugates Japan and all of Southeast Asia before invading the US some Twenty Minutes Into the Future. Word of God confirms that the villains were originally going to be Chinese, but they changed it when they were told that this could result in not only the game but the entire development team being banned from China. Amusingly, the game's now banned in both the Koreas.
- A persistent Urban Legend says that Warcraft's famed "Pandaren" characters won't make an appearance in World of Warcraft because it's illegal to put pandas in danger in China. This may also be due to the Pandaren, in their original form, being China's national animal with an obviously Samurai (and therefore Japanese) style of dress and fighting - akin to a Chinese game showing all-Americans covered in Maple Leaves, eh? (In fact, as of 2020 there is nothing in China's legal system that mentions pandas in any way outside of the usual conservation measures for endangered species and a couple of specific laws against poaching and smuggling pandas and other protected wildlife).
- The Chinese version of the game has some character models changed (presumably to make the game acceptable to the Chinese government). Most notably, the playable race of zombies, the Forsaken, have their exposed elbow and knee bones covered by skin that doesn't match the rest of their body. Since the depiction of skeletons is banned in China, the Chinese version of the game replaces the skeletons that characters become after dying with tombstones. The second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, has yet to be released in China for this reason - it focuses mostly on the undead Scourge, so there are a ton of bones visible in one way or another.
- And, as of early- to mid-November 2009, China has shut down ‘’World of Warcraft ‘’nationwide due to a long-standing dispute between two departments of China's government: the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) and the Ministry of Culture (which has been leading a year-long crackdown on online gaming) are embroiled in a power-struggle, which in part led the GAPP to reject the license request of WoW's Chinese distributor, Net Ease, for “gross violations of Chinese law.” Exactly what these 'violations' entail is unclear, but Net Ease has asked for clarification, and insist that they are in full compliance with the GAPP's regulations.
- Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a game placing the player in the role of a United States Marine as part of an operation to liberate a Russian oil-rich island from Chinese invaders. There is no attempt to disguise the enemy; they are blatantly the PLA, with weapons and equipment modeled as accurately as possible based on whatever information the developers could find. It is also, apparently, an aversion. The game is not banned in China. If this Google-translated article is to be believed, the game is appreciated for its accurate modeling of PLA gear and the opportunity to "play as the enemy."
- Chinese censorship extends so far that all internet access from the country goes through a "Great Firewall" that blocks out "subversive" or "objectionable" sites. Of course, Chinese tend to know workarounds for this.
- Blocked sites of note include Google's Blogspot, Flickr, Twitter, Deviant ART, Facebook and Archive of Our Own. Western news sites such as BBC News, CNN, and the New York Times are also banned. Blip is also blocked, oddly enough. You can get Google HK (Hong Kong), though, if you use the hotel room's internet connection.
- As far as video sharing sites are concerned, most US-based video sharing sites are blocked, including YouTube. Odd thing about YouTube, though; the video servers are always banned, but everything else is unbanned for certain college campuses.
- Interestingly, Fox News and MSNBC are not banned in China (the former being far more critical of China than the latter), and Google HK's status is spotty. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
- Starting from July 2009, Chinese law required computer manufacturers to include a censoring software called "Green Dam Youth Escort", which blocks images of Paris Hilton, Johnny Depp, Garfield, and even pigs, as they have large area of skin tones, and thus appear to be pornography to the poorly written censorware.
- Wikipedia alternates between full ban and ban of topics such as Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
- As part of the ongoing censorship of everything depicting homosexuality, the hosting sites for web novels often find themselves with arbitrary take-downs of any explicit (or interpretable as explicit) gay content from governmental orders. As of late 2010s-early 2020s, the instance on fictional homosexual romances (whenever Boys or Girls Love) is what some fans sarcastically called "nothing under the neck is permitted".
- Averted with two feature animations set in China: Mulan (which saw a limited release - with Jackie Chan as Li Shang! - even though a few thought it wouldn't occur because Disney financed Kundun) and Kung Fu Panda (which was praised and even made Chinese wonder why they couldn't make a movie like this.)
- The Simpsons episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan" where the family visits China is banned in the country because of its unfavorable reference to Mao Zedong (Homer sees his body displayed in a mausoleum and says "He's like a little angel who killed 50 million people.")
- Unsurprisingly, South Park got banned in China after the aptly-titled episode "Band in China" aired, due to the episode criticizing the Chinese government's infamous censorship policies. If anything, it was a lot more surprising that South Park wasn't already banned in China up until that point.
- Body Sushi is illegal in China; they consider it unhygienic. Ironically, they're the ones who invented it.
- There is an urban legend about Donald Duck being banned in Finland, because he does not wear pants. As pointed out by the Snopes page, this was a complete misunderstanding of a 1977 incident where Markku Huolopainen, a Helsinki councilman from the Liberal Party, proposed discontinuing the purchase of Donald Duck comics for youth centres to cope with the city's financial difficulties. So, naturally, when he ran for Parliament next year, his opponent charged Huolopainen with trying to "ban" Donald Duck, and proceeded to defeat him. A similar financial difficulties-misunderstanding incident took place later in the city of Kemi.
- The legend is probably based on the few angry letters that the Finnish Donald Duck magazine received decades ago on the subject, and responded by publishing a picture of a ridiculous-looking duck with pants, which largely killed the issue. Many Finns find this legend amusing, in that the nudity taboo is far weaker in Finland than it ever has been in America, and there have been several comics in the country's national newspaper which have on occasion showed naked characters with visible but non-pronounced genitals, leading to no reprecussions.
- There's also the fact that Donald Duck is the most popular fictional character of them all in Finland. That would be an even bigger achievement were he banned.
Anime and Manga
- The manga and anime Kinnikuman was banned in France because it contains a heroic
Naziswastika-bearing character. The anime saw a limited release, but only 49 out of the 137 original episodes were shown on television.
- The manga Angel by U-jin, published in France starting in 1995, suffered a process of “interdiction” which prevented bookshops from displaying it on shelves.
- Wearing a burqa or niqab (two different forms of face-concealing veil for women in certain forms of Islamic Dress) in public is banned in France. This has caused a great deal of controversy, as a small but significant minority of Muslims regards these items as being religiously-mandated; as a result, various EU institutions and many commentators—particularly American ones—have criticized the ban as an infringement on religious freedom.
- Paths of Glory (1957) by Stanley Kubrick was banned in France until the death of President Charles De Gaulle in 1970 due to its critical depiction of the French Army during World War I.
- Baise Moi was the first film in three decades to be banned in France. It was eventually reclassified as X (generally a rating for porn), then 18 (which has this film to thank for its reintroduction as an official classification).
- The Battle of Algiers was banned in France until 1971.
- In Nazi Germany, the Laurel and Hardy film "The Bohemian Girl" (1934) was banned because of its gypsy themes.
- Understandably the Nazis also banned Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940). However, curiosity got the best of Hitler and had a private copy brought in from elsewhere which he viewed twice.
- And, of course, All Quiet on the Western Front was banned for portraying war as a pointless waste of human life.
- Volkswagen is sufficiently sensitive about the fact that the company was founded in part by Hitler that they still object to Volkswagens being depicted as weapons of war, hence the live-action film incarnation of Bumblebee being a Camaro, rather than a Beetle like his G1 counterpart. General Motors wrote a big check to complete the change to a Camaro. The problem also arose when Hasbro wanted to make a new version of Bumblebee for the Alternators toy line, which consisted of robots that transformed into accurate (and licensed) 1:24 scale replicas of current cars.
- Posters for Inglourious Basterds were slightly different in Germany from the ones elsewhere because of the No Swastikas rule.
- The only version of Evil Dead that isn't banned in Germany had 15 minutes cut.
- All in all, about 130 movies are banned in their uncut form in Germany. This includes the usual suspects like Cannibal Holocaust, the Faces of Death series and many of Lucio Fulci's films, but also Dawn of the Dead, Halloween II and Phantasm.
- There are essentially two tiers of banning films in Germany: banning them from being sold altogether, and allowing their sale but banning them from being advertised, displayed in shops, reviewed, or otherwise given publicity. Films in the latter category can't be sold to minors, which means, with all the other constraints, that they're only sold online...
- A full list of all the books and plays banned in Nazi Germany would be rather unwieldy, but Jewish playwright Heinrich Heine's Almansor deserves special mention as the source of the quote "Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people." This quote is now engraved in the ground at the Opernplatz, which is now called the Bebelplatz for being the site of a major Nazi Book-Burning.
- The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Patterns Of Force" was banned in Germany (the only Star Trek episode from the original 1966 series to hold this honor; "Amok Time," on the other hand, wasn't banned, but was edited for content) because the plot deals with a planet heavily influenced by the Nazi Party.
- Due to a patent dispute between Motorola and Microsoft, Germany banned the sale of Microsoft products, including the Xbox 360 and Windows 7.
- Germany classifies all games as children's toys. Among other things, it bans the depiction of swastikas and other Nazi-related stuff in non-educational media (under a law prohibiting the use of symbols of anti-constitutional groups outside of specific historical/educational context).
- In Hearts of Iron 2, Nazi Germany uses the Imperial Tricolour (think the Red Baron's plane), which the Nazis actually banned, instead of a swastika flag. It was easier to change it accordingly to the issues of the German than Chinese law, because Paradox would have had to completely re-balance the game for a release in China.
- Bionic Commando Rearmed is an interesting aversion/subversion. The game is not banned in Germany because it has no Nazi imagery. However, the main villain is obviously supposed to be Adolf Hitler, even though he's never referred to as such by name. In the English version, he's known simply as "The Leader". The German translation refers to him as "Der Führer", which makes it even more obvious.
- Wolfenstein 3D, filled with Hitler posters and Nazi symbols, was banned. For Return to Castle Wolfenstein, id Software made some changes in the German version to get released.
- Hidden And Dangerous was censored of all blood and Nazi symbols - but the original textures are still in the installation directory. A little tweaking with WinRAR can undo the censoring.
- The entire Nimdok section of I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream was removed in the German release due to it being set in a concentration camp, thus making the game Unwinnable, as the final part of the game requires all four characters.
- And then there's the mass censoring of violence. A side effect of this tendency is that Austrian online shops are far more successful than German video game dealers:
- Team Fortress Classic, the German version, was virtually unplayable: Every class model was replaced by the generic death match "Robot" model, so you couldn't tell enemy classes apart. The German version of Team Fortress 2 uses the weird organs from Party Mode permanently.
- Let's not forget Half-Life. All blood was removed, HECU soldiers were replaced with the same robots as mentioned above, and scientists, rather than dying, sat down and shook their heads.
- A well-known example is Turok, in which human opponents were replaced by robots that "bled" green liquid.
- Resident Evil 4 was so badly chopped up on its German release that German gamers took to importing copies from other countries just to get around it. Ironically, at least one scene ended up with even more disturbing implications as a result of having its end replaced with a fadeout.
- The German versions of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Command and Conquer: Red Alert had to tool tip refer to infantry units as "Cyborgs". When they died, the sound would resemble that of power going down, and there was no blood. The censorship of the German version becomes apparent in the first minutes of the game if you've played the English-language version. Some shots from the cut scenes were also cut, leaving bits with gruesome deaths (such as Stavros killing Stalin) somewhat disjointed. However, under EA things have changed for the better. Tiberium Wars had two versions for the European market, one with censorship and one uncut, 16+ version.
- Generals was hit even harder. It was originally released uncensored (which would later turn into the favour of uncensor mods) but that version was later censored. Zero Hour only came out censored. The changes in Generals are removing all references to the actual countries the game names, turning all infantry into "cyborgs" including photoshoping every single picture for the same purpose, making the audio sound overly robotic and overriding various voice overs with neutral ones (copy paste), removing a mission of the GLA campaign, removing all video of the campaigns and turning the Terrorist unit into a toy car with a bomb strapped to it (would ALSO later turn into the favour of modders). Zero Hour kept its videos but only censored and all other changes still applied.
- In Wing Commander IV, the scene where Seether slits Captain Paulson's throat has two versions, with and without gushing blood. The latter is the one found on the German release of the game.
- The German version of Left 4 Dead 2 is censored, similar to the above-mentioned Australian version. However, the German version also features four extra weapons ported from Counter-Strike: Source, which don't normally spawn in other versions of the game.
- Madworld is banned in Germany, despite being showcased at the Games Convention before its launch.
- There is a small but loud group of German politicians who are advocating a ban of "killer games" (there is no actual definition of the term and few are willing to attempt giving one) for years, so this list could get a lot longer in the future.
- Carmageddon also had to be censored in Germany. However, the German version used robots as targets instead of humans or zombies. The uncensored version was never released. This could, however, be fixed of sorts by swapping the names of two files in the install folder, thereby restoring some of the original content.
- Germany flat-out refused to rate Dead Rising. Microsoft won't release games unless they are properly rated by a country's review board, so no Dead Rising .
- The first Unreal Tournament is the only game of the Unreal series to be forbidden in Germany, to the point that the local editions of the Compilation Rereleases (such as Unreal Anthology) don't feature it.
- An incredibly surprising aversion to this is Shadows of the Damned, which was allowed to be released uncut. UN-CUT.
- And even more surprising Gears of War 3 and Space Marine will be uncut. Made even more surprising by the fact that the first two GOW games weren't rated due to violence and thus not released in Germany.
- Germany is now a proud member of the countries whose parliament passed a law for censoring websites. The Law hasn't come in effect until now.
- Well yes... websites featuring child pornography, that is. Pedophilia and child labour are illegal in Germany, especially when it's a combination of both. So it may be justified.
- The problem is that the list would have been secret, not governed by a elected body, would have had no supervision and no mechanism to remove sites that were put on it in error. And, you know, it would be awesome for a fledgling dictatorship with nary a change. We're kind of touchy about that kind of thing.
- The law was eventually repealed in 2011, as after several revisions it was concluded that there was no way it could be enforced the way it was written.
- Bigger problem for German internet users: The feud between YouTube and GEMA (a performance rights organisation), leaving German users unable to watch a great many official videos on YouTube unless they have a VPN or they use a proxy. Details here.
- Well yes... websites featuring child pornography, that is. Pedophilia and child labour are illegal in Germany, especially when it's a combination of both. So it may be justified.
- The Mickey Mouse short "The Barnyard Battle" (1929) was Banned for depicting soldiers using pickelhauben, the helmets used by German soldiers in World War I.
- The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare" (regarded by fans to be one of the best in the show's history) was banned in Germany for years because the scene at the beginning (with Bart and Lisa watching Rainer Wolfcastle's new show) had Nazi references and homophobic jokes. Apparently, nobody considered simply deleting 20 seconds off the start of the episode, which would not have affected the plot of the episode at all.
- The infamous Greek Electronic Gaming Ban prohibited gaming in public in an attempt to fight gambling. This ended up killing arcades in Greece.
- India threatened to ban the Microsoft Windows operating system because their time zone showed the India/Pakistan border according to the U.N. maps instead of their own maps.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is set in India. However, a storm of controversy came from the false portrayal of Hinduism, especially since the scarier aspects of the cult in the movie were borrowed from Aztec and European cultures and had nothing to do with India. (See the page for details.)
- To explain a little, our heroes in that movie face off against the notorious Thuggee cult (from which the word 'thug' derives) a real cult that did, in fact, worship the goddess Kali, were responsible for thousands of ritual murders and were finally crushed by the British army. That was about as much as the movie is accurate about, everything else is pure theater. Kali, for example, demanded all blood for herself, her adherents were forbidden to spill any of it. Their sacrificial devotion was expressed with strangulation and not, in fact, ripping beating hearts out of victims over a raging inferno while shrieking.
- Also the magical 'Sankara Stones' have absolutely zero bearing on any form of Hinduism or any religion, for that matter, that has ever emerged from the nation that produced both Siddhartha Gautama and Guru Nanak, who created two of the most level-headed and mysticism-free religions on the planet, Buddhism and Sihkism, respectively. (well, as mysticism-free as any religion can be, anyway)
- To explain a little, our heroes in that movie face off against the notorious Thuggee cult (from which the word 'thug' derives) a real cult that did, in fact, worship the goddess Kali, were responsible for thousands of ritual murders and were finally crushed by the British army. That was about as much as the movie is accurate about, everything else is pure theater. Kali, for example, demanded all blood for herself, her adherents were forbidden to spill any of it. Their sacrificial devotion was expressed with strangulation and not, in fact, ripping beating hearts out of victims over a raging inferno while shrieking.
- Contrary to popular belief, the lesbian romance Fire was never banned; instead, it was withdrawn from theaters for a short period for re-examination by the censor board. The main backlash came from fundamentalist religious groups who claimed it to be "culturally offensive". Some even went so far as to attack the theaters that were screening the movie; showings were canceled because of this. However, the next time there was an attack, the audience who'd come to see the film, along with the theater ushers, beat up the attackers and chased them off. Business then continued as usual. After the subsequent withdrawal and re-examination by the the censor board, it was re-released with no additional cuts with a normal "Adult" (R) rating and went on to become a decent financial success with no further incidents.
- As of May 2012, courts ordered various ISPs to block Vimeo along with numerous file sharing websites.
- The Australian film "Balibo", which depicts the killing of Australian journalists by Indonesian soldiers during the 1975 invasion of East Timor, is banned in Indonesia. The Indonesian government's version of the story stated that they died in crossfire. A local journalists’ association conducted a screening, attended by about 500 people.
- The government considered banning 2012 due to an extremely influential Islamic organization complaining about the film affecting superstitious people.
- Oddly enough, TV Tropes is banned 90% of the time—attempting to access the site will result in a 403 Forbidden error.
- An ISP specialising in providing internet service for smartphones, banned The Imageboard That Must Not Be Named, complete with a "Sorry, but you are forbidden to access 4chan.org" page with a smiley face on a light blue background.
- Any form of media in Iran needs the permission of the Ministry of Islamic Culture for distribution, which sets an arbitrary array of rules subject to change at any time by the government. These rules include any form of pornography or sexual imagery, political material not in agreement with the government's goals and any form of communication criticizing Islam. These restrictions are often circumvented by physical and internet piracy, use of satellite dishes and illegal used book markets.
- The film 300, where the Persians are portrayed as slavering, inhuman monsters, if by an Unreliable Narrator, was banned in Iran.
- The Lifetime Movie of the Week Not Without My Daughter, where the Persian men are portrayed as slavering, inhuman monsters, was also banned in Iran.
- The Wrestler was considered Western propaganda just like the above two, likely because of The Ram's in-ring nemesis being named The Ayatollah.
- Battlefield 3 has been banned in Iran due to the game portraying Iran as one of the primary antagonists.
- Pretty much anything created by members of the Baha'i Faith is inevitably banned in Iran. One newspaper was closed down in 2009 because it had an advertisement featuring a photo of a Baha'i temple.
- Until the 2000s, it was virtually impossible to film a horror movie in Ireland.
- Monty Python's Life of Brian was banned in Ireland from 1979 until 1987, while The Meaning of Life was banned from 1983 until 1990.
- A Clockwork Orange was also banned.
- Prior to 1960 or so, many films were recut to remove reference to adultery, divorce, homosexuality, contraception or sex. Casablanca got several cuts because of this, and wasn't show uncensored until the late 1970s.
- See this list of notorious films banned in the Republic of Ireland for more cases of censorship
- The 1926 Committee on Evil Literature forbade the likes of News of the World, The People, Sunday Chronicle, Daily Mail, Vogue, Woman's Weekly, Woman's World, Illustrated Police News—the tabloids mostly for descriptions of violence, the women's magazines mostly for discussing "women's issues" (including an ad for depilatory cream...)
- Starting in the 1970s, the Irish government instituted a broadcasting ban on the IRA. In 1988, they added a similar ban which applied to all terrorist organizations in the UK. Both were lifted in 1994, but during this period, some material mentioning The Troubles was not broadcast.
- For example, the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The High Ground" had Data mention that Ireland was reunited in 2024 after a successful "terrorist" campaign. This comment would have seemed so controversial to both sides in The Troubles that it wasn't until 2006 that the full version was broadcast.
- REM's "Losing My Religion" was banned at the time of its release as Irish censors believed it contained depictions of homo-eroticism among biblical-style characters. It wasn't until two years after "Losing My Religion" that homosexuality was decriminalized in the Irish Republic.
- There is an informal ban on performing Richard Wagner's music in Israel, owing to the assumed connections between the music of Wagner and the philosophy of the Nazis. A performance of a piece from Tristan und Isolde in 2001 was met with widespread condemnation from the media.
- Reportedly, there were attempts to bring The Beatles to perform in Israel in 1965, but certain politicians prevented this due to the "bad effect they might have on the youth".
- Amanda Knox's family managed to get Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial in Italy banned in Italy on the belief that it had the potential to taint Knox's appeals. It certainly might have helped Knox get back home to Seattle several months after the ban was imposed.
Hey, that rhymes!!
Anime and Manga
- Not a ban per se, but the controversial Bill 156 expands the "harmful publications" list, a list of materials sold within Tokyo which are to be made available for adults only. While the worst repercussions of this was the presence of more titles in the adults only sections of bookstores city-wide, many saw the bill to be the end of anime and manga altogether, if not an order for all publishing companies within the city to water down the content of all their titles, and those that saw it as a restriction instead of a ban still overreacted and claimed that certrain titles would now fall under the What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids? trope. There was even a rumor at one point that the bill would cause Blair from Soul Eater to be Killed Off for Real just to save the series from obscurity!
- The Series Finale of Excel Saga, which was ironically titled, "Going too Far", has never been aired in Japan. The series was controversial enough, the final episode was ruled too risque, too violent, too obscene... Just too much, and that was clearly what the writers intended. It can only be viewed on DVD collections.
- Midori Shoujo Tsubaki, the animated adaptation of Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show is so controversial - scenes have such things as rape, pedophilia, child murder, bestiality, cannibalism, and necrophilia - that not only did Japan outlaw its distribution in Japan, but forbade its international distribution as well. Had not a few smuggled copies survived, nobody outside of Japan would have even known about it. Curiously, there is also live-action version of that manga, and Japan is fine with that.
- Some films are banned in Japan, and those that are banned are banned by the studio that made them. For example:
- Prophecies of Nostradamus/Nosutoradamusu no daiyogen was banned in Japan by Toho, even though that is where it was made. It received the ban for its depiction of irradiated humans becoming cannibalistic mutants in New Guinea. Given that there were some irradiated people living in Japan at the time already suffering from discrimination, you can see the rationale behind the ban.
- Hereafter was recalled less than a month after its premiere because of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that happened during its run as the film plot depicted the 2004 Pacific Tsunami. It is unknown when Warner will lift the ban.
- Films that include any type of nudity are subject to censorship of some form, but only the most obscene materials are banned outright.
- Call of Duty: World At War is banned in Japan for "gory violence against Japanese soldiers". This is presumably because of the "gory" part, given the popularity of Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and the 194X series (which is even made in Japan), which all consist primarily of violence against the Japanese military.
- While it escaped a total ban, the Japanese version of Fallout 3 cut an evil option from 'The power of the atom' quest, and renamed the Fat Man(named after a real nuke detonated over Nagasaki, Japan during World War II) to Nuclear Mortar Launcher.
- AliceSoft has banned the sale of Daiteikoku outside of Japan due to its political(ly incorrect) nature.
- The Simpsons season ten finale "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo," is banned in Japan for its stereotypical depictions of the country, including the family going into an epileptic fit while watching an anime called "Battling Seizure Robots" and the sequence of Homer and Bart wreaking havoc at a sumo wrestling match (Bart nailing a sumo wrestler with a folding chair and Homer throwing the Emperor of Japan into a "Sumo Thongs" Dumpster and declaring himself "Emperor Clobbersaurus" before getting arrested)
- South Park's "Chinpokomon" episode was not shown on Japanese television for similar (if not more justified) reasons. There's Japanese fansubs for it, though. Nintendo of Japan was reportedly incensed at the parody of Pokémon too, which also might have played a part. "A Ladder To Heaven" was also banned in the Japanese dub, along with the season 4 two-parter "Do The Handicapped Go To Hell?"/"Probably". The latter was reportedly due to the depiction of Hell and the overtly Western religious views presented in it ticking some nerves.
- Lady Gaga's album Born This Way is banned in Lebanon because, officials say, it is "offensive to Christianity" (mostly due to "Judas").
- Any family film featuring pigs as a protagonist would raise an outcry and debates between Muslims and Non-Muslims in Malaysia. In the past, this has caused temporary or partial bans (i.e. a film may be delayed for months, or will be forced to bypass theater release and go straight to VHS and later, DVD). Both movies in the Babe franchise got months-long bans while a debate was fought out (the first movie was delayed 9 months, the second got a shorter 4 months). Charlotte's Web nearly got the axe as well, but it was released on time.
- Most Christian movies featuring prophets in them was banned in the 90s, Malaysia being a mainly Muslim country. However, the ban was lifted since the release of The Passion of the Christ, though screening of these movies are limited to non-Muslims only (with ID checks performed at both the ticket counter and at the entry point of the hall).
- Similarly, any film that has an unflattering portrayal of Muslims or Islam in general gets censorship at best, outright banning at worst.
- Zoolander was banned because one of the main plot points is the assassination of the country's fictional prime minister (which is ultimately what they were trying to prevent) and its depiction of Malaysia in overall (impoverished, and whose economy is fueled by sweatshops). Also banned in Singapore, but was lifted 5 years later.
- Steven Spielberg famously refused to let Malaysia screen the edited version of his movie Schindler's List since its Zionist theme is the main plot point. The movie was only released on DVD, very censored, in 2004 . Munich suffered the same fate.
- Borat, Brokeback Mountain and the last few Saw movies never saw the light of day in the country due to crude humor (Borat), strong sexual themes (Brokeback Mountain), and gory violence (the Saw movies).
- Bruce Almighty was nearly banned due to the movie's plot about a guy (Jim Carrey) given God-like powers by an Almighty Janitor (Morgan Freeman). While most Muslim sectors considered this movie offensive, non-Muslims stated that the movie is not offensive to any religion whatsoever. The movie was finally screened unedited. Evan Almighty, the spin-off featuring Steve Carrell's character from Bruce Almighty meeting the God-like janitor and becoming a modern-day Moses, suffered the same problem, although it too was eventually screened.
- Sin City.
- Daredevil was banned because of its graphic violence and sexual scenes, but was eventually released on home video some years later.
- The second Austin Powers movie, though it was eventually allowed on satellite TV and later home video.
- The American Pie trilogy - also finally to be released direct to DVD.
- The 40-Year Old Virgin.
- The Singaporean film Homerun, set in the year Singapore separated from Malaysia, was banned for satirizing the political relations between the two countries.
- The 2018 Bollywood film Padmaavat was censored because of its unflattering depiction of Alauddin Khalji, a Muslim ruler of medieval India.
- The film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey was banned on account of its sexual content, but after some cuts was deemed clear enough for TV airing with a classification for Over 18.
- The Tamil-language film Kadaram Kondan was banned because of its very unflattering portrait of Malaysian police forces; highly ironic as over 90% of the film was filmed in the county.
- Nudity in non-sexual contexts in magazines like National Geographic are censored with black markers. For example, a recent issue[when?] about King David had a picture of Michaelangelo's famous statue with the crotch region blotted out. This only applies to materials that are printed locally however (National Geographic also prints a Malaysian edition of their magazine). Imported materials with nudity are usually either outright barred from entry, or allowed through untouched if it's justified (i.e. Michelangelo's David constitutes for fine art and is a statue).
- Concerts from Gwen Stefani nearly got banned due to, ahem, "sexy outfits".
- Avril Lavigne nearly got banned for her "bad influence on the youth".
- Linkin Park was not allowed to wear short pants, spit, curse, throw things into the crowd, jump around, or "scream excessively" during their concert. Their live routine typically involves all of the above, except the shorts.
- Madonna, due to her really risque resume, was banned from performing in the country, period.
- In his autobiography, Meat Loaf lamented how hard it was to perform his "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" number in Muslim countries, since he was not allowed to touch any of his female back up singers on stage. Also, the female back up singers had to cover their shoulders and midriffs. (I'm sure Meat loved telling his daughter that.)
- Why the Pussycat Dolls managed to be allowed to perform in the country is beyond our imaginations. The organizers paid the fine and the Cats wore less sexy outfits when they returned to the country for the 2008 MTV Asia Awards.
- On the topic of skimpy outfits, Beyonce switched her concert venue from Kuala Lumpur to the Indonesian capital Jakarta due to this rule, despite the fact that Indonesia has more Muslims than Malaysia. It's justified since Indonesia entertainment is more secular than Malaysia.
- Michael Jackson's first concert in the country was almost unable to take place due to his crotch-grabbing dance moves. The decision was overturned within days once MJ promised that he would refrain from performing those.
- In 2009, the Malaysian government declared that Muslim citizens would be prohibited from attending the Black Eyed Peas' concert there on the grounds that it was being sponsored by Guinness, a beer company. The government later rescinded the ban and allowed Muslims to buy tickets.
- In 2012, Erykah Badu was banned from performing in Malaysia due to accidental publication of an image of her wearing, of all things, a temporary tattoo with the name of the Muslim god on it. If there is any proof that the MCMC is Too Dumb to Live, this is it.
- As Malaysia is officially recognized as a Islamic country but in reality is a multicultural melting pot, slots and other forms of electronic gambling are only available to "licensed" premises. This typically means they're only available in one place: Genting Highlands. The police have power to and would typically raid arcades and revoke business licenses as well as confiscate all machines in the premise if so much as one gambling game is found in the premise. However, in reality, this has only resulted in arcades disguising their one armed bandits as legal video game machines. Yeah, you're right when you noticed that something's strange with the The King of Fighters machine in the back corner of an arcade. Although to be fair, they are still regularly found out and shut down from time to time. This only applies to machines that pay out cash. Machines that pay out tokens and tickets are generally treated much more leniently.
- Initially subverted with the unveiling of the MSC Bill of Guarantees and the Multimedia Act. But the MCMC recently[when?] took back their words and ordered the blocking 19 filesharing sites.
For Saudi Arabia and Israel, see their own sections.
- Here's a weird one. When Injustice: Gods Among Us was first released it was temporarily banned in this nation and Kuwait. Why? Most assumed it was the violence or the revealing outfits worn by female characters, but their governments never confirmed this. The weird part is, they eventually lifted the ban, the only change being the title, changing it to Injustice: The Mighty Among Us. No changes to the content at all. It seems they just objected to characters being called "gods", which does make some sense.
- The Last Temptation of Christ premiered in the USA in 1988 and was banned in Mexico until 2005. The ruling government back then had a huge influence on media content, though the contributing factor to the ban were the fundamentalist Christian Media Watchdogs who were afraid of what "superstitious viewers" would do after watching a film that depicted Jesus Christ as a flawed human being.
- Several right-wing groups have tried to ban Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 in some parts of Mexico because the bad guys depicted are Mexican even though they are rebels against the Mexican government and the players end up teaming with Mexican loyalists. Ditto goes for the Russian ultra-nationalists in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
- The Laurel and Hardy film Scram (1932) was banned back in 1932, because moral crusaders thought that the scene where Laurel & Hardy lie on a bed with a woman was indecent.
Anime and Manga
- Puni Puni Poemy was deemed to have the tendency of being sexually exploitative to minors and thus was banned.
- In a bit of irony, Power Rangers was banned from TV in New Zealand ever since its first season, due to the injuries caused by young fans imitating the show's fights at home and school. Why is this ironic? Because, from Power Rangers Ninja Storm onward, the series was filmed in New Zealand, using mostly New Zealand actors.
- This ban was lifted in 2011, and since then Power Rangers has been broadcast on kids' channels in the country.
- District 9 was banned from theaters in Nigeria thanks to its unflattering depictions of Nigerian gangsters and scammers.
- In North Korea, you can't get most things taken for granted in other countries. Foreign radio, television and newspapers are banned. They don't have Internet.
- Even getting caught listening to South Korean music gets you hauled off to "reeducation camps".
Anime and Manga
Films - Live Action
- The film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code was banned in Manila per a city ordinance by councillors who labelled it "offensive and contrary to established religious beliefs which cannot take precedence over the right of the persons involved in the film to freedom of expression." Not that it kept people from purchasing (bootleg) copies in neighbouring cities though. SM Supermalls, the largest shopping mall chain in the Philippines, also issued a similar ban prohibiting its theatres from showing the film, though other theatre chains such as Robinsons Malls Movieworld, Gaisano Cinemas, Ayala Malls Cinemas and Glorietta Cinemas did show the film.
- Claire Danes saw all of her films (as well as herself) banned from the country after her statements towards the Philippines were deemed insensitive by the government.
- Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo were novels released during the Spanish occupation of the country. Since they spoke about nation-wide corruption in the government and church, you can imagine the ruling Spanish and archbishops weren't going to let something like that getting printed in the country.
- Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto, also of Eat Bulaga! fame and a noted singer alongside his brother Vic and Bulaga alumni Joey de Leon, tried to ban a number of rock songs such as "Alapaap" (Skies) by the Eraserheads, whom Sotto interpreted as glorifying substance abuse, "Laklak" (Drinking Booze) by the Teeth, a satirical tale of an alcoholic man which Sotto thought was encouraging youths to drown their sorrows, and "Iskolar ng Bayan" (The Town Scholar) by Yano, about stuck-up, affluent youths in the band's alma mater, with an off-the-cuff reference to drugs whom the senator took umbrage with. Many came to view Sotto as a conservative, hypocritical stick in the mud, and it did not help matters that his brother, along with Richie D'Horsie and Joey de Leon, was involved in a rape case with an actress who appeared in a number of bawdy films.
- As with Voltes V and many other forms of what was perceived as degenerate media for children, Ferdinand Marcos issued an executive order banning all video games following a previous ban on pinball machines due to concerns by Moral Guardians over youth delinquency. Video gaming went underground as a result, though the ban was effectively rescinded after the 1986 People Power Revolution.
- Serious Business and delinquency issues prompted one barangay (read: village) in the city of Dasmariñas, Cavite to ban Defense of the Ancients and similar games in computer rental shops.
- In 2017, the Philippine government ordered ISPs to block several popular adult entertainment sites such as PornHub, citing concerns about child pornography. The ban appears to be hit-or-miss though, as the site remains accessible on certain ISPs, although a few others such as Motherless remain silently banned regardless of provider, necessitating a VPN for those who want to access it.
- While not yet banned per se, the backlash over Lapu-Lapu's depiction in Elcano & Magellan: The First Voyage Around the World eroded any and all chances for the film to see a full release in the Philippines, as Lapu-Lapu is hailed as a national hero and his antagonistic portrayal did not sit well with Filipinos.
- Russia doesn’t technically ban movies, but the Ministry of Culture did officially recommend that Borat not be shown in theatres. The weirdness of the Kazakh jokes was the American audience being so ignorant they didn't know anything about this huge country - even extremely basic stuff like Kazakh people looking more like this - in other words, ethnically Asian instead of like the Jewish Sasha Baron-Cohen. This was bound to be lost on Russians who don't have to deal with American ignorance every day, but do have to deal with Central Asians being a growing ethnic minority with all of the problems with stereotypes and media portrayals that entails.
- The only Shakespeare play to be banned in Russia was Hamlet, under Stalin. Some sources claim this was because Hamlet was viewed as a tyrant (despite the fact that another character, like Hamlet's father, or another play, like Macbeth, would be a better target), while others claim that this was due to Hamlet’s indecisiveness
- While not a ban per se, a video game may receive a harsher 18+ rating than it would elsewhere due to content Russian authorities may deem offensive or in violation of "family values" like the promotion of so-called "gay propaganda". Otherwise innocuous games such as Miitopia, FIFA 17, The Sims 4 and Just Dance 2022 were given 18+ ratings due to inclusion of LGBTQ+ content.
- Contrary to initial reports by Western news outlets, Modern Warfare 2 wasn't banned in Russia due to its infamous airport level; instead, a censored version without "No Russian" was released only on PC.
- The 2019 Modern Warfare reboot wasn't sold on the PlayStation store in Russia either, due to complaints by Russian players who took umbrage over the game's depiction of their country.
- Happy Tree Friends was banned from being shown on broadcast TV because the Russian Media Culture Protection Department stated that it "promote violence and brutality, harm the psychic health and moral development of children, attack social morality; all of this being a violation of license agreement."
- Access to YouTube has been denied, as the website was used for hosting extremist videos and writings by Adolf Hitler.
- However, it has now been allowed again.
- In another truly bizarre move (although perhaps related to Saudi Arabia's censorship of the female form), Barbie dolls are banned. They are referred to by the government as "Jewish Dolls" or "Zionist Dolls" (perhaps owing to the fact that the Handler family, particularly Barbara whom the dolls were named after, are Jewish) and are seen as "symbols of the perversion and decadence of the West." Instead, they came out with a replacement named Fulla. It's mostly the same, except she promotes Muslim values. The ban was lifted shortly after though.
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was banned for obvious reasons.
- Pokemon is also banned there too. They denounced it as "promoting gambling and zionism". However, that hasn't stopped some of the media from being obtained, according to Bulbapedia, the Pokemon wiki. The main victim was the Trading Card Game.
- As mentioned above, Islamic nation doesn't like it when people are referred to as "gods". God of War was banned here for this reason.
Anime and Manga
- The Chinese example of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End was subverted in Singapore with huge posters of Sao Feng with the slogan "Welcome to Singapore" being put up around some of the country's more touristy districts.
- As mentioned before, Zoolander was initially banned as a move of goodwill towards neighbor Malaysia. However, the ban was lifted 5 years later, when political ties between Malaysia and Singapore suffered a strain due to some careless words. The ties have been mended, but since the movie has already been unbanned, re-banning it would be like trying to put a genie back into a bottle.
- Chewing gum and bubble gum are banned in Singapore, with the exception of therapeutic gum for medicinal uses.
- Material promoting socialism is prohibited in Singapore.
- During the time period of the Hot Coffee debacle, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was banned in Singapore, probably one of the first few video games to be banned on this sunny island.
- Mass Effect was banned because of a brief lesbian sex scene. The game was banned for somewhere around 2 days before being unbanned and given an M18 rating. This news story also brought us this video by the Media Development Authority, the people who banned it in the first place.
- The website of Chick Publications, home to the infamous Chick tracts, is blocked. Recently[when?], a Christian couple was convicted of sedition and fined for distributing Chick tracts that portrayed Islam in a negative light.
- Like in China, many websites are blocked in Singapore by the Media Development Authority. The official websites of publications like Playboy and Penthouse are blocked, as well as "lifestyle sites" that condone homosexuality. Many pornographic video streaming tube sites are blocked as well. As of late, though, the government has been considering lifting the ban (at least partially) in favour of end-user or service-provider based web filters.
- Being There had its final scene cut for its original release due to concern that the Twist Ending ( which reveals Chance can walk on water) would offend Christians.
- To Sir, With Love, a 1967 film about a black Guyanese teacher (played by Sidney Poitier) living in England and dealing with white students, was banned during The Apartheid Era. Since then, it's been given an A (for "all ages") rating; it's gone from being a movie no one was allowed to see to a movie anyone is allowed to see.
- The 1987 film Cry Freedom, about the last years of South-African black anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and the suspicious circumstances of his death during police custody, was banned for obvious reasons. It eventually got released in theaters without cuts or censorship, despite the works of the film's subject being still banned at the time.
- Black Beauty was formerly banned in South Africa. Having the words "black" and "beauty" in the title was evidently a no-no during apartheid; the censors apparently believed that it was a black rights book. Clearly they didn't bother to read it, since the title refers to a black horse.
- Axis Powers Hetalia, due to being about personified countries, caused a little bit of outrage due to its “Korea” character, for reasons ranging from him claiming to have invented everything under the sun, to his incestuous/pseudo-incestuous obsession with China and Japan, to his hanbok being drawn incorrectly. They managed to not only get the anime banned outright in South Korea, but also had the character removed from the anime version entirely - and somewhat clumsily at that, as a chibi version of him briefly appeared in the ending and the aired version of the fourtenth episode from the first season has him among the background characters in a group scene that was later promptly edited to remove him, suggesting that there were several more scenes animated featuring Korea before the controversy forced Studio DEEN to edit him out.
- According to Bulbapedia several episodes of Pokémon are banned. Not just the infamous Electric Soldier Porygon episode either. This might have more to do with the unusual trait of the show being adapted from the 4Kids! Entertainment version instead of the Japanese original, though.
- In the mid-1990s, Korea banned smoking in Korean dramas. Later the ban was extended to all smoking on TV. If a character smokes in a movie shown on TV the cigarette will be pixellated.
- South Korea doesn't really like Mash, because South Koreans are depicted as living in poverty.
- For many years, South Korea had a ban on all cultural products from Japan. This began to be lifted in the 1990s.
- In an attempt to protect family values, South Korea usually bans any song or music video that depicts sex or drug use. Examples of this include:
- TVXQ's "Mirotic" was banned because of its "explicit lyrics". Said explicit lyrics consisted of "I got you under my skin". Subsequently, all albums featuring the song were deemed with an "inappropriate for minors" sign, and a clean version of the song was released, with its lyrics changed to "I got you under my sky".
- Rain's song "Rainism" was banned soon after the Rainism album release due to the lyrics "make you scream with my magic stick".
- Seung Ri's "Strong Baby" was banned from KBS for the use of the word "crack", which was later changed to "clap".
- G-Dragon's album Heartbreaker was declared unsuitable for minors for its "inappropriate" lyrics. According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, three songs suggested sex, drug use, and promoted an inappropriate vision of Korea.
- During his first concert, G-Dragon unfortunately dry humped one of his female back dancers. Problem is, there were minors in the audience. An investigation ensued, a fine was paid, and two versions of the concert DVD were released: one uncensored for adults only and one edited out for minors. See the detailed article here.
- The boy band 2PM's song "Hands Up" used the line "Put your hands up and get your drinks up now", which was changed to "get your dreams up now" to avoid having the song banned from music programs.
- South Korea also censors any music video that features a violation of traffic regulations laws. Basically, this means that every video where you see a guy running wildly across the streets gets banned. Examples of this include Rain's Love Song.
- South Korea is said to ban the sale of any game depicting fictional wars between North and South Korea. This includes Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. It has since lifted its ban on the Ghost Recon series as a way of promoting freedom of speech.
- While a united Korea has been desired by South Korea for decades (so long as it's under their government) Homefront presents a united Korea as genocidal enemies of the United States; for obvious reasons, it is not welcome in South Korea.
Anime and Manga
- Mazinger Z was aired in 1978 and it was pulled out off the air at January 1979 due to the violent content prevalent in the show. Only thirty-three random episodes had been dubbed -one of which never emitted- and it was not until 1993 Spanish fans were able to watch the whole dubbed series.
- Saw VI was the first mainstream film to be rated X in Spain due to "violence apology", and therefore can't be showed in normal commercial theaters, only in approved X-rated cinemas. Disney (the ironic distributor) appealed against this decision but ultimately was forced to edit several violent scenes before a wide release could be allowed, ultimately pitting it against its own 3D sequel when it was released just weeks later.
Anime and Manga
- The Thai government has banned nearly every rendition of The King and I ever made because it dislikes the depiction of the King of Siam, who is culturally seen as a divine being, not as a flawed human.
- The video for Christina Aguilera's "Drrty" was censored in Thailand due to Thai-language posters that read "Thailand's Sex Tourism" and "Young Underage Girls".
- The song "One Night in Bangkok" from the musical Chess is also banned, probably due to its description of Bangkok as a "crowded, polluted, stinking town" that's only good for sex tourism. Despite this, it gets frequent play there.
- Thailand actively bans written works that criticize the Thai royal family, and under Thai law, authors that attack the Thai king are subject to imprisonment; this is evident in the jailing of an Australian novelist in 2008.
- Any film depicting the Armenian genocide (which, according to the government, never happened), anything critical of the military, and any newspaper, book, or film made by an ethnic Kurd or Armenian can have its authors charged under the article 301 of the penal code for insulting the Turkish identity. This is what happened to Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist based in Istanbul. He was murdered in 2007 for his views, and major uproar ensued.
- They might be getting ever so slightly better about this, as Atom Egoyan's Ararat was screened there, albeit heavily edited.
- Various websites, such as Blogger.com, WordPress, Richard Dawkins' website, Little Green Footballs, and The Jawa Report have all been banned in Turkey at one time or another, all for pretty much the same reasons. Dawkins has a banner on his site marking this as a point of pride.
- YouTube has been banned in Turkey for quite a while, due to a lot of videos insulting Ataturk. This is why Turkey appears as "No YouTube Land" on one popular satirical map of Europe.
- According to a report from Reporters Without Borders, more than 5,000 websites are censored in Turkey.
- Turkey's mass censorship of internet sites they don't like has reportedly been taken to the next level, threatening online journalists and imposing a system that will monitor it's peoples internet activity. Anonymous is launching one of its "hacktivism" attacks in response.
- And now the internet filtration system is officially in place. The government says it's in place to protect children from viewing pornography, but it can (and probably will, as many protesting Turkish citizens fear) be used to censor anything the government doesn't want it's citizens viewing.
- The phrase 'video nasty' comes from a particularly censorship-happy time during the 1980's, where the BBFC banned pretty much every horror movie that came out. Some of these movies are still banned today, although in many cases that's just because they've never been re-submitted for a new certificate. Granted, some of them deserved it, but there were some odd decisions (such as the banning of the uncut version of the first Evil Dead film before 2001).
- The BBC once parodied the phrase "video nasty" with its own series of programs on VHS, called "video tasties".
- Until 2009, the above-mentioned Life of Brian was banned in Aberystwyth, a small town in mid-Wales. No really. Particularly hilarious seeing as the current mayor was in it.
- This Channel 4 documentary details the whole history of that movie's trouble with censorship in various places, including this gem from an interview with someone who'd had it banned in Harrogate:
Reporter: Now, you've not actually seen the film?
- This FSTDT quote shows that some people still haven't got over it.
- The other wiki says the film was never banned; the whole thing is an urban legend. Hm.
- The "urban myth" is that the film was banned in Aberystwyth: any local council in the UK has the power to ban a film from cinemas, even if the BBFC allows it.
- The other wiki says the film was never banned; the whole thing is an urban legend. Hm.
- This FSTDT quote shows that some people still haven't got over it.
- Until the 2000s, any scenes that depicted ninja shuriken and nunchaku (including Bruce Lee's iconic scene in Enter the Dragon) were censored.
- The movie 1 Day has been banned (or so says its poster) in Birmingham for portraying gang warfare in said city.
- The movie Mikey, the story of a psychopathic 9-year old boy who murders people, was banned because of a scene in which the title character murders a four year old girl, and because a few months earlier, two-year-old James Bulger was murdered by a pair of ten-year-old boys. Since the BBFC was so worried about kids who viewed it behaving violently, wouldn't it have been easier for them ensure at least the kids don't get to see it by slapping it with an 18 rating like they did the trailer?
- The film Freaks was banned for almost 30 years in the United Kingdom, because audiences were too shocked by some scenes in the film.
- Until Stanley Kubrick's death in 1999 the film A Clockwork Orange (1971) was banned from distribution in the United Kingdom. Kubrick himself lived in England and reacted in horror to tales about copycat crimes and rapes inspired by the movie. In fear that he too might be visited by some lunatics, just like the writer in the film who lives in reclusivity, he therefore banned his own work until his death.
- Just Jacekin's movie adaption of the 1954 The Story of O novel was banned outright in the UK until the ban was lifted in February 2000.
- The Human Centipede II was released Direct to Video (unlike other countries, where it saw a theatrical release if released at all) with 150 seconds of footage missing due to the fact that the film's protagonist watches the first film, and creates a new "centipede" for his own sexual pleasure, and the resulting scenes of sexual violence. Squick indeed.
- The David Cronenberg Crash film was banned by Westminster Council in London (whose territory covers the main West End cinemas) after a censorious campaign against it by Moral Guardians.
- Since the retirement of James Ferman as head of the BBFC in 1999, the policy on banning movies in the UK has been relaxed considerably, and film-makers have to work quite hard to get the coveted 'banned in the UK' label (the main modern reasons for banning are concentrated around graphic rape and torture scenes presented in a sexually alluring way). Japanese film-maker Koji Shiraishi was prepared to go that extra mile, though, and seems to have offered Grotesque to the BBFC mostly in the hope of getting it banned, and thus gaining some publicity. His quote when it was rejected was to say that he was "delighted and flattered by this most expected reaction from the faraway country, since the film is an honest conscientious work, made sure to upset the so-called moralists." Your mileage may vary quite considerably as to who's in the right on this one.
- The novel Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H Lawrence could not be published openly in the United Kingdom until 1961, owing to its explicit language and depiction of sex (and, it's been suggested, the fact that it depicts an affair between an aristocratic woman and a working-class man). In 1959, Penguin Books published a version and were immediately hit with prosecution under the then-recent Obscene Publications Act; the defence were able to call some of the most respected and admired scholars and critics of the day to testify on their behalf, and the prosecutor didn't do himself any favours when he asked the jury to consider whether the book was the kind “you would wish your wife or servants to read”—a rather condescending question which no doubt charmed the socks off the three women and any non-servant employing (i.e. lower class) people on the jury  The jury returned a “not-guilty” verdict, and the trial is often credited for the resulting relaxing of regulations for publishing explicit material in Britain.
- Interestingly C. S. Lewis wrote an essay criticizing the verdict, not because he actually liked the book (he thought it was a rather disgusting one even if the law was too blunt an instrument to use as a Moral Guardian). His objection was that the not guilty verdict corrupted the judicial process. As far as he was concerned it obviously was guilty according to the law, and the jury was voting what it thought the law should be, not what it was.
- Margaret Thatcher's government (who were touchy about the IRA, having been blown up by them as well as having several good friends killed by them) at one point banned any broadcasting of anything said by terrorists or their spokesmen. But as they couldn't actually go so far as to forbid the media to interview people, this led to a grotesque routine where a TV interviewer would ask a question of, say, Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein, and his reply would be dubbed over the picture, read out by an actor, deliberately out of synch with the movement of his lips so that everyone could see the law was being obeyed. This practice was satirised by The Day Today.
- She also tried to ban the Thames Television documentary “Death on the Rock” when it suggested that the government may have unlawfully killed some dissidents. It didn't work, so she just mass-deregulated ITV and watched the company in question get outbid and replaced.
- The "IRA vs. Taliban" episode of Deadliest Warrior was the only one of said show not aired in the United Kingdom. Charlie Brooker did get away with showing the intro and an abridged fight sequence on You Have Been Watching, the final outcome of the fight being the question for his panellists. Incidentally, the IRA wins this particular game of militant five-a-side with a well-placed car bomb.
- The Wikipedia article for the Scorpions' album "Virgin Killer"—which featured a naked ten-year-old girl on the cover—was blacklisted and blocked by the Internet Watch Foundation in December 2008, since it was considered to be "potentially illegal" according to the Protection of Children Act 1978. After four days of blocking, this decision was reversed.
- In May 2012, the UK's High Court ordered IS Ps to block The Pirate Bay. However, it is rather simple to get around.
- A law introduced in April 2010 was thought to be banning anything that had a child participating in or near to sexual acts, but it was eventually tightened up to specifically only target lolicon and other works specifically made to be porn. People with DVDs of South Park or uncensored copies of Dragon Ball can breathe a sigh of relief.
- A modern-day Urban Legend in the West Midlands says that music by Girls Aloud is banned from a School Disco at a school in Sandwell, West Midlands, for "Satanic influences on children" and "inducing nightmares in children". Whether it's censorship or not, well, no one can agree. There is doubt over the authenticity of the story, but it still circulated for years.
- Split Enz's Six Months In A Leaky Boat was censored by BBC Radio in 1982 due to Unfortunate Implications associated with the Falklands War. In fact, the song was about Captain Cook's voyages to New Zealand, and songwriter Tim Finn's grapple with depression.
- Many punk bands, particularly the Sex Pistols, were refused radio play due to their then-shocking impact on the music scene or because they criticised the Queen in a song.
- During the Gulf War the BBC banned radio play of the song Bloodsport For All (a song about racism and bullying in the army) by Carter USM.
- BBC Radio banned Frankie Goes to Hollywood's song "Relax" on 13 January 1984, only for it to blow up in their face when "Relax" raced to #1 on the charts two weeks later, and proceeded to stay there for five weeks. The sheer embarrassment forced the BBC to back down.
- The BBC narrowly avoided doing the same with "Master and Servant" by Depeche Mode in the same year, as the one staffer who was in favour of censorship was away on holiday on the day the other staffers voted against censoring it.
- The BBFC refused to give a rating to Manhunt 2, effectively banning the game since retailers require a rating to sell such items. This was the first such ban for a game in over a decade, and the courts eventually overturned the decision.
- The BBFC also (initially) refused classification to Carmageddon because it glamorized vehicular homicide (the player could run over human pedestrians). However, a censored version rated 18 was released with zombies as the targets instead of humans. Later, the BBFC reversed their earlier decision to refuse classification to the uncensored version, resulting in its release.
- The episode of Family Guy which promoted Microsoft Windows 7 was once banned from airing in the UK due to broadcast guidelines which banned all product placement until February 2011.
- Very infamously, the Thatcher-era United Kingdom censored Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 to make it "less violent." Mikey's nunchucks were digitally erased, and the word "ninja" was replaced with "hero" in the title. Laws have relaxed considerably since then, though, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 survived unchanged there.
- For some reason, the movies also kept the original Ninja Turtles name, despite being released when the 1987 cartoon was still airing.
The United States
- Pororo the Little Penguin was thought to have been banned because some of the footage was animated by a North Korean animation company, but in fact there's a chance that it might make it to these United States after all, since it had been licensed before the embargo on North Korea was tightened in spring 2011, and the embargo allows for importation of products whose importation had been licensed before the tightened embargo. See for yourself.
- Ironically, that doesn't stop Samsung from using Pororo in their Smart TV covers, even in the United States.
- Once Traci Lords' real age became known, suddenly all the films she'd made before her 18th birthday became child porn. This includes the famed issue of Penthouse Magazine where actress/Miss USA Vanessa Williams had a nude pictorial published (Lords was the centerfold), probably to Williams' relief.
- Adrien Brody managed to temporarily block the US release of Giallo over a pay dispute. The matter has since been settled, though, and the film is expected to be readily available in the United States soon.
- Titicut Follies, a documentary about a mental ward, was banned from public release for several decades because the state of Massachusetts thought the film infringed on the privacy of the patients in the film. The only way to see the film was for educational reasons in the medical realm. In the early 90's, the ban was dropped as most of the patients in the film had passed away, and it is now publicly available.
- That was the excuse. The real problem was that Wiseman showed how the state of Massachusetts treated the mentally ill in its care; suffice to say, they were not treated well. It remains one of the most embarrassing moments in free speech in the US, but weirdly, the ban had a positive effect: the state of Massachusetts was forced to acknowledge people had a right to privacy on the state level.
- The Italian Jaws rip-off Great White/The Last Shark was barred from theatrical release by Universal Pictures, who sued the distributors on the grounds that it copied Jaws so closely that it constituted plagiarism. The film remains unavailable in the US to this day.
- Don's Plum will never see the light of day in the United States due to a lawsuit filed by its stars, Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
- Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, the directorial debut of Todd Haynes, remains banned from official distribution for the foreseeable future (at the very least, until the copyright on The Carpenters' music expires), after Richard Carpenter successfully obtained a legal injunction over the unauthorized usage of their music. The film depicts all of the characters, including the Carpenters, as Barbie dolls, while Richard is depicted negatively in the movie. Some say if Todd portrayed Richard more accurately, he probably would've been less likely to attract Richard's ire.
- Song of the South is not officially banned, but is rather more-or-less self-banned by the Disney company. It hasn't been released in its entirety in the U.S. since 1986. The portion with the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" is occasionally released on its own, as in the Disney Sing-Along Songs series. However, in an inversion of No Export for You, the film has been released unabridged, on video, in Europe, South America, Japan, Hong Kong, and (of all places) Mexico.
- It is however, readily available for the DVD in Region 1 on Amazon. (But strangely, not on Blu-Ray or VHS)
- The film debut of Bette Midler, The Thorn, was banned three times because Midler thought the film was misappropriating her in its promotion. Once days after its premiere, once on an attempted re-release in 1980, and once to thwart its intended home video debut from Magnum Entertainment in 1984. Even a re-title from The Divine Mr. J (attempted for said home video release) wasn't enough to save it from damnation to obscurity for the foreseeable future at the time (Midler had just made a movie called The Rose, which she thought the new title, The Thorn, was derived from--Hair-Trigger Temper, much?).
- Nosferatu was banned following legal action from the Bram Stoker estate, and all prints were destroyed except for a few lucky prints smuggled to safety by collectors. After Dracula fell into the public domain, the film was distributed widely, possibly for the first time ever.
- The Kinder Surprise, due to both an archaic law that prevents foodstuff shipping with toys in them and the fact that the toys included often have small parts that pose risk for younger kids. The Kinder Joy variant (whom are egg-shaped packages of chocolate cream that have a toy too, but unlike the Surprise it isn't encased within the confectionery) are legally sold in America since 2017
- 4 Loko, in its original formulation, due to the combination of alcohol and caffeine. (Does this mean Irish coffee better watch its back?) Unbanned, once 4 Loko's makers reduced the amount of caffeine.
- An in-universe example: One episode of M*A*S*H featured the protagonists attempting to get their hands on a movie so racy that it was banned in Boston. The movie itself was disappointing: the Moral Guardians had overreacted and the most inappropriate part of the film was a character saying the word "virgin".
- Thanks to an explicit constitutional ban on censorship (though not as effective as it was meant to be), the only out and out "bans" of works in the United States seem to be because of sexual material involving some under the age of 18 and the odd copyright problem.
- As of this writing in 2010, the states of Louisiana and Georgia ban sexually explicit material. However, even this restriction may not be constitutional, since Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition in 2002 ruled that even simulated child porn doesn't count as obscene as long as there's no actual child being harmed. That said, a lot of sexually explicit games are voluntarily not imported, and if they are brought to the U.S. they're likely to get an Adults Only rating, preventing them from being stocked at some major retailers like Wal-Mart (there have been a number of more general bans, particularly on video games, but they tend to rapidly get declared unconstitutional). The Protect Act of 2003 seems to have banned it again, though mere child nudity is not enough; to truly be illegal, simulated child porn has to be declared legally obscene.
- Much of the censorship in the US now is based on "intellectual property rights". Distribute material with its DRM removed, or tell people how to remove DRM, or tell people how to find sites telling you how to remove DRM, and you can find yourself in a lot of trouble. The Church of Scientology has been especially active in employing this avenue of silencing its critics, if the decade-long debacle over The Profit (which started with the Church obtaining an injunction against the film over fears of the film prejudicing the jury pool in the Lisa McPherson wrongful death suit against the Church and continues today due to a legal dispute with one of the film's producers) is any indication.
- Such battles have the intention of creating what is called a Chilling Effect, or willing Self-censorship in regards to a particular medium. It has been somewhat successful as well.
- All of the music videos by Australian grindcore band The Berzerker are banned from broadcast by the FCC due to possible seizure-inducing imagery in their videos. Several other countries have banned their videos as well.
- The Kinks were banned from performing in America from 1965 to 1969 because their concerts got too rowdy. Many, including The Kinks themselves, believe this ban actually stemmed from a dispute the band was having with the American Federation of Musicians at that time.
- The Guy Game was sued four months after release by one of the actresses, who was 17 during filming and lied about her age to get paid for filming rights. A restraining order was passed barring Top Heavy, Microsoft, Sony, and Gathering of Developers (the defendants in the lawsuit) from using her image in any of their games; it was upheld on appeal on the grounds that the actress could eventually win her lawsuit. It should be noted that the ban was actually awarded not for her being underage, but for her claim that she didn't give Top Heavy consent to use her image.
- Some banner ads for certain online games claiming to be "banned in Utah!".
- Limbo of the Lost, due to its blatant resource theft, is likely illegal to distribute at some point down the line.
- The arcade game Sonic Blast Man was pulled from several arcades after a class action lawsuit due to several cases of children injuring themselves.
- Silent Hunter IV: Wolves of the Pacific is a downplayed example. The game as a whole is not unflattering to the U.S. Navy. But decorations "earned" by the player had to be changed from official Navy decorations. The service has a trademark and decorations are Serious Business.
- A lot of Golden Age cartoons (particularly those featuring stereotypes of blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Jewish people [particularly in the really early shorts], and those World War II-era cartoons that had caricatures of Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, and Joseph Goebbels) haven't been seen since the 1960s-70s due to racist content and concerns about gun violence. (The Censored Eleven, a collection of 11 Warner Brothers cartoons banned due to excessive stereotypical portrayals of black people, comes to mind.) While America hasn't put a ban on them like most countries have done to other works, they're not likely to be seen on television (and if they are, the cartoons in question will be gutted into a plotless mess). The only way these cartoons can be seen uncut and uncensored is on DVD and on Internet video sites.
- The Family Guy episode "Partial Terms of Endearment" has not (and probably will never) air on American television [Fox outright stated that the episode will not air and Cartoon Network decided not to air it either] due to its premise of Lois being a surrogate mother to her best friend and trying to decide whether or not to abort the baby after news hits of her friend and her friend's husband dying in a car crash. It has aired in the UK on BBC 3, as well as in other European countries and was released as a DVD-exclusive episode in America.
- The Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Mask of Matches Malone" was banned for a while due to a Double Entendre-laden musical number sung by the three Birds of Prey, such as Black Canary wiggling her fingers while singing about Aquaman's "little fish". The episode eventually did air, with the offensive parts of the scene removed.
- Dexter's Laboratory:
- The infamous "Rude Removal" episode. The plot of this episode involves Dexter inventing a device to purge rudeness from himself and Dee-Dee, only to create really rude duplicates of themselves that cuss like sailors. The cuss words are bleeped out, but the context of what they say makes it obvious what the words are. This was pulled before it aired and many fans doubted it even existed until the folks in charge of Adult Swim made a tweet with a link to a YouTube page with the episode.
- There was also a "Dial M for Monkey" segment titled "Barbequor" that featured the Silver Spooner, a gay parody of The Silver Surfer. While fans believe it was banned because of stereotypical LGBT depictions, the actual reason was intervention from Marvel, who objected to the character being used without their approval. Rather ironic, given that the plot of another episode involves Dexter getting into trouble with Major Glory due to copyright infringement.
- "Dad Baby", an episode of the Australian series Bluey, never aired in the United States because the episode has Bandit reenact Chilli's pregnancy with Bingo, something Disney deemed inappropriate for its preschool audience.
- A screening of 2019 anti-chavista documentary Chavismo: The Plague of the 21st Century was banned under allegations of hate promoting.
Live Action TV
- Under Hugo Chavez's administration (and on his successor Nicolás Maduro's one), TV shows that got under the government scope are quickly banned. A notorious case was 2010's Colombian soap opera Chepe Fortuna, who only lasted about a week on venezuelan channel Televen because of the subplot between two middle-aged sisters, Colombia and Venezuela, and their ongoing rivalry. Colombia is portrayed as a hard working, long suffering, all around moral woman. Venezuela, on the other side, was a obese, egotistical and supremely entitled lady with a propensity to fall into Get Rich Quick Schemes and who has only love for her teeny tiny dog named Hugo. It was Actually Pretty Funny, but the Venezuelan government didn't approve of the perceived Stealth Insult.
- Venezuelan government has forbidden all open broadcast channels to air Narconovelas (a controversial soap opera genre about the life of drug traffickers and the people around them) on the grounds of that it can give on young people the idea that being a drug dealer is cool. Granted, Colombia, the country who produces most of these, also has the same moral worries, but they merely air these shows after the Watershed (as Venezuela used to do until 2010, the year the prohibition was put in place).
- A very hilarious one was when in 2015 Maduro's government managed to get off air the TV adaptation of Arturo Perez Reverte's novel La Reina del Sur, a story about a woman who becomes the head of a drug cartel. Why hilarious? Because first, the soap wasn't even aired on local broadcast TV, but in a basic cable network whose headquarters were in the USA (the network still retired it from the grid under fears of legal action); second, the soap in question has been aired on another cable channel two years before, to great reception and high ratings, without the Venezuelan government's objection; and third and last, because less than one week after the banning of the soap two nephews of the Venezuelan First Lady were detained in Haiti under drug trafficking charges.
- Another notorious case was the Colombian series El Comandante, based in the life of late Hugo Chavez, who was banned to be broadcast even in cable.
- For reasons that should be blatantly obvious, most Spanish-language 24-Hour News Networks have been banned from every cable operator in the country, the only exceptions being networks from countries politically affiliated to the Chavista regime. At some point, even non-Spanish news networks have been banned if they happened to broadcast unflattering reporting about Venezuela and its government.
- All video games that include any killer violence had been banned since 2009.
- Averted with the sequel to Mercenaries, who managed to get into stores even though it came under fire from the Venezuelan government, which apparently considers it a propaganda piece directed against the Hugo Chavez administration.
- Venezuelan government has been know to order the block of entire domains if some part of them are used on "subversive" activities (read anti-government protesting). This has included Pastebin, Wikipedia, YouTube, several news portals both local and international, currency exchange websites, and, funnily enough, websites of disenchanted former government supporters.
- Decentralized chat app Zello was banned from the country because it was used by oppositors during anti-government protests.
- Several video pornographic websites are impossible to enter if you try to access them from Venezuelan state-owned ISPs, albeit the (half) joke is that the ban is less because of moral reasons and more to try to keep what little bandwidth the ISP can offer.
- At some point, Family Guy was retired from airing under government orders because of its drug-related episodes.
- Nowhere near the same thing. Canada didn't occupy a large fraction of the continental USA during WWII.
- For starters, Confucian values would never have allowed a son to go against his father (Po not wanting to run the noodle shop like his dad wants), no matter how obviously mismatched their goals are. Rebellion in general is obviously frowned upon and so is disobedience (a short featuring the Beijing Olympics mascots was banned because one of them would've had to be naughty in order for the plot to work, and Olympic mascots can't be naughty).
- Firstly, it was a temporary tattoo. Secondly, the picture wasn't even meant for publication in Malaysia, the reporter stole the image off the Internets via a random Google images search
- It should be noted that, antisemitic conspiracy theories to the contrary, there is no such organisation as the American Jewish church and if there was it wouldn't be called the "church" anyway.
- It is said that one member of the House of Peers drily remarked that he wasn't concerned about his wife and servants reading it, but he didn't want it getting into the hands of his gamekeeper.