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Moralpanic aside, it is unusual for media to be banned outright anywhere (except, you know, in totalitarian countries notorious for banning objectionable content, like many Middle Eastern countries, and, of course, China). Some governments are more likely than others to prohibit the sale of games and other media whose subject matter is deemed too harmful for the masses. In many nations, this amounts to a general ban or censorship of most retailers and broadcasters, though buying/possessing/selling imports from outside one's borders is perfectly legal (unless, of course, it's something really insidious, like child porn).
A general rule of thumb is that, if the fighting/political action takes place in that country, or against its government (even when it's clearly not the actual one or even a thinly veiled substitute), they're not going to like it.
The trope title is a modern twist 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 Boston has been replaced by China due to both the People's Republic's tendency to censor anything they find remotely "harmful for the Chinese youth" (i.e. anything that questions the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), and the fact that, in later decades, the stereotype of Boston and New England in general has flipped to one of staunch social liberalism (when people talk about "Massachusetts values" nowadays, they mean same-sex marriage and feminism).
Compare New Media Are Evil, No Swastikas, Media Watchdog, and Moral Guardians. Contrast with Bowdlerization, where a form of media is allowed in a country, but has to be edited for content.
The 1985 French film Hail Mary, which is a modern retelling of the Virgin Birth, was banned for mixing sexual content with religious content (which a lot of Catholics — particularly Hispanic ones — consider blasphemous).
The rape simulator RapeLay is the only video game banned in Argentina for condoning/glamorizing sexual violence.
The season 19 Simpsons episode "E. Pluribus Wiggum"note The one where everyone writes in Ralph Wiggum as the 2008 candidate for U.S. President was banned in this (and other Latino countries) due to Lenny and Carl's conversation about Argentina's Juan Peron being the best leader because: "When he 'disappeared' you, you stayed 'disappeared'!" and equating Juan's wife, Evita, with singer Madonna (who did play her in a movie version of the musical Evita), which a lot of Hispanic groups didn't find funny.
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 (however, it is legal to possess most material refused classification by the OFLC). The OFLC has banned a handful of explicit movies, among them Baise Moi, In a Glass Cage, Ken Park, La Blue Girl, Nekromantik, Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom (which was eventually passed as of 2010), Vase de Noces, the uncut version of Caligula, and John Waters' Pink Flamingos.
They attempted to ban Mysterious Skin in a string of other bans for anything that had to do with homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transsexuality. It failed as Australian lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups protested.
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, and even after their conviction the court forced the network to heavily edit the episodes.
Originally there was no R18+ rating for video games, so anything deemed to go over the MA 15+ rating would mean that the game would get no classification and be banned (or sometimes censored). As of 2013, the R18+ rating has been approved for video games, with the Mortal Kombat reboot and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge as the very first video games to receive that rating.
What started as a rumor turned out to be entirely true: it was originally failed to attain a 15+ rating and was thus refused to be given a rating, so Fallout 3 was banned in Australia before it even came out. It has since been rated and released with a 15+ rating. Apparently, it was the depiction of a static image of morphine as a type of buff-giving item that upset the OFLC. This edit was done to all versions worldwide, though technically Australia still got the uncensored version. Kotaku Australia to elaborate.
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude was unrated due to its strongly suggestive content. The Vivendi-Universal era Leisure Suit Larry games are about a 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 (zombies get dismembered or have their organs exposed after a single hit). It was eventually released with heavy cuts made.
Violence in general wasn't the only reason. It was the context behind it, in which the people who attack the players are actually infected humans and not dead people rising from the grave to eat the brains and flesh of the living. Despite common belief Australia would have allowed this, it's just that Valve used the German cut which already had them censored out (though since patched in) despite Australia would have allowed more than what was censored (e.g. disappearing bodies)
Manhunt and Postal are banned too, due to excessive violence and abhorrent themes and behavior.
Aliens vs. Predator (2010) was originally banned but through an appeal it was rerated MA 15+ uncut. Which ironically made it the most leniant rating given to the game of any country.
As mentioned above, the Mortal Kombat reboot (nicknamed Mortal Kombat 9 by fans) was banned in Australia when there was no rating higher than MA 15, and customs were ordered to seize copies. But once the "Komplete Edition" was released, the R18 rating was introduced, and it was finally allowed for release in Australia, also making it the very first game to receive the R18 rating.
Mark Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was banned for supposedly glorifying graffiti.
The use of prostitutes in the later Grand Theft Auto games was usually censored in some way. Though all games have had at least an uncut version of all the games released (i.e. III, Vice City, and IV were uncensored with a 15+ for their PC release with IV getting a patch for consoles)
Singles: Flirt Up Your Life was banned for its high sexual content that would have been too much for the MA 15+ rating.
Post-R18+ The following examples failed to make the cut even after the R18+ rating was introduced, proving that even R18+ has standards.
Saints Row IV was banned for containing "interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context" which refers to an alien weapon called the Anal Probe and "elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards", referring to alien narcotics which give the player superpowers. It turns out the censors basically said, "You can keep the rape in there, we're fine with that, but don't have drugs anywhere near our shores." The alien anal probe weapon is still in the game as DLC and the one mission centered on drugs was removed, allowing a MA rating.
South Park: The Stick of Truth had a similar reaction to an anal probing scene, though in this case it was mostly because the characters involved were minors. The scene was censored out of the Australian release and the game still got an R18+ rating.
State of Decay was also banned for depicting drug use as health and stamina power ups, but it was later resubmitted and reclassified R18+ after the drugs were changed to "vitamins".
It might be something about Deep Silver (see the Saints Row example above), but the trailer for Dead Island: Riptide was shown on Australian TV during UFC Unleashed. Now MMA is in no way, shape, or form a soft sport, but when this aired, there was some controversy. While the frank depiction of suicide was an issue, the main thing that got it banned was the logo, which showed a man hanging from a noose in a tree. As a side note, the special collector's edition statue was condemned and banned for gross violence and misogyny (the statue is a headless, limbless woman's body in a bikini)
Target chose to not sell the XBOX One And PS 4 versions of Grand Theft Auto V after outcry over the series allowing to kill prostitutes.
Australian Labor Party senator Stephen Conroy, since out of power, also took a cue from the Chinese and attempted to push through a law mandating that ISPs block certain blacklisted sites entirely. The Liberal Party had a similar plan when they were in government.
The French play The Marriage of Figaro was banned by Emperor Joseph due to its political subject matter and fears of a copycat unrest similar to that which would later claim the life of his sister. Contrary to popular belief, though, he approved Mozart's opera adaptation (which removed the offending material) from the start.
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.
Anime and Manga
Up until receiving a Bengali dub, Doraemon couldn't be shown on television unless it was dubbed in Bengali (the country was worried about the growing influence of the Hindi language in which the cartoon was dubbed).
Black Swan was temporarily banned due to the lesbian sex scene between Nina (Natalie Portman) and Lily (Mila Kunis), which censors saw as "offensive sexual behavior." Public protest and a petition against the ban got it overturned and the film was eventually released with an R-rating.
Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator is banned. Obviously because the country's president has been power since 1991 and been accused of being a dictator himself.
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 Flemish people (The Flemish are the Dutch-speaking population of Belgium who live in the northern region known as Flanders).
A 2011 episode of the Flemish investigative journalism TV series "Basta" examining the fraudulent nature of quiz channels on TV proved so effective that a few days afterwards all quiz channel TV shows were immediately banned from broadcast in Flanders.
From 2005 until 2014 Madonna's song "Frozen" was officially banned in Belgium from radio and TV play and omitted from all compilation albums, because a judge ruled that Madonna's song was plagiarized from a few bars of the song "Ma vie fout le camp", composed by Salvatore Acquaviva. In February 2014, a Belgian court spoke of a "new capital offense" in the file: composer Edouard Scotto Di Suoccio and societies Tabata Atoll Music and Music in Paris had also filed a complaint for plagiarism. According to them, both "Ma vie fout le camp" and "Frozen" originated in the song "Blood Night" which they composed in 1983. After all three tracks in the case were compared, the final ruling was that the songs were "not sufficiently 'original' to claim" that any plagiarism had taken place. Thus the ban on "Frozen" was lifted.
Beyond Citizen Kane, a documentary about Globo, Brazil'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 the Internet allowed many people to watch it.
Video Gamesnote 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.
Counter-Strike was banned from Brazil since January of 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.
More specifically it was banned from continued retail sale, anyone who already possessed a copy before the ban could keep it. Many Lan-Houses kept their copies of the game with no repercussions.
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 its 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.
The video game of the 2003 The Cat in the Hat film was banned in Brazil because of copyright issues regarding the film.
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 (when really they wanted the episode "Weekend at Burnsie's"note The one where Homer gets high on medicinal marijuana after crows peck his eyes to garner controversy in America. It met with Executive Meddling due to the censors wanting some of the scenes of Homer actually smoking his medical marijuana cut down to just implied scenes, but no serious protests from MoralGuardians came to pass).
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 Kyinote a Burmese opposition politician, chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma, and political prisoner due to her beliefs in a biographical movie, Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh was banned from entering Burma.
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. Anyone caught trying to export the album can be sentenced from 3 to 20 years in prison. Here's the link explaining it.
There is a federal child pornography law that makes material depicting any sexual activity by any character under 18 as child pornography, even when it is simply drawn. Since the minimum lawful legal age for a person to have sex is 16note technically, 14, but both participants ages must be within 24 months of each other, this law makes it illegal to depict a legal act between characters supposed be between 16 to 18. To be fair, there is an artistic purpose defence clause in the law as well for artists to use in court.
The law itself specifies illegality if the person is or is depicted as being under 18.note s 163.1(a)(i) C.C.. Which means Pretty Lolita is a problem.
In addition, Canada's national customs authority have this reputation for being homophobic bluenoses with notorious cases where it arbitrarily seized male gay erotica by twisting court rulings about material depicting "violence against women" into a complete legal pretzel.
Ghostinthe Shell Stand Alone Complex's tenth episode, Jungle Cruise, was skipped by YTV due to its graphic content on the show's first rotation (particularly, a serial killer skinning his victims alive and plugs his eyes into the victims so they can watch themselves being killed). However, due to angry fan emails it was later played in a marathon of episodes, and on the show's second run, albeit with a special disclaimer that the level of violence was above the usual level for something allowed on YTV.
The Neon Alley anime streaming service is effectively banned in Canada due to the indifferent attitude toward anime adopted by all of the major entertainment distributors based in the country.
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. Ironically, Canada is the homeland of the series' star, Leslie Nielsen.
The album version of Dire Straits' song "Money For Nothing" was temporarily banned from commercial broadcast note Canada's private broadcasters self-regulate through the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. As the CBC is a public broadcaster, it does not participate. in Canada in 2011 due to its use of the homophobic slur "faggot". The ban was rescinded after being widely mocked, and after Mark Knopfler pointed out that the song was sung in character and was meant to be a mocking portrait of someone who would be ignorant and prejudiced enough to use that kind of language.
The 1939 Looney Tunes cartoon "Thugs With Dirty Mugs" was banned back then in Winnipeg, Manitoba, because of a joke near the end of the cartoon where a criminal declares himself to be "a naughty little boy". The censors felt this ending was "not sincere and just an excuse to show criminal activity."
The Comedy Network series Kevin Spencer had its eighth episode banned due to violence and disgusting humor.
The Powerpuff Girls episode "The Rowdyruff Boys" did not air in the original YTV broadcast of the series, but it was shown as part of reruns later.
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 repercussions.
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.
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).
Orelsan was deprogrammed after one of his earlier song, Sale pute (litt. "Dirty Whore"), about him torturing his cheating girlfriend, emerged.
Costa-Gavras' film Z, being a political thriller based on the assassination of an outspokenly pacifist, left-wing politician, was predictably banned under the military dictatorship of 1967-1974.
Between 1967 and 1974 the Greek military dictatorship banned the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Anton Chekhov, Mark Twain, Eugčne Ionesco, Leo Tolstoy, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and even classic playwrights like Sophocles and Aeschylus. Writing about Socrates' homosexuality was also forbidden for a while.
Aristophanes' play "Lysistrata" holds the dubious distinction of being banned twice, in 1942 by the Nazi occupators and again from 1967 to 1974 by the Greek military dicatorship. The reason for this is evident: the story is about a woman ending the Peloponesian War by organizing a protest movement.
The Greek military dictatorship between 1967 and 1974 banned the music of The Beatles, because it was rock music and because they were men wearing long hair. The music of composer Mikis Theodorakis (best known for Zorba The Greek) was also banned due to his opposition to the regime. Theodorakis was also arrested and sent to prison for a few months.
The infamous Greek Electronic Gaming Ban prohibited gaming in public in an attempt to fight gambling. This made life difficult for companies to give their videogames a Greek fanbase. Luckily, the ban has since been lifted and fanbases are slowly making a comeback.
The fascist dicatorship than kept Greece in a stronghold between 1967 and 1974 banned everything that they redeemed as left wing or a sign of modern decadence, including labor unions, the peace symbol, rock music, the new math system, mini skirts and long hair on men. Also banned was the letter Z, which was used as a symbolic reminder that murdered resistance leader Grigoris Lambrakis and by extension the spirit of resistance lives (zi = “he (Lambrakis) lives”).
The Red Lion by Maria Szepes was banned for forty years after being considered "nonconformist" by the Hungarian communist regime at the time.
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.
Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen is banned because of several scenes where people smoke. In India every film with smoking scenes has a scrolling text PS As warning about the dangers of the habit or has its scenes cut or digitally removed with CGI wizardry. Normally this would have been the case with Allen's film too, but he refused to add a distracting wall of text across it, thus causing the ban.
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 the disaster film 2012 after influential Islamic organizations complained that the film would affect superstitious people who actually believed that that year would bring about the end of days (it didn't, but a lot of people believed that back then).
The Indonesian-Japanese film Merdeka 17805 was banned for depicting the Japanese as being superior and for its apparently disrespectful usage of Indonesia Raya.
Darren Aronofsky's Noah is banned as it contradicts the Islamic teachings where Noah is considered one of the important prophets of Allah.
Peter Weir's 1982 Austrialian film The Year Of Living Dangerously, which was set in Jakarta and dramatized the fall of President Sukarno, the rise of President Suharto, and the Communist Coup which set it all in motion in 1965, was not shown in Indonesia until 1999, after Suharto had been forced to resign.
Dm C Devil May Cry was banned because the intro includes a sex scene, and one early cutscene has a glimpse of Dante's penis. This ban only applies to the PC version; the console versions were released, but with the aforementioned content cut or censored.
Far Cry 3 was banned because of derogatory dialogue toward Indonesia.
An ISP specializing in providing Internet service for Smart Phones banned 4chan, complete with a "Sorry, but you are forbidden to access 4chan.org" page with a smiley face on a light blue background.
Fanfiction.net is banned in some ISPs on grounds that it was "abusive".
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 (particularly centered on the display of the female form, which in the Islam religion, is taboo), 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 WeekNot Without My Daughter, where the Persian men are portrayed as slavering, inhuman monsters note which actually is no different from a normal Lifetime Movie of the Week, in which all 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.
Argo, a film about the rescue of six hostages during the Iranian Hostage Crisis is not suprisingly banned, but bootleg copies are selling very well.
Parodied on the season 38 finale of Saturday Night Live, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (played by Fred Armisen) creates his own version of Argo called Bengo F**k Yourself (a Take That to Ben Affleck).
Pretty much anything created by members of the Baha'i Faith is banned in Iran. One newspaper was closed down in 2009 because it had an advertisement featuring a photo of a Baha'i temple.note It was almost certainly a "Visit India" or "Visit Delhi" ad; unfortunately for the newspaper, one of the most prominent symbols of modern Delhi is a great big Baha'i temple.
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, and Illustrated Police News — the tabloids mostly for lurid descriptions of violence and sex; the women's magazines mostly for discussing women's issues that are in conflict with what Irish women were brought up to believe (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, any 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.
Goldfinger was temporarily banned because Gert Fröbe, the man who played the eponymous character, had been a member of the Nazi party from 1929 to 1937. The ban was lifted after it was discovered that he had actually helped two Jews hide from the Gestapo during the war.
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".
Under the Mussolini regime the children's novel The Story of Ferdinand was banned because the story of a bull who doesn't want to partake in bullfighting was considered to be pacifist/communist brainwashing. Hitler banned it too in Germany, even ordering it to be burned. Naturally it was also banned by general/dictator Franco in Spain.
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 trial. The movie managed to be aired in Italy in December 2012.
Lion of the Desert, a Libyan (or, better: Gaddafi)-funded film about the Italian colonial rule, has been banned in Italy since 1987.
Back in 1989, Madonna's music video for the song "Like A Prayer" was banned for symbolism that would be considered blasphemous to the Catholic church (Jesus coming to life as a handsome black man and crosses being set on fire. America also had complaints about the "Like a Prayer" video for the same reasons — especially the burning crosses, which, in America, is associated with the Ku Klux Klan — and ended up banning it after playing it on MTV).
Focus groups already found South Park controversial, so it was no surprise when the episodes "Cartman Joins NAMBLA", "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?", and "Probably" wound up banned. "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" was pulled for references to homosexual pedophilia and infanticide while the "Do The Handicapped Go to Hell?"-"Probably" two-parter was pulled for mocking and asking too many questions about the Catholic faith.
Anime and Manga
The infamous Pokémon episode "Electric Soldier Porygon" was not just forbidden by Nintendo to be exported to other countries, but also banned in Japan after hundreds of viewers (most of which were children) suffered fits from the seizure-inducing strobe effects. Because of this, the series was put on hiatus for four months, and a policy was made for Japanese television that demands flashing effects be toned down.
The manga Barefoot Gen has never been banned in Japan at the national level (and never banned from private sales), but it has been banned from libraries at the local level on multiple occasions.
In 2012, a right wing group complained to the Matsue city assembly to ban the manga from school libraries because it contained "unsupported" depictions of Japanese atrocities. The city assembly refused to act, but the local school board subsequently moved all copies in local elementary and middle schools to closed shelves, effectively stopping students from reading the work at school. When this action became widely known nationally in 2013, there was a large public outcry. In the ensuing controversy, Japan's education minister commented that he found the ban to be appropriate, though he took no actions himself. In the end, the school board reconvened and unanimously decided to lift the ban, though it it left it to individual schools to decide how they wanted to treat the books.
In 2011, the legal guardian of a child complained to the central library of the city of Tottori that it was inappropriate to have a manga "with rape and other sexual depictions in a place where children can reach it." The library removed the work from its shelves and decided to provide it only to those who specifically asked for it. After the scandal in Matsue mentioned above, the library moved the manga back to the shelves.
Video games in Japan are regulated by an industry body called the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization (CERO), similar to the ESRB in the US. They have been known to refuse classification or require extensive editing for some games that might not be similarly restricted in other countries. A refusal of classification makes it de facto impossible to sell official Japanese versions of the game. However, unless it would be legally considered obscene (which only explicit depictions of sexualized nudity would be), the game, including all of the games listed below, can still be relatively easily imported via online retailers, provided the person importing the game knows a lick of English.
Call of Duty: World At War has not been released officially in Japan. The web site Games Radar.com, in a list of "Top 10 banned videogames," claims that it was banned in Japan for "gory violence against Japanese soldiers," but articles on the game written in Japanese seem to indicate that it simply was never submitted for classification, possibly because it might be refused classification, or possibly just for business reasons. Other games in the same series have been officially released in Japan with the highest possible rating (18+ only), due to their gore.
While it escaped a total ban, the Japanese version of Fallout 3 cut out the option to detonate the atomic bomb in the center of Megaton during the quest "The Power of the Atom", and renamed the Fat Man (a rocket launcher that fires mini-nukes, named after the real nuke detonated over Nagasaki, Japan during World War II) to the Nuka-Launcher.
Dead Space was refused classification in Japan for its extreme violence, particularly the use of children as victims of violent crime.
Lady Chatterley's Lover was determined by the Supreme Court to be legally "obscene" in 1957, the case having originated in 1951. The Japanese translator and the publisher were both subjected to fines, and unexpurgated versions of the text could not be legally sold under Paragraph 175 of the Japanese Penal Code,note Not to be confused with the infamous Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code, which banned homosexuality in that country. The coincidence of the number of two different paragraphs both dealing with crimes of a sexual nature is, in fact, due to the Japanese code having been based, in part, on the German code, but homosexuality has never been illegal under either of Japan's constitutions (though it was very briefly banned for a few years immediately after the opening of Japan to the West, before the passage of the Meiji Constitution). which bans the sale, publication, and exhibition (but not the possession) of obscene works. The Chatterley trial, indeed, originated the criteria Japanese courts use to judge whether or not a work is obscene. Versions of the novel sold in Japan from the 1950s through the 1990s had the offending parts replaced with asterisks. From the 1990s uncensored versions of the novel began to be sold. Interestingly, on paper the relevant legislation has not changed, and there has not been a legal case that has officially overturned the 1957 ruling. Rather, prosecutors and the government have taken no action against publishers, resulting in a de facto but somewhat confusing change in Japan's obscenity laws.
The Bells of Nagasaki, a non-fiction account of the atomic bombing of that city by a survivor, was initially refused publication under the censorship regime during the American occupation. It was eventually allowed to be published with an accurate but off-topic appendix about atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese tacked onto the end, presumably for "balance." Versions published after the end of the occupation, as well as English translations, generally omit the appendix.
In 1999, Japan's customs authority banned the importation of a book of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, despite it having previously been published in the country without incident. In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned the ban.
Historian Saburo Ienaga holds the distinction of being the complainant in the longest civil trial in any country on record, after he sued the Japanese education ministry over its refusal to approve to his history book, which did not shy away from depicting war-time atrocities by the Japanese, from 1965-1997. Ienaga and his lawyers argued that the refusal to approve the book constituted censorship, though there was never any ban on the sale of the book, just on its use as an official textbook in schools. In the end, the Supreme Court ruled that no censorship had taken place (for the above-mentioned reason) but that the ministry had nonetheless abused its discretion in not approving the book.
The Simpsons episode "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" has been banned from public broadcast and is unavailable on DVD releases in Japan, due to the cultural stereotypes and scenes that may offend Japanese viewers (Homer tosses Emperor Akihito in a bin of sumo thongs, the family has an epileptic fit after seeing an animenote that joke was made around the time that Pokemon banned the episode "Electric Soldier Porygon" for the same reason, the Simpsons go on a sadistic game show, and the implication that the Hello Kitty factory uses live cats in their products.
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, as moral crusaders thought the scene of Laurel and Hardy lying on a bed with a woman (even though it was, at worst, mildly risque) was indecent.
Puni Puni Poemy was classified as 'objectionable material' by the Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC), on the grounds that it depicted sexual exploitation of minors.
The first Mad Max film was initially banned for 4 years, meaning that it was shown later than its sequel The Road Warrior, owing to sensitivities over a real-life gang incident in the late 1970s that paralleled the 'Goose is cooked' scene.
Power Rangers was banned from TV in New Zealand ever since its first season due to complaints from parents whose children injured themselves trying to imitate the show's fight scenes (which does sound like something the United States would pull), which is funny, considering that Power Rangers Ninja Storm (and every series afterward) is filmed on location in New Zealand with New Zealand-born actors and actresses.
District 9 was banned from theaters in Nigeria thanks to its unflattering depictions of Nigerian gangsters and scammers.
Most foreign things are banned in North Korea, probably the most isolated country in the world. Even getting caught listening to South Korean music gets you arrested and hauled off to tortures and punishments too gruesome to mention, which is a problem, as South Korea broadcasts radio signals across the border and even taunts North Korea by playing pop music into the Korean demilitarized zone. The nation even has its own Internet that is completely separate from the normal World Wide Web, so as not to bring in any outside influence. While it would be safe to say that everything is banned in North Korea, there are some minor exceptions:
The only Western movie that has ever been shown on North Korean TV was a heavily-abridged version of Bend It Like Beckham.
If you're a tourist, the bans are averted since your hotel will have some Western channels (like BBC Worldwide). However, they don't care as much because 1) you, as a foreigner, have already been "exposed" to these corrupting influences and, 2) as a tourist, you are not allowed to go out on your own and talk to any North Koreans that are on your propagandized tour of the nation (there is a reason why the only hotel open to foreigners in Pyongyang is built on an island in the middle of the Taedong River).
In the 1990s, the government allowed the novel Gone with the Wind to be imported and translated. This seems to have been done for propaganda reasons, adhering to the classic Marxist interpretation of The American Civil War as a victory for bourgeois capitalism. The book has since become wildly popular, though less for the reasons the government had hoped and more because the North Korean people can relate to the struggle for survival in a poor country torn apart by war.
Since 2011, when the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, took power (and wiped out potential rivals in the leadership circle), certain foreign-style media is publicly available (albeit all of it state-approved). State TV broadcasts played My Way by Frank Sinatra, and the government-approved girl group "Moranbong Band" is obviously inspired by K-Pop from the south and abroad. Anything not directly approved by the government, though, is likely still banned.
Eventually, Voltes V and Daimos were re-aired after the dictator stepped down, but the others have yet to be shown again... save for Gaiking (but the version shown years later was from the Force Five version, not the original).
All of Claire Danes' films were banned after some comments she made in Variety while promoting Brokedown Palace (which was filmed in the Philippines) were deemed insensitive by the government.
Cannibal Holocaust, due to extreme violence and animal cruelty. But somehow, there are a bunch of bootleg copies around.
There was an attempt to ban the film version of The Da Vinci Code nationwide by fundamentalist-conservative Catholic groups back in 2006. However, the MTRCB just slapped a R-18 rating on it. The SM Supermalls, the largest chain of shopping malls in the country, prohibited the showing of movie in all of their theaters nationwide as to comply with their policy not to show R-18 films. The movie was banned in Manila but it was shown in other places outside Manila. But the Blu-Ray and DVD versions are still available in local stores nationwide.
Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo were novels released during the Spanish occupation of the country. Since they spoke about nationwide 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. In the post-Spanish occupation Philippines, these once-banned books are now studied in Filipino high schools and colleges.
You can access 4Chan in the country, but you can't post from it. It will just give you an error message, due to some "IP Abuse".
During the Estado Novo ("New State") dictatorship, which lasted between 1933 and 1974, over 3500 films were banned for "moral" and political reasons, while others never went to the censors because the distributors knew they wouldn't pass. Amongst those were:
any "Russian"/Soviet film (between 1936 and 1970),
any Eastern European film (between 1947 and 1970), and
The regime also banned many songs by Portugese protest singer José Zeca Afonso. In a Crowning Moment of Awesome the rebellion that caused the downfall of the regime was signalled by having a song of Afonso, "Grandola Vila Morena", play nation wide on the radio.
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 ethnically Middle Eastern/East Asian instead of like the hairy and Jewish Sacha Baron Cohen. This was bound to be lost on Russians who don't have to deal with American ethnic ignorance on a daily basis, but do have to deal with Central Asians being a growing ethnic minority and most likely being offended by the stereotypes portrayed in the movie.
Charlie Wilson's War is not actually banned, but Universal Pictures International Russia decided not to release it as it was thought that a film with such a strong anti-Soviet tone would be unlikely to make a profit in Russia. Among the Russians who have seen the film, the response is overwhelming negative.
Modern Warfare 2 was released in Russia without its infamous airport level.
Company of Heroes 2 was banned for "overblown fabrications of history", and "offensive and stereotypical lies about Soviet soldiers" and all retail copies were withdrawn from stores. What really stands out is that this was done because this was demanded by regular players through a petition.
Russia started formal banning of Internet resources advertising drugs, suicide, terrorism and homosexuality. It is quite often that the notice is served to LiveJournal about a repost, while the original site gets under radar. What qualifies for advertising suicide? A PSA about railway safety.
Saudi Arabia banned Jalila and Aya because the government considered the heroines'costumes◊ indecent, as per Islamic law.
In another truly bizarre move (although perhaps related to Islamic law and its issues with the female body), Barbie dolls are banned. They are referred to by the government as "Jewish Dolls" or "Zionist Dolls" 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 and isn't dressed indecently by the standards of Islamic law.
Pokémon 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.
Anime and Manga
One of Macross Plus's soundtrack CDs was banned in Singapore because of the song "Idol Talk", which contains samples of dialogue from a phone sex operator.
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 putting a baby back in the womb after it's been born.
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.
In movies and TV shows, scenes or dialogue containing language that is religiously profane or trashes religion is censored.
The song "Puff the Magic Dragon" was apparently banned back in 1963 due to its lyrics allegedly being a metaphor for drugs. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore do not mess around when it comes to drugs and depictions of it in the media. However, Malaysia and Thailand saw it (correctly, as it happens) as an innocent children's song and nothing more, and thus it wasn't banned in those countries.
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 in the country.
Mass Effect was banned because of a brief lesbian sex scene for all but around two 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.
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, in particular anything under the new ".xxx" and ".sex" domain addresses being assigned to nsfw websites, 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.
The Tintin comic book Tintin In The Congo is banned in South Africa, because of its racially outdated depiction of black people. In the rest of Africa, even Congo itself, the story is one of the most popular in the Tintin series.
Bob Marley 's album Survival was sold in South Africa during apartheid, but the title and liner notes of "Africa Unite" were erased with a black marker and on the record itself the entire track was scratched so that it would skip when being played.
The Pink Floyd album The Wall was banned during the apartheid era due to the fact that the song "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" was used in a student uprising against propaganda in the education system.
Anime and Manga
According to Bulbapedia several episodes of Pokémon are banned. Not just the infamous Electric Soldier Porygon episode either. Some things relate to samurai outfits and items that bring up thoughts of the rocky history between South Korea and Japan. 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.
Over 40 episodes of Sailor Moon were cut and banned from broadcast, while all scenes involving the Hikawa Shrine (the shrine that Rei lives in with her grandfather) were excised, along with any scenes depicting Rei in her miko robes or that involved kanji. These changes were in part due to the unpleasant history between Japan and South Korea.
In the mid-1990s, Korea banned tobacco 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, even though it's realistic: at the time of the Korean War and until The Seventies, South Korea's GDP was smaller than Ghana's.
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".
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.
Sistar's How Dare You suffered from a triple whammy. The video was banned from public broadcast because it featured pole dancing (really just dancing near a pole), KBS banned it for belittling lyrics (the "how dare you" which is directed to a cheating boyfriend) and another music show banned it for provocative choreography (unrelated to the pole dancing). The last two were circumvented by changing the lyrics and the choreography for performances on those stations.
South Korean state broadcaster KBS also bans any video that depicts traffic law violations. 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.
And also "Gentleman" by PSY, for a single shot in which he kicks over a traffic cone.
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.
The most obvious case of banning is Homefront, where both Koreas are united under Northern rule.
Until the 2000s or so, import video games originating from Japan had to have all Japanese voicework and Japanese vocals from songs removed, as well as depictions of samurai, to comply with national laws because of the forty-year occupation of Korea by Japan between 1905 and 1945.
South Park had started to air on Tooniverse in March of 2000, but it barely got into its first season before the Republic of Korea Broadcasting Committee ordered it banned (due to numerous complaints about its content).
Modern Russian censorship is very lax, but back when Russia was known as The Soviet Union, it had an extensive Culture Police-type system that would make the current Chinese one say, "Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's too much!". Foreign films were graded particularly harshly; domestic films with the following might get past, depending on the situation. It was not uncommon for domestic films to be created, widely screened, and then censored or banned as well (like the 1930 epic Earth which was screened extensively and controversially before being censored).
Every movie made in the West and not specially approved for translation into Russian. Light-hearted French comedies were approved and translated with little or no fuss while something like Star Wars, on the other hand, was banned and bad-mouthed in newspapers for a long time.
Anything with sexual content that would make Boston's censors blush. Soviet film censors were very prudish (A notable exception was the very sexual Little Vera, a perestroika-era thriller).
Anything that showed religion as positive (as the USSR was atheist as hell and suppressed religion).
Anything showing America or another Western country in a positive light, though American works that trashed capitalism and democracy were more likely to be approved.
Due to the book's implicit criticism of collectivization and nationalism and its praise of individuality, the original Russian text of Doctor Zhivago was only available to Russian expatriates around the world until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The author, Boris Pasternak, was also forced to renounce the Nobel Prize in Literature under threat of him and his loved ones getting deported or worse.
During Stalin's time, the entire science of genetics was banned for being too capitalist because that's clearly how science works. Also, the fact that Gregor Mendel was a Catholic friar didn't jibe well with the U.S.S.R.'s atheism. Therefore, the Soviets invented the infamous pseudoscience Lysenkoism (basically Lamarckism with Marxist rhetoric), which caused the Soviet Union to fall behind the West in the field of biology as well as creating numerous famines. Lysenkoism was duly embraced by other communist countries, including Maoist China.
The only Shakespeare play to be banned in the Soviet Union was Hamlet during Stalin's government. 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. This was parodied by the writers of the foreword to the restored original Klingon version of the play.
Khamlet spends a positively un-Klingon amount of time talking about what he should do, rather than getting anything done. Most Klingons cannot make head or tail of this; in some parts of the hinterlands of the Empire, Khamlet has even been banned from performance, as liable to corrupt the youth.
Anime and Manga
Mazinger Z was aired in 1978 and it was pulled out off the air at January of 1979 due to the violent content prevalent in the show. Only thirty-three random episodes had been dubbed — one of which never even aired. It was not until 1993 that Spanish fans were able to watch the whole dubbed series.
Spirou and Fantasio: The album "The Dictator and the Mushroom" (1956) was banned under Franco's regime for poking fun at dictators.
Many books that depicted something against the very conservative values or the actual social situation of Franco's Spain were banned. One famous example was a book that had its Deadpan Snarker say in one chapter that "1952 has been a very good year. Madrid is so clean there aren't even any dogs around!". Realization hits you suddenly that the author is making an allusion to the famine that many people went through in 1952, where even dogs were considered food.
Under the Franco regime the children's novel The Story of Ferdinand was banned because the story of a bull who doesn't want to partake in bullfighting was considered to be pacifist/communist brainwashing. Mussolini banned it too in Italy. Hitler did the same in Germany, even ordering it to be burned.
Saw VI was the first mainstream film to be rated X in Spain due to extreme violence, 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. It's been speculated that the producers of a Spanish film that was to be released at the same time were responsible and that Saw VI was merely a rare victim of protectionism; it doesn't help that Spain usually happens to be pretty damn lax when it comes to censorship.
Luis Buńuel's Viridiana was banned because of its final scene, where the title character closes the door after her cousin enters the room and the film ends at that point. In the middle of the film, there was a parody of the Last Supper made by homeless people (with a blind man as Jesus) and a scene where Viridiana's uncle tried to rape her although he regretted trying to do it and later killed himself. This cost Buńuel his passport to Spain and the movie got out just because the actress Silvia Pinal managed to smuggle a copy into the Cannes Film Festival, where it was represented as an independent film because neither Spain nor Mexico wanted to represent the movie.
Under Franco's regime many songs were banned if they hinted at sex, had links to Communists or did anything that went against Catholic teachings.
"Theme For A Dream" by Cliff Richard was banned for supposedly suggestive lines.
"Hymne A L' Amour" by Édith Piaf was banned because Piaf dedicated it to her lover Marcel Cerdan, with whom she had an adulterous affair at the time.
A Brazilian song with the name Brigitte Bardot in the title was also banned, just because of the title.
A Spanish version of Nat King Cole’s record “El Bodeguero” (“The Vintner”) was banned lest it encouraged Spaniards to go out and get drunk.
Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Lula" was banned too.
Sweden bans advertising directed to children. For this reason, there were initially some difficulties with importing Pokémon due to the show's Merchandise-Driven nature (apparently, the show eventually passed muster). However, Sweden's strict advertising laws (which also ban the broadcast of commercials in the middle of programs) only seem to apply to broadcasters that are actually based inside the country; as such, many pay TV channels (including children's channels) actually broadcast out of nearby countries such as Denmark, Norway, or even the United Kingdom, whose laws aren't as strict, meaning they can air all the toy commercials they please.
The 1971 Troma film Cry Uncle! was banned in Sweden until 2003 due to a scene in which the antihero has sex with a corpse.
The Thai government has banned nearly every rendition of Anna and the King of Siam and The King and I ever made because of the King of Siam, who is culturally seen as a divine being, is depicted as a flawed human being. What's worse is that no matter how the filmmakers rework the story, it always ends up getting banned in that country. The fundamental problem here is that no matter how respectfully and positively modern filmmakers may portray the King, the basic story still implies that Thailand is a backwards country filled with people who need someone from the West to civilize them.
The Economist is banned due to one of its writers insulting the Thai Royal Family and accusing it of abusing its power.
The video for Christina Aguilera's "Drrty" was censored in Thailand (and caused some minor controversy in America) due to Thai-language posters that read "Thailand's Sex Tourism" and "Young Underage Girls".
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.
Depictions of smoking are pixelated on TV, such as on The Simpsons episode "New Kid on the Block," in which Bart "smokes" bubbles from a toy pipe while talking to Laura (yet the Treehouse of Horror story in which Bart and Lisa are British detectives out to find a prostitute killer did leave in every scene of people smoking opium — including the bizarre ending in which the events were a crazy opium hallucination as seen in Ralph Wiggum's mind). See for yourself.
Facebook and Twitter has been blocked in Thailand after the military coup took place. The excuse was that they needed to stop the rebels from "spreading lies and further destabilizing the already fragile political environment".
Anime and Manga
Pokémon was temporarily banned after two children jumped off a balcony and broke their legs.
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/creators 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 with heavy edits, and amidst threats from nationalist groups.
Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac was banned for having lots of sex scenes, making it, in their opinion, more porn than art.
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 its people's internet activity. Anonymous is launching one of its "hacktivism" attacks in response. An Internet filtration system was later put 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 its citizens viewing.
Brüno, Saw 3D, Land of the Dead, Hostel II, and The Simpsons have been banned in Ukraine for violence (Saw 3D, Land Of The Dead, and Hostel II), sexual content considered deviant by the Ukrainian government (Bruno), and subversive content/humor (Bruno and The Simpsons). Additionally, Ukraine wants to ban SpongeBob SquarePants as it promotes homosexuality (even though the allegations of the show promoting homosexuality is a myth propagated by loony fans and conservative religious groups — at least in America).
United Arab Emirates
The Black Swan is banned for sexual themes considered too taboo for the country's sensibilities. It would have been released with cuts made, but Mohammad Naser, the UAE cinema censor, declared that there would be too much to cut and there's no point in showing a butchered film.
Spec Ops: The Line is banned for showing Dubai as a devastated city left to rot under massive sandstorms. Listening to the audio logs found in the game shows that the government of the UAE and Dubai ordered a media cover-up on the increasingly dangerous and powerful sandstorms, then fled once the sandstorms grew too intense. Unlike the other examples, which the ban only applies for registered retailers to desist selling those products via their local outlets (privately owning the game or buying it online aren't illegal), the NMC had extended their focus for this title going far as to issue the TRA to block the game's official website and subsequently stop the title's distribution throughout the rest of the GCC, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon.
Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are both banned for containing "violence against Muslims." In the back story of the games (as established by earlier editions) the Middle East went to war with Europe leading to a nuclear exchange, though neither of the games themselves really point this out.
Under Hugo Chavez Administration, whenever there is a series that depicts something that the government doesn't like was quickly excised or forbidden to rebroadcast on open air networks. The most noticeable case was the Colombian soap opera Chepe Fortuna, because or a subplot concerning two middle-aged sisters, Colombia and Venezuela. Colombia is an industrious, honest, long suffering lady, while Venezuela is a Fat Bastard of a woman who believes herself to be gorgeous, constantly gets into ill-fated Get Rich Quick Schemes and has an excessive love for her tiny doggienamed Hugo. All of this Played for Laughs (and it was Actually Pretty Funny). Because the Chavez government got very offended for what they perceived was the mocking of the country sovereignty, the thing didn't got a full week on air, and made the already fragile relationship between the countries even worse.
All video games that include any killer violence had been banned since 2010. Averted with the sequel to Mercenaries, even though it came under fire from the Venezuelan government, which apparently considered it a propaganda piece directed against the Hugo Chavez administration.
Happened to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, though the decision was ultimately made by Sony's international distribution company, who protested against Vietnam's censors cutting out the nude scenes.