Playboy, Maxim, and FHM Editors Charged with Obscenity

Also: Singapore pledges support for disabled athletes, Thai computer shops go bust. Friday ASEAN Links.

Some Friday ASEAN Links:

Editors of six men’s magazines and tabloids – including popular international titles Playboy, Maxim, and FHM – were charged with “obscene publication” by a Manila court on Thursday. Several church leaders, one of whom is a Manila district representative, lodged the complaint, claiming that the publications print pornographic and indecent images that serve no “educational, artistic, cultural, or scientific” purpose.

“The complainants claimed that the photos were clearly and purely intended or calculated to draw lust, stimulate sexual drive, excite impure imagination or arouse prurient interest in violation of Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code (obscene publication), Article 200 (grave scandal) and City Ordinance No. 7780 which prohibits the publication and sale of pornographic materials,” reported The Inquirer.

Several publications named in the suit denied wrongdoing and have asked for the case to be dismissed. Bail for each of the editors was set at $550.

Meanwhile, Singapore has pledged to give disabled athletes as much support as it gives those who are able-bodied. Lawrence Wong, the Acting Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth, stressed the government’s intentions at a send-off ceremony for disabled Singaporean athletes ahead of the third annual Asian Youth Para Games.

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“We are giving you all our support … we believe that sport has no boundaries and all of you are living proof and living testimony of that. We are giving our Para athletes as much support as possible and this year, recently we just awarded 66 sports excellence scholarships and seven of them are [for] disabled athletes,” Wong said.

The Asian Youth Para Games kick off in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. Four years ago, at the last Asian Youth Para Games, Singaporean athletes returned with two medals.

Over in Thailand, a spokesperson for the IT sector said that 10 percent of the country’s computer retailers have shuttered their doors.

“The contraction of the IT market was attributed to declining notebook computer sales, which plunged more than 20 percent year-on-year,” wrote The Bangkok Post. “As a result, many retailers were carrying excess inventory and had low liquidity. Buyers were turning to smartphones and tablets despite the introduction of new processors and operating systems for notebooks.”

One IT business operator said that, while sales forecasts are dismal for November and December, the Thai IT sector should rebound in 2014. Computer shops can weather the storm by adding new products and clearing old stock, he added.