Free expression in the news
15 May 2013

Challenging mainstream narratives with social media
A lot has been said about the impact of social media on the dissemination of news and the future of journalism. Opinions seem to span from believing Twitter and Facebook hold the power to bring down dictatorships, to despairing at the space it gives to armchair analysis and knee jerk reactions. One thing can be agreed upon: readers, listeners and viewers now have access to a platform to express themselves and challenge the mainstream narrative of events, Milana Knezevic writes. (Index on Censorship)

Azerbaijani Parliament Passes Controversial Internet Libel Law
Azerbaijan’s parliament has legalized tighter Internet controls in a move the country’s opposition groups fear could be used to curb online dissent. (Radio Liberty)

Egyptian artists declare war on sexual harassment
Since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak two years ago, artists have been active in breaking Egypt’s age-old taboos around sexual violence, especially since sexual harassment has been on the rise. Melody Patry reports. (Index on Censorship)

Free Speech Under Attack in Israel
The Israeli Ambassador to London, Daniel Taub, entirely misses the point in his comments on Professor Stephen Hawking’s decision to pull out of a conference in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. (Shifting Grounds)

Pussy Riot Doc Defends Free Speech But Skips the Messy Details
At the culmination of the documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, band member Maria Alyokhina tells the court that “this trial is not just an evil, grotesque mask, it is the face that the government wears when speaking to the people of our country.” (The Nation)

Rwanda’s Media Law Opens Gates To Self-Regulation For Journalists
Contrary to critics alleging Rwanda on violation of Human rights, democracy and freedom of speech; the country’s recently adopted law on media regulation seems to shame such accusations and it rather demonstrates maturity in the said fields. (News of Rwanda)

Judge dismisses lawsuit, says no free-speech rights violated at Detroit-area Arab festival
A judge says free-speech rights weren’t violated when police officers asked Christian demonstrators to leave an Arab festival in Dearborn last year. (The Republic)

Lawyer says law against encouraging suicide violates free speech
The Minnesota Supreme Court is considering an appeal by a nurse who says his conviction for advising two people to kill themselves is unconstitutional. (

Does Free Speech Protect Your Right to Criticize Religion? Duh!
I’m a lawyer by training. It’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve ever done because now I can recognize all the things otherwise smart people get wrong about the Constitution. And, boy howdy, there are a lot of people who misunderstand the Constitution.(Care2)

Facebook: A ‘Like’ is free speech for Hampton case
When a wrongful termination lawsuit involving six former employees of Hampton Sheriff B.J. Roberts goes before a federal appellate court on Thursday, those employees will have a prominent backer in their corner: Facebook. (The Daily Press)

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