Free expression in the news
07 Jun 2013

Europe criticizes Azeri leader over Internet defamation law
European institutions criticized Azeri President Ilham Aliyev yesterday for signing legislation making defamation over the Internet a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment as the country prepares for an autumn presidential election.
(Free Malaysia Today)

Columnist sentenced to prison for libel
Writer Osama Ghareeb did not know he had already been sentenced to one year in prison by a Cairo court until being summoned to Moqattam Police Station on Wednesday, according to the writer’s Twitter account. (Daily News Egypt)

Gallery: Five free expression exiles
IFEX marks World Refugee Day, 20 June 2013, with profiles of five people living in exile for practicing the right to free expression through their professions (IFEX)

Safeguards needed to protect privacy, free speech in India: HRW
The Indian government should enact clear laws to ensure that increased surveillance of phones and the Internet does not undermine rights to privacy and free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. (Business Standard)

Standing up to censorship central
A recent judgment on the airing of ‘low value’ television programming misinterprets the proportionality doctrine and raises the question: should the state be giving advice to adults? (The Hindu)

(Censorship Board Says Does Not Regulate Material On the Internet
The Malawi Censorship Board has said it does not censor materials on the Internet because it is not mandated to do so.(

Racial stereotypes pervade
It was interesting watching the response last week after cartoonist Al Nisbet was allowed to draw cartoon stereotypes in the Marlborough Express about Maori and Pacific Islanders. (Auckland Now)

Web ‘blackout’ in Singapore to protest new online rules
Over 130 Singaporean bloggers blacked out their homepages Thursday to protest new licencing rules for news websites they say will muzzle freedom of expression. (NDTV)

Protests expose the extent of self-censorship in Turkish media
Only days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called social media “the worst menace to society”, the country arrested 25 social media users in Izmir for allegedly “spreading untrue information” on Twitter. Sara Yasin gives a rundown on Turkey’s Twitter phobia. (Index on Censorship)

Turkey’s prime minister vows to continue Gezi Park development
Despite mass protests, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to push ahead with construction, saying it will make Istanbul more beautiful (The Guardian)

Censorship by violence
One of my friends recently told me a story about the son of her friends. He had to be taken to a psychologist after watching news on TV about a mother killing her child. (Kyiv Post)

Documents: U.S. mining data from 9 leading Internet firms; companies deny knowledge
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post. (Washington Post)

Drawing Line On Free Speech
The freedom to say what we think, no matter how repugnant to others, is one of the greatest glories of our system of government. It also is the foundation supporting our other liberties. (The Intelligencer)

Lindsey Graham Hates Free Speech
Are we starting to get under the skin of U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (RINO-S.C.)? At first glance it would appear that way … Graham, a frequent target of this website’s criticism (due to his frequent awfulness), suggested this week that bloggers don’t deserve one of the most basic freedoms guaranteed to all Americans under the U.S. Bill of Rights.
(Fits News)

IRS Attorney Carter Hull Sent Targeted Letters to ACLJ Tea Party Clients from Washington, D.C.
The Wall Street Journal reports that transcripts of interviews by congressional staffers point the finger to IRS attorneys in Washington, further confirming that the targeting of conservative groups originated by the IRS in Washington, D.C. and that it was not the mistake of a couple of rogue, low level IRS agents in one Cincinnati office as the Obama Administration and the IRS continue to claim. (ACLU)

New York Post hit with libel lawsuit over ‘Bag Men’ Boston bombings cover
Two Massachusetts residents sue New York Post on claims it falsely portrayed them as suspects in Boston Marathon attack (The Guardian)

Kasonokomona Wins First Round of Court Battle
Zambian activist Paul Kasonkomona has won an important first round in his court battle. In an interview on Zambian television in April he called for the recognition of gay and lesbian rights, as well as the rights of sex workers. He was arrested after the interview and charged under section 178(g) of the Zambian Penal Code. (

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