Free expression in the news
05 Jun 2013

Taking the offensive – defending artistic freedom of expression in the UK

Report Contents: Summary | Introduction | What is artistic freedom of expression? | What are the limits to freedom of expression? | Institutional self-censorship | Reinforcing support for artistic freedom of expression | Conclusion | Appendix I: Audience Feedback and Statistics | Appendix II: Conference Programme | Appendix III: Cases of Censored Artwork | Artist Videos | Full report in PDF

10 June: Caught in the web: how free are we online?
The internet: free open space, wild wild west, or totalitarian state? However you view the web, in today’s world it is bringing both opportunities and threats for free expression.

22 June: Turkey vs the UK: what’s the score on free expression?
The Turkish Writers Football Club is coming to London to play the England Writers Team and the pressure is on. But it’s not just about sport. Index on Censorship is grabbing the chance to bring both sides together to debate the state of free expression in both countries.

China’s government still mute on Tiananmen
On the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests — when Chinese security forces carried out a violent crackdown on protesters occupying the legendary square in Beijing’s centre killing hundreds – Index on Censorship calls on the Chinese government to honour its constitutional commitment to free speech and to allow free access to information about the events. Sara Yasin writes (Index on Censorship)

Defamation law applies to online slanders, too
Former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke’s defamation lawsuit against 18 online commentators who falsely claimed he had an extra-marital affair with, and even fathered a child by, Rogers Sportsnet reporter Hazel Mae, is a gutsy move. (Winnipeg Free Press)

An open letter to European Commission President José Manuel Barroso
Index Award-winning Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis addresses an open letter to President Barroso. Vaxevanis is due to stand trial on 10 June for violating privacy laws in connection with the publication of the Lagarde list of alleged Greek tax evaders.(Index on Censorship)

Indian broadcasters draw bans for stepping over obscenity lines
Recent decisions by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting have raised questions about the country’s approach to broadcasting regulation. Mahima Kaul reports. (Index on Censorship)

Indian broadcasters draw bans for stepping over obscenity lines
President Michael D Higgins has warned the International Federation of Journalists’ world congress meeting in Dublin that the risk of censorship can present itself in the form of “monopolies and oligarchy”. (Irish Times)

Jordan urged to end censorship of websites
Activists, journalists and the Muslim Brotherhood have criticised the decision. (Gulf News)

‘Free My Internet’ Movement Rises in Singapore
Singapore’s new licensing scheme for news websites announced by the Media Development Authority (MDA) was quickly denounced by many netizens as a censorship measure. (Global Voices)

In Tunisia, a free speech tussle could land a professor in jail
Last year a Tunisian academic complained that a member of the constitutional drafting committee had watered down free speech protections in the document. (Christian Science Monitor)

Turkish protesters using encryption software to evade censors
Facebook and Twitter reported to have been blocked in run-up to protests, with people turning to VPNs to broadcast content (The Guardian)

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian greeted by hostile crowd at Manchester, Tenn., free speech event
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian was greeted with shouts of “traitor,” “serpent,” and calls to “resign” or “go home” Tuesday night at an event aimed at improving relations between local residents and their Muslim neighbors. (Times Free Press)

Free speech protester jailed for distributing flyer at court vows to fight
Mark Schmidter is a free man after spending 104 days in the Orange County Jail. He was convicted late last year of indirect criminal contempt by Chief Judge Belvin Perry for handing out flyers at the Orange County Courthouse in the months leading up to and during the Casey Anthony trial. He says his fight over free speech is not over. (Fox /

Artist Accuses Pentagon of Censoring Christians
The artist whose inspirational painting was removed from an Air Force dining hall because it violated military standards is accusing the Pentagon of censoring Christian art. (Red State)

Verizon Says Net Neutrality Violates Free Speech and FCC has No Authority to Make Rules
The world is changing for operators of physical communications networks, and a host of regulatory issues are literally “on the docket.” And, while the intricacies of policy-making and legal maneuvering in Washington, D.C. tend to be an insiders’ game, some issues are so impactful on the future of how all of us receive and ultimately pay for services that they command attention. Such is the case with the issue of network neutrality, which goes to the heart of who controls the content that goes on a service providers’ network. (Tech Zone 360)

Balancing free speech and accountability
President Barack Obama promised to run the most “open” and “transparent” administration in history, but his administration has developed a reputation for investigating leaks far more aggressively than even the Bush administration. (World Magazine)

Free speech: The new kryptonite for regulators?
With a fight looming over the future of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, law professor Tim Wu offers an excellent analysis of one of the most significant legal trends to emerge as supposedly conservative jurists – including some on that key appeals court – have embraced a new avenue of judicial activism: allowing corporations to use the First Amendment as a shield against regulation. (

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