Free expression in the news
Is the EU heading in the right direction on digital freedom? Media freedom is on the decline in the Balkans, Turkey. Cyber attacks on civil society in Vietnam and more.
21 Jun 13

Is the EU heading in the right direction on digital freedom?
While in principle the EU supports freedom of expression, it has often put more emphasis on digital competitiveness and has been slow to prioritise and protect digital freedom, Brian Pellot, digital policy advisor at Index on Censorship writes in this policy paper
(Index on Censorship)

HRW: ‘No Space for Political Dissent’ in Bahrain
New laws and lengthy jail terms for activists have put freedom of association in Bahrain under severe threat, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

Facebook and freedom of speech
The parliament of Bangladesh on June 11 passed the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2013 which will allow the courts to accept videos, still photographs and audio clips used in Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and other social media for trial cases.
(Dhaka Tribune)

Film industry players told to instil patriotism, cultural values
Film industry players have been urged to instil the values of patriotism and culture in their products to educate society.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this was in order to change the perception of society towards the values of culture and nationhood.
(The Borneo Post)

Brazil’s president meets protests with an anti-Erdogan response
Protests have popped up across the globe in recent years, but government response has varied. Rousseff’s approach contrasted with the adversarial position of Turkey’s Erdogan, for example.
(Christian Science Monitor)

BC Supreme Court rejects Zesty’s comedian appeal
The BC Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the BC Human Rights Tribunal which found that Lorna Pardy’s complaint against comedian Guy Earle and the owners of Zesty’s restaurant was justified.

Media: freedom has declined in West Balkans, Turkey
Freedom of the media has declined in the past two years in the Balkans and in Turkey, OSCE Representative Dunja Mijatovic said at the EU ”Speak Up!” conference on Freedom of Expression here today.
(Ansa Med)

Defamation against FCT Minister: Kaduna-based Publisher Risks N5b Libel Suit
FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed has served notice of his intention to slam a Five Billion Naira (N5,000,000,000:00) on the Kaduna based Desert Herald newspaper and its publisher, Alhaji Tukur Mamu for defamation and libel following series of damaging publications against him by Mamu through his newspaper and two others. Similarly, the Director of Treasury of FCT Administration, Alhaji Ibrahim Bomai through the same solicitors has threatened to institute a Two Billion Naira (N2,000,000,000:00) against Mamu for the same offence of defamation and libel.
(Spy Ghana)

“The ferociousness of the censorship made Ireland a laughing stock”
Diarmaid Ferriter discusses the widespread censorship of publications in Ireland during the 20th century
(NewsTalk 106-108FM)

Blasphemy Charges Over Election Posters – Political Party Officials Could Face Death Penalty
Libyan judicial authorities should immediately drop all criminal charges that violate freedom of speech over election poster cartoons against two Libyan National Party officials. Under the laws being applied in this case, the men could face the death penalty over posters their party displayed during the 2012 election campaign for the General National Congress.
(All Africa)

Will Mexico’s plans for reducing violence mean anything for journalists?
Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, promised that tackling crime and drug-related violence is a priority for his six-month-old government. While improving safety is important, Peña Nieto must also remember that protecting journalists and human rights workers must go beyond words, says Sara Yasin
(Index on Censorship)

Zanzibar Legislators Call for National Unity Govt Self-Censorship
A LEGISLATOR of the Zanzibar House of Representatives, Mr Omar Ali Shehe (CUF), has said Zanzibaris were unhappy with the performance of the Government of National Unity (GNU), formed jointly between Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) and CUF two-and-half years ago.
(All Africa)

How Tunisia is Turning Into a Salafist Battleground
An interview with a professor who was attacked for standing up for secularism.
(The Atlantic)

Şanar Yurdatapan on Turkey: ‘Things will never be the same again’
In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the IFEX General Meeting and Strategy Conference 2013, Index Director of Campaigns and Policy Marek Marczynski spoke with 2002 Index on Censorship award winner Şanar Yurdatapan, a composer and song writer who campaigns against the prosecution of publishers by the Turkish authorities. Yurdatapan shared his views on the events sweeping Turkey
(Index on Censorship)

The end of Britain’s social media prosecutions?
Keir Starmer’s new guidelines aim to minimise controversial criminal cases against Twitter and Facebook users. But will they work, asks Padraig Reidy
(Index on Censorship)

Psychic wins libel case over claim she duped Dublin audience
The publisher of the Daily Mail has agreed to pay “substantial” damages to a psychic after an article suggested she had “perpetrated a scam” on a Dublin theatre audience.
(Irish Times)

Government to propose new free speech clause for marriage supporters
Government ministers are expected to announce new proposals to offer more protection in law for those who express the view that marriage can only be between one man and one woman.
(Christian Concern)

Supreme Court upholds free speech for groups fighting AIDS
The Supreme Court rejects a federal law that requires organizations to announce anti-prostitution policies in order to receive funding.
(Los Angeles Times)

L. Brent Bozell III: Media coverage shows ‘anti-gay’ view censorship
The media elites have never been less interested in objectivity than they are right now on “gay marriage.” They don’t wear rainbow flags on their lapels when they appear on television, but the coverage speaks for itself.

Student wins free-speech lawsuit against teacher
A Michigan teacher who kicked a student out of class after the teen made a comment against homosexuality during a high school anti-bullying day was ordered to pay $1 for violating his free speech rights.
(Associated Press via

No Sympathy For Media Just Now Realizing Obama ‘A Serious Threat’ To Free Speech
On Thursday, conservative columnist Michelle Malkin joined Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy where she dug into the ongoing scandals and controversies that have engulfed President Barack Obama’s administration. Malkin noted that some in the media who had previously supported the president are now more leery of the administration.

Fair Trade Music Project Speaks Out for Silenced Songwriters
Following the success of the World Creators Summit held in Washington, DC, June 4-5, the Music Creators North America (spearheading the Fair Trade Music Project) took another step toward defending the rights of creators.
(Herald Online)

Planned Parenthood says Kansas abortion law violates doctors’ free speech rights
Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Thursday over a new Kansas law requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions that they’re ending the life of a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
(The Washington Post)

UCF Professor Accused of ‘Hate Speech Toward Islam’
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has filed a complaint against a University of Central Florida (UCF) professor, who they claim is teaching that Muslims are taught to hate “from the cradle.” According to The Raw Story, CAIR referenced a seminar held by Professor Jonathan Matusitz in January, which included “inaccurate information, anti-Muslim bigotry and hostility in the form of hate speech toward Islam and Muslims.”
(Ring of Fire)

EU-US trade talks won’t exclude film, culture: US envoy
The US ambassador to the European Union insisted Thursday that Europe’s film and cultural industry will not be totally excluded from upcoming talks on striking the world’s biggest free trade deal.

Access submits UPR report on Vietnam: Cyber attacks on civil society a key concern
Access has partnered with ARTICLE 19, PEN International, and English PEN on a joint submission on Vietnam to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The submission focuses on the lack of improvement of human rights, specifically freedom of expression, in Vietnam since the last UPR in 2009, and highlights the Vietnamese government’s troubling response to the recent increase in cyber attacks against civil society.

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