Free expression in the news
#DONTSPYONME Tell Europe’s leaders to stop mass surveillance #dontspyonme Index on Censorship launches a petition calling on European Union Heads of Government to stop the US, UK and other governments from carrying out mass surveillance. We want to use public pressure to ensure Europe’s leaders put on the record their opposition to mass surveillance. They […]
02 Aug 13

Tell Europe’s leaders to stop mass surveillance #dontspyonme
Index on Censorship launches a petition calling on European Union Heads of Government to stop the US, UK and other governments from carrying out mass surveillance. We want to use public pressure to ensure Europe’s leaders put on the record their opposition to mass surveillance. They must place this issue firmly on the agenda for the next European Council Summit in October so action can be taken to stop this attack on the basic human right of free speech and privacy.
(Index on Censorship)

Groups call for EU action against mass surveillance
Recent revelations of American and British mass surveillance of digital communications have triggered an intense mobilization of European free speech and civil liberties organizations, which have launched an online petition calling on leaders of the European Union to halt the practice.

As France Legalizes Insulting the President, Remember the Censorship Laws That Spurred Online Free Speech Culture
As noted at Reason 24/7, France just legalized insulting the head of state, rescinding a stricture on free speech that dates to 1881 and continued to be enforced within recent years (though it was finally overruled in March by the European Court of Human Rights).

You’ve been warned! Egypt censorship body out to get “Adult Only” Ramadan dramas
To avoid issues with Egypt’s censorship board, producers of Ramadan’s televised drama series dubbed their work “Adult Only,” intended for those over the age of 18. However, Egypt’s censorship board maintains that the drama industry does not have special regulations regarding age, and as such the airing of series under an “Adult Only” label is itself a violation, censorship board head Abdel-Sattar Fathy told Al-Ahram’s Arabic website.
(Al Bawaba)

Freedom of speech curbed amidst ‘strange’ BJP atmosphere
Congress leader Rajeev Shukla has asked people of the country to be wary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by suggesting that the opposition party’s recent behavior is a threat to the fundamental right to freedom of speech.
(Business Standard)

Limiting access to social media can limit an individual’s freedom of speech: Facebook
In its counter-affidavit to the PIL in the Delhi high court, Facebook has argued that limiting access to social media can limit an individual’s freedom of speech and expression. The PIL, among other things, deals with the issue of minors accessing Facebook services, arguing that under the Indian Contract Act 1872, minors can’t enter into a contract. The PIL will be heard next on Friday.
(Times of India)

If Snowden really wants to learn Russian…
Edward Snowden’s Russian lawyer says his clientwants to start learning Russian. Now that the American whistleblower has finally left Sheremetyevo airport for “temporary asylum” in Russia, he might find himselfiz ognya da v polymya –out of the frying pan and into the fire.
(Human Rights Watch)

Rwanda adopts anti-genocide law
Rwanda’s upper house on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill amending a law against “genocide ideology” that had been criticised as muzzling free speech and suppressing opposition.

Tunisia political quake: Protest-hit rulers struggle to save what they can
Presidency and Islamist-led government start talks with opposition and civil society representatives to try to defuse country’s political crisis.
(Middle East Online)

UK govt sidles towards censorship
The UK government, under the leadership of David Cameron, is on the brink of mandating nationwide censorship, requiring Internet service providers to filter, block and report on all citizens’ browsing habits, starting with pornography. The UK will join a growing number of countries which actively censor the Internet, including most Arab states, China, and Australia.
(IT Web)

Model Rhian Sugden blasts plan to cover up sexy lads’ mags covers
MODEL Rhian Sugden has spoken out about proposals to ban “lads’ mags” from supermarket shelves. Rhian, from Radcliffe, says the country is going “censorship crazy” adding: “If you don’t like it, don’t look at it.”
(The Bolton News)

UK and China Not Such Strange Bedfellows in War on Porn
Not long after David Cameron announced the UK’s remarkable proposals to block and ban online pornography, commentators were quick to point out similarities with what has been common practice in China. One Twitter user even came up with the term “Hadrian’s Firewall,” echoing the metaphor of the “Great Firewall” so often employed in media reports about China.
(Huffington Post)

Twitter trolls drive internet free speech debate in Britain
If Twitter is the chirping chatterbox of the Internet, trolls are its dark underground denizens.
(AP via Newsday)

New Proposal Could Singlehandedly Cripple Free Speech Online
The Internet has evolved into a true marketplace for every idea – if you can think of it, you can find it on the web. That the online world has blossomed into this virtual town square teeming with diverse content is no accident. It is largely a creation of federal law – specifically, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1998. Section 230 is directly responsible for the free, messy, uncensored, and often brilliant culture of online speech.

Ninth Circuit Rules That Celebrity “Rights” Trump Free Speech
Should a minor celebrity’s right to wring every drop he can from his fame trump the right to create a realistic work? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals put its thumb on the scales today, issuing a terrible decision holding that a celebrity’s right of publicity is more important than any First Amendment right to depict real people in a video game. This ruling follows closely on the heels of a similar decision from the Third Circuit and threatens a wide range of speech—such as biographies and documentaries—which seeks to realistically depict famous people.

Free Speech is Not Only About Common Good
The Supreme Court was widely criticized for ruling in Citizens United that political spending by corporations is indeed a form of protected speech under the First Amendment.
(Northwestern University)

Thanks to NSA Surveillance, Americans Are More Worried About Civil Liberties Than Terrorism
Last week’s narrow House vote against the Amash Amendment, which was aimed at stopping the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records, reflects a narrow split among the general public.

Google Pressure Cookers and Backpacks, Get a Visit from the Feds
Michele Catalano was looking for information online about pressure cookers. Her husband, in the same time frame, was Googling backpacks. Wednesday morning, six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their house to see if they were terrorists. Which prompts the question: How’d the government know what they were Googling?
(The Atlantic)

UMass Chancellor: Campus Leaders Must Encourage Debate, Not Censorship
Far too often, college administrators fail to recognize the value of free speech in education and instead take action to censor students’ protected expression. However, Kumble Subbaswamy, Chancellor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, commendably advocated for free speech in a recent article for The Huffington Post.

Training Camp Day 8: Free speech is not free
Just dropped my alto saxophone player off at band camp and was listening to guys on Sirius XM NFL radio.
They were talking about Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper getting fined for making a racial slur at the Kenny Chesney concert.
(Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Reporters Without Borders regards a new law on blogs and social networks – announced on July 31st and due to take effect in september – as a gross violation of the right to inform and be informed. Known as Decree 72, the law restricts the use of blogs and social networks to “providing or exchanging personal information” and bans using them to share information from news sources.

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