[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This week Index on Censorship took the unusual step of legally intervening in an employment appeal tribunal. As always our focus was on the core principle of free expression and protecting free speech in law. The tribunal has now concluded and has reserved judgment – we expect to learn the result in the coming months. Much will be discussed and written about in the coming days regarding the Maya Forstater tribunal, but for your information on what Index provided to the court please access our skeleton argument here.
Whatever the outcome of the Employment Appeal Tribunal the toxic nature of the current conversation on gender and trans rights is doing little to build bridges or solidarity. As promised by our Chief Executive, in the coming weeks Index will seek to provide a platform for considered debate and engagement. We plan to publish the words of those people who are being silenced and provide a space for people to highlight their lived experiences without fear or favour. So watch this space.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Our Index on Censorship winter 2019 podcast features those who are living under the leadership of “macho” men and what exactly that means for their work and lives. Guests include Richard Hine aka @RealDonalDrumpf, who discusses what it is like running a Donald Trump parody account; news editor at Vice Italy Leonardo Bianchi talks about how Italian politician Matteo Salvini uses Trump-like tactics to silence the media and especially women journalists; also speaking of women journalist harassment is Brazilian reporter Patricia Campos Mello, who discusses working in the increasingly hostile environment under Bolsonaro; and finally Hungarian journalist Viktoria Serdült discusses the surprise election victory of an opposition candidate in Budapest, and Eurovision.
In the Index on Censorship autumn 2019 podcast, we focus on how travel restrictions at borders are limiting the flow of free thought and ideas. Lewis Jennings and Sally Gimson discuss the latest issue of the magazine and reveal what to expect. Guests include trans woman and activist Peppermint, runner-up of RuPaul’s Drag Race season nine, who opens up about a transphobic experience in a Russian airport; San Diego photojournalist Ariana Drehsler talks about her detainment at a Mexican border and how this compares to a similar situation that happened in Egypt; and Steven Borowiec, a regular contributor to the magazine based in South Korea, discusses the laws surrounding the toughest border in the world.
A reader has contacted Index on Censorship to point out that the website Transhumanity.net has been blocked on his 02 phone.
We’ve checked, and he’s right — the site is blocked as “pornography”.
It’s a little difficult to see why: there’s certainly nothing I’d consider pornographic on the site.
Transhumanism is an essentially utopian concept, which believes in harnessing technology and theory to create better lives for humans, free from hunger and disease and the general biological decay to which, in the end, we all succumb.
What we can guess is causing the trouble for Transhumanity.net is discussions on gender. Transhumanity.net says it is interested in “multiplicity of genders” among other things. Which makes sense; any wide-ranging discussion about the future of humanity is going to involve discussion about the future of sexuality, gender and identity. But these topics could trigger filters merely because of the use of certain words.
This week, Culture Secretary Maria Miller will be holding meetings to discuss filtering of web content. But this case demonstrates just one problem with the current discussion in the UK: if we accept the default blocking of pornography, how do we avoid confusion between sexual content and discussions of sexuality and gender?
Let us know if you’ve had any experience of gender topics being blocked.