Freedom of Speech Roundup
In the Weekly Freedom of Speech Roundup Sampsonia Way presents some of the week’s top news on freedom of expression, journalists in danger, artists in exile, and banned literature.
This week the Shura Council in Bahrain made a step toward freedom of speech and passed an amendment to limit punishments for those who voice their opinions freely. The Ethiopian News Agency also announced plans for a 24–7 TV channel, but is awaiting government approval. Unfortunately, a Tibetan comedian was jailed and an Azerbaijani rapper was forced to flee his homeland after he was arrested and tortured by authorities. In a disturbing move, the US the House of Representatives voted to keep a provision allowing indefinite detentions for anyone suspected of “terrorism” in the language of a military policy bill. Also this week, Salman Rushdie shares his thoughts in a lecture about censorship. Below are the links to these and other relevant stories from May 16 to May 23, 2012.
Salman Rushdie’s PEN World Voices Lecture on Censorship
The New Yorker. “If the creative artist worries if he will still be free tomorrow, then he will not be free today.” Read Here
Venezuelan Journalist Shares Tips on How to Avoid Cyber-Attacks
Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. After being threatened by pro–Chávez hackers, Luis Carlos Díaz offers advice on how to secure online profiles against attacks. Read Here
Pakistan Restores Twitter After Block
BBC. The social media website was blocked for several hours because of content deemed “offensive to Islam.” Read Here
Tortured Singer Flees Azerbaijan Days before Eurovision
The Guardian. Azerbaijan singer Jamal Ali fled to Germany after being tortured by police for performing a song criticizing President Ilham Aliyev. Read Here
Human Rights Organizations have viewed his arrest as indicative of the situation of freedom of speech in Azerbaijan.
Tibetan Comedian Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
Radio Free Asia. Tibetan comedian Athar was charged with possession of concealed weapons, despite never “owning even a single bullet.” Read Here
10 Scandalous Authors from History
Huffington Post. Authors like Walt Whitman and D.H. Lawrence were fired or put on trial for publishing controversial content. Read Here
At the Ethiopian News Agency, Hope for Freer Journalism
The New York Times. The Ethiopian News Agency hopes that plans for a 24–7 TV news channel will be approved by the government. Read Here
A New Attack on the US Constitution
The New York Times. The House of Representatives voted to keep a provision allowing indefinite detention for terrorism suspects in the defense bill, despite its violation of the First and Fifth amendments. Read Here
Bahrain Passes New Law on Freedom of Speech
Trade Arabia. The Shura Council has amended Bahrain’s penal code, allowing citizens to voice their opinions without fear of extreme punishment. Read Here