Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  June 16, 2012  / 1 Comment

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.

Ray Bradbury

As a tribute to Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) Sampsonia Way presents an essay he wrote on censorship. Photo: 90.9 WBUR

This week brings good news for the progression of freedom of speech online. Two American human rights groups have merged to form Advancing Human Rights, a group with the directive of aiding online activists in authoritarian nations. Also, non–profit organization Witness has established a channel on Youtube to help expose human rights violations. Less promising was the death of Syrian filmmaker Bassel Shahade and the life imprisonment of Kyrgyzstan investigative reporter Azimjon Askarov for a crime he didn’t commit.

Also of note, Aung San Suu Kyi will be visiting nations in Europe, where she will be able to claim the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to her in 1991. Below are links to these and other relevant stories from June 6 to June 13, 2012.

Censoring Ray Bradbury

Cato@Liberty. “‘There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”’ Read Here

You’ve Got State–Sponsored Mail!

The New Yorker. In an effort to fight cyber threats, Google has been warning journalists and activists when state–sponsored attackers may be compromising their accounts. Read Here

In Kyrgyzstan, Injustice and Torture in Askarov Case

CPJ. Azimjon Askarov, an investigative reporter and human rights activist, is currently serving a life sentence after being falsely convicted of murdering a police officer. Read Here

Info Bill Delay Looms

IOL News. South Africa’s department of state security rejected ANC’s proposed amendments to the Protection of State Information Bill. Read Here

Syrian Filmmaker Who Appeared on Democracy Now! Killed in Homs While Training Local Activists

Democracy Now!. Bassel Shahade’s friends told Democracy Now! that his family was prevented from attending a service for him “when a huge amount of security men surrounded the area and regime supporters staged a pro-regime demonstration.” Read Here


Democracy Now’s 2011 interview with Bassel Shahade.

News: Mexico G20 – Open Letter to Journalists

PEN International. PEN International asks journalists covering the G20 summit to “raise the issue of the violence suffered by journalists and writers in Mexico, and of the impunity enjoyed by those who commit these crimes.” Read Here

Groups to Help Online Activists in Authoritarian Countries

Pittsburgh Post–Gazette. “‘We will be trying to say to people in closed societies that we will do everything we can to give you a voice.’” Read Here

Witness to Violence? Youtube Launches “Human Rights” Channel

Daily Bhaskar. Witness, a non–profit organization, created a channel that it hopes will “emerge as a platform where telling evidence of human rights violence can be uploaded and shared with the rest of the world.” Read Here

Burmese Democracy Leader Set for Triumphant Return to Europe

The New York Times. After 15 years of house arrest, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will finally be able to receive her Nobel Peace Prize. Read Here

In Turkey the Right to Free Speech is Being Lost

The Guardian. “AKP’s crackdown on dissent, on basic freedoms of speech and expression, has gone beyond all civilized norms.” Read Here

Pakistan: Attacks on Journalists and Rights Defenders

Scoop Independent News. Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan Director at Human Rights Watch, weighs in on the state’s involvement in the murder of journalists and human rights defenders. Read Here

Tibet: Prominent Singer Detained

UNPO. Chinese authorities arrested and detained handicapped singer Phulchung who was “accused of recording songs praising exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and highlighting the hardships of life under Beijing’s rule.” Read Here

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

View all articles by Sampsonia Way

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