Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  August 11, 2012  / No comments

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.

Lydia Cacho

Lydia Cacho presenting her book Esclavas del poder (Slaves of Power), 2010. From going undercover dressed as a nun or pole dancer to speaking directly to child victims as young as four, the journalist has doggedly collected evidence of a rampant sex slave trade in Mexico. Because of her quest, Cacho has been kidnapped, then imprisoned, and is still facing constant death threats. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

In this week’s Freedom of Speech Roundup, a prominent investigative journalist has fled Mexico after her digging turned up a death threat. An American photojournalist speaks on a confrontation with the police, and an Ethiopian satirist talks about the troubles journalists face in his country.

The news isn’t all bad. Myanmar’s media censors have agreed to lift suspensions on two weekly magazines. Follow the links below to read about these free-speech stories and others for the week of August 10th, 2012.

Mexico must Investigate Threat against Lydia Cacho

Committee to Protect Journalists. Investigative journalist Lydia Cacho has fled Mexico after new death threats against her. Read here.

Big Ideas. Watch a conversation between Lydia Cacho and Sydney-based journalist Mara Moustafine here.

One Spy for Every Person – Exiled Ethiopian Satirist Abebe Tolla

Huffington Post. Abebe Tolla was a satirist for Feteh newspaper in Ethiopia. He fled the country in November 2011, fearing imprisonment in retaliation for his critical news commentaries. Read about his experience in his own words.

Myanmar Censors Lift Ban on 2 Magazines

Bloomberg. Myanmar’s media censors have agreed to lift suspensions on two weekly magazines. The Press Scrutiny Board summoned editors from The Voice Weekly and Envoy magazines and informed them they could resume publishing on August 18. Read here.

Election Corruption Grave Threat to Pakistan’s Media.

Committee to Protect Journalists. Millions of dollars of Pakistani government funds are allegedly being paid to high-profile journalists and media houses with the aim of influencing mainstream media’s role in the upcoming election, to be held February 2013 at the latest. Read here.

The People’s Republic of Rumor and The Mechanics of China’s Internet Censorship

The New York Review of Books. The Chinese blogosphere describes the flood itself, and suggests that, once again, Chinese officials were striving to downplay the scope of a disaster in order to avoid public dissatisfaction. Read here.

Index on Censorship. The recent storm in Beijing, which killed at least 77 people, caused the internet censors to come out in force. The obvious question is, what are the mechanics of China’s internet censorship? Read here.

Belarusians Can’t Protest to Support Jailed Nobel Prize Nominee, But You Can

Index on Censorship. One year after human rights activist Ales Bialiatski was arrested and jailed on politically-motivated charges, Index on Censorship asks you to take action in solidarity. Read here.

Pussy Riot versus the Religarchy

Index on Censorship. What exactly makes people think Pussy Riot are most likely to trigger change? Read here


Pop legend Madonna, who is in Moscow ahead of a concert, has said that a jail sentence for the three women from the anti-Putin band Pussy Riot would be a tragedy.

We Need to Talk about Islam

Index on Censorship. Fearing extremists’ violent reactions to the publication of books deemed to be offensive to Islam, many publishers have thought twice about what they release. Author of Alom Shaha says it’s time to discuss faith properly. Read here.

Freedom of speech still a distant dream in Tunisia.

The National. After the Nationwide elections in October 2011, journalists and bloggers were fined and jailed, the new laws were subject to review and the head of the media reform body resigned. Read here.

Times Photographer Roughed Up by New York Police Department

New York Magazine. Robert Stolarik — the New York Times photographer who was arrested and allegedly assaulted by police over the weekend — spoke out against the NYPD in an interview about the ordeal. Read here.

Honduras: One of The World’s Deadliest Places For Journalists

International Business Times. A Honduran journalist has sought asylum at the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa, following an attack on his home by two gunmen last Friday. Read here.

MPJD Caravan will Highlight Failed Drug War and Victims on Both Sides of the Border

Huffington Post. A letter from Javier Sicilia, one of Mexico’s most highly regarded poets and the leader of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD). His son, Juan Francisco, was murdered last year in a cartel-related crime. 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.

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