Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  September 1, 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.

Jordan Internet Blackout

Many leading blogs and news websites in Jordan 'blacked out' their home pages this week with images like the one above to protest pending amendments to the Press and Publications law, which some are calling censorship in disguise.

Below Sampsonia Way presents some of the top news on freedom of expression, censorship, literature, and journalists in danger for the week of August 23-29.

Jordan Web ‘Blackout’ Protest Targets Alleged Censorship

Los Angeles Times. On Wednesday August 29, some leading Jordanian blogs and online news sites changed their home pages to a black screen in protest against proposed changes in Jordanian laws that social media and free-press advocates call censorship under the cover of anti-pornography legislation. Read Here

When is Government Web Censorship Justified? An Indian Horror Story

The Atlantic. “A swirl of unfounded rumors” spread via social media ignited religious violence in India, displacing 300,000 and killing 80. Read Here

Ecuador’s Crusade for Assange is all about Power

Stabroek News. Emilio Palacio, the former leading columnist of Ecuador’s daily El Universo, which President Correa sued for libel earlier this year, weighs in on the implications of Julian Assange’s asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy. Read Here

Chronicler of Africa’s Revolutionary Movements and Revolutionaries: Remembering Heidi Holland

The Daily Maverick. South African investigative journalist Heidi Holland (1947-2012) is remembered for her courageous work, including books about Nelson Mandella and the African National Congress, Robert Mugabe, and The Colour of Murder, a true crime investigation of racism and violence in South Africa. Read Here

Read an Excerpt from Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power

Democracy Now. Read the first chapter of Seth Rosenfeld’s new book Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals and Reagan’s Rise to Power, which reveals that the FBI tried to disrupt the 1964 Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, helping to ignite an era of protest and to launch Ronald Reagan’s political career. Read the Excerpt Here


Investigative journalist Seth Rosenfeld talks with Democracy Now about his new book, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, and Free Speech Movement leader and student activist Mario Savio.

Local Press Targeted and Harassed in Ivory Coast

CPJ. The state-run National Press Council suspended the daily Le Temps on August 3 for 20 editions in connection with a July 24 article that it said defamed President Alassane Ouattara. On Sunday morning, a group of armed men attacked the offices of the Cyclone Media Group, which publishes Le Temps, assaulted a security guard, set a room on fire, and stole several computers. Read Here

Censorship in the Internet Age

The Guardian. In a speech he gave at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference author and journalist Patrick Ness challenges the West’s “fearless” writers to think about whether or not they censor themselves for acceptance. Read Here

Egypt: A Cultural Request, the Muslim Brotherhood Responds

Al Bawaba. Hundreds of Egyptian intellectuals, artists, writers and politicians gathered on August 23 in Talaat Harb Square to protest moves by the government–such as their increased control of the media–that are seen as antagonistic to freedoms. Read Here

Ikhwanweb. On Sunday August 26 Egyptian magazine El-Hilal organized a symposium on culture and the arts in Muslim Brotherhood thought that was attended by Egyptian writers, professors, a filmmaker, and a member of Egypt’s upper house of parliament. Read the Conversation Here

PEN Announces Recipients of 2012 PEN Literary Awards

PEN American Center. This year, PEN will present 18 awards—including two new awards: the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, and the PEN/Steven Kroll Award for text in an illustrated picture book. Read the List Here

Why Chinese Netizens are Calling Koreans “Lucky”

Tea Leaf Nation. On August 23, judges in South Korea ruled the country’s controversial real name internet registration system unconstitutional, a move hailed as a victory by free speech advocates and many Chinese netizens. Read Here

Captured Turkish Journalist Appears on Syrian TV

Reuters. A Turkish cameraman, missing while reporting from Syria, appeared in an interview with a pro-government Syrian television channel on Monday, saying he had been seized by Syrian soldiers in Aleppo. 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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