Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  November 3, 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.

Bahraini Protester

An anti-government protester in Bahrain throws a molotov cocktail at riot-police during clashes at the mourning procession for murdered protester Ahmed Ismael Abdulsamad in the village of Salmabad, April 2, 2012. Photo: Zeep van der Kist

This week: Protesters in Bahrain encounter legal ban on protests; Journalists in Somalia face violent retribution; Tensions mount in Greece between free press and the right to privacy; A church in San Jose, CA stands up for banned books; Two Vietnamese musicians are sentenced to years in prison. Plus excerpts from Nobel laureate Mo Yan, who was recently profiled in Sampsonia Way.

Bahrain: Citing Violence, Bahrain Bans All Protests in New Crackdown

New York Times. “Citing recent episodes of violence, the government of Bahrain on Tuesday banned all public rallies and demonstrations, a move that drew swift condemnation from human rights groups and opposition activists who said it was intended solely to stifle criticism of the ruling monarchy.” Read Here

Amnesty International. “The Bahrain government’s ban on all rallies and gatherings in the country violates the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and must be lifted immediately.” Read Here

Church Offering Class on Literature Banned by Fremont School Board

Mercury News. A free book club that will focus on critically acclaimed literature banned by the Fremont school board began Wednesday night at an Irvington district church. Read Here

Greek Journalists Warn Over Press Freedom

The Guardian. Prominent journalist, Kostas Vaxevanis, went on trial on Monday for publishing a leaked list of about 2,000 wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, who may face investigation for tax evasion. Two TV journalists were suspended on Tuesday following “mild criticism” of a minister. Read Here

Somalia: Poet and Journalist Killed by Gunmen

BBC. Poet Warsame Shire Awale, who also worked for Radio Kulmiye, was attacked on Monday near his house. He was reportedly shot several times by unidentified gunmen and rushed to the Daru Shifa hospital, where he was declared dead. Read Here
Read IFEX Statement Here

Remembering South African Photojournalist Alf Kumalo

CPJ. “Photojournalist Alf Kumalo, whose career chronicled the inception, injustice, and demise of apartheid in South Africa, passed away on Sunday in a Johannesburg hospital at the age of 82.” Read Here


Video: eNCA, YouTube.

Rwanda: Eight-Year Sentence for Opposition Leader

allAfrica.com. In what Human Rights Watch has called a “flawed trial with politically motivated charges” opposition party leader Victoire Ingabire was found guilty of “conspiracy to undermine the established government” and “denying the genocide” last Tuesday. Read Here

Turkey: State Continues to Pressure Journalists

BBC. Turkey is currently the country with the most jailed journalists. Seventy six journalists have been jailed as of August 1. The government claims they are not “legitimate” journalists, but “propagandists” for Kurdish rebel group PPK. Such accusations have lead to journalists being tried and imprisoned under anti-terrorism laws for their reporting. Read Here

Bolivia: Radio Host Attacked On-Air

CBS News. Fernando Vidal, a former mayor and current radio host, was attacked and set on fire by three masked men on Monday. Vidal uses his radio show to denounce corruption in his city of La Paz and claims he knows who is behind the attack. He is in stable condition. Read Here

Vietnam Sentences Two Musicians to Prison Terms on Propaganda Charges

New York Times. On Tuesday a court in Vietnam has sentenced two musicians, Vo Minh Tri and Tran Vu Anh Binh, to four and six years in prison, respectively, for writing and distributing protest songs. Read Here

Sri Lanka: The Trend of Government Sponsored Violence Was Set by Sirimavo in the Seventies

Lanka Standard. An outline of the rise in government-sponsored violence and impunity against Sri Lankan press and opposition from the 1970s until today.
Read Here

Mo Yan: Excerpts from His Work

New York Times. Two weeks ago Chinese writer Mo Yan was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Here are excerpts from his novels in English: Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh, Red Sorghum, Republic of Wine, Big Breasts and Wide Hips, The Garlic Ballads, and Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out. Read Excerpts 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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