Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  November 10, 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.

Green Party nominee Jill Stein speaks at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. In an interview this week she spoke about the censorship inherent in the U.S.'s two-party political system. Photo: Paul Stein.

“Free expression is the life blood of a political system” An Interview with Jill Stein

Index on Censorship. Green Party nominee Jill Stein talks about censorship in the U.S. Presidential Election, her experience being arrested outside of a presidential debate, her subsequent detainment, and why freedom of expression is essential for the democratic process. Read here.

Bahrain Revokes Citizenships of 31 People

AlJazeera. After the Bahraini government banned all protests and gatherings in the name of state security late last month a spate of bombings occurred in the capital on Monday. On Wednesday the names of 31 people—including two cabinet members—were published in an official report. Read here.

The Dark Side of Free Speech

Huffington Post. When Twitter user @ComfortablySmug posted bogus tweets about the extent of Cyclone Sandy’s damage to New York City his 140-character fictions were picked up by CNN, Reuters, and the Weather Channel, causing near-panic. Columnist Grace Nasri discusses the legal ambiguity of the offense. Read here.

Cuba: Outrage, disbelief over latest dissident arrests

GlobalPost. Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez was arrested and released on Thursday. She was arrested along with about 20 other political activists protesting the detainment of Cuban lawyer Yaremis Flores. Read here.


Video: Footage posted to YouTube by Hablemos Press allegedly showing Cuban authorities detaining Yoani Sanchez.

Egypt: Satirical Play Targeted by Censors

Daily News Egypt. After director Mohamed El Sharkawy was instructed to remove political content pertaining to the current Egyptian government from his new play he warned, “censorship is not only back, but … it could be worse than it was before…” Read here.

China: Hacks into Twitter and Censors it Ahead of Chinese Communist Election

Policy Mic. On Thursday Twitter informed an unknown number of its users that that their accounts “may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter.” Many of the users are located on the Chinese mainland, though some French users also received the notification. Read here.

American Jailed for Insulting Thailand’s King says Law Holds Country Back

Washington Post. Joe Gordon, a Thai-born American, was imprisoned for 14 months this year for violating Thailand’s lese majeste law when he posted a translated text of the biography The King Never Smiles. Now released, he speaks out about his experience and Thailand’s climate of repressed speech. Read here.

Tashi Rabten Writes a Letter from Prison

High Peaks Pure Earth. Rabten, a Tibetan writer, editor, and poet, disappeared in 2009. In 2011 he was sentenced to four years in prison. In this letter he writes, “Here, although our bodies are like corpses confined in the darkness, our thoughts resemble gold and are always shining brightly.” He also asks for more books to read. Read here.

Costa Rica: Journalists Could Now Face 10 Years in Prison for Publishing “Political Secrets”

Inside Costa Rica. A new law dubbed the “Gag law” was passed into immediate effect on Tuesday, punishing the publication, search and access of personal information with four to 10 years in prison. Jose Rodolfo Ibarra, president of the Journalists Association, said that the passage of the law effectively ends the freedom of expression for journalists. Read Here


Jose Rodolfo Ibarra, president of the Costa Rica Journalists Association, speaks out about the passage of the “Gag law.” Video: YouTube user ColegioPeriodistasCR.

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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