Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  December 8, 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.

Egypt December 4

Protesters marching into Korba, Heliopolis, besieging the presidential palace, Dec. 4, 2012 (Creative Commons).

Censorship from on high? Egypt’s lowly media hacks turn the tables

Albwaba News Egyptian media creates “blackout” to protest lack of rights for the press in the proposed constitution. Read here

Chinese Media Retreat After Reports of Unexpected ‘Black Jail’ Verdict

The New York Times.The state-run media announced that citizens had been illegally detained for attempting to lodge complaints against the government and then try to pretend they never published the story. Read here

Iranian Writers, Poets Call For End To Book Censorship

Payvand Iran News. Intellectuals say that Iranian publishing practices are unnecessarily restrictive for the 21st century. Read here

Ecuador’s President Receives Free Speech Award

Foreign Policy. In what international free speech organizations have seen as a controversial move, Argentina’s Universidad Nacional de La Plata has awarded Rafael Correa the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for enabling the “poor and marginalized sectors of society” to express themselves. Read here

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng appeals to CPC to protect human rights; his nephew found guilty of assault

Hindustan Times
“Blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng, whose dramatic escape from house arrest grabbed world headlines in April, has appealed to China’s new Communist leader Xi Jinping to carry out reforms and defend human rights.” Read here

The Washington Post “Chen Kegui, the nephew of blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng, was sentenced Friday to 39 months in prison for injuring government officials who stormed into his home while searching for his uncle, who had fled house arrest.” Read here

Speak for Justice


Committe to Protect Journalists just launched its campaign against impunity. Take a look here

Vietnamese Director Slams Government Censorship at Hanoi Film Festival

The Hollywood Reporter. In this interview Phan Dang Di talks about his career as a filmmaker in Vietnam, the obstacles he faces in getting a film produced, and how censorship is affecting the country’s burgeoning film industry. Read here

U.S. Colleges Have Free Speech “On the Run”

The Washington Post. George Will analyzes freedom of speech laws at universities—Brandeis, Tufts, University of Wisconsin-Madison—and how they’ve been used to punish students, professors, and newspapers. Read here

The Washington Post. After a joke flyer (albeit, in questionable taste) was distributed on Harvard’s campus, it sparked a “hyper-sensitive” reaction from the university’s administration, causing debate about the meaning of “free speech” at the school. Read here

British Newspapers Agree to Regulator

The New York Times “The editors of Britain’s principal national newspapers met Wednesday under pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron and agreed to the establishment of an independent newspaper regulator with far greater powers than those available to the existing watchdog.” Read here

Chinese Film Studio Boss Yu Dong Calls for Censorship Reform

The Hollywood Reporter. According to Yu, the government’s restrictions are hurting the growing Chinese film industry: Not only are the regulations detrimental economically, but censorship is causing self-imitation in domestic films. Read here

Internet Regulations to be discussed at the ITU: How Will They Affect Free Speech?

“This month the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) will meet in Dubai to discuss the future of the internet privacy, freedom of expression, and protection for individuals from governments. Will this ensure internet freedom for all, or create laws that curtail users’ rights?”

The Huffington Post. “This ITU conference is potentially dangerous because it has real authority. The Internet exists in its current form under the auspices of an ITU treaty, and many of the conference’s participants want that treaty amended to give themselves greater control…In general, expect continued clashes about online freedom of speech.” Read here

CNN. The ITU conference “is our chance to chart a globally-agreed roadmap to connect the unconnected, while ensuring there is investment to create the infrastructure needed for the exponential growth in voice, video and data traffic.” 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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