Freedom of Speech Roundup
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.
‘Knees Trembling’ Blogger Yoani Sanchez Leaves Cuba
Deutsche Welle. After 20 failed attempts to obtain a passport, Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez was finally granted permission to leave the Island this week. She embarks on a “world tour” over the next 80 days, with stops in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, the United States, Spain, Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic. Read here.
Azerbaijan: Writer Buckling Under Strain of Literary Controversy
EurasiaNet. Since writer Akram Aylisli published his latest book, Stone Dreams, in Azerbaijan last December, a “hate campaign” against him is underway. Among other actions, his books have been burned and a $12,000 reward has been promised to the individual who cuts off the author’s ear. The 75 year-old writer is considering political asylum abroad. Read here.
Mexico: Facebook Page Draws Attention for Posts on Security Risks
Los Angeles Times. A Facebook page in Mexico has notched tens of thousands of followers for posting detailed but unconfirmed updates on security risks in the drug-war hot zone of Tamaulipas state. Now, purported assassins have declared a bounty on the head of the page’s anonymous administrator. Read here.
Al Jazeera. In many parts of the world, journalism is a profession under murderous assault. Nowhere has this been more true than in the Middle East in recent years. Figures compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists show an increase in the deaths of reporters covering the region, with 30 journalists killed in 2012 in Syria alone. Read here.
Egypt Struggles to Define Free Speech
Voice of America. Novelist Alaa el-Aswany is skeptical about the condition of free speech in Egypt. She believes that sense of freedom is illusory, with the government of President Mohamed Morsi pursuing its own agenda. Read here.
Iran’s Skepticism of Foreign Media
Washington Post. Three weeks after authorities arrested several Iranian journalists, saying they had been illegally working for foreign media without government permission, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence issued a statement saying three of the journalists had been freed on bail. The case reveals the unique nature of Iranian journalism, which is more complicated than it may sometimes appear from the outside. Read here.
Turkey: ‘World’s Biggest Prison’ For Media
Al Jazeera. He is just one example of the 76 journalists serving time in Turkish prisons last year: Ragip Zarakolu is a publisher and journalist who has been charged with crimes against the state over 70 different times; last year he spent six months in a high-security prison for terrorism charges related to books and articles he produced with his own company, Belge Publishing House. Read here.
Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian-American Activist, on The Power Of Protest
Huffington Post. An interview with Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian woman who juggles many titles: Feminist, award-winning writer, media personality and activist. Since last September she is also known as the woman who was arrested for vandalizing an anti-Islam subway sign in New York City that compared Muslims to “savages.” Read here.
DRC Journalist Jailed After Story On Chinese-Run Hospital
CPJ. Joachim Diana Gikupa, the editor of private Congolese newspaper La Colombe, was convicted of criminal defamation after publishing a report that alleged the sale of expired medication, among other things, by a Chinese company that managed a local hospital. Read here.