Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  March 2, 2013  / 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.

Bhumibol Adulyadej

Bhumibol Adulyadej, the king of Thailand, is a subject journalists cannot touch. Photo: Marshall Segal via Flickr.

Thailand: Where Insulting Royalty Will Put You in Jail

Index on Censorship. An editor was last month sentenced to 11 years in prison, for “defaming” the country’s king. Geoffrey Cain reports on how Thailand’s lèse majesté laws have chilled free speech. Read here.

The Future of the Novel

The Guardian. An edited version of İnci Aral’s keynote speech at the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference. The Turkish writer believes that, despite the social and commercial pressures, the appetite for and importance of the novel is undiminished. Read here.

Chinese Dissidents Call for Freedom of Speech

Global Post. An open letter signed by prominent Chinese academics and activists calls on Beijing to ratify an international human rights treaty. Read here.

African Journalism Stifled by a Lack of Resources

The Guardian. Simon Allison, a reporter for the Guardian Africa Network, explains how the disparity of funding and support causes one of the continent’s biggest problems for journalists and activists: “Africa is not allowed to tell its own stories.” Read here.

Egypt Crowd Sources Censorship

Fast Company. A new web page created by the Egypt’s National Telecommunications Registry Agency, allows citizens to report blasphemous websites (Arabic-language links) by posting an offending URL to be reviewed by the government. Read here.

VIDEO: New Radio Program Focuses on Latin America


Democracy Now! Radio Ambulante, a new monthly Spanish-language radio program, aims to share untold stories surrounding immigration and social justice from Latin America and the United States using a network of journalists.

Sri Lanka Media Freedom Faces Downward Spiral

Huffington Post. The recent shooting of an investigative reporter and citizens’ arrests of a BBC film crew covering an extremist rally point to a continuing trend of curtailed media in the country, which has been affected by self-censorship, impunity in the murders and assaults of journalists, and government censorship. Read here.

Writing with a Burning Quill: On Pakistani Fiction

The Millions. While no one denies that Pakistan is in a dire state, Pakistani fiction writers are working at making sense of the country, with subtlety, nuance, and colorful tales far beyond the reach of the foreign correspondent. Read here.

Media Freedom Still Murky in Myanmar

Global Voices. Myanmar’s decision to dissolve its notorious censorship board was praised by many as a step forward in promoting media freedom in the country. But threats, difficulties, and attacks have continued for Myanmar-based journalists throughout the past year. Read here.

Vietnam: Journalist Critical of Party Boss Fired

Bloomberg Businessweek. In a public debate over possible revisions to the country’s constitution, journalist Nguyen Dac Kien blogged in favor of multiparty elections and called out government corruption. He was fired from his job at a state-run paper the next day. Read here.

The Y to my ABC: Why Yoani Sanchez Matters to Me as an American Born Cuban

Huffington Post. “As the daughter of Cuban immigrants, I’ve wanted to reach Cuba in some way for as long as I can remember. … When Sanchez came around, and started writing her blog, and initiated the blogger academy in Cuba, I thought: this changes everything. For the better.” 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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