Freedom of Speech Roundup

by Sampsonia Way    /  March 9, 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.

Maziar Bahari

International demonstration for the release of Iranian journalists, including filmmaker Maziar Bahari who was detained for 118 days in 2009. Last month Bahari released a memoir detailing his time in prison. Photo: Steve Rhodes, via Flickr.

Maziar Bahari’s memoir: Then They Came for Me

The Guardian. In 2009 Iranian filmmaker Maziar Bahari was imprisoned and tortured in the country’s notorious Evin prison. Then They Came for Me is Bahari’s written account of Iran’s 2009 disputed election and his 118 days of incarceration. Read Here.

China: Censorship’s Many Faces

New York Times. For censorship in China, the primary factors are often economic, not political. Editors are under pressure to make the biggest profit they can. Even if a book carries some risks, an editor will take the gamble if there’s a chance it’ll be a best seller. However, television, film, and newspapers have different sets of rules… Read Here.

Myanmar Media Groups Say Draft Legislation Marks a Return to Censorship

 Eleven Myanmar. Journalist organizations, including the Press Council, have objected to the Ministry of Information’s recent draft of a new press bill. Press organizations say the legislation violates the right to free publication guaranteed by the Constitution and is designed to manipulate the media and control printing and publishing. Read Here.

Mexico: Two Reporters Killed, Cases Unlikely to be Solved

LA Times. Regina Martinez, investigative reporter for the magazine Proceso, was found dead last weekend. Throughout her career, Martinez reported on organized crime and corruption. She is at least the fourth journalist killed in Veracruz since 2010. Read Here.

Narcotrafficker Blog. A day after Regina Martinez’s body was found, Jaime Gonzalez Dominguez, the editor of the news website Ojinaga Noticias, was shot 18 times while eating at a taco stand. Read Here.

Iran: In Run-up to Elections Journalists Arrested, Media Banned

The Guardian. Last week, both the managing editor and political editor of the reformist daily Maghreb were arrested in relation to publication of an article criticizing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Three Iranian reformist periodicals were also banned this week. Read Here.


According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 16 Iranian journalists were arrested between January 26–28. This growing media crackdown—the worst since 2009—comes in advance of Iran’s presidential elections, scheduled to take place in June. Iranian journalists who have taken their work outside of the country have also been labeled as “spies” and subject to threats and on-line harassment. Video: CPJ.

Syria: Writers Address Censorship and Books are Banned While the President “Supports the Press”

The Daily Beast. The Silence and the Roar, Syrian novelist Nihad Sirees’s first novel to be translated into English, was released this week. Written in 2004 the book focuses on one day in the life of a censored writer, living in an unnamed dictatorship that resembles Syria. Read Here.

Booktrade. Khaled Khalifa’s novel In Praise of Hatred, banned in Syria, has made the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2013. The book—published secretly in Damascus and banned forty days later—is set in and around 1980s Aleppo and chronicles a life lived under dictatorship. Read Here.

Syrian Arab News Agency. From Syria, where 28 journalists were killed in combat or murdered by government and opposition forces in just 2012, Al-Assad addresses the press: “Every decent person, official or government should support journalists in [their] efforts because that will help shed light on events on the ground and expose propaganda where it exists.” Read Here.

Top 20 Books ‘They’ Tried to Ban

Telegraph UK. From classics like Lady Chatterly’s Lover and The Wizard of Oz to a recent scandal with Belle et Bête and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, this list showcases books that some governments have tried to ban. 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.

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