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.
Literature Needs Freedom—and Freedom Needs Literature
The Guardian. “Literature itself, either creating or reading it, always relates to freedom.” —Burmese writer Ma Thida on censorship and imagination at the Edinburgh World Writers’ conference in Kuala Lumpur. Read here.
China: Devices Given to Legal Advocate in US Had Tracking Spyware; Weibo Censors More Difficult to Detect
New York Times. After computer techs at NYU examined Chinese dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng’s iPhones, which were given to him upon arrival in the US, it was determined that they contained spyware which tracked his location and contacts. Read here.
Tea Leaf Nation. On the censorship of Chinese microblogging website, Sina Weibo: “The implementation of more targeted, subtler censorship – including the sanitization of keyword search results to remove unwanted content – makes the suppression of information more invisible, and harder to fight.” Read here.
My Grandfather the Red Guard
Tea Leaf Nation. In China, talking about the Cultural Revolution is no longer a political taboo. As a result, more Chinese are coming out to either deplore the Cultural Revolution or reexamine it. But as people who experienced it begin to pass away, most young Chinese still know very little about it. Shawn Lei presents his grandfather’s story of the Red Guards and his need to reconcile the mistakes of history. Read here.
New French-backed Syrian radio promises independent voice
Reuters. With 30 correspondents based throughout Syria, Radio Rozana, an independent radio station funded by a French media support agency, looks to oppose the censorship and propaganda of Syrian state media. Read here.
‘Jews Aren’t Allowed to Use Phones’: Berlin’s Most Unsettling Memorial
New York Review of Books. Interview with Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, the artists behind a series of signs hung in Berlin’s Bavarian quarter that present “the hundreds of Nazi laws and rules that gradually dehumanized Berlin’s Jewish population.”
In Uzbekistan, Everyone’s a Pop Critic, Including the Government
Radio Free Europe. Uzbekistan’s Culture and Sports Ministry has announced a ban on “meaningless” songs that fail to “praise the motherland” and has stripped several artists, whose songs “do not conform to [the] nation’s cultural traditions,” of their performing licenses.
Internet Throttling is Evidence of Iranian Censorship
Mashable. The Iranian government appears to be dramatically slowing its internet performance during periods of unrest in what seems to be an increasingly preferred and less detectable method of stifling the free flow of information. Read here.
Censorship in Ecuador persists with its new Communications Act
Human Rights Watch. “This law is yet another effort by President Correa to go after the independent media.” -José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director. Read here.
Vietnamese Bloggers Harassed and Imprisoned
Radio Free Asia. The most recent of threats to Vietnamese bloggers fell down on a former medical student who, after being dismissed from school for participating in pro-democracy protests, blogs his criticisms of the one-party communist government. Read here.