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Archive for 'Freedom of Expression'

Jeff Flake on press freedom, the truth… and Trump

Retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona, one of the most (traditionally) conservative members of Congress, speaks on the floor of the United States Senate.
He incorrectly attributes a certain quote to George Orwell, but his words are clearly heartfelt. They ring true and are worthy of attention.

Lindsay Shepherd and the Jordan Peterson controversy

Lindsay Shepherd is a teaching assistant at Wilfred Laurier University in Canada.  She hit the headlines after showing a clip (taken from this programme) in one of her classes featuring controversial Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson discussing gender pronoun choices. Shepherd was then hauled in for an interview with three senior colleagues which she recorded.   Based [...]

Denmark revives its blasphemy laws

In a worrying move, a Danish man has been charged with blasphemy after burning a copy of the Qur’an and posting a video on Facebook. The last conviction for blasphemy was in 1946, the last charge in 1971.  Here it is suggested that the decision to bring the charge might have been motivated by a [...]

Ben White’s talk at UCLAN cancelled

It was recently revealed that the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) had cancelled a panel discussion featuring Ben White which had been scheduled to take place as part of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’.  Here’s is the explanation:
But a spokesperson for the university said “Debunking Misconceptions on Palestine” contravened the definition of antisemitism adopted by the government and [...]

Trump, Yiannopoulos and Berkeley

President Trump – whose latest exploits include using a prayer breakfast to discuss Celebrity Apprentice ratings, cutting white supremacism from a counter-extremism programme and lashing out at that well known enemy of the free world, Malcom Turnbull – has now moved his sights to U. C. Berkeley. Even by Trumpian standards it’s hard to see [...]

Georges Bensoussan faces prosecution for anti-Muslim hate speech

The French historian has been targeted by the Collective Against Islamophobia in France for incitement to racial hatred. Here you can read a full account of the statements about antisemitism in Muslim communities which prompted this action.  It would be useful to have some more context for the first quote flagged as hateful:
“Today, we are [...]

Imams Jekyll and Hyde

Oh happy days! I am elated.
A libel claim brought against the BBC by Chief Imam, Shakeel Begg, has been dismissed today.
Mr Begg, the Chief Imam at Lewisham Islamic Centre, sought damages against the BBC for libel in respect of a broadcast of Sunday Politics presented by Andrew Neil on BBC One, 3 November 2013. [...]

The Unread Guards

So there’s Lionel Shriver mischievously addressing the Brisbane Writers Festival about cultural appropriation through the sillier examples of sombreros and sushi and, more seriously, making the old cry for artistic freedom and the play of the imagination. Although what she said was not startling it did inspire performance art. One was from Yassmin Abdel-Magied who [...]

How Erdogan targets British Turks via the Turkish Consulate in London

This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps.
Erdogan’s anti-democratic actions have caused much negative publicity in recent years – so much so that any positive work he did in the early part of his rule has now been totally wiped out by his autocratic behaviour.  Now when his name is mentioned only one word comes to [...]

Lavrov asks Kerry to stop “anti-Russian” media

Perhaps related to Vladimir Putin’s sky-high approval ratings:
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov may not approve of freedom of the press, but it’s rather disturbing that he doesn’t even understand it.
Lavrov calls Kerry to ask him to stop the "anti-Russian campaign" in the Western press. https://t.co/q5qlIiq5SG
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 10, 2016

Putin, of course, could say [...]