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Archive for 'Freedom of Expression'

Free speech and censorship: Today’s letter in the Observer

A letter published in today’s Observer, and signed by a number of activists and academics, has prompted heated debate.  It raises concerns about a range of alleged examples of censorship on campus. Both the signatories and the letter’s critics perhaps have a point. The first issue raised was the cancellation of Kate Smurthwaite’s gig at [...]

Why Blasphemy law is unpardonable: a pre-emptive attack on IERA debate

This is a cross-post by Tom Owolade
The past four weeks have prompted intense debates around freedom of speech. The attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in Paris on the 7th of January, have intensified the need to defend certain values in some quarters. The attacks have also, unfortunately, intensified the need to equivocate in others. [...]

The Revolutionary Guard do Facebook, Not Twitter

I caught this on the World Service programme BBC Trending. It starts at 9:35
Ayatollah Tanasoli, is an Iranian, whose pseudonym translates as “Genitals” or “Penis”. He writes in Farsi but here’s one of his tweets:-
invenTION OF iSLAMIC tWITTER ayatollah TaNasoli will tweit in England now womane dont come
From the interview:-
India (presenter): …the man behind the [...]

Charlie Hebdo: A Free Press and its Enemies – Reflections on the Right to Blaspheme

This is a cross-post from Jacobinism


One of the most pernicious arguments advanced to persuade us that the murdered staff of Charlie Hebdo were unworthy martyrs to free expression – or were even deserving of much in the way of sympathy – has been the notion that they were the victimisers of [...]

Punching up, punching down

Re Charlie Hebdo:-
“The point of satire is to attack the powerful, to expose their hypocrisy and absurdity, and of course to be funny. If satire is directed downwards it is not satire, it’s bullying.”
So doubly wrong there Tim Sanders at the Socialist Review. (H/T Tendance Coatesy – do read his whole piece)
Two elementary objections:-
1. Mohammad [...]

Déjà vu. Goldsmiths 2015, University of Michigan 1992

I was struck by a sense of déjà vu when reading Sarah’s post about the cancelling of Kate Smurthwaite’s comedy show at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her post should be read before what I copy below, an extract from a 1992 edition of the New York Times. When will we progress?

New York Times, November 13, [...]

Kate Smurthwaite’s comedy show cancelled at Goldsmiths

I think there are good reasons to oppose the proposals relating to universities in the Counter-Terrorism bill which is currently at committee stage. But there are some ironies around this issue.  One is noticing who else has concerns about the bill.  5Pillars thinks it will turn the UK into a police state – but they [...]

FSS? FFS: Charlie Hebdo censored by Manchester SU

It’s perfectly understandable that students are concerned about the effects of the new anti-terror legislation on their freedom to debate challenging ideas.
One student explains:
“I think we would be scared to express our opinions in class as we’d have this thing looming at the back of our minds. This bill is essentially undermining everything we do, [...]

Zuckerberg: Je not so suis Charlie after all

The Washington Post reports:
Only two weeks after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a strongly worded #JeSuisCharlie statement on the importance of free speech, Facebook has agreed to censor images of the prophet Muhammad in Turkey — including the very type of image that precipitated the Charlie Hebdo attack.
It’s an illustration, perhaps, of how extremely complicated [...]

Free Speech on Campus: Winning the Debate

In order to win the hearts and minds of the campus censors, their sympathisers, and the waverers, it is not going to be enough to win the political debate: the philosophical debate also has to be won. Appropriating a term used in a different context by Sophal Ear, the Standard Total Academic View (STAV) on [...]