Stories about Freedom of Speech from September, 2012
Vietnam: Government Jails Three ‘Dissident’ Bloggers
Three Vietnamese bloggers have been convicted by a local court for allegedly spreading anti-government propaganda. One of them will serve a prison term of 12 years. Human rights groups immediately condemned the verdict and warned against the creeping online repression in the country.
Iran: Alternatives to Google and Gmail
Deputy Telecommunications Minister, Ali Hakim Javadi said to Mehrnews he hoped to launch the Fakhr search engine and Fajr e-mail as alternatives to Google and Gmail in the near future.
Azerbaijan: Youth Activist Believed Arrested
Emin Milli's Blog comments on the apparent disappearance of a youth activist in Azerbaijan. The blog says it believes Zaur Gurbanly's believed arrest was because of anti-presidential leaflets that were also confiscated.
Sri Lanka: The Rights Of The Homosexuals
Sri Lanka and India, despite our pre-colonial religious and social accommodation of differing sexuality, have remained Victorian in attitude long after the colonial powers have changed. In terms of gay rights, we really need to catch up, and be more honest to ourselves and each other.
Portugal: Unionists Take to the Streets in Protest
Following the biggest popular protest of the last decades in Portugal, on September 15, 2012, every week people have been taking to the streets. More demonstrations were called for September 29, “against the theft of wages, pensions and retirements” by the union confederation CGTP. On Twitter hashtags #29s, #29sPT –...
Ukraine: Protesting the Controversial Defamation Bill
A bill that calls for penalties of up to five years in jail for defamation passed a first reading in the Ukrainian Parliament on Sep. 18. Following the online campaign against the adoption of the bill, its author submitted a request to recall it. The bill isn't history yet, however, and the protest continues.
Panama: Controversial 510 Copyright Bill Approved
The 510 Bill that would regulate copyrights in Panamá was approved on September 26, 2012, by the National Assembly. The outrage against this bill is coming to a boiling point on social networks and Panamá's mainstream media since, among other things, it establishes unprecedented liberties to the legislative body charged with enforcing it.
Russia: The Kostin Report & the Trojan Horse of American ICT
Earlier this week, the media got a sneak peek at a new report on the foreign penetration of the RuNet and the potential manipulation of the country's future elections. The Internet's growing popularity is transforming it into a political weapon: a weapon that is increasingly guarded by American, albeit private, media firms.
Iran: President Ahmadinejad's Men in Trouble
As President Ahmadinejad addressed the UN General Assembly on September 26, a foreign ministry spokesperson was attacked by protesters in New York and a government press adviser was arrested in Iran.
Russia: Yekaterinburg Police Raid Regional Internet Publication
On September 27th Yekaterinburg-based internet news portal URA.ru was raided by city police, reports [ru] Evgeny Roizman, local anti-drug campaigner. Roizman is dating the editor-in-chief of the portal, Aksana Panova, who has apparently managed to leave the country before masked operatives arrived at her apartment and scared her mother and young son [ru]....
Mexico: Writing from Jail
Enrique Aranda Ochoa writes literature from jail. Convicted of kidnapping in 1997 with a sentence of 50 years in prison, Enrique has used his time in jail to write six novels and earn various literature awards. His latest book, available for purchase in an electronic format, focuses on the mysteries of the Mayans.
Chad: Challenges to Freedom of Expression as Social Protests Grow
The recent arrests in Chad of three union officers and the editor of an independent newspaper are symptomatic of a disintegration of freedom of expression in the country. These arrests have come after protest movements against the impoverishment of Chad’s population and the privatization of the country’s resources.
Spain: Two Journalists on Trial for Revealing Corruption in Catalonia
On September 27, Albano Dante and Marta Sibina, editors of the magazine Cafè amb Llet, will appear in court in Catalonia, Spain. The journalists are being sued for libel by an advisor to the Catalan president after alleging that senior officials are involved in corruption of the health care system.
Japan: Anxiety Over Human Rights Commission Bill
A bill to set up a Human Rights Commission has been met with opposition from different parties and citizens. The bill aims to set up an independent commission for human rights violation such as bullying, descrimination, and slander on the Internet, as an extra-ministerial committe of the Ministry of Justice.
Kyrgyzstan: Court Bans Anti-Islam Film
The recent ban on the anti-Islam film 'Innocence of Muslims' in Kyrgyzstan has triggered lively debates among the country's internet users. While some netizens support the ban on the "offensive" video, others argue that restricting access to the film limits their freedom.
Iran Blocks Access to Google and Gmail
Iran has blocked Google and Gmail from the Internet for nearly all users, allegedly to protest against an anti-Islam film on YouTube. Others say it's part of a plan to prepare the country for a new "national Internet" that offers less access to the outside world.
Twitter Manifesto Against Violence Targeting Mexican Netizens
After Aleph Jiménez [es] -a member of the #YoSoy132 movement- disappeared in Ensenada, Mexico on September 21, 2012, the website Pulso Ciudadano (Citizen Pulse) republished a Twitter Manifesto [es] against violence targeting netizens to remind us of the danger citizen journalists face in the country.
Colombia: Political Blog ‘Atrabilioso’ Closes Down
After 7 years and thousands of posts by several contributors, the political blog Atrabilioso, managed by journalist Jaime Restrepo Vásquez, closed last August 31. The blog's contributors were critics of President Juan Manuel Santos‘ administration and staunch supporters of former President Álvaro Uribe.
Global: The 2012 edition of ‘Wiki Loves Monuments’
Julien L. wrote the following on numerama.com: The Wiki Loves Monuments copyright-free landmarks photo contest is going particularly well. Nearly a week after its launch, more than 50 000 photographs have been sent in by contributors. And this is just the beginning, because there are still 22 days left to...
United States: Occupy Wall Street, One Year Later
September 15-17 2012 marked the first year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Scenes that took place during the inception of the movement repeated themselves: hundreds of arrests were reported on Saturday the 15th amidst the protests that culminated on Monday the 17th in the neighborhood near the stock exchange.
Brazil: Misogynistic ‘Humor’ in MTV-Sponsored Blog
A complaint was filed against the blog Testosterone, a blog sponsored by MTV Brazil that constantly posts misogynistic content. Now, online campaigns are calling for MTV to end the partnership with the blog's writer.