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· October, 2019

Stories about Freedom of Speech from October, 2019

Pakistan shuts art installation depicting extrajudicial killings

"The closure is both an attack on free expression and an attempt to sweep under the rug a longstanding human rights problem."

Australians respond to media campaign that calls out “creeping culture of secrecy”

Mixed reactions to the Australian media's #righttoknow campaign range from broad community support to denial by government ministers and senior public servants, plus some predictable cynicism on social media.

Netizen Report: How are protests in Lebanon affecting digital rights?

Protests continue in Lebanon, phone service is back in Kashmir (but the internet is still down) and Egyptians are getting censored on Twitter.

Angolan president's reforms drive positive impact on media — but limits persist

Under Angola's former regime, JES, prosecutions of activists and journalists were common. In 2017, João Lourenço (“JLO”) succeeded JES and journalists began to see reforms to press freedoms. But is it...

Iran’s drive to block international services continues with Google Play ban

The decision to block Google Play is consistent with the authorities' strategy to foist home-grown Iranian apps and services on Iranian internet users and limit the availability of international services. 

Cry of ‘Free the [bleeping] weed!’ leads to arrest of Trinidadian cannabis advocate

"To those who say the war is over, Rowley has promised to decriminalise, tell that to the citizens of this country who are packed 15 man to one stinking cell."

Portuguese rapper causes controversy for portraying domestic violence in music video

Dozens of women's rights associations criticized the rapper Valete, who responded saying the controversy was "empty".

Mozambican journalists and activists targeted with threats in election year

Human rights organizations documented several cases in which journalists and activists were threatened and subjected to pressures interfering with their work in relation to the elections.

Nigerian journalist under threat of arrest for exposé of police and prison corruption

The intimidation of journalist 'Fisayo Soyombo exemplifies the precarious state of press freedom and free speech in Nigeria.

Australian newspapers ‘censor’ their front pages in protest against government secrecy laws

"Journalists and whistleblowers in Australia live in fear of criminal charges, police raids and damaging court battles that threaten their professional careers and personal freedom."

Ahead of Tunisia elections, social media was flooded with mis- and disinformation

In the months leading up to the elections, mis- and disinformation spread widely across social media platforms, Facebook in particular.

Bulgaria's far-right is attempting to shut down the country's oldest human rights NGO

A member of the European Union since 2007, Bulgaria took a turn to the far-right in 2017 when PM Borisov's center-right party GERB allied itself with a small coalition of nationalist...

How Ethiopia's ruling coalition created a playbook for disinformation

Manipulation tactics used by Ethiopia's ruling coalition members against each other in their internal power struggle serve as a blueprint for opposition groups to attack their opponents and the government.

From dictatorship to democracy: All eyes on The Gambia’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review

Ahead of The Gambia's Universal Periodic Review, which issues top the agenda of civil society organizations? "There has been a kind of a media boom after the dictatorship."

Rwanda deports American evangelical pastor accused of hate speech and visa violations

Many Rwandans lauded the US evangelical preacher's deportation, decrying hate speech in Rwanda. But supporters see it as an attack on faith-based organizations by the Kagame administration. 

Internet censorship in Sudan: Rethinking laws and tactics that served an authoritarian regime

Sudan's transitional authorities have taken small steps toward improving the climate for internet freedom in the country— but these remain inadequate.

Was the Nobel Peace Prize for Ethiopia’s prime minister premature?

Abiy Ahmed Ali has undertaken unprecedented reforms since he took office last year. But will he end up like other African leaders who started well, but went rogue over time?

Zimbabwe government continues to weaponize information online to control citizen engagement

As a former state security minister, president Mnangagwa appreciated the importance and value of disinformation in Zimbabwe’s political terrain. 

Arts festival caught in the crosshairs of Azerbaijan's ‘national mentality’

One mural depicting the body of a transgender person drew so much attention that it was painted over once the festival ended — in a not so artistically-friendly way.

Algerian government cracks down as demonstrators protest presidential elections

The Algerian government has tried to stop peaceful marches, but failed. Protesters stop at nothing to reach their stated goal of ending the post-independence political system.

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