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Category Archives: Censorship

Study: Government Blocks Specific Journalists From Accessing Information

David Sorota: “As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, it was revealed this week that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing “serious limitations on access to records” that they say have “impeded” their oversight work. The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw State University professor Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that 4 in 10 public information officers say “there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past.”..Carlson has conducted surveys of journalists and public information officers since 2012. In her most recent survey of 445 working journalists, four out of five reported that “their interviews must be approved” by government information officers, and “more than half of the reporters said they had actually been prohibited from interviewing [government] employees at least some of the time by public information officers.”  In recent years, there have been signs that the federal government is reducing the flow of public information. Reason Magazine has reported a 114 percent increase in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rejections by the Drug Enforcement Agency since President Obama took office. The National Security Agency has also issued blanket rejections of FOIA requests about its metadata program. And the Associated Press reported earlier this year that in 2013 “the government cited national security to withhold information a record 8,496 times — a 57 percent increase over a year earlier and more than double Obama’s first year.” Those revelations foreshadowed this week’s letter from more than half of the federal government’s inspectors general saying that government agencies’ move to hide information from them represents a “potentially serious challenge to the authority of every Inspector General and our ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later

Fencing Out Knowledge - Impacts of the Children’s Internet Protection Act 10 Years Later, American Library Association, Policy Brief No. 5, June 2014. “What do Hotmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Facebook, and National Geographic have in common? They offer content and services that millions of Americans use every day to communicate, share content, and seek information. They alsoContinue Reading

Blogs as an Alternative Public Sphere

Etling, Bruce and Roberts, Hal and Faris, Robert, Blogs as an Alternative Public Sphere: The Role of Blogs, Mainstream Media, and TV in Russia’s Media Ecology (April 22, 2014). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2014-8. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2427932 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2427932 “Applying a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, we investigate whether Russian blogs represent an alternative publicContinue Reading

Stanford scholar says greatest dangers to nuclear facilities are sabotage, theft from insiders

News release: “Insider threats are the most serious challenge confronting nuclear facilities in today’s world, a Stanford political scientist says. In every case of theft of nuclear materials where the circumstances of the theft are known, the perpetrators were either insiders or had help from insiders, according to Scott Sagan and his co-author, Matthew Bunn of Harvard University, inContinue Reading

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013

John F. Kerry – Secretary of State: “As we mark the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this year, the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices highlight the continued pursuit of “free and equal dignity in human rights” in every corner of the world. Based on factual reporting from our embassies andContinue Reading

404 Day: A Day of Action Against Censorship in Libraries

“Join EFF on April 4th for 404 Day, a nation-wide day of action to call attention to the long-standing problem of Internet censorship in public libraries and public schools. In collaboration with the MIT Center for Civic Media and the National Coalition Against Censorship, we are hosting a digital teach-in with some of the top researchersContinue Reading

ICANN will transition to global plan for private stakeholder control

Via Nextgov: “A top Commerce Department official pushed back Wednesday against concerns that the Obama administration is opening the door to an Internet takeover by Russia, China, and other authoritarian regimes. The fears stem from the Commerce Department’s announcement last Friday that it plans to give the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, an international nonprofit group, controlContinue Reading

Pew – Emerging and Developing Nations Want Freedom on the Internet

“There is widespread opposition to internet censorship in emerging and developing nations. Majorities in 22 of 24 countries surveyed say it is important that people have access to the internet without government censorship. In 12 nations, at least seven-in-ten hold this view. Support for internet freedom is especially strong in countries where a large percentage ofContinue Reading

The Economist, Essay – What’s gone wrong with democracy

[snipped - article includes charts and graphics] – “Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a fewContinue Reading

North Korea: UN Commission documents wide-ranging and ongoing crimes against humanity

UN Commission on Human Rights – “A wide array of crimes against humanity, arising from “policies established at the highest level of State,” have been committed and continue to take place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to a UN report released Monday, which also calls for urgent action by the international communityContinue Reading

Report – Democracy in Crisis: Corruption, Media, and Power in Turkey

A Freedom House Special Report, February 2014: “Turkey’s government is improperly using its leverage over media to limit public debate about government actions and punish journalists and media owners who dispute government claims, deepening the country’s political and social polarization, Freedom House concludes in a report issued on February 3. “The government must recognize that its efforts to control aContinue Reading

Free definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage

“Authored by leading journalists from the BBC, Storyful, ABC, Digital First Media and other verification experts, the Verification Handbook is a groundbreaking new resource for journalists and aid providers. It provides the tools, techniques and step-by-step guidelines for how to deal with user-generated content (UGC) during emergencies.” [Currently available on the web. Printed, ePub and free PDF versionsContinue Reading