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Category Archives: Free Speech

Libraries After Charlie Hebdo: The Threat of Violence, The Fear of Self-Censorship

Lisa Peet – Library Journal – “Although written texts often evoke strong, sometimes contentious reactions, political cartoons and caricatures can be equally incendiary. According to Barbara Jones, executive director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association. (ALA), “Cartoons are a particular problem in our office—graphic novels and books with cartoons often get [verbally] attacked.” In 2005 the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a collection of 12 editorial cartoons by different artists, most of them depicting Mohammed, creating an image of whom is considered blasphemous by many in the Islamic tradition, though Persian and Turkish Muslims have a tradition of artwork depicting Mohammed that goes back hundreds of years. Jyllands-Posten had printed the cartoons, it said, to further dialogue, but the final product was offensive to many Muslims. Protests occurred in a number of Muslim countries, many turning violent. Embassies were attacked, some 200 deaths were reported, and in 2010 four men were convicted of planning a terrorist attack against the newspaper in revenge for the cartoons’ publication. The cartoons were reprinted in newspapers and magazines worldwide, including Charlie Hebdo in 2006, an act criticized by then-president Jacques Chirac as a “manifest provocation.” When Yale University Press published a book on the subject in 2009, The Cartoons That Shook the World, it included none of the cartoons themselves (and removed several other images of Mohammed as well, including a 19th-century engraving by Gustave Doré from The Divine Comedy). Yet the cartoons did indeed open up a dialog. The controversy spurred the Danish Royal Library to conduct an internal evaluation of its collection policies, concluding that coverage of Muslim communities and ethnic minorities in Denmark needed to be increased. In 2008 the Royal Library met with several Muslim organizations. At this meeting, Steen Bille Larsen, assistant to the Royal Library’s director general, told LJ, “it was discussed how to intensify the acquisition of written cultural heritage from Muslim organizations and from leading spokesmen and religious persons in Denmark. In the discussion the Royal Library underlined that a national library has obligations toward the whole nation. Therefore the activities of the library have a wide range: from collecting and preserving the output from Muslim organizations to collecting and preserving the original drawings of Danish cartoonists in the Museum of Danish Cartoon Art. The result was very positive and after the library received several prints that were not already in the collections.” In fact, the incident helped promote the inclusion of comic art in libraries worldwide. “An argument comes up that cartoons and graphic novels aren’t really worthy of being in library collections,” said Jones. “In the 21st century, that just is not true. As we saw with Charlie Hebdo…some of the most profound work is best done as illustrations, and we urge libraries to collect graphic novels and cartoons.”

The Public Library: A Photographic Love Letter to Humanity’s Greatest Sanctuary of Knowledge, Freedom, and Democracy

“A library is many things,” E.B. White once wrote in a letter to the children of a little town to inspire them to fall in love with their new library. “But particularly it is a place where books live, and where you can get in touch with other people, and other thoughts, through books… BooksContinue Reading

Reuters Interactive Graph – Journalists killed 1992-2015

Source: Committee to Protect Journalists – Graphic by Matthew Weber/Reuters Graphics – Journalists killed – Click on any person to see more information on the Committee to Protect Journalists website. Users may query by: Name, Position, Gender, Country Killed, Organization worked for; Coverage; Local or foreign; Source of fire; Type of death.

Attorney General Holder Announces Updates to Justice Department Media Guidelines

“Attorney General Eric Holder announced [January 14, 2015] expanded revisions to the Justice Department’s policy regarding obtaining information from, or records of, members of the news media. The updated policy was announced via a memo by Attorney General Holder to all Justice Department employees . “These revised guidelines strike an appropriate balance between law enforcement’sContinue Reading

Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers

PEN America – “Global Chilling: The Impact of Mass Surveillance on International Writers is a new report demonstrating the damaging impact of surveillance by the United States and other governments on free expression and creative freedom around the world. The report’s revelations, based on a survey of nearly 800 writers worldwide, are alarming. Concern aboutContinue Reading

Freedom on the Net 2014

Freedom on the Net 2014 – the fifth annual comprehensive study of internet freedom around the globe, covering developments in 65 countries that occurred between May 2013 and May 2014 –finds internet freedom around the world in decline for the fourth consecutive year, with 36 out of 65 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negativeContinue Reading

The State of Free Expression Online: 2014 in Review

Notes from the Fight Against Surveillance and Censorship: 2014 in Review “In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic, global surge in attempts to censor and surveil users worldwide. Nevertheless, in the face of such threats, I find myself energized and awed by our growing movement. In the past year, we’ve seen the whole community becomeContinue Reading

Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World

“Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of Internet Monitor 2014: Reflections on the Digital World, the project’s second annual report. The report is a collection of roughly three dozen short contributions that highlight and discuss some of the most compelling events and trends in the digitally networked environment over the past year. The publication,Continue Reading

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics / Volume 12 / Issue 03 / September 2014, pp 564-581 “Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism andContinue Reading

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges. Michael V. Seitzinger, Legislative Attorney; Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. October 15, 2014. “Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and inContinue Reading

Report claims NSA has operatives in foreign communications companies

“The National Security Agency has had agents in China, Germany, and South Korea working on programs that use “physical subversion” to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used “under cover” operatives to gain access toContinue Reading

NSA Releases “12333” Report, Fails to Address Bulk Collection

EPIC: “The NSA released a privacy report on its surveillance activities under 12333, an Executive Order that provides broad authority for data collection. But the report only addresses a narrow aspect of the EO 12333 collection – protections for U.S. persons in the context of targeted signal intelligence activities. The report fails to address bulk collection orContinue Reading