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Category Archives: Censorship

Government secrecy is growing during the coronavirus pandemic

The Conversation: “Students at the University of Florida who want to know how they are being protected from the COVID-19 pandemic can’t find out. The university is hiding its emergency response plan under a legal loophole intended to keep terrorists and enemy combatants – not viruses – from exploiting government weaknesses. Since the spread of coronavirus accelerated in recent weeks, local, state and federal officials throughout the United States have locked down information from the public. Examples include:

  • The city of Palestine, Texas, banned a news reporter from a city council meeting on March 23, even though fewer than a maximum of 10 people would be in the room, and did not allow the public to listen in on the meeting through a toll-free phone number, as required by state law.
  • The Council of the District of Columbia decided on March 19 that district employees do not have to respond promptly to public records requests any more.
  • The FBI no longer accepts requests for information online or by email because of the virus. If anyone wants information they must mail their request, which ironically is more apt to pass along the virus…”

Freedom in the World 2020

Freedom House – A Leaderless Struggle for Democracy – “Democracy and pluralism are under assault. Dictators are toiling to stamp out the last vestiges of domestic dissent and spread their harmful influence to new corners of the world. At the same time, many freely elected leaders are dramatically narrowing their concerns to a blinkered interpretation… Continue Reading

How Information on the Coronavirus is Managed on Chinese Social Media

Citizen Lab – Censored Contagion – “Key Findings: YY, a live-streaming platform in China, began to censor keywords related to the coronavirus outbreak on December 31, 2019, a day after doctors (including the late Dr. Li Wenliang) tried to warn the public about the then unknown virus. WeChat broadly censored coronavirus-related content (including critical and… Continue Reading

As Coronavirus Numbers Rise C.D.C. Testing Comes Under Fire

The New York Times – Federal health officials botched an initial diagnostic test and restricted widespread screening. Missteps may have raised the risks to Americans, critics say. “The coronavirus has found a crack in the nation’s public health armor, and it is not one that scientists foresaw: diagnostic testing. The Centers for Disease Control and… Continue Reading

CDC drops coronavirus testing numbers from their website

The Verge: “A tally of the number of people tested for the novel coronavirus disappeared from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on Monday. The change was first reported by journalist Judd Legum on Twitter. The disappearance of the numbers comes less than a week after the first cases of the virus with… Continue Reading

Who Should Decide What Books Are Allowed In Prison?

NPR – “Michael Tafolla says the books he read in prison helped him understand how he had landed there in the first place. He remembers one especially eye-opening title: Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant. “The main topic of this book is how a human being is reduced to an action that’s perceived by others… Continue Reading

These 26 words ‘created the internet’

CNN – The US government is coming for them – ” For decades, many of the biggest names in tech have leaned on a little-known law to avoid being held responsible for some of the most controversial content on their platforms. The companies have invoked this federal law, known as  Section 230 of the Communications… Continue Reading

Did the Early Internet Activists Blow It?

Slate – I’ve fought for a free internet for 30 years. Here’s where I think we went wrong, and right. By Mike Godwin – “…I’ve come to believe our society should take reasonable steps to limit intentionally harmful speech, but I also find myself increasingly embracing a broader, more instrumentalist vision of freedom of speech than… Continue Reading

Statement of ABA President Re Judicial Independence Updated

Statement of ABA President Judy Perry Martinez Re: Judicial Independence and Sound Exercise of Prosecutorial Discretion – WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2020 – “The American Bar Association steadfastly supports judicial independence and the sound exercise of prosecutorial discretion. Public officials who personally attack judges or prosecutors can create a perception that the system is serving a… Continue Reading

National Archives permitting deletion and destruction of gov docs

The New York Times Opinion – Matthew Connelly – professor of history at Columbia.- “…In 2017, a normally routine document released by the archives, a records retention schedule, revealed that archivists had agreed that officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement could delete or destroy documents detailing the sexual abuse and death of undocumented immigrants. Tens… Continue Reading

Reporters Cmte and 57 news orgs urge Senate to reconsider impeachment trial press restrictions

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: “In a letter sent Thursday night, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 57 news organizations, asked the Senate to reconsider press restrictions during the impeachment trial that have been the subject of growing criticism over the past week. “Absent an articulable security rationale,” the… Continue Reading

2020 Edelman Trust Barometer

“The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that despite a strong global economy and near full employment, none of the four societal institutions that the study measures—government, business, NGOs and media—is trusted. The cause of this paradox can be found in people’s fears about the future and their role in it, which are a wake-up call… Continue Reading