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Category Archives: Censorship

The Authoritarian’s Worst Fear? A Book

The New York Times – “Governments are spending a remarkable amount of resources attacking books — because their supposed limitations are beginning to look like ageless strengths. Around the world, many authoritarian regimes — having largely corralled the internet — now have declared war on the written word, their oldest enemy. The received wisdom after the close of the Cold War was that physical books were outdated, soon to be swept aside in the digital age; and that the internet was instead the real threat to governments seeking to repress provocative thinking. A generation later, the opposite may be true. The People’s Republic of China has been the most successful in curbing the internet. But their stranglehold on society is also the result of their largely successful push in the past decade to ban nearly all bookstores, books, authors and academics that do not adhere to the Communist Party’s line. Even before the current Hong Kong protests, there was a crackdown on Hong Kong publishers. In the fall of 2015, associates of the Causeway Bay Books store disappeared, later discovered to have been detained on the mainland, accused of trafficking in “illegal” books critiquing leading members of the Communist Party. In 2017, the Communist Party formally took control of all print media, including books…”

Why America Needs Whistle-Blowers

The New York Times – Opinion – They are not partisans but stewards of our constitutional democracy. By Allison Stanger. Dr. Stanger is the author of “Whistleblowers: Honesty in America From Washington to Trump.” “In accusing the intelligence community whistle-blower of partisanship and treason, President Trump has redefined whistle-blowing to serve his private interests rather… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court showdown over LGBTQ discrimination, explained

Vox – “The Supreme Court will hear three cases next Tuesday that ask whether it is legal to fire workers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That alone is enough to make them three of the most important employment discrimination cases in many years. But there are additional layers to these cases, layers… Continue Reading

How The Times Uses FOIA to Obtain Information the Public Has a Right to Know

The New York Times – Our lawyer provides an update on why we’re still filing so many Freedom of Information Act lawsuits – “…what we face every day in The New York Times’s legal department as we continue to push against government secrecy through the use of FOIA. Whether it is helping our reporters as… Continue Reading

Misinformation Has Created a New World Disorder

Scientific American – Our willingness to share content without thinking is exploited to spread disinformation – By Claire Wardle = “As someone who studies the impact of misinformation on society, I often wish the young entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley who enabled communication at speed had been forced to run a 9/11 scenario with their technologies… Continue Reading

Proposed White House Executive Order would have FCC and FTC police alleged social media censorship

CNN Business: “A draft executive order from the White House could put the Federal Communications Commission in charge of shaping how Facebook, Twitter and other large tech companies curate what appears on their websites, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The draft order, a summary of which was obtained by CNN, calls for… Continue Reading

A Closer Look at How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World

Tenth annual report dives deeper into the ways government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion have changed, from 2007 to 2017: “Over the decade from 2007 to 2017, government restrictions on religion – laws, policies and actions by state officials that restrict religious beliefs and practices – increased markedly around the world. And… Continue Reading

Donald Trump and the Plot to Take Over the Courts

The Nation – How the 45th president has packed the courts with ultraconservatives—and reshaped the judiciary for a generation. “…Trump’s Court—the collection of judges and justices now swarming our judicial system, nominated and confirmed to lifetime appointments on his recommendation—will linger, like an infected wound poisoning the body politic even after the initial injury has… Continue Reading

Information Mischief Under the Trump Administration

Cortez, Nathan, Information Mischief Under the Trump Administration (May 21, 2019). Chicago-Kent Law Review, Vol. 94, No. 2, 2019; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 418. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3391965 “The Trump administration has used government information in more cynical ways than its predecessors. For example, it has removed certain information… Continue Reading

When a book disappears, it turns up here

Fully searchable banned book database catalogues 125,000 titles – When Argentinian artist Marta Minujin wanted to build a replica of the Parthenon out of banned books, UBC professor Florian Gassner was one of the first people she turned to for help. Gassner, a senior instructor in UBC’s department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European studies, was… Continue Reading

Many Americans Say Made-Up News Is a Critical Problem That Needs To Be Fixed

Pew – Politicians viewed as major creators made-up news, but journalists seen as the ones who should fix it – “Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be stopped, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of 6,127 U.S.… Continue Reading

Justice Department Clarifies Redactions To Mueller Report

The US government pushed back on a lawsuit by BuzzFeed News that seeks the Mueller report in its entirety: “The Department of Justice told a federal court judge that it cannot disclose any redacted parts of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report without harming ongoing national security investigations and other sensitive matters. BuzzFeed News and the… Continue Reading