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Category Archives: Free Speech

Human Rights Watch World Report 2019

World Report 2019 is Human Rights Watch’s 29th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2017 through November 2018. In his keynote essay, “World’s Autocrats Face Rising Resistance,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth argues that while autocrats and rights abusers often captured headlines in 2018, rights defenders pushed back and gained strength in unexpected ways. Drawing on analysis of a series of human rights successes in international fora, often led by unlikely government coalitions, and of powerful activism by civic groups at national and regional levels, he shows that defense of rights world-wide is resilient and multi-faceted. Even though many once-influential governments have been missing in action on human rights or even switched sides, effective coalitions emerged to “raise the price of abuse and shift the cost-benefit calculus that convinces governments that repression pays.” The mounting resistance to autocracy, cautions Roth, is not always successful in the short term, and this remains in some ways a dark time for human rights. But recent events also show “the promise of rights-respecting democracy … remains a vital, mobilizing vision.” Roth emphasizes that important battles are being won, re-energizing the global defense of human rights…”

CRS Sidebar – Frequently Asked Questions about the Julian Assange Charges

CRS via LC – Frequently Asked Questions about the Julian Assange Charges, April 22, 2019. “After spending nearly seven yearsin the Ecuadorian embassy in London, Julian Assangewas arrestedby British police, was convictedfor violating the terms of his bail in the U.K., and hadanindictmentagainst him unsealedin the United States—all in a single day. Despite the swiftness… Continue Reading

LC Law Day 2019 Event: “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society”

“On May 1, 2019 at 1:30 p.m., the Law Library of Congress will present its annual Law Day event. Join Law Librarian of Congress, Jane Sánchez, in a conversation with American Bar Association President, Bob Carlson, for a discussion on this year’s Law Day topic, “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”  Please register for this… Continue Reading

F-words and T-shirts – SCOTUS weighs foul language trademarks

Reuters – (Editor’s note: contains language that some readers may find offensive, paragraphs 2, 13, 14, 16, 19, 22 and 23) “In the staid world of the U.S. Supreme Court, where decorum and etiquette are prized and silence is enforced by court police, the F-word could create quite a stir. Yet that expletive and others… Continue Reading

CRS – Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Conteny

Free Speech and the Regulation of Social Media Content. March 27, 2019 – “As the Supreme Court has recognized, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become important venues for users to exercise free speech rights protected under the First Amendment. Commentators and legislators, however, have questioned whether these social media platforms are living up… Continue Reading

Democracy in Retreat – Freedom in the World 2019

Freedom House – “Unpacking 13 years of Decline – Freedom in the World has recorded global declines in political rights and civil liberties for an alarming 13 consecutive years, from 2005 to 2018. The global average score has declined each year, and countries with net score declines have consistently outnumbered those with net improvements. Freedom… Continue Reading

Teaching Freedom of Expression Without Frontiers

“Developed by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression with partners from around the world, Freedom of Expression Without Frontiers offers academic and training resources on the laws, institutions and actors that have founded a global system of freedom of expression and information. The website is organized around nine Teaching and Training Modules. It includes a general introduction… Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Iowa’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Law That Blocked Undercover Investigations

NPR – “A federal judge in Iowa says it’s no longer a crime to go undercover at factory farms, slaughterhouses and any other ag-related operations. The 2012 law was a clear violation of the First Amendment, the judge said. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the plaintiffs in the case, called the ruling “a… Continue Reading

An Interview with UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye

Digital Rights Monitor: “The latest 2018 Freedom House report presents a dismal picture of internet freedom. Out of 65 countries studied for the report, internet freedom deteriorated in 26 countries including United States of America. The study also noted that more than a dozen countries were putting in place restrictive measures in the name of… Continue Reading

Facebook’s New ‘Supreme Court’ Could Revolutionize Online Speech

Lawfare Blog: Facebook’s New ‘Supreme Court’ Could Revolutionize Online Speech – “The Supreme Court of Facebook is about to become a reality. When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first mentioned the idea of an independent oversight body to determine the boundaries of acceptable speech on the platform—”almost like a Supreme Court,” he said—in an April 2018 interview… Continue Reading

The Fresno Bee and the War on Local News

GQ: “Local newspapers like The Fresno Bee have long been an endangered institution in America, and that was before California Rep. Devin Nunes began waging a public campaign against his hometown paper. Zach Baron spent time with the reporters fighting to keep news alive in an age when the forces they cover are working equally… Continue Reading

International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles

Poynter: Commit to transparency — sign up for the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles. “The code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter is a series of commitments organizations abide by to promote excellence in fact-checking. We believe nonpartisan and transparent fact-checking can be a powerful instrument of accountability journalism…” “…The commitments… Continue Reading