Tag Archives | Censorship

Breaking the Set with Abby Martin

RT America’s new show Breaking the Set with Abby Martin to hit the air starting September 4th. Don’t miss it!

There are way too many rules set in society that prop up the establishment – an establishment that works to divide and conquer the people. Breaking the Set is a show cutting through that pre-established narrative which tells the people what to think and what to care about.

Tune in from 6-6:30 EST M-F on your local cable station or watch live at RT.com/usa

Subscribe to Breaking the Set’s channel here: http://www.youtube.com/breakingtheset

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The Proper Use of Profanity

Picture: Jeremy Foo (CC)

Noah Brand writes at the Good Men Project:

I’m going to warn everyone right now: the language in this post is going to be pretty fucking strong. There are going to be nasty, derogatory references to male and female genitalia, bodily functions, sexual acts, and some hygiene products. Some of these will be offensive to almost any set of sensibilities. That is, I must admit, kinda the point. You may want to stop reading now, in fact.

It’s about time someone wrote a proper article on how to use English profanity effectively. I look at the young people today hoping that TYPING IN ALL CAPS will make their weak, unstructured swearing more impressive, and all I feel is pity. English is perhaps the most exquisitely expressive language on Earth, with a working vocabulary twice the size of most languages, and a history of pure invective that can stand up against any living tongue.

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UK Website Ordered to Remove Controversial Claims About MMR Vaccine

Photo: Centers for Disease Control Public Health Image Library (PD)

Via BBC News:

The owners of the website babyjabs.co.uk have been ordered by the British Advertising Standards Authority to retract from the site controversial statements positing a connection between autism and the childhood MMR vaccine:

Babyjabs.co.uk said the three-in-one jab may be causing “up to 10%” of autism in children in the UK.

But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the claim was misleading and must not appear again, after getting a complaint.

The website was also told not to repeat other claims it made about MMR.

These included the suggestion that “most experts now agree the large rise (in autism) has been caused partly by increased diagnosis, but also by a real increase in the number of children with autism”.

Another claim said the vaccine-strain measles virus had been found in the gut and brain of some autistic children, which supports many parents’ belief that the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children.

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Twitter Suspends Account Of Journalist Critical Of NBC And Olympics

Twitter has since apologized and reinstated Guy Adams’s account. Still, the fact remains that use of social media may be conditional on not speaking ill of the corporations with which the platforms are aligned. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The first social media Olympics have become a minefield for the Olympic movement—and especially for Twitter Inc., which has trumpeted its tight connection to the London Games.

The biggest brouhaha so far erupted on Monday and Tuesday, when a finger-pointing spat emerged over a journalist getting booted off Twitter after he was critical of NBC’s Olympics coverage. The journalist was reinstated on the short-messaging service Tuesday—but not before the blogosphere lit up with criticism over whether Twitter was curtailing free speech.

Twitter was forced to admit it breached the trust of its users when it apologized for suspending the account of Guy Adams, a Los Angeles correspondent for the U.K.’s Independent newspaper.

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NYPD Paints Over Apartment Building’s Political ‘Murderers’ Mural

Doesn’t it kind of constitute vandalism for the police to deface the entire side of a property with black paint against the owner’s wishes? New York Magazine explains:

New York City graffiti artist Alan Ket has the permission of an Inwood building owner to paint freely on their outside wall, but the NYPD doesn’t care. DNAinfo reports that the department sent two plainclothes officers to cover up his latest mural yesterday, calling it a “bad idea.” The art featured the text “We know the real … Murderers,” the last word blown-up and bullet-ridden, surrounded by tombstones for various controversial organizations: McDonald’s, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Bank of America, that kind of thing. Oh, and the NYPD is in there too.

“I can’t confront them, because I don’t want problems,” said the building’s owner in Spanish. “There is no freedom of expression. It’s a bomb, and now here I am in the middle of a bomb.”

Read More at New York MagazineRead the rest

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Court Bans BBC From Broadcasting Film About U.K. Riots

Reminiscent of Chinese authorities’ attitudes towards attempts to shed light on Tiananmen Square. The Guardian reports:

The ruling from a judge prevented the docu-drama, which had been due to be broadcast at 9pm on Monday, from being broadcast “by any media until further order”. The channel’s executives were forced to pull the film, which is based on the testimony of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder.

For legal reasons, the Guardian cannot name the judge who made the ruling, the court in which he is sitting or the case he is presiding over. However, it is understood that lawyers for the BBC strongly object to his ruling, the nature of which is believed to be highly unusual.

The script from the programme, written by the award-winning playwright Alecky Blythe, was produced from verbatim transcripts of interviews conducted as part of the Reading the Riots study, which conducted confidential interviews with 270 rioters.

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Silencing The Trolls: Twitter Considers ‘Hate Speech’ Censorship

Here at disinformation we mostly live with our trolls as a part of online life, but Twitter has decided to try to silence them. Via RT:

Is Twitter allowing too much freedom? What helped move revolutions along in the Middle East, has a flip side of cyberbullying and abuse, especially of those in the spotlight. Now Twitter is taking its first step towards censorship.

The news was broken by Twitter’s Dick Costolo who was speaking to the Financial Times. As the FT put it, the site’s chief executive “became visibly emotional” as he described his frustration in tackling the problem of ‘horrifying’ abuse, while maintaining the company’s mantra that ‘tweets must flow’. Anonymous and unpunished, irresponsible twitter-users find the site ideal for expressing all kinds of extremist, racist and sexistopinions. Celebrities are among those most vulnerable, with curses and bullying clogging up their ‘@connect’ section, offending many and disrupting conversations, often turning them into hate-fights.

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Why Is There No HTTP Code For Censorship?

When your viewing a website is blocked due to censorship, should your internet service provider should inform you? A 403 or 404 error code amounts to lying, argues Terance Eden. Some have suggested a new ’451′ internet censorship signifier, inspired by Ray Bradbury:

There is no HTTP code for censorship. But perhaps there should be.

My ISP have recently been ordered to censor The Pirate Bay. I am concerned that this [sort of] censorship will become more prevalent. As network neutrality dies, we will see more sites ordered to be blocked by governments who fear what they cannot understand. However, chief among my concerns is the technical way this censorship is implemented. At the moment, my ISP serves up an HTTP 403 error.

$ wget -v thepiratebay.org
Resolving thepiratebay.org… 194.71.107.50
Connecting to thepiratebay.org|194.71.107.50|:80… connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response… 403 Forbidden

As far as I am concerned, this response is factually incorrect.

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Don’t Ask Siri About Tiananmen Square

Apple has unveiled Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking versions of iPhone voice-controlled personality Siri, known for her subservient manner and witicisms. But Siri isn’t willing to crack a joke about everything. It may or may not be a glitch, but she really does not want to discuss Tiananmen Square with you, so stick to asking questions about the weather and where to buy things. The Wall Street Journal writes:

Some users have tested her devotion to free speech by asking her questions about the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square crackdown—a topic she seems loathe to broach. One screenshot posted to Twitter shows Siri responding to the question “Do you know about the Tiananmen incident?” with the answer: “I couldn’t find any appointments related to ‘Do you know about Tiananmen.’” A second try with the question rephrased – “What happened on June 4, 1989?”—produced an even stranger response: “I’m sorry, the person you are looking for is not in your address book.”

A[nother] screenshot posted suggested Siri wasn’t even able to provide directions to Tiananmen Square.

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Google Calls Its Report on Government Takedown Requests “Troubling,” “Free Expression Is At Risk”

Via Google’s Official Blog:

About two years ago, we launched our interactive Transparency Report. We started by disclosing data about government requests. Since then, we’ve been steadily adding new features, like graphs showing traffic patterns and disruptions to Google services from different countries. And just a couple weeks ago, we launched a new section showing the requests we get from copyright holders to remove search results.

The traffic and copyright sections of the Transparency Report are refreshed in near-real-time, but government request data is updated in six-month increments because it’s a people-driven, manual process. Today we’re releasing data showing government requests to remove blog posts or videos or hand over user information made from July to December 2011.

Unfortunately, what we’ve seen over the past couple years has been troubling, and today is no different. When we started releasing this data in 2010, we also added annotations with some of the more interesting stories behind the numbers.

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