Tag Archives | Censorship
Durban, South Africa: It was Nelson Mandela’s birthday, and the international day of service in his honor. The reports were that the man they call Madiba was recovering, according to upbeat accounts from his wife of 15 years and daughter Zindzi from his marriage to Winnie.
Happily, on that night, it was also a time of celebration as film fans packed into the annual opening of the film festival in Durban.
For 34 years, the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) has brought a world of cinema to the East coast of South Africa with an impressive range of films, filmmakers and related events. The screenings are often packed with over 150 films or more on display.
The Festival is organized by the Center for Creative Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, up on the big hill overlooking Durban. In recent years, its setting went from the academic to the commercial, from a mountain to a beach, with the opening this year, once again, based in cinemas at the Suncoast casino where it is attended by a multi-racial, and multi-generational crowd.… Read the rest
The Scientology cult is at war with the Internet reports Dave Lee at BBC News:
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What do Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Anonymous and copyright law have in common? The answer is they have all been influenced by the Church of Scientology International (CSI), as it took on ex-members and critics who took their protests on to the internet. As the Church successfully removes another website, just how big an influence has Scientology had on the internet we all use?
Last month digital rights activists at the influential Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) placed the Church of Scientology into their hall of shame over what it says were repeated acts against internet freedoms.
It was just the latest twist in the Church’s long-running feud with “negative” Scientology content online, one that has lasted almost two decades.
Back in May 1994, at a time when most major organisations were yet to figure out how exactly to deal with the relatively unknown power of the internet, the Church’s Elaine Siegel had a few ideas, outlined in a leaked email to “all Scientologists on the internet”.
Soldiers will not be allowed to catch up on Glenn Greenwald’s column in The Guardian Newspaper during their spare time. Reported first by the Monterey County Herald:
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The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to the Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday’s Herald, but Armywide. Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since the Guardian broke stories on data collection by the National Security Agency.
Gordon Van Vleet, spokesman for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, or NETCOM, said in an email the Army is filtering “some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks.”
He wrote it is routine for the Department of Defense to take preventative “network hygiene” measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information.
The Guardian’s website has classified documents about the NSA’s program of monitoring phone records of Verizon customers, a project called Prism which gave the agency “direct access” to data held by Google, Facebook, Apple and others, and more.
I spoke earlier today with “Natasha,” an American living in Istanbul, Turkey, to get her take on the recent wave of massive protests throughout Turkey — I wanted to know what initially sparked the protests, how the riot police have responded, and what the average Turk thinks of all this.
The protesting in Turkey “isn’t like the Arab Spring,” in her view, and instead reflects focused anger and disappointment over a particular politician, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan… rather than some kind of sweeping societal change.
Also, although the economic situation in Turkey sounds tough for young people, it honestly doesn’t sound much worse than the job climate that recent university graduates here in the United States face.
I asked her if she felt the protests were wrapping up at this point. “I don’t think it’s dying down at all… people are still very energized,” she replied.
Listen to our whole interview right here, she also speaks about Turkish anger over their media’s lack of coverage — and the media’s tendency to side with police forces’ official story, rather than the protesters:
Via the American Political Science Review, Harvard researchers pinpoint the surprising heart of authoritarian state censorship — anti-government criticism is in fact allowed, but not references to collective action of any sort:
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We have devised a system to locate, download, and analyze the content of millions of posts from nearly 1,400 different social media services all over China before the Chinese government is able to ﬁnd, evaluate, and censor (i.e., remove from the Internet) the subset they deem objectionable. We compare posts censored to those not censored.
Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders, and its policies are not likely to be censored. Instead the censorship program is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilization, regardless of content. Censorship is oriented toward attempting to forestall collective activities that are occurring now or may occur in the future—and, as such, seem to clearly expose government intent.
At this point, you just know that Chris Anderson and the gang at TED wish that they’d never messed with Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. Following his earlier diatribe against TED for censorship of Messrs. Hancock and Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra assembles a cast of scientists to hammer away again at the TED establishment, at Huffington Post:
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Thank you for clearing up some issues, particularly the confusion surrounding TEDx’s decision to take down or shift the talks by Sheldrake and Hancock. Actions speak louder than words, and the talks were removed from the website, followed by your letter warning TEDx organizers essentially not to repeat the same mistake again by inviting similar talks. To underline the point, TEDx withdrew its brand name from a West Hollywood event that was by no means filled with “goofballs” or “questionable” figures.
TED has invited religious leaders to speak, but that’s not at issue.
Most of us know they do it, but did you know it’s openly and perfectly legal? Via Project Censored:
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In February 2003, a Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed with an assertion by FOX News that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the United States.
Back in December of 1996, Jane Akre and her husband, Steve Wilson, were hired by FOX as a part of the Fox “Investigators” team at WTVT in Tampa Bay, Florida. In 1997 the team began work on a story about bovine growth hormone (BGH), a controversial substance manufactured by Monsanto Corporation. The couple produced a four-part series revealing that there were many health risks related to BGH and that Florida supermarket chains did little to avoid selling milk from cows treated with the hormone, despite assuring customers otherwise.
According to Akre and Wilson, the station was initially very excited about the series.
Corporate gatekeepers say that provocative ideas don’t belong in video games. Via Pocket Gamer:
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According to UK developer Littleloud, Sweatshop HD is an iPad game that “challenged people to think about the origin of the clothes we buy”. But it has now been removed from Apple’s online marketplace because the App Store was “uncomfortable selling a game based around the theme of running a sweatshop”.
Sweatshop HD wasn’t the first game of its kind to be removed by Apple, either. In Phone Story, Molleindustria depicted the seedy side of smartphone manufacturing, including sweatshop suicides and the harvesting of rare minerals in the war-torn Congo. Apple pulled the game, saying it violated App Store clause 16.1 – “Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected.”
There’s also In a Permanent Save State, an artistic game centered on “the spiritual afterlife” of overworked electronics labourers who had committed suicide.