Tag Archives | Freedom of Speech

Baton Vs. Camera: Police Openly Hunt for Citizen Journalists (Video)

Via RT: As the consolidated corporate media machine fails in its function as the fourth estate, citizen journalists and independent press outlets are there to pick up the slack. But this important task is becoming increasingly threatened by the harsh treatment at the hands of the police force. Citizen based media is often targeted by police for reporting unfiltered truths, or they are lumped together with activists/protesters and beaten or arrested. As more and more Americans choose alternative news sources to find out what is really happening in their country, harassing those providing first hand reports muzzles the free flow of information and poses a threat to democracy. Abby Martin explores the subject for RT.
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Sweden Opens Up Official Twitter Account to Entire Country

Writes Michelle Maltais in the LA Times:
If you had the keys to your country's Twitter account, what would you say? Well, Sonja Abrahamsson has caused a bit of a stir with her tweets about Jews from the @Sweden handle. This week's vox populi via @Sweden from Abrahamsson has delved into such curiosities as "Whats the fuzz with jews. You can't even see if a person is a jew," without intimate examination, she wrote in more explicit terms. As you can imagine, her tweets have caught some flack and attention. Abrahamsson, who describes herself as "a 27-year old womanlike human being from northern Sweden," is part of a government experiment entrusting its @Sweden national Twitter account to a new citizen every week...
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China’s 2012 Report On Human Rights In The United States

China just released a report on the (lack of) human rights over the past year in the U.S.A. Are we living in an authoritarian society without knowing it? Via China Daily, when you put things this way, it sounds pretty bad:

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2011 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rights situation of the United States to people across the world and urge the United States to face up to its own doings.

In the United States, the violation of citizens’ civil and political rights is severe. It is lying to itself when the United States calls itself the land of the free (The Washington Post, Jan 14, 2012).

Claiming to defend 99 percent of the US population against the wealthiest, the Occupy Wall Street protest movement tested the US political, economic and social systems. Ignited by severe social and economic inequality, uneven distribution of wealth and high unemployment, the movement expanded to sweep the United States after its inception in September 2011.

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Pussy Riot Facing Long Prison Sentences For Performance At Cathedral

Can anyone save the world’s boldest feminist punk rockers, now that they have been unmasked and thrown in Russian jail? Is this the last stand for politically-subversive pop music? The Art Newspaper writes:

The lawyer for three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, who are currently awaiting trial for an allegedly blasphemous protest in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral shortly before the election that saw Vladimir Putin returned for a third term as Russian president, says only appeals from Western celebrities and high-profile cultural figures can save them from further criminal charges and long jail sentences.

The performance infuriated the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill I, and other top church officials, who were criticised in the “punk prayer” performance which also asked the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Putin.

“The authorities must now, in essence, falsify the charges,” says Nikolai Polozov. “It’s very hard for them to back down.

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American Airlines Boots Woman From Flight For “Offensive” Pro-Choice T-Shirt

Government In My WombReports David Ferguson on RAW Story:

A woman traveling home from an abortion rights seminar was detained and forced off an American Airlines flight Tuesday because the captain and crew found her T-shirt “offensive,” according to the blog RH Reality Check.  The woman, who asked not to be named, was wearing a T-shirt with a slogan made famous by Oklahoma state senator Judy McIntyre (D), who marched earlier this year to protest Oklahoma’s “fetal personhood” law, carrying a sign that read, “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d fuck a senator.”

The woman, who detailed her experience in an email to RHRC blogger Jodi Jacobson, said she was sleeping for most of her first flight with a shawl covering her shirt.  ”Right before we were set to land the flight attendant from first class approaches me and asks if I had a connecting flight? We were running a bit behind schedule, so I figured I was being asked this to be sure I would make my connecting flight.  She then proceeded to tell me that I needed to speak with the captain before disembarking the plane and that the shirt I was wearing was offensive.”

Read More: RAW Story

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Anonymous Online Speech: Soon To Be Banned In New York?

Government Speech

Illustration: Helodrgt (CC)

WTF Albany? Remember the authors of the Federalist Papers? Victoria Bekiempis writes in the Village Voice:

Legislation is pending in Albany that would make illegal anonymous online commenting, City & State tweeted this morning. Looks like Wired was among the first to report on the measure.

The bill’s backers, according to the mag, want to curtail “mean-spirited and baseless political attacks” and “spotlight on cyberbullies by forcing them to reveal their identity.”

The legislation would make New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”

The measures would also apply to messages on social networks and message boards or “any other discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages,” Wired points out, and requires that sites offer “a contact number or e-mail address posted for ‘such removal requests, clearly visible in any sections where comments are posted.’”…

Read More: Village Voice

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Montana Wins 22 States (and Counting) Backing Over The Citizens United Fight

Seal Of MontanaFeel great if you live in the Treasure State. Reports the AP via the Guardian:

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down laws restricting corporate spending in political campaigns.

The states led by New York are asking the high court to preserve Montana’s state-level regulations on corporate expenditures, according to a copy of a brief written by New York’s attorney general’s office and obtained by the Associated Press.

The supreme court is being asked to reverse a state court’s decision to uphold the Montana law. Virginia-based American Tradition Partnership is asking the nation’s high court to rule without a hearing because the group says the state law conflicts directly with the Citizens United decision that removed the federal ban on corporate campaign spending. The Supreme Court has blocked the Montana law until it can look at the case…

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Authorities Define “Violence” As Any Restriction Of Capital Flows

6269542564_1930ee174e_nCritical Legal Thinking on the German government response to Occupy Frankfurt — peaceful protest is now defined as “violent” if the target is financial institutions:

As debate spilled over into a shouting match in the Hessian State Parliament concerning the effective ban of Blockupy protests this 16-19 May in Frankfurt am Main, the administrative decision that effected this ban has come to light. The key finding being that:

The blockade action cannot be assessed as peaceful. To make blockades and hinder traffic with the goal of closing down the entire financial district...has to be defined as violence. The European Central Bank ‘must be functional, especially in times of financial crisis around the clock’. This includes things like ‘the operation of large-value payment system TARGET2′.

So in effect, a civil disobedience directed against the Eurozone’s financial authorities cannot take place because the obligation of the Frankfurt government to support the operation of the Euro-system overrides the right of European protesters to assemble and demonstrate against that very operation.

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Bill Hicks on Freedom of Speech

Site note: Problem with site, cached version here: Letter Of Note

American FlagThis is beautiful. Via Letters of Note:

In May of 1993, deeply offended by its “blasphemous” content, a priest wrote to Channel 4 and complained about the recent screening of “Revelations,” a recording of Bill Hicks‘s live show at London’s Dominion Theatre some months before (a show which, incidentally, can be seen in its entirety here).

Upon receiving said complaint, Channel 4 passed it on to Hicks himself. Hicks then responded to the priest directly with the following letter. It doesn’t disappoint:

8 June 1993

Dear Sir,

After reading your letter expressing your concerns regarding my special ‘Revelations’, I felt duty-bound to respond to you myself in hopes of clarifying my position on the points you brought up, and perhaps enlighten you as to who I really am.

Where I come from — America — there exists this wacky concept called ‘freedom of speech’, which many people feel is one of the paramount achievements in mankind’s mental development.

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