These stories are designed to help readers, especially students discover this area of freedom of expression. Is free speech boundless? Should it have limits? Where should they be? In short they're a set of 'ethicals' ideal for debates.
But before they begin take a minute or two to look at this stunningly creative animation which spells out our Human Rights in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It's where art transforms ideals in the hope for a better world.
Created by Seth Brau and produced by Amy Poncher
Of T-shirts and a vegan commemoration…
Saturday, 24 July 2010 12:27
On 7 December, 2005, Maya Evans, a vegan chef aged 25, was convicted of breaching the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act by reading aloud at the Cenotaph the names of 97 British soldiers killed in Iraq. So serious was her crime that it required 14 policemen in two vans to arrest her. She was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 in costs after being found guilty of breaching Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. She now has a criminal record.
Three Google executives were convicted in Milan, Italy on February 24 this year over a bullying video posted on the site - a verdict greeted with horror by online activists, who fear it could open the gates to such prosecutions and ultimately destroy the internet itself. Google, denies the charges and considers the trial a threat to freedom on the Internet.
Freedom of expression is defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
New Zealand has its own Bill of Rights Act 1990. The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act places limits on the actions of those in government (including government departments, the judiciary, state-owned enterprises and local authorities) that interfere with the rights of individuals. The Bill of Rights Act also protects the rights of non-natural persons, for example, companies and incorporated societies.
The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove books from sale, to censor textbooks, to label "controversial" books, to distribute lists of "objectionable" books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as citizens devoted to the use of books and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating them, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read...
The OpenNet Initiative: who's watching who, where, and why…
Tuesday, 20 July 2010 12:34
The number of states that limit access to Internet content has risen rapidly in recent years according to the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) which has been monitoring Internet filtering around the world since 2002. (Internet filtering normally refers to the technical approaches to control access to information on the Internet). For example, Google admits that in China it is filtering searches for about the Tiananmen Square massacre. A spokesperson for the company confirmed that despite the publication of images from the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre - a sensitive topic for the Chinese government - the search results are still filtered according to the country's law. However China, though one of most intensive users of filtering, is only one in a long list of countries doing so.
Currently, more than 40 countries are filtering the Internet to varying degrees, while a number of others, including Australia, Iraq, and Spain, are considering enacting filtering policies. So, just how many people are censored online around the world? We have estimated a number based on the number of Internet users that reside in countries which practice substantial filtering - in terms of the number of sites and/or type of content blocked. The number we have come up with is 563,018,414, or approximately 32% of all Internet users.