Freedom of Expression Round-Up 18 – 22 October 2010

China: ‘China must abandon censorship’, 13 October 2010

A group of Chinese journalists, academics and publishers call on the Chinese government to support freedom of speech and of the press in accordance with the provisions in the Chinese Constitution.


Indonesia: ‘Suharto’s law prohibiting freedom of expression abolished’, 16 October 2010

On 13 October, the Indonesian Constitutional Court handed down a ruling stripping the Attorney General of his power to censor and ban books. This is a major step forward for freedom of expression in Indonesia.


India: ‘We, the people of touchy India’, 17 October 2010

The Indian foreign office summoned the New Zealand High Commissioner to apologise for a play on words by a New Zealand presenter. It also ordered summoned the Australian High Commissioner in response to a racist joke circulating among Australian police officers and against the background of the recent attacks on Indian students. While the first summons was disproportionate, the second was understandable at the risk that India appears ‘overly touchy and intolerant of the freedom of speech and expression.’


Italy: ‘Berlusconi ‘vendetta’ takes Italy’s Paxman off air again’, 17 October 2010

Michele Santoro, the ‘ hero of Italian current affairs broadcasting’ accused Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister and owner of most of Italy’s private television channels, of waging a vendetta against him which has resulted in his latest two week suspension from broadcasting.


Turkey: ‘EU to praise amendments, criticize restrictions on free speech’, 18 October 2010

In its annual progress report on Turkey, due to be published on 9 November 2010, the European Commission will commend constitutional amendments but criticise increasing restraints on the freedom of expression.


Turkey: ‘Turkish citizens find new ways to deal with regime’s tyranny’, 18 October 2010

Turkish law contains many restrictions on freedom of expression but are not being used to prevent demonstrations possibly because individuals are handing themselves into the authorities for publishing banned material and demanding to be prosecuted. This has created a court backlog and lead the authorities to stop prosecuting people for breaking censorship laws.


Bolivia: ‘Protests continue as Bolivia discusses how anti-racism law will be enforced’, 18 October 2010

The Bolivian government has 90 days to accomplish regulatory changes needed to enforce the new Anti-Racism Law. Press groups have been protesting against two articles which could punish media outlets with closure and journalists with prison if they spread racist ideas.


Mexico: ‘NGOs accuse Mexican state officials of violently closing community radio station’, 19 October 2010

On 12 October 2010, the Proletaria community radio station was shut down by between 25 and 30 heavily armed masked agents, including members of the state police and the Chiapas attorney general’s office. Several press freedom organisations have condemned the shut down which was accomplished by use of excessive force in raiding the offices of the Popular Organization Emiliano Zapata (OPEZ) which houses the station.


Mumbai: ‘University book ban sparks free speech fears’, 20 October 2010

The University of Mumbai withdrew Rohinton Mistry’s novel “Such A Long Journey” from its undergraduate arts degree course because of complaints from the Shiv Sena party, a hardline Hindu activist group, the it contained ‘foul and derogatory references’ to them. The party’s youth wing burned copies of the book.


South Africa: ‘Journalists march for media freedom’, 20 October 2010

‘Journalists and members of civil society marched from the University of Witwatersrand’s Senate House to Constitution Hill in the Johannesburg city centre on Tuesday against the controversial protection of information bill.’


Brazil: ‘Radio reporter shot dead in Brazil; suspect arrested’, 20 October 2010

On Tuesday, Brazilian police arrested a man suspected of killing Francisco Gomes de Medeiros, a radio reporter in the city of Caicó, Rio Grande do Norte. Mr. Gomes was shot to death on Monday in front of his house.




Ukraine: ‘EU Enlargement Commissioner Fuele Reminds Ukraine Need To Support Freedom Of Expression And Assembly’, 20 October 2010


At the European Parliament session on Ukraine-EU relations, the European Commissioner for EU Enlargement and the European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, reminded Ukraine of the need to support freedom of expression and assembly.





Jordan: ‘Ensure Free Election Campaign’, 21 October 2010

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for the Jordanian authorities to respect the right to free expression in the period leading up to national elections. HRW stated that in the past ten days, the authorities arrested young people gathering for a rally calling for a boycott of the elections and censored a news item critical of the government.




USA: ‘Gay marriage foes: NY law blocks free speech right’, 21 October 2010

‘Lawyers for an anti-gay marriage group have appeared before judges in Rhode Island and New York seeking the right to run political ads without having to comply with certain donor and spending reporting requirements.’


Russia: ‘Repeated unjustified Ban on Gay-Rights Marches in Moscow’, 21 October 2010

‘In today’’s Chamber judgment in the case Alekseyev v. Russia (application nos 4916/07, 25924/08 and 14599/09), which is not final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

A violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association);

A violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy);

A violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights

The case concerned the complaints by a Russian gay-rights activist about a repeated rejection by the Moscow authorities of his requests to organise gay-pride parades.’


Turkey: ‘Second Quarterly Media Monitoring Report 2010 – Full Text’, 22 October 2010

‘In the second quarter of 2010, the number of thought crimes has doubled compared to the same period last year. The number of suspects under the Anti-Terrorism Law has increased by factor 5. As the struggle intensifies, freedom of expression weakens.’



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