Freedom of Expression in the News: Weekly Round-up, 31 January – 4 February 2011

 Guidance Issued for Tweeting the Twists and Turns of Supreme Court Cases

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom issued guidance on the use of live text based communications from court. Lord Phillips stated that by the time cases reach the Supreme Court, there are hardly any confidentiality issues, and therefore real-time updates, i.e. via Twitter, about what is going on in the Court should be allowed so long as they are not disruptive.


 Egypt: Army Calls Protests ‘Freedom of Speech,’ Won’t Use Force to Dispel Demonstrators

The Egyptian Army has announced that it will not use force against protestors who have taken to the street to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Although protestors continue to violate the curfew that the government has put in place, the army has refused to help enforce the curfew or otherwise disperse the demonstrations. The Army has stated that these demonstrations are the legal exercise of free speech.


 UN Insists on Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka

After a missing Sri Lankan journalist’s wife filed a petition for the UN to help locate her missing husband, the UN addressed the importance of freedom of speech in Sri Lanka.


 Singapore: Hocus Pocus Hides Rights Abuses

Human Rights Watch released a report criticizing Singapore for failing to comply with international human rights standards. The report found that Singapore hindered freedom of expression through the use of defamation laws and preventative detention. The report also concluded that Singapore’s Ministry of Information, which grants licenses to the media, was acting as a mechanism of censorship.  The report urged Singapore to respect freedom of expression principles as the 2011 election nears.


 Syrian Protesters Plan “Day of Rage”

Inspired by the protests in Egypt, Syrians are using banned social networking sites Facebook and Twitter to organize protests for what they have termed a “day of rage.” The protests are a response to the reported corruption, poverty, and unemployment which is believed to be pervasive in Syria. Furthermore, in Syria critics of the government have been jailed for their views.


EU-Hungary Row Over Media Law Cools Down

After Hungary’s new media law sparked criticism from human rights groups and the EU over the effects it might have on freedom of expression, Hungary agreed it would amend the law if necessary.


Censors Delete Chinese Cartoon that Takes Swipes at Public Scandals

A cartoon video that alludes to public scandals that recently took place in China has been removed from websites by Chinese authorities. While its creator claims that it is just a fairy tell to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, the cartoon is believed by some viewers to elude to the toxic milk powder scandal and the death of activist Qian Yunhui. 


Z. Postanjyan: ” Freedom of expression and personal freedom guarantee democrarcy and civil society”

Mrs. Zaruhi Postanjyan delivered a speech condemning the failure of authorities in Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey to protect the freedom of speech. She pointed to examples of individuals who had been imprisoned and prosecuted for expressing their beliefs in each of these countries.



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