Freedom of Expression in the News: Weekly Round-up 9 April – 15 April 2011

Canada: In first for Canada, draft Vancouver bylaw could allow Falun Gong protest hut, 14 April 2011

A Vancouver City by-law that was struck down last year for unduly restricting the right to political expression of the Falun Gong Association of Vancouver, who had been holding a round-the-clock vigil in a meditation hut outside the Chinese consulate since 2001, is re-drafted to allow street structures for the purpose of political expression outside consulates in residential areas. Link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/bc-politics/in-first-for-canada-draft-vancouver-bylaw-could-allow-falun-gong-protest-hut/article1985450/   

France: Women in face veils detained as France enforces ban, 12 April 2011

France effectively bans Islamic face-concealing veils in public. Many participate in demonstrations and intend to engage in civil disobedience. Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13031397

China: Chinese Christians arrested for trying to hold open-air service, 10 April 2011

An open-air service was planned by Shouwang church after losing its place of worship due to governmental pressure. Church officials and journalists were prevented from accessing the site of the planned service and many were arrested on the site. Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/10/shouwang-church-arrests-bejing-china

Egypt: Blogger’s 3-Year Sentence a Blow to Free Speech, 11 April 2011

Blogger Maikel Nabil is sentenced to three years in prison for insulting the military after unfair trial. Link: http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2011/04/11/egypt-blogger-s-3-year-sentence-blow-free-speech

Singapore: Briton Appeals Sentence Over Book on Singapore’s Use of Death Penalty, 11 April 2011

A British author was convicted under Singapore’s criminal defamation laws for criticising the judiciary and the administration of the death penalty in Singapore. Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/world/asia/12iht-singapore12.html

Belarus: Ashton Calls on Belarus to Immediately Stop Persecution of Journalists, 10 April 2011

EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy expresses concern over intimidation of independent media after presidential elections in Belarus. Journalist Andrzej Poczobut faces up to four years in prison for insulting the president.  Link: http://telegraf.by/2011/04/ashton-calls-on-belarus-to-immediately-stop-persecution-of-journalists.html

Americas, IAPA urges governments to act to end impunity in murders of journalists, 14 April 2011

The Inter American Press Association calls upon the nations of the Americas, among other things, to take action against violence committed against journalists. Link:http://www.sipiapa.com/v4/index.php?page=cont_comunicados&seccion=detalles&idioma=us&id=4548

China: Chinese Christians arrested for trying to hold open-air service, 10 April 2011

An open-air service was planned by Shouwang church after losing its place of worship due to governmental pressure. Church officials and journalists were prevented from accessing the site of the planned service and many were arrested on the site. Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/10/shouwang-church-arrests-bejing-china

USA: National Day of Prayer ruled constitutional, 14 April 2011

Federal appeals court overrules the decision declaring National Day of Prayer unconstitutional. The group of atheists and agnostics who challenged the law was judged not to have standing to bring the lawsuit. Link: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20054027-503544.html

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