Freedom of Expression in the News: Weekly round-up, 4-10 May 2011

Global: Internet Access is a Human Right, United Nations Report Declares

The Special Rapporteur for the United Nations recently released a report stating that there exists a positive obligation on states to promote or facilitate enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and the means necessary to exercise that right, such as access to the internet.


Palestine: ‘PA bans journalists from reporting human rights abuses’

Palestinian Authority recently issued instructions to editors forbidding them from allowing their journalists to report on the findings of the Independent Commission for Human Rights concerning the abuse of human rights by the PA and Hamas. According to some sources, journalists in the West Bank have been subject to physical and moral assault, including having their equipment confiscated or destroyed.


Kuwait: Kuwait arrests man over Twitter post

Kuwait has arrested Nasser Abul, a Shi’ite Muslim man, for publishing criticism of the ruling families in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia on social media site Twitter. State security charges, including charges of damaging the country’s interests and severing political relationship with brotherly countries have been filed against him. Abul denied the charges and told prosecutors that hackers who hacked his account were the culprits, not him.


France: French TV, radio programs slapped with social media restriction

A decree from the early 1990s, re-implemented by French regulators, is putting an end to French television and radio announcers naming social networking sites on air except for news purposes. The decree bans “clandestine advertising,” the promotion of a brand outside the boundaries of recognized publicity avenues. From now on news anchors will be prohibited from specifically naming social networking sites (such as Twitter or Facebook) and instead will have to refer to them in vague terms such as “follow us on social networking sites.”


Thailand: Criminalization of free speech ahead of election

The Asian Human Rights Commission highlights the status of free speech in Thailand. The Commission notes that prior to the upcoming elections the government in Thailand has increased its pursuit of cases under section 112 of the Criminal Code of Thailand and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act in order to quash speech allegedly critical of the monarchy.


Bahrain: Student faces trial for reciting poems during protest

Ayat Al Cormozy, a 20-year-old student and poet who was arrested in March by the Bahraini security forces after reciting poems during a protest and sit-in at the Pearl Roundabout is due to face trial on the 6th of June. The prosecution involves a notorious emergency law which resulted in the detention of over 600 opposition activists.



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