Tag Archives: Censorship

`Study Finds Over 33 Million Instagram, TikTok Posts Promoting Harmful Content to Kids

The Ekō report came as a U.S. Senate panel held a hearing about online child sexual exploitation featuring testimony from five Big Tech CEOs.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 1-31-2024 by Common Dreams

As five Big Tech executives appeared before the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee on January 31, 2024, Ekō held a protest at the U.S. Capitol and released a report about platforms promoting harmful content to children. (Photo: Ekō)

As five Big Tech executives appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, the group Ekō released a report highlighting how “social media companies are not only failing to safeguard young users from harm, but actively profiting from it.”

“This briefing serves as an urgent call for legislative action,” says the 17-page publication from Ekō—previously called SumOfUs—which is addressed to the Senate panel on the first page and urges constituents to contact their members of Congress.

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‘No, This Is Not a Parody’: Florida School District Bans Dictionaries Under DeSantis Law

Webster’s Dictionary & Thesaurus and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank are among the books that the Escambia County School District has yanked from library shelves.

By Jake Johnson Published 1-10-2024 by Common Dreams

A photo of a Florida K-8 school’s dumpster, filled to the brim with history and civics textbooks. As part of a new policy, schools must destroy all material not allowed by the state government. Photo: Yamasztuka/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Dictionaries and encyclopedias are among the more than 2,800 books that a Florida school district has pulled from library shelves in an effort to comply with a law that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed last year.

Judd Legum, author of the Popular Information newsletter, reported Wednesday that the Escambia County School District said the books that have been banned pending further investigation “may violate H.B. 1069,” which “gives residents the right to demand the removal of any library book that ‘depicts or describes sexual conduct,’ as defined under Florida law, whether or not the book is pornographic.”

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Texas Officials Reject Textbooks Over Climate Science

“The same bad actors who are calling for racist, homophobic, and transphobic book bans are also calling for climate denial in science textbooks,” said one critic.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 11-17-2023 by Common Dreams

Image: National Center for Science Education

Seven of 12 proposed science textbooks for Texas 8th graders were rejected Friday by the Republican-controlled state Board of Education because they propose solutions to the climate emergency or were published by a company with an environmental, social, and governance policy.

The Texas Tribune reported that the 15-member board, which for the first time was required to include climate education for 8th graders, approved five of 12 proposed science textbooks, but called on their publishers to remove content deemed false or presenting a negative portrayal of oil and gas in the nation’s biggest fossil fuel producer.

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US Corporate Media Outlets Allow IDF to Vet ‘All Materials’ From Embedded Reporters in Gaza

“Israel is killing the journalists that expose their crimes, then bribing the journalists that cover for them,” said one critic.

By Brett Wilkins Published 11-6-2023 by Common Dreams

CNN’s Jeremy Diamond points toward Israeli military hardware in a field near Israel’s border with Gaza.
 (Photo: CNN screen grab)

U.S. corporate media outlets have granted Israeli military commanders pre-publication review rights for “all materials and footage” recorded by their correspondents embedded with the Israel Defense Forces during the invasion of Gaza, a precondition condemned by press freedom advocates.

“Journalists embedded with the IDF in Gaza operate under the observation of Israeli commanders in the field, and are not permitted to move unaccompanied within the Gaza Strip,” Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN‘s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” explained in a segment on Sunday.

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Israel Readying Emergency Regulations Allowing Arrest of Journalists for Factual Reporting

One Israeli journalist said Israel’s far-right government—trying to stop Al Jazeera’s Gaza broadcasts—is “acting more like Putin’s” regime.

By Brett Wilkins Published 10-16-2023 by Common Dreams

Shlomo Karhi, a member of the right-wing Likud party who is currently Israel’s communications minister, with Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo: Shlomo Karhi/Facebook

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi confirmed Sunday that he is drafting regulations that will empower him to order police to arrest journalists for factual reporting and target anyone he believes has damaged national morale during Israel’s ongoing war against Gaza.

Haaretz reports that Karhi—a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party—is preparing draft emergency regulations titled “Limiting Aid to the Enemy through Communication” which would allow him to direct police to arrest any civilian, remove them from their home, and seize their property if he believes they have disseminated information that might harm national morale or be used as “enemy propaganda.”

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ALA Decries ‘Attacks on Our Freedom’ With Record Book Challenges So Far in 2023

The data reflects a growing right-wing movement to restrict the topics taught in public schools and the media that children have access to.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 9-20-2023 by Common Dreams

Banned Books Week installation on the second floor of Kennedy Library on Monday, September 24, 2018. Photo: Kennedy Library/flickr/CC

A record number of library books were challenged during the first eight months of 2023, the American Library Association revealed Tuesday.

The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) documented 695 attempts to remove a total of 1,915 library titles as of August 31. That’s up from the 681 challenges to 1,651 distinct titles for the same period in 2022, and last year as a whole broke the overall record for book challenges since data collecting began more than two decades ago.

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AP Psychology Effectively Banned in Florida Over Lesson on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

“Sadly, it’s all part of the DeSantis playbook of eroding rights, censoring those he disagrees with, and undermining access to knowledge,” said one critic.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 8-3-2023 by Common Dreams

Students and their supporters rallied at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee on March 7, 2022 as the state Senate began debating a so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. (Photo: MoveOn/Twitter)

The Republican-controlled Florida Board of Education on Thursday effectively banned Advanced Placement Psychology by notifying school district superintendents that teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity—key subjects in college-level psychology curricula—is prohibited under the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law.

That means class schedules for the fall semester—which begins next week in most Florida school districts—are in limbo for thousands of students. Last year, around 28,000 pupils in more than 500 Florida high schools took AP Psychology.

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Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Law Criminalizing Librarians

“Do Arkansans still legally have access to reading materials? Luckily, the judicial system has once again defended our highly valued liberties,” said the head of the state ACLU.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 7-30-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Fayetteville Public Library/Facebook

A federal judge on Saturday temporarily blocked the implementation of an Arkansas law criminalizing librarians and booksellers who provide access to materials deemed “harmful to minors.”

U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks—an appointee of former President Barack Obama—issued a preliminary injunction against two sections of Act 372 (also known as S.B. 81), a censorship bill introduced by Arkansas state Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-20), passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature, and signed into law by GOP Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in March.

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Digital Rights Groups Applaud US Supreme Court for Protecting Free Speech Online

“Today’s decisions should be commended for recognizing that the rules we apply to the internet should foster free expression, not suppress it,” said the deputy director of ACLU’s National Security Project.

By Kenny Stancil. Published 5-18-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: Beatrice Murch/flickr/CC

Civil liberties advocates on Thursday praised the U.S. Supreme Court for a pair of unanimous rulings that they say uphold the right to free speech on online platforms.

The high court’s decisions in Twitter v. Taamneh and Gonzalez v. Google represent “a win for free expression on the internet,” the ACLU tweeted.

Alongside its partners, the ACLU “filed amicus briefs in both cases urging the court to ensure online platforms are free to promote, demote, and recommend content without legal risk in order to protect political discourse, cultural development, and intellectual activity,” the group noted in a statement.

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Groups Blast Right-Wing Government Control of Internet Ahead of Turkey Elections

The vote will test whether voters in Turkey can rely on social media for independent news and to express their views on the election and its outcome, despite government efforts to put companies under its heel.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-11-2023 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: Chatham House

As Turks prepare to vote in Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, a pair of human rights groups warned Wednesday that the right-wing government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “will exert considerable control over the digital ecosystem in an effort to undermine the outcome.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Article 19, an international group promoting freedom of expression, published a question-and-answer report examining “potential threats to Turkey’s online environment in the parliamentary and presidential elections in which President Erdoğan—who has been in power for over 20 years—and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) face a significant electoral challenge.”

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