Tag Archives: freedom of expression

Texas City Demands Hurricane Harvey Victims Support Israel to Get Relief

By James Holbrooks Published 10-20-2017 by The Anti-Mediaickinson on 8/27/2017 after Hurricane Harvey. Photo: YouTube

Dickinson, TX — Government suppression of free speech can take many forms. It’s not always censorship in the media or storm troopers in the streets bashing in the heads of protesters. For proof of this, one need look no further than Dickinson, Texas.

The small coastal town southeast of Houston took some of the worst Hurricane Harvey had to offer, with almost 7,400 homes damaged — many of them beyond repair. In response, the city council decided to set up a relief fund. People can donate to the city, and then a committee distributes the money to residents on a case-by-case basis. Continue reading

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Standing With ESPN Journalist Against Trump’s White Supremacy, #NaziBucketChallenge Goes Viral

Calling out Trump’s racist views, critics stand in solidarity with ESPN anchor

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-15-2017

Protest rally in Boston vs ‘white supremacy’. Photo: YouTube

In a display of a solidarity with the black female ESPN sportscaster under attack by the White House for calling out President Donald Trump as a “white supremacist” earlier this week, the hashtag #NaziBucketChallenge was going viral on Friday as people from all walks of life waited to see if they would receive the same kind of harsh treatment for criticizing the president publicly.

It all started on Monday, when ESPN anchor Jemele Hill called Trump a white supremacist on her Twitter account.

Jemele Hill Tweet

The controversy intensifed, however, after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders publicly called for Hill’s firing during a White House press briefing on Wednesday.

But Hill’s criticism, which is widely shared among private citizens and public figures, hardly came out of nowhere.

Her tweet followed, among other examples, the firestorm surrounding Trump’s response to last month’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, in which he failed to denounce the neo-Nazis who organized the gathering and insisted that counter-protesters were equally to blame for the violence that erupted.

The comments also came two weeks after Trump’s pardon of his longtime supporter Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who detained Latinos with no evidence of any wrongdoing and established a detention center that he compared favorably to a Nazi concentration camp.

The president’s former top strategist, Steve Bannon, also has well-established ties to white supremacists, having served as the executive director of Breitbart News both before and after his work with Trump.

Hill later deleted the tweet and clarified that the views she had expressed were her own and not her employer’s; ESPN said Thursday it had accepted her apology. But that didn’t stop Trump from wading into the controversy and demanding an apology from ESPN in an early-morning missive on Friday.

A number of well-known Trump critics spoke out in solidarity with Hill—and challenged the White House to call for their dismissal as well.

The campaign picked up speed following Trump’s statement on Thursday in which he repeated his views on the violence in Charlottesville, saying that there were “some pretty bad dudes” among the anti-racism counter-protesters. Everyday Americans began using the #NaziBucketChallenge hashtag, making it clear that Trump’s white supremacist views have been noticed by people of all races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and genders.


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Trump Official Praises Autocratic Rule: ‘Not a Single Hint of a Protester’ in Saudi Arabia

No ‘bad placards’ in nation where such political dissent is punishable by death

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-22-2017

Wilbur Ross. Photo: Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Putting a fine point on the spin that President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East has been a glowing, peace-dealing success, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross praised the fact that there were no protesters in Saudi Arabia—a nation where political dissonance is punishable by death.

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Ross, who accompanied Trump on the weekend trip to Riyadh, said he found it “fascinating” that he did not see “a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.” Continue reading

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And you thought Trump was bad

European leaders have found their nemesis in Viktor Orbán, whose legislation closing down the Central European University constitutes an ethno-nationalist and authoritarian challenge to Europe’s liberal order.

By Michael Stewart. Published 4-6-2017 by openDemocracy

Viktor Orbán. Photo: Andrucha

If guests questioned the significance of a university to its founder, the former President and Rector of Central European University, John Shattuck, liked to remind them that unlike most human institutions, universities can boast longevity. Which significant institutions live on, he would ask, from the years of renaissance glory in Florence, Venice or Padua? Their universities. Or, to put the matter in more familiar terms, what other British corporation founded in 1421 survives and thrives 600 years on, as does King’s College Cambridge?

But after yesterday’s news from Budapest, it may be that the distinguished diplomat and former head of Harvard Library, spoke too soon. Continue reading

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As Media Gatekeeper, 70+ Groups Call on Facebook to End Censorship

“Because the stories that don’t get shared are as important as the ones that do”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-31-2016

Facebook_in_Laptop

As Facebook comes under fire for its alleged censorship and tracking of activists and protesters, a coalition of more than 70 groups and individuals has demanded the social media behemoth “clarify its policy on removing video and other content, especially human rights documentation, at the request of government actors.”

A letter (pdf)—whose signatories include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), 350.org, Color of Change, and the Indigenous Environmental Network—sent Monday cites recent incidents including:

  • the deactivation of Korryn Gaines’ account,
  • the removal of iconic photographs,
  • reports of suppression of Indigenous resistance,
  • continued reports of Black activists’ content being removed,
  • and the disabling of Palestinian journalists’ accounts following your meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister.

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UN Expert Decries Global Assault on Freedom of Expression

The findings reveal ‘how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-21-2016

"Censorship in all its forms reflects official fear of ideas and information," said U.N. Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye. (Photo: Rachel Hinman/flickr/cc)

“Censorship in all its forms reflects official fear of ideas and information,” said U.N. Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye. (Photo: Rachel Hinman/flickr/cc)

“Governments are treating words as weapons,” a United Nations expert has warned, previewing a report on the global attack on the freedom of expression.

The report, based on communications with governments stemming from allegations of human rights law violations—reveal “sobering” trends of threats worldwide and “how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists.” Continue reading

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Who’s the Real Troublemaker in the Middle East?

Iran’s no democratic paradise, but Washington’s Saudi allies are even worse.

By Medea Benjamin. Published 8-19-2015 at OtherWords

Late King Abdullah and King Salman, then the Crown Prince. (Photo: Tribes of the World/ Flickr)

Except for maybe the Affordable Care Act, nothing gets Republican politicians fired up like Iran.

In the first GOP debate alone, Scott Walker promised that he’d tear up the Iran nuclear deal on day one of his presidency. Carly Fiorina blamed the country for “most of the evil that is going on in the Middle East.” Mike Huckabee vowed to topple the “terrorist Iranian regime and defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.”

Oddly, when the candidates complain about the “evil forces of radical Islam” or trouble in the Middle East, they never seem to mention Saudi Arabia.

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Will Norway allow Snowden safe passage to receive prize?

The Norwegians must not let their relationship with the US stand in the way of this chance to defend the fundamental principles of democracy.

Edward Snowden. Photo by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Edward Snowden. Photo by Laura Poitras / Praxis Films [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Written by THOMAS HYLLAND ERIKSEN. Published 6-8-2015 in OpenDemocracy.

A few months ago, it was as if everybody wanted to be Charlie (Hebdo). This gesture was laudable enough (if not always credible), but who wants to be Edward Snowden? After two years, the world’s most important whistleblower is still in Moscow. His chances of returning to a normal life remain slim, in spite of the recent ruling in the US Court of Appeals that the NSA’s storage of telephone metadata is indeed illegal.

Western politicians confronted with the Snowden affair typically respond in a vague and equivocal way. If pressed, they might say that their country does not condone mass surveillance, perhaps adding that it is not in their mandate to engage directly with Snowden’s situation. However, they are wrong on both counts. Just as they criticise rights violations in other countries, they can and should support Snowden, especially now that a high legal authority in the US has indirectly confirmed that he was right to blow the whistle. Moreover, objectionable forms of surveillance do take place, if not on the same scale as in the US, in European countries as well. Continue reading

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Freedom Comes With Responsibility

Image via Internet.

Image via Internet.

When the Sony story broke regarding “The Interview,” we posted “The Greatest Security Risk” and received the following comment, which has stayed with us since:

I must be missing something here? What the hell are we doing making a movie, even if it’s a spoof, about assassinating the leader of another country? If the answer is, our right to free speech or our right to freedom of the press, I say hogwash. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.
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