Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

turkish-journalists

In another example of the diminishing freedom of the press in Turkey, Yurt newspaper reporter Meriç Şenyüz and Ulusal Kanal reporter Özer Sürmeli received sentences of six and five months respectively for their reporting of a December seventeenth corruption probe involving, among others, then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan.

Turkey has an unfortunate history of repression of media critical of government, though in the last year an estimated forty imprisoned journalists have been released. According to BIA Media Monitoring Reports, the number of jailed journalists in Turkey fell from 104 in 2010 to 59 last year and to 19 by November 2014. However the underlying trend of jailing journalists in Turkey and many other nations of the world continues.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

artur-masPresident of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas i Gavarró, his deputy, and his education minister face prosecution by the Spanish Government for alleged civil disobedience, abuse of power, usurpation of duties, and embezzlement of public funds according to a statement released by the public prosecutor’s office of the Spanish Government.

In what many see as clearly dubious prosecution by Spanish authorities, President Mas remarked: “It is sad to see that when the Catalan people want to express their opinion … the reaction of the state comes from the courts and prosecutors.”

The action comes several weeks after Catalonia held a non-binding vote on independence from Spain, buoyed by what many Catalonians hailed as a close race with the Scottish Independence referendum, a worrisome event to the Spanish government.

The matter brings into the discussion of Parliamentary Immunity and Executive authority held by other nations, and the chilling effect the threat of prosecution can have for representative government of constituents.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

200px-US-CourtOfAppeals-9thCircuit-Seal.svgPlaintiffs representing unnamed registered sex offenders and sponsors of the non-profit California Reform Sex Offender Laws won a victory in their quest to declare unconstitutional the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act on free speech grounds.

The act, among other matters, requires registered sex offenders to within twenty four hours submit the “internet identities” and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) they use to engage in conversation and participation in the experience of the Internet, amending California Penal Code § 290.015(a)(4)–(5).

The court upheld a district court judgment granting an injunction against the State of California enforcing the statute which was filed by plaintiffs the day the law was effective.

The Ninth Circuit cited curtailment to free speech rights after the offenders were released from prison who were then afforded the full protection of the first amendment and that such provisions of the law would amount to a chilling effect of the free speech rights of this class of individuals.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

kurdish-art-screwAs we have discussed many times free speech can be a powerful weapon against the injustices and in the case of the Islamic State, genocide. A new exhibition in the semi-autonomous state of Iraqi Kurdistan in Northern Iraq provides through art an interpretation of the struggle faced by ordinary individuals at the hands of extremists. It ties not only differing cultures but transcends the fences of language that are often barriers to understanding and empathy.

The Dohuk Art Gallery featured thirty artists organized by the Center for Graphic Art in Northern Iraq for the purpose of contributing to the fight against the Islamic State. It is not just conventional war implements that further the battle, but it is often the case of ideals, allegiances, and blind faith that aids the Islamic State.

Artists featured in Dohuk Gallery seek to change these beliefs through painting the atrocities prosecuted against the Kurdish People in an artistic representation showing the honor in protecting their society and humanity in general. Niquash reporters interviewed several participants bringing their thoughts and reflections to canvas and clay.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

maxresdefaultThere is a troubling report out of Ireland that raises many of the concerns that we have discussed earlier about the erosion of free speech in the West. Bernadette “Bernie” Smyth is one of Northern Ireland’s most prominent anti-abortion activists and the founder of Precious Life, a pro-life group. She was convicted this week of two counts of harassment that stem from her picketing of the country’s only abortion clinic. The charges were brought by the clinic’s director, Dawn Purvis, who runs the Belfast branch of Marie Stopes. However, the line drawn in the case could create a chilling effect on political and religious speech in the future.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

DSC_0078_2We have been discussing the ever-expanding copyright and trademarks claims on what seems every object and observation in modern life, including such things as pictures taken of public scenes in London and in New York. Now one of the most iconic public images is being claimed as protected: the Eiffel Tower at night. Under EU law, the tower light display constitutes an “art work” and is therefore copyrighted. Thus, you can take a picture during the day but at night the copyright lawyers come out and roam the streets to see if you are taking pictures of the lights of the city of the “City of Lights.” (To show my innate sense of legality, I took this cunning picture just before the lights came on at dusk in Paris a few years ago. Ha!)

(more…)

Read Full Post »

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Opolygraphn November 14th a grand jury in the Western District of Oklahoma issued a true bill indicting former Oklahoma City Police Officer Doug Williams for Obstruction of Justice, Witness Tampering, and Wire Fraud for allegedly being “…hired and paid to train customers how to conceal misconduct in other disqualifying information during Federal employment suitability assessments, Federal security background investigations, internal Federal agency investigations, and other proceedings.”

Williams proffers himself as a crusader having the hopes of eliminating polygraph examinations, informally known as lie detector tests, from government use in that fifty percent of truthful answers are deemed by polygraph operators to be lies. He maintains the website polygraph.com. Fees include one thousand dollars for his training locally and up to five thousand dollars for sessions in which air travel is requested of him.

In essence, Williams attests to the fact that innocent individuals are falsely accused of lying and that his service helps his customers bring out truthful answers. The website does not promise to assist customers to be successful in covering untruthful information.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,233 other followers