Tehran Announces Creation Of Undercover “Morality Police” Force

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

125px-Flag_of_Iran.svgTehran Iran’s police chief, Hossein Sajedinia announced and defended a controversial decision to form a seven thousand strong undercover police service charged with enforcing morality codes and, reportedly, assisting regular police forces with criminal matters.

Domestic and international civil libertarians project an Orwellian abuse about to unfold in that a largely unseen monitoring system will encompass the Iranian capital and generate the continual worry of being arrested for ordinary acts the government deems objectionable.

I suspect that if the powers to be view this program to be successful, other municipalities throughout the Islamic Republic of Iran will soon follow, further repressing whatever freedom currently remains in their country.
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German Chancellor Merkel Continues To Lose Credibility On Free Speech Issues

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Angela MerkelGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel keeps digging herself deeper with her latest statement regarding her government’s prosecution of satirist Jan Böhmermann at the behest of Turkish President. Now, the chancellor expresses her regrets for offering support to President Erdoğan at the expense of her countryman, claiming it was a “mistake”.
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Public Health Expert in Georgia Sues Over Job Termination Allegedly Due To His Sermons As A Lay Minister

Unknown-1We have been discussing the increasing monitoring and punishment of public employees for statements made during their personal time, including speech normally protected as free speech. The latest example of this trend is Dr. Eric Walsh, a public health expert who also serves as a lay minister. Walsh was fired for sermons on issues ranging from homosexuality to evolution. He has now filled a lawsuit and could prove important in exploring the protection for public employees with regard to political and religious speech outside of work. There remains an uncertain line as to the right of public employees to engage in free speech outside of work that may be offensive or insulting to particular groups or faiths. As a general rule, free speech demands bright-line rules to avoid the chilling effects that come with such uncertainty.

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The United States Ranked 41st Among Nations In Press Freedom

President_Barack_ObamaFor civil libertarians, the administration of President Barack Obama fallen well short of the great expectations from his first election. Indeed, despite his high polling numbers with liberals, President Obama has left one of the worst records of modern presidents in areas like privacy, press freedom, transparency, and unilateral executive action. The antagonistic position of the Obama Administration with the media was evident in this year’s ranking by Reporters Without Borders. The U.S. is ranked 41 out of 180 countries in term of the “level of freedom of information in 180 countries.”

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A Tun Of Trouble: Chinese Academic In Australia Forced To Resign After Calling Chinese Students “Pigs” In Anonymous Postings

1460976566392There is another controversy over the punishment of a teacher for statements made on his private time on social media. In this case, University of Sydney tutor Wu Wei, the business school’s head corporate finance tutor, used the pseudonym Pekojima and did not speak at a faculty member. However, his students found him out and exposed such statements like Wu calling Chinese students “pigs” (using the symbol “tun”) and accusing them of cheating “due to low IQs.” The comments appeared on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo and caused a firestorm.

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German Right-Wing Politician Stands Trial For Anti-Immigrant Comments

220px-Lutz_Bachmann_(2015)As if to leave no doubt about the evisceration of free speech in Germany after the decision to prosecute comedian Jan Boehmermann for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the founder of Germany’s anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement will appear in court on hate speech charges for branding refugees “cattle” and “scum” on social media. The views of Lutz Bachmann, 43, founder of the far-right “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” movement, are obnoxious and hateful but his views of migration generally and migrants in particular should be protected speech.

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Merkel Offers Erdoğan The Head of German Comedian In Final Surrender Of Free Speech

220px-Recep_Tayyip_ErdoganAngela MerkelChancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to first apologize to authoritarian Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a satirical poem and then approve the prosecution of the comedian is a shocking and chilling disgrace. Merkel, who hails from the former Communist East Germany, has never been a reliable ally to free speech but the crackdown on comedian Jan Boehmermann has shocked the West. Even with the recent rollback of free speech rights in Europe, Merkel’s actions (and the cringing response of ZDF television) has been wake up call for all civil libertarians.

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