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Beirut A Libyan criminal court’s imposition of a five-year prison term on Al-Ummah newspaper editor Amara al-Khatabi for allegedly defaming public officials is a serious blow to free speech that should not be allowed to stand.

The court convicted al-Khatabi for an article published in the November 21, 2012 edition of Al-Ummah. The article, “The Black List of the Judiciary,” named 87 judges and prosecutors, all members of the public judiciary, whom it accused of accepting bribes and other illicit earnings, and of loyalty to the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Al-Ummah said it had received the list from an unnamed source.

“Sending anyone, especially a newspaper editor, to prison for alleged defamation violates freedom of expression and can only have a chilling effect on the media,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. “At a time when the rule of law in Libya is under huge threat from the actions of unaccountable armed groups, it is striking that prosecutors should give priority to a case like this.”

Prosecutors should not have charged al-Khatabi with criminal defamation to start with, Human Rights Watch said. Libyan authorities should withdraw this charge and abolish the laws that criminalize defamation, and which allow courts to ban persons from practicing journalism.

In a call with Human Rights Watch on November 20, 2014, al-Khatabi said he had been shocked when he received a court report on November 17 to learn that he had been convicted and sentenced on August 17. He said his lawyer would seek a re-trial as the court had reached its verdict in the absence of the defendant and his legal team.

The trial judge also ordered al-Khatabi to pay heavy damages to each of the five plaintiffs who brought the case; ordered the withdrawal of his civil rights during his imprisonment and for a year after his release; and banned him from practicing journalism for the duration of his prison sentence. The latter sentence would appear to create a system where state authorities decide who can and cannot be a journalist, which violates freedom of expression standards, Human Rights Watch said.

Since May, violent clashes between rival armed groups have intensified and developed into armed conflicts across Libya. Armed groups have committed what amount to war crimes by attacking civilians and civilian property. Unidentified assailants have killed at least 250 people in 2014 alone in what may amount to crimes against humanity. Libyan authorities have been unwilling or unable to investigate and prosecute these crimes.

Authorities arrested al-Khatabi on December 19, 2012, following which he spent close to six months in pretrial detention. On January 1, 2013, the fifth district criminal court charged him with “defaming” members of the judiciary.

His sentencing took place on August 17 but neither he nor his lawyer attended it because his lawyer, who had been at the courts complex that day, told him that the court would not convene due to the armed clashes then taking place in Tripoli. Al-Khatabi told Human Rights Watch that he learned that the trial had taken place and of his sentence only when he received a copy of the court report delivered to his home on November 17 informing him of the verdict.

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Libya: Editor's Harsh Conviction Blow to Free Speech

Park service tells me no 1st amendment at parks
Well this park employee on the rail trail told me I can't have any “political ” signs on my bike. Well I am exercising my first amendment rights , free speech,freedom of the press, right to…

By: That guy for 2a defend the constitution

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Park service tells me no 1st amendment at parks – Video

Nov 212014

Six years later, former columnist Jon Qwelane still fights for right to call gay people names.

Jon Qwelane sparked widespread anger when he wrote that gay is not okay. (Paul Botes, M&G)

Julius Malema, now leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, agreed not to sing shoot the boer. Political puppet Chester Missing wants Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr to feel the heat for saying black people were culpable in the creation of apartheid and Hofmeyr wants Missing barred from complaining to his sponsors.

But this week the case most likely to redefine South Africas rules about free speech will take another small step in a journey already six years old, inching towards what seems an inevitable turn in the Constitutional Court, as a former ambassador fights for his right to associate homosexuality with bestiality.

It is gearing up to be quite the fight, pitting potential psychological harm against the suppression of religious expression, and an unrepentant writer against an unremitting human rights organisation.

In mid-2008, when Malema was still in his first year as leader of the ANC Youth League and Chester Missing was not yet a glimmer in the eye of his creator, Conrad Koch, columnist Jon Qwelane took his pen to gay people in a way that brought the complaints flooding in. In a column of just over 400 words published in the Sunday Sun, he nailed his colours to the mast with the headline Call me names, but gay is NOT okay … accompanied by a cartoon of a man marrying a goat.

The piece revolved around split opinions on homosexuality in the Anglican Church. Along the way Qwelane praised Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for his unflinching and unapologetic stance over homosexuals and decried men kissing men in public, and so shamelessly flaunting what are misleadingly termed their lifestyle and sexual preferences.

Homosexuals and their backers will call me names, printable and not, for stating as I have always done my serious reservations about their lifestyle and sexual preferences, but quite frankly I dont give a damn: wrong is wrong! Qwelane wrote.

I do pray that some day a bunch of politicians with their heads affixed firmly to their necks will muster the balls to rewrite the Constitution of this country, to excise those sections which give licence to men marrying other men, and ditto women. Otherwise, at this rate, how soon before some idiot demands to marry an animal, and argues that this Constitution allows it?

Anticipating the battle ahead, Qwelane pre-emptively said he would neither withdraw his remarks nor apologise for them, specifically naming the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).

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For the love of hate speech

A California court has upheld Google’s apparent free speech right to display search results in whatever order it chooses, which is bad news for anyone who uses Google. In other words, most internet users.

In fact, the only people this is good for are the ones who work at Google.

As reported by GigaOM, the case originated when a website called CoastNews alleged Google was pushing it far down in search results. CoastNews apparently appears high up in Bing and Yahoo results, but according to the site Google interfered in its own results to keep it lower on the list of what people see when they search for San Francisco neighborhood-related queries.

Why Google would care about any of this is a mystery to you and me, but to CoastNews it’s a conspiracy. It’s possible that Google’s unique search algorithms simply produced those results naturally, but that’s beside the point.

Yes, whether or not Google really was mucking with where CoastNew appeared in search results is now irrelevant, since the court granted Google’s anti-SLAPP motion – a lightning legal tactic to uphold the company’s free speech – and ruled that Google can legally present results in any order it wants.

That’s good news for Google, but it might not be so great for average users who just want to see the most relevant results – and not necessarily only the results Google wants them to see.

Even if Google wasn’t tampering with results related to CoastNews (the case never went to trial, so Google was never officially found to), with nothing legally stopping Google from doing so in the future, the temptation will no doubt prove overwhelming to the search giant.

Why show searchers Yelp first, when Google Maps offers restaurant reviews, too? Why let anyone find out more about Apple Pay when the search company would rather you use Google Wallet anyway? This is the reality we now find ourselves in, though hopefully Google will keep its motto – “don’t be evil” – in mind.

In the US “free speech” trumps all, and it seems internet search queries may suffer as a result. But even accepting that search results produced by a mathematical algorithm can possibly constitute an expression that warrants free speech protections, something that is debatable, shouldn’t we maybe consider making an exception and not give the single most ubiquitous search service on the planet the option to filter out what it feels like?

Google has been batting back and forth with European Union regulators about this issue for years, and it’s losing the game overseas. Regulators there are forcing Google to take steps like displaying competitors’ ads in prominent positions, for example. Good for them.

Original post:
Opinion: Why Google's right to re-order search results is bad for everyone

Linda Bradbury and Lt. Harris Talk About Free Speech
In the light of Linda Bradbury's son's arrest, she and police talk about their definition of free speech.


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Linda Bradbury and Lt. Harris Talk About Free Speech – Video

Europe and the US continue to drift further apart on Google. Even as European parliamentarians and regulators seek ways to restrain Googles discretion over search results, US courts continue to affirm Googles right to do whatever it wants with search results paid and organic.

A California state court in San Francisco recently granted Googles case-ending motion in lawsuit against the company (per GigaOm). The action, filed in June of this year in San Francisco Superior Court, was called S. Louis Martin vs. Google Inc.

Drafted and filed by the non-attorney publisher of San Francisco Bay Area Tourism website, the complaint alleged unfair and deceptive business practices against Google.

The basic factual allegations included the claim that CoastNews ranked at the top of search results on Bing and Yahoo for San Francisco neighborhood keywords but didnt rank in a comparable position on Google. Plaintiff Martin asserted that Googles unfair and monopolistic business practices cause him lost revenue and future growth and harmed consumers as well.

Martin asked for a jury trial and sought roughly $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Google prevailed by framing plaintiffs claim as a SLAPP lawsuit. SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuit against public participation. SLAPP suits are usually filed by corporations or other powerful interests often to intimidate or silence less-powerful critics.

The irony here is that the corporation (Google) was claiming that this individual plaintiff (Martin) was trying to silence its First Amendment-protected speech. The Superior Court agreed.

In its motion, essentially to dismiss the case, Google cited various prior cases and precedents that establish Google has total discretion over the content of its search results as a protected expression of its First Amendment free speech rights.

The 2003 decision Search King, cited above, was the first case (to my knowledge) to hold that Googles editorial control of search results was protected by the free speech clause of the First Amendment. That was reaffirmed earlier this year in a US District Court case called Zhang et (also cited above).

Continue reading here:
Another Court Affirms Googles First Amendment Control Of Search Results

Chief Judge Wood and Judge Jordan on Madison and Money in Politics
How did James Madison think of free speech? What would he think of the amount of money in politics today? Chief Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit and Judge Kent Jordan of the Third Circuit…

By: NCC Video

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Chief Judge Wood and Judge Jordan on Madison and Money in Politics – Video

It appears the newly elected Thief River Falls City Council will shoot down a proposal to limit free speech that ridicules them. Councilman Don Sollum introduced a proposal to take their meetings off local cable TV. It’s an effort to stop youtube videos that makes fun of those meetings. An anonymous person going by the name of the TRF Compiler is recording and then posting clips of the most inflammatory moments of Thief River Falls City Council meetings on youtube. He also adds video effects and comments.

TRF City Council Meeting: Bring it to us and tell us! Good job.

Sheep: Screaming…

Councilman Don Sollum has proposed pulling their meetings off local cable TV to make it stop.

Don Sollum, TRF City Council: The Mayor made a statement and then after he made that statement, well then they had a sheep bellowing. That is kind of a slap in the face on democracy. People are out there doing the best they can.

But, not everyone agrees pulling Council meetings off cable is the answer.

Rachel Prudhomme, TRF City Council: Anytime you’re in government you put yourself out there to represent the people. You have to expect that they are going to pay attention to that. And you have to learn how to be respectful and communicate.

It appears Councilman Sollum may simply be getting a free lesson in free speech and television. You have to watch what you say, when the camera is on.

Reporter: Do you think if you wanted to be a public official you’ll have to take your licks?

Brian Holmer / TRF Mayor-Elect: That’s about it, yep, yep. Even watching national news the President gets beat up on SNL every weekend. So, get used to it I guess.

See the original post here:
Effort To Kill Free Speech That Ridicules TRF Council


Editor’s note: Rupert Abbott is Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The views expressed are his own.

(CNN) — In April this year, people in Myanmar picked up their newspapers and saw … nothing.

Front pages across the Southeast Asian nation were completely black, in a show of solidarity for a journalist that was simply doing his job. This week, as world leaders gather to meet their regional counterparts in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw for two major summits, attendees should make a similarly firm statement about freedom of the press.

Rupert Abbott

The darkened front pages — a remarkable move in a country where just a few years before, the military government imposed blanket controls on all media — were in response to the case of Zaw Pe, a journalist with the independent Democratic Voice of Burma who had been sentenced to one year in jail. His “crime” was to investigate corruption in his home town, a story the authorities apparently did not want to see the light of day.

It was a preposterous ruling against a journalist who was just doing his job, and Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience — jailed solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Sadly, the move says much about the backslide in free speech in Myanmar, as the authorities re-tighten their grip on media and increasingly target peaceful critics ahead of national elections next year.

This tightening comes despite Myanmar’s supposed transition away from military rule, which began in 2011, but which is stalling as the government wrestles over how to secure the benefits of greater economic openness while controlling rising expectations of rights and freedoms that come with this. Unfortunately, its efforts to maintain control have frequently involved resorting to familiar tactics of repression and arrests.

President Thein Sein has promised to clear the country’s jails of prisoners of conscience. Yet dozens still remain behind bars, while the jailing of land rights activists, journalists and other human rights defenders has actually picked up pace in the past year.

Excerpt from:
Where free speech is threatened (Opinion) –

Coyote On Gamergate: Say What You Will
Trying some new settings and learning the Adobe (yay anti-bully companies!) Creative Suite. Rambling a bit about free speech and why even your opponents should be allowed to have their say.

By: TophatKommando

Coyote On Gamergate: Say What You Will – Video

Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters are suing to overturn a new Pennsylvania law they says violates convicts' free speech rights.

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Abu-Jamal, prisoner advocates, sue over Pennsylvania law restricting speech

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters are suing to overturn a new Pennsylvania law they says violates convicts' free speech rights.Abu-Jamal and prisoner-rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to stop…

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Abu-Jamal sues over law restricting speech

Mumia Abu-Jamal and his supporters are suing to overturn a new Pennsylvania law they says violates convicts’ free speech rights.

Abu-Jamal and prisoner-rights groups filed a federal lawsuit Monday seeking to stop the law, which allows violent-crime victims to take legal action when an offender’s conduct “perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime.”

They’re asking a judge to declare it unconstitutional.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed the measure into law last month saying it’s designed to curb the “obscene celebrity” cultivated by convicts like Abu-Jamal, who’s serving a life sentence for the 1981 killing of a Philadelphia police officer.

The law was prompted by Abu-Jamal’s pre-recorded speech last month to graduates at Vermont’s Goddard College. Abu-Jamal has drawn international support for claims he’s the victim of a racist justice system.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported:

At the signing of the Revictimization Relief Act Tuesday, Governor Corbett was flanked by police officers, victims advocates, and Faulkners widow,Maureen Faulkner.

Mrs. Faulkner has been taunted by the obscene celebrity that her husbands killer has orchestrated from behind bars, Corbett said. This unrepentant cop killer has tested the limits of decency, while gullible activists and celebrities have continued to feed this killers ego at the expense of his victims.

Civil liberties experts will likely challenge the law in court. If theFirst Amendmentmeans anything, its that government officials cant silence people they dont like, says Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, in a Monitor interview. It would even apply to people who have served their sentence and been released, he says.

We think this law is pretty clearly unconstitutional and is just a result of election-year pandering, Mr. Walczak says.

Continue reading here:
Mumia Abu-Jamal sues Pennsylvania over new convicts gag law (+video)

“The origin of the hiring hall and free speech rights”
“The origin of the hiring hall and free speech rights” Utah Phillips 2011 PM Press Released on: 2011-06-21 Auto-generated by YouTube.

By: Utah Phillips – Topic

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"The origin of the hiring hall and free speech rights" – Video

Botten Beatin' Episode II: The Beatin' Strikes Back
Watch and laugh as self-described believer in atheist Dogma Alex Botten gets beaten by a Christian Presuppositional Apologist. My channel is Youtube's foremost stronghold of free speech –…

By: 1GodOnlyOne

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Botten Beatin’ Episode II: The Beatin’ Strikes Back – Video

Sky News – Should people be allowed to Tweet offensive comments?
Discussing free speech and 'trolling' on social media. The segment had been prompted by a report by Sky journalist Martin Brunt into a 'dossier' of alleged abuse of Kate and Gerry…

By: rdhs100

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Sky News – Should people be allowed to Tweet offensive comments? – Video

Bill Maher is a Racist, Bigoted Islamo-phobe?
Bill Maher is a Racist., Bigoted Islamo-phobe, American muslims want free speech for their hate preachers, but want critics of islam subdued and silenced Berkeley University.

By: Mighty Mole

Original post:
Bill Maher is a Racist, Bigoted Islamo-phobe? – Video

A man has sued Westminster, claiming his First Amendment rights of free speech were violated when the mayor silenced him during a City Council meeting and had him arrested.

Eric Brandt filed the federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking injunctive relief and compensatory damages and costs, claiming that he has the right to speak about an important public issue: “police abuses.”

“Many officers have arrested him due to their personal dislike of him stemming from the fact that wherever he goes in Westminster, he carries a very large, handmade sign that reads: ‘(Expletive) the cops,’ ” the lawsuit filed by Denver attorney David Lane says.

On Aug. 11, Brandt began to talk of his concerns about the police during a segment of the meeting in which citizens are given five minutes to speak out.

When Brandt began talking about “police brutality,” Mayor Herb Atchison interrupted Brandt and told him to stop talking about police brutality, the lawsuit says.

When Brandt refused to stop speaking about the subject, Atchison ordered Westminster police Officer Paul E. Newton to arrest Brandt.

At that point, Newton arrested Brandt and removed him from the council chambers, the lawsuit says.

Brandt was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer, which were later dismissed, the lawsuit says.

“He was denied his rights under the First Amendment as he was arrested in retaliation for his protected speech and he was also denied the right to petition his government for redress of grievances,” the lawsuit says.

Kirk Mitchell: 303-954-1206, or,

More here:
Man sues Westminster over his removal from City Council meeting

Mario Savio's “Bodies Upon the Gears”
Mario Savio's speech at UC Berkeley's free speech movement.

By: geoffrey martlin

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Mario Savio’s "Bodies Upon the Gears" – Video

The atheist: Obsessed with God
My channel is Youtube's foremost stronghold of free speech — anyone and everyone can post freely on all of my Presuppositional Apologetics videos.

By: 1GodOnlyOne

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The atheist: Obsessed with God – Video

FireFox! Start Your Own Web Hosting Company
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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

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