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Press freedom and human rights organisations have signed a letter addressed to the king of Bahrain calling for the release of Bahraini photojournalist Ahmed Humeidan (aka Humaidan). He has been in prison for 19 months since his arrest on 29 December 2012 for allegedly participating in an attack on a police station. "We call on your government to immediately and unconditionally release and …

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Press freedom groups urge Bahrain king to release photojournalist

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New York, May 3 : The United Nations is marking World Press Freedom Day on Saturday with an appeal to all States, societies and individuals to actively defend press freedom as a fundamental right and as a critical contribution to achieving and sustaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This call was made in a joint message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Irina Bokova, Director-General of UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), who said UN bodies are already working together and with other partners under UNESCO’s leadership to create a free and safe environment for journalists and media workers around the world.

Their message goes on to stress that this year, the international community has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to prepare a long-term agenda for sustainable development to succeed the MDGs when they end in 2015.

“Successfully implementing that agenda will require that all populations enjoy the fundamental rights of freedom of opinion and expression, the officials said, underscoring that those rights are essential to democracy, transparency, accountability and the rule of law. “They are vital for human dignity, social progress and inclusive development.”

World Press Freedom Day, which was designated as May 3rd in 1993 by the UN General Assembly, is being marked in about 100 countries and UNESCO is holding an international conference entitled “Media Freedom For a Better Future: Shaping the Post-2015 Development Agenda” from 5 to 6 May in Paris.

Also marking the Day, 31 specialists from the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system called on all Governments to promote and protect the rights to freedom of expression and information, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association and public participation.

Protection of these fundamental freedoms is essential for full realization of all human rights for all and for the achievement of related development goals. “States must develop more inclusive political processes and allow the media to play a key role in guaranteeing the right of everyone…to freely access information and engage in meaningful development related discourse.”

The experts, known as Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, comprise the Organization’s largest body of independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.

“Without free media to advocate for and monitor the implementation of the new set of post-2015 targets, there can be no real development for all marginalized, vulnerable or discriminated against. Not now, not ever,” declared the experts.

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UN cites press freedom as critical to reaching development goals

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia said Tuesday several people had been arrested on charges of “serious criminal activities”, but rights groups identified those detained as journalists and bloggers targeted in a sweeping crackdown against free speech.

“They are suspected of some serious crimes, and the police are investigating,” government spokesman Getachew Reda told AFP, without providing details of the alleged crimes.

The journalists and a group of bloggers known as “Zone 9″ were arrested last week, prompting an outcry from rights groups.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the arrests “one of the worst crackdowns against free expression” in the country, while Amnesty International said it was part of a “long trend of arrests and harassment of human rights defenders, activists, journalists and political opponents.” Leslie Lefkow of Human Rights Watch said the “arrests signal, once again, that anyone who criticises the Ethiopian government will be silenced”, and called for their immediate release.

The arrests come ahead of a visit this week by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

“The timing of the arrests – just days before the US Secretary of State’s visit – speaks volumes about Ethiopia’s disregard for free speech,” Lefkow added.

The bloggers Zone 9 website, reportedly named after the prison where political detainees are held, listed the names of nine people arrested, saying they were charged with having worked with foreign human rights activists to foment violence or instability.

But the government dismissed the rights groups, and said those arrested were not detained for their work as journalists.

“We don’t take orders from Human Rights Watch,” Getachew said.

Free speech ‘a crime’

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Ethiopia says journalists arrested in crackdown 'criminals'

Condemnation by Latin American panel comes as US fields worsening outrage from Spain and Germany over surveillance The Obama administration's international surveillance crisis deepened on Monday as representatives from a Latin American human rights panel told US diplomats that oversight of the programs was "illusory". Members of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an arm of the …

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NSA oversight dismissed as 'illusory' as anger intensifies in Europe and beyond



Insight: Free Speech — Tim Wilson
Australia's Human Rights Commissioner on why he thinks there is a need to change the laws. Catch the full episode on Tuesday, April 29 at 8:30pm on SBS ONE o…

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Insight: Free Speech — Tim Wilson – Video



Freedom of Expression – Human Rights Project
For our Levinquist human rights project, Isabelle Reich and I, Allie Simpson, decided to make a PSA about human right #19, the right to express yourself free…

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Freedom of Expression – Human Rights Project – Video



Freedom of Expression explained (by explainity)
Quote to the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations from 1948 it is said “… freedom of expression is a fundamental human right ….”. But not ev…

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Footage of Human Rights and Free Speech NGOs giving their testimony”:

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Footage of Human Rights and Free Speech NGOs giving their testimony": – Video

Winnipeg Free Press – PRINT EDITION

By: Carol Sanders

Posted: 02/23/2014 1:00 AM | Comments:

Shivering outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on Saturday, about 50 members of Manitoba’s Venezuelan community belted out the national anthem of the beleaguered South American country.

They joined thousands of demonstrators around the world this weekend staging “SOS Venezuela” rallies to raise awareness of what’s happening in Venezuela and to show support for its people who have been cut off by a media blackout.

An economic crisis, rampant crime, and food and medicine shortages in the oil-rich country have sent demonstrators into the streets. Government opponents say indiscriminate violence is being used by supporters of President Nicols Maduro to stifle dissent across the country. Maduro, successor to the late Hugo Chvez, is under fire for the country’s problems.

In Venezuela on Saturday, people braced for the possibility of more political violence as supporters and opponents of Maduro’s government planned competing rallies in a bitterly divided country.

In major cities across the country, people awoke to smouldering barricades of trash and debris in some streets, but there were no reports of major overnight incidents.

At Saturday’s rally in Winnipeg, demonstrators whipped out cellphone cameras to take photos of each other holding signs saying Canadians support the freedom of Venezuelans to post on social media. The demonstrators braved the bitter -30 windchill and carried their signs, kids and message to The Forks.

Many people aren’t aware of the situation in Venezuela, said Betty Paz, who immigrated to Canada six years ago. Paz said she worries about human rights being at risk right now for people in many countries, such as Venezuela and Ukraine.

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Free speech under fire, protestors say

Welcome to The Quote Garden! celebrating 16 years online 1998-2014

Quotations about Freedom

Related Quotes Censorship Human Rights USA Patriotism

The fact, in short, is that freedom, to be meaningful in an organized society must consist of an amalgam of hierarchy of freedoms and restraints. ~Samuel Hendel

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself. ~Thomas Paine

History does not teach fatalism. There are moments when the will of a handful of free men breaks through determinism and opens up new roads. ~Charles de Gaulle

Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, of making a mistake,… of searching and experimenting,… of saying No to any authority – literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, social, and even political. ~Ignazio Silone, The God That Failed, 1950

Liberty: One of Imagination’s most precious possessions. ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree. ~Thomas Campbell

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Freedom Quotes, Liberty Sayings – Quote Garden

Address Rights of Stateless Residents February 4, 2014

(Kuwait City) Kuwaits government should amend national laws that officials are using to crack down on free speech, Human Rights Watch said today in connection with the release of its World Report 2014. The government should also follow through on promises to comprehensively address citizenship claims of stateless residents, known as Bidun.

Over the past year, officials have escalated prosecution of people critical of the government. In 2013 the authorities brought cases against at least 29 people who expressed critical views on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media platforms, and at protests. Human Rights Watch knows of nine cases in 2012.

Kuwaiti authorities have come down hard on free speech over the past year, said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. The government should let Kuwaits people speak and write freely, and keep its promises to address Bidun citizenship claims.

In the 667-page world report, its 24th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. Syrias widespread killings of civilians elicited horror but few steps by world leaders to stop it, Human Rights Watch said. A reinvigorated doctrine of responsibility to protect seems to have prevented some mass atrocities in Africa. Majorities in power in Egypt and other countries have suppressed dissent and minority rights. And Edward Snowdens revelations about US surveillance programs reverberated around the globe.

Prosecutors brought most of the speech cases under the vaguely worded article 25 of Kuwaits 1970 penal code, which prescribes up to five years in prison for anyone who publicly objects to the rights and authorities of the emir or faults him. Prosecutors have also used the vaguely worded article 111, with sentences of up to one year for anyone who mocks God, the prophets and messengers, or the honor of his messengers and their wives.

In July, during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the Kuwaiti ruler, Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah, pardoned all those jailed under article 25. However, the authorities subsequently brought charges against at least three more people, indicating that government policy hasnt changed. In October, the court upheld a 10-year sentence on multiple counts in one such case.

In 2013, stateless people held numerous demonstrations to demand citizenship. The Interior Ministry violently dispersed several protests, with Security forces beating and detained protesters and threatening to deny citizenship applications. Article 12 of the 1979 Public Gatherings Law bars non-Kuwaitis from participating in public gatherings.

Kuwait is home to at least 105,702 Bidun, many descended from nomadic people who failed to register for citizenship before a 1960 deadline. Successive administrative committees for decades have avoided resolving their citizenship claims. In March 2011, the government granted Bidun some benefits and services, but some Bidun told Human Rights Watch in 2013 of administrative hurdles to accessing these benefits.

In March, the parliament passed a law to naturalize 4,000 foreigners by the end of the year, but as of November, no Bidun had been naturalized.

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Kuwait: Room for free speech dwindles

Reverse Punitive Scholarship, Salary Cuts for Anti-February 17 Revolution Students and Employees

January 26, 2014

(Tripoli, January 27, 2014) A new decree passed byLibyas parliament banning satellite television stations critical of the government and the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi violates free speech and Libyas Provisional Constitutional Declaration. The decree was passed January 22, 2014. The government also slashed scholarship funding for students abroad, along with salaries and bonuses to employees who take part in activities inimical to the revolution.

Youd think that Libyans learned long ago that suppressing speech, no matter how harsh, does nothing to foster security or peace, said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director. The best way to confront opinions that the government doesnt like is to challenge them with better ideas that will convince Libyans.

Decree 5/2014, Concerning the Cessation and Ban on the Broadcasting of Certain Satellite Channels, passed by Libyas parliament, the General National Congress (GNC), on January 22, instructs the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Communications, and [Mass] Media to take necessary steps required to halt the transmission of all satellite television stations that are hostile to the February 17 revolution and whose purpose is the destabilization of the country or creating divisions among Libyans. It further instructs the government to take all measures against states or businesses in territories from where the channels are broadcast if they do not block the transmission of these stations.

The decree violates freedom of expression because it censors a wide range of speech, including peaceful political dissent, and its broad and vague wording is open to arbitrary implementation, Human Rights Watch said. While the government could lawfully ban speech that is found to directly incite violence, it should not ban all of a satellite channels broadcasts even if some of the speech that it disseminates is found to incite violence. Human Rights Watch urged the government to revoke the resolution.

The ban appears intended to block satellite stations that have taken a pro-Gaddafi position in their editorial content; in particular, it appears aimed at a pro-Gaddafi station, al-Khadra Channel, and al-Jamahiriyah.

Libyas government also passed Resolution 13/2014 on January 24, discontinuing scholarships to students studying abroad and salaries and bonuses to Libyan employees, for taking part in activities inimical to the February 17 revolution, which is widely understood to encompass statements and protests against the current government. It calls on Libyan embassies abroad and others to draw up lists of names and refer them to the Prosecutor General for prosecution.

These efforts to sanction Libyans who dont support the revolution or the current government should be an embarrassment for all those who pledged a new era of freedom for Libyans, Whitson said. Punishing students and employees who dont toe the governments political line is a tactic that should have ended with the fall of Gaddafi.

The governments effort to ban pro-Gaddafi media comes in the context of a difficult political and security environment. Seemingly pro-Gaddafi armed groups in southern and western Libya have engaged in pitched battles against pro-government forces, resulting in at least 154 deaths and 463 injured people according to an Agence France Presse report. In the past year, armed groups and unknown assailants assassinated at least 70 Libyans associated with the Gaddafi government, mainly former members of the Gaddafi security forces, but also political opponents of Gaddafi, and judges, with virtually no arrests by the government.

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Libya: Critical TV Bans Setback for Speech

Freedom House

Freedom Comments Off
Dec 202013

Disappearance of Razan Zaitouneh Highlights Plight of Syrian Human Rights Community

Russia on the Eve of Sochi: Repression of Olympic Proportions

The Human Rights Situation in Iran

Freedom House Mourns Death of Democracy Champion Nelson Mandela

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Freedom House



New human rights commissioner Tim Wilson: A classical liberal pursuing right to free speech
18/12/13 New human rights commissioner Tim Wilson says he's a classical liberal pursuing right to free speech.

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New human rights commissioner Tim Wilson: A classical liberal pursuing right to free speech – Video

Nov 132013



Voices for Freedom
Dhondup Wangchen is serving a six-year prison sentence in China for “subversion of state power” because he dared to speak out about Tibetan human rights thro…

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Voices for Freedom – Video

The Sierra Leone parliaments passage of a freedom of information law is a major step to ensure greater government transparency, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Sierra Leones Freedom of Information Coalition said today. The new legislation, enacted today, is crucial for effective, transparent, and accountable governance.

The Right to Access Information Act establishes a right to access government information and requires all parts of government to adopt and widely disseminate a plan for making records publicly available. The legislation also imposes a penalty for willful obstruction of its provisions.

The law was first proposed in 2003 but has languished in Sierra Leones parliament since 2010. President Ernest Bai Koroma must now sign the act for it to enter into force.

One of the most important things in Sierra Leone right now is for everyone to have the right to information, said Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, executive director of the Society of Democratic Initiatives, which coordinated the Freedom of Information Coalitions campaign for the bills passage.

Sierra Leoneans cant hold elected officials to account without access to basic information about what the government is doing.

Sierra Leone is recovering and rebuilding from a long and brutal armed conflict that ended in 2002. With foreign investors returning to the resource-rich country, the government is leasing land for commercialized agriculture and mining. Some affected residents who have sought more information or challenged these deals have faced reprisal ranging from harassment to arrest.

Freedom of information is recognized as an essential element of the right to freedom of expression in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and other international instruments. By passing this law, Sierra Leones government is significantly advancing its commitment to international and regional human rights obligations.

Donors to Sierra Leone, as well as other multinational bodies, have called on the government to increase transparency and adopt other good governance and rule of law measures. Passage of the law would enable Sierra Leone to meet the minimum eligibility requirements to join the international Open Government Partnership, which meets in London from 31 October to 1 November.

Sierra Leone has applied to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which works to improve openness and accountability about how revenues from natural resources get managed. But its bid was suspended in February, pending further information, because of insufficient documentation of mining revenue and company payments.

Transparency of government information in Sierra Leone has been hindered by the countrys criminal libel law, which the authorities invoke against journalists, civil society members, and others who criticize the government. On 25 October, two journalists from a privately owned newspaper, the Independent Observer, were arrested, charged with sedition and other offenses, jailed, and denied bail for criticizing President Koroma.

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Sierra Leone: New law promotes transparency

AP/October 27, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) California Gov. Jerry Brown has decided to allow freedom to a woman who received a life sentence when she was a teenager for killing her former pimp.

Brown decided late Friday not to take action on a state parole boards decision to grant parole to Sara Kruzan, thereby allowing the decision to go into effect, his spokesman Evan Westrup said Saturday.

Kruzan was 17 when she was sentenced to die in prison for the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert Howard in a Riverside motel room. She contended that he sexually abused her and had groomed her since she was 11 to work for him as a child prostitute.

Her case became a high-profile example used by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who sought to soften harsh life sentences for juveniles.

It is justice long overdue, Yee told the Los Angeles Times. He called Kruzans case the perfect example of adults who failed her, of society failing her. You had a predator who stalked her, raped her, forced her into prostitution, and there was no one around.

Kruzans case garnered widespread publicity in 2010 after Human Rights Watch posted a six-minute interview with her on YouTube.

The year culminated with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger commuting her sentence to 25-years-to-life with the possibility of parole on his last full day in office. Schwarzenegger said he still considered her guilty of first-degree murder, but he sympathized with her defense that the man she killed had sexually abused her and served as her pimp for years.

Given Ms. Kruzans age at the time of the murder, and considering the significant abuse she suffered at his hands, I believe Ms. Kruzans sentence is excessive, the governor wrote in his commutation message, it is apparent that Ms. Kruzan suffered significant abuse starting at a vulnerable age.

This January, a Riverside judge further reduced her first-degree murder conviction to second degree, making her immediately eligible for release.

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Brown allows freedom to CA woman who killed pimp

Source: 12Petals Media Group

Every man who says frankly and fully what he thinks is so far doing a public service. We should be grateful to him for attacking most unsparingly our most cherished opinions. John Stuart Mill [1] – On Liberty

Cherishing and Realizing Culture of Human Rights, Individual Liberty, Free Expression, and Free Media

Freedom of Expression [2] is, undoubtedly, the touchstone of all other rights and freedoms, and is the foundation of modern democracy [3]. The core and dominant tenet of Freedom of Expression is the acceptance and acknowledgement of a self-assertive Individual, along with her/his individualized pursuit (function of ones action and not fate-based) for happiness and the knowledge needed to realize it.

In brief, this principle is an essential formula for the full and hearty development of an individual. Being able to freely self-express is a fundamental right, and it is central to humanity.

This cardinal principle encompasses not only freedom of self-expression, but also Freedom of Thought , Speech, Press, Assembly and Association, Privacy, Media, and so forth. Indeed, the embedded intellectual hallmark of this freedom that is highly essential to progress and modernity in society honors pluralism of ideas [4], factual and intelligent inquiry, rationalism [5], critical thinking and reasoning [6], empiricism [7], and skepticism [8]

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(UDHR) reads, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Additionally, this Article confirms that freedom of opinion and expression includes the freedom to hold any type of ideas without interference, to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas free from any type of constraints and barriers. [9] Furthermore, the principle of Freedom of Expression is well-linked to the individual liberty concept – freedom is vital to individual growth. Generally speaking, in order to explain liberties we are to, in the first place, push back the boundaries to the maximum possible extent; the same is applicable to the freedom of expression.

Equally important, the principle of Freedom of Expression embraces the freedom to impart and broadcast ideas through any media, which means every individual shall have anequal opportunity of access to the media, particularly the mass communications media. This is why monopoly of media whether by governments or non-governmental organizations, and also censorship [10] are flagrant violations of the freedom of expression principle. On the other hand, the instances of the freedom of expression need to be understood broadly; and that means inclusion of various issues ranging from freedom of media to freedom of fashion and dress choice and so on.

Article 19 (UDHR) affirms that enjoying the freedom of expression shall not be subject to boundaries. Nevertheless, the exercise of this right carries with duties and responsibilities because undisciplined freedom is an abuse of liberty. [11] To protect rights of others and to safeguard public, Article 19 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [12] sets legitimate limits for the freedom, which includes:

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Treasuring "Freedom of Expression" Principle



Democracy, Human Rights and Religious Freedom in East Asia | Tuesday, Sept. 17
Sept. 17, 13.00–14.30 DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN EAST ASIA ROUNDTABLE (Faculty of Arts, Charles University) In cooperation with Facult…

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Democracy, Human Rights and Religious Freedom in East Asia | Tuesday, Sept. 17 – Video



Highlights: Human Rights Council panel: Internet freedom, security and development

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Highlights: Human Rights Council panel: Internet freedom, security and development – Video



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