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Speaking your mind online can subject you to risks. Assuming you can even publish and that your statements aren't censored or filtered. For freedom of speech news stories involving children or students, see those sections of Privacy Watch.

Chinese order clampdown on scourge of internet slang
"AUTHORITIES in Shanghai, China's largest city, plan to ban internet slang terms from classrooms, official documents and city publications. "On the web, internet slang is convenient and satisfying, but the mainstream media have a responsibility to guide proper and legal language usage," the Shanghai Morning Post quoted city official Xia Xiurong as saying."
Full story - Scotsman
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Sep 24 10:38:19 EDT 2005

Judge Rules vs. U.S. in Patriot Act Case
"A federal judge has lifted a gag order that shielded the identity of librarians who received an FBI demand for records about library patrons under the Patriot Act. U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that the gag order prevented their client from participating in a debate over whether Congress should reauthorize the Patriot Act."
Full story - Newsday
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Sep 10 09:08:28 EDT 2005

Chen warns of free speech abuse
"TAIWAN - In his latest e-newsletter to the public, President Chen Shui-bian yesterday warned about abuse of free speech and freedom of the press, in reference to two recent controversies that revolved around accusations of "bootlicking."... How freedom of speech and information are used is a key indicator in distinguishing between an advanced democracy and a backward one, the president said."
Fulll story - Taiwan News
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Sep 9 05:09:48 EDT 2005

U.S. Censoring Katrina Coverage, Groups Say
"When U.S. officials asked the news media not to take pictures of those killed by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they were censoring a key part of the disaster story, free- speech watchdogs said yesterday. The move by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in line with the Bush administration's ban on images of flag-draped U.S. military coffins returning from the Iraq war, media monitors charged in separate telephone interviews."
Full story -
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 8 17:22:07 EDT 2005

'Blogger Favors Freedom First (opinion)
"There's little question that free speech is endangered in America today. Witness, for example, those protesters at both the Democrat and Republican national conventions who were relegated to "free speech zones." Consider hate speech laws that are often broad and, as a result, even more broadly interpreted. Remember that we now know that protesters in California were the subject of surveillance by the National Guard, and that the FBI, too, has been monitoring those who would speak out."
Full story -
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Sep 7 11:12:08 EDT 2005

Nepal Authorities Free Jailed Protesters
"Authorities in Nepal released more than 50 pro-democracy protesters detained over the weekend when thousands of people marched toward the capital's main square and were pushed back by police firing tear gas and wielding bamboo batons, officials said Monday."
Full story - Newsday
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 5 09:57:29 EDT 2005

Rehnquist & First Amendment: end of an era (Analysis)
"... Since [1994], the Court has handed down 58 First Amendment freedom-of-expression opinions in matters involving religious speech, association rights, Internet regulation, government-employee expression, indecent speech, commercial expression, telemarketing, prisoners's speech, campaign-finance laws, hate speech, and various kinds of zoning laws affecting free speech, among others. In those cases, free-speech claims were sustained about half the time. That record contrasts sharply with the Court's actions in the past three terms, during which it denied such First Amendment claims in 13 of its 15 free-speech opinions."
Full story - First Amendment Center
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 4 10:58:28 EDT 2005

In Legal Papers Unsealed Today, Librarian Speaks of Fear of Imprisonment Over Government Gag in Patriot Act Challenge (Press Release)
"In previously sealed legal papers made public today by the American Civil Liberties Union, an unnamed librarian expressed fears of imprisonment if he were to violate a gag order in a challenge to a controversial Patriot Act power used by the FBI to demand library records. The papers, which were ordered unsealed by the judge in the case, include three affidavits and a legal brief. One of the affidavits was filed by a librarian charged with educating the library community and general public about intellectual freedom. The unnamed librarian is a representative of the ACLU's "John Doe" client in the case."
Full story - Common Dreams
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Sep 2 15:10:29 EDT 2005

Salon Suggests Martin Indecency Crackdown
"A story in online mag Tuesday suggested that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is preparing to crack down on cable and satellite indecency, with help from the Senate."
Full story - B&C
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 30 16:33:04 EDT 2005

9th Circuit: Death Threats Against Judges Not Protected Speech
"Call them out-of-control activist judges, but a three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that there's no First Amendment right to offer a person money to kill a federal judge."
Full story -
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Aug 25 09:19:27 EDT 2005

UK unveils criteria for banning, deportation of hate preachers
"The British government Wednesday unveiled a list of "unacceptable behaviors" [press release] that would qualify foreigners inciting hatred to be deported or barred from entry into the UK."
Full story - JURIST
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 24 11:24:27 EDT 2005

"In Bahrain, citizens are stepping up demands for political and social reform, using public protests, publications and online discussion forums to voice their opinions and concerns, reports the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR)."
Full story - IFEX
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 24 11:21:48 EDT 2005

Judge allows New York graffiti block party
"A federal judge yesterday ordered the city to allow an exhibition later this week in which 20 artists plan to spray-paint graffiti on models of subway cars. The city, citing its years of work to clean up subways once plagued by graffiti, had argued the block party would encourage people to vandalize real subway cars."
Full story - FirstAmendmentCenter
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 23 16:10:21 EDT 2005

Free Speech: Going, Going ...
"SLAPP suits (for "strategic lawsuits against public participation") are a serious menace to free speech. The latest example is a real prize: The Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, has already spent $10 million defending itself against a lawsuit filed by Isuzu Motors Ltd... And that is the real menace of SLAPP suits. It's not that corporations win them, but that they cost critics so much money that the critics are silenced..."
Full story -AlterNet
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 19 18:16:31 EDT 2005

Alaska limits on judicial candidates' speech ruled unconstitutional
"ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A regulation prohibiting state judges who are up for reelection from stating opinions on controversial issues beyond the courtroom is unconstitutional, according to a ruling by a federal judge in Anchorage."
Full story - First Amendment Center
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 19 17:00:21 EDT 2005

A Fee for Free Speech? (opinion)
"Better watch what you say. Talk is not cheap. Not when judges rule that monetary value be placed upon radio talk show content. A believe-it-or-not case in Washington State should be taken as a warning by conservative talk radio."
Full story - The Conservative Voice
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Aug 13 23:32:14 EDT 2005

Christian-Rights Group Sues Over Posters
"A Christian-rights group on Friday said it has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Spanish teacher whose religious posters were removed from the classroom while he was out sick. The Rutherford Institute is suing the York County School Board, alleging that Tabb High School officials deprived William Lee of his freedom of speech and equal protection rights last October when they took down the materials."
Full story - Guardian
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 12 23:56:39 EDT 2005

FCC Hires Conservative Indecency Critic
"The Federal Communications Commission has hired as an advisor an anti-pornography activist and former lobbyist for groups that push for Christian precepts in public policy. The move may herald a reinvigorated campaign against broadcast indecency and bring renewed pressure on cable to reconsider its racy offerings."
Full story -
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 10 10:03:52 EDT 2005

Strip Club Owner Raises Ire With New Sign
"For years, Howard White has advertised his strip club near Los Angeles International Airport with a not too subtle marquee reading "Live Nude Nude Nudes." But some tourists and nearby businesses say White has gone too far with his latest pitch for the Century Lounge: a freshly posted sign proclaiming "Vaginas R' Us.""
Full story - AP
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Aug 6 12:16:05 EDT 2005

British Government Defends Crackdown Plan
"LONDON -- Prime Minister Tony Blair's government on Saturday defended its plans to crack down on extremist Islamic clerics who preach hate, as critics warned the measures could further alienate British Muslims."
Full story - AP
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Aug 6 12:14:42 EDT 2005

No prosecution in case of 3 ousted from Bush speech
"Federal prosecutors have declined to file charges against a man who removed three people from an appearance by President Bush earlier this year because they arrived in a car with a bumper sticker reading "No more blood for oil," and wore T-shirts saying "stop the lies" under other clothes."
Full story - FirstAmendmentCenter
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 1 11:43:06 EDT 2005

Woman Wins Appeal for 'GAYSROK' Car Tag
"The state of Utah can't block a woman from using her license plate to tell the world "GAYSROK," a judge has ruled. The state has no good reason to prevent Elizabeth Solomon from having that plate -- which can be read "Gays are OK" or "Gays Rock" -- or another one saying "GAYRYTS," according to Jane Phan, an administrative law judge with the Utah State Tax Commission."
Full story - AP
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Jul 28 09:21:48 EDT 2005

Legal protection against being 'SLAPP'ed
"... The California law was strengthened even further in the recent case of Varian Medical Systems v. Delfino and Day, 25 Cal.Rptr.3d 298 (Cal. 2005), in which two former employees who posted derogatory comments on the Internet about their ex-bosses were successfully sued for defamation and invasion of privacy, resulting in a $775,000 jury verdict. The defendants had filed an anti-SLAPP motion with the trial judge claiming that the plaintiff company was trying to silence their right of free speech with the lawsuit. The motion was denied, and the case was allowed to go to the jury. The California Supreme Court reversed and ruled that all proceedings should have been stayed pending appeal of that motion because the anti-SLAPP law is "intended to prevent and deter meritless lawsuits [that] seek to deplete the defendant's energy and drain his or her resources.""
Full story - Miami Herald
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Jul 25 10:20:01 EDT 2005

Man awarded damages for arrest while videotaping troopers
"A man twice arrested for harassment while videotaping state police troopers as they conducted truck-safety inspections was awarded $41,000 in damages by a federal judge... "Videotaping is a legitimate means of gathering information for public dissemination and can often provide cogent evidence, as it did in this case," wrote U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III in his ruling in Robinson v. Fetterman. "In sum, there can be no doubt that the free speech clause of the Constitution protected Robinson as he videotaped the defendants.""
Full story - FirstAmendmentCenter
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Jul 24 14:30:25 EDT 2005

Clarke 'lowers bar' on terror incitement via web, writing, preaching
"UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke yesterday announced plans to exclude or deport individuals deemed to have encouraged terrorism via preaching, running web sites or writing articles, and gave further details of plans for new terrorist offences including "indirect incitement" of terrorism, which is likely to cover similar territory."
Full story - The Register
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Jul 21 08:23:32 EDT 2005

How Lincoln dealt with free speech (letter)
"... A former congressman from Ohio, Clement Vallandigham was one of the leaders of the Copperhead movement that took issue with the Union government and its handling of the war. In fact, in a speech in Ohio before 20,000, Vallandigham denounced Lincoln as a dictator and called for an armistice that would end the fighting."
Full story - Rutland Herald
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Jul 18 09:33:55 EDT 2005

For 'privacy' read censorship
"In the old days, when public figures sought redress against their critics in the media, they claimed their precious reputation was under threat and issued libel writs. Libel, however, especially since the downfall and imprisonment of Jonathan Aitken and Jeffrey Archer, is not what it was. Nowadays, these people are more likely to complain that their privacy (or that of their loved ones) is under threat."
Full story - Guardian
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Jul 17 09:10:14 EDT 2005

Judge temporarily blocks S.D. abortion law
"A federal judge late yesterday blocked a South Dakota abortion bill from becoming law today, tentatively ruling that the measure is an unconstitutional violation of free speech."
Full story - FirstAmendmentCenter
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jul 1 14:14:37 EDT 2005

Can you say anything about the dead?
"Lurid claims about Princess Diana have made the front pages once again. But what are the restrictions on what you can say about people who have died?"
Full story - BBC
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Jun 29 09:51:23 EDT 2005

Journalist Jailed Over Unpublished Article
"A journalist has been sentenced to seven months in prison on charges of slandering a Saratov official in an article that was never published. Eduard Abrosimov, a onetime adviser to former Saratov Governor Dmitry Ayatskov, was also found guilty of slandering State Duma Deputy Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, a deputy chairman of the United Russia party, in a separate article, a spokeswoman for the Saratov region prosecutor's office said Thursday."
Full story - Moscow Times
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Jun 24 00:59:14 EDT 2005

ACLU Calls on House to Reject Flag Desecration Amendment: This Session May Mark Closest Congressional Vote Yet on Measure (press release)
"The Flag Desecration Amendment is introduced nearly every session of Congress, but the vote this session may be the closest yet. Noting that free expression and the right to dissent are among the core principles the flag should represent, the American Civil Liberties Union today called upon the House of Representatives to reject the amendment. That proposal, which would amend the Constitution to restrict the First Amendment's protections for the first time, is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday."
Full story - ACLU (Press Release)
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jun 21 12:54:31 EDT 2005

Two months after arrest of Ching Cheong, 10,500 people sign a petition urging his release
"Two months to the day since Chinese police arrested journalist Ching Cheong, a petition calling for his release signed by 10,500 people in 20 different countries was sent today to Chinese President Hu Jintao and the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang."
Full story - Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jun 21 12:37:50 EDT 2005

Language "police" try again
"Hoping to spur a change in moral values, a village in the so-called Dutch "Bible belt," where religious belief runs strong, has approved a ban on swearing, according to Holland's Expatica magazine. The proposal passed in Staphorst, population 16,000, states that the ban "can be seen as a signal." However, a caveat that says swearing isn't banned when it is an expression of the constitutional freedom of speech could make it difficult to punish offenders."
Full story - Vermont Guardian
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jun 14 10:15:11 EDT 2005

63% oppose flag-burning amendment, new survey shows
"The number of Americans who oppose a constitutional amendment that would give Congress the power to punish flag-burning as protest is up sharply from 2004, according to a survey released today by the First Amendment Center."
Full story - FirstAmendmentCenter
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jun 14 08:44:30 EDT 2005

Arian Trial Case of Freedom of Speech: Lawyer
"The lawyer of Sami Al-Arian, a fired South Florida professor and an advocate of the Palestinian cause, said the arrest and trial of his client is driven by pro-Israeli politics and post-9/11 pressures than by the evidence, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, June 7. "The outstanding feature in this case is freedom of speech. Dr. Al-Arian's right to speak, your right to hear him and the ability of the powerful to silence him," William Moffitt told the court Monday, June 6."
Full story -
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Jun 7 14:06:04 EDT 2005

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