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Censorship – Wikipedia

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information that may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.[1]

Governments, private organizations and individuals may engage in censorship. When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of their own works or speech, it is referred to as self-censorship. Censorship could be direct or indirect, in which case it is referred to as soft censorship. It occurs in a variety of different media, including speech, books, music, films, and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the Internet for a variety of claimed reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children or other vulnerable groups, to promote or restrict political or religious views, and to prevent slander and libel.

Direct censorship may or may not be legal, depending on the type, location, and content. Many countries provide strong protections against censorship by law, but none of these protections are absolute and frequently a claim of necessity to balance conflicting rights is made, in order to determine what could and could not be censored. There are no laws against self-censorship.

In 399 BC, Greek philosopher, Socrates, defied attempts by the Greek state to censor his philosophical teachings and was sentenced to death by drinking a poison, hemlock. Socrates’ student, Plato, is said to have advocated censorship in his essay on The Republic, which opposed the existence of democracy. In contrast to Plato, Greek playwright Euripides (480406BC) defended the true liberty of freeborn men, including the right to speak freely. In 1766, Sweden became the first country to abolish censorship by law.[3]

The rationale for censorship is different for various types of information censored:

Strict censorship existed in the Eastern Bloc.[10] Throughout the bloc, the various ministries of culture held a tight rein on their writers.[11] Cultural products there reflected the propaganda needs of the state.[11] Party-approved censors exercised strict control in the early years.[12] In the Stalinist period, even the weather forecasts were changed if they suggested that the sun might not shine on May Day.[12] Under Nicolae Ceauescu in Romania, weather reports were doctored so that the temperatures were not seen to rise above or fall below the levels which dictated that work must stop.[12]

Independent journalism did not exist in the Soviet Union until Mikhail Gorbachev became its leader; all reporting was directed by the Communist Party or related organizations. Pravda, the predominant newspaper in the Soviet Union, had a monopoly. Foreign newspapers were available only if they were published by Communist Parties sympathetic to the Soviet Union.

Possession and use of copying machines was tightly controlled in order to hinder production and distribution of samizdat, illegal self-published books and magazines. Possession of even a single samizdat manuscript such as a book by Andrei Sinyavsky was a serious crime which might involve a visit from the KGB. Another outlet for works which did not find favor with the authorities was publishing abroad.

The People’s Republic of China employs sophisticated censorship mechanisms, referred to as the Golden Shield Project, to monitor the internet. Popular search engines such as Baidu also remove politically sensitive search results.[13][14][15]

Iraq under Baathist Saddam Hussein had much the same techniques of press censorship as did Romania under Nicolae Ceauescu but with greater potential violence.[citation needed]

Cuban media used to be operated under the supervision of the Communist Party’s Department of Revolutionary Orientation, which “develops and coordinates propaganda strategies”.[16] Connection to the Internet is restricted and censored.[17]

Censorship also takes place in capitalist nations, such as Uruguay. In 1973, a military coup took power in Uruguay, and the State practiced censorship. For example, writer Eduardo Galeano was imprisoned and later was forced to flee. His book Open Veins of Latin America was banned by the right-wing military government, not only in Uruguay, but also in Chile and Argentina.[18]

In the United States, censorship occurs through books, film festivals, politics, and public schools.[19] See banned books for more information. Additionally, critics of campaign finance reform in the United States say this reform imposes widespread restrictions on political speech.[20][21]

In the Republic of Singapore, Section 33 of the Films Act originally banned the making, distribution and exhibition of “party political films”, at pain of a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years. The Act further defines a “party political film” as any film or video

In 2001, the short documentary called A Vision of Persistence on opposition politician J. B. Jeyaretnam was also banned for being a “party political film”. The makers of the documentary, all lecturers at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, later submitted written apologies and withdrew the documentary from being screened at the 2001 Singapore International Film Festival in April, having been told they could be charged in court. Another short documentary called Singapore Rebel by Martyn See, which documented Singapore Democratic Party leader Dr Chee Soon Juan’s acts of civil disobedience, was banned from the 2005 Singapore International Film Festival on the same grounds and See is being investigated for possible violations of the Films Act.

This law, however, is often disregarded when such political films are made supporting the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). Channel NewsAsia’s five-part documentary series on Singapore’s PAP ministers in 2005, for example, was not considered a party political film.

Exceptions are also made when political films are made concerning political parties of other nations. Films such as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 are thus allowed to screen regardless of the law.

Since March 2009, the Films Act has been amended to allow party political films as long as they were deemed factual and objective by a consultative committee. Some months later, this committee lifted the ban on Singapore Rebel.

Online access to all language versions of Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey on 29 April 2017 by Erdoan’s government.[22]

In wartime, explicit censorship is carried out with the intent of preventing the release of information that might be useful to an enemy. Typically it involves keeping times or locations secret, or delaying the release of information (e.g., an operational objective) until it is of no possible use to enemy forces. The moral issues here are often seen as somewhat different, as the proponents of this form of censorship argues that release of tactical information usually presents a greater risk of casualties among one’s own forces and could possibly lead to loss of the overall conflict.

During World War I letters written by British soldiers would have to go through censorship. This consisted of officers going through letters with a black marker and crossing out anything which might compromise operational secrecy before the letter was sent. The World War II catchphrase “Loose lips sink ships” was used as a common justification to exercise official wartime censorship and encourage individual restraint when sharing potentially sensitive information.

An example of “sanitization” policies comes from the USSR under Joseph Stalin, where publicly used photographs were often altered to remove people whom Stalin had condemned to execution. Though past photographs may have been remembered or kept, this deliberate and systematic alteration to all of history in the public mind is seen as one of the central themes of Stalinism and totalitarianism.

Censorship is occasionally carried out to aid authorities or to protect an individual, as with some kidnappings when attention and media coverage of the victim can sometimes be seen as unhelpful.[23][24]

Censorship by religion is a form of censorship where freedom of expression is controlled or limited using religious authority or on the basis of the teachings of the religion. This form of censorship has a long history and is practiced in many societies and by many religions. Examples include the Galileo affair, Edict of Compigne, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of prohibited books) and the condemnation of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Images of the Islamic figure Muhammad are also regularly censored.

The content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, since their target audience is young people, and the term “whitewashing” is the one commonly used to refer to removal of critical or conflicting events. The reporting of military atrocities in history is extremely controversial, as in the case of The Holocaust (or Holocaust denial), Bombing of Dresden, the Nanking Massacre as found with Japanese history textbook controversies, the Armenian Genocide, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and the Winter Soldier Investigation of the Vietnam War.

In the context of secondary school education, the way facts and history are presented greatly influences the interpretation of contemporary thought, opinion and socialization. One argument for censoring the type of information disseminated is based on the inappropriate quality of such material for the young. The use of the “inappropriate” distinction is in itself controversial, as it changed heavily. A Ballantine Books version of the book Fahrenheit 451 which is the version used by most school classes[25] contained approximately 75 separate edits, omissions, and changes from the original Bradbury manuscript.

In February 2006 a National Geographic cover was censored by the Nashravaran Journalistic Institute. The offending cover was about the subject of love and a picture of an embracing couple was hidden beneath a white sticker.[26][26]

Copy approval is the right to read and amend an article, usually an interview, before publication. Many publications refuse to give copy approval but it is increasingly becoming common practice when dealing with publicity anxious celebrities.[27] Picture approval is the right given to an individual to choose which photos will be published and which will not. Robert Redford is well known for insisting upon picture approval.[28] Writer approval is when writers are chosen based on whether they will write flattering articles or not. Hollywood publicist Pat Kingsley is known for banning certain writers who wrote undesirably about one of her clients from interviewing any of her other clients.[citation needed]

There are many ways that censors exhibit creativity, but a specific variant is of concern in which censors rewrite texts, giving these texts secret co-authors.

Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one’s own blog, book, film, or other forms of media. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority. Self-censorship is often practiced by film producers, film directors, publishers, news anchors, journalists, musicians, and other kinds of authors including individuals who use social media.[30]

According to a Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review survey, “About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices.”[31]

Threats to media freedom have shown a significant increase in Europe in recent years, according to a study published in April 2017 by the Council of Europe. This results in a fear of physical or psychological violence, and the ultimate result is self-censorship by journalists.[32]

Book censorship can be enacted at the national or sub-national level, and can carry legal penalties for their infraction. Books may also be challenged at a local, community level. As a result, books can be removed from schools or libraries, although these bans do not extend outside of that area.

Aside from the usual justifications of pornography and obscenity, some films are censored due to changing racial attitudes or political correctness in order to avoid ethnic stereotyping and/or ethnic offense despite its historical or artistic value. One example is the still withdrawn “Censored Eleven” series of animated cartoons, which may have been innocent then, but are “incorrect” now.

Film censorship is carried out by various countries to differing degrees. For example, only 34 foreign films a year are approved for official distribution in China’s strictly controlled film market.[33]

A 1980 Israeli law forbade banned artwork composed of the four colours of the Palestinian flag,[34] and Palestinians were arrested for displaying such artwork or even for carrying sliced melons with the same pattern.[35][36][37]

Music censorship has been implemented by states, religions, educational systems, families, retailers and lobbying groups and in most cases they violate international conventions of human rights.[38]

Censorship of maps is often employed for military purposes. For example, the technique was used in former East Germany, especially for the areas near the border to West Germany in order to make attempts of defection more difficult. Censorship of maps is also applied by Google Maps, where certain areas are grayed out or blacked or areas are purposely left outdated with old imagery.[39]

Under subsection 48(3) and (4) of the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, non-Muslims in Malaysia are penalized for using the following words, or to write or publish them, in any form, version or translation in any language or for use in any publicity material in any medium: “Allah”, “Firman Allah”, “Ulama”, “Hadith”, “Ibadah”, “Kaabah”, “Qadhi'”, “Illahi”, “Wahyu”, “Mubaligh”, “Syariah”, “Qiblat”, “Haji”, “Mufti”, “Rasul”, “Iman”, “Dakwah”, “Wali”, “Fatwa”, “Imam”, “Nabi”, “Sheikh”, “Khutbah”, “Tabligh”, “Akhirat”, “Azan”, “Al Quran”, “As Sunnah”, “Auliya'”, “Karamah”, “False Moon God”, “Syahadah”, “Baitullah”, “Musolla”, “Zakat Fitrah”, “Hajjah”, “Taqwa” and “Soleh”.[40][41][42]

Publishers of the Spanish reference dictionary Real Acdemia Espaola received petitions to censor the entries “Jewishness”, “Gypsiness”, “black work” and “weak sex”, claiming that they are either offensive or non-PC.[43]

One elementary school’s obscenity filter changed every reference to the word “tit” to “breast,” so when a child typed “U.S. Constitution” into the school computer, it changed it to Consbreastution.[44]

British photographer and visual artist Graham Ovenden’s photos and paintings were ordered to be destroyed by a London’s magistrate court in 2015 for being “indecent”[45] and their copies had been removed from the online Tate gallery.[46]

Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations either at the behest of government or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship on their own or due to intimidation and fear.

The issues associated with Internet censorship are similar to those for offline censorship of more traditional media. One difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. Thus censors must work to prevent access to information even though they lack physical or legal control over the websites themselves. This in turn requires the use of technical censorship methods that are unique to the Internet, such as site blocking and content filtering.[51]

Unless the censor has total control over all Internet-connected computers, such as in North Korea or Cuba, total censorship of information is very difficult or impossible to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the Internet. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) protect free speech using technologies that guarantee material cannot be removed and prevents the identification of authors. Technologically savvy users can often find ways to access blocked content. Nevertheless, blocking remains an effective means of limiting access to sensitive information for most users when censors, such as those in China, are able to devote significant resources to building and maintaining a comprehensive censorship system.[51]

Views about the feasibility and effectiveness of Internet censorship have evolved in parallel with the development of the Internet and censorship technologies:

A BBC World Service poll of 27,973 adults in 26 countries, including 14,306 Internet users,[55] was conducted between 30 November 2009 and 7 February 2010. The head of the polling organization felt, overall, that the poll showed that:

The poll found that nearly four in five (78%) Internet users felt that the Internet had brought them greater freedom, that most Internet users (53%) felt that “the internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere”, and almost four in five Internet users and non-users around the world felt that access to the Internet was a fundamental right (50% strongly agreed, 29% somewhat agreed, 9% somewhat disagreed, 6% strongly disagreed, and 6% gave no opinion).[57]

The rising usage of social media in many nations has led to the emergence of citizens organizing protests through social media, sometimes called “Twitter Revolutions.” The most notable of these social media led protests were parts Arab Spring uprisings, starting in 2010. In response to the use of social media in these protests, the Tunisian government began a hack of Tunisian citizens’ Facebook accounts, and reports arose of accounts being deleted.[58]

Automated systems can be used to censor social media posts, and therefore limit what citizens can say online. This most notably occurs in China, where social media posts are automatically censored depending on content. In 2013, Harvard political science professor Gary King led a study to determine what caused social media posts to be censored and found that posts mentioning the government were not more or less likely to be deleted if they were supportive or critical of the government. Posts mentioning collective action were more likely to be deleted than those that had not mentioned collective action.[59] Currently, social media censorship appears primarily as a way to restrict Internet users’ ability to organize protests. For the Chinese government, seeing citizens unhappy with local governance is beneficial as state and national leaders can replace unpopular officials. King and his researchers were able to predict when certain officials would be removed based on the number of unfavorable social media posts.[60]

Social media sites such as Facebook are known to censor posts containing things such as nudity and hate speech.[61] As of November 2016, Twitter has been banning numerous accounts associated with alt-right politics.[62]

Since the early 1980s, advocates of video games have emphasized their use as an expressive medium, arguing for their protection under the laws governing freedom of speech and also as an educational tool. Detractors argue that video games are harmful and therefore should be subject to legislative oversight and restrictions. Many video games have certain elements removed or edited due to regional rating standards.[63][64] For example, in the Japanese and PAL Versions of No More Heroes, blood splatter and gore is removed from the gameplay. Decapitation scenes are implied, but not shown. Scenes of missing body parts after having been cut off, are replaced with the same scene, but showing the body parts fully intact.[65]

Surveillance and censorship are different. Surveillance can be performed without censorship, but it is harder to engage in censorship without some form of surveillance.[66] And even when surveillance does not lead directly to censorship, the widespread knowledge or belief that a person, their computer, or their use of the Internet is under surveillance can lead to self-censorship.[67]

Protection of sources is no longer just a matter of journalistic ethics; it increasingly also depends on the journalist’s computer skills and all journalists should equip themselves with a “digital survival kit” if they are exchanging sensitive information online or storing it on a computer or mobile phone.[68][69] And individuals associated with high-profile rights organizations, dissident, protest, or reform groups are urged to take extra precautions to protect their online identities.[70]

The former Soviet Union maintained a particularly extensive program of state-imposed censorship. The main organ for official censorship in the Soviet Union was the Chief Agency for Protection of Military and State Secrets generally known as the Glavlit, its Russian acronym. The Glavlit handled censorship matters arising from domestic writings of just about any kindeven beer and vodka labels. Glavlit censorship personnel were present in every large Soviet publishing house or newspaper; the agency employed some 70,000 censors to review information before it was disseminated by publishing houses, editorial offices, and broadcasting studios. No mass medium escaped Glavlit’s control. All press agencies and radio and television stations had Glavlit representatives on their editorial staffs.[citation needed]

Sometimes, public knowledge of the existence of a specific document is subtly suppressed, a situation resembling censorship. The authorities taking such action will justify it by declaring the work to be “subversive” or “inconvenient”. An example is Michel Foucault’s 1978 text Sexual Morality and the Law (later republished as The Danger of Child Sexuality), originally published as La loi de la pudeur [literally, “the law of decency”]. This work defends the decriminalization of statutory rape and the abolition of age of consent laws.[citation needed]

When a publisher comes under pressure to suppress a book, but has already entered into a contract with the author, they will sometimes effectively censor the book by deliberately ordering a small print run and making minimal, if any, attempts to publicize it. This practice became known in the early 2000s as privishing (private publishing).[71]

Censorship has been criticized throughout history for being unfair and hindering progress. In a 1997 essay on Internet censorship, social commentator Michael Landier claims that censorship is counterproductive as it prevents the censored topic from being discussed. Landier expands his argument by claiming that those who impose censorship must consider what they censor to be true, as individuals believing themselves to be correct would welcome the opportunity to disprove those with opposing views.[72]

Censorship is often used to impose moral values on society, as in the censorship of material considered obscene. English novelist E. M. Forster was a staunch opponent of censoring material on the grounds that it was obscene or immoral, raising the issue of moral subjectivity and the constant changing of moral values. When the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was put on trial in 1960, Forster wrote:[73]

Lady Chatterleys Lover is a literary work of importance…I do not think that it could be held obscene, but am in a difficulty here, for the reason that I have never been able to follow the legal definition of obscenity. The law tells me that obscenity may deprave and corrupt, but as far as I know, it offers no definition of depravity or corruption.

Censorship by country collects information on censorship, Internet censorship, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of speech, and Human Rights by country and presents it in a sortable table, together with links to articles with more information. In addition to countries, the table includes information on former countries, disputed countries, political sub-units within countries, and regional organizations.

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Censorship – Wikipedia

Project Censored – The News that Didn’t Make the News and Why

Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report whats really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americansnow more than everneed those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one thats wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, andmost important whats now left of its democracy. Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.

One of the most significant media research projects in the country. I. F. Stone

Activist groups like Project Censored… are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up. Amy Goodman

Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have… a vital contribution to our democratic process. Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumers Union

[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives. Ralph Nader

For ages, Ive dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isnt necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesnt exist, but we always have Project Censoreds yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched. Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.

In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ah-ha moments where we understand just how weve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war. Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.

Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried. Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this years NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work. Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University

Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism. Walter Cronkite

At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter…. It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust…. It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored. Dahr Jamail

Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us. San Diego Review

Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure. Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers

Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times. Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States

[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America…. Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens. Los Angeles Times

Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored. Greg Palast

The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous years 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the opinion section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatchers career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of Junk Food News, in which CNN and Fox News devoted more time to Gangnam Style than the renewal of Ugandas Kill the Gays law. Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywoods deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censoreds profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker. -Publishers Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)

Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know. Cynthia McKinney

See the article here:

Project Censored – The News that Didn’t Make the News and Why

At Beijing book fair, publishers admit self-censorship – Yahoo News

Beijing (AFP) – Just days after the world’s oldest publisher briefly caved in to Chinese censorship demands, international publishing houses are courting importers at a Beijing book fair, with some admitting they keep sensitive topics off their pages.

The censorship controversy that hit Cambridge University Press (CUP) sent a chill along the stands staffed by publishers from nearly 90 countries at the Beijing International Book Fair, which opened on Wednesday.

But some acknowledged their companies have already resorted to self-censorship to ensure that their books do not offend and are published in China.

CUP had given similar arguments when it initially complied with a Chinese import agency’s demand to block articles from its China Quarterly journal, before reversing course on Monday after coming under fire from the academic community.

Terry Phillips, business development director of British-based Innova Press, was candid about it as he prepared to meet a Chinese counterpart at the fair’s section for overseas publishers.

“We frequently exercise self-censorship to adapt to different markets. Every country has different sets of requirements about what they consider appropriate for education materials,” Phillips told AFP.

“But as authors, I think we also have a responsibility to find ways to teach good citizenship and human rights,” he said.

John Lowe, managing director of Mosaic8, an Asian educational publishing specialist based in Tokyo, said the authorities govern the distribution of the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that companies need for their books to be sold in China.

“So it is in publishers’ interest to not publish something that would anger authorities,” Lowe said.

“You don’t mention the three ‘Ts’: Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan. But it’s usually fine to discuss human rights issues generally,” Lowe said.

– CUP quiet –

The 300 articles that were temporarily removed from China Quarterly’s website in China included texts on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the status of Tibet, the self-ruled island of Taiwan and the Chinese democracy movement.

CUP had said last Friday that it wanted “to ensure that other academic and educational materials we publish remain available to researchers and educators in this market”.

In an about-face, the publisher announced on Monday that it was restoring access to the articles after international academics criticised CUP for succumbing to Chinese pressure and launched a petition demanding that it reverse course.

But the US-based Association for Asian Studies revealed this week that CUP had received a request from China’s General Administration of Press and Publications to remove 100 articles from another publication, the Journal of Asian Studies.

Cambridge University officials said they would discuss the censorship issue with the importer at the book fair, which runs until Sunday, after expressing concern about “the recent increase in requests of this nature”.

Rita Yan, a CUP coordinator at the publisher’s booth, told AFP that the censorship issue “wasn’t affecting our activities at the book fair.”

Yan declined to comment further and said CUP’s managing director of academic publishing was unable to speak with the press because she was occupied with meetings.

– Censorship: ‘A selling point’ –

Other publishers participating in the fair said the uproar has created an atmosphere of anxiety about censorship.

“Currently, we don’t have any problems, but in the future, we don’t know,” said Ding Yueting, a marketer for Wiley, an educational publisher and research service based in New Jersey.

A representative of a large American publishing house, who requested anonymity because she was not authorised to speak to the press, said: “We’re nervous about whether there will be increased censorship requests from Chinese agencies in the future.”

But a representative of another major American publisher, who also requested anonymity, said that a factor influencing self-censorship decisions is that there would be “no point” in producing books that will likely get banned.

“It would be embarrassing to go through the trouble of translating a book from English to Chinese, and then being unable to publish in China,” he said.

“On the other hand, books that are censored in China often sell better abroad,” he said.

“It’s usually a major selling point.”

Read more here:

At Beijing book fair, publishers admit self-censorship – Yahoo News

Tech Companies and Censorship: Where Should We Draw The Line? – Inc.com

This has been a tough week.

Starting with the terrible event that occurred last weekend in Charlottesville, VA, where clashes between neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups erupted into fights and violence and led to death of one protester.

Throughout the week, the event continued to gain steam when President Trump commented about the incident, then made a second comment, then held an unprecedented press conference that even members of his own party condemned.

As prominent CEOs’s of the President’s manufacturing council began to drop out, several tech companies began or intensified their crack down on hate speech and banning of alt-right and neo-Nazi websites. According to PBS News, here are just a few big names and their actions:

Cloudflare, a company that provides security services to internet companies to protect them from hackers, also joined the movement by also dropping The Daily Stormer from its network services. The move was a bit of a surprise, because Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare, has long been an advocate of free speech saying that “a website is speech, it is not a bomb,”

Cloudfire took the action, however, because management determined that the The Daily Stormer was harassing individuals who were reporting their site as abusive. Prince was also clear that he and the company found the content on the site “abhorrent and vile” and in a company memo stated that “the tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology … we could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.”

While these actions by tech companies seen by most as the proper and moral thing to do, some have rightfully questioned the ability of businesses in general to have such a significant influence on the fundamental right of free speech online — censoring or even removing it altogether.

Prince goes on to say that entrepreneurs — and society at large — need to ask ourselves who should be responsible for policing and regulating online content. “I sit in a very privileged position,” said Prince, “I see about 10 percent of all online traffic, and I can make a decision whether they can be online anymore. And I’m not sure I am the one who should be making that kind of decision.”

The the question for all of us is who should be?

We are all affording the freedom of speech and expression — a very unique, precious and delicate gift. We have also been afforded, through the sacrifice of many generations, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When these two rights intersect and conflict, we need a moral standard — not the constitution — to moderate.

Of course, the question then becomes who gets to decide the moral standard?

Luckily, we have a democratic system in place that allows the country’s citizens to select representatives who serve as the law makers that mold this standard. Is our system flawed — absolutely — but as Winston Churchill astutely recognized, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

When it comes to tech companies — or any company for that matter — they have an obligation to follow the law — and that is about it. As Prince contends, the right policy is for content providers to be “content neutral.” The community can be policed by its users in the form reporting reprehensible content, and companies have the obligations to engage experts and authorities in law enforcement to determine what should be removed.

Of course, if some companies wish to write and maintain an internal set of codes and as long as those codes do not infringe upon or otherwise break a law, a company has every right to do so. Customers who disagree can exercise their freedom of speech to voice their opinion or simply “protest with their wallets.”

This debate will surely not end anytime soon, and by all indications, it is just getting started.

What do you think? Should censorship be under the management of companies, or should content be continued to be given freedoms under the right to free speech? Please share your (constructive and civil) comments below.

More:

Tech Companies and Censorship: Where Should We Draw The Line? – Inc.com

10+ Years of Activists Silenced: Internet Intermediaries’ Long History of Censorship – EFF

Recent decisions by technology companies, especially upstream infrastructure technology companies, to drop neo-Nazis as customers have captured public attentionand for good reason. The content being blocked is vile and horrific, there is growing concern about hate groups across the country, and the nation is focused on issues of racism and protest.

But this is a dangerous moment for Internet expression and the power of private platforms that host much of the speech on the Internet. People cheering for companies who have censored content in recent weeks may soon find the same tactic used against causes they love. We must be careful about what we are asking these companies to do and carefully review the processes they use to do it. A look at previous examples that EFF has handled in the past 10+ years can help demonstrate why we are so concerned.

This isnt just a slippery slope fear about potential future harm. Complaints to various kinds of intermediaries have been occurring for over a decade. Its clear that Internet technology companiesespecially those further upstream like domain name registrars are simply not equipped or competent to distinguish between good complaints and bad in the U.S. much less around the world. They also have no strong mechanisms for allowing due process or correcting mistakes. Instead they merely react to where the pressure is greatest or where their business interests lie.

Here are just a few cases EFF has handled or helped from the last decade where complaints went upstream to website hosts and DNS providers, impacting activist groups specifically. And this is not to mention the many times direct user platforms like Facebook and Twitter have censored content from artists, activists, and others.

Youll notice that complainers in these cases are powerful corporations. Thats not a coincidence. Large companies have the time, money, and scary lawyers to pressure intermediaries to do their biddingsomething smaller communities rarely have.

The story gets much more frightening when governments enter the conversation. All of the major technology companies publish transparency reports documenting the many efforts made by governments around the world to require the companies to take down their customers speech.[1]

China ties the domain name system to tracking systems and censorship. Russia-backed groups flag Ukrainian speech, Chinese groups flag Tibetan speech, Israeli groups flag Palestinian speech, just to name a few. Every state has some reason to try to bend the core intermediaries to their agenda, which is why EFF along with a number of international organizations created the Manila Principlesto set out the basic rules for intermediaries to follow when responding to these governmental pressures. Those concerned about the position of the current U.S. government with regard to Black Lives Matter, Antifa groups, and similar left-leaning communities should take note: efforts to urge the current U.S. government to treat them as hate groups have already begun.

Will the Internet remain a place where small, marginalized voices get heard? For every tech CEO now worried about neo-Nazis there are hundreds of decisions made to silence voices that are made outside of public scrutiny with no transparency into decision-making or easy ways to get mistakes corrected. We understand the impulse to cheer any decisions to stand up against horrific speech, but if we embrace upstream intermediary censorship, it may very well come back to haunt us.

See the original post here:

10+ Years of Activists Silenced: Internet Intermediaries’ Long History of Censorship – EFF

Cambridge University Press battles censorship in China – The Economist

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Read more:

Cambridge University Press battles censorship in China – The Economist

Delingpole: Thomas Wictor Is the Latest Victim of Google Censorship – Breitbart News

YouTube has suspended his account allegedly because he violated their terms of use; but really, he suspects, for the crime of being a Trump supporter who speaks unpalatable truths about leftist evils.

If youre unfamiliar with Thomas Wictor, youre missing a treat. Hes a Venezuelan-born recluse with a rich and varied past who, besides being the worlds greatest (and only) expert on World War I flamethrowers, also happens to produce some of the most fascinating Twitter threads and social media video commentary you will ever see on subjects ranging from Antifa to Pallywood to whats really going on in Syria and Iraq.

Some of his output is so kooky and recondite that, quite possibly, it strays into the realm of conspiracy theory.

But with Wictor you can never be quite sure because his exposition is so thorough and well-documented.

One of his specialties is forensic video analysis. This is how I first came across him, a few years back, when I wrote my first Breitbart News story based on his research. It concerned the four Palestinian boys supposedly blown up on a beach by Israeli artillery during the last Gaza conflict but really, or so Wictor claimed, murdered by Hamas who then exploited the dead children for propaganda purposes.

More recently he has attracted a big following on Twitter thanks to his epic threads which examine the truth behind various news stories, especially ones relating either to the Middle East or Antifas domestic terrorism.

This, he believes, is what got him into trouble with the lefts political correctness sentinels.

He told me:

I was able to prove at least three attempted murders by Antifa at Berkeley on April 15, 2017. In the video above [now deleted by YouTube], the Antifa member used a Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife.

The Fairbairn-Sykes is a double-edged stabbing weapon. It produces deep wounds that bleed heavily, making it hard to save the victim. It was only incompetence on the part of Antifa and sheer luck that the free-speech supporter didnt die. The Antifa member stabbed four times. Thats attempted murder in the first degree.

The reason I came to the attention of Google was that Donald Trump Jr retweeted me. After that, my YouTube account came under almost daily assault until it was terminated.

On Twitter, I support Jews, Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Christians, blacks, whites I see no religion or color. My blog posts were all technical.

The last detail is important because, according to Googles explanations as to why his YouTube account was first closed temporarily then permanently, his videos had inappropriate content.

Eventually, Wictors account was killed with death-by-faceless-bureaucracy. (Ive included the full private thread of Wictors communication with me because its soclassically Thomas Wictor)

This is the internets loss and reflects ill on both YouTube and Google.

Happily, his Twitter threads are still operative and todays is another classic. It concerns a story aboutState Rep. Beth Fukumoto (D-Hawaii) and her claim reported in Huffington Post that she receivedracistcorrespondence from a Trump supporter.

Wictor has strong suspicions that it is a hoax because, using photos of the letter and envelope from the internet, he has subjected the correspondence to forensic analysis.

Read the full thread to find out why he thinks it is fake. Its classic Wictor.

P.S. DO YOU WANT MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX?SIGN UP FOR THE DAILY BREITBART NEWSLETTER.

Here is the original post:

Delingpole: Thomas Wictor Is the Latest Victim of Google Censorship – Breitbart News

World’s oldest publisher reverses ‘shameful’ China censorship – CNNMoney

The university press, which describes itself as the oldest publishing house in the world, had admitted to blocking online access in China to academic works on Tiananmen Square, the Cultural Revolution and Tibet.

The University of Cambridge said in a statement on Monday that its academic leadership and the publisher had agreed to reinstate the blocked content “with immediate effect” to “uphold the principle of academic freedom.”

The censored academic articles appeared in the highly regarded journal China Quarterly. Its editor, Tim Pringle, said the reversal followed a “justifiably intense reaction from the global academic community and beyond.”

“Access to published materials of the highest quality is a core component of scholarly research,” he said in a statement on Monday. “It is not the role of respected global publishing houses … to hinder such access.”

The decision to censor the articles drew condemnation from academics around the world.

It represented “a craven, shameful and destructive concession” to the Chinese government’s “growing censorship regime,” Georgetown University professor James Millward wrote in an open letter published over the weekend.

By Monday, an online petition threatening a boycott of the publisher and its journals had gathered hundreds of signatures.

Related: Facebook finds a way into China

The not-for-profit publisher had defended its action as necessary to ensure that China doesn’t block “entire collections of content.” It said it would never proactively censor its own content.

But many prominent academics blasted the move.

“Chinese students and scholars reading a censored version of The China Quarterly will encounter only historical facts and scholarly analyses approved by political authorities,” Greg Distelhorst of MIT and Jessica Chen Weiss of Cornell wrote in a letter to Cambridge University Press.

“This censored history of China will literally bear the seal of Cambridge University,” they said.

The Cambridge press, which has been operating since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century, has run into a challenge faced by other global publishers: obey China’s censors or be locked out of its giant market.

Related: Apple’s Tim Cook hopes China will ease VPN restrictions

Foreign authors who wish to publish books in China must allow their works to be altered by censors. Top news organizations like The New York Times have had their websites blocked in China for years after publishing articles that upset the ruling Communist Party.

“Western institutions have the freedom to choose,” said an English-language opinion article published Sunday by Global Times, a provocative but state-sanctioned Chinese tabloid. “If they don’t like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us. If they think China’s internet market is so important that they can’t miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way.”

China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, a regulatory body, didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday.

Related: Banned! 11 things you won’t find in China

Submitting to Beijing’s demands was “a misguided, if understandable, economic decision that does harm to the Press’ reputation and integrity,” said Jonathan Sullivan, director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham.

“This is not the first time Beijing has leveraged the economic power of the Chinese market for political gains,” he wrote in a blog post. “The fear is that it won’t be the last time that Western academia is the target.”

— Serena Dong contributed to this report.

CNNMoney (London) First published August 21, 2017: 1:12 PM ET

Excerpt from:

World’s oldest publisher reverses ‘shameful’ China censorship – CNNMoney

In reversal, Cambridge University Press restores articles after China censorship row – Washington Post

BEIJING Cambridge University Press reversed course Monday after facing a major backlash from academics over its decision to bow to Chinese government demands to censor an important academic journal.

The British-based publisher announced Friday it had removed 300 articles and book reviews from a version of the China Quarterly website available in China at the request of the government. But on Monday, it rescinded that decision after outrage from the international academic community.

It said the original move had only been a temporary decision pending discussion withacademic leadership of the University of Cambridge and a scheduled meeting with the Chinese importer in Beijing.

Academic freedom is the overriding principle on which the University of Cambridge is based, it said in a statement. Therefore, while this temporary decision was taken in order to protect short-term access in China to the vast majority of the Presss journal articles, the Universitys academic leadership and the Press have agreed to reinstate the blocked content, with immediate effect, so as to uphold the principle of academic freedom on which the Universitys work is founded.

The articles touched on topics deemed sensitive to the Communist Party, including the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, policies toward Tibetan and Uighur ethnic minorities, Taiwan and the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

Tom Pringle, editor of China Quarterly, applauded the decision to reverse course.

Access to published materials of the highest quality is a core component of scholarly research, he said in a statement published online.It is not the role of respected global publishing houses such as CUP to hinder such access. The China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous double-blind peer review process, regardless of topic or sensitivity.

The demand to remove the articles came from Chinas General Administration of Press and Publication, which warned that if they were not removed the entire website would be made unavailable in China.

The articles would still have been available on a version of China Quarterly accessible outside China. But academics around the world had accused CUP of selling out and becoming complicit in censoring Chinese academic debate and history.

In an open letter published on Medium.com, James A. Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University, had called the original decision a craven, shameful and destructive concession to the Peoples Republic of Chinas growing censorship regime.

Millward said the decision to agree to censorship was a clear violation of academic independence inside and outside China.

He added it was akin to the New York Times or the Economist publishing versions of their papers inside China omitting content deemed offensive to the Communist Party.

It is noteworthy that the topics and peoples CUP has so blithely chosen to censor comprise mainly minorities and the politically disadvantaged. Would you censor content about Black Lives Matter, Mexican immigrants or Muslims in your American publication list if Trump asked you to do [so]? he asked.

In another open letter, MIT assistant professor Greg Distelhorst and Cornell associate professor Jessica Chen Weiss had warned: The censored history of China will literally bear the seal of Cambridge University.

In a tweet, James Leibold, an associate professor at Melbournes La Trobe University, whose scholarship about the Xinjiang region was among the censored articles, had called the decision a shameful act.

And a petition circulatedamong academics warning that Cambridge University Press could have faced a boycott if it had continued to acquiesce to the Chinese governments demands.

It is disturbing to academics and universities worldwide that China is attempting to export its censorship on topics that do not fit its preferred narrative, Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Peking University HSBC School of Business in Shenzhen, China, the petitions originator, wrote.

If Cambridge University Press acquiesces to the demands of the Chinese government, we as academics and universities reserve the right to pursue other actions including boycotts of Cambridge University Press and related journals.

The petition requested that only academics and people working in higher education sign, and give their affiliation. It had attracted 635 signatures on Change.org, although it could not be immediately established how many signatories were academics.

Later, Balding welcomed CUP’s change of heart, but added: These are issues Western institutions need to rethink. Just assuming there will be continued liberalization is not an accurate assessment.

In an editorial, Chinas state-run Global Times newspaper also cast the issue as a matter of principle and said that if Western institutions can leave if they dont likeit.

Western institutions have the freedom to choose, it wrote. If they don’t like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us. If they think China’s Internet market is so important that they can’t miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way.

It doesn’t matter if some articles on the China Quarterly disappear on the Chinese Internet. But it is a matter of principle. Time will tell whose principles cater more to this era, it added.

Experts said China’s decision was part of a broader crackdown on free expression in China under President Xi Jinping that has intensified this year as the Communist Party becomes more confident and less inclined to compromise.

In the past, China’s system of censorship, nicknamed the Great Firewall of China, has concentrated mainly on Chinese-language material, and has been less preoccupied with blocking English-language material, which is accessed only by a narrow elite. But that may now be changing.

The China Quarterly is very reputable within academic circles, and it does not promote the positive energy that China wants to see, said Qiao Mu, a former professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University who was demoted and ultimately left the university after criticizing the government. Instead, it touches on historical reflection, talks about Cultural Revolution and other errors that China has made in the past. These are things that China does not like and does not want to be discussed.

Qiao said the initial decision might have seemed wisefor the publisher as a company, since China is a huge market. But it would have had a negative effect on already limited academic freedom in China.

For Chinese academics, the effect is mainly psychological, he said. They will think more when doing research and impose stricter self-censorship.

Internet companies have also faced similar dilemmas: Google chose to withdraw from China rather than submit to censorship, and has been displaced here by a censored Chinese search engine, Baidu.com. But LinkedIn has submitted to censorship and continues to operate here. Apple recently complied with a demand from the Chinese government to remove many VPN (virtual private network) applications that Netizens use to access blocked websites, from its App Store in China.

Millward had argued that Cambridge as a whole has more power than it perhaps realized in a battle of wills with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

China is not going to ban everything branded Cambridgefrom the Chinese realm, because to do so would turn this into a big, public issue, and that is precisely what the authorities hope to avoid, he wrote.

To do so would, moreover, pit the CCP against a household name that every Chinese person who knows anything about education reveres as one of the worlds oldest and best universities. And Chinese, probably more than anyone else, revere universities, especially name-brand ones.

Cambridge University Press has made available a complete list of the articles that the Chinese government wanted censoredhere.

Luna Lin contributed to this report.

See the rest here:

In reversal, Cambridge University Press restores articles after China censorship row – Washington Post

Rewriting history is a form of censorship – The Journal

I am disgusted by the actions of lawless individuals and groups destroying statues and symbols of our past history.

Do these fools think they can somehow change our history by toppling a few bronze replicas of Civil War soldiers? They justify their actions by wrapping themselves in the banner of anti-racism, yet we do not see them attacking statues of Presidents Woodrow Wilson or Franklin D, Roosevelt, who were both racists. Wilson was responsible for re-segregating our armed forces in World War I, and Roosevelt imprisoned thousands of loyal Japanese citizens during World War II but did not arrest people of German or Italian decent.

Now we hear they want to destroy the Jefferson Memorial and rename Washington, D.C. Others have spayed paint on the Lincoln Memorial. Where are these attempts to destroy the reputations of great men like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and even George Washington leading us?

Is this a prelude to tearing up our beloved Constitution and Bill of Rights?

Vince Young

Dolores

Continue reading here:

Rewriting history is a form of censorship – The Journal

Censorship – Wikipedia

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information that may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.[1]

Governments, private organizations and individuals may engage in censorship. When an individual such as an author or other creator engages in censorship of their own works or speech, it is referred to as self-censorship. Censorship could be direct or indirect, in which case it is referred to as soft censorship. It occurs in a variety of different media, including speech, books, music, films, and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the Internet for a variety of claimed reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children or other vulnerable groups, to promote or restrict political or religious views, and to prevent slander and libel.

Direct censorship may or may not be legal, depending on the type, location, and content. Many countries provide strong protections against censorship by law, but none of these protections are absolute and frequently a claim of necessity to balance conflicting rights is made, in order to determine what could and could not be censored. There are no laws against self-censorship.

In 399 BC, Greek philosopher, Socrates, defied attempts by the Greek state to censor his philosophical teachings and was sentenced to death by drinking a poison, hemlock. Socrates’ student, Plato, is said to have advocated censorship in his essay on The Republic, which opposed the existence of democracy. In contrast to Plato, Greek playwright Euripides (480406BC) defended the true liberty of freeborn men, including the right to speak freely. In 1766, Sweden became the first country to abolish censorship by law.[3]

The rationale for censorship is different for various types of information censored:

Strict censorship existed in the Eastern Bloc.[10] Throughout the bloc, the various ministries of culture held a tight rein on their writers.[11] Cultural products there reflected the propaganda needs of the state.[11] Party-approved censors exercised strict control in the early years.[12] In the Stalinist period, even the weather forecasts were changed if they suggested that the sun might not shine on May Day.[12] Under Nicolae Ceauescu in Romania, weather reports were doctored so that the temperatures were not seen to rise above or fall below the levels which dictated that work must stop.[12]

Independent journalism did not exist in the Soviet Union until Mikhail Gorbachev became its leader; all reporting was directed by the Communist Party or related organizations. Pravda, the predominant newspaper in the Soviet Union, had a monopoly. Foreign newspapers were available only if they were published by Communist Parties sympathetic to the Soviet Union.

Possession and use of copying machines was tightly controlled in order to hinder production and distribution of samizdat, illegal self-published books and magazines. Possession of even a single samizdat manuscript such as a book by Andrei Sinyavsky was a serious crime which might involve a visit from the KGB. Another outlet for works which did not find favor with the authorities was publishing abroad.

The People’s Republic of China employs sophisticated censorship mechanisms, referred to as the Golden Shield Project, to monitor the internet. Popular search engines such as Baidu also remove politically sensitive search results.[13][14][15]

Iraq under Baathist Saddam Hussein had much the same techniques of press censorship as did Romania under Nicolae Ceauescu but with greater potential violence.[citation needed]

Cuban media used to be operated under the supervision of the Communist Party’s Department of Revolutionary Orientation, which “develops and coordinates propaganda strategies”.[16] Connection to the Internet is restricted and censored.[17]

Censorship also takes place in capitalist nations, such as Uruguay. In 1973, a military coup took power in Uruguay, and the State practiced censorship. For example, writer Eduardo Galeano was imprisoned and later was forced to flee. His book Open Veins of Latin America was banned by the right-wing military government, not only in Uruguay, but also in Chile and Argentina.[18]

In the United States, censorship occurs through books, film festivals, politics, and public schools.[19] See banned books for more information. Additionally, critics of campaign finance reform in the United States say this reform imposes widespread restrictions on political speech.[20][21]

In the Republic of Singapore, Section 33 of the Films Act originally banned the making, distribution and exhibition of “party political films”, at pain of a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years. The Act further defines a “party political film” as any film or video

In 2001, the short documentary called A Vision of Persistence on opposition politician J. B. Jeyaretnam was also banned for being a “party political film”. The makers of the documentary, all lecturers at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, later submitted written apologies and withdrew the documentary from being screened at the 2001 Singapore International Film Festival in April, having been told they could be charged in court. Another short documentary called Singapore Rebel by Martyn See, which documented Singapore Democratic Party leader Dr Chee Soon Juan’s acts of civil disobedience, was banned from the 2005 Singapore International Film Festival on the same grounds and See is being investigated for possible violations of the Films Act.

This law, however, is often disregarded when such political films are made supporting the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). Channel NewsAsia’s five-part documentary series on Singapore’s PAP ministers in 2005, for example, was not considered a party political film.

Exceptions are also made when political films are made concerning political parties of other nations. Films such as Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911 are thus allowed to screen regardless of the law.

Since March 2009, the Films Act has been amended to allow party political films as long as they were deemed factual and objective by a consultative committee. Some months later, this committee lifted the ban on Singapore Rebel.

Online access to all language versions of Wikipedia was blocked in Turkey on 29 April 2017 by Erdoan’s government.[22]

In wartime, explicit censorship is carried out with the intent of preventing the release of information that might be useful to an enemy. Typically it involves keeping times or locations secret, or delaying the release of information (e.g., an operational objective) until it is of no possible use to enemy forces. The moral issues here are often seen as somewhat different, as the proponents of this form of censorship argues that release of tactical information usually presents a greater risk of casualties among one’s own forces and could possibly lead to loss of the overall conflict.

During World War I letters written by British soldiers would have to go through censorship. This consisted of officers going through letters with a black marker and crossing out anything which might compromise operational secrecy before the letter was sent. The World War II catchphrase “Loose lips sink ships” was used as a common justification to exercise official wartime censorship and encourage individual restraint when sharing potentially sensitive information.

An example of “sanitization” policies comes from the USSR under Joseph Stalin, where publicly used photographs were often altered to remove people whom Stalin had condemned to execution. Though past photographs may have been remembered or kept, this deliberate and systematic alteration to all of history in the public mind is seen as one of the central themes of Stalinism and totalitarianism.

Censorship is occasionally carried out to aid authorities or to protect an individual, as with some kidnappings when attention and media coverage of the victim can sometimes be seen as unhelpful.[23][24]

Censorship by religion is a form of censorship where freedom of expression is controlled or limited using religious authority or on the basis of the teachings of the religion. This form of censorship has a long history and is practiced in many societies and by many religions. Examples include the Galileo affair, Edict of Compigne, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (list of prohibited books) and the condemnation of Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses by Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Images of the Islamic figure Muhammad are also regularly censored.

The content of school textbooks is often the issue of debate, since their target audience is young people, and the term “whitewashing” is the one commonly used to refer to removal of critical or conflicting events. The reporting of military atrocities in history is extremely controversial, as in the case of The Holocaust (or Holocaust denial), Bombing of Dresden, the Nanking Massacre as found with Japanese history textbook controversies, the Armenian Genocide, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, and the Winter Soldier Investigation of the Vietnam War.

In the context of secondary school education, the way facts and history are presented greatly influences the interpretation of contemporary thought, opinion and socialization. One argument for censoring the type of information disseminated is based on the inappropriate quality of such material for the young. The use of the “inappropriate” distinction is in itself controversial, as it changed heavily. A Ballantine Books version of the book Fahrenheit 451 which is the version used by most school classes[25] contained approximately 75 separate edits, omissions, and changes from the original Bradbury manuscript.

In February 2006 a National Geographic cover was censored by the Nashravaran Journalistic Institute. The offending cover was about the subject of love and a picture of an embracing couple was hidden beneath a white sticker.[26][26]

Copy approval is the right to read and amend an article, usually an interview, before publication. Many publications refuse to give copy approval but it is increasingly becoming common practice when dealing with publicity anxious celebrities.[27] Picture approval is the right given to an individual to choose which photos will be published and which will not. Robert Redford is well known for insisting upon picture approval.[28] Writer approval is when writers are chosen based on whether they will write flattering articles or not. Hollywood publicist Pat Kingsley is known for banning certain writers who wrote undesirably about one of her clients from interviewing any of her other clients.[citation needed]

There are many ways that censors exhibit creativity, but a specific variant is of concern in which censors rewrite texts, giving these texts secret co-authors.

Self-censorship is the act of censoring or classifying one’s own blog, book, film, or other forms of media. This is done out of fear of, or deference to, the sensibilities or preferences (actual or perceived) of others and without overt pressure from any specific party or institution of authority. Self-censorship is often practiced by film producers, film directors, publishers, news anchors, journalists, musicians, and other kinds of authors including individuals who use social media.[30]

According to a Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review survey, “About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four-in-ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices.”[31]

Threats to media freedom have shown a significant increase in Europe in recent years, according to a study published in April 2017 by the Council of Europe. This results in a fear of physical or psychological violence, and the ultimate result is self-censorship by journalists.[32]

Book censorship can be enacted at the national or sub-national level, and can carry legal penalties for their infraction. Books may also be challenged at a local, community level. As a result, books can be removed from schools or libraries, although these bans do not extend outside of that area.

Aside from the usual justifications of pornography and obscenity, some films are censored due to changing racial attitudes or political correctness in order to avoid ethnic stereotyping and/or ethnic offense despite its historical or artistic value. One example is the still withdrawn “Censored Eleven” series of animated cartoons, which may have been innocent then, but are “incorrect” now.

Film censorship is carried out by various countries to differing degrees. For example, only 34 foreign films a year are approved for official distribution in China’s strictly controlled film market.[33]

A 1980 Israeli law forbade banned artwork composed of the four colours of the Palestinian flag,[34] and Palestinians were arrested for displaying such artwork or even for carrying sliced melons with the same pattern.[35][36][37]

Music censorship has been implemented by states, religions, educational systems, families, retailers and lobbying groups and in most cases they violate international conventions of human rights.[38]

Censorship of maps is often employed for military purposes. For example, the technique was used in former East Germany, especially for the areas near the border to West Germany in order to make attempts of defection more difficult. Censorship of maps is also applied by Google Maps, where certain areas are grayed out or blacked or areas are purposely left outdated with old imagery.[39]

Under subsection 48(3) and (4) of the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, non-Muslims in Malaysia are penalized for using the following words, or to write or publish them, in any form, version or translation in any language or for use in any publicity material in any medium: “Allah”, “Firman Allah”, “Ulama”, “Hadith”, “Ibadah”, “Kaabah”, “Qadhi'”, “Illahi”, “Wahyu”, “Mubaligh”, “Syariah”, “Qiblat”, “Haji”, “Mufti”, “Rasul”, “Iman”, “Dakwah”, “Wali”, “Fatwa”, “Imam”, “Nabi”, “Sheikh”, “Khutbah”, “Tabligh”, “Akhirat”, “Azan”, “Al Quran”, “As Sunnah”, “Auliya'”, “Karamah”, “False Moon God”, “Syahadah”, “Baitullah”, “Musolla”, “Zakat Fitrah”, “Hajjah”, “Taqwa” and “Soleh”.[40][41][42]

Publishers of the Spanish reference dictionary Real Acdemia Espaola received petitions to censor the entries “Jewishness”, “Gypsiness”, “black work” and “weak sex”, claiming that they are either offensive or non-PC.[43]

One elementary school’s obscenity filter changed every reference to the word “tit” to “breast,” so when a child typed “U.S. Constitution” into the school computer, it changed it to Consbreastution.[44]

British photographer and visual artist Graham Ovenden’s photos and paintings were ordered to be destroyed by a London’s magistrate court in 2015 for being “indecent”[45] and their copies had been removed from the online Tate gallery.[46]

Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. It may be carried out by governments or by private organizations either at the behest of government or on their own initiative. Individuals and organizations may engage in self-censorship on their own or due to intimidation and fear.

The issues associated with Internet censorship are similar to those for offline censorship of more traditional media. One difference is that national borders are more permeable online: residents of a country that bans certain information can find it on websites hosted outside the country. Thus censors must work to prevent access to information even though they lack physical or legal control over the websites themselves. This in turn requires the use of technical censorship methods that are unique to the Internet, such as site blocking and content filtering.[51]

Unless the censor has total control over all Internet-connected computers, such as in North Korea or Cuba, total censorship of information is very difficult or impossible to achieve due to the underlying distributed technology of the Internet. Pseudonymity and data havens (such as Freenet) protect free speech using technologies that guarantee material cannot be removed and prevents the identification of authors. Technologically savvy users can often find ways to access blocked content. Nevertheless, blocking remains an effective means of limiting access to sensitive information for most users when censors, such as those in China, are able to devote significant resources to building and maintaining a comprehensive censorship system.[51]

Views about the feasibility and effectiveness of Internet censorship have evolved in parallel with the development of the Internet and censorship technologies:

A BBC World Service poll of 27,973 adults in 26 countries, including 14,306 Internet users,[55] was conducted between 30 November 2009 and 7 February 2010. The head of the polling organization felt, overall, that the poll showed that:

The poll found that nearly four in five (78%) Internet users felt that the Internet had brought them greater freedom, that most Internet users (53%) felt that “the internet should never be regulated by any level of government anywhere”, and almost four in five Internet users and non-users around the world felt that access to the Internet was a fundamental right (50% strongly agreed, 29% somewhat agreed, 9% somewhat disagreed, 6% strongly disagreed, and 6% gave no opinion).[57]

The rising usage of social media in many nations has led to the emergence of citizens organizing protests through social media, sometimes called “Twitter Revolutions.” The most notable of these social media led protests were parts Arab Spring uprisings, starting in 2010. In response to the use of social media in these protests, the Tunisian government began a hack of Tunisian citizens’ Facebook accounts, and reports arose of accounts being deleted.[58]

Automated systems can be used to censor social media posts, and therefore limit what citizens can say online. This most notably occurs in China, where social media posts are automatically censored depending on content. In 2013, Harvard political science professor Gary King led a study to determine what caused social media posts to be censored and found that posts mentioning the government were not more or less likely to be deleted if they were supportive or critical of the government. Posts mentioning collective action were more likely to be deleted than those that had not mentioned collective action.[59] Currently, social media censorship appears primarily as a way to restrict Internet users’ ability to organize protests. For the Chinese government, seeing citizens unhappy with local governance is beneficial as state and national leaders can replace unpopular officials. King and his researchers were able to predict when certain officials would be removed based on the number of unfavorable social media posts.[60]

Social media sites such as Facebook are known to censor posts containing things such as nudity, hate speech [61] and opinions deemed offensive to select groups. Most recently the social network Gab gained media attention when it was removed from Google Play[62][63] and rejected from Apple’s app store over concerns of it promoting controversial opinions. As of November 2016, Twitter has been banning numerous accounts associated with alt-right politics.[64]

Since the early 1980s, advocates of video games have emphasized their use as an expressive medium, arguing for their protection under the laws governing freedom of speech and also as an educational tool. Detractors argue that video games are harmful and therefore should be subject to legislative oversight and restrictions. Many video games have certain elements removed or edited due to regional rating standards.[65][66] For example, in the Japanese and PAL Versions of No More Heroes, blood splatter and gore is removed from the gameplay. Decapitation scenes are implied, but not shown. Scenes of missing body parts after having been cut off, are replaced with the same scene, but showing the body parts fully intact.[67]

Surveillance and censorship are different. Surveillance can be performed without censorship, but it is harder to engage in censorship without some form of surveillance.[68] And even when surveillance does not lead directly to censorship, the widespread knowledge or belief that a person, their computer, or their use of the Internet is under surveillance can lead to self-censorship.[69]

Protection of sources is no longer just a matter of journalistic ethics; it increasingly also depends on the journalist’s computer skills and all journalists should equip themselves with a “digital survival kit” if they are exchanging sensitive information online or storing it on a computer or mobile phone.[70][71] And individuals associated with high-profile rights organizations, dissident, protest, or reform groups are urged to take extra precautions to protect their online identities.[72]

The former Soviet Union maintained a particularly extensive program of state-imposed censorship. The main organ for official censorship in the Soviet Union was the Chief Agency for Protection of Military and State Secrets generally known as the Glavlit, its Russian acronym. The Glavlit handled censorship matters arising from domestic writings of just about any kindeven beer and vodka labels. Glavlit censorship personnel were present in every large Soviet publishing house or newspaper; the agency employed some 70,000 censors to review information before it was disseminated by publishing houses, editorial offices, and broadcasting studios. No mass medium escaped Glavlit’s control. All press agencies and radio and television stations had Glavlit representatives on their editorial staffs.[citation needed]

Sometimes, public knowledge of the existence of a specific document is subtly suppressed, a situation resembling censorship. The authorities taking such action will justify it by declaring the work to be “subversive” or “inconvenient”. An example is Michel Foucault’s 1978 text Sexual Morality and the Law (later republished as The Danger of Child Sexuality), originally published as La loi de la pudeur [literally, “the law of decency”]. This work defends the decriminalization of statutory rape and the abolition of age of consent laws.[citation needed]

When a publisher comes under pressure to suppress a book, but has already entered into a contract with the author, they will sometimes effectively censor the book by deliberately ordering a small print run and making minimal, if any, attempts to publicize it. This practice became known in the early 2000s as privishing (private publishing).[73]

Censorship has been criticized throughout history for being unfair and hindering progress. In a 1997 essay on Internet censorship, social commentator Michael Landier claims that censorship is counterproductive as it prevents the censored topic from being discussed. Landier expands his argument by claiming that those who impose censorship must consider what they censor to be true, as individuals believing themselves to be correct would welcome the opportunity to disprove those with opposing views.[74]

Censorship is often used to impose moral values on society, as in the censorship of material considered obscene. English novelist E. M. Forster was a staunch opponent of censoring material on the grounds that it was obscene or immoral, raising the issue of moral subjectivity and the constant changing of moral values. When the novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover was put on trial in 1960, Forster wrote:[75]

Lady Chatterleys Lover is a literary work of importance…I do not think that it could be held obscene, but am in a difficulty here, for the reason that I have never been able to follow the legal definition of obscenity. The law tells me that obscenity may deprave and corrupt, but as far as I know, it offers no definition of depravity or corruption.

Censorship by country collects information on censorship, Internet censorship, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of speech, and Human Rights by country and presents it in a sortable table, together with links to articles with more information. In addition to countries, the table includes information on former countries, disputed countries, political sub-units within countries, and regional organizations.

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Censorship – Wikipedia

Censorship | Article about censorship by The Free Dictionary

censorship, official prohibition or restriction of any type of expression believed to threaten the political, social, or moral order. It may be imposed by governmental authority, local or national, by a religious body, or occasionally by a powerful private group. It may be applied to the mails, speech, the press, the theater, dance, art, literature, photography, the cinema, radio, television, or computer networks. Censorship may be either preventive or punitive, according to whether it is exercised before or after the expression has been made public. In use since antiquity, the practice has been particularly thoroughgoing under autocratic and heavily centralized governments, from the Roman Empire to the totalitarian states of the 20th cent. In the United States

Censorship has existed in the United States since colonial times; its emphasis has gradually shifted from the political to the sexual.

Attempts to suppress political freedom of the press in the American colonies were recurrent; one victory against censorship was the trial of John Peter ZengerZenger, John Peter , 16971746, American journalist, b. Germany. He emigrated to America in 1710 and was trained in the printing trade by the pioneer printer William Bradford. ….. Click the link for more information. . The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, speech, and religion. Nevertheless, there have been examples of official political censorship, notably in the actions taken under the Sedition Act of 1798 (see Alien and Sedition ActsAlien and Sedition Acts, 1798, four laws enacted by the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, allegedly in response to the hostile actions of the French Revolutionary government on the seas and in the councils of diplomacy (see XYZ Affair), but actually designed to destroy Thomas ….. Click the link for more information. ), suppression of abolitionist literature in the antebellum South, and local attempts in the 19th and 20th cent. to repress publications considered radical. During the cold warcold war, term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and ….. Click the link for more information. many Americans worked to keep textbooks and teaching that they considered deleterious to “the American form of government” out of schools and colleges; many others opposed this effort (see academic freedomacademic freedom, right of scholars to pursue research, to teach, and to publish without control or restraint from the institutions that employ them. It is a civil right that is enjoyed, at least in statute, by all citizens of democratic countries. ….. Click the link for more information. ).

The issue of government secrecy was dealt with in the Freedom of Information ActFreedom of Information Act (1966), law requiring that U.S. government agencies release their records to the public on request, unless the information sought falls into a category specifically exempted, such as national security, an individual’s right to privacy, or internal ….. Click the link for more information. of 1966, which stated that, with some exceptions, people have the right of access to government records. The issue was challenged in 1971, when a secret government study that came to be known as the Pentagon PapersPentagon Papers, government study of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara in June, 1967, the 47-volume, top secret study covered the period from World War II to May, 1968. ….. Click the link for more information. was published by major newspapers. The government sued to stop publication, but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the newspapers (see press, freedom of thepress, freedom of the, liberty to print or to otherwise disseminate information, as in print, by broadcasting, or through electronic media, without prior restraints such as licensing requirements or content review and without subsequent punishment for what is said. ….. Click the link for more information. ).

Long before World War I there were vigilante attacks, such as those by Anthony ComstockComstock, Anthony , 18441915, American morals crusader, b. New Canaan, Conn. He served with the Union army in the Civil War and was later active as an antiabortionist and in advocating the suppression of obscene literature. ….. Click the link for more information. , on what was reckoned obscene literature, and the U.S. Post Office expanded (1873) its ban on the shipment of obscene literature and art, but it was after World War I that public controversy over censorship raged most fiercely. Until the Tariff Act was amended in 1930, many literary classics were not allowed entry into the United States on grounds of obscenity. Even after the act’s amendment censorship attempts persisted, and James Joyce’s Ulysses was not allowed into the country until 1933, after a court fight. Noted works of literature involved in obscenity cases included Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence, Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, and Fanny Hill by John Cleland. Over a 15-year period beginning in 1957, a series of Supreme Court decisions relaxed restrictions on so-called obscene materials, although not all obscenity prosecutions during this time were dismissed; in a famous case in the 1960s publisher Ralph Ginzburg was convicted of advertising in an obscene manner.

As Supreme Court decisions struck down many obscenity statutes, states responded by enacting laws prohibiting the sale of obscene materials to minors, and these were upheld (1968) by the Supreme Court. In decisions handed down in 1973 and 1987, the Court ruled that local governments could restrict works if they were without “serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value” and were at the same time seen, by local standards, to appeal to prurient interest. From the 1960s, the issue of sex education in schools was highly controversial; more recently, the question of AIDS education has stirred debate. In the 1980s, some feminists attempted to ban pornography as injurious to women. Other activists, concerned with racism and other forms of bigotry, lobbied for the suppression of what came to be called hate speech.

The producers of motion pictures, dependent for success on widespread public approval, somewhat reluctantly adopted a self-regulatory code of morals in the 1920s (see Hays, Will H.Hays, Will H., 18791954, American politician and motion-picture executive, b. Sullivan, Ind.; his original name was William Harrison Hays. Hays became active in Indiana political affairs, was chairman of the Republican state committee, and served (191821) as ….. Click the link for more information. ). This was replaced after 1966 by a voluntary rating system under the supervision of the Motion Picture Producers Association; the need to tailor a movie to fit a ratings category has acted as a form of censorship.

Since 1934, local radio (and later, television) stations have operated under licenses granted by the Federal Communications Commission, which is expressly forbidden to exercise censorship. However, the required periodical review of a station’s license invites indirect censorship. The Supreme Court ruled in 1996 that indecent material could be banned from commercial cable-television stations but not from public-access cable stations.

The rapid growth of the InternetInternet, the, international computer network linking together thousands of individual networks at military and government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, industrial and financial corporations of all sizes, and commercial enterprises (called gateways ….. Click the link for more information. presents another set of issues. The Communications Decency Act, passed by Congress in 1996 and signed by President Bill Clinton, was overturned by the Supreme Court for the restrictions it placed on adult access to and use of constitutionally protected material and communication on the Internet. The Child Online Protection Act (1998), which called for penalties on those offering material harmful to minors, also was successfully challenged for similar reasons. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (2001), which requires libraries and schools to install antipornography filters on computers with federally financed Internet access, was upheld, however, because it was only a condition attached to the acceptance of federal funding and not a general prohibition on access.

In other countries, censorship is accepted as inevitable in times of war, and it has been imposed to varying degrees even in peacetime. In the Middle Ages, attempts to silence heresy through intimidation, particularly through the establishment of the Inquisition, were examples of censorship, as are modern instances of book banning. The absolute monarchs of the 17th and 18th cent. imposed strict controls, and because the Reformation had resulted in a reshuffling of the relations between church and statechurch and state, the relationship between the religion or religions of a nation and the civil government of that nation, especially the relationship between the Christian church and various civil governments. ….. Click the link for more information. , these controls were used to persecute opponents of the established religion of a particular state, Roman Catholic or Protestant. A form of book-banning was adopted by the Roman Catholic Church in the IndexIndex, in the Roman Catholic Church, list of publications forbidden to be read, called Index librorum prohibitorum [list of forbidden books]. This censorship was exercised by the Holy See. ….. Click the link for more information. , a list of publications that the faithful were forbidden to read. The last edition of the Index was published in 1948; in 1966 Pope Paul VI decreed that it would be discontinued. Paradoxically, in the lands under Calvinist domination (such as Geneva, Scotland, and England of the Puritan period) where the ideals of liberty and freedom first blossomed, regulation of private conduct and individual opinion was rigorous, and censorship was strong.

Strict censorship of all forms of public expression characterized the Soviet Union throughout most of its 74-year history. Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago, which won the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature, was not permitted publication there, and the novels of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, considered by many to be masterpieces, were banned in 1966. Soviet censorship largely ended in 1986 under Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (openness).

In Britain during the 19th and 20th cent., the object of censorship has most often been literature regarded as obscene. With the passage of the Obscene Publications Act in 1857, there followed many criminal prosecutions and seizures of books. This law remained in effect until 1959, when a new law provided that the opinion of artistic or literary experts could be submitted as evidence in deciding obscenity cases and that work alleged to be obscene had to be judged as a whole rather than in part. However, when the editors of an underground periodical, Oz, were convicted in 1971 for violating postal laws, an appeal court held that a periodical need not be judged as a whole, an apparent reversal of the 1959 act.

See R. B. Downs and R. E. McCoy, ed., The First Freedom Today (1984); H. M. Clor, Obscenity and Public Morality (1985).

the control exercised by official authorities, whether secular or ecclesiastical, over the contents, publication, and circulation of printed matter, over the performance of plays and other stage works, and over fine arts and photographic exhibits, motion pictures, radio and television broadcasts, and sometimes even private correspondence for the purpose of preventing or limiting the dissemination of ideas and information deemed by such authorities to be undesirable or harmful.

Censorship may be imposed either before or after release of a given work. In the case of prior censorship, permission must be obtained before a book can be published, for example, or a play produced, whereas ex post facto censorship is exercised through the review of works that have already been published or otherwise released and through the restriction or prohibition of any work that violates the rules of censorship.

During the Middle Ages, censorship was exercised by the church authorities over theological and liturgical manuscripts in order to prevent heresies or other deviations from official church standards. The church issued book-banning decrees as well. In the 14th century, under Pope Urban VI, it was decreed that only those books could be used that were faithful copies of the originals and whose contents were not contrary to church dogma. In the early 15th century, Pope Martin V instituted a college of bishops that had control over the contents of books. Somewhat later, censorship functions were assumed by the secular state with respect to book copyists and the contents of books produced by them; such functions were usually exercised by the universities.

The invention of book printing stimulated the development of censorship. In 1471 it was decreed that books on religious subjects could be printed only with prior permission of the church authorities. In the mid-16th century the Catholic Church compiled a list of forbidden books; subsequently the list was repeatedly expanded. Beginning in the 16th century, censorship gradually passed into the hands of the secular authorities, becoming firmly established in all the Western European countries that had printing houses.

Under absolutist forms of government, censorship was one of the chief weapons used by the state and the church against ideologies that were hostile to the feudal system. Censorship bodies grew in number and were given greater responsibility over violations of the rules of censorship.

The French Revolution and the bourgeois revolutions elsewhere proclaimed freedom of expression and the abolition of censorship. The bourgeoisie itself, however, having gained political power, made extensive use of censorship for its own class purposes, thereby restricting the exercise of democratic freedoms by the proletariat and the workers progressive organizations. For a long time, workers publications in many countries were prohibited altogether.

Every bourgeois state today exercises ex post facto, or punitive, censorshipthat is, criminal proceedings are instituted in the case of publication of defamatory and slanderous information; punitive measures include fines, confiscation of printed issues, and bans or attachments against publication. The laws with respect to what may be published are so vague in formulation that they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. In the USA, for example, it is prohibited to abuse freedom of speech and freedom of the press; in Great Britain the government can prohibit the publication of certain news items on the grounds of national interest. According to Anglo-Saxon law, such censorship is not deemed contrary to freedom of speech and of the press.

The bourgeois states have no formal system of prior censorship; in many countries, howeverincluding the USA, France, and Great Britaina functioning system of governmental measures enables a stringent censorship to be effected in practice. In addition, opportunities to disseminate progressive publications are limited by the fact that new publishing organizations must be licensed and registered by the competent state agencies and must have large sums of money at their disposal in order to be able to operate. The very fact that the mass media, including newspapers and magazines, are owned by large monopolies determines the selection of material to be published and the weeding out of information that is unfavorable to the ruling class.

The censorship of motion pictures and school textbooks, which is systematically practiced in all the bourgeois states, is particularly stringent in the USA. In most of the bourgeois countries, the observance of censorship prohibitions is under the jurisdiction of the ministry or department of justice, the public prosecutors office, or the ministry of internal affairs.

B. M. LAZAREVand B. IU. IVANOV

restrict personal action to improve community morality. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 87]

arbiter of Puritanical taste as reflected in phrase banned in Boston. [Am. Usage: Misc.]

(17541825) expurgated Shakespeare and Gibbon for family editions. [Br. Hist.: Wallechinsky, 164]

(18441915) in comstockery, immortalized advocate of blue-nosed censorship. [Am. Hist.: Espy, 135]

describes a future America in which books are prohibited and burned. [Am. Lit.: Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 in Weiss, 289]

(18791954) clean-minded arbiter of 1930s Holly-wood tastes. [Am. Cinema: Griffith, 182]

license given by Roman Catholic Church to publish a book. [Christian Hist.: Misc.]

list of forbidden books compiled by Roman Catholic Church. [Christian Hist.: NCE, 1323]

Roman Catholic Churchs inscription in books denoting no objection to literary content. [Christian Hist.: Misc.]

novel noted for its sexual frankness and use of obscenity, long banned in the U.S. [Am. Lit.: Henry Miller Tropic of Cancer]

Joyce novel long banned in U.S. for its sexual frankness. [Irish Lit.: Bent, 1037]

papal bull condemning Quesnels Jansenist book (1713). [Christian Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 1115]

Psychoanal the activity of the mind in regulating impulses, etc., from the unconscious so that they are modified before reaching the conscious mind

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Censorship | Article about censorship by The Free Dictionary

America on ‘slippery slope’ toward censorship – Allentown Morning Call

We are losing our rights a little at a time. When are they going to start banning and burning books because the contents offend one group of another? We are on a slippery slope.

We have colleges that won’t let in speakers they don’t agree with. Now we are taking down statues to hide the embarrassing part of our country’s history. People are not allowed to voice differing opinions. This is called censorship.

There are a lot of idiots and crazies out there I do not agree with. One thing I’m sure of is that I may not agree with what they have to say but I will defend their right to say it. This is still America. Politicians are afraid. Their only goal is to get re-elected.

Cheryl O’Brien

Longswamp Township

Originally posted here:

America on ‘slippery slope’ toward censorship – Allentown Morning Call

Tech Companies and Censorship: Where Should We Draw The Line? – Inc.com

This has been a tough week.

Starting with the terrible event that occurred last weekend in Charlottesville, VA, where clashes between neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups erupted into fights and violence and led to death of one protester.

Throughout the week, the event continued to gain steam when President Trump commented about the incident, then made a second comment, then held an unprecedented press conference that even members of his own party condemned.

As prominent CEOs’s of the President’s manufacturing council began to drop out, several tech companies began or intensified their crack down on hate speech and banning of alt-right and neo-Nazi websites. According to PBS News, here are just a few big names and their actions:

Cloudflare, a company that provides security services to internet companies to protect them from hackers, also joined the movement by also dropping The Daily Stormer from its network services. The move was a bit of a surprise, because Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare, has long been an advocate of free speech saying that “a website is speech, it is not a bomb,”

Cloudfire took the action, however, because management determined that the The Daily Stormer was harassing individuals who were reporting their site as abusive. Prince was also clear that he and the company found the content on the site “abhorrent and vile” and in a company memo stated that “the tipping point for us making this decision was that the team behind Daily Stormer made the claim that we were secretly supporters of their ideology … we could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.”

While these actions by tech companies seen by most as the proper and moral thing to do, some have rightfully questioned the ability of businesses in general to have such a significant influence on the fundamental right of free speech online — censoring or even removing it altogether.

Prince goes on to say that entrepreneurs — and society at large — need to ask ourselves who should be responsible for policing and regulating online content. “I sit in a very privileged position,” said Prince, “I see about 10 percent of all online traffic, and I can make a decision whether they can be online anymore. And I’m not sure I am the one who should be making that kind of decision.”

The the question for all of us is who should be?

We are all affording the freedom of speech and expression — a very unique, precious and delicate gift. We have also been afforded, through the sacrifice of many generations, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When these two rights intersect and conflict, we need a moral standard — not the constitution — to moderate.

Of course, the question then becomes who gets to decide the moral standard?

Luckily, we have a democratic system in place that allows the country’s citizens to select representatives who serve as the law makers that mold this standard. Is our system flawed — absolutely — but as Winston Churchill astutely recognized, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

When it comes to tech companies — or any company for that matter — they have an obligation to follow the law — and that is about it. As Prince contends, the right policy is for content providers to be “content neutral.” The community can be policed by its users in the form reporting reprehensible content, and companies have the obligations to engage experts and authorities in law enforcement to determine what should be removed.

Of course, if some companies wish to write and maintain an internal set of codes and as long as those codes do not infringe upon or otherwise break a law, a company has every right to do so. Customers who disagree can exercise their freedom of speech to voice their opinion or simply “protest with their wallets.”

This debate will surely not end anytime soon, and by all indications, it is just getting started.

What do you think? Should censorship be under the management of companies, or should content be continued to be given freedoms under the right to free speech? Please share your (constructive and civil) comments below.

Link:

Tech Companies and Censorship: Where Should We Draw The Line? – Inc.com

In reversal, Cambridge University Press restores articles after China censorship row – Washington Post

BEIJING Cambridge University Press reversed course Monday after facing a major backlash from academics over its decision to bow to Chinese government demands to censor an important academic journal.

The British-based publisher announced Friday it had removed 300 articles and book reviews from a version of the China Quarterly website available in China at the request of the government. But on Monday, it rescinded that decision after outrage from the international academic community.

It said the original move had only been a temporary decision pending discussion withacademic leadership of the University of Cambridge and a scheduled meeting with the Chinese importer in Beijing.

Academic freedom is the overriding principle on which the University of Cambridge is based, it said in a statement. Therefore, while this temporary decision was taken in order to protect short-term access in China to the vast majority of the Presss journal articles, the Universitys academic leadership and the Press have agreed to reinstate the blocked content, with immediate effect, so as to uphold the principle of academic freedom on which the Universitys work is founded.

The articles touched on topics deemed sensitive to the Communist Party, including the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989, policies toward Tibetan and Uighur ethnic minorities, Taiwan and the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

Tom Pringle, editor of China Quarterly, applauded the decision to reverse course.

Access to published materials of the highest quality is a core component of scholarly research, he said in a statement published online.It is not the role of respected global publishing houses such as CUP to hinder such access. The China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous double-blind peer review process, regardless of topic or sensitivity.

The demand to remove the articles came from Chinas General Administration of Press and Publication, which warned that if they were not removed the entire website would be made unavailable in China.

The articles would still have been available on a version of China Quarterly accessible outside China. But academics around the world had accused CUP of selling out and becoming complicit in censoring Chinese academic debate and history.

In an open letter published on Medium.com, James A. Millward, a professor of history at Georgetown University, had called the original decision a craven, shameful and destructive concession to the Peoples Republic of Chinas growing censorship regime.

Millward said the decision to agree to censorship was a clear violation of academic independence inside and outside China.

He added it was akin to the New York Times or the Economist publishing versions of their papers inside China omitting content deemed offensive to the Communist Party.

It is noteworthy that the topics and peoples CUP has so blithely chosen to censor comprise mainly minorities and the politically disadvantaged. Would you censor content about Black Lives Matter, Mexican immigrants or Muslims in your American publication list if Trump asked you to do [so]? he asked.

In another open letter, MIT assistant professor Greg Distelhorst and Cornell associate professor Jessica Chen Weiss had warned: The censored history of China will literally bear the seal of Cambridge University.

In a tweet, James Leibold, an associate professor at Melbournes La Trobe University, whose scholarship about the Xinjiang region was among the censored articles, had called the decision a shameful act.

And a petition circulatedamong academics warning that Cambridge University Press could have faced a boycott if it had continued to acquiesce to the Chinese governments demands.

It is disturbing to academics and universities worldwide that China is attempting to export its censorship on topics that do not fit its preferred narrative, Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Peking University HSBC School of Business in Shenzhen, China, the petitions originator, wrote.

If Cambridge University Press acquiesces to the demands of the Chinese government, we as academics and universities reserve the right to pursue other actions including boycotts of Cambridge University Press and related journals.

The petition requested that only academics and people working in higher education sign, and give their affiliation. It had attracted 635 signatures on Change.org, although it could not be immediately established how many signatories were academics.

Later, Balding welcomed CUP’s change of heart, but added: These are issues Western institutions need to rethink. Just assuming there will be continued liberalization is not an accurate assessment.

In an editorial, Chinas state-run Global Times newspaper also cast the issue as a matter of principle and said that if Western institutions can leave if they dont likeit.

Western institutions have the freedom to choose, it wrote. If they don’t like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us. If they think China’s Internet market is so important that they can’t miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way.

It doesn’t matter if some articles on the China Quarterly disappear on the Chinese Internet. But it is a matter of principle. Time will tell whose principles cater more to this era, it added.

Experts said China’s decision was part of a broader crackdown on free expression in China under President Xi Jinping that has intensified this year as the Communist Party becomes more confident and less inclined to compromise.

In the past, China’s system of censorship, nicknamed the Great Firewall of China, has concentrated mainly on Chinese-language material, and has been less preoccupied with blocking English-language material, which is accessed only by a narrow elite. But that may now be changing.

The China Quarterly is very reputable within academic circles, and it does not promote the positive energy that China wants to see, said Qiao Mu, a former professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University who was demoted and ultimately left the university after criticizing the government. Instead, it touches on historical reflection, talks about Cultural Revolution and other errors that China has made in the past. These are things that China does not like and does not want to be discussed.

Qiao said the initial decision might have seemed wisefor the publisher as a company, since China is a huge market. But it would have had a negative effect on already limited academic freedom in China.

For Chinese academics, the effect is mainly psychological, he said. They will think more when doing research and impose stricter self-censorship.

Internet companies have also faced similar dilemmas: Google chose to withdraw from China rather than submit to censorship, and has been displaced here by a censored Chinese search engine, Baidu.com. But LinkedIn has submitted to censorship and continues to operate here. Apple recently complied with a demand from the Chinese government to remove many VPN (virtual private network) applications that Netizens use to access blocked websites, from its App Store in China.

Millward had argued that Cambridge as a whole has more power than it perhaps realized in a battle of wills with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

China is not going to ban everything branded Cambridgefrom the Chinese realm, because to do so would turn this into a big, public issue, and that is precisely what the authorities hope to avoid, he wrote.

To do so would, moreover, pit the CCP against a household name that every Chinese person who knows anything about education reveres as one of the worlds oldest and best universities. And Chinese, probably more than anyone else, revere universities, especially name-brand ones.

Cambridge University Press has made available a complete list of the articles that the Chinese government wanted censoredhere.

Luna Lin contributed to this report.

See more here:

In reversal, Cambridge University Press restores articles after China censorship row – Washington Post

Ban of white nationalist website raising fears of government censorship – Washington Times

Major internet companies rush to oust a white nationalist website last week could make it tougher for tech companies and open-net advocates to try to keep the government from censoring websites in the future, the CEO of one of the companies said.

GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare a company that protects sites from being knocked off-line all booted Daily Stormer from their services after the white nationalist website cheered the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and mocked the 32-year-old woman killed in the aftermath.

Matthew Prince, CEO for Cloudflare, acknowledged the decision makes it harder for his company to fight against pressure by some governments to take down a website in the future.

I dont know the right answer, but I do know that as we work it out its critical we be clear, transparent, consistent and respectful of Due Process, Mr. Prince wrote in his statement.

At a time when open-internet advocates are pushing policies such as net neutrality, the quick moves to punish the online presence rally participants or sympathizers worried activists who said the companies appeared to be making up the rules as they went along.

We think that there is a better route to making decisions that impact fundamental rights like freedom of expression than what appeared to be pretty ad hoc decisions being made right now, said Peter Micek, general counsel for Access Now.

Daily Stormer took the brunt of the online blowback last week, getting kicked off hosting sites. Twitter also banned an account that shared links to stories from the controversial site, while Facebook expunged all efforts to share the offending article that mocked the woman killed in Charlottesville.

But Facebook allowed the article to remain posted as long as it was accompanied by criticism of Daily Stormer or its white nationalist views.

Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer, said he thinks its a good thing for the Facebooks of the world to ban certain types of racist speech, although he admits editorial editing from these sites is not without concern.

There is an inherent danger when so many people get so much of their information from, say, Facebook that when Facebook makes the decision not to carry something, the public is effectively deprived, said Mr. Abrams.

Meanwhile, OkCupid, an online dating site, banned one user who admitted to being a part of the white nationalist protests.

The kind of viewpoint refereeing the sites engaged in is likely legal because the sites are private, experts said.

I dont see that as adding any exposure to the service provider because they already have the ability as a private actor and as a commercial provider to determine who they are going to work with, to contract with or, if you will, even to discipline, said Brigadier Gen. Michael McDaniel, a professor at WMU-Cooley Law School.

But Mr. Abrams said tension is created when these sites engage in editing but are still protected from liability under the law.

Thats something that all these companies must be thinking about carefully, he said.

A spokesperson for Google said they ousted Daily Stormer because they feared Googles terms of use would be violated.

Twitter declined to comment, while GoDaddy and Facebook didnt respond to questions about their censorship decisions.

Mr. Prince at Cloudflare admitted to Gizmodo that he made an exception to their policy in canceling Daily Stormer but insisted he hadnt set a new precedent.

I think we have to have a conversation over what part of the infrastructure stack is right to police content, he said.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said what hosting companies such as GoDaddy and Cloudflare did was more worrisome than the social media companies censorship.

With a content host that is like a social media site, they can just take down one post or eliminate one bit of content whereas Cloudflare and GoDaddy and so on, they cant, said Jeremy Malcolm, senior global policy analyst at Electronic Frontier Foundation. They had to take down an entire website, and that gives a lot more risk of taking down legitimate speech along with the problematic speech.

The rest is here:

Ban of white nationalist website raising fears of government censorship – Washington Times

Concerns About Censorship Soar As Russia Detains Director – Forward

MOSCOW (Reuters) – A prominent Russian theater director who has lamented what he says is the lack of freedom and growing social conservatism in his country was detained on Tuesday and accused of embezzling state funds.

Russias Investigative Committee said it suspected Kirill Serebrennikov of embezzling at least 68 million rubles ($1.15 million) in state funds earmarked for an art project, it said in a statement.

Serebrennikov, artistic director at Moscows avant-garde Gogol Centre theater, denies wrongdoing. He faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

Dmitry Kharitonov, a lawyer for Serebrennikov, said his client was detained in St. Petersburg where he was working on a film about a Soviet rock star.

Serebrennikov, an award-winning director whose father was Jewish, has used his work to criticize the authorities in the past, lashing out at what he sees as the pernicious growing role of the state and church in Russian society.

His detention shocked his supporters and the arts world.

The arrest of the director before a trial is a clearly excessive measure, wrote Alexei Kudrin, a liberal economist and former finance minister, on social media.

In May, investigators searched Serebrennikovs home and office and questioned him as a witness in an embezzlement case.

His lawyer could not immediately say if Serebrennikovs detention was linked to the same case or a different one. The accountant and general director of Serebrennikovs theater have already been accused of stealing state funds.

As The New York Times reported, well-regarded Russian cultural figures spoke out on Serebrennikovs behalf following both the earlier searches and his arrest. When Russian President Vladimir V. Putin gave a state award to the actor Yevgeny V. Mironov in May, Mironov passed him a letter advocating for Serebrennikov. And the literary critic and television host Aleksandr Arkhangelsky posted a Facebook status that, in the Times translation, was damning towards the authorities: Those who do this cover themselves with shame, he wrote.

In July, the Bolshoi Theatre postponed the world premiere of Nureyev, an edgy ballet about the famous Russian dancer which was directed by Serebrennikov.

The TASS news agency reported that Russias minister for culture had a long conversation with the Bolshoi before it announced it was postponing the premiere.

But Vladimir Urin, the theatres director general, said it had been pulled because rehearsals had shown it was not ready. He said it would be staged in May next year instead.

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Concerns About Censorship Soar As Russia Detains Director – Forward

Why India’s Battle Against Film Censorship Isn’t Over Yet | IndieWire – IndieWire

Movies lovers in India and advocates of artistic freedom everywhere breathed a sigh of relief on August 18, when filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani the censorious chairman of the countrys film certification body was fired from his post. He was quickly replaced by screenwriter and advertising icon Prasoon Joshi. Nihalanis firing signals a positive direction for the countrys relationship to censorship but the chain of events has opened up several thorny questions.

See MoreWhy India Continues to Censor New Movies

India is the worlds most prolific filmmaking country, but movie news coming out of the subcontinent is often fraught with tales of censorship, bans and the public outrage as a result. According to the Indian Constitution, no film is eligible for public distribution or screening unless certified by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). To complicate matters further, the relevant Act in the Constitution (which hails from 1952) allows the CBFC to prohibit films that threaten the sovereignty of the Indian nation, its national interest, decency or morality. Over the years, members of the board have utilized the vague language in the Constitutions text to get scissor-happy with countless films.

For example, India employs the controversial practice of adding on-screen disclaimers to any smoking scene that are intrusive at best, overwhelming at worst. This found no favor with Woody Allen, who back in 2013 decided not to release Blue Jasmine in India rather than cave in to such demands. This trend only worsened when Nihalani was appointed to the chairpersons post in 2015.

Blue Jasmine

Within a month of joining the body, Nihalani sent his colleagues a list of objectionable words that were to be censored in any film submitted for approval. The list included words such as masturbating and Bombay, the colonial name for Mumbai. It was a lost cause: Filmmakers across the country and some members of the CBFC itself lodged vehement protests that blocked Nihalanis efforts. However, ad hoc decisions were still made with various films; the word lesbian was muted in a romantic comedy and the durations of the kisses in the Bond film Spectre were ordered to be cut down by exactly 50%.

During his term, Nihalani never shied away from the limelight and often spoke at length about the rationale of his decisions. The colorful nature of his statements only added to his infamy. When asked in an interview why the kisses in Spectre were a problem at their intended length, he responded, This means you want to do sex in your house with your door open. And show to people the way you are doing sex.

Perhaps the most well-known decision of Nihalanis term as CBFC chairperson was the bodys refusal to grant approval to feminist sex comedy Lipstick Under My Burkha. In their letter to the films producer, they claimed that the story is lady-oriented, their fantasy above life and that there are contanious [sic] sexual scenes. (Whether they meant continuous or contagious has never been addressed.) The letter and CBFCs antics attracted worldwide attention, the criticism of artists and film festivals; in a beautiful example of the Streisand Effect, not only did Lipstick Under My Burkha eventually win certification but also punched above its weight at the box-office.

Joshi, the new chairperson, seems far more progressive and less trigger-happy in his public statements. As a lyricist, he has twice won the National Film Award, the highest such honor in India. In 2003, a campaign he orchestrated for Coca-Cola India won the Golden Lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. In past interviews, he has expressed a refreshing open-mindedness. (One example: I believe that ideally we should have a society where no censorship is required.) He is also generally admired in Indias film industry, where professionals respect his talent and experience.

Lipstick Under My Burkha

JIGNESH PANCHAL

However, Joshis proximity to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the biggest part of Indias ruling coalition ought to raise a few eyebrows. He has frequently worked on their political campaigns. For the BJPs campaign for the 2014 general elections, Joshi helped with the iconic Acche Din (Good times!) catchphrase, a message as integral to the BJPs positioning as Make America Great Again was to Donald Trumps Presidential campaign. Coincidentally, once the BJP formed the government at the center, Joshi was awarded with the Padma Shri, Indias fourth-highest civilian honor, for his contributions in the field of arts, literature and advertising.

Speaking with reporters in Mumbai after his appointment was made public, Joshi revealed that he did not know how [the CBFC] functions and that it takes time to understand the whole process. The credentials required to head a certification body are not amenable to bullet points, but Joshis statements make one wonder on what basis the government considers someone worthy of being appointed to the powerful post overlooking the distribution of every single film in the country. Among Joshis colleagues in the Board are several individuals with links to the BJP, some of whom have made inflammatory and partisan statements in the past.

In an ideal world, the CBFC would stick to its original mandate: certifying films in order to help them reach their audiences. There would be no need for filmmakers to fear cuts to their labor of love or for producers to be anxious about their release dates. Removing Nihalani is a step in the right direction, but a lot more remains to be done.

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Why India’s Battle Against Film Censorship Isn’t Over Yet | IndieWire – IndieWire

Measuring the Internet for Freedom – Project Syndicate

ROME Last year, during a wave of deadly political protests in Ethiopia, the government blocked more than 15 media websites and the smartphone chat application WhatsApp. Sites promoting freedom of expression and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as those offering censorship-circumvention tools, such as Tor and Psiphon, were also suppressed.

All of this was uncovered through the use of software called ooniprobe, which is designed to measure networks and detect Internet censorship. Ooniprobe was developed more than five years ago by the Tor-supported Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), with which I work, in order to boost transparency, accountability, and oversight of Internet censorship. The software is free and open source, meaning that anyone can use it. And, indeed, tens of thousands of ooniprobe users from more than 190 countries have already done just that.

Those users have contributed to the collection of millions of network measurements, all of which are published on OONI Explorer, arguably the largest publicly available resource on Internet censorship. Thanks to their use of ooniprobe, we uncovered the extent of last years wave of censorship in Ethiopia, as well as details of many other cases of censorship elsewhere in the world.

In Uganda, local groups used ooniprobe during last years general election, when the government blocked social media. Ooniprobes network-measurement data not only confirmed the governments action; it also uncovered which sites were blocked and the different methods used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to implement censorship.

Ooniprobe also came in handy in Malaysia in 2015. Facing accusations that he had transferred nearly $700 million from the state investment fund 1MDB to his personal bank accounts, Prime Minister Najib Razak attempted to block news outlets and blogs that reported on the scandal. It was ooniprobes network-measurement software that enabled Malaysian civil-society groups to collect data that serve as evidence of the blocking.

Of course, censorship is not always carried out to protect the politically powerful; it can also be used to reinforce social and cultural norms. In Indonesia, for example, low social tolerance for homosexuality may have played a role in the blocking of numerous LGBTQ+ websites, even though the country does not officially restrict LGBTQ+ rights. Similar factors may have influenced efforts to block sites perceived as overly critical of Islam.

In Thailand, ISPs have, in the last three years, blocked access to a number of sites that are perceived to be offensive toward the countrys royal family. But, here, there is a legal justification: Thailands strict prohibition against lse-majest protects the royal familys most senior members from insult or threat. Other cases of legally justified Internet censorship include the blocking of sexually explicit websites in countries where pornography is prohibited.

Then there are cases where the motivation for censorship is unclear. Why, for example, has an online dating site been blocked in Malaysia? In some countries, ISPs appear to be censoring sites at their own discretion. According to ooniprobe data, multiple Thai ISPs simultaneously blocked access to different types of websites from news outlets to Wikileaks to pornography indicating that they likely received vague orders from authorities.

Before ooniprobe, such censorship was difficult to detect, leading to a lack of accountability, with governments and ISPs often denying any and all involvement. Even in cases where governments announce official lists of blocked sites, they may leave some targets off. Likewise, ISPs may not always comply with official orders to lift blocks. Vimeo and Reddit, for example, were recently found to be blocked in some networks in Indonesia, even though the official ban on those sites was lifted more than two years ago.

With ooniprobe, users are not only able to expose Internet censorship; they can also acquire substantial detail about how, when, where, and by whom the censorship is being implemented. OONIs Web-Connectivity Test, for example, is designed to examine whether access to websites is blocked through DNS tampering, TCP/IP blocking, or a transparent HTTP proxy.

Other ooniprobe tests are designed to examine the accessibility of chat apps namely, WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger within networks, as well as that of censorship-circumvention tools, such as Tor, Psiphon, and Lantern. OONI also provides software tests that uncover the presence of systems (middle boxes) that could potentially be responsible for censorship or surveillance.

The depth of OONI data supports much-needed accountability and oversight. Lawyers can use OONI data to assess the legality of Internet censorship in their countries, and potentially introduce it as evidence in court cases. Journalists, researchers, and human-rights defenders can use the data to inform their work as well. And censorship-circumvention projects like Tor can use OONI findings on emergent censorship events to shape their tools and strategies.

OONI data can help enrich public discourse about the legality, necessity, and proportionality of Internet censorship. That makes it a critical tool for safeguarding human rights on the Internet and beyond.

Todays media landscape is littered with landmines: open hostility by US President Donald Trump, increased censorship in countries such as Hungary, Turkey, and Zambia, growing financial pressure, and the challenge of “fake news.” In Press Released, Project Syndicate, in partnership with the European Journalism Centre, provides a truly global platform to frame and stimulate debate about the myriad challenges facing the press today.

Excerpt from:

Measuring the Internet for Freedom – Project Syndicate


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