School Scoop: Trump, censorship and race in schools – Asbury Park Press

After a drive to the Berkeley Carteret, Collin and Deanna get settled in before the dinner and dancing start. Deanna Carraher, who has Down Syndrome and is going to her Freehold Twp. prom with Collin Bitsko, a former football and lacrosse standout who now plays lacrosse in college. (Photo: Peter Ackerman)Buy Photo

It’s been hot hot hot this week, so here aresome of the hottest trending school stories around the Jersey Shore.

Censorship of a pro-Trump T-shirt?

The lesson in Wall High School is that if you don’t like a political statement in a student’s yearbook photo, don’t Photoshop it away. Now a teacher is suspended and school administrators are seeking answers.

Don’t miss this story, which went viral on Monday after news organizations across the nation picked it up and ran with it.

A prom story for a girl with Down syndrome

Freehold Township senior Deanna Carraher has Down syndrome and needed a prom date. Collin Bitsko is a lacrosse star who fulfilled her wishes. For theinclusive millennial generation, their pairing is natural.

“People now are willing to go the extra mile to make everyone feel included, and thats great,” said a friend of Deanna’s.

A Trenton intervention

The state Assembly passed a bill that wouldgive the Monmouth County superintendent of schools the power to make the Colts Neck school district, rather than the Tinton Falls schooldistrict, responsible for educating about 60 children of military familieswho live at Earle.

Tinton Falls Board of Education President Peter Karavites said the currentarrangement no longer works because their schools have become overcrowded while Colts Neck’s have not.

“Blackface” photo creates stir in Brick

A middle school student covered his face in athletic eye black during a celebration, and whileteachers did not react, one parent did.

“I dont think he knew what he was doing,” said Brick momAimee VanDuyne, who is white and has three children who are black.

The incident has spurred hard conversations about racism and racial sensitivity in the school district.

In other news:

APP business writer Michael Diamond tells us what we should have learned in college, but probably didn’t.

Some Jersey Shore student writers won big at the APP Student Voices awards. “Student Voices is our opportunity to celebrate the academic achievements of young students,” said Hollis R. Towns, Gannett New Jersey Regional Editor & Vice President/News. “We often celebrate sports and music but its rare that we invest as much as we should in academics, so Im extremely proud of this program.”

State Sen. Jennifer Beck in an APP op-ed tells us to keep a close eye on school funding talks. “Over the next several weeks, a new plan for school funding will be debated in Trenton,” she writes.

One lucky Toms River high school student won a car in the district’s second annualDriven to Excellence program, a character-building effort. Here’s how it works.

That’s all for this week. Have a wonderful weekend.

Amanda Oglesby: 732-557-5701; aoglesby@GannettNJ.com

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School Scoop: Trump, censorship and race in schools – Asbury Park Press

LETTER: An unseen kind of censorship – Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog)

Recently I had the opportunity to visit the Tri-Cities, and as a news reporter here in North Carolina, I thought I would “listen” to the scanner I use as the normal course of work I am engaged in. I was surprised when I had programmed the channels publicly available into my scanner corresponding to those “licensed” by the Federal Communications Commission to Sullivan County, Tennessee, and I heard NOTHING!

I saw emergency vehicles in the normal course of daily activities but heard NO calls from either a “dispatch” center or an individual vehicle. I saw an ambulance running emergency traffic, and I saw a Johnson City Police car stopped with another vehicle in an apparent traffic stop. On Friday, I spoke with an official at Washington County Emergency Services, who told me that he knew all local emergency communications in Sullivan County were “encrypted” or “blocked” which is overreach of local officials and bothers me as someone who lives by the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment including free speech!

I understand this newspaper published a news story about six months ago concerning this issue. Folks, this is plain censorship of the public airways! It should NOT be tolerated!

I am surprised at the folks who feel they can do this and somehow show their face to the public or work for better relations between the police and the public!

Sullivan County, you have a lot going for you. Don’t continue to mess it up with overreach and excessive control of the “public” airways. Fix this censorship immediately!

The government belongs to ALL people, NOT a few employed by the government!

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LETTER: An unseen kind of censorship – Bristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog)

NJ teacher suspended over Trump yearbook censorship – USA TODAY

USA Today Network Mike Davis, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press Published 9:31 p.m. ET June 12, 2017 | Updated 7 hours ago

Grant Berardo, a Wall High School junior, saw his image digitally altered with a plain black T-shirt in his yearbook. Mike Davis

Wall Township High School junior Grant Berardo’s T-shirt was digitally altered in the school’s yearbook. He wore a Donald Trump campaign shirt for his portrait.(Photo: Courtesy of Joseph Berardo, Jr.)

WALL, N.J. The Wall High School teacher and adviser of the yearbook club has been suspended due to alleged censorship of images and quotes by students supporting President Trump.

Superintendent Cheryl Dyer said Monday that the teacher, who she declined to name, was suspended “pending further disciplinary action” from the school board.

On the high school’s website, the yearbook club’s adviser is listed as Susan Parsons. According to public records, she collected an$87,950 salary last year.

“I don’t have definitive answers to all of my questions yet, but I knew enough at this point to get board approval to take that action,” Dyer said.


Teen’s Trump T-shirt censored in yearbook photo

Fact check: No, Neil Gorsuch didnt start a fascism club in high school

Dyer declined to identify what disciplinary action could be taken. Termination would require the board to file tenure charges against her.

According to her LinkedIn page, Parsons has worked in the district for 15 years.

On her yearbook class’s website within the district homepage, Parsonsincludes “photo editing” as one of the “real world skills” that students learn during yearbook production.

She did not return a call to her home seeking comment.In an interview with the New York Post, she said we have never made any action against any political party.

But when asked if she knew who altered the photos, Parsons simply said, Im going to hang up.

Wall Township High School junior Grant Berardo’s T-shirt was digitally altered in the school’s yearbook. He wore a Donald Trump campaign shirt for his portrait.(Photo: Courtesy of Joseph Berardo, Jr.)

There have been three reported instances of censorship in the yearbook, all revolving around students supporting Trump.

Grant Berardo, a junior at the school, took his school pictures wearing a navy blue “Make America Great Again” shirt from the campaign. But in the yearbook, his photo had been digitally altered so it resembled a nondescript black T-shirt, which you can see in the video at top of the story.

It was Photoshopped,” Grant said in an interview on Friday. “I sent it to my mom and dad, just like You wont believe this. I was just overall disappointed.

“I like Trump, but its history too. Wearing that shirt memorializes the time,” he said.

According to CNN, a brother and sister at the school also alleged censorship. Wyatt Debrovich-Fago wore a sweater vest in his picture with a Trump campaign logo, but it was seemingly cropped out of the photo.

His sister, Montana, served as president of the school’s freshman class. That role usually comes with a quote next to a picture, and Montana selected: “I like thinking big. If you are going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.”

“I want to know who thought it was OK to do this,” Janet Dobrovich-Fago, the teens’ mother, told CNN. “I want the school to seek disciplinary action and to be held accountable.”

In a statement released Sunday night, Wall school board President Allison Connolly said the board “found the allegations of wrongdoing disturbing and take the charge that students have had their free speech rights infringed upon very seriously.”

Wall High School(Photo: File photo)

In a previous interview, Dyer saidthe only reason a student’s image would be altered isif itwasin violation of the dress code clothing referencingdrugs, alcohol or violence. Political messages are “absolutely not” a violation, she said.

A spokesman for Jostens, the companythat takes the photographs and prints the yearbooks, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

It’s not immediately clear whether the change was made by someone from the school district or photography company.

In an interview, Joseph BerardoJr. Grant’s father called for the school to recall the yearbooks and reissue new ones with the unaltered photo. He said he would consider legal action if that doesnt happen.

From my perspective, I dont understand the censorship, Berardo said.I think it was probably politically motivated. It was inherently offensive to somebody and they made a decision to Photoshop it and without discussion, which is the worst part.”

The problem would be “equally” as egregious if images of clothing supporting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton also had been altered, Berardo said.

What are you doing? Dont you go to school to debate this stuff at the collegiate level, at the high school level, asked Berardo. Whats frustrating to me is that this was the first election he took interest in, but what message did the school send?

Follow Mike Davis on Twitter:@byMikeDavis


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NJ teacher suspended over Trump yearbook censorship – USA TODAY

It’s All Good: Censorship Now! Free expression now! In Healdsburg’s fields… – Ukiah Daily Journal

While in Manhattan >> now some weeks ago, Isis & I approached the new High Line park by way of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Never made it to the High Line (80 away). We were distracted & then engaged by a wedding rehearsal dinner and a Frances Stark display, Censorship Now!! The display is a set of big (8×12?) panels, with paragraphs of text by writer, artist, post-punk musician Ian F. Svenonius. His writing, the Whitney catalogue says, makes the ironic/radical argument that censorship, not freedom of speech, might actually empower creative expression by raising the stakes of arts presumed role in society . . ..

Hmm: >> Censor speech, so that free speech becomes rare again, risky, existentially costly? Sounds like setting a fire, to have the glory of putting it out.–In any case, I dont think there can actually be an ironic/radical expression: I occasionally opine that irony can be defined as living in someone elses system while retaining a measure of self respect. Most of us do that, to some degree, too much of the time, while a few radicals (often self-described as freedom caucuses) uproot, destroy systems.–Ill go for Svenonius-as-ironist: Censorship would immediately grant [art] a compass, a meaning, a purpose, a direction, give it its power back. An artist who is anti-censorship is essentially waving a white flag, declaring their work to be inconsequential; a smudge, a scribble, a doodle, a polka dot.–Blue laws for Red states! says the deeply sympathizing Walrus.

Theres an argument >> to be made (and Svenonius almost endorses it) that the American-military-industrial-liberal-capitalist-Hollywood-Nashville-university-publishing-curatorial complex is already censorious enough.– Not everyone gets wallspace in the splendid Whitney Museum of American Art and/or its Biennial, and that wallspace is itself funded in more or less obvious ways by the A-m-i-l-etc. Who chose, what cabal chose X not Y? Applied what standards? The music on the radiopop, rock, rap, and country songs which promote class war and celebrate idiocy, sociopathy, immoral wealth accumulation, discrimination, and stultifying social rolesis the thrown voice of Wall Street.–Hah! I knew it!

Svenonius >> has written me into an ironic box: Everything in the arts (including his book & media appearances) has been corporatized, distorted, imprisoned. The Whitney in New York? The Command Bunker at the Presidio in San Francisco? Equally enclosed art venues, equally censors of free expression. Is there no escape?–Driving home, up the 101 from SFO, somewhere around Healdsburg, I glance to my right. There are a few sculptures in a fieldquick apparitions, visions, which I dont risk trying to find in my rearview mirror. Outdoors. Anonymous. Gone for now. There are other such beauties on the Rumsey cut-off, Sacramento-bound. A few up in the State of Jefferson.–If you look with your minds eye into the corner of those open spaces, you see Svenonius writing: Art lives on, after ephemeral political leaders, after the circumstances of the moment. It crosses borders fluidly, without visas or permits. It acts as a rallying point for generation . . . etc.–One cannot be ironic all the time.


Blue collar cool >> Ive been having some heavy work done up here. Macro machinery, micro tolerances. Phase one crew finishes up, says good-bye to those who are staying on for phase two: That was fun. Lets do it again.–And this morning, they are, drilling holes in the foundation. Suggests being inside my tooth when Dr. Lee is drilling it.

Gail Godwin >> Shes an 80-year-old writer, and on Saturday I quoted her whimsy about losing wordsshes misplaced one, rings for help, and waits for this very arthritic old butler whos [her] only servant left. And he comes up with his wooden tray, and theres one word on it. But its a good word.–My version of that oldster experience: Last might I was searching for an important name. Fruitlessly beat the raspberry bushes of memory. Fell asleep. Awoke at 2:43 a.m. & had just enough smarts to write down Bert Schlosser, the man who answered TWKs grouse about giving money to a bum: Because I have it, and he doesnt.–Wish Id met the man.

JM has pretty much finished mowing his defensible fire space on his ridge between Potter & Redwood valleys. Hes also found and repaired the seasons first irrigation leaks. Bring on summer!–itsallgood1776@gmail.com

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It’s All Good: Censorship Now! Free expression now! In Healdsburg’s fields… – Ukiah Daily Journal

NJ teacher suspended over yearbook censorship of pro-Trump messages – Washington Times

A New Jersey high school teacher has been suspended after pro-President Trump messages were Photoshopped and edited out of the schools official yearbook.

Wall Township Public Schools Superintendent Cheryl Dyer said Monday that a teacher had been suspended pending further disciplinary action over the reported anti-Trump censorship at Wall Township High School, the Asbury Park Press reported.

The action comes after three students reported that their pro-Trump messages were censored by school officials. Grant Berardo, a junior, said a campaign slogan reading, TRUMP: Make America Great Again, was digitally editied from the shirt he wore in his class portrait.

It was Photoshopped, Grant told the Asbury Park Press. I sent it to my mom and dad, just like, You wont believe this. I was just overall disappointed.

A photo of Wyatt Debrovich-Fago, a junior, was cropped so that the Trump campaign logo on his sweater vest wasnt visible, CNN reported. Wyatts sister, Montana, was also left without an accompanying quote for her photo as class president when her quote from Mr. Trump didnt make it to print.

I want to know who thought it was OK to do this, their mother, Janet Dobrovich-Fago, told CNN. I want the school to seek disciplinary action and to be held accountable.

Ms. Dyer said the high school administration does not condone any censorship of political views on the part of our students.

In a statement Sunday night, Wall school board President Allison Connolly said the board found the allegations of wrongdoing disturbing and take the charge that students have had their free speech rights infringed upon very seriously, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Ms. Dyer did not name the suspended teacher, but the schools yearbook instructor is listed as Susan Parsons. Ms. Parsons told the New York Post: We have never made any action against any political party.

When asked if she knew who censored the messages, she said, Im going to hang up, the Post reported.

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NJ teacher suspended over yearbook censorship of pro-Trump messages – Washington Times

Web Censorship in Turkey – Outside the Beltway

More examples of growing authoritarianism in Turkey via theNYT: Turks Click Away, but Wikipedia Is Gone

Wikipedia is just one of 127,000 websites blocked in Turkey, estimated Professor Akdeniz, who has led legal challenges against the Wikipedia ban and other web restrictions. An additional 95,000 pages, like social media accounts, blog posts and articles, are blocked on websites that are not otherwise restricted, Mr. Akdeniz said.

Some of these sites are pornographic. But many contain information and reporting that the government finds embarrassing. Sendika, an independent news outlet, is now on the 45th iteration of its website. The previous 44 were blocked.

For web activists in Turkey, Wikipedia is simply the latest victim of a wave of online censorship that grew steadily from 2015 onward and then surged significantly after last years failed coup.

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Web Censorship in Turkey – Outside the Beltway

Why Censoring The Internet Would Make It Harder To Fight Terrorism – The Federalist

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has called forgreater regulation of the Internetto combat the growing threat of Islamist extremism.Addressing the public after the latest attack on Londonthe third act of Islamist terrorism in the U.K. this yearMay rightly placed blame for the string of recent attacks on the evil ideology of Islamist extremism.

Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, she said. But it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone. It will only be defeated when we turn peoples minds away from this violence and make them understand that our valuespluralistic British valuesare superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

To combat this evil ideology, May has proposed greater regulation of the internet, imposed through international agreements, in order to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.

We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed, May said. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide Internet-based services provide.

May is yet to outline the details of her proposal. But ifinitial reportsare anything to go by, it is likely to include laws forcing companies to weaken their encryption standardsmaking all online data less secureas well as a push for new international agreements that require internet companies to deny a platform to extremist propaganda. In other words, it will be nothing short of a China-style regime of internet censorshipa comparison May hasdeclined to refute.

This proposal has alreadygained the supportof Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, after Australia suffered its own small attackon Monday, when a lone gunmanclaimed as a soldier of ISISkilled one man and took a women hostage.The idea is also likely to gain support from President Trump, who called for closing that Internet up in some way,during his campaign.

It is good to see a western political leader facing up to the challenge posed by Islamist ideology. But increased internet censorship is not the solution to this problem. It will only make the problem harder to combat by infringing on legitimate speech, pushing the problem further underground, and leaving the real-life safe spaces untouched.

The internet safe space argument is compelling. Its undeniable that groups like ISIS devote considerable resources to online propaganda, and have motivated people in the west to both join them and to carry out attacks in their homelands. People are right to worry about lone wolves being radicalized on the internet.

But this doesnt describe the perpetrators of the last three attacks in the U.K., most of whom were already known to the police. Nor does it describe the Australian terrorist, who not only had a history of violence and connections to terrorism, but was out on bail at the time of the attack.

More importantly, it ignores the far greater problem of the safe spaces Islamist extremism benefits from in the real world.For too long terrorist attacks have been met with little more than stoic sympathy and willful blindness, as leaders deny that repeated attacks are anything more than the actions of a few maniacs, with no discernible connection to the religion of Islam.

On the one hand, its understandable for political leaders not to want to ascribe blame to the wider Muslim community, the vast majority of whom have nothing whatsoever to do with the barbarism carried out in the name of their religion.

On the other hand, this approach has only exacerbated the problem by insulating the Muslim communityand therefore Islamismfrom the sort of criticism that all other groups in western societies are subjected to. In many European countries, this bigotry of low expectations has led to the development of entire suburbs that are de-facto no-go zonesareas of a city that are completely disconnected from wider society, where its dangerous for any non-Muslims to enter.

A prime example is the area of Molenbeek, in Belgium, where an alleged participant in theNovember 13Paris attacks (which left 130 people dead and 368 wounded) wasable to hide outfor nearly four months, despite being the most wanted man in Europe.Theres nowhere as bad as Molenbeek in the U.K., but the British Muslim community has nevertheless been afforded the kind of protection from criticism that no other community enjoys.

The harm caused by this insidious political correctness was highlighted in 2014, when anindependent inquiryfound that police, community leaders, and local politicians had systematically failed to prevent the sexual exploitation of 1,400 children between 1997 and 2013a figure described as a conservative estimatein the north-England town of Rotherham (population 257,000).

The reason blamed for this failure was thefear of being accused of racism, since these so-called grooming gangs were mostly made up of Muslims of Pakistani origin. Even when the crimes were eventually reported, the perpetrators were described as mostly Asian men, rather than as Muslims.

It obviously goes without saying that these appalling crimes are not the fault of all British Muslims, most of whom would be horrified by such behavior. Nevertheless, it highlights the failure of British society to hold the Muslim community to the same standards as everyone else.

Its undeniable that appallingly illiberal views have been allowed to persist in the British Muslim community. In a2015 pollof 1,000 British Muslim, 27 percent said they have some sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. Anadditional 2016 pollfound that two out of three British Muslims would not report someone they knew to the police, if they became involved with terrorist sympathizers. These sentiments arent new. A2006 pollfound that 20 percent of British Muslism had sympathy for the motivations of the London bombings of July 7, 2005 (which left 52 people dead and784injured).

Its unlikely that these attitudes, which are alarmingly out of step with the rest of British society, would still exist if not for their safe spaces, created by the taboo on criticism of Islam. The first step to combating Islamist extremism is to remove this taboo.

Not only will increasing internet censorship do nothing to remove the safe-spaces that exist in the real world, it may even make the problem worse.

There is simply no way to completely censor anything in the internet age. All states can do is push ideas and discussions further underground, where the ideas are harder to combat and where it is harder for intelligence services to keep track of thema point stressed by the U.K.s leading digital advocacy organization, theOpen Rights Group.

There is also a long track record of anti-free speech lawsdesigned to protect the public from harmful speechbeing used suppress discussion of important issues, simply because they are controversial and may offend some people.In 2016, Dutch politician Geert Wilders wasfound guiltyof violating Hate Speech laws for comments he made in 2014 that were demeaning and thereby insulting towards the Moroccan population. Wilders had asked a roomful of his supporter if they wanted to have more or fewer Moroccans in the country. When the crowd shouted back Fewer! he replied, Well, well take care of that.

In the recentMarch 15election, Wilders party got over 1.3 million votes (13.6 percent), so he clearly represents a significant proportion of the Dutch population. He would not have this support if the issues he talks about didnt resonate with the public. Ironically, these are the same issues that Mays proposal is attempting to addressnamely, the spread of radical Islamism.

People might disagree with the solutions Wilders proposes, but this is not the way to combat unwanted ideas. No one is served when we collectively decide to stick our heads in the sand. The problem will not magically disappear.

There is every reason to expect that Mays internet censorship proposal will also be used to suppress more than just Islamist propaganda. Perhaps the best evidence of this is a private conversation between German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, which waspicked up by a hot micin 2015. Merkel was overheardasking Zuckerberg what he was doing about anti-immigrant posts on Facebook. Zuckerbergs response was, We need to do some work. Make no mistake, this was nothing short of an attempt to reduce opposition to Merkels unprecedented decision to open Germanys borders to a seemingly unlimited number of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

Mays internet censorship proposal will create the infrastructure for politicians like Merkel to not just ask internet companies to act, but demand it.

Several European countries introduced Hate Speech laws in order to prevent the sort of anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust. However, not only have these laws failed to eradicate anti-Semitism, it is now widely reported to be on the rise throughout Europe. The situation has gotten so bad, some people are now discussing whether itstime for the Jews to leave Europe, for good.

The situation could not be more different in the United States, which has become arguably the safest country for Jews on earth. The U.S. is also significantly better than Europe at integrating its immigrant population, including its Muslim population. This is because of the First Amendment, which helps ensure the existence of a vibrant and robust marketplace of ideas in which extremist propaganda can be combatted. This is an important lesson for western societies to learn: Free speech is the best way to combat unwanted ideas.

The western world needs to combat the ideology of radical Islamism. But this is only possible if we can openly discuss issues, free from the kind of politically correct taboos that have insulated the Muslim community. Mays internet censorship proposal will only make this more difficult.

Patrick Hannaford is an Australian writer based in Washington DC.

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Why Censoring The Internet Would Make It Harder To Fight Terrorism – The Federalist

Egyptian rappers fight against censorship – Deutsche Welle

“Egypt Rap School for Biggenas” is plastered across the wall of a tiny recording studio in Alexandria, Egypt. Above it, hang three portraits: Notorious BIG, Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur. Like millions of fans, Temraz – his stage name – grew up listening to these icons.

Now, the 29-year-old Arabic rapper is part of Revolution Records, an underground label that he helped establish in Alexandria 11 years ago.

“We decided to name the label Revolution Records because we thought rap was still a very weird [genre] to Egyptian ears,” Temraz said, before rolling a cigarette. “We also named it ‘revolution’ because rap music is about rebelling. To us, [rap] is about rebelling against everything.”

Read:Egypt’s women find their voice against sexual harassment

There are 14 members in Revolution Records, which is one of many hip-hop movements in Egypt. Cairo, the capital, has a bustling scene. But Alexandria is considered the pioneer of rap music in the country.

Before the Arab Spring, rappers from Alexandria released tracks that mocked social norms and crony political elites. The lack of mainstream attention even enabled some artists to push the boundaries of censorship. And while their music was gaining traction, it wasn’t popular enough to invite a crackdown from the state.

But in today’s Egypt, where thousands of youth are in jail for criticizing the regime, rapping about politics is riskier than ever.

Rapping to ridicule

Shakur (photo, above) is the stage name of a 31-year-old artist who is part of a group called DaCliQue 203. He said that most rappers have been reluctant to ridicule Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. His group, however, is one of few exceptions.

In February 2014, DaCliQue 203 released “Ana Malak,” which means”I’m the King.” The track was a remix of a song that Shakur originally recorded in 2005. The new version was made to mock el-Sissi who was by then fixed in power.

Notorious BIG, Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur bedeck the wall at Revolution Records’ studio

“The lyrics go like this,” said Shakur, as he proceeded to recite his impersonation of el-Sissi. “I’m not on the right and I’m not on the left. I’m not an Islamist nor an anarchist. I just follow the money so show me the money.”

The song was daring. And yet, Shakur wouldn’t record another track for three more years. He said he couldn’t bring himself to make another one. Not after his younger brother, a former supporter of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, passed away suddenly in his home before “Ana Malak” was released.

Read:Marteria – a German rapper in Africa

“We always fought about my love for hip-hop,” said Shakur. “[My brother] thought I was wasting my time. He thought I should be writing articles about politics instead. But at the same time, he remained curious. He always wanted to know about the lyrics I was writing.”

Other rappers became increasingly political while Shakur took a break from hip-hop. In April 2016, Revolution Records released “Masahsh Keda” – “That’s Not Right” – on YouTube. The group appropriated the phrase from el-Sissi, who often says it condescendingly when addressing his citizens. The group made a music video for the song and included English subtitles.

“We sampled el-Sissi’s voice and incorporated it in our music,” Temraz told DW. “The track did well when we first uploaded it. I think it received more than 200,000 likes.”

Despite the success, Temraz feared that the song might bring reprisal. After the track was released, members of Revolution Records were invited to Denmark to perform in a concert. Temraz was anxious when he arrived at the Cairo airport. He thought he would be arrested. Lucky for him, nothing happened.

Weeks later, the group was informed that “Masahsh Keda” had crossed a line. Their friend, who worked in the presidential palace, warned them that the government wouldn’t tolerate another track like that again.

“We had to stop,” Temraz said. “I gave up trying to change this country for the better.”

Moving away, coming back

Not everyone lost hope. Some rappers tried to broach sensitive topics without explicitly blaming the state. Y-Crew, which is one of Egypt’s first hip-hop groups, released a track titled “Blinded” nine months ago. The song was about the abuse and violence that street children face in Egypt.

“Mainstream music in Egypt is just about love. It doesn’t talk about real problems,” said Omar Bofolot, one of the original members of Y-Crew. “We want to talk about real stuff. But we don’t want to preach to people about what they should do.”

The group has recently moved to Dubai to work on their latest album. They told DW that they are also losing hope that their music can make a positive impact in Egypt.

“We been rapping about social and political issues since we started,” said Shahin, the second member of Y-Crew. “Nothing is changing [in Egypt], and we’re getting sick of it. Our next album is just going to promote peace, love and unity.”

Shakur, however, won’t stop rapping about the issues that matter to him. In January, he released his comeback track. And now, he’s writing lyrics about the refugee crisis in Egypt and Europe.

Thousands of refugees and Egyptians have died trying to cross the Mediterranean from Alexandria. Shakur knows their stories firsthand. He’s been a migration advocate for years and has even collaborated with some refugee rappers in Egypt.

The oppressive political climate doesn’t scare him. Even if Egyptian rap becomes more commercial, he vows to never censor himself.

“I have to keep it real,” he told DW. “The price might be bigger. But Egyptians are paying a heavy price anyways.”

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Egyptian rappers fight against censorship – Deutsche Welle

China Tightens Censorship: Farewell, Celebrity Gossip? – The Diplomat

China shuts down dozens of popular paparazzi social media accounts overnight.

China is tightening censorship day by day, and it is often difficult to predict who will be hit by the iron fist next day. Chinese celebrity gossip social media accounts have just become the latest victim.

On June 7, Chinas internet censor, Beijing Network Information Office, suddenly announced the closing down of dozens of popular social media accounts mostly related to celebrity gossip and entertainment news both on Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter) and WeChat (Chinas most popular social network). Although the Office hasnt published the list of shuttered accounts, some reports said at least 60 accounts have fallen victims to the campaign. None of these social media accounts, albeit with hundreds of thousands of followers, were able to leave their last words. Among these deleted accounts is Chinas No. 1 Paparazzo Zhuo Wei, who is famous for exposing Chinese celebrities scandals and has gained the nickname of the Discipline Inspection Commission on stars and celebrities.

According to Beijing Network Information Office, the crackdown on paparazzi news is for the young people to have a healthy Internet life as the summer vacation is approaching. Meanwhile, the Office also encourages the netizens to report on any vulgar information, in order to maintain the purification of the cyberspace. Those individuals who provide important clues will get rewards.

one netizen commented under the announcement, We want to report you, Beijing Network Information Office, and the comment was deleted soon after it got hundreds of thumbs-up.

Ironically, the Office claims that the crackdown has won positive feedback from all walks of lives.

It is noteworthy that the crackdown also brings huge financial losses to many of these accounts owners. For example, in the name of anti-vulgar information, one social media account, which published sharp movie reviews and has nothing to do with celebrity gossip, was also shut down, despite that the account has already gained financial investment from capital ventures.

Tong Jongjin, an associate Professor of China University of Political science and Law, said on his Weibo:

The crackdown on celebrity gossip social media accounts involves not only the political rights, but also the property rights. If any account wants to take legal action, Id like to provide free legal service.

Soon after, Tongs Weibo account was shut down, too.

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China Tightens Censorship: Farewell, Celebrity Gossip? – The Diplomat

Venezuelan journalists fight censorship by delivering news personally – Fox News

CARACAS Journalist Laura Castillo and a group of six writers and artists in Venezuela are fighting censorship here by delivering the news personally to their compatriots.

Last month they started riding public buses around the capital city and reading three-minute news broadcasts from behind a square cardboard frame meant to evoke a television set. El Bus TV updates its viewers on the countrys economic and social crisis in a way other news sources dont under President Nicols Maduro a former bus driver, incidentally.

We want to hit at that wall of government censorship and we thought the bus is a medium that brings together the diverse population we want to inform, Ms. Castillo said.

She and her colleagues launched volunteer-run El Bus TV in part to mark a troubling anniversary. Ten years ago last month, Venezuelas late strongman Hugo Chvez shut down what was then the countrys most popular private media outlet, Radio Caracas Televisin. RCTV was overtly critical of Mr. Chvez, who blasted the media as an enemy of the people.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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Venezuelan journalists fight censorship by delivering news personally – Fox News

A teachable moment, but not censorship, at Harvard – The Boston Globe


The Johnston Gate at Harvard Yard.

An Ivy League course on the consequences of dumb and offensive behavior on the Internet just played out at Harvard. And for at least 10 kids who had already been admitted to the university, the fallout of sharing offensive images among themselves were profound and potentially life-changing.

By now, the story is well known: The teens were part of a larger Facebook group chat where they posted the vile images as Internet memes. When the university discovered the content, it rescinded their admission.


A debate about free speech has ensued, pitting Harvard as the ruthless censor clamping down on kids goofing off. But thats the wrong way to look at the controversy. Like all universities, Harvard has wide discretion in its admissions process. Had the school discovered the memes before the students were accepted at the school, its safe to guess that Harvard would have denied them admission, period, without triggering a free-speech brouhaha. The college admissions process is inherently subjective. There are many considerations, including that of judgment, character, and ethics, and sharing puerile and offensive posts is generally not the path to the Ivy League.

Needless to say, Harvard reserves the right to rescind admission at any time before enrollment, for many reasons, including whether the prospective student engages in behavior that brings into question their honesty, maturity, or moral character. Its tough luck for the admitted applicants, perhaps, that they werent yet officially Harvard students when the images were discovered. If they were, the universitys response might have been different; student-athletes who were recently caught writing offensive, sexually charged lists about classmates were not expelled from the school.

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Its likely the meme-sharing students, who had been admitted to the class of 2021, were trying to impress each other, engaging in the type of silly, provocative one-upmanship that teens gravitate toward. Its not likely that the students, who included the daughter of a major Harvard donor, were going to start committing hate crimes when they arrived in Cambridge. But they did show a marked lack of judgment. Among the posts: a suggestion that child abuse was sexually arousing; sexual jokes about the Holocaust; and an image that poked fun at suicide and Mexicans with a piata.

Did the school miss an opportunity to educate those students about their foolish actions? Perhaps, although the incident remains a teachable moment for the kids nonetheless. And Harvards swift response sends a reassuring message of the importance of principles, civility, and standards for the rest of the university community.

For many young people, memes the wild variety of funny captions over memorable images are a second language.

Censorship, this is not. The students remain free to express themselves with any offensive or provocative memes they choose. And should the students choose to reapply to the college someday, they should be able to write quite an essay about learning lessons the hard way.

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A teachable moment, but not censorship, at Harvard – The Boston Globe

Twitter users, blocked by Trump, cry censorship – CBS46 News – CBS46 News Atlanta

NEW YORK (AP) President Donald Trump may be the nation’s tweeter-in-chief, but some Twitter users say he’s violating the First Amendment by blocking people from his feed after they posted scornful comments.

Lawyers for two Twitter users sent the White House a letter Tuesday demanding they be un-blocked from the Republican president’s @realDonaldTrump account.

“The viewpoint-based blocking of our clients is unconstitutional,” wrote attorneys at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University in New York.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The tweeters one a liberal activist, the other a cyclist who says he’s a registered Republican have posted and retweeted plenty of complaints and jokes about Trump.

They say they found themselves blocked after replying to a couple of his recent tweets. The activist, Holly O’Reilly, posted a video of Pope Francis casting a sidelong look at Trump and suggested this was “how the whole world sees you.” The cyclist, Joe Papp, responded to the president’s weekly address by asking why he hadn’t attended a rally by supporters and adding, with a hashtag, “fakeleader.”

Blocking people on Twitter means they can’t easily see or reply to the blocker’s tweets.

Although Trump started @realDonaldTrump as a private citizen and Twitter isn’t government-run, the Knight institute lawyers argue that he’s made it a government-designated public forum by using it to discuss policies and engage with citizens. Indeed, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump’s tweets are “considered official statements by the president.”

The institute’s executive director, Jameel Jaffer, compares Trump’s Twitter account to a politician renting a privately-owned hall and inviting the public to a meeting.

“The crucial question is whether a government official has opened up some space, whether public or private, for expressive activity, and there’s no question that Trump has done that here,” Jaffer said. “The consequence of that is that he can’t exclude people based solely on his disagreement with them.”

The users weren’t told why they were blocked. Their lawyers maintain that the connection between their criticisms and the cutoff was plain.

Still, there’s scant law on free speech and social media blocking, legal scholars note.

“This is an emerging issue,” says Helen Norton, a University of Colorado Law School professor who specializes in First Amendment law.

Morgan Weiland, an affiliate scholar with Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, says the blocked tweeters’ complaint could air key questions if it ends up in court. Does the public forum concept apply in privately run social media? Does it matter if an account is a politician’s personal account, not an official one?

San Francisco-based Twitter Inc. declined to comment. The tweeters aren’t raising complaints about the company.


Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed from Washington.


Twitter users, blocked by Trump, cry censorship – CBS46 News – CBS46 News Atlanta

Online database gives uncensored look into Lebanon’s censorship – Al-Monitor

A screenshot of a page from the Virtual Museum of Censorship featuring banned books.(photo bycensorshiplebanon.org)

Author:Florence Massena Posted June 6, 2017

What is censored more often in Lebanon: sex or politics? It depends on the timing, according to the Virtual Museum of Censorship, an online database tracking banned and censored material since Lebanese independence in 1943.

Having become familiar with some of the material, Gino Raidy, the vice president of MARCH, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) behind the museum, told Al-Monitor, Different trends could be observed according to the decades. In the 1940s, it mostly involved mentioning Israel.

Raidy said, In the 1950s-1960s, sexual explicitness was tolerated, but not political discussions. In the early 2000s, there was strong opposition to heavy metal. People would be arrested in the streets for wearing a heavy metal band T-shirt as many thought it was satanic. What stood to be censored became clearer after the Syrian army left in 2005, mostly focusing on sectarian and politics-related material. Nowadays, we note that LGBT art and events are getting targeted more and more.

The virtual museum aims to identify not only what has been banned and censored, but also the reasons behind it, in an effort to present the big picture when it comes to limits on freedom of expression in Lebanon. The database launched on May 24, with an event at Phoenicia University, in Mazraat al-Daoudiyeh, in the south. An exhibition of panels and blackboards with words and names of individuals redacted to symbolize information omitted through censorship was followed by a discussion among free speech experts and activists. Participants included lawyer Hussein el-Achi, photojournalist Hussein Baydoun, author and activist Joumana Haddad, journalist and activist Luna Safwan and graffiti artist Omar Kabbani.

In 2013 in Beirut, MARCH had organized Censorship in Lebanon, An Uncensored Look, a panel discussion on freedom of expression. Looking ahead, the team hopes to organize others in Tripoli after the end of Ramadan and maybe in the Bekaa Valley.

We believe that getting out of Beirut is important not only to inform people about censorship but also to have more discussions, address a different crowd living in rural areas and see what they think about the issue, said Raidy, who is also a blogger. Virtually, anyone can see what cultural material has been banned and censored, as well as what journalists and activists have been through when it comes to the expression of certain issues. We also invite people to submit entries if they hear about something new.

Control over every cultural product in Lebanon is based on a law or decree, as detailed in Censorship in Lebanon: Law and Practice, a 2010 study by Nizar Saghieh, Rana Saghieh and Nayla Geagea, who are lawyers and members of The Legal Agenda, an NGO that follows socio-legal developments in Lebanon and the broader Middle East.

Censorship of films in Lebanon is based on four very vague principles: respect for public morals, respect for the reputation or status of state authorities, respect for the sensitivities of the public and avoiding sectarian or religious incitement, and resisting calls that are unfavorable to the interests of Lebanon, Ghida Frangieh, a lawyer with The Legal Agenda, told Al-Monitor. If the General Security, which is a security agency, wants to ban a film, it must refer it to an administrative committee, which reviews the film and gives its recommendation to the Ministry of Interior, which will make the final decision. The procedure is not transparent, and most of the time, the reason why a film is censored or banned is not given.

To this, Raidy added, From the data we collected, the two main organizations asking General Security for censorship are first the Catholic Information Center and then Dar al-Fatwa, the leading Sunni religious institution in the country.

For example, in Nadine Labakis filmWhere Do We Go Now (2012), a scene with a priest and a sheikh speaking to the public through the local mosques loudspeaker was cut. More recently, a Druze cleric’s apparition was masked by a black dot in Philippe Aractingis 2017 filmListen /Ismaii. Both decisions were supposedly based on concerns of sectarian incitement.

The Boycott Bureau for Israel also made sure that the name of Steven Spielberg, who has donated money in Israel, would be removed from posters and films, although we can watch them. This was silly, Raidy said. They also asked that Wonder Woman be banned because the lead actress is Israeli.

Two filmmakers recently challenged censorship decisions before the State Council: Danielle Arbid, for her filmBeirut Hotel (2011), and Reine Mitri, for the banning of her documentary In This Land Lay Graves of Mine (2015), about people displaced during the Lebanese civil war. Arbid lost her challenge, with the State Council deciding that censorship was justified because the filmattacked the reputation of the authorities in regard to the investigation of Prime Minister Rafik Hariris assassination in 2005. The censors had disapproved of a scene that referenced a USB memory stick with documents on it about Hariri’s death.

The State Council even ruled that General Security can exercise prior censorship of film plots itself, which is a very broad interpretation of the law and an infringement on freedom of expression, Frangieh said. But it hasnt yet ruled on Mitris film, and we hope that the ban will be overturned in the end. Giving a voice to the victims of displacement during the civil war cannot be viewed as inciting sectarian tensions. It is very important for a Lebanese artist to have access to her or his main audience in Lebanon.

According to Raidy, the social impact of censorship in Lebanon is clear. People arent allowed to speak about very important and unsolved things, he said.

About the taboo on discussing the war and displaced people, he said, This is reality. It is silly to forbid people to talk about it. Plus, the country is very proud of its freedom of speech, and maybe it is not as bad as in the other countries, but not as good as it could be.

Raidy also warned against the dangers of self-censorship, stating, Journalists just dont investigate anymore for fear of getting in trouble. Even local filmdistributors dont procure a filmthat could be a problem for the General Security.

Indeed, many things must remain unsaid in a country that is proud of its liberty.

Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/lebanon-censorship-museum-freedom-of-expression.html

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Online database gives uncensored look into Lebanon’s censorship – Al-Monitor

Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast: Globalizing Censorship – Lawfare (blog)

Episode 168 features the Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance of global censorship, as Filipino contractors earning minimum wage delete posts in order to satisfy US tech companies who are trying to satisfy European governments. In addition to Maury Shenk, our panel of interlocutors includesDavid Sanger, Chief Washington Correspondent forThe New York Times, andKaren Eltis, Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa. Even if you think that reducingIslamic extremist proselytizingonline is a good idea, I conclude, thats not likely to be where the debate over online content ends up. Indeed, even today, controls onhate speechare aimed more at tweets that sound like President Trump than at extremist recruiting. Bottom line: no matter how you slice it, the first amendment is in deep trouble.

In other news, I criticize the right half of the blogosphere for not reading the FISA court decision they cite to show thatPresident Obamawasspying illegallyat the end of his term. Glenn Reynolds, Im talking about you!

The EU, in a bow to diplomatic reality, will not bother trying to improve theSafe Harbor dealit got from President Obama. Instead, it will try to get President Trump to honor President Obamas privacy promises. Good luck with that, guys!

Wikimedias lawsuit over NSA surveillancehas been revived by the court of appeals, and I find myself unable to criticize the ruling. If standing means anything, it seems as though Wikimedia ought to have standing to sue over surveillance; whether Wikimedia should be wasting our contributions on such a misconceived cause is a different question.

Chinas cybersecurity law has mostly taken effect.Maury explains how little we know about what it means.

Finally, David Sanger, in his characteristic broad-gauge fashion, is able to illuminate a host of cyber statecraft topics: whether the North Koreans are getting better at stopping cyberattacks on their rocket program; how good a job did Macron really did in responding to Russian doxing attempt; and what North Korean hackers are up to in Thailand.

As always, the Cyberlaw Podcast welcomes feedback.Send an email to[emailprotected]or leave a message at +1 202 862 5785.

Download the 168th Episode (mp3).

Subscribe to the Cyberlaw Podcast here. We are also oniTunes,Pocket Casts, andGoogle Play(available for Android and Google Chrome)!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

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Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast: Globalizing Censorship – Lawfare (blog)

Theresa May’s Call for Internet Censorship Isn’t Limited to Fighting … – Reason (blog)

Andy Rain/EPA/NewscomYou’d think Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself was the driver of the van that plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge Saturday, the way U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is talking about the attack. He isn’t, but everybody across the world, not just in the United Kingdom, needs to pay close attention to how May wants to respond to the assault.

May believes the problem is you and your silly insistence that you be permitted to speak your mind and to look at whatever you want on the internet. And she means to stop you. And her attitude toward government control of internet speech is shared by President Donald Trump (and Hillary Clinton), so what she’s trying to sell isn’t isolated to her own citizenry.

In a speech in the wake of this weekend’s attack, May called flat-out for government authority to censor and control what people can see and access on the internet:

We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breedyet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.

Note that May appears to be trying to narrowly pitch a regulatory regime that focuses entirely on censoring speech by terrorists. One might argue that even America’s First Amendment would not protect such speech, since such communications involve planning violence against others.

But May and the Tories really want to propose much broader censorship of the internet, and they know it. May is using fear of terrorism to sell government control over private online speech. The Tories’ manifesto for the upcoming election makes it pretty clear they’re looking to control communication on the internet in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with fighting terrorism. BuzzFeed took note:

The proposalsdotted around the manifesto documentare varied. There are many measures designed to make it easier to do business online but it’s a different, more social conservative approach when it comes to social networks.

Legislation would be introduced to protect the public from abuse and offensive material online, while everyone would have the right to wipe material that was posted when they were under 18. Internet companies would also be asked to help promote counter-extremism narrativespotentially echoing the government’s Prevent programme. There would be new rules requiring companies to make it ever harder for people to access pornography and violent images, with all content creators forced to justify their policies to the government.

The manifesto doesn’t seem to acknowledge a difference between speech and activity, Buzzfeed adds:

“It should be as unacceptable to bully online as it is in the playground, as difficult to groom a young child on the internet as it is in a community, as hard for children to access violent and degrading pornography online as it is in the high street, and as difficult to commit a crime digitally as it is physically.”

New laws will be introduced to implement these rules, forcing internet companies such as Facebook to abide by the rulings of a regulator or face sanctions: “We will introduce a sanctions regime to ensure compliance, giving regulators the ability to fine or prosecute those companies that fail in their legal duties, and to order the removal of content where it clearly breaches UK law.”

The United Kingdom already has some very heavy content-based censorship of pornography that presumes to police what sorts of sexual fantasies are acceptable among its populace. Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown has written repeatedly about the British government’s nannying tendencies in trying suppress pornography.

In a manner similar to this censorship push, May and the British government sold the Investigatory Powers Actalso known as the Snooper’s Charterto the public as a mechanism to fight terrorism. But the massive legislation, now in place as law, actually demands that internet companies store users’ online data to investigate all sorts of activities that have nothing to do with terrorism at all.

The European Union is also hammering out regulations that would require social media companies to censor their services. But the E.U. plan is currently much more limited than what the ruling party in the U.K. is demanding. The European Union wants to force companies only to delete videos that contain hate speech or incitements to violence.

So be warned: This isn’t even a slippery-slope risk that a government that claims the authority to censor terrorist communications might broaden that scope to other areas. May and her government already want those broader powers. They’re just using the fear of terrorism to sell the idea.

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Theresa May’s Call for Internet Censorship Isn’t Limited to Fighting … – Reason (blog)

‘To circumvent censorship,’ theater project launches series of shared short plays on Palestine – Mondoweiss

Ismail Khalidi (l) and David Zellnik at the NY launch of Break the Wall theater project, June 5, 2017, photo by Phil Weiss

Heres some joyous news that seems very much in the spirit of the week the recognition of the 50th anniversary of the permanent Israeli occupation.

Last night the playwrights David Zellnik and Ismail Khalidi announced the launch of a theater project to create and produce works that challenge the dominant cultural narrative about Palestine. They did so in the Lark, a theater space on 42nd Street in New York, to an ebullient standing-room crowd of about 100 people. Ten of the short works were performed to spirited celebration; and the message of the evening was entirely positive: We are being shut out of the mainstream and we will take matters in hand, and we will be heard.

The playwrights said in a joint statement at the start:

We had both written plays about Israel and Palestine that were deemed too political, biased, leftwing, angry, anti Israel, and even anti-Semitic.Artistic directors said they would lose half their boards if they produced our shows and to be fair they probably would.

So inspired by the content and dissemination of Caryl Churchills great play, Seven Jewish Children, which she has shared with the world post-Gaza

We decided to take matters into our own hands, to circumvent censorship.

Here is the website for Break the Wall, with 13 plays so far, to be performed anywhere by anyone, in classrooms, in theaters and on the streets. Khalidi and Zellnik hope to have 25 by the end of the year, and another 25 by the end of the Nakba anniversary year, next year. They have simple requirements:

To address the issue of Palestine Israel in such a way that illuminates the actual power balance of the conflict and avoids the mainstream medias search for balance. togive witness and urgency to the ongoing human rights disaster of the occupation and apartheid.

And they ask that the plays be inspired/linked to an actual event.

A handful of skilled diverse players (Id name a couple but that would be unfair to the others) then presented ten of the works, humorous, lacerating, experimental, and yes, too, uplifting. Israeli soldiers peopled the stage, so did Palestinian mothers and, silently, Hitler. The American attitude of progressive-except-Palestine was lampooned. Happily, the writers Naomi Wallace, Noelle Ghoussaini, Betty Shemiah, Laura Maria Censabella, Kia Corthron, Stan Richardson, Yussef El Guindi, and Khalidi and Zellnik, too, would all rather laugh and observe than preach.

The mood was one of a page being turned: that the 50th anniversary of occupation has given strength and undeniability to the leftwing criticism of the occupation. An audience of consciously political people is demanding that the matter be addressed by American culture; and we are sure to influence the mainstream.

The program last night included a fine statement by Alisa Solomon addressing the transformative power of the works:

The political suspension of disbelief that governs so much of US discourse on Israel and Palestine has sought for decades to make the occupation invisible and the Nakba unutterable. For nearly 40 years, plays that have dared to tell Palestinian stories or challenge standard Zionist narratives have been shut out of major venues and sometimes silenced altogether, from Joe Papp reneging on a plan to present El Hakawati at the Public Theater in the late 1980s to the panicked backing away from the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie at New York Theatre Workshop some 10 years ago (a reaction from which the theater admirably learned and made amends).

Break the Wall seizes on theaters rare power in myriad forms, from street plays to family dramas, abstract experiments, raucous comedies, you name it to ignite radical empathy, to shake us out of complacencies, to kindle our political commitment and creativity. Its not just a good idea. Its a necessary one.

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‘To circumvent censorship,’ theater project launches series of shared short plays on Palestine – Mondoweiss

Youtube’s Financial Censorship: the ‘Product Manager’ as Ultimate … – Heat Street

Google has just announced that it is establishing new guidelines to determine whichcontent is ineligible to receive advertising dollars on its YouTube platform. More than any of the otherdebatesabout fake news and bias in media, this kind of financial muscle (censorship) is whats really going to haveimpact on the content business in the long-term. And, at the moment, the real leverage is held by the very small number ofgatekeepers which control large scale distribution and major ad dollars on the internetchief among them Google and Facebook.

YouTubesnew clarificationwill prevent ad money from being allocated to content in which family entertainment characters (think Mickey Mouse)are shown engaging in violent, sexual,or otherwise inappropriate behavior. Hard to argue with that one, though some satirical news outlets might still ask how YouTubes algorithm can really determine context and nuance.

The updated guidelines also take cash away from content that isgratuitously incendiary, inflammatory, or demeaning. Specifically, no more money for videos that are gratuitously disrespectful or language that shames or insults an individual or group. Imagine applying that test to the mainstream political debate. Basically, a good portion of cable news, talk radio, and political punditry would be un-monetizable.

This might translate into defunding videos from CNN or The Young Turks in which pundits call President Trump despicable and disgusting and all sorts of other things which are undeniably hateful.On the other side, imagine if youre a hardcore member of the alt rightand the incendiary voices of Alex Jones or Glenn Beck are financially censored?

So who actually makes these decisions on what is acceptable, or rather how to program the algorithm of financial acceptability? Is it some crusty Capital J journalism professor hired as a consultant? Perhaps some actual practicing journalists? Or maybe a panel of voices from different economic backgrounds, geographies, and intellectual viewpoints as well as the more conventional definition of diversity including varying racial, ethnic, and gender make-ups?

No, not really. Its most often some well educated, perhaps well intentioned, Silicon Valley executive who has climbed thecorporate ladder enough to be trusted, or saddled, with this sort of issue, which is the opposite of what a tech company actually wants to be handling.

Enter the product manager.

While its not possible for us to cover every video scenario, we hope this additional information will provide you with more insight into the types of content that brands have told us they dont want to advertise against and help you to make more informed content decisions, VP of Product Management Ariel Bardinwrote in the blog post directed at publishers who choose to let YouTube sell their ad inventory in return for a cut of the proceeds. According to LinkedIn, Bardin is a Stanford and USC grad who has been at Google for the last 13 years working inAdwords, Payments, and now YouTube.Not the usual resume for a key arbiter of the national conversation.

Perhaps itsa good thing after all that its next to impossible for large news brands to earn enough money on YouTube to meaningfully sustaintheir businesses. But thats not the case for smaller upstarts and individuals who may well havecontent which is no more or less inflammatory than the stuff which gets slung around on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News.

Moreover, these same issues of objectionable content and the questions about the real value and placement of ad dollars have all existedfor adecade or more. Google is just now reacting to the howling of a bunch of advertisers.Companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, The BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4, Toyota, McDonalds, and even the British Government allwithdrew advertsfrom Google-owned sites, including YouTube, claiming tobe deeply concerned about their ads appearing alongside content on YouTube promoting hate.

In this case, the big brands, and the agencies that manage their ad spend, saw an opportunity for some leverage. If youre a big consumer brand and you want audience reach thats going to move the needle, Google and Facebook are currently capturing most of your dollars, so why not goose them a bit when you have the chance? Certainly they are entitled to allocate their marketing dollars as they see fit.

The bigger issue here is the advent of a truth algorithm. Thats not what Google says its doing. But in the end its the money that matters.

Steve Alperin is the CEO of DSA Digital Holdings

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Youtube’s Financial Censorship: the ‘Product Manager’ as Ultimate … – Heat Street

Callan: We can’t censor our way out of terrorism (Opinion) – CNN.com – CNN

(CNN)Many in the United States, including the President, are likely to welcome British Prime Minister Theresa May’s suggestion that it is time to place restrictions on “safe space” Internet websites, such as Facebook and Google, that allegedly allow terrorist ideology to “breed.”

Such a policy in the United States would clearly violate the First Amendment’s sacred guarantee of free expression — the very same principle that helped spur the American Revolution against British tyranny. This core American belief should not be tossed aside, even in the face of terrifying ISIS attacks.

The fight against “Islamist extremism” does require continued and even more aggressive military action in Great Britain and throughout the world, but that action should not take the form of restrictions on free political speech.

Such calls for censorship always emerge when terrorists, foreign and domestic, preach and kill in pursuit of their hateful ideology. Ironically the speech requiring the strongest defense is often the most hateful speech of all. But in these cases, those who believe in freedom must stand even more firmly. Otherwise all political expression will be in danger of censorship, depending on who runs the government at any point in time.

Defending hateful speech may appear to be a crazy academic or legal position until we look at the “slippery slope” toward fascist or socialist totalitarianism created when we adopt our own special bans on the free speech of others. Soon the ideological radicals are calling for their own “safe spaces” and censorship of what they define as “hate speech.”

Those who oppose abortion as murder might seek to ban speech that advocates such “killings.” “Right to choose” advocates on the other side of the argument might seek to ban anti-abortion talk as a form of gender-based discrimination. In the end, the free speech rights of all Americans would be determined by the ideological flavor of the party in power.

Once the censorship of political expression begins, everybody wants to impose his or her own particular definition of religious propriety, discrimination and political correctness. Opponents of the current majority view are then intimidated into silence by law and by the aggressively expressed moral or intellectual superiority of the majority. We are already seeing a lot of this on American college campuses.

UK PM raises terror threat level to critical 02:42

May’s proposed Web regulation as well could lead to government regulation of the permissible parameters of Muslim faith discussions online. Those with “radical” tendencies beware. But what defines “radical” in the world of religion? Should the belief in Sharia law be banned as antithetical to the fundamental view that all religions are free to practice in a free secular democracy?

Does the advocacy of one of the diverse styles of Muslim female head-covering constitute a form of hateful gender-based discrimination that should be banned? Would the same ban apply to female head-covering by Roman Catholic women attending church on Sunday? This is where the “slippery slope” of speech censorship leads.

The nation’s high court confirmed an important free speech doctrine that only “fighting words” can legitimately be banned without violating the First Amendment and that even the display of a Nazi swastika in a village occupied by numerous Holocaust survivors is permitted under the US Constitution. This forcefully confirmed prior precedent that banned speech must be akin to yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

See British PM’s full remarks on terror attack 08:00

In an age where overly sensitive college students and their supportive professors are seeking to ban unpopular speakers who advocate what they define as improper and “hateful speech,” the Skokie case deserves to be added to the required reading list at American universities. There should be no “safe space” protection from free speech at any public forum in America, including college campuses and the Internet.

Intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities have the right to review and monitor public Internet postings that suggest a direct link to ISIS’ terror-related activities. Such sites may actually be helpful in locating and destroying ISIS terror cells.

If probable cause is established by the content of such postings, US law already provides the mechanism to follow up with a court-sanctioned search warrant and the arrest of a suspected conspirator.

What we do not need is an abridgment of our freedom of speech in a misguided effort to ensure the nation’s security. We already fought one revolution to establish and preserve our First Amendment right, and we don’t need another, prompted by the latest brand of barbarism and insanity emanating from the Middle East.

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Callan: We can’t censor our way out of terrorism (Opinion) – CNN.com – CNN