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Vice-Chancellors urged to stop deterioration of free speech on campus – Telegraph.co.uk

Baroness Deech said the Oxford University failed to take public action over allegations of anti-Semitism at the student Labour Club, adding that other universities have rejected the international definition of anti-Semitism.

She praised the universities minister, Jo Johnson, for calling on universities to uphold the law on freedom of speech and to adopt the official definition of anti-Semitism, adding: It is time for the vice-chancellors to respond.

A spokesman for Oxford University said: The University does not tolerate any harassment on grounds of religious belief. When allegations of such harassment are made, they are always investigated thoroughly and equitably. Where offences are found to be committed, they will be considered grounds for serious disciplinary action.

The spokesman added that there is an ongoing programme of dialogue about anti-Semitism allegations at the Labour Club, adding that Oxford offers a welcoming environment for Jewish students.

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Vice-Chancellors urged to stop deterioration of free speech on campus – Telegraph.co.uk

North Carolina Campus Free Speech Act: Goldwater Proposal … – National Review

With Governor Roy Cooper (D) taking no action on the bill, the state of North Carolina has enacted the Restore Campus Free Speech Act, the first comprehensive campus free-speech legislation based on the Goldwater proposal. That proposal, which I co-authored along with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of Arizonas Goldwater Institute, was released on January 31 and is now under consideration in several states. Its fitting that North Carolina should be the first state to enact a Goldwater-inspired law.

North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has been the guiding force behind the Restore Campus Free Speech Act and deserves great credit for moving it through the legislature. Im particularly grateful to Forest, with whom Ive been working since shortly after I laid out A Plan to Restore Free Speech on Campus here at NRO in late 2015. Forest and his staff provided critical early encouragement and support for the approach that eventuated in the Goldwater model bill. With the passage of the first state law based on that model, Forest has established himself as a national leader on campus free speech.

The final version of the North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act passed by a margin of 80 to 31 in the House, with 10 Democratic ayes (about a quarter of the Democrats present). The final version passed the Senate by a margin of 34 to 11 along strict party lines. Given the intense party polarization in North Carolina, the substantially bipartisan House vote was impressive. Governor Coopers decision to let the bill become law with no action is also interesting and instructive.

The North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act achieves most of what the Goldwater proposal sets out to do. It ensures that University of North Carolina policy will strongly affirm the importance of free expression. It prevents administrators from disinviting speakers whom members of the campus community wish to hear from. It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and anyone else who interferes with the free-speech rights of others, and ensures that students will be informed of those sanctions at freshman orientation. It reaffirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself. And it authorizes a special committee created by the Board of Regents to issue a yearly report to the public, the regents, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues.

Although the University managed to weaken the bill at points, with one significant exception that weakening amounts to less than meets the eye. Some of the bills language on institutional neutrality was struck, for example, yet the law still affirms the importance of administrative neutrality.

The dependence of campus freedom of speech on institutional neutrality was famously affirmed by the University of Chicagos Kalven Report of 1967. Likewise, the annual reports on campus free expression to be released in North Carolina will assess the universitys successes or failures at maintaining a posture of institutional neutrality. This will discourage the University from, say, joining the fossil fuel divestment campaign, or the campaign to boycott, divest, and sanction the state of Israel.

The University did manage to weaken the cause of action provision, which would have allowed anyone whose expressive rights under the new law were violated to recover reasonable court costs and attorneys fees. However, individuals whose rights under the new law are violated still have the option of suing, and can turn to any number of organizations (e.g. the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Center for Individual Rights, or the Goldwater Institute) for representation.

The university also succeeded in weakening the provision that designates public areas of the campus as public forums. Potentially, this would allow the university to cabin free speech to restricted zones. That is a serious concern and certainly bears watching. It should be noted, however, that the law also sets up a special committee within the UNC Board of Governors to issue an annual report on campus barriers to free expression. This provision draws the Board of Governors into more active oversight of campus free speech and serves as a check on administrative abuse on issues like free-speech zones.

In one area, however, the North Carolina bill is substantially weaker than the original Goldwater proposal. Although the North Carolina law will establish sanctions for students who shut down the speech of others, will protect the due-process rights of the accused, will inform students at freshman orientation of penalties for shout-downs, and will see that the administration of discipline is monitored by the Board of Governors, the provision that would have mandated suspension for students twice found responsible for silencing others was struck.

That provision is important for a number of reasons. First, the punishment is just. A student who twice silences visiting speakers or fellow students obviously hasnt learned a lesson from the initial punishment. Yales famous Woodward Report of 1974, the classic statement on campus free-expression, recommended suspension or expulsion after only a single shout-down. The Goldwater proposal is mild by comparison. Second, since universities regularly ignore shout-downs or hand out meaningless punishments, the mandatory suspension for a second offense is the only way to prevent schools from undermining the law by handing out wrists-slaps ad infinitum. Finally, when students learn at freshman orientation that state law requires a significant suspension for participation in a second shout-down, this will have a powerful deterrent effect.

Without the mandatory suspension for a second offense, the university could conceivably undermine the law through lax enforcement. Yet its not as simple as that. If the university refuses to discipline shout-downs in the wake of passage of this law, there will be consequences. For one thing, the annual report of the Board of Governors will either condemn the refusal to discipline, or the committee will itself be subject to public criticism. A negative report on the administrative handling of discipline would give the Board of Regents a reason to replace administrators, and legislators a reason to cut university funds.

A university that refuses to discipline students who silence others is also inviting a renewed campaign to pass the mandatory suspension for a second offense. This applies to other states as well. Tennessee, for example, has just passed a campus free-speech bill. While the Tennessee law is excellent in many respects, it does not systematically address the issue of discipline for shout-downs. Should the University of Tennessee refuse to discipline shout-downs in the coming years, the limitations of the new law will be evident and a campaign to add discipline provisions will ensue.

Right now only bills based on the Goldwater proposal systematically address the problem of shout-downs. If Goldwater-based bills are weakened or campus free-speech bills that dont deal with shout-downs are passed, universities that refuse to discipline shout-downs are sure to face further legislative campaigns. Knowing that laws can be revisited and that public scrutiny will now be high should encourage universities to take their enforcement responsibilities seriously.

The same applies to provisions regarding public forums and a legal cause of action. Campaigns to restore or strengthen these provisions can easily be launched should a state university system fail to protect free speech.

So we are at the beginning of a new state-legislative era, and that beginning is auspicious. The North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act accomplishes the lions share of what the Goldwater model proposed, including important steps forward on discipline for shout-downs. Goldwater-based bills are under consideration in several states, with more likely to follow next year. And any state bill can be strengthened in a second legislative round if universities continue to abuse their powers. Campus free-speech legislation is now in play as never before. Administrators will have to take that into account when they decide how to handle free speech. In short, the public has awakened and is actively pushing back against the illiberal assault on speech. That is a silver lining in the current crisis.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at [emailprotected]

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North Carolina Campus Free Speech Act: Goldwater Proposal … – National Review

Talking Campus Free Speech on Capitol Hill – FrontPage Magazine


FrontPage Magazine
Talking Campus Free Speech on Capitol Hill
FrontPage Magazine
On July 27, two House subcommittees held a joint hearing on Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses. Congressman James Raskin (D-MD) called it the most fascinating hearing he's attended during his his six months in office.
Adam Carolla Goes to Washington For Campus Free Speech: 'We Are the Adults, We Need to Act Like It'Mediaite
Adam Carolla Schools Congress on Campus Free SpeechIndependent Women’s Forum (blog)
Adam Carolla's Testimony to Congress on Free Speech Should Be Required Reading at Every CollegeIndependent Journal Review
OneNewsNow
all 7 news articles »

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Talking Campus Free Speech on Capitol Hill – FrontPage Magazine

Letter to the Editor: Johnson County Sheriff’s Office protects free speech – The Daily Iowan

An encounter at the Johnson County Fairgrounds with law enforcement made me thankful that the Sheriffs Office protects freedom of speech.

We often hear criticism about law enforcement, so I wanted people to hear my story.

I am a disabled Marine veteran. I was protesting with a friend last week at the Johnson County Fairgrounds; we opposed the childrens rodeo and were peacefully and legally expressing our views on public property near the entrance to the fair. We oppose the rodeo because concern about the treatment of the animals and because we believe that participating in these events teaches children to repress their natural sense of compassion and empathy for animals.

On the second day we were there, two teenage boys came out with a large 4H banner and began harassing me while standing directly in front of me. I am in a wheelchair and could not see over or around their banner, and the public could no longer see my sign. When I moved to a different position, the boys followed me and again blocked my view. This happened five or six times and was continuing, so I called the Sheriffs Office to request that a deputy come to clarify the legal bounds of our protest. Sgt. Brad Kunkel obtained a body camera and came over to talk to me as well as the boys and their friends who had gathered to support them.

Kunkel was very professional in explaining to them that I/we had a right to be there and that they needed to find a different place to stand.

Freedom of speech is a constitutional right that I defended as a Marine. I want to thank all of the staff from the Sheriffs Office who were present while we were at the fair, especially Kunkel. Its their continued service to our local communities that ensures our safety and constitutional freedoms in America.

Sincerely,

Lori Kendrick

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Letter to the Editor: Johnson County Sheriff’s Office protects free speech – The Daily Iowan

Merkel, Germany, the Media and Free Speech – National Review

From the Financial Timesearlier this week:

German media were too uncritical in their coverage of the 2015 refugee crisis, giving Angela Merkels open-door policy a free pass and failing to represent the legitimate concerns of ordinary people alarmed by the influx, a new study has found.The report, commissioned by the Otto Brenner Stiftung in Frankfurt, said the coverage was so one-sided that it ended up deepening the ideological rift in Germany between liberals on the one hand and nationalists and conservatives on the other.

Up until late autumn 2015 hardly any editorials dealt with the concerns, fears and also resistance of a growing part of the population, the report said. When they did, they adopted a didactic or in the case of east Germany [where anti-immigrant sentiment is strongest], a contemptuous tone.

The study, led by Michael Haller, a former senior editor at weekly newspaper Die Zeit, is the most comprehensive analysis of how the German media dealt with the migrant crisis

Newspapers were filled with articles about the new Willkommenskultur or welcome culture, epitomised by the crowds who gathered in Munich station in September 2015 to greet refugees arriving from Hungary and hand out sweets and toys.

The report said Willkommenskultur became a kind of magic word used by certain sections of the media to turn ordinary people into good Samaritans and encourage them to carry out acts of kindness towards newcomers.

And yet even this was not enough for Merkel, an authoritarian curiously now widely praised as a defender of liberal (in the accurate sense of that word) values.

Heres CNBC from September, 2015:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was overheard confronting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg over incendiary posts on the social network, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, amid complaints from her government about anti-immigrant posts in the midst of Europes refugee crisis. On the sidelines of a United Nations luncheon on Saturday, Merkel was caught on a hot mic pressing Zuckerberg about social media posts about the wave of Syrian refugees entering Germany, the publication reported.The Facebook CEO was overheard responding that we need to do some work on curtailing anti-immigrant posts about the refugee crisis. Are you working on this? Merkel asked in English, to which Zuckerberg replied in the affirmative before the transmission was disrupted.

Could it have been that some people at least were turning to Facebook to express their views because there was nowhere else where they could get a hearing?

In the course of a post that September on the topic of the German governments attitude to (yes, sometimes ugly) dissent, I noted this from a Breitbart report:

An organisation run by a former Stasi agent has been recruited by the German government to patrol Facebook in a bid to stamp out xenophobic comments. Those caught posting material that the government disagrees with are likely to face criminal prosecution.Germany is set to welcome one million new immigrants this year, a move that has not been without controversy. Determined to see his fellow Germans embrace their new multicultural homeland, Justice Minister Heiko Maas has decided to crack down on those citizens who criticise the influx, especially those who take to their own private Facebook accounts to do so.Maas has recruited the help of an organisation Network Against Nazis (Netz Gegen Nazis, or NAN) to aid him in his crackdown. NAN was founded by, and according to its website works in partnership with, the Amaedu Antonio Foundation, run by Anetta Kahane, who between 1974 and 1982 worked for the Stasi under the code name Victoria [According to Wikipedia she was an “Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter”, an “unofficial collaborator” with the Stasi, no agent, but still…].

Fast forward to the end of last month.

Newsweek:

Social media companies in Germany that dont do enough to prevent the spread of hate speech and fake news could face fines, the countrys parliament ruled Friday.

What could go wrong?

Newsweek:

Networks that do not remove content that is obviously illegal within 24 hours, or one week in less clear-cut cases, face fines beginning at 5 million ($5.7 million) and rising to 50 million ($57 million) depending on the severity of the offense concerned.Facebook immediately slammed the decision in a statement. The company said it shared the aspiration to fight hate speech in a statement to the BBC, but: We believe the best solutions will be found when government, civil society and industry work together and that this law as it stands now will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.

The new law has even gone too far for the UN

But the U.N. has criticized the bill. Many of the violations covered by the bill are highly dependent on context, context which platforms are in no position to assess, the U.N. Special Rapporteur to the High Commissioner for Human Rights David Kaye wrote of the law in the run up to its passage.

At the beginning of 2016 (as I noted in a post here), Angela Merkel was awarded the Roosevelt Foundations Four Freedoms Award for, amongst other achievements, her moral leadership of Germany and Europe during the refugee crisis.

Handelsblatt:

The Roosevelt Foundation in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York present the annual Four Freedoms Award which is named after the four freedoms President Franklin D. Roosevelt named in a speech in 1941 and which all people should enjoy. They are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

Top of the list: Freedom of speech.

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Merkel, Germany, the Media and Free Speech – National Review

Hassan should support freedom of speech – Seacoastonline.com

July 28 To the Editor:

Sen. Maggie Hassan spoke at the 35th annual Martin Luther King Day Celebration in Manchester last Jan. 16. I heard her and was impressed by her firm commitment to civil rights and inclusion in our state and country.

So I am shocked that she has co-sponsored the Israel Anti Boycott Act (Senate Bill 720). This bill imposes fines and criminal penalties, up to 20 years in prison, on those supporting the movement to boycott Israeli goods and divest in Israeli investments. The purpose of the boycott is to pressure the Israeli government to change its settlement policy, which many believe is illegal and also immoral.

I oppose hate speech in any form: anti-Semitic as well as anti-Muslim speech. I condemn acts of hate directed at others. However, American citizens have a First Amendment right to speak and act in favor of boycott and divestment. Whether or not I agree with the point of view of the boycott is beside the point. I must support any American who chooses to exercise this right peacefully.

So, I believe, should Senator Hassan.

Sincerely,

David Blair

Harrisville

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Hassan should support freedom of speech – Seacoastonline.com

Soy milk is at the epicenter of a global free-speech debate – Quartz

Its not just an unassuming carton in the supermarket dairy aisle. At least, not anymore.

Soy milk has been available since 1947 and is currently in high demand, bringing in about $300 million per year. Despite its popularityor perhaps because of itthe beverage has also found itself at the center of a global debate over freedom of speech.

Traditional dairy companies are arguing that the soy industry has inappropriately coopted terminologies such as milk to sell products, and that in doing so, its confusing consumers. The debate is reaching a fever pitch as cow-milk peddlersespecially in the USfind themselves in the sales doldrums while simultaneously having to fight off consumer interest in vegan, plant-based food companies looking to take more of their market share.

As a result of sour dairy-company profits, the soyfood industryworth about $5 billionis increasingly finding itself in courtrooms around the world. At its core, these cases boil down to the issue of free speech, and whether a beverage made by a commercial enterprisesuch as a soy milk companycan legally describe itself as milk.

Whether a soy company can market its liquid product as milk depends on where you are in the world. Thats because its one thing to consider individual peoples freedom of speech, but when it comes to businesses, governments take different positions globally. Those differences have created a legal minefield for soy milk.

In the US, the right to free speech includes protections for commercial speech, which is speech done on behalf of a company for the intent of making a profit. In places such as Canada and the European Union, it is generally upheld as the freedom of expression, which includes the right to hold opinions and impart ideas without interference by the government. When it comes to how that applies to corporations, the European Commission, the EUs ruling body, commits to promoting best practices by companies.

In Europe, this sort of language leaves a lot of wiggle room in the grey area of commercial speech. I think the American acceptance of commercial speech as a form of speech differentiates us from other countries, says Roy Gutterman, the director of Syracuse Universitys Tully Center for Free Speech. Other countries have way more room to regulate. We leave less room for the government to decide when it comes to speech issues.

The different legal attitudes toward freedom of speech mean that in the US, courts generally side with plant-based food companies, and in Europe, courts are ruling against them.

In June, the European Court of Justice heard a case in which a company called TofuTown was challenged by a German consumer-protection group. The court ultimately ruled that plant-based foods in the EU cannot be sold as milk, butter, and cheese because their chief ingredient isnt derived from an animal. Consumers could be confused, the court said. This ruling stands even if those products are clearly marketed as animal-free, such as TofuTowns products soyatoo tofu butter and veggie cheese.

In the same month, a US court heard a similar case against WhiteWave Foods, which produces Silk and So Delicious soy, almond, coconut, and cashew products, such as non-dairy milk, creamer, yoghurt, and ice-cream alternatives. The federal district court in California dismissed the issue outright, saying there was no consumer confusion. The court added that the challengers essentially allege that a reasonable consumer would view the terms soy milk and almond milk, disregard the first words in the names, and assume that the beverages came from cows. One month before, another federal court in California ruled in favor of almond-milk maker Blue Diamond Growers, concluding that the challenger failed to plausibly allege that a reasonable consumer is likely to be deceived.

Still, the laws in Europe arent totally cut-and-dry. In 2010, the European Commission (pdf) oddly included coconut milk, ice cream, cocoa butter, and peanut butter on a list of products that are protected. This patchwork of different rules across the globe makes it especially difficult for companies looking to expand business, as discrepancies across borders can cause prickly problems for food companies looking to get their products in more supermarkets.

For an American soy-milk maker that wants to expand into Europe, this would present a serious policy challenge, says Jessica Almy, director of policy at the Good Food Institute (GFI), a Washington-based group that supports and lobbies on behalf of vegan and vegetarian food companies. Where theres no consumer confusion, they cant be restricting what goes on the label. For that reason, GFI is looking for ways to try and reshape regulations in Europe to clear a path for products such as soy milk.

The results of these legal skirmishes will stock the fridge for a food-production future that might be less reliant on animal-based agriculture. For example, new food-technology companies perfecting lab-made meats and acellular milk will be watching these battles closely to see how they will be able to market their products. In the global marketplace, these kinds of companies are still currently tiny players with big ambitions. But if they cant jump the freedom-of-speech hurdle, there will be serious roadblocks to cracking into big markets around the world.

This sounds like its a cutting edge issue thats going to be gaining some publicity and notoriety as it develops, Gutterman says.

Read this next: How the vegan movement broke out of its echo chamber and finally started disrupting things

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Soy milk is at the epicenter of a global free-speech debate – Quartz

‘It’s a Massive Assault on Free Speech’: Australian Leaders React to Proposed ‘Jesus Ban’ in Schools – CBN News

Government officials in the Australian state of Queensland have introduced a policy that would ban Christmas cards, references to Jesus, and anything that could be classified as evangelization from public schools, the Daily Mail Australia reported.

A recent Department of Education report voices concerns that unbridled freedom of religion has led to non-religious children being forced to entertain the Christian beliefs of their peers.

According to these officials, schools are expected to take appropriate action if they find that students who receive religious instruction are evangelizing to those who do not. Evangelization covers a range of speech and actions, including distributing Christmas cards with photos or words referencing Jesus birth and life, making religious-themed ornaments, and handing out bracelets to share the good news about Jesus.

If such evangelization is left unchecked, the report claims that it could adversely affect the schools ability to provide a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.

According to the Daily Mail, the recent initiative comes after Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones promised to crack down on religious practices. The report has received negative reactions from religious freedom advocates and political leaders who fear Jones has gone too far.

Speaking to The Australian, Neil Foster, a religion and law professor, called the Department of Educations requests deeply concerning and possibly illegal.

Centre for Independent Studies research fellow Peter Kurti said the report constitutes a massive assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion and believes that the governments concerns are completely unwarranted.

I dont think that children have the maturity to comprehend let alone evangelize, he told The Australian.

On Thursday, Education Minister Jones assured that there have been no officials changes to state policy regarding the issue, stressing that no one is telling a child what they can and cant say in the playground, Sky News reported.

Still, a number of Queensland members of parliament, including Fisher MP Andrew Wallace and Fairfax MP Ted OBrien, have called the mere suggestion of such a policy ludicrous, and have called for the government to officially denounce the ban.

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‘It’s a Massive Assault on Free Speech’: Australian Leaders React to Proposed ‘Jesus Ban’ in Schools – CBN News

Comedian Adam Carolla Testifies on Free Speech Abuse Before … – Capital Research Center

On July 27, Comedian Adam Carolla testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the threat to free speech and diversity of thought across Americas college campuses.

Carolla was invited to the congressional hearing, entitled Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses, because of his partnership with conservative radio talk personality Dennis Prager in their upcoming feature film,No Safe Spaces.

In the film, Prager and Carolla journey to colleges and universities to uncover the war on freedom of speech and diversity of thought, exposing the threat so-called safe spaces pose to our nations future. In the testimony, Carolla offers his own take on the issue of identity politics:

When a Democratic congresswoman raised the subject of race and diversity on college campuses, Carolla chimed in.

Geez. I want to talk about my white privilege so badly, the comedian said. I graduated North Hollywood High with a 1.7 GPA and could not find a job. I walked to a fire station. I was 19 and living in the garage of my family home and my mom was on welfare and food stamps. I said, Can I get a job as a fireman? and they said, No, because youre not black, Hispanic or a woman and well see you in about seven years.

The testimony was picked up in the media, and was featured on the Washington Examiner, Washington Free Beacon, and the New York Times. Carolla also penned an op-ed featured in the Daily Beast explaining why he was invited to speak before Congress:

Ive been asked to testify before Congress Thursday morning on the topic of free speech on college campuses. I talk for a living. Words matter to me. I earn my paycheck from making people laugh, but whats going on across the country at many of our nations universities is anything but funny. (See what I did there!)

What kind of preparation is being provided if we are avoiding discussions on tough subjects? Are true facts and best research being sidelined because its taboo to someones feelings?

Watch the complete hearinghere:

No Safe Spaces was successfully crowd-funded more than $500,000. CRCs Dangerous Documentaries has supported it with another $500,000 of matching funds.

No Safe Spacesis set to release in 2018, and will be directed by Justin Folk and produced by Mark Joseph. CRC president Scott Walter and Dangerous Documentaries founder Joseph Klein are the films executive producers. See the trailer forNo Safe Spaces here:

Dangerous Documentaries is a project of the Capital Research Center.

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Comedian Adam Carolla Testifies on Free Speech Abuse Before … – Capital Research Center

Who should police free speech on college campuses? Congress wants to know – USA TODAY

Does Congress have a place in the free speech campus debate? The House of Representatives subcommittee on intergovernmental affairs sought to find out in their hearing on the Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses.

The committee is concerned about the state of free speech on college campuses amid the protests in the past year against controversial speakers such as alt-right advocate Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative pundit Ann Coulter, bothat the University of California-Berkeley, where protests ensued.

The key issue is whether, in an effort to preserve free speech, college campuses could fall into an area where their actions would inhibit it.

The House hearing comes on the heels of a similar hearing in the Senate last month.

The House hearing focused on a recent law in Wisconsin which seeks to allow for the suspension or expulsion of any University of Wisconsin student who engages in indecent, profane, boisterous, obscene, unreasonably loud or other disorderly conduct that interferes with the free expression of others, and committee members were especially concerned with how conservative speakers could be silenced by those who disagree with their opinions.

The experts agreed that the government should not have a role in policing free speech on campuses or deliberating what is considered to be a breech of free speech though disagreed on who should.

Michael Zimmerman, the former provost and vice president for academic affairs at the Evergreen State College which has recently grappled with protests and free speech issues on its campus advocated for putting the control in the hands of the school administrators.

This is wrong and it must stop, but what we dont need is additional legislation, he said. We currently have all the tools we need to fix the problem if we have the courage to use them. College administrators need to have the courage to stand for what is right, to stand for principles rather than expediency, and to risk alienating some in the same of those principles.

He affirmed his commitment to freedom of speech on campus: When we shut out voices, we shut out ideas, and serious consequences ensue.

Though Ben Shapiro, editor-in-chief of conservative news and opinion site the Daily Wire, highlighted instances where he felt the administrations decisions infringed on his own right to free speech, such as at the University of Wisconsin where he gave a speech last year which was interrupted by protesters. He said he asked the police to intervene, but they told him the administration advised them not to.

What Im seeing is a hecklers veto thats taking place on campuses, Shapiro said. What Im seeing is people engaging in free speech that is not made to enrich the debate, but in order to shut down the debate, and there have to be some sort of ramifications for people who are actually committing trespass.

At a minimum, the clearest way experts see to protect free speech is to encourage more dialogue overall, especially on controversial topics.

The appropriate answer, as the Supreme Court has said, is more speech, counter speech, said New York Law School professor Nadine Strossen, and interestingly enough, evidence indicates that it is far more effective than censorship in robustly effectively countering ideas that we disagree with.

Zimmerman echoed Strossens point as well.

The more we talk with one another and the more we listen to one another, the easier it is to understand one another, Zimmerman said. When we look at others as other, we can demonize them, we can ignore their ideas and know their ideas are wrong. When we understand who these people are and what they believe, its so much easier to share what we have in common, instead of looking for our differences.

Emma Kinery is a University of Michigan student and a USA TODAY intern.

Excerpt from:

Who should police free speech on college campuses? Congress wants to know – USA TODAY

Ben Shapiro and Adam Carolla Tell Congress the Truth About Free Speech – National Review

On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on the Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses.

Several witnesses were called to testify, including Ben Shapiro, editor of The Daily Wire and contributor to National Review. Watch him deconstruct and dismantle the ideology of the campus Left in less than five minutes.

Shapiro ended his opening statement by emphasizing what should be our core values:

Shielding college students from opposing viewpoints makes them simultaneously weaker and more dangerous. We must fight that process at every step. And that begins by acknowledging that whatever we think about America and where we stand, we must agree on this fundamental principle: All of our views should be judged on their merits, not on the color, or sex, or sexual orientation of the speaker, and those views should never be banned on the grounds that they offend someone.

Representative Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), the chairmanof the committee, joked that left-wing college professors would probably find that very statement to be a microaggression.

The House Oversight Committee also invited Adam Carolla, the conservative-minded comedian, to share his insights. He did not disappoint, arguing that we need the adults to start acting like adults.

If we want to protect free speech on campus, we need to follow Carollas advice and establish order. This means enforcing the laws and college regulations that already exist, and punishing campus radicals when they suppress free speech. They are free to protest, of course, but they cross a line when they prevent others from speaking.

Claremont McKenna did just that when it suspended students who shut down a speech by Heather Mac Donald. More schools should follow Claremonts example, listen to Shapiro and Carolla, and defend the idea of the university.

The rest is here:

Ben Shapiro and Adam Carolla Tell Congress the Truth About Free Speech – National Review

‘Controversy, not artistry’: How the media covers Arab art – Deutsche Welle

Maan Abu Taleb is the co-founder and editor of the online Arab-language music magazine Ma3azef.comand a radio showwith the same name featuring contemporary Arab music. His debut novel “All The Battles” was published in Arabic in Februaryand the English edition will be published in September.

DW: What does freedom of speech mean to you?

Abu Taleb: For me, it means that we can address what we want to address without having to think about freedom of speech. The problem is that you end up having to talk about things because you are not allowed to talk about them or you sort of self-censor and you don’t end up talking about something because you are worried about freespeech.

What gets lost in those two scenarios is writing about something just for the sake of the topic itself. For example, at ma3azef.com, we do not want to address something just to break some boundaries. We do not write about a band just because they are controversial. We write about bands because they are good, because they make good music. We shouldn’t have to think about whether this falls into our (idea of)freedom of speech or not.

A screenshot of the Arab art magazine ma3azef.com

But there is another aspect to free speech that many do not think about and that is logistics. Some regimes limit access to online tools of communication so we have trouble talking to our writers. We are even having trouble paying our writers because sometimes sending money to them would get them into trouble, like in Egypt. If they cannot be compensated for their hard work, it is difficult for them to write for us.

Is it true that media from outside the Arab-speaking world solely covers art that goes against the government orsocietal norms?

What’s happening now is that whether it is the Arab press or the Western press, all of the focus is on the political side and no attention whatsoever is given to the artistic side of a work. You find that books, novels, music andtheater do not get covered for the quality of the art in them but for the topic they are addressing. I think this is a disaster in the realm of arts and aesthetics. My interest in arts and music is purely the artistry. Great art is often not black and white but nuanced and complicated.

A lot of people find this reactionary and old-schoolbut we want to write about the aesthetic value of the work. Often you find that both the people who traditionally repress freedom of speech, like censors or governments, and the people who claim to be pro-freedom of speech are wary of this approach.

For our magazine, I want to say that an album is good because it contributes to this genre:it’s interesting, it’s engaging, it’s pleasingor it’s a beautiful work.

On the other side, we are not going to ignore a piece of art because we may disagree with the politics of it. This is what I mean about nuance.

But isn’t art intrinsically political?

Of course. If you’re from our part of the world, then everything is intrinsically political. We are not battling that. We don’t want to get rid of that at all. What we do want to emphasize is that you can be political but at the same time you can also do work that is great art.

The Arab world is a very troubled place right now so artistic thinking does reflect that – Abu Taleb

This view of art -that art is OK because it is sensationally political -is a patronizing view of culture that comes from the Arab world. We do not accept that. Subtlety is being lost for easy-to-understand headlines.

That said, the Arab world is a very troubled place right now so artistic thinking does reflect that.

So what type of art is being missed?

What’s interesting is what people are doing in different parts of the Arab world, where they are trying to converse with their own surroundings. We are muchmore interested in local scenes in Cairo, where they are writing music that they know their neighbors, their friends and their community will enjoy.

This is one of the reasons our magazine is only in Arabic. We find that there is a lot of value in having a discussion in the Arab world about the Arab world.

Interview: Ole Tangen Jr

This commentary is a part of DW’sFreedom of Speech Project which aims to highlight voices from around the world on the topics of freedom of expression and press freedom. You can also follow the project on Facebook.

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‘Controversy, not artistry’: How the media covers Arab art – Deutsche Welle

GOP Rep. on Campus Free Speech: Students and Faculty Are ‘Forced Into Self-Censorship’ – Washington Free Beacon

BY: Kathryn Covert July 27, 2017 1:24 pm

Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) said Thursday on Capitol Hill that free speech on college campuses is at risk, as students and faculty are “forced into self-censorship” for fear of “triggering, violating a safe space, a micro-aggression, or being targeted by a bias response team.”

Jordan opened the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing Thursday with a video montage showing examples of free speech being suppressed on U.S. college campuses. The clip included incidents at University of CaliforniaBerkeley, University of Wisconsin Madison, DePaul University, and Middleburry College. Each event consisted of public figures beinginvited to speak and protesters attempting to shut down the events.

Jordan said the incidents exemplified how the free flow of ideason campuses is being restricted.

“Trigger warnings, safe spaces, safe zones, shout-downs, micro-aggressions, bias response teams, and as we saw in the video, even riots on campuses today,” Jordan said.

The purpose of the hearing was to identify problems and form solutions in response to the suppression offree speech on college campuses.

“The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable,” Jordan said, quoting a 1974 Yale University Woodward Report.

Jordan saidthe Woodward Report outlined campus policy that was, “for years, the gold standard for what free speech on campus should look like.”

“College is a place for young minds to be intellectually bombarded with new challenging ideas,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately, today on many campuses students and faculty are forced into self censorship out of a fear of triggering, violating a safe space a micro aggression, or being targeted by a biased response team.”

Jordan referenced anincident at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., which he called”the most recent example of how not to promote free speech on campus.”

“Students and even faculty at Evergreen State College berated and even threatened a professor for even questioning why a new campus initiative could not be debated,” Jordan said. “The police eventually stepped in to warn the professor it was no longer safe for him to actually come to campus.”

“The college administrators stood by and did nothing,” Jordansaid. “In fact, when asked to defend their behavior and speech policies, Evergreens president George Bridges refused to testify.”

Jordan was referring toBret Weinstein, a biology professor at Evergreen State College who “supported Bernie Sanders, admiringly retweets Glenn Greenwald, and was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement,” the New York Times reported.In April, he was labeled “racist” and effectively barred from campus after he questioned an “invitation” for all white faculty and staff members to leave campus during a”Day of Absence.”

Jordanmade it clear that the work was just beginning, and Thursday’s hearing was the second in a series intended to “highlight the First Amendment.”

“This committee is committed to help colleges reinstate the freedom of speech as an important protection,” Jordan said. “After all, it’s no coincidence that the Constitution’s framers prioritized the freedom of speech in the FirstAmendment.”

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GOP Rep. on Campus Free Speech: Students and Faculty Are ‘Forced Into Self-Censorship’ – Washington Free Beacon

The John Roberts court: Champion of free speech – Chicago Tribune

Barack Obama had his share of poor decisions and outright failures. One of his worst moments came during his 2010 State of the Union address. With six justices seated in front of him, he upbraided the Supreme Court for a decision on campaign finance regulation.

“With all due deference to separation of powers,” he said, “last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections.” It was a rude breach of protocol, inducing Justice Samuel Alito to shake his head and mouth, “Not true.”

Obama’s first sin was being disrespectful to justices who were there out of respect to his office. His second was a bad prediction. The legendary First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams has found that of the $2.76 billion raised in the 2016 presidential election, corporations and other businesses provided only $67 million 2.4 percent. Finally, Obama failed to recognize the sound principles underlying the decision.

The Citizens United decision has been portrayed by liberal critics as proof that under Chief Justice John Roberts, the court has become a captive of business interests and right-wing ideologues. But Brooklyn Law School professor Joel Gora, who has served the American Civil Liberties Union as a staff attorney and longtime member of its board of directors, says they are mistaken.

That ruling, he writes, is part of a commendable but unsung pattern. Over the past decade, Gora argues, “the Roberts Supreme Court may well have been the most speech-protective court in a generation, if not in our history.”

He’s not alone in this conclusion. Abrams told me the Roberts court has gotten some decisions wrong, but “taken as a whole, it has rendered First Amendment-protective decisions in an extraordinarily broad range of cases, and it deserves great credit for doing so.”

Geoffrey Stone, a First Amendment scholar at the University of Chicago Law School who has fiercely criticized the campaign finance ruling, says, “The Roberts court has given more protection to free speech across a larger range of areas than any of its predecessors have although sometimes unwisely.”

Citizens United, argues Gora, has been unfairly maligned. “Here you had a law which made it a crime to put out a movie criticizing a major candidate for the presidency of the United States,” he says. The First Amendment, wrote Anthony Kennedy, “prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

Critics say the conservative justices saw it that way because corporate spending tends to favor conservative causes (see: Koch brothers). Some other free speech rulings, says Stone, could also be ascribed to a rightward bias such as invalidating rules restricting protests at abortion clinics and overturning a law allowing doctors to keep private the medicines they prescribe.

But as Gora notes, many of the court’s First Amendment decisions haven’t followed that track. It struck down a federal law making it a crime to falsely claim to have won military medals and a California law barring the sale of violent video games to minors.

A court awarded $5 million to the parents of a Marine whose funeral drew demonstrators with signs bearing such offensive messages as “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The Supreme Court said the verdict violated the protesters’ freedom of speech.

It also ruled against a George W. Bush administration policy requiring overseas groups getting AIDS prevention funds to adopt “a policy explicitly opposing prostitution.” None of those decisions fit the policy preferences of conservatives.

The court has sometimes gone wrong on free speech. It upheld a public high school’s suspension of a student who brandished a sign saying “Bong hits 4 Jesus,” which it took to be a pro-drug sentiment, at a school-supervised event. The court said public employee whistleblowers have no First Amendment protection for anything they say “pursuant to their official duties.”

For the most part, though, the court has been a force for freedom of expression. Gora thinks that will be reinforced by the arrival of Neil Gorsuch, who shares the general approach of the court’s conservative wing. The new justice indicated in his confirmation hearings that unlike Donald Trump, he has no desire to make it easier for public figures to win libel suits.

Liberals and others will often find fault with the court, as well as Trump. But thanks to the justices, they will have a wide berth to complain.

Download “Recalculating: Steve Chapman on a New Century” in the free Printers Row app at http://www.printersrowapp.com.

schapman@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @SteveChapman13

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The John Roberts court: Champion of free speech – Chicago Tribune

How Does a Chinese Sex Expert Become a Free Speech Advocate? – The Diplomat

Under Chinas increasingly harsh control on information, a Chinese female sexologist called on Chinese citizens to fight against censorship

By Charlotte Gao for The Diplomat

July 26, 2017

Li Yinhe, 65, Chinas leading sociologist on sex and family as well as an activist for LGBT rights, has become a role model of courage and rationality for many Chinese netizens. Against Chinas increasingly harsh control on information, Li has been constantly calling on all Chinese citizens to fight against censorship with moderate and rational argument.

As The Diplomat reported, the Chinese governments clampdown on internet activities has become increasingly harsh. Particularly in recent months, a large number of online accounts have been deactivated by hidden online censors for unknown reasons. WeChat and Weibo are the two most scrutinized social media platforms.

Faced with such grim atmosphere online, most Chinese intellectuals choose to stay silent. Against the odds, Li surprisingly published a long article on her personal Weibo account on July 9 criticizing Chinas censorship and calling for its abolition.

In her nearly 2000-word article under the title of Why should we completely abolish censorship, Li argued that the censorship of books, newspapers, online contents, films and television programs is against the Chinese Constitution and is one of the most critical problems in todays society.

She continued her reasoning:

Then why are some topics are forbidden from discussion? Its for sure that [the government] must have done something wrong but refuse to admit. However, refusing to admit the truth cant change the historical fact itself. It does not work but makes people see the lack of moral courage

She further contended that freedom of speech is written into the Chinese Constitution. Yet, its the 21st century and Chinese people are still fighting for this right.

Finally, she appealed to all Chinese citizens to resist censorship, exercise freedom of speech, work for the complete abolition of censorship, and safeguard the dignity of the Chinese Constitution.

Within hours, the long and powerful article garnered thousands of thumbs-up and reposts. Unsurprisingly, the popularity also led to the articles removal. Li is now reportedly banned from posting anything on her Weibo account for three months.

However, Li didnt stop her exercise of free speech. Several days later, she published another long article on her WeChat account, commenting on her ban on Weibo. She argued that her ban has just become a new piece of evidence to show Chinas lack of freedom of speech.

Although her new article was also deleted, her constant resistance has moved numerous Chinese netizens. What moved people most is not what she said as it is common sense but her gentle tone, rational reasoning, moderate wording and, most importantly, her courage.

Consequently, many Chinese netizens have been inspired to publish long articles to praise Lis behavior and character on various online platforms, despite the fact that their articles about Li have also been deleted.

Charlotte Gao holds a MA degree in Asian Studies. Her research interests center around East Asian topics. She has worked in the past as a news editor, reporter, and writer for multiple traditional, online, and new media outlets.

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How Does a Chinese Sex Expert Become a Free Speech Advocate? – The Diplomat

The right to be forgotten issue gives Trump a chance to use America First for a good cause: Freedom of speech – American Enterprise Institute

Another round has begun in the battle between Google (and other internet companies) and the European Union over the misbegotten right to be forgotten. Frances supreme administrative court has just bucked the issueup to Europes top court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ). A decision, which will have far-reaching consequences for freedom of speech and the flow of accurate information on the internet, could take up to two years. But well before that, the Trump administration should intervene to make clear that the US will defend Americas leading internet companies and freedom of speech on the internet.

To review briefly, this all began in 2014 when the ECJruled that EU citizens had the right to demand that Google and other service providers expunge information that allegedly was out of date, inflammatory, or no longer relevant (although accurate). ThisforcedGoogle, which accounts for 90 percent of the EU internet search market, to bear the burden in cost and resources of removing links to search results from not only the country from which the request had come but also searches conducted in other EU domains. At this time in 2017, the company hasremovedsome 43 percent of individual privacy takedown requests, equivalent to 800,000 links to digital content.

A pedestrian walks past the Google offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

In September 2015, the French national data protection agency went a step further anddemandedthat offending links be removed fromallsearch results worldwide. Google balked at this extraterritorial demand and subsequently received a $115,000 fine in March 2016. Google then appealed the ruling to Frances supreme administrative court, the Council of State, which last week pushed the whole set of questions back up to the ECJ.

Although it complied with the ECJs original mandate, Google has been steadfast in challenging the rationale behind the right to be forgotten doctrine and now the more outrageous worldwide extraterritorial expansion. Itargued from the outsetthat we believe that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. . . . If the [French courts] proposed approach were to be embraced as the standard for internet regulation, we would find ourselves in a race to the bottom. In the end, the internet would only be as free as the worlds least-free place.

It is impossible to predict what the ECJ will decide but one ominous precedent illustrates Europes arrogant extraterritorial ambitions. Some years ago, the EU, backed by a tortuous, even ludicrous opinion by the ECJ, attempted to extend its internal carbon tax for airplanes beyond its borders. Thus, Asian airlines including a growing number of Chinese flights would pay the tax for not only miles chalked up over the EU but also the entire flight back and forth from Beijing, Seoul, or Tokyo. The ECJ claimed preposterously that the rules were merely an extension of EU internal regulations. Others, including the US, protested, but China went further and acted. It threatened quietly to shift future airline orders heavily away from Airbus and toward archrival Boeing. The incidentculminated in a humiliating retreatfor Europes top political officials and no further attempt to tax airline emissions beyond EU borders.

It is not to argue here that the US should emulate Beijing with overt direct trade or investment threats. However, two alternate courses of action should be adopted. First, as I argued to no avail during the Obama administration, the Trump administration should intervene actively in the court appeal certainly through a public expression of support for Google and possibly with a friend of the court brief. Down the road, the EU has expressed a strong desire torevive negotiationsfor a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to link two of the worlds strongest economies and trading powers. The Trump administration should respond affirmatively to such overtures, with the stipulation that the EUs continued demand for extraterritorial internet information removal is a deal breaker.

The bottom line is that the issues involved here clearly transcend Googles business model and competitive position in the EU. As I havewritten previously, At stake is the future of free data flows and the accessibility of accurate, public information through the entire internet.

So how about it, Mr. President? Time to finally use America First! for a good cause: free speech on the internet. It has a good ring to it.

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The right to be forgotten issue gives Trump a chance to use America First for a good cause: Freedom of speech – American Enterprise Institute

EDITORIAL: Freedom of speech never more valuable – Holmes County Times Advertiser

When it seems anyone can say or write almost anything and have it published on the internet, recent events offer reminders that the freedom of expression is not universal.

The Financial Times first reported this week that the Chinese government has banned Winnie-the-Poohs likeness and name on social media.

Yes, that Winnie-the-Pooh, the anthropomorphic bear created by author A.A. Milne and digitized by Disney. As USA Today reported in a follow-up: The characters name in Chinese was censored in posts on Sina Weibo, a social media platform similar to Twitter, while a collection of Winnie-the-Pooh gifts vanished from social messaging service WeChat. … Any attempts to post Poohs Chinese name on Weibo prompted a message: ‘Content is illegal.’ ”

Insiders speculated that government censors acted on behalf of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was the subject of an internet meme featuring roly-poly Pooh and his wiry pal Tigger. Those images emerged in 2013 after the stout Xi was photographed with the slender President Barack Obama.

As is often the case, examples of absurd government censorship in China and elsewhere are accompanied by appalling abuses of human rights. Too often one leads to another, or vice versa.

It has been widely reported in the free world that Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, recently died in Chinese custody denied access to his wife, who is under house arrest. But Chinese officials who control the media have been on social sites busily blocking news of Lius death and monitoring private conversations.

Liu was in state custody because he had been sentenced to 11 years in prison for writing about and advocating universal values shared by all humankind, including human rights, equality, freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Eleven years.

For advocating universal values shared by all humankind.

Horrifying.

China is one of the most populous offenders but hardly alone. We have written previously about Raif Badawi, a blogger who has criticized the entanglement of religion, namely Islam, and government in Saudi Arabia and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes as a result. Considered a foe of the state and the national religion, he remains in custody; little is known about his condition or the extent of the beatings he has suffered.

Examples of repression are everywhere. Credible reports by watchdogs show that 34 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2000 with evidence that the killings were in retribution for coverage of public- and private-sector corruption. Turkey has recently jailed human-rights advocates.

And, yes, in the United States, there are troubling signs of intolerance: Campus speakers have been threatened and shouted down by political opponents, the tenor of the cultural wars is increasingly hostile and dishonest journalists have been labeled by the president as enemies of the people.

But at least in America we have the First Amendment and its protections, which have seldom seemed more necessary and valuable.

This editorial was originally published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, a sister newspaper of the Daily News within GateHouse Media.

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EDITORIAL: Freedom of speech never more valuable – Holmes County Times Advertiser

Freedom of Speech: Atheist Richard Dawkins Pulled From Berkeley Radio Station over remarks against Islam – Newsweek

Richard Dawkins and other leading atheists have hit out at a California radio station after it canceled an event upon learning of the scientists controversial views on Islam.

Dawkins was supposed to speak at an August event about his memoir, A Brief Candle in the Dark, hosted by Berkeleys KPFA radio station.

But in an email, which Dawkins published on his blog, the station informed ticketholders that the event was canceled.

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We had booked this event based entirely on [Dawkinss] excellent new book on science, the email read, when we didnt know he had offended and hurtin his tweets and other comments on Islamso many people.

Responding in an open letter, Dawkins said,I used to love your station when I lived in Berkeley for two years, shortly after that beloved place had become the iconic home of free speech.

My memory of KPFA is that you were unusually scrupulous about fact-checking. I especially admired your habit of always quoting sources.

You conspicuously did not quote a source when accusing me of abusive speech. Why didnt you check your facts… before summarily canceling my event?

I have never used abusive speech against Islam. I have called IslamISM vile but surely you, of all people, understand that Islamism is not the same as Islam.

Far from attacking Muslims, I understand, as perhaps you do not,that Muslims themselves are the prime victims of the oppressive cruelties of Islamism, especially Muslim women.

A letter in support of Dawkins from philosopher Stephen Pinker said,Dawkins is one of the great thinkers of the 20th and 21st century. He has criticized doctrines of Islam, together with doctrines of other religions, but criticism is not abuse.

Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, said in a statement thatfor KPFA to suddenly break its commitment to Richard and the hundreds of people who were so looking forward to seeing and hearing him is unconscionable, and the baseless accusation that Richard has engaged in abusive speech is a betrayal of the values KPFA has, until now, been known for.

Dawkins, who is known for his atheist views as well as his work as a scientist, has repeatedly spoken out strongly against Islam.

Among other incidents, he described Islam as the most evil religion in the world at a British book festival this spring, according to The Daily Telegraph, and received condemnation in 2015 when he walked out of an interview with the New Statesman magazine after a disagreement over the Muslim journalists faith.

At the time, journalist Emad Ahmed wrote that I was genuinely stunned when he decided to angrily walk away from our scheduled interview after I confirmed my beliefs in the revelations of the Islamic faith, calling my views pathetic.

Dawkins later said it was the journalists belief that the Prophet Muhammad rode a winged horse that led him to abandon the interview.

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Freedom of Speech: Atheist Richard Dawkins Pulled From Berkeley Radio Station over remarks against Islam – Newsweek

Russian police arrest man carrying ‘Putin lies’ poster at freedom of speech demo – The Independent

Indian supporters of Gorkhaland chant slogans tied with chains during a protest march in capital New Delhi. Eastern India’s hill resort of Darjeeling has been rattled at the height of tourist season after violent clashes broke out between police and hundreds of protesters of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) a long-simmering separatist movement that has long called for a separate state for ethnic Gorkhas in West Bengal. The GJM wants a new, separate state of “Gorkhaland” carved out of eastern West Bengal state, of which Darjeeling is a part.

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Demonstrators clash with riot security forces while rallying against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro’s government in Caracas, Venezuela. The banner on the bridge reads “It will be worth it”

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The Heathcote river as it rises to high levels in Christchurch, New Zealand. Heavy rain across the South Island in the last 24 hours has caused widespread damage and flooding with Dunedin, Waitaki, Timaru and the wider Otago region declaring a state of emergency.

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A mourner prays at a memorial during an event to commemorate the first anniversary of the shooting spree that one year ago left ten people dead, including the shooter in Munich, Germany. One year ago 18-year-old student David S. shot nine people dead and injured four others at and near a McDonalds restaurant and the Olympia Einkaufszentrum shopping center. After a city-wide manhunt that caused mass panic and injuries David S. shot himself in a park. According to police David S., who had dual German and Iranian citizenship, had a history of mental troubles.

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Palestinians react following tear gas that was shot by Israeli forces after Friday prayer on a street outside Jerusalem’s Old City

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Ousted former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra greets supporters as she arrives at the Supreme Court in Bangkok, Thailand

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Marek Suski of Law and Justice (PiS) (C) party scuffles with Miroslaw Suchon (2nd L) of Modern party (.Nowoczesna) as Michal Szczerba of Civic Platform (PO) (L) party holds up a copy of the Polish Constitution during the parliamentary Commission on Justice and Human Rights voting on the opposition’s amendments to the bill that calls for an overhaul of the Supreme Court in Warsaw

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A firefighter stands near a grass fire as he prepares to defend a home from the Detwiler fire in Mariposa, California

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Michael Lindell ,CEO of My Pillow reacts as U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Made in America roundtable meeting in the East Room of the White House

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Giant pandas lie beside ice blocks at Yangjiaping Zoo in Chongqing, China. Yangjiaping Zoo provided huge ice blocks for giant pandas to help them remove summer heat

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People ride camels in the desert in Dunhuang, China, as stage 10 of The Silkway Rally continues

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17th FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Team North Korea practice under coach supervision

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IAAF World ParaAthletics Championships – London, Britain – July 17, 2017

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Workers check power lines during maintenance work in Laian, in China’s eastern Anhui province

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Russia Kamaz’s driver Dmitry Sotnikov, co-drivers Ruslan Akhmadeev and Ilnur Mustafin compete during the Stage 9 of the Silk Way 2017 between Urumqi and Hami, China

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull talks with Special Operations Command soldiers during a visit to the Australian Army’s Holsworthy Barracks in western Sydney

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Men in traditional sailor costumes celebrate after carrying a statue of the El Carmen Virgin, who is worshipped as the patron saint of sailors, into the Mediterranean Sea during a procession in Torremolinos, near Malaga, Spain

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People participate in a protest in front of the Sejm building (the lower house of the Polish parliament) in Warsaw, Poland. The demonstration was organized by Committee for the Defense of Democracy (KOD). Members and supporters of the KOD and opposition parties protested against changes in the judicial law and the Supreme Court

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People prepare to swim with a portrait of late Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong on the bank of the Yangtze River in Yichang, Hubei province, China to celebrate the 51st anniversary of Chairman Mao swimming in the Yangtze River.

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A woman takes a selfie picture with her mobile phone next to the statue of Omer Halisdemir in Istanbul, in front of a memorial with the names of people killed last year during the failed coup attempt .

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French President Emmanuel Macron gestures next to US President Donald Trump during the annual Bastille Day military parade on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris.

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Philippine National Police chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa holds an M60 machine gun during a Gun and Ammunition show at a mall in Mandaluyong city, metro Manila, Philippines

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker embrace before the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev, Ukraine

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US President Donald Trump (R) and First Lady Melania Trump disembark form Air Force One upon arrival at Paris Orly airport on July 13, 2017, beginning a 24-hour trip that coincides with France’s national day and the 100th anniversary of US involvement in World War I

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Iraqis walk on a damaged street in west Mosul a few days after the government’s announcement of the liberation of the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters

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Iraqi boys wash a vehicle in west Mosul a few days after the government’s announcement of the liberation of the embattled city from Islamic State (IS) group fighters

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Afghan policeman pour fuel over jerry cans containing confiscated acetic acid before setting it alight on the outskirts of Herat. Some 15,000 liters of acetic acid, often mixed with heroin, were destroyed by counter narcotics police

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Residents stand amid the debris of their homes which were torn down in the evicted area of the Bukit Duri neighbourhood located on the Ciliwung river banks in Jakarta

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Boys play cricket at a parking lot as it rains in Chandigarh, India

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the 22nd World Petroleum Congress (WPC) in Istanbul

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Police from the anti-terror squad participate in an anti-terror performance among Acehnese dancers during a ceremony to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the Indonesian police corps in Banda Aceh

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New Mongolia’s president Khaltmaa Battulga takes an oath during his inauguration ceremony in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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US army 1st Division, US air force, US Navy and US Marines, march down the Champs Elysees, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background, in Paris during a rehearsal of the annual Bastille Day military parade

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Participants run ahead of Puerto de San Lorenzo’s fighting bulls during the third bull run of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, northern Spain. Each day at 8:00 am hundreds of people race with six bulls, charging along a winding, 848.6-metre (more than half a mile) course through narrow streets to the city’s bull ring, where the animals are killed in a bullfight or corrida, during this festival, immortalised in Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel “The Sun Also Rises” and dating back to medieval times and also featuring religious processions, folk dancing, concerts and round-the-clock drinking.

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Iraqi women, who fled the fighting between government forces and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists in the Old City of Mosul, cry as they stand in the city’s western industrial district awaiting to be relocated

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US President Donald Trump arrives for another working session during the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany

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People climb up on a roof to get a view during riots in Hamburg, northern Germany, where leaders of the world’s top economies gather for a G20 summit

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A military helicopter rescues people trapped on the roof of the Ministry of Finance by an intense fire in San Salvador

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Donald Trump arrives to deliver a speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw, Poland.

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A firefighter conducts rescue operations in an area damaged by heavy rain in Asakura, Japan.

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Anti-capitalism activists protest in Hamburg, where leaders of the worlds top economies will gather for a G20 summit.

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Crowds gather for the start of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain.

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A member of the Iraqi security forces runs with his weapon during a fight between Iraqi forces and Islamic State militants in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq.

A U.S. MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile is fired during the combined military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea against North Korea at an undisclosed location in South Korea

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North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-fire of inter-continental ballistic missile Hwasong-14

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during a signing ceremony following the talks at the Kremlin

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Belarussian servicemen march during a military parade as part of celebrations marking the Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus

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Ambulance cars and fire engines are seen near the site where a coach burst into flames after colliding with a lorry on a motorway near Muenchberg, Germany

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Protesters demonstrating against the upcoming G20 economic summit ride boats on Inner Alster lake during a protest march in Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg will host the upcoming G20 summit and is expecting heavy protests throughout.

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Protesters carry a large image of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo as they march during the annual pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong. Thousands joined an annual protest march in Hong Kong, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up his visit to the city by warning against challenges to Beijing’s sovereignty.

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Jockey Andrea Coghe of “Selva” (Forest) parish rides his horse during the first practice for the Palio Horse Race in Siena, Italy June 30, 2017

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Russian police arrest man carrying ‘Putin lies’ poster at freedom of speech demo – The Independent

Our View: Case makes clear: Talk is cheap. Free speech isn’t. – Rockford Register Star

By The Editorial BoardRockford Register Star

We dont typically root for libel plaintiffs.

Too many Americans have sacrificed too much over the generations to ensure that we can speak our minds in the public square without fear of reprisal for us to cheer on those use litigation to silence an adversary.

Yet it is hard not to sympathize with Justin Fern, proprietor of Urban Equity Properties.

Fern, youll recall, filed a lawsuit a couple of weeks back against a handful of people Fern claims defamed him by suggesting that he set the June fire that consumed the old Hanley Furniture building in downtown Rockford. The building was owned by Urban Equity.

Its unclear what will become of the lawsuit. It was dismissed at the request of Ferns lawyer so the lawyer can add defendants. Nevertheless, theres an important lesson to be learned. Well get to that in a moment.

Decades of jurisprudence have erected a high legal par for those claiming theyve been defamed. Its especially difficult for plaintiffs whom the law considers public figures. Whether Fern meets that standard would be determined by the court.

What is clear, however, is that Fern has joined the company of those who because of their business activities, political activities, or creative or artistic talents have been subjected to the merciless torment meted out so casually by users of Facebook and other social media platforms.

Such conduct may not be unlawful. But it certainly violates the norms of civilized behavior the kind of informal, widely accepted standards of conduct for the community.

We can hear the critics now.

Youre advocating censorship!

You want to take away my right to free speech.

No and no.

Censorship occurs when the government suppresses speech it considers politically objectionable or deems a threat to national security. (In ancient Rome, the censor was an official in charge of public morality, among other duties.)

No one is trying to suppress your right to speak freely. But we don’t want you to treat the right to free speech the way you would a dime store toy, as a source of personal amusement. Be responsible. Be civil. Be constructive. And remember that freedom of speech doesnt mean freedom from consequences.

The surest way to avoid running afoul of the law is to confine yourself to speaking from facts, truth being an absolute defense. That, of course, rules out of bounds an awful lot of the poppycock that finds its way to social media.

It means you dont speculate about events about which you have know evidence. You dont instantly impugn someones motives. You dont demand that an adversary prove a negative. And you dont spout conspiracy theories when events dont go your way.

Its really pretty simple.

Were fortunate. There are plenty of places in the world where speaking truth to power earns you a quick trip to jail.

A substantial segment of social media users seem to get their jollies from posting incendiary comments. After all, the more people you can rile or amuse, the more people you can incite to anger, the better. Thats the measure of success on social media. And theres not much anyone can do to stop it.

What these knights of cyberspace fail to grasp, however, is that with each flaming tweet or Facebook post, they cheapen the contributions of those who’ve made serious use of the right to speak freely to power abolitionists, suffragettes, civil rights activists and antiwar demonstrators, among others. Those kinds of people, and their causes, are what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they enshrined free speech in the First Amendment.

It’s likely, of course, that the people who took to social media to insult Fern had no clue about that history, any more than they understood their potential legal exposure or the limits on their own free-speech rights. For them, we offer this advice:

When you want to strike a blow for free speech, make sure you have something worthwhile to say.

Here is the original post:

Our View: Case makes clear: Talk is cheap. Free speech isn’t. – Rockford Register Star


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