Free Speech

Tuesday, 23 March 2010 19:00 B'nai Brith Canada Editorial Dept - Free Speech

As Coulter on Campus Talk is Cancelled in Ottawa - B'nai Brith Canada has condemned the free speech double standard that exists on university campuses across Canada and has resulted in the cancellation of recent events due to safety concerns emanating from campus radicals.

Yesterday evening, an event featuring American right-wing pundit Ann Coulter was cancelled at the University of Ottawa due to the fact that thousands of protestors came out to protest the event and security could not adequately guarantee Coulter's safety.

In late February, York University cancelled an event planned by Imagine With Us, a B'nai Brith Canada-led multi-faith coalition of Christian and Jewish organizations focused on maintaining Canadian values, after the university, fearful of the actions of anti-Israel agitators on campus, said it could not guarantee the safety of the event's speakers without a large security and police presence paid for by the student organizers.


Thursday, 11 February 2010 18:00 Reporters Without Borders Editorial Dept - Free Speech

Reporters Without Borders condemns the government’s latest offensive against the Internet coinciding with celebrations marking the Islamic Revolution’s 31st anniversary. Online access has again been disrupted, as it is whenever opposition protests are expected.

In major cities such as Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Ahvaz and Shiraz, Internet connections have been slowed right down, restricted to certain neighbourhoods or entirely suspended in some areas for the past few days. Some mobile phone companies have blocked the sending of SMS messages since the evening of 6 February.

The authorities announced yesterday that they were permanently blocking access to Google Mail and would instead create a national email service. The Wall Street Journal quoted an Iranian official as saying the purpose of this move was to promote the development of national technologies and to increase the population’s confidence in the government.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008 19:00 Patrick Goodenough Editorial Dept - Free Speech

It’s catching. Two days after an Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President Bush in a show of contempt during a Baghdad press conference, green activists in Australia borrowed the tactic to demonstrate their anger at government climate policy shifts.

Unlike the Iraqi shoe-flinger, however, the Australian protestors did not have an actual head of state in front of them to target with their shoes, so they had to make do with an impersonator.

During a public demonstration in front of the state legislature in the South Australia capital, Adelaide, protestors pelted an activist dressed up as Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with shoes.

Hurling shoes or even waving the soles – the dirtiest part of the footwear – at someone traditionally has been a sign of insult in some cultures, including Arab and Thai, but thanks to media coverage of the incident during Bush’s visit, the gesture is now understood far and wide.

Tuesday, 02 October 2007 20:00 Mara Moustafine Editorial Dept - Free Speech

Sydney PEN is gravely concerned for the well-being of leading Burmese comedian and poet Maung Thura popularly known as Zargana) who was arrested on 25 September as part of the violent crackdown on pro-democracy activists by the military government.

Sydney PEN, an affiliate of International PEN, is an association of writers which defends the right to freedom of expression in Australia and the world at large and campaigns on behalf of writers who are silenced by persecution, exile or imprisonment.

According to PEN's information, Maung Thura (popularly known as 'Zargana') was arrested for his support of the monks demonstrating in the capital, Rangoon. He remains in detention and there are mounting concerns for his well-being and safety. 


Sunday, 29 October 2006 20:00 Democracy Watch Editorial Dept - Free Speech

Liberal Senators Propose to Strengthen Bill C-2 (the so-called "Federal Accountability Act") in many keys ways, and to weaken it in three key ways - Will Conservative and Liberal Senators and MPs support the changes?

Today, Democracy Watch called on senators and MPs to accept all but three of the amendments proposed mainly, and often only, by Liberal senators on the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs which reviewed Bill C-2 (the so-called "Federal Accountability Act" (FAA)).

"A Senate Committee, mainly with the support only of Liberal senators, has proposed many changes that strengthen the draft Federal Accountability Act in the areas of ethics enforcement, whistleblower protection, access-to-information, and spending accountability, and all senators and MPs should approve these changes," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the Government Ethics Coalition and the Money in Politics Coalition. "However, the Committee's proposal to increase the limit on political donations by individuals to $2,000 and to delay the new limits for one year are undemocratic moves that should be rejected because they help the Liberal Party only."



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