Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Friday, August 06, 2010

China tightens internet censorship in Tibet

From the Tibetan Review August 5:

"All internet cafes across Tibet have been ordered to finish installing by the end of Aug’10 a state-of-the-art surveillance system which would not only restrict contents that could be viewed by identified surfers but also monitor their internet activities. 'All the Internet cafes must now install it,' Radio Free Asia online Aug 3 quoted Chen Jianying, head of the customer service department of the industry group Internet Cafes Online, as saying.

"Under a nationwide scheme, which took effect Aug 1, second-generation identity cards belonging to the person using the Internet must be swiped to allow online access. Viewed content can then be traced back to that identity, using the surveillance system."

Click here for full text of article.

Indonesian court upholds ban on Australian movie Balibo

An Indonesian court has upheld a ban in the country on the acclaimed Australian film Balibo which depicts Indonesian soldiers murdering five Australian journalists in East Timor in 1975.

"The film Balibo could incite political sensitivities in relations between countries," Judge Andri Mosepa said.

Click here for full text of article from the Herald Sun, August 5.

Khmer Rouge film to be shown in US, banned in Cambodia

A documentary film Enemies of the People, about Nuon Chea and the Khmer Rouge murderous policies, banned in Cambodia, is coming to the United States to be shown. Thet Sambath, the film's producer, said he was repeatedly denied permission by the Ministry of Culture to show the film in Phnom Penh, with no explanation ever given. Click here for full text of article from Asia Times Online, August 6.

Banned book week coming up

From School Library Journal, August 6:

"..The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is urging booksellers and librarians around the country to participate in the September 25-October 2 awareness campaign aimed at celebrating the freedom to read.

"Last year, there were 460 book challenges, according to the American Library Association.."

Click here for full text of article.

Book on gay youth pulled from NJ library

The book Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology, described as "a collection of first-person essays by gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens, sharing their stories of coming out of the closet," has been removed from the the library at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in New Jersey.

Click here for full text of report, from the New York Daily News, August 4.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Protestant church to burn Koran(?)

Amy Sullivan of Time reports, July 30:

"A conservative church in Florida is organizing "Burn a Qu'ran Day" to commemorate September 11, which happens to fall during Ramadan this year. Leaders at the Dove World Outreach Center say Islam is a "violent and oppressive religion," and in their own nod toward religious tolerance, they have invited Muslims to attend the Qu'ran-burning event to engage in dialogue..."

Click here for full text of blog, and here for article by Michelle Vu in the Christian Post, July 28.

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on Al-Gosaibi’s books


"A ban on the sale of books authored by Minister of Labor Ghazi Al-Gosaibi has been lifted, announced Minister of Information Abdul Aziz Khoja on Facebook.

"Khoja wrote on his Facebook wall that it is inappropriate not to stock Al-Gosaibi’s intellectual writings in the Kingdom’s libraries.

"Al-Gosaibi’s books have been banned for several years but available in neighboring Arab countries such as Bahrain, Lebanon and Egypt. The minister of labor is currently receiving medical treatment at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh. Among his controversial works is a collection of poetry called 'A Battle Without a Flag' and a novel called 'The Apartment of Freedom,' which tells the story of a group of young intellectuals who share an apartment in Cairo while at university.

"Abdo Khal, author of 'Spewing Sparks,' which won the international prize for Arabic fiction but is banned in the Kingdom, said he hopes the lifting of the ban on Al-Gosaibi’s books will pave the way for the writings of other authors to be allowed into the Kingdom..."

Click here for full text of article, published August 1.

Why Turkey banned Google

From article by D. Vogi:

"Beginning in June 2010, the government of Turkey began restricting its citizens' ability to access websites owned by Google, beginning with YouTube and then extending to the company's other sites as well. Other affected services began with Google Books, Google Docs (Documents), Google Analytics (tracking software used by other websites), and Google Translate. YouTube itself has already been restricted in Turkey for years. The government's Transportation and Communication Ministry cited 'legal reasons' for the new ban, although critics were understandably quick to suspect that the real motive was censorship..."

Click here for full text.

Human Rights Watch awards dissident writers

From a press release of Human Rights Watch today:

"Human Rights Watch announced Hellman/Hammett grants today for 42 writers from 20 countries in recognition of their commitment to free expression and courage in the face of political persecution.

"All are writers whose work and activism have been suppressed by their governments. Beyond their own experiences, they represent numerous other writers and journalists whose personal and professional lives have been disrupted as a result of repressive government policies that aim to control speech and publications..."

Click here for full text.

Chinese author to publish book critical of premier

Cara Anna of Associated Press reports that dissident writer Yu Jie plans to publish a book in Hong Kong critical of China's premier Wen Jiabao despite police threats that he could be imprisoned. Anna says: "..Yu, 36, was a best-selling author before his books were banned in China not long after Wen became premier in 2003. Yu helped found the Independent PEN Center in China, which fights for freedom of expression, and is a vocal Christian who has angered authorities by outspokenly advocating religious freedom."

Click here for full text of article, published today.