So there you have it: censorship takes place when authorities -- i.e. those with real power -- issue fatwas, demand a book be withdrawn, remove it from schools/libraries, burn or otherwise prevent people from reading it. It would be censorship if Mr. Harper's Minister of literature turned around and said, "Take that sucker off the shelves. No one's gonna read about tampon lollipops on my watch!" No matter how hard Galloway et al. twists it, a petition to the Canada Council to reconsider an award just doesn't qualifies as censorship in the real world.
So much has been written about the cartoons published in the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But should main stream print media re-publish them? What if children see the images? What then? Or, alternatively, should we actively show them to our children? If we want our children to live in a democratic society, we had better teach them that freedom of expression has two ends to it.
Sony, along with a number of other major Hollywood studios and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) have been desperately trying to force Google to block search results that enable Internet users to illegally download their protected material. They want to create a situation where Internet service providers can block access to whole websites in an effort to prevent piracy.
I understand the nature of cultural and religious sensitivity. I believe in debate and free speech. What happened this past week put the two ideas -- free speech and religious sensitivity -- at polar opposites. I had realized that after we printed the clarification that the staff at The Eyeopener probably didn't fully understand the implications of our statement. We were accused of ignorance.
Seven Iranian students have received a suspended sentence of up to 12 months and 91 lashes each. Their crime: they recorded a video signing Pharrell Williams' song, Happy. A huge disconnect is obvious in Iran and Saudi Arabia where, in the name of Islam, varying degrees of orthodoxy is being enforced on the masses.
In today's world where digital innovation is driven by the ability to access and leverage the open Internet, the TPP proposes regressive Internet regulations that would be imposed on 12 countries party to the agreement (including Canada) by unaccountable U.S. conglomerates, with little to no meaningful consultation with the public.
Rihanna recently had her Instagram account deleted after posting one of the topless photos from her very racy, very stylish spread in Lui magazine earlier this month. Even though Instagram maintained it was an accident (who in their right mind would piss RiRi off on purpose?) and reinstated the account, it had still been wiped squeaky clean.
Imagine a world without a George Orwell and The Road to Wigan Pier, without Katherine Boo and Behind the Beautiful Forevers, or without Óscar Martínez and The Beast. What if Britain, the United States, and El Salvador had silenced these radicals before they ever documented working class poverty, the economics of slum life, and the horror of migrant trails?
In a world without the freedom to read, I am Salman Rushdie. I am 460 Confucian scholars who were suffocated to death so that recorded history would begin with the reign of Emperor Shih Huang Ti. I am Martin Luther whose Ninety-Five Theses was burned, but not before it set the stage for the Protestant Reformation. In a world without the freedom to read, I am anyone who has ever been censored into silence.
Only days ago, news leaked that Penguin Books India had quietly settled a 2011 lawsuit filed against it by a conservative Indian education reform group, which required the publisher to withdraw and destroy all available copies of the Indian edition of University of Chicago professor Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus: An Alternative History.
People like me who get excited about poring over the cheapie bins for bargain-priced cult classics should be positively ecstatic about the October programming at the Vancity Theatre. I talked to VIFC programmer Tom Charity about the VIFC's late October schedule -- including the Vancouver-shot porno chic Sexcula; the inspired decision to have Vancouver's Funerary Call do a live score for Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages; and the two films paired with Häxan: Ken Russell's The Devils -- a serious favourite of mine -- and Dario Argento's Inferno.
We've all heard scary censorship stories, in which oppressive governments block access to information, and only allow residents of a nation to see, read, or watch what rulers permit. These stories usually start off slowly -- with justifiable censorship activities taking place for the supposed wellbeing of the nation--and escalate quickly. So why, then, are our governments talking about making censorship the default for the Internet in the U.K. and Canada?
Try to find some child pornography. Go on. Head to Google, or Bing, or even a porn-specific search engine, and try to devise a search string capable of returning pedophilic images or video. I'll wait. Once you're done, we'll meet back up in the next paragraph. In reacting to the story of murdering pedophile Mark Bridger, who was an avid viewer of child pornography, Cameron leapt to abandon his conservative ideals and swing the hammer of censorship without stopping to ask the single most pertinent question: How did Mark Bridger find this child pornography in the first place?
Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information. So perhaps it is time for us Canadians to wake up and smell the suppression -- no longer are censorships solely the purview of tin-pot dictators in far away regimes.
Faulty advertising rules caused extensive problems for small spenders such as non-profit and charity groups during the 2009 B.C. election. The rules led to widespread confusion, wasted resources, anxiety and, most dangerously, self-censorship among organizations that spent little or nothing on election advertising. The government should have (and could have) fixed this situation when it was amending the law this spring, but chose not to.
Let's get one thing straight: Abubakar Kasim is not advocating for "tolerance, respect and harmony" in his latest piece for the Huffington Post. He's advocating for the banning and censorship of "Innocence of Muslims." While "Innocence of Muslims" contributes nothing whatsoever to the discourse surrounding "one of the world's greatest religions" to ban it would be to ban the understanding of an inciting force that has had gut-wrenching consequences.
Do you actively seek out different opinions than your own, or unwittingly reinforce your personal conventional wisdom by only consuming "agreeable" content? While we may think it is the former, too often we live in a bubble. Here are some reasons why we're not as open-minded or as free as we may think, and how the internet is really preventing us from experiencing new things.
In the highly turbulent world of the Middle East, social media has been playing an extremely significant role in raising awareness and inciting change. But in Iran, the internet is closed-off from the outside world, only giving its citizens government-issued propaganda. People like Saman Arbabi are trying to fight this, and we must help in any way we can.