We can't allow our free press to continue to be restricted by the whims of the market, any more than we would allow it to be restricted by law.
Badawi has been languishing in a Saudi prison since his first arrest in 2012, and his subsequent sentencing in 2014 to 10 years imprisonment and 1000 lashes, itself constitutive of torture and a standing violation of international human rights law. Raif Badawi's "crime"? Establishing an online forum and exercising his right to freedom of expression.
It all started when Terry Bollea a.k.a. Hulk Hogan filed a defamation suit against Gawker Media some time ago. It was later established (by admission) that the billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel was paying the legal expenses for Hogan (Bollea) because he did not approve of Gawker's journalistic ethics.
Canada drops 10 spots on press freedom index.
No federal government in recent memory -- possibly ever -- has precipitated more fights with its appointed watchdog officials or special interest advocacy groups than the current one. It's an issue largely fuelled by Harper's insatiable appetite to control the flow of information and the substance of political debate. It is no surprise, then, that the Canadian Association of Journalists has twice given Harper its "Code of Silence" award, handed to a government or publicly funded agency "for keeping secret what it should make accessible."
Dear Prime Minister Harper, I write to you as a Canadian, and as a survivor of having a loved one wrongfully imprisoned in Iran. I write to you knowing what it feels like every moment of every day a loved is held captive for political reasons alone. It is haunting. It is impossible to feel free.
On April 25 of this year, the Ethiopian government made news by arresting six bloggers and three freelance journalists. It is now over 100 days, and counting, since the six Zone 9 bloggers and the three freelance journalists were thrown into Ethiopian prison cells. The nine writers are facing terrorism-related charges, standing accused of inciting violence through social media.
In Kenya, following the terrorist attack on Westgate Mall last September, parliamentarians passed two harsh media laws known as the Kenya Information and Communication Act, or KICA, and the Media Council Bill of 2013. Both pieces of legislation, labeled as "draconian" by journalists, were signed by President Kenyatta last December.
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 Canada, protection of a free press is so ingrained that we almost take it for granted. In Tanzania, unfortunately, one op-ed really can mean the difference between earning a living and the death of an entire paper.