Censorship

Amazon Selling Kindle Version of Wikileaks

Among its many services, Amazon.com offers hosting for websites in the form of data storage. When Wikileaks dumped a massive cache of diplomatic cables onto the Internet, it didn't take long for some technologically minded people to find out that Amazon had been hosting Wikileaks' data and content for quite some time. Yet, after the blow up over the cables, Amazon tossed Wikileaks from their servers, siting violations of their terms of service.

So make of this what you will, but Amazon UK is selling a Kindle version of the Wikileaks data. You can also have a look at the customer comments.

Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress and Wikileaks

The Congressional Research Service is seeking guidance on the use of information revealed by Wikileaks. CRS researchers can use all the resources of one of the world's greatest libraries, BUT they are prohibited from using a website that's easily accessible to the average fifth-grader. Does this impede their mission to provide accurate and reliable reports to Congress?

http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2010/12/crs_guidance.html/comment-page-1#comment-23738

Topic: 

Library of Congress Blocks Wikileaks

From The Guardian:

The Library of Congress tonight joined the education department, the commerce department and other government agencies in confirming that the ban is in place.

Although thousands of leaked cables are freely available on the Guardian, New York Times and other newspaper websites, as well as the WikiLeaks site, the Obama administration insists they are still classified and, as such, have to be protected.

Smithsonian Censors Itself at the Behest of the Government

The Smithsonian Museum has been under pressure from Catholics and congressmen to pull pieces of an exhibit focusing on homosexuality and homosexual Americans. From NPR:

At least one critic has accused the Smithsonian of caving in to pressure from Catholics and from two Republican members of Congress. Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia called the exhibition "an outrageous use of taxpayer money." A spokesperson for incoming House Speaker John Boehner told The Hill newspaper that "Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January."

More from NPR.

"Mamnoueh maqroubieh," goes the Arabic proverb. All that is forbidden is desired.

Article in the LA Times: In Jordan, a bookstore devoted to forbidden titles

"There are three no-nos," the owner of Al Taliya Books explains with a big smile. "Sex, politics and religion. Unfortunately, that's all anyone ever wants to read about."

5 Things to Learn From Amazon's Latest PR Disaster

Amazon is backpedaling after initially coming to the defense of one of its electronic book authors, a man selling a how-to-guide for pedophiles.

"Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable," the company said in a statement. However, after receving massive media attention, the book self-published by Phillip R. Greaves II, The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover's Code of Conduct, has been removed quietly from the Kindle store.

This latest action further highlights how Amazon seemingly has no idea how to defuse a public relations nightmare; has sketchy business ethics; and apparently lacks a quality control mechanism to prevent more of these publicity headaches. Here are some takeaways from Amazon's fiasco.

Full blog post here

Parent: Homework assignment crosses the line

Greenwich's top educator is defending the use of a handout sheet of literary passages containing racial, ethnic and gender slurs that was part of a homework assignment on free speech and censorship in the middle schools.

An "appetizer" to a project coinciding with the American Library Association's Banned Books Week, which took place in early October and celebrated the First Amendment, the handout was intended to get students to think about why certain literary classics are considered taboo, said Sidney Freund, the superintendent of schools.

Full article

Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2010 Mapped

Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2010 Mapped
Hundreds of books are challenged in schools and libraries in the United States each year. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, while a banning reflects the actual removal of those materials. The American Library Association (ALA) provides confidential support to teachers and librarians and tracks challenges that occur. ALA recorded 460 challenges in 2009 but estimates that this reflects only 20-25% of actual incidents, as most challenges are never reported.

This map is drawn from cases documented by ALA and the Kids' Right to Read Project, a collaboration of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Details are available in ALA's "Books Banned and Challenged 2007-2008; 2008-2009; and 2009-2010,"and the "Kids' Right to Read Project Report."

Topic: 

Penguin Full-Page New York Times Ad Defends 'Speak'

Further to our earlier story about an associate professor at Missouri State U. who referred to the young adult novel "Speak" as "soft pornography," the Penguin Young Readers Group has taken out a full page ad in today’s New York Times to defend the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson.

In an op-ed piece earlier this month in the Missouri News-Leader, Wesley Scoggins wrote that Speak was not appropriate for students of the Republic School District and also challenged Slaughterhouse-Five and Twenty Boy Summer.

From Publishers Weekly: “That such a decorated book could be challenged is disturbing,” said Penguin’s Shanta Newlin about the decision to run an ad. With Banned Books Week now in full swing (Sept. 25-Oct. 2), Penguin believes the ad points to the larger issue of books still being challenged in large numbers across the country, Newlin added. The ad, in fact, notes that "every day in this country, people are being told what they can and can't read," and it asks Times readers to "read the book. Decide for yourself."

Author Defends Her Novel Stating that Rape is Not Soft Porn

For an event like Banned Books Week, it never hurts to have a cause célèbre, and this year, organizers needn’t have gone very far in search of one. They just had to turn to Twitter, where people have been rallying behind the young-adult author Laurie Halse Anderson, whose best-selling 1999 novel, “Speak,” has found itself at the center of a heated censorship debate.

Earlier this month, Anderson posted a series of messages about a Missouri man who wanted “Speak” removed from the high school curriculum in his school district. The man, Wesley Scroggins, an associate professor of management at Missouri State University, wrote an opinion article for The Springfield News-Leader in which he said that “Speak” — as well as Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and Sarah Ockler’s “Twenty Boy Summer” — should be classified as “soft pornography.” (“Speak,” for the record, is the story of a high school girl who is raped by an acquaintance but then tells no one, is ostracized as a result of rumors about the episode, and becomes virtually mute. It was nominated for the 1999 National Book Award and was a Printz Honor title in 2000.)

Pages

Subscribe to Censorship