Censorship

Tintin OUT, then IN at Swedish Library

Swedish News (in English): Following a storm of media criticism, officials at the Kulturhuset library in Stockholm have reversed their decision to remove Tintin comic books from its shelves, saying the move happened "too fast".

"The decision happened too fast," Kulturhuset head Eric Sjöström and the organization's artistic director, Behrang Miri, said in a statement released late Tuesday morning.

The reversal comes after a report in Tuesday's Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper in which Miri said the library planned to remove Tintin comics from its shelves.

“The image the Tintin books give of Africans is Afro-phobic, for example. Africans are a bit dumb, while Arabs sit on flying carpets and Turks smoke water pipes,” he told the paper.

But after criticism of the move erupted in Swedish media on Monday morning, Miri changed his stance.

"I wanted to highlight an opinion piece about issues of discrimination, but realize now that it's wrong to ban books," Miri said in a statement.

However, Kulturhuset head Sjöström applauded Miri for prompting a discussion about discrimination.

"The issues of discrimination, equality and norms continue to be debated and discussed," Sjöström said in a statement.

Balkanizing The Internet

Reporters Without Borders takes a look at new frontiers in carrying out censorship being undertaken in response to an infamous YouTube video.

Underground library stands up for books

From the opinion page of Milwaukee's JSOnline,

"Recently, I met Adriana McCleer, a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Information Studies. Aside from being a graduate student, McCleer is a former librarian from Racine. She's also a visionary.

McCleer wants to build a library in our great city. But not just any ol' library. She wants Milwaukee to have an underground library of books banned in Tucson, Ariz. If she succeeds, and I hope she does, the library will be one of many popping up across the nation."

British charity calls for '50 Shades of Grey' book burning

A British charity has called for a burning of the book "50 Shades of Grey" by E.L. James. Wearside Women in Need, which focuses on domestic violence, has asked readers to drop off books for a planned bonfire on Nov. 5.

"I do not think I can put into words how vile I think this book is," Wearside Women's Clare Phillipson told the BBC, "and how dangerous I think the idea is that you get a sophisticated but naive, young women and a much richer, abusive older man who beats her up and does some dreadful things to her sexually."

Why should Amazon be our taste and decency policeman?

The Guardian has an interesting story on requiring Amazon.com to censor the materials they sell. "Why should Amazon be our taste and decency policeman?The online retailer has been criticised for profiting from ebooks featuring terror and violence. No one should tell us what to read."

See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jun/26/amazon-taste-decency-policeman-ebooks-te...

Googler proposes '451' error code to signal Internet censorship, in honor of Ray Bradbury

A 451 Internet error code? Digital Trends has the details:

"Government-imposed online censorship has become increasingly prevalent over the past few years...When censorship does happen, we need a sign that clearly tells us that that’s the reason for a site’s inaccessibility.

Enter Tim Bray, a software developer at Google who has proposed a solution: a “451? error code that displays anytime you visit a site blocked by the government. The number 451 is in honor of late author Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, first published in 1950, warned of a dystopian world defined by government-imposed censorship (in the form of burning any house that contains books)."

Censoring science information

Banned Book Could Lead to Imprisonment

From the Malaysian Digest, news that a Borders store manager in Kuala Lumpur is facing possible arrest for stocking a Canadian title that Muslim religious authorities find objectionable.

Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court for allegedly violating the Hukum Syarak by distributing or selling Irshad Manji’s book Allah, Liberty and Love.

“The management of Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd who own and operate the Borders bookstore chain in Malaysia is very disappointed that our store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz has today been charged by Jabatan Agama Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI) in the Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court for distributing a book by Canadian author Irshad Manji deemed to be against the Islamic Law (Hukum Syarak) and banned in Malaysia. The charge was brought under Section 13(1) of Prime Minister’s Department for Islamic Affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom have also been named as respondents in the application for judicial review."

Almost Like the McCarthy Era; Librarians Asked to Name Names of Gay-Oriented Books

Salt Lake Tribune: Controversy over a book describing a household with lesbian mothers has prompted the Davis School District to ask school librarians to name other titles that parents might find objectionable, according to one district librarian.

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco was recently removed from shelves of elementary school libraries in Davis County after a group of parents objected to the story’s content. The book remains accessible but only if a student presents a permission slip from a parent to check out the book.
DaNae Leu, a media specialist at Snow Horse Elementary School in Kaysville, said the district is taking a proactive stance on pulling other books in the wake of the controversy. Also marked for removal is And Tango Makes Three, the story of a pair of male penguins who sit on an egg at a zoo until it hatches; and Totally Joe, a book for ages 10 and up about a teenager who is gay.

She said librarians are being asked to supply names of books that contain gay and lesbian characters. Many librarians are frustrated about the situation, she said, but are nervous about speaking out because they fear reprisals.

"I’ve never seen this happen. It’s almost like they want to preemptively pull books that might disturb somebody," she said. "I feel like Joe McCarthy is asking me to name names," she said of discussions in which administrators have asked for book names

Proposed New York State Ban On Anonymous Posts

CNET's Greg Sandoval brings word of a bill in the New York State legislature prohibiting anonymous communications online. This proposal follows on from another New York State proposal discussed by David Kravetz at Wired.

It is unclear from either news account but the proposed bills might impact LISNews.

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