Censorship

Banned Books Returned to Shelves in Egypt and Tunisia

There is an article in the Monday Guardian, "Banned books return to shelves in Egypt and TunisiaWorks by censored authors available again in wake of revolutions." by Benedicte Page. It talks about how books banned in Tunisia and Egypt by the repressive government are now appearing in bookstores and other locations.

"Alexis Krikorian, director of the Freedom to Publish programme at the IPA, said the emergence of these and other formerly banned books within Tunisia was "very good news". Whether censorship still existed with regard to new titles was a separate issue, he added, but it was likely that the legal submission procedure, which under the old regime had been misused to block books at their printers, "no longer applies".

Anecdotal reports are also emerging of once suppressed titles appearing for impromptu sale on street corners and newspaper kiosks across Egypt. Salwa Gaspard of joint English/Arabic language publisher Saqi Books said accounts in the Arabic press told of books that had been hidden for years in private basements now once more seeing the light of day.

Cairo is also to hold a book fair in Tahrir Square – the focus for protests against former president Hosni Mubarak – at the end of March, according to Trevor Naylor of the American University of Cairo Press bookshop, which is based in the square. Naylor told the Bookseller that the event had been planned in the wake of the cancelled Cairo Book Fair, which was abandoned in January in the face of growing political unrest. -- Read More

A Ray of Hope in Tunisia...Previously Banned Books for Sale

From The Irish Times:

LOOKING OUT the window of her bookshop on Avenue Bouguiba, where two dozen curious faces are pressed against the pane to catch a glimpse at her latest display, Selma Jabbes is a picture of quiet satisfaction.

The crowds outside the Al Kitab bookshop are staring at a selection of newly arrived titles under the heading Livres interdits , a selection of books banned under the regime of deposed president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and now freely available for the first time.

Most concern Ben Ali, his wife Leila Trabelsi, political repression, Islamism and corruption in the regime.

Al Kitab is still awaiting delivery of its first order of banned books from Europe; those in the window were donated by readers and put on display “to give an idea of how we suffered here”, says Jabbes, a softly-spoken woman greeted by name by many of her customers.

Under Ben Ali’s rule, booksellers required a visa from the interior ministry for every work they wanted to import, and the process could take several months. The list of sensitive subject matter was long and ever-changing, but virtually every foreign title that touched on the president or his entourage, or which denigrated his policies, was strictly prohibited.

The Lights Are Going Out

Things are apparently developing in Egypt. There is an unconfirmed report that Egypt is totally offline. The Electronic Frontier Foundation posted to Identica about a separate report about the Internet being cut off in Egypt. Caroline McCarthy at CNET notes that Twitter is presently being blocked in Egypt. Later reporting by Elinor Mills at CNET notes that blocking is on the rise in Egypt and Associated Press reporters are unable to communicate. Nina Shea at National Review Online's group blog The Corner notes that these reports of disruption are not anomalies which is echoed by Matthew Shaffer there as well. Agence France-Presse notes that cellular telephone service is disrupted in addition to the reports of Internet disruption.

The situation in Egypt, much like the recent case in Tunisia, illustrates fundamental flaws in the nature of Internet access. Even though the system is purportedly designed to route around outages like this, failure seems to be easily caused. In conjunction with the proliferation of computer sound cards and software like fldigi, the deployment of radiofax service by outside powers to distribute information may be advisable. Examples of what this might look like are available online. Though such would have required specialist equipment twenty years ago that method for information distribution can take advantage of consumer-grade computer and radio hardware.

This situation continues to develop...

Creative Commons License
The Lights Are Going Out by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info. -- Read More

Screening Will Go On at Enfield CT Library

The Enfield Public Library and town officials have reached a compromise that will allow a screening of the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" about the American health care system.

Mayor Scott Kaupin tells The Associated Press that the library will show the movie in the next few weeks as part of a series that will include multiple points of view on controversial topics.

The library last week canceled a planned screening of the movie, which is critical of the U.S. health care system, after the Republican mayor and some town council members objected.

That led to accusations of censorship.

Kaupin says the issue was not whether the film should be shown, but whether the library should offer just one side of the health care debate.

NECN reports.

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #137

This week's episode contains a replay of the most recent episode of TVO's program Search Engine about the censorship situation in Tunisia. We follow up last Tuesday's release of Search Engine by bringing the story up to date with events that happened since.

Another episode of LISTen will be released late Tuesday night/early Wednesday overnight with content that is more traditional.

Related links:
The episode of Search Engine being replayed
Ars Technica on Twitter vs. Tunisia
Committee to Protect Journalists on Tunisian Censorship
BBC News reporting on Tunisian censorship...in 2005...
The Voice of America on the Tunisia situation
Story by Aidan Lewis on BBC News about the situation in Tunisia
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation news on the ex-President of Tunisia fleeing to Saudi Arabia
France24 on the possibility of more incidents like this

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at www.tvo.org.

18:12 minutes (7.29 MB)
mp3
[audio-player]

Apple Drops WikiLeaks App from App Store

Apple became the latest company to step back from WikiLeaks when they removed an unofficial WikiLeaks app from the App Store.

According to TechCrunch, Apple approved the app earlier this month and added it to the store. The WikiLeaks app cost $1.99 and allowed you to simply view the content of WikiLeaks.

Amazon Deletes Items from Kindles... Again

It's like 1984 all over again.

From ArsTechnica:

Amazon may be in the process of stirring up some more trouble for itself thanks to reports that the company is deleting certain kinds of erotica from both the online store and users' devices. The erotica in question is controversial: it talks about certain acts of incest. Judging from Amazon's most recent bouts with book "censorship," users who have already paid for the deleted content are likely to get fired up.

The article goes on to say how one customer who complained about how their content that they paid for disappeared from their Kindle received only chastising remarks from Amazon about the severity of the item they purchased.

Meanwhile, the Strict Leather Forced Orgasm Belt remains on the virtual shelves of online retailer.

Fighting Censorship in School Libraries

From SLJ:

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) recently recognized author Lauren Myracle, school librarian Dee Ann Venuto, and 19-year-old college student Jordan Allen for fighting against censorship in schools.

NCAC's annual "Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders" ceremony in New York City brought together more than 150 authors, publishers, and First Amendment advocates to celebrate the work of the 36-year-old organization.

Venuto, a media specialist at the Rancocoas Valley High School in Mount Holly, NJ, was honored for her efforts to keep a list of gay-themed books on her library shelves. The titles Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson, 2000) edited by Amy Sonnie.

Venuto followed her district's materials review policy, which outlines the steps that must be taken when library materials or other instructional material are questioned, when a local grassroots organization called the 9/12 Group challenged the books, drawing media attention.

Venuto says she's grateful to NCAC for spreading the word about the challenge and for the professional and personal support they gave her.

NH parents object to book that calls Jesus vagrant

A New Hampshire couple is asking a school board to remove a book that refers to Jesus Christ as a "wine-guzzling vagrant" and let a committee of parents rate all other books taught in their son's high school.
The 2001 book is called "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America" It documents author Barbara Ehrenreich's attempts to live on minimum wage.

Dennis and Aimee Taylor have complained to Bedford High School officials about the book and have removed their son from the school at his request. They also object to obscenities in the book.
On Monday, they accused officials of either being careless in choosing books or intentionally pushing the author's views.

School board members took no action because they're waiting to hear from the district's curriculum committee.

Full article here

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.

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