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Global Expression Report 2018-19...

Article19 reports that global freedom of expression is at a ten-year low


Link Here11th December 2019

The Global Expression Report 2018-19 shows that global freedom of expression at its lowest for a decade. Gains that were made between 2008 -- 2013 have been eroded over the last five years. Repressive responses to street protests are contributing to the decline in freedom of expression around the world. A rise in digital authoritarianism sees governments taking control of internet infrastructure, increasing online surveillance and controlling content. The numbers of journalists, communicators and human rights defenders being imprisoned, attacked and killed continues to increase. 66 countries -- with a combined population of more than 5.5 billion people -- saw a decline in their overall freedom of expression environment last decade.

Global Expression Report 2018-19: media pack

  • The Global Expression Report 2018-19 shows that global freedom of expression at its lowest for a decade. Gains that were made between 2008 -- 2013 have been eroded over the last five years.

  • Repressive responses to street protests are contributing to the decline in freedom of expression around the world.

  • A rise in digital authoritarianism sees governments taking control of internet infrastructure, increasing online surveillance and controlling content.

  • The numbers of journalists, communicators and human rights defenders being imprisoned, attacked and killed continues to increase.

  • 66 countries -- with a combined population of more than 5.5 billion people -- saw a decline in their overall freedom of expression environment last decade.

Comment from Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19:

"Almost ten years ago, the Arab Spring offered hope to people across the world that repressive governments would not be able to retain power when faced with protestors, empowered as never before with access to information and digital tools for organising.

"Today, protests continue to take place around the world but our report shows that global freedom of expression remains at a ten-year low and that many of the gains made in the earlier part of the decade have been lost.

"Some of these threats are not new: governments are still using state violence and judicial harassment to close down protests. Journalists, communicators and human rights defenders are still being imprisoned, attacked and killed with impunity. But we are also seeing a rise in digital authoritarianism where governments are using digital technology to surveill their citizens, restrict content and shut down communications."

"Governments need to take action to reverse this trend and uphold their citizens' right to freedom of expression."

 

 

Extract: Out of control, unaccountable and unconstrained...

David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, takes on the surveillance industry


Link Here27th November 2019

Just last month WhatsApp sued an Israeli surveillance company, the NSO Group , in a US court. The case alleges that the messaging platform was compromised by NSO technology, specifically to insert its signature product -- spyware known as Pegasus -- on to at least 1,400 devices, which enabled government surveillance (an allegation that NSO Group rejects ).With Pegasus in their hands, governments have access to the seemingly endless amount of personal data in our pockets. The University of Toronto's CitzenLab has found the Pegasus spyware used in 45 countries.

The global surveillance industry -- in which the NSO Group is just one of many dozens, if not hundreds, of companies -- appears to be out of control, unaccountable and unconstrained in providing governments with relatively low-cost access to the sorts of spying tools that only the most advanced state intelligence services previously were able to use.

The industry and its defenders will say this is a price to pay for confronting terrorism. We must sacrifice some liberty to protect our people from another 9/11, they argue. As one well-placed person claimed to me, such surveillance is mandatory; and, what's more, it is complicated, to protect privacy and human rights.

All I can say is, give me a break. The companies hardly seem to be trying -- and, more importantly, neither are the governments that could do something about it. In fact, governments have been happy to have these companies help them carry out this dirty work. This isn't a question of governments using tools for lawful purposes and incidentally or inadvertently sweeping up some illegitimate targets: this is using spyware technology to target vulnerable yet vital people whom healthy democracies need to protect.

... Read the full article from theguardian.com

 

 

Educationally backward and culturally repressed...

United Nations culture organisation is spotted censoring naked art


Link Here1st November 2019
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has apologised for covering up the genitalia of two nude statues at a Paris exhibition with a thong and a baby's nappy.

The UN agency which was created to promote cultural diversity claimed it was a big mistake to cover up the statues.

The statues were created by French sculptor Stephane Simon and were displayed at the European Heritage Days in September.The figures were intended to evoke people taking a selfie.

Law professor Jacques Bouineau compared Unesco to Daniele da Volterra, the Italian painter who tried to cover the backsides in Michelangelo's Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.


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