Turkey has ruled that the million-selling book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls will be age restricted and treated like pornography because it could have a detrimental influence on young people.
The book, which has been published in 47 languages, offers a series of inspiring stories about women from history for young children, from British nurse Florence Nightingale to French designer Coco Chanel to singer Beyonce.
But the Turkish government's censorship board for the protection of minors from obscene publications claimed:
Some of the writings in the book will have a detrimental influence on the minds of those under the age of 18. That means it can only be sold to over-18s and must be concealed from view in shops.
Speaking to AFP, one of the authors, Francesca Cavallo, said she was saddened by the decision. She sad:
Girls deserve to grow up surrounded by more female role models. They deserve to grow up thinking that they can be anything they want
When a government is scared by a children's book promoting equality, that means that promoting these messages through children's literature can have and is having an impact, and it makes me even more motivated to keep fighting every day.
I recently completed a book defending free speech. Emerald Press scheduled it for publication but then decided not to proceed. Here's what it said about the book in Emerald's September 2019 catalogue:
In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor Author James R. Flynn, University of Otago, New Zealand
Synopsis: The good university is one that teaches students the intellectual skills they need to be intelligently critical--of their own beliefs and of the narratives presented by politicians and the media. Freedom to debate is essential to the
development of critical thought, but on university campuses today free speech is restricted for fear of causing offence. In Defense of Free Speech surveys the underlying factors that circumscribe the ideas tolerated in our institutions of
learning. James Flynn critically examines the way universities censor their teaching, how student activism tends to censor the opposing side and how academics censor themselves, and suggests that few, if any, universities can truly be seen as
good. In an age marred by fake news and social and political polarization, In Defense of Free Speech makes an impassioned argument for a return to critical thought.
I was notified of Emerald's decision not to proceed byEmerald's publishing director, in an email on 10th June:
I am contacting you in regard to your manuscript In Defense of Free Speech: The University as Censor . Emerald believes that its publication, in particular in the United Kingdom, would raise serious concerns. By the nature of its subject matter,
the work addresses sensitive topics of race, religion, and gender. The challenging manner in which you handle these topics as author, particularly at the beginning of the work, whilst no doubt editorially powerful, increase the sensitivity and
the risk of reaction and legal challenge. As a result, we have taken external legal advice on the contents of the manuscript and summarize our concerns below.
There are two main causes of concern for Emerald. Firstly, the work could be seen to incite racial hatred and stir up religious hatred under United Kingdom law. Clearly you have no intention of promoting racism but intent can be irrelevant. For
example, one test is merely whether it is likely that racial hatred could be stirred up as a result of the work. This is a particular difficulty given modern means of digital media expression. The potential for circulation of the more
controversial passages of the manuscript online, without the wider intellectual context of the work as a whole and to a very broad audience--in a manner beyond our control--represents a material legal risk for Emerald.
Secondly, there are many instances in the manuscript where the actions, conversations and behavior of identifiable individuals at specific named colleges are discussed in detail and at length in relation to controversial events. Given the
sensitivity of the issues involved, there is both the potential for serious harm to Emerald's reputation and the significant possibility of legal action. Substantial changes to the content and nature of the manuscript would need to be made, or
Emerald would need to accept a high level of risk both reputational and legal. The practical costs and difficulty of managing any reputational or legal problems that did arise are of further concern to Emerald.
The collected edition of Avengers: The Children's Crusade has been banned from a Brazilian book festival for featuring a kiss between two male characters.
In an unexpected move, Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella has announced that the translated edition of the Marvel comic book series Avengers: The Children's Crusade would be removed from the literary festival Riocentro Bienal do Livro so as to
protect the city's children from what he described as sexual content for minors.
The so-called sexual content in question is an on-panel kiss between two fully clothed male characters, Wiccan and Hulkling, who are in committed relationship.
Officials at the festival initially refused to comply with the order, although the matter was complicated by the fact that the majority of outlets didn't have the material in stock in the first place, with the one storefront that did reporting
that copies had already sold out two days earlier.