Malaysia's Home Ministry has banned a book written by lawyer and DAP politician Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
A Federal Government gazette said the book, Assalamualaikum : Observations on the Islamisation of Malaysia , was banned.
order, citing the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, was signed by the Home Minister. The order said the book was likely to be prejudicial to public order as well as public interest and is likely to alarm public opinion.
A review of the
book published two years ago said it explores the nature of political Islamisation, its origins, its chief personalities, how it has grown and what it means for Malaysia.
Higher education minister Jo Johnson says institutions that fail to protect freedom of speech could be fined. He explained in a speech:
A university is the quintessential liberal institution. Not liberal in a narrow party political
sense, but in the true liberal of free and rigorous inquiry, of liberty and of tolerance.
The liberal tradition is a noble and important one; but today it finds itself under threat. Liberal politics are under threat from national
and populist parties around the world. Economic liberalism is under threat from those who turn to protectionism for quick-fix solutions to complex problems.
Our universities, rather like the Festival we
are today, should be places that open minds not close them, where ideas can be freely challenged and prejudices exposed.
But in universities in America and increasingly in the United Kingdom, there are countervailing forces of
censorship, where groups have sought to stifle those who do not agree with them in every way under the banner of safe spaces or no-platforming.
However well-intentioned, the proliferation of such safe spaces, the rise of
no-platforming, the removal of offensive books from libraries and the drawing up of ever more extensive lists of banned trigger words are undermining the principle of free speech in our universities.
Without that basic liberal
principle, our universities will be compromised.
Shield young people from controversial opinions, views that challenge their most profoundly held beliefs or simply make them uncomfortable, and you are
on the slippery slope that ends up with a society less able to make scientific breakthroughs, to be innovative and to resist injustice.
That's why the government is taking action now.
As part of our reforms to higher education, we have set up a new regulator, the Office for Students (OfS), which, as its name suggests, will regulate the university sector in a way that puts the interests of students first.
Created by the Higher Education & Research Act 2017, the OfS will come into being next week.
Promoting freedom of speech within the law will be at the heart of its approach to the regulation of our higher
The OfS will go further than its predecessor in promoting freedom of speech.
In the Act, we extended the existing statutory duty on universities to secure free speech in the Education
(No.2) Act 1986 so that it will apply to all providers of higher education registered with the OfS.
Furthermore, as a condition of registration with the new regulator, we are proposing that all universities benefitting from public
money must demonstrate a clear commitment to free speech in their governance documents.
And the OfS will in turn use its regulatory powers to hold them to account for ensuring that lawful freedom of speech is upheld by their staff
And I want to be clear about this: attempts to silence opinions that one disagrees with have no place in the English university system. Academics and students alike must not allow a
culture to take hold where silence is preferable to a dissenting voice.
If we want our universities to thrive, we must defend the liberal values of freedom of speech and diversity of opinion on which they depend.
Freedom of speech within the law must prevail in our society, with only the narrowest necessary exceptions justified by specific countervailing public policies.
A PC extremist from Newcastle has called on her son's infant school to ban the classic fairy tale from teh school's reading list.
Sarah Hall claimed the timeless tale, in which an unconscious princess is kissed by a prince to wake her from a
curse, features an inappropriate sexual message about a lack of consent. She contends the fairytale teaches children it's OK to kiss a women while she's asleep.
Hall told the Newcastle Chronicle:
I think it's a
specific issue in the Sleeping Beauty story about sexual behavior and consent. It's about saying, 'Is this still relevant? Is it appropriate? In today's society, it isn't appropriate, my son is only six, he absorbs everything he sees.
She said her call for the book to be banned only refers to younger kids, saying the tale could be a great resource for older children to encourage discussions on consent and how the Princess might feel.
Offsite Comment: Okay, now feminists have gone too far
There is so much that is wrong with these arguments. There's the suggestion that parents won't be able to explain the difference between fiction and real life to their kids. Or that sexual consent is something six-year-olds need to worry about. Or that
as kids get older they will think back to the fictional tales they read when they were six to work out how to proceed with budding sexual relationships. Or that there is something wrong in the first place with imagining a beautiful princess being saved
by a kiss; that there's something wrong with the life of the imagination itself.
New Zealand was clearly a little embarrassed over the banning of book for young people. Ted Dawe's award-winning novel Into the River , when campaigners called for a review of the book's age classification.
When an interim restriction order
was issued in 2015 an anomaly in the law meant there were only two options - leave it unrestricted or ban it entirely until the board of review met. The book was banned for six weeks until the interim order was reviewed and the restriction was lifted.
A new bill has now been passed by the New Zealand parliament that gives the censor board the ability to issue interim orders based on age or specified classes of persons.
National MP Chris Bishop drafted the bill and n the case of Into the
River it would have meant the book could have reverted to its R14 status rather than banning it outright. Bishop said after his bill had been passed unanimously. He added:
It is clear that Into the River should not
have been banned - this small but useful change will help ensure such a situation doesn't happen again.
The leading book publisher in Australia, Allen & Unwin, has dropped a book about the influence of China's Communist Party in Australia's domestic affairs, due to censorship pressure from China, or maybe from the fear of Chinese action
against the publisher..
In a decision likened to the recent decision by Cambridge University Press to restrict access to sensitive China-related articles, the release of the forthcoming book, Clive Hamilton's Silent Invasion: How China is
Turning Australia into a Puppet State was shelved by the publisher over concerns about potential legal action by China.
The author and a prominent Australian academic, said the decision by Allen & Unwin demonstrated the extent of the
shadow cast by Beijing.
It is believed to be the first time that a publisher has suspended publication of a book in a Western market because of fears of potential pressure from Beijing.
We as Australians living in a free society should not
allow ourselves to be bullied into silence by an autocratic foreign power, Professor Hamilton told ABC News.
In a statement, Allen & Unwin said it decided to delay publication following extensive legal advice. Clive was unwilling to delay
publication and requested the return of his rights, as he is entitled to do, it said. We continue to wish him the best of luck with the book.
The New York Times reports on an Australian furore following the news that a book has effectively been banned by Chinese influence. The Times writes:
The decision this month to delay the book, Silent Invasion: How China Is
Turning Australia into a Puppet State , has set off a national uproar, highlighting the tensions between Australia's growing economic dependence on China and its fears of falling under the political control of the rising Asian superpower.
The decision by Allen & Unwin to stall publication of this book almost proves the point that there's an undue level of Chinese influence in Australia, said Prof. Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at Australian
In the yet-unpublished book, the author, Clive Hamilton, a well-known intellectual and professor at Charles Sturt University in Australia, describes what he calls an orchestrated campaign by Beijing to
influence Australia and silence China's critics.
In one chapter the book asserts that senior Australian journalists were taken on junkets to China in order to shift their opinions so they would present China in a more positive
light. In another chapter, the book details links between Australian scientists and researchers at Chinese military universities, which he said had led to a transfer of scientific know-how to the People's Liberation Army.
A Swedish daycare centre's trip to the local library in Borås took an unexpected turn recently and ended in a police report being filled over racial agitation.
According to GT, Expressen, the daycare children were listening to a CD of various
Pippi Longstocking stories when another library user became 'offended' by the description of Pippi's father as a 'Negro king' and ludicrously filed a formal complaint with police. It was noted that there were children of various ethnic backgrounds among
the daycare group.
The head of the daycare institute, Marie Gerdin, described the incident as "sad" and said she had assumed that the library materials were appropriate for children.
After the police report was referred to the
chancellor of justice, it was sensibly determined that there would be no further action.
The first four Pippi books were published between 1945 and 1948 and in addition to the description of Pippi's father as a "Negro king", the titular
character is also at times referred to as a "Negro princess". The title was earned in the originals when Pippi's father proved a hit amongst natives during an adventure in the South Seas. English translations have 'translated' the father's
title to the 'fat white chief' and refer to Pippi as the 'fat white chief's daughter'.
When Laura Moriarty decided she wanted to write American Heart , a dystopian novel for young adults about a future America in which Muslims are forcefully corralled into detention centers, she was aware that she should tread carefully. Her
protagonist is a white teenager, but one of her main characters, Sadaf, is a Muslim American immigrant from Iran. So she arranged for the book to be checked out by various minority group readers charged with spotting potentially problematic depictions in
None of this was enough to protect American Heart from becoming the subject of the latest skirmish in the increasingly contentious battle over representation and diversity in the world of young adult literature.
American Heart won't
be published until January, but it has already attracted the ire of the fierce group of online readers that journalist Kat Rosenfield has referred to as culture cops. To them, it was an irredeemable problem that Moriarty's novel, which was inspired
in part by Huckleberry Finn, centers on a white teenager who gradually, too gradually, comes to terms with the racism around her. Eg a prominent review on Goodreads, begins, fuck your white savior narratives ; the gist of other comments
is that a white writer should not have tackled this story, and neither should a white character be the center of it.
The backlash escalated last week, when Kirkus Reviews gave American Heart a coveted starred review, which influences purchases by
bookstores and libraries. Kirkus' anonymous reviewer called the book by turns terrifying, suspenseful, thought-provoking, and touching, and praised its frighteningly believable setting of fear and violent nativism gone awry.
The lynch mob laid
into the reviewer's 'wrong' opinion, and Kirkus responded by taking the review down pending 'reassessment'. A few days later Kirkus posted a revised, more critical version of the review, and stripped the book of its star.
Publisher Oxford University Press (OUP) has defended dubious scenes in one of its children's books after a reader noticed a little background dogging.
On one of the pages in the story, a group of gay looking men can be seen disappearing behind
a bush, shortly before an old lady's glasses are illustrated popping off in shock at what she sees behind the bush.
Responding to the reader, OUP rather unconvincingly tweeted:
Interesting spot but some of the
pages are missing from this title! We can reassure you nothing untoward is going on behind that bush.
There are pages missing in the original tweet, which takes the images from Pond Dipping out of context.
The pages in between show some dogs chasing each other, children running and a man carrying a mysteriously large bag.
The book in question, Pond Dipping , was written by Roderick Hunt and illustrated by Alex Brychta, as part of a long-running series describing the adventures of children Biff, Chip and Kipper.