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2013: Oct-Dec

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From Bad to Worse...

Cameron warns newspapers to sign up for the new UK press censor lest Labour dream up something worse

Link Here27th December 2013
David Cameron has warned Britain's newspapers that they should sign up urgently to the Royal Charter passed by Parliament earlier this year.

Cameron claimed a less liberal, enlightened government in the future might play hard ball and enforce legislation. Translation? Do a deal with the Tories or Labour will bring out the big stick.

According to the editor of The Spectator, Fraser Nelson, who interviewed Cameron a while ago, this threat was thought up in the back seat of the prime ministerial Jaguar.

Nelson published the quotes on his blog only today, claiming there wasn't enough space in his magazine's lavish coverage of its big prime ministerial interview to include a mention of press censorship. In teh interview Cameron raises the spectre of a heavy-handed Labour administration saying: \

I think I've done my bit. But it's up to you guys now -- and, as I say, I think you might be at risk if you don't do it. Not from me, but from a less liberal, enlightened government in the future. Remember, everyone else wanted to legislate.



Offsite Article: Free Speech and Religion...

Link Here24th December 2013
Defending the right to be offended by Index on Censorship

See article from



Offsite Article: It's a bleak midwinter for Britain's democracy...

Link Here18th December 2013
Gagging bill latest: Fears for NGOs and free speech as UK's Lobbying Transparency bill threatens to put kibosh on campaigning

See article from



Update: Government Gagging for Repression...

Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement suggest that the government should rewrite its Lobbying Bill which will be used to censor campaigners in the year before a general election

Link Here11th December 2013
The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement has published its action plan to protect democracy from the chilling effect of the Lobbying Bill which is seeking to censor campaigners on political issues.

The Commission warns that Part 2 of the Bill is so broadly drafted it would restrict campaigning in the whole year before an election. Parliamentary candidates only have to account for their spending in the few months before an election.

The report recommends that Ministers should urgently rewrite the Lobbying Bill to prevent significant damage to legitimate campaigning. It also sets out a twelve point action plan to ensure transparent and proportionate regulation in election periods. It warns urgent action is needed to improve a Bill that the Electoral Commission has described as unenforceable in parts and which legal advice has warned will have a chilling effect on campaigners.

The Commission's recommendations include:

  • Treating campaigners in the same way as political parties by excluding staff costs from spending limits
  • Reducing the period covered by the legislation to six months ahead of an election instead of a year
  • Dropping the proposed tightening of spending caps for campaigners
  • Doubling the current spending levels at which campaigners have to register with the Electoral Commission
  • Scrapping the proposed constituency spending limit which the regulator warned may be unenforceable



Update: Insults will no longer be a public order offence from 1st February 2014...

Unless of course they 'annoy' someone

Link Here 7th December 2013
Full story: Public Order Act...Enabling police censorship
A free speech reform backed by The National Secular Society will come into effect on 1 February next year.

From that date the word insulting will be removed from Section 5 of the Public Order Act -- a provision that permitted the police to arrest people because someone else thought their words or behaviour insulting . This resulted in people being arrested for preaching against homosexuality in the street and, in one case, for calling a policeman's horse gay . Others had been arrested for calling Scientology a cult and for saying woof to a dog.

The NSS worked together with the Christian Institute and others to campaign against the insulting provision and after a hard-fought effort, the Government agreed to the reform.

Despite Government resistance, the House of Lords overwhelmingly supported reforming Section 5 in December last year, voting 150 to 54 in favour of an amendment to remove the word insulting . In January the Government gave way and agreed to the move, which will now come into place following guidance for police forces on the change.



Updated: A police team is homing in on bad taste jokers...

But the tweeters aren't worried, it's the Flying Squad!

Link Here5th December 2013
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
A spate of supposedly 'offensive' Twitter remarks on the Glasgow helicopter tragedy has sparked a public 'outcry' as it emerged a teenager was arrested for posting sectarian and racist comments about the disaster.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 16-year-old had been detained for posting 'sickening' jibes in the wake of the Clutha pub catastrophe. The teenager was arrested on Sunday and held in custody in connection with remarks made on a social networking site following Friday's tragedy, police said.

Update: Katie Hopkins under fire for throwaway joke

5th December 2013. See  article from . Thanks to Phantom

Katie hopkins has built a career on brash utterances and saying what everyone else is thinking . But now, more than 44,000 easily offended people have signed a petition calling for former Apprentice contestant to be banned from any future TV appearances.

The former reality TV star turned professional contrarian and HuffPost blogger issued an apology after cracking a joke on Twitter about life expectancy in Scotland following the fatal helicopter crash on the banks of the Clyde in Glasgow. She had joked on Twitter:

Life expectancy in Scotland is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement.

She later apologised:

My tweet on Scotland was directly related to this article: . I aologise to those I offended. It was poor timing.



Update: A police team is homing in on bad taste jokers...

But the tweeters aren't worried, it's the Flying Squad!

Link Here4th December 2013
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
A spate of supposedly 'offensive' Twitter remarks on the Glasgow helicopter tragedy has sparked a public 'outcry' as it emerged a teenager was arrested for posting sectarian and racist comments about the disaster.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 16-year-old had been detained for posting 'sickening' jibes in the wake of the Clutha pub catastrophe. The teenager was arrested on Sunday and held in custody in connection with remarks made on a social networking site following Friday's tragedy, police said.



Offsite Article: Universities should be the last place to ban free speech...

Link Here 24th November 2013
The censorship of an atheist bookstall at freshers' week is just another example of heavy-handed repression in our universities by Nick Cohen

See article from



Commented: PC Vandalism...

1936 Alice in Wonderland mural comes under attack over golliwog image

Link Here23rd November 2013
An Edinburgh school that has a mural in its assembly hall featuring a golliwog is to hold extra anti-racism lessons in political correctness after a woman protested about the supposedly racist and offensive nature of the picture.

Mary Rocha complained to the police, City of Edinburgh council and MSPs after spotting the image when she visited Wardie primary school as a possible choice for her son. Rocha said she was astonished to find that the mural with the golliwog, painted in 1936 and featuring scenes from Alice in Wonderland, had been restored in 2011 with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Rocha said:

It goes back to the American black sambo, the blacked-up face. It's offensive to me: I find it racially offensive.

The golliwog is sitting on an alcove ledge above the Alice in Wonderland figure in the mural's central panel. The mural and Wardie school's distinctive architecture are well known in academic circles. They are part of the international Decorated School project , which is studying art and school buildings with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Jeremy Howard, a co-ordinator of the Decorated School project said:

This is history: if you start painting it out or get rid of it you're deceiving people about what views were prevalent in the 1930s.

Edinburgh council refused to consider covering up the image but said it would now use additional teaching packs from Show Racism the Red Card at the school. A spokeswoman said:

The mural is of both historical and artistic importance. While we understand the offensiveness of the image, it is in no way indicative of the attitudes of either the school or the council.

Rocha said she would find some other school for her son.

Offsite Coment: Racist murals won't warp children's minds

23rd November 2013. See  article from

In these strange times, certain events in real life now take on a dreamlike quality. One such example is a police investigation into a so-called racist mural at Wardie Primary School in Edinburgh.

...Read the full article



Offsite Article: Even Quacks Must Have Free Speech...

Link Here23rd November 2013
Science campaigners are demanding a ban of alternative-health magazine What Doctors Don't Tell You because of misleading articles. But any attempt to censor this fundamentally silly magazine is misguided and unjustified

See article from



Offsite Article: There should be no restrictions on dangerous ideas...

Link Here17th November 2013
Nadine Strossen explains why nothing, not even rape porn, should be banned. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from



Fearful Censorship...

Tower Hamlets Council censors art exhibition for fear that works could 'trigger hardliners'

Link Here14th November 2013
A Bangladeshi artist has criticised the Tower Hamlets Council after it banned some of his work from public display.

Saif Osmani was invited to show his work at the Brady Arts Centre in Hanbury Street as part of a season of Bangladeshi drama and art.

But when Osmani arrived on November 2 he says he was told by a council worker with the responsibility for art that four of his pieces, which combine the Pakistani and Bangladeshi flags, might anger hardliners and would not be shown. Osmani said:

I was told that due to the political situation in Bangladesh I was unaware of what this series of paintings could trigger with the 'hardliners'.

Osmani said the rest of his work was moved to a corner of the room near the toilet and was later hidden by a pull-up banner.

Akhtar Hussain, of art group Avid Art Agency, said:

It is an absolute disgrace that this level of censoring is taking place in the name of political correctness at an event which was supposed to celebrated British and Bangladeshi arts, but instead curtails the content of the art on display.



Artists with a Passion For Freedom...

But this is not shared by many as banned art exhibition goes unreported

Link Here11th November 2013
Firoozeh Bazrafkan has the courage to be a truly radical artist and challenge those who might hurt her. She fights for women's rights and intellectual freedom, and her background means her fight has to be directed against radical Islam.

In Denmark Danes reported her to the police for writing that Muslim men abuse and murder their daughters, and adding for good measure that the Koran is more immoral, deplorable and crazy than manuals of the two other global religions combined .

Liberal principles once held that the Danish state should only punish Bazrafkan if her words provoked violence. As it was, the court asked for no proof of actual incitement. (There was none to be had.) Instead, it acted as if criticism of religion was identical to racial prejudice. The white liberal judges therefore ruled that the Iranian-born artist was a racist and gave her a criminal record for condemning honour killings and clerical misogyny.

The indomitable Bazrafkan headed for Passion for Freedom. The annual exhibition is as close as London gets to underground art. The exhibition was to open at London's Unit 24 gallery but the venue pulled out with only days to go. In emails to the organisers, Unit 24 offered various justifications for wrecking a show that had taken months to arrange. Enemies of the exhibition had made threats, and it was worried about a potential terrorist attack . Unit 24 told The Spectator it pulled the show because Passion for Freedom could not provide insurance and security.

There was no secret about its decision. But not one of the arts correspondents for the broadsheets or BBC covered the threat to an international exhibition featuring the work of dozens of artists.

Fortunately, the truly radical owners of the Embassy Tea Gallery allowed the rebellious show to take over their space in Southwark, where it will run until Friday. The large crowd on the opening night cheered Firoozeh Bazrafkan.

...Read the full article



Update: Ticked Off Like a Third World Despot...

CPJ rebukes Cameron for seeking to silence the Guardian and seeking a newspaper censor for the British press

Link Here30th October 2013
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by threats against the press made by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in parliament.

Cameron said, It would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act against the press if newspapers don't demonstrate some social responsibility and stop reporting on National Security Agency files leaked by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. Cameron singled out the Guardian, saying that the paper had gone on and printed further material which is damaging after having already been accused of harming national security.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said:

If David Cameron has evidence that the Guardian or other publications have damaged U.K. national security, he should share this evidence instead of issuing vague threats about taking action.  Governments around the world look to the U.K. as a model for media policies, but in this case, Cameron seems to be taking a page from the book of less enlightened governments that invoke 'social responsibility' to ward off valid criticism.

Cameron mentioned the possibility of resorting to news censorship, through high court injunctions and Defence Advisory notices or through other tougher measures, the Guardian reported .



Offsite Article: Vengeful MPs, their Monty Python press charter...

Link Here13th October 2013
A lethal threat to free speech. By Fraser Nelson, editor of The Spectator

See article from



Offsite Article: We should all stand with the Yid Army...

Link Here12th October 2013
Some proud Yiddos tell spiked why they'll continue using the Y-word. By Rob Lyons

See article from



Extract: The Guardian Doesn't Believe in Blanket Censorship...BUT...

Applauds pro-censorship campaigners and believes that the censorship debate should be initiated and led by women

Link Here 7th October 2013
A Guardian editorial prompted by whinges at Miley Cyrus, concludes:

...We applaud Ms O'Connor, the No More Page Three campaigners and Mr Cameron for at least questioning the values of organised religion and commercial entertainment: but no blanket prohibitions, please. Rather, let us have an open discussion -- initiated and led by the UK's female citizens, and not merely prompted by some Las Vegas shock merchant making shareable pop videos.

...Read the full editorial

I think I prefer the Daily Mail

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