Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “free speech”

Turkish Journalists Silenced

According to the Turkish Journalists Union, at least 22 journalists have reportedly been fired and another 37 forced to quit over their coverage of the recent anti-government protests. They started in late May with a small group of environmentalists staging a protest against a proposed commercial development in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, and grew into nationwide demonstrations in which thousands expressed anti-government sentiments. The protests in Istanbul were met with tear gas and water cannons. The news comes as an Istanbul court unanimously overturned a lower court’s stay of order ruling on the planned shopping mall development, allowing the demolition of the green space to resume.

Spain’s Grisly Crime Reporting

It was just the next morning after the murder of volleyball star Ingrid Visser when the local Spanish newspaper La Verdad was able to publish an extremely detailed report about the find. So just where did this information come from? “That’s a million euro question that I will never answer”, retorts crime reporter Ricardo Fernandez. The Spanish press and police have a notoriously close relationship. The lawyer of the main suspect claims that his client has already been convicted in the court of public opinion, and that a fair trial is now impossible. In Holland relatives of Visser have been horrified by the intimate revelations about the case. Yet Fernandez remains defiant: “I have to protect my interests. And my interests are to inform society.”

Dependence Day

Bill Whittle thinks that the Freedom of Speech is in peril, and so is the Freedom of Religion. Hear why on this Afterburner as Whittle reminds you of the importance of our most important civil liberties, and how each is threatened by the expanding welfare state. H/T PJTV

Next Media Under Attack

We frequently run Next Media Animation videos here. The company’s newspapers in Hong Kong have come under mysterious attack from masked thugs wielding knives and meat cleavers. The string of attacks have accelerated leading up to July 1 — the anniversary of the day that Hong Kong fell under the domain of mainland China.

Ecuador Silences the Press

Ecuador’s parliament has passed a new Communications Law that places heavy restrictions on private media while bolstering the power of media watchdogs and censors. It’s all part of the latest round of thuggery from Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, Banana Republic socialist and ally of the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

Government Bullies At It Again

Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission, which works to shut down political debate, is now seeking to drastically restrict free civil rights advocacy—advocacy that has guided our nation to live up to its ideals of freedom and justice. A first-of-its-kind legal battle over the agency’s actions is now raging in Washington state and will answer important questions about the limits of government power, the right of free speech and political participation, and the ability of civil rights advocates to represent their clients against a government agency when that agency is violating constitutionally enshrined rights.

Dems MIA on Civil Liberties

“Where are all these serious Democrats who believe in civil liberties?” asks Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars, the provocative book that is now an award-winning documentary. “They’re nowhere.” Scahill talked with Reason’s Matt Welch about how congressional Democrats have abdicated their moral standing when it comes the domestic and foreign aspects of the war on terror. And how unexpected champions such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have stepped up in their absence.

Abolish the IRS

Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, calls for the abolition of the IRS, saying the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups because of their political views demonstrates that the IRS has become too powerful and corrupt to remain intact. Failure to reign in this rogue agency will lead to an erosion of our civil liberties and freedom of speech.

In the same vein, US Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, delivers an epic takedown of the IRS for its exorbitant spending and lavish employee conferences, all undertaken as the rest of the country was facing furloughs and economic hardships.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio is on board with simplifying the tax code so the IRS can be downsized. “Our tax code is way too complicated,” the Florida Republican says.

Feds Push Insane Speech Codes

“It is so broad that it turns every single student and every single faculty member on campus, at least arguably, into harassers,” warns Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). He’s talking about sweeping speech codes just imposed by the Departments of Justice and Education on virtually every college campus in the United States.

The new mandate was revealed in a letter from the DOJ and DOE to the University of Montana that states “sexual harassment should be more broadly defined as ‘any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct.” The new rules apply to all colleges and universities receiving any sort of federal money, including Pell grants, federally backed student loans, and more. The letter contends the conduct in question need not be offensive to an “objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation.” That means that there is effectively no check on what might count as harassment. Course materials, overheard comments, stupid jokes – it’s all potentially actionable.

Lukianoff, the author of Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, hopes that “this is the last straw that causes the universities themselves to start pushing back against this ridiculous over-regulation.” H/T Reason.TV

Myanmar Lifts Newspaper Ban

The Burmese thaw continues.  In Myanmar, privately run daily newspapers once again hit the stands after being banned by late dictator Ne Win in the 1960s.

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