Category Archives: Freedom of speech

The slippery slope of trying to curb ‘extremist’ speech

The world watched in horror as a deranged killer live-streamed himself murdering Muslims attending two mosques in New Zealand. In the wake of the shooting, many have called for tighter restrictions on “extremist” speech by government.

The leaders of New Zealand and France have drafted the “Christchurch Call to Action,” a nonbinding resolution that urges greater restriction of “extremist” speech and content. Many of our closest allies, such as Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, signed on to this resolution, as have tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

But there was one notable hold-out: The United States government refused to sign on. That decision triggered an avalanche of critical media commentary, but it was the right thing to do if we are going to stand up for the value of free speech.


No to Christchurch Call: Put aside your hate of Trump for a day – he may have just saved free speech

Even adversaries of the US president should admit that he is the only one who has stood up to the disturbing anti-free speech proposal concocted by illiberal globalist world leaders and compliant tech companies.

…Here are some notable and representative excerpts:

We, the governments commit to counter the drivers of terrorism and violent extremism by strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of our societies to enable them to resist terrorist and violent extremist ideologies, including through education, building media literacy to help counter distorted terrorist and violent extremist narratives, and the fight against inequality.

This is the first bullet point, and we are already onto loaded political terminology rife with assumptions. Why must societies become more “inclusive” – a byword for multiculturalism – to stop terrorism? Why is the “fight against inequality” – a predominantly leftist agenda – a pre-condition for preventing it? Osama bin Laden wasn’t a pauper, and neither was gym trainer Brenton Tarrant for that matter.


‘Christchurch Call’ is a blueprint for more online censorship — and Zuckerberg is a big fan

There is nothing inherently wrong with the new ‘Christchurch Call’ to curb violent and terrorist content online. No one in their right mind wants mass shootings live-streamed online — but it’s what comes next that should worry us.

Drawn up in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque massacre, which was streamed live online, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s ‘Christchurch Call’ is billed as a “roadmap for action” and calls for the “immediate and permanent” removal of “terrorist and violent extremist content” from social media platforms. It has been signed by 18 governments and eight tech companies.


Facebook’s New ‘Click-Gap’ Is Anti-Free Speech

If you are wondering what a click-gap is, then join the crowd. Facebook invented the term, so we are all trying to catch up. Put simply, Facebook is trying to demote domains in its news feed that are getting disproportionately more clicks from inside Facebook than outside of it.

For example, if a website gets a large portion of its pageview traffic from Facebook, but get a small amount from outside of Facebook, then the click-gap signal will now cause Facebook to penalize that website.


Mark Zuckerberg Proposes Regulating Political Discussion, Immigration Debate

In a Good Morning America interview with George Stephanopoulos, Thursday, Zuckerberg declared, “All of the laws around political advertising today primarily focus on a candidate and an election, right, so, ‘Vote for this candidate in this election.’ But that’s not, primarily, what we saw Russia trying to do and other folks who were trying to interfere in elections. And what we saw them doing was talking about divisive political issues.”


Can you go to jail for ‘misgendering’? One British journalist is about to find out

Here we go again. Another woman in Britain is facing a police investigation – and potentially, a jail sentence – because she wrote things online about sex, gender and a person who changed gender.

So far, so familiar, but this tale has a significant feature. The woman is a journalist. A British police force is investigating a journalist over words that she published.


Human Rights Commission director says she was regulating ‘hate speech’ – Gets Ass Kicked

Pro-tip for Marti Buscaglia: She may want to just stop talking to the press. She’s not making it better and now that there’s an official investigation into her conduct, it’s time for her to just clam up for a bit. In fact, taking a quick vacation to Hawaii would be advisable.

Buscaglia, the executive director of the Alaska Human Rights Commission told a reporter on Friday that she simply wasn’t sure:

Was the “Black Rifles Matter” truck decal free speech or hate speech?

Since she wasn’t sure, she took action to regulate it as hate speech in a parking lot on A Street that is leased by the State.

Marti Buscaglia is the sort of person who in the old Soviet Union was happy just doing their job – running Gulags. It’s a peculiar personality that is well suited to work at “Human Rights” commissions.


Vancouver talk derailed as free speech versus hate speech conflict escalates

VANCOUVER—An event featuring controversial far-right speakers is now in limbo as a conflict between two UBC student groups this week continues to escalate, prompting the planned venue to pull out Wednesday morning.

The event was planned by the UBC Free Speech Club, which has gained attention since its inception in 2016 for bringing in far-right speakers. Friday’s headliners were to be Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, who have been widely condemned as racists, fascists and white nationalists.

Max Pechstein – Poster for periodical An die Laterne (To the Lamp Post) – 1919
Pechstein, one of the most politically engaged artists of the early postwar period, made this poster to advertise the short-lived journal An die Laterne (To the lamp post), which promoted the incumbent Social Democratic Party. Its image of clenched-fisted, flag-carrying protestors—probably communists—marching past a man hanged from a lamppost was a warning against the mob violence and anarchy that threatened to destabilize the fledgling Weimar Republic.


Memes could be filtered out by EU copyright law

“User-generated platforms would look completely different from what we know today” warned Dr. Stephan Dreyer, at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research. Article 13 of the EU’s new directive on Copyright is under sustained criticism from media experts and campaigners, warning of a risk of unintended censorship with no working exceptions for satire or small businesses, which could lead to a filtering of legal content and a further monopolization of the internet.

Although the initiative has strong support from publishers like the Axel Springer Group, and copyright agencies like the German GEMA service, Media Rights experts from the Science Media Center Germany have issued a warning about the consequences of the legislation on freedom of speech and in particular satire.


We Ban Books Here

Way back in the old days, the Left used to accuse conservatives of being against free speech and open debate. They would say the Right was in favor of burning books and heresy laws. When conservatives rose to power in the 1980’s, it was time for them to “own the libs” by pointing out that the Soviets banned books, threw dissidents into gulags and banned speech critical of the state. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn became a celebrity among conservatives, as an example of how the communists suppressed speech.


Serena Williams cartoon not racist, Australian press watchdog rules

A controversial cartoon of Serena Williams which was accused of being racist and presenting her as “ape-like” has been found by Australia’s media watchdog to be acceptable.

The cartoon, which appeared in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, depicted a heated exchange between Williams and an umpire during her loss to Naomi Osaka in the final of last year’s US Open.

The Australian Press Council issued a ruling on the cartoon after receiving complaints from readers who found it offensive and sexist and believed it presented a prejudicial racial stereotype of African-American people.