Craig Eisele on …..

April 21, 2012

Conundrum: Protect speech or society?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. Craig @ 10:16 am

The online conundrum: Protect speech or society?

What is MOST interesting to me in this article is that MOST Americans do not know, understand. or care about the censorship that is talking place HERE in the USA and abroad… hence we will ultimately lose our First Amendment Rights by legislation and fear mongering. 

Look at how countries are prosecuting people for what they say on social media.

Many post to Facebook and Twitter the same way they speak privately to their friends. 

Online conversations, however, are public and may be limited by law especially when it comes to controversial speech. Even countries that put a premium on free expression are prosecuting netizens for things they post. 

Do these laws infringe on free speech or ensure civilised society? 

In an effort to comply with speech laws around the world, Twitter announced in January it would block tweets and user accounts that violate domestic laws. This picture shows how some users feel about the new policy. 

  1. This is an example of what a user might see if a Twitter account has been censored or blocked due to a country’s speech standards.
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  3. This is what Twitter users would find if they tried to view a tweet that has been censored in another country.
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    In India, Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested for sharing a political cartoon with his friends that criticised West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This is the political cartoon that caused Mahapatra’s arrest. The picture parodies the situation where the Chief Minister fired one of her party members, Dinesh Trivedi, for raising the railway fares.
     
     
    In Turkey, the government is investigating famous pianist and composer Fazil Say, who is accused of offending Christianity, Judaism and Islam as well as causing public resentment on Twitter. If found guilty under Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code, he could face between six months to three years in prison. This links to his Twitter page.
     
     
    Article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code explains the restrictions on expression (it can be found under Chapter 3: Offences against Society). 

     
    It states: “Anyone who openly incites sections of the population to enmity or hatred toward another group on the basis of race, social class, religion, or sectarian difference, in a manner which may present a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from one to three years.” 
     
     
    1. Although Twitter removed Say’s tweets, the hashtag #FazilSay was trending on Twitter in support of the composer. 
    2. Let’s support @Fazil__Say in his brave & witty twitters for the Turkye we used to love but under threat by humourless bigotists #FazilSay
       
    3. World famous Turkish pianist investigated for anti-religious tweet. Turkey 500 years behind, far from achieving freedom of speech. #FazilSay
       
    4. This image captures the slew of Liam Stacey’s controversial tweets after popular football star Fabrice Muamba suffered heart failure during a match in the UK on March 17 (Disclaimer: the link to this screenshot contains explicit content.). After pleading guilty to “racially aggravated harassment,” 21-year-old Stacey is serving 56 days in prison and faces expulsion from his university. Stacey’s Twitter account has been deleted. 
       
       
      Another example of Stacey’s controversial tweets posted on March 7.
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      Fabrice Muamba’s girlfriend, @ShaunaMuamba, posted to Twitter the following picture to show the vast support behind the footballer after Stacey’s tweets drew anger from some fans.
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      Also in the United Kingdom, John Kerlen, a blogger who goes by the alias Olly Cromwell, is under scrutiny for calling his local Bexley councillor vulgar names via Twitter. Section 127 of the Communications Act of 2003 makes it possible to charge an individual with “improper use of public electronic communications.” Some reports say he may face up to six months in prison.
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      This photo is posted on Kerlen’s blog where he sounded off about authority figures using the same type of language for which he was found guilty. 
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      1. One Twitter user compares Kerlen’s case with that of Stacey. “
      2. @SeanInSpain Hmm, this bothers me in a way the Liam Stacey conviction didn’t. Is that logical or just my own feelings on n-word vs c-word?
      3. The hashtag #FreeTheBexleyOne has become popular with those supporting Kerlen.
      4. Problem using C word to describe politicians is it’s a breach of Official Secrets Act! #FreeTheBexleyOne
         “
      5. Dear @BexleyCouncil How do you feel being nationally infamous for assaulting free speech as default response to criticism? #freethebexleyone
        freedom of speech does not exist MT “@edsbrother: A man has been convicted of swearing on twitter. bit.ly/Iz3UZp #freethebexleyone”
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        On April 14, Muslim-American Tarek Mehanna was sentenced to serve 17 years in prison on charges of “supporting Al Qaeda” and expressing “sympathetic views” to the group, as well as conspiring to “murder U.S. soldiers in Iraq.” The charges came after Mehanna translated documents from Arabic to English and posted his controversial views online. Click here for the translated document
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        A poem Mehanna wrote is also the background of the Twitter account @FreeTarek.  
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        This is a photo of protesters outside Mehanna’s trial..
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        In another UK case, Merseyside Cadet Amy Graham was arrested on April 10 on charges of “racial aggravation”. On April 9, she tweeted, “I hate Muslims with a passion” under the Twitter handle.
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         @AmyJgra. Her account has since been suspended. The story can be found here
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        .In the US, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace posted a video in March attacking Asians which quickly went viral. Because of the university’s policy supporting free speech and expression, Wallace was not expelled. She later withdrew from the university.  
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