Censorship

Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship

Library Association Abandons Principle, Allows Censorship
by Steven Emerson
IPT News
July 21, 2009

"Appel told Rehab, according to sources close to the situation, that she wanted to disinvite Spencer, but would be accused of censorship if she did so. The indirect method was a face-saving solution."

Library fight riles up city, leads to book-burning demand

A fight over books depicting sex and homosexuality has riled up a small Wisconsin city, cost some library board members their positions and prompted a call for a public book burning. Outside West Bend, the fight caught the attention of some old folks, who, with three other Milwaukee-area men, filed a claim against West Bend calling for one of the library's books to be publicly burned, along with financial damages.

The four plaintiffs -- who describe themselves as "elderly" in their complaint --- claim their "mental and emotional well-being was damaged by [the] book at the library."

Panel on Islam Cancelled at ALA

At the ALA Conference in Chicago, the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) planned a panel discussion "Perspectives on Islam: Beyond the Stereotyping" on
Sunday: 7/12/2009 Their announcement read: "Islam is not new in America; over 40% of the Muslims in America are African-Americans. The change is within the Muslim immigration trend, that's grown 38 fold over the past three decades. Arriving from countries all over the world, Muslims are a diverse population speaking different languages and practicing different customs with a faith, often misunderstood, that binds them. This program offers a brief overview of the cultures and literatures of the Muslim populations and the ties that bind the faith with Judaism and Christianity. A General Meeting will precede the program."

The three speakers, Esmail Koushanpour, Dr. Marcia Hermansen and Dr. Alia Ammar withdrew from the panel, so the program was cancelled. What happened seems to be in dispute and the censorship charge goes back and forth. Here are several takes from different points of view on the situation at Chicago: -- Read More

Stars and Stripes accuses U.S. military of censorship in Iraq

Stars and Stripes, the newspaper that receives U.S. military funding to help it cover and get distributed free to American forces in war zones, complained Tuesday of censorship by military authorities in Iraq.

A soldier with the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division patrols the streets of eastern Mosul, Iraq, on June 16.

In a story on its Web site, the newspaper known as Stripes said the military violated a congressional mandate of editorial independence by rejecting a request to embed reporter Heath Druzin with the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division, which is attempting to secure the city of Mosul.

Read more about it at: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/06/23/us.iraq.newspaper.censorship/index.html

Washington Supreme Court hears case on Internet filters

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether it's constitutional for public libraries to refuse to disable their Internet filters for adults who want access to sites that have been blocked.

Full story here.

Filtering in Washington State

From The Seattle Weekly:

Tomorrow, the State Supreme Court will hear Bradburn v. North Central Library Region (NCLR). The North Central Library Region is a system spanning Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, and Okanogan (WA) counties. Like other library systems that receive federal funds for Internet access, the NCLR is required to have the ability to block minors from seeing materials deemed "harmful" to them. Typically, libraries disable those filters at the request of adults.

Nevertheless, the NCLR has instead decided that it will judge the merits of each adult's request to disable the filter. This, says the ACLU, "hampers adults in researching academic assignments, locating businesses and organizations, and engaging in personal reading on lawful subjects." ACLU spokesperson Doug Honig says that the majority of requests to lift the filter has been denied.

The organization sent out a partial list of sites that have been blocked by the filter:

* The website of an organization encouraging individuals to commit random acts of kindness
* The Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra website
* The website of an organization encouraging women to carry to term by creating "a supportive environment for women in crisis situations to be introduced to the love of Christ"
* YouTube

A teen book burns at the stake

Francesca Lia Block, an award-winning author of young-adult books (the "Weetzie Bat" series among them), has known for a while now that one of her novels, "Baby Be-Bop" is at the center of a controversy in West Bend, Wis.

A few days ago, she found out that it might be burned at the stake. "Baby Be-Bop" is on a list of titles that a local group calling itself the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries objects to seeing in the public library. In February, the group asked the library's board to remove a page of recommended titles about gay and lesbian issues for young people (including "Baby Be-Bop") from the library's Web site. Then they demanded that the books be moved from the youth section of the library and placed with the adult collection, "to protect children from accessing them without their parents' knowledge and supervision."

Full story at Salon.com

Google and Tiananmen Square

Google's introduction of Google.cn, a censored search engine for Chinese users, caused an uproar in the U.S. Just how different are the results for controversial keywords using Google.cn?

See answer on FrontLine website.

Ontario Proposal For Library Filters

A private member's bill has put forward at Queen's Park, home to the provincial legislature for the Canadian province of Ontario. The bill by Gerry Martiniuk is said to propose requiring Internet filtering at libraries in the province. The summary note prepared by staff at the provincial legislature discusses in simplified terms what the bill proposes. According to the status report on the bill, it has only had its first reading in the legislative process. Martiniuk's statement upon introducing the bill is available online.

(h/t Connie Crosby)

Toni Morrison defends 'sacredness' of books against censorship

'A writer's life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity', Nobel laureate tells launch of the Free Speech Leadership Council.

"Certain kinds of trauma visited on peoples are so deep, so cruel, that unlike money, unlike vengeance, even unlike justice, or rights, or the goodwill of others, only writers can translate such trauma and turn sorrow into meaning, sharpening the moral imagination."

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