Censorship

US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books

From Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON (AFP) – For some it is the heartwarming tale of two male penguins raising a chick together, but children's book "And Tango Makes Three" is also one of the most controversial texts in America, librarians say.

The illustrated book, which is intended to teach young children about gay parents, tops the 2009 list of "most challenged titles" that the American Library Association (ALA) compiles as part of its annual "Banned Books Week."

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The event was first organized in 1982 to highlight the fact "that challenges and banning are still taking place in this country on a regular basis, that books are removed from libraries because a person disagrees with the content," Caldwell Stone said.

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Kleinman, whose website is a clearing house for information about challenging books, insists that he does not want to see books banned, but says there is a legitimate legal basis for restricting children's access to sexually explicit material in libraries.

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Kleinman accuses the ALA of hyperbole in celebrating Banned Books Week. "The whole purpose of Banned Books Week is to provide this kind of misinformation," he said. "The ALA misleads people into thinking that if you keep an inappropriate book from a child that is considered censorship. It is not."

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Meet The Censor

The British tech publication, The Register, interviewed Peter Robbins of the Internet Watch Foundation in the UK. El Reg broached the questions of blocking, the width of the net cast by the group, and the groups position on the online world. Robbins is a former borough police commander in Hackney.

Yale University press caught up in censorship row

Yale University Press has been forced onto the defensive, amid accusations that it is unfairly curtailing a social scientist’s ability to publish her research.

Censorship or Copyright Infringement? Flickr Takes Down 'Obama as Joker' Photo


Los Angeles residents recently began seeing a new sort of Obama poster plastered across their city. Instead of promoting "hope," these posters feature U.S. President Barack Obama wearing the Joker's clown makeup from the Batman movie "The Dark Knight." Even those outside of L.A. have likely seen this image somewhere as it soon took on a viral nature, appearing both online and in other cities across the country. The politically charged (and rather disturbing) photo serves as a counterpoint to the prolific and iconic "hope" posters that became popular during Obama's campaign. Regardless of which side you favor, one thing can be said about this photo: it definitely grabs your attention.

Full story in the NYT

Author Maureen Johnson Responds to Censorship Attempt in Video on YouTube

In June 2009, two Leesburg, FL mothers went on television and petitioned to have Maureen Johnson's YA novel The Bermudez Triangle removed from the YA section of the library. A Leesburg library advisory committee voted to keep the book (in addition to a book from the Gossip Girl series that was also challenged) on the YA shelves.

Author Johnson composed a video response to the censorship attempt. It includes a thank you to librarians for resisting censorship and fighting to provide teens with access to materials they want--and may even need.

(story via I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?)

Library of Congress Staff Target of Threats

Former Army reservist Lynndie England, a symbol of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, was set to discuss her biography Friday at the Library of Congress as part of a veterans forum on Capitol Hill, but her lecture was canceled after several staff workers received threats, according to the Associated Press.

More here.

Victory for LGBT Websites in Tennessee School Districts

NPR's Andy Carvin reports from "All Tech Considered"...

The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that they have settled out of court with two Tennessee school districts sued on behalf of local students for blocking classroom access to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Web sites. The lawsuit, as we reported last May, alleged that Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Knox County Schools violated the rights of three students by denying them access to LGBT sites, yet continued to allow access to sites that advocated "reparative therapy" programs that attempt to change a person's sexual orientation.

As part of the settlement, the school districts agreed to unblock the LGBT Web sites. If the districts re-block the sites at any time, the ACLU says it will bring the case back to court.

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

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