Politics & Society

Index Index – international free speech roundup 14/01/13

On 10 January, three Pakistani media professionals were killed in a suicide bomb blast in Quetta. Imran Shaikh, Saif ur Rehman and Mohammad Iqbal were killed by the attacks against the Hazara Shia community whilst reporting on an explosion which had took place a few minutes earlier. Militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are said to be responsible for the attacks, after a suicide bomber blew himself up, followed by his car detonating remotely. Police and emergency workers were also killed and three further media workers have been injured. Satellite vans for a number of TV networks have also been damaged.

A freelance journalist has been kept in custody in Somalia since Thursday (10 January), for interviewing a woman who alleged she was raped by Somalian authorities. Abdiaziz Abdinuur, who has reported for publications such as The Telegraph, is being held in Mogadishu after he was arrested for his January 6 interview, in which a woman claimed she was raped by several government soldiers in a camp for displaced women in December. No warrant for arrest was issued, and charges have yet to be made. Police arrested the alleged victim on Thursday, but have released her until further questioning.

Abdul A. - Demotix

Abdiaziz Abdinuur’s interviewee said she was raped by government soldiers

A Gambian journalist arrested on 7 January has been released on Bail. Abdoulie John, editor of news website Jollof News, was released from the National Intelligence Agency headquarters in Banjul on 10 January but must return today (14 January). Security agents screened his laptop, phone and emails in connection with his reporting for Jollof News, a banned website critical of the government in Gambia. John has allegedly been harassed by authorities since early December.

Turkey has attempted to censor John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, deeming it “immoral” for a reference made to brothels. A group of teachers in the western city of Izmir asked their ministry for sections of the book to be censored, which has been on the education ministry’s list of recommended literature for decades. A parent in Istanbul also complained that My Sweet Orange Tree by José Mauro de Vasconcelos was obscene, calling for the teacher who issued the book to be investigated. On 9 January, Education Minister Omer Celik denied the book would be censored, but critics remain sceptical.

The US porn industry is using the free speech defence to protect against new Californian law Measure B, which requires performers to wear condoms during scenes. On 11 January Vivid Entertainment, one of the biggest pornography producers in America, filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County over the referendum passed in November 2012. Vivid claims the law violates their 1st amendment rights, preventing them from recreating historically accurate scenes – a swashbuckling adventure, for example. It is estimated that since 2004, 350,000 scenes have been shot without a condom, with not one case of HIV being transmitted by performers.

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