Politics & Society

Index Index – International free speech round up 08/02/13

An anti-corruption activist who leaked a sex tape featuring a Chinese Communist party official and an 18-year-old girl has said he is being slandered and intimidated by authorities. Since Zhu Ruifeng released the five-year-old tape in 2012, causing 11 officials in Chongqing to topple, police have interrogated the whistleblower, as well as threatening his wife. Zhu was released uncharged after 60 days of investigation and has now alleged that police have published an article anonymously online to tarnish is reputation. The story, “True face of anti-corruption fighter Zhu Ruifeng”, accuses him of accepting a bribe from Zhengzhou Technical Supervision Department. Zhu established his website Supervision by the People in 2006 and has since exposed more than 100 officials. He said he is planning to release six more tapes to incriminate the Chinese authorities.

Rachael Cerrotti - Demotix

Led by the Aerosmith frontman, the Steve Tyler Act protects celebrities from paparazzi

An Egyptian Salafi preacher has said that rape and sexual assault of women protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified, claiming the aren’t gathering there to demonstrate, but with the aim of being sexually harassed, as they want to be raped. Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, also known as Abu-Islam said in a video posted online on 6 February that female protesters are “no red line”. The preacher, who owns private TV station al-Ummah, described the women as devils and crusaders, who talk like monsters. Twenty-five women were sexually assaulted during protests in Tahrir Square to mark the second anniversary of the revolution which replaced Hosni Mubarak with an Islamist government.

The Australian Green Party has said that the government has organised a cover-up after refusing media access to immigration detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young called for journalists to be granted access to the centres, bans on photographs and videos to be lifted and said that asylum seekers and refugees willing to be interviewed by the media should be able to freely. The proposal was rejected by the Federal Government. The department of immigration said the restrictions were in place as they were still in negotiation with the governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Hanson Young said that her visit to the detention centre was tightly controlled, and the living conditions were deplorable — there were no doors on the toilets and the men were living in cramped conditions. Journalists are allowed access to detention centres on the Australian mainland but must adhere to a legally enforceable Deed of Agreement, imposing restrictions such as allowing the immigration department the power to review all footage.

Finland’s minister for justice Anna-Maja Henriksson is backing a bill planning to extend anti-pornography laws. Under current Finnish law, the National Bureau of Investigation blocks access to child pornography, which would extend to porn containing animals and violence. Some members of the government have objected to the proposal, with Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen doubting the need to extend pornography censorship at all. Under laws adopted in 2006, the NBI maintains a block list of restricted sites, punishable under the Prevention of Distribution of Unchaste Publications Act 1927.

Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler will attend a hearing in Hawaii today (8 February) to discuss a proposed law he backed to limit freedom to take pictures and video of celebrities. Hawaii’s Senate Judiciary Committee considered the Steven Tyler Act in a public discussion. The bill will allow families to receive damages from anyone who photographs, distributes or sells pictures taken in an offensive way, during a personal or private time. As well as Tyler, celebrities including the Osbourne family, Britney Spears and Tommy Lee have supported the measure. Famous people in support of the act have said that it would allow them to do everyday activities without fear of the paparazzi documenting their lives. Senator Kalani English, from Maui, said he introduced the law at the request of Tyler, who owns a multi million dollar mansion in Hawaii. More than two thirds of the states governors have co-sponsored the bill, which is hoped to encourage the visit of celebrity tourists, boosting the island’s economy. Laurie Temple, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union said stalking laws need to be improved, rather than creating new legislation.

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3 Comments

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