Sunday, November 25, 2007

Censoring Web 2.0

Here's something interesting:

With the continued rise of Web 2.0 and user-generated content, filtering/blocking access to that material by repressive regimes has become another hotspot on the censorship battleground. The Global Voices Advocacy group have a story about it here.

The group have also created an interactive Google map that points to the countries where this form censorship exists and the Web 2.0 sites that are blocked in those countries. The map also indicates locations where citizens and activist groups are speaking out against filtering/blocking user-generated content.
Global Voices Advocacy: Access Denied Map

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Toni Samek honoured

As our peers from the BCLAIFC blog have already noticed, our own Dr. Toni Samek has been honoured with the first annual Library Journal Teaching Award.

Toni brings her passion and expertise concerning issues of IF and SR to the classroom on a daily basis, and we thank her for doing so. Congratulations, Toni!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Interview with Toni Samek

We read banned books, and other stuff too… (the British Columbia Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee blog) has just posted an interesting interview with SLIS' Toni Samek. She talks about critical librarianship, inellectual freedom, and some current issues facing librarians.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

CBC censors itself

In an interesting case of self-censorship, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) removed an actively promoted documentary from its broadcast schedule shortly before it was to be shown on their news channel.

The documentary is an examination of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which has been persecuted and repressed in China. Though the CBC has previously aired the documentary late at night, they bowed to pressure from Chinese officials to remove the documentary from the broadcast rotation.

As a quick reminder, the CBC is a Crown corporation funded by public money and responsible only to Canadian citizens and our government.

See the Globe and Mail article here and the CBC Arts article here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pakistan reaches crisis point

From Article 19:


For immediate release - 5 November 2007
Pakistan: Media Clampdown as Musharraf Bans Criticism

ARTICLE 19 is alarmed by the grave attacks on freedom of expression and human rights in Pakistan, including the arrest of hundreds of journalists, judges, lawyers and human rights activists, and the temporary closure of private broadcasters.

Pakistans media has increasingly been shaping public opinion through critical reporting on key events such as the Red Mosque siege. said Dr Agnhs Callamard, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19. It is therefore no surprise that Musharraf has taken these drastic actions to control the media in flagrant abuse of the right to freedom of expression and an illegitimate attempt to cling onto power.
On Saturday 3 November, President General Musharraf gave a televised address in which he declared a period of emergency rule and suspended elections scheduled for January 2008. Most private television news channels were taken off air and reports allege that as many as 1,500 media workers, lawyers and human rights activists have either been taken into detention or are being held under house arrest. A new Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), adopted the same day, punishes, among other things, any criticism of the head of State, members of the armed services and any other senior member of government with a possible three-year jail term and 10 million Rp. (US$167,000) fine.

A statement issued today by the Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, reversed Musharrafs election suspension, promising that elections will go ahead as scheduled. Attorney-General Malik Abdul Qayyum further clarified: [T]here will be no delay in the election and by 15 November these assemblies will be dissolved and the election will be held within the next 60 days. This backtracking can be largely attributed to those within the country, especially the legal profession, who have strongly protested Musharrafs actions. Key Western allies including the United States and members of the European Union have also exerted pressure on Musharraf by strongly urging the holding of democratic elections as scheduled and the restoration of civilian rule.

ARTICLE 19 calls on all the Pakistani authorities, and Musharraf in particular, to release of all those held in detention or under house arrest for the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and to oppose the government, to repeal the 3 November Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) immediately and to respect the right of the media to inform the public on matters of interest, including through criticism of any authorities. We also call on Western governments to use their influence to bring about these results and to press for a return to civilian rule through democratic elections.

File-sharing promotes music sales

As the recording industry continues to pursue file-sharing individuals in the US, a new study commissioned by Industry Canada/Industrie Canada reveals that file-sharing in this country may actually be promoting music sales, rather than hurting them. Despite the continued arguments by the RIAA and other groups, the study shows that Canadians who download music via peer-to-peer (P2P) software are more likely to purchase music on new CDs than individuals who do not use P2P programs.
Questions regarding copyright and the legitimacy of P2P file-sharing, electronic distribution (iTunes, Amazon), and the like continue to fly. Meanwhile, recent experiments by bands such as Radiohead and comments such as those made by Trent Reznor suggest that artists are exploring new music distribution models because the industry itself won't adapt to the new reality.