Freedom of Speech

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
"A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" – a open letter warning against "intolerance of opposing views" signed by 150 public figures, including authors Rowling and Atwood
"A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" – a open letter warning against "intolerance of opposing views" signed by 150 public figures, including authors Rowling and Atwood
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler

Around 150 public figures have signed an open letter titled "A Letter on Justice and Open Debate" warning of the spread of "censoriousness" and "intolerance of opposing views" in today's culture. Among the signatories are writer and activist Gloria Steinem and authors J.K. Rowling and Margarete Atwood.

The letter states that "powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society," but that this has also led to "a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity."

"The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. [...] But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought," the letter continues.

Politics • American • US
Memoir of Trump's niece Mary Trump temporarily blocked by NY judge
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster
Cover of "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man" by Mary L. Trump, Simon & Schuster Credit: Simon & Schuster, via Amazon

On Tuesday, Judge Hal B. Greenwald of the New York State Supreme Court temporarily blocked the publication of Mary L. Trump's memoir "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man". Donald Trump's younger brother Robert Trump had filed a temporary restraining order on June 24 to block the book that's described as a "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him," stating that Mary Trump was breaking a confidentiality agreement.

Mary Trump is represented by Ted Boutrous, a First Amendment attorney, who said the order "flatly violates the First Amendment," and that they would appeal immediately. "This book, which addresses matters of great public concern and importance about a sitting president in an election year, should not be suppressed even for one day," so Boutrous.

Politics • American • US
ACLU Minnesota files class-action lawsuit against police on behalf of attacked journalists

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has announced that the ACLU Minnesota has "filed a class-action lawsuit overnight on behalf of journalists who were targeted and attacked by Minneapolis and Minnesota police". This follows the repeated attacks on journalists from different publishers and agencies by the police during the protests.

Politics • American • Brazil
Brazilian Senate to vote new law criminalising the usage of fake accounts in social networks
Brazilian Senate session
Brazilian Senate session Credit: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado

Brazil's Senate is going to vote today a new law to criminalise the usage of fake accounts and bots on social networks.

The proposal, presented by senator Alessandro Vieira and representatives Felipe Rigoni and Tabata Amaral, establishes that platforms face sanctions if they don’t provide transparent reports, do not label bots, or don’t highlight corrections coming from independent fact-checkers.

Expressing concerns about the proposal, Flávia Lefèvre, a counselor of the Brazilian internet steering committee, stated: “All counsellors are overly concerned with this proposal. It could compromise one of the principles that are in the decalogue of the internet and in article 14 of [Brazil’s internet bill of rights], which is the non-liability of the network provider. This is a principle that guarantees freedom of expression and prevents censorship”.

Politics • European
Second Hungarian Taken by Police for Writing on Facebook

Five policemen showed up at a man's home in the town of Gyula, Hungary, to take him in. The reason: he posted on Facebook about the 1170 beds that were emptied in the local hospital. This is the second time Orbán's "war on fake news" has resulted in action by the police since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in Hungary, when the government bill giving the Prime Minister near-total power was passed, including a section that criminalizes the spread of misinformation about the virus. During the four hours of questioning at the local police precinct, the man kept asking for his lawyer until he got released but was left to get home on his own means, regardless of his physical disability.

Politics • American • Mexico
Journalist Telésforo Santiago Enríquez murdered in the southern state of Oaxaca Mexico

Enríquez taught indigenous languages, was an indigenous rights activist and the founder of El Cafetal, a community radio on which he often criticized the local authorities. He received death threats in February and was shot on 2nd May. He was the fourth journalist to be gunned down in Mexico this year.

Technology • Internet & Web
Facebook names the first 20 people on its new content oversight board
Members of the Oversight Board
Members of the Oversight Board Credit: Facebook (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Facebook announced today that new content oversight board includes a former head of state, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and several constitutional law experts and rights advocates in its first 20 members.

The content oversight board is an independent body that the social networking platform has launched to reconsider some of its most important content decisions.

The members contract directly with the Oversight Board, are not Facebook employees, and cannot be removed by Facebook. They are Michael McConnell, John Samples, Julie Owono, Nicolas Suzor, Emi Palmor, Afia Asantewaa Asare-Kyei, Ronaldo Lemos, András Sajó, Alan Rusbridger, Nighat Dad, Pamela Karlan, Maina Kiai, Katherine Chen, Tawakkol Karman, Endy Bayuni, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Jamal Greene, Catalina Botero-Marino, Evelyn Aswad.