News from around the world
- Labour warned over limits to free expression - The government has been accused of creating laws that have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the UK in a sharply critical report from the United Nations' committee on human rights. The report calls for the reform of Britain's libel laws and controls introduced under recent terrorism laws.The government's use of the Official Secrets Act to prevent issues of public interest being published is also condemned in an intervention from the UN which warns that public servants are being gagged even where national security is not at risk.The criticisms are made as part of the committee's analysis of a report which the UK is required to submit to the UN every three years, appraising human rights in its jurisdiction.
Source: The Guardian [15th Aug 2008]
- British Press-Freedom Case Involves Anti-Terrorism Law - A high-level British court will hear arguments this week in a press-freedom case in which police are attempting to use anti-terrorism laws to force a journalist to turn over notes and other source material. Leading British journalists argue that the rare use of the laws in this way threatens the future of investigative journalism in Britain. Police maintain that they are simply following all leads as they investigate a man who has been involved in religious extremist activities.
Source: Washington Post [21st May 2008]
- We shall (not) overcome... Nuclear protest survived six Tory governments. But not New Labour - It survived six Tory governments, the end of the Cold War and the rise and fall of mass marches against the British nuclear deterrent. But after 50 years in which the tradition of peaceful demonstration has been maintained outside the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, the New Labour era has finally done for one of the most famous symbols of protest in British political history. Today would have seen the latest gathering of the band of women who have assembled on the second Saturday of each month since the 1980s to object to the continuing development of the United Kingdom's nuclear deterrent. Instead, following a High Court ruling this week, the protest tents are being removed, demonstrators are being threatened with arrest and "no camping" signs are being erected.
Source: The Independent [8th Mar 2008]
- Academic freedom at risk on campus - "Academic colleagues, get used to it," warned the pro-Israel activist Martin Kramer in March 2004. "Yes, you are being watched. Those obscure articles in campus newspapers are now available on the Internet, and they will be harvested. Your syllabi, which you've also posted, will be scrutinized. Your Web sites will be visited late at night." Kramer's warning inaugurated an attack on intellectual freedom in the U.S. that has grown more aggressive in recent months.
Source: Seattle Post [23rd Oct 2007]