What stands between a book and its Jordanian reader? Why did Susan Abulhawa’s “Mornings in Jenin” fail to satisfy the press and publications law, or Hassan Blasim’s “Madman of Freedom Square”? How does censorship work?
In the last week in Britain, there has been a relatively loud roar over new-ish rules that restrict sending books (and underwear, among other things) to prisoners. But England is hardly the only place to strangle prisoners’ access to books.
In April 2013, the Lebanese anti-censorship organization “March” announced that they would be staging a play “Bto2ta3 aw ma Bto2ta2?” (“Is It Permitted or Not?”) Last August, they found it wasn’t permitted. Now playwright Lucein Bourjeily is up for an award for the play, and an excerpt has been translated into English.
This week, the World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF) came out with its rankings of countries for how they best put the “Web to work” in improving human rights and economic development. Digital has also begun to offer greater access to Arabic books, escaping country-by-country distribution problems. But also last week, an activist from the UAE and a Kuwaiti man were both sentenced to prison time for tweets.
A newly released PEN report finds that a large — and perhaps growing — number of US writers avoid or are considering avoiding red-line topics, which include criticism of the US military and the whole of the Middle East and North Africa.
In May, author Karam Saber was sentenced — in absentia — to five years in prison for alleged defamation of religion in his short-story collection أين الله (Where is God). Following protests from at least 46 Arab human-rights organizations, the case appeared again in mid-September, but was deferred until an October 22 hearing.
Jonathan Guyer, editor of the blog Oum Cartoon, has just published an examination of cartoons and Egypt’s shifting red lines, “Under Morsi, Red Lines Gone Gray.”
A number of readers were interested in the “On the Second Anniversary: Censorship Concerns” that ran on Jan. 25. The blog “Egypt Source” was interested in a follow-up. Excerpted from Egypt Source: In an interview earlier this year, veteran journalist… Read More ›
At a recent news conference, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights noted that, two years after January 25, many abuses of state power continue. Censorship is among these abuses: Attacks on journalists have been growing (see: Index on Censorship, AFP, others). Lawsuits… Read More ›
In Jordan today, many websites have gone offline to protest proposed government censorship plans that include new restrictions on the Internet:
UPDATES FROM EGYPT INDEPENDENT: “Journalist accused of insulting president released” and “Journalists, culture workers hold sit-in for freedom of expression“ # A small number of protesters — including just 204 Facebook respondents — plan to meet up in Talaat Harb tomorrow… Read More ›