Civil Liberties

Turkey Uncensored: A History of Censorship and Bans

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On April 29, the Turkish government announced that it completely blocked Wikipedia over the online encyclopedia’s refusal to delete articles and comments that suggest that Ankara is co-operating with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Uzay Bulut Philos Project Despite multiple requests by Turkish officials, Wikipedia refused to take down the content the Turkish government objected to. In response, Turkish authorities blocked online access to Wikipedia in all languages across the country. Wikipedia continues to be blocked ... Read More »

Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination

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We can judge the ethical tone of a society by how it treats its weakest and most in need. With euthanasia we offer them death instead of loving care. Margaret Somerville  The Guardian Dying and death is not a new phenomenon: we have always become ill, suffered, were going to die and someone else could have killed us. So why now, at the beginning of the 21st century, after prohibiting euthanasia for thousands of years and when we can do ... Read More »

Loup Bureau, French journalist freed from Turkey, arrives home

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French reporter Loup Bureau, who had been held on “terror” charges in Turkey in a case that sparked tensions between Ankara and France, arrived in Paris on Sept. 17 after being freed. PARIS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Bureau, 27, arrived onboard an Air France jet at Charles de Gaulle Airport on a flight from Istanbul, the campaign group Reporters without Borders (RSF) said in a tweet. After his arrival, he was taken to a VIP suite where he was effusively greeted by his family and friends. ... Read More »

Tunisian women free to marry non-Muslims

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Tunisia has overturned a law that banned women from marrying non-Muslims A spokeswoman for President Beji Caid Essebsi made the announcement and congratulated women on gaining “the freedom to choose one’s spouse”. BBC Until now, a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian Muslim woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof. Tunisia, which is 99% Muslim, is viewed as one of the most progressive Arab countries in terms of women’s… Tunisian ... Read More »

John Howard slams Turnbull government’s handling of same-sex marriage postal vote

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Former Prime Minister John Howard has slammed the Turnbull government’s handling of the same-sex marriage postal vote 9news Mr Howard has demanded the government release its planned legislation before the vote ends to show how it plans to handle “parental rights”, “freedom of speech” and show how “religious freedoms will be protected”. “The government’s response has been to wash its hands of any responsibility,” Mr Howard said. Malcolm Turnbull’s predecessor Tony Abbott agreed with Mr Howard. “People don’t know exactly ... Read More »

Tony Abbott on why same sex marriage would fundamentally change society

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Like most, I have tried to be there for friends and family who are gay. They are good people who deserve our love, respect and inclusion but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to reserve the term “marriage” for the relationship of one man with one woman, ideally for life and usually dedicated to children. Tony Abbott * The Sydney Morning Herald Like you, I want a country where everyone gets a fair go and where no one is ... Read More »

Philippines: Commission on Human Rights budget cut to almost nothing amid Duterte’s drug crackdown

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Philippines politicians allied with President Rodrigo Duterte have slashed the annual budget for the Commission on Human Rights from $17 million to just $25 Barney Porter ABC The public body has clashed repeatedly with Mr Duterte over his violent campaign against illegal drugs, and human rights advocates say the move is aimed at supressing any dissent. About four-fifths of lower house members supported the move to cut the commission’s budget to almost nil. The house speaker and a close ally ... Read More »

Map: Australian views on same-sex marriage

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Polling consistently shows most voters support same-sex marriage — but how do views vary across Australia? By Matt Liddy, Nathan Hoad and Ben Spraggon ABC How Australians think about same-sex marriage, mapped – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Last year, the ABC’s Vote Compass asked Australians whether they agreed or disagreed with this statement: Marriage should only be between a man and a woman. More than 1.2 million Australians responded, and a majority of people indicated support for allowing same-sex ... Read More »

Vote yes for human rights on same sex marriage survey

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The same sex marriage debate is not about religion, gender identity or the need to return to the values of “the good old days”. The Canberra Times It is, first and foremost, a question of human rights. Why should one section of our community be denied the right to exercise a choice the majority takes for granted? This is why, with the first postal survey forms due to begin arriving in home letter boxes across the nation this week, The ... Read More »

What is the Future of the Media in Myanmar?

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Myanmar’s media is making progress, “two steps forward, one step back.” Edward Parker The Diplomat The media – once termed the “Fourth Estate” in society by British parliamentarian and philosopher Edmund Burke – plays a vital role in shaping democracy and open public discourse. Its role is particularly important in new democracies, as societies develop both economically and politically, with the people given the opportunity to think critically and vote in representatives of their choosing. The role of an open ... Read More »

Ironically, Erdogan has done exactly what the failed coup wanted to do in Turkey

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Some conspiracy theorists think Erdogan himself was behind the coup – indeed, that is Gulen’s contention. Yet the reality is more straightforward: he has seized an unexpected opportunity Pete Weatherby QC The Independent If President Erdogan is to be believed, last year’s failed coup in Turkey was an attempt by his erstwhile ally, Fethullah Gulen – a conservative Islamist like him – to overthrow the Government and do away with the Constitution and National Assembly. Gulen, it should be said, ... Read More »

FactCheck: are children ‘better off’ with a mother and father than with same-sex parents?

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Public campaigns for and against same-sex marriage have been heightened by the Turnbull government’s plan to conduct a $122 million voluntary postal survey asking the nation whether same-sex couples should be able to marry under Australian law. Jennifer Power Simon Crouch The Conversation Discussing his opposition to same-sex marriage during an interview on Sky News, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews said children who are brought up with a mother and a father “are, as a cohort, better off than those who ... Read More »

Kenya: A Historic Decision, A Tough Road Ahead

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Kenya’s Supreme Court decision to annul the 8 August presidential election is bold and historic, but the path ahead will be fraught. A successful rerun within 60 days will need compromise on a better electoral commission, more accountable policing and more effective management of the high-stakes vote. ICG The 1 September decision by Kenya’s Supreme Court to annul the results of the 8 August presidential election and order a fresh vote was at once unexpected, historic, bold and – by ... Read More »

Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson. New Matilda It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride. That’s ... Read More »

Defeated by high legal costs: the terrible injustice most of us could face

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It’s one of the most glaring gaps between theory and practice in our community, a huge disconnect between our democracy and our economy. A terrible injustice most of us could face. Everyone knows about it, but it’s rarely discussed. Ross Gittins Brisbane Times What is it? The prohibitively high cost of justice. We’re all supposed to be equal before the law, but you ain’t anything like equal if they can afford a lawyer and you can’t. The president of the ... Read More »

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson wears burqa in Senate question time stunt

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Face fully covered, the woman in black didn’t need to say anything as she entered the Senate. Pauline Hanson had made her point. Amy Remeikis The Age The One Nation leader took her seat for question time wearing a black burqa, ahead of her motion to ban the garment that was due for debate later on Thursday. The Queensland senator has rallied against the burqa since returning to Parliament last… Senate President Stephen Parry admitted there was not a lot he could ... Read More »