Civil Rights

SMH editorial: Defamation laws long overdue for overhaul

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Australia’s defamation laws were built for a different age. The last comprehensive national review of defamation laws was in 1979, almost 30 years before Facebook was launched in February 2004 and the first tweet was sent in March 2006. The Sydney Morning Herald The laws are increasingly unworkable and in desperate need of overhaul as slurs on social media and other digital platforms take off as a growing source of defamation claims. A five-year review of Australian defamation cases covering ... Read More »

Everyday heroes compelled to break the law when government fails to protect us

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What does it say about the state of our democracy when it falls upon everyday people to stop a billionaire building the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere? Julian Burnside * The Sydney Morning Herald And what does it say about our politicians that they will let Adani’s mine proceed when the vast majority of Australians don’t want it, and scientists are urging us to keep coal in the ground to avoid more dangerous climate change? This month, nine ... Read More »

March For Our Lives: Hundreds of thousands of people protest against US gun laws in rallies around the world

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The demonstration of global solidarity comes after 17 children were massacred at a school shooting in Florida – and the UK is taking part too Ian Simpson & Jamie Bullen Mirror Student survivors of the Florida school massacre are among the half a million people expected to march through Washington DC calling for tighter gun laws. Across the USA alone, 800 separate marches are taking place where hundreds of thousands more are expected to take part, according to organisers. Protests ... Read More »

The people owned the web, tech giants stole it. This is how we take it back

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Social media gave the powerless a weapon but it was wrenched away by firms such as Facebook and Cambridge Analytica I blame the T-shirts. Jonathan Freedland The Guardian The casual wear favoured by those founding wunderkinds of tech – Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Sergey Brin, Larry Page and the rest – lulled us into a false sense of security. Even after they’d begun making serious money, too many of us took the aversion to a collar and tie to mean the likes ... Read More »

China regulator bans TV parodies amid content crackdown

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China’s media regulator is cracking down on video spoofs, the official Xinhua new agency reported, amid an intensified crackdown on any content that is deemed to be in violation of socialist core values under… BEIJING / SHANGHAI – Reuters Hurriyet The decision comes after Xi cemented his power at a recent meeting of parliament by having presidential term limits scrapped, and the ruling Communist Party tightened its grip on the media by handing control over film, news and publishing to ... Read More »

Brexit: A managed surrender

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London talks tough but gives Brussels what it wants. Forget red lines, bellicose declarations and rhetoric about the United Kingdom taking back control — Brexit so far has been a process of managed surrender. Paul Taylor Politico British officials acknowledge that Prime Minister Theresa May has mostly had to accept the European Union’s terms for the divorce and a transition period to avoid a cliff-edge rupture in economic ties that could have crippled business. However, the Brits insist, the real negotiation starts now and ... Read More »

EU plans tougher consumer laws for Facebook, Gmail

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The European Union is planning to apply tougher consumer laws to social media networks and email providers like Facebook and Google’s Gmail as scrutiny of data protection grows in the wake of an outcry over Facebook’s handling of data. BRUSSELS – Reuters Hurriyet Under the draft proposal first considered last year, authorities could levy fines of at least 4 percent of turnover. Currently, EU consumer authorities can only levy small fines and some lack power to sanction companies at all ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan warns Europeans ‘will not walk safely on the streets’ if diplomatic row continues

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It comes after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned war of rhetoric must stop Samuel Osborne The Independent Europeans across the world will not be able to walk the streets safely if they keep up their current attitude towards Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned. Turkey has been mired in a diplomatic row with Germany and the Netherlands after they banned Turkish officials from campaigning in support of an April referendum on boosting the… “If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the… Turkey’s ... Read More »

ALHR: Government must do more to protect reproductive health rights

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The leading advocacy group for human rights law in Australia has called on the federal government to better ensure the country is meeting its international obligations to protect women and girls when it comes to processes such as abortion. Jerome Doraisamy Lawyers Weekly Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) spoke earlier this week in response to comments from Nationals MP George Christensen and incoming Senator Amanda Stoker, who – at an anti-abortion rally held in Queensland this past Sunday – ... Read More »

South African farmers are trapped in a brutal reality – and my family is a victim of it

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My father-in-law was beaten to death last September on his sugar-cane farm, 60 kilometres from Pietermaritzburg, a regional city in South Africa. Glenn Freeman Brisbane Times Civil rights group AfriForum suggests there is, on average, 680 farm attacks and 94 farm murders in South Africa each  year – almost two attacks a day and two murders a week over 18 years. Critics of Peter Dutton’s latest contentious proposal – a special humanitarian intake of South African farmers – should consider ... Read More »

‘Women must take a stand to defend, heal the nation’-Kah Walla

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Journal du Cameroun Cameroonian politician and Human Rights activists. Kah Walla says it is about time women take up thier stand as mothers of the nation to defend and heal the land. The Human Rights Activist who is also the President of the Cameroon People’s Party, made the remark earlier this month, while leading about 150 women from nine towns and 5 regions in Cameroon in a march against what they term injustices and bad governance for decades. “As Mothers ... Read More »

No country, no rights, no hope

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The legal no-man’s land inhabited by stateless people like the Rohingya is a major human rights issue, which urgently requires more attention By Professor Michelle Foster and Timnah Baker, University of Melbourne PURSUIT Said Imasi was raised in a refugee camp in North Africa, and spent his childhood in orphanages and on the streets of mainland Europe. His mother died when he was six-years-old and he has no information about his father. Said believes he was born in the Canary ... Read More »

Cambridge Analytica: Warrant sought to inspect company

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The UK’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says she will seek a warrant to look at the databases and servers used by British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. BBC The firm is accused of using the personal data of 50 million Facebook members, amassed via a personality quiz app created by an academic. Former employee Christopher Wylie claims the company used the data to influence the US presidential election. The firm denies the allegations. Ms Denham had demanded access to Cambridge ... Read More »

Saudi women should have choice whether to wear abaya robe, crown prince says

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Women in Saudi Arabia need not wear headcover or the black abaya – the loose-fitting, full-length robes symbolic of Islamic piety – as long as their attire is “decent and respectful”, the kingdom’s reform-minded crown prince has said. RIYADH – Reuters Hurriyet With the ascent to power of young Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the kingdom has seen an expansion in women’s rights including a decision to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the right to drive cars ... Read More »

Our authoritarian government has turned up the heat. But we can still fight back

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Australia’s accelerating militarisation and erosion of civil liberties must be resisted Scott Ludlam The Guardian There’s an old aphorism about the best way to boil a frog which holds that if that’s your thing, you sicko, you should turn the temperature up very, very slowly. Shock the frog with a sharp enough temperature increase and she’ll jump right out of the pot. Something similar applies, maybe, to the gentle stench of authoritarianism that now undeniably permeates Australian politics. Things that might… ... Read More »

Articulate US teenagers could finally force action on gun control

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On Wednesday in the US, thousands of students left their classrooms in a national day of action designed to force political change on gun crime. George Rennie The Conversation Following the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, this walkout is part of an extraordinary national movement. Young people across the US are doing what countless others have tried and failed to do: using grassroots strategies to take on the powerful gun lobby. The US has an epidemic of ... Read More »