Civil Rights

Malaysian court jails artist for clown caricature of PM

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A Malaysian artist and prominent opposition activist was jailed for a month yesterday for publishing a caricature of Prime Minister Najib Razak looking like a clown, a ruling likely to exacerbate concern about free speech. KUALA LUMPUR – Reuters Hurriyet Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy recently announced plans to amend a law to stamp out fake news, the latest step to broaden enforcement powers and penalties against online posts or content deemed detrimental to public order and security. Artist Fahmi Reza ... Read More »

Mitsutoki Shigeta: ‘Baby factory’ dad wins paternity rights

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A Bangkok court has awarded paternity rights to a Japanese man over 13 babies he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers. BBC The ruling allows Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, to pursue custody of the children. The son of a wealthy entrepreneur, he caused controversy in 2014 when he was revealed to have fathered 16 babies via surrogates in Thailand. His so-called “baby factory” case and others led to Thailand banning commercial surrogacy for foreigners. Mr Shigeta, who was not present at the ... Read More »

John McLellan: Mosley fights for privacy while Facebook goes back to basics

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The lurid case of ex-Formula One head Max Mosley and the revelations about his sex life in the now-defunct News of the World is a staple of media law courses. John McLellan The Scotsman Readers may need no reminding that the paper ran a story alleging that the son of the British fascist leader had indulged in a “Nazi-themed” sado-masochistic orgy with five prostitutes and he sued for breach of privacy. While the Nazi element of the story turned out ... Read More »

Turkey is following footsteps of Russia and China in policing diaspora

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Erdogan’s purge is a threat to Turks living abroad and, more dangerously, to the rule of law everywhere. Transnational repression is increasingly woven into the fabric of the international order Francis Ghiles The Arab Weekly The globalisation of travel and finance and the spread of instantaneous communication, notably through social media, benefit civil society and woven links that encourage broad dialogue across borders. What is less often commented on is that countries have been handed useful and cheaper ways of ... Read More »

Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

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Sentencing over alleged role in failed putsch condemned as showing disregard for rule of law A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, drawing fierce condemnation from the UN and press freedom advocates. Kareem Shaheen in Istanbul The Guardian The convictions followed a months-long trial during which the prosecution alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow ... Read More »

Be realistic – demand the impossible: the legacy of 1968

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The events of May 1968 in Paris and then France more generally still resonate as a graphic illustration of the potential for relatively peaceful and wealthy societies to explode in spontaneous anger. Simon Tormey The Conversation May 1968 was not an uprising against tyranny or manifest injustice of a kind that animated the civil rights movement. Starting out as a set of demonstrations against university reform, the French uprisings quickly gathered momentum in a manner that almost defies explanation. Part ... Read More »

Capitalism isn’t an ideology — it’s an operating system

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Bhu Srinivasan researches the intersection of capitalism and technological progress. Today’s TED Talk Instead of thinking about capitalism as a firm, unchanging ideology, he suggests that we should think of it as an operating system — one that needs upgrades to keep up with innovation, like the impending take-off of drone delivery services. Learn more about the past and future of the free market (and a potential coming identity crisis for the United States’ version of capitalism) with this quick, ... Read More »

Churches unite to propose Religious Freedom Act

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Major submission to Ruddock panel calls for a new legal “right” John Sandeman Eternity A wide range of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian churches have spoken with one voice to the Ruddock panel on religious freedom, whose call for submissions closed today. They have received 13,500 submissions: “I think it is safe to say that people are concerned about religious freedom,” says Michael Kellahan, executive director of Freedom for Faith (FFF), a Christian legal think tank. The federal government has set ... Read More »

The UK’s Hidden Hand in Julian Assange’s Detention

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It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. Jonathan Cook CounterPunch In fact, they depended on a legal charade. Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case. In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up ... Read More »

Big Data, Large Concerns

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Consent and accountability should be at the core of the new privacy law. The Supreme Court recently affirmed a fundamental right to privacy. by Amba Kak , Jason Schultz The Indian Express The government is now moving to enact a data privacy law, the Justice Shri Krishna Committee has released a comprehensive report and the consultation process is coming to a close. Multiple legal challenges against Aadhaar — many involving citizens’ privacy — are being heard before the Supreme Court. The government is keen to ... Read More »

Who is Asma Jahangir ?

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Known for maintaining a resolute stance in the face of extreme pressure and opposition, Jahangir will be remembered as a champion for the disenfranchised The Indian Express Eminent lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir passed away in Lahore after she suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday, according to Pakistan media. She was 66. “Asma suffered heart attack today morning and she was rushed to Hameed Latif Hospital Lahore where she breathed her last. Doctors tried to save her life ... Read More »

Non-Violence Uses Love as Force

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“Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored…there is a type of of constructive nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth.…So the purpose of the direct action is to create a… Richard Moser CounterPunch The Civil Rights movements’ primary strategic approach was non-violent mass civil ... Read More »

When judges wear wigs and robes, what’s so offensive about a niqab?

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The statue representing justice is blindfolded for a reason – to symbolise that all people are treated equally in our courts no matter their wealth, position in society or religious beliefs. Duncan Fine The Age Sometimes the courts fail to live up to that ideal. This week Justice Christopher Beale in the Victorian Supreme Court banned a woman who was wearing a niqab from sitting in the public area of the court where her husband is facing a trial on ... Read More »

Rules to ban sex between politicians and staff suggested by independent MP Cathy McGowan

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A ban on sex between politicians and their staff is being suggested by independent Federal MP Cathy McGowan. By political correspondent Louise Yaxley ABC Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has insisted on his right to privacy over his relationship with a former staff member who is now expecting his baby. But his situation has prompted a debate about the appropriateness of relationships between politicians and their staff. “Good workplace practice includes clear expectations about behaviour,” Ms McGowan said. She noted ... Read More »

Merkel suggests changes could be made to new online hate speech law

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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled on Saturday that she was prepared to consider changes to a widely criticised new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech. By REUTERS euronews The legislation, which came into force on Jan. 1, can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60.1 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly, sparking concerns that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms could block more content than necessary. ... Read More »

Peter Dutton criticised for ‘subjecting judges to quasi-election’

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Law Council says publicly releasing potential court appointees’ names is fraught with risk Paul Karp The Guardian The Law Council has denounced Peter Dutton’s suggestion of seeking public feedback before appointing judges as a “quasi-election” model that would politicise the judiciary. It is the second time the body has criticised the home affairs minister for undermining the independence of the judiciary after it rebuked him for claims that Victorians were “scared to go out to restaurants” due to street violence and that “civil libertarian” ... Read More »