Media Law Roundup 01/25

Welcome to this week’s Media Law Roundup, where we summarize pertinent developing news so that you can follow along and watch the stories develop. The CGCS Media Wire is always accepting leads for RoundUp posts – send our tip-line an email.

Censorship:

01.22: A New York Times Op Ed this week outlined the potential impact of censorship on China’s
future in light of an official response to recent anti-censorship protests. On January 7th, the Chinese government stated officially that “The party has absolute control over the media, and this principle is unshakable.”  However, government control over the flow of information has become increasingly ineffective with growing internet penetration and use of social networking by citizens. Ian Bremmer of the Times calls the issue “one of the world’s most important developing stories.”

01.25:  On January 24th, The Burmese parliament dissolved the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division working to bring to fruition reforms to media law that have been brewing since August of 2012.  Since 1964, all Burmese publications were subject to heavy government censorship. Media policy continues to develop in the recently liberalized nation, as its Parliament eagerly awaits a second draft of a new, modernized media law.

 Freedom of Expression on the Internet

01.20: Google executive William Echikson (Head of Free Expression in Europe, the Middle East and Africa) outlines the ongoing censorship of the company’s various products throughout countries around the world, addressing a growing risk to online freedom of expression. He argues that international cooperation is necessary to ensure that these rights are upheld, and to better combat threats against freedom online. “If we remove content in search results, we display a message to users.”

01. 24:  After anonymous Twitter users posted tweets with anti-Semitic and racist content, a French Jewish student organization summoned Twitter to court, asking the micro-blog to reveal the posters’ identities. The French court ruled in favor of the students, ordering Twitter to release the names. However, the case is further complicated by the issue of jurisdiction –  namely whether Twitter, an American company, should be liable under the jurisdiction of French law in this situation. A New York Times article outlines the case as well as similar prior cases.

Cyber Security and Surveillance:

01.22: The Philippine Supreme Court began to hear a second round of arguments this week regarding the constitutionality of its Cybercrime law. The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was enacted this past September, though critics argue that it impedes freedom of expression. Fifteen petitions have been filed against the law.

01.23 This CIS-India blog post reports on the ongoing discussion of cyber security, surveillance, and the right to privacy at a conference in Bangladesh. Experts debated the fine line between personal information security and censorship through surveillance under India’s media law. Additionally, experts discussed the intersection of censorship, religion, and politics throughout Southern Asia.

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