Free Speech

2:21am

Wed August 7, 2013
All Tech Considered

As Twitter Expands Reach, Abuse Policy Gets Added Scrutiny

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 10:26 am

This week, several women in the U.K. went public about explicit abuse they received on Twitter.
Alastair Grant AP

A series of threats and abusive messages aimed at prominent women in the U.K. have placed Twitter in an awkward spot. As the company gears up to go public and expand its brand around the world, it is increasingly running into cultural and legal hurdles that challenge Twitter's free speech ethos.

Earlier this year, Caroline Criado-Perez led a successful campaign to keep non-royal British women on the country's currency. Then last week, because of that work, the 29-year-old activist and blogger became the target of an organized barrage of hateful messages on Twitter.

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9:51am

Tue July 2, 2013
The Two-Way

Jailed Tunisian Rapper Is Freed; Song Called Police 'Dogs'

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 1:29 pm

Tunisian rapper Ala Yaacoubi, also known by his rap name Weld El 15, left, speaks alongside his lawyer, Ghazi Mrabet, before his trial last month.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

A Tunisian appeals court has freed rapper Ala Yaacoubi, who last month was sentenced to two years in prison for insulting police officers with his song "The Police Are Dogs."

Critics had said the arrest of Yaacoubi, 25, who performs under the name Weld El 15, was a sign of repression in Tunisia, where mass rallies overthrew former leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at the start of the Arab Spring in 2011. As NPR reported that summer, several rap songs became anthems for that shift.

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2:46pm

Mon July 1, 2013
The Two-Way

Jury Acquits Man Who Wrote On Sidewalk With Chalk

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 4:03 am

Sidewalk chalk: A jury ruled Monday they aren't the tools of a criminal.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Jeffrey Olson faced 13 years in jail for writing on a sidewalk with chalk. But a San Diego jury of two men and 10 women found him not guilty of criminal vandalism.

Olson, 40, was charged with 13 counts of vandalism for expressing his opinions on sidewalks outside three Bank of America branches. His messages, according to Gawker, included:

— "No Thanks, Big Banks"

— "Shame on Bank of America"

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7:50am

Sun June 30, 2013
The Two-Way

13 Years In Jail For Writing On A Sidewalk With Chalk?

Originally published on Sun June 30, 2013 12:37 pm

Sidewalk chalk: The tools of a criminal?
Mark Wilson Getty Images

There's no evidence that he wrote anything obscene.

His messages could be easily erased.

And they don't seem to have upset many, if any, people.

But in San Diego, 40-year-old Jeffrey Olson is on trial for expressing his opinions on sidewalks outside three Bank of America branches. He's charged with 13 counts of vandalism. Jury deliberations began Friday, our colleagues at KPBS say. If convicted on all counts, they add, he faces up to 13 years in prison.

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6:28am

Wed June 26, 2013
Parallels

Jordan Accused Of Targeting Online Dissent

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 12:43 pm

A Jordanian woman surfs the Web at an office in the Amman, Jordan, on Sept. 30, 2009. The country's government is under fire from media activists for blocking hundreds of websites across the kingdom.
Ali Jareki Reuters /Landov

Jordan's King Abdullah vowed to make the desert kingdom a "free Internet" country as he began his rule more than a decade ago. On June 2, when local Internet providers were ordered to block hundreds of news websites across the kingdom, Web publishers protested the broken promise and international media watchdog organizations charged censorship.

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