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Venezuela: Twitter Users Arrested on Charges of Spreading Rumors

(July 14, 2010) Two individuals charged with “the dissemination over the social network Twitter of false rumors for the purpose of destabilizing the national banking system…and causing runs on banks,” were arrested on July 8, 2010, in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, by officers of the Scientific, Penal, and Criminalistics Investigations Corps (CICPC). (Venezuela: Two Detained for […]

Pakistan: YouTube Banned, Other Sites Restricted

(June 29, 2010) On June 23, 2010, after being presented at a hearing with evidence of the reappearance of website content on the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran, a Pakistani court re-imposed a ban on the video-sharing network YouTube and also restricted access to Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, Google, Islam Exposed, In the Name of Allah, […]

United States: Washington State Supreme Court Upholds Library’s Internet Filtering Policy

(June 15, 2010) The Supreme Court of Washington, in a ruling issued on May 6, 2010, has held that a library district does not violate the state's constitutional right of free speech by filtering Internet content on its public access computers and declining to disable the filter upon request to allow adult patrons to access […]

United States: Federal Appeals Court Panels Address Whether Students’ Punishment for Myspace Pages Violates First Amendment Free Speech Protections

(Mar. 30, 2010) Two panels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued rulings on the same day, reaching different results on whether the United States Constitution permits a student to be punished by school officials for statements published on a Myspace page created outside of school. Both Layshock v. Hermitage School […]

Nigeria: Court Imposes Gag Order on Facebook and Twitter Users

(Mar. 24, 2010) It was reported on March 23, 2010, that a Sharia (Islamic law) court judge in Kaduna State in northern Nigeria issued a restraining order on users of Facebook and Twitter, stopping them from participating in an online forum created by the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria (CRC), a nonprofit organization. The forum […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Upholds Free Speech Restriction in Banning Public Support of Former Nazi Regime

(Nov. 20, 2009) In a ruling issued on November 4, 2009, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court (CC) upheld legislation against incitement to hatred that bans public support and justification of the country's former Nazi regime. The recent decision was based on a challenge brought before the CC against a ruling of the Federal Administrative Court, to […]

United States: Appeals Court Holds First Amendment Protects “Repugnant” Picketing of Military Funeral

(Oct. 2, 2009) The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that the picketing of a military funeral by members of a church holding signs with “distasteful” and “repugnant” messages was protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 2006, members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral […]

Thailand: Political Activist Sentenced to 18-Year Prison Term for Violating Lese Majeste Law

(Sept. 10, 2009) On August 28, 2009, Thai political activist Darunee Charnchoengsilpakul was sentenced by a criminal court to 18 years of imprisonment on charges of insulting the royal family, in violation of Thailand's law on lese majeste, during a July 2008 speech he made at a political rally for ousted former Premier Thaksin Shinawatra. […]

Iraq: Council of Ministers Blocks All Websites Deemed in Violation of Islamic Sharia’a

(Aug. 20, 2009) On August 3, 2009, the Council of Ministers of Iraq issued a decision to create a committee to look into means to identify and block all websites that violate Islamic law (Sharia'a). The committee will include officials from the ministries of communications, higher education, and science and technology. Some Iraqi intellectuals have […]

Tunisia: Woman Jailed for Posting Message on Facebook

(Aug. 12, 2009) It was reported on July 13, 2009, that a 69-year-old human rights activist, Khedija Arfaoui, was convicted on the charge of “disturbing public order” and sentenced to an eight-month prison term for posting a message on her Facebook page in reference to a rumor of children being abducted for their organs. (Eight-Month […]