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Germany: Genetic Modification and Freedom of Speech

(Oct. 18, 2010) On September 8, 2010, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) issued a decision that balanced freedom of speech against commercial interests. The case involved a multinational dairy-producing company that used, in some of its products, milk from cows that had been fed genetically modified corn. (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Sept. 28, 2010, Docket number 1 […]

South Korea: Government May Not Have Standing to Bring a Defamation Action

(Sept. 17, 2010) On September 15, 2010, the Central District Court of Seoul (a trial court) released a decision holding that in principle the government may not have standing to bring an action for defamation. This is the first case in South Korea on the issue of whether or not the government may be a […]

Malaysia: Taskforce to Examine Potentially Divisive Internet Postings

(Sept. 9, 2010) On September 3, 2010, it was reported that the Malaysian government had established a taskforce to examine Internet postings that may be harmful to national unity. (Ng Cheng Yee, Task Force to Look Out for Sensitive Matter on Internet, THE STAR ONLINE (Sept. 3, 2010), The police, Internet regulators, the Information […]

Rwanda: Genocide Ideology Law Being Reviewed

(Aug. 20, 2010) Rwanda's government has invited the non-governmental organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to comment on the three-year-old genocide ideology law that is at present under review. The two human rights groups have been critical of Rwanda, complaining that the government is attempting to silence opposition voices through the use of punishment […]

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 […]