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Category Archives: Free Speech

Free Expression in America Post-2020

Knight Foundation: “Free expression and the freedom of speech are cornerstones of American democracy. Yet the interpretation of the First Amendment continues to be a flashpoint in the 21st century as the nation debates how to apply these rights to our society.  For the 2021 “Free Expression in America Post-2020” report, Knight Foundation commissioned Ipsos to conduct a survey with a nationally representative sample of more than 4,000 American adults, including an additional sample of 1,000 undergraduate college students. The Knight Foundation-Ipsos study provides a comprehensive look at American attitudes toward freedom of speech in a post-2020 environment, building on Knight Foundation’s long-standing work studying free speech views among students since 2004.  The findings described in this report cover many but not all of the rich insights possible from this complex dataset. We invite the public and researchers to explore this publicly available resource in further detail. This study finds that all Americans hold to the ideal of free speech, but putting free expression into practice reveals significant differences in experiences and attitude. It examines how Americans view free expression issues, events and the application of our First Amendment rights in an increasingly digital, diverse, and politically driven society…”

A For-Profit Company Is Trying to Privatize as Many Public Libraries as They Can

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting – Janine Jackson interviewed librarian Caleb Nichols about defending public libraries for the December 17, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. [Caleb Nichols is a librarian as well as a writer, poet and musician, currently course reserves coordinator at Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo. His eye-opening article, “Public/Private Partnerships Are Quietly Hollowing Out… Continue Reading

New Dataset: 2012-2020 Polling place locations

“Center for Public Integrity has updated our polling place dataset with data from the 2020 General Election. The dataset now has standardized polling place information (names, addresses, and other metadata) for the 2012-2020 elections. It’s available here: https://github.com/publicI/us-polling-places. This could be helpful to track polling place closure & movement at the precinct level. In the… Continue Reading

The Social Consequences of Political Anger

The Social Consequences of Political Anger. Steven W. Webster. Elizabeth C. Connors. Betsy Sinclair. December 8, 2021. “Abstract – A functioning democracy relies on social interactions between people who disagree—including listening to others’ viewpoints, having political discussions, and finding political compromise.Yet, social life in the contemporary United States is characterized by a relative lack of… Continue Reading

As Calls to Ban Books Intensify, Digital Librarians Offer Perspective

Internet Archive Blogs: “From Texas to Virginia to Pennsylvania, there is a growing movement to challenge books in schools that some suggest are inappropriate for students. Concern goes beyond explicit content; it now includes opposition to LGBTQIA material, the history of racism, and material that may cause discomfort to readers. While efforts to ban books… Continue Reading

Librarians, Educators Warn of ‘Organized’ Book Banning Efforts

Publisher Weekly – “…New headlines virtually every day tell the story: across the country, there is an unprecedented spike in attempts to ban books from schools and libraries. And while efforts to remove books from schools and library collections are not uncommon, librarians and freedom to read advocates warn that this current spike in challenges… Continue Reading

Global State of Democracy in 2021 Report

“Democracy faces perfect storm as the world becomes more authoritarian Many democratic governments are increasingly adopting authoritarian tactics, accentuated by the Covid-19 pandemic, while autocratic regimes are consolidating their power. The world is becoming more authoritarian as autocratic regimes become even more brazen in their repression. Many democratic governments are backsliding and are adopting authoritarian… Continue Reading

We’re Making the Facebook Papers Public

Gizmodo – Here’s Why and How – “Independent experts from NYU, UMass Amherst, Columbia, Marquette, and the ACLU are partnering with Gizmodo to responsibly publish this historic leak. In one of Silicon Valley’s largest leaks, a former Facebook product manager slipped financial regulators stacks of documents containing thousands of confidential memos, chat logs, and a… Continue Reading

Public Libraries Are Under Attack. Here’s How You Can Help

Harpers Bazaar – “Former librarian Angie Manfredi on the freedom to read and what you can do to support your local libraries from encroaching censorship…Nationwide, public and school librarians, along with teachers, have been under constant siege from this tide of complaints and objections, often from people who have never read the books they are… Continue Reading

Study Warns of ‘Educational Gag Orders’

Inside Higher Education: “A new report from PEN America, “Educational Gag Orders: Legislative Restrictions on the Freedom to Read, Learn, and Teach,” says that in the first nine months of 2021, 24 state legislatures introduced 54 bills that would restrict the teaching and training of subjects including race in K-12 schools, higher education or state… Continue Reading

The First Amendment Does Not Protect Replicants

Lessig, Lawrence, The First Amendment Does Not Protect Replicants (September 10, 2021). Social Media and Democracy (Lee Bollinger & Geoffrey Stone, eds., Oxford 2022), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3922565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3922565 “As the semantic capability of computer systems increases, the law should resolve clearly whether the First Amendment protects machine speech. This essay argues it… Continue Reading

Freedom on the Net 2021 – The Global Drive to Control Big Tech

“In the high-stakes battle between states and technology companies, the rights of internet users have become the main casualties. Key Findings: Global internet freedom declined for the 11th consecutive year.  Governments clashed with technology companies on users’ rights. Authorities in at least 48 countries pursued new rules for tech companies on content, data, and competition over… Continue Reading