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Category Archives: Free Speech

Fact Checkers Take Stock of Their Efforts: ‘It’s Not Getting Better’

The New York Times [read free]: “After President Biden won the election nearly three years ago, three of every 10 Americans believed the false narrative that his victory resulted from fraud, a poll found. In the years since, fact checkers have debunked the claim in lengthy articles, corrections posted on viral content, videos and chat rooms. This summer, they received a verdict on their efforts in an updated poll from Monmouth University: Very little has changed. Three of every 10 Americans still believed the false narrative. With a wave of elections expected next year in dozens of countries, the global fact-checking community is taking stock of its efforts over a few intense years — and many don’t love what they see. The number of fact-checking operations at news organizations and elsewhere has stagnated, and perhaps even fallen, after a booming expansion in response to a rise in unsubstantiated claims about elections and the pandemic. The social networking companies that once trumpeted efforts to combat misinformation are showing signs of waning interest. And those who write about falsehoods around the world are facing worsening harassment and personal threats…”

SAGE Releases Free-to-Read Collection with Research into Academic Freedom and Censorship

“Sage has launched a new collection of free-to-read research highlighting the effects of academic censorship on democracy, social-emotional learning, higher education, and more. Banned books symbolize the clash between censorship and academic freedom. The suppression of banned books undermines the core principle of academic freedom, where scholars should explore diverse ideas without fear. This freedom… Continue Reading

DPLA launches The Banned Book Club to ensure access to banned books

“Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) has launched The Banned Book Club to ensure that all readers have access to the books they want to read. The Banned Book Club makes e-book versions of banned books available to readers in locations across the United States where titles have been banned. The e-books will be available… Continue Reading

ALA Report – Texas leads the nation in book ban attempts

“ALA compiles data on book challenges from reports filed by library professionals in the field and from news stories published throughout the United States. Because many book challenges are not reported to the ALA or covered by the press, the 2022 data compiled by ALA represents a snapshot of book censorship throughout 2022. A challenge… Continue Reading

Conservative book ban push fuels library exodus ALA

AP: “After parents in a rural and staunchly conservative Wyoming county joined nationwide pressure on librarians to pull books they considered harmful to youngsters, the local library board obliged with new policies making such books a higher priority for removal — and keeping out of collections. But that’s not all the library board has done.… Continue Reading

Federal judge temporarily blocks new Texas book-rating law for schools

San Antonio Press News: “A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked a new Texas law that would establish a book-rating system and ban or restrict books with sexual content from Texas public schools.  Austin-based Judge Alan D. Albright told lawyers that the state could not enforce the law Friday, when it was planned to take… Continue Reading

Report: Surge of Intrusive Legislation to Intimidate Teachers, Drive Self-Censorship in Schools

Pen America: “A wave of state legislation sweeping the nation is creating the conditions to intimidate educators into self-censorship in schools, according to a new PEN America report released today. “Educational Intimidation: How ‘Parental Rights’ Legislation Undermines the Freedom to Learn” examines the rise of what PEN America has dubbed “educational intimidation bills,” a category… Continue Reading

Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner: The War to Destroy Public Education

“Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner wrote in their blog Steady about the importance of saving public education from the forces trying to destroy and privatize it. They remind us and the general public that public schools unite us; privatization is inherently divisive. It is ironic that the red states are implementing voucher plans as the… Continue Reading

An Iowa school district is using AI to ban books

“It certainly didn’t take long for AI’s other shoe to drop, what with the emergent technology already being perverted to commit confidence scams and generate spam content. We can now add censorship to that list as the Globe Gazette reports the school board of Mason City, Iowa has begun leveraging AI technology to cultivate lists… Continue Reading

Freedom of Speech and AI Output

Lemley, Mark A. and Henderson, Peter and Volokh, Eugene, Freedom of Speech and AI Output (August 3, 2023). Available at SSRN: Is the output of generative AI entitled to First Amendment protection? We’re inclined to say yes. Even though current AI programs are of course not people and do not themselves have constitutional rights,… Continue Reading

Booklash: Literary Freedom, Online Outrage, and the Language of Harm

“In a new report,  Booklash: Literary Freedom, Online Outrage, and the Language of Harm, PEN America warns that social media blowback and societal outrage are imposing new moral litmus tests on books and authors, chilling literary expression and fueling a dangerous trend of self-censorship that is shrinking writers’ creative freedom and imagination. Offering a forceful… Continue Reading

Authors Like Me Are Fighting the Book-Ban Zealots. We Need Help.

Mother Jones – Dashka Slater: “…The American Library Association reports that more than 2,500 books were challenged in 2022, a big uptick from the already astonishing 1,858 challenged in 2021, which was already five times the number challenged in 2019. Last year, some 41 percent of challenged books were by or about LGBTQ people, and… Continue Reading