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Issue: Online Access: Free Speech and Government Censorship
While some governments guarantee the right to view, publish, and broadcast information on the Internet, many have laws and regulations that censor Internet free speech. Media coverage of noteworthy or controversial examples of governmental censorship of Internet users appears in the Media Coverage section below. Information about Organizations and Related Publications appears below.

For information on issues related to governmental Internet blocking requirements, see the blocking software section.

Media Coverage

Ashcroft's Hard Line on Hardcore
Attorney General John Ashcroft has suggested to Congress that online porn site operators be arrested, Wired News, June 9, 2001
Related media coverage: cluebot.com, June 8, 2001

Nuke Agency Evicts Greenpeace From Web Site
Greenpeace has lost the domain name "cogema.org" after a French nuclear agency of the same name sued, citing cybersquatting allegations, Yahoo! News, June 8, 2001

Turkey Passes Law Extending Press Controls to Internet
The Turkish parliament has passed a law that subjects the Internet to the same restrictions as print media, Wired News, June 7, 2001
Related media coverage: Salon, June 7, 2001

South Dakota: Fire, Don't Filter
The State Government of South Dakota has chosen to treat their employees like adults and fire them, as opposed to installing Internet blocking software, when they use work computers for errant Net activities, Wired News, June 7, 2001

Cyber Law Journal: Controversial Ruling on Library Filters
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a preliminary finding suggesting that librarians at the Minneapolis Public Library may have been subjected to a hostile work environment due to viewing of porn at patron computers, New York Times, June 1, 2001 (Free registration required to view article)

Court: OK to Encourage Abortion Threat
A federal appeals court threw out a record $109 million verdict against anti-abortion rights activists today, ruling that a website and wanted posters branding abortion doctors "baby butchers" and criminals is protected by the First Amendment, Associated Press, March 28, 2001
Related materials: Abortion Web Site Verdict Appealed, Associated Press, September 12, 2000, Court case, Website in question, Background

Wiretapping on Personal Computers on Rapid Rise
Wiretappings by investigative agencies into PC (personal computer) communications networks, including the Internet, are rapidly increasing, a government tally showed yesterday, Korea Herald, March 28, 2001

Lawsuits Slam Net Filtering Efforts
The American Civil Liberties Union and American Library Association filed separate suits Tuesday in a federal district court in Philadelphia challenging a new law that requires federally funded schools and libraries to install software that blocks "objectionable" online materials, CNET News, March 20, 2001
Related media coverage:
Libraries Spearhead Attack on Cyber-Porn Law, Reuters
Librarians Contest Law Requiring Net Filters, Mercury News,
Libraries: Filter Out Filters, Wired,
Library Smut Snit Heats Up, Wired,
Diverse Coalition Sues To Overturn Web-Filtering Law, Newsbytes,
Daily E-Mail Alert, Tech Law Journal,
Censoring the Libraries, San Francisco Chronicle,
ALA Lawsuit Poll, Excite, March 19-23, 2001

German Prosecutors Drop Yahoo! "Mein Kampf" Probe
German authorities said on Wednesday they planned no legal action against Internet portal Yahoo! Inc. over online auctions of copies of Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" book, which is banned in Germany, Reuters, March 21, 2001
Related media coverage: USA Today, March 23, 2001

ACLU Wins $10,000 in Damages For High School Student In Web Parody Case
A former high school student who was suspended for creating a parody on the Internet is getting damages from the school district that wrongfully punished him, ACLU, March 20, 2001

Expressions of Liberty
This Montreal-based publication interviewed OPG Executive Director Will Doherty about his views on Internet free speech, Voir (in French), March 15, 2001

Kathleen R. v. City of Livermore
A parent of a child who uses Internet access computers at a public library seeks to compel the library to install blocking software on children's computers within the library; the parent lost in the trial court, appealed, and lost again in the California Court of Appeal, Techlaw Journal, March 6, 2001

Should the Government Require Filtering?
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have raised that question regarding the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which became law in December 2000. The act is expected to face a court challenge, Consumer Reports, March 2001

Rwanda Tribunal Wants to Constrain Web Sites
The United Nations tribunal for Rwanda said Wednesday that it had appealed for U.S. legal help to curb potentially defamatory Internet sites maintained for two men on trial for genocide, Reuters, February 28, 2001

Chinese Webmaster on Trial for 'Subversion'
A webmaster who published articles on human rights will be tried at an open court in Chengdu, Sichuan province on Tuesday. The New York -based Human Rights Watch is urging diplomats in Beijing to send observers to the trial, BBC News, February 9, 2001

Ruling on Nazi Memorabilia Sparks Legal Debate
A ruling by a Paris judge ordering Yahoo Inc. to block French citizens from auctions of Nazi artifacts on the company's English-language Web site has sparked a passionate debate among legal experts, New York Times, November 24, 2000

All About Aussie Online Laws
With just over three weeks to go before new Internet censorship regulations go into effect here, confusion and controversy continue to reign and the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) -- the national body charged with implementing the law -- has expanded its Web site to provide ISPs and content hosts information about their new responsibilities, Wired News, December 8, 1999

Organizations and Related Publications

ACLU and ALA File Challenges to Library Internet Censorship In Case Fast-Tracked for Supreme Court Review
Acting on behalf of public libraries, library patrons and website authors nationwide, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Library Association filed separate legal challenges to a federal law that forces libraries to censor constitutionally protected speech online, ACLU and ALA, March 20, 2001
Related media releases:
Family Research Council defends CHIPA.

Livermore, CA Lawsuit
A California Court of Appeal upheld this anti-Internet blocking decision: "In this case we hold that a city is not subject to suit for damages or an injunction for offering unrestricted access to the Internet through computers at a public library", Censorware.net, March 6, 2001
The entire opinion of the court

New School Online University
Online university offering range of classes in media related subjects and online conferences, such as current: "Censorship and Public Policy" (available by clicking on popup window and free registration), March 2001

Send IRS Comments on Proposal to Regulate Nonprofit Web Activities
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is initiating regulation on electronic communications by nonprofit organizations including making monitoring who nonprofit organizations link to from their web sites and constituting links as possible lobbying violations, so please send in your comments by the deadline of February 13, 2001

Guidelines and Considerations for Developing a Public Library Internet Use Policy
Includes information on intellectual freedom, the First Amendment to the US Constitution, pornography, obscenity, Internet filtering software, Internet use policies, and related court rulings, American Library Association, updated November 2000

GayLebanon.com Case Causes Stir
Lebanese government charges ISP owner and human rights organizer with defaming the nation even though they had no role in hosting a GayLebanon.com web site, Beirut Daily Star, September 25, 2000

China and the Net picture
China and the Net
An excellent collection of resources on Internet censorship efforts of the Chinese government, Digital Freedom Network, August 24, 2000

CPSR logo
Motivating a Human Rights Perspective on Access to Cyberspace: The Human Right to Communicate
William McIver offers an exploration of how human rights and access to cyberspace intersect, CPSR Newsletter, Summer 2000

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