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Student Journalists Nationwide Face Censorship And Challenges

In the age of social media, with new platforms emerging seemingly every few months, high school newspapers are just one outlet where young people can share their voices and relay the stories of their lives. Yet student-run newsrooms play a profound and unique role not just in the school community, but also in the broader media ecosystem surrounding each campus. The power of student media is perhaps most obvious in cases where student-led newsrooms break major news. In 2017, The Booster Redux, the student-run newspaper at Pittsburg High in Pittsburg, Kansas, made national news when a simple profile on the school’s new principal led to an investigative story revealing that she had lied during the hiring process and attended an unaccredited university for her master’s and doctoral degrees. The principal resigned shortly after the students’ reporting garnered the attention of national news outlets. Just last May, reporters from The Classic, the award-winning student newspaper of Townsend Harris High School in Queens, New York, brought to light a sexual abuse scandal that went uncovered for years.

YouTube Deletes Scott Ritter’s Channel

The veteran former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, UN weapons inspector, geopolitical observer and Sputnik contributor has spent over a year providing incisive commentaries about the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine, challenging the Western mainstream narrative and offering his own perspective on the origins of the crisis. Google-owned video hosting giant YouTube has deleted Scott Ritter's YouTube channel. A banner reading "This account has been terminated due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy prohibiting hate speech" greets anyone trying to navigate to Ritter's channel. The company did not provide any information about the nature of these alleged "multiple or severe violations," or how Ritter's mostly Ukrainian crisis-related commentaries and interviews constituted "hate speech."

Censorship Of The Black Left

In recent days and weeks both Black Power Media and Revolutionary Blackout Network have received what are called “strikes” on Youtube which ban them from uploading new content for one week. Just as in the game of baseball, on YouTube three strikes put a channel out if received in a 90-day period.  At Black Agenda Report we have long noted that the drive to censor is directed most heavily towards the Black left. The regime of censorship began in earnest during the 2016 presidential campaign as Hillary Clinton sought to paint Donald Trump as a Russia agent, “Putin’s puppet,” as she said.

The ‘Disinformation Industry’ Lands In Court

What kind of a week was last week in the theater of war wherein battles rage over illegal censorship, illegal attacks on freedom of speech, illegal government infringements on our constitutional rights, and, amid it all, the complicity of our most powerful media in these illegalities? For a brief while it looked as though it was a very fine week. On July 4, an excellent day for this, a district court in Louisiana ruled that the White House and a long list of other federal agencies are barred from all contacts with social media companies if the intent is to intimidate or otherwise coerce Twitter, Google, Facebook, and other such platforms into deleting, suppressing, or in any way obscuring content protected as free speech, to paraphrase a key passage in the ruling.

US Court Victory Against Online Censorship

A judge in Louisiana has barred the F.B.I. and other government agencies from asking social media companies to suppress free speech, reports Joe Lauria. A U.S. federal judge on Tuesday issued a temporary injunction against a number of government agencies preventing them from talking to social media firms for “the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.” Judge Terry Doughty of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that the agencies couldn’t identify specific social media posts to be taken down or ask for reports about the social media company’s efforts to do so.

New Research Examines Restrictions On Incarcerated Journalists

A briefing from the Prison Policy Initiative documents many of the restrictions that prisons in the United States impose to prevent journalism from incarcerated individuals. Fourteen states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Virginia—have a “total ban on business and compensation.” That means they do not allow incarcerated journalists or writers to receive payment for their work. The United States government’s Federal Bureau of Prisons has what is described as an “explicit ban on journalism.”

History Is A Human Right

With almost half of all students in the United States attending a school whose educators have been given educational gag orders to prohibit them from teaching honestly about the history of systemic racism, a grassroots network of educators, parents, and students across the country are organizing a #TeachTruth National Day of Action on June 10, 2023, to fight back. Research from the CRT Forward Tracking Project out of the UCLA Law School reveals that measures attacking truthful teaching about race have been passed at either the federal, state, or local level in every state except Vermont — laws that impact “over 22 million public school children, almost half of the country’s 50.8 million public school students.”

Lee Camp: The Threat Of Dangerous Ideas And Why We Need Them

Political comedian Lee Camp recently published his second book, "Dangerous Ideas," which provides a bitter dose of reality in a way that makes it hard not to laugh. He explains that most journalists avoid covering the major crises of our times with any depth, leaving the public grossly misinformed. Camp, who has the courage to take on difficult topics, such as the oligarchy, capitalism, militarism and racism, and what to do about them, has had his work censored, banned and erased in retaliation. On Clearing the FOG, Camp discusses the challenges of living in a country that is afraid or unable to face reality and why he still has hope for humanity.

The Democratic Party’s Crucifixion Of Matt Taibbi

On Dec. 24, 2022 Matt Taibbi was in a room at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco poring through reports sent to Twitter from an entity called the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF). The FITF is an FBI-led interagency task force that forwards “moderation requests” from numerous government agencies, including Homeland Security, the CIA, the Pentagon and the State Department, to social media outlets. Taibbi was given access to the internal traffic by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk. It revealed how the FBI and other government agencies routinely suppressed news and commentary. He published a Twitter thread that night, Christmas Eve, with the headline “Twitter and Other Government Agencies”.

Montana TikTok Ban A Sign Of Intensified Cold War With China

There is an emerging consensus in US foreign policy circles that a US/China cold war is either imminent or already underway (Foreign Policy, 12/29/22; New Yorker, 2/26/23; New York Times, 3/23/23; Fox News, 3/28/23; Reuters, 3/30/23). Domestically, the most recent and most intense iteration of this anti-China fervor is the move to ban the Chinese video app TikTok, which is both a sweeping assault on free speech movement and a dangerous sign that mere affiliation with China is grounds for vilification and loss of rights. Several TikTok content creators are suing to overturn “Montana’s first-in-the-nation ban on the video sharing app, arguing the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights,” on the grounds “that the state doesn’t have any authority over matters of national security” (AP, 5/18/23). TikTok followed up with a lawsuit of its own (New York Times, 5/22/23).

John Durham And The Burying Of American History

There are certain things I do not quite get since Special Counsel John Durham’s report on the epically corrupt conduct of Donald Trump’s enemies during the 2016 election campaigns went to Congress last week. Many things, actually. For all the ground Durham covers in his 306–page report, I don’t get why he left a lot of things undone and unexamined, a lot of names unnamed and a lot of conclusions unconcluded after a four-year investigation into the very unfunny fiasco known as Russiagate. And then there are a few things I do get. Chief among these is that, with the already-evident burying of the Durham Report, we now witness the obliteration of a highly significant passage in our national history.

The Censorship-Industrial Complex: Top 50 Organizations To Know

On January 17, 1960, outgoing President and former Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower gave one of the most consequential speeches in American history. Eisenhower for eight years had been a popular president, whose appeal drew upon a reputation as a person of great personal fortitude, who’d guided the United States to victory in an existential fight for survival in World War II. Nonetheless, as he prepared to vacate the Oval Office for handsome young John F. Kennedy, he warned the country it was now at the mercy of a power eve he could not overcome. Until World War II, America had no permanent arms manufacturing industry.

Monopolies, Prosecution Of Assange Drive Drop In US Press Freedom Rank

CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin interrupted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a Washington Post-sponsored World Press Freedom Day event on May 3, taking the stage where a Post journalist was interviewing Blinken. Benjamin demanded that the U.S. and United Kingdom free imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. A group of men in suits, presumably Secret Service agents, immediately charged onto the stage and forcibly removed Benjamin and another activist who joined her. Blinken, however, failed to address either Assange’s persecution or the U.S.’s continued decline in press freedom after the disruption.

Nationwide Demonstrations Denounce Restrictions On Teaching, Book Bans

Teach-ins at university campuses, community book drives, read-alouds of banned books on social media, and rallies in front of the College Board headquarters in both New York and Washington, D.C. These were among the activities taking place across the country on Wednesday as part of the Freedom to Learn national day of action spearheaded by the African American Policy Forum, which has been critical of state laws restricting how teachers can discuss race in the classroom. The forum is led by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor and civil rights scholar at Columbia University Law School.

Facebook Censors Seymour Hersh’s Report On Nord Stream Pipeline Attack

Facebook has censored a report by the world’s most famous investigative journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh, on the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline between Russia and Germany. While discouraging its users from posting Hersh’s article, Facebook instead recommends a website that is funded and partially owned by the government of NATO member Norway. Facebook has millions of dollars worth of contracts with the US government, including with the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security. The Nord Stream system consisted of two sets of two pipelines each (known as Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2) that delivered natural gas from Russia, through the Baltic Sea, to Germany.
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