Reaffirming our commitment to protecting free expression
On the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, PEN International has issued a statement aimed at encouraging governments to protect critical voices and freedom of expression.
IFLA and dozens of other free-speech organisations, institutes, and associations have added their signature to the statement in support of the crucial principles outlined and addressed.
The statement calls on all Governments to:
- Uphold their international obligations to protect the rights of freedom of expression and information for all, and especially for journalists, writers, artists and human rights defenders to publish, write and speak freely;
- Promote a safe and enabling environment for those who exercise their right to freedom of expression, and ensure that journalists, artists and human rights defenders may perform their work without interference;
- Combat impunity for threats and violations aimed at journalists and others exercising their right to freedom of expression, and ensure impartial, timely and thorough investigations that bring the executors and masterminds behind such crimes to justice. Also ensure victims and their families have expedient access to appropriate remedies;
- Repeal legislation which restricts the right to legitimate freedom of expression, especially vague and overbroad national security, sedition, obscenity, blasphemy and criminal defamation laws, and other legislation used to imprison, harass and silence critical voices, including on social media and online;
- Ensure that respect for human rights is at the heart of communication surveillance policy. Laws and legal standards governing communication surveillance must therefore be updated, strengthened and brought under legislative and judicial control. Any interference can only be justified if it is clearly defined by law, pursues a legitimate aim and is strictly necessary to the aim pursued.
October 28, 2010 Issue
The following talk was given at the opening of a conference at Harvard on October 1 to discuss the possibility of creating a National Digital Library.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss a question of vital importance to the cultural life of our country: Can we create a National Digital Library? That is, a comprehensive library of digitized books that will be easily accessible to the general public. Simple as it sounds, the question is extraordinarily complex. It involves issues that concern the nature of the library to be built, the technological difficulties of designing it, the legal obstacles to getting it off the ground, the financial costs of constructing and maintaining it, and the political problems of mobilizing support for it.
Despite the complexities, the fundamental idea of a National Digital Library (or NDL) is, at its core, straightforward. The NDL would make the cultural patrimony of this country freely available to all of its citizens. It would be the digital equivalent of the Library of Congress, but instead of being confined to Capitol Hill, it would exist everywhere, bringing millions of books and other digitized material within clicking distance of public libraries, high schools, junior colleges, universities, retirement communities, and any person with access to the Internet.
The ambition behind this project goes back to the founding of this country. Thomas Jefferson formulated it succinctly: “Knowledge is the common property of mankind.” He was right—in principle. But in practice, most of humanity has been cut off from the accumulated wisdom of the ages. In Jefferson’s day, only a tiny elite had access to the world of learning. Today, thanks to the Internet, we can open up that world to all of our fellow citizens. We have the technical means to make Jefferson’s dream come true, but do we have the will? Read more…http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/oct/28/can-we-create-national-digital-library/
Of the many institutions suffering through the world’s metamorphosis from analog to digital (real to virtual, offline to online), few are as beleaguered as that bedrock of our culture, the public library. Budgets are being slashed by state and local governments. Even the best libraries are cutting staff and hours. Their information desks are seemingly superseded by Google, their encyclopedias are gathering dust. And their defining product, the one that lines their shelves, now arrives in the form of a weightless doppelgänger that doesn’t require shelves.
In the technocracy, all the world’s information comes to us on screens—desk, pocket, wrist, goggles—and no one trudges through wind and rain with library card in hand to find a single worn object. After all, when you want the text of Magna Carta, you don’t track down the original. Same with books? “Libraries are screwed,” said Eli Neiburger, a Michigan library director, in a much-quoted presentation at a Library Journalconference in 2010. “Libraries are screwed because we are invested in the codex, and the codex has become outmoded.”
So is the library, storehouse and lender of books, as anachronistic as the record store, the telephone booth, and the Playboy centerfold? Perversely, the most popular service at some libraries has become free Internet access. People wait in line for terminals that will let them play solitaire and Minecraft, and librarians provide coffee. Other patrons stay in their cars outside just to use the Wi-Fi. No one can be happy with a situation that reduces the library to a Starbucks wannabe.
Perhaps worst of all: the “bookless library” is now a thing. You can look it up in Wikipedia.
American Libraries Live—online learning is changing the way schools work. From elementary to graduate school to continuing education, online tools are creating new horizons in distance learning and new tools to supplement in-person learning. But what does this mean for libraries?
Sarah Steiner, Social Work and Virtual Services Librarian at Georgia State University Library will lead our expert panel:
- John Shank, Instructional Design Librarian and Associate Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching at Penn State University
- Lauren Pressley, Head of Instruction at Wake Forest University Libraries
I’ve sat through more presentations about the way to solve the copyright wars than I’ve had hot dinners, and all of them has fallen short of the mark. That’s because virtually everyone with a solution to the copyright wars is worried about the income of artists, while I’m worried about the health of the internet. Read more….
Filed by March 14, 2013on
Well done. This is something many of us wanted to see.
From the American Library Association:
On Tuesday, March 15, 2013, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) will posthumously award activist Aaron Swartz the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2013 James Madison Award during the 15th Annual Freedom of Information Day in Washington, D.C. Swartz will receive the award for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and government information. Read more…
“Aaron Swartz embodied the ALA’s principles that value open and equal access to information,” said Lofgren. “Aaron’s passing is a significant loss of an outspoken and passionate advocate.”
- ALA Will Posthumously Award Aaron Swartz With James Madison Award (infodocket.com)
- Aaron Swartz to Receive Posthumous Freedom of Information Award (mashable.com)
- American Library Association Honors Aaron Swartz with Madison Award (districtdispatch.org)
- Late Internet activist Aaron Swartz to receive the James Madison Freedom of Information Award (thenextweb.com)
- Aaron Swartz to receive posthumous ‘Freedom of Information’ award for open access advocacy (theverge.com)
- Aaron Swartz to be honored with freedom of information award (news.cnet.com)
- Programmableweb Aaron Swartz 09 (archive.org)
- Aaron Swartz defense: prosecutor Steve Heymann deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence (boingboing.net)