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Freedom of Expression

Mexico, poet Susana Chavez killed - she was a women's rights activist

The artist had coined the expression "Not One More Death" to tru and stop the killings of women who has going on for years in Ciudad Juarez. Amnesty International called for an investigation on her murder.

Belarus Free Theatre founders arrested - after returning from European tour

The brave artists of Belarus Free Theatre face more repression. Applauded in the world, in their homecountry they are forced underground. Nikholai Khalezin and Natalia Kolyada, who run the company, were arrested on Sunday at a rally and freed on bail. Their manager Artiom Zhelezniak is still in jail.

Empty chair at Sakharov Prize ceremony - Cuba denies visa to dissident Farina

La Havana refused to allow the expatriation of Guillermo Farinas, the Cuban activist awaited in Strasbourg for the delivery of the Prize set up by the European Parliament to honour freedom of thought. Like for Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel ceremony, also for Farinas there will be an empty chair.

Toni Capuozzo wins "Hrant Dink" Prize - for freedom of information

The purpose of the Prize is to commemorate the Armenian journalist killed in Istanbul in 2007. The winner of the third edition is the famous war correspondent, anchorman of the weekly tv programme Terra!

Murdered in Chechnya and Dagestan - two human rights activists and a journalist

Human rights activist murdered in Ingushetia
Natalia Estemirova, a journalist, was abducted and killed after unveiling kidnappings, disappearances, torture and murders in Chechnya. A human rights activist, since 2000 she had worked with Memorial, documenting the crimes committed by the government-backed militias. 

New Politkovskaya trial - hearings will start on 5th August

Update 24th July
Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper for which Anna Politkovskaya worked, announced that the new trial over the journalist's murder will start on 5th August at the Moscow military court.

Freedom of expression

against blinkered thinking

Freedom of thought is usually the first of the fundamental rights of the human being to be targeted by authoritarian regimes, and this applies increasingly the closer it gets to the prototype of totalitarian society. Censorship muzzles the press and journalists are prevented from doing their job, 'till the point in which they are reduced to a mere mouthpiece of the state propaganda. Also the other free expressions of thought are under attack, no one is spared: intellectuals, writers, film directors... even figurative arts are under strict control. Repression heavily curbs all forms of individual sovereignty, such as above all opinions, personal ideas, which represent the worst threat for those who want to impose the "blinkered thought".
In fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, in maoist China and in the dictatorships of Latin America like in modern theocracies and new autocratic regimes, troublesome books were banned and even burnt on the squares, and the historian, scientists, scholars, artists who refused to line up were exiled or jailed.
Totalitarianism entered homes and imposed its grip within the family, which was dominated by the fear of being betrayed even by one's dearest ones. A mechanism of self-censorship thus started: in order to survive people preferred giving up not only expressing their views.. but even to conceive them. There was nothing left but settle for the doctrine expressed by the leaders on power.
Those who try to resist, to keep their own individual character and personal freedom, lose everything, but their independence, combined with the resistance of many other in the same conditions, undermines the very foundations of dictatorial regimes, until their collapse.

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Dith Pran

reporter, photographer and human rights activist