A Chinese Consulate put pressure on Belfast Council to remove an image of Tiananmen Square from a public art exhibition.
A photo from the Double Take exhibition, by Zurich-based artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger, displayed images of
Airfix like model kits recreating globally significant events. In this case depicting an iconic image of a lone protester in front of a convoy of military tanks in Beijing.
The photograph was not removed, although it is understood the exhibition
was scheduled to end a short time after the matter was raised. A council spokesman said:
We received a complaint in June 2019 in relation to a photograph in the Double Take exhibition, part of the Belfast Photographic
Festival, on the front lawns of Belfast City Hall. The photograph was not removed.
Amnesty International's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said:
It is outrageous that the Chinese
Consulate apparently sought to have the photograph, commemorating the brave students of 1989, removed from the grounds of Belfast City Hall. The state censorship of Beijing cannot be extended to Belfast.
Scotland's government has joined the ranks of many others around the world who are actively working on constraining free speech by amending existing laws to make them even more oppressive than before.
The current law restricting 'hate crimes' is
similar to that in England and Wales, covering threats, abuse, and insults.
But based on what's described as a hard-line report from 2018, Scotland's upgraded Hate Crime and Public Order Bill proposed by parliament now looks to change that and
introduce three new offences,
The first will enable for prosecution of doing anything, or communicating any material, which is threatening or abusive and is intended or likely to engender hatred based on age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender or intersex
Secondly having material of this kind in one's possession meant to be in any way communicated to others will in itself now be a crime,
and thirdly, managers in organizations of any type not acting to prevent the new set of
criminalized behaviours will be criminalized themselves.
The proposals' critics say it is anti-liberal and must not be allowed to pass, pointing out that the bill takes the focus away from punishing acts of hostility based on their gravity regardless of who they target, and instead introduces a tiered
approach, depending on groups that are designated as considered more 'worthy' of the victimhood status.
Offsite Comment: Scotland's new hate speech law will be too censorious
ITN, the maker of news for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, is calling for a digital kitemarking system online to distinguish between supposedly quality journalism and fake content, with internet companies facing penalties if they publish inaccurate
In a submission to a House of Lords inquiry into the future of journalism, seen by the Observer , ITN says internet companies should face the same penalties as broadcasters and other 'quality' news providers from regulatory bodies, such
as Ofcom, if they let misinformation slip through the net.
ITN also calls on parliament to draw up a code of conduct for news suppliers and digital platforms to help prevent the dissemination of fake news. If agreement with the big digital companies
on a voluntary code cannot be reached, it says, it should be made mandatory and negotiations time-limited so the big tech companies cannot drag their feet.
The Lords inquiry is looking into how the production and consumption of journalism is
changing, how journalists can be supported and how the profession can become more trusted by the public.