free speech now alerts


Thursday 8 January 2015

ASA bans ‘thigh gap’ Urban Outfitters ad

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advertisement for the Urban Outfitters clothing chain because it featured a model who was deemed to be too thin. After receiving a single complaint about the image, which appeared on the Urban Outfitters website, the ASA branded the advert ‘irresponsible and harmful’, claiming it might encourage eating disorders. An ASA statement said: ‘We considered that the model was very thin, and noted, in particular, that there was a significant gap between the model’s thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width.’

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Thursday 8 January 2015

News outlets censor Charlie Hebdo Prophet Muhammad cartoons

In the wake of the massacre of 12 of the staff of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo yesterday, major news outlets have been accused of censoring their coverage of the tragedy. Outlets including the Daily Telegraph, the Daily News and CNN have pixelated or cropped images of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad that are thought to have led to the attack. A leaked memo circulated to CNN staff said that ‘we are not at this time showing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet considered offensive by many Muslims’. The Daily Telegraph has reportedly removed the pixelated images and replaced them with less controversial ones.

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Monday 5 January 2015

BBC documentary pulled after pressure from royal family

The BBC has postponed the broadcast of a documentary about the royal family after allegedly coming under pressure from lawyers linked to the royal family. Prince Charles is said to be ‘furious’ with the content of Reinventing The Royals. Due to air on Sunday night, the documentary explores the royal family’s relationship with the media. However, Prince Charles denies that he intervened to have the programme pulled. A spokesman for the BBC said: ‘The BBC is delaying broadcast of the documentary until later in the New Year while a number of issues, including the use of archive footage are resolved.’

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Monday 5 January 2015

Swansea University bans religious group from campus

Swansea University has banned the religious group Freedom Church from campus over concerns about the group’s ‘cultic-style operation’. A spokesperson for the university stated: ‘Swansea University has a duty of care to its students and has taken these actions on campus with this in mind.’

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Sunday 4 January 2015

Police force man to apologise for Danny Dyer Facebook prank

UK police have forced a man from Wolverhampton to apologise for a prank Facebook post in which he claimed that Eastenders actor Danny Dyer had died in a car accident. Daniel Parker, 24, posted the hoax to fool his friends, but it quickly went viral and was seen by 1.6million people. According to a report in the Mirror, the police instructed Parker to apologise and to report to a police station in Wolverhampton. In a brief statement issued on Twitter, Dyer called Parker a ‘sick prick’.

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Voices from history

On the freedom to shout fire in a crowded theatre

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes on the use and abuse of that quote.