Greece

Greek blogger arrested for satirical links

The Register reports that Antonis Tsipropoulos, a Greek blogger was arrested at home last Tuesday following a complaint from a controversial Greek televangelist that Mr Tsipropouloss blog aggregation site, blogme.gr, linked to slanderous material.

The content in question is hosted at the FunEL blog, and mocks the colourful Dimosthenis Liakopoulos for producing trash TV and being anti-Semitic. However, since the blog is hosted in the US, the Greek authorities swooped on the popular blogme.gr site, arresting its owner, ordering him to appear in court in a few days to face charges and shutting down the service.

Mr Tsipropoulos originally posted a concise account of his arrest, complaining that he was not in any way able to control the content he had linked to, but later removed it, reportedly following legal advice.

The arrest took place days before Athens hosts the inaugural meeting of the Internet Governance Forum at which Amnesty International relaunched their irrepressible.info campaign drawing attention to the bloggers worldwide who have been detained for posting information online.

Many Greeks will be surprised to learn they appear to have joined the ranks of Iran, China and Vietnam.

Gagged Week

This is a bit of an experiment, but I keep seeing stories that are worth highlighting but which I dont have a great deal - if anything - to add. So rather than continue with a bunch of posts that are little more than quotes from other sources, here is a list of links from this weeks press.

Film censorship dramatically increased

In one year, the censor board of Bangladesh has banned 59 films and shut down 39 cinemas for alleged obscenity - a record figure to mark the government’s latest crackdown on movies.

Greek Television stations censor documentary

Greek Helsinki Monitor has condemned Greek television stations for censoring parts of a documentary on the massacre at Srebrenica as broadcast on 2 and 3 June.

This is no sort of way to make a law – and no sort of law to make - Matthew Parris on the UK Government’s Racial and Religious Hatred Bill

The whole point of the rule of law is the certainty it gives the citizen. There is no greater injustice than for a citizen to be unable to determine what legal consequences would flow from an action contemplated. The bill, which passed its Second Reading last week, could be used to criminalise great swaths of speech and literature, ancient and modern.

Big Brother discovers porn

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales put tighter regulations on the porn industry into effect on 23 June.

Japanese schoolbooks seized by Chinese customs

Books on their way by mail to a Japanese school in the north-eastern Chinese city of Dalian were seized by authorities and the school itself fined because the school books have maps that use different colours to mark the island of Taiwan and mainland China.

Indymedia computer seized in pre-G8 police raid

A web server run by the Indymedia alternative news organisation has been seized by police in Bristol. An Indymedia volunter was also arrested during the raid.

Greek curator sued by anti-semites

IFEX reports that Christos Ioakimidis, cuarator of the Outlook contemporary art exhibition which was part of the 2004 Cultural Olympiad is being prosecuted for showing contemporary art.

Outlook was a key activity of the Cultural Olympiad preceding the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. It was inaugurated on 24 October 2003 by the President of the Republic, in the presence of several socialist ministers and Athens conservative Mayor. No one seemed to have been offended by any exhibit.

Forty-five days later, on 9 December 2003, Greeces extreme-right party leader George Karatzaferis protested that Belgian artist Thierry de Cordiers Asperges Me (Dry Sin) painting was the most obscene, immoral, shameless painting I had ever seen. On the right of the canvas was a cross, propped against a wall; on the left a fully erect penis. Karatzaferis saw on the canvas that semen was dripping from the crucifix. Even worse, the penis, that thing, looked circumcised, added the notoriously anti-Semitic politician. Karatzaferis filed a complaint report with Supreme Court Prosecutor Dimitris Linos. The latter, who almost never acts on complaint reports by human rights organizations, asked the Athens prosecutors office to launch an inquiry into whether the works public presentation constituted a crime. Prosecutor Vasiliki Leni found enough evidence to refer the curator to trial seventeen months later, summoning George Karatzaferis and the spokesperson of the Greek Church, Father Epifanios, as prosecution witnesses.

According to the BBC, the trial - which has been djourned until early next year could result in a five year jail sentance for Ioakimidis.