Action, Advocacy, Education… In support of free expression
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
As 2010 winds down, challenges to free speech are on the rise – crossing boundaries of print, visual art, television and the internet. Some of the attacks are all too familiar, others signal new threats. Given some early signs of what we can expect from the incoming Congress, next year promises many challenges.
December 2010 may well be remembered less for the blizzards in the Midwest than for the avalanche of censorship it brought. Attacks on free speech have been happening almost daily, starting November 30th, when the Smithsonian was pressured into pulling an artwork from an exhibition and escalating in the wake of the WikiLeaks Cablegate scandal. Free speech groups are fighting back. Here are the highlights:
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Removes Video
On December 2nd, NCAC, issues a joint statement with thirteen other art and free speech organizations protesting the removal of David Wojnarowicz‘s 1987 video Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery under pressure from the Catholic League and Reps. John Boehner and Eric Cantor.
100s Take to the Streets in Protest to Smithsonian
On December 19th, hundreds of artists, curators, and activists take to the streets to protest the Smithsonian’s removal of Fire in My Belly. We videotaped the demonstration and comments from a number of the protesters.
Watch the video!
Network Solutions, a company providing web services, threatens to remove TheFileroom.org, an interactive archive of worldwide censorship cases administered by the NCAC, unless an internationally exhibited photograph of two naked children by Nan Goldin, contained on the site, is taken down. NS considers the image obscene.
LA MOCA Whitewashes Public Art Mural
LA MOCA, newly headed by art dealer Jeffrey Deitch, whitewashes a mural painted by internationally known street artist BLU. The mural, originally commissioned by MOCA for their upcoming Art in the Street exhibit, faced the Veterans Affair Hospital and a war memorial to Japanese-American soldiers and was, therefore, considered “inappropriate” for the neighborhood.
NCAC Joins Letter Advising Congress
On December 22 NCAC signs a joint letter with 30 other free speech organizations opposing the crackdown on WikiLeaks as an affront to fundamental assumptions regarding a free and open press. The letter reminds legislators to respect the consitutional rights of publishers and the public.
NCAC Calls for CIA Accountability
NCAC joins more than 30 other free speech and open government groups in applauding the decision by the National Archives and Records Administration to re-open an investigation into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes recording torture sessions at “black sites” around the world.