Self-censorship a growing threat to publishing freedom (alt construed menaces)

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https://www.thebookseller.com/news/self-...pa-1222607

INTRO: Self-censorship on sensitive issues such as religion and sexuality is a growing threat to the freedom to publish, the International Publishers Assocation has said. The organisation made the claim in a report launched on 15th October by its Freedom to Publish committee at the Frankfurt Book Fair, which drew from case studies and a survey of IPA members.

It concluded that, although government interference was the main challenge, many publishers had flagged up self-censorship regarding controversial political topics and issues of sensitivity and harassment on social media as their main concerns. The misuse of “draconian” defamation laws was also an issue, the report claimed.

Self-censorship was a particular concern “regarding politics and religion, as well as LGBTQ-related themes”, the report said. It called for the issue to be “addressed strongly and continuously by the industry on a global level”.

Kristenn Einarsson, chair of the committee, said: “Although censorship by governments and authorities is the main threat to publishing in many countries, authors' and publishers' inclination to self-censor is increasing because of major pressure from different sources.”

He went on: “If we are to create and maintain free, healthy societies, then publishers must have the will and the ability to challenge established thinking, preserve the history of our cultures, and to make room for new knowledge, critical opposition and challenging artistic expression. Publishing has always operated in a social and cultural environment that is constantly changing and where the publishers themselves—through their commissioning or selection of material and as a result of the works they decide to disseminate—influence both what is discussed in society and how those works are received. Freedom to publish means that publishers must be allowed to publish all that they deem worthy of publication, even, and perhaps especially, if those works challenge the boundaries established by the society they operate in.”

According to the report, the Freemuse NGO reported there were 711 worldwide violation of freedom in 93 countries during 2019, including government censorship, book banning and imprisonment of writers or publishers... (MORE)


With regard to general context, all types of censorship and taboo orientations throughout history are probably rising in power, not just social activist neo-puritanism and authoritarian government varieties.

Overzealous profanity filter bans paleontologists from talking about bones
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020...conference

INTRO: Participants in a virtual paleontology session found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place last week, when a profanity filter prevented them from using certain words – such as bone, pubic, stream and, er, beaver – during an online conference.

The US-based Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) held its annual meeting virtually this year due to the pandemic, but soon found its audience stifled when they tried to use particular words. Convey Services, which was was handling the conference, used a “naughty-word filter,” for the conference, outlawing a pre-selected list of words.

“Words like ‘bone’, ‘pubic’, and ‘stream’ are frankly ridiculous to ban in a field where we regularly find pubic bones in streams,” said Brigid Christison, a master’s student in biology attending the event, in an interview with Vice... (MORE)
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