"There are reminders to all Americans
that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do, and that
this is not a time for remarks like that. … It never is"
- White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer
Following the September 11,
2001, attacks on the United States, the National Coalition Against Censorship
received repeated calls and e-mails from supporters, media, students
and others concerned with free speech asking about censorship incidents
arising from the attacks. Those who took the time to contact us are
concerned that the events of 9/11 will result in incidents of government
censorship and suppression of speech by private entities, as is often
the case during times of crisis.
Because we share their concern,
the National Coalition Against Censorship, in cooperation with other
free speech organizatons, created this index so that those concerned
with free expression will have one location that catalogs the various
incidents of censorship and suppression of speech that are a direct
result of the events of September 11th.
While we make no claim that
the index contains all of the incidents of censorship and supression
of speech from across the country we trust you will find our index helpful.
And, if you'd like to make us aware of an incident in your community
that you think we might not be aware of, I urge you to e-mail us.
Don't forget to bookmark
this site because we'll be continually adding incidents.
INDEX OF INCIDENTS:
To view a list of incidents
involving the Internet and media please visit Chilling
Effects of Anti-Terrorism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation
To view a list of
incidents involving colleges and universities please visit FIRE and
the Aftermath of September 11 compiled by the the Foundation
for Individual Rights in Education
ARTICLES, PRESS RELEASES,
more information about post 9/11 speech issues please visit these sites:
American Civil Liberties Union
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Free Expression Network
National Coalition Against Censorship
People for the American Way
Student Press Law Center
Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection
of Free Expression
2001, officials at the Baltimore Museum of Art removed
a painting, acquired in 1990, titled "Terrorist" from the contemporary
wing "out of respect to visitors' sensitivities." The painting, an acrylic
and aliminum piece measuring 96 by 64 inches, featured three fragmented
lines - "TER," ROR" and "IST" in large black stenciled letters. An official
from the BMA later said that the work would be reinstalled with an accompanying
placard describing the artist's motive for the work.
Source - "BMA Pulls
Art Bearing Word 'Terrorist'" - Baltimore Sun - 9/17/01, "Sensitivity
Led to Removal of 'Terrorist' Art, BMA Says" - Baltimore Sun - 9/18/01
Symphony Orchestra announced the cancellation of performances featuring
"The Death of Klinghoffer" in November and December 2001. "The Death
of Klinghoffer" is an opera by John Adams about Palestinian hijackers
killing a passenger on an American cruise ship in 1895. The Orchestra
explained that the reason for the decision was due to the events of
September 11th and concern by some that the opera was sympathetic to
Source - "Massachusetts:
Symphony Cancels 'Klinghoffer'" - New York Times - 11/2/01
of the attacks, Clear Channel Communications circulated a list of songs
to its 1,200 channels across the country suggesting that they use good
judgment in playing any of the 150 songs on the list. Included on the
list are obvious songs such as "Jet Airliner" by the Steve Miller Band
and "My City Was Gone" by the Pretenders. The list also included such
songs as "America" by Neil Diamond and "Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling
Stones and many songs with a political message such as all songs by
the band Rage Against the Machine and "Imagine" by John Lennon.
Source - Numerous
On the 9/17/01
edition of the TV show Politically Incorrect, host Bill Maher
and conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza discuss the events of September
11th. D'Souza refers to the attackers as "warriors" while Maher states
that, in comparison, the U.S. government has acted like cowards because
it had previously launched missles at targets thousands of miles away
in contrast to those who flew airplanes into buildings. Following news
of the exchange, such companies as Federal Express, Sears-Roebuck and
Quizno's pull advertising from Politically Incorrect and some
local TV stations refuse to air the show.
Source - Numerous
2001, Newsday reported that it pulled the comic strip "The Boondocks"
from its paper because it criticized U.S. support of Osama bin Laden
during the Soviet/Afghanistan war. Newsday maintains that it took the
action so as to not offend New Yorkers. At the time the article was
written, The Boondocks was still not running in Newsday.
Source - "Drawing
on the Headlines" - Newsday - 10/9/01
NEWS & COMMENTARY
University in St. Louis refused to allow a reporter for the St. Louis
Post-Dispatch on campus to provide coverage of a 9/20/01 student rally
supporting restraint and an international solution as a response to
the events of September 11th. Campus police refused the reporter entrance
because she did not fulfill University guidelines mandating that all
media personnel be escorted by a public affairs staff member and requesting
of access to the campus through the public affairs office.
Source - "Wash U Hampers
Press Freedom" - St. Louis Journalism Review - October 2001
city editor for the Texas City Sun was fired in September 2001 after
writing a column in which referred to President Bush as a "scared child
seeking refuge in his mother's bed after having a nightmare" for not
returning to Washington DC immediately after hearing about the attacks
on September 11th.
Source - "Columnists
Fired After Criticizing Bush" - Editor & Publisher - 9/27/01
2001, Dan Guthrie, a columnist for the Grants Pass Daily Courier in
Oregon was fired after he wrote a column criticizing Bush for not being
more visible following news of the September 11th attacks
Source - "Columnists
Fired After Criticizing Bush" - Editor & Publisher - 9/27/01
Review and Denham Springs News (Louisiana) dropped conservative commentator
Ann Coulter's syndicated column from its website and terminated her
as a contributing editor. Her dismissal came after penning two consecutive
columns soon after the attacks. One recommended invading countries,
killing their leaders and converting them to Christianity. The other
discussed "suspicious-looking swarthy males" and a policy to require
passports for domestic flights. The National Review Online posted the
first column but not the second. After hearing of the decision to not
run the second column, Coulter roudly criticized the editors and was
Source - "National
Review Cans Columnist Ann Coulter" - Washington Post - 10/2/01
2001, the U.S. Department of State asked Voice of America, a U.S. government-funded
radio network, to refrain from running an interview with Mullah Mohammad
Omar, leader of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban saying that airing the
interview would be providing a means for terrorists to communicate their
messages and that it wasn't "newsworthy". After staffers protested,
the State Department relented and the interview aired on 9/25/01.
Sources - Numerous
2001, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice contacted the five networks
to caution them against running interviews of Osama bin Laden out of
fear that his televised addresses may contain hidden messages for his
followers, inspire his followers and frighten Americans.
Sources - "The
Networks, Giving Aid to the Enemy?" - Washington Post - 10/12/01,
Networks to Limit Use Of Tapes From Bin Laden" - Washington Post
radio host Peter Werbe's talk-radio show was dropped by radio station
KOMY-AM in Santa Cruz, California in early October 2001 after questioning
U.S. military actions in Afghanistan.
Source - "Uncivil
Liberty" - Metro Santa Cruz Newspaper - 10/26/01
2001, a freelance reporter from Oregon was told he could not interview
a researcher from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention because
the Department of Health & Human Services forbids all interviews
having to do with terrorism or disasters.
Source - "Panelists Tell Editors: Congressional Efforts to Protect Freedom
May Thwart It" - www.freedomforum.org - 10/15/01
A poll taken
by Pew Research Center for People & the Press in mid-October 2001
revealed that 6 out of 10 Americans felt that the military - not news
organizations - should have more control over the news regarding the
U.S. bombings in Afghanistan and 50% believed that news organizations
should not air speeches by Osama bin Laden.
Source - Poll: Public
Not Rattled by Anthrax Reports; Six in 10 Say Military Should Exert
Control Over War News - Associated Press - 10/16/01
to be a federal agent phoned Hypervine, an Internet service provider,
to inform them that they may be in violation of anti-terrorism laws
and could have their assets seized for allowing Cosmic Entertainment
to air three radio shows over the Internet. The three shows are IRA
Radio, about Irish news and politics, Al Lewis Live, a radio show hosted
by ex-"Munster" Al Lewis and Our Americas, a spanish-language show about
rebels in Latin America. After receiving the call, Hypervine shut down
all three shows. The FBI has declined to comment.
Source - "'Radical"
Radio Shows Forced From the Net" - USA Today - 10/16/01
2001, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency entered into an exclusive
agreement with Space Imaging, Inc. to purchase all of the rights of
the satellite photos that the company is taking of Afghanistan and surrounding
areas. The National Imagery and Mapping Agency is part of the U.S. Defense
Department and Space Imaging, Inc. is regarded as the best source in
the world for such high resolution satellite photos. While the Pentagon
claims that the agreement is meant to supplement the government's own
satellite images, some observers have pointed out that the agreement
means that the news media will no longer have access to such images
and will, as a result, be hampered from reporting on various basic aspects
of military actions in Afghanistan and will not be able to independently
verify Pentagon claims.
Source - "Pentagon
Corners Output of Special Afghan Images - New York Times - 10/19/01
2001, NBC News White House correspondent, Campbell Brown, was contacted
by phone by a senior administration official who "gently chided' her
for tough questioning of Tom Ridge, the head of the Office of Homeland
Security, during a press briefing.
Source - "Bush Plans
Speech With Coherent, Unified Message" - New York Times - 11/2/01
Bowes, an art teacher at Addison Minzer Elementary School in Palm Beach
County, Florida was suspended for encouraging her students to express
their feelings about the events through their artwork. School officials
later say that the suspension had more to do with Bowes demonstrating
to students how a hijacker could take over a plane using a knife-like
object after students inquired.
Sources - "Boca Art
Teacher Suspended Over Pupils' Sketches of Terror" - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- 9/19/01, "Suspended Teacher Demonstrated Hijacker's Possible Tactics"
- Palm Beach Post - 9/21/01
the Daily Californian, a student-run campus newspaper at UC Berkeley,
ran an editorial cartoon by syndicated cartoonist Darrin Bell. The cartoon
featured two Muslim Arabs in the hand of a demon and surrounded by flames
discussing their having made it to paradise. After the cartoon appeared
in the paper, student protestors declared a sit-in at the Daily Californian
offices and presented the paper with a list of demands including a printed
apology. When the paper refused to meet the protestors's demands the
student senate drafted a bill to raise the rent of the paper and subject
all staffers to mandatory sensitivity training.
Sources - "University
of Censorship's Fall Semester" - San Francisco Chronicle - 10/11/01
2001, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill, by a
200-1 vote, that would mandate that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance
or sing the national anthem during each school day unless the school
had written permission from a parent exempting their child.
Source - "Bill Would
Compel Pledge or Anthem in Pa. Schools" - Philadelphia Inquirer/AP -
teacher with the Pittsburgh Public Schools is suspended on 9/20/01 for
writing "Osama bin Laden did us a favor. He vulcanized us, awakened
us and strengthened our resolve" in the margins of a newspaper that
he later threw away. The teacher later had a chance to explain that
he wrote the lines after hearing them on a newscast and was using them
for a book he's writing about making the best of horrible situations.
After further investigation, the teacher was reinstated.
"Sub Teacher Fired Over bin Laden Note" - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- 9/21/01, "Substitute
Teacher Gets His Job Back Pronto After Suspension for bin laden Writing"
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - 9/22/01
2001, A fifth-grade student from Jefferson County, Missouri (near St.
Louis) was suspended for three days for drawing a picture of the World
Trade Center on fire and taping it to his study cubicle. When asked
why he drew it, the student allegedly did not answer but grinned. A
spokesperson for the school district said that the student was suspended
for the grinning and not the drawing itself.
Source - "School Suspends
Buy Who Drew Picture of Attack, Then Grinned While Showing It" - St.
Louis Post Dispatch - 10/4/01
2001, A high school student from Fairview Park, Ohio was suspended for
10 days for displaying posters on his locker. The posters featured an
eagle with a tear drop and several had bombers drawn on them with messages
such as "May God have mercy, because we will not." School officials
suspended the student, Aaron Pettit, because they viewed the posters
as threats against Arab-American students. Pettit sued the school in
federal court and was reinstated.
Source - "Fairview
Student Was Disciplined for Hanging Patriotic Posters" - 10/10/01 -
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Kansas, McCarter Elementary School officials implemented a policy whereby
students were forbidden to wear traditional Halloween costumes to school
and, instead, will only be allowed to wear costumes with patriotic themes.
Source - "School
Nixes Traditional Costumes" - 10/24/01 - Topeka Capital-Journal
an employee at the Young Research Library at UCLA, received an e-mail
from co-worker Michelle Torre that was sent to other employees at the
library. The e-mail contains "America: The Good Neighbor," a speech
written by Canadian Gordon Sinclair in the early 1970's. Hargis responded
to the e-mail by calling into question U.S. support of policies by Israel
against Palestinians. Hargis was subsequently suspended without pay
for 5 days for violating a policy that forbids sending unsolicited e-mails
containing political, religious or patriotic messages to library department
lists. That policy was created the same day that Hargis was suspended
and Torre received no disciplinary action. Hargis' union has since filed
a grievance with the University
Source - "YRL
Employee Punished for Political Mass E-Mail" - (UCLA) Daily Bruin
2001, the library staff at Florida Gulf Coast University were told to
not wear their "I'm Proud to be an American Stickers" because they might
offend foreign students at the school.
Source - "College's
Librarians Barred From Wearing American Pride Stickers" - www.freedomforum.org
2001, a 22-year-old man was kicked off of two different flights, on
the same day, by United Airlines at Philadelphia International Airport
because airport security thought he might be a safety risk. The controversy
began when the man, Neil Godfrey, had his luggage randomly searched
and it was discovered that he had a copy of Hayduke Lives! a novel about
a radical environmentalist who destroys property. The book's front cover
features an illustration of a hand holding dynamite. After being questioned
several times by a variety of airport security, law enforcement officials
and even a National Guardsman, Godfrey was denied the opportunity to
board his flight.
After returning home and
contacting an United Airlines official, Godfrey was told he would be
able to travel on a later flight. For the second flight, he chose a
Harry Potter book. Upon returning to the airport, Godfrey's luggage
was again searched, he was again questioned by airport security, law
enforcement and a National Guardsman, his book again examined, and he
was patted down. Ultimately, Godfrey was also denied the opportunity
to fly on the second flight.
Source - "Novel
Security Measures" - Philadelphia City Paper - October 18-25, 2001
Bush visited Sacramento, California, approximately 30 anti-war protesters
attempted to move into a space where others were standing to view the
president's motorcade they were prevented from doing so by Sacramento
police. A Secret Service spokesman blamed the action on "miscommunication"
between the Secret Service and the local police.
Source - "High-Profile
Sacramento Visitor Puts Free Speech to the Test" - Sacramento Bee - November