La libertà di espressione negli Usa dopo l'11 Settembre 2001 / Decine di casi di limitazione e censura documentati on line Per aggiornamenti vai a:
Per fortuna gli USA non sono solo Bush e Obama
Free Expression After September 11th - An Online Index

"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.


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

10/23/01 - Religious Leaders: Anti-Terrorism Bill Threatens Free Speech - Freedom Forum 10/23/01 - ACLU Defends California Artist After Los Angeles Orders Removal of “God Bless America” Mural ACLU 10/18/01 - Surge of Patriotism in Schools Leads to Questions About Right to Dissent - Freedom Forum 10/15/01 - Colleges Provide Chilly Climate for Free Speech Since Attacks - Freedom Forum 10/15/01 - Student Senate Asks Berkeley Newspaper to Apologize for Cartoon - Student Press Law Center 10/11/01 - Critic of Koran Temporarily Barred From Speaking at Ohio College - Freedom Forum 10/11/01 - ACLU “Troubled” by White House Request for Network Censorship of Bin Laden Videotapes - ACLU 10/10/01 - The Aftermath: School Lessons in Free Expression Send Mixed Messages - Freedom Forum 10/08/01 - University Trustees Echo Condemnation of "Un-American" Forum - Freedom Forum 10/05/01 - "What Do Faculty Think" - Statement of American Association of University Professors 10/04/01 - Florida Professor Placed on Leave After Fox News Appearance - Student Press Law Center 09/26/01 - Speak Up at Your Own Risk - Freedom Forum 09/26/01 - Teachers Under Scrutiny for Commenting on Attacks - Student Press Law Center 09/24/01 - Teachers Contend With Repercussions of Unpopular Speech - Freedom Forum 09/21/01 - Berkeley Firefighters Told to Remove Stars and Stripes From Rigs - Freedom Forum 09/21/01 - Students, Teachers Face Free Speech Limitations After Terrorist Attacks - Student Press Law Center 09/19/01 - College's Librarians Barred From Wearing American Pride Stickers - Freedom Forum 09/14/01 - First Amendment Advocates Fear Erosion of Rights in Aftermath of Attacks - Freedom Forum
To get more information about post 9/11 speech issues please visit these sites:

American Civil Liberties Union Electronic Privacy Information Center Freedom Forum 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


In September 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

The Boston 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 the hijackers.

Source - "Massachusetts: Symphony Cancels 'Klinghoffer'" - New York Times - 11/2/01


Within days 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 sources

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 sources

In October 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


Washington 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

Tom Gutting, 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

In September 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

The National 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 then dismissed.

Source - "National Review Cans Columnist Ann Coulter" - Washington Post - 10/2/01

In September 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 sources

In October 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, "TV Networks to Limit Use Of Tapes From Bin Laden" - Washington Post - 10/11/01

Syndicated 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

In September 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" - - 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

Someone claiming 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

In October 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

In October 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


Patricia 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

On 9/18/01, 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

In October 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 - 10/17/01

A substitute 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.

Sources - "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

In September 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

In October 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

In Topeka, 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


Jonnie Hargis, 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 - 10/4/01

In September 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" - - 9/19/01


In October 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

When President 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 4, 2001