About Michael O'Neil

Michael O'Neil is the Communications Director. He coordinates the annual Youth Film Contest and is responsible for the website, online projects and PR. Michael received his BA in Communications and Theater from Case Western Reserve University and has provided creative messaging for First Amendment and social justice campaigns since 2003.

Forbidden Love (of Reading): Censored and Challenged Books for Valentine’s Day

By |2020-01-03T13:43:20-05:00February 14th, 2012|Blog|

by Michael O'Neil The book is a romantic thing. From spotting potential sweeties by the books they're reading, to the countless authors who have feverishly committed tales of love to paper for the form, books engage the mind and elicit passion, intrigue and a cozy kind of intimacy perhaps unmatched by any other medium. So to celebrate Valentine's Day, let's [...]

New Signers to Tucson Statement

By |2019-03-07T23:31:35-05:00February 8th, 2012|Blog|

We're happy to welcome two new national organizations to our joint statement against the censorship of Mexican-American Studies in the Tucson Unified School District: the National Association for Ethnic Studies and the National Association for Bilingual Education!

Free Speech Defender-Superstar Photos!

By |2020-01-03T13:43:18-05:00November 30th, 2011|Blog|

Last night we celebrated a bunch of amazing defenders of Free Speech at Tribeca 360 in Manhattan. We have pictures! Here's a taste: Judy Blume presents Laurie Halse Anderson with her Free Speech Defender award! We all honored Laurie for continuing to write awesome, challenging books for kids of all ages. Publisher Jane Friedman and Kaylie Jones! This year, Kaylie [...]

Video From Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park Standoff

By |2019-03-07T21:51:09-05:00November 15th, 2011|Blog|

This morning, we took a moment to capture a bit of the action at Zuccotti Park in the wake of the late night, NYPD eviction of the encampment that had lasted almost two months. Here, a participant in the Occupy Wall Street movement talks about the judge's restraining order stating protestors must be allowed entrance to Zuccotti Park (pending a [...]

Truly Free Speech Protects Kids From Bullying

By |2020-01-03T13:43:02-05:00July 29th, 2011|Blog|

Photo by rosipaw on Flicrk This week, Stephanie Mencimer at MotherJones.com reported on horrifying cases of harassment and suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin schools  of Minnesota, in Rep. Michelle Bachman’s district. The article, published within days of a suit filed against the district by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has further mobilized advocates calling for expanded anti-bullying policies and [...]

Victory in Richland, WA! “…Part-Time Indian” Restored To Curriculum

By |2019-03-15T17:05:12-04:00July 12th, 2011|Blog|

The Richland, WA school board has overturned a previous vote that removed Sherman Alexie's award-winning Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian from the district's high school curriculum. The book will now be available to all high school classes! NCAC congratulates the board members who reversed their previous votes, after reading the book for themselves. According to the Richland News [...]

Doin’ the Love Game

By |2020-01-03T13:42:45-05:00June 23rd, 2011|Blog|

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is known for exhibiting a panoply of video game products and innovations, so IGN blogger Michael Tomeson recently quested to find video games dealing with sex. Despite a medium that presents simulated activities ranging from invading Normandy to designing entire civilizations, Tomeson noted the continuing informal ban on sexual content within the mainstream game market. [...]

Guest Blog: John Davis Malloy on the Smithsonian After Hide/Seek

By |2020-01-03T13:40:44-05:00May 11th, 2011|Blog|

It’s true that the Smithsonian’s Flashpoints and Faultlines forum was too late for Hide/Seek, but keeping the issues alive months after the exhibit closed may be the right timing for the future of this public institution. It was no surprise that in his welcoming remarks Wayne Clough described himself as having no choice but to censor the artwork.  Less expected [...]

Free Speech Happy Hour In June

By |2020-01-03T13:40:41-05:00May 11th, 2011|Blog|

Join us for a summer evening and mingle with your favorite civil liberties groups: NCAC, the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education, and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. It's sure to be a fun night so invite your friends too! There will be a cash bar and appetizers served. Thursday, June 16 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm At The [...]

Clough Stands By Decision To Pull “A Fire In My Belly” From Hide/Seek

By |2020-01-03T13:40:35-05:00April 27th, 2011|Blog|

Despite concerns the Smithsonian's Flashpoints and Faultlines forum would be a bland showcase designed to obscure the institution's commitments to First Amendment principles instead of examining them, last night's opening panels included direct criticism from the dais of Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough's decision to censor David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire In My Belly" from the Hide/Seek exhibit at the [...]

NCAC and FAP Send Letter To Marin Civic Center re: Nudes Censorship

By |2020-01-03T13:40:29-05:00April 14th, 2011|Blog|

As blogged earlier this week, admins at the Marin Civic Center censored a painting of a nude female from an annual art show because an employee claimed it constituted sexual harassment. This morning, NCAC and the First Amendment Project sent Marin County a letter to show them the error of their ways. In it, we sought to explain [...]

Nudes In The News! Marin County Civic Center Censors Artist

By |2020-01-03T13:40:26-05:00April 12th, 2011|Blog|

The Marin County Civic Center has chosen to eliminate a nude painting by San Rafael artist Sylvia Cossich Goodman from a public exhibition. The full-frontal nude was accepted through what we can assume was a standard submission process, and was up in public for a week. So why take it down now? Because an employee complained it created "a hostile [...]

NCAC Calls For Release of Ai Weiwei

By |2020-01-03T13:40:25-05:00April 8th, 2011|Blog|

NCAC is adding to the global community of artists and institutions calling for the immediate release of the renowned Ai Weiwei, one China's most innovative and socially engaged creators. He was arrested at Beijing Airport this week for "economic crimes", and he alleges that in 2009 the security police attacked and beat him. Check out our call to [...]

Famous Art Censored For Sensitive Types

By |2020-01-03T13:40:25-05:00April 7th, 2011|Blog|

In response to the disturbing story of a woman who attacked a Gauguin at the National Gallery, Flavorwire Art Editor Marina Galpernia has helpfully compiled a photo set of great works modified for those with...delicate sensibilities: Thou shall not show your wiener to God, Adam. Even if Michelangelo’s God is emerging out of an embracing pile of amorous angels, he [...]

Can They Do That? Saggy Pants Edition

By |2019-03-15T15:27:26-04:00April 1st, 2011|Blog|

Perhaps you heard that the Arkansas State Legislature has banned students from wearing "clothing that exposes underwear, buttocks, or the breast of a female" at all school-related functions. So: Can they do that? Fire up the Free Speech Wayback Machine to 1969. In Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, the Supreme Court ruled that school authorities could not [...]

Voluntary Surveilance, Crowdsourced Censors

By |2020-01-03T13:40:20-05:00April 1st, 2011|Blog|

On Wednesday we featured an RSAnimate video about mutual knowledge as an essential element of dissent, as demonstrated by Wikileaks. Today we feature an RSAnimate on how authoritarian regimes can leverage dissent on the Internet for their own end: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk8x3V-sUgU The speaker, Evgeny Morozov, notes a few phenomena of interest. First, in China, how blogs critical of local governance are [...]

Victory Over Transnational Libel Case Brought Against Book Review

By |2020-01-03T13:40:06-05:00March 8th, 2011|Blog|

In a victory for academic freedom, the Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris has ruled against a libel case brought against Prof. Joseph Weiler for  GlobalLawBooks.org's review of The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court. ICTY and ICTR Precedents, by Dr Karin N. Calvo-Goller. The judge ruled that Calvo-Goller engaged in forum shopping by selecting France as the venue [...]

Highlights From Texas Prison System’s Banned Books List

By |2020-01-03T13:40:04-05:00March 4th, 2011|Blog|

The Texas Civil Rights Project has released a fascinating, detailed report on the nearly 12,000 books banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice from entering the state's prison system. The arbitrary nature of the list, including Shakespeare's sonnets and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Wistlestop Cafe, defies any security-based explanation. Check out the searchable Zoho spreadsheet to see if [...]

Rob Kall Post On Arrest And Bloodied Treatment Of Silent Hilary Clinton Protestor

By |2020-01-03T13:40:00-05:00February 25th, 2011|Blog|

(image from JusticeOnline) The audience stood to greet and applaud Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she took the podium at George Washington University. But as the audience sat down again, a retired CIA analyst named Robert McGovern remained on his feet and calmly turned his back on Clinton in silent protest of her votes and policies regarding the wars [...]

Facebook Doesn’t “Like” Nude Art

By |2020-01-03T13:39:59-05:00February 23rd, 2011|News|

(image from artinfo.com) It turns out that the enclosure of the World Wide Web into propriety social networks like Facebook has a downside, as the global art community is discovering. Facebook's censors reviewers have repeatedly disabled accounts for posting images of Gustave Courbet's iconic 1866 painting, "The Origin Of The World", a frank and naturalistic portrait of a woman's genitalia. [...]

VIDEO: Policing The Sacred Panel at CAA, Organized by NCAC

By |2019-03-13T15:37:35-04:00February 22nd, 2011|Blog|

Were you unable to make it to NCAC's "Policing the Sacred" panel on religion and freedom of expression at this year's CAA? Now is your chance to take in the discourse and debate with these full-length videos! The National Coalition Against Censorship has edited video of “Policing the Sacred: Art, Censorship, and the Politics of Faith,” a session held during [...]

Moot Court Competition Examines Real Student Cyber-Speech Issues

By |2020-01-03T13:39:57-05:00February 22nd, 2011|Blog|

David Hudson of the First Amendment Center is connecting the dots between the hypothetical case presented in the 2011 First Amendment Moot Court Competition (in which the College Of William and Mary Law School emerged victorious -- Go Tribe!) and the questions of freedom and accountability surrounding online speech facing administrators and communities around the country: Many questions remain in [...]

Democracy Now: Journalist Searched On Return From Haiti

By |2020-01-03T13:39:06-05:00February 15th, 2011|Blog|

Democracy Now! reports the Obama administration is continuing the Bush regime's policy of directing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search and copy computers, smartphones, cameras, and hard drives of "listed" Americans returning to the United States. ACLU (NCAC member!) staff attorney Catherine Crump says "many journalists and lawyers who often work abroad have also experienced similar interrogations." The ACLU [...]

The Weiler Affair and Globalized Censorship

By |2020-01-03T13:39:06-05:00February 14th, 2011|Blog|

Prof.  Joseph Weiler of NYU, and Editor-In-Chief of the European Journal Of Law, has contributed an incisive editorial regarding charges that he defamed an author through an unfavorable book review: ...I was summoned to appear before an Examining Magistrate in Paris based on a complaint of criminal defamation lodged by the author. Why Paris you might ask? Indeed. The author [...]

NEWSgrist Write-up On “Policing the Sacred” CAA 2011 Panel

By |2020-01-05T23:16:07-05:00February 14th, 2011|Blog|

Joy Garnett of NEWSgrist has posted her reflections on the NCAC's panel at CAA: 'Policing the Sacred' broached the most interesting age-old conundrum of art, religion and censorship. It asked that we ourselves examine the lines between hate speech, critique, parody, and appropriation of the sacred and its symbols by artists as well as by governments. Several factors were noted [...]

Amanda Palmer Asks Community For Response To Censored School Play

By |2020-01-05T23:18:33-05:00February 8th, 2011|Blog|

Amanda Palmer, co-founder of the legendary Dresden Dolls and known for a wide variety of solo work, is a damn-proud alumna of the Lexington High School drama program. She credits it for granting her the opportunity to work with avant-garde material and forms that continue to influence her as a performer and artist. Naturally, then, she felt particularly outraged by [...]

Fear and censorship: Or, How Strong is our Commitment to Free Speech?

By |2020-01-03T13:37:41-05:00May 10th, 2010|Blog|

Violence against those who create and disseminate controversial words and images is not new. But for the last couple of centuries, commitment to free speech has trumped fear of violence in Western liberal democracies. As late as 1989, Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses continued to be published and read in the face of a fatwa issued against its author and in the face [...]

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