In a joint letter to the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division and the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, NCAC and the below signatories question the legality of federal watchlisting practices. The letter deems the current system of labeling thousands of people, including American citizens, as suspected terrorists as "bloated and unfair." The signatories [...]
A call to "reject any proposal to restrict the curriculum of students to accommodate the views, values and preferences of some, and instead to rely on the professional judgment of educators."
Update: Teton County School District will not be moving forward with the proposed consent forms. A win for the Kids' Right to Read Project! In response to the controversy over Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya in the Teton County School District, the school board has proposed to require parents to sign written consent forms for assigned books and to offer [...]
NCAC and other free speech organizations sent a letter to the Waukesha School District in regard to efforts made to remove Looking for Alaska by John Green, Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher, and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini in classrooms and libraries, and to reject the idea of "red-flagging books that deal with sex, rape, extreme violence and brutality, and animal cruelty." In a previous [...]
The TADA! Youth Theatre Ensemble brought down the house with two exclusive performances of The Banned Broadway Project during the closing weekend of Banned Books Week. In collaboration with NCAC, the TADA! teens explored controversial themes found in censored plays and musicals and selected scenes from their favorites to prepare for the big night, including Pippin, Rent, and The Laramie [...]
Free Speech Groups Urge School District to Reinstate “The Fault in Our Stars” to Middle School Libraries
NCAC along with seven other other free speech organizations sent a letter to the Riverside Unified School District urging the School Board to reinstate The Fault in Our Stars by John Green to middle school libraries. A reconsideration committee voted to remove the book after a parent of a middle school student raised objections to the novel's language and sexual content. The [...]
Update: The School Board voted unanimously to keep Persepolis in the 12th grade English IV curriculum in Glenwood High School. In a letter sent to the Ball-Chatham Board of Education today, NCAC and other free-speech organizations urged the Board to reinstate Marjane Satrapi's acclaimed Persepolis to the 12th grade English IV curriculum in Glenwood High School. The Board will meet [...]
UPDATE #1: Good news--the plan to 'review' AP History has been scrapped. *UPDATE #2 : The controversies in JeffCo have still been brewing since NCAC's intervention. The district decided to establish a committee comprised of two board-appointed members, along with students, teachers, and curriculum experts selected by the District. The district hopes that that the issue regarding the curriculum will be [...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Svetlana Mintcheva [email protected]/ 212-807-6222 The New York based National Coalition Against Censorship has joined the UK based Index of Censorship and other members of ARTSFEX, an international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression, in a statement condemning an alarming worldwide trend in which violent protest silences artistic expression that some [...]
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has joined the UK based Index of Censorship and other members of ARTSFEX, an international civil society network actively concerned with the right of artists to freedom of expression, in a statement condemning an alarming worldwide trend in which violent protest silences artistic expression that some groups claim is offensive. The below statement was issued [...]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE In a submission to a UN human rights review, anti-censorship groups document violations of freedom of information and expression in public schools, jails, and prisons New York and Copenhagen For more information contact Svetlana Mintcheva at 212-807-6222 In a new report to the United Nations assessing the United States’ compliance with its human rights obligations, two leading [...]
Last Friday, NCAC and a number of other organizations devoted to free speech considerations in education, drama, and literature sent a letter to the South Williamsport Area School District calling on them to reverse their cancellation of Monty Python's Spamalot, which had been called off due to "homosexual themes." As we sent out the letter, we learned that Dawn Burch, [...]
UPDATE: We've just heard that, in apparent retaliation for speaking about the cancellation of the play, drama teacher Dawn Burch, has been just fired. Stay tuned for action alert and letter to the school board. In a letter sent to the South Williamsport Area School District today, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression, the [...]
NCAC has proudly signed onto the list of 13 Necessary and Proportionate principles, part of a global effort led by our friends at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, on mass surveillance. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the drafting of the principles. The list of principles proposes a set of guidelines that governments around the world should adhere to if [...]
Sherman Alexie is one of the most frequently challenged authors in America. Just this year, NCAC intervened in three separate challenges to Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, most recently in Idaho. In this new video, Alexie discusses book banning, censorship, and the erotic novel to which one would-be book banner compared his young adult novel.
Is symbolic behavior a crime when it may offend religious sensitivities? A 14-year-old boy could be facing up to two years in juvenile detention for posting lewd, crass, yet ultimately innocuous photos on Facebook this past July. The problem: the photos featured him suggestively posing with a sculpture of Jesus. While traipsing the lawn of a local religious organization known [...]
The leaves are starting to change, everyone’s back to the school and work routine, and the weather’s turning chilly—the perfect time for a movie marathon of NCAC’s top 40 censored flicks. Begin reading with our #40 pick, an NC-17 film from 2013 that received a chilly welcome in Idaho.
I joined NCAC on the first day of the ninth Internet Governance Forum (IGF), which took place in Istanbul last week. Central to IGF – an event mired in controversy, given Turkey’s startlingly abusive Internet controls – was the topic of youth digital rights. Turkish academic Kursat Cagiltay commented that 42% of Turkish youth condoned government censorship of the Internet. He [...]
The undersigned organizations, former government officials, and members of Congress write to express their concerns over the US government's surveillance activities conducted under the authority of Executive Order 12333. NCAC shares the concerns of many that these surveillance activities will "undermine the fundamental rights of internet users everywhere" by implementing an unnecessary assemblage of users' personal information. The letter calls [...]
China arrests an inconvenient artist, Pakistan blocks YouTube, Morocco puts a rapper in jail… but Americans are OK as long as we can make public officials recognize the demands of the First Amendment. But is this enough? In the 21st century, with instant communications, with an art world that is defined by events spread all over the globe, and with [...]
Not the First Time Around: “The Kite Runner” and “Chinese Handcuffs” Challenged in Wisconsin School District
The parent of a Waukesha School District high school student has requested that The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher be removed from the district’s libraries, insisting that both novels should be restricted to adults over age 18. This is not the first time that the Waukesha School District has been attacked by parents claiming [...]
The brother of an incoming senior in New Eagle, PA has formally requested the removal of the award-winning dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood from the Ringgold High School summer reading list, complaining about the novel's “adult nature” and “grossly inappropriate conduct.” The board’s vote to suspend the book was mitigated by the August 12 decision to rescind the book’s [...]
From National Coalition Against Censorship (USA), freeDimensional and PEN International July 17, 2014 As organizations committed to freedom of speech and to the universal human value of artistic and literary production, the USA-based National Coalition Against Censorship, PEN International and freeDimensonal are deeply concerned about the decision of the Singapore National Library Board to remove and pulp three children’s books: And [...]
“Yes, that is my flag. I burned it. If they let that happen to Meredith, we don’t need an American flag.” Sidney Street’s reaction to the attempted assassination of civil rights leader James Meredith on a summer afternoon in 1965 led to his arrest, but in his actions and proclamation to police officers, Street put a spotlight on the very ideals of freedom and democracy that the flag purports to represent.
Sex. It's impure, shameful, dirty, immoral, and… harmful? Taboos around sex have existed through the ages, so much so that the American legal system classifies obscene sexual material as a rare exception to First Amendment protection. We rely on judges to tell us if our sexual imagination is obscene or acceptable, and 41 years ago this month, the Supreme Court [...]
This Compromise Is Not Acceptable: Constitutionally Suspect South Carolina Budget Measure is an Assault on Academic Freedom
National Coalition Against Censorship, American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, American Association of University Professors , American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Dramatists Guild, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Modern Language Association and National Council of Teachers of English As national organizations dedicated to freedom of speech [...]
No one knows exactly why Andy Warhol's only public work, "13 Most Wanted Men," was censored fifty years ago this month at the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, New York. Initial press reports said it was Warhol himself who didn't like the work. But that was not the case. Yet, no other rationale was offered. The reason remained unspoken - or perhaps, it was simply [...]
“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” — Aldous Huxley Huxley would not be surprised then, that as we go to print, his 1932 novel, Brave New World, has been challenged in Delaware by a school board member who declared, “because my [...]
1975: “Burning Books in North Dakota” Bruce Severy was fired after having assigned James Dickey’s Deliverance and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five to his high school English students. When the school’s burning of the books created nationwide publicity, residents of Drake, N.D. were “dumbfounded and vaguely upset by the notoriety.” 1979: “Classified at Birth: The Progressive Case” The controversy around the Progressive’s intended article on the [...]
In a joint letter with the ACLU-SC and eight other partner organizations, NCAC defended academic freedom and criticized attempts by the South Carolina State Legislature to punitively defund state universities for assigning LGBT-themed books.
Two recent legislative proposals in Maryland and New York - drafted in retaliation against academic organzations' support of academic boycotts against Israel - seek to penalize professional associations and their members for engaging in protected political activity.
MD State Legislators Take Aim at Protected Political Expression and Activity at State Colleges and Universities
The National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Association of University Professors criticize academic boycotts, but warn public officials against interference with political expression and open discussion and debate.
Open debate, the right to dissent, and freedom of association are core First Amendment values that are directly threatened by legislative efforts to penalize organizations like ASA for their political positions.
Author and children's book historian Leonard Marcus shares insight into the history of censorship of information for young people, beginning with the New England Primer and other books intended to lead kids up to reading the bible.
Charlotte Jones Voiklis, the grandaughter of Madeleine L'Engle, talks about A Wrinkle in Time and shares her grandmother's feelings and perception of attempted book censorship.
We urge the Center to reconsider the exclusion of Linda Cunningham’s timely and powerful "School Days" piece, and adopt exhibition policies that demonstrate a respect for the creative freedom of their members
Sherman Alexie at NCAC's FREE SPEECH MATTERS Celebration, talking about what book-banners are really trying to censor when they go after stories like his.