Wringing the freedom bell
A mob of Ivy League students and a cluster of federal judges have been granted the dubious honor of being named tops in undermining free speech and free expression in New England.
The fourth-annual Muzzle Awards from the Boston Phoenix, which are deliberately announced just before Independence Day, also tapped a mayor and an ex-governor, among others, for its Top 10 list of “anti-free-speech zealots.”
“Despite living in a culture in which freedom of speech and personal liberties are taken for granted, censorship and repression are as strong as ever,” Dan Kennedy, the senior writer who compiles the list for the alternative weekly, told freedomforum.org.
“Singling out the most egregious examples is vital, because the public needs to understand that our basic liberties can’t be taken for granted, and that freedom is an ongoing struggle.”
Among those cited were:
Also on the list were Boston’s Back Bay Architectural Commission, for its upcoming ban on news boxes on the public streets of the fashionable neighborhood; Dartmouth College President James Wright, for upholding the institution’s elimination of a fraternity after it published two sophomoric newsletters; and Maine state Rep. Mary Black Andrews, R-York, who introduced a bill to establish statewide standards for obscenity. (The Maine House killed the measure by a resounding margin of 103-41.)
The Phoenix Muzzles are regional awards, independent of the national anti-free expression Jefferson Muzzle Awards, which are given annually by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.