The attacks on the press are about lockouts, manipulation and threats. Lockouts are bad for the free flow of information. Manipulation is (and always has been) a two-way street … but threats? Threats now shape our public discourse, and again, to belabor the point over and over, this is not normal.
On June 26, 2017, hearings began in the U.S. District Court for Arizona to decide the fate of Tucson’s Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program. It has been seven years for this educational program to get its day in court. That’s at least two generations of high-school students, who because of narrow minded political concerns, were denied the right to study their own origins.
The biggest questions concerning Intellectual Freedom in this country have always revolved around the right to speak, write, or otherwise express dissent on any given topic; most importantly on political or social issues.
On arrival to Texas from Paris on Feb. 22, 2017, en route to Texas A&M University, where he was an invited guest, Dr. Rousso was held for 11 hours; and though eventually released, through the intercession of Texas A&M University’s president and a law professor, his experience is telling of where we are headed as people and a nation. In fact, it is telling of where we have arrived, now, in this moment.
This current battle, in 2017 for the integrity of the classroom isn’t new for Oklahoma or the nation, but this particular bill feels like a retread. The author of Senate Bill 393 is State Senator Josh Brecheen. Brecheen has authored similar bills (six in fact) since 2011. This is his seventh attempt.
On the EPA’s website of the Office of Science and Technology, the word ‘science’ has been removed from its mission statement. At the University Of California San Diego, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan, scientists are voicing their concerns about their ability to do their jobs threatened with draconian budget cuts at the Federal level, and the specter of vanishing data sets in Federal repositories. Neither has become a reality, but awareness and action are needed on both fronts.
The novel, 1984, is experiencing a resurgence in the wake of the scandalous language, and ideas emanating from Washington D.C. over the past few months. A democratic minded public has little patience with the idea of ‘alternate facts.’ … In recognition of the importance of this imaginative act, theaters across the country and the globe are choosing to provide free screenings of Michael Radford’s film version of ‘1984.’
The role of libraries in preserving intellectual freedom, as well as the integrity of our collections and interactions we have with patrons, is based on critical thinking and clear-eyed reasoning, not the convenience of a hyperlink.
The Columbia Journalism Review recently discussed how the news media could learn a lot from librarians and the framework, and set of principles, we’ve developed for dealing with the onslaught of digital information. But the truth is that in a culture devoted to the free flow of information and free expression, we learn best when we learn from each other.
As adherents and defenders of the idea of intellectual freedom, librarians — both public and academic — are in a position of strength to shape the debates roiling through our communities … This is not about liberal or conservative; this is about demagoguery taking root. The strange case of Hans Fallada need not be repeated.