New laws ban music in Syrian province
Copyright / February 2014

SHARIA LAW All areas   An Al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria has issued new decrees restricting certain personal freedoms in the areas under its control in Raqqa province. The new laws prohibit music, and smoking cigarettes and shisha. Violators will be “punished by sharia law.” The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has issued four statements that “decree new laws” coming into force on January 23rd. Starting on that day, women are obliged to wear the niqab, or full face veil, and cover their hands with gloves. They will also not be allowed in public without a male guardian. Walking late at night will also be prohibited for the women in Raqqa, which is the first and only city to have fallen completely under the jihadist group’s control. The statement issued by the group  says “Any sister who does not comply with this moral code will be punished by the rules of sharia, her male guardian will also be punished.” In its second statement, the jihadist group has also prohibited music from being played in public and photographs of people being posted in shop windows. It has also declared selling music CDs or musical instruments illegal, and the playing of…

Updates from the Electronic Frontiers Foundation on global broadcasting issues
Regulation / January 2012

BROADCASTING REGULATION Broadcasting The EFF reports that the Indian Telecommunications Minister has met with top officials of Internet companies and social media sites, including the Indian units of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to try to compel them to filter offensive content. The New York Times reported that Minister Kapil Sibal met with executives to ask the companies to create internal mechanisms that would prevent any comments the state deemed “disparaging, inflammatory or defamatory” towards political and religious figures. A Belgian Internet watchdog group (NURPA) has reported that one of the three major mobile Internet providers in Belgium, Base, voluntarily started blocking access to the Pirate Bay. This block comes after a case initiated by the Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation, in which an Antwerp Court of Appeals ordered two major fixed broadband providers to block access to the Pirate Bay at the DNS level. EFF also reports from Thailand, which declared at the start of December that Facebook users “liking” or sharing content offensive to the Thai throne could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison; Joe Gordon, an American-Thai who translated a banned biography of Thailand’s king and posted the content online while living in Colorado was sentenced to…