‘A Problem of Self-Image,’ banned by Facebook
Looks like the folks at Facebook have more to worry about than their plummeting stock price (off 28% since the IPO last week). In recent days, Facebook suspended the account of the Israeli graphic artist, Mysh, about whom I wrote a post a few days ago. It seems that some of the brilliant political graphics I praised in that post must’ve offended the delicate sensibilities of the pro-Israel crowd. I’m guessing there was a movement to complain about the images. And Facebook’s nanny patrol took a look at them and agreed. At least three images have been removed from Facebook and Mysh’s account was suspended for 24 hours as “punishment” for being such a bad boy and saying such mean things (and referencing the Holocuast) about the Israeli pogromists who assaulted African refugees in Tel Aviv a few days ago.
The problem is that Mysh did nothing wrong. In fact, his graphic art is brilliant political satire. It’s the hasbara crowd and their enablers at Facebook who should be ashamed of themselves. I expect that sort of behavior from the Israeli right. But I expect Facebook not to kowtow to such a censorious crowd. Let’s ask a few questions of FB’s censors:
1. Does this mean that you can’t feature a cartoon about the Holocaust on Facebook?
2. Does this mean that cartoons combining Holocaust imagery and criticism of Israel are treif on Facebook?
3. Does this mean that the hasbara crowd gets to determine what can and can’t be seen on Facebook?
4. Does this mean that non-prurient nudity in a cartoon will get it banned?
I’ve looked everywhere for a way to complain to Facebook about this ridiculous decision, but they pretty much avoid telling you how to do so. So I guess we have to make a big enough stink and get the media to call asking questions. Maybe someone can post FB’s corporate headquarters info and phone number and people can call. This is the customer service number I found online: 650-543-4800.
Psst, I’ll tell you a little secret: while Mysh can’t display this image on Facebook, guess who can? You, of course. It’s on my page. If enough of us put it up on all our pages it will hopefully drive the Thought Police crazy and maybe they’ll give up on the censorship. Post it to Twitter too and all the social media. Let’s frustrate the hell out of the censor and make them realize their folly.
The other two censored images are The Green Sabra (a parody of The Hulk, in which the hero/monster is a Sabra) and The Real $uperpower, in which corporate CEO Lex Luther carves an “S” on a naked, cowed Superman (the 99%) in a biting affirmation of the message of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I dare anyone to defend the censoring of these images. Even the most pro-Israel among you. Go ahead, I dare you to try.
Oh and about that falling stock price: Facebook, don’t you have enough troubles without adding this to the bunch? But I guess the nannies are factoring in the possibility of kvetching and moaning from the pro-Israel side as well. It’s a question of which will hurt them more. So far, art, freedom and free expression are the losers.
- Israeli students to get $2,000 to spread state propaganda on Facebook (theuglytruth.wordpress.com)
- Israeli military to keep tabs on Facebook, Twitter (rt.com)
The BBC Trust has announced that it is satisfied with the decision to censor the word Palestine from a freestyle performance by the rapper Mic Righteous.
In the show, which aired 11 February last year, Righteous rapped:
“I still have the same beliefs
“I can scream Free Palestine,
“Die for my pride still pray for peace,
“Still burn a fed for the brutality
“They spread over the world.”
In response to the original complaints, the BBC executive argued (pdf)
that BBC Radio 1Xtra and the BBC as a whole had a duty to be impartial. In this instance, the production team felt that Mic Righteous was expressing a political viewpoint which, if it had been aired in isolation, would have compromised impartiality.
The BBC’s guidelines on impartiality state:
The audience expects artists, writers and entertainers to have scope for individual expression in drama, entertainment and culture. The BBC is committed to offering it.
Where this covers matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or other “controversial subjects”, services should normally aim to reflect a broad range of the available perspectives over time.
Interestingly, the BBC apparently considers “scream Free Palestine” to be more of a controversial statement than “burn a fed”. The Trust has now released its adjudication of the matter, but in so doing has dodged the question.
The Committee agreed that it is for the Executive to decide what to include and what not to include in a broadcast, provided the result does not lead to a breach of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines.
The Committee agreed that its duty was to assess whether the material as broadcast was likely to have been in breach of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, in this case those relating to impartiality.
In other words, in response to complaints that the BBC was unfairly censoring an artist, the Trust has instead examined whether the finished program breached impartiality guidelines. Given the potential breach was never aired, the result of assessment was a foregone conclusion.
Amena Saleem, of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, argued:
“The BBC Trust has moved the goalposts and decided to look at the censored content that was broadcast in February and April 2011.
“And the Trustees have decided that the content from which the word ‘Palestine’ had been edited was not biased against Palestine. This level of manipulation and duplicity would not be out of place in Catch 22.“
The BBC needs to answer the real question; not whether the finished show was impartial, but whether it is acceptable policy to censor the word Palestine.
- BBC Shame (alethonews.wordpress.com)