#21 2016

The Truth the Flag Conceals

Those who know the history of democracy in Turkey know all too well how commonplace it is for military officials to lecture journalists on their profession. And, indeed, how common it is for journalists to interpret this as direct orders.

For his journalistic achievements Can Dündar has recently been awarded the Swedish National Press Club’s Freedom of Speech Award in memory of Anna Politkovskaya. After having been prosecuted for his revealing articles he now lives in exile. For the Dissident Blog Dündar has written a personal comment on the relationship between nationalism and the escalating oppression in Turkey. 

The Hybrid War and the Poetics of Resistance

In Russia it is not merely the war that has a hybrid nature—similar contradictory and elusive characteristics may also describe the state of justice, freedom, and censorship within the country. In his essay on creativity,

The Same Silence as Before

In Turkey on September 9 Ahmed Altan, writer, journalist and former chief editor, was detained along with his brother. In an interview by Alev Yaman made just before Altan’s detention Altan claims that there is a

Media’s Role in Promoting Nationalism

The broadcasting from the European football championship this past summer provided Hungary’s President Viktor Orbán with yet another opportunity to reach out with his xenophobic and EU resistant message. Using a mixture of

"The fight is a part of the Polish ethos"

In Poland nationalism has grown into a thriving official ideology. The regime is demanding that the citizens defend all internal affairs and both the state and the church remain silent on issues of hate crime and racism.

In Putin’s Russia the Public Sphere has Suffered the Biggest Damage

Political oppression in Russia has led to an eroded public arena and the country is being drained of well-educated innovative cosmopolitans. Alexander Etkind, history professor with a focus on Russian/European relations, paints the picture

Indian Nationalism in a New Guise

A united India was envisaged at the time of Independence in 1947—an inclusive and pluralistic country that would respect all the religious denominations. These past years, however, have seen this vision transform into an

A Frozen Soviet Fragment

Belarus is often called Europe’s last dictatorship. However, oppression within the country does not adhere to the more common nationalistic model—quite the opposite.

Why does Nationalism Seem to Exclude a Free Debate?

Nine years ago, in October 2007, Pen International presented a report called “Insult and Defamation” that deals with how people in power use laws about insult and defamation to restrict the freedom of speech in a country. In the report Rumania was mentioned as an example to follow since the country had then recently deleted any such treacherous phrasings in their laws. However, only six years later, something which both PEN and the publication Index on Censorship noted and gave warning about, Rumania suddenly over a night reinstated the laws about insult and defamation and this time in an even stricter version.

Since then there is a similar trend in ever more countries and regions. Strangely enough this development goes hand in hand with the growth of strong nationalist parties. One clear and frightening example is the reintroduction in 2005 of Article 301 in Turkey’s system of law, which makes it a criminal offence to “insult the Turkish nation.” This means that all critique of the state of Turkey and its leaders’ actions is possible to incriminate—something that we have seen often lately. Ten to twelve years ago it was easy to think of these laws as a remnant of a pre-democratic era due to their relationship to the archaic case of lese-majesty, and that they were doomed to wither away. Instead these kinds of laws have now returned and have become a growing threat to the freedom of speech in many parts of the world.