Mar. 13th, 2011

  • 9:26 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Via [personal profile] colorblue: Presunto Culpable, Censorship, Copyright, and Philanthropy.

Four months ago I published a detailed series of posts looking at internet censorship and freedom of expression in Latin America. One of my objectives was to show that online censorship is much more complicated than just blocking web pages. For example, copyright claims have been used to take down political content, financial regulatory laws have repeatedly been used to silence bloggers in Guatemala and Venezuela, and a high power judge in Argentina filed lawsuits against Google and Yahoo to remove her name (and all others who share the same name) from search results. But I also wanted to emphasize that despite rising online censorship, the Internet should still be seen as an appealing alternative to mainstream media, which is more susceptible to government censorship and influence. We see this play out again and again in Honduras, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Argentina.

And now Mexico. This week the country’s top grossing documentary – Presumed Guilty – has been pulled from movie theaters following the order from federal judge Blanca Lobo Domínguez who claims that the directors violated the privacy of a witness who appears in the movie. Most Mexican bloggers and analysts view Justice Lobo Dominguez’s ruling as a politically motivated attempt to censor the critical exposé of the country’s justice system. From the William Booth at the Washington Post:

When the documentary “Presumed Guilty” opened in theaters here, many Mexicans saw for the first time the inside of one of their own courtrooms – and they watched the brutal, terrible grinding of the wheels of justice in stunned silence. And now, the story gets even stranger: The movie about the Mexican judicial system is being ordered shut down by the Mexican judicial system.

Aug. 14th, 2010

  • 4:34 PM
la_vie_noire: (Default)
Great post on Feministe:

No one is innocent.

**Trigger warning for descriptions of violence and sexual abuse**

[...] This framing of individuals as either victim or perpetrator troubles me deeply. Truthfully, while there are exceptions to every rule, I generally believe that in the case of major crimes, the following rule applies: not all victims are perpetrators, but all perpetrators are victims.

I know, I know. No one wants to think of the person who did something awful to them as being a victim. And honestly, I’m not asking you to. There’s a reason the criminal justice system isn’t supposed to be about what the victim wants* – you can’t be objective. Heck, you shouldn’t be objective. But law and society should be. Which means that before we punish someone, we need to take into account that victimization is a cycle—it’s those who have been hurt that go on to hurt someone else.


Throughout all this time, no one stepped in to help this child. No one stopped him from quitting school. No one kept him away from the man who beat him mercilessly and tried to kill his mother. No one protected him from sexual abuse. No one loved him and taught him how to find solace in anything other than drugs and alcohol. Removed from the fact that he later killed, it would be difficult to imagine that anyone would not agree that this man had been a victim.

Yet, once a victim crosses that line to perpetrator – once this man killed his step-father – no one wants to remember the victim he once was. And that, I believe, is one of the fundamental flaws in our criminal justice system. No one wants to acknowledge that a perpetrator has been a victim, because if that’s true, then that means we are also punishing victims.

Robert Lawrence Smith writes in the Quaker Book of Wisdom about how people never look at the homeless. Folks avert their eyes and look away–ashamed, guilty perhaps. According to Smith, we don’t want to look at them because we don’t want to recognize our humanity in them. It’s difficult to think that we would let someone live in such conditions. So instead of recognizing them as human, we simply ignore them. This is similar to the response of the general public when we convict someone and label them a perpetrator: rather than acknowledge their humanity, we simply shuffle them away where no one can see.


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