You Can't Read This Book: Censorship in an Age of Freedom
The uncompromising Nick Cohen exposes the reality behind the freedoms we enjoy in the book that won Polemic of the Year at the 2013 Political Book Awards. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of Communism, and the advent of the Web which allowed for even the smallest voice to be heard, everywhere you turned you were told that we were living in an age of unparalleled freedom. 'You Can't Read This Book' argues that this view is dangerously naive. From the revolution in Iran that wasn't, to the Great Firewall of China and the imposition of super-injunctions from the filthy rich protecting their privacy, the traditional opponents of freedom of speech - religious fanaticism, plutocratic power and dictatorial states - are thriving and in many respects finding the world a more comfortable place in the early 21st century than they did in the late 20th.
documents in his briefcase to a safe flat, and returning them before anyone noticed their absence. The task of copying them was so lengthy he co-opted his children to help. If he had leaked secret information of comparable sensitivity in any other major power in the 1970s, he would never have seen it published. The Russians and the Chinese would have shot him and the journalists who helped him. The French and the British would have arrested them. As it was, the editors of the New York Times and
266, 267, 283–5, 289, 290, 296 Iran–Iraq war (1980–88) 38, 300 Iraq 38, 49, 73, 87, 115, 254, 256, 300 Irving, David 193 Ishaq, Mohammad 56 Islam/Islamism/Islamists: Western liberals and xvii–xviii, xxi, 29–53, 72–7, 80, 81, 111, 151; women, attitude towards xviii, 7–11, 26, 29, 36, 39–41, 43, 45, 51, 52, 63–81, 87, 88, 90, 91, 96, 98–124, 126–30, 133, 135, 138; Western fear of xxi, 18–20, 30–81, 194, 255; blasphemy and 3–138; Satanic Verses and see Satanic Verses, The; fascism and
signified their approval by clapping. The women by jostling among themselves to touch his hem, and frequently much more.’ Le Matin said Polanski was a victim of America’s ‘excessively prudish petite bourgeoisie’. Others compared him to Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Nelson Mandela. Treated as a star and a victim, Polanski never showed regret for his crime. In 1988, Samantha Gailey sued him. He paid out a large sum, and in return she said that she wanted the case dropped so she could get on with her
newspaper or a book publisher ran an unflattering portrait of a wealthy man, the wealthy man would sue the newspaper or book publisher. It was likely to have the resources to pay for damage to his fine reputation, after all. But nothing in English law stops the wealthy man suing the author personally, so his or her home and savings would be on the line unless they retract and grovel, or the shops that distribute books and newspapers. Maxwell calculated that the owners of bookshops or newsagents
Whatever happened, she said, the case would not divide them. But the question remained for Singh, how far could he go before deciding that the risk to his family’s finances was too great? To cap it all, the judge had come up with a reading of Singh’s words that made a defence impossible. No one would have blamed him for backing down. There would have been no dishonour in withdrawing from the fray. Thousands of publishers and writers in England and beyond have looked at the cost and biases of the