Lego has announced it is reversing its policy on bulk purchases and will no longer ask customers what they want to use the bricks for.
The U-turn follows a recent controversy involving Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
In October 2015, Ai Weiwei accused Lego of censorship when it refused to sell its bricks directly to him.
Lego said its policy was to reject requests if it believed the bricks would be used to make a political statement.
Ai Weiwei wanted to make an artwork on political dissidents.
The artist ended up using bricks donated to him by the public for an exhibition in Melbourne, Australia.
In a statement posted on its website on January 12, Lego said it used to ask customers ordering bulk purchases for the “thematic purpose” of their project, as it did not want to “actively support or endorse specific agendas”.
“However, those guidelines could result in misunderstandings or be perceived as inconsistent, and the Lego Group has therefore adjusted the guidelines for sales of Lego bricks in very large quantities,” it said.
As of January 1, 2015, Lego will instead ask that customers make clear the group does not support or endorse their projects, if exhibited in public.
Lego’s decision to refuse Ai Weiwei’s request angered the artist, who accused the company of censorship and discrimination, and of attempting to define political art.
Ai Weiwei also linked Lego’s stance with plans for a new Legoland in Shanghai.
The controversy sparked a public backlash resulting in supporters around the world offering to donate toy bricks.
Ai Weiwei set up “Lego collection points” in different cities, and ended up making a new series of artworks based on the incident as a commentary on freedom of speech and political art.
Burma has decided to abolish pre-publication censorship of the country’s media, the information ministry has announced.
The Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD) said that as of Monday, reporters would no longer have to submit their work to state censors before publication.
However, strict laws remain in place which could see journalists punished for what they have written.
Burma has kept tight control over all aspects of its media for some 50 years.
But the civilian government has been gradually easing restrictions since taking office last year.
Burma has decided to abolish pre-publication censorship of the country's media
“Censorship began on 6 August 1964 and ended 48 years and two weeks later,” Tint Swe, head of the PSRD, told AFP news agency on Monday.
“Any publication inside the country will not have to get prior permission from us before they are published.
“From now on, our department will just carry out registering publications for keeping them at the national archives and issuing a license to printers and publishers,” he said.
Tint Swe said the likelihood of permission being granted for private newspapers to be set up was “closer than before” and could happen after a new media law is enacted.
A ministry official told AFP films would still be subject to censorship.
Wai Phyo, editor of the Weekly Eleven journal, told Reuters the move was “a big improvement on the past”, but that editors would now be under increasing pressure to ensure their publications remained legal.
In the past, entire newspapers have been shut because of their reports and many reporters have been jailed.
But in recent months, journalists had been given guidelines allowing them to write about controversial topics, something that would have been unthinkable under the previous military rule.
Some 300 newspapers and magazines covering less sensitive issues had already been given permission to print without prior censorship and restrictions were lifted on 30,000 internet sites, allowing users unrestricted access to political content for the first time.
In October last year, Tint Swe said censorship should be abolished as it was incompatible with democratic practices, while warning that all publications should accept the responsibilities that go with press freedom.
Politicians across Europe are starting to withdraw their support from the dangerous ACTA treaty. This weekend’s mass protest is our moment to bury ACTA for good. Click to join the day of action, in person or virtually — let’s win this!
In 24 hours, people across the planet are joining a global street protest to bury ACTA for good.
This week our massive 2 million ACTA petition caused shockwaves in Brussels, and we’ve just learned that Germany has put ACTA on ice and other governments are close to following suit. If Europe says no to ACTA, it dies! We’re at a tipping point — If enough of us join the protest tomorrow, we can secure our online freedom and end the threat of ACTA’s censorship nightmare.
Let’s turn out in thousands to protest or, if we can’t be there in person (most of the protests are in Europe), send messages of solidarity to our fellow citizens who are marching. Click here to use our map tool to find an event near you, or leave a solidarity message for marchers:
Our massive ACTA petition was personally delivered to leading EU politicians in Brussels this week as it grew to 2.2 million signers and beyond. The European Parliament is choosing their new point person on the treaty right now. Let’s make sure that person realises that ACTA is too hot to handle.
Four Eastern European governments and now Germany have just said they’ll stall their decision on the treaty. Now, if hundreds of thousands of people attend thousands of rallies all across Europe tomorrow, we can ensure that all politicians across the 27 EU countries are put on notice that people don’t want ACTA and will continue to take action until the treaty is buried.
Those of us in Europe can join the protests. And we all can send messages of solidarity to encourage the people there and use social media to pile the pressure on key parliamentarian. Click here to check out the action centre, and tell everyone.
Again and again, we’ve shown how people power can work. When our fundamental freedoms are at stake, and we act together, we can forge an unstoppable force that makes politicians turn away from the corporate lobbies, and work in the interests of all of us. Let’s do it again.
With hope and determination,
Alex, Alice, Pascal, Emma, Ricken, Maria Paz, Luis and the rest of the Avaaz team
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