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Syria: Stop Internet Censorship!

Following a report by Human Rights Watch, Sami ben Gharbia of Global Voices Advocacy wrote an article outlining Syria's internet repression, which included the arrests of two citizens accused of making comments online considered insulting. Several Syrian bloggers demonstrated strong opinions about the situation, as well as the recent blocking of Blogspot.

Golaniya of Decentering Damascus wrote:

Last night I saw Ben Gharbia's updated post on the Advocacy Global Voices’ site and this time it was about my country.

Two cyber activists were detained for posting online comments that were disfavored by our Syrian government. The report also talked about a case in which the government detained a third Syrian citizen for posting comments opposing KSA. the Syrian Military Intelligence detained him for “breaking ties” with an ally.

The blogger goes on to detail the situation, then says:

I have been living in Syria over a month now ever since I left Lebanon, and no one has mentioned these incidents. Unlike in Lebanon, Syrians know nothing about what's happening in Syria, if it wasn’t for her blog, or international human rights, or opposition sites, no one would ever know about these violations of human rights. If I mentioned this in front of some friends they will probably not believe me for these things are abnormal to the Syrian consciousness and psyche. The Syrian government is not just detaining these amazing Syrian citizens in prison, but also detaining the “discussion” about them-the right to know, to think, and to wonder!

While some Syrians are busy “building Syria” by attacking Iraqi presence in Syria, Jews, feminism and attacks against sexist Syria and racist Syria, the Syrian government is busy attacking Syrian citizens who are attacking corrupted, dictator, unjust regime/Syrians.

One commenter responded:

This is just too bad, I used that the censorship and persecution of bloggers and media personalities in my country (Pakistan) couldn't be rivaled in its badness. But you guys seem to have a tougher ground to operate. Allow me to put forward this advice, try to work through the system and not against it. It takes time and concerted effort to make the change you'd like to see happening. Sometimes it is just too risky to struggle without cover…

In other censorship news, it seems that Blogspot has been blocked in Syria – while it is unreported whether or not this remains the case, bloggers were certainly furious. Abufares said:

Blogspot is now completely blocked in Syria. I mean I was able until yesterday to access it directly through one remaining service provider. Not anymore, as I have to join my heroic blogging comrades in sneaking our way around proxies and firewalls. However, once you and the blockers read this post and dozens of harmless posts on other Syrian blogs you and they (the wiseass blockers) will discover the wisdom behind their draconian action. This is dangerous stuff I’m talking about here. George W. Bush and company might consider recipes (especially if they originate from the Middle East) to be inherently terroristic in nature. Dough and yogurt, if mixed in a certain manner, might inadvertently lead to nuclear energy thus might pose a danger to the free world and undermine the cultural integrity of White Anglo Saxons.

Abu Kareem of Levantine Dreamhouse also reported on the matter, sharing tips for using proxies to circumvent the censorship:

Blogspot is now apparently completely blocked in Syria. I am republishing part of a post from last December in addition to other resources in the hope that some blocked Syrian bloggers may be able to use the information to bypass web censorship of their blogs- that is of course, if they manage to see this post.

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