Global: World Day Against Cyber Censorship

internet_bleuInternet censorship is still a major issue in many countries worldwide. With that in mind, the Paris-based international organization Reporters without Borders (RSF) is promoting its yearly World Day Against Cyber Censorship on March 12th. On the occasion, RSF issued its latest list of “Enemies of the Internet“, where China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Tunisia are among the most prominent examples of countries censoring the web.

Reporters Without Borders will celebrate World Day Against Cyber Censorship on 12 March. This event is intended to rally everyone in support of a single Internet that is unrestricted and accessible to all. It is also meant to draw attention to the fact that, by creating new spaces for exchanging ideas and information, the Internet is a force for freedom. However, more and more governments have realised this and are reacting by trying to control the Internet.

World Day Against Cyber Censorship Around the Web

Jordanian blogger Naseem Tarawnah on Black Iris urged people to join an online rally for free speech. He says that over the past years there are traces that suggest the country is inclining to tough times for internet users, especially because there are “designs that the government may be planning to implement a “Cyber Law” to regulate the online world“. He calls on Twitter users:

For my fellow tweeps, I can only ask that you come together to tweet those posts produced by the blogosphere, or tweet your own messages in support of a free internet. Perhaps we can use the single hashtag of #FreeNetJo to unite our tweets.

And as Ramy Raoof outlined on Global Voices Advocacy:

Do you believe in Freedom of Speech?

Do you think its normal to be profiled or tracked while being online?!

Do you think it’s your right to enjoy uncensored Internet search & blogging?

Do you believe in Freedom of Information? Right to Access Information?

Do you want to defend an Internet without restrictions and accessible to everyone at anytime and anywhere?

Support the World Day against Cyber-Censorship, 12 March…

Spread the Word!

Global Voices contributor Archana Verma has written a post with thoughts and opinions from the Hindu blogosphere on freedom of speech and censorship. She adds:

India doesn't fall in the category of “Internet Black-Holes,” hence Hindi web-writers haven't written much on it because they haven't faced this problem. However, there are some Hindi bloggers who have reflected on press-freedom from different angles.

On Global Voices Online, we're committed to raising voices that often go unheard by traditional and mainstream media. We know that many governments do not allow its citizens to use the web openly and freely, often practicing censorship and regulating content. Below we can see some of Global Voices’ projects to promote freedom of speech, cyber-activism and transparency online.

Global Voices Advocacy

Global Voices Advocacy is where we seek to build a global anti-censorship network of bloggers and online activists throughout the developing world that is dedicated to protecting freedom of expression and free access to information online. In this website, you'll have access to a myriad of projects that intend to help people fighting censorship on the web, as well as to blog anonymously in areas where internet users are often harassed by the government.

Threatened Voices

Threatened Voices is a collaborative mapping project to build a database of bloggers who have been threatened, arrested or killed for speaking out online and to draw attention to the campaigns to free them. So far, Threatened Voices has already tracked 213 cases of arrested or threatened bloggers, such as the one of Ahmad Mostafa, an engineering student at the University of Kafr el-Sheikh –the first Egyptian blogger to stand before a military court because of his blogging.

Technology for Transparency Network

On the other side of the coin, from Rising Voices, the Technology for Transparency Network, a new interactive website to track online initiatives that promote transparency, accountability, & civic engagement around the world is an example of how freedom of speech can help monitoring governments and deliver correct and non-regulated information to citizens of developing world, as well as observing politicians movements and actions.

On the website, Renata Avila, a human rights lawyer and blogger in Guatemala, has presented the case of #InternetNecesario from Mexico, an online protest on Twitter and other social networks to fight a tax on the Internet issued by Mexico's Congress. This movement is an example of how a non-censored internet can empower citizens to fight for their rights.

As Venezuelan blogger in Paris, Laura Vidal states in her comment review:

This project is an example of how civil society agrees to organize and reunite efforts to respond to a government that acts without consulting, and a press that doesn’t connect the public opinion with the leaders of the country.

Breaking Borders

Finally, Global Voices and Google's Breaking Borders Award is a new prize created by both organizations and supported by Thomson Reuters to honor outstanding web projects initiated by individuals or groups that demonstrate courage, energy and resourcefulness in using the Internet to promote freedom of expression. The prize will honor work in three categories: tools that promote freedom of expression, outstanding work on policy and activism or journalism that contributed an important voice or argument – each awarded with USD $10,000. Results of the award will be made public in May, during the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit 2010.

On this important date for the Internet, we hope for people to urge for change. To fight against censorship and to raise awareness on the importance of a free digital environment. For more highlights on the struggle for freedom of speech on the web visit our page on this subject.


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