Free speech online 'under threat', Oct 27, BBC NewsAnd that's not all folks! Take part in a 24-hr International Cyber-Demonstration from 11am (Paris time) on 7 Nov'06 to 11am on 8 Nov'06 (SGP time - 6pm on 7 Nov'06 to 6pm on 8 Nov'06) as Reporters Without Borders issues another call.....
Bloggers are being asked to show their support for freedom of expression by Amnesty International.
The human rights group also wants web log writers to highlight the plight of fellow bloggers jailed for what they wrote in their online journals.
The organisation said fundamental rights such as free speech faced graver threats than ever before.
The campaign coincides with the start of a week-long UN-organised conference that will debate the future of the net.
"Freedom of expression online is a right, not a privilege - but it's a right that needs defending," said Steve Ballinger of Amnesty International. "We're asking bloggers worldwide to show their solidarity with web users in countries where they can face jail just for criticising the government."
Mr Ballinger said the case of Iranian blogger Kianoosh Sanjari was just one example of the dangers that some online writers can face. Mr Sanjari was arrested in early October following his blogging about conflicts between the Iranian police and the supporters of Shia cleric Ayatollah Boroujerdi.
Amnesty wanted bloggers to publicise cases such as this, said Mr Ballinger, and to declare their backing for the right to free speech online.
The human rights group is also taking its campaign to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) - a group set up by the UN to act as a debating body for national net policies. The first big meeting of the IGF takes place in Athens from 30 October to 2 November.
"The Internet Governance Forum needs to know that the online community is concerned about free expression online and willing to stand up for it," said Mr Ballinger.
Many governments were using technology to suppress the free flow of information among their citizens, said Mr Ballinger.
"People have been locked up just for expressing their views in an email or a website," he said. "Sites and blogs have been shut down and firewalls built to prevent access to information."
Hi-tech firms such as Yahoo and Google have been criticised for the help they have given to nations such as China which works hard to monitor online discussion.
In May 2006, Amnesty International started a campaign that aimed to expose the ways that governments use the net to quash dissent. Co-ordinated via the Irrepressible.info website, the campaign asks websites to use an icon displaying text from censored sites.
Pledges gathered from those backing this campaign will be presented at the IGF.
Reporters without borders urges internet users to join in 24-hour online demo against internet censorship
No one should ever be prevented from posting news online or writing a blog, but they are in the 13 countries singled out by Reporters Without Borders for a 24-hour online protest against Internet censorship.
Worldwide, 61 people are currently in prison for posting “subversive” content on a blog or website. Reporters Without Borders is compiling a list of 13 countries whose governments are “Internet enemies” because they censor and block online content that criticises them. The Internet scares. Censors of every kind exploit its flaws and attack those who pin their hopes on it. Multinationals such as Yahoo! cooperate with the Chinese government in filtering the Internet and tracking down cyber-dissidents.
The defence of online free expression and the fate of bloggers in repressive countries concern everyone. So Reporters Without Borders is offering Internet users tools to campaign against Internet predators and is calling on them to participate in an INTERNATIONAL CYBER-DEMO.
Everyone is invited to support this struggle by connecting to the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org) between 11 a.m. (Paris time) on Tuesday, 7 November, and 11 a.m. on Wednesday, 8 November. Each click will help to change the “Internet Black Holes” map and help to combat censorship. As many people as possible must participate so that this operation can be a success and have an impact on those governments that try to seal off what is meant to be a space where people can express themselves freely.
Protests will also be staged by Reporters Without Borders bureaux around the world to condemn Internet censorship and ethical misconduct of the Internet giants when operating in one of these countries.
Reporters Without Borders will publish the list of the 13 Internet enemies on 7 November and at the same time will launch its blog platform, rsfblog, and an Arabic-language version of its press freedom website.
The agency Saatchi & Saatchi has created an Internet ad calling on the entire Internet community to take part in the 24-hour campaign. All media, websites and blogs that want to support this large-scale protest are invited to get in touch with Cédric Gervet at +33 1 4483-8474.
Freedom of expression is not a luxury. It is everyone’s right!