The Spear is a painting that depicts the South African president Jacob Zuma in a rallying pose, with genitals exposed. It has caused controversy and been defaced. Images of the painting have gone viral on internet. In late May 2012, the South African Film and Publications Board classified the painting, as not suitable for people under the age of 16. But in a country where one in four women is raped, who is the ban supposed to protect?
The OpenNet Initiative released its 2011 Year in Review, a collection of the year’s top instances of filtering, surveillance, and information warfare around the globe. The spotlight was on the SOPA and PIPA bills in the US and on Asian and Middle Eastern countries and regimes as well as European and American companies for their role in internet censorship.
When the Government of Pakistan announced that it would be filtering the internet, Bytes for All initiated a major campaign against what it called an unconstitutional decision. Supported by multiple national and international human rights organisations, news has been released that the plans to filter Pakistani internet have been cancelled.
Technology doesn’t change the world, how we use it does
Last night, at an award ceremony in London organised and hosted by Index on Censorship , Kubatana won the award for Innovation in media technology for our Freedom Fone project.
Our information officer Upenyu Makoni-Muchemwa was there to receive the award.
Surprising as it may be, the internet in Iran started out as comparatively open in the region. However, censorship and internet clampdowns noticeably increased when conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005. The internet had until then given activists, journalists and political dissidents a way to get around Iran’s restrictive media laws and communicate with the outside world.
The government of Pakistan currently has plans to filter the internet, which will affect freedom of expression, speech and opinion in the country. Bytes for All fears the internet will be further restricted as the 2013 general elections approach. Read the public statement by Bytes for All.
A recent petition which calls on Pakistani internet service providers to filter the internet has sparked concern among internet rights advocates. APC criticises the proposal as inappropriate in a democratic society which values freedom of expression and the right to information.