Freedom of expression
Confidential Pakistani document reveals plans for stricter control of the internet and freedom of expression
Since May 20, Pakistan has experienced a wave of strict internet content control with thousands of web pages blocked following a Facebook campaign inviting users to “Draw Muhammad”. The Facebook campaign pushed Pakistani authorities to actively engage in blocking and filtering internet content, leaving Pakistani citizens powerless against the online blanket ban. Further plans by the government to continue to filter any content it considers “objectionable” have been revealed in a confidential document obtained by APC member Bytes for All. “These new guidelines will give Pakistan’s government the power to cripple Pakistani citizens’ access to information and freedom of expression over the internet,” say internet rights activists.
The Republic of Korea has one of the highest percentages of broadband internet connectivity in the world, yet it trails miserably behind on internet freedoms, said a UN Special Rapporteur on a recent visit to the country. APC member Jinbonet reports that “Freedom of expression on the internet in South Korea is facing a serious crisis.” Koreans who criticise the government have to be prepared to allow articles be deleted or face prosecution.
Pakistanis woke up on Thursday 20 May to find sites like Facebook and YouTube blocked after a government crackdown on “blasphemous” websites. “We consider this ban unnecessary, based on wrongful accusations against civil liberties and it will further instigate hatred among international Muslim and non-Muslim communities,” APC member Bytes For All tells APCNews. In an update, we are told that more than 1000 sites are now being blocked. “We are in the midst of a major crisis,” says Bytes For All.
Proposals to fight cybercrime have been floating around in Brazil for more than a decade but the backers – primarily banks and music companies worried about internet fraud and unauthorised music sharing – couldn’t find public or parliamentary support till they switched their focus to child pornography. Lula has refused to sanction online censorship and the government has opened a public consultation on what a civil law to regulate the internet should look like. EroTICs researchers Corrêa, Maria and Queiroz explore the history of the Brazilian regulation debate and conclude that the time is ripe to talk about rights – and for feminists and sexual rights activists to get involved. Photo: “Mike Vondran”:http://www.flickr.com/people/over_kind_man/
APC has teamed up with Sex Work Awareness in a study to look at content filtering systems in public libraries with internet access in the United States, with an eye towards reproductive health and sexuality. Find out more and take the survey!
A video showing President Asif Ali Zardari losing his temper in a public speech was recently censored in Pakistan. Bytes for All and its members vehemently condemn the Government’s block on YouTube and considers it yet another attack on civil liberties and free speech in the country.
During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence each year, the APC WNSP calls for everyone – especially women and grrls – to Take Back the Tech! and reclaim technology for the
South Korean communication media training and education centre MediAct is in danger of being shut down by the conservative government in Korea. This democratic centre has played a key role in democratising Korea’s media since the end of the dictatorship and has trained thousands of people on media production as well as developing many policy proposals that have changed Korea’s mediascape. Immediate international support is vital to keeping MediAct open. Please sign the petition or read on to find out more about MediAct and other ways to show your support.
This meeting is part of the MDG3: Strengthening women’s strategic use of ICTs to combat violence against women and girls project run by the APC women’s programme (APC WNSP).