Freedom of expression
At the United States Social Forum on June 24 fifty politically progressive technologists came together for the first US Progressive Techie Congress. The Congress emerged with a statement applauded by other socially-responsible networks like the APC as “a great set of principles”.
In a strongly worded blog post on APC.org, an anonymous blogger from Pakistan has named and shamed political actors and the courts as responsible for the recent “Facebook ban” which blocked over 10,000 websites in Pakistan. “We knew that it’s not blasphemous content which is depriving citizens from using the internet. We wanted to dig deeper to uncover the political motives of politicians that are taking a whole nation hostage for their own vested interests,” says the text. Essential reading for anyone following internet rights in South Asia.
New deadline for subissions to “Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society” (ARDYIS) contest
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), in collaboration with FARA, Yam-Pukri, CAFAN, AYF, ANAFE, PAFPNET, has recently launched an essay writing contest on “Youth and ICTs in Agriculture and Rural Development”. The deadline to apply is extended to 15 August 2010.
It was 19th May 2010, when on the orders by Lahore High Court, Government of Pakistan placed a blanket ban on approximately 10,548 websites. From the very outset, we knew that this is NOT the blasphemous content, which is depriving citizens from using Internet and web enabled services.
APCNews – July 1 2010 – Year XI Issue 123
The news service on ICTs for social justice and sustainable development
“The whole idea was that information is enormously powerful,” recalls early APC member Roberto Bissio.
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.