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“Don't Fear the Internet”: Testimonials on Domain Names and Freedom of Expression

Categories: Advocacy, Free Expression, Law, Chile

Note: Article [1] [es] by Derechos Digitales originally published in Spanish, translated by Silvia Viñas [2].

Elmercuriomiente.cl [“El Mercurio (newspaper) lies”], Barrickmiente.cl [“Barrick lies”], Estafadoscorfo.cl [“Scammed by CORFO”] , Estoyendicom.cl [“I’m in Dicom”], etcetera. All these domain names exemplify how Chile has become a battlefield over the right to freedom of expression.

Domain names are the gateway, the cover letter of a website on the broad spectrum of the Internet. Much more than just a brand, they reflect the spirit of its creators, the orientation of its contents. Giving up a domain name carries a great cost to a project. And therefore, raising a dispute over it, thereby getting rid of the contents of a project, is clearly a very tempting resource.

In this new video from the campaign “Don’t Fear the Internet [3]” [es], we have selected two testimonies: elmercuriomiente.cl and estafadoscorfo.cl. The first, one of the early cases in Chile where the dispute over the domain name -students versus Agustín Edwards- clearly sought to silence any critical glimpse of the traditional conservative newspaper. The second, a very recent case that is still not resolved, shows how the idea of silencing critical discourse through arbitration procedures over domain names is still present.

However, the creators of these projects do not buy the idea of the Internet as a place where the discourse of the powerful must prevail. They are not afraid of the Internet: on the contrary, they are convinced that the Internet is a space for democracy and free expression.