May, 2015

Stories from May, 2015

Ethiopian Blogger Atnaf Berahane: Young, Courageous, and in Jail

This 26-year-old Ethiopian blogger's passion for free speech left him in chains.

Under a Shaky Ceasefire, Yemenis Struggle to Stay Connected to the World

Frequent electricity cuts, bombings and a dire humanitarian situation could exacerbate and completely isolate Yemen should internet and telecommunications services be cut.

PayPal Blocks Donations for Printing Boris Nemtsov’s Ukraine War Report

PayPal has informed the "Putin.War" report team the service cannot be used for "collecting funds to finance the activities of political parties or for political aims in Russia.”

Amid “Intelligent” Censorship Discussions, Iran Affirms Facebook Will Remain Blocked

Discussions regarding the implementation of “intelligent” filtering have proliferated Internet policy within Iran. “Intelligent” filtering is a process whereby they filter select content on a social media platform, rather than...

Facebook's Zuckerberg Responds to Ukrainians’ Complaints, But Is His Answer Enough?

Mark Zuckerberg has addressed the appeals of Ukrainian Facebook users for better content moderation and calls to create a dedicated Ukrainian office. His answers seem unlikely to satisfy them.

Bahrain Court Upholds Six Month Sentence Against Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab Over Tweet

A Bahrain court today upheld a six-month sentence for human rights defender Nabeel Rajab over a tweet. Rajab is already in custody under investigation for other tweets.

Suspended Algerian Satirical TV Show Vows to Make a Comeback Online

''Eldjazairia weekend'' an Algerian satirical TV show, co-hosted by GV contributor Abdou Semmar, was suspended from air on April 24, due to political pressure.

Netizen Report: Are Blogger Assassinations Becoming Routine in Bangladesh?

This week saw the third killing of a Bangladeshi blogger in 2015. In other news, China and Russia conspire on cybersecurity, and Iran blocks women (and Justin Bieber) on Instagram.

Human Rights Abuses in Azerbaijan: We Can’t Stay On The Sidelines Anymore

Arzu Geybullayeva calls on Western leaders to speak out on political prisoners in Azerbaijan as the country prepares to host the European Games.

Open Letter to President Obama From a Bahraini Human Rights Defender

AlMahafdah, a former political detainee in Bahrain, asks President Obama to "be the voice of the people of Bahrain" when he meets the crown prince of the kingdom on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Citizens Want Legal Protections for Their Metadata

Should government agencies really be able to look at Hong Kongers' telephone metadata without any oversight from the courts?

Ananta Bijoy Das Becomes Third Blogger Killed This Year in Bangladesh

Das promoted critical thinking about religion, which sparked the ire of Islamic hardliners in Bangladesh. He was hacked to death by a group of masked people with machetes.

Selective Truths Revealed: The Case of Iranian Search Engines

Iranian authorities maintain that local search engines can compete with Google and other Western alternatives. A new study by Iran research group Small Media puts these claims to the test.

“Their Freedom is Their Right”: A Campaign for Prisoners of Conscience in the Arab World

Three human rights organizations launch a social media campaign to raise awareness about prisoners of conscience throughout the Arab World.

Philippines Deports Thai Worker for Insulting Filipinos on Facebook

Some Filipinos in Thailand criticized the deportation: "Offensive, hateful and downright irresponsible as [the remarks] are, they were not criminal."

Singapore Shuts Down News Website on World Press Freedom Day

"The (government's) draconian measures...legitimize excessive intervention by the state and set a precedent for the diminution of our online space."

New Research: Iran is Using ‘Intelligent’ Censorship on Instagram

Political pages are accessible, but Justin Bieber and the Kardashians are blocked. Saddled with a censorship regime that is both exhaustive and ineffective, Iranian authorities are experimenting with “intelligent” filtering.

Netizen Report: Slovakia Says Mass Surveillance is Unconstitutional

While a few European countries are taking leaps ahead in this category, the United States is taking only baby steps towards curbing mass surveillance.

Iran's Leading Women's Magazine Suspended After Covering Cohabitation Outside of Marriage

Managing editor Shahla Sherkat says she's hopeful she can convince the court to allow publication to resume. Iran’s Press Oversight Committee suspended Zanan-e Emrooz, reportedly for writing about "white marriages."

“We Cannot Trample Upon the Humanity of Others Without Devaluing Our Own”

The Zone9 bloggers' crime was that they dared to live out "Ubuntu". They promoted their community above individualistic concerns.

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