Stories about Free Expression from May, 2013
Bahraini blogger, political activist, and Global Voices author Ali Abdulemam, who had been living in hiding in Bahrain for two years, appeared in London in early May, where he has been granted political asylum by the British government. Global Voices Advocacy Director Hisham Almiraat interviewed Abdulemam shortly after his escape from the island nation.
A new youth protection law in South Korea, meant to protect children by clamping down on child pornography, is being assailed for its broad language that labels net users who unknowingly download suspicious content and artists who depict children in their work as criminals.
Many Taiwanese believe that a recent proposed copyright amendment put forward by the government is a setback for democracy. The amendment would provide legal ground for ISP-level blocking of websites that violate copyright restrictions.
When people are insulted or humiliated on the Internet, they often feel that someone should pay for the personal damages inflicted. Search engines have been this "someone" in many online defamation cases, a process that often results in search engines being forced to remove large amounts of content from search results. Is this the only way to address the issue? What if we could use technology to help satisfy the problem instead?
Omar Qatifaan, a 14-year-old media activist, was killed while covering clashes between pro- and anti-government forces in the southern Daraa al-Ballad area of Syria near the border with Jordan.
The Pakistani human rights organisation Bytes for All is challenging the use of invasive surveillance software by the government of Pakistan. FinFisher, produced by Gamma International, a UK-based company named by Reporters Without Borders as one of five "corporate enemies of the internet" and "digital era mercenaries," is notorious for its advanced spying and surveillance capabilities which are used to target human rights movements all over the world.
In the wake of the Thai government's lawsuit against cartoonist Chai Rachawat, the country's Minister of Information and Communications Technology has warned that websites containing defamatory remarks against the Prime Minister will be immediately shut down.
This post introduces the newly launched project Irrepressible Voices, a citizen video platform. Irrepressible Voices aims to fill the gap between citizen journalists' work and mainstream media coverage of human rights issues by connecting online activists, bloggers, and citizen journalists with the mainstream media as well as with policy and decision makers.
Six Twitter users were sentenced to a year in prison each by a Bahrain court last week for allegedly insulting King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on the micro-blogging site.
On May 7, Chadian blogger Makaila Nguébla, who had lived in exile in Senegal for eight years, was arrested by Senegalese intelligence services and deported to Conakry (Republic of Guinea) from Dakar. Nguébla is the editor of the collective blog Makaila Info, an information and opinion site that is highly popular among Chadians inside the country and abroad. Advocates fear this may be part of a larger trend of online censorship and blogger persecution in Chad.
The Senegalese government expelled Chadian journalist and blogger Makaila Nguebla on May 8, 2013, sending him to Guinea. He explained his situation in an interview with Global Voices' Anna Guèye.
Last week, Parliamentarians in Hungary took action to change the country's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in an effort to limit the scope of data accessible to the public under the law. The Freedom of Information Act, known as Act CXII of 2011 in Hungary, is vital to the work of Hungarian journalists who cover government activity and corruption. If President János Áder signs the amendment, it will become law.
The general election campaign period in Malaysia has triggered what independent news site MalaysiaKini is calling “China-style censorship.” In recent weeks, independent news sites Harakah Daily and MalaysiaKini have suffered from DDoS attacks and connection disruption at the ISP level. With elections on May 5, both sites are calling on ISPs and government officials to protect the open Internet.
On May 1, the Ethiopian Supreme Court upheld the conviction and extreme sentence of award-winning online journalist Eskinder Nega, who now faces 18 years in prison. Mohamed Keita of the Committee to Protect Journalists said in response to the Court’s ruling, “The persecution of Eskinder and other journalists is the hallmark of a regime fearful of the opinions of its citizens.”
The United States and ten governments from around the Pacific region will soon meet to hash out the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP). Negotiations of the agreement have been secretive from the beginning of the process, but based on leaked documents and the undemocratic nature of the entire process, advocates have every reason to be alarmed about the copyright enforcement provisions contained in this multinational trade deal.