Stories about Free Expression from August, 2013
Transparency Reform in Mexico: A Step Backward in the Name of Security?
The Attorney General, the President of the National Bank, and other high-ranking authorities may soon be able to overrule actions of the Federal Institute for Access to Information, the semi-autonomous entity that guarantees the public’s right to access information.
Russia's Political Firebrand: What Makes Navalny Tick?
Russia's best-known political blogger earned his fame fighting corruption in the private sector, but may now face five years' jail time on (possibly trumped-up) embezzlement charges. In the meantime, he's running for mayor of Moscow.
In Thailand, Facebook ‘Likes’ Can Land You in Jail
On major chat and social network platforms, law enforcement officials are now monitoring users of keywords including "coup", "monarchy", "drugs", "prostitution", and other terms deemed relevant to national security.
Advocates Condemn New Filtering System in Pakistan
IT Minister Anusha Rehman says the new system will allow the government to lift its nearly year-old ban on YouTube, leaving only “objectionable” videos blocked on the site. Meanwhile, many other sites will remain blocked.
Controversial Human Rights Lawyer Arrested in Bangladesh
Adilur Khan was arrested without a warrant, allegedly for helping his employer, prominent human rights group Odhikar, to publish a report on police abuse. The report has raised substantial public controversy, as has Khan's arrest.
Thailand Wants to Monitor Conversations on LINE App
Government officials would monitor the messaging application to track online threats to national security. LINE has 15 million subscribers in Thailand.
Why was Facebook Blocked in Cambodia?
On August 7, Facebook was inaccessible in Cambodia for several hours. Government officials and ISPs claimed that the blockage resulted from technical complications, but media freedom groups remained suspicious of a foul play by authorities.
Taiwanese Government Alters Search Engine Ads to Favor Nuclear Energy Policy
Activists in Taiwan are fighting to halt the operation of nuclear power plant that could be highly hazardous for the island state. Early this week, a Yahoo! search on anti-nuclear activists' names suddenly began yielding ads linking to a government website promoting nuclear energy.
Fifty Bloggers Demand the Release of Bahrain's Mohammed Hassan
On 31 July, blogger Mohammed Hassan was arrested from his parents' house in the Bahraini town of Sitra without an arrest warrant. Hassan is accused of “promoting a forced change of the regime.”
Government Critic Arrested on Drug Charges in Mexico
Supporters suspect that Gustavo Maldonado was arrested in retaliation for his online activities. Just hours before his arrest on a small-scale drug charge, Maldonado posted a YouTube video accusing local officials of corruption.
A Starving Blogger's Vietnam Crusade
Vietnamese dissident blogger Dieu Cay, who is currently in prison, went on a 35-day hunger strike this summer in protest of prison conditions. Though repression continues, observers say that for every blogger that's struck down, several others rise to take his place.
Minister Ridiculed Over Website Closure Statement
Independent citizen media site the Zambian Watchdog switched to an Australian hosting company earlier this year in an effort to thwart attacks on the site. Readers ridiculed Zambia's Deputy Labor Minister when he mistakenly suggested that this would make the site accessible only in Australia.
The Religious Right Rises! Advocates Face High Stakes in Pakistan
State institutions create new lists of URLs each day and block them routinely. Advocates who challenge state censorship and surveillance practice face increasingly grave threats from both the government and the religious right.
Chinese Authorities Crackdown on “Illegal” Independent Websites
Sites have been shut down for failing to obtain licenses, allegedly blackmailing government and corporate officials, and using terms such as "China" and "people" in their names.
Six Years in a Russian Prison for Sharing Porn?
A Russian blogger got in trouble with local authorities after reposting pictures from a nightclub's social networking page featuring half-naked patrons engaged in striptease contests and public sex acts.
Peru: Child Online Protection Bill Could Threaten Free Expression
In an effort to restrict children's ability to access pornography online, the country would adopt a complex content filtering system that could sweep in plenty of legal, age-appropriate content.