Russia (GV) – Shortly after Roskomnadzor, Russia’s Internet censor, added PornHub to its registry of blocked websites in September of 2016 (in the name of preventing minors from being able to access pornography), the online porn website made Roskomnadzor an offer: unblock PornHub in…
The Internet (EFF) – Two weeks ago the Copyright Society of China (also known as the China Copyright Association) launched its new 12426 Copyright Monitoring Center, which is dedicated to scanning the Chinese Internet for evidence of copyright infringement. This frightening panopticon is said to be…
World (GV) – We need to start serious conversations about systemic social challenges, rather than tinkering with their effects In his recent manifesto, Mark Zuckerberg asserts that the response to our dysfunctional and conflict-ridden politics is to build a stronger global community based…
Ruthless Assault on Press Freedom Shields State from Scrutiny
Turkey’s government has all but silenced independent media in an effort to prevent scrutiny or criticism of its ruthless crackdown on perceived enemies, Human Rights Watch said today. The assault on critical journalism sharpened in 2014 but accelerated after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, denying Turkey’s population access to a regular flow of independent information from domestic newspapers, radio, and television stations about developments in the country.
The 69-page report, “Silencing Turkey’s Media: The Government’s Deepening Assault on Critical Media,” documents five important components of the crackdown on independent domestic media in Turkey, including the use of the criminal justice system to prosecute and jail journalists on bogus charges of terrorism, insulting public officials, or crimes against the state. Human Rights Watch also documented threats and physical attacks on journalists and media organizations; government interference with editorial independence and pressure on media organizations to fire critical journalists; the government’s takeover or closure of private media companies; and restrictions on access to the airwaves, fines, and closure of critical television stations.
The Iranian government is reportedly taking steps to expand regulations on large public news channels on the instant messenger Telegram. The move would apparently affect groups with more than 5,000 subscribers.
It remains unclear, however, if state officials seek dramatic changes to controls on these online communities (ostensibly in the battle against “fake news”), or if the government merely plans to extend and continue existing Internet controls.
Tuesday Hearing in Case With Potentially Significant Implications for Free Speech
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will tell Canada’s highest court that an overbroad court order that censors Google search results for users everywhere violates our rights to freely search the web without government interference.
The court is hearing arguments in Google v. Equustek, a trade secret case in which a British Columbia court issued an order forcing Google to block certain websites from its search results around the world, setting a dangerous precedent for online free expression. Equustek Solutions sued a group of defendants for allegedly misappropriating designs for its routers and selling counterfeit routers online. While Google isn’t a party to the case and had done nothing wrong, Equustek obtained a court order telling the search engine company it must delete search results that directed users to the defendants’ websites, not just in Canada but from all other local domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. EFF filed a brief in the case siding with Google.
The European Union has a censorship addiction, and a desire to inflict the costs of indulging that addiction on the world’s top tech companies.
Vera Jourova, the EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, complains that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft respond too slowly to demands that they delete posts deemed “hate speech” from their platforms.
In May, those companies “voluntarily” affirmed a code of conduct committing themselves to 24-hour turnaround on doing Jourova’s dirty work for her. Six months later, she claims the companies are too slow and that the EU may be “forced” to enact laws to punish them for not shutting people up as quickly as she wants them shut up.
Parliamentary elections in Montenegro on 16 October 2016 were marred with allegations of irregularities, reported via social networks, and a temporary ban on WhatsApp, Viber and similar messaging apps.
The regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services ordered telecom operators to prevent the use of messaging applications. The Agency reasoned that the ban was intended to keep users from receiving “unwanted communication,” an official designation for spam that could also apply to mass messages sent on behalf of specific candidates or political parties.
October 8, 2016 will go down in Hungarian history as the day when the ideals of the 1956 revolution (when Népszabadság was established) were finally betrayed by Hungary’s autocratic government.
Imagine a situation where you woke up in the UK and discovered that the Guardian newspaper had overnight shut down all operations, that its paper version was never to be published again and that its decade old internet archive was unavailable to the public.
For all those citizens who rely on high quality investigative journalism, and the institutions that represent it, this would be an unimaginable situation, and it is very likely that the UK government of the day would have to step in in support of the venerable paper, even if its demise were the result of a problem of liquidity or dwindling circulation.
The closure of eight independent news and current affairs-focused TV channels effectively ends critical television news reporting in Turkey. The channels are among 23 television and radio stations reported by the media to face closure on the basis of a Turkish government decree.
The latest move to censor media, under cover of the state of emergency imposed following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, exceeds any legitimate restriction justifiable on national security grounds and violates the government’s freedom of expression obligations.
Three years ago, the UAE government prosecuted en masse 94 government critics and activists who called for reform in the Emirates.
Since this time, there has been no Arab Spring-like uprising. No anti-government protests that have come close to shaking the ruling regime. Yet the state-sponsored repression of human rights advocates and journalists continues unabated.
Arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, unfair trials, deportations, and revocation of citizenships are among the tactics the UAE authorities regularly deploy to silence dissident voices and make sure that no such uprising takes place within its borders.