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Online freedom of speech

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Wednesday May 31, 2006 )

Amnesty International have taken the fight for freedom of speech online a step further by launching It’s not just a petition against governments who curtail online activities and jail those it feels a threat, it’s also a stab at some pretty huge online companies. Amnesty accuses these companies of assisting certain governments by providing information to them regarding the activities of “dissidents”.

The site encourages people to sign a pledge on Internet freedom, or to add a script to their own web site pages which will display content that has been censored in some countries. The content changes on each page load.

I support Amnesty’s work generally, they really do a wonderful job in bringing issues to the forefront that would perhaps otherwise go unnoticed. I am a little concerned however of the constant bashing of the Chinese government by all and sundry, for reasons that I’ve outlined in a previous post on censorship issues.

I don’t profess to be any sort of expert on Chinese culture or government, but I just wonder if all this public negativity we’re seeing towards the Chinese government from the western individuals and well-meaning organizations could possibly have the opposite effect to the goals that are being pursued.

Still, I guess that out of many who are wanting to change the Chinese government’s approach to online censorship, Amnesty is probably one of the best qualified groups to do so. As for those in our own governments pointing the finger at China, perhaps they’d be better off looking in their own backyards first. The word “hypocrisy” certainly springs to mind. Big brother is alive and well in our own countries – just more subtle.


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