Wednesday, November 08, 2006

13 countries which are "enemies to the internet"

The Reporters without borders group has included Belarus on the list of 13 countries which are "enemies to the internet".

You can look at the original BBC article HERE

"The list of 13 Internet enemies
Three countries - Nepal, Maldives and Libya - have been removed from the annual list of Internet enemies, which Reporters Without Borders publishes today. But many bloggers were harassed and imprisoned this year in Egypt, so it has been added to the roll of shame reserved for countries that systematically violate online free expression.
Countries in alphabetical order :
- Belarus
The government has a monopoly of telecommunications and does not hesitate to block access to opposition websites if it feels the need, especially at election time. Independent online publications are also often hacked. In March 2006, for example, several websites critical of President Alexandre Lukashenko mysteriously disappeared from the Internet for several days.
And after Belarus the list includes: Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
Countries removed from the list
- Libya, Maldives, Nepal

Reporters Without Borders has observed a marked improvement in freedom of expression since King Gyanendra backed down and democratic rule was restored in May 2006. The Internet is no longer censored and no harassment or arbitrary detention of any blogger has been reported.
"

I am sorry, I don't believe that Belarus needs to be on this list.

To be sure, the partnersva folks got canned by the government for being financed by the USA and being provocateurs during the elections. You may not like this, but this is in general a fact. Other than them, no websites have ever been pulled or censored in the last two years to my knowledge, including my own. The BR23 bogger had a car accident and is still to my knowledge in a coma. Tobius Ljungvall quit because he felt writing without receiving money was a waste of his time. But everybody else is still here. The Charter '97, the unions of Poles, Zubr, Belarus News and facts, Tol Blogs and his crew, all of whom are on the opposition side and yet none of them has ever missed a day's work except by their own choice. Belarus has said that they bought Chinese blocking softwear, they might have, but they have never used it.
And yes, while it has been the truth that the state has wreaked havoc on opposition newspapers, the internet my friend is still free and I have about 1000 posts from Belarus that say this is so. And of course, if I have access to all of the search engines, to Yahoo, to Google to every on-line news source available, so does everyone else here. They might not read English, but the information (and the propaganda) is out there. If anything, the real problem is not lack of information or free speech over the web, it is apathy from those readers in the west who have the power to help but do not that is the problem.

Now there is the issue of the internet not being a free source of information money wise. Internet time costs money and money is one thing most of these countries do not have. So taking into consideration that perhaps 90% of blogging is simple babbling, one must consider the economic reality of people outside of Europe and the states. That dollar or two spent to make one's ego feel better is simply not available out here, so it is simply not done. To me, a few more fare business deals offered by the west over the decade and half would have done a lot more good than this constant barrage of negative propaganda.

And finally, when you take a good look at this list, doesn't this list of countries seem to be sort of telling in terms of their political siding as regards the USA? From the American perspective, this looks more like a list of Batman's villains, doesn't it. Come on guys: Get real. This is no way to fight a war.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Mike Miller said...

Reporters not Reporting

The criticism by Reporters without Borders of 13 countries that are enemies of the net is a good example of reporters simply not reporting all pertinent facts that the reader should know to make an informed opinion about the issues in question. It may be true that some or all of these countries practice some sort of social engineering when deciding what may or may not be spammed, whammed, and publicly spewed to every single human from 2-102 that lives in these respective countries, but what Reporters without Borders didn't bother to "report" on was the possible positive societal implications of some forms of internet censorship. For instance, is it correct that any form of obscenity no matter how lewd and tacky and un-artistic should be available to anyone for a few simple key strokes?

Is it fair that western intelligence organizations,(mainly the CIA) are free to finance with big money, internet sites that are in nature dangerous and injurious to these same 13 countries way of life? What method of defense does a smaller and poorer or less well connected country have when there is an internet attack on its very way of life except for some form of censorship? If the US authorities detect an internet web site based out of Iraq, or Afghanistan that is advocating revolution in America, or Partisan activities in these same countries against US forces, I propose that these same web site promoters are going to be soon kidnapped and held under torture somewhere in Cuba, or Iraq or some other godforsaken CIA torture chamber, and these same persons WILL NEVER HAVE A DAY IN COURT AND WILL NOT EVER BE ALLOWED TO EVEN TELL THEIR "LAWYERS" WHAT MANNER OF TORTURE HAS COMPELLED THEM TO "CONFESS" TO THEIR CRIMES. Is kidnapping and torture not also a method of internet censorship? Reporters without borders has failed to give a fair and reasonable juxtapositional accounting of the societal benefits the citizens of these 13 "internet enemy" countries derives from their leaders maintaining some sort of responsible order over the internets they have access to.

I submit that Reporters without Borders needs to offer the public a higher quality journalistic product in the future than what has been offered for consumption in their naming of 13 countries that are simply "enemies of the internet."

Michael Miller
Indianapolis
2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006  

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