Tag Archives: Press Freedom

25 years since Tiananmen Square demonstrations

The Chinese government is pulling out all the stops to make sure the official party line on the Tiananmen Square killings is the only one heard in China.

Besides the usual heavy-handed directives from Beijing to all media outlets on what to say and what not to say, the government has also moved against the Internet community in China, known as Netizens.

So, of course, anyone making any comments that challenge the official line gets in trouble: Professor’s Microblog Axed After Tiananmen Comment

For many, it is difficult remembering how things were 25 years ago. China Digital Times is running a series of articles and observations from that turbulent period in modern Chinese history

And while the rest of the world will be looking back at what happened then, the government leaders will just keep on doing “business as usual” rather than deal with the wound created 25 years ago.

And I should add that the ONLY place under Beijing rule that is allowed to openly discuss what happened at Tiananmen Square and is able to have demonstrations calling for a full investigation into what happened is Hong Kong.

And here is the famous “Tank Man” who stood up to the Chinese tanks heading to the square.

 

 

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Filed under Censorship, China, Freedom of Information, Harassment, International News Coverage, Press Freedom

TOR: Software that helps keep journalists safe

TOR is a piece of software that was developed by the US Navy and then got support for further improvements and distribution by the Electronic Frontier, Google and the State Department. (Here is a short video explanation at MIT.) 

The value of TOR is that its encrypts data that allows human rights activists and journalists to get around the censorship and monitoring of dictatorships. It is such a robust piece of encryption software that even the NSA has been unable to crack it.

IFEX interviewed  Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the TOR Project.

Keeping writers safe online: An interview with the Tor Project

 

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Russia continues crackdown on freedom of expression

Russian president Vladimir V. Putin signed a new law into effect that requires bloggers to register with the government.

Russia Quietly Tightens Reins on Web with Bloggers Law 

The new law states that any blog site with more than 3,000 followers is the same as a newspaper or broadcast outlet, and thus, is required to register with the state. The law also bans anonymous bloggers.

It is this last point that has many critics of the Putin government troubled. Russia is already in the NOT FREE category by Freedom House (and other freedom of expression organizations.)

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Censorship for hire: China’s corruption hits the Internet

Sometimes the government officials in China — from the national to the local levels — just make it too easy to find more and more reasons why censorship doesn’t work.

First, corrupt officials can use the censorship rules to block any mention of their malfeasance;

Second,  eventually the information gets out.

And so we have the fun case of the deputy chief of the Internet team at the Haikou City Public Security Department who was caught accepting bribes and got 10 years in prison. 

It seems he used his authority to censor the Internet to make sure any references to his own corrupt activities were deleted from chat rooms and blogs.

What is the Price of Press Censorship?

The fact that Chinese media don’t dare report is that in the larger context of corruption within the propaganda regime, these web police are actually insignificant. The golden goose is the propaganda department and its local branches. The propaganda department controls not just the internet, but also newspapers, television and book publishing. It has not just the power to order the deletion of web posts, but can also tell all of the media under its shadow what needs to be reported.

Moreover, the propaganda department also controls personnel issues for the vast majority of media. It can order the punishment of media staff, remove publishers or editors in chief, and even tell media to fire journalists. Many local propaganda departments even have the power to impose economic sanctions on media.

Full article

Once again many thanks to the China Media Project for bringing details of this case forward.

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Press Freedom at Lowest Point in Decade

Freedom House released its 2014 Press Freedom Report today. And the news is not good for lovers of free and independent media.

The decline was driven in part by major regression in several Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Libya, and Jordan; marked setbacks in Turkey, Ukraine, and a number of countries in East Africa; and deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States.

“We see declines in media freedom on a global level, driven by governments’ efforts to control the message and punish the messenger,” said Karin Karlekar, project director of the report. “In every region of the world last year, we found both governments and private actors attacking reporters, blocking their physical access to newsworthy events, censoring content, and ordering politically motivated firings of journalists.”

A quick glance at the map makes it clear that press freedom is in danger. (FYI: Green is good! And you will notice that there is blessed little green on this map.)

You can view the panel discussion when the report was released here:

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Filed under Censorship, Connections, Freedom of access, Freedom of Information, Press Freedom