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Tuesday:  October 27, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Reporters Without Borders Issues 'Enemies of the Internet' List

by Clothilde Le Coz, April 5, 2010

On March 12, 2010, Reporters Without Borders celebrated World Day Against Cyber Censorship. The goal of the event was to rally everyone in support of a single Internet that is unrestricted and accessible to all. It is also meant to draw attention to the fact that, by creating new spaces for exchanging ideas and information, the Internet is a force for freedom. However, more and more governments have realized this and are reacting by trying to control the Internet.

Reporters Without Borders issued its latest list of Enemies of the Internet. This list points the finger at countries such as Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Tunisia that restrict online access and harass their netizens. A list of countries that have been placed "under surveillance" for displaying a disturbing attitude toward the Internet was also released. We can of course easily figure out that China and Iran will once again have one of the worse scores in terms of Internet freedom.

What Does Internet Enemy Mean?

Two main criterias have been selected to define a country as such. First, we count the number of netizens arrested, harassed or threatened in the past year. As of now, more than 100 of them are in jail because of their online activities. The biggest prison for cyber-dissidents by far is China, with 72 of them behind bars, mostly charged with "divulging state secrets abroad." The Chinese authorities have quickly forgotten that the Internet is supposed to have no geographical borders.

internet enemies.jpg

Then, RSF looks at the way that governments monitor the Internet and limit access. For example, Iran has been censoring millions of web pages and limiting the connection speed to make the information less accessible, especially when it comes to the protest movement after elections last year.

And this year, Reporters Without Borders also chose to award the first "Netizen Prize," with support from Google. The prize was awarded to the Iranian women's rights activists of the Change for Equality website, which has made a notable contribution to the defense of online freedom of expression. This is also a way to show that Internet firms are aware of the role they play abroad, especially in countries where the Internet access is restricted.

Google raised awareness of the issue when it announced that it would not censor its search engine results on Google.cn. But this decision also showed that Internet firms doing business in such repressive countries need protection from their own government. Another U.S. company, GoDaddy, announced during a U.S. Congressional hearing that it will stop selling websites with Chinese domain names (those ending in the .cn suffix) because of the controls being demanded by Chinese authorities.

What about the U.S.?

Besides the involvement of Internet firms in repressive countries that help local governments censor online information or restrict the access to it, the U.S. government is not reproach-free when it comes to online free speech.

First, the whole process of adopting a federal shield law to protect reporters' sources has slowed down because of a "blogger issue." The House version of the bill, adopted in April 2009, excludes many bloggers from its protection, limiting the shield to those who gather or report news "for a substantial portion of the person's livelihood or for substantial financial gain." The Senate version has oscillated, with amateurs getting cut in September 2009 and added back in November in a version that looks to the function of disseminating news to the public rather than pay status. And when the bill passed out of the Senate judiciary committee in December, there was an abortive attempt to take non-professionals out again, but it failed.

The U.S. also has had trouble protecting Net neutrality. It is a principle that advocates no online restrictions on content, sites or platforms; on the kinds of equipment that may be attached; on the modes of communication allowed; as well as communication that is not unreasonably degraded by other traffic. Although President Obama took a very clear stance on Net neutrality on February 1, saying that he was a "big believer in Net neutrality," the Obama administration and its allies at the Federal Communications Commission are retreating from a militant version of Net neutrality regulations. This Net neutrality issue, if not adopted, will directly affect the way the information is selected on the web and therefore accessible to the reader.

When it comes to Internet freedom, restricted online access is not necessarily linked to the most repressive regimes. Preserving online free speech and access to online information should be a top priority for the American government, as a pioneer of the Internet and its regulation.

Internet Enemies

Burma
China
Cuba
Egypt
Iran
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Syria
Tunisia
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Vietnam

Under Surveillance

Australia
Bahrain
Belarus
Eritrea
Malaysia
Russia
South Korean
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Turkey
United Arab Emirates

Clothilde Le Coz has been working for Reporters Without Borders in Paris since 2007. She is now the Washington director for this organization, helping to promote press freedom and free speech around the world. In Paris, she was in charge of the Internet Freedom desk and worked especially on China, Iran, Egypt and Thailand. During the time she spent in Paris, she was also updating the "Handbook for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents," published in 2005. Her role is now to get the message out for readers and politicians to be aware of the constant threat journalists are submitted to in many countries.

Reprinted from:  

http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/04/reporters-without-borders-issues-enemies-of-the-internet-list095.html