Friday, October 27, 2006

Call to Bloggers

Amnesty International today put out a Call to Bloggers to write about the importance of freedom of speech on the internet and to draw attention to the plight of internet users who have been arrested for what they have written.

The inaugural meeting of the Internet Governance Forum is being held in Athens from Monday. The IGF is a United Nations project. Amnesty International will participate in the forum to ensure that the issue of human rights stays on the agenda.

Here are a few examples of what can happen when people who are not protected by a bill of rights dare to speak their minds.

In Iran, Kianoosh Sanjari was arrested earlier this month while he was reporting on clashes between security forces and the supporters of a Shi'a cleric. No one has heard from him or about him since.

In China, journalist Shi Tao was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “illegally providing state secrets to foreign entities.” What he had actually done was email information to a US website about a Chinese government directive which dictated to journalists how to report on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Shi Tao had used a Yahoo! account and Yahoo! co-operated in his prosecution by providing information to the Chinese government.

In Tunisia, Mohammed Abbou is spending 3 ½ years in prison for criticising his government in online articles.

In Vietnam, Truong Quoc Huy has been arrested twice for participating in chatrooms, the first time, at least, on a human rights website. His whereabouts since his second arrest in August 2006 are unknown and no charges have been announced.

And in The New Amerika...

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