Step up against Internet censorship
Reporters Without Borders is stepping up the pressure on countries that censor or otherwise restrict access to the Internet in their countries. The RSF is kicking off its campaign with World Day Against Cyber Censorship March 12.
Places such as Iran and China pop into mind right away. Some democracies are also jumping on the censorship bandwagon.
A couple of years ago the Australian government proposed mandatory Internet filters be installed in all computers. At the time the Labor government did not have the votes to enforce the idea. But late last year the government announced new legislation to get the mandatory filters in place.
The so-called “Measures to improve safety of the internet for families” act is expected to be introduced in the Fall 2010 session of parliament. The measure is undergoing public comment at this time.
The proposed legislation has raised the hackles among many in Australia.
In January The Great Australian Internet Blackout urged Aussies to write to their members of parliament AND blackout their profile pictures for a day. The cyber-demonstrations were planned for Australia Day, Jan. 26.
The problem with any filtering software — besides the anti-democratic nature of FORCING people to use it — is that the programs are easily circumvented and too often block important information. For example, most filters will block “breast cancer” but not sexual explicit web sites related to “Little Women.”
Unfettered access to those in power, a push for government transparency and a vigorous defense of the First Amendment are perhaps more important now than ever before. Join us as we fight for the public’s right to know as an SPJ Supporter. Or, if you’re a journalist, we welcome you to stand with us as a Professional, Student or Retired Member.