Irrepressible.Info Fights Censorship

    May 30, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A new site developed by Amnesty International with the help of long-time supporter The Observer UK and the Open Net Initiative provides a way to republish snippets of content from websites banned by various governments on one’s blog or site.

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The Irrepressible.Info website unveiled by Amnesty International takes up the cause of jailed Chinese journalist Shi Tao as well as supporting the concept of the Internet as a vehicle for political freedom and not repression.

Amnesty and The Observer teamed up on the creation of the Irrepressible.Info website. There, site and blog publishers can pick up code for their sites that displays snippets of content from other websites. Those snippets come from sites that normally cannot be viewed in particular countries due to government interference.

By placing those snippets on websites that have not been banned, the project makes a little bit of information available to the reader who may be in a company that practices censorship.

“Internet repression is reported in countries like China, Vietnam, Tunisia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria,” the project said. “People are persecuted and imprisoned simply for criticizing their government, calling for democracy and greater press freedom or exposing human rights abuses, online.”

One person has been imprisoned for the crime of revealing a state secret to foreign entities via an email from his Yahoo account, namely China’s advisory to news publications regarding the fifteenth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Journalist Shi Tao’s ten-year sentence comes in for particular attention from the project, with a link to details of his case and a call for people to contact the Chinese government and Yahoo about working toward his release.

The companies behind the three top search engines found themselves garnering particular attention from the project:

IT companies have helped build the systems that enable surveillance and censorship to take place. Yahoo! have supplied email users’ private data to the Chinese authorities, helping to facilitate cases of wrongful imprisonment. Microsoft and Google have both complied with government demands to actively censor Chinese users of their services.

Irrepressible.Info also calls upon its visitors to sign a pledge about political freedom on the Internet. In November, Amnesty will present its request for greater online freedom and the number of people who have signed the pledge to a United Nations conference on the issue.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.