Oppression For Blogs In China, Germany

    January 4, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Microsoft takes down a Chinese language blog on MSN Spaces, while a German blogger’s appearance in Google rankings for a court’s name earns him a cease-and-desist letter from the court.

Ex-CNN reporter Rebecca MacKinnon posted about ongoing censorship of Chinese blogs, and made particular note of the vanishing of a blog by Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti:

Anti became a vocal supporter of journalists at the Beijing Daily News who walked off the job after the top editors were fired for their increasingly daring investigative coverage, including some recent reporting on the recent police shootings of village protestors in the Southern China.

MacKinnon also noted that MSN and not the Chinese government took down the blog. She allows for the possibility that business rather than politics may have played a role in the takedown.

A translated version of an anti Anti column from MSN Spaces domestic rival Bokee she reproduced called for the government to put pressure on MSN. Meanwhile, Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble has criticized MSN for “being used as a state-run thug.”

In Germany, a supermarket owner/blogger who managed to score high in Google’s rankings for the term “Sozialgericht Bremen” in a post has received a cease-and-desist letter demanding the term be removed.

Phillipp Lenssen posted how Bjoern Harste has removed the term, the name of a German social services court, from the post in question.

In response, Harste placed the cease-and-desist letter on his site. Lenssen blogged more about the issue:

Now the Sozialgericht Bremen wants Bjoern to stop using the words “Sozialgericht Bremen” in his archive. Apparently, the Sozialgericht Bremen thinks the result they dislike will stop appearing in Google, not knowing that it’s actually link text that is more important for such a position… and that it’s not easy to silence a blogger because other bloggers will jump in to help.

Looks like a Googlebombing in the making, possibly. We won’t be surprised to see some inventive and disparaging phrase suddenly boost the court to the top of the Google rankings for it.

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