Monday, February 14

"WALKING ON TERRA INCOGNITA": GOVERNMENTAL REPRESSION OF INTERNET USE

In my continuing efforts to draw attention to the plight of Iranian blogger-jounalists, such as Farouz Farzami, as well as in my own research in getting up-to-speed on this issue (as it prevails in Iran and in other tyrannical governments, e.g., China), I come across compelling pieces of journalism that make far better statements than I about the repression and coercion many bloggers face overseas.

A brilliant example of this is this well-done column written by Charles Cooper, Executive Editor of Commentary, CNET News.com, who draws a bead on the repressive tactics employed by such governments not only to silence the "nascent online press" in their countries, but to leverage technology in the use of monitoring what they deem to be subversive Internet traffic.

As Cooper reveals:

  • Increasingly, it seems, blogging can get you in big trouble. And as the number of Web logs and Internet news sites grows, journalists and bloggers regularly find themselves at odds with governments that are unenthusiastic about freedom of expression.
  • What's more, many governments now routinely filter the Internet, even though that's a clear violation of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which promotes access to information as an entitlement. Truth be told, the litany of examples of Internet repression around the globe makes for dreary reading.
It's enough to scare hell out of you! And imagine the dread Farouz Farzami feels as her trial in Iran and the inevitability of her conviction approaches ... unless, somehow, someway, the voices of a major blogosphere blog storm can draw enough international attention to her plight to get those charges dropped. We undoubtedly cannot win her freedom of expression; but, it would be noble of us to try to keep her from doing anymore jail time than the 36 days in which she was already confined. If you enjoy Michelle Malkin's or Betsy Newmark's work, as I do, just imagine if they faced a trial for the blogging they do here in our country? It's unconscionable what Iran is doing to blogger-journalists!